Author's Notes: I know Christmas is in the air and normally this means we're all posting happy stories. I promise I will try to write something happier within the next two weeks (maybe even a late Christmas story). Without giving too much away, let's just say this piece is based on something personal that's been going on in my life. Since I'm a sucker for Robin angst, I figured I would transfer some of my own angst to him so I don't have to think about this anymore. So I'm being a bit mean to our favorite bird but the number one rule of fanfiction is to never take a plot bunny for granted. I had to learn that lesson the hard way. As you read, I purposely wrote this piece in a vague manner. There's a reason for that but you're not getting any answers out of me. Depending on the response/feedback I get for this piece, I might be willing to expand upon it. As usual, italics will denote character thoughts and italics with quotes represents flashbacks. If there are any mistakes please let me know and by the way, I'm still looking for a beta. If you want to work with me, please let me know okay? Last but not least, thanks for reading my story! I really appreciate hearing from you guys!
Disclaimer: Do I really own Young Justice? Seriously? Why would I be writing fanfiction for this wonderful series if I owned it. Enough said.
The tension was so thick in the Batcave, it could have been cut with a batarang. Neither person in the cave was willing to back down from their point of views, however, the silence was broken by Robin's low murmur, "You're not always right you know..."
His words were spoken so softly that had it been anyone other than Batman or Superman, they would have missed his statement.
Batman removed his cowl and took a slow, deep breath. Getting angry won't help the situation.
He was trying his hardest not to scowl at his son but the boy was really pushing his buttons tonight. Why couldn't he see that he was only trying to protect him?
Bolstered by a sudden boost in confidence, Robin took a step towards his mentor. "I'm supposed to be your partner but it's always do as I say, don't question my orders and stop second guessing me! Partners are supposed to be equals but you still treat me like I'm some sort of rookie. Even with Young Justice, you still don't think I can stand on my own."
His lips thinned into a grim frown. "That's enough Robin!"
Robin clenched his fists and all but snarled at his mentor. "No!"
Batman was momentarily shocked but he made sure to keep a neutral face. "I said that's..."
"And I said no! If you won't see me as an equal then why should I listen to you? A partnership is built on mutual trust and respect but I forgot. You're Batman and no one can be trusted. Not Superman, Commisioner Gordon, Alfred or me. You only respect yourself. Well what gives you the right to be so high and mighty? Who died and made you king? Oh silly me. I forgot! Gotham is your kingdom and will surely fall apart without its Dark Knight's protection. Well guess what Bruce? Gotham was doing just fine before you decided to be judge, jury and executioner. You're not always right! What is it going to take for you to see that? Do I really need to get killed..."
The sound of a slap echoed throughout the cave.
Robin slowly turned his face back towards Batman. With noticeable effort, he removed his mask to stare directly into Batman's face.
Hurt blue eyes met shocked brown eyes.
Before he could even finish apologizing, Dick ran past him up the stairs and back into the Manor. Bruce wanted to go after him but he knew he would only make things worse. He closed his eyes as one thought ran through his mind over and over again. You've really done it this time.
He was silent during the entire ordeal but now that they were safe inside the Batmobile, he couldn't keep quiet any longer. "You deliberately disobeyed my orders. I told you to sit this one out! Because of your interference, now it's going to take twice as long to catch the perpetrators."
Robin wouldn't look at Batman. He couldn't bring himself to see the look of disappointment or anger on his mentor's face. He chose to look out of the window while trying to block out everything Batman was saying.
"You're getting reckless and sloppy. That stunt you pulled back there could have gotten you killed. This isn't fun and games Robin. You knew this when I first brought you into my world. You can't just pick and chose which missions to take on. I'm in charge and until you learn that, you're suspended from active duties."
That last sentence left him feeling cold. He could feel indignant fury filling his entire body. Turning towards Batman, he couldn't help shouting, "You can't do that! I saved your life tonight!"
Batman's next statement pushed him completely off the narrow ledge he stood on every day.
"I didn't ask for your help nor did I need it."
Indignant fury mutated into bitter hatred within a matter of seconds. "You're selfish, inconsiderate and thoughtless! I asked you more than once why couldn't I help you with this case but you wouldn't give me an answer. If I hadn't been there tonight, you would have died. Instead of being grateful, you're punishing me for doing my job. Some mentor you turned out to be."
The sharp intake of breath from Batman was enough to shut him up in seconds. He knew he'd gone too far but he couldn't exactly take the words back. He could never erase this moment in time but a small part of him didn't want to. He wanted Bruce to see things through his eyes for a change.
Needless to say, the rest of the ride to the cave was spent in silence.
