Chapter Fourteen: One Bad Joke
"Yo! B! Where's my toothbrush?"
"How would I know? It goes in your mouth!"
"Well you're packin' everythin' in the bathrooms!"
"I didn't get to it yet!"
"Well why don't you get to it?"
"Will you two shut up!?"
boys looked down the hallway to see Raven glaring at them with
vengeance in her eyes. Zipping their lips, Beast Boy and Cyborg switched
places from the hallway and the bathroom and began packing without
argument. Raven sighed. This would be worse than traveling to Azarath
and back with only a car to get you there. Starfire came out from around
the corner, confused by the earlier yelling. Raven shook her head at
her, a clear sign that whatever the yelling was about, it was pointless.
Starfire shrugged with a smile and asked her, "I am sure that this will be easier once we get into the T-Car, friend Raven."
"I hope so Starfire," Raven told her as they both began walking to the front with the few bags they had already packed.
can not wait to see friend Robin again," Starfire told her, "It has
been nearly a month. Why, is not the day of Hallows Eve coming the up?"
looked at her, baffled for a moment and then answered, "Oh, Halloween,
yeah, it's coming up. Maybe, what, four more days? At least the boys
won't be able to go ballistic for candy this year if we're in Gotham."
It was quiet for a moment, until Starfire begged the question, "Raven? Have you ever been to the City of Gotham?"
sighed and shook her head, "I have only heard. And while the city seems
to stand high in the dark, I do not believe it is a city even I would
enjoy living in."
Starfire felt her arms tense, but resisted the
urge to swallow hard. If Raven didn't like something, it couldn't be
good. And Robin had gone willingly? Well, perhaps not willingly, but he
had volunteered. It was somewhat... disturbing, unsettling for her. They
placed their bags down and went to go finish packing as did Raven. But
Raven didn't get as far as Starfire did.
turned to see Red X standing in the corner. She glared at him. It had
been too much work to keep an eye on him, so against their better
judgment, they had decided to let him roam around on his own, provided
all top security rooms were locked, double time.
"What do you want?" She asked bitterly.
X knew that she wasn't in the mood for this, but he had to ask someone
and the other boys weren't going to be of any help at the moment. In
addition, Starfire had taken a distinct dislike to him, threatening to
tear out his eyes if he stalked her outside the bathroom while she was
taking a shower again. She must have gotten sick of being hit on. Raven
was perhaps the one person who hadn't had the urge to throw him out the
"I'd like to know what on earth I'm supposed to do
until you Titans get back. Do you even know when you're getting back?"
He asked, still with that same smugness, but in an almost tentative way
at the same time.
She sighed and answered, "We've left you the
fridge. We're locking you in. If you need to get out, call Cyborg. Order
pizza if you run out of food."
"Gee, thanks for the concern," Red X answered.
"Aren't you a big bad boy?" Raven sarcastically handled.
"Oh, taking up name-calling, are we?" Red X prodded.
Raven turned and glared at him, "Watch it and don't you dare step out of line because if you do, I'll make sure you regret it."
before Raven attempted to retreat, Red X started back and she felt her
head begin to pound. Fortunately, just then Beast Boy showed up,
suitcases in his hands.
"Raven?" He asked, looking between the two, "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," She barked and was going to leave when he asked her something
"Hey Rae, wait! Please tell me you have less stuff than Starfire has in your bathroom?"
"I don't have much, Beast Boy," She sighed gently, but still with a warning tone in her voice.
"Alright, well, guess I should say thank you at least," He commented.
your makeup bag is probably going to be considerably lighter than
Star's," Beast Boy told her and added, "Not that you need it, you know."
Boy laughed a little, but sensed awkwardness and quickly continued down
the hall and around the corner. Raven watched and then sighed. He was
trying to be nice. She knew it. And in a weird sort of way, he was. If
only he could rid her of her migraine. And then she noticed that Red X
was still standing there, with the worst sort of look in his eye. She
instantly teleported to the roof and levitated in a meditation position.
