Agony's Best Friend

Protect Those Passed

Dick sighed. At that moment, he was taking a long shower. He let the water soothe his aching muscles, ignoring the stabbing pain of protest they would give when hot water hit him. Even the scars felt a little better after the liquid flowed over them.

And it felt almost nice to be alone in complete solitude. They all went away during washing times.

He rolled his shoulders, feeling his shoulder blades moving even feeling nicer than usual. Usually he wouldn't take long showers, but since he came into Slade's hands, he took extra time to shower or bathe. Why? Simply because it could annoy Slade. If he couldn't do anything real to Slade, he could at least give him high water bills.

He knew the idea made no sense, but that was to be expected. He had gotten it before he even started the water. Probably Tim's idea. Oh, well. It didn't matter anyways.

Goodness, he doubted that Slade even paid his water bills. He . . . actually, Dick had never thought about this before. Did he pay water bills? If he didn't, wouldn't that mean no water?

He found himself smirking even at thinking about something that mattered so little. All that really mattered was bringing Slade to justice and escaping.

He felt the water begin to cool. Sighing, he turned it off and started drying off. Once he was in comfortable sleepwear, he fell into his mattress. It made his body begin to ache anew. Who cared really though if they slept on something so unusable? He was a hero. He used to sleep on floors and stuff like that. Who said anything had to be nice for him? He was the one who gave things up so others could have those things.

He blinked. He wasn't tired at all for some reason. Right after his brutal beating, he thought that he'd be asleep for a week or more, but he felt, well, energetic. Great.

Can't sleep? A voice asked. Oh, Stephanie. Sometimes, he just wanted to be left alone in his mind. Was it toomuch to ask for? To besane?

Yep! Replied little Tim happily.

Yeah. Jason added on. Batman always said that sleeping is for weenies.

Whoever it was that was in control of the body rolled it's eyes.

A twinge of pain made him blink. He hated to think of Batman and Robin. Why? Because of how many of them he lost. It always hurt to think of the Robins. All of them had been killed in some awful, unspeakable way. Batman . . . Batman let it happen. And he was always just using the Robins. How many times had he replaced Robin? Four. And every one of them died.

He blinked, in a flash he was overwhelmed with flashes of pain, death. A crowbar, laughter, an explosion, Batman, the feeling of not being able to breathe, mobsters, knives, a warm hand, Two-face, helplessness, burning, drugs, Scarecrow-

The body, somehow being controlled by everyone at once, bolted upright in bed, throwing the covers of him. In the dark, he just breathed. Cold sweat covered his body. His hands clenched fist-fulls of black hair.

What was happening to him?

. . .

"Wh-What happened to them?" Raven asked quietly. She could feel the pain radiating off of Batman, but she needed to know what it was that Robin was experiencing.

Batman turned away. "Jason was kidnapped by the Joker. After being beaten, he was locked in a warehouse with a bomb. I didn't get to him in time to save him. Dick, I think, blamed himself for not being here to save him. He was out of town. He almost never left after that." Starfire gasped. Batman's fists clenched. "Tim was killed by a psychopath who dressed like me. Strangled." Starfire's lip trembled. Although the rest of them were taking the news in shock, she found it worse and worse. "Stephanie was fired. She tried to prove herself to me, but she ended up causing a gang war. She was beaten badly, almost to the point of death. She was taken to the hospital as Stephanie instead of Robin, but she died. The doctors couldn't do anything." Starfire bit her lip. Batman closed his eyes. He might as well tell the whole story for Damian. "Dick, refusing to lose another Robin, went with Damian on a mission to stop Scarecrow. They were both hit with gas, living through their worst nightmares. When they woke, they were chained in a warehouse, Scarecrow tortured them for days in which Dick supported and protected Damian the best he could. Scarecrow got tired of playing eventually and decided to get rid of them. He injected Damian first and before he could inject Dick, I appeared. Damian was killed by his worst nightmares. Dick couldn't stay here anymore. He told me that he was leaving for anywhere far away from here and that I was never to let another bird take up the mantle or he was coming back to get them. He told me that I could tell people that I fired him from the role. That's when he left for Jump City." They stared at Batman.

