A/N: This was originally meant to be a short oneshot that dealt with Bruce warning Robin to be careful of Superboy after an accident during training. However, instead of glossing over the little details and making this far too short for my tastes (my fics usually have to be more than three pages for me to be satisfied), I decided to really get into what a Batman-Robin mission could be like: thus turning this into a two-shot. This eemingly random second part of the first chapter does serve a purpose in the story, so please don't get mad if this seems like a non sequitur!
Again with the 'never written this character (Black Mask) before' thing, so please don't be too angry if I get him wrong! Thanks! (And tell me how to improve as well, if you would!)
Also, I saw a few other authors with this idea, and for a while I honestly thought it was cool, but was wary of its plausibility until I realized how truly emotionally unstable Superboy is. That's when I decided to get on the small bandwagon and write my own version of Bruce-Robin-Superboy protectiveness!
And I truly apologize for the fact that some parts of this crime (in the chapter) may seem cliche, but understand that when I originally wrote this I was crunched for time, and when I read it over while re-editing just now it seemed like an appropriate ending to me! XD Also, I know Black Mask's False Face Society exists on New Earth, but I figured it might as well exist on Earth-16 as well.
This chapter also references two of my favorite episodes of "The Batman": Season 4, Episode 6, "Strange New World"; and Season 5, Episode 6, "Joker Express."
And yes, I did make up a new word for Robin: "'nique," which is the opposite of 'unique' and means unoriginal.
Disclaimer: I do not own Young Justice. Cartoon Network and the writers, etc., do. I only dearly wish I did.
When Batman steps through the doorway to Mount Justice during the early morning hours to retrieve Robin for a mission run in Gotham, the very air tells him that something is off.
Then, the boy emerges, and he notices on sight: the way his protégé breathes a little lighter and winces otherwise unnoticeably when he stretches or moves his chest the wrong way.
Young Justice hasn't had any missions in two days, and Robin was fine when he left home yesterday. Whatever it is, it's happened within the last twelve hours.
But Batman won't say anything. At least, not yet. Even if this is one of the rare times that Robin wants to keep something to himself for a while, they both know the Dark Knight will find out eventually.
Bottom line being, the Bird is better off talking.
So as long as this new development doesn't affect Robin's escapades as the Boy Wonder, Batman will let the child have his way.
The one good thing about Black Mask: fights with him are always interesting.
This time around, it's a bank heist with hostages (the fifteen consumers and tellers that had been inside the building when he'd struck), not to mention the seemingly infinite members of his armed gang, the False Face Society, guarding the place inside and out. Oh, yeah, and Black Mask has already entered the vault.
So, in all, pretty whelming for five a.m. on a Saturday.
Robin grins beside his stony-faced mentor, following Batman's lead as he shoots his grappling gun and sails over the dark Gotham streets to land soundlessly on top of the Gotham City Bank's roof.
He feels the Masked Manhunter's gaze on him, and when the warm, protective sensation fades he doesn't have to look to know the man's gone. His smile grows.
This is the way it's always been—mutual trust in each other's abilities, while protective impulse dictates watching each other's back.
And neither half of the Dynamic Duo would change a thing.
The boy, knowing what he has to do, takes off for the bank vault. The thug-surrounded hostages are huddled at its entrance, and it doesn't take much to figure out what that means: if either Bat tries to get near the vault, tries to attack the villain inside, the hostages won't make it out alive.
So, just like Batman taught him, he goes for the next best thing:
The surveillance room.
Truthfully, the five men guarding it are easier to take out than he expects.
"Didn't your Mothers ever tell you it's not safe to stick your fingers where they don't belong?"
Delivering a harsh kick to one's face as he springs down upon them, the Boy Wonder flips backward, cartwheels, and tucks-and-rolls out of the way of the barrage of raining bullets.
Getting in close, he sweeps the feet out from under two of them and kicks their guns away, vaulting over them to avoid their electrically-charged sticks before karate-chopping them in the back of their necks.
The next attempts to take the boy from behind, but his creeping skills are sloppy for one of the False Facers (a new recruit, perhaps?), and Robin disappears and reappears behind him quicker than the man can blink. A solid double-fisted blow to the back of the head, and the henchman falls.
