A/N: I'm Judging You and 3DPhantom have written this together. This is before Zatanna, is in season one, and is after the episode "Denial." Updates will be regular, every Saturday night, chapters will be long.
Warnings: Some gore, some language, and a few minor sexuall images. Rated 'T'.
Disclaimer: Nope. Not our show.
Rain pelted him as he scaled the skyscraper's side, successfully dampening his costume and weighing down his cape. Somewhere far above him, atop one of the highest buildings in Western Gotham, was his team. Only an hour and a half ago they were sent on a mission to deal with Klarion the Witch boy, the Lord of Chaos, and the mission was in shatters.
Batman, out from a battle with Bane, had ordered Robin to stay behind for the purpose of healing from the previous mission.
It was a foolish order.
Robin's mind turned back to three days ago, to their last mission. He felt ashamed to know that it wasn't a villain who captured him, or some deadly supernatural phenomenon, not even one of the frequent kidnapping experiences he withstands for being the ward of Bruce Wayne. No, it was as simple as not avoiding some falling crates that easily crushed his small frame.
It was times like this Robin understood why Bane loved his Titan Serum; being small sucked.
Basically, because of that stupid and slightly painful mistake, he hadn't been allowed to go on todays mission. He was locked up in the mountain, alone, with the exception of Red Tornado, who spent the majority of his time in his own quarters, and Wolf, who suffered from a thorn in his paw. Red Tornado wasn't paying Robin the slightest bit of attention, and Wolf just napped and lounged around, every now and then bugging for some food.
He occupied himself with the stupid video games Wally liked and a book he already read ten times, going on eleven. Wolf sat next to him on the couch, the beast's head resting in his lap, seemingly as bored as Robin.
They both watched as the clock would tick on ever so slowly, as if it was trying to slow time down for their inconvenience.
The evening was horrible; it was boring, and his ribs barely even hurt. Why couldn't he have gone with the team? It was just some bruised ribs, perhaps one cracked one, but the pain was more than tolerable. 'Because of pain killers.' He reminded himself.
This was going to be another boring night spent alone, until the mount received a mild distress call at exactly 10:32 from the Young Justice team. Robin still wasn't technically supposed to do or perform any physical feats, though Alfred patched him up well enough so that he felt at a hundred percent capability.
But no, of course he wasn't allowed to go. He had been told by the league, mainly Red Tornado and Batman, to stay where he was while they considered the situation and while Batman argued why he should be the only one to go in and not Superman. While Batman, who was wielding an impressive set of bandages himself, was concerned with keeping other Leaguers out of his precious city, Robin decided they would take too long and went into action himself.
He's thirteen and impatient. Waiting is not his thing, and he would never let his team loose without him.
He left though the Zeta beams, leaving Wolf alone on the couch and Red tomato to realise Robin's absence in another twenty minutes.
He was arriving at the top of the building where constant lightning struck. Red bolts split the sky as Klarion stood by his cat friend, who took the liberty of transforming into tiger mode. His team lay on the roof, many with broken bones or bloody uniforms, a silver stream of light flowed from their bodies and into Witch Boy.
Klarion was rambling on about how strong he was going to be once he had all of the team's powers. Considering this, Robin went into action.
He broke into the building directly below the roof and found a gas valve with a pipe that ran up the wall. After making sure the apartment complex had been evacuated, he threw four explosives at the ceiling, directly under Klarion. He threw a fifth explosive at a rusty gas pipe and rushed back out a now-broken window. The time on the majority of the bombs would hit two minutes while the last one fell ten seconds behind. Once the four went off, Klarion would fall in, and the fifth would soon after ignite the gas into flames. If Klarion wanted powers, he would also have to settle for weaknesses; meaning fire because of the lack of kryptonite.
Miss Martian was one of the most powerful psychics in the world, but fire crippled her in less than a minute. He just had to make sure she wouldn't get caught in the fire as well...
Now Robin stood on the edge of the building, waiting.
Klarion glanced over, but didn't pay much attention to him. Robin must not of been considered much of a threat. Mistake number one. The team's eyes widened as they noticed the gold-yellow inner lining of his cape flapping over the edge of the skyscraper.
The minute Miss Martian entered him into the mind link Kaldur spoke up, beating any of his still conscious team members to it.
'Robin!' Kaldur called through a mental link. Robin didn't flinch or show any signs of emotion. His eyes were locked on the Witch and his familiar. 'Robin, you were ordered to stay at the mountain!'
'Oh well," Robin thought back, voice dripping with sarcasm. 'So ground me.' He flipped out a batarang and took aim, waiting for his bombs to go off, but wanting to look as if he had a different plan in case Klairon decided to give him any real attention instead of giving a phony victory speech.
A few of his other teammate's voices droned through the link, but Robin paid them no attention. To Robin, it's all about the mission, and them telling him information about his current health condition wouldn't help with completing said mission.
'Robin, as leader, I am ORDERING you to return to safety.' Kaldur nearly shouted through the mind link, but to little drain of his powers made his voice waver and almost weak, and the younger almost ignored it altogether.