But before she could begin her incantation, someone interrupted.
"So why would I regret it?" Red X asked.
She opened just one eye, while wondering how on earth that guy could do that, "You're already pushing the line..."
"Then why haven't you kicked me out?"
"Because... I'm torn..." Raven finally answered, "Azarath, Metrion…"
Red X raised a brow and waited for an answer. There was none but she continued to chant, so he pushed for it, "Why?"
Raven continued, "There is something in you that I can't decipher."
nature. Your actions, motivations..." Raven closed her eyes and
focused, maybe this would help… "You've been predetermined with good
intentions, but something... something changed you. You know not what is
right and what is wrong, as though it has been suppressed. And thus the
evil and good within you are a muddy mix that I have trouble
Red X looked taken aback, but replied, "You think this mumbo jumbo speech is going to make me change or something?"
"No," Raven answered.
"Then why are you telling me?" Red X inquired.
"Because you asked me. Now if you're only going to waste my time, leave," Raven told him; she had to concentrate…
Red X laughed, "Alright, touché. So you don't know where I'm going to
lean towards, so you wait. Nice to know that that part of me will still
work on you Titans."
He sighed as he laid down on the ground while
Raven levitated. She was trying to ignore him and wasn't doing a very
good job at it. And yet she had to. Her head was aching. Going to
Gotham. It was such a bad idea. She could feel it. Or maybe it wasn't so
much a bad idea as it was going to a place like…
"So, you like him?"
Raven opened an eye, "Who?"
"That dork, Beast Boy?"
Raven's eyes snapped open and she hoped that Red X didn't see. He didn't, but Red X knew that he had hit something.
"I… I don't really have that privilege," Raven answered.
"It's a privilege to like that guy?" Red X asked, "Man, does he have an ego."
"No, it's not him or anyone, it's me," Raven told him, "You'd understand if you'd ever seen me… lose it."
"I bet I'd survive," Red commented, his attitude cocky.
"Don't push it, X, you really just don't know when to stop," She told him.
Her head was pounding. She didn't want to talk. She had to chant. Her head…
"So what's Robbie doing in Gotham anyway?"
"Working," Raven answered, shutting her eyes shut tight.
"And why can't I come?" He asked.
"For that reason," Raven told him.
"That's not a very good rea..."
"Shut up!" Raven yelled.
X jumped back as he saw two more eyes begin to grow from her forehead
while her breath became ragged and dragged out, in pain and almost a
sick delight. It lasted but a few seconds, until Raven regained control.
Red X watched as Raven cowered, her hood completely hiding her face,
unsure as to how to react.
Finally Raven offered explanation, "Something... something bad... is about to happen... In Gotham..."
breathed heavily and Red X tentatively took a step forward, but Raven
held out her hand and announced, "Learn your place. Do not interfere."
"Alright, alright, chill," He answered.
that, Raven disappeared into a drift and back to her room, leaving Red X
alone on the rooftop. He strode over to the rooftop entrance.
'Learn your place.'
was he? Chopped liver? Whatever Raven was going on about, he didn't
care. There was no way the Titans were doing this to him. Besides,
whatever was going to happen in Gotham, it couldn't be that bad...
Red X shrugged it off, as it made no difference to him, and walked down the empty hallway.
dripped from the ceiling and onto Ollie's jacket. Perfect timing. Of
course as soon as he got out of the plane something would drip on him.
At least it wasn't some present left by one of Bruce's flying friends
who liked to nest on the ceiling. He brushed it off and continued to pay
attention to Batman who was comparing the message and codes to that of
Diana's and the rest of the JLA's.
"Diana, please tell me again why I had to come here," Oliver asked.
"It wouldn't be so painful if you'd quit whining, Arrow," Wonder Woman informed him in a hushed whisper.
