Sunday, June 4, 2017

Chapter Eleven: Silent Work

Chapter Eleven: Silent Work

"I'm sorry. I don't think I heard you correctly. Can you repeat that?"

Cyborg looked from side to side at his teammates and gulped, "Uh, Red X is staying in Titans Tower?"

"Alright... I'm going to ask you this as calmly as I can. Now, WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'RED X IS STAYING IN TITANS TOWER'?!" Robin yelled over the communication link.

All four of the Titans shrank into tiny chibis. This is what they had all been afraid of, but it was what Red X had been anticipating the most.

"Yep, and get used to it kid, 'cause I like living here. Beats my place anyways," Red X said into the small camera.

However, Beast Boy forcefully pushed him to the side so that Robin could now see all five of them.

Robin sighed and somehow managed to answer calmly, "Hate to break it to you X, but that's up to the five of us once we finish a little conference."

"Five of us, what do you..." Red X didn't get to finish his sentence as Raven sent him back to the lock down room.

They all knew that Robin wouldn't like this. And Robin had been afraid that something like this would happen. What else could possibly go wrong while he was gone? Immediately the two sides erupted. Cyborg and Raven had paid heed to the guilt trips Red X had given, but Beast Boy and Starfire complained of Red X's... um, imperfections. Their strongest arguments were as follows:

"I don't know man, I mean, he's not really hurting anybody and BB and I have been keeping him in line and after what he did for us at Zenith's..." Robin let out a sigh of understanding, but felt this was a pointless argument.

"Dude! I want him out! You know how much of a prankster he is? I mean, he's stealing all of my best jokes, not to mention that he's being perfect to Rae and Cy only..." Robin rolled his eyes at the changelings complaints as he wasn't surprised.

"Robin! I insist that you come here personally and throw this no-gooder out! I turn my back for one minute in the room of laundry and he is going through my garments and apparel!" The Boy Wonder felt an awkward knot of repulsion form in his stomach and hoped that his face didn't show it.

"Look, it's not too much of a big deal. He's just acting like a roommate that we just happen to have to keep an eye on," How he wished that he could somehow not agree to that.

All four Titans looked at their leader on the screen. His word was final. And Red X had given them good information... This is the part where he hated the fact that he had to be fair.

"Alright, Red X can stay. Bring him in here, though," Robin told them.

While Starfire and Beast Boy looked as though he had just lit a nuke, Raven teleported Red X in again, "Geez! You can't just let me out the normal way? Man, it's..."

"X," Robin spoke to the only masked teen there, "You want to stay? Fine. You can stay. But if I hear one word about you making life unbearable for any of the Titans, you're out on the streets again and I won't vouch for you for jail time in terms of Zenith's... and you're not allowed to go through Starfire's laundry either!"

The Titans all glared at Red X indignantly as he shrugged, "What? You can't say you didn't expect that from me."

Starfire eyes lit ablaze, "You... you... Rwudishawmad floqnard drazcap..."

The other Titans slowly backed away from Starfire as she began to yell in her native tongue. It was always a little scary when she did that. Raven turned back to Robin as the others watched.

"Don't worry, we'll keep an eye on him," Raven assured.

"You mean, you will?" Robin asked as he put a hand over his masked eyes and rubbed them.

"Duh, you just concentrate on Gotham. Leave this buffoon to us," Raven said.

"I'd trade anytime. The buffoon here is a serial-killing crazed clown," Robin responded.

Raven sighed as both signals terminated. There was nothing she could do about it, really. Robin knew that. But it still made him angry. And tired. At least Bruce wasn't here. He was out at that Thompson lady's place and if he was lucky, Bruce would never know. There were only a few topics that Batman didn't know much about and they included Red X, for obvious reasons. Red X was a mistake. His mistake. One he didn't want Bruce to know about. As far as Batman knew, Red X was a person who only did things when they benefitted him and his belt ran on xenothuim, which was good enough for Robin.

Sighing, Robin got up as he heard the Batmobile screech down the cavern floors and into the center of the Batcave. He didn't even have to turn around to hear Batman coming over with samples of the now decimated Thompson residence. It was becoming a bit of a sore spot for them. It was something they didn't need.

"How's your team handling Jump?" he questioned.

"Good enough," Robin answered stiffly, "Anything new with Thompson's case?"

"I couldn't find any bone samples. Even cremated, bone fragments often remain..."

"I know."

Batman looked to the side and Robin glanced down apologetically for interrupting, but only out of respect.

