Author's Note: Before you even start to read this, I would like you to know that this is completely based off of the story "Without Me", written by the amazing writer, Glimare. In short, the story is about how Robin gets shot into an alternate dimension, a place where there is no Robin or Dick Grayson and no other kid sidekicks exist. As a result, he spends some time trying to convince the Justice League, who disapprove of a child living a dangerous superhero life, that he belongs in their adventurous world of capes and tights. This results in many arguments concerning the topic, one of which is the basic construction of my story. It takes place just after Robin and Zatanna have returned from an unauthorized mission, and Robin and Green Arrow have a giant blow up about it. I highly encourage you to read that story, as well as Glimare's other ones, not just for the sake of understanding the situation in this story, but also so you can enjoy those professional works. Here is the link for the first chapter of "Without Me".
ww nfic tio n s/7685328/1/Without-Me
Hopefully my brief explanation is enough to give you an idea about the situation and won't get you too confused. I would also like to say that I partnered with Glimare on this, and she has done a majority of the work. Basically I gave her my first draft, which was amateurish, she gave it a lot of editing and some rewriting, and gave me plenty of wonderful advice. So if you're wondering why you love the writing style so much, credit Glimare.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this. Written and edited with permission and help from Glimare, practically all of this belongs to said writer, who consistently states that whatever YJ stories are done belong to Young Justice.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long A/N, so without any further ado, on with the story!
"No kidding!" GA kept going as Robin's face continued to fall. "To him this is all just one big game! Go off, fight bad guys, go home, and eat ice cream! That's all that's in his head or he wouldn't have dragged Zatara's kid along!"
"It was my idea!" Zatanna shouted in Robin's defense. "And we did a really good job!"
"This time." The archer glared up at her, trying to drive his point home. "Next time you won't be so lucky. Next time they'll have guns! Or super powers! Or a bomb! Think you can handle all of that?"
After a brief pause, there was a response to his almost threatening question.
"I have." Robin announced clearly, his eyes burrowing into Green Arrow's. "I've faced deadly weapons, meta humans and aliens, and more explosives than you know. I've been doing this for five years and have had my share of troubles, so don't even try lecture me like I don't know what I'm talking about." His voice grew louder in volume, more resonant, and if it wasn't for the hint of control in it, the tone could easily be mistaken for plain old yelling. The mature, almost Batman-like tone took GA aback for a second, but he recovered quickly, still on the offensive.
"Maybe, but the only reason you've escaped all those situations unharmed was most likely because Batman was there!" He pointed out, almost smugly. "If he wasn't by your side during all your fun little missions, you probably wouldn't have lasted a week in Gotham!"
The small crowd, with the exception of the two current arguers going at each other with hammers and tongs, gave a small intake of breath at the mention of Robin's mentor, his real one. Hurt flashed across Robin's face, the name triggering the draining feelings of homesickness and sorrow, but only for a moment. In the heat of the angry debate, he forced that issue aside for now and focused on the other one, the fact that Ollie was being an idiot at the moment. His blood, initially running cold because of the reminder of his fear at the possibility of never going back home, turned boiling hot at the archer's ignorance, and, in a determined effort to prove him wrong, decided to do something he never had done before.
Zatanna and the Leaguers stared as Robin proceeded to rip off his cape, his head momentarily hidden from view as the piece of heat resistant, high density cloth was pulled over the dark head. He snapped open his belt and tossed it to the side, the heavy compartments attached to the durable metal and polymer strip clattering as they skidded across the floor of the cave.
"Robin, what are you -?" Zee started to question, but stopped when her 'date' practically tore his tunic off his body, exposing his torso. His audience started to gape in surprise, the youngest blushing at the sight, but surprise changed to shock as they took in his colorful and scarred skin; scars from knives, burns, bullets, whips, and surgery barred the majority of what was there. Some were very noticeable and reminiscent of particular kinds of weapons they normally never considered. The sheer amount of knife wounds though shook some of them to the core. How could anyone do this to a kid?
GA gaped at the old injuries, blinking his eyes several times to make sure he wasn't seeing double. He tried to say something, but Robin's voice broke through all their thoughts.
"Take a good look Ollie," he growled dangerously. "Take a good long look. Do these look like 'Fun little missions' to you? Cause I sure didn't get them at home. Do these say I think this is a game, that I happily flip my way through a laser web, let Batman take care of the big stuff, then go home and eat ice cream? Do they? Better not.
"I've been shot, stabbed, whipped, electrocuted, burned, blown up, beaten, drowned, tortured, and hurt in more ways than you are capable of dreaming. I've watched people die at the hands of psychopaths and radicals in the most heinous ways possible, knowing I couldn't save them. Just try and take on Joker, or Two Face, or Scarecrow, Bane, Ra's Al Ghul, Killer Croc, or even Scarface! I've seen buildings and whole neighborhoods wiped out because of a mistake that I made. I've experienced just as much pain as you have; I know what being a hero is, especially with no powers to back me up. I've trained long and hard to protect myself from villains. But it's never enough. I have to keep assessing myself, training myself over and over again, even when I get it right, just to keep up in this job. Just like you do."
He snapped a commanding glare at Superman, tense as he ordered, "Use your x-ray vision on me."
"Just do it!"
Hesitantly, the Kryptonian looked into the boy's body. Horror filled him as he recognized the long history of fractures that were present in nearly every part of the skeleton. His limbs were practically layered with nearly invisible hairlines, being broken in at least six or seven different places, each. The Boy Scout's face was a detailed translation of what he saw to everyone there. Robin felt his message was finally coming across, but continued anyway, driving the point home.
"Every part of me's been crushed multiple times," he stated. "Some from falls, others from explosions, but most from guns and hand to hand combat against heavy hitters. Nearly shattered my leg when I was trapped in a collapsing, burning building. I rarely go a week without taping up my ribs. Concussions and skull fractures are nothing new to me, and neither are dislocated joints. And I can't remember how many open fractures I've had."
Everyone was gaping at him as he continued to go on about his many injuries while in this 'game', horrified. Superman checked his internal organs as he moved on to them. "My lungs have been punctured multiple times, leading to collapse at least three times. My heart's stopped a few times and I've been strangled more than I'd like to think about. And if you want to talk guts, they've suffered more from internal bleeding than an old folks community. The month just doesn't seem complete until after I've gone through some kind of surgery, and I've learned more first aid than you could due to how many injuries could not wait for a doctor. Ever tried stitching up your partner's arm before? In the field?"
The archer's head was whirling at the moment, stunned by the ridiculously long list of injuries. He was jolted out of his stupor though when his ears registered Robin addressing him directly. "Apparently not. So GA, do you still think I'm clueless about what heroes go through? Can you look me in the eye and say I don't understand any of this now? Come on, tell me why I shouldn't be Robin. Tell me why being Robin prevents me from leading the life I want because I can't handle the danger involved. Go on, say it. Say it!"
Ollie found himself scared to death of the steely glare under the domino mask, and quickly turned his head away, his insides twisting around in him. And he wasn't the only one. Everyone else in the room was coming close to cowering, the level of intensity the boy had taken this up to beyond their ability to handle. Robin took in their guilty silence and scoffed.
"Didn't think so."
With that, he swiftly reorganized his belongings scattered on the floor around him, headed down the hallway, turned into his room, and slammed the door.