All My Friends Are Superheroes
Summary: Being a teenaged hero is no walk in the park; juggling school, homework, superpowers, friends and family can be tough, especially when you and your secret boyfriend are tiptoeing around teammates, parents and mentors. However, sometimes in life you have to just stop worrying, and let the stones fall where they may. It might not be that bad, after all. Season 1. AU/OOC. Birdflash.
Point Of View: Third person's POV, set in past tense/story format, with dreams/thoughts italicized. The focus will mainly be on Robin and Kid Flash, of course, but I fully plan to further explore their interactions with the team, and also with their JLA mentors. Story starts after the team has been established, right after the end of their first official mission together.
"I think this is what we all want to hear: that we are not alone in hitting the bottom, and that it is possible to come out of that place courageous, beautiful, and strong." - Anna White
Robin had never felt so alone in his life.
How long had he been wandering through the darkness, in search of light? He wasn't sure, but it was still better than where he'd been before. Trapped, frightened, alone, and possibly going crazy.
What other explanation could there be for what was happening? He kept seeing things, and imagining people that weren't there. There was unimaginable pain one minute, and the next it was gone. His nightmares came to life and then disappeared. Occasionally he thought he saw flickers of good things, too; his family, his friends - the important parts of his life. Then he felt stuck, weighed down, like something was keeping him pinned in place. At one point he could have sworn he was in a hospital.
It had only been the briefest of moments, but he had seen Wally. The redhead was sitting by his side, holding his hand while crying. He wanted to comfort him, but his arms wouldn't move. It was when the boy started talking that he truly realized something was wrong. The words he spoke sent a chill down his spine: "Please, Dick, snap out of it. I miss you so much."
What was he talking about?
Robin wanted to grab Wally and shake him, demand answers. Was he dying? Did something happen? He had begged him to explain, but was terrified to realize that the older teen couldn't hear him. The image of Wally had faded. Panicked, he had jumped off of the hospital bed and run from the room. He saw his friends and tried to get their attention, but everytime that he got close, they would also vanish.
He got so freaked out by this that he ran for the exit, only to find the Zeta Beams nonfunctional. When he tried the emergency escape, he managed to get out of the cave. But where the outdoors should have been was nothing but darkness.
Seeing nothing for miles was frightening, but he chose to keep moving forward rather than stay behind in a place that no one could see him.
Just when he was starting to think he'd be lost in the dark forever, he came across a row of three doors. They were virtually identical, except for the strange symbol on each one.
The first door he saw had an emblem of a bat on it, so naturally that was the one he picked to start with. Stepping through the blinding white light, he found himself standing in the library at Wayne Manor.
Dick wasn't so foolish as to immediately assume that he was home. Everything still seemed too surreal.
Wondering what he was meant to do, the boy contemplated looking around the entire place, which would have sucked considering how massive it was, when he remembered the secret passage hidden behind one of the shelves, which led to the Batcave.
Smacking the palm of his hand to his forehead, he quickly found the bookcase and pulled the correct novel, causing the shelf to slide to the side, revealing a set of stairs leading down into darkness.
He went without hesitation.
The place looked pretty much the same as always, which included a familiar pointy-eated caped man sitting at the Batcomputer. Dick heart's jumped, relieved despite knowing it was all some sort of dream.
"Batman?" He asked hopefully, taking a few steps forward. The hero in question glanced up, and a small smile appeared on his face. "Robin."
Hearing his name, the thirteen-year-old broke into a run, heading right for his mentor.
Unfortunately, he wasn't wearing shoes in this dream, and tripped over a rock, falling to the ground with a crash and a pained cry. Batman, to his surprise, got up and ran...right passed him.
Confused, the young boy rolled over onto his back and sat up, blinking in surprise when he saw Batman kneeling beside a little girl who definitely hadn't been there before. She looked to be about four or five years old, and was positively precious - with giant sparkly green eyes and jet black hair pulled back into twin pigtails on either side of her head. She was wearing cute little red footie pyjamas decorated with yellow lightning bolts, and was wearing a gold pendant, which spelled out Robyn. With a Y.
Ohhh. Batman hadn't been talking to him, then. So this was...his daughter? That made Dick smile, as he'd always hoped the man would let go of his fear of losing people and settle down.
For a moment he watched the scene, taking in the way Batman smiled tenderly at the little girl.
Then came the shock.
"..." The Caped Crusader's smile faded into a disapproving frown, and he reached out and grabbed the child by the upper arms. "Robyn Leanne Grayson," he thundered, making Dick's eyes go wide. "How many times do I have to tell you not to come down here?!" He started shaking the girl, "You never listen to me!"
Dick jumped to his feet, "Bruce?! What the hell-" he reached out by his hand passed through the man's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Daddy!" The little girl, Robyn, cried, struggling. "Stop it! Let go, you're hurting me!"
