"I'm ok!" Robin protested as the rescue team tried to lower him onto the stretcher.
"Look we have to make sure, just as much to cover our backs as anything else. Once we get you to the ambulance then we will let the medics decide if you are ok or not." Frank told him.
Robin complied reluctantly. Batman followed as they climbed over the mounds of debris and down to the ambulance.
"You have to let them do their job." He chided.
"Ok." Robin sighed resignedly.
The rescue team lifted the stretcher into the back of the ambulance and Batman climbed in alongside.
"Look if you could just check that he's alright enough for me to get him to our own doctor I would appreciate it." Batman told the medic.
"I am ok honest." Robin began, falling silent as Batman held up a gloved finger. He succumbed to the examination.
"Ok, it would seem that there is no serious damage done. As far as I can see he is well enough to be moved, but he needs to be checked out properly." The medic told Batman.
"That's a relief; I'll go and bring the Batmobile round closer." Batman said jumping out of the ambulance.
Batman helped a protesting Robin to the Batmobile using the ambulance as cover to hide them from the press still hovering like vultures.
"I'm ok honest." Robin asseverated.
"You may feel alright but let's get Dr Thompkins to decide." Batman told him with some pertinacity. "So don't argue."
"Huh!" Robin sank down in his seat resignedly.
Batman hit the call button and raised the Doctor informing her they were on their way and their eta.
---- "Well I reckon you have been very, very lucky young man." Dr Thompkins announced as she shed her latex gloves and dropped them in the waste bin. "Apart from a few bruises and scratches you seem I good shape for someone who just got buried alive."
"So I can go home then?" Robin slid from the examination table.
"Yes. I don't see why not."
"See I told you I was alright Batman." Robin half grinned.
"Hmmn." Batman growled. He was relieved that Robin was ok but was not about to show his relief openly.
"Go on off you go. Batman can I have a quiet word with you." Dr Thompkins asked as Robin got to the door.
Robin shrugged and left the room.
"Look I can say he is well physically but I'm not sure what psychological effects he will have suffered. We both know he has a tendency to suffer from delayed shock, so I would advise you keep an eye on him. Contact me if he shows any adverse signs at all." Dr Thompkins explained.
"I understand, and I will." Batman gave a slight salute and followed in Robins wake.
---- "Ok shower and then off to bed." Bruce ordered.
"What!" Dick exclaimed. "Yes I need a shower but I aint going to bed yet." Dick protested. "I'm alright."
"That may be, but I'm tired and I'm guessing you will be. So no arguments."
Dick gave Bruce a look that could kill. Bruce raised an eyebrow challenging him to continue arguing.
"Master Dick Bruce has a point. Although you feel well now…. Well who knows and it has been a long night for all of us." Alfred pointed out diplomatically. "Oh and before I forget Miss Tina called earlier. I did say you would call back. I told her you and Bruce where attending a martial arts class." Alfred chuckled. "It seems she believes that you are Robin having seen the TV footage of your rescue."
"Did she now? Ok I'll call her back when I've had my shower." Dick looked at Bruce waiting for a objection, non came.
---- Dick sank down on the bed; he was, despite his protestations exhausted. The shower had made him feel warm and comfortable as it slaked away the dust and grime. Sighing he picked up the phone and dialled Tina.
"Tina it's me, did you want me for something?"
"Oh hi. No I was just calling for a chat really. Did you see the news?"
"Oh it's just, well you know Batman and Robin, well Robin was buried under a building, when they got him out, and well I reckoned he could be you. He certainly looked a lot like you."
"Yer right, I don't think so." Dick cachinnated. "I don't think that's likely at all do you?"
"Well I don't know, I mean why not?"
"Tina when would I get time to go gadding about dressed in a funny suit chasing the bad guys around Gotham?"
"I dunno, but I reckon you would be fit enough anyway, with all that martial arts stuff you and Bruce do. You know Robin is kinda cute too."
"Oh right I can just see Bruce as Batman, not. Come on really!"
"I spose you're right. I know Bruce is very fit too, but yes, he wouldn't have time either, what with his work and going to all those women and charity balls and such like. I guess he might be good at running a company but well he is a bit of a pussy cat."
