What if the Court of the Owls got a hold of Dick, before he could be rescued by Batman?
What if, for a few long months, the nine-year-old was forced to train in the art of killing?
What if those momentous months caused him to become Robin at ten?
What if the Boy Wonder was more rough, less optimistic and took a… grittier look at the world?
Independence Day; Part One
One year ago, The Batcave-
Looking at the scrawny 12 year-old in front of him, Green Arrow scoffed. "Bats, didn't know you'd be the kind to have a sidekick. What's the name, Bat-Boy? How long has he been your partner? Is there a Mrs. Bats we don't know about?"
"If you want to know so badly," the sullen boy remarked dryly, not moving a muscle, "It's Robin, two years, but Batman believes I should be isolated from the other partners, and no, there isn't a 'Mrs. Bats'." Ollie noticed Robin's faint, but noticeable, accent. He wondered if English was the kid's first language.
"Robin," Batman interjected roughly, "I didn't bring you here to make conversation."
He received a clipped answer in response, "Let me remind you that I wasn't even the one who started it."
"On their way."
Robin gave a curt nod as his answer and moved to stand stoically by his mentor's side.
"Nice, Batman, you've got some sidekick there." Ollie remarked sarcastically, "I wonder what else he can do, I know if I had a kid he'd be pretty-"
"Robin isn't my sidekick," Batman corrected him, "nor is he my son."
Queen blanched. If Robin wasn't Batman's son, or sidekick, then what was he? Some random street rat? The billionaire discarded that thought as quickly as it came. Batman wouldn't let just anyone stand by his side. Figuring the mystery out would be much easier if he knew the man's identity.
The Zeta-Tube interrupted his thoughts.
"Recognized: Flash, 0-4. Kid Flash, B-01."
"Sup, Bats! It is nice that you called us for once.. but uh.. why?" The Flash nervously called out, barely refraining from slipping into what the others called 'speed-talk'. After all, it wasn't everyday the actual Batman called other league members in. Heck, if the man could have it his way he wouldn't even have Zetas in his cave!
Bruce nodded to his protege flanking his right shoulder, gaining Kid Flash's attention.
"Woah! Bats! You got a sidekick? Wicked cool!" The fourteen-year-old flashed a grin containing his pearly whites, expecting a reaction from the younger boy. Wally had a way of getting people to talk to him, whether it be something that should be repeated or not. Of course, he did just call him a sidekick- only a serious idiot would do that.
Robin's face remained emotionless, the Court had wrung out any lasting smiles from his body long ago. "Not sidekick," he stated, "Partner."
Not the reaction Wally was hoping for, but it was at least something.
Batman filled in for his partner, "This is Robin, he and I patrol Gotham together."
"Pleasure to meet ya, Robin! Name's Kid Flash," he thought for a moment, "though, if you're a bat you'd already know that, huh?"
Present day, The Hall of Justice-
"That's it? You promised us a real look inside, not a glorified backstage pass!" Speedy was fuming. Today was the day, he, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Robin were supposed to be getting a trip to the real HQ, the Watchtower! Instead, here they were.. getting left behind like- like sidekicks!
"Roy, calm down. You're getting an inside look few others are lucky enough to receive-" Green Arrow was almost instantly cut off by his wards furious glare.
"I will not calm down! All we got was access to a stupid gym, galley (whatever that is), and let's not forget- this 'library'." He turned his body to face the glass and pointed his finger towards the eager reporters that were taking pictures of the special occasion, misunderstanding what was going on entirely, "Who cares what side of the glass we're on!?" pleadingly, Roy turned his gaze behind him to his fellow heroes, "Don't you all see? They're treating us like-!"
The archer's head snapped towards Robin. It was rare for the boy to speak, and when he did it was usually short, clipped answers that got straight to the point. The only other person (besides Batman) to gain any type of emotion, no matter how small, was Wally- and that was only because they'd been "friends" for over a year. Roy wondered if Kid was Robin's only friend, inside of costume and out. He didn't seem to be very 'sociable'. Needless to say, when he spoke, everyone listened.
Batman nodded his head towards his ward in thanks. "We need to leave. As our partners you all will stay here while we take care of Wotan. We will fini-"
"No." this time it was Roy's answer that was clipped, devoid of all emotion, "No- I won't be here when you get back. I quit."
Speedy threw his hat down in defiance by his mentors feet, gaining more flashes from the cameras above.
"Any of you tired of your mentor's bull?" Addressing the younger heroes before him, Roy sighed when he didn't receive an answer, "Fine. Fine! stay there- see if I care."
With those final words, the protege of Green Arrow left the Halls of Justice.
"Speedy can be dealt with later," Batman retorted quickly when he heard the doors slam shut, "now, however, Wotan proves-"
Kid Flash rolled his eyes, "-to be the bigger threat. We know, Bats. Just go already!" while Roy was his friend Batman was right, there were things bigger going on than a petty tour around The Hall of Justice.
With one final, sweeping gaze across the would-be team Batman nodded his head once, and lead the group of leaguers to the Zeta-Tube. If anything, he could count on Dick to keep a level head about the situation. It had been ingrained in his ward's head long before coming to the Manor to follow orders- however troublesome they may be.
"Recognized: Batman, 0-2. Aquaman, 0-6. Flash, 0-4. Green Arrow, 0-8. Martian Manhunter, 0-7. Red Tornado, 1-6."
As soon as the glow of the Tube died down Robin stood, and immediately headed towards the large computer monitor.
"Robin.." Aqualad drawled out, "what are you doing?"
"Cadmus," he stated simply before stretching his fingers out, getting ready to hack and find out what they were dealing with. The computer system was surprisingly similar to the Batcave's- and he would know, after all he did redesign it, "there was a fire."
Wally seemingly caught on to his friend's train of thought, "And by solving whatever's going on there…" he waited for Kaldur to finish the sentence.
"-we gain the trust of the League. I do not see how that could possibly go wrong." The Atlantean finished in a somewhat sarcastic tone, "Do you honestly expect it to be this easy?"
Robin's fingers paused in his data gathering, seemingly in thought, before he nodded his head in an affirmative, and continued. For years he had been told (sometimes forced) to follow orders, and though it went against his very nature to disobey one- he couldn't help it. In more ways than one he was Batman's equal, it's why they were partners. Bruce was supposed to trust him with everything, or so he thought.
The monitor beeped with a satisfactory 'access granted'- interrupting his thoughts before they could grow any deeper.
Zooming over using his super-speed, Wally read the screen aloud. "Looks like it's here in DC. There's not much on the file.. but if Batman is interested in them-" he turned to the group of two behind him. Robin, however, was already at the double doors, waiting.
"Are you coming?" he stated simply. They were wasting precious time talking like that. The more they waited the less of an investigation they could hold down at Cadmus.
The two heroes looked directly at each other, were they really willing to go as far as disobeying their respective mentors? "Let's go." Both replied with a determined nod. If Robin, one of the youngest (but most experienced) partner thought it was a good idea to inspect a seemingly harmless fire- why shouldn't they?
Ugh! I posted this at 4 am. Reread it, fixed it. Deleted it. Uploaded it again, then deleted it again.
I've been thinking of this for a while ((and Broken Antler in Winter helped me with some of it)). Again, no slash (obviously), just friendship. Though we aren't to the action yet- that's next chapter ;)
Important!: Any speech errors from Dick (if any) are on purpose. Any changes to the original plot were intentional as well..
The trio heads to Cadmus!
Thank you all so much, and leave a review telling me what you think;