Diana, Wonder Woman, somehow you listened to her if you were a guy. She
was naturally a born leader and commanded respect. Her outfit would
often glitter in the sun, reflecting the nation which she had begun
calling home. Right now, her lasso glowed in the dark with power while
the light hit her tiara and bracelets. She respected every woman and let
them talk to her openly. Only in the JLA did she work with other men
while the only men she saw as equals were Batman and Superman.
"You can stop the whispering, Diana," Batman told her, "It's just as distracting."
Diana was about to reply when Alfred called over the intercom, "Sir, shall I wake Master Dick?"
"Please do so, Alfred," Batman answered and continued on with his work.
Wonder Woman turned at the mention of Dick, an eyebrow raised at a still oblivious Bruce.
"You neglected to mention that Dick was staying with you again," She said, hoping to get a reaction, anything, out of Bruce.
"It was irrelevant to the JLA business," Bruce told her.
Wonder Woman looked at him sternly, "I do believe we are also friends, Bruce."
only looked at her for a moment and went back to his work, so Diana cut
in again, "So what's made you so uptight about this hacker that you
need Kryptonian, Thanagarian, Amazonian, Rannian and all the other
sources of technology in the world at your finger tips?"
trying to find some string, some trace of who left the message at the
end where their code or original trace should have been," Batman
answered, scanning over Oliver's own technology.
"What'd this message say anyway?" Diana asked.
"They had other plans," Batman answered, leaving out the first half of the message.
Wonder Woman's eyebrows raised, but she said nothing. That is until Oliver tapped her on the shoulder.
"Where's the bathroom in your see-through Jet?"
was half torn in her answer while Oliver grinned his dorky smile right
up at her. Meanwhile, Alfred was having just as much trouble trying to
get Master Dick up and awake.
"I must, uh, insist Master Dick,
ugh, that you get up," Alfred informed the sleeping teen between tugs to
get Dick to let go of his bed sheets.
"Alfred, come on, with that stupid drag race last night…"
do not care what sort of shanagins you got yourself into last night,
Master Dick, and quite frankly, neither does Master Bruce," Alfred told
him, letting go of the sheets.
Dick raised his head in question, "Huh?"
"It's seven in the evening, Dick," Alfred explained.
groaned. Now he was switching to Bruce's sleeping schedule. He'd been
here too long. Way too long. And to top it off, he was tired. And all he
wanted to do was sleep and go back to the dream he had been having. The
one with his friends in it. The one with her in it and her beautiful sweet smile. But no, he was stuck here with Bruce and his obsessive, unnatural sleeping habits.
"I do believe Miss Diana Prince and Mr. Oliver Queen are present," Alfred added as a motivation.
looked up at Alfred who had offered a brief smile. With that, Dick shot
up from his bed and began to hastily get dressed to go down and see the
Amazing Amazon and Emerald Archer.
Down below, the door to the
cave opened from and Dick came down. As he raced below, he caught sight
of Diana and Oliver and smiled. Diana attempted to show the same
enthusiasm while Ollie easily surpassed Dick himself with a laugh.
"Boy Wonder!" He called up, "Where's the tights, kid?"
Dick smiled and jumped down the rest of the steps, "Oliver, Princess Diana, what are you doing here?"
Woman composed herself again and answered, "Dropping some samples of
technology off for Batman from the watchtower. What are you doing here?"
"There's been a connection between crimes in Jump and Gotham, so I'm just here till we solve it," Dick answered.
"Did you grow a foot or somethin'?" Green Arrow asked him, pretending to measure the difference with his bow.
a few inches, Arrow," Dick answered rolling his eyes, "How's Speedy?
Haven't seen him lately with him working for Titans East."
and me both. He's been ignorin' me lately I think, probably mad at
something. Told me last that he was dating some girl named Jade. Proud
of him for that though, he needs a girl. Anyways, have I ever told you
how I met Speedy? It was a close..."
Green Arrow went into one of
his tall tales as Dick only half listened. Diana however, felt her chest
tighten. Once she was sure that Oliver was fully immersed in his story,
Diana walked up to Batman and tried to make some type of conversation a
reality. But before she could, Alfred came up to the Dark Knight.
