Mens rea

Criminal equals Hero?

Robin felt his frayed nerves seep back into painful relaxation. Through slit eyes, he watched as he was dumped into a soft, old leather chair. Now free from the net, he struggled to rise onto his elbows. Carl scoffed down at him, laying his massive hand on his chest, pushing Robin back into the chair. Ben moved silently, quickly strapping the boy's hands and legs. Gritting his teeth, Robin tested his bindings as the guards left the room, revealing a dark-haired Asian man sitting patiently. The white lab coat held a washed-out tone with gray splotches. Yet the man had arranged the coat around his crossed legs to give off a professional look, with a clipboard perched on his knee, arms draped, fingers twirling a pen.

"Hello."

Silence.

"Ah, the silent treatment. Well, my name is…"a dark chuckle rumbled deep in his throat. "Oh, you don't need to know my name, Robin."

Narrowed eyes.

"Ok, well the routine will be this: you pretty much will visit me routinely and have nice little chats."

Still, Robin kept his mouth shut and his cold gazed locked on the man. Fumio smirked mentally. Every patient he had fell into two categories: the ones who yelled every curse under the sun or just held their tongue behind iron jaws. He had expected yelling from the boy, due to the brief research he did, but instead this silence surprised him. The Batman had taught him well.

"The questions are very simple. I just want to know why you are a hero."

Robin shifted a bit, testing once more the straps.

Fumio sighed, leaning forward. "If you won't talk, then maybe we'll kidnap and torture that red-hair girl whom-"

"Don't you touch her." The statement was a low growl, brining a grin to Fumio's face. Yet, behind that grin a shiver ran down his spine. He could sense the threat, but those words weren't an empty threat neither. There was a murderous undercurrent to them and that was something the Batman couldn't have taught the boy, if he preached the 'no killing' commitment. Interesting.

Locking away that insight, Fumio continued, "Oh, the boy speaks."

Realizing his error, Robin mentally slapped himself.

"Well?"

Robin exhaled through his nose. He couldn't go back to the silent treatment, but at least he could keep any emotions from his voice. "This is blackmail."

"It sounds like you've been down this road before. Care to tell the story?" Leaning back, Fumio began to scribble notes on an empty sheet.

"I thought you wanted to know what it was like to be a hero?"

A twinkle entered Fumio's eyes. "But blackmail might have led you to walk this road."

"Maybe."

"So tell me, how did you feel when you killed the man?"

"That's none of your business."

"Sad? Angry? Pity? Frustration? Happiness?"

"You're sick!"

"No, Robin, you're sick. Only the sickest of criminals drag out their victim's death by going the slow way. Trust me, beating someone to death with their own fists is slow."

"I'm not a criminal!" Frustration and anger at the accusation was making the boy lose his temper and calm composure.

"Oh, so you're a hero?"

"Yes."

"So, it's a heroic action to beat a man to death?"

"No."

"But you're a hero and you just beat a man to death." Fumio laughed inside. It was fun putting Robin on the merry-go-around of accusations and questions, twisting the boy's logic into a pretzel.

"It was a mistake, he deserved it!"

"Why?"

"He was a criminal."

"So, if a little boy stole a cookie from the cookie jar, he would be a criminal too. So does that give you the right to beat him to death?"

"No, of course not!"

"So you get to choose who lives, dies, escapes and is captured?"

"Yes-"

Realization dawned on Robin's face. "Crap," Fumio saw the dots connecting behind those mask eyes and knew if he didn't act fast, he would lose this window.

Impartiality: an assumed heroic trait. Check.

"So, it was a mistake?" But Fumio knew he was too late. Robin had already locked his jaw in defiance, a flicker of mocking triumph pulling at thin lips.

This was the danger of questioning a boy on Robin's caliber. The smart ones tended to catch onto his methods in the first session, where it took the others two days too late. Mind you, he never had one realize his method in the beginning of the session. It was usually at the end.

Lowering his pen, Fumio's eyes darkened. This was going to be a challenge. "No criminal boundary-"

"Do you have one?"

"Yes."

"Then please share, us heroes can always learn new information"

"No."

"Why not?" A smirk, "Doubtful?"

Laying the clipboard on the floor, Fumio kept his face neutral. "Look, whose talking. You seem doubtful where to draw the line, yourself. You say you're not a criminal but if someone else was in your position, you would accuse him of being one. Hypocrite."

The harsh blow hit the boy hard. Surprise then uncontrollably anger laced his body. Snarling, Robin fought against his restraints. "Shut up, you don't know the whole story! A criminal is a person who breaks the law, who hurts others and disturbs the peace for his own pleasure. I was merely stopping a villain before any more harm could happen!"

