This takes place sometime after the first season of Teen Titans. Everything after that (and possibly some before depending on how extreme you are as a reader and fan) is pretty much AU.
Please see the end of the chapter for update information, and for now just have fun!
Chapter 1: Hero-Relations
Robin stood in front of City Square of Jump City, mentally preparing himself for the next 24 hours. Standing in the middle of the road, in broad daylight, was a little new for him. Well, it was certainly new when he was wearing full costume and no weapons in his hands. His hands itched toward his empty belt; he felt so exposed.
The four remaining Titans stood behind him, standing in a protective semi-circle around their leader. A large crowd of onlookers stood nearly a hundred feet back, blocked by barricades and armed police officers diligently watching the lines. So many people. Robin thought, breathing deeply in preparation.
"Robin, you don't need to do this." Cyborg commented. Robin winced. He didn't want to do to do this, but Superman had contacted him two weeks ago and asked him to make this small sacrifice for the Justice League. Batman still did not contact him personally, but Robin knew his mentor would benefit the most from Robin's actions today.
Superhero/community relations were tense lately and the Justice League was reaching out a hand to the community to prove they were friends and supporters of the government and people they protected. A small organization of anti-vigilante advocates had risen in the government and had already begun to stir something bitter in a few cities, so now the Justice League was taking active steps to ensure it did not grow to the point of destroying all relations. Protecting the citizens was always harder in a city that did not support its heroes.
It was not a serious threat, the Justice League simply saw smoke and wanted to protect against fire, but that was the reason Robin was asked to make a very public appearance now.
"Robin." Cyborg began again, when Robin didn't say a word. "People love us in Jump City. Nobody sees us as a potential threat here. You really don't need to do this."
"This is about more than Jump City." Robin finally spoke. "Right now, this is about Gotham."
"But you are no longer a part of that world." Starfire finally spoke up. "If Batman wishes to improve relations in his city, he should step forward on his own."
Robin smiled at that, imagining Batman standing before paparazzi, city officials, and over-excited civilians handing out autographs, interviews, and dozens of smiles.
"People still associate Batman and Robin as a team, even with me being in Jump City now." Robin replied. Only a year had gone by since he left Batman's side, and he knew his absence was part of the consternation the Gotham inhabitants had been feeling toward the Dark Knight. Robin needed to show that city that he still supported Batman, that Batman still deserved his and everybody else's trust. "My abrupt departure is part of the fuel that had led the city to believe Batman may be too much threat to allow free. I can rectify that, and help other cities, by sacrificing just a little of myself."
"But you are frightened. Raven said, her voice cool. She could sense his emotions just enough to know he was hiding the fear he truly felt.
Beast Boy snorted. "Frightened? Raven, Robin has fought most of the Gotham villains and Slade. He's annoyed about this, not frightened. What are they going to do? Hug him to death?"
Robin really did let out a shiver at that last statement. Yes, he would have to succumb to hugs and kissing babies and all that cute crap he had grown unaccustomed to. He tensed quickly as the doors to the City Center opened and both the Governor and the Mayor walked out to greet them.
We're making history. Robin thought, and walked forward to meet them on the steps. The team followed just a few steps behind Robin, allowing him to take the front and center. Truthfully, except for Beast Boy, they were not much more comfortable about this event then Robin was. But even though Robin was the important guest during this event, due to the effect this would hopefully have on Gotham, they needed to be a part of it as well.
"My dearest boy." Mayor Anderson loudly said while shaking Robin's hand warmly. They had met a few times on previous occasions, and Robin found he liked the welcoming man. Most government officials were not quite so warm, but Jump City was a bright enough city that the people still elected men like him. "We're so glad you agreed to participate in this event, I do believe the entire state population is in Jump City today!"
