Dick freezes just meters away from the zeta beam. A shadow from above lands right infront of him, and he immediately relaxes when he catches sight of short spiky hair and a disgruntled frown.
"Damian," he recognizes, and then frowns as well, "no names in the field, remember?"
"Tt." The seven year old crosses his arms and looks away. Damian's face is half burried under a bulky hoodie, but regardless, Dick tilts his head to examine his brother's expression curiously. There's a trace of shyness, covered under at least ten layers of snark and arrogance, that only a well trained eye could catch. The younger boy hesitates, not quite sure how he wants to approach the subject in mind.
Dick takes the lead, and speaks first instead. "So, you're finally taking my offer to visit Mount Justice?"
"I couldn't care less about your sham of a team," Damian sneers, back to his normal levels of confidence. The bantering is familiar ground now, and he knows just exactly how to navigate it. "But tonight is a Thursday."
The elder boy blinks, wondering what is so special about Thursday. Then it hits him. Thursday is the night that he and Damian do a quick patrol through the safer areas of Gotham, although it is usually Damian insisting on patrolling and Dick following to make sure his younger counterpart doesn't run into trouble while Bruce isn't in town. They've never run into anything past petty thieves, but it helps burn off Damian's restlessness.
"I thought you didn't like me following you?" Dick asks with amusement in his voice. The scowl Damian returns is adorable, really.
"I hacked father's computer," and before Robin could even voice a complaint, Damian gives him a flat look that lets Dick know exactly who was the one who taught him that particular behavior. Dick shuts his mouth, and Damian proceeds, a bit more smug than usual, "there's a report of a dealing going on tonight, and father would be displeased if I went alone."
"He'd be displeased if we went, period," the elder comments dryly, but his face is smiling nonetheless. The team can wait. "Sounds like a job for the dynamic duo."
"I meant us, Damian," Dick laughs, ruffling his brother's hair. Damian is shocked into a thoughtful silence, and the elder Robin takes the opportunity to call his R-cycle. It's nearby, so it takes only seconds for the vehicle to arrive. Dick gets on, and motions for his brother to join him.
"Tt, at least we're a better team than your other pathetic-"
Tiny hands wrap around his waist almost possessively as the cycle takes off, engines humming softly but loud enough to cover the sound of Damian's scoff. Unseen to his brother, the youngest Wayne gives the slightest of smirks. No lousy team was going to steal his partner on their night together.
Wally is the first member of Young Justice that Damian meets personally, and the speedster does nothing to ease his contempt of the whole team. They meet on the already rare occasion that Damian accompanies his brother to an ice cream shop on the outskirts of Gotham. It's one of the few shops that Damian approves of, because its owner is a friend of Alfred's and acts respectfully rather than sickly sweet towards his two young customers.
The smoothies are also…adequate.
These outings are surprisingly pleasant, not that he'll ever admit to that because Grayson already looks too smug whenever he accepts the invitation.
But there's absolutely nothing pleasant about how Grayson's red-haired friend invites himself over after spotting the duo, and to top it off, he's in costume. It's like the idiot wants to ruin their secret identities. The speedster claims to have been around chasing some criminal or another, but the lack of focus he shows for the mission is appalling, and his eating habits are as atrocious as a pig.
Damian hates pigs.
So as the red-head babbles onward to his brother, Damian stares at his spoon contemplatively. Theoretically, he could kill with anyone with anything- that was one of the first teachings he had learned under the tutelage of the League of Assassins, and he figures they probably know a thing or two about killing.
"Damian, your ice cream is melting," Dick comments with a bit of a disturbed look on his face. His brother looks a bit too interested in that spoon.
"Here, let me help-" Wally reaches out with his own spoon towards the trial of melting ice cream, but Damian's eyes narrow and he quickly grabbed Wally's spoon before the speedster himself realizes that it is missing.
"Tt. Don'teven try."
With self preservation instincts kicking in, Wally backs away hands up in the air. "Okay! Okay!"
The three return to eating their ice cream, but with much more tension than before. Dick is praying for the best, but-
"Oww! Dude, you kicked me!" Wally declares angrily, glaring at the youngest.
Damian innocently raises an eyebrow and calmly takes another spoonful of ice cream. "I didn't know you were incompetent enough to kick yourself, I'm afraid I miscalculated your intelligence."
"Hey, you-OW, you kicked me again!"
"Damian!" Dick scolds with a pinch of exasperation.
"Tt, you can't prove it."
"Dude, how do you put up with him," Wally asks Dick, giving up on the pointless argument. He knows better than to argue with a bat.
Despite Damian's curiosity for the response, he takes this golden opportunity of distraction to flick his spoon at his brother's friend - if he hits the soft bones of the speedster's nose with enough force…
Unfortunately, his thoughts do not come into fruition because Wally isa speedster and he's on to the malicious waves that the little demon of a boy is giving off. Instead, the spoon flies into the head of the man behind them.
They all turn to the stranger, who seems as displeased as anyone would be when a random spoon flies at their head. But it's all forgotten when he catches sight of Wally's clothes and immediately makes a run for it.
"Whoa, there's my guy, catchya later Rob!"
It's not the ideal result, but Damian is pleased nonetheless. Dick only lightly scolds him about the affair - probably because the elder enjoyed stealing the rest of Wally's ice cream and no one really got hurt. The evening ends on a pleasant note.
When Damian hears that his brother's joke of a team was in Gotham for a mission, he is displeased, to say the least. When Damian hears that the team's communication lines are down, he is already suited up and out on the rooftops.
