"Apparently the League isn't training you well enough. I've barely broken a sweat."
Bane surveyed the scene in front of him and it appeared as if a bomb had exploded. Windows were broken. Crates of Venom were totally obliterated; tiny puddles of the liquid were everywhere. He smiled as he noticed the enormous dent in the steel door to his left, courtesy of Superboy. To his right, Kid Flash lay in a heap cradling his arm to his chest, stark white bone protruding through the sleeve of his black suit. The blood trickling from the gash in his right temple contrasted sharply with his pale skin, and the shadows under his eyes were much more pronounced as a result of the shock. After glancing over at Megan, who was still unconscious a few feet from him, he fixed his gaze on Bane in the center of the room. Bane could see the boy trembling, both with shock and anger.
"Lucky for you, I haven't either," Superboy seethed as he stepped in front of Megan and Kid Flash. His chest heaved as he attempted to control his rage, his powerful hands balled into fists.
"Come and get me," Bane taunted. "If you think you can."
Superboy charged, his right fist cocked. At the last second he leapt into the air and swung downward as hard as he could. He connected with Bane's forearm as the strike was blocked. Quickly Bane spun, grabbed Superboy's left arm and hurled him at the forklift in the corner. A brutal 'clang' rang out as he connected with it.
Bane turned in time for Aqualad's elbow to land squarely against his throat, knocking him back a step. As he recovered Aqualad attempted to strike again, this time with his foot. Bane caught it, twisted sharply and whipped Aqualad in the same direction as Superboy. A chuckle escaped his lips as he watched Aqualad collide with the cab of the forklift. The glass windshield shattered upon impact, shards embedding themselves into the tough skin of his back and legs. Superboy rushed to his aid and started tugging bits of glass from Aqualad's unconscious form.
"That's it?" Bane dusted his hands together, turning around to focus on the injured redheads behind him. "That's all you've got?"
"Not hardly," Robin replied, his voice eerily calm. He reached into the back of his utility belt and flicked his hands out to his sides, a pair of collapsible escrima sticks locking into their open positions. "You haven't seen everything yet."
Robin vaulted into the air, swinging the sticks down at Bane's head with a speed that surprised even Kid Flash. Bane raised his hands, simply planning to grab the sticks and turning them on the small teen. Robin had other ideas, however, lowering his hands and striking Bane's rib cage. Landing in a crouch he struck Bane's knee with both sticks, causing the giant to stumble back.
Bane growled as Robin twirled the sticks, his wrists moving at a rapid pace as he struck Bane's arms, shoulders and even connected several times with his chest. His attempts to block were unsuccessful and he paid for it, a sharp blow glancing off his chin. Robin leapt into a back handspring, getting out of range of Bane's enormous fists.
"Had enough?" Robin asked, twirling the sticks again. When Bane didn't answer, Robin smiled darkly and continued. "Good, 'cause I'm having fun."
"It's not a good idea to taunt someone you know nothing about," Bane replied, stalking toward Robin, who was circling cautiously.
"You should follow your own advice." He stopped twirling the sticks and used one to point behind Bane.
As Bane took the bait and turned, Superboy collided with him violently and they sailed across the room, tumbling and rolling along the concrete floor. Robin hurried after them, gracefully leaping onto Bane's back and resuming his assault. His hands were a blur as the sticks struck the back of Bane's head, his shoulders and torso. Bane grunted in pain while Superboy wrestled to keep him on the ground so Robin could continue wearing him down.
Bane rolled, causing Robin to falter and lose his balance. He jumped from Bane's back, narrowly missing a large combat boot to the abdomen. Bane turned back to Superboy and pinned him to the ground, using two sets of broad, calloused knuckles to pummel the flesh of Superboy's face.
Impulsively Robin rushed to his aid, swinging the sticks at Bane's head. This time, however, Bane was ready and ripped them from Robin's hands, tossing them away. They landed harmlessly in the corner. Unfortunately, Robin's forward momentum carried him right toward Bane, who swung his fist upward. It met Robin's jaw with a gut-wrenching crack and sent him reeling.
