Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Chapter Eighteen: Adjusting

Chapter Eighteen: Adjusting

Dick slammed the top of the suitcase down as he clicked shut the last bag. He looked around his room. It still had a lot of stuff, things he was sure Alfred would keep safe in it, but the important things were gone. The small framed pictures. Most of his clothes. His shoes. His notebooks. All of it was packed, miraculously in only about 8 boxes. He had just finished up with two other suitcases meant for Robin supplies only. It wasn't like he'd have full access to the arsenal for a while anyway. He'd have to conserve what he had and once he got down to the bare minimum, well, he could worry about that later.

He looked over at the others who were sitting across from him on the other side of his bed. The gang had come over to help him pack. Honestly, now that the funeral was over, the fact that they now finally knew who he really was, was hitting them. As they had basically gone threw his life, they saw how he had lived. It had been so different. At the Tower, he was always Robin. Robin who was everything he could be, every one that he was as a person, with the exception of one or two things. Here, he had either been Dick Grayson or Robin. Never both at the same time.

Dick sighed, "Thanks guys."

"No problem dude," Beast Boy told him.

"Not like we're really doing much of anything anyway," Cyborg added.

Starfire brooded, "Are you sure you will be okay, Dick?"

Dick looked at her in confusion when Raven elaborated, "Come on, you've never met this woman and Bruce gave custody of you to her? Have you even met this woman before?"

Dick thought for a moment and then answered, "I don't know. Ms. Kane seems familiar, but I don't think I've ever been formally introduced to her till now."

"Man, how are you even going to be able to get back to Jump with her around?" Cyborg asked.

"I..." Dick stopped, knowing his team wouldn't like his answer, "I don't know."

"What?" Starfire asked.

"Well, I mean, I don't even know how well this is going to be working out as Robin while at Ms. Kane's house. I barely have anything!" Dick told them.

"Dude, this custody thing sucks!" Beast Boy told him.

"BB, um, it's more than that..." Dick replied.

Raven narrowed her eyes, "This isn't about Ravager is it?"

Dick shrugged and turned away from his friends, "Um... well... Guys, it's really not, I mean... I have to stay in Gotham. Till the JLA figures what they're going to do and all."

Starfire interceded, "But, Robin... Is that... You promised that you would be coming home soon."

Dick turned to look at her with sad eyes, "Star, I know, but, but that was before Bruce... You know that I want to be out there, but right now, my home town needs me. And now we know who's our bad guy."

"But man, didn't you say that Ravager didn't even seem like the type..."

"Yes, I did," Dick answered, "But if it's not him that's behind it all, it doesn't matter 'cause all we need to do it track him down so we can find out who his boss is. That shouldn't be too hard to do."

The Titans watched him for a moment until the sound of a car driving up to the house came through the window. They were all over in a moment as they looked outside the two windows. Ms. Kane stood below, holding her arm and looking around the yard. Alfred opened the door and stepped outside.

"Ms. Kane! You've arrived, Dick will be down in a second," Alfred told her with a half hearted light tone.

"Thanks, Mr. Pennyworth," Ms. Kane said, "I... I want to say that I'm sorry about all of this. I honestly don't know how this could have happened. I know that my parents and I were in his will when I was younger, but I don't see how it would still have something like this in there."

Alfred nodded, "I'm sure it was just a mistake in the system, I just want to thank you for agreeing to take care of Dick for the time being."

Ms. Kane nodded, "It's no big deal, really Mr. Pennyworth. As long as he's not put back into that system."

"Oh my word, yes," Alfred agreed, "You have no idea the trouble that I had to deal with when Bruce was... well, I suppose it doesn't matter now. All I know is that it probably is a bigger mess to deal with now."

Ms. Kane smiled, "I suppose so, I assure you that I'll have Dick visit often, Mr. Pennyworth. He seems to have a good friend in you."

"Please, Ms. Kane, call me Alfred. It's what the Masters call me," Alfred replied.

Ms. Kane laughed, "Well, then call me Adeline. Ms. Kane seems so strict and uptight."

"Adeline then," Alfred nodded and then he paused before continuing, "Adeline, did you ever come here before? What I mean to say is, how close were you with Master Bruce?"

Adeline looked shocked, "Well, I came by a couple times when I was younger. My dad was in the army, so I didn't get much of a chance to visit. But I came by once or twice when I was five or so. Do you remember anyone named 'Addie'?"