"Yes, Alfred?" Batman asked the butler, who had followed Dick downstairs in the latter moments.
I forget, you have an evening meeting October thirty first for Project
Firewall, it won't go long though. And I must remind you to take care of
your face sometime before you retire tomorrow for the day," Alfred
lectured in a soft voice, sounding much like an overbearing parent.
Woman repressed a snicker while Green Arrow continued to rant on not
noticing. Bruce merely rubbed his jaw smoothly. He turned away and
continued to work, cutting off any chance for Oliver to hear any more of
She nonchalantly asked, "So, what's he mean about your face?"
"I just need to shave," Bruce told her, trying to get off the subject.
Strangely, as far as Diana could tell, Bruce was clean-shaven. She tried again to make conversation, "Dick's grown a lot in the past two years."
"I suppose," Bruce commented.
"Clark said that he's been trying to reach you," She continued.
"I've got my hands full," Batman replied.
she wasn't going to get anywhere. Diana sighed as Ollie finished his
story to Dick, who was beginning to question Ollie's memory, "You know, I
thought that Speedy met you at a Native American reservation..."
"Yeah, yeah, that's where this all took place!" Oliver told him, "You worry too much about the details kid."
"You ready to go?" Wonder Woman asked him.
"As soon as you are, Babe," Green Arrow answered, receiving a punch to the arm, "Ow."
have to go, Batman. We'll call if we need you," Wonder Woman told him,
"Oh, and call Clark if you get the chance. He's worried about some
things going on in Metropolis."
"Hey, Green Arrow, can you hold up a minute? I need to get something to Speedy..."
Bruce interrupted harshly, "They need to get going and you should have
changed about five minutes ago if you were planning to go out tonight."
Dick lowered his head slightly, but with a bitter face and nodded, "Sorry, see ya guys later."
Oliver answered back, inwardly speculating, "Sure, kid, sure."
He wasn't quite ready to go now. As Dick left, Oliver was about to ask what that was about, when Wonder Woman held him back.
got to get going. Call if you need anything Bruce," Wonder Woman told
him and the two began to walk off to the Invisible Jet.
"Don't get involved, Oliver," She commanded.
Oliver snorted and whispered, "And please, tell me why not?"
"Just don't," She repeated.
Wonder Woman stopped and turned to look at him as they reached the
Invisible Jet, "Ollie, they just… I'm surprised Clark didn't bother
telling me that Dick was here, but, Bruce and Dick… whatever's going on
with them, they'll want us to stay out of it."
She began climbing into her jet, when Ollie followed and asked back, "Are you?"
"Am I what?"
"Going to get involved?"
Woman sat down in the jet and began to turn on the engines, "Only if
they prove that men are as incompetent as they seem to be. Then again
you already seem to do that fine without any other guy's help."
"Thank you!" Green Arrow added, jumping into his seat, "I'll take that as a compliment."
the engines revved and the Jet began to emit long roars echo throughout
the cave, Robin came out to watch. There was little to say, but he
wished that he could have gotten up earlier. He heard Bruce talking to
Fox over the phone, but didn't bother interrupting to say 'hi'. No doubt
Bruce would tell him to do something else or question him about
something he forgot to do.
"Yes, have it in my office in the
morning… Yes, the prototype… No, no, you can continue making
arrangements for the production..." He laughed, "No doubt the government
agents will be… Oh? Alright. Well, thank you, Fox. I'll see you
tomorrow, two good? Alright. Thank you."
"What was that about?" Robin asked.
"New prototype Fox is building," Batman told him.
it so impossible for the man to elaborate? Apparently so, considering
he just continued typing and working on the technology samples.
"Would you look at some of these hacking tools?" Batman asked, "I'm only going off of what you described…"
came up and watched the mini screens hoping that he'd see what he had
seen four nights ago, but, "These codes don't match, Batman."
