Hi everyone, I'm back with another story. I'm so happy with the response to my last one so thank you so much for that! I closed the poll for the next story earlier today and 50% of you voted for this one. So here is the first chapter, this one is pretty much just a warm-up that's setting things up for what'll happen later on.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this new story!
Dick pried his eyes open, but he wished more than anything that he could just close them again and sleep for another year or two. Honestly, this had been building up for a few days; he knew perfectly well that he would get sick soon enough. It had only been five days since the cave at Happy Harbour had been attacked by Red Tornado's 'relations', and since then Bruce had only given him one full day to recover from both the physical and mental effects of that break-in. Even after that full day, Dick was still exhausted – he had almost drowned after all – and Bruce still made him patrol every night. So really, it made sense that he wasn't exactly feeling the aster that morning.
Still, last night's patrol had seemed especially long. Somehow, the criminals of Gotham must have sensed that the Boy Wonder wasn't feeling so wonderful and decided to commit more crimes than usual. Batman and Robin had been on the move non-stop, one crime-foiling after another: and it had dragged on and on something chronic. So naturally Dick had originally had every intention of sleeping in until at least ten 'o 'clock in the morning. But of course, things just weren't going his way recently and Batman had sent him a signal at six 'o 'clock sharp to meet at the cave in Happy Harbour to be assigned a new mission.
As he climbed out of bed, Dick grumbled something about a 'stupid double life' and got himself changed into his uniform. Of course, it was only when he had risen from his bed that he had realised how feverish he felt and he had stumbled forward after feeling an unusually strong pressure in his head which made him feel as though his brain had been replaced with a large, heavy jagged rock instead. Robin grabbed his head and gritted his head against the pain, but after seeing that it clearly wasn't going to die down by staying still for a moment or two, he decided that he'd better just shake it off and make his way to Happy Harbour.
As Master Dick was making his way downstairs in his Robin uniform, Alfred could see so clearly that he was out of sorts. He was clinging to the banister with his right hand as though if he let go he would fall the rest of the way down the stairs; although Alfred could see that it was an actual possibility. On top of that, his face was drawn, pale, and it looked completely out of place on his face. After seeing a rare stumble in Robin's step, Alfred walked up the steps to meet Robin in the middle and steady him gently, "Master Dick, are you feeling alright?"
"Fine, Alfred. I'm fine, I'm just on my way to zeta to Happy Harbour," Robin responded to the worried butler. He wavered in Alfred's grip and that made the butler certain that something wasn't right, but Robin quickly covered up his mistake by telling Alfred that he had only gotten out of bed ten minutes ago and obviously his balance hadn't woken up yet. That was a lie if ever Alfred had heard one. The acrobat's balance was impeccable, even if he had to wake suddenly, the balance was always intact. Alfred frowned at Robin critically, but the boy was determined – just like Bruce – and just stared him down until he sighed and let go of him. As soon as the hold was broken, Robin quickened his speed and started down the stairs again, "Thanks for asking Alfred, but really I'm fine!"
"You really don't look well, Master Richard," Alfred responded, certain that if he only lifted that blasted mask off of Richard's face the boy underneath would look just as ill as his body language implied. He just wanted the child to know that he still wasn't happy with letting him go, but trying to keep Robin still was almost like trying to keep the ocean still. Robin hadn't stopped moving since Alfred had let him go and now he was just about to disappear into the Bat-cave, so in a last effort Alfred protested after him, "Are you sure this is a good idea? Take it easy at least!"
Robin's laughter was heard followed by another statement of his 'obvious' well-being. Alfred supposed that if Robin was really feeling that bad then he would surely be sensible enough to stay in bed and recover. Then again, if Robin was looking up to such a role model as Bruce, then maybe he wouldn't be sensible enough. After all, Bruce was constantly working through a whole host of injuries. Alfred decided that maybe instead of worrying, he would go and warn Bruce of his ward's ill health.
