A/N: This fic is a small response to the latest episode, "Bereft." It struck me that even though Robin's memory was wiped of everything that happened over the last six months, he still remembered the debriefing with Batman before the mission started (which was included in those six months). Thus, this short piece centering about this particular detail - the fact that out of everything he's been through, he remembers just his adoptive Father - was born.
Disclaimer: I do not own YJ. Cartoon Network and DC Comics do. The show merely inspired this non-money-making fic.
Robin can't remember how he got here, what he's meant to do, if he came here with anyone—come to think of it, he doesn't know even where 'here' is.
The only thing he knows is that it's really hot, really dry, really barren, and that he could really go for a little aster right about now.
For a split moment, his face scrunches in puzzlement as he wonders where in the world that odd word might have come from (he's positive it's not in the English dictionary, nor reminiscent of any of the other numerous languages he knows), but this only leads to a dead end when he can't seem to place it or recall its meaning. He just knows that it's brought a smile to his face, that it's pushed a light laugh past his chapped, soon-to-be-bleeding lips, and that's good enough for him.
In this instance, he can't help but think, perhaps laughter truly is the best medicine.
His joys are shoved roughly aside, however, as he sees dust being thrown up in the near-distance and hears automotive engines getting closer.
Trucks. Specifically, two armor-plated, covered army trucks with armed men and even bigger weapons hidden away inside. They obviously mean business, and whether it's good or bad, it's still so not what he wants to deal with right now.
In seconds Robin is up and away, watching the vehicles drive past as he looks down upon them from a rather large indent in one of this desert's many rock formations. Breathing a sigh of relief when he can hear that they're far enough away, he wipes the sweat from his brow and ventures deeper into the shaded hollow. Not only was that too close for comfort, but boy, it's hot!
All of a sudden, something clicks in his mind. Those men were wearing Bialyan Republican Army uniforms! Then—then that means—! Pulling up the map on his wrist computer, his eyes widen. Bialya? What's he doing all the way over here in the Middle East…in September? W-what happened to March? And why is he here without Batman?
His brow furrows almost immediately. Batman… Shouldn't he call him via communicator, ask him what the heck is going—?
Suddenly, a vision flashes in his mind's eye. The very well-muscled Dark Knight, standing in the middle of a room Robin doesn't recognize, wears a black, pointed-eared cowl over his face; black, armor-plated gloves and steel-plated boots; a black, bulletproof-fire retardant, bat-wing-inspired cape; a gray bodysuit of the cape's same protective material; and a goldenrod-colored utility belt, just like Robin's. The black bat insignia on the man's chest that spells doom for any Gotham criminal does naught but send a loving warmth coursing through the Boy Wonder's veins.
Batman points out Bialya's exact location on a holographic map not unlike the one the boy himself just read, heavily emphasizing the golden rule of 'maintaining radio silence at all times.'
Robin remembers this, recalls being debriefed by his mentor just before leaving on this mission.
But…but he can't remember anything else…and he doesn't just mean after that. He doesn't remember anything before that either…not a single thing that's happened in the last six months...
He shakes his head stubbornly to clear it.
No. He remembers Batman, remembers Bruce, remembers his Father. As long as he holds true to that, holds to the person he is today because of the man, he'll be fine.
Everything will be fine.
He can feel it.
Their mission's finally over, and the team of Young Justice has only just arrived back at headquarters when Batman enters.
"You retrieved the information assigned," he nods with arms crossed, the approving undertone in his voice coming through, "though it took longer than I expected…" He looks each teenage superhero in the eye, and everyone but Robin is surprised to pick up on the restrained concern that rolls off of him. "Anyone care to explain?"
Five of the six step back to give their resident martian room.
"M'gann, you do the honors. You were the hero tonight," Kaldur urges, a firm nod encouraging her.
The Mars local blushes brightly, and her eyes widen. "W-what? But—but I—!"
"You really were awesome out there," Artemis chimes in, smiling. "Go for it."
Wally runs a circle around M'gann, blowing back her hair before he skids to a halt in front of her. "Rock this, babe!" He wiggles his eyebrows up and down. "Just like you rock my world!"
Artemis smacks him in the arm, and he opens his mouth to defend himself when a grinning Robin forces his way between them.
"Come on, you guys." He flashes a proud smile M'gann's way, arms folded across his chest in a relaxed, friendly manner. "Let Miss M have her time to shine. She's earned it."
The girl's face floods a deep red, and she ducks her head to hide her embarrassment. A gentle hand catches her elbow, and she looks up to lock eyes with the deep, soft blues of Superboy.
