posted by robinfanforever
Robin sat on his bed in Mount Justice just staring at the floor. Alfred had kicked him out saying that he needed to do something to get his mind off of Bruce. It had been a week since Bruce put on the helmet, and nothing was helping him get his mind off of Bruce.
Wally had tried to do many things, along with the others, to get him to cheer up, but nothing worked. They tried to call him and see how he was doing, but they only got Alfred and he said that he would hardly eat or come out of his room.
Zatanna had visited the mountain more since Batman disappeared and said that her father told her that he and Batman had been talking about Zatanna joining the team. She was happy when her father finally told her that she could, but she knew that he made the decision because of Batman.
She felt horrible about what happened and blamed herself. She was the one that brought the helmet to the fight, and Robin saved her from making the mistake. She kept thinking, 'What if it was me and my father was the one to become Dr. Fate?' She didn't like the thought of that, but she wasn't sure if she could stand being the reason Bruce was now Dr. Fate.
She walked past Robin's room and heard him crying. She stopped and peeked in. She saw him lying face down on his bed clutching to Batman's cape and cowl. "Robin?" she asked carefully as she walked in his room.
Robin didn't move. Didn't even acknowledge she was there. Zatanna stopped by his bed. "Robin, I'm really sorry about Bat… about Bruce." She knew that Bruce and Batman were the same people now, but she knew that in his mind, Bruce was his father and Batman was just his mentor.
Robin looked up to her, his eyes red and puffy from all the crying, but didn't say a word. They stood there for a few more minutes in complete silence, except for Robin's sniffing. She then sighed and turned and started walking toward the door.
"Zee, wait," Robin said. She barely heard him he said it so quietly, but stopped and turned back to face him. He was now sitting up, but was still clutching the cape and cowl. "I… it's not your fault."
Zatanna's eyes went wide. "What are you talking about? Of course it's my fault. I'm the one that brought the helmet, I'm the one that let you put it on. How can you say it's not my fault?" She really didn't understand. She had caused all this and yet he wasn't blaming her?
Robin gave her a small smile. "That may be true, but I'm the one that put it on instead of you." His smile disappeared and he looked down at the cape and cowl in his hands. "I really miss him."
Zatanna came over and sat down next to him on the bed and pulled him into a hug. Even though he didn't blame her, she still blamed herself. "I'm so sorry," she said tears forming in her eyes.
Robin clung to her and a few more tears escaped his eyes before he finally pushed away from her and looked at her with a small smile. "Thanks, Zee."
Zatanna's eyes went wide again with surprise. 'I take away his father and he's thanking me?' "Robin…"
"Look," he said losing the smile again and looking back down at the cape and cowl, "I don't blame you for bringing the helmet to the fight, we did need his help, but just because you brought the helmet doesn't mean you made me or Bruce put it on. I was the more experienced person on the team, I made the decision, and I made Bruce put the helmet on, end of story." As soon as he said that, he laid back down on the bed and didn't look back at Zatanna.
Zatanna took that as a sign that he wanted to be along again, so she stood up and walked to the door. Before she left though, she turned and looked back at Robin. He had his eyes closed, the cape and cowl as close to him as he could, and a single tear ran down his cheek. "It's my fault," she barely heard him say as she walked out the door.
Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Zatara, and Black Canary were all talking on the far side of the common room.
"I can't believe he's really gone," Flash said sadly.
"He is not gone," Zatara said. "He is still alive."
"Yeah, but trapped. You said it yourself, Zatara, Nabu won't let him go," Wonder Woman said.
"Yes," Zatara agreed sadly, "but there is still a chance that Nabu will let him go eventually."
"Yeah, but what are the chances that he will?" Canary asked.
"Slim to none. Am I right?" Flash asked Zatara.
Zatara sighed and lowered his head. The others all knew that that meant yes. "So what do we do know?" Wonder Woman asked.
They all looked to each other, hoping that someone had an answer, then noticed that Superman wasn't paying attention. "Superman?" Canary asked concerned.