Batman released the child instantly, "You know better than to interrupt me when I'm working." Robyn was now bawling her eyes out. The Dark Knight sighed, and pulled back his cowl, revealing...
It was him. An older version. But there was no mistaking the twilight blue eyes which he'd inherited from his long dead maternal grandfather. He was in his late twenties or early thirties by the looks of it.
But it didn't make any sense! Dick would never hurt a defenseless child!
"Robyn... I'm sorry. Daddy's working."
The raven-haired girl crossed her tiny arms, "You're always working!" Her lower lip wobbled. "You hate me, don't you? Papa left because of Batman and now you're never around anymore! You just stay down here or go out and play dress up with the bad guys!"
Older Dick looked stunned and hurt by her harsh words, "Sweetie..." He sighed, and pulled her close, running his fingers through her hair. "Your father didn't leave because of Batman. Why do you think that?"
"Papa Wally." Robyn responded firmly, yanking herself out of the man's grip. "I heard him on the phone with Grandma before he went away! He said all you care about is saving people! You don't want to be happy with us 'cause we're not good enough and you're gonna end up dead just like Grandpa and I'll be all alone!" Tears were streaming down her face now. "I hate Batman! And I hate you!" She turned and bolted passed Dick, sobbing, and the child raced up the stairs, slamming the door shut behind her.
The older version of himself looked absolutely heartbroken for a few minutes, staring after the kid. Then, his expression abruptly hardened. He stood up again, pulled the cowl back on and began heading towards the Batmobile.
"Where are you going?!" Dick shouted at his own retreating form, finally snapping out of his shock. "Aren't you going to talk to her? She's your daughter! Nothing matters more than family! What is your problem?"
'Batman' muttered to himself as he got in the car, "The mission comes first. She'll understand that one day..." He drove off.
"No," Dick breathed, as he headed for the exit, too. "She won't..."
By the time he found the portal back to the darkness, Dick was starting to understand what was going on. Like some cliché dramatic comedy movie, he was being forced to face his fears subconsciously. It took him a while to realize that had been a dream he'd had numerous times.
Where he ended up becoming an even darker version of Batman, something he dreaded, and lost all those he cared about because of it. He saw the sacrifices Bruce had made for the sake of the mission.
He didn't want that for himself.
The second door had a pretty black flower on it.
Dick shuddered at the thought of what could be behind that one, and chose to skip it. To his complete none-surprise, the third door was decorated with a lightning bolt. So that could only mean it was about Wally, right?
Good, he was ready to see some nice thoughts already!
Hesitantly, he tried the knob.
Wonderful. He tugged at it, and growled under his breath. The second door popped open, light shimmering from it, and he scowled. "Not happening! Now let me in!" He tried to knock the door down by taling a running start at it.
Just before he could reach it the door flung open by itself and he ended up crashing through to the other side. "Ow! Jeez, that just figured." He pushed himself off the ground, "Haha, Brain. Very funny - fuck you too." Who would have thought his own mind would try to pull pranks on him?
Standing up and dusting himself off, he looked around to find himself in an unfamiliar hallway of a...school?
With a frown, he began to wander, wondering what he was supposed to be looking for this time around. He tried a few doors but none of them would open, and he couldn't speak to anyone either - they just walked right through him.
Eventually, he noticed that the hallway and the people in it appeared to keep looping, something was happening. He stopped, and looked around, that was when he saw a door he hadn't tried yet.
Trying to grab the door knob, he didn't find it locked, but his hand still went through it.
Wait! Does that mean...?
Dick took a deep breath and then walked forward, gasping in surprise as his entire body passed through the classroom door, which shimmered slightly. Whoa. It was kinda trippy. Was this what being high felt like?
That was when he heard a noise, and he turned.
What he saw shocked him into stillness.
He was standing in a typical elementary school classroom, but the only thing that caught his attention was the little boy in jeans and a Flash t-shirt huddled on the floor, crying into his knees. He was a lot younger than the actual real life Wally - but there was no mistaking that shock of messy, reddish-orange hair.
The brunette inched closer, becoming concerned when he saw the fingerprint-shaped bruises around his best friend's wrists, the suspicious marks on his neck and the tears rolling down his cheeks. He looked so hurt and scared and...
Robin felt the color drain from his face, his heart pounded as he suddenly realized where he was. Somehow, he was in his boyfriend's head. Maybe Miss Martian hadn't unlinked them? Which meant that little kid version of him wasn't a dream, it was a memory...
A memory of the worst day of Wally's life.
The day he knew still haunted his dreams at night.
He felt helpless in that moment, wishing there was something he could do, when a thought occurred to him... He wasn't able to touch people and certain things, but he'd been able to open some doors and trip on a rock before? So maybe it wasn't that he couldn't interact with anything, but that he could only interact with SOME things. The important ones.