"You got that right, I think he would run a mile if one of those bad guys confronted him. He can be quite, what's the word, scary at times, no stern when he tries to tell me off for doing something wrong. I guess it's a compliment though that you thought it was me. Talking of time, have you started that English assignment yet?" Dick changed the subject quickly.
"No, have you?"
"No but I hope to get started on it today."
"I just don't know where to start with it to be honest."
"Me neither, I think I will have to hit the library, I'm sure Bruce will have something that will help."
"Huh, you're lucky, we have to go into town to use a library at least you have one to hand."
"There's always the internet you know."
"I guess so. I don't think we'll all have chance to meet up this weekend, too much homework."
Tell me about it…..unless we get together to do our assignments together here." Dick suggested.
"We could do….. I'll see how it goes…if we get stuck I'll make that suggestion to the others. I'll ring if we need to come over." Tina chortled. "We wouldn't want to be accused of cheating now would we?"
"Oh no, wouldn't Franks have a field day with that?"
"Ooh it's too scary to contemplate. Ok have a good day and I'll more than likely see you at school."
"Yup. Ok you too. But the offer stands if you need it."
"Okey dokey then, love you bye."
"You too." Dick ended the call. "What!?" he exclaimed to himself shaking his head as he sank back against the pillows. "Oh boy we are going to have to make sure we have some good cover stories ready now."
---- Dick woke with a start sweating, he had been dreaming he was in a dark place and he couldn't see or find the way out. He thought he was bound up, but realised that he was caught in a tangle of sheets. He struggled free and sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed to sit up. He dropped his head into his hands and rubbed his forehead, massaging away the memory. After a few moments he padded over to the bathroom to relieve his self then rinsed his hands and then his face with cold water trying to ease the dull ache behind his eyes. He stood with his hands in the bowl of cold water staring at his reflection in the mirror.
"I'd better not mention this to Bruce or Alfred." He thought, "They will be like a couple of mother hens if I do."
His mind drifted back to the conversation he had with Tina. He smiled. Had she really said 'love you'? Was it just an expression or had it more meaning? Hopefully it was just an expression as whilst he liked her very much and probably could say he loved her as a friend, he didn't really have any romantic feelings for her. He had no intentions of hurting her feelings so would have to handle things delicately.
"Best leave it and see what happens." He decided. He hoped she wouldn't pursue the idea of him being Robin too vigorously either.
"Huh better get on with my assignment I guess."
He heaving himself up, he padded over to his study and fired up the computer
------ Dick ran up the steps of the school, he was only just in time. He had overslept.
"You're late!" Kent stated, grinning at him.
"Don't I know it?" Dick puffed. "I overslept and Alfred was out early this morning so he couldn't wake me."
"Hum, been burning the candle at both ends this weekend eh?" Kent laughed. "Tina reckons you're out being Robin."
"Oh don't you start!" Dick shook his head. "Come on we'd better get to class."
----- "Dick are you limping?" Emma asked as he came over and sat at the table in the canteen.
"Oh a bit, my legs sore. Would you believe I was tinkering with my bike and it slipped off the stand and fell on me?"
"Is that so?" Tina winked.
"Pardon? Oh no you aint on that idea again are you?" Dick sighed.
"What idea would that be?" Tina feigned ignorance.
"Look my bike fell on me ok. Look." Dick rolled up the leg of his jeans. "There's the bruise right?"
"Ok, ok, we believe you." Kent laughed.
"Ok once and for all I'm not Robin, and Bruce aint Batman, ok?"
"Ok, but I have to say Robin is quite a hunk." Tina giggled along with the other girls.
The boys raised their eyes upwards tutting loudly.
"Hey, did you see the papers today?" John asked. Everyone shook their heads.
"Well there was an article saying that there's someone corrupt on the city council. It said that some buildings are being listed instead of being pulled down and other listed buildings are going up in smoke and supposedly the land being sold to a property dealer, the land being prime real estate. It did say that the building that came down on top of Batman and Robin was listed and that someone had been trying to get their hands on it to build a shopping precinct or something."
"Aint that just the way?" John B raised his hands palms upwards, shrugging.
"Hey Guys Dad works for the City Council don't he? Wouldn't surprise me if he had a hand in it all."
"You can't speculate like that, he could do sue you if he knew, slander or something." Amy cautioned.