Superman jerked his head to her. "Sorry, I was listening to Dick and Zatanna's conversation."
Zatara took a step toward Superman. "What are they saying?"
"They're both blaming themselves for what happened to Bruce."
They were all silent then heard Zatanna walking past the door. She stopped and stared at the five for a minute then continued walking. Zatara then looked back to Superman. "Superman, if I may, do you know what Dick meant when he said Bruce promised he'd never leave him by choice?"
"Bruce and Dick both lost their parents when they were young. When Bruce took Dick in, he told Dick that he would be there for him no matter what, and the only way he would leave him was if he died." Superman replied.
"He was so angry," Zatara said more to himself than to anyone.
"Bruce chose to leave Dick. He chose to put the helmet on to save Dick, so in Dick's mind, he must think that he either left him and broke his promise…"
"Or he thinks he is dead," Zatara finished looking back up at Superman. Superman only nodded.
"That's terrible," Wonder Woman said raising a hand to her mouth.
"So now he believes that both his real parents and Bruce are dead," Canary said more as a statement than a question.
"Yes. The only thing that would convince Dick otherwise was if Bruce was freed of Fate," Superman replied.
"But we all know that may never happen," Flash said sadly.
They all just looked at Flash then away from each other. They had to find some way of convincing Fate to let Bruce go.
Wally, Artemis, Conner, M'gann, and Kaldur all sat or stood in the kitchen. They weren't there to eat, but they couldn't stand being in the common room while the adults talked about Batman.
"Do you think Rob will be ok?" Wally asked.
"He just lost the only parent he had left, what do you think?" Artemis said loudly. She wasn't angry at Wally per say, but she couldn't stand hearing him say what they all were thinking.
Zatanna walked into the kitchen hearing the end of Artemis' question. "What's going on?" she asked as she looked at the others.
No one answered her, but Kaldur walked up to her. "How is Robin?"
Zatanna looked away sadly. "I don't know really. I tried to explain how sorry I was, but he kept cutting me off and saying it wasn't my fault. He'd be fine one minute and the next I saw a totally different person in him." She looked back toward Kaldur. "I don't know what to do."
"Perhaps the best thing we can do for him is to just leave him be," Kaldur replied.
"Leave him be?" Wally said surprised and not very thrilled to hear that. "He's been pushing us away and ignoring us since Batman put that stupid helmet on!" He was now starting to get a bit angry.
"Wally, don't be angry at him," M'gann said trying to calm him down. "Like Artemis said, he just lost the only parent he had left."
"Yeah, how would you like to lose your real parents and then lose the adopted parent years later?" Artemis said angrily.
Wally's face went from anger to sadness and lowered his head. Kaldur came up to him and put his hand on Wally's shoulder. "He will come around when he feels like it, but until then we will be there for him."
Wally looked up at Kaldur and smiled. "Yeah, you're right. Sorry for yelling."
"It is alright," Kaldur replied lowering his hand, "We all want to help Robin, but if we try to help him when he doesn't want it, he may push us away and never let us."
The others in the room were quiet after that statement. Kaldur was right, if they pushed Robin when he didn't want to, he may not want to be around them at all.
"So what do we do now?" Conner asked. He was leaning against the kitchen counter with his arms crossed over his chest listening to the whole conversation.
Kaldur turned to him. "We wait."
Zatara went to Robin's room. The door was closed, but he couldn't bring himself to knock on it. He had promised Batman, no, Bruce, that he would take care of Dick, but Dick wasn't his child. He knew that he couldn't comfort Dick like he could Zatanna, but he would be there for Dick.
He finally knocked on the door, but when he got no reply, he opened the door. Dick had finally cried himself to sleep. He still had Batman's cape and cowl in his hands, but lose enough that it was trying to fall off the bed. Zatara went over to the bed and took the cape and cowl from Dick's hands.