As soon as he had left the mansion and arrived at that phone booth which would transport him to Happy Harbour, Robin took a time out and sat down on the ground where he could catch his breath. Why would I even need to catch my breath? Robin asked himself, I'm going to have to keep this quiet aren't I? I can't let the team down. With that final thought in his head, Robin dragged himself to his feet and rubbed his temple again at the headache that didn't seem to be going anywhere. He was beginning to feel nauseous too, and that couldn't mean anything good. Still, for whatever reason, Batman needed his help with something and what kind of hero would he be if he took a sick day?
With an effort, Robin opened the door to the phone booth and took a deep shuddering breath before he typed in the code that would take him to Happy Harbour. On the way over, although it took mere seconds, Robin reminded himself that he couldn't let anyone know that he was feeling sick. None of his team ever got sick, not even the other human. Not only did he want to do whatever it was that Batman wanted him and his team to do, but he sure as hell didn't want the Team thinking that he was weak and needed looking after. So as he materialised in the cave at Happy Harbour, Robin made an extra effort to stand with his usual confidence and to hide the fact that any and all noise was disturbing his head that day.
Robin's team and Batman were stood in front of the large screen in the space that Batman usually used to assign missions. That was when Robin knew that this mission had to be important, Batman rarely came to the Cave in person to assign missions; he usually just sent a transmission. That meant that the mission the Team were going on was one of real importance. Robin swallowed, now he was glad that he hadn't taken a sick day. If the mission really was this important, then the chances were that they would need everyone that they could get.
At his entrance, Batman looked discreetly at Robin his head nodding in the tiniest of movements in greeting. Robin took a moment to wrestle a smile onto his face and then walked quickly over to join his friends. Once stood in the line with the others, Robin gave a short sigh of relief when he realised that none of the others had noticed his feeling sick. But when the acrobat looked at his mentor, he suddenly realised that Batman hadn't missed that slight falter in his smile or the suppressed breathlessness that Robin was fighting. He gave Batman a small shrug, telling him to go ahead. The Team never could understand how Batman and Robin communicated, but they just knew each other perfectly, sometimes that was a blessing and other times a curse. So after their silent exchange, Batman began to speak in his modified voice to give the Team their orders.
"I'll be sending you all to Siberia, but this isn't an internal politics mission," Batman began with a worried glance in Robin's direction, "Actually, I interrupted a signal between police departments that were discussing the disappearance of firearms that were being transported by train through the country. The train was not meant to stop anywhere along the line, it was supposed to completely pass through Siberia and be delivered in Moscow. But on arrival, a few thousand firearms were completely unaccounted for."
"I don't understand. This isn't usually our kind of mission, don't we usually engage villains that people can't care of themselves? This sounds like a theft that can be handled by the police and maybe the armed forces." Kaldur commented. Connor immediately agreed with him, it was usually only when the theft of firearms got out of hand completely that the League might step in.
"You're right, this isn't usually our business, especially since it didn't even happen in our country," Batman said with a slight annoyance in his voice at being interrupted that only Robin detected. Robin cringed when Batman's gaze fell upon him again, the Boy Wonder could almost feel Batman searching him for injuries or trying to diagnose him by observation. Batman reorganised his thoughts to the mission and continued, "But this isn't a normal theft, Aqualad. What makes this so complicated is that there had been video footage found of the people who allegedly stole the firearms."
"But that's great, right?" Wally jumped in. Batman's face tightened in anger at being interrupted again, but with one glance towards his protégé he saw that Robin was telling him to stay 'whelmed' as he would put it. So instead, Batman listened to what the red head had to say, even though he already knew what he would say and he already knew that he was wrong. Wally waved his hands around as his spoke, "It'll make things easier if we know who did it, we can just track them down and then get them arrested. Then we just get the guns back and everything will be fine!"
