'Obviously,' Bruce said, and frowned when Dick's shadowy outline was swallowed by smoke. Why did he mov-?
Bruce felt a stab of pride for his protégé as he toyed with a few responses. Robin had clearly heeded his warnings about situations when he couldn't see someone- hearing a person's voice didn't automatically make it them. 'Zitka,' Batman said finally. Only he and Richard would know the significance of the name.
'Did you say "Robin"?' Flash asked, tone changing instantly. 'Mini-Bat?!' he shouted hopefully.
'The kid's here?' Shayera said, and Bruce decided she hadn't made the link between Robin and the shadowy figure who had been pelting things at her a few seconds before… Maybe it was better off that way.
Smoke stirred next to him, and Batman braced himself ever so slightly. In the next second, Robin had sprung off of the floor and landed on his back, arms wrapping around his neck as he gave him a backwards hug. Bruce almost laughed, but managed to quench it. 'Hello,' Bruce said, making his voice a little gentler than normal. Little fingers pinched a sensitive spot on his neck. It didn't really hurt, but Bruce got the message. Richard may have been happy to see him, but he was still annoyed.
'You left me,' Dick said indignantly, tightening his hold on Bruce. 'You didn't even call!'
'I'm sorry, kiddo,' Bruce murmured, pulling a hand up behind him so he could ruffle Robin's already messy hair. 'I got held up with everything that was going on.'
'You didn't even call Alfred,' said Richard huffily, but his tone was more playful this time.
'Can someone please get rid of this smoke?!' Flash called exasperatedly. 'Supes?'
'It's alright to inhale,' Batman called. There was the sound of a massive breath being taken, and Bruce quickly grounded himself again. The smoke eddied and then shot away. He didn't move, but Bruce felt himself (and his cape) being pulled towards Superman.
As the smoke cover cleared, Batman found he could very clearly see his surroundings. A few metres away, John was pulling a shield back, and Flash was skidding to a stop. Shayera was trying to pull her mace out of a crater she'd made in a desk. Superman coughed in the doorway and J'ohn was at his side, looking around curiously. Diana was closest to Batman, and as he very slowly turned -making sure he completely flattened his expression- she caught sight of him and practically choked.
'I told you I needed to call someone before we left for Main North,' Batman said in an absolutely deadpanned voice. Bruce refused to flinch as she locked eyes with him and then Robin. An enormous smile spread over her face. The weight on Bruce's back shifted, and he had the feeling that Dick waved. 'Diana, this is Robin. Robin, this is-'
'Diana?' Dick suggested innocently, holding out a hand. Diana's smile grew as she shook it, obviously finding it very funny that she was shaking his hand while he was piggybacking Batman. 'So, do I call you "Diana", "Wonder Woman", or "Princess"?' Robin added. There must have been an absolutely evil grin on Dick's face. Bruce face-palmed, I'll get you for this…
'Diana is fine, little one,' she said, giving Bruce a mischievous look.
'Little?' Robin just about squawked. He sounded indignant, but there was a joking undertone. Serves you right for that last comment, Bruce thought wickedly. 'I'm almost-'
'Finally!' Flash exclaimed, whirling around so he could see everything. His gaze flicked to Batman and a startled expression exploded onto his face. There was a second of silence, and then he burst out laughing. I guess that's a "no" to maintaining my dignity, Bruce thought, and glared at Flash.'Hey, Mini-Bat,' he choked out, and GL elbowed him.
'Hey,' Robin said, and Bruce just knew he was grinning.
'Is this Robin?' GL asked. Batman gave him a look.
'Of course not, Batman's just letting some random kid sit on him,' Dick said sarcastically, before Bruce could reply. The main difference between Bruce and Dick's sarcasm was that Dick smirked after he used it. He knew Robin must have, because John gave him an almost startled look before he chuckled.
'Sorry,' GL said, and Bruce felt Robin shrug. 'I'm Green Lantern, but you can call me John.'
'Shayera Hol,' the hawkgirl said, using her mace to wave.
'And I am J'ohn J'onzz,' Martian Manhunter said. 'Did you see who stopped these men?' J'ohn asked, and Batman realised he and Superman had moved.
'Not unless he passed a mirror,' Batman said and Robin snickered.
'You mean he-? All of them?' Shayera asked. Bruce hadn't had the time to count them all, but there were a fair few stacked up against the wall. Flash laughed something about toast and GL smiled.
'Yeah,' Robin said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. 'Did you get the guys that came in before?' Robin asked suddenly. 'I'm not sure if they're down on not.'