With that thought in mind, Robin squared his shoulders and walked over to the memory of Wally, kneeling in front of him. "...KF?" He touched his shoulder.
The boy flinched so violently that he banged his elbow against the wall with a cry, jerking away from Dick and sobbing, "No! N-No more! I don't want to!" Those words made the brunette's heart break in his chest, shattering it into tiny pieces. He seemed so frightened.
No kid should ever look like that.
"Hey, Wally! It's okay! You don't have to! I-I'm not gonna hurt you, look."
As the child slowly moved his hands from his face, Robin slowly lifted his hands up in the typical non threatening gesture. "See? No reason to be afraid. I just want to help you, that's all."
Little Wally sniffled, still looking wary, "Do...do you go to school here?"
He shook his head, "No, but I want to take you away from this place, where you'll be safe. Is that okay?" He gave the redhead a small, hopefully comforting smile. "Don't worry, you can trust me."
The boy hesitated, "Where's Mr... Mr-" he trembled.
Robin's face tightened slightly, and he quickly cut in, "I promise that the bad man will never hurt you again." It was sort of true. The real Wally had told him that after his assault, the school year ended and when he returned, the teacher had apparently transferred to another city. Good, he hoped the guilt of ruining an already suffering child's life tore the bastard up inside.
"Are you a good guy?" The redhead questioned softly, "Like the police?"
Robin chuckled despite himself, "I'm not police, but I'd like to think of myself as a good guy. Have you heard of the Justice League?" The little boy nodded fervently at that. "I work for them."
"Wow..." Young Wally whispered, a small smile spread across his tear-stained face. Slowly, he started to get up, and the acrobat followed suit, surprised when the kid latched onto his arm for support.
He led the small boy out of the nightmare.
As Robin took the child away from the middle school, the redhead made a request of him suddenly:
"Before we leave, can you take me to see my baby sister?"
Confusion swept over the raven-haired teen. As far as he knew, Wally only had one sister, and she'd already passed away by this point. But maybe things worked differently in your mind? "Uh, sure. Yeah, absolutely! Where is she?" The boy turned and pointed to something he'd neglected to notice across the street.
The young teen swallowed, but nodded, "I, er—right, of course. Lead the way."
Wally hummed quietly as they walked, bending over to pick a handful of wild violets that he spotted near the fence. When he saw the blood staining the seat of the boy's pants, he wanted to be sick. As he watched the child version of his best friend pick flowers for his dead sister and begin singing some of the lyrics to "Hey Jude", Robin felt rage bubble up inside of him again.
How could anyone hurt such an impossibly sweet boy?
The acrobat wasn't just thinking about the teacher that assaulted him, but his own father that beat him mercilessly and the countless older teenagers that took advantage of him sexually while he was young, just because he was vulnerable and, in their eyes, willing.
Sure, he had only been a year younger than Dick was now when he became sexually active, but that was with boys and girls who were four to six years older than him, teenagers who got him involved with alcohol and drugs and only helped in adding to his depression-induced self-destructive behaviour.
"Okay, I think this'll be lots." The little redhead declared as he held the stems of the flowers together. He reached out to take Robin's hand, and led him through the graveyard to where his sister was buried.
Wally stopped in front of a hauntingly beautiful statue of a dancing young girl with angel wings on her back, her sunny expression looking upwards at the sky. On the front near the bottom of the base had his sister's full name (Leanne Rose West), along with her birthdate and death date.
Beneath it were the words, "Cherished In Life, Treasured In Memories."
The teenager hero watched silently as Wally fiddled with the flowers, and eventually he had to ask him what he was doing, having expected him to place them on the grave.
"I'm making her a crown," Little Wally said, matter-of factor, as his fingers carefully weaved the tiny violets together with surprising skill. "She was my princess after all, and every princess needs a crown so everyone knows how special and important they are." He looked up and smiled sweetly, "I'm her champion. It was a game we played when we were little. We'd pretend the backyard was a forest in medieval times and I'd have to rescue her. Sometimes, though, she would save me instead. I think I miss that the most..." he sighed softly. "I hate being alone."
Unable to restrain himself any long, Robin dropped to his knees beside the younger version of his best friend and pulled him close, hugging the child tightly while taking care not to destroy his handywork. "You're not alone." He promised softly, "I'm here for you now."
I am SO sorry for the long delay in this admittedly short chapter. Truth be told I haven't been feeling very inspired in the dark story department lately. I fully intend to finish this story as well as my other YJ ones, though, it just might take a awhile. In the meantime, I might decide to write a Batfamily fic that will surely be angsty, but also sweet. Maybe all the smut I've been writing has made it harder to get in the right headspace, I don't know.
Let me put it this way: I want to update all of my stories, but I have to feel inspired to do so, or I won't be able to write. I'll just end up frustrating myself. Remember this, if I haven't deleted the story it will be updated eventually!