A few seconds of silence. Robin turned his head slightly, observing the team atop the skyscraper.'I got this,' His eyes said through the mask.
'You're hurt,' Kaldur tried to reason compassionately.
Over the mind link Robin said: 'I'm not the one lying on a building and covered in my own blood,' rather cruelly.
Klairon laughed that high pitched and nasally crackle and his familiar purred. Robin wasn't even sure Klairon had noticed him, he may have been too caught up in giving a victory speech.
'Strange, but that guy is too whelmed. Way way too whelmed! He's, like, perfectly whelmed. I'm not sure I know how to deal with that...' Robin thought. He then turned towards the rest of his team and thought, 'Can you stand?' He was thinking he might, justMaybe, need some backup. 'I should've thought of that before.'
Kaldur forgot momentarily about the cruel comment and answered. .
'We are immobile my friend.' Kaldur's voice had steadied, and he began to speak with the authority he wished he possessed only a little more than a minute ago. Kaldur fairly understood now that Robin wasn't going anywhere, no matter what was said. 'Wally may be able to run, but he has no powers, as is the state of the rest of us, and Artemis has been knocked unconscious..' The elder's voice hardened. 'Why?'
'Oh, no reason,' He thought lightly with a grin. This was the first comment made in his average, joking, carefree voice, but there was more to it. He didn't want to sound serious, didn't want to raise suspicion, and didn't want them to know that he was considering needing help. And now he knew, there was no help this time.
Robin turned back towards Klarion, his face becoming serious again. "Hey Witch Boy! You want to come at me?!"
Klarion laughed hysterically. "Of course not, mortal. You pose no threat to me!" He tittered and turned back to the weakening team. Refusing to move was Klarion's second mistake.
Moments later, the end of the silver stream shone brightly and Klarion accepted all the power, and presumably any weakness that came with it.
"Now no one can stop me! I'm invincible!" Klarion yelled with a roar, and his animal friend chimed in with a demonic growl. Thought he was invincible, did he? Mistake number three.
Suddenly, the small explosives went off and the building under Klarion gave way. Cement, steel, and plaster clasped down a few stories, bringing the Witch with it in a jumble.
Robin casually strode over to the edge of the hole and looked in, his faced covered with a triumphant look. Klarion lay sprawled on the floor, covered in dust and rock. He looked up at the smirking Boy Wonder in disgust.
"Want to give up yet?" Robin asked.
"That was your plan?" Klarion brushed off the dust. "What else you got?"
"Suit yourself." Robin turned and walked to his waiting team, each semi-unconscious now.
The stupid cat-thing was still looking down at Klarion and meowing, which turned to a roar when the fifth explosive went off. The noise of the explosion drowned out the cat's annoying outcry, and everything else, including the police sirens and city noise of bellow. The gas was ignited and the room lit with a golden fire sure to give any onlookers a show. The cat screeched and jumped back, wiscers burning ever so slightly.
Satisfied with his work, Robin turned away and prepared to brag about this to his team... once they woke up. Out of Robins peripheral vision he could see most of them at least stirring. 'Good.'
Klarion wasn't that easy to kill. Robin knew he would come dragging himself out of the fire, covered in ash and soot screaming for revenge and whatnot. The point was, Klarion lost. Robin won.
Or so he thought.
There was a high pitched laughter, and out of the black smoke came an angry soot-coated Klarion. The whole team was somewhat awake now, some of them barely managing to sit up. A mind link was yet to be established, but little needed to be said. They all watched in surprise as Klarion emerged with not a scratch nor scrape. Not a drop of blood on him, though he just fell two stories and was engulfed in an inferno of fire.
"I'm smarter than that, kid." He stated with an almost bored expression and scratched that giant cat of his on its head. . "I took your precious team's powers, but I left their weaknesses." He smirked and added informatively. "I'm invincible!" Klarion some how extinguished the fire, leaving it a smoking smoldering hole in the roof.
Kaldur spoke again through the link that Robin didn't even know had been re-established. 'Robin, you need to leave NOW! You can't take him on alone, go get help!' Kaldur sounded desperate, nothing like their honorable leader.
'No way!' Robin replied before Kaldur finished speaking. 'I'm not leaving you here! This is not open for discussion Kaldur!'
'Who's the leader?'
'Who's the only one who's here to save your sorry butt? The League is already on their way, so I just have to stall Klarion until they arrive.'
Leaving for help would be useless. The justice League already knew of the situation, they were the ones to first tell Robin not to go, they would be here any minute now. It was probably just Superman yelling at Batman to let him go instead, they'd both show up soon.
'But Robin!' M'gann said weakly, 'What if something happens to you? This is reckless! You need to leave while you can, or you'll get killed!' Tears swelled in her eyes, and Robin flinched a little.
'It's okay M'gann, but... I won't let him hurt any of you. I pr...'
