A/N: Since "Misplaced", I haven't been able to really get this done, so I'm tackling it tonight. I've had way too many ideas, so I'm putting them all into one so that I don't post about thirteen short drabbles. There may be one or two more, but this should cover most of my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I don't own. At all. Seriously, I don't.
I am Misplaced
She looks up, wiping the crystalline tears away from her liquid sapphire eyes. "Hey, Robin," she says, barely managing to keep a hiccupping sob out of her voice; the magician's daughter has been trying her hardest to stay strong. The team shouldn't have to help her through these issues. They've got their own problems, and they shouldn't have to deal with her on top of it.
It literally breaks his heart to see her so crushed. Artemis is the strongest girl he knows, Zatanna ringing in the close second. Then Babs. And Bette. He can't believe she's so destroyed.
Yet he still understands.
So he joins her in the dark corner of the gym and sits against the wall, knees tucked to his chest, mimicking her position. "Listen, I know you're having a hard time, and I just want you to know that I'm here for you." The boy offers a kind smile. If she could see his eyes, she'd see the sincerity ringing in them. "Anything you need, just call me up, alright? No matter what." He takes a risk and reaches his hand out to clasp over one of hers. "I'm here, Zee."
He's so nice, but something inside of her clenches and a whole new chorus of sobs strikes up. Zatanna wants to put on a brave face, but it's still too raw to push it down completely and smother the pain. She leans into him and cries on his shoulder.
Dick doesn't mind.
Robin looks over his shoulder to see her standing there shyly, head slightly hanging as she looked at him through a thin curtain of her ebony hair. He arches a brow as if to ask "For what?"
"I don't know why you're helping me so much," she says slowly and carefully, "but I owe you for everything you're doing. Just talking... it helps."
A grin crosses his face as he hands her a mug of cocoa. She takes it after uttering a soft "thank you". It would have been his, but what did it matter as long as she was happy? "Not a problem," is his response. He lifts himself up to sit on the kitchen counter, the upper cabinets cutting into his shoulder blades.
She looks at him and can see something on his countenance that leaves her puzzled. "What is it?" she asks quietly, hoping not to pry. Zatanna doesn't know much and doesn't want to ask, but he almost seems to be... remorseful.
"I just know what you're going through," the Boy Wonder says. "I'm not sure how League savvy you are, but one pretty well-known fact across the higher members is that I'm not Batman's son."
It doesn't surprise her. They may seem as thick as thieves, but there are certain aspects of their relationship that make it quite obvious.
He continues, "Point is, I lost my parents when I was about eight. Played prisoner in an orphanage for almost seven months before Batman picked me up and took me in." He runs one hand through his hair. "To me, you almost seem... lucky."
This time, a wave of shock rolls over her.
"I mean, I know you're still hurting really bad and you're devastated," mutters Dick, "but at least he's still alive." Now he looks to her, his own blue eyes slightly wet with tears. But he won't let them fall. He has excellent control. "And at least you have a home. And friends. You're set, Zee. It may feel bad now, but you're sitting pretty compared to how bad it could be."
From her angle, she can just barely see behind his sunglasses. And she can see the hot tears brimming in his baby blue eyes.
Zatanna knows she's lucky. Lucky to have friends, a home, a living father. Lucky to have Robin.
"Maybe you can strike up a deal with Nabu."
Her head snaps up. "What?" she asks, disbelief hanging in the single word.
Robin has his hands in his pockets and won't even look at her. He's afraid to get her hopes up. Still, he's only trying to help. "Nabu controls the Helmet of Fate and whoever's wearing it. Maybe you can ask him for one day a month where you can meet with your dad. You'd have to find some sort of arrangement that'll assure him Zatara will put the helmet back on, but if there's a way..."
She swallows hard. It's a risk. Not to mention the fact that Doctor Fate could be anywhere in the universe. Anywhere. A locator spell would work, sure, but then they'd have to find him at those coordinates and manage to talk him into taking off the helmet... "Right now, I'm just trying to forget about it."
There's a tug on his heart. He never tried to forget. Not once. He tried to push it away, but he would never forget about his parents. Zatanna obviously deals with things differently, he realizes. "That's cool." Dick holds his hands up in surrender, taking a step back. "It was just a thought."
He leaves after she says nothing more.
Why would she ever want to forget?
"Does the pain go away?"
He has to carefully formulate an answer. He can't lie. It doesn't go away. He's all too aware of that. The pain lingers like sickness, haunts like a ghost, and stays for a lifetime.
But all of that sounds negative. She's hurting now, and he knows how bad it is. He won't lie and tell her it goes away.
Zatanna suddenly feels like her chest is caving in, like the whole world is crumbling, and that none of this will ever go away. He's a victim and knows the ropes of pain and loss. She's a lost little girl in a suddenly very big world.
Just from his words, she's lost all hope.
"But it does get easier."
That's the truth that he knows. No, it doesn't go away. No, it won't stop hurting. But it does get easier. It doesn't weigh on the mind every morning, the nightmares go away, the focus comes back. It gets easier.
For Zatanna, it still hurts. Some part of her doesn't believe it gets easier.
His cell phone chirps.
He doesn't even have to hear her voice to know. It's been like this lately, her calling in the middle of the night just for reassurance. School nights, making it that much harder to get Bruce's permission to get out of the manor. Dick picks up his cell and presses it to his ear, "Zee, I'm here."
Through the line, he hears sobbing, uncontrollable bawling, the desperate intake of air. "Robin-" She can't even control herself for very long. She's breaking down. "Robin, I- I nee- need y-you."
He's already wearing sweats and a t-shirt when he throws the covers off of himself. "Okay, Zatanna, don't worry." Dick keeps his voice soft and gentle. He's reaching for his jacket he left beside his bed just for this purpose. "I'll be there in a minute, alright? Just settle down, don't worry."
It takes five minutes for him to get down to the Batcave where Bruce is still sitting in front of the computer, chin perched atop clasped hands. Dick looks to the chair, pausing only to ask, "Bruce-"
The man cuts him off before he can even start. "Go."
There's really no time to express his gratitude. Bruce gets it. After all, the Dark Knight had to deal with the broken Grayson once upon a time, so he knows how much the girl needs to be comforted. Just as much as Richard needed back when he was young and weak.
"Recognizing, Robin. B-01."
And he's gone.
He does stay in her room all night sometimes. He lets her cry herself to sleep and stays until he knows he has to get back to Gotham for school. Robin knows M'gann can take care of her for the most part; the alien girl is good to her, and that's all he needs until he can get back to Mount Justice after school to check up on her again.
When he knows it's time to leave, he just slips out of the room silently, knocking on Miss Martian's door as he passes to rouse her so she can tend to the raven-haired girl in the next room over.
But today, he lingers in the doorway for a moment, watching her as she tucks her knees tighter to her chest subconsciously. The boy waits for a long moment, just watching her, trying to think that he's her guardian angel of sorts.
A few heartbeats later, he's about to leave when he hears her ask, "Robin?"
Dick is tempted to step back inside but defers. School is in a mere forty-five minutes and he hasn't even studied. He doesn't retreat though and instead decides to stay in the doorway and hope she'll go back to sleep.
One of her blue eyes opens, and Zatanna sees him standing there, not moving quite yet. The faintest smile strays across her placid features. "Thank you."
A grin captures his boyish face. "No problem, Zee."