Alfred looked surprised as she continued, "That was me."

"My word, it must have been a few decades since the last time I saw you," Alfred said. He looked up at the Manor to see Dick and his friends, "Master Dick! Come on down now and don't keep Ms. Kane waiting!"

Dick and the Titans pulled their heads back in and Beast Boy burst with what everyone was thinking, "Well, at least someone's seen her before."

"A few decades?" Raven asked.

Cyborg shook his head, "How on earth did Batman even keep in contact with her?"

"I don't know," Dick told them as he picked up a few suitcases, "But I intend to find out before I unpack one suitcase. Gonna help?"

He motioned to the rest of the suitcases, which the Titans each began to gather up and bring downstairs. Coming out as civilians, the group started to pack up the car with Dick's belongings. Cyborg shut the door and stood back as Dick looked between Ms. Kane and his friends and Alfred.

Ms. Kane smiled faintly, "You, um, I don't know your friends..."

Dick's eyes widened at the realization, "Oh, um, this is Rachel, Victor, Gar, and Kory."

Ms. Kane smiled at them again, "Nice to meet you. You know, I'm not going to keep him from you. Do you want the address so you can visit?"

The others smiled back and nodded. She didn't seem that bad. In fact, she was rather nice. The address was shared and each of them shoved it into their pockets. Ms. Kane walked over to her door and waited as Dick said his goodbyes. He pounded fists with the guys and gave each of the girls a hug. When it came to Alfred, he stood still for a moment, a sad look in his blue eyes. He then gave the man a tight hug.

Alfred returned the favor and told him, "Don't worry. We'll be in contact. This is just until we sort all of this out."

Dick nodded and let go. He walked over to the car and looked back a final time at Wayne Manor and then over at the graveyard to the side. Then he got into the car and shut the door. The Titans watched as the car drove off and out of sight before returning to the Manor to wait for his call.


In uptown Gotham, Slade sat back as he watched the car drive off as well.


He never thought that knowing Adeline would have been so useful to him. Then again, knowing Adeline was always a plus. But still, it didn't hurt that she was actually related to Wayne. Slade had never met Wayne, but he had seen the family tree, which was easy enough to come across. He had a hunch that Adeline wasn't totally buying this, but that was alright. She wouldn't have to buy it for long. The only thing that he had to wait for was for Dick's papers to be transferred. That was it. The phone rang and Slade picked it up.

"Hello?" He asked, pretending to sound like he didn't know who it could be.

"Here's the question that I'm going to ask you, Slade: Should I be paying you for Wayne's murder?" Luthor asked, "I heard that it was some pyro-fanatic like firefly only with the name Ravager."

Slade chuckled, "Luthor, you give Ravager too much credit. He's below firefly."

"Enough with the laughs, Slade," Luthor interrupted, "Do I pay you or not?"

Slade leaned forward towards his computer, "Mr. Luthor, do you honestly think that Ravager would have known the exact location of Wayne's office without my help? So yeah, I paid him off to do the job."

Luthor smiled, "Then it's done?"

"It's done," Slade said.

"Very well then, I'm transferring the money into your account now," Lex told him and Slade watched as the transfer was made.

He laughed, "You know, Luthor, quite frankly, I feel as though I should be thanking you."

Luthor raised a brow as he walked over to the window of LuthorCorp with harsh interest, "Why?"

Slade replied evenly, "I feel as though I gained more than just a pay check- quite frankly, I would have done this even if you hadn't paid me; that was just a bonus."

Luthor's eyes narrowed, his eyes focusing on the building in Metropolis, "What were you in this for, Slade?"

Slade laughed coolly, "Oh, you'll find out, Lex; it will become apparent soon enough. It was nice doing business with you."

"And you," Luthor said after a moment and the two hung up.

Slade's eye continued to watch the car driving towards the outskirts of uptown Gotham, the suburban section off the islands. If he hadn't had such a great sense of self control, he would have fidgeted. It had all worked. It was true, he'd have a short time in which he could actually make his move between when the papers were finished and Adeline attempted to give custody of Dick back to that butler or the Man of Steel (he hoped beyond hope that it wasn't the latter), but he could deal with that. After all, he was better than most at things like this. Right now, it was just a matter of time. He'd probably also have to leave behind a different trail of bread crumbs too, which shouldn't be too hard. Besides, Adeline would never say anything about him to Dick. She wouldn't. Slade knew that she wouldn't. He eyed Adeline's image on the screen.