"They don't even resemble…"
nothing like it. It was nothing like the Kryptonian or Thanagarian
stuff. This person was human. They used techniques specific to our
systems, to any…"
Batman looked at Robin and he got the point to
quit talking now. Sitting down, Robin folded his arms and waited to be
spoken to. Yes, he was all dressed up as Robin and there was nothing
that Batman wanted him to do but sit and wait for instructions.
He didn't have to wait long.
alarm rang throughout the cave and the bats above screeched at being
woken up early. The Bat Computer's screen automatically switched to one
of Batman's many cameras to see balloons in the air over the Wayne Oil
Refinery. And then the speakers turned on and any bats who hadn't been
disturbed now were.
"Joker… Robin, move!"
didn't have to tell Robin twice and they both were in the Batmobile
speeding away to the Oil Refinery. The streets became blurs and Robin
wondered how on earth it was that Batman could drive this fast and this
accurately. A certain threat to Speed Racer for sure. And then he
remembered that he was learning to do this as well. He was shaken out of
his daze when the Batmobile screeched to a halt. He jumped out to see
dozens of air balloons in the air, apparently carrying jack in the
boxes, all turning slowly.
Cops surrounded the area led by Bennett
and Yin. They all pointed their guns at the mad man, but none of them
fired. They were ready, they had him surrounded. But the laugh sounded
at their near terrified faces. Seeing the Dynamic Duo, the cops let the
two come forward, as though they were the SWAT team, because they
basically were. Before going past the line, Batman was stopped by
"We got your back, Batman," He told him, "If you need us…"
call, but don't let your men doing anything without my go ahead,
Bennett," Batman said from the corner of his mouth, his voice gruff, but
"Bats! You're late," Joker teased as Batman and Robin walked forward, "Did bird-boy here hold you up?"
took out his bo-staff threateningly. Everyone tensed, but Joker only
laughed, "I can see you've grown a couple inches, kid, but please, don't
Robin seethed, but suddenly was aware of
another threat. Joker had been out in the open. But he held his hand
behind his back and there was a huge tank on his thin lanky back.
"So how are you going to stop me this time, Batman? Aren't you going to try and…"
"Batman," Robin whispered, "What…"
took out a pistol and hit two of the balloons above. Instantly, they
released a liquid which poured down towards the Dynamic Duo and another
towards a police car. They both dodged the threat and looked back to see
craters where the liquid had landed.
"Acid, Joker?" Batman asked, "Don't have any new brilliant ideas lately?"
Joker laughed, nearly choking, "Batman, you know I always have something new for every show!"
brought forth a large red button and they all knew that those were bad.
Batman watched as he hit a trigger and suddenly, clown robots emerged
all carrying tanks of liquid on their backs.
"See here Bats,
here's the dilemma. You see those air balloons? They're here to
advertise my new show. They're going to go throughout Gotham and explode
with laughter all through out for announcements…" He let the Dynamic
Duo's eyes widen before continuing with a laugh, "But, that's not all.
You see, I just keep feeling like Gotham doesn't laugh enough, so I'll
be adding my special laughing gas to well, their gas!"
Refinery… if that laughing gas was released nearly all of the Wayne
connected gas stations in Gotham would be contaminated in minutes and if
that gas got into the tanks of all of the cars, it would release the
laughing gas into the air with the exhaust. And there was a pretty good
chance of that happening considering that Wayne Gas was the cheapest
around Gotham: a dollar per gallon. Yeah, Bruce had been working on
solving that problem with Fox, too.
"Choose wisely, Bats, you
can't hope to keep the joke from everyone. Now be a deary and allow
these fine young bots into the refinery."
"Where'd he get this stuff?" Robin asked.
"Doesn't matter now, on my mark…" Batman whispered.
