Disclaimer: Teen Titans, oh that show of humor and wonder, I only wish I could control and own your world. Sadly only DC has that right. They own Justice League too, and all the wonders there in.
Premise: What if Batman knew about the apprenticeship? what if Slade tried it again? Think Robin would bring him in next time? Let's find out!
Slade Plan B
Robin ran as fast as he could, not sure if he could make back it to the Titans in time. Slade's newest wave of crime struck Jump City hard but what hurt Robin most was the taunting Slade left him each day.
He swore he'd make Robin is apprentice again.
Robin rather drink acid straight from Joker's flower or be beaten by Two-Face once again than be that psycho's apprentice. He didn't want that the first time. Course he didn't like being beaten within an inch of his life either, but he had no choice in that instance. Being with Slade… it was almost the same as with Two-Face but he wasn't bound and he didn't have backup. He didn't have Batman when Slade…
He tried not to think too much about it. At that moment, he really shouldn't think about it. He had to get back to his friends. They were separated during a struggle, each going their own way after a different bad guy. In the past Robin would have been fine with this, but with Slade's oath renewed… if any of them were apart, it could be deadly.
'I doubt he'll use the nano-bots on them again' Robin thought as he ran from rooftop to rooftop. 'I'll take them again to stop him. I'd rather die with them than work for him.'
They had to be together. All of them. There was safety in numbers. The strength one didn't have another could make up for. That's what he learned last time. It's what he learned from watching the Justice League all those years. It's what he learned from experience, from Batman…
It was funny. Lately, whenever Robin thought about Slade, he turned his thoughts to Batman. He tried for years to not think of him but failed each time. Secretly he missed him, but he'd never say it. He was having fun with his friends out in Jump. He enjoyed fighting day and night, being able to walk to the beach, not hiding in a cave, and most of all not being beaten up just for being with Batman. Being away from the crazies in Arkham was wonderful.
Then there was Slade. The crazy who lived in Jump and was unpredictable as Joker, as sickening as Two-Face, and as intimidating as Batman. Robin preferred to think of him as the anti-Batman from time to time, but it felt like he was still insulting Bruce putting the two of them in the same sentence. He… respected… Bruce far too much to insult him in such a way. Yeah they fought over opinions and methods, but they were two different people. Of course they wouldn't see eye to eye on everything. But they at least tried to see eye to eye.
Slade though… Robin shook a little remembering his encounters. Slade didn't compromise. Slade wouldn't try to see Robin's point of view. Slade was 'his way or the high way'. Actually it was more his way or everyone dies.
And that was what he was trying to prevent. Slade was after Robin again so Robin had to make sure Slade had no leverage on him to make him his apprentice. He had to get back to the Titans. Bruce could handle himself, and so could the rest of the league. He was pretty sure Slade wouldn't leave Jump to get the honorary Titans out of commission but he put the word out anyway. So all that was left was for Slade to threaten the Titans or Jump city. Prevent a hold on either of these and there was no hold on Robin.
He had to get back to the Titans ASAP. He felt like time was running out.
Robin was almost to the rendezvous point when an arm swung out from behind a sign and hit his gut. The wind left him quickly and he collapsed onto the rooftop, barely propping himself up to catch his breath.
"Well, that was easy."
Slade calmly walked around the sign and stepped in front of Robin, looking down on him. Robin glared up at his one eye and knew that man had to be smiling behind his metal mask.
"You really should be more aware of your surroundings my apprentice."
Robin instantly leapt into the air, whipping out his bo-staff, and used gravity to his advantage as he swung it down to Slade's collar. Slade merely caught it mid swing as if it were nothing but a passing breeze.
"I'm not your apprentice!" Robin shouted, using every ounce of strength he had to force the staff downwards. Slade threw the staff to the side and Robin slid back, reading himself for another charge.
"Oh yes you are," Slade goaded, "Grayson."
