Agony's Best Friend

Written Woes and Burning Brawns

Bruce walked away from his assistant chief. He had informed him what had caused the hold up for one of his get togethers. It had to due with a robbery from a private sum of money that he had made right before Robin was fired.

Only a select few people had known about it: Alfred, of course, Robin, Bruce, it was his money, and the group of people who's jobs it depended on to guard the money. It couldn't be Bruce or Alfred. And those people wouldn't risk their jobs for it. Robin . . . .

Bruce didn't know about Robin. But he wasn't the type to just throw away all his morals. Actually, he took his morals serious enough to go to far, but he would never steal something. Not anymore.

But he couldn't focus on that now. While he had been told the bad news, he got a tip off that an acid scientists were working on that could eat through anything was going to be stolen that night at midnight.

He had recognized the hand writing, but . . .

There that topic was again. Robin.

. . .

Robin ran down the hallway carefully. It was his job to retrieve some dangerous acid for Slade. Either way, Robin just couldn't seem to care. He had burned out. Slade wasn't going to get any resistance for a little while. Just until he got will to fight again. Just until then.

Robin jumped over a guard and kicked the one behind him. They tripped over each other and made themselves a barrier for the other guards.

Robin smiled out of habit. He didn't even enjoy it: It was just something he did.

He slipped into an empty lab and scanned a few files, looking for the objective. His reason for being alive.

To slave for Slade.

The dark room's door slammed closed. Robin frowned. He knew what was coming.

He turned, although there wasn't a sound from behind him since the door slammed, and smiled an empty grin.

"Hey, Batman. Long time no see." He felt empty, like he was going to fall dead any moment. He had wondered what seeing Batman again would do to him. Now he would know.

Batman stepped into the light and stared at Robin.

"Who are you?"

"It's sad you can't even remember me."

"Robin!" Slade's calm voice rang in his ear, "That's enough."

"I know you can't be Robin. He would never become a criminal."

"He never wanted to be."

"Robin, I'm warning you-"

"Then why is he?" Batman's voice was soft, just like he used to talk to Robin when he had a bad day after school.

"He never had any choice." Robin stood completely still, not even in a fighting stance as the black knight interrogated him.

Batman eyed Robin. He couldn't just let him take something so important, no matter what his feelings for the boy were. But he wouldn't let him be a reporter's way to a raise. Batman chose to knock him out. Force him to see sense, but it would be different. Batman would just talk to him.

Right before Batman was about to make his move, bright blue electricity raced along Robin's body. He weakly collapsed to his knees.

"I told you. Now, come back immediately." Slade said.

"Yes, Master." Robin whispered.

"Master? Robin, are you alright?" Batman grabbed Robin's shoulders, revealing all his weak spots to the enemy who knew them by heart.

"Attack, Robin."

Batman saw the warning look Robin gave him, and the deliberately slow attack that Batman quickly dodged. But after the warning, he was fighting for real.

"Robin! Why are you attacking me? And who did you call master?"

Robin smiled at Batman as he remembered every little thing that he had done to make him smile. Everything. Robin was attached to Batman more than to anyone else. He was like a little dog that followed him every where he went.

Robin felt tears race down his smiling face, "Why did you take me in? Did you feel bad for me? Did it improve your social status? Was that it?"

"Shut up, Robin. Talking doesn't do either of us any good. Get what you came for and get out!" Slade yelled.

Robin felt his will to live slowly returning, but angering his captor wasn't going to do anything but get him in another fight he'd have to forfeit.

"No, Robin. I felt responsible. I had more than enough to give you and I thought I could help you. Besides, I liked you as a person, not a media spotlight." Batman wasn't the best at voicing his feelings, but he couldn't watch Robin suffer. Robin was his kid!

"Then why send me away. I told you where I was going. You could've sent a card. Anything was better than nothing."

"I didn't want to hurt you more. You didn't see the pain-"

"He's lying to you, Robin. You're still hurt and he sees nothing in you that he wants anymore. That's why he doesn't send cards. That's why he doesn't call. He doesn't care." Slade said in a convincing voice.

Unfortunately, this time, Robin didn't believe Batman.

"It's sad I tipped you off, Batman. All you seem to do is lie to my face."

And Robin was gone with the files and the acid. Where no one could see, Batman fell to the ground and pounded the floor.

. . .

Bruce Wane had just sat down after he got back form his 'meeting'. Just relaxing his body, while his mind was curling up in the fetus position. Robin.

It had to be right then that Alfred walked in, "Sir, you have a few visitors."

Bruce sighed, "Thank you, Alfred. Let them in."

"Yes, sir." Said the kind old man as Bruce remembered a cold hard voice whispering fearfully.

Yes, Master. Bruce wanted to do many things to that monster that Robin was so afraid of.

Yes, Monster.

Starfire stood in front of him, "Mr. Wane, we're sorry to be a burden, but-"

"We need your help." Beast Boy begged, already on his knees. Mr. Wane was surprised, not to see the boy on the floor, though he might've, if the boy hadn't been green. He smiled at Beast Boy.

"Please, all of you, have a seat. Be comfortable. Now continue."

"We think you know our friend." Cyborg began.

"It's Robin." Raven got right to the point.

Bruce stiffened. Yes, Master. Yes, Monster.

. . .

Robin stood facing the masked man who sat facing away from him. He showed no fear, but he waited for the punishment in a slightly scared awe. He waited for a beating while his hands and feet were tied together, or more electricity. Maybe it would be more along the lines of permanently scaring him like he suspected Slade was.

"Robin." The voice was cool. Collected.

"Slade." Robin replied, knowing that he would pay for it.

Naturally, Slade replied in anger. Blue electricity arced across his body. Robin fell to the ground, wishing he had stayed in the laboratory longer. Wishing Batman . . . .

"Who am I?" Slade asked smoothly.

"Master." It utterly defeated Robin to say it so normally, even as the electricity caused him so much pain.

"Good." The electricity stopped.

Robin breathed a shaky breath as he stood, awaiting the punishment from the first offense he committed.

"Remove your mask."

Robin didn't comprehend, "What?"

"Remove your mask."

Robin was quiet. Without the mask, he wasn't Robin. He was a poor orphan who's father abandoned him as soon as he was out of high school. Pathetic.

"Now." Slade's voice was angry now.

"Yes, Master." Robin felt ashamed when his voice broken.

His hands shook when he took off his mask. Slade held out his hand for it. Robin brokenly handed it to him.

"Good." Slade smiled, "When you're older you'll see how this helped you. Maybe see me in a different light."

Robin knew what he was getting at, "I have a father." It wasn't as confident as the first time he had said it, but he meant it. Even in light of a recent event.

"It didn't sound like it."

"Every family has it's problems." Robin gave a slight smile.

"Yes, it seems so." Slade turned away from robin, "Rest now. Tomorrow will be harder."

"Yes, Master." Robin turned away. In every reflection he saw his brokenness through his eyes. His brown, brown eyes.

He wasn't Robin anymore. He was Dick Grayson. Jason Todd? Dick Grayson?

He didn't know anymore.

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