Robin nodded, smiling brightly for the cameras flashing in his eyes. He turned as Governor Aldez, a man not quite so known for his cheerful nature, stepped forward next. The smile was not quite as genuine as Mayor Anderson, but Robin knew it wasn't personal. This man was simply more aware of the nature of this occasion; he was taking this occasion and its implications very seriously.
"Thank you Mayor. Thank you Governor. My team and I have been looking forward to this for weeks now." Genuine. Robin thought, keeping his bright smile plastered on his face. I must be genuine, even in my head. The people will see right through this facade if my body language does not match my words. Heeding these thoughts, Robin turned to the paparazzi and citizens and waved briskly and with a large grin on his face.
"Well, before the events begin, do you want to say a few words?" Governor Aldez asked, pointing to a microphone set up at the base of the stairs. Robin nodded, and Governor Aldez walked pointedly to the microphone to make the introductions.
"On this day of celebration, one year since the Titans joined us as our very own superheroes, we have the unprecedented opportunity to hear from them, speak to them, and watch them as they allow us to get to know them as people and friends." Government Aldez spoke. His eyes glanced down to the paper in front of him, making sure he followed the script just right. He continued with the speech, finally ending with a loud: "And now we have Robin, here to speak to all of us! Please save your questions until he asks for them."
Robin walked when the governor waved him forward. He listened to the hoots and cheers for a minute, waving to the citizens with that bright smile on his face. He never smiled this much, even at home in the tower, but he needed to gain the entire country's support of meta-humans and superheroes, not just Jump City.
"Friends." Robin finally began, wanting it to start on a personal note. "I have only been with you for a year, yet you have left a deep and lasting impact on me and my team."
Yuck. Robin thought. Too cheesy. The Jump City villains, and probably heroes alike, would tease him about this for weeks. But this was part of the sacrifice he was willing to make for the Justice League, who were sure to be watching this as well.
"I have met many of you," Of course, you were probably screaming at the time because I was saving you from some nutter. "And I have grown so fond of you all. Thank you for welcoming us into your city. I only hope I can repay the favor."
Robin said a few more words, chosen specifically to express gratitude to the people of Jump City. He did not mention Batman, that would come during the questions. Batman would certainly be brought up, and then the answers would sound more genuine.
"Thank you." Robin concluded. "Are there any questions?"
Sure enough, the first question that came out was: "Why did you leave Gotham? Why did you leave the vigilante Batman?"
Robin winced at the question, but replied with all the enthusiasm he could muster, keeping a now fond smile planted on his face. "Batman is my mentor. My friend. He is a teacher and a guide, and the only father I could ever ask for." Robin said, now completely genuine, although incredibly awkward. "But he can protect Gotham. He has supporters there. In short, I came here ready to practice what he taught me on my own. I have met my friends," Robin gestured behind him to the Titans who kept their united front. "And I have been warmly welcomed to your city. I can promise you this, I will do everything in my power to protect you."
Cheers erupted once again, and Robin waved his gloved hands to the people. When it finally settled down, he spent the next half hour asking questions from everything between his relationship to Batman and his favorite pizza toppings.
Finally, the mayor stepped forward, saving Robin from having to answer questions all night. "I believe you were planning to show us some things about yourselves?" The Mayor asked in the microphone. Robin grinned, and nodded toward Beast Boy.
The Teen Titans were ambivalent about this part. They were asked to perform for the crowds, to make them appear more human and personal. It would be incredibly awkward, but the Justice League had strongly encouraged the kids to do the rather humiliating acts. Even Beast Boy looked uncomfortable, until Superman turned his personal attention to the kid and Beast Boy nearly melted.
Beast Boy began. First, he turned into a dinosaur, roaring so loud the buildings shook. People clapped and cheered, their children laughing in excitement. The mood was too bright for fear, even though the sight of Beast Boy could certainly bring that. Beast Boy changed into a few more unusual animals, sometimes flying close to the crowd, before finally turning the attention over to Raven.
