It had been a normal day at school followed by a seemingly normal night of crime fighting, what Richard Grayson didn't know was that it was to be the night his whole world changed. Again.
"Batman to Robin, what's your ETA?"
Static filled the Boy Wonder's head as his mentor waited for a reply. He pressed a deft finger to his head piece and replied, "Fifteen minutes. What's up?" Batman knew his patrol schedule (Batman had set it) so why would he ask a question he already knew the answer to?
"Cut you patrol short and come in the back door. The Bat Cave may have been compromised."
Robin's eyes widened under his mask. Was that even possible? Wouldn't Alfred have warned them? Unless Alfred had been compromised, too. He radioed back quickly, "I'm on my way." Then he cut off communication and swiftly changed course, a touch of panic increasing his normal speed over the rooftops. He reached the "back door" in record time.
He paused before entering the old, condemned Wayne Tech factory, trying to catch his breath, hoping Batman wouldn't notice his uncontrolled emotions. Even after a year of working with the famed superhero, he just couldn't seem to grasp the controlled, emotionless edge Batman always had. He reached up to radio his mentor when he felt an unknown presence behind him. His whole body stiffened suddenly, but he didn't turn, waiting for the intruder to make the next move.
"You let your guard down. This is why you should never panic." Batman's digitally-modified voice berated him. Robin sighed and let his shoulders slump, so much for hiding his feelings.
"Yes, sir. I'll do better next time." he swore, seeking forgiveness.
"There might not be a next time if you keep letting people get behind you." Forgiveness was hard won in the Wayne household. The dark shape of Batman swept into the warehouse silently and his red and green shadow followed, sufficiently scolded. They headed deep into the old building, swiftly working their way past rusted machinery and dusty equipment. It was hard to see anything clearly in the shadows, but Robin suddenly wondered what used to be made there. His eyes wandered to the small areas lit by moonlight from holes in the ceiling and he debated the pros and cons of coming back in the daylight and exploring the place on his own versus hacking into the Wayne Tech history files. He had yet to make a decision when they reached their final destination: the one operable piece of equipment left in the entire building.
The ancient computer sat perched on a desk, screen glowing blue and lighting the small office it sat in. If Robin didn't know better he'd find it extremely creepy that out of all the giant, powerless equipment this one computer remained turned on in a building that had no electrical current whatsoever, but he did know better. It was not actually the old computer it was designed to look like. Batman sat down and with a few, confident keystrokes activated the "computer's" true purpose. A bright flash filled the room and Robin had to shield his eyes with his hands, squeezing them tightly shut. The light still got through, however, until he thought he couldn't take it any longer, it seemed to pierce through his hands -through his very being- to his eyes and they began to water. His mask automatically darkened, trying to protect his vision, but to no avail. He thought he might go blind. Then, suddenly, the light was gone and everything was blessedly dark.
He fell back against the wall he knew was directly behind him even though there hadn't been one there moments before. He hissed in pain, biting back a cry and began to claw at his mask, ripping from his face. It dropped to the floor and he began to fiercely rub his eyes, trying to clear the painful spots.
"What are you doing?" Batman hissed, quietly, angrily.
"Something's wrong with the light filters on my mask. The portal nearly blinded me." Robin replied, trying to keep his voice down.
"Never take of your mask. You don't know who can see you." A large hand pressed the small mask into his open palm and Robin slowly put it back on his face. He blinked rapidly and the dspots began to dance and clear. He was still beside a desk, with a perfect replica of the portal-disguised-as-an-old-computer placed on top of it, everything else about the room was different, however. This room was much larger and one whole wall was covered by computer monitors of all shapes and sizes. All the light in the room came from those monitors, every screen covered with the bat-symbol on a white back ground. After ensuring Robin's mask was on once again, Batman strode to the keyboard in the center of all those computers and with a few strokes, each every screen was alive and running, a few more taps and they all began direct streaming from the Bat Cave's security camera's, each with it's own view.