Thinking back on tonight's near disaster left Bruce with a feeling close to hopelessness. He hadn't meant to hit him but he wouldn't listen to reason. His colleagues were already convinced that he was too hard on the boy. Sometimes even Alfred couldn't help commenting on how he should go easy on Dick. None of them understood. Going soft now would only hurt him in the long run.
He needed him to be strong at all times. No matter what the situation, he needed him to be capable and fully equipped to handle any obstacles without him always coming to the rescue. That's all he was trying to teach him. Eventually there would come a day when Robin would need to stand on his own two feet. He couldn't hide behind Batman's shadow forever.
That's the problem. He's not hiding behind you. He's trying everything in his power to show you he can handle being on his own but you won't let him fly solo.
Deep down, he knew what was driving a wedge between them. He couldn't tell this to anyone but he was scared of losing his son. Dick might not have been his biological child but he was the closest thing he would ever get to having a son. And right now, he was nothing more than a bewildered parent trying to do right by his child.
Unfortunately, his child was entering the teeange years and was beginning to pull away from him. That was enough to drive any parent insane. After all of the sacrfices and hard work, he couldn't help wondering where had he gone wrong. He knew he had a busy schedule but he always tried to be there for Dick. Any time his son needed a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, he was there.
Sure, Alfred patched him up and made things easier for both of them but the harder decisions always fell to him. He was the one who agonized over the decision to make Dick his partner. He was the one that sat by his son's bedside whenever he was sick with the flu or a cold. He was the one that told himself every day, he was right for turning Dick into a crimefighter. Never mind, the days spent alone wondering how could Dick keep trusting him and loving him after all of the bad decisions he made during their time together.
As he began his transformation back into Bruce Wayne down in the cave, he could only come up with one reasonable explanation for his feelings. I'm a horrible father that doesn't deserve Dick for a son.
That single thought was enough to bring tears to his eyes. "I'm sorry Dick. I'm so sorry."
As soon as he got to his room, he locked the door and let his eyes travel across the room. He knew he could never get back at Bruce for his careless words or actions so he did the next best thing. He proceeded to destroy his room.
First, he tipped over his bookshelf then he grabbed his lamp and threw it against the wall. He couldn't help the small smile that came to his face when he heard it smash into little pieces. Next, the alarm clock went sailing through the room and met the same fate as his lamp. He shoved his television off its stand then he moved on to his closet. He flung open the doors and went straight for his suits. Jackets, shirts and pants were all ripped and torn to pieces.
Twenty minutes later, he felt himself breathing heavily as he did a quick survey of his room. Almost everything was broken or damaged in some way but he didn't care. He just felt numb and alone.
Careful not to step on any broken pieces of furniture, he walked over to his bed and closed his eyes. Before he had the time to stop himself, he was curling up into a ball, crying his eyes out.
Did he ever care about me? When did he stop loving me? What can I do to show him that I'm still his son?
A small irritating voice bubbled up within him. "Since you decided you didn't need him any more. Remember? You ran off with Speedy and Kid Flash behind his back. Because of you, he created Young Justice. Let's also not forget, you made the Team more important than him. No wonder he quit loving you. You're the one that's really selfish and ungrateful!"
He shook his head side to side trying to dispel the hurtful words. It wasn't true. He never stopped loving Bruce and he didn't replace him with the Team. He just wanted a chance to spread his wings without Bruce breathing down his back all the time.
The annoying little voice was back. "You keep telling yourself that Boy Blunder. Face it. He's the one person that's loved you unconditionally and this is how you repay them. Some son you turned out to be. You never wanted that did you? Every chance you had, you made sure to tell him he would never be your father. He's probably better off without you anyway."
His cries became desperate sobs as his heart began to hurt. The pain was just too much for him to bear alone. I just want him to love me. What did I do for him to give up on me? I did everything he asked me to. I was always good. I brought home good grades, I never let the others know my secret identity. I became a part of his world hoping he would accept me but maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was never meant to be his son in the first place.
His throat burned and his eyes hurt. He knew he was well on his way to making himself sick if he didn't stop crying. As much as he wanted to stop, he couldn't. After six years of emotional abuse, his tears felt like the ultimate release.
In the back of his mind, that stubborn little voice murmured, "How many times do you want me to say it? Bruce doesn't want you. He never wanted you. He just took you in because he knew it would look good. The city would be impressed that an idiot like him would even bother with a charity case like you. Ever wonder why Alfred always handled you in the beginning? Even now, Bruce can't relate to you. He shows no interest in you other than when you're Robin. You are a failure as a son. If your parents were here now they'd be so disappointed in you."
With tears still in his eyes, Dick knew what he needed to do.