Just as beautiful as ever.

Slade sighed as the thought finally came across him, that this was indeed going to be a bit difficult, in the sense that old... emotions were involved. The car continued to drive smoothly and evenly through Gotham. Slade got up from his desk to go down to the kitchen for something to calm his nerves. No matter. Maybe he'd go for a jog. He have to occupy himself. There was time to waste.


The car ride was unnaturally quiet. No music. No honking horns. No screeching to a halt. And most certainly, no talking. It was as though neither of them knew what to say. Dick played with his phone while Adeline gripped the wheel, her eyes glued to the road. But both of them felt the uneasiness. Adeline snuck a glance at the teenager in the car and then looked back at the road. Well, she was going to have him living with her. She might as well get to know him a bit.

"So..." She started, "Alfred said you lived in California for a while?"

"Huh?" Dick said looking up at her, "Uh, yeah. Just for a little bit. It was for a boarding school; I sort of already completed all of the high school courses I needed it and I wanted to do more so, yeah."

Adeline nodded, "That's impressive. You like doing any sports?"

Dick shrugged, "I do the trapeze and I've played other sports, but nothing's really stuck."

"The trapeze? That's interesting," Adeline stated.

"Yeah, my parents taught me," Dick said, "I'm a little out of practice, but, yeah, I still like doing it."

Adeline nodded again and Dick finally looked up at her, "Ms. Kane, how long have you lived in Gotham?"

Adeline shrugged, "Well, I've had a house here for some time, but I just started using it again after Bruce called me with that job."

"What job?" Dick asked; this was news.

"The one protecting Project Firewall. I run a smaller company that works as security people or, more commonly, spies," Adeline told him, "So Bruce called me up and asked if I could help him out a bit."

Dick thought for a moment and then he remembered:

"Of course, Mr. Wayne." Lucius answered. "Oh, by the way, Detectives Yin and Bennett commented yesterday that you might want to take into consideration some extra security for this project because of Gotham's interest. Apparently, the Mayor mentioned it to Gordon."

"I'll call around. I might have a cousin who does that sort of thing." Bruce mentioned.

"Wait, you have a cousin?' Dick asked.

"Not sure." Bruce pondered it for a moment. "Ah, well, suppose I'll get it done eventually."

So he hadn't been lying like Dick had originally thought he might be. He knew Adeline... "I also visited for that family reunion of Bruce's a couple months ago. I'm not that surprised that Alfred didn't remember me. That party was so crowded; I'm surprised how well it went."

Dick's eyes widened further as he remembered that as well. Did he see her? He thought about it for a moment and then Adeline laughed.

"I remember spilling punch over someone's shirt; that was awkward," Adeline stated with a laugh and then Dick remembered her doing so.

He leaned back. Okay, so she was definitely related to Bruce. Man, that was just... incredible. Even more incredible was the fact that Dick didn't even know her. The car stopped and Dick looked outside of the window at a decent two-story house. He hadn't even noticed that they had entered the suburbs. Adeline got out of the car, while Dick stared. She opened the trunk and knocked Dick into his senses with the sound. He opened his car door and went to get his stuff. He saw Adeline go for the two suitcases with his Robin supplies in it.

"Uh, I'll get those. They're, uh, a little fragile," He said.

"Alright," Adeline said and grabbed two others.

They walked up to the door and Adeline got out her keys. The door opened and Dick got his first look inside his new home. It was modern, but with a touch of traditional wooden interior. It was very warm and comfortable. Adeline shrugged.

"It's not much, but it's home," She said, "Come on in. I'll show you your room."

Dick nodded and followed her up the steps. The upstairs were a bit different. There was less of a wooden interior and instead held a traditional 60's style, despite there being few decorations. Adeline opened a door and Dick looked inside the room. She went in and put down his suitcases. The room was wide and had everything he needed. He was... well, surprised. How she had gotten all of this in such a short amount of notice was, to be blunt, mind blowing. She smiled and went back to get more of his bags. He soon followed her down and continued to help her with his stuff. His stuff, he should be doing this. Dick shook his head. It took a couple minutes, but eventually they got all of his stuff inside and into his new room.

