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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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..."
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.
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..."
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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...
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
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..."
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?"
"I didn't do nothin', though."
"Well you must have done something 'cause..."
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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."
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
"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
"You mean, you don't own it sir?" Dr. Westfield asked, surprised.
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!
looked down at his phone and the caller ID. Perfect timing, "Dr.
Westfield, this looks magnificent, but could you give me just five
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?!"
to such an address, Luthor responded, "You can't tell me you're
surprised, Deathstroke. You realize it's been a month."
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.
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?"
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
"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."
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.
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.
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
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.
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..."
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...
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?"
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
"Anything else?" Robin asked.
"Other than that, there's just been some heated tempers. But when does that not happen?" Catwoman scoffed.
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.
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
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."
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
"Alright then, I'll see you two around," She called, as she scampered off the rooftop and down below into the alleys.
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.
shook it off and walked back towards the Beagle residence, "Nothing
happened. I thought I saw something. I was wrong that's all."
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.
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...
Still perfect. Still growing. Still maturing. Still, there was much more to do.
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.
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.
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...
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."
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.