He stood there for a moment and just stared at them before he draped the cape over Dick's body. Dick snuggled up under the cape and smiled a little. 'He must have thought Bruce was pulling the covers up on him.' he thought sadly then closed his eyes and lowered his head. 'We have to find some way of convincing Nabu to let Bruce go,' he thought as he looked back to Dick.
He watched Dick sleep for a few more minutes thinking about how he could help him get his father back then turned and walked toward the door. He pulled the door closed, but just before he closed it all the way, he looked at Dick's sleeping form. "I promise, Dick, I will get him back." With that he closed the door completely.
A few days later, Black Canary was training with the team, minus Robin, and showing them how to keep a punch or kick from causing severe damage and return the attack. Wally was again on the ground after her demonstration. "You see, no matter how you attack, you can always find an opening, even when you think you're dead." She helped Wally off the floor and watched as he went to stand with the others. "Kaldur, why don't you and…" she paused when she saw Robin standing in the doorway.
The others looked where she was and smiles came to all their faces. "Robin," M'gann said cheerfully.
Robin smiled and walked toward the group. "Hey guys." He then turned to Canary. "Mind if I join you?"
Canary smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Of course." She then went back to the middle of the floor and continued. "Robin we're learning how to keep a punch or kick from causing severe damage and turning the attack back on your attacker. Would you like me to demonstrate it again?"
"No," he said smile still on his face, but they could all tell it was forced, "That was one of the first things Batman taught me."
They noticed that he still wore his glasses even though they all knew what his real identity was, but didn't say anything. They figured it reminded him of Batman and helped, which was correct.
"Ok, then pair up and try it," she said to the entire team.
They all walked out to the halopad, Kaldur and Robin, M'gann and Zatanna, Wally and Artemis, leaving Conner to partner with Canary. They all did fairly well, but Kaldur kept getting Robin down.
"Are you ok my friend?" Kaldur asked helping Robin up again.
"Yeah, I just… I need a break," Robin replied then walked out of the room.
Canary threw Conner to the ground then watched Robin walk out of the room. "Kaldur, Conner, you two train together," she said then walked out and followed Robin.
The others all watched her leave, looked toward each other, then went on training.
Canary found Robin sitting on the couch with his head down. She could hear soft whimpers as she walked toward him. "Robin?" she said when she came up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
Robin jumped and stared up at her startled, but recovered seconds later and went back to staring at the floor. "I thought I could do it."
Canary came around and sat down next to Robin. "Robin, it's ok. It's gonna take time to get back in the flow of things. Fighting like this will remind you so much of him because he's the one that trained you. If you're not ready, you don't have to join us yet."
Robin looked up to her and smiled. "Thanks, but I need to do this, just maybe not today."
"Whenever you're ready," Canary said with a smile. She then got up and went back to the others.
Robin watched her walk out of the room then lowered his head again. "But will I ever be?"
A few hours later, Robin and the rest of the team were in the common room chatting about Wally's mess up while he was training. "I so did not let you win!" Wally yelled crossing his arms and turning away from Artemis.
"Oh you didn't need to Baywatch, I can beat your butt any day," Artemis smirked back.
"Arty, anyone could beat KF's butt," Robin said playfully.
"Hey!" Wally cried out turning to look at his best friend.
They all laughed as his reaction then Wally finally laughed too. They were all glad that Robin was returning to normal. He was laughing, joking, and spending time with them again, which was a good sign.
"Recognize, Zatara, 11."
They all looked toward Zatara as he walked toward them. "Dad, what brings you here?" Zatanna asked cheerfully.
"I have a mission for you," he replied as he walked to the normal briefing spot.
They all got up and started following Zatara except for Robin. He sat there with his head down, a sad look on his face again. Zatanna realized Robin wasn't following and turned to look at him. "Robin, you coming?" she said carefully.
Robin looked up at her. "I don't know if I can yet, Zee."
Zatanna walked over and knelt down in front of him. "Then you don't have to go, but you can sit in on the briefing," she said smiling and placing a hand on his knee.