Adeline stretched and asked, "Do you want to unpack or should I show you around the house first?"

"Um, I'll unpack first. Thanks Ms. Kane," Dick answered.

Adeline nodded and then left him alone. Dick now took a better look at the room. It was the first time he noticed how... divided it was. And that there were two beds to boot. On one side of the room, there was a bed with blue sheets and on the other there was a bed with green sheets. Then there were two dressers and two closets. He opened up the drawers and closets and found them both to be empty. The walls were bare. It was odd. Despite there being two of nearly everything, it was as though everything had been stripped of personality save for the sheets. It couldn't be a guest room. He didn't think, anyway. A guest room would have the same colored sheets on the beds.

Dick shook his head as he continued to unpack. He'd ask Ms. Kane about it all later. When he got down to his last two bags, the bags with his... equipment, he looked around the room for a safe hiding place. Where would Ms. Kane not look if she was to go into the room? To the side of the room there was a toy box. Maybe? Dick walked over to the box, which hadn't looked like it had been touched in years. There was a small lock on it, but that was an easy thing to remove.

Upon opening it, Dick found two types of toys. Action figures from GI Joe and music toys. He looked at the closed door and then at the box. He then began to carefully move the toys to the side until he could fit his suitcases into the box. Strangely enough, it fit perfectly. Keeping out a lock pick for his pocket and closing the toy box, Dick got up and left the room. Walking downstairs, he found Ms. Kane in the kitchen. Upon seeing him she smiled.

"You all situated?" She asked.

"Yeah, I'm good," Dick told her.

"What do you want for lunch?" She asked.


"Lunch, you up for sandwiches?" She asked him again.

"Um, uh, sure," Dick answered. He didn't realize that it was already one'o'clock in the afternoon.

"How's ham and cheese, sound? 'Fraid it's all I got," She told him.

"That's fine," He answered.

He watched her make the sandwiches. It didn't take long and soon they were both sitting on the island eating.

"So, how you holding up?" She asked after a moment.

Dick shrugged, "Best as I can, I guess."

Adeline nodded, but looked up as Dick asked her, "Ms. Kane? That... My room, it wasn't a guest room, was it?"

Adeline's eyes widened for a moment, but then went back to a soft gaze, "Not exactly. That was my sons' room. They're out of the house now."

"Do they visit often?" Dick asked.

"Sometimes. Every now and then," Adeline said sadly.

Dick decided to stop prodding for answers. Obviously there was something painful there. And considering that he had yet to see another man in the house and that Ms. Kane hadn't mentioned any other man, he could probably assume that they were separated, or the more likely option, divorced.

When he finished his sandwich, Ms. Kane asked, "You want a tour of the house?"

"Uh, sure," He replied.

Getting off the island seats, he followed Ms. Kane around the first floor of the house, "In here's the living room. Beyond that door's my office. The entertainment room's in there. In front of that is the open room. Bathroom's right here."

Dick had to admit, this was a really nice house. The decorations in the room were patriotic, but in a humble manner.

"Downstairs is storage and my workout room," She told him, "Upstairs we've got another bathroom in the hallway. My room's right next to it and down the hall is a guest room. Not much else other than that."

Dick nodded as she finished the small tour, "Thanks Ms. Kane. Really."

"It's no problem, Dick," She told him.

"Um, just wondering, but Ms. Kane, when do you work normally, like, what do you do during the week?" He asked, an innocent enough question.

"Mostly I work from nine to five. It's a long day for me," She answered, "Other than that, I do whatever needs to be done."

Dick nodded, "Alright, cool, thanks."

Ms. Kane shrugged, "Well, that actually reminds me. Gotham wants you to go back into the school system. I was going to wait to see what you'd like to do. I can't pay for that private school, unfortunately."

"Um, well, I'll think about it," Dick answered, "Thanks Ms. Kane."

"You're welcome, Dick, and feel free to look around the neighborhood. It's a good area," She told him, "There's a bike in the garage."

Dick nodded, but instead went up to his room. He flipped open his communicator to see his friend's faces pop up on the screen.

"Dude, you surviving?" Beast Boy teased.

"It's cool. She seems nice enough. I think I'll call the R-Cycle tonight, though. I can probably pull this off," Dick told them.

"So where should we meet you?" Cyborg asked.

"Downtown, right by the docks opposite the Narrows," Dick told them.

