A/N: Another piece written Pre-"Performance". Thoughts before the episode on certain scenes. This one just covers the fact that Robin has more experience in the setting, and how he could be the leader for this.

Disclaimer: Nope, don't own, haven't seen it yet. Just team set up spoilers. Like, the ones that are on the team for the episode, that's all…


I Can't

"The circus is in town?" asked Artemis, one golden brow raised as she continued, "Please tell me this isn't some team-bonding garbage. If I have to spend five more minutes with Kid Mouth-"

"Well I'm not a big fan of you either, Miss-"

Batman was quick to silence them both by cutting in, "It's a mission." His eyes narrowed at the bickering duo through the cowl. Just looking at this group always made him that much mode grateful that Dick wasn't a petty child like his comrades. "It's an international circus," he began, "with a thief among them. Valuable technology is being stolen all across Europe, specifically in the areas where Haly's is at that time."

Wally stiffened and cast a glance to Robin; he knew the bird's name and what was going on, but he did have to wonder if his friend could handle it...

"Since this technology is being stolen and then can't be found sold in auctions or on the black market, Artemis, Red Arrow, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Robin are going in to find the technology amongst the circus equipment, as that's the only logical place it can be if it's not being sold." Batman's gaze surveyed the said five, watching the archers nod while M'gann squealed, Conner snorted his apathy, and Robin stood there, fully aware of the situation.

Because they'd talked about this.


"I have a mission for the team."

Robin looked up from his laptop, fingers freezing over the next few keys in his coding string. "Then you should probably tell the team," he noted, forehead furrowing in puzzlement. "I'll get in my uniform and come with, I just need a se-"

"It's at Haly's."

It almost went unnoticed how his jaw clenched slightly and how those pure blue eyes went cold. Dick Grayson was... worried for his former family just as much as he was wounded in Batman's assumption that his protégé couldn't handle himself. "And?"

"I wanted to make sure if you were alright with going before assigning roles." His voice was patient and slow, knowing how it could sometimes be a sore subject for his ward. Yet there had to be a balance in handling it, not too delicately, not too straight-forward. They lead to anger and depression, respectively. Bruce wanted to inflict neither on his charge.

He put on a small smile. "You want my expertise on it, don't you?" he asked smugly. "Can't send the others in without the professional?" A light cackle even left his thin lips.

Bruce's voice was more terse upon saying, "I want to ensure that you'll be able to lead them while in Europe."

Foreign mission. On their own. With Robin playing leader. The boy drank in a deep breath; he could do this. "Yeah, I'll be fine. I just need Roy or Wally there." He gave his foster father a soft, pleading look. "Just in case."

"Roy will be joining you."

He smiled again, feeling a bit more confident. He'd have the oldest member there to back him up if control came to be an issue as well as to pick him up if he were to fall, one of the few who knew his dark secrets. "I can do it."

Gruffly, Bruce said, "Good. Now suit up. We're leaving for Mount Justice in five minutes." The Dark Knight wandered off, heading for the computer hub area of the Batcave.

Shutting his laptop and setting it aside, he pulled on his sunglasses and headed towards the glass case that held his uniform. Dick even smiled to himself. He'd be on his home turf. He'd be living like he was eight again.

He could do this.


"Robin will be leading the mission, and I expect everyone to follow orders." Memories of reports on the second Bialya fiasco lingered in his mind; he refused to let the team repeat that mission's level of disobedience.

Three of the assigned five headed out. Conner stayed because he was already dressed and prepared, requiring nothing more than food and running water. Robin remained as he too was already in uniform.

"You sure about this?" asked Wally quietly, hoping to bypass the superhearing in the room. "I mean, you-"

He forced a smile and a quick laugh. "I'll be fine, KF. It'll just be like a reunion for me. I'll get the job done and get everyone out of there, no big deal."

The ginger didn't believe it. "Rob, you know that Daddy-Bats won't be there to take of you, right?"

"I know, Wally."

"And you'll be alright?" Concern laced his words. As he hadn't been assigned, he just wanted to make sure that his best friend would be alright. Abandoning the bird in such a weak situation would make him feel worse than he already did about the whole situation. Leaving Robin vulnerable in another country? Without anyone to really back him up on an emotional level? And no Batman to fallback on?

He slugged the speedster. "I can do this. Don't worry." Robin even gave the ginger a snarky smile. "I'll be fine."


Roy grabbed him before he could fall.

"I can't do this." His voice was breathy, pained. "I can't. There's too much-"

"Dick, look at me." He was trying to get a hold of the kid's chin to tilt his head up and get their eyes to meet despite the white masks that covered the rest of their faces. "You can do this. I know it's hard, but-"

"I can't," he whispered hoarsely. "You have to go on without me, I can't go in there. You take the lead, they'll lis-"

"You're leading whether you like it or not, Grayson." His eyes hardened into a fierce azure glare. "You have the most performing experience, and you know how to work these people better than any of us." He was good at getting information out of people as well, but his comrade had a more subtle way of doing it; Dick was just a people person, giving him an advantage over any of the others, and it could all be traced back to his days traveling the world on a train with the carnies. "You can do this."

He was fighting to control himself now. The shrill cry of Haly in the big top made him fully aware of how close to death he lingered. Just going up on the trapeze would bring back those memories, all the blood and pain, the anguish, the loss… Richard hated reliving that.

"Do this for them." Desperation lingered in Roy's soft, pleading words. "For your parents. For the team. For the circus. Do this for whoever you want, but someone needs this, and you're stronger than anyone else I know. You can manage."

Because that's what he'd been doing his whole life, hadn't he? He'd managed to get in on the act. He'd managed to get through losing his parents. He'd managed alongside his mentor as the Boy Wonder. He managed. His whole life was about managing. School, heroism, publicity. He managed.

It was one of his greatest strengths if nothing else made up for it.

He swallowed hard and wrapped his arms around a kneeling Roy's neck.

"I can do it." He'd struggle through it, but he could do it. It was doable.


A/N: Alright, I already know it's completely wrong and I added in episode references. Guilty as charged.

Just leave a review?

~Sky

(Spoilers: No, Batman didn't assign the mission. No, Roy doesn't know. And there was no discussion with Wally until it was too late. So yeah, I know I'm completely wrong, but there were my thoughts before the episode.)