Gotham Tales: Trembling Part 2 - Robin's Tale

By C.W. Blaine (darth_yoshi@yahoo.com)

DISCLAIMER: All characters and situations contained in this story are ©2001 by DC Comics Inc. and are used without permission for fan-related, non- profit entertainment purposes only. This original work of fiction is ©2001 by C.W. Blaine and may not be reproduced, published, archived or posted without the express permission of the author.

Note: This story is dedicated to the many fans of Gotham Tales: Trembling, one of the most reviewed stories I have ever written. Thank you to everyone!

Why am I trembling? Why are my hands shaking? Is it hot?

Dick Grayson removed the dark green mask of Robin, the Teen Wonder, and stared into the mirror. It was quiet in Wayne Manor tonight, Alfred having long gone to bed and Bruce, as the Batman, still talking with Gotham's finest about tonight's roundup. It had been a good night as far as crime- fighting went, two of the bad guys were going back to Arkham Asylum and nobody got killed.

Close to getting killed, but in this line of work close didn't count.

He smiled to himself and reached up to unfasten the yellow cape of his costume when a faint scent found its way into his nostrils. As his olfactory capabilities broke the smell down into its basic molecular components, chemical responses in his brain began playing cut scenes from earlier in the evening for his mind's eye. The trembling suddenly got worse and he felt his cheeks flush.

He cursed, using a Romanian word his father was often fond of using when his mother wasn't around and yanked on the cape. In his haste, he had not entirely unhooked the clasp and he suddenly found himself in a stranglehold with the cord. A quick yelp and he was undone, wadding the cape up and throwing it across the room.

He stared at the cape, properly chastised and curled in the corner of his room and proceeded to pull his gloves off and noted that his palms were extremely sweaty. Still having not vented his full rage, he threw the gloves at the cape, reminding it who was in charge.

As he placed his hands on his hips, he had the thought to give a manly laugh of victory, but he noticed the slight trembling, which did not diminish even though his pushed harder against his hips. I did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong!

As he once again began the mental battle with himself, his private line rang. Happy to have a distraction, he launched himself onto the bed and picked up the receiver, noting that it was an awfully late hour to be calling. "Hello," he said.

The voice on the line carried with it the sweet innocence of youth, but there was also a strength that resounded in it. The accent was a mixture of Swedish schoolgirl and southern belle. "Dick, it's Kory."

Dick coughed and then began to choke. The fit lasted several seconds and ended with a small burp. "Hiya, babe!"

"Where were you? I've been calling all night," the Teen Titan known as Starfire said. She and Dick had been an item for several months now.

Dick wiped his forehead and sat up on the bed. "Sorry, babe, I had to help Bruce out with the Joker and the Riddler." He wanted to say more, but his tongue seemed to get all tied up. He made a sort of grunting sound.

"Dick, are you okay?" she asked, the caring dripping in her tone. She was madly in love with him and he loved her. At least, he honestly believed he did. "I can fly over if you'd like."

"No!" he shouted into the phone. He caught himself. "I mean, you know how Bruce is having non-Gotham super-heroes in the area, even if they are my girlfriend."

She giggled. "I could always dress up like Batgirl." The comment had been meant to be an attempt at wry humor, but it had a different effect on Dick. The phone was now vibrating against his ear as the shaking increased.

"No, I'll see you tomorrow at the meeting, okay? We'll go out to dinner afterwards." He tried to sound calm, or at least calmer than he had been as he cradled the phone and tried to remove his shirt. As he removed it and the air-conditioned air evaporated the wetness from his chest, he caught the scent again. "Look, I've got to go, Kory; I've got the shower running."

"Oh," she replied, the hurt evident in her voice. He could almost hear the tears welling up in her emerald eyes. She was as sensitive as she was beautiful and he knew that it would take some doing on his part to get them over this apparent rebuke. "Fine, I'm sorry I bothered you," she said as she hung up the phone.

"Kory..I.," he tried to say something, anything that would make her feel better, but all he got was a dial tone. He hung the phone back on the charger and tossed the shirt into the corner with the other articles of clothing that had suffered his wraith.

The trembling was subsiding, but he could feel his heart racing in his chest as he fought the emotions raging through his young mind. How do you react to something like this?

He felt like crying and screaming and singing all at one time and he wondered if he was supposed to feel this way. Should he feel this way?

I didn't do anything wrong.did I?