"Alright," Raven said, "We'll be there."

"Be careful, Robin," Starfire told him.

"I will. See you 'round twelve," He answered.

Below in her office, Adeline sat down in her chair. She looked up at the many awards and sighed. Another kid. Another kid. She held her chest as she opened up the drawer. Somehow, she hated that feeling, but loved it all the same. From inside, she pulled out a picture of her boys. Her boys, both happy in that picture. How quickly that had all fallen apart. She felt the bitterness return. She thought back on their sweet smiles. How they had taken after her and...

When was the last time she had checked up on him anyway? He was working on the West coast. That's what she'd last heard and apparently he'd been making quite a name for himself too. Maybe she should check up on him, though. Shouldn't be too hard. She made a mental note of it and began to do some desk work. She thought about her current situation. Dick seemed like a sweet enough kid. She wished that she had at least gotten the chance to talk to Bruce about him more so that she didn't feel so clueless. She sighed. Well, if she could get through day one, she could probably get through the rest of them.

Adeline continued to do her company's paper work while the picture of her kids sat off to the side smiling up at her like they never would again.


Robin felt the pulse of the city and it's diamond skyscrapers. It was on all accounts alive. And it wreaked of that feeling, the one that makes your blood boil. Like it has to work harder so that you are ready. He was on top of one of the skyscrapers in Midtown which was alive tonight. The socialites were below him, laughing as they flaunted their wealth. Without a care in the world. How nice. Not really, he thought. The buildings sparkled with flashing lights. Time to go.

He leaned forward and spread out his arms to his sides, letting himself fall forward. The lights flashed against his face, but that didn't affect his focus. He had to do this just right. He shot out a zip line and swung around the next building over where he released the line just in time to land on the monorail. He held on as the train sped past the buildings and he felt the wind whipping his hair. He felt alive tonight, but alive with a poison slowly infiltrating his blood stream. He smiled. Good.

His stop was coming up. The Boy Wonder began to run and then jumped onto one of the ratty rooftops, the glamour of Midtown now long gone as he entered the downtown island right after the train left the Narrows. It was a filthy place where he could smell rotting alcohol in the streets along with those who hadn't bathed in ages. Yeah, this was also Gotham. Then again, how could that really be such a surprise? The others weren't here yet. But they would be soon.

Robin stopped and let his cape whip backwards; he loved this feeling. It held a certain tingle that ran through his blood and made him pull a corner of his lips into a small smile. He found the bar he was looking for. The Stacked Deck. Time for some theatrics. The Boy Wonder went around back and hit the power rig. Instantly, the music that had been pumping loudly cut off and a bunch of screams were heard. They were panicking, good. People began to come out. He waited. He wanted the scum and they'd stick around, not hit the road like everyone else.

"Man, that was a total bomb, thought that our one night off would be worth our time, Dean," One of the men said.

"Don't blame me, 'sides, we got a fifty fifty chance of gettin' off tomorrows too," Dean said.

"Well, I don't care whatever the chances are, I wanted a night..."

Robin smiled.


They never stood a chance. Not too far away, the Titans flew towards the area.

"Any idea as to where he actually wanted to meet us?" Cyborg asked to no one in particular.

"Hey, it's Robin, I'm sure we'll..." Beast Boy started but he was cut off by a short scream.

The four Titans sped up and around a corner where they stopped and found Robin. The Boy Wonder held a poor sap up by the shirt and he was completely enshrouded in the shadows. His cape clutched his sides and the gleam in his eyes reminded them of... of... something... dangerous.

Robin yelled at the man harshly, "I asked you a question, and seriously, I don't want to lose my temper. So, where... is... Ravager?"

"Uh, uh, don't know, he's new. He... he... check My Alibi! Check Alibi! They'll probably know. I don't know nothin'! Boss never mentioned no Ravager!" The man whimpered as the lights from Cyborg's car hit his face and Robin stared him down.

He threw the man off to the side and stood at his full height. The Titans stared at him, as though too scared to say a word. His eyes were narrowed as he approached him.

"We've got a location," Robin told them and walked past the T-Car.

"Dude, that was intense," Beast Boy commented.

Robin said nothing as his R-Cycle road up and screeched to a halt.

"Where to, Rob?" Cyborg asked, resigned to the fact that Robin wasn't about to elaborate.