Robin stumbled back, his hands immediately flying to his face to cradle his now-broken jaw. His eyes watered from the impact and he could feel his heart pounding against his ribcage. He struggled to breathe through the pain. He watched Bane slam Superboy's head into the concrete floor then stood up, checking to make sure the boy was out of his way for now. Superboy rolled onto his stomach, grabbing fistfuls of his dark hair as he tried to fight the waves of dizziness. He squinted at both of the Robins in his field of vision, trying to see if he was okay. He groaned in frustration when he couldn't tell one way or the other.
"Well, well. Looks like I found a way to finally shut you up." Bane turned to look at the Boy Wonder, noticing he still cupped his aching jaw with one hand.
Robin could only glare in response and he again crouched into a defensive position as Bane approached. He backed up a few steps, only to run into the wall behind him and his eyes widened in surprise. Bane closed the gap between them and grabbed the front of Robin's suit, pulling him closer. Robin clutched Bane's thick forearms as he was lifted off the floor.
"Any last words?"
Robin said nothing and glared, bringing his knee up as hard as he could manage, hitting Bane square in the solar plexus. He smiled painfully as Bane let out a grunt, but it didn't stop him from striking Robin's face with the heel of his hand, breaking the boy's nose. Robin's head snapped back, bright flashes of light exploding into his vision. He collapsed to the floor, blood running from his nose and over his lips. His entire head throbbed and he could barely see. He shook his head slightly and droplets of blood hit the dusty floor.
Bane's expression shifted from one of arrogance to one of utter astonishment as Robin stumbled to his feet yet again with a grunt.
"Oh how I wish you could talk right now. The look on your face..." He backed up a few steps, turning to check on Superboy. Robin took advantage of the mistake and rushed at Bane. Using Bane's body like a ladder, Robin planted his left foot on his torso and launched himself upward. His right leg swung hard, delivering a powerful blow to the side of Bane's head. Bane stumbled backward, dropping to one knee as Robin came down on only his right leg. The ligaments in his knee snapped at the awkward landing and he let out a muted cry as the leg gave way. He crumpled to the ground in agony, hands grasping at the injured joint.
"Robin!" Kid Flash cried out, watching helplessly as Robin writhed on the floor. Bane rose to his feet, dusting off his pants.
"I think you've wasted enough of my time tonight, my little feathered friend. I've got places to go, people to see. You understand, no?" He stood over Robin, his shadow completely obscuring the boy from view. He didn't see the small blade in Robin's fist as he stabbed the blade through the toe of Bane's boot, eliciting a howl of pain that echoed throughout the warehouse. Bane ripped the blade from his foot and looked at it a moment, blood running down the blade onto the handle.
"How fitting for you, to be killed by your own blade. Batman would be really disappointed in you right now."
Bane swung his foot, making contact with Robin's ribs. He cried out through clenched teeth and clawed at the floor, trying to get away. Bane kicked again, hearing another rib crack. Robin could barely breathe as another kick nearly knocked him unconscious. Bane crouched next to him, grabbed a fistful of black hair and held the knife to Robin's throat. The bird's face was covered in blood.
"Don't take this personally. I don't like anyone who gets in my way."
Just as he was about to cut Robin's throat, Superboy lunged and grabbed Bane's wrist. He wrenched it backward, snapping the bones with ease. Bane dropped the knife and swung at Superboy with his uninjured hand.
Superboy had no trouble dodging the blow and gripping Bane's wrist. He tossed Bane across the floor and watched as he landed on a pile of empty crates. Ignoring Bane, he turned to Robin who lay in a daze on the floor. A small puddle of blood had formed under his cheek, his broken nose still oozing. He picked Robin up and carried him over to Kid Flash, setting him down. Kid Flash nodded at Superboy's silent plea to protect the injured Robin, and using his good arm, he held his palm against Robin's chest to try and calm him down. He watched as one of Robin's hands latched onto his wrist, the firm grip oddly reassuring.