"You know, I should have stayed home," Batgirl said, looking down at the shorter hero she was tied to. They were chest to chest, essentially, though he was getting a far better view than she was. He seemed to feel the eyes on the top of his head and he started to move around.

The squirming was uncomfortable at best, since they were tied rather tightly together, their hands further tied behind their backs. The fact that he was trying to keep from putting them in an even more embarrassing situation was chivalrous, but unnecessary. "Maybe you should have," Robin replied. "Aren't you supposed to be getting married by now or something, old lady?"

"Young boys like you wouldn't know about that. I bet you haven't even been to your senior prom yet."

He was moving his hands slightly and the actions thrust them closer together, if that were possible. She could tell he was trying to get at something, probably a bat-torch or bat-saw. "I bet you didn't even go to yours, bookworm," he chided, trying to ease the tension.

They had been captured, like amateurs, by the Joker and the Riddler, and were now being used as bait to lure the Batman into a trap. Tied together and thrown into a dark box, which was then placed in a large aquarium. Of course, the Joker had put holes in the box so that water would slowly leak in.

The Joker always did that. "That's because I couldn't get a date because your 'daddy' had me out at all hours of the night. I looked like hell."

"You asked for it," he said with a grunt. "Damn! I can't get to it," he said, defeat in his voice.

"Good thing for me you can't you filthy little perv," she replied.

"What? No! I was trying to get to my bat-torch."

She snickered and he made no further attempt to explain. "I don't carry anything like that anymore. In fact, this was sort of spur of the moment."

"Must have been a slow night socially," he said in the darkness. She wished desperately that she could see his face. There was a hint of something she couldn't quite place in it.

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked. The water was up to her knees and it was very cold. In a moment of pure off-trackness, she was thankful that her costume was well padded.

As if he were reading her mind, Robin asked about her costume. "I didn't realize that there was so much padding in this thing. Aren't you a little old to be stuffing your bra?"

Her face burned at the remark. "Not everyone is built like your Wonder Woman wanna-be girlfriend. I didn't realize that aliens used silicon, too!"

She actually felt his jaw drop. "Meow!" he said, a chuckle with a shiver along with it. He was wearing less of a costume than she was. "Somebody must have it bad for me."

"In your dreams, lad; I prefer my men to have hair on their chest."

He was struggling again. "Oh, so they have something in common with you?"

She laughed despite herself and the situation. His presence was calming to her, but her presence was anything but calming to him. His mind was racing through several fantasies. Of all the situations! Tied up to Batgirl, in the dark, but having to worry about drowning.

Robin pushed the thoughts out of his head and concentrated on the task at hand. While Batman had trained him in the art of escape, he was nowhere near the level his mentor was. If he had been tied to the Batman, it would have been a different story, but because Batgirl was not trained even half as well as he was, they were in dire straits.

He was counting on the Batman to be their ultimate rescuer because that was what he did, rescue people either from themselves or from others. "Don't worry, seriously, I'll get us out of here," he said, trying to sound confident. The truth was that the locked-in-a-box-underwater was his least favorite of traps. It was the trap that gave him nightmares.

As an acrobat, he was at home in the air, trying to defy gravity at every chance. In the water, he could do nothing. He reasoned, many times, that his friend Aqualad probable said the same thing about dry land. "I'm not worried," she said, hiding her fear. Her shivering was increasing as the water reached her mid-thigh. 'It's you I'm worried about."

He stopped what he was doing and looked in the direction of her face. He could feel the heat from it, taste her breath and smell her perfume. It was light, only noticeable at this close of quarters. "Really?"

"I hate thinking you'll die a virgin," she said innocently.

As she laughed, he mumbled. "No thanks to you."

"What was that?" she asked.

"Nothing."

They were quiet for a few moments and Robin waited impatiently for the sound of Batman hopping into the water to save them, but the sound never came. The water was just below their chests when she spoke again. "You know, we could die here."

"No! Don't think that, don't ever give up," he said, reciting the mantra taught to him by the Batman. "No matter what, you can't give up."

She was shivering and he could tell by the way she was speaking that hypothermia was starting to set in. "Keep moving to keep your body temperature up," he said.

"I figured you'd have some perverted remark on how I could do that," she said. Her shivering was starting to affect him. "Little perverts like you always have something smart to say to beautiful women."

Pervert, he thought. Was she able to read his mind, or was that the way projected himself to her? Unable to find a suitable reply, he came up with the best thing he could. "You've put on weight."