Robin's thoughts were interrupted as the full weight of a tiger came down upon him, making his lungs scream in desperation for air and relief from its immense weight. He managed to get his legs under the cat's belly and to push it over him before the beast shattered his chest. The cat went flying and tumbled over the edge of the building, hurtling towards the ground.
"Teekl!" Klarion called in rage, half directed at Robin, half at his beloved familiar.
"Don't worry Witchy, I hear cats always land on their feet," Robin taunted as he rose to stand.
In a fit of rage, Klarion turned to The Boy Wonder and came forward. Robin was going to flip over him and push off his back, like he does with many larger opponents, but Klarion moved with a swift speed and accuracy. 'I forgot he has their powers,' Robin thought to himself along with the others in the mind link, as Klarion came at him.
'Robin...' Wally whimpered painfully.
A moment later, Robin was flung to the wall by an incredible strength. His previously bruised ribs snapped, making him gasp, he would have screamed if he could get enough air.
Not wanting to show weakness, Robin put on a his game face and stood quickly. He didn't cry out as his ribs and lungs protested by threatening to stop working. He stood tall and straight. He took out a projectile and prepared himself for an advance. Klarion hesitated, and Robin quickly thought the situation over…
'Klarion has the team's powers, but not their weaknesses. So, what is Klarion's weakness? Well, he's the lord of chaos; What is Chaos's Weakness? What should I do? Should I organise his sock drawer?!'
Even given the circumstance, Wally was able to find the comment worthy of a snort and reply. 'Don't think that will work on this one Rob.'
'That wasn't meant for you.' Robin replied angrily. This whole situation sucked, and everything made him agry. He attempted to calm himself since fighting in rage was never a good thing.
Klarion still stood back, not making a move, a crooked expression plastered onto his pointy face along with some shit-eating smirk. Robin's eyes narrowed; something wasn't right.
The little bird understood when the three inch claws of the enlarged cat pounced on him from behind. The tiger had clawed it's way up the side of the building, like a kitty climbing a tree, and had pounced onto the small flailing boy, sinking claws into his side and taking in mouthfulls of cape as if it were flesh.
Using his projectile, Robin caught the claws of one paw while the others dug into him under his torso, making his ribs feel even more fantastic. Blood seeped from the deep wounds, through his uniform and onto the concrete roof. Struggling, Robin reached into his utility belt with his free hand and brought out a taser. He shocked the cat five times before it finally backed off in retreat.
Robin could hear M'gann ball at the sight of blood, along with the muffled noises of his team mate's protest and concern.
Robin staggered to his feet, only to be knocked down by the Super-Powered one. He lay on the ground for a moment, bracing for another attack. When there was no advance, Robin looked up to see Klarion smiling widely and leaning over him. He kneeled down besides the boy, as if waiting for something. Then it finally clicked for Robin.
'Kaldur, you can read my thoughts right? Can you still hear me?' He asked desperately, rushing his words.
'Yes,' Kaldur returned as strongly as his fading mind could.
'And M'gann, where are your powers?' Shocked thoughts filled the link as it dawned on them; who's sustaining the link?
Klarion laughed both out loud and mentally.
'It does help if I know your plans,' Klarion informed, still snickering, 'and I want your team to hear your pained thoughts when you die.' Then Klairon switched from the mind link to his real voice. "I'll make you scream."
With that, Klarion violently forced his consciousness into Robin's. Everyone was pulled in from the link, into a deep blackness. In a surrounding dark, the only light shone on Klarion and Robin. The dim shadowed figures of the rest of the team could be seen, each one opaque and pulled in by the mind link. They watched as Klarion and Robin stared at each other.
A question repeated in Robin's mind… 'What is Chaos's Weakness?'
'I Know…' Klarion said deeply. 'I have no weakness.'
'Everyone has a weakness.' Robin reasoned.
'Including you, birdy.'
Robin could barely hear his team scream as Robin's mental self collapsed. A terrible pressure pushed on his mental mind, like some sort of migraine on steroids. It was so intense that he could almost feel his physical body shatter; his bones break and snapp. His mind gave him the illusion of his lungs burning; of being on fire. His breaths caught in his throat at the pressure, and he asphyxiated.
'I can't let him do this,' Robin thought to himself, and therefore everybody else.
'But you can't stop me. Your mind is everything,' Klairon backed away and paced a little. 'I am everywhere. I can see it now. All your life, you've run away; into your own mind. You retreat and display your best acting skills, but I know the truth.' The team and Robin had to wait for him to continue.
'And it's chaos.' Klairon smiled on the last word, drawing it out abit before he continued. 'Oh how I Love your erratic thoughts, your irrational reasoning. How every waking moment of your life is filled with chaos and destruction! How anything and everything can change in an instant! And most of all… your sleep.'
Robin's face paled and heart filled with a new sense of fear, the team looked to him. He still struggled on the ground, his physical body growing weak from lack of Oxygen. Things started going numb.
Klarion continued… 'I love the way you scream. The memories of all your dreams. Your nightmares you live through every day. How your dreams turn on you. Mostly, I love the pain in it. Oh, how It makes me laugh!' Then Klairon did laugh, out loud for the world to hear.