"I'm hoping to find some fragments, though, in these samples," Batman continued.

"Wasn't there a lot of wreckage?" Robin asked, "Couldn't the bones have been moved...?"

"They haven't cleared the site and I looked," Batman answered, ending that idea.

Robin sat down again. Fine. Since he wasn't needed, he'd just...

"Robin," Batman called out and Robin stopped his motion.

"Yes?" He asked.

"Do you have any theories as to who could be behind these disappearances?" Batman asked.

"You mean from Jump?" Robin inquired.


Robin found himself a bit tongue tied. He did. But not really. And he didn't like the ideas that he had come up with. Worse yet, he didn't want to tell Batman about them.

"Uh, sort of. There's not exactly any real, uh, Joker out there so to speak..." Robin avoided the question.

"This isn't the Joker's work, though. You didn't answer my question," Batman scolded. Yes, he had just scolded him. And Batman didn't seem to mind it, either.

But Robin did, "Look, there's no one who really fits this description. The only superpowers that could even possibly pull something like this off wouldn't because this doesn't help them. There's no way that it could, either."

Robin stopped. His mind had caught hold of an idea. A person who could be doing this. He felt his chest involuntarily tighten and his breathing threaten to become irregular. He fought to keep his expression the same. He just couldn't stand the idea. Slade was... gone. He should be gone. He wanted him to be gone... And besides, Slade wanted to destroy Jump. These murders out here couldn't affect Jump in that way. These people had no connections to Jump City. Robin breathed a calm sigh of relief.

Batman eyed Robin searchingly then turned back to the samples. Yes. He believed his ward. They always had that ability. That unspoken trust in what each other said. And if either of them didn't mention something, it was for good reason. If such knowledge was ever needed, they trusted that the other would tell them. So although he left it at that, he hoped that they could get back to this subject again. It was one of two essential questions: "Who could do it?" and "Who benefits?" But right now that wasn't the main issue. Clara Thompson's death was. And the Joker's escape from Arkham.

"Want me to try finding some leads on Joker?" Robin asked.

Batman only nodded and watched from the corner of his eye as Robin ran off to Gotham as words were left unsaid. Business came and went. Gotham's skyscrapers towered over the city-goers below who cowered under their umbrellas. The Monorail train ran above their heads thundering loudly down the loud bobbing of iron against steel. Cars drove by spraying water into the air and thoroughly soaking those unfortunate enough to be standing nearby. No, no one was in a good mood. It seemed like it was always like that in Gotham. The hum of an engine roared as it came closer and if pedestrians were lucky enough, they would have gotten a glance of the R-Cycle and it's occupant streaking past them.

Robin finally came to a quick stop at a light. He wasn't really trying to look inconspicuous. He figured that being dressed like a traffic light had thrown that ability when in a brightly lit area out the window anyway. And he was definitely in a bright area. Shops don't close just because there's a little bit of rain. That's why they're INSIDE. Unlike him. So while neon lights flashed along side and street lights above showed off their lack-luster splendor, Robin took the opportunity to let out a sigh. He liked going on patrol alone. Especially in Gotham. It had been his hometown since he was eight, so why shouldn't he?

It was kind of calming to people watch in vignettes like these, too. He liked looking out at people without a worry. They were all so different in the city. There was a guy in a suit running to his car. There was a waitress who had just gotten off work and would be walking quickly home in the rain without an umbrella. There were two kids holding their parent's hands as they turned the corner. The little girl smiled up at her mother. The boy looked around, bored, until he saw Robin on his bike.

The light turned green.

Robin revved the engine and shot off. He didn't get to enjoy these moments for very long, and he'd gotten used to it. He followed the Monorail system. Passing Wayne Tower, he shot around it and raced through the streets behind it that lead to Wayne Aerospace, Wayne Industries, WayneTech and many Wayne subsidiaries. Normally he wouldn't go by there, but Joker had a reputation for liking to play with dangerous "toys". Both he and Batman had access to the Wayne Enterprises' security, but that doesn't mean that being nearby wouldn't help.

He stopped as he came up to Wayne Chemicals. There were several trucks nearby with Wayne's stamp on them. All closed save for three. The lights were off and the building looked deserted. Robin watched the sparkling rain for a moment. For some reason, Robin shook his head. He just knew that the Joker wasn't here. But still, something didn't seem... right. Right. Bright...

