"If the world wants you, it's gonna keep on coming till it gets you. And who am I that can fix it? Who am I that can change this if the world wants it so badly? Who am I to stop the end of the world if it keeps on coming?"
― Patrick Ness

oOo

"Is it not appropriate that the most precious among us are ignored until the day they are truly needed, and by then they are forever gone?"

Alfred had a point, but Alfred always had a point. When was he ever wrong? Bruce groaned internally. This was ridiculous, waiting like this for something good to happen. Bruce knew he should have listened to Alfred when there was a chance to do something about this problem. This problem he hadn't seen coming. How on Earth had he need seen this coming? He was Batman! He was supposed to see everything coming, especially when it concerned Dick. Oh, for God's sake, how had he not seen this coming!

oOo

Two Weeks Earlier...

"No. Not this time."

"But why?! Bruce, I never get to see him outside of team business- And I can't be myself around them! Bruce, come on, just for a few hours, I promise I won't-"

"Dick, the answer is still no. I have important business to do today for Waynetech and I can't have this place in uproar while I'm working."

"But it's just Wally! And Alfred will make sure we don't-"

"Talk back one more time and you'll be grounded-Robin too. I have made my decision and I am going to stick to it, understood?"

"Yes," Dick sighed and turned out of Bruce's study making his way back to his room. And that's when Alfred showed up, a word of advice on his tongue as usual. "Master Bruce, if I may, perhaps Master Richard had a point. It would not be too much trouble for me to supervise them in their escapades, would it? It is true that Master Richard has had far less interaction with Wallace than is good for quite some time. Perhaps you can make an exception."

And there you go, again, Alfred. The man was practically Bruce's conscience, not like he didn't do enough for Bruce besides that. Bruce was just one of those stubborn people, however, that had a particularly hard time listening to this conscience of his. "Not today, Alfred. Maybe another time."

Not today, Alfred.

Alfred had, of course, seen it coming. Today was a stressful day for Bruce. It was that day. The day that, despite having transpired years ago, burned the scars it had inflicted then with every bit as much fury now. And so Alfred let it pass. Master Richard didn't understand why Master Bruce was so tightly wound today, but tonight, Batman would most likely take a detour in his crime-busting for the night to leave a flower lying in Crime Alley, and then Robin would surely understand.

Bruce didn't mean to be so harsh with Dick, he really didn't. What he had said was true, though, today was a busy day. He had Waynetech work and Batman work to take care of before he went on patrol tonight. He really didn't want to have to consider not bringing Robin along tonight, but if this argument kept up, Bruce's word would have to hold.

That night...

"Bane is having a Mexican drug cartel transport a shipment tonight. This could be big."

Robin knew better than to say anything.

"Our objective is clear. Stop the transport. And, of course, your usual job still applies; watch my back."

A quick nod.

The ride in the Batmobile was silent, the stakeout at the docks was silent, even as Batman and Robin took Bane and his goons on, everything was silent.

Suprisingly, even the goons weren't too chatty. An occasional gasp when a caped hero appeared out of nowhere and a grunt of pain when a swift and well-placed kick, punch or jab would knock them unconscious.

Then Bane came out of the shadows and narrowed his eyes at the two silent partners. "How predictable of you. Coming and trying to...stop me." He spoke as if it was utterly ridiculous even to try stopping him.

Batman shot Robin a glance that rather obviously ordered him to go destroy the shipment that sat harmless on the dock.

"But, Batman! He argued desperately.

"Don't question my orders!"

Batman's menacing growl urged Robin into action, despite how boring and action-less the command was. Robin complied and fired his grappling hook, soaring to the boat that had the shipment aboard. And when he got there, it was a few simple moves to plant dozens of little explosives, all with his little cackle echoing from them. He cleared the dock in seconds and covered himself with his cape as a precaution when the explosion broke in the sky and light burst outwards.

When the heat died out a little he turned to see Batman engaged with Bane in what looked like a fast-paced and exciting battle. He was Robin, it was his job to help. He dashed across the pavement to Batman, eager to help.

It took a split second for everything to go wrong.

One of Bane's men had come back to consciousness and slipped a knife out of his boot, putting all his energy into that one stab. The stab that caught Batman unaware in the side.

While the exertion was enough to send the goon back into the realm of unconsciousness, Bane simply halted his attack and looked on amused. Batman speechlessly collapsed on the pavement with a thud that seemed to jerk Robin into action, so that suddenly, with a rage known only to Batman, he was charging forward with a fierce intensity and throwing all his anger at Bane. He only barely kept the hot tears from sliding angrily down his cheeks so that they remained in his eyes, blurring his vision so that a blind rage overtook him. Never so fast as then had Bane been taken out. When he lay unconscious with his venom tube yanked out of his head, Robin sped to Batman's side and immediately inspected the wound. He frantically radioed Alfred as he checked the pulse.

"Do you want me to come in the jet, sir?" Alfred's calm and reassuring voice questioned from the other end.

"I...Yes," Robin whispered. This is all my fault! He screamed to himself. He told you to watch his back, and you just rushed right in without even looking!

Robin finally released his pent up tears as the pusle began to slow.