The black surroundings swirled into color image of an abstract view at first, but it slowly developed into something more. A million scenes played from one to the next. His memories from the night his parents died, the sound of their bones snapping as they hit the ground rang through his head. Images of people skinned and hung by buildings in Gotham, pictures of his beautiful mother before and after, and finally, the picture of her.
His vision lingered on a girl who was beautiful in a picture once, but lay before him in blood.. Her blond hair spread as crimson roses. Her lips parted in an 'O' shape, a white sticky liquid dripped from her lips. She was naked, covered only by a ragged sweatshirt someone bothered to throw over her as if to rid of the corpse. Her body lay in a cold alleyway puddle of red and mud. She had bruises... split skin, and blood, so much blood.
The blood seemed to melt its way into every corner of his mind. Her image drilled deep into his head. Her skin peeled with a knife, stomach sliced open, her face carved up like wood. And her life itself… she was alive until the end. If Robin had to make a guess, he would say she suffocated, choked on the white substance or on the man himself.
It was hours before Batman found Robin, who was still standing completely still, shocked that someone would do that, could do that, and why they would do that.
Whoever they are, he hoped they'd burn in some sort of hell.
Robin passed out and awakened that night screaming, never remembering how he arrived home. He assumed Batman was responsible for bringing him home, but the man barely mentioned or acknowledged the incident again, as if trying to convince Robin it didn't happen.
"Sometimes people do horrible things."
Again, Robin awakened to the sound of screams, of who's, he didn't know. He gasped as the fire within in his lungs recided, and once again, was on the rooftop, covered in debris and his own blood, M'gann screaming along with Artemis who was crying heavily, and Kid Flash doing no better. The whole team was still unconscious, but their thoughts and feelings free to wander the link.
Klarion reached out and grabbed Robin by the throat. For the last time, he plunged deep into Robin's mind, bringing a new wave of pain, but before Klairon could withdraw any more memories, he spoke.
"Your whole life is chaos, and for that, I own you. You can not defeat me," Klairon stated. "Your whole team couldn't beat me, so what makes you think you can? You have no powers other than some sort of stupid bravery, your life is a train wreck. There's nothing left for you, you have no real control over your emotions, and you're weak." Klairon let Robin drop to the ground and sputter for breath through beat lungs and a bleeding side. "Everyone has weaknesses Dick Grayson, and you have many."
'You have one too...'
Klarion started to circle him, like a vulture circling a meal, waiting for the perfect moment. Klarion seemed not to notice as it started to drizzle, but he seemed annoyed when is started to full fledge rain.
Robin vomited and spit whatever their was to vomit and spit up, and rolled or clasped to his side, covering the slowly bleeding wound the cat gave him. He might die here... The idea of that scared him, only because of how it would also kill his team. He himself didn't mind dying, something he understood when he accepted this job, but his team…?
'Pathetic.' Clairons voice echoed through his mind. "You acted so brave..."
Then he came to some sort of realization. Chaos fed on the fear it created; The only reason Klarion was winning was because, Robin had to admit, he got scared. He was scared. Sometimes he hid in the deepest depths of his mind, trying to reject the cruelty of reality, because it scares him. Now, the only way to win, was to move on. Klarion was only distracting him with mind games.
Stop being scared... Not exactly easy, no matter how many times you mumble it under your breath.
Klarion's mind still encased Robin's, but now, Robin kept on fighting his fear. 'Don't be afraid.'
'And when I'm done with you, I'll kill all your friends in the worst ways you can think of.' Robin could think of some horrible ways to die, he'd seen many of them.
'Don't be afraid don't be afraid. Don't. Be. Afraid. Don't let this sadistic bastard feed off your fear. He is threatening your team, your friends, all you have of a family...'
That, was all that mattered. He promised M'gann that he was going to protect them, no matter what. With a seemingly impossible mental push, Robin broke free of Klarion. Physically, he almost stumbled over the edge of the building, catching himself only at the last possible moment.
"I won't let you!" Robin screamed over the heavy rain's song. "You'll never win! Even if I die, I won't let you hurt them!" Desperate, Robin tried a mental attack of his own. Using sheer willpower, he forced his mind back towards Klarion, who accepted him openly.
However, Klairon, who had just received M'gann's powers, was rather new to them. Robin went into Klarion's mind. It was dark and twisted. The strangest thing, there was so much pain. Klarion always laughed, always thought that other's pain was humorous, but it wasn't, and some small part of him felt guilt, and pity, though he never let it show.
Klarion wasn't born the lord of Chaos, for his life had once been peaceful and calm, as most every child. But, much like for Robin himself, something had changed. The family he once knew disappeared. After that, Klarion struck a deal with the lords of Death, and he has been this way ever since. Of his original family, Teekl, his 'Pookie,' was all he had left. All he had left was that cat.