The robots made their way to the Refinery's wall. As soon as one of them opened the door, Joker turned, but for only a moment.
threw a cement bomb at the door, blocking Harley, and went for the
Joker, careful to stay away from the laughing gas, while Robin leaped up
towards the sky. The balloons began to float off. Throwing a birdarang,
Robin hit his target, but destroyed electrical equipment in the
process. Now that he looked at it, the balloons were all going off on
dangerous courses. Great. Batman had his own problems, too. Joker was
not easily dismantled.
"So why'd you bring the bird boy back, Bats?" Joker quipped as he dodged, "Am I too much to handle?"
"This isn't a game, Joker," Batman ignored the comment.
"Of course it is," Joker retorted, "You can't hope to win it all, either."
and Bennett hid behind their cars, the rest of the cops with them,
crouched and waiting for any opportunity. They couldn't shoot the bots –
otherwise the gas could be released and Gordon would never forgive
them. Yin kept her head above the car looking for any opening. Anything.
Anything! And there was nothing.
"Agh," She groaned, "This is pathetic. It's one guy!"
"Bats will handle it Yin, don't worry," Bennett told her.
"I'm sitting back here Ethan," She shot when an opening caught her eye, "Come on!"
She ran off around the blockade, leaving a confused Ethan in her wake, "Wait, Yin! Aw, come on!"
little choice, Ethan ran off behind her while above him Robin leapt
from pillar to pillar towards the balloons. Once above the Refinery,
Robin leaped into the air, catching hold of one of the air balloons,
which began to drop rapidly with the added weight. As he attempted to
open up the box, the acid began to seep out. Robin kept moving, his
nimble fingers trying to pull out the box of acid, but then…
wires holding the box cut as the acid burnt threw them. Locked in
combat, Joker looked up and laughed while Batman's eyes widened as his
ward began to fall. Robin screamed and came within ten feet of the
ground when something caught him.
"Huh?" Robin looked below him at the dark plate that hovered above the ground.
A boom sounded with a roar and a pillar nearby the refinery fell onto several of the robots, crushing them.
"Well, that was easy."
It was time for Joker to be shocked, "Who…"
teenagers stood or hovered above the fallen pillar, eyes glowing and
cannons lit. A green one, the shape shifter. A hooded one, the mistress
of magic. A flying one, the alien powerhouse. A cyborg, the half man,
half robot. He had heard of them, Robin's team, but he'd never heard of
how fierce they actually could look if they tried. He'd have to put them
into time out.
Cyborg stepped forward, "We're the Teen Titans. I don't think we've met."
"No!" Joker yelled, pushing Batman to the ground, who had been distracted by the Titans' arrival.
Robin jumped to the ground, "Cyborg, Beast Boy, take the remaining robots. Starfire, Raven, take the balloons!"
split up while Robin rushed ahead towards the Joker with a Bo-Staff.
The problem that the Joker always presented was his nimble and thin
stature, making it difficult for Robin to get a good hit as the Joker
constantly dodged him.
"Oh, now Bats' got a whole gang of kiddies," Joker mocked and grabbed Robin's Bo-Staff, "How cute."
knee to Robin's gut, Robin stumbled and the Joker laughed. That is, he
laughed till Batman gave him a good punch to the jaw, his bones
cracking. Above, Raven and Starfire were having their own difficulties.
Raven couldn't touch them without making the balloons sizzle and explode
while Starfire couldn't hit them without the acid exploding over the
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!"
The balloons themselves
began to come close together. As soon as they were close enough…
Starfire let loose a large starbolt. The boxes began to fall into one of
Raven's shields, effectively containing the acid while the balloon
pieces flew everywhere. Starfire turned only to find one hitting her in
the back. She began to fall dazed. Robin was the first to notice.
"Starfire!" But that got him a punch to his skull from the Joker.
eyes fluttered open and within seconds, she realized what was going on.
Instantly she flew back up into the sky, ready for the next batch of
balloons. Meanwhile, Beast Boy and Cyborg were having their own trouble
with the robots who now that they were blocked from the outside,
couldn't get in unless they climbed. And they did. As Beast Boy and
Cyborg approached, a few turned towards them to create a barrier and
"Dude!" Beast Boy yelled.