"Oh come on, who'd tell?" John B said as he collected the remains of his lunch together on his tray and stood up. "Anyways who cares?"
----- "How are you feeling?" Bruce enquired as Dick dropped his bag onto the chair and sat down opposite him at the kitchen table.
"No lingering effects then?"
"Nope, not really. Cheers." Dick thanked Alfred for the mug of coffee he had place in front of him.
"Are you sure?" Bruce persisted.
"I've heard you at night; you sound like you are having some problems settling. You're not having nightmares again are you?"
"Well…… no, well sort of. They're not bad dreams as such, just….. Well I….. Oh I keep getting the feeling I'm trapped and can't get out. There I've told you. I didn't want to tell 'cos I know what you're like."
"What am I like?" Bruce looked concerned.
"You and Alfred are like mother hens if you think I'm having nightmares and I just didn't want molly coddling. I'll be fine."
"Molly coddle me! Dick it's only because we care. I for one know how bad it can be to have nightmares."
"I know, I know. Sorry." Dick studied his coffee not wanting to look at Bruce and betray his feelings.
"Anyway, changing the subject, it would seem that the person we need to look at regarding the dodgy property dealings is none other than Mr Fuller, Guys Dad. I have had some misgivings about him ever since that incident between you and Guy. I have been looking into his affairs through the Wayne Corporation. We have to be very careful to build a watertight case against him that will stick in court."
"You know the guys were talking about something in the papers to do with that, they said they wouldn't be surprised if it was Fuller who was involved. It looks like our informant was right."
"Yes." Bruce nodded. "Look I think it would be best if I continued the enquiries on my own, you have enough on with school work."
"Well I guess so, but I can still help with research and stuff. I can always spend some time at the computer."
"I guess that will be ok." Bruce agreed.
"At least then I wont have the girls on my back, they keep trying to say I'm Robin. It's kinda difficult to try and make them change their minds."
"Hmm, tricky eh? Well I guess it goes with the job." Bruce laughed.
"You bet, I'll have to think up a whole string of excuses. I hate having to lie but well, I guess that goes with the job too."
CHAPTER THIRTEEN (Unlucky for some?)
Dick tapped on the study door and waited, respectfully for Bruce to bid him entry.
"Yes". Bruce called.
Dick pushed the door open and poked his head around it, with an 'is it alright to come in' look.
Bruce was sat at his desk; he looked up and nodded to Dick to come in. Dick closed the door behind him and went across to sit in the chair opposite Bruce. He watched Bruce as he made marks on a document he was studying, waiting for him to finish before he spoke.
Bruce carefully placed his pen in the tray, then closed the folder and placed it on the rather large pile on his right. There was an equally large pile to his left awaiting his attention.
"And what can I do for you?" Bruce asked in a rather business like manner.
"Well, oh look I can see you're busy, it can wait till later." Dick waved a hand at the pile of folders.
"No it's ok; I think I could do with a break anyway. In fact a coffee would most certainly be welcome right now."
There was a tap at the door and Alfred appeared with a tray bearing a pot of coffee and two cups.
"Alfred I swear you're psychic!" Bruce laughed.
"No sir just tuned in to your habits." Alfred smiled knowingly as he placed the tray on the desk. "I thought Master Dick might appreciate one too. Is there anything else I can get for you?"
"I don't think so, thank you. Dick?"
"No, thanks the coffee will be fine."
Alfred nodded and disappeared quietly from the room.
"Shall I be mother?" Bruce smiled as he poured the coffee into the cups.
"Hmm, you make one ugly mother!" Dick chuckled.
Bruce raised an eyebrow in reproach as he passed a cup to Dick. He took a sip from his cup then sat back in his chair, sighing and running his hands through his hair.
"You know you really should delegate more." Dick suggested. "I mean if you cant who can."
"You would think so wouldn't you? But there are some things that need my attention. Some of the companies seem to think contracts are not validated unless I have dealt with them personally. Anyway, what was it you wanted?"
"I was wondering, firstly, how the investigation was going, and I have found something interesting that may have some significance too."
"We seem to have hit a brick wall right now. Everyone we speak to is either clueless or too scared to say anything if they do know."