For Klarion, all sorts of walls were being torn down. Rage and grief filled him. The small bird had dug his way into the Witch's mind, and now it was tearing him down. Physically, Robin was much weaker. His bones could shatter, his heart burst. But emotionally, he would never give up. Sometimes the line between being mentally strong and physically unbeatable was so thin, it wasn't even there. Klarion was faced with that now. He Stood from his kneeling position by Robin's small body and lifted the boy off the ground. Robin glared down at him in defiance. Klarion didn't really see the boy whose fate he held anymore, but instead the boy who looked down on him, who was above him.
'Don't be scared. Don't be scared, don't be scared; everyone has a weakness.' His mind repeated like clock work, or like the same line of a song, over and over again. 'You're winning now.'
"You're not above me!" Klarion screamed and smashed Robin into the ground, which was covered in a fine layer of throw-up and blood. With a swift movement, Robin pulled out a flash bomb and crushed it in his hand, which blinded the Witch Boy.
Klarion staggered back with his hands covering his eyes. Blinded, he waited for Robin to charge at him. A small movement was heard from behind, and something brushed up against Klarion's back. He slashed out in blindness and hit his target with all his strength. Bones snapped and cracked, and a heartbeat that could faintly be heard stopped. Far off to the side, the body landed, but not before one final roar, which sounded more like one last almighty squeak.
Robin's eyes widened as the scene took place before him. He watched as Klarion staggered back. Trying to support it's master, the tiger's form came up from behind and stood as support. But upon impact, Klarion slashed out and the cat flew a far distance, hitting the other side of the building with a large thud and cry. It reverted back to it's small form after a moment, and it now lay in a still furry heap. Robin pulled himself off the ground and wobbled through the rain to the kitty to see if anything could be done.
Despite everything, he understood Klarion in a way. Just as how Bruce was the only one who understood his pain, this cat was Klarion's only friend. And he just killed him, his only friend, even if accidentally.
Once the flash bang wore off, Klarion slowly realized what had happened. Like a demolition ball, hitting the side of the building, his world crumbled. He wandered over to Robin, who kneeled above the wet cat, with one hand lying on her side.
Klarion stood frozen, standing just behind Robin, as if waiting for Robin to fix her and hand her back good as new. He was waiting for a breath, for a pulse, for the twitch of a tail.
He was waiting for nothing.
Through the rain, Klarion could barely hear Robin whisper… "Teekl is dead. You killed Teekl."
"N-no," Klarion whispered back, tears already half way down his face.
"You didn't mean to," Robin said as he stood and faced Klarion. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his now-conscious team watching with anticipation. They were bruised and battered, but alive and conscious. They all watched, Kaldur in a sitting position as blood flowed from his split lips, staring at Robin with an unreadable expression.
Suddenly, Klarion fell to his knees, taking Robin's place and allowing himself to soak in the rain. As if he wanted to implode in on himself, he closed up and clutched his knees. In a lot of ways, Klarion wasn't a thousands of years old soulless lord of disaster. He was just a kid, and he was in pain.
Robin slowly walked to his team, there was nothing more he could do. Trying to show no sign of his own broken bones and pained breaths, he started to tended to his team.
When the cat died, all of the team's powers returned, even some of their energy seemed rejuvenated. It seemed that when Teekl died, Klarion lost the will to hold his powers in check, the reason to even try. Not only that, but Klarion started to become more elucent, fading away like a ghost until he disappeared altogether along with his 'Pookie', the familiar still imitating it's master, even in death. Teekl was the only thing that kept Klarion tethered to the mortal plain of reality. Klarion had nothing to stay for, he faced the ultimate defeat, which he gave to himself.
They knew that before. Hurt his cat and he falls apart, but none of them wanted to see it dead.
'So ultimately, the weakness of Chaos is itself. It eventually, or suddenly, just falls apart.' Robin continued towards his team.
Superboy and Kaldur stood first, most of their pain and dizziness forgotten, but not quite gone. Superboy remained completely silent, though his face showed more emotion other than anger than it had ever had. His shirt was torn to shreds, like usual, and his breathing was magnified; most likely by stress.
Kaldur waited patiently for Robin to bandage Artemis's broken arm and for him to give Wally some of the nutrition bars he kept in his belt. Not even Wally, the biggest loudmouth ever, had anything other to say than "Thanks."
"Mhhh." Robin returned with a curt nod and brief eye contact, not that Wally could see his eyes.
He moved to M'gann to see if she needed any immediate treatment, and she met his eyes with a knowing look.
M'gann had some trauma. She seemed to remember a part of the battle, but no one else but Robin remembered much, maybe Kaldur could recall more, they assumed, but he couldn't. That became apparent when Artemis finally opened her mouth to sever the silence.
"What happened?" She asked, almost afraid for an answer. After a minute, M'gann stopped crying and pulled away from Robin.
"There's nothing to discuss here." The group, aside from Kaldur, accepted that answer. They all seemed content sitting in the drizzling rain, listening to all the police cars below and the helicopters keeping watch from afar.
No one talked. Not a one of them could figure out something to say. The mind link was gone, Klarion could no longer support it and Miss M. didn't bother putting it back up in the emotional state everyone seemed to be in. She would wait till her thoughts wouldn't blur through it on accident before even considering it.
