A/N Wow...this is officially the last chapter. I can't believe this is actually over; it's been nearly four months since I started 'Fugitive'. Thank you all so much for helping me to get this far!
Disclaimer I only own the plot; everything else isn't mine.
It had only been a few days since his son had gotten back, and frankly, Bruce wasn't willing to let Dick step foot outside the manor ever again. The last time he had, after all, Dick had gotten kidnapped…he would try to bench him from being Robin too, but Bruce still remembered what had happened the last time he tried that. It had ended with Dick going out on his own, and nearly dying after a run-in with Killer Croc. Bruce had promised never to do that again. So he was stuck with simply being as protective as possible.
The most he had done was let Dick visit Central for a day, and that was because he had asked for Wally during a particularly bad nightmare about Cadmus. Bruce wasn't going to lie; it had hurt that his son had asked for someone else; Bruce was used to being his source of comfort during those nighttime terrors. They had a bond of trust and understood love…but it did make sense. After all, Wally had been there…
Wally had been there when Bruce wasn't. And that hurt Bruce most of all.
Despite all of that, Dick had managed to convince his adoptive father to let him see the Team. They had to have been worried, and Dick had decided he was ready to deal with the questions that would surely follow. Besides, he needed some sense of normalcy again; maybe it would help him deal with the aftermath of the whole Cadmus incident.
As much as he hated to admit it, the only reason Bruce was letting him go was because of Wally. Yes, because of that hyperactive speedster he had doubted would ever learn the definition of responsibility; Wally, surprisingly, had become very responsible and - dare he say it? - mature recently. There was no doubt in Bruce's mind that Wally would die before he let something happen to Dick…that didn't mean Bruce wouldn't be watching from the shadows though. He wasn't that willing to let Dick out of his sight.
Dick put the familiar reflective sunglasses on his face, adjusting the green hoodie he was wearing to make sure it covered the obvious black stitches on his arms; he didn't need to be asked about those yet for sure. He couldn't handle telling another person the full story about Cadmus; he had made the story as short as possible when he was telling Bruce, giving as little details as he could. Dick stepped up to the zeta tube, giving his adoptive father a reassuring smile. I'm fine, Bruce, his blue eyes silently said.
Bruce frowned, pulling on his cowl. He was still going, and Dick wasn't exactly arguing; he still wanted his father nearby, after all. The idea that he might never see him again hadn't completely faded.
The zeta beam cloaked them, outlining their bodies in a distinct yellow as they transported to Mount Justice.
The moment Dick stepped out of the zeta tube, he was pulled into a bone-crushing hug. Adrenaline seeped through his veins and his instincts screamed at him to pull away and fight before Dick recognized it was M'gann. He let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding, and his thin arms hesitantly hugged her back.
"Robin!" M'gann cried, excitement clear in her voice as she finally let go of her teammate. Her amber eyes were practically glowing with excitement, and a wide grin was obvious on her face.
"Hey, M'gann," Dick coughed out, lungs still recovering from the tight hug; it definitely hadn't helped his stitches. He managed to give his familiar smirk as the rest of the team joined them.
Artemis was the next to pull Dick into a hug, though she was considerably gentler than M'gann, probably noticing the way he had winced. "Good to have you back," she grinned.
"Good to be back," Dick responded, smirk growing as he became more comfortable with his strong façade.
"I am glad to see you are alright," Kaldur said, looking as if the weight of the world had just been lifted off of his shoulders. His pale eyes glanced at Dick as if he was silently assuring himself that he was indeed fine. It wasn't hard to tell that Kaldur had blamed himself for Dick's capture, and by extent, everything else.
"Please," Dick scoffed, "It'd take a lot more than that to keep me down." He internally flinched at the words, remembering the sense of dark hopelessness that he had felt while in Cadmus…he had barely made it out. He shook off that thought, forcing the smirk on to his face again. He could deal with the scars afterwards; there was no way he would break down in front of the Team.
His blue eyes flitted over to Conner, who was standing nearby, staring at the floor awkwardly. Guilt flashed across his features, and Dick pulled away to stand next to the clone. "It wasn't your fault," he assured, having an idea what was bugging him, "I told you to go ahead. You didn't know we wouldn't follow. There wasn't anything you could do."
"I should've done something," Conner muttered, not convinced. He could have stayed and protected them, he could've tried harder to get out or…well, he could've done something differently. It was his fault that Robin and Wally had been stuck in Cadmus for so long.
"There wasn't anything to do," Dick argued. "A smart man once told me we can't live in the past. We can't go back and change our actions, we can only deal with them. It wasn't your fault, Conner. So start being more whelmed, okay?"
Conner couldn't exactly stop the smile that tugged on the corners of his lips. "Right. Feeling the aster," he responded, eliciting a small cackle out of their youngest teammate.
Kid Flash B-03. The announcement only added to energy already in the air, and Wally was in the Cave seconds later, and was immediately swarmed by teammates. M'gann was talking cheerfully about the cookies that she had just made while Artemis threatened to shove an arrow into his empty skull if he tried something like that again. Kaldur's concern and pleasure was shown through a much quieter gesture similar to the greeting he had given Dick.