That certainly got her fire lit and she launched a thousand and one curses his way, detailing everything from his reported genital cleanliness to his ability to tell time. When she had finished, she took a deep breath. "You did that on purpose, didn't you?"

He was making a third attempt to get to the bat-torch. Even underwater, the small plasma cutter would sever the bonds around his wrists. "I learned a long time ago that if you want to make a woman mad, talk about her weight or the size of another woman's chest."

The water was finally at their chests. "What's your name?" she asked. "Your real name?"

"I can't tell you that," he said solemnly. It wasn't that he didn't want to, he did, but Batman would not allow it. Barbara Gordon, the woman who was Batgirl, was the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon, the Batman's best friend. Gordon did not want to know who the Batman really was and he had forbidden the knowledge from Barbara, to keep from putting a wedge between father and daughter.

"Does she know?" she asked. Her teeth were starting to chatter.

"Kory? Yes." It was no secret that Robin and Starfire were a couple.

"So, if I was your girlfriend, you'd tell me?"

"Not if Batman said no," he replied. His hands were now numb from the cold and the strain of trying to reach his cutting torch.

"Loyal to a fault; God, I hope she appreciates you," Batgirl said. The water was under their chins. "I don't want to die this way," she said.

He leaned his head forward, touching his to hers. "Don't give up hope; he relies on us and we rely on him."

"I have to tell you something," she said, her breathing was coming rapidly. "I."

"Don't.don't say anything.we aren't dead."

Suddenly, something warm and wet was on his lips and he knew immediately that he was being kissed. It was so sudden and intense that he was caught off guard. In the space of a heartbeat, he began returning it. His arms strained as renewed energy surged through them. So badly he wanted to hold her to push her back up against a wall. He saw, in his mind, the two of them in a state of undress, in a dark alley. The thunderstorms raged and the cool rain pelted them in a pitiful attempt to cool their fiery passion.

He saw himself gripping her hair in the back of her head and pulling her chin up so he could plant kisses all along her exposed throat. It was almost animal in nature, as if they were both in heat.

She pulled away from him, her breath hot against his cold skin "I lo."

Her words were cut off as the water reached her lips and before he could exclaim they were at his. He bellowed in rage, cursing God for the situation he was in. He was cold, scared, wet, horny and drowning.

Then, suddenly, he heard a ripping sound and something grabbed him by the collar. Air struck him like a fist and he shivered even harder. Batgirl coughed up water into his face, but he didn't mind. He began to speak to her, to find out what she had been intending to say when Batman interrupted. "You two okay?"

Robin looked at his mentor and the tall black man with him. It was Black Lightning, another semi-retired hero like Batgirl. Black Lighting had a hold of Batgirl. The tied-up twosome was dropped unceremoniously onto the deck and Batman started to cut the bonds.

When they were free, Batgirl rolled over and Black Lightning on her shoulder. "I'm sorry about the delay," Batman said in a monotone voice. He indicated the unconscious Riddler and Joker. "It seems Nigma is getting better at his riddles; it took a little longer than expected to figure it out." He then turned to Robin, who kept looking over at Batgirl. "She'll be fine.but you should have known better than to."

"Later, okay?" Robin said, turning away from the Batman. Behind the Batman's cowl, Bruce Wayne raised a single eyebrow.

"Can I talk to her?" he asked. Black Lightning nodded and helped Batgirl up. When she indicated she could stand on her own, he made his way back to the Batman, shrugging his shoulders.

Batgirl was pale, her lips blue, but their was a radiance to her eyes. "Robin."

"What were you going to say?"

She smiled weakly and sighed. "It doesn't matter.not now.go back to your life." When she saw the hurt look on his face, she reached a hand out and touched his cheek. "You already know what I was going to say, the problem is you aren't ready for it."

He started to say something, but she turned away before he could. Pulling out a compressed air line launcher, she sailed away into the night and out of his view.

Dick Grayson stepped out of the shower, the smell of saltwater still not entirely gone and padded quietly into his room. He could here Bruce snoring loudly, indicating he had arrived home. He closed his door and sat down on his bed. He looked over at the nightstand and there was a picture of Kory.

She was his girlfriend, the one he had made a commitment to, yet he had kissed and fantasized about another woman. A woman he knew he cared for very much.

The shaking started again as he considered the delicate situation he was in and it finally occurred to him that he wasn't trembling out of sexual excitement.

It was out of fear that he had made the wrong decision.

End.