Finally, with dread and an empty feeling overflowing him, Robin stood and faced Kaldur.
"Are you hurt?" Kaldur asked sternly, only a little concern seeped through his steely voice now. The event, and lack there of, had changed his perspective, and Robin was still alive.
"Not really," Robin lied challengingly and with strength, sucking air through his teeth afterwards. His cape hid the bloody tares the cat had made in his skin, and any stains on his costume.
"Good." In one swift movement, Kaldur brought his hand down on Robin's face, hard enough to leave a red mark. Robin stood still, his head turned to the side and gaze cast downward. Rain dripped from his jet black hair which covered his stinging eyes.
At the force of the impact, Robin's head spun and his vision blurred. He stopped breathing in an attempt not to gasp, and his chest hurt with great protest; he was already breathless. But still, he stood quietly, holding his breath, only because he would never let on at how much that hurt. Both physically and mentally.
M'gann screamed, remembering the blood Robin had shed on the rooftop. "Kaldur, don't! He's lying!" She took a step forward, knowing that Robin was much less than truthful in his condition. Robin stood still and neither him nor Kaldur recognized M'gann. Kaldur didn't even know what she meant by 'he's lying.' Instead, Kaldur continued his conversation with Robin.
"You will listen to orders!" Kaldur screamed. Inside, Kaldur was just incredibly worried, what if a member had died under his leadership… and the youngest Robin at that? Right in front of them all, unable to do anything, just because Kaldur himself wasn't good enough at giving orders…
He really thought that Robin was going to leave them forever. His anger took over for the first time in his life, and Kaldur lost his self-control almost completely.
"You wish to be leader, but if you pull act's like this, what will you accomplish?" Kaldur continued, screaming and yelling at somebody, which is a new thing to witness for the team and Kaldur himself. He'd never put someone down before, never let his anger take control so fully, and certainly never could have imagined himself striking Robin. But the force of the matter and the events of the night were deeply affecting his judgment. Something Kaldur would later regret deeply.
Kid Flash looked ready to get up and call Kaldur off, but decided against it. This may be something he wants to stay out of; Kaldur was the leader. Although Wally felt a deep loyalty to stand up for his friend, he was still standing on a battlefield. And in this war, Kaldur was in charge, and you just don't argue in battle. Kid Flash knew these things. And the rest of the team seemed to agree and tried to focus on something else, but struggled to keep their eyes off the drama. M'gann stood still and quiet with tears in her eyes, almost falling under the authority being displayed. She couldn't interfere now.
"You do not want to be treated like a child, yet you are arrogant and disobey orders like a child! From now on, you will obey orders, or you will leave the team! Is that clear?" The leaders voice cracked on the last sentence, and if Robin would look up to meet Kaldur's unsteady gaze, he would've been able to see the regret trapped in his eyes, and the falsehood. Robin noded solemnly, still staring at the ground as if it was going to solve all his problems. It hurt. Kaldur was the leader and he had never insulted Anyone like that before. It was cruel and mean to say such things to Robin, and Kaldur knew it. Although none but M'gann recognized it, it was flat out bullying. But Robin knew these things least of all; he thought every word was true, all the way down to the last lie.
Kaldur walked past Robin and towards the others. Superboy moved to stand in front of Robin, his eyes glaring down at him, maybe in a sympathetic way, maybe in confusion or anger. He grunted indecisively, which didn't help figure out what he was feeling.
"...It's okay." Connor said bluntly, trying to let Robin know he would soon be forgiven. He set a hand briefly on the others shoulder and struggled to find more words.
The other answered in a whisper only Superboy could pick up, though it was meant for everyone. "I'm sorry..."
"M'gann, contact the bio-ship and make sure the league is on their way," Kaldur ordered without letting any emotion creep into his voice.
Robin didn't leave his spot, he just stood in silence and continued to get soaked. His cheek burned slightly, but mostly his head and side and ribs hurt. The force of Kaldur's hand further worsened a concussion he sustained at some point during the fight. Robin was presumedly impossibly dealing with it.
At this point, another strike from Kaldur could render him unconscious and maybe still him into a coma. Kaldur's force had been nearly full, and Kaldur was a great deal stronger than most grown men. Robin himself was small, much smaller than others his age, and as strong as he was, no amount of training could harden his small bones, or enlarge his little heart.
Robin's vision also blurred and his eyes stung with unfocus. But he wouldn't let on that he was in physical pain as much as he wouldn't show his emotional distress. As much as he tried to not show any emotional distress. So he struggled, barely managing not to sway and collapse.
Aqualad was making Robin feel worse than the pain. Robin never heard him yell like that, had never thought Kaldur would hit him, and never wanted him to again, but he believed what he did was right. "I couldn't have left them," Robin reasoned with himself. "I could never leave them."
He hadn't realized, but he had said this aloud, under his breath of course, but the team, especially Kaldur, picked up on it all the same.
