Author's Notes: I'm sure you're all thinking the same thing I was thinking on Friday. Why did Robin ignore Batman's death? He didn't show any sort of emotion which is weird because if there's one thing that never changed about Dick (whether it's the comics, video games or tv shows), he loves his family and friends. He thrives on interacting with his family and friends. So for him to not react to Bruce's "death"? I thought it was really weird and out there. This is just my attempt to rectify that specific detail. Don't get me wrong. Failsafe was a great episode but I would have liked to see them elaborate on how the team dealt with losing their mentors and each other. Yes I know they explained things by saying everything they saw and felt wasn't real but that's still no excuse for not showing us their real feelings about that ordeal. There's no way they'd be able to write off something like this and be fine about it. This is my first attempt at writing a YJ fic but I'm not new to fanfiction. I went on an indefinite hiatus back in 2009 because I lost my inspiration and desire to write fics. So if this story isn't up to par then I apologize. Just so I don't confuse anyone, italics will denote character thoughts okay? By the way, this story is going to seem a little AU because I'm going to deviate heavily from the events that happened in Failsafe. You'll see what I mean as you read my story. I don't think I did a very good job keeping Bruce or Dick in character but I tried. I know I'm a bit rusty but I would love to hear your thoughts. If you saw anything that needs work then by all means, I'm listening. Thanks in advance for reading my story!
Disclaimer: I don't own Young Justice or anything else associated with DC.
This can't be happening. The thought ran through his head over and over again as he watched the screen. He could feel the dread and worry quickly worming their way into his heart. He felt so helpless and useless. The Justice League was out there battling against an unknown enemy while he was nice and safe in Mount Justice.
As he continued to watch the battle unfold on the monitor, his heart leapt into his throat when he saw that only Batman was left. He knew Batman could handle himself but his back up was gone and he wasn't there to help him out. Everything's going to be fine. Batman will be able to find a way out of this. The thought had scarely left his mind as he watched Batman and the Batwing explode.
It took all of his willpower not to scream at the sight. He was alone again. Back to being an orphan with no home or family. Try as he might, he couldn't banish the overwhelming hurt that was threatening to swallow him up. His mentor had promised to never leave him but he'd gone and done just that. Wasn't it enough that he lost one family? Now he had to go through this all over again.
He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes but he couldn't afford to break now. Not when the team and Earth needed him to be strong. Clenching and unclenching his fists, he needed to gain his focus back. He couldn't afford for the team to figure out that something was wrong. If they were able to pick up on his feelings, he was certain he wouldn't be able to deal with the pity or sympathy. He'd had enough of that thrown at him when he lost his parents.
In the back of his mind, he could hear Batman telling him that he needed to focus on the mission. But for some reason, he couldn't bring himself to listen to that voice. It hurt too much. The more he tried to concentrate, the worse he started to feel. How was he supposed to recover from this? No comforting words or reassurances could give him his heart's desire. None of them would be able to give him back Bruce.
I can't do this. Not without you. He spun on his heel and fled from the room just as the first tear slid down his face.
"Batman, something's wrong. Robin's not responding to me." J'onn said, turning to face the Dark Knight, worry clearly written across his face.
To the outsider, Batman seemed to be calm and collected but the Martian Manhunter knew better. One look at the slight frown on Batman's face let him know he was feeling anything but calm. Batman came closer to the table where Robin lay and placed a hand on his partner's shoulder. Without looking up, he spoke low enough just for J'onn to hear him. "Can you link our minds?"
He didn't need to be told twice. He could hear the unspoken plea behind the question. Can you help me save him?
"Yes but there's a chance you two might be lost. Are you sure about this?"
The glare he received from Batman told him all he needed to know. J'onn's eyes glowed faintly for a moment and then suddenly Batman felt weightless. Having a direct link to someone else's mind always unsettled him. It was one thing to deal with your own demons but being able to witness and sometimes experience someone else's innermost private thoughts? That was what bothered him the most. It was also the main reason why he hated telepaths.
A quick scan of his surroundings showed him darkness as far as the eye could see. He was just about to decide on a course of action when he heard something. He began walking towards the source of noise and was promptly shocked by what he saw. His Robin was curled up in a ball trying his hardest to stiffle his crying. Without thinking, he ran forward to pick him up but his hands passed straight through him.
"Robin?" He asked quietly.
The boy either didn't hear him or ignored him completely. He was trying hard not to cry but he was fighting a losing battle. Kneeling next to Robin, he tried once more to console him.
"You have to wake up Robin. None of this is real." His quiet voice seemed to echo around them, only broken by the sounds of his little bird's sniffles. He was truly at a loss for words. He couldn't touch him and now it seemed as though he couldn't hear him either. How could he save Robin if he couldn't do either of those things?
"You promised." A small voice murmured sadly.
Batman didn't have to ask Robin what he meant by that phrase.
