Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Previously in A Lone Bird:
There was a brief silence as the heroes thought over what they had learned.
"Seriously though, Dick?" Wally asked.
"Dude, I'll stab you and leave the blade in there until you heal around it and then rip it out."
"Right, don't make fun of the name. Got it," Wally said apologetically. Dick narrowed his eyes in warning and turned to Batman.
"So, can I go now?" he asked.
"No," Batman replied.
"Why not? We did the sharing thing – I'm better now," Dick argued.
"You're staying," Batman said. Dick twisted his face a bit in displeasure.
"We'll see," the bird muttered. "Can I have my sleeve back then?" he asked.
"I noticed that – what happened there?" Wally asked gesturing to the bird's arm.
"Batman apparently gets his jollies by ripping other people's sleeves off unnecessarily," Dick answered, his tone just a little sarcastic. Batman raised an eyebrow behind his cowl. Dick scowled, reading the question there, "Yes, I'm serious – I want it back."
"Why?" M'gann asked. "It's torn already, are you going to sew it back on?"
"I don't exactly have a ton of these shirts you know, and it would take so much effort to 'find' another like it," Dick explained.
"Why the air quotes around 'find'?" Artemis asked.
"I refuse to incriminate myself," Dick replied. The archer's eyes lit with understanding.
"Oh, I see," she said. Dick snorted.
"Sure you do. Are you sure I can't leave?" he questioned, looking pleadingly up at Batman.
"Yes," the Dark Knight replied unmoved.
"But it's Tuesday," Dick endeavored.
"So?" Flash asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
"It doesn't matter, you're staying," Batman stated, ignoring the Scarlet Speedster's question. Dick sighed in resignation.
"Fine, but I refuse to be held responsible for what happens," he warned.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Wally asked.
"Exactly what it does," Dick replied.
"What? Never mind, I don't want to know how your brain works. What's the worst that could happen?" Wally inquired.
A ringing noise sounded from the counter where Batman had placed Dick's belongings. The Bat turned around and dug into the pouch pulling out a modified cell phone.
Batman held it out toward Dick, the screen flashing with a green smiley face. Dick simply smirked and nodded to the device.
"Well, aren't you gonna answer?" he asked. Batman narrowed his eyes suspiciously, but pressed the button to answer.
"Hellooooo" Joker called appearing on the screen of the device. He blinked seeing Batman. "Batsy? I could have sworn I called the birdie," he frowned. "Oh well. Batsy, have you seen Kar-Kar? He's missing card night! I even got Baney-Boy to come," he whined.
The clown turned the camera so it was facing a card table. Catwoman, Harley, and the Penguin sat around the table along with a very tied-up and pissed looking Bane.
"Release me payaso (clown)," the villain snarled.
"Ah-ah-ah, what did I say about that tone, Banesy?" Joker asked condescendingly.
"Release me, now," Bane demanded struggling in his bindings, what appeared to be a mixture of rope, bungee cords and something that looked suspiciously like a stretched-out slinky with licorice braided around it.
"You see, this is the kind of behavior that forced us to cut your little tube and bolt the chair down," Joker scolded.
Bane scowled muttering darkly to himself in Spanish. Joker sighed dramatically.
"Banesy, you know I don't speak Chinese," he admonished.
"Idiota," Bane replied.
"Tone," Joker reminded smiling gleefully.
"Yeah, don't talk to Mr. J like that!" Harley exclaimed jumping up from her seat, pulling a fish from one of the surrounding crates and smacking Bane across the face with it.
Bane looked outraged while Joker wagged his finger mock-sternly at Harley.
"Now, now, Harley, you know we don't hit our guests with fish," he scolded. Harley looked down at the floor pouting, "– use a mallet!" the Joker finished boisterously, breaking down into a fit of laughter. When he calmed down the clown turned back to the phone.
"Where were we? Oh yes – where is Karasu?" he asked.
Batman looked up to Dick who simply stared back at him with a smirk and raised eyebrows.
"He's here," the Dark Knight replied.
"Fantastic! Just send him over, then," the Joker replied.