Their leader spun around to stand in front of Robin again, but this time when he used his voice, it was much more kindly and delicately, as if Robin was a mere child. "It isn't a matter of abandonment Robin. It's about following orders, something I would expect you to know better than any other."Then he added, "As the protege of Batman, I expected you know how to follow orders."
M'gann huffed angrily, deciding to speak up at least a little. "I can read more than your out most thoughts, Kaldur. Your thoughts are the same as ours." She turned to Robin with a sad glint in her eyes. She tried to be more compassionate, she remembers more of what happened. "Robin, it's just that… If anything had happened to you... We just didn't want you to get hurt. You shouldn't be so hard on him Kaldur, he's been through enough."
"He's fine," Kaldur replied, referring to Robin's claim to be unharmed. M'gann knew better, but only Robin knew the full extent to which the battle had harmed him. Even so, he didn't understand the full emotional effects yet.
Robin's head still hung low in shame, pain, and a thick sadness dipping into a familiar self loathing and near depression. Wally put an encouraging hand on his best buds back, and tried to reassure him in some way. He tried to get Robin's face to at least look at his so Wally could try to read his emotions. "Rob... Come on dude."
It didn't work. Robin wouldn't say another word, but instead ripped his mind from the link with a surprisingly strong force. He turned and walked away, down the hole in the roof and then presumably down the stairs till he was outside again, off to the big empty mansion he called a home.
"Should I go get him?" Wally asked, waiting for Kaldur to either condone or encourage it. He did neither. Superboy answered for everybody.
"When I feel like that, all angry and stuff, I just want to be left alone." With a swift nod, Kaldur agreed.
"Yeah, but... Still. That's gotta hurt," said Artemis with a lingering look in her eyes.
The team watched him go through the rain, off to wherever in Gotham he wanted. Soon, the first Justice League member arrived. It was Flash, and when he showed up his expression was one of horror.
"One Two Three Four Five, I'm only counting five", he rushed out franticly, slightly because of everyone's sour demeter and the less-that-pleasant state of the roof top. "Di- Ehh, Robin did come here right? Thats what the report had said, please tell me he is here somewhere, oh God, don't tell me-"
"He is returning home. Though I suspect he may be hiding an injury, he is more than capable of that simple task." Kaldur informed Flash.
The Flash calmed down immediately and moved his attention onto his nephew, and then to the others to see if they were in need for dire emergency medical treatment. Artemis was in the worst state, but she insisted she could wait till they returned from the mountain, she was tough like that.
The next one to arrive was Superman, who had a somewhat similar reaction as Flash, but he was too reassured all well. Kaldur explained the situation the best he could, leaving out the little fragments of Robins memories from that... whatever it was that he couldn't sort out yet.
The next to arrive was Batman. A dark, broody, blob of black that blended in with the night sky. He looked pissed. Really pissed. He was in the kind of mood that everyone tried to avoid.
The team themselves didn't remember much, and Kaldur found himself talking and explaining everything again. Kaldur stepped up to face the Dark Knight and explained what he knew.
"What happened when you were out of the action?" Batman said gruffly, carefully eyeing the unsettling blood pool and trail on the roof, half hidden by the debris of the explosion and slightly washed out from the rain.
Only now, when the Dark Knight had practically pointed it out, did Kaldur notice the blood trail. It took him a moment, but the Atlantean figured out that it either had to be Robin or Klarion, the two who did the majority of tussling around on the roof. As far as Kaldur could tell, Klarion didn't leave injured... There was a small possibility it was the cat, Teekl, but the cat had lied dead over there.
"If you want more answers, confront Robin himself." Kaldur said as the other team mates were further questioned by another league member; Black Canary arrived at the scene, ready to maintain damage control.
"I assume Robin left to return home?"
"Yes." Batman nodded and seemed to lose interest in Kaldur.
"Meeting tomorrow about your performance. Be ready with the fullest explanation you have." Kaldur nodded, showing he understood and would tell the others, who lingered back with the other leaguers on the other side of the roof.
Batman took one last look at the mystery blood trail. Batman turned to Kaldur one last time and leaned in close. "Touch him again and you will be the enemy," he whispered. His voice was steady and quiet, but dripping with anger. Kaldur didn't move or breathe as the Dark Knight walked away and, much like Robin, disappeared. Both of them leaving regret lingering in the air.
Slowly, Kaldur walked towards the Bioship where the league was ordering them to return to the mountain. He stepped aboard with the others and the aircraft lifted silently off the building.
For Robin, there was a slow, painful walk to the closest pay phone. Leaving the area unseen by all the police cars and helicopters was a challenge, and usually he likes a good challenge, but now he just wanted a quick relief from all the pain.
A police officer spotted him and ran for him. Robin didn't have the energy to recognize him in time, or to move fast enough to avoid him. The officer quickly grabbed him by the wrists and had him in restraints before Robin knew what was happening.