"Tell Batman what you did. How you saved me," Robin alone notes the smallest traces of interest that speckle his mentor's features, "saved all of us."
Very slowly she nods her consent. Finally withdrawing her gaze away from Superboy, she takes a deep breath. Turning to Batman, she begins her tale.
The Savior of Gotham has never been prouder of this team. They've been together all of six months, and yet they work as one entity like they've been doing it for years. This victory tonight, won in spite of extreme circumstances, is a great triumph, indeed.
He is sure to tell them all of this and more, even offering a smile or two (although Wally's convinced it's either a trick of the light or some kind of Batman-esque test) before he and Robin take their leave for Gotham.
The minute they step outside, however, the man notices that something is off about his protégé.
The Boy Wonder's eyes close as his eyebrows knit together to crinkle his forehead, and he exhales heavily through his nose. Absently, he strokes the pocket of his utility belt that holds his birdarangs (a beloved gift from Bruce after the nine-year-old's first mission as Robin).
A large, warm hand settles on his shoulder, and the boy snaps up to look his mentor in the eyes.
"Everything okay?" the World's Greatest Detective asks, deep voice rumbling softly, protectively.
He doesn't sense any threat, but if there is one thing he knows about his adoptive son, it's that the child is very nearly as skilled as he is. Likewise, there have been times when the younger's hearing has saved both their lives and others'.
So when something finally happens, it is what he least expects.
The Boy Wonder whirls suddenly and hurls himself at his adoptive Father, throwing his arms around the man's middle and clutching fistfuls of the gray bodysuit in his strong grip. He buries his face in Batman's chest, seemingly breathing him in as his warm breath slows and deepens.
The Dark Knight, for his part, is not sure how to react. Robin has never been overly emotional, only on rare occasions after a particularly bad reminder of his parents' murder or after a seriously close call with Bruce or anyone else he loves dearly.
An anxious, half-angry frown tugs at his lips out of sheer protectiveness. Did something happen on the mission, then? Was there something M'gann left out?
But in the end, he pushes all of this aside and enfolds the teen in his loving embrace, curling him protectively against his chest. It's over now, he intones silently. Whatever happened, it's all right now. I promise.
There is a slight shifting of position against his chest, and when the Caped Crusader opens his eyes he finds his dear son staring up at him. A soft, adoring smile plays on the thirteen-year-old's face as the smallest of crystal diamonds set alight the corners of his eyes.
"It was only you, you know," he whispers, voice cracking almost inaudibly. "I didn't remember anything about the last six months..." he laughs lightly, a tinkling sound in light of his low, almost-teary voice, "…except you. You were there, ingrained in my heart and soul, and it was you who kept me going, Bruce." He wipes away one fallen tear with the back of his gloved hand, smile widening. "Just like you always have."
The older of the two is stunned into silence for a good five seconds while his little Bird's words sink in. Ever since he adopted Richard and allowed him to don the guise of Robin at a mere nine years of age, the child has been his driving force. He loves this boy more than he ever imagined he could love anyone.
And he always knew that Dick felt the same. He just hadn't known to what extent.
But now that he does, his face melts into the ever-tender beam that he reserves only for those he loves the most.
Pulling his adoptive son flush against him once again, he rests his forehead atop his Boy Wonder's messy black hair and kisses his forehead imperceptibly.
"Even if you can't see me, I'm always there." His smile grows at the validity here, as does his protégé's. "After all, little Bird, the heart has many rooms."
Batman and Robin.
Dark Knight and Boy Wonder.
Bruce Wayne and Richard Grayson.
Father and son.
Heart and soul.
One and all.
A/N: I get that Dick probably remembered Bruce because they've been together for four years, but honestly, I felt really strongly about this! Am I really the only one?
Also, if you think about it, overcoming six months' worth of memory loss and still completing the mission as a team is a huge feat, especially for such a new team! I would imagine Batman would be extremely proud of them! Hence his reaction to M'gann's recount.
That being said, I've realized something as far as this episode goes (brought up by a few reviewers): M'gann, while she did save Superboy, left a nearly-dead Kaldur with the others in the middle of the Bialyan desert. Both times I saw that (I watched part of the ep again on YT), even though I really like M'gann's really sweet character, I was disgusted with her behavior here...and I'm not sure why I forgot that in writing this. XD Here is my way to rectify this mistake: my theory is, seeing as the others got Kaldur to the ship so quickly, M'gann used half of her consciousness in the middle of her flight (just after Robin began leading the group to the Ship on foot) to levitate Kaldur and her friends to her Bio-Ship, ensuring Kaldur would be okay. Hopefully that works. XD
Thanks for reading, as always!