Robin whipped around to see several lights in WayneTech on when they shouldn't be. Robin leaped off the R-Cycle and raced to the building while he thanked Bruce in his head that he had a security override feature card still in his belt. There was only one thing on his mind. Project Firewall. This was so bad. It took him less than two minutes, but when he got up to the holding department there was... no one. But there had to...

The sound of footsteps above alerted Robin to his guests. Running to the elevators, Robin forced the doors of one that was not in use. He didn't have to look very far before he saw and heard the elevator that was being used by the trespassers. Climbing upwards, the Boy Wonder gradually was able to hear snippets of the conversation.

"Careful, don't drop that!"

"Shh, I'm no moron, moron."

"Who you callin' a moron?"

"Will you two shut it? Not making this going any faster. And with that freak out there..."

"He's not coming here, will you stop that? We've dealt with worse."

"Oh yeah, that much worse," The sarcastic comment came.

"Let's just get this thing going. I still don't want to stay..."

The elevator started downward. Robin smirked. Amateurs. Throwing a small electrical breaker down onto the moving elevator, he smiled as the elevator stopped dead, stuck.

"Who.. what was that?"

"You idiot."

"I didn't do nothin', though."

"Well you must have done something 'cause..."


Robin landed on top and ripped off the top escape shaft. The three startled men yelled and reached for their guns, but it was too late as Robin easily threw three bolas to trap the thieves.

"Why you little..." Their leader began once he recognized their downfall was due to Robin.

"Look, I can either gag you or not, but I'm really not in the mood," Robin told them. He turned on his communicator, "Batman, you there?"

"What's going on at WayneTech?"

"Robbery, I got them all trapped in the third elevator. I'm going to send them down till the police arrive," Robin told him.

"What were they after?"

Robin knelt down and looked at the large box. He looked around trying to find a name or a tag or something to identify it with before realizing it was probably on the bottom. As he lifted it, Robin could only pay attention to how heavy this thing was. That was unusual...

"Got it, Project.. Can't read it," Robin asked, "What's this?"

"Another of Fox's projects probably, have the cops take it into custody for the time being. It's most likely only a prototype," With that, Robin heard static.

Great. This meant two things. One, it meant that Bruce had way too many projects for him to keep track of. And two, it meant that he'd be here all night silently wondering why if Bruce has Project Firewall and it's done, why on earth he hasn't actually installed it. It was quiet as he got down to the main room of WayneTech and still there were no cops nearby or sirens in the distance. He'd caught these thugs fifteen minutes ago. Robin hit his head against the wall. Great. Just great.

And who knew what this would do to WayneTech tomorrow? Bruce would probably be forced to got to an emergency press conference and, already being tired from the previous night's antics, would not be in any real mood to deal with any irritable mistakes or slow actions. The TV would be ablaze with the petty news all the way to Metropolis. And that it did. Dr. Westfield watched it the next day while he was in his office. He was expecting a visit from the boss, who would be there any...

"Dr. Westfield, you have a report for me?"

Westfield gulped slightly and turned around to see his provider and employer.

"Um, uh, yes Mr. Luthor, with the available materials, we've made much progress regarding the weapon," Dr. Westfield reported.

Luthor nodded and gestured to the door, "Care to show me?"

Westfield kept fiddling with his tie and lab coat, like it was out of place, but nodded none the less. It was uncomfortably quiet. While he would never admit it out loud, Westfield was not, er, accustomed to working with Luthor. The man had a way of having control over every situation and Westfield was not comfortable with it.

"So, what's the weapon so far?" He asked.

"Well, we're still missing those two major elements. We're attempting to replicate the sonic cannon, but it's a slow process, considering what it has to handle," Westfield said, waiting for Luthor's comments.

There were none, "That's our primary focus as of right now. Once we have the power supply and the minerals necessary to operate the weapon, all we'll need to do is latch on that final component that you promised."

Luthor finally nodded in acknowledgment, "And you'll have it."

While Westfield didn't like to push Luthor, he had to this time, "Excuse me, Mr. Luthor, but when will we have it, er, exactly? The sooner the better."

"Of course, Dr. Westfield, of course. I know. I'm currently trying to..." Luthor sighed before continuing, as though worn out, "Negotiate it's arrangements. I still have yet to actually attain it."

"You mean, you don't own it sir?" Dr. Westfield asked, surprised.

"Never assume anything, Doctor. The government would never authorize LexCorp's development of such a thing. So unfortunately, I can only buy it," Lex told the man.

