A/N: Very different style here. I'm not sure what I think of it yet.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
My lungs were screaming for air. I felt my heart constricting painfully. My sides ached as did my legs.
But I couldn't stop. Never stop. The moment I stopped he'd catch up. He was right behind me. So close- just out of reach. Maybe he was being nice, just playing me, as I ran from him.
But I couldn't stop. The moment I stopped another source of torture would occur.
First had been the drug. At the moment I didn't even remember how it had happened. Had it been during the fight? Had I taken it unwillingly? Had it been in my food? Had I taken it willingly? I couldn't remember. It didn't matter either. The drug had taken affect quickly. It was a mild hallucinogen, one that made things warp and caused the mind to become confused. I knew it well. I thought I'd be able to fight it off.
After that it had been just hand to hand fighting. He was bigger and stronger, but I thought I could beat him. Maybe. But tonight had been harder than any of my training sessions with Bruce. The hallucinogen began to take affect and fear swept through my veins. All my senses seemed heightened, but I knew I couldn't fully trust them. The drug made me believe things that weren't there.
That was partially why I'd taken such a beating. He'd known about the drug and used it to his advantage. My emotions were as heightened as my senses and just as warped. Fear. Fear was what he used, not only fighting.
Tiring and bearing many bruises I'd fled.
He'd followed close on my heels. We'd gone in a dizzying spin around the town. Every time I tried to lose him, he'd catch up. I tried to think of a plan of attack, a way to get him to stop. But it didn't work. I was never given a moment to think. He was always right there, two steps behind me but already thinking four ahead.
I'd tried an attack. I'd sent my bat-a-rangs, smoke bombs, gas pellets, everything at him. Only a few did any damage. He attacked me right back and sent his own weapons flying at me.
My heart was pounding in my chest, thudding so loud I was sure he could hear it a mile away.
I leapt backwards up onto the chimney of an old building. My breathing was tight and constricted and I wobbled a bit on my landing. I didn't even notice his weapon until it had cut through my shoulder. I gave a cry and sprang away.
Again I ran. I was running faster now, fear pulsing through my veins. I couldn't take more of this! No more of this chasing. No more of the torture. No more drugs, no more fighting, no more games. I couldn't take it.
I pulled out my communicator, intending to call when the sudden remembrance that Batman wouldn't be helping me flitted through my brain. I had to fight for myself. I wasn't going to be getting help. I threw the communicator back into my belt and tried to put more distance between myself and him.
He was hanging back as he chased me. He wasn't tired. I knew that for sure. Then why….He was playing with me!
I realized it too late and I was ensnared in his trap. I glided into the old warehouse building intending it to be my safety. Instead the moment I'd stepped inside intense electricity swept through my body. I screamed in pain and fell to my knees.
The moment he'd stepped onto the windowsill the current stopped. I saw a control in his gloved hand.
"Robin." He sneered as he stood beside me. His voice was warped in my brain and sounded like it was coming from far away. Strong hands gripped my shoulders and I was pulled up. I realized I should fight. I knew I should. I knew I should at least try. But trying seemed impossible.
"Tell me, Robin." He hissed. "Who are you?"
"N-no." I managed to gasp the words out.
"Tell me!" He roared.
"No!" I shouted back.
He tossed me across the room. I wasn't disoriented enough to miss that. I was able to catch myself, bounding off the back wall and landing on my feet again. The drug and the fear had combined in my head and all I could see were shapes and shadows. He was there, a large black shadow slowly coming towards me.
Without thinking I'd lunged at him. He grabbed my arm, yanking it to the side. I screamed. He forced me to the ground, hissing the words out. "Who are you?" He demanded.
My body was shaking furiously now. I could barely control my own movements.
"I-I-I'm R-Robin." I managed to stutter out.
"Who are you really?" He demanded.
"No." I whispered. Unbidden, I felt tears come to my eyes.
He gave an angry hiss and threw me to the ground. "Tell me who you are." He ordered. "Tell me who Batman is. Who Superman is. Who Flash, Kid Flash, Superboy, Wonder Woman- everyone. Tell me."
"N-no." I could barely get the words out.
There was a harsh kick to my side. Not as harsh as it could have been, but enough to make me whimper. "Do you wish to die?" He demanded.
"Then tell me your name!"
"N-n-n…" I couldn't even form the word, I was shaking so hard. I was sobbing now too. "N-no. No more." I begged. "No more."
Rough hands pulled me up and I struggled uselessly. A gloved finger pressed against my face and I screamed as he pulled the mask away.
"No!" I shrieked. I pressed my eyes closed but that didn't help. I knew he'd seen. He knew.
"Do you have a death wish, Richard Grayson?" He hissed. "Give yourself up and I'll let you live."
"No." I was sobbing hysterically. I couldn't get my breath.