"What?" Cyborg said between ducking attacks and punching his opponents.
"Did I mention that I hate clowns?"
"Not too fond of them myself right now, B," Cyborg replied.
"Hey, how'd you get…?"
let out a quick sigh of relief when finally Beast Boy used his brain
and turned into a snake, effectively squeezing the robot. He would have
laughed save for the fact that these robots seemed to come out of
nowhere to replenish the dwindling inventory of robots. Cyborg himself
was getting tired of all the idiotic robots, too. Their crazed faces
were disturbing and they had the most flexible bodies he had ever seen.
This was just plain creepy.
"Alright, that's it!" With a yell,
Cyborg maxed out his sonic cannon, destroying the wires inside the
robots and making them useless, "Boo yah!"
As they began to
eliminate the robots, Joker was the last threat. They could still lose.
Not that Yin or Bennett could tell considering that they were too busy
going around and climbing the wall that surrounded the Refinery so they
could get behind. It was dead quiet save for the explosions they heard
near the front. As Yin got up and Ethan fell over and onto his back, she
scanned the area.
"Tell me again why this was a good idea?" He asked.
"I thought you liked being in on the action, Bennett!" She remarked.
"Yeah, but Ellen, this is not what Bats told us to do," Ethan replied.
"We're just positioning ourselves, Ethan, no biggy," She said.
come on, this is just…" But he was cut off as something fell and hit
the floor. They both looked over to see a large oil container roll
towards them to a stop.
Ethan gulped, "Didn't you say earlier that this place was… uh, empty?"
"Harley, Joker must be working with her," Yin reasoned, "let's go."
down the lots, the two soon caught a glimpse of a shadow. Someone else
was here. Then soon hit a fork in the road and they both looked left and
right. Where had they…
"You go left," Ethan told her.
"You go right," Ellen responded.
out their guns and tranquilizers, the two split up. Ethan ran around a
corner. Somehow, something didn't feel right. It was really quiet. He
knew that he was close to the action. There were still 'booms' and
'bangs' that he could hear from here, but still. It was closed off,
remote, like a dead end.
"Well, well, well," A voice came from the darkness. Ethan looked up and pulled his gun out towards the disembodied voice.
"Who are you?" This wasn't a woman. This wasn't Harley.
"Now why would that matter?"
"Why don't you come out, ya coward?" He asked.
"Very well, but you'll wish I never had."
a man emerged from the shadows, though they seemed to cling to him as
though he were the Shadow-Thief. But no, this man wasn't Hawkman's
problem. He was someone else. He'd seen him, but where?
certainly saved me the trouble of tracking you down. Now, Bennett, you
have two options. You leave Gotham, or die," Slade said, barely above a
"You're, insane… Why do you care if I'm here?" He asked.
Slade laughed, "Sorry, that's for me to know. Now, do me a favor. Choose before your partner comes back or I kill you both."
This man was crazy. Crazy, he had to get out of here, "Don't think so!"
shot his gun where Slade had been, but missed and Slade quickly
disarmed him and pinned him to the wall. Slade took out a match and
picked up Bennett's gun which had fallen to the floor.
"You're a fool, Bennett."
eye's widened as Slade lit the match and dropped it into the gun. This
was so bad. Out front, things were barely improving. Between both Batman
and Robin, the Joker was obviously getting tired, but the Joker was
playing their emotions with ease. Come on though, how could he not? He
used his own momentum to push the Dark Knight to the ground. Robin
yelled and began to use his bo-staff to dodge and hit Joker where he
"You're pathetic bird-boy," Joker spat, "Why don't you fly home?"
"Please – that joke's so old," Robin quipped, "Got anything new?"
smiled, his mangled teeth shining with his own spit and blood. Batman's
eyes bulged as Joker knocked Robin to the ground and pulled a gun. No.
Robin's blood froze. The world froze. Joker laughed.