"No," Batman said.
"No? Why not?" Joker whined.
"He's injured—" Batman started.
"What!?" Joker shrieked, pressing up close to the camera so only his eye was visible to the heroes as if it would allow him to actually see the bird. "How?" he demanded. "Arm cut off? Shot in the left foot with a nail gun? EVISCERATED?" he listed and paused, backing up from the camera a bit, "Did Batsy hit him with the Batmobile?"
"He was poisoned," Batman said bluntly.
"Well that's not nearly as dramatic," Joker replied. Dick snorted.
"Sorry I'm not dying in some fantastic way," he retorted loud enough for the clown to hear.
"Kar-Kar!" Joker exclaimed gleefully, "Why aren't you here?" he demanded.
"Because I'm here," Dick answered.
"Well obviously, you're there, not here. Are you really hurt?" Joker asked suspiciously.
"I'm fine, but Batman won't let me leave," Dick replied flippantly.
"You were dying!" Wally exclaimed.
"Yeah," Dick replied slowly, giving the speedster a look that said and?
"You were dying!" Wally repeated.
"You already said that," Dick pointed out.
"It warrants repeating," the speedster returned incredulously.
"You lost the use of your legs," Conner interjected, brows crinkled slightly.
"So? I could've walked on my hands," Dick replied with a shrug.
"But how would you play cards?" Joker asked, joining back into the conversation.
"Once I was in the chair I would be able to use my hands for that," Dick answered.
"True," Joker agreed, nodding sagely.
"I can't believe this," Artemis muttered to herself.
"So you really can't come?" Joker continued.
"Nope - Batman won't let me off bed rest," Dick said.
"Fine, Bats is such a party-pooper," Joker complained. "You'll be here next week?" he inquired.
"Probably," Dick replied.
"Joker, Bane's getting away!" Penguin called. Joker's head snapped around.
"Baney-Boy, you broke my chair!" he exclaimed cutting the call.
"You're lucky, I was expecting him to come bursting through a wall or something," Dick said in the silence following the call.
"Seriously?" Wally asked.
"I wouldn't put it past him," Dick replied with a shrug.
"Eviscerated?" Artemis piped up.
"What? He knows big words," Dick retorted defensively.
"Yeah, but if you had been cut open, gutted really, then you would be dead," the archer said.
"Not necessarily—" Dick paused at Artemis' unimpressed look. He rolled his eyes, "fine, yes, I would most likely be dead."
"That's enough, everyone out," Batman ordered ushering the other heroes out of the room.
"Me, too?" Dick asked perking up a bit.
"No," Batman said.
"Then what am I supposed to do?" the bird asked.
"Rest," Batman replied simply. Dick furrowed his eyebrows, an incredulous expression on his face.
"But I just woke up," he said.
"Sleep is the fastest way to heal," Batman retorted. Dick rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, yeah, but it really doesn't help for you to say that when I'm not tired," he rebuked.
"Sleep," Batman said.
"You're really not giving up on this," the bird commented.
"Sleep," Batman repeated blandly.
"Ugh, fine," Dick replied flopping down on the bed. "I hope you're happy," he said.
"Ecstatic," the Dark Knight replied dryly. Dick snorted, throwing an arm over his face as Batman switched the lights off.
"Where could he be?" M'gann asked worriedly.
"His stuff is gone," Wally reported.
"I haven't heard the computer make any announcements since Batman left," Conner said.
"Yeah, but he could just hack the computer so it doesn't announce anything, especially if he's got his equipment," Artemis said.
"True," Wally agreed.
"Batman instructed us to make sure he stayed in the mountain, we must find him before Batman returns," Kaldur said.
"Yeah, should we split up?" Wally asked.
"Yes, split up and meet back here when you finish searching your area, call if you find him," Kaldur replied.
"Right," they nodded, setting off in different directions.
Wally was speeding through the halls, checking the occasional room as he passed. The speedster's eyes widened as he rounded a corner.
He had just enough time to register the colors red and black before he ran full speed into the black. He tumbled to the ground landing on the black thing which proceeded to push him off and roll over. Wally just groaned.