"And this is who a hero is?"

"Yes!"

Narrowing his beady eyes, Fumio leaned back letting the silence do the rest. Robin was adaptive and turned the tables, but Fumio wasn't a genius in his field for nothing and quickly reversed the tables once more. It was like playing chess and right now the game was in check. Robin's brow furrowed as his brain clicked and scanned for a loophole out of this mess. But there was none. Score: Fumio one, Robin zero.

Robin flickered his gaze to the side, drilling holes into the wall. He was seething. Robin almost had the man but the shrink had surprised him by playing nasty. Stating that he was hypocritical was a blow to his ego. This whole thing reminded him too much of what it was like when engaging Slade in his mind games.

Fumio stretched out his legs and crossed them at the ankles giving off a carefree aura just to make Robin uneasy. He might have to be careful in the future when choosing his words. But if push came to shove, the psychologist could always resort to the boy's ego and sense of honor to give him an answer. "Interesting, it seems both sides have issues on the ego. Villains pride themselves off of it. But with heroes, it is a little tricky. Is it the hero image or the person behind the mask with an ego problem?" mused the older man.

The door squeezed open. Two pairs of eyes locked on the figure poking in his smiling face. Egyed stepped fully into the room, his hand clearly revealing a needle full of a clear liquid.

Fumio bared his teeth, "What are you doing here? As you can see, I am in the middle of session."

"I just thought you would want some help in getting answers from Robin here," with that said Egyed walked in with a prideful bounce to his step.

"Robin and I were fine without you, weren't we boy?"

"Sure," hissed Robin, keeping his eyes on the needle.

Fumio radiate similar anger toward the man. "Get out of here, doctor. He is my-"

Egyed shot the shrink a dark glare, pushing a button behind the head of the chair. A tiny jolt of electricity passed through the bonds. Robin bit his tongue, as volts sizzled across his skin. Jerking his head to the side, he slumped slightly against the chair, staring blurry eyed at his shaking hand. Not wasting a moment, Egyed drove the needle forward and all Robin felt was a prick at his neck. Warm liquid entered into his body immediately, snapping his eyes into focus.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" yelled the once controlled voice of the Asian man.

"Giving him something to make him talk more freely," snapped back the mocking tone of the doctor.

"The last thing I want is some stupid serum messing with his brain. He needs to be free of any influences, anything you hear me!"

"Calm down."

Robin shook his head, whatever this stuff was it worked fast. His eyes were focused as he took in the two men bickering at each other. But for some odd reason, his hearing was dulled and that warm feeling slowed down his movements. Actually, the chair felt all of a sudden nice to lean against. It was that feeling one gets when snuggled deep into bed, warm and cozy, just perfect when the alarm rings forcing one out of bed.

"Truth serum," muttered Robin.

Egyed glanced over to the boy strapped down the chair, "Oh I wouldn't call it that."

Straining against the restraints, but this time in the attempt to curl up, Robin smirked, "Won't tell you nothing."

"I figured the Bat would make you immune to any mind drugs. But this ain't no mind drug." The smug look on the doctor's face made Robin narrow his eyes in worry.

Fumio voiced his thoughts. "Then what is the purpose of that stupid injection? I swear this is why you shouldn't have your own patients. You ruin them immediately."

Egyed snarled. "Oh and you don't? Well, let me tell you, I got permission from the Boss. So shut up. Robin isn't damaged."

Fumio pulled out a penlight from his pocket and shone the light into Robin's eyes. Despite having the mask, Robin still pulled his head away but it was slow. And for some odd reason, his mouth did not want to work. Clearly aggravated, the dark-haired man took Robin's wrist and checked his pulse. "Well, he's clearly relaxed. I wanted to take things slow, Egyed."

"We can't. Or did you forget that?"

A tiny beep sound came from both men's small walkie-talkies that hung off of their belts. Egyed sighed, placing the empty syringe into his coat pocket. "Let's go."

"What about Robin?"

"He'll be fine. The guards will take him back to his cell. Besides, look at him, he seems comfy. Move it, Fumio."

Fumio muttered a dark curse in Japanese before walking away from Robin. Egyed stepped through the door, while Fumio shut off the lights and closed the door behind him. The hyper voice of Egyed right away pounced on Fumio, but the man snapped right back. Their bickering voices faded away, but all Robin could do was lay in the dark and listen to his own calm breathing before blank darkness over took him.

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