Wally grinned, flirting with M'gann while agreeing to eat the cookies, teasing Artemis for actually being worried about him, and assuring Kaldur he was fine. He managed to pull himself away and walk towards Dick, ruffling the acrobat's hair lightly. "Hey, Rob. Hey, Supey," he greeted, quickly assessing his best friend. He was a bit pale, but that wasn't exactly abnormal lately. He did look a bit stressed, but not enough to have Wally concerned.
Dick moved instinctively closer to Wally, relaxing subtly as he did so. Wally responded by wrapping a casual arm around his best friend's shoulders and turning to face Conner.
"Hey, Wally," Conner said, offering the speedster a smile that was considerably larger than before; Dick's reassurances had definitely helped with the sickening emotions that had been plaguing the clone.
Any response Wally might have made was cut off by another arrival being announced through the Cave speakers. Red Arrow B-06.
Wally and Dick looked at each other before identical looks of excitement lit up their faces and they ran over to the zeta tube. They wasted no time in tackling the ginger archer, despite his protests.
"Roy," Dick mumbled, wrapping his arms around his "big brother's" chest. He may be able to fool the Team with his brave front, but Roy had known him too long to be deceived by that. Roy could easily tell how pale Dick was, and the fact that both he and Wally were thinner than they used to be. Despite the excitement on both of their faces, their eyes contained so much hurt that it nearly made Roy sick. Cadmus is going to regret ever touching my little brothers, he growled mentally. He would fight Bats to get to them if he had to.
He wrapped strong arms around both of them, somehow managing to get to his feet despite their combined weight. "I swear, you're going to be the death of me one day," he scolded lightly, unable to put an actual admonishing edge in his voice. "You two need to stop being kidnapped."
"Dude!" Wally protested, voice muffled slightly from Roy's shirt; he had buried his own face there soon after tackling the archer. "That is so not our fault!"
"Yeah, whatever," Roy responded, rolling his eyes slightly as his grip on them tightened. "Just don't do it again."
"We won't," Dick promised immediately, unable to stop the shiver that raced down his spine at the thought. He didn't know how he would deal with it if Cadmus captured him again…that would be like a nightmare come to life, some twisted illusion brought on by Scarecrow's fear gas.
Roy sensed the way the mood darkened and nudged Dick with his arm. "I won't let them get you," he assured quietly.
Wally suddenly pulled away, eyes narrowed accusingly. "Yeah, you even sent an assassin after us last time," he remembered. "So, Roy…how well do you know Cheshire, exactly?"
Roy started to sputter, face turning red as he struggled – and failed – to piece together a coherent response. Artemis didn't seem to be handling the news any better, gray eyes wide as she glared at the archer, mouth opening and closing without forming words. She silently promised herself to go have a serious talk with her sister the next time she had the chance; Jade could do much better than Roy Harper.
Dick couldn't help it. He started to laugh, an actual laugh that went on for at least five seconds. It wasn't forced and it wasn't just an amused snort; it was the first real laugh that Dick had given in a while.
Wally grinned, and he found himself thinking the same thing Dick had a few days ago, though he didn't know it. He'll be okay. They were screwed up, sure, but wasn't everyone screwed up some way or another in their line of work? It simply came with the job; they were heroes because they could deal with it, because they could still smile and laugh despite the horrors they might see. They could move on and live because the world needed them to.
They were both heroes. They could both move on. Wally knew this, but he hadn't really believed it…maybe they were just too screwed up after that. But now, Wally could believe it; he knew they would both be okay. Somehow, they could both move past what Cadmus had done.
The scars would still be there, and it would definitely be something that would haunt them at night. But maybe, just maybe, the pain that went with those scars would fade.
All it took was a little time.
A/N I think it might be a bit rushed, but it took me forever to write this as it is. And I'm happy with the last few paragraphs, so...I'll leave it as it is. ;) Hope you guys liked it, and it was a satisfying ending.
Where did Bruce go in all of this? Eh, he went all Bats on them and disappeared somewhere; he's still keeping an eye on his boy though. ;)
Thank you again for all of the support you have given me; this is the first decent chapter story I've ever done, and I can't believe it's finally over. When I started it, I definitely didn't expect it to be this long, or this popular! Lol, seriously, thank you. I can't really list every single person who reviewed, simply because there are so many, but we can just imagine I did. ;)
I'll be letting you guys know whenever I have the sequel up!
Thank you for all of the reviews!
Brightpath: Well, you got to see a bit of the Team in this chapter. ^^ Thanks for the review!
Guest that reads: Oh, Satisfaction was such an amazing episode...I loved it. Thanks for the review!
fanficfantasies: Dick's going to be having a lot of issues...I'm glad you liked the side affect! I couldn't resist throwing that in. ;)
please update g: Don't be sad! There'll be plenty of action in the sequel, don't worry. ^^
Don'tWalkUpStairsBackwards: I don't want to believe it's the end either...I'm really glad you like it though. :) You definitely made my day with that review!
Guest: Thanks! There was happy reunion here, and there'll be plenty of action in the sequel. ^^