Stepping into a large room, Lex got his first look at the massive object. Several pieces were obviously missing, but apart from that, it appeared to be fantastic. Much of which was his own design, Luthor recognized and was pleased with. He only wished that it could have been a bit more... deployable. It was not the fastest piece of equipment. Hopefully however, it wouldn't need to be. But despite all of this, pleasure was dampened. He felt a quiet rage begin to burn inside. This was taking way too long. He should have never...

Briinnngggg! Briinnngggg! Briinnngggg!

Lex looked down at his phone and the caller ID. Perfect timing, "Dr. Westfield, this looks magnificent, but could you give me just five minutes?"

Westfield's brief pride was smothered and he humbly left the room, leaving Luthor in the room, with no security cameras or recorders or interferences.

Flipping open the phone, Lex was about to begin when an enraged voice spoke over the phone, "You don't think I don't know what you're doing Luthor?!"

Unaccustomed to such an address, Luthor responded, "You can't tell me you're surprised, Deathstroke. You realize it's been a month."

"And it may very well be another month, but your hired antics last night has only complicated my job. You realize that their Project Firewall is now being pushed ahead of schedule to be installed?" Slade asked.

"I believe I might have heard something," Lex answered passively.

But Slade was tired of Luthor's casual attitude. He wasn't to be double-crossed by anyone and that included Luthor. He should know that after what Slade had done to Trigon. Perhaps the man hadn't heard about that incident. Maybe he should enlighten him. Sitting down on the couch as the fire crackled in the fireplace, Slade continued.

"Well, if you're going to be like that Luthor, I'll just have to take it up a notch," Slade answered.

"I guess you will," Luthor smiled. He liked what he was hearing.

Not for long. "I guess I'll just have to anonymously tip off the Man of Steel to Cadmus Labs," Standing up, Luthor shouted, "You what?"

"Angry, Alexander?" Slade chuckled, "We're on the same page then. Let's just not aggravate each other further, agreed?"

Luthor fumed. He didn't like Slade. Never did. But right now he could only loath the man and his negotiation skills. At least Slade had given him a time frame, though. At least he could hold Slade to that. At least. Lex sighed.

"You want something more than my money, don't you Slade?" When he didn't hear a response, Luthor continued, "Fine, but if you don't finish by November first, you're through. Deathstroke will never be a reliable name again."

Slade gave little heed to the warning and in good nature responded, "Thank you, Mr. Luthor. I'll keep that in mind."

With that, he hung up, smiling. It was still the first week of October. He had at least three weeks. But for Luthor, he could only imagine that this was going to be a very, long month.


A good week passed after the attempted robbery at WayneTech and still they were coming up dry on any real leads. In fact, Robin was starting to wonder if there really wasn't any other threats to worry about. Batman was constantly working, trying to solve a seemingly unsolvable puzzle. Robin had to hand it to him, Batman was dedicated far more than he was and that was something his friends would say is impossible. One thing that Robin hated about this type of work was that there was always a possibility that none of these crimes were related. Or rather, some crimes were connected and others were not. And that was just another problem in and of itself.

Batman though, he just worked. He didn't think about how hard it was, mostly because he had trained himself not to. He had trained himself to not choke on the scenes before him. He had trained himself not to be disturbed by criminal acts. Robin, well, he could do that. But sometimes it was better to be human. Such as now.

The Dynamic Duo stood in front of the debris from Edwin Beagle's apartment-townhouse, still smoking from the recent fire.

Robin felt a chill from the cold soot lightly hitting his face. He glanced over when he saw Batman move forward and begin to take samples and pictures. It was his fourth crime scene of this nature. It was Robin's first as he hadn't gone to Clara Thompson's. It was just bad timing. And now was good timing. Good timing to actually help Batman collect samples instead of waiting for the report to come in.

Bending down when he found an interesting spot, Robin began to carefully mark and take samples. It was amazing what he could now do without thinking about it. A piece of wood was in the way. Robin grabbed the wreckage only to drop it as soon as he picked it up. The hot embers were still fresh. Soot and burnt material sprang into his face and Robin felt himself cough and choke on the cloud of dust.

Batman looked and walked over. Stretching out his hand, he was shocked as Robin quickly hit it away. Not batted - hit away. When Robin turned and looked up, there was an expression of obvious discomfort and... humiliation? Batman couldn't fathom what for. It wasn't too far from batting someone away and it wasn't unnatural to bat something away when you're not expecting it. He didn't get much time to analyze it further as Robin quickly muttered 'sorry, didn't, sorry', stood up, and walked into another area. The night was young. The lights from the block kept the area lit well enough and it was easy enough to see when they turned on the night-vision in their masks.