'We need to work on your detective skills,' said Batman, rolling his eyes. 'Robin, we were the ones who came in.'
The boy was silent for a second, and then he started laughing. 'Who-who'd I hit with the keyboard?' Dick gasped out.
'That would be me,' Superman said, and Bruce hid the proud smile that crept across his face. Diana however, gave him a wicked smile to show she had.
'Didn't you learn from last time?' Robin asked, laughing.
'Apparently not,' The Boyscout said, smiling kindly. Bruce noticed Flash running a hand over his forehead absently, like he could still feel a burn.
'You'd better hope he doesn't get his hands on kryptonite,' Flash said grinning, 'or you could be in some serious trouble, Supes.' The others laughed, and Bruce found he had to agree. Robin could do them all some serious damage if he needed to (Bruce had taught him, after all). While he didn't let Richard take on anything that wasn't normal crime, Bruce had taught him to handle Gotham villains and meta-humans. 'So- who's in the mood for twenty-questions?' Batman's head snapped around, but Barry Allen either ignored it or didn't even notice. 'I'll start! How old are you? Favourite colour? What's your favourite animal? Why is yournameRobinandisBatsgoingtokillmeforaskingyouthi s?'
'Yes,' said Bruce flatly. He heard Shayera murmur something about "motor-mouth", and earned a smile or two from the others.
'Wow,' Dick said, 'he was really holding back last time. Er… Okay, my favourite colour is red, I'm not telling you my age, elephants are awesome, "Robin" goes well with "Batman", and he won't kill you, but maiming is a definite possibility.'
Batman felt a little twinge of sadness when Flash questioned the name choice. He knew Dick was lying- it had been a nickname of his back at the circus. For that, he glowered a little harder at Flash, who shrunk a little, but not too much.
'You mean "Robin" isn't your real name?' GL questioned, frowning.
Robin laughed. 'Do you think "Batman" is his?' he asked, playing with one of the ears on Bruce's cowl. Shayera was doing a poor job of hiding her smirk.
'He makes it sound like he has a secret identity,' Superman said, narrowed eyes fixing on Bruce's masked ones.
'Why not?' Richard asked. 'If someone found out who I am, they'd find out who Batman is too.'
'You said you fought off all these men, right?' Superman said. 'That's pretty impressive for someone without experience.' He didn't look at Batman- he looked straight at Robin. Bruce knew what Superman was doing the second his tone changed and he glared at him, hard. He was using Clark Kent's questioning skills or Robin- using all the right words to get a reaction.
'I've got plenty of experience,' Robin snapped back, sounding a little offended. Kent had been smart to use condescension- Batman did not tolerate being talked down to, and neither would Robin.
'You sound like a reporter,' Batman said softly, his tone sharp. Superman's eyes widened as his words sunk in, and he swallowed, looking uncomfortable. He's wondering if I know, Bruce thought smugly, or if it was just an expression. He hoped Robin didn't smirk, because if he did it would confirm it.
'Supes,' Flash said, and Bruce was glad to see he looked disapproving at the man's tone, 'Robin's decked you twice this month, I think he can handle himself fine.'
'I can make it three times,' Robin threatened cheerfully. 'There's a fire extinguisher over there.'
'Hera, help us,' Diana said softly.
'Besides,' Flash continued, 'it's not like he's fighting the Joker or anything.'
That shook Superman out of his daze. 'How do we know that?' he asked, looking around at the other heroes.
'I would never put him in danger like that!' Bruce snarled. Superman took a step back.
There was a sigh very close to his ear, and the Richard shifted ever so slightly. 'How about I settle this?' he asked softly, and Batman frowned. In the time it took Bruce to wonder what he meant, Robin had launched himself over Bruce's head. He landed on Superman's shoulders, at just the right angle and with just enough force to knock him off of his feet.
Superman hit the floor with a bang, and Dick landed a few feet away, having flipped off before he could go down with him. Flash and Shayera snickered while Diana and GL hid smiles.
'Perhaps the boy is owed recognition for his skills, Superman,' J'ohn said, looking at Robin almost fondly (Bruce knew he was).
'Thanks,' Robin beamed, before turning back to the stunned looking Superman and offering a hand. 'Like Flash said, I can handle myself.' Bruce watched his ward help Superman up. He should be thankful Robin doesn't like to hold grudges, Batman thought.
'I'm starting to believe you,' Superman said honestly, still looking stunned. Bruce gave Superman a look that promised death if he tried any more tricks on Robin.