The rooftop shrouded in darkness harbored an uncertain young boy, whose breaths remained unlabored…much to his surprise.
His feet carried him over at least 30 rooftops, and the only reason he stopped turned out to be that he ran out of rooftops. Nearing too close to the heart of the city, the buildings loomed too tall over the dirty city for his lithe form to run atop, and by now, he knew he had found himself in Burbank, California.
If he planned to get any further, a disguise could assist him. He briefly pondered just taking off the mask and searching for a jacket…
But he didn't.
From across the way, he spotted a clothing store. On him, he had no money, but swiftly he would borrow an overcoat, and eventually return with money and the overcoat. Seemed like a sensible plan, so he stole the clothing and continued on his way.
Perhaps he will also equip them with a more… advanced security system to pay them back.
He ditched his mask and walked out into that street, catching the nearest bus he could locate.
He came in the city as Robin; he left the city as a civilian.
"Are you going to go get him?"
Slade didn't respond to Wintergreen's question for a few moments, but when he did, he chuckled beforehand.
"Once he reaches Jump's perimeter I'll locate him."
"What else is on the agenda Slade?" Wintergreen asked with a lazy tone.
The tower. The tower. THE TOWER! Dick thought, with everything that has gone down in the last couple of weeks, seeing the tower gleaming high above the city almost made him cry out in joy.
Getting to Jump had been easy, he took the bus a third of the way and then opted a cab. His options had been limited; truly, it was either the taxi or walking. The bus route had ended there. Even though he knew his legs would be more then capable of reaching Jump City, he had doubts about the serum. There were no tests conducted after the procedure, at least, Dick doubted there were, uncertainty once again ruled. Obviously, Slade had done something to him. But he was grateful, it leveled out the playing field.
He rode until he and the driver arrived 20 minutes away from Jump, and then, when traffic got slow… he slipped out of the cab and ran. The road the cabbie took was conveniently located to an area with a large quantity of trees. Richard made sure to brand the cabbies name, taxi number, and the cost of the trip in his mind so one day he could pay the man back. The incognito boy wonder, well, Richard did not know whether he still wanted the title of Robin, felt badly about what he did… but what he did was for the better.
Richard sighed as he neared closer to the city, and as soon as he made sure no one was looking, he donned a pair of cheap sunglasses.
Although he felt at home in Jump, trouble stirred in his stomach and uneasiness became apparent with some constant nervous jitters. The sun, now close to the afternoon position, caused the tower to appear iridescent, and many citizens admired its glow. The sight made the corner of his lips tug upward, but without warning, started scaring the living crap out of him.
Every 'What if' scenario ran in his mind like an old movie reel…clenching his fists turned out to be the only thing to sooth him…
Forgiving is a part of what makes the Teen Titans so great, right? Dick thought, So what am I worried about?
The whole situation was silly, and once both sides of the tale were told properly, he would ask—even beg if he had to—for their forgiveness. They forgave Terra right?
He kept walking at a brisk pace, but to be honest, his legs moved mechanically and before the uncertain teen knew it, he was there. To be specific, there was a manhole cover. The sewage line traditionally would be an undesirable place to go, and so the team decided to put an entrance there. Clever disguise, right?
Dick jumped down and his feet hit the concrete, his feet carried him to the secret panel and he typed his code in. Feeling hopeful and confident his team didn't change his code, disappointment and shock replaced the former feelings when the pad lit up in red and read 'error.'
With wide eyes, he stepped back… He needed to get out of there…
His heart landed with a thud in his stomach and he backed away. He turned on his heels and ran down the long corridor, his legs stretching as far as humanly possible. Just as he propped up the manhole cover, a voice rang out.
"Robin, stay where you are."
All the excitement, confusion, and craziness of the day's events made him forget one of the most important rules Batman taught him. Don't let anyone sneak up on you.
Richard turned his head and met Raven's cool eyes.
He read her face and played it cool, "Raven, I'm glad to see you. I think there's been a huge misunderstanding," he held his hands up in defense, "You see it's all S—"
She unintentionally interrupted him just as he was about to reveal Slade, "You're under arrest Robin."
His whole world begun to spin as he realized what was going on, but the final blow did not come until a deep voice spoke. No, no, no, no, Dick thought…
The brooding stance, the dark shadow, the tall ears… was unmistakably Batman… His brain worked out all of the scenarios in his head on how this would work. And in under what seemed like five minutes but in reality was 5 seconds, he had his plan.
He jumped out of the sewers and just barely missed the bolas that were aimed in an attempt to stop him. He expected the company that would fill the streets but his brain miscalculated how wanted he really was. Snipers, armed guards, the rest of the team, Star…everyone was there.
"Well, no one told me it was a party," he said clearly, "I would've been dressed for the occasion."
"Robin, there's nowhere to go. Give yourself up," Beastboy shouted.
Much to his surprise, he was calm. Creepily calm. His arms were up in a battle stance and in that moment, everyone around him was so sure they had him; they weren't prepared for the mass amount of Sladebots to appear.