Robin looks up to assess the last two standing. Wearing almost identical white masks, these goons are bigger and stronger than their companions, and they seem a lot more menacing as well if the way one of them firms his grip on his rifle and the other cracks his knuckles is anything to go by.
But they are also the only things standing between him and the surveillance room, and he needs that room to gain control of the vault. Once he does that, he can help Batman save those innocent people.
The thirteen-year-old only cackles gleefully.
"Guess you guys couldn't afford plastic surgery, huh? Gotta say, the masks are definitely an improvement!"
The men say nothing. Rather, the slightly taller one charges Robin head-on, the other covering him with open fire.
Vaguely reminded of his and Batman's fights with Bane, the teen waits until the very last second to push off of the goon's chest with one foot and then kick him in the chin with both feet in succession.
The older male reels back at the raw power in the small body, but doesn't let that stop him as he rushes Robin once again.
The gunman—Big Boy's cousin—shoots the gun ineffectively at best, what with the bulk of 'Bane, Jr.' taking up most of the hallway. The second man is forced to shoot as accurately as possible over his cousin's head and simply hope they hit their target.
But Robin dodges them as well as can be expected, hissing when one gets lucky and grazes his arm and seizing when another severs a lock of black hair by his ear.
As for the henchman charging him, he's having a much harder time laying more than five (badly-aimed) punches on the spritely acrobat. Reaching into his utility belt in midair, Robin throws a batarang the thug's way, and while the adult manages to dodge it, his triumphant smirk vanishes when he realizes that the Boy Wonder has slipped past him.
The grappling hook Robin discharges digs into the air vent above their heads and pulls him upward, getting him out of the gunman's immediate line of fire. Flipping head-over-heels effortlessly and bracing his feet on the vent, Batman's protégé expertly presses pressure points along the rifleman's arm until he loses all feeling and drops the gun. Swinging back on the sturdy cable, Robin uses his momentum now to land a two-footed kick in the man's center of mass. The goon doubles over in pain, quieting only when Robin enacts mercy and presses two fingers along the man's hairline in order to knock him out.
Pounding footsteps and a roar from behind shift his attention back to 'Bane, Jr.,' but Robin is not fazed in the least. He stays right where he is and turns to the assailant, who in turn becomes unsettled at the devilish expression on the Boy Wonder's face.
He finally understands, however, when the batarang he thought he'd escaped before comes hurtling back to nail him between the eyes. He flies back, skidding on the hall's tile like a rock as he comes down. Before all goes black, his glaring slits for eyes lock on the snickering partner of the Batman.
Recalling his grappling hook, Robin slaps imaginary dust from his hands. Turning to the security-coded door at last, he hacks it within seconds and slips inside. Running over to the main computer, he takes just under a minute to break through the security and work his way into the vault-control mainframe.
This is it. Batman is just waiting for his signal, for the tell-tale sign. Eyes locking on to the top-right corner of the screen belonging to the camera closest to the vault, he spies a barely-there pointed-black shape. Others would think this is nothing, but to the Bird it's everything.
Batman feels his stare, he knows.
Pressing the key that will cause the vault to close, he high-tails it out of there without a backward glance.
The fight's already begun.
When he gets there, Batman is kicking butt as usual. All of the henchmen who had been surrounding the innocents are incapacitated, and nearly half of Black Mask's other henchmen are out cold on the floor.
Nearly all of the hostages have been escorted out of the bank under cover of the Gotham police. Robin gets the last two, herding a terrified woman and her crying seven-year-old son out safely out of the building prior to rocketing back to his mentor's side.
And though Robin can't honestly say he didn't expect this from the crime lord, this new development doesn't make the vigilantes' jobs any easier (but then again, where's the fun in that?).
Somehow Black Mask managed to slip out of the vault at the last minute, not even caring about the six men he left inside. Now he stands perfectly composed in the middle of a ring of his still-standing mask-wearing lackeys, hands formally clasped behind his back as always. He laughs condescendingly at his enemy and his young partner as they battle his reserve men.
"Refreshing, isn't it, Batman? A mere bank heist after the Joker and Strange's latest schemes?" he asks humorously, of course referring to the Joker's express-train-laughing-gas-blow-Gotham disaster and Strange's toxin that had warped the Dynamic Duo's perception of the world.
Batman, driving his elbow into yet another assailant's stomach before sending him face-first into the floor with a powerful foot to the back, growls low in his throat.