Superboy turned and met Bane's fist face-first. He looked up, grinned, and shoved Bane backward as hard as he could.
"Looks like your time is up," Superboy spat angrily, once again turning back to his injured teammates. Bane turned and expected to see Aqualad standing behind him, but his eyes widened as a mammoth black boot smashed into his face. The last thing he saw was the flutter of a black cape before he lost consciousness completely.
Batman sat motionless next to Robin's bed, watching him as he slept.
It had been close. Too close. By the time he and Superman had managed to pull up Robin's tracking signal, the only one still able to fight was Superboy. The others were scattered about, each more injured than the last.
He closed his eyes and shook his head as he tried to push the scene of Robin, lying broken on the floor, blood pooling under his pale cheek, from his mind. Opening his eyes once more, he noticed Robin shift slightly in his sleep. A muffled "mmph" escaped his lips as he disturbed his injured ribs. Batman reached over and gently stroked Robin's hair, the simple gesture instantly calming him.
Deciding it was time for more pain medication, he went to find Black Canary so she could administer another dose through Robin's IV. His hands were too shaky to do it himself.
Robin woke up two days later and the first thing he felt was the pain.
He'd never felt pain like this before; it was all-consuming. He cracked an eye open and saw he was in his room back at Mount Justice. The shades were drawn and the small bedside lamp glowed softly. With a groan he attempted to get up to find some pain medication and a glass of water, but he couldn't move his leg. Looking down he understood why. The brace extending from the ankle to his hip on his right leg didn't allow him to bend his leg at all. Then there was the bandage wrapped tightly around his ribs. He gingerly brought his fingers to his face and felt the gauze in his nose and the splint taped to it.
But the thing that frightened him the most was the fact he couldn't even open his mouth. He stuck a finger in his mouth and felt the wire binding his jaw together. As he reached for his sunglasses so he could go and find someone to talk to, Wally entered.
"Dude, you're awake!" Robin rushed to put the glasses on, wincing as he bumped his nose. Wally eased himself into the chair next to Robin's bed and smiled broadly. Robin cocked an eyebrow.
"You can't talk, your jaw is broken." Robin flipped him a middle finger at the obvious statement. Wally chose to ignore it. "And you've probably noticed your nose is also broken."
Robin tilted his head to the side sarcastically then pointed to the glass of water. Wally handed it to him and he took a sip through the straw. He also handed Robin a dose of the liquid pain medication from the orange prescription bottle on the table. Robin smiled gratefully as he took it.
"You have three broken ribs and your knee is beyond shredded, dude. When you landed, you managed to blow everything to bits. Don't get me wrong, that move you pulled was awesome, but I don't think you should try it again anytime soon." He trailed off, taking in all of Robin's injuries. "You had us pretty worried for a while, pal." Wally's voice was almost a whisper. "I'm glad you're okay."
Robin nodded and smiled slightly. He looked at his knee then back at Wally, pointing at the cast on his arm and the bruises on his face.
"Oh, this?" Wally raised his shoulder, showing Robin the cast that ran all the way up to his shoulder. Robin nodded. "Compound fractures of my radius and ulna. Superman had to re-break it when we got back because it started healing."
Robin shrugged with one shoulder then gestured to his eye, wanting Wally to explain the deep bruising there.
"Oh, don't worry about my pretty face. You think it looks bad now, you should have seen it yesterday..."
Wally chattered on as Robin shifted to make himself more comfortable. He sighed quietly when the pain medication started taking effect, and a few moments later he was asleep. Wally took that as his cue to leave. He stood and moved the glass of water to where Robin could reach it, and he also put Robin's cell phone next to the glass in case he needed help getting up. With a tired sigh he glanced behind him before he shut the door.
Robin was here, he was alive, and he had kept Bane away from the rest of the team while they had waited for help. He really was a remarkable teammate and an even better friend. Wally shut the door and continued down the hallway, fully intending to ask Robin where the hell he got those sticks and who taught him how to use them.
They were pretty badass.