Robin stopped, his eyes wide. Though he once suspected Slade knew who he was, he never called him by his true name. But how did he…
Slade's eye danced behind his mask merrily. He took a poster out from behind him and analyzed it musingly. Robin recognized the poster. It was an old one from Haley's Circus. The one he helped designed. The one put up the night his parents…
"I'm surprised no one's made the connection before. The way you move is almost identical to a trapeze artist. Your flips, your kicks, your never ending bravery over heights and falls. You move exactly as you did when your parents were around."
Robin gritted his teeth and dug his nails into his staff. Slade had a poster. Slade had the last poster. Their last poster. How dare he…
"Then they died in a horrible accident didn't they. A man made accident. You sought vengeance and the Dark Knight took you in. Trained you. Made you into this." Slade looked over to Robin, amused. "Really, I would have trained you better. Let you take vengeance yourself. Bruce Wayne is too much of a justice seeking sentimentalist to give you what you really needed."
The red hot anger in Robin's face receded instantly to pale death. For an instant he forgot why he never took off his mask these days. It wasn't for his identity. It was for Bruce. Until Bruce was sure he could trust the Titans –and Dick did everything he could to make him—Robin could never take off his mask and tell them the truth. He didn't lie to them, just withheld information. Like Clark did with Lois.
Okay so Clark did lie to her, but only in regards to Superman. He learned his mistake after mentioning the Kryptonite in an interview.
'Slade knows who Batman is.' The thought horrified Robin. That, next to Superman's identity, was probably the most valuable piece of information any villain could sell. He suspected he knew because of the Wayne Tech theft he was forced to pull last time, but was never sure. Explaining that to Bruce was a headache, especially since he wanted to take care of Slade himself. Not now though. Right then he wanted all the help he could get.
"He gave me everything I needed," Robin shakily stated. "What he couldn't give me himself, he let others do instead. You have no right to even say his name."
"No right? I have every right. It is a free country, isn't it?" Humor coolly escaped Slade's lips. "Just like I have a right to use this information as I see fit. Or to claim you as my apprentice."
Robin gripped his staff even harder than before, color filling his face once again. Would Bruce approve of him becoming Slade's apprentice if it was to save him? Probably not. Bruce could handle himself after all. And then there was the Justice League. And his connections to the Justice Society. More than likely, between them all, they'd find a way to save Batman's identity from becoming known. Robin didn't have to save Batman this time.
Slade sighed. He looked back at the poster, almost as if mocking Robin. "Well if your loyalty to your friends or to your mentor won't bring you to my side, maybe from your family will do."
Robin looked at the poster again, irritated Slade was bringing his parents into this. They were long dead. He dealt with it. He could smile in their memory, take down criminals for them, be happy for their sakes. There was no way he'd abandon his current life for Slade's apprenticeship just for memories.
That's when it hit him. The poster. Only a few people had it. He knew the Drake kid next door to Wayne Manor had one, but Slade wouldn't bother an innocent living next to Batman. That left…
Slade watched him, probably smirking, as Robin dropped his bo-staff, all color draining away. Haley's Circus.
"Mr. Haley is far too trusting. Not a fool, but too kind for his own good. A few workmen here, a clown or two there, and he'd never know his life was in danger."
Robin started to shake, scared for the family he had as a child. No nano-bots. Nothing Robin could use against Slade. Cold hearted assassins hidden in plain sight, all around the people who taught him kindness. They would always accept him. They would take all the help they could get. Naïve. That was they way they should stay. Innocent.
"If I don't call them off once every 24 hours, they have their orders," Slade pressed.
Robin couldn't let them get hurt. Slade wouldn't hesitate to kill them.
Slowly he closed his eyes. 'I'm sorry Bruce. I'm sorry guys. I'm sorry Mr. Haley. Mom, Dad, I'm so sorry.'
Robin dropped to his knees. What choice did he have? He couldn't let innocent people suffer because of him. He couldn't let the people he cared about die. He couldn't let the circus turn into a madhouse. What if the assassins turned on the audience? What if they brought Joker into it? What if they let the animals run wild? There were too many ifs.