"Hardly. A crime's a crime, Black Mask. You would know that better than most."
Robin laughs, ramming his heel into his attacker's nose and grabbing his arm in order to flip him over onto his back.
"Seriously! Besides the Joker, I think you've been behind some of the top crimes this side of the Batcave!"
If he weren't wearing a mask, the crime boss most surely would have been smiling.
"Glad to see someone appreciates my efforts, Bird Boy! Now, how about you and Mr. All-Work-and-No-Play try this on for size!"
The building starts to shake beneath their feet, and when the halls begin to fill with a colorful smoke an instant later Batman and his protégé slap on their gas masks.
The deserted men in the vault start screaming and crying hysterically, and two pairs of light-aligned covered eyes meet.
Scarecrow's fear gas.
And yet Black Mask's haughty voice penetrates all through. "I hear fear's a killer!"
Batman and Robin's ears prick. Wait… Is he…getting quieter? Farther away?
Leaping into action, each tackles his side of the room in heading for the vault. If Black Mask gets away, who knows what he'll do with all of that money?
A large hole has been made in the vault door, another in the floor, and over five million dollars in gold bricks is missing.
"A drill-tunnel?" Robin scoffs, brows knitting together. "That is so nique!"
The smallest flash of an amused smile crosses his mentor's face before he turns serious again. "Let's go!"
Dropping down into the hole with his Bird just behind, Batman taps the side of his cowl to switch to night-vision mode as Robin does the same.
Following the tracks and sounds of the massive drill Black Mask was using to make his getaway, they come into contact with it soon enough. While the machine is surprisingly unprotected, they refuse to let down their guards. Knowing the mastermind behind this operation, this will be harder than it looks.
Climbing onto the machine's back, Robin works on sabotaging the drill from the outside as Batman goes for the criminal within.
Cutting out the drill-hatch with his miniature laser, Batman is thrown back when Black Mask punches upward from the inside, sending the not-yet-removed hatch and both of his fists into the Bat's face.
At the drill's back, Robin strives to work quicker. He knows well that his mentor is fully capable of taking care of himself, but he wants to be at his side all the same. Finally, with the drill's oil supply pooling out the back, the rear wheels are severed from its whole.
The drill comes to a jolting halt, nearly throwing the boy and the two enemies off. They catch themselves, though, and Robin flits to the Caped Crusader's side.
Perfectly in sync, master and apprentice combine and complement each other's attacks, one after the other, Black Mask hardly getting a blow in edgewise.
It is only when the man draws a loaded semiautomatic pistol that things get a little more serious.
Stepping back cautiously, Bat and Bird share the shortest of glances. A grim smile is put forth by the boy, a more severe expression being taken on by the adult, and there is nothing to mar this plea.
With an imperceptible nod on both sides, both leap to opposite edges of the drill and charge Black Mask. The villain, counting on the Dark Knight to stop with the life of his child-partner on the line, aims the gun at Robin.
But he does not consider the connection between the two.
Father and son's eyes lock, blue with blue beneath their masks. Trust, confidence, and love in the younger's; protectiveness, reassurance, and love in the older's.
The Dynamic Duo is for always.
Twin battle cries erupt as the two keep course, Robin and Batman consecutively dodging the bullets launched their way. The Dark Knight wrestles the gun away from Black Mask in record time, and mentor and protégé take this opportunity to land well-placed punches and kicks anywhere they can while sustaining little more than moderate damage to themselves.
Finally, forced to the edge of the drill, the mask-wearer takes a swift, powerful kick to the ribs and head from each member of the Bat family, followed by a nice electric shock thanks to his own charge-stick.
Falling backward, the madman hits the rightfully unforgiving, boulder-ridden ground cranium-first.
All goes black.
Breathing heavily, Batman rests a gloved hand on Robin's back. Lifting his head, the Boy Wonder smiles up at his mentor, partner, and adoptive Father.
"Is it just me, or are you totally whelmed by this aster?"
Batman allows the barest of smiles and chuckles to escape as he ruffles the child's raven hair.
"So it would seem."
Thanks for reading, as always! The next chapter will be the main event, promise! (I already have the beginning-middle-ish written!)
(Also, FFN's doing that weird separate-word-connector thing again, so if you see any of that, know that it's not me! XD)