Dick seemed to be the most surprised of all, but he brushed it off, and in the madness dashed off towards a weak spot in their guard. Was he a coward for running? The government was looking for Robin, but not Dick Grayson. If they got their clutches on him, there would go his secret identity. So with certainty, it wasn't fear that motivated him to run. It was an attempt to preserve the mystery that shrouded Robin. A glance towards the team and he was gone…
But Batman and Raven were hot on his trail though.
"So Batman sold out? Hah, already replaced me… and with someone with a bird name too!" he thought darkly.
He dashed around the corner and a smoke bomb went off on his right. He could only guess who was helping him out, but in this weak moment, he was willing to accept any kind of help. He glimpsed one more time at Batman—or rather, a clouded image—and climbed the fire escape. Dick imagined Bruce holding his cape up to his nose, scanning for anything that would lead him to Dick, then growling in defeat.
It wasn't that Dick was afraid to confront Batman, because it was apparent he would indefinitely lose, but because he just wasn't ready. Not ready to talk to him, considering the last time turned out into a major disaster, so he kept running.
"Get in," Slade's voice called out.
He only hesitated for a second, but that second could cost them their getaway. He wasn't quite frozen, but if he had to describe what went down in that moment, frozen would do his predicament justice.
"Now!" yelled Slade in urgency
So he jumped in, and they took off in his small plane. Dick didn't look back.
Dick knew they were in concealed by the cloaking technology, but he could practically feel those cold eyes trained on him, and he shuddered.
"Robin is getting away," Starfire shouted as the first Sladebot attacked her.
He looked at her. With that face that made anything better, that comforted her, reassured her… and it was too much for her. She could feel her power draining and a sad realization came upon her; she would be of no assistance in this battle.
Flight was not an option, and neither was starbolts, but she still had her combat skills. Although it was Robin who taught them the importance of not relying on powers, she still valued every lesson.
She looked up to the rooftops, she did not approve of having the snipers present, but at a time like this, they would be helpful. However, they were not there anymore, or at least, Starfire did not see any of them.
She sighed but then attacked the Sladebots, ignoring everything, she regained some power back, but she wanted to defeat the bots without the aid of her powers. She was strong enough to fight without them.
They cleared out the bots and Cyborg and Beastboy ran over to Starfire. She had taken out a good 50% of the sladebots out by herself and looked ready to pass out.
"Good job," Cyborg said softly
She looked up with her emerald eyes, "Thank you."
"Dude! You were kickass back there!" Beastboy proudly slapped her on the back
Cyborg slapped the back of his head, "Watch your mouth."
"Never yelled at me for that before…" Beastboy muttered.
"Things change BB," Cyborg said turning his head.
Apparently, that really struck home for Beast Boy, but Cyborg didn't apologize.
"I'm a coward."
"Because Slade," Dick turned in his chair, "I ran away because I was afraid to face the team, Bruce, the law! I'm no better than the things I fought against…" Dick was battling his own mind right now, and Slade knew that. So Slade did the only thing he could in this moment, he empathized with him.
Slade gripped the controls, "Realizing you're not going to win doesn't make you a coward Dick. Do you think you're the first person to run from a hopeless battle?"
Dick hated the man sitting next to him, but he hated himself more at this moment, so he kept talking…even though his subconscious screamed at him to stop.
"If I turned myself in, if I would have let them take me in… I would look less guilty, but instead… I chose to run. Now I look even more like a criminal."
"Stop the pity party Dick, your brain is making survival your number one priority, it's not something you can just control. If you went with them, you want to know what would happen. They would try to throw you in jail! Wayne most likely would take you away from that to save his own skin and you would have caused more problems for yourself than if you ran," Dick's now exposed eyes stared into Slades, "And you know I'm right."
Slade was voicing everything Dick had thought earlier while Batman and Raven were hot on his trail.
He shut up. Slade knew what he said was harsh, but sometimes the truth of it all needed to be called to attention.
Slade was right, when wasn't he?
But Dick was smarter than that.
"You let me escape… didn't you? I've gotten to know you Slade, and the Slade I think I know wouldn't let me escape that easily. Unless you wanted this to happen…"
Slade smiled behind the mask, the experiment worked, and it worked well. But Slade needed to gain his trust. And the only way to do that would to be honest, but Slade's honestly could have other affects on the boy.
Dick pursed his lips.
For Slade, it would be a waiting game from here on out.
Like trash littered landfills, freckles littered the teen's face. The teen groaned and rubbed his head, his new Titan locator was ringing and he reached over lazily to grab it.
The Titan's faces were tired but Cyborg stepped forward and said, "We need you here."
His green eyes doubled in size, "On my way."
A/N: Making progress here! You know what to do now right? Rightttt? LEAVE A REVIEW! :D Or you could check out my other stories. OR! YOU COULD DO BOTH AND MAKE MY DAY! :D