After a moment, the speedster rolled onto his back and looked over to see what – or more accurately, who – he had run into. He blinked seeing Dick sitting next to him and Flash standing over them both.
"Jeez, KF, what is with you and the human airbag thing?" Dick asked pulling himself to his feet and offering the downed speedster a hand.
Wally just stared at the proffered hand, mouth hanging open as the familiarity of the scene crashed down on him. Dick smirked, "So KF," he drawled, "Are you whelmed?"
"You – but…it – that – it was you! I –" the speedster rambled before freezing up, his thoughts going faster than he could voice them. Dick waved a hand in front of his face.
"I think I broke him," he told Flash apologetically.
"Nah, he'll be fine," the older speedster replied waving a hand dismissively.
"Now what were you asking before my most recent human airbag experience?" Dick asked.
"Oh yeah, where's Batman? Wasn't he with you?" the Flash inquired.
"Yeah, but he got called away to Gotham for something or another – told me to stay here," the bird replied.
"And you're actually going to?" Flash asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I guess, I don't really have anything else I need to do today," Dick answered with a shrug.
"There you are!" M'gann exclaimed, coming around the corner with the rest of the team.
"Here I am?" Dick repeated in an unsure tone.
"Why did you leave the med-bay?" the Martian asked.
"I was bored. Would you just sit around there all day?" Dick retorted.
"No, but you should have told us you were leaving it," M'gann said.
"Maybe I was looking for you guys so I could tell you," the bird returned.
"Were you?" Artemis asked, an expectant expression settling on her face. Dick shrugged.
"No, but I could have been," he replied.
"Uh-huh, sure," Artemis drawled, eyes finally lighting on the frozen speedster on the ground. "What happened to Baywatch?"
"I broke him," Dick replied shrugging carelessly. "Flash said he'd be fine," he added.
"I'll see you guys when Batman gets back?" Flash inquired.
"Yeah, we'll be in the living area," Artemis replied. Flash nodded and took off to other parts of the mountain while the team, minus one frozen speedster, and Dick headed for the TV room/kitchen.
They hadn't been there long when Wally suddenly appeared in a gust of wind.
"Where did you go?" he demanded. Dick glanced around.
"Uh, living room?" he hedged.
"No, two years ago, in the alley, where did you go?" Wally reiterated. Dick blinked in understanding.
"Oh, I climbed up onto the building," he replied.
"Why?" Wally pushed.
"Because you were going to ask for my name," Dick answered with a shrug.
"Yeah, so?" Wally replied, rolling his hand in a 'go on' gesture.
"I didn't have one to give at the time," Dick explained.
"What do you mean?" M'gann cut in.
"Dick Grayson had been declared dead, and I hadn't taken on the name Karasu yet," the bird said.
"Is that how you want it to stay?" Batman asked walking into the room, Superman trailing in behind him and Flash appearing moments later.
"What do you mean?" Dick asked raising an eyebrow.
"Dick Grayson being 'dead,' is that what you want?" Batman amended.
"What, is Dick Grayson going to miraculously come back from the dead only to be sent to some orphanage?" Dick asked incredulously.
"Bruce Wayne is still interested in adopting you," Batman said.
"Oh? And you know Bruce Wayne well enough to say he would still want to take in a troubled orphan?" Dick asked smirking slightly. Batman narrowed his eyes warningly.
"Yes," he replied monotonously.
"He is involved with the League, you know, with funding and all. And Batman's always saving him and his guests when the bad guys crash his parties," Artemis commented. Dick nodded in consent, but kept his eyes focused on the Bat.
"Say Bruce Wayne does adopt me. Do you really expect me to suddenly become normal? I grew up in a circus and I've been living on the streets as a veritable criminal for four years. I'm not going to be the perfect little rich boy." Dick challenged.
"No one said you'd have to be," Batman replied. Dick raised an eyebrow.
"And what? I'm supposed to believe that you'd let me run around Gotham unauthorized?" he asked.