"Sounds about right. I did some rooting about on the net; it seems that the building that came down on me was listed as a site of historical interest, although why I don't know. Anyhow I checked on some of the other sites and found that some of them were listed too. In fact all the ones that have been damaged or destroyed by unexplained fires."
"I take it that they have all had planning applications submitted." Bruce
"Well it means that they have restrictions on what they can be used for and can't be demolished either." Bruce adumbrated.
"Too right! It's a sneaky way of getting what you want."
"I agree, and suspected as much. I believe that someone is getting a large backhander for their part in it all. I wonder who that could be."
"As if we don't know."
"Well it's only a suspicion so far, but the circumstantial evidence is strong. We just need some solid proof."
"Hmm. Look it's been ages since I came out with you as Robin. How about it, surely I can start again?" Dick said trying not to sound too eager.
"No!" Bruce dismissed the request abruptly.
"But……" Dick began to protest.
Bruce held up a finger stopping him.
Bruce raised an eyebrow in warning, but Dick persisted.
"Come on, I'm fully recovered, and have been for ages now."
"Dick I said NO!"
Dick looked down at the floor contemplating his next move.
"Ok, but why?"
"Because I say, that's why."
"Oh come on, there has to a better reason than that." Dick persisted a little cautiously, knowing full well that he was treading on dangerous ground.
Bruce sighed loudly and leaned forward, his elbows on the desk. Dick eyed him warily.
"Because I don't want to risk getting you hurt again. The people behind whatever is going on are a determined and dangerous lot. I can't forgive myself for what happened to you."
"It was hardly your fault, it was just an accident that we were misled and duped into going into that building. I was as much to blame not realising it was a trap." Dick reasoned.
"All the same you could have been killed because of my preterition."
"Say what!" Dick's eyes went wide, questioning.
"My blatant disregard for what should have been the obvious." Bruce clarified.
"Right, but all the same there was two of us made the decision to go in. Maybe it was my fault for not reacting quickly enough. You did spot the bomb after all."
"Yes, but not soon enough."
"Bruce I'm not a child any more, surely I can decide what I can and can't deal with. Come on you can't wrap me in cotton wool all my life."
Bruce sat back again with a defeated look.
Dick held up his finger, and cocked his head to one side, his eyebrows raised.
"Ok I admit defeat. Much against my better judgement I hasten to add."
"Bingo!" Dick flicked his right hand clicking his fingers.
"Don't get too cocky, you may have won the argument this time, but I'm warning you!" Bruce pointed at Dick wagging his finger.
Dick grinned and stood up deciding that he needed to make a hasty retreat before Bruce came up with an answer to the argument he couldn't counter.
"Catch you later." He called as he almost skipped out of the room.
----- "So you are allowed out again?" Alfred asked smiling.
"Yup, but not without an argument, well, more like a discussion."
"Well all I can say is just be careful."
"Oh don't worry; I'm sure Bruce will be like a mother hen again. I really hate it though when he gets overprotective."
"I'm sure he means well."
"I guess so, I spose it means he cares if nothing else."
"So how are the investigations going?"
"I reckon with what we have found out so far it won't be long before we have a result. Batman and Robin might not even have to do much, as Bruce seems to be on the case, and I reckon he will be able to provide enough rope for them to hang themselves." Dick proffered.
"Good, good." Alfred smiled as he turned away. "Must get on, the housework won't get done on its own."
------- Dick breezed into the reception area.
"Hi Margaret, Bruce called me and asked me to drop by."
"Oh yes, just a moment I'll check if he's free."
Dick leaned over the counter as she lifted the receiver and dialled and announced him as Bruce answered.
"You can go straight in." Margaret nodded to him.
"Hi." Dick announce as Bruce nodded him towards the chair across from him. "So what's happening?"
"I thought I should let you know about the progress that's been made on the case. I wanted to let you know as soon as possible, that's why I called you in here instead of waiting till I got home." Bruce told hi as he sifted through some papers on his desk.
"Right, so what's the story?"
"Well, we were correct with our assumptions of duplicity within the city council. In fact it would seem it goes deeper than we first thought. Not only are listed buildings being destroyed to accommodate the developers, but planning permission is being rushed through before any objections can be raised. On top of that the police have managed to uncover several arms caches in empty buildings."