Theoretically, the entire Cave could be controlled from this room, if one had the right passwords. Naturally the only one with all those passwords was Batman himself, but that certainly didn't stop Robin from trying to find them and he although was definitely getting better at the computer stuff, it was slow going. He certainly hadn't gotten Computer Hacking 101 while being home schooled at the circus and Batman wasn't exactly thrilled about his sudden knack for breaking into government databases.
Batman gave a sudden, soft grunt of annoyance and Robin's head perked up, coming out of it's small tangent. Batman showing emotion? This was not a good sign. "What's going on, Batman?" He chirped softly, dashing to his mentor's side.
"Nothing." Batman replied in a normal voice, the unexpected volume making him jump in surprise. "We have a guest."
Robin looked at him in shock, but the Dark Night didn't elaborate, he just stood and silently exited the small room. Robin remained where he was for a moment, still trying to reconcile the information in his head, when suddenly he realized his mentor had left him. "Wait," he replied, jumping to follow him, "What?"
They reached the main hangar quickly, but Batman never deemed fit to explain anything so Robin just trailed behind feeling confused and wishing that just once Batman would make sense. It didn't take long to figure out what he meant, though, when the "guest" himself appeared in the room in a gust of wind and a red blur.
"Hey there, Bats."
The voice was confident and smug, it was a voice that was used to laughter and smiles. It was extremely out of place in the Bat Cave but definitely not on the red-clad superhero who stood before them.
"What do you want, Flash?" Batman replied, annoyance clear in his tone.
"Awe, c'mon, no pleasantries?" The Flash shot back with a cheeky grin, "You really need to loosen up sometimes or no one will want to come visit you anymore."
Robin couldn't help it, at the thought of someone visiting the Bat Cave, he let out a small giggle, quickly covering his traitorous mouth with his hands. Batman shot him a disapproving glare but Flash suddenly seemed to notice he was there.
"Oh, hey," he greeted and in a... well, flash, he was suddenly right in front of the Boy Wonder. "You must be Robin, I've heard good things about you." A red-gloved hand was thrust before him and Robin felt a little star struck, he'd never actually met any of the other Justice-Leaguers in person. Sure, he knew everything Google and other... slightly more restricted places could tell about them, but he'd never actually met one. He cautiously took the proffered hand. "It's great to finally meet you," Flash continued, apparently unaware of the 10 year-old's hesitation. "I'm The Flash, by the way."
"Yeah, I-um, know." Robin answered, then suddenly realized what he'd said and who he said it too. His cheeks turned light pink and he was about to apologize for being so rude when Flash burst out laughing.
"You said he was a good crime fighter." Flash told Batman between laughs, "But you never said he had spunk."
Robin breathed a sigh of relief that no one had been offended, but then another light bulb came on in his normally-faster mind. He turned to his mentor, "Wait. You said I was a good crime fighter?"
Batman was about to make a terse reply when another blur appeared from nowhere. A yellow and red clad boy was suddenly standing before them, arms filled with what looked like the entire contents of the Bat Fridge. "Woah, this place is, like, stocked for a nuclear apocalypse or something. It's awesome." He suddenly seemed to realize that the actual owner of the cave was also in the room. "Oh, hi, I'm Kid Flash!"
"Kid Flash" radiated energy like a space heater radiates... well, heat. I've got to work on my similes. Robin thought to himself. The redheaded boy himself seemed to take no notice of his impoliteness, until Flash cuffed his ears.
"Hey!" the boy cried.
"You could at least ask before you raid the fridge." Flash berated.
"What? Oh!" suddenly Kid Flash seemed to realize his mistake and disappeared in a blur before reappearing moments later, sans food. "Sorry." He said and he at least had the sense to look slightly embarrassed.
Batman looked the new brightly-colored boy up and down, appraising him. "This must be your new protege." he stated, rather than asked. Flash was about to reply but Kid beat him to it.
"For three months now!"
"Two." Flash corrected.
"Two months and 15 days." Kid adjusted without missing a beat, "I was rounding up. Anyway, can I have some food?"
"Why are you here?" Batman demanded finally, pointedly ignoring the second speedster.