Raven began to chant, drawing the dark energy around her. She stepped into a void she created and appeared on top of the City Hall moments later. It didn't inspire the cheering and clapping like Beast Boy's performance did, but it did inspire awe. Raven's use of the dark matter hypnotized the people, and when she finally reappeared near Starfire they were positively entranced.
Starfire shot thunderbolts for the crowd's excitement. She focused the targets on some crystals that had been planted along some wires. The moment they hit the crystals, the rocks lit up and glowed bright green. She flew with grace and poise, coming down close to the people to shake hands and ruffle hair. She left the crowd amused and giddy.
Cyborg was just fun. He aimed his cannons at targets and shot with excellent precision. Afterward, he showed off his strength by lifting a car with one hand. It stressed his body, but for a brief moment, with all the cheering, he felt like he was home.
Meanwhile, Robin had taken the time to work his way to ceiling of the city hall. What looked like a telephone wire, or even a streamer, was actually more of a tight rope. By the time Cyborg was finished with his act, Robin was prepared to begin his own.
With the crowd cheering and gasping, Robing began back hand-springs down to the center of the tight rope. With the crowds rapt attention, Robin began a series of gymnastics that would make even the most skilled performer awed.
Being in a circus was far different than being a martial arts expert who used acrobatics as a weapon. For the first time in years, Robin was being a pure performer. His moves were in no way useful in a fight, far too showy to transform into a kick, but they revealed the extent of his agility and flexibility.
The tightrope dropped suddenly, but Robin was prepared for it. It was all part of the plan. He would do the initial acrobatics extremely high, for the thrill it would bring to the spectators. People all around the country would be watching this, and their thrill grew exponentially with the danger Robin was subjected to.
As the rope dropped nearly fifty feet, Robin held still on the rope, keeping his balance so precise he didn't need to move his feet to adjust. It was all part of the performance, one that most people had to attend a circus to ever see. The rope he stood on was special, it stretched just enough to take the brunt of the drop, allowing him to focus on balance instead of gravity.
Robin waved to the people of Jump City before doing an aerial off the rope. He was still too far up for a safe landing, but at the last minute he shot off his bird-a-rang, allowing it to catch on a pillar and swing him safely to the rest of the Teen Titans. With a final back-flip, once again meant purely for show, he landed safely in front of the Mayor. Perfect landing. Robin thought with another smile.
The cheer of the crowd was deafening. Robin was grateful he now had a few minutes reprieve, since there were several more hours to go. The attention would no longer be focused entirely on the Teen Titans, but they were expected to mingle with the crowd.
As the mayor ushered the Titans into the City Hall, Beast Boy muttered quietly, "If a villain shows up, we get to fight them, right?"
Sweaty from all the work, Robin was still able to muster up a smile. He responded sarcastically, "Of course not, Superman made it very clear that today was our day off. He and the other members of the league will be avidly watching our city to ensure we have this great opportunity to improve superhero relations with the community."
Beast Boy groaned loudly enough for the mayor to turn around and give a look. Robin swiftly smiled at the mayor, calming him, and then commented, "Beast Boy thinks he ate a bug."
If Slade didn't believe in the value watching his enemies' movements, he never would have watched the humbling display the Titans were forced to put on for the country. It was obvious to him why the Titans were doing it. The drop in hero-support in cities like Gotham, Star City, and Metropolis made it all-too obvious why these kids would come out in public.
The Justice League wouldn't do it. Even though the problems were their own, the members had far bigger issues they needed to focus on before turning their attention to issues like "Community-relations." And Batman wouldn't step out of his shadows no matter how dire the situation had become.
Which left Robin. When Robin first appeared on screen, Slade had grimaced. That smile was not natural on Robin at all, not anymore. The kid was seriously determined and obsessive when need be. Sure he laughed with his friends, but Slade had never seen Robin keep a grin on his face for more than a few seconds.