They were speechless. They had no idea that Robin had such a dark past.

Silently, they prayed that Slade knew nothing of his past. It sounded so dark . . . . They were afraid that Slade would use it to his advantage.

. . .

Their prayers weren't answered.

"Dick, I did a little research on you. Why didn't you tell me about them?" Slade asked with an evil glint in the one eye that Robin could see.

Dick was silent. His dark blue eyes sent a dark glare that would make any other villain flinch, but only made Slade smile. His fists clenched, waiting for the blows to be made.

"Poor little Jason. How helpless do you think he felt when the Joker hit him over and over with that crowbar?" Inside Robin's mind, Dick heard a small whimper. Without even thinking about it, Dick blocked the other personalities from listening. "What about Tim? Watching his mentor suffocate him? How betrayed, hurt do you think he felt? Oh, and poor Stephanie?" He felt his hands begin to shake. His vision was turning red, but he refused to release his mental hold on the others. He wouldn't let them out of his protection. "How much do you think it hurt when she was beaten? All the knives and flying fists? All the cuts and bruises. It must have hurt. You know that. You were with her in the ambulance. You were the one who found her bleeding out in the alley. Oh, and we can't forget little Damian. The youngest of the bunch. How long do you think you spent with your nightmares? And when they-"

"Shut up!" Dick yelled, launching himself at Slade.

As if he predicted it, Slade sidestepped and grabbed his arm. He tried to lock his arm behind his back, but instead Dick flipped, knocking Slade's feet from underneath him. Dick tried to stop on his mask, but Slade rolled out of the way and knocked Dick's feet from underneath him. Eventually, Slade managed to bar Dick's arm, but he smirked.

"Well done, Dick. You are definitely better trained than your counterparts. But you still have a long way to go." His voice was that of one who was gloating.

Dick let out a fierce growl.

Slade released him. "You have to learn to control your temper."

"You should first." Dick growled, thankful that the rest of his personalities couldn't hear, see, or feel anything that was going on.

Slade's eyes narrowed, although Dick could only see one eye. Dick's head snapped to the side as he was back-handed.

"You should also learn to control your tongue." He growled sharply.

Angrily, but a bit stupidly, Dick stuck his tongue out at Slade. "I can control it just fine."

"Then I advise you do it." Slade turned his back on Dick, who immaturely made rude faces at him. Of course, Dick didn't want to be there, but he couldn't really do much. He figured that he might as well enjoy himself by making fun of his captor.

"Go to your room." Slade stated. "I'll send my niece in to clothe your wounds."

"Your niece?" Dick questioned almost immediately. "Where has she been?"

"She was on a mission I sent her on. She is back. Now, go." Slade commanded with a steel edge.

Dick clenched his teeth. He hated taking orders.

But, despite that, he did as he was told. Once he laid in his room, he closed his eyes. He didn't like this at all. He turned on his side, a bad mistake as it immediately brought extreme pain. Agony ripped through his side and his face burned.

He shielded his personalities from the pain, but they started talking immediately about what parts of the conversation that he let them know about.

Control yourself? CONTROL YOURSELF! Damian was yelling. He can go-

Damian! Dick interrupted him.

As the other boy quieted down, Stephanie started talking. He HIT you? He hit you!

Dick didn't deny it.

Monster. Jason growled.

Evil. He deserves whatever he gets. Tim agreed.

They all started cursing Slade. Dick just sighed. They all looked up to Dick as their older brother. That didn't stop when they ended up in his head.

He painfully moved onto his back, looking at the door as it creaked open. His eyes widened when he saw her.

"Hi. Can I come in?"

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