Robin finally turned to Batman after about thirty minutes, "I'm going to check the roof areas, see if there's anything interesting from an aerial perspective."

Batman didn't say anything, but nodded. They'd be going soon, anyway. Robin might as well do a brief check. Climbing to the top of a nearby apartment, Robin clicked away pictures of the area. There was no doubt about it, he was a little bored. No, it wasn't that he didn't want to be doing this. He did. He wanted to help. It was never that. It was just that the company always set the mood...

There was a quick flash of movement in the corner of his eye. Running in the direction of the movement, Robin looked around and soon caught a glimpse of more movement. A figure that he couldn't make out. And they were running. So he did, too. Sprinting forward, Robin bounded after the person. They were quick, hard to follow, but he managed.

"Stop!" He yelled out, but that didn't exactly help as the figure didn't listen.

Finding himself on an unfamiliar rooftop, Robin lost sight of the mysterious person. Climbing above a chimney, Robin searched desperately for anything. Something moved, over there, behind the ventilation shaft. Stealthily, Robin jumped down and walked around the corner. Taking out bola and a bo-staff, Robin braced himself. In an instant, he swung around the corner and netted his captor with ease, but it was not who he was expecting (if he had expected anyone, that is).

"You, why I oughta..."


"Well I guess so, considering I'm wearing a Cat-suit. What's the big idea?" She asked, obviously displeased at her current situation.

"Why didn't you stop when I called out?" Robin asked back.

"You never told me. I've been heading up from the eastern section, I wasn't running down south," She told him.

"You mean, you didn't go by the Beagle house?" Robin questioned, slowly realizing that somehow, he'd probably gotten...

"No, wrong person, kid. As hard as it might be to believe, but I was minding my own business," Catwoman told him indignantly and gestured to the bola, "Now would you mind?"

Robin swallowed some of his pride, bent down, and then released Catwoman from the bola seeing that Batman would do it if he didn't, "Sorry. You didn't see anyone go by here by chance though, did you?"

"I wasn't really looking out for anything like that, suppose I should, though. It's getting ridiculous out there," She said, stretching slightly.

"Would you care to elaborate?"

They both turned to see Batman coming out of the shadows; it was really no surprise to either of them either, "Joker's acting like he's still in Arkham from what I've heard. Not doing anything, the only thing he's done is robbing the robbers of this city, which they can't reveal to the cops."

"Anything else?" Robin asked.

"Other than that, there's just been some heated tempers. But when does that not happen?" Catwoman scoffed.

Batman's eyes narrowed, but Robin knew that it wasn't out of annoyance. Only out of consideration of the possibilities. The man nodded.

"Is that all?" He inquired.

"Two-Face in particular isn't very happy at the moment. But it's not much of a big deal," She flashed a luscious smile his way. Batman stiffened, but glanced briefly at Robin at the mention of Two-Face. Still, no one noticed.

He asked, his voice gruff, but bordering on the casual side, "And how have you been?"

"I've been better," She answered, slowly walking forward, "But you know me, I'm a big girl. I can handle myself."

"I'm sure," Batman replied without much emotion, but still there was some, "Robin and I have to get back to work."

Catwoman glanced at Robin, as though disappointed. He looked away from them both. It was funny how they both didn't exactly want the Duo to go back to work.

"Alright then, I'll see you two around," She called, as she scampered off the rooftop and down below into the alleys.

Batman walked over to the side, but he didn't expect to see her. Robin only looked back at the smoky scene half a block down and back behind him. He'd been sure that there had been someone. So sure... A chilling thought came to his mind and he shivered. Jumping as he felt someone's presence behind him, Robin caught his breath.

"Care to enlighten me about what just happened in detail?" Batman asked.

Robin shook it off and walked back towards the Beagle residence, "Nothing happened. I thought I saw something. I was wrong that's all."

Batman let Robin leap off the building without further explanation. But something wasn't quite right. Robin had admitted he was wrong. Robin didn't do that easily. Unless he was doing it to lie. He'd given Robin a lot of lee-way. A lot of space and a lot of freedom because Robin was not a person to be caged. But something was wrong. And he knew it. Batman turned back to where Robin had been staring. Was Robin really just seeing things? He couldn't shake the feeling that he wasn't. But then again, Robin could be acting like this to make up for the lack of distance of a continent between them. Teenagers. They were a mystery. Unfortunately, one he didn't think he'd ever quite be able to solve.