If there was one thing Slade admired and almost hated the most about Robin, it was his loyalty. Slade demanded the utmost loyalty from his followers, and would expect nothing less from his successor. Robin portrayed loyalty in spades, even just by doing this for his hero mentors.
Leaning back in his chair, Slade's eye flickered between the Jump City news station broadcast and the personal cameras Slade kept focused on City Hall. Slade noticed the strategic quality to Robin's speech immediately. Robin didn't mention Batman or the Justice League, he kept the initial focus on the Teen Titans and Jump City. But everybody wanted to hear about his relationship with the Dark Knight, probably wanting to get the dirty grit on the reclusive man, and so the minute Robin opened it up for questions the true purpose of the event came out.
Truly admirable. For a moment, Slade wondered if Robin thought this up on his own or if one of the heroes did. Probably on his own. The boy always had a knack for these things, and his pride wouldn't let him seek help on the last details.
Then the Titans began their performances. Slade ignored them for the most part, having seen the Titans performance up close and personal. Even Slade had to admit they were admirable when using their powers. But when it came to those four Titans, powers were the only unique thing about them.
Then Robin came on. Slade saw Robin climb up the top of the building using his personal camera, but what the boy did next shocked him.
The boy was a performer. Slade didn't know where it came from, but it was obvious. The boy had grown up as a performer. Maybe his parents signed him up in gymnastics, hoping he would make it to the Olympics one day. Or perhaps Robin had started his training with a second-rate trainer who understood performances but not true martial arts.
Slade knew this because many of the jumps, flips, and dives Robin did in the set had nothing to do with fighting. No true master would waste time and dignity with training a child to make an aerial dive that would result in getting him killed in a real battle.
And Robin was far more comfortable on a tightrope than he should be. Why would a fighter know these moves? Batman certainly wasn't the type to teach Robin that, meaning that Robin must have had an entirely different experience before training with Batman.
Seeing the boy's agility and strength increased Slade's resolve to make the kid his apprentice: and for longer than the natural lifetime. He understood that the boy's loyalty ran far too deep for Slade to change it easily. But seeing the kid in this different element, one in which he excelled and truly seemed to enjoy, changed how Slade knew he would go about the eternal apprenticeship.
"Wintergreen." Slade called. He watched the rope plummet fifty feet to the ground; Robin seemed perfectly at ease. Slade caught his breath when Robin jumped. Too high, he thought. At the last moment, Robin used his bird-a-rang and landed directly next to the mayor. A grant finale that made even Slade jump, fearing that the boy would die before Slade could get his hands on the kid once again.
Wintergreen entered the room slowly. "You called?"
"Contact the HIVE. It's time we move into action, the HIVE fortress is fortified, and the Titans are not likely to become any more vulnerable than they are now."
Wintergreen looked up at the screen, frowning when he saw the station replaying Robin's performance. "I'll send the message now. How will you get around the Justice League? Your plan for Robin's public capture won't go unnoticed by the superheroes, and the Justice League won't stand to the side while you capture one of their young."
Slade smiled. "They will stand to the side, or innocent citizens will die. Who do you think they will choose?"
A/N: Hope you all liked this! Let me know what you think. Since I have been struggling with my Supernatural fanfic, I thought I would work on something else for a while. Because of my struggles with the Supernatural fanfic, I originally planned to have this entire story completed before posting even one chapter. But, I think I might need some motivation coming up.
So far I have about eight chapters completed (and a few other chapters started but still incomplete). I will plan on posting one chapter per week (while I'm drafting the other chapters), unless I receive five constructive reviews on a chapter. Then I will post the following chapter, and the clock will begin again. Make sense? Reviews motivate me, so I'll motivate you to review with some constructive criticism! If I don't receive the reviews, no worries, I won't hold the story hostage for them.
Also, would anybody be willing to be a beta for me? I've re-read the first eight chapters several times already, so the task shouldn't be too daunting, but I would love a second set of eyes.