"No? Then you are no use to me."
I yelled as he dragged me across the room. I shrieked and clawed at his hands.
Suddenly my head was thrust forward into a bucket of ice cold water. My mouth opened and water rushed in. He pulled me up a moment later and I sputtered and coughed and sobbed all at once.
"No more. No more. Please not this." I begged over and over. "I can't take it. Stop."
"One last chance." He warned.
"No more." I pleaded. My body was shaking so violently it was a surprise he was able to hold on. "Oh god, please."
"One last time." Was the response. Steely arms trust me forward again and I barely had a chance to suck in air before my head was forced underwater. "Try to survive." His voice was muffled but I heard the words, an order.
How to survive? I could barely control my actions anymore! My body jerked savagely in his arms and I squirmed to get free. No use. He was stronger than me and his arms kept me under the water.
Precious air began to leave and my lungs ached even more than they had during running.
The urge to breath in was impossible. I needed to breath in. I needed the air I knew I would not get. I was going to die.
My body sunk and I stopped struggling.
A moment later I was jerked out of the water. I gasped loudly and wretched my body out of his grasp. I stumbled back a few feet and fell to the floor.
"No more." I begged, sobbing now. "No more. Please. Please." I covered my head with my arms as he approached. "Please. I can't. No more."
"No more." He agreed.
This time a gentle hand was placed on my shoulder. Either way I flung it off, sobbing again. "Please Bruce, no more." I sobbed.
"There isn't any more. I promise." He murmured. A needle was pressed against my arm and I didn't even try to stop it.
The gentle hand was on my hair now, stroking it tenderly. The needle was removed and a second hand rubbed at my back.
"There you are, Dick." He was saying. "It's all over now. It's ok."
The drugs I'd been given were rapidly vanishing. Still, I shook like a leaf as Bruce drew me into his arms. "Shh… It's ok. You're ok." He whispered. His heavy cape fell across my shoulders. I burrowed into his warmth, sobbing anew. Bruce's arms tightened around me. "It's over. No more." He promised.
Bruce kept whispering apologies and rocking me. I sobbed for what seemed hours before my mind finally came to grips.
I was safe. Bruce was there. There wouldn't be any more training tonight.
"Hush Dickey." Bruce sounded broken as he cradled me. I realized that he thought he'd over done it. That he thought that he hurt me too bad and now he was trying desperately to hide his own tears. "I'm sorry." He whispered into my hair. "I didn't want to, but I needed to. You needed to know how it feels. You needed to know so that you'll be safe."
I knew. I knew that was why he'd injected me and made me fearful. That's why he'd chased me around town and fought me. That's why he'd set the trap. He was testing me, taking me to my limits. I knew that it was to help me so that in the future, when it would be a villain and not Batman who was chasing me, I'd be able to survive. I'd be able to think and stay calm.
I knew this all, but at the moment all I could do was cling tighter to Bruce and tremble.
Eventually the tremors stopped. Bruce kept speaking his gentle words and stroking my hair and rocking me. My body finally relaxed. I felt weak and tired, both physically and mentally.
"Did… did I do ok?" I asked.
"You did wonderful." Bruce assured me. "You did better than I ever expected, Dickey."
I managed to smile. Praise like that is not often heard from Batman.
He found my mask and tenderly placed it back over my face. "We're going home now." he whispered.
The next thing I know I was bundled up in a warm pair of clothes and wrapped in a pile of blankets. There was a steaming cup of hot chocolate in my hands and Bruce and Alfred were there. Alfred looked angry, not at me but at Bruce. And Bruce looked like someone had torn his heart out.
I don't like him feeling guilty. It wasn't his fault. I knew it had to be done. I knew what could happen. I'd told him to do it. It wasn't his fault.
"Daddy." I held my arms out and instantly I was in his embrace again.
"I'm so sorry." He whispered.
"It's not your fault." I mumbled. I smiled slightly at him, hoping to calm him. "It was needed. And it was better you than any of our rogues."
Years from now when I'm being perused through the streets on my own and being pushed to my limits, it will be tests like these that allow me to survive. I'll be able to keep my calm. I'll know how to handle them. Years, even months from now, when the training saves my life both Bruce and I, and even Alfred, will be glad this happened.
Not now, but later we will.
I snuggled into my father's chest, content. "Thank you." I whispered softly.
Bruce pressed a kiss on my forehead. He doesn't say anything but I know what he means.
No Dick, Thank You.
A/N: What did you think of this style? I'm not expecting to write many more like this, but this was an idea that refused to leave my mind. I hope I didn't put anyone off my stories! I promise the next update will be more like my usual ones.
Would anyone be interested in seeing Bruce's POV?
Please tell me honestly what you think. I'd really like to hear everything you have to say, including criticisms.