His father has been too optimistic, too trusting in the abilities of an unpolished team and their leader. Fighting in Gotham requires finesse, coordination, and, as much as he hates to admit it, trust. This new team, as far as he could tell from reading hacked copies of their reports, lacks all three more often than not. Grayson is insufferable enough to work with even when he tries to be the responsible one out of their duo; he couldn't imagine how any fresh leader could possibly keep every impulsive teenager on the team in coordination.
It's a recipe for disaster, especially against a new unfamiliar opponent whose powers father is still busy analyzing. Gotham is his home, and he won't stand for failure on his turf.
Damian arrives at the warehouse just in time to see Clayface pin Aqualad to the wall. The Atlantian struggles, but it is a futile attempt and he will soon join his other teammates who are collapsed on the floor. The youngest Wayne lets out a barely audible "tt" of disapproval and gives the Atlantian a few more seconds to be less of a disappointment.
It doesn't happen, so he takes things into his own hands.
Two batarangs fly true to their target and explode on impact, causing mud to fly everywhere. Aqualad crumples onto the floor, gasping for air, but Damian ignores him. The mud would inevitably re-anneal, and he would rather have someone competent on his side before then.
"Grayson," he whispered just below hearing range as he gives a firm nudge with his boot, "wake up."
Almost as if on reflex, the boy hisses, "No names on the field!"
"Tt, your team is too busy being failures to hear me anyways."
"Everyone screws up sometime," Dick argues as he recomposes himself. He's back on his feet now, brushing off mud from his costume all while keeping a weary eye on the clumps of mud that began to crawl together once again.
Damian just crosses his arms, refusing to take excuses, because, "they can't, not in Gotham, not with your li-"
"-Rob? Ugh my head…and is that…Ohmygod, why is the little demon here?" Wally cuts into their conversation, arousing from his unconsciousness surprisingly fast. It's unfortunate - Damian likes the speedster a lot more when he's on the ground, defeated, where he should be along with the rest of the ragtag team.
The two are in the middle of exchanging heated glares when Kaldur chooses to step into the conversation with a confused expression on his face, and he repeats Wally's last words, "A demon?" The Atlantean stares at Damian, who is in an almost exact replica of Dick's Robin costume asides from the flashes of green on the domino mask, the boots, and the sharper, spiked gauntlets. Despite the positively lethal expression on the smaller Robin's face, he doesn't find himself marking the newcomer as an enemy. The younger Robin had saved him, after all.
"Figure of speech," their Robin clarifies, placing a casual hand on his duplicate's shoulder. The younger boy looks as if he was about to lash back at the physical contact, but instead, he stiffens as if some signal had been transmitted through that simple touch. Robin smiles, the younger lets out a disgruntled "tt," and Kaldur isn't quite sure what's going on.
Then the mud lashes out once more, but the two birds of Gotham are already in flight. Their Robin grabs Kid Flash away, recruiting him to help transport the other members to safety. Meanwhile, the green Robin simply kicksKaldur out of the way with an immensely satisfied smirk. In the midst of the pain and confusion, Kaldur's still not sure what to make of this younger Robin.
He's even more arrogant, more reckless, than their Robin, but like their Robin, he's brilliant at what he does. Every light step gives off a feeling of confidence, and every move he takes promises a step closer to victory. However, there is also a sense of balance in this act - and this is what keeps Kaldur from interfering.
Each move is supported by an extra pair of eyes and arms, each step covered by the watchful shadow of another. The act is a duet, a song only possible with two Robins, and it is an almost noiseless song besides shallow grunts and ringing laughter.
It's amazing to watch. Thisis how Robin works at his best, this is the level of fluidity, trust, and coordination that their team lacks.
And before he knows it, it's over, and Kid Flash is by his side offering a supportive shoulder to lean on. All it took was one good shock with a frequency-adjusted taser to revert Clayface to an immobile puddle of mud on the ground. The simplicity of the victory is almost insulting.
"Tt, and that's how it's done."
Batman appears on the scene shortly after, and the team wakes up to the odd sight of not one, but two Robins following close to their mentor.
Artemis is the first to speak out, rubbing the soreness from her head as if it would solve her double vision. "Okay, who cloned the boy wonder?"
Damian's face contorts to a snarl before the sentence is even finished. "I am nota cl-"
"Robin," Batman's voice cuts in, sharp and commanding. Damian immediately shuts his mouth out of reflex if nothing else. "Back to the cave. Both of you."
The rest of the team also get no chance to ask questions. Batman commands them to return to the mountain as well with all questions about the mysterious second Robin left unanswered. Kaldur and Wally leave pensive, the memories of the flawless duo fresh in their minds. The rest of the team leave confused, anxious, and irate - despite the successful result, they know they had failed. Their victory had been stolen from them, and they don't even know how.
Dick is torn between feeling guilty for his team failing and feeling proud of his success with Damian. Looks of betrayal ruin the thrill of victory, and he realizes now that perhaps it's better that Damian had never accepted his offer to come to Mount Justice. He's not quite sure how to explain his brother to them - the tale is long, incredulous, almost unbelievable and easily liable to scorn. It's another secret among a team that already withholds so many of them.
The only one left pleased with the results of the night is Damian, who quickly goads his brother into a cool down spar once they reach the bat cave. He refuses to be in the background anymore, and if his little display had managed to show the team just how sub-par they were in comparison to him, then it was all for the better.
A/N: I found this in my files so I figure I should put this up. I have number 4 up on my tumblr but I'm still editing part 5 and the bonus.
Context for anyone who doesn't know - Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne via a love affair with one of his enemies daughters: Talia al Ghul. He's about 8. He's a little piece of snarky shit that somehow grows on you, and he was the Robin for Dick's latest run as Batman. They were the dynamic duo that got me into DC comics so I figure I should write them more :)