"Hey!" Robin called out in frustration, and he gasped as his ribs pulled with the restraint of his arms. Robin stepped forward and twisted, managing to free his wrists from the officer's hands, but they were still shackled. The officer then grabbed him by the arm and pushed him roughly to the ground. Robin screamed in agony as the officer set his weight onto his back, crushing his ribs and leaving him unable to breathe. Robin coughed harshly and struggled under the weight.
Commissioner Gordon heard the struggle and looked that way. He watched as the officer roughly threw the boy to the ground and held him down. Gordon quickly ran over and pulled him off. Robin was coughing violently and left blood splattered on the ground.
"What the hell!" Robin called through gasps. Gordon took off the handcuffs and helped the boy stand.
"Kid, you look terrible. You need to go to the hospital," Gordain said and called for the paramedics.
'Shit,' Robin thought. He quickly pulled away and ran towards the shadows of an alleyway. Gordon ran after him, but the boy had disappeared. He was still alarmed by just how much blood Robin had coughed up and left on the pavement. Sometimes it was easy to forget how much the kid endured for the sake of his city.
Robin stood in the shadow of a building, struggling to control his gasps. He walked another block, very slowly, until he found a pay phone. He made sure he was alone, then he scrambled 25 cents out of his belt pocket to call his best hope; Alfred.
On the third ring Alfred picked up the phone, sounding perplexed on why someone would be calling at this hour. "Wayne residence-"
"Alfred! Thank God you picked up..." Robin breathed a sigh of relief.
"Ahh, master Richard, I'm so glad you are alright. I heard you... left to help your team?" Alfred sounded genuinely relieved at first, but he picked up a scolding tone.
"Yeah... I need to be picked up... I'm near crime alley, just down 24th street to the right of the bowling alley. I'm sort of hurt, and-"
Alfred cut him off, "Right away Master Richard." He hung up.
Minutes later, a old black honda pulled up, a well dressed and thin balding man sat inside with a wide eyed look. Robin was barely conscious by the time Alfred arrived. As soon as he laid eyes on the boy, Alfred's heart skipped a few beats.
"You are the reason for most of my grey hairs." Alfred mumbled as he exited the car only to scoop Dick up and strap him into a seat. Robin smiled a little "You had those before I was here."
Alfred smiled back, deep concern still seeable beneath it. "Perhaps Master Bruce helped with that."
Alfred wasted no time in rushing the young man home. He debated taking him to Dr. Leslie's clinic, but decided against it because home was closer.
No more than ten minutes later did Robin find himself in the Batcave, Batman already there with medical instruments prepared as if he knew Robin was in serious conditions. Which he did, he's Batman. Robin had just come to the conclusion he knew everything.
Alfred booted Bruce, (he had his cowl down), from the medical table as he forces Bruce to watch his young ward be patched up by the expert.
"I don't want you to reprimand him about the mission till tomorrow." Alfred looked at the clock, "or at least a good bit later this morning." Dick mumbled something incoherent, but it sounded like he agreed.
Bruce complied, he left for only a moment to change into some normal clothes. He stayed by his ward's side and helped Alfred clean him up, all while promising to himself, that if he ever found this Which Boy, he'd pay him back.
For the rest of the night, wounds were bandaged and heart rates managed. Somewhere around two o clock a.m., Dick Grayson lay on the cold metal table, his Robin costume taken to have the blood washed off of it and the tares sown together. His bright blue eyes closed once in a while, but he was not allowed to drift into sleep because of his concussion.
"Master Richard," Alfred whispered softly. "You musn't fall asleep."
Dick mumbled, his eyelids drooping low. "I'm tired," he whispered back, his small voice echoing through the cave.
"I know Dick," Bruce said gently, running a hand through his hair, "but you can't, at least not until morning, err, later morning. Your concussion…"
"I know. I know." he thought for a moment, which hurt his head but he did it anyway, "Can we not tell the team about all these... wounds?"
"I wish master Richard, but their is no way to hide this." Alfred sighed as he put away medical utensils.
"Hang in there kiddo." Then Richard stopped talking at the two, too much fog in his mind to put forth any sort of effort into anything, including conversation.
For the rest of the night, he lay awake, but he didn't speak much. Bruce tried to entertain him, to talk to him (not even about the mission or his stupidity), anything, but he gave up after a while and worked on the Bat-computer, leaving Dick and Alfred alone in each others company.
Wally then texted Dick constantly. Every few minutes, hoping that at one point Dick would answer him back and talk like Wally knew he had too.
Dick didn't pick up the phone once, he just listened to it buzz, counting the minutes between each buzz. Finally Alfred got bored and turned the cell phone off, leaving him and Dick together in silence once again.
He took her home, she was cradled in his arms, her soft but wet fur covering his torso. He shook her, though he already knew she wouldn't stir. Klarion would give anything in the word to see his beloved Pookie open her eyes, but she wouldn't, and Klarion had never felt that empty; that meaningless.
She wasn't breathing.
She wasn't moving.
Her heart didn't beat.
His only friend in the world lay dead at his hands, and no matter how many times he would stroke her fur, or beg her to wake up, she wouldn't. Nothing would fix that.
He was utterly alone. It was all that young hero's fault.