Robin didn't smile back and looked away which made Zatanna lose her smile. "Missions were Batman's job. I don't know if I can stand hearing someone else give out the mission."
"Hey," she said turning his head back so he would look at her, "we'll all be there for you. You don't have to go through this alone."
This did get a smile out of him, even if it was a small smile. Zatanna then stood up and Robin did the same. She then grabbed his hand. Robin looked down at their hands then looked up to her and smiled bigger. They then walked, hand in hand, to the where the others were.
When they got in the room Zatara looked at the two of them then began. "Somehow, one of the sorcerers that we went up against a week and a half ago has escaped. The League would handle this, but there is a much bigger problem that requires their attention. I will join you on this one and help as much as I can."
"Do you think Dr. Fate will show up?" M'gann asked.
The room went quieter than it already was and they all looked at her. "I don't know," Zatara said softly, "but if he does, it will only benefit us."
"Then we shall leave immediately," Kaldur said then he and the others, minus Robin, Zatanna, and Zatara, ran to the bio ship.
"Robin, will you be joining us?" Zatara asked softly.
Robin looked at Zatanna, who smiled at him, then back to Zatara and gave him a small smile. "Yeah, I'll try."
Zatara smiled at him. "Good, then let's go." With that Zatara, Zatanna, and Robin ran to the bio ship.
They arrived at Star City's research lab where the sorcerer Wizard was causing trouble and attacked instantly. Zatara and Zatanna used their magic to fight against Wizard while the others used their powers and weapons, but they weren't doing so well.
Wizard trapped Wally in some sort of bubble that he couldn't get out of, Artemis, M'gann, and Zatanna were out cold from a blast, Robin, Kaldur, and Conner were fighting off creatures, that looked like two giant dogs and a giant cat, that Wizard called forth, and Zatara was trying to block a blast of energy Wizard was throwing at him with a shield of his own.
Soon, Conner and Kaldur were out, leaving Robin to fight three creatures from another dimension by himself, and Zatara's shield finally gave out and knocked him to the ground. He was still conscious though.
"Give up, I have you beat," Wizard said proudly.
"Then let Fate intervene."
Fate arrived through a cross-shaped portal and shot a beam at Wizard. Zatara saw this then went over to help Robin with the creatures. Robin hadn't noticed Fate's arrival yet and was pinned down by one of the creatures. Zatara said a few words and caused the creature to go flying backwards.
"Robin, are you all right," Zatara asked as he helped the boy stand back up.
Robin grabbed his ribs where the mutated cat pinned him down and moaned a bit. "Yeah, I'll live."
Just as the two mutated dogs were about to charge, a cross-shaped portal appeared and the two jumped through, returning to their own dimension. It then went over and enveloped the mutated cat, sending it back as well.
Robin turned around to see Fate hovering over Wizard, who was trapped in the same cross-shaped object that Fate used to capture Klarion. "Bruce," he whispered.
"I will take care of Wizard," Fate said then started to carry Wizard and himself away.
"Fate, wait!" Zatara yelled. Fate stopped and turned to look back at Zatara. "Great Nabu, I must speak with you."
Fate sat Wizard back on the ground and came down and hovered a few feet in the air in front of Zatara. "What is it that you wish to say?"
"Great Nabu, please, hear what I have to say. The man you have trapped needs to be set free."
Fate narrowed his eyes. "I will not release him. We have made an agreement that I do not intend to take back."
Robin lowered his head not able to look at Fate, but continued to listen to what Zatara had to say. "Please, allow me to offer another deal," Zatara said.
Robin's eyes went wide and he shot his head up to look straight at Zatara. "Zatara, no…" he tried to stop him, but was cut off by a wave of Zatara's hand.
Fate just floated there so Zatara continued. "Allow the one you have now to be free and take me instead. Being a magician myself, I am more suitable candidate than him."
Robin again tried to stop Zatara. He didn't want Zatanna to lose the only father she's ever had. "Zatara, please you don't…" again he was cut off.
"My powers are at their peak which could help you more than one with no powers at all," Zatara continued.