"The police?" Dick questioned.
"Yes, well they had some help from an undisclosed source." Bruce winked.
Dick nodded knowingly.
"Then, again from an anonymous tip off the city have investigated the 'problem'. I have to give them their dues; they have now suspended the suspects pending further criminal investigations."
"Right. And where we right with who we thought was responsible?" Dick asked grinning.
"Yes it would seem so. Mr Fuller, Guys father, appears to be at the head of it all, along with several other minor officials."
"So we got a result, even if it wasn't quite how we expected. Brilliant! What happens now?"
"I think we can let the fraud squad and the council work it out. Whatever the outcome the culprits will have been discredited and will find life very difficult from now on. Batman has been asked to look at the mobs side of the involvement though. Hopefully we will get some good Intel when they begin questioning everyone."
"Hmm, that's if they aren't too scared of the consequences."
"Oh I'm sure some agreement can be reached in exchanged for information." Bruce smiled wryly.
"I guess so. You know I feel kinda cheated that it's been sorted this way. It's not like we have had to do much really have we?" Dick screwed his face up as he took a deep breath in through his nose.
"Sometimes it just takes the right people to be pointed in the right direction. I t makes a change not to have to do all the work you know." Bruce smile, with some empathy. Although he wouldn't admit it he had missed the fight on this case. "That plus the fact that they didn't cover their tracks that well, and left a paper trail. Oh and before I forget, it would seem your old adversary Guy has had a result too."
"A result?" Dick frowned.
"Yes, you know how we suspected his father had been beating on him?"
"Well I made some discrete enquiries and then it transpired that the school Guy was at were worried about the number of 'accidents' he had whilst at home. They put their concerns forward to Child services and they feel there is enough evidence to charge Fuller with abuse. Guy it would seem has also agreed to make a formal complaint too."
"I guess I should feel happy for him." Dick said charitably. "O.K. so we just have the gun running to clear up then." Dick slapped his hands together. "Let me guess you have a lead on that too."
"Oh, oh, you had better believe it. Anyway come on let's get out of here and go get something to eat. You know how about we grab some food and go see a movie?"
"You feel alright?" Dick's eyes opened wide with surprise. Bruce rarely offered to go to the movies apart from when he was invited to a premier event.
------- "Wow, did you see the news? It looks as if we were right about Guy's ad after all, eh Dick?" Tina enthused.
"Hm, yes I guess so." Dick conceded.
"Hey, did you see the news?" Kent bustled up to them.
"Yes we did." Tina and Dick chorused together
"I bet Guy's not so cocky now." Emma interjected.
"No but Bruce did tell me he had heard that child services had been looking into some complaints of abuse." Dick told them.
"No! What kind of abuse?" Lisa asked her face wide with anticipation.
"Well maybe I shouldn't say." Dick told her his face blank.
"Oh come on you have to." Lisa pleaded.
"I really shouldn't." Dick persisted looking serious.
"Aw come on, spill the beans." John B pushed Dick on the arm.
"Look it may be confidential."
"Aw come on tell us, you know we wont repeat it, honest." Tina sidled up lose to Dick, looking in his face expectantly, sliding her arm around his waist.
Dick grinned at her, shaking his head.
"Come on, please, please, pretty please." She cooed.
Tina reached up and kissed Dick on the cheek.
"Oi! Gerrof." Dick protested wiping at his face with his hand. The others snickered.
"Not until you tell." Tina persisted and tried to kiss him again, Dick managing to deftly dodge this advance.
"Ok I give in, stop!" Dick laughed, half heartedly pushing her away. "It looks as if his dad was beating on him. Remember when I beat him on the field and he turned up the next day with loads of bruises?" everyone nodded earnestly. "Well, it was his dad did it because I beat him"
"I know that feeling." Peter said quietly. Dick shot him a worried glance.
"Its ok I told them everything when they realised about mom moving out too." Peter explained. "Mom had already told Tina's mom too."
"It looks as if he will get some peace for a while." Kent interjected. "I reckon his dad will be going away for quite a while sometime soon."
"Along with a few others." Amy grinned.
"Nothing less than they deserve." Tina chuckled. "Hey come on or we will be late." She grabbed Dick's arm and dragged him in through the doors, the others following in their wake.