"You told me you would never leave me. I trusted you and I believed you when you said those words. But you're dead and now I'm back to being an orphan."
The heartbreak in his son's voice was unbearable. Because of him, his boy was suffering. How could he have not seen this coming? Training exercise or not, there was absolutely no reason why he shouldn't have seen this coming. He was making Robin remember old wounds.
"I'm not dead and I meant what I said. I would never willingly leave you." He reached over to touch Robin but drew back at the last second.
He almost came undone when Robin looked in his direction. His mask was gone but all Batman could focus on was his son's eyes that were filled with tears. He was the reason for those tears. Shame and guilt quickly spread through him. He wanted nothing more to hug his son and apologize but he couldn't. Not when Robin wasn't aware of his presence and truly believed him to be dead.
"Why does everyone keep leaving me? Is it because I'm not good enough to be loved?" His voice was shaky as he looked down.
Batman leaned forward and pulled Robin close to him. Even if his son couldn't feel his arms wrapped around him, he at least had to try and fix this mistake.
"You deserve to be happy and loved. No one has the right to take that from you. I'm sorry for putting you through this son but you have to wake up. What you're feeling right now isn't real. You didn't watch me die. Please wake up."
He knew he sounded desperate and yet he couldn't bring himself to care. He had to tell him just how much he meant to him.
Robin reached up to wipe his tears away as he said, "I want to believe this is just a really bad nightmare but I can't live a life where you're not there."
Batman could only look on in horror as Robin started to slowly disappear. Once more, he tried to tighten his grip on his son. "Robin, don't do this! I'm not dead. You have to believe me. Please trust me!"
Without releasing his hold on Robin, he quickly took off his mask. He knew it was a last ditch effort but he couldn't lose his son. Losing Dick would break him beyond repair.
"I love you more than anything else in this world. Please don't leave me Dick." He hugged him as he fought to keep his own tears at bay.
At that very moment, he felt small arms wrap around him tightly. That one action actually made his own tears fall. He was so foolish for doing this to his son. He should have seen the warning signs but he ignored them. And because of his ignorance, he almost lost his son.
"You're not dead?" Robin's asked slowly, fear laced within his question.
Batman had to swallow around the lump in his throat. "No, I'm alive. I never meant to hurt you like this. I'm sorry, please forgive me."
To say Robin was shocked at the emotion in Batman's voice was an understatement. His mentor... No, his father never showed this much emotion for anyone.
"It's okay Bruce. There's nothing to..." He trailed off as Batman angrily interrupted him.
"Don't! Don't say that! You've already lost one family. To knowingly subject you to that all over again... I'm so sorry Dick."
Neither said another word as a white light engulfed them both.
Robin slowly opened his eyes before quickly sitting up. Looking around frantically for the others, he was just about to ask what happened when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around and saw Batman looking at him. The expression on his face was unreadable but there was something else as well.
"Batman?" He questioned hesistantly.
Batman squeezed his shoulder softly before removing his hand. "The training exercise went awry. J'onn was able to pull everyone out except for you."
That's when it finally dawned on Robin. What he saw in Batman's expression earlier had been fear and guilt.
"If he couldn't get to me then how did you save me?"
A moment of silence blanketed the room until Batman looked away. "I asked J'onn to link our minds. If I hadn't come for you, you would have remained comatose."
It wasn't lost on Robin that it was currently just the two of them in the room nor did he miss the self-loathing in Batman's words. He already knew what was going through Batman's head. He hopped down from the table he was previously laying on and silently approached Batman. He was only a few feet away from his mentor when he suddenly lunged towards him and wrapped his arms around him, burying his face in Batman's chest.
"I'm sorry for scaring you Bruce. During that whole ordeal I kept telling myself it wasn't real. I tried to convince myself that you weren't really dead. I knew there was no way you could have died that easily but no matter how many times I told myself that, I kept seeing the Batwing explode. When I saw the explosion, it felt like time just stopped and I was frozen in that moment." His words sounded slightly muffled but Batman knew what he was trying to say.
Strong arms encircled Robin and pulled him close. "It's not your fault. You reacted accordingly but I'm sorry for reopening old wounds."
Robin shook his head and then looked up at Batman. Never once breaking eye contact, he simply said, "I know you wanted to prepare us if an event like that ever happened but..." He took a deep breath, willingly himself not to breakdown. He could do that later when Batman wasn't around.
"I don't ever want to lose you or anyone else I love. I know that sounds unrealistic but it was just too painful. At least towards the end when KF and I were about to die, I took comfort in the fact that I would be seeing you again."
Batman tightened his hold on Robin, knowing that the two of them needed this moment to comfort and reassure one another. He knew he would never completely forgive himself for what he did to Robin but with time, perhaps they would both be able to heal from this incident. Until that moment came, however, Batman knew he would continue to do everything in his power to keep his promise to Robin.