Agony's Best Friend

Just a Boy

Wonder Woman didn't-couldn't hold in the gasp that clawed at her throat as she walked through the doorway. She had expected a fight. A bloody battle in which the Amazon in her could unleash herself and feel less . . . useless.

She was so useless.

But instead, she fell to her knees to the bloody boy that was curled up on the floor in the fetus position. He was very visibly shaking, struggling to breath. If it weren't for that, Diana would have thought he was dead. His clothes in tatters, the brokenness of his body, the bandages, the blood, the bruises, the visible scars-he was the perfect corpse.

She could only stand there as Batman fell to his knees, gathering Dick in his arms and whispering to him, though Diana prayed that the boy couldn't hear him. Dick shouldn't be awake with injuries like that.

Her chest ached. She wanted to hit something, hurt someone. She felt angry.

But Wonder Woman found herself just standing there as Bruce brushed past her, his lost partner now in his hands. He was alive. She knew that that should be everything that mattered, but . . . that man had to pay.

No one was going to get away with doing this to her nephew. Not her boy. Not this wonderful child that she had met years ago. A pained smile lit her lips. It hurt to think of it, even in it's happiness. Because now wasn't happy.


She paused. Was such a thing even achievable? For people like them? Her? Dick?

Memories overcame her as she struggled against tears, staring at the place where Dick's blood had pooled on the floor and the open window across the room as a cold wind swept through the room. She shivered.

. . .

Wonder Woman pursed her lips. She had just gotten the news that Batman, the dark knight, had taken up a sidekick. Not only a sidekick, but one that was barely nine. Was he crazy? Hera! She thought that he would have more sense!

But of course not!

She gritted her teeth, sighing and picking up her pace. She had come to Gotham not as Wonder Woman, but as herself, Diana. She strutted forward on her high heels and ignored the way that the black night sky seemed to grow steadily blacker. She sighed, picking up her pace.

She wasn't familiar with Gotham as Batman did not like other heroes in his city. She had always accepted that and was willing to ignore the fact that he roamed freely while other superheroes had restricted roaming areas. After all, it was his city.

But he had crossed the line.

He was NOT putting a NINE YEAR OLD CHILD-

Suddenly, she felt herself get pulled backward. The dull blade of a knife pressed against her neck and she saw another man with a nasty grin in front of her. Quickly, she surveyed her situation. She was a civilian. There were two large men, one with a weapon, here to do her harm.

"Hey, sweet-cheeks!" Grinned the one in front of her as she was led into an alley. "Wanna join me and my friend for a party?"

"No!" She exclaimed, trying to buy time so she could figure out the best way to preserve her secret ID while escaping the situation. "I-I don't-"

"Hush now, sweetie." The one in front of her murmured, brushing her cheek gently while he showed off his yellow, rotten teeth. "Don't worry. We'll have lots of fun." It was then that his hands went to the buttons at her collar.

However, the man didn't make it to the second button before he was roughly kicked backward. If Diana hadn't been Wonder Woman, she might have missed the small, colorful blur that had attacked him. She never once got a good look at him in the next five seconds as he was too busy dealing with the man in front of her. She faintly heard a small, but somewhat creepy laugh echo through the alleyway.

As soon as he was done and the man was tied up and on the ground, the boy turned around and smiled, but not at her. At the man that she had somehow forgotten about while watching the blur. The second assailant was shaking, which she could especially feel in his knife.

Sizing him up, Diana could barely believe that the boy was nine. To tell the truth, he looked more like he was six or seven. Not only that, but he was dressed like a traffic-light! Who would let a crime fighter in Gotham run around in clothes that everyone could see him in?

"I would suggest running away screaming now." The little boy informed the man behind her. "You know, unless you want to become like him." The little boy gestured to the other guy, who took that moment to groan painfully. "Oh, and please, leave the knife."

He took the chance. The knife was thrown to the ground quickly and the man was gone, almost throwing Diana off balance. She looked at the little boy for a moment before he grinned and held out his hand.

"Hi, Ms. Prince!"

Diana blinked. "What-"

He rolled his eyes behind the blasted mask. "I'm Batman's partner. Of course I know your name. So what brings you to Gotham?" Suddenly, the grin was replaced by a darker look. "Please tell me it's not to convince Bats that I shouldn't be out on the streets."

To tell the truth, that was exactly what she came for. However, the look on his face paired with what she had just seen . . . .

"Nope." Diana replied, making a shocked look pass over his face before a grin. "I just wanted to meet you!"

. . .

Diana could never push away the look of happiness in his eyes. Now, though, she desperately pulled it toward her only for it to just elude her.

Why did it always have to be Dick?

She slammed her fist into the frame of the door, just catching herself as not to completely destroy the wooden frame in the giant clock tower. She felt Clark's hand as it placed itself on her shoulder and found that it brought no comfort. Her anger, pain, sadness, feelings-there was barely a dent in it and that was entirely from saving her nephew.

Now, she needed to have justice.

"He's gone." She whispered hoarsely.

"No, we've found Dick. He's going to be okay." Clark's voice soothed. She gritted her teeth. He didn't understand. He just-ugh! Why didn't he understand?

"Deathstroke the Terminator. Slade. Slade Wilson." She whispered. "He's gone."

Superman could provide no comfort to her. She turned on her heel, dragging herself away. Her hand went to her communicator. "Titans. League."

After many assurances that everyone was surrounding the premises during which Diana gritted her teeth, she spoke again. "Slade has escaped, but we have Robin and one of his minions."

After much static and talking on the other side, Diana sighed. She didn't want to hear anything else. She was tired, physically and mentally exhausted. She pinched the bridge of her nose and slowly exhaled before speaking. "I'm going to see Dick. Wonder Woman out."

With that, she opened a window, ignoring it's loud screeching and jumped into the chilly night air.

. . .

When the Titans saw him, their breaths caught. After they had seen Batman's car rushing from the scene, the Flash, Black Canary, and Hawkgirl had agreed to take over their areas to see their leader. The Titans had probably broke every speeding law and air trafficking law imaginable in the process to get to Wayne Manor, but it still wasn't quick enough for them.

And standing beside Dick's bed nearly thirty minutes later made them almost break down. Bandages covered him along with a fair coating of blood, dirt, and bruising underneath all the bandages that disguised his injured and battered body.

They just stood there, realizing faintly that the healing process had only just begun.

The beeping of the heart monitor burned itself into each Titan's memory as the night faded into nothingness.

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