Dick's head hit the keyboard in front of him while he groaned, "He did what?"
On the screen before the sitting Bat was the image of his childhood friend Donna Troy, aka Troia, who had her face scrunched up from obvious stress, "I don't know HOW he did it. All I know is that Bart left the room and now it's flooded with sea water and worst of all, all of our coffee is missing!"
"Master Dick, may I ask why the League keeps 200 gallons of sea water in the Watchtower?" Alfred asked behind the stressed out Batman.
The coffee he understood.
"That's the problem Alfred-we don't!"
Alfred's concerned face morphed back into a neutral visage before he set down his favorite serving tray by his master's side, piled high with sandwiches that probably wouldn't get eaten. He nodded solemnly and then excused himself to pick up his duster and head off to the trophy room.
"If I didn't need to stick around and wait for Kara, I'd be chasing that caffeine-induced brat through South America," Troia promised with a strict nod.
Dick didn't hear the footsteps on the stairs.
"Alright, I'll be up in a few minutes to organize a clean-up. Though, that will take three hours at minimum."
"I'll be waiting."
The screen switched back to the Bat-symbol background and Dick finally raised his head and ran his hand through his dark hair. The NEW League was still getting into their own reputation and the internal core security bypass codes were only known by him and Jade, who was in the Strata galaxy some 500 million light years away with no direct communication to any hero on earth that didn't have extremely advanced telepathic powers.
"We're not going patrolling are we?"
The man half gasped and turned in his chair to see Damian at the foot of the stairs. He was already suited up, but as the elder stared at him, the boy reached up, removed the mask from his face and angrily tore the cape from around his shoulders. Obviously angry.
"I'm sorry Damian. I'm needed at the Watchtower," the acrobat said, getting to his feet and pulling his cowl over his head.
"Tt! Whatever!" the boy spat and stalked over to the Batmobile whereupon he opened the hood, "I'll work on the engine boosters and improve the vertical takeoff."
It had been a full year. A year without Bruce, a year of being Batman, a year of leading the Justice League and a year of raising Damian. It hadn't been easy. Well, OK most of the time it had been hell on earth.
But Dick couldn't bring himself to regret it. As cliché as it sounded, not one moment of it.
Damian was obviously upset. They 'were' going to investigate the Ratanio case immediately after patrol but now-
Batman sighed and glanced up at the ceiling of the Bat-Bunker. How many times had he gotten discouraged back when he couldn't go on a mission as the Boy Wonder? Normally, he would've asked someone else to patrol with the boy instead, but the few people Damian would patrol with were unavailable at the moment. Batgirl was gone to New York City with a study club, Tim was who-knows-where and the Nuns at the orphanage had taken their children to a show tonight-so Colin couldn't go either.
"Are you going to keep standing there staring at me like an idiot or get going?" Damian said kind of solemnly.
He hadn't seen the boy changing at all. Dick decided that it must be a parental thing; you blink and suddenly it has been an entire year!
"Damian, I think it's time."
"Yeah, shouldn't you be going?"
"Yes, I should," Batman said, walking over to the controls on the Bat-Computer where he began typing a few lit-up keys, "Good luck with the case."
The boy dropped the wrench he had scooped up off of the floor before turning around quickly, his blue eyes slightly wide, "What?"
"…" Dick just raised an eyebrow under his cowl.
"You mean, on my own?"
The boy looked like he had just seen a…well something unbelievable.
Batman looked back at the computer and typed a few last keystrokes, "I expect a full report when I return. Take the new Bat-Jet, it needs testing."
With that, the Dark Knight disappeared in a flash of white light.
A short ten minutes later, Alfred exited the trophy room with a questioning wide-eyed glance at the empty spot that had held the new Bat-Jet model. He hadn't heard a 'whoop!' of excitement had he?
No. That was ridiculous.
The Boy Wonder ducked under a bronze knuckle duster and thrust his arm upward to hit the proverbial 'funny bone' in the man's arm.
It was only a momentary advantage but it was more than enough for him. Launch up, jam knuckles into the sinuses above the eyes and deliver a sharp-toe kick to the left side of the clavicle bone. Not broken, just bruised. Show restraint. He had to especially show restraint tonight. He was on his own.
A backhand flip allowed him to land on the shoulders of another mobster trying to run up behind him and take advantage of his back to the crazy-maniac. Just a knife. Robin struck the man's left temple and the numbskull tripped forward, assuring Damian that his dizzying strike had been straight and true. Two double split kicks took down the idiots armed with wooden baseball bats, knocking two of them into the guy's faces.
Robin hoped it stung.
The boy glanced around at the moaning and unconscious muggers he had run into Crime Alley and smiled. Good work. He smirked with pride, but then stiffened suddenly at the sound of approaching sirens. He scowled, jumped for the nearby fire escape and launched himself upwards until he worked out his grapple from his belt and shot it onto the nearest six-story building.
When safely on the rooftops, Robin watched below as uniformed policeman rushed into the alley, Commissioner Gordon at the back of the group with a hand on the shoulder of a witness. A teenage girl of about 15, muttering off names to the Commissioner as the other cops started handcuffing the Mariachi gang. Robin didn't give himself credit for it though. If two of them hadn't been trying to mug that old woman, he wouldn't have went after them.
Robin continued to stare down as he thought about the act of actually perching on the edge of the rooftop and staring down as he would in the future. He WOULD be the Dark Knight. For now, he glanced between the uniforms scurrying about below and the darkening sky of the late sunset. It had to be summer when the daylight lasted much too long.
Gordon broke away from the group as every officer began loading the gang away and the Boy Wonder followed him with his eyes as he moved back into the alleyway.
Getting the hint, the boy made his way across the open gap and to the opposite rooftop whereupon he dove and landed silently onto the fire escape below him.
"Where is he?"
"Justice League business."
"He let you out alone?"
"He trusts me."
More sirens erupted in the distance, Gordon heard the swish of a cape in the wind and he chuckled under his breath, "Go get em' Boy Wonder."
A very old one-shot I thought up near the beginning of the two's first run as the Dynamic Duo. I found it in an old notebook.
It's definitely one of my older, more pathetic pieces but I got it typed up because I needed something to do while watching NASA's live feed about "Curiosity" landing on Mars.
Which was a complete success I might add!