Robin put on his helmet snugly and answered, "My Alibi."

He then revved the engine and sped off. The others followed, with some difficulty. They found themselves soon riding past the big leagues of the city through the back roads. They headed east and soon they saw Robin abandon his R-Cycle. Cyborg got out and the others followed their leader. It was getting increasingly dark outside, as though the lights were being shut out from sight. Robin kept at it, racing ahead of them all. They ultimately reached a corner in which none of them could tell where their leader had gone.

"Great," Beast Boy said, "Now what do we do."

"Look, up there!" Raven pointed out.

They caught a glimpse of Robin jumping up onto the top of the roof. They soared up to the top of the building where they finally saw a pink hue shining and giving Robin only an outline as the wind hit him. Starfire went forward first to see what Robin saw.

"Robin?" She asked.

"My Alibi," Robin said and she looked over at the bar, "Cy, go to the front door. BB, the left window. Rae, the back. Star, the right window."

"What about you?" Cyborg asked.

Robin waited for a moment before responding, "You'll see."

The others nodded and got into position. His lips were drawn tight. He watched them all disperse. Cyborg got down to the bottom and waited. Once he got the go ahead, he'd storm the place. All of them. All at once.

"Alright guys, you ready?" He asked.

"Yeah, we're good," Raven answered.

"Alright, Titans, Go!" He yelled as he slammed open the door shocking the pool players inside.

Instantly it was chaos. The four Titans came in as blurs as they fought. But it was just them. Just the four of them. And still, this was Gotham. Every man fought here. Every man. Starfire looked around the room. She had not seen Robin enter since she had arrived. Where had he...?


The glass above them shattered while the new guest spread out, something that resembled wings. They landed on the table, launching half a dozen smoke bombs. With a quick snap, a bo-staff emerged from their hand and they quickly began to dispense of the rest of the criminals, taking down more than half of them in a matter of seconds. It was almost over before he even began. The smoke settled and they finally were able to see through the smoke. But what they saw and heard next was much more... unsettling then what they had seen their leader do earlier.

"Please, please, come on, man, don't..."

Robin chuckled lowly and coldly, "Stop cowering and answer my question. Where. Is. Ravager?"

"I don't know! I don't take no orders from no Ravager!" The man squirmed.

"Then who does?" Robin yelled.

"I don't know! No one's been moving lately. Two Face, he just started up, gatherin' again! Maybe he'd know," The man confessed. The Titans watched the man's sad plea in shock.

But Robin's face held no pity. Like a demon.

Robin threw the man into one of the corners of the broken pool table, knocking him out cold. He walked past the Titans and outside. Unsure as to what to do, they followed him. There was a long moment of silence as no one moved. All they heard was the scampering of rats and the sound of the gravel between their shoes and the street.

Starfire was the first to speak, "Robin?"

"Dude, that wasn't... that wasn't cool," Beast Boy said.

"Man, come on, that wasn't normal for you," Cyborg continued.

"Where does Ms. Kane think you are?" Raven asked.

"Asleep," Robin told her, "I left around eleven."

"But, dude, where did that..." Beast Boy started.

Robin sighed and hit a button on his belt, "I'm fine. I just... I get caught up, like... It's the city. That's all."

"Robin," Raven grabbed his arm and Robin turned to look at her.

Robin and Raven locked eyes. She knew that there was more than his thirst for Ravager's justice to be brought out. But that's what worried her the most. She didn't want that thirst to grow anymore than it already was. And whatever else it was that was causing him to act this way, well, she could pretty much say that it was Bruce's absence. After all, when they had worked with Batman earlier, the Dark Knight had a similar disposition when dealing with criminals. Perhaps it was a bit a hereditary reaction then.

"Robin?" Starfire asked.

Robin looked over at her. Her eyes were rightfully filled with concern. For a moment, he felt himself feel like something flooded into him and replaced the intensity of the night that Gotham had leaked into his system. Guilt, guilt for making her, them all worry. She walked up to him as Raven replaced her hood and stepped back.

"Starfire," Robin started, before looking at the others, "Guys, I'm... Sorry. It's just... It's just Gotham. And..."

They watched him for a moment as he looked at the ground, "... It's hard knowing that I'm not returning to the cave tonight."

"Dude, don't worry," Beast Boy told him, "You'll get through this."

"We all will, man; always do," Cyborg added.