"Say night, night, birdy," He said with a giggle.
was it. It was over. Actually, it would have been, but somehow, Batman
got to Joker's arm first and as Joker pulled the trigger, the bullet
shot up harmlessly into the air. Batman quickly disarmed the Joker,
while Robin regained a sense of what was going on. He kicked Joker to
the ground and Batman restrained him with cuffs.
"Don't. Ever. Try. That. Again," He seethed.
Joker laughed, Batman slugged him knocking the mad man unconscious.
Raven and Starfire finally dismantled acid filled balloons and the
robots ceased to come after Beast Boy and Cyborg. All at once, the cops
started cheering and whistling at them. The Titans beamed. They had made
it. Their first victory in Gotham! Robin went over to the Titans as
"What are you guys doing here?" He asked, half
excited, half confused as Starfire gave him a hug, "I thought I told you
to stay in Jump!"
"Dude, you're not getting rid of us that easily, 'sides, Cyborg wants to compare notes," Beast Boy elaborated.
"Notes? What?" Robin asked.
night Gotham had that weird hack job, I had one myself. Someone stole
and copied all of my files. Figured it's time that we get out here and
start really working on this case," Cyborg told him.
"We're staying in a hotel as aliases," Raven explained, "A little easier for you, we thought."
smiled, that is till he saw Batman walking off towards the cops without
even saying 'hello' to Robin's team. He nodded over to the guys and
they followed. Batman wouldn't even face him as they followed.
"Batman, I, uh, you, um, these are my friends, the Teen Ti…"
"We'll talk about this later," Batman told him, shocking Robin beyond all belief.
had… done something wrong? Again? Again!? What? What was this guy's
problem? He was never good enough! Or, it could be the team. Whatever it
was, it was his fault. It was always his fault. He felt an anger begin
to burn when Batman stopped to talk to a nearby cop.
"Where's Yin and Bennett?" Batman asked a cop and Robin stopped.
"I, uh, they're over… I thought…"
A loud yell interrupted him and gave him his answer, "SOMEONE! ANYONE! PICK UP! COME ON!"
Batman instantly grabbed the man's radio, "Yin, what…"
"It's Ethan! He's… he's…"
"Where are you?"
"I… I'm behind the warehouse, warehouse N," She managed.
wasted no time and quickly ran towards the warehouse around back. Robin
followed quickly, knowing that Batman was worried. About what, he
wasn't sure. The Titans, though confused, followed. Batman ran to the
top of the warehouse and didn't have to look far when he saw traces of
smoke rising from a side of the building. Jumping down a shaft between
crates, he found Yin kneeling, her hands on the ground, trying to keep
it together. Robin and the Titans rounded the corner, but none of them
expected to see what they did.
Batman stood in front of them,
staring at a wall. Three imprints where bullets had landed and blood
splattered across the wall. Below, a ring of black soot from a fire and
Ethan's gun lied on the ground nearby. Shot and incinerated. Yin felt
tears dripping down her face. She cried. It was her fault. If she hadn't
been such a complete idiot, action-obsessed fool… Robin swallowed.
Ethan… Batman's fist began to tremble. Ethan had been Bruce's friend
since they had been in elementary school. Oh no. Robin held his breath
when Batman turned, angrily glaring at him, the scowl on his face
radiating power and rage and somehow, all of that he felt was directly
aimed at him for unknown reasons. He felt like he had to say something,
anything, but he didn't know what.
He could only try, "Batman… I…"
"Just get to the car," Batman ordered, "All of you."
While the rest of the Titans backed up, Robin stood still, shocked, causing Batman bark louder, "Now!"
didn't need to be told again. They all left, though Robin hesitated.
The glare on Batman's cowl told him to go though. As he left, he felt
Batman's marked determination. This had just become personal. Ethan was
dead. He was dead. And it wasn't Joker. It was someone else. They
couldn't let this murderer strike again. He didn't think Bruce could
He didn't know if he could handle it.