"Well, now that you mention it," Flash began, "Kid here and I were battling this cyber-villain not too long ago and it was the usual story, you know, digitized ourselves to get to her, got caught up in the neighbor's DSL, created a new network and rewrote the computer's programming, anywaylongstoryshort, she's trapped on a floppy disk and we were home free."
Flash was talking pretty fast at this point but Batman seemed to be used to it, so Robin did his best to follow along. "That is, of course, until about a half an hour ago when a Trojan virus she left behind for us locked me out of my computer and started trying to download my files to somewhere I haven't been able to track down. Kid's computer can't handle the system and after that incident last month -you remember the one- the League's supercomputer won't even recognize my login password any more and I was stuck in a bit of a rut. Then I thought of our friendly neighbor hood Batman and thought you might be able to give me a hand!"
Batman let out another sigh -this was getting to be a habit, Robin noted- and said, "You can't just barge into the Bat Cave when ever you want, Flash. It's hidden for a reason."
"I know, I know, sorry, but I needed help quick. I have mission reports to turn in." Flash replied, trying to placate the moody bat.
"Like you ever turn in mission reports." Batman answered tersely.
"So you'll do it?"
"I assume you brought the computer with you?"
Sigh. "Let's go."
Both Flashes gave identical grins and Robin thought they had to be related somehow, the resemblance was just uncanny. As their mentors headed off, both proteges made to follow.
"You wait here." Batman ordered. "If Flash has League business on his computer I don't want you -either of you-" Batman gave Robin a strict don't-even-think-about-it look, "Digging around in it."
"Aw, c'mon Batman!" Robin protested feebly, knowing it was a lost cause.
"Don't sweat it." Flash said, suddenly behind the two halted teens and slung an arm over each of their shoulders. "Chill out, get to know each other, I'm sure you and Kid will be just as good friends as Bats and I am." Then he was gone and so was Batman, through and door and down a hall to where Robin knew the main computers were.
And then there were two.
"Sooooo." Robin said.
"So..." Kid Flash replied.
The words hung in the air and they both stood there awkwardly, scuffing their shoes on the floor in silence. Neither of them had ever met another sidekick before. What should they talk about? What were they allowed to talk about? Kid Flash's stomach grumbled. "About that food..."
"Go for it." Robin answered.
"Thanks!" And the speedster was gone in another gust of wind. Robin followed at a more sedate pace. He went straight to the small kitchenette at the back of the Bat Cave. Looking around Robin realized it really was stocked with enough food to survive a nuclear apocalypse. He wondered briefly if the whole Cave was built to withstand a nuclear explosion. That thought process was quickly abandoned when his eyes found the speedster.
He was rummaging through shelves and drawers, pulling out whatever struck him as good and immediately shoving it down his throat. Robin raised an eyebrow; as a teenager the Boy Wonder understood a strong appetite, but he had also always kept himself on a strict high protein, low carb diet to keep in shape for superhero-ing. Apparently, this kid had none of those concerns. "Do you always eat this much?" Robin finally asked.
Kid Flash finally seemed to note his presence and paused in his shoveling to reply, "Yep, I have a super high metabolism. Literally. Super. Flash and I raced over here and I didn't eat as much as usual for dinner. I'm pretty low on fuel right now."
Robin gave out a small huff. "Well that's not fair."
Kid Flash quirked an eye at him. "Why not?"
"I have to stay on a really strict diet to stay fit for my acrobatics and combat training, otherwise Batman won't let me patrol with him." Robin replied, sounding just a little sullen.
"Ouch." Kid Flash answered, wincing. "Batman's pretty strict, huh?"
"You don't know the half of it."
Kid seemed to be winding down because he grabbed a few more snacks off the shelves, sat down at the table and began to eat like a normal human being. Robin, for lack of anything better to do, sat across from him. "So, um," he stuttered out, trying to avoid the awkward silence again. "What's Flash like?"
"Not bad," Kid replied, munching on a bag of potato chips. "We're pretty alike so we get along well. He's just a heck of a lot better than me. I can barely keep up with him half the time."
"I totally know what you mean." Robin agreed. "Batman just disappears all the time. Like, literally, one second we're both sitting there, scoping out a place and the next, I turn around and I'm alone! It's so annoying."