Following Robin's lead, the Dark Knight chased after his Squire, not knowing that someone else was, metaphorically speaking, doing the same. Slade smiled as he watched the two vigilantes run across the rooftops and in between the light and shadows. He could have left earlier and not have been there at all, but it had been too long. He was tired of watching Robin on the screens of hidden cameras. And seeing the boy in person was... refreshing.

Still perfect. Still growing. Still maturing. Still, there was much more to do.

Slade smiled as he let out a low chuckle. Robin was taking care of himself. And by the looks of it, Robin hadn't forgotten him at all. Maybe he did take some deluded sense of enjoyment at the boy's expense, but it didn't exactly hurt Robin either, so it wasn't really a concern to him. The rush was way too much fun to ignore. Landing below, Slade walked down the dark alleyway and disappeared into the shadows, never to emerge.

He was having a much better night than Robin was. Robin felt like Batman was speaking less and less. No, that wasn't right. Batman was talking. Giving orders. More and more. And he couldn't help but hate it. Did the man think that he was incompetent? That he couldn't take care of himself? A mere hindrance? That's what it had been the last time. But Robin would never say anything. It was a petty thing, the orders, and he was probably just too used to being the one giving them. He just kept telling himself that. Somehow though, it never stuck. So instead he tried to think that they'd be finished in maybe a week. Then he'd be home in Titans Tower with his friends instead of having to stay in this rotting town that they called a city.

In the cave, Dick changed, discouraged and downhearted. Going up to his room, he found a small tray with a brownie and milk that Alfred had left him. He guessed the butler had figured that he'd need a pick up. Breaking off a piece, Dick sat down in his blue pajamas and picked up a small book that he sometimes left out on the dresser. Opening the lock, he flipped through the pictures of his friends and the people that he had met. But it was mostly pictures of the Titans. There were some Justice League members and a couple relatively cool people that he had met through a variety of circumstances. Still though, it was the Titans that focused on.

It was calming after a long, hard day. He felt exhausted. And no one could blame him. He put the book down and pressed on the lock. Putting it away and getting into bed, Dick found himself still sleepless. He rolled around. Tossed the sheets on and off of himself in effort to find comfort. However, he couldn't. His thoughts were restless. Finally, he threw off the sheets and left his room.

Inside their private gym, Dick tapped up his bare hands and feet, chalked them, and jumped up onto the wires above. He felt himself begin to work up a sweat even though he had just taken a shower. Energy encased his body and it wasn't from the brownie. Jumping down, he raced over to the mats and began to do sit-ups, push ups, stretches. He had to do it. He just had to. He couldn't bring himself to stop. He couldn't fail. Never fail...

The sound of a person's voice echoed in the hallways. Bruce had come out around four, but the sounds in the normally quiet manor had surprised him. Following the sounds, he found himself close to the gym. The door was slightly ajar and he could hear a rhythmic 'hut, hut, hut' coming from inside. Looking inside, his eyes widened as he saw Dick, his pajamas soaked with sweat.

He opened the door, unsure of what to do in this situation, but still, he had to do something, he guessed, "Dick?"

Dick glanced over and dropped to the ground, swaying slightly on his feet, "Yeah?"

His ward's voice spoke volumes. The boy was obviously tired, barely able to stand up straight, "What are you doing?"

Dick shrugged, "Couldn't sleep."

There was a short pause, but right before Bruce could speak, Dick cut in, "I'm going to bed now."

Staggering almost, Dick swiftly made his way out of the gym and around the corner to the staircase. Bruce would have followed, but he didn't think that Dick wanted that. And he was right. Dick didn't want that. He couldn't stand another order. Another guideline. Another scolding. Another chance to disappoint Bruce. Bruce eventually turned around to walk the opposite way to his own room.

Was he worried about what was going on? Not over the top, no. Dick had handled himself for over two years without his help. Yet, he was much more concerned about Dick's behavior. Maybe it was another one of those rebellious cycles. It was giving him a headache to think about it. So he did what he had trained himself to do. Make a mental note and come back to it later. It was what he knew. It was all he felt he knew. It also was one of the few things that made him feel guilty about who he was. Guilty. Yes. What a wonderful way to end the day.

No comments:

Post a Comment