"True, but what guarantee do I have that you they will not try to offer another to set you free?" Fate asked.
Zatara was quiet. He couldn't guarantee they wouldn't try. "A compromise!" Robin shouted out.
"Explain," was Fate's only response.
Zatara looked to Robin as well. Robin just stared at Fate. "Let Bruce go. Zatara can put the helmet on, but only during battles, or set up certain times. You can discuss that with him. That way he can still be with his daughter and you won't be left out. Then there'd be no reason to try and make you release him."
Fate narrowed his eyes again. "But what guarantee do I have that you will do this?"
"You have my word," Zatara replied then said a few magic words to prove it.
By now, the rest of the team woke up and was watching and listening to the whole conversation. Zatanna didn't like the sound of the idea, but if Fate went with it, at least her father wouldn't be completely gone.
Fate landed on the ground in front of Zatara. He then pulled the helmet off transforming him back into Bruce Wayne. Bruce had his eyes closed and swayed a little, but finally opened his eyes. He smiled at Zatara then handed the helmet over to him.
"Tatal!" Robin cried out and ran so hard into Bruce that he knocked both of them to the ground, but Bruce didn't care.
They sat up, but Robin didn't let go of his father."Te iubesc tatal," Dick said quietly so the others wouldn't hear, although he knew they wouldn't understand what he was saying.
"Te iubesc prea fiul," Bruce replied then Dick wrapped his arms around Bruce's neck and gave him another hug. Bruce just hugged him back, a tear going down his cheek, but a happy tear.
The two hugged each other so long that the rest of the team didn't think they would ever let go, but they did and they helped each other to stand again, but even after they stood up, Dick didn't leave Bruce's side. He stood there clinging to Bruce's waist and Bruce had his arm around Dick.
Zatanna and the others came up to the three. "Dad, you can't."
"Don't worry, Zatanna, I'll be back. We must take care of Wizard and work out how we will share my body so that we can coexist in peace." He then hugged his daughter and kissed her on the forehead then put the helmet on and took Wizard away.
They all went back to Mount Justice to relax and bring Bruce up to speed about what all had happened. Zatara had arrived about an hour after everyone else and explained that he and Fate finally agreed on how the sharing thing would work. Zatanna was glad that her father wasn't gone for good.
Bruce talked with Zatara for a while then finally decided that it was time to head home. "Dick, come on. Let's go home."
Robin said goodbye to his friends and ran over to Bruce who was waiting for him at the zeta tubes.
"Recognize, Batman, 02. Robin, B01."
They arrived in the Batcave and Dick was just about to run off to tell Alfred that Bruce was back, but Bruce put a hand on his shoulder. "Dick, wait."
Dick turned around and Bruce knelt down if front of him so he was eye level with Dick. "Yeah, Bruce?" Robin asked a bit concerned.
Bruce smiled, which made Dick relax a bit. "Dick, Zatara told me what happened after I put on the helmet." Dick looked away. "I'm sorry I had to leave you. Believe me, I didn't want to, but if I didn't, then I would've lost you. Our positions would've been reversed. I couldn't stand the thought of losing you when I could do something about it. I also couldn't stand the thought of you being trapped in that helmet by yourself for the rest of your life."
Dick looked back up at Bruce with tears in his eyes. "But what about me?" Bruce looked at him a little confused. "What about what I went through? I lose my parents at eight years old, get taken in by a complete stranger, grow close enough to call him my father, and then lose him too." Dick couldn't say anymore. Bruce pulled Dick into a hug and Dick started crying again. "I can't lose you too," Dick said a bit muffled because his face was buried in Bruce's shoulder.
Bruce closed his eyes and held him tighter. "You never will, Dick. I'll always be with you, just like your parents are with you now." He pulled Dick away from him enough to see his face. "I will always love you, Dick, no matter what happens to me."
Dick smiled and gave Bruce another hug before they broke it off and went off to find Alfred, hand in hand, as father and son.