"Does he ever do something totally crazy that you've never even seen before and then expect you to know how to do it?" Kid Flash asked, suddenly excited at the idea of someone relating to all his crazy experiences the last few months.
"Yes!" Robin exclaimed, equally as happy, "Does he ever reference things really cryptically but then not explain them?"
"All the time. It's like he thinks he's Yoda or something!"
Half an hour later Batman's nerves were beginning to fray. Normally a virus like this was nothing more than an enjoyable challenge, but with Flash hovering around behind him filling the room with an impatient energy, it was a wonder he finished at all without shoving his hand through a wall. But it was done, Flash's computer was back up and running, safe and sound. He shoved the device into his fellow hero's hands and said. "Finished. Let's get the boys."
"Thanks, Batman. I really appreciate it." Flash replied happily.
Batman just kept walking and Flash followed him, still talking. The Dark Night ignored his chatter and wondered how Robin got along with Flash's new protege. If Kid Flash was anything like his uncle, it may not have gone well.
They checked the hallway where they had left the boys and then the kitchen. Both were empty. Batman shook his head and wondered what had happened. He hadn't given any implicit instructions, but he had been banking on Robin having more sense than to take Kid up to the mansion. Robin had either done just that or they were out in the cave somewhere beating each other senseless. Batman sincerely hoped for the latter.
"I'll find them." Flash offered.
"Just stay here." Batman cut him off and mentally shuddered at the idea of Flash wandering free around the Bat Cave anymore than he already had. "I'll find them." He lifted his arm and accessed the Cave's security system from his computer -that had actually been Robin's idea, a computer in his glove, the boy was rarely anything short of brilliant- and did a quick scan. "They're in the training room." Batman announced finally.
"What are they doing there?" Flash asked.
"Let's go find out." Was Batman's only reply before sweeping out of the room.
Batman was actually a little worried, despite his earlier wish that they were beating each other senseless, that sort of behavior could have serious consequences. Robin had never faced a speedster before and for all their joking around, they were surprisingly difficult to beat and if anything happened to his boy Batman would have somebody's-
A shout of surprise cut off his thought process and both heroes took off at a run down the hallway that lead to the training room. Naturally, Flash got there first but when Batman made it through the doors moments later, the Scarlet Speedster hadn't moved much past the door. The sight found there made Batman stop and stare for a moment as well.
Robin was dangling from a long climbing rope, just feet from the ground, gently swinging in midair. Suddenly, a yellow blur rushed by him and with a laugh he swung up higher, just out of reach. "Can't catch me!" he called out, jumping suddenly from the rope to his parallel bars on the other side of the room.
"Says who?" demanded the yellow blur and suddenly it had jumped the metal bar just inches above Robin himself, close enough to give him a 'tap' that nearly sent the dark haired boy plummeting to the ground. The blur landed and Kid Flash was fully visible once again. "You're it!" he called.
"No fair!You have to stay on the ground." Robin insisted, quickly regaining his balance on the bar.
"No, I'm not allowed to climb anything. You're it." Kid answered.
"You can't bend the rules like that! Hey, when you're training does Flash ever-"
"Yes! Every time we train. Batman does too?"
"Oh my gosh, yes!" The "Boy Wonder" fell to the ground in an undignified giggling fit and Kid Flash leaned against a hurdle, holding his stomach, riotous laughter escaping his mouth. Finally, Batman cleared his throat pointedly, grabbing their attention. Both caught sight of their mentor, but rather than falling into a slightly embarrassed silence he expected, this only seemed to further their private joke and the laughter renewed itself, louder than before. Batman and Flash exchanged glances. "What have we done?" Flash asked him and Batman could only shake his head. He didn't care what happened. No speedster was ever allowed to sleep over at the Bat Cave.
Well, that's my story and I'm sticking with it. I hope Flash was right, I haven't seen much of him recently, but this was his personality as I recall it. And it's definately the sort of personality that clashes with Batman's... Please let me know if I was way off with him so I can fix it! Love!