Robin nodded, but he knew still, that this was going to affect him more than the others.

"Let's move to a different subject," Raven told them.

"Yes," Starfire added, "Where would we find this two-faced of which they speak of?"

"Two Face, Starfire," Robin corrected, "This criminal, Two Face, his real name is Harvey Dent. He used to be a DA for Gotham, but after a freak accident at one of his trials, his face was distorted by acid and so was his mentality."

"Ouch," Beast Boy said, remembering some of his earlier attempts to shape shift when he was younger that ended up in some really bad distortions.

"That happened before I became Robin, so I didn't know Harvey. Two Face bases his crimes off of a flip of the coin. Half of them are for the 'betterment' of society, the other are to 'wreak havoc'. But because of Harvey's distorted views, in our views, his crimes border more so towards that of chaos," Robin continued.

"Please tell me we're not dealing with another Joker," Cyborg asked.

Robin shook his head, "Not exactly, Two Face is a little more... restrained. Kind of a bit quick to the point too after you get his mind games. I know that Batman had considered him to be his friend at one point too, when he was the DA."

"So you think it could be this Two Face?" Starfire asked.

Robin shook his head, "No. But the fact that Two Face hasn't been doing anything lately might mean he knows something."

"That's your best lead?" A voice asked from above them.

The team turned to see Red X smugly leaning against the fire escape two floors up.

"What are you doing here?" Robin asked, annoyed.

"Didn't want to stay the whole night in the room, kid," Red X told him.

"How much did you hear?" Robin asked.

Red X shrugged as he jumped down, "Don't really keep track of that sort of thing, kid. I've been up there for an hour."

"Don't credit yourself," Raven said, "I knew you were up there as soon as you stepped around the corner; you only heard about our lead with Two Face."

Red X glared at her and then turned to the leader, "Look, here's my advice. You need some real leads. Ones that won't take forever to follow."

"And how do you suggest that we get those?" Robin asked.

He could tell Red X was smiling under the mask, "Well... I might be able to help you out there."

"How so?" Robin asked, feigning ignorance as to what Red X was about to suggest.

"How's about I go in for you?" Red X asked.

"Dude, what?" Beast Boy asked, "Thought you wanted to stay up in the room forever ordering breakfast in bed."

Red X shot him a quick glare, "Well, that's the thing. I don't. And honestly, after my little trip 'round Gotham here tonight, I kinda like it here."

"Figures," Cyborg commented.

"For a small price, I might be willing to help you out there, Robin. I mean, you've said it yourself: Red X can get closer to the villains than you ever could," Red X recited.

Robin's eyes narrowed as the two masks locked. Starfire looked back and forth between the two. Oddly enough, though, she noticed that Robin did not clench up his hand into a fist. Normally, she would have suspected such a thing from him; it was never likely that he'd make a deal with a villain for something of this nature.

"Alright then," Robin said, "I'll call you with the details tomorrow."

"How you going to call me, kid?" Red X smirked as the team began to walk off with Robin.

Robin smiled, "Who designed that suit, X?"

Red X's shock could be seen for the moment, but then it turned into amusement as he called back, "Touche, Boy Wonder, touche!"

The Titans walked back to their vehicles to part ways. Robin gave Starfire a quick hug before watching them all race back to midtown. Robin sighed. It took only a matter of minutes for him to get back to the outskirts in the suburbs. He got off a couple blocks away from Ms. Kane's house and snuck back in as quietly as he could. He looked around the corner and saw Ms. Kane's door shut. He sighed and began to get ready for the three hours of sleep he actually hoped for. Jumping under the covers, Dick pulled them over his shoulders. It was getting colder now, he noted. November was here. Dick looked outside the window for a moment. The wind blew against the house.

Sighing, Dick let his head reach the pillow as he let himself succumb to sleep. He could worry about other things, Ravager tomorrow. He didn't know about the camera that was watching him through the window. He didn't know that in Uptown Gotham, one of his greatest foes was watching him. Slade smiled. So the Boy Wonder was going to keep this up. He wondered how long that would last. Hopefully long enough. But then again, knowing Robin, he knew shouldn't worry. Slade should never underestimate him. And he never intended to.

The winter's cold crept into Gotham. It was going to be a cold hard winter. And if the weather didn't assure it, Slade made a note to himself to make sure that he would.

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