Slade walked confidently over to Robin and placed his hand on his head. Robin didn't budge. "Good boy. Soon you'll appreciate this."
"How can anyone appreciate having innocent blood on their hands."
Slade didn't answer. He merely lifted Robin's chin up to see his face, then slowly peeled off the mask.
Robin flinched, so used to having his mask on. Now it didn't matter. Slade knew exactly who he was, who Bruce was, and who he could get his hands on without angering the superhero community. Blackmail still worked. Guilt would always work. Dick just cared too much.
As his mask fluttered to the ground, Dick heard Starfire's voice over the communicator. 'Oh no, not now.' Slade calmly looked at the communicator then to Dick.
"Well, what are you waiting for? You know what you have to do."
Taking a deep breath, putting his head back down, Dick took off his utility belt and tossed it to the side. He had that belt back when he was with Bruce. Never leave home without it. If he only saw him now.
Slade must have smiled. Dick didn't look at him, loathing himself more than he should. For the third time since leaving Wayne Manor he was going to side with the villains, all because of Slade.
Because of Slade…
All at once, Robin's anger exploded. He jumped straight into Slade's face, punching as hard as he could. He landed a few blows before Slade tossed him to the side. Dick fell into a crouch and charged again, changing tactics. He alternated between kicks and punches, seeing which he could land first. A few kicks, and maybe one punch. Finding holes in Slade's guard was harder than it looked. He fought as hard as he could, changing tactics and styles often to find some method to beating Slade. Even though he landed blows, they didn't seem to affect him.
'Why? Why can't I beat him?' Dick asked himself desperately.
"Because you don't yet have what it takes to finish the job." Slade's answer to Dick's thoughts was quickly followed by powerful blows to several vital points to his body. Quickly Dick was gasping for breath, pain coursing through his body. It wasn't the same as with Two-Face. It felt worse. Much worse. And it wasn't over.
Over and over again Slade brought Dick to his feet and hit him, kicked him, slapped him around. Dick tried to block, parry, or even dodge this ruthless attack but each attempt failed. He didn't know how long it was until he was laying on the roof, not moving and hardly able to breathe.
Nothing was broken but he may as well be. He couldn't move. He tasted blood in his mouth and he felt his last baby tooth leave it's place. 'Well that's an accomplishment. I thought it'd never leave.' His eye was swollen, his jaw hurt and he felt like he missed his grip on the parallel bars. Then was hit by a truck.
Yet nothing was broken. He knew how that felt. Nothing broken, just beaten. 'Bruce never hit me,' was all he could think in defense. 'Wish he was here now.'
In his mind, he dreamt of the day Slade and Batman would meet. It almost brought a smile to his face. He knew who would win. No one could beat Batman. No one.
Slade yanked him back up by his tunic and stared the boy down with his one eye. Dick said nothing, really unable to speak. "This was punishment for last time. Never disobey me again, or the ones who will be hurt won't be just you."
Dick couldn't nod or make any sound to signify he understood. Barely conscious really. Slade took the lack of struggling as his answer and started dragging him away from the rooftop. He shoved Dick into a Sladbot's arms and continued walking away.
The last thing Dick remembered about that night were the stars spinning above and the inside voice of his laughing slightly. Three weeks. That was all he could take, he was sure of it. Three weeks.
Then Slade would get it.
Robin had a plan B this time.
A/N: YAY! First chapter fic here! The reason I started writing this was because of the first fics i actually read. up until I read "Custody" I never touched fanfics. Great story too. Love it to death, and it's a great Teen Titans fic, so everybody, read it.
Second reason is because I always wanted Bruce to meet Slade, and I wanted to see them fight. So far I haven't read one where Bats finished a fight with him. In "Custody" I don't think they really finished because Dick was kinda getting in the way, distracting Bruce. If there were no distractions, the result would have been different.
yes, I'm a bat nut. Gotta love it. Review and I'll get the next chapter up soon. Still working on this but need encouragement to type more. Oh and FYI, this thing's gonna have a lot of bat-fluff. I am a fan of fluff. bat-fam is awesome!