"Once again, you're wrong. Just let me finish," Batman said scathingly. He turned to the big monitor and played the footage that he had intercepted. On the screen popped up an image that no one had expected to see, not even Robin. Superman was there, directing a group of men who were carrying all manner of firearms, guns, grenades, you name it. Batman narrowed his eyes at the screen and then turned back to the Team who were each in varying levels of shock, "As you know, Superman doesn't steal. So clearly this man cannot be him, the theory so far is that the imposter isn't even a human, or meta-human. Judging by the way it moves, the most popular vote is on android: including my own."
M'Gann in particular felt a wave of horror run through her system. It was not long ago that the entire team had been attacked by two androids in their own home; she and Kaldur had been surrounded by a ring of fire and had been closer to death than ever she hoped to be again. So the idea that the Team was going to be in pursuit of androids was an unwelcome one but then again if they were slandering Superman's good name then perhaps it would be worthwhile. M'Gann checked the faces of her other teammates, they all seemed to be in similar mental states. All of them apart from Robin and Connor, but that made sense. Connor didn't worry about these things, and Robin never seemed to be worried at all no matter the opponent. It seemed that M'Gann hadn't noticed at all that Robin was swaying back and forth throughout the whole briefing so far. He was feeling lightheaded from being on his feet so long – another completely out of character affliction.
"I did watch through that short piece of video evidence a few times before I came to the conclusion that there is no doubt; that is definitely an android. I just don't know where it came from or why it was procuring firearms in the first place. This will be where you come in," Batman said firmly, "Under no circumstances are you to engage this android. Considering your recent encounter with androids it is clear that you need training in that field before you engage them. So for now, even if the android attacks, you retreat. Clear?"
Everyone nodded their heads and Batman felt a small weight lift off of his shoulders at that reassurance before he continued, "All I want from you is where the android is next headed and what the plan may be. From there, you are to bring that information to me and the League will step in. Before you leave, I'll need you each to remove any telecommunications equipment that you may have on your person. I am ordering a strict radio silence for this mission because of the enemy that you may come into close proximity with. If you can help it, they cannot know that you were there. We will expect you back in three to four days, good luck." Batman finished.
Clear on their orders, everyone got rid of their communicators and electronics before they began to head off to the landing bay where the Bio-ship would be waiting for them. Robin was following sluggishly behind them until Batman called out softly to him, "Robin? A word?" He had been waiting for this, the acrobat knew that Batman had noticed his constant wavering throughout the whole briefing and knew that Batman would want an explanation. But it wasn't only Robin's strange behaviour throughout his orders that had tipped Batman off to his being unwell, he had gotten a message from Alfred earlier saying that he too had noticed that Robin was feeling 'out of sorts' that morning.
"Are you sick?" Batman asked him bluntly. Robin shook his head and Batman couldn't hold back the small smile that broke onto his lips. Robin was just as stubborn as he was when he was sick. Batman grabbed both of Robin's shoulders and looked into his masked eyes, bringing his face down to Robin's level, "If you aren't feeling well, you don't have to go on this mission. Nobody will think any less of you." He assured in a fatherly voice. Batman knew that Robin would insist on going, and he wouldn't be able to stop him. But he also knew that every moment that Robin was away without any way to contact home, Batman was going to be on edge the whole time.
"Batman, I feel well enough to go, this is nothing. Anyway," Robin added with a cheeky smile at his mentor, "without their access to technology and stuff they're probably going to need the only one on the Team who is actually good at being stealthy. Trust me, I'll be okay. See you in a few days."
With that, Robin walked off after his teammates to meet them in the Bio-ship. He would just get this mission over and done with as quickly as he possibly could and then he could go home and recover from whatever it was that was making him feel so low. He would have asked, what's the worst that could happen? But who in their right mind would want to tempt fate that far?
There, I hope you all enjoyed the first chapter! I'll have the next one up soon!
Don't forget to drop me a review and tell me what you thought!
Thanks, Varishi x