Ever since Robin started his work with Batman, he found he would always – somehow – end up in some sort of dangerous situation. Normally, it wouldn't escalate. He's usually pretty safe. Batman would come looking for him, eventually save him; it was just a part of their relationship as mentor and protégé. No matter how many years and how much experience Robin had gained, he'd never outweigh Bruce Wayne.
But, at the moment, that wasn't really the point.
Robin was weak, young, and no matter how much he tugged and prodded at the cuffs behind his back, he couldn't get free. The same went for the blindfold covering his naked eyes, the chair his legs were tied to beneath him. And Batman was nowhere in sight.
He was trying to focus, understand, adjust – rule out all of the possibilities and the means of escape – but he really, really couldn't. It was almost like he knew why he was there already, who was watching over him maliciously –
His breath was picking up, the blood pounding through his ears with his heartbeat, the blood dripping down his arms from the struggle. It wasn't completely silent, either; he could hear fans roaring, air blowing on him from his sides – enormous bouts, at that – an echo, the slow descent of water.
A warehouse? Stockroom? He couldn't concentrate. Was he that drugged?
Robin must have been there for hours, just sitting there, doing nothing but wallow in grievous thoughts and futile planning. For a while, it was silent, excluding his breathing. And then the fans turned on. Then off. He couldn't hear anything – anything he might think – could be outside. No clues of a rescue or wear he might be.
But when the fans turned off – for the last time, he presumed – he heard a voice. One so harsh, sharp, raspy – so breathtakingly and painfully familiar Robin could feel the agonizing ache in his bones. He drew in his last breath.
"Hello," Slade said. Robin could hear his footsteps echo in front of him, bounce off the walls behind him. Nothing about it was loud or shrill, but managed to make everything else disappear and replace itself with him.
When Robin didn't answer, he spoke again as if he did, "long time, no see." The footsteps grew closer, stopping only when he was right in front of the boy.
"Well," he spoke, "if you were wondering, Daddy Bats is on his way." For a moment, Robin was thankful, relived, but that was short-lived. Slade was leaning in towards him, breathing on his face, hands grasping the chair's arms and making it creek forward. He froze.
"We have time, now, little bird," he continued, only moving to remove Robin's gag. When he closed his mouth, it felt dry, deprived. All of a sudden, he could feel the nausea deep in his stomach. He struggled not to gag. Slade's fingers didn't move from the place on his chin. "I want you to speak."
Robin knew immediately what he wanted: Batman's identity, each and every one of his secrets. But he wouldn't dare give it to him, not ever. Not if he had to spend a million years tied to that chair.
His answer was defiant, strong, but painfully hoarse. "No."
There was a pause. Robin could still feel Slade's fingers sliding over his chin, threatening, his breath resting on his skin. "Oh?" The fingers tightened a bit, but he did not cry out. He was Robin, for god's sake. He was meant to hold his ground.
Then the fingers were gone. Slade was still there, though, immovable. "I haven't even asked you anything yet."
"I don't answer to interrogations," Robin spat. It was only then he realized how much his speech had slurred.
With that, Slade laughed. It wasn't in anyway light-hearted; it sounded more like a hyena's cackle. "Cute," he said. "How old are you? Eleven? Twelve?"
"Old enough," Robin answered. "How old are you? A hundred?" he jabbed back.
"Young enough," Slade answered. His tone was indifferent.
More footsteps rang out through the warehouse. A door opened, and Slade was gone, leaving Robin with another bout of silence. For a moment, he thought he wasn't going to come back. Or was going to kill him, he thought again, but quickly thought otherwise. No use in freaking out then; Batman may be a pessimist, but he sure wasn't.
But then a few more footsteps were coming in, arms untying him, dragging him across the floor. Robin tried to break loose and throw a few punches, but had failed. He was too disoriented.
He was dropped to the floor inside another room, the cuffs still digging tight into his wrists and ankles. He gritted his teeth; he hated feeling weak, being weak. Batman always told him he always had to have the upper hand in a fight, to be the one throwing the punches and not receiving them.
"Damn it," he cussed. He needed to be on the offense to win, but, at that moment, he wasn't even close. But he needed to be. Now.
He wrestled himself on the floor for a while before he got to his knees. He rolled, slipping his arms (still cuffed) below his legs so his hands would be in front of him. Robin rolled his shoulders, cracking the bones there; if his bones could speak, they'd say about time.
Right when he tried to remove his blindfold, he heard more steps; a running. Then he felt something – someone – hit him, drag him until he was pinned against the wall behind him. Robin cried out; not only did it surprise him, they knocked his head against the concrete. Hard.
"You really think I'd let you here alone, out of sight?" Slade's voice was rough against his ear, his breath hot against his cheek, the hands pinning his behind his back burning and firm. "Not a chance," he whispered, throwing Robin to the ground again.
Robin tried to get up, to fight back, but he couldn't. The drugs and supposed concussion didn't help him – neither did the cuffs and restraints, either. But he wanted to. He really wanted to, but every time he tried to sit up and get his senses back, he was hit down again. Robin knew what he was wanted for, then – to upset Batman. To hurt his partner – his sidekick – because criminals couldn't dare get close enough to him.
When he died, would Batman feel guilty? Would he go after his perpetrators? Or would Bruce Wayne?
From then on, there were no more words. Just random cries from Robin on the floor, the sounds of the crowbar hitting him full-on. Slade didn't say one word.
Time didn't go by as Robin would have initially thought. It wasn't slow, either. It was almost like he was watching a movie - one of himself, writhing on the floor. Of Slade, face and emotion hidden by mask. Then loose feelings, thoughts, pain and more pain –
Confusion as Slade finally stopped, dropping the crowbar to the floor with a sharp clank. Then him yanking Robin up by the collar, his hands working on him like bonds. Then there was a sloppy walk, dragging Robin - once again - across the floor.
Robin thinks he's screaming at that point, but he doesn't remember – he can't think – he's zoning out, crying in his mind: Pleasepleasepleaseplease.
He can feel the wall against his cheek, Slade's hands on him rough. Then a sharp kiss. Then even more kisses. Then rough lips on his – chapped, ashy, worn – working on him like a burn. Then there's teeth scraping his softer ones, hands holding Robin's jaw in place as he struggled.
He knows he's going to die.