"Who says you'd be unauthorized?" the Dark Knight countered. The bird's other eyebrow inched up to join its counterpart.
"That an offer for a position as protégée to the Batman? The very hero who only works alone in Gotham?" he asked.
"Is that what you want it to be?" Batman returned.
"Why can't you two just ask questions and answer them like normal people?" Wally whined.
"Where would the fun in that be?" Dick replied with a smirk.
"The League can't be involved with someone whose loyalties are unknown," Superman interjected.
"Oh come on, I've never gone against the League itself," Dick retorted.
"You've hacked into our servers," Superman said incredulously.
"Yeah, but I initially only did that to get someone into Cadmus," Dick replied. "Oh, that reminds me. You," he jabbed a finger at Superman, "need to talk to him," he continued, gesturing toward Conner. "And none of that 'I'm too busy saving the world,'` crap either."
"What?" Superman asked. Dick rolled his eyes.
"I'm not here that often and even I can see that you ignore him at best," he said. Superman furrowed his eyebrows.
"What does that matter to you?" he asked.
"I practically orchestrated his escape from Cadmus – I'm invested in his well-being," Dick replied.
"Look, Batman's already had his little intervention-" the Man of Steel started.
"Yeah, but Batman wouldn't go so far as to physically hurt you," Dick rebuked.
"I don't know about that – sometimes it looks like he wants to," Flash commented.
"Whose side are you on?" Superman exclaimed. Flash grinned.
"The side of Justice," he said.
"I cannot believe you just said that," Artemis groaned.
"What? I've always wanted to. Who would pass up an opportunity like that?" the Scarlet Speedster defended.
"We're getting off track here, how could you hurt me physically?" Superman asked a little condescendingly.
"Let's just say that life's hard enough without having to worry about someone shoving Kryptonite down your throat while you sleep," Dick retorted. Superman's eyes narrowed.
"You don't have Kryptonite," he said accusingly.
"Maybe I do, maybe I don't – and know that even if I don't, I know someone who can get it," Dick replied flippantly.
"Who?" Superman demanded. Dick simply raised an eyebrow.
"Do you really think I'm going to tell you?" he asked, hands behind his back and a mischievous smirk playing on his lips.
"That's enough," Batman demanded.
"I was kind of enjoying it," Flash said. Batman sent him an unimpressed look, but the speedster just shrugged. Batman rolled his eyes beneath the cowl.
"So what do you think?" He asked turning to Dick.
"What? About the protégée thing?" Dick asked, hands still behind his back, Batman noticed.
"Yes," he replied.
"I'll think about it," Dick said as the lights went out, plunging the room into darkness. Just as suddenly as they went out, they were back, but Dick was gone - a red feather floating toward the ground in his place.
"Where did he-?" Wally was interrupted as a laugh was heard echoing all around them. A cackling sort of laugh that sent shivers down their spines.
I'm so sorry. I got stuck on exactly how I wanted to do this chapter, and right when I figure it out, my computer up and dies on me. I lost the entire freaking chapter. So I had to get a new computer, which took a little while. Then I had to try and rewrite what I did have, which means I had to try and remember if what I was writing had been in the story already, or was in what I had typed for this chapter. And then –THEN – I get what I already had more or less typed up, and my word processor suddenly. Stops. Working. (Are you freaking kidding me?!) and it took a few days for me to figure out what, exactly, was wrong with that so I could finish. Then I finish the freaking story, and my Internet stops working, we had to wait for almost a week before someone could fix it. So obviously the universe itself was against this chapter, yet I rebelled against it and got it done. What horrible thing is going to happen to me for that? I'm sorry universe, but I've got responsibilities here!
I kind of hate this chapter now. And technology. Stupid technology.
Rants. They're beautiful things.
But, yeah, this is the end. I left it kind of open, so you can interpret it as you will. Sure, he's probably become Robin (the laugh is a Robin thing that I left out until now), but will he always be Robin? Or will there be times when Karasu makes a come back? Or will he continue to mostly be Karasu and periodically help the Justice League out as Robin? Who knows?
Thanks for reading! Love you guys!