Agony's Best Friend

Criminal Heroics

"I can come back if now isn't a good time." She said. She spoke softly and seemed quiet and distanced. She looked about fifteen with long black hair with edges of dark blue. Her eye was violet and her skin was perfect. She wore a sleeveless belly-shirt that was blue with a red X going across it with the same blue color of shorty-shorts. Now, the thing that really shocked him. Half of her face was robotic, with her eye glowing red. Her neck, stomach, and part of her left arm were skin while the rest of her was robotic. Unlike Cyborg, the metal seemed dark. It had mainly grays, and it didn't glow to life in a bright blue.

"No, now's fine." He replied.

That's his niece? Jason asked incredulously.

She walked forward, a first aid kit in her hand. She opened it, looking at his face unhappily. She pulled out what looked like a disinfectant. After wetting a cloth with it, she began patting his bruised face gently with it. It still hurt.

"What did you do?" She asked.

"I told Slade that I could control my tongue." He replied. "And added a few rude comments."

Stephanie snorted. The girl watched as his eyes shifted to a dark green. "A few rude comments doesn't even begin to describe it."

She smirked. "Yeah, I can tell by the blisters. How hard did he hit you?"

His eyes turned back to the incredible dark blue. "Who knows."

She smiled at him before realizing something. "Oh, sorry. I forgot to tell you my name. You probably know just about nothing other than what Slade told you. My name is Diane. I am his niece, but I'm more of a slave than anything."

He looked at her, his eyes becoming the color of dark chocolate. "He sends you on missions and stuff. Can't you just leave?"

A sad look entered her purple eye. "I can't. See this?" She gestured to her metal parts. "I am a machine. He controls me as one. On my back is my control panel. It is wired in a way that I can't disobey him."

"Well," His eyes turned back to the dark blue of Dick Grayson, "you know I am a hacker. I could-"

"No, if it could have been changed, I would have." She pulled a necklace from her shirt. It had a gold chain and, on the end, was a locket with the emblem of Slade. "It shocks me or any other being that touches the panel. I will forever be in his control."

He sighed, complete understanding in his eyes. It seemed as if they were the same.

. . .

Batman frowned, thinking about things. It was late at night, but . . . with the problems going on they needed to be informed. His eyes narrowed as he called the headquarters of the Justice League. This wouldn't be pretty.

Unfortunately, it was Barry who answered. "Yo, Bats!"

"Meeting in fifteen minutes." With that, he shut off the transmission. This wasn't going to be pretty.

. . .

When Batman walked in the room, Superman, Martian Man-hunter, the Flash, the hawks, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Aquaman were waiting for him. After he entered, he heard them gasp at the fact that he had someone with him. They Titans shifted uncomfortably.

"Batman!" Green Arrow complained. "You can't bring others in here without-"

"You need to hear what they have to say." He interrupted. Everyone in the room looked looked at him. They wanted him to explain. And he would.

"Robin has been captured." He stated simply. Everyone in the room shifted uncomfortably, realizing that something really bad must have happened for the Titans to go to Batman and Batman come to them. "He is being forced into a apprenticeship for Deathstroke."

"An apprenticeship!" Gasped Wonder Woman. "How dare that-"

"And we haven't been able to rescue him. He appears to be being completely controlled by the man. And what's worse is that this man is someone who has been on the League's list for a long time. We haven't been able to capture this man."

"And he has Robin?" Hawkgirl gasped. "How did he even get Robin?"

After that, the situation was explained by the strange group. The League wasn't happy. They had helped raise him since he was eight. There was no way that they could accept that he had been taken by this villain. It must have been a long time since it had been explained, because Superman's voice seemed quiet when he spoke.

"What can we do?"

"If you ever encounter him, you have to try to contain him. Get him into different clothing as well." Batman's words seemed strange to them all. Briefly, he explained about his last encounter with his only living Robin.

Starfire, even in it's short summary, gasped. The thought of his being in pain whenever he disobeyed seemed like too much. "We have to find him."

The Titans nodded. It was completely true.

. . .

Especially right then.

It had been a long training day. Robin partially thought it had been punishment for his recent behavior. He snorted at the thought. Slade had had him blindfolded and basically attacked him at random times. He made him do every technique by feel. He could feel his aching muscles groan in protest for just moving.

Does that guy ever give it a rest? Tim complained in his mind.

Before he could continue, Dick answered. No.

Dick slipped out of the costume for a well deserved shower. At least he had some time for sane ignoring of water bills. He frowned, wondering if his friends were alright. The last he had seen them, they were kneeling in pain. They had been right there, hurting. He hoped they wouldn't be in any more pain. After all, he wasn't going to do anything Jurassic as trying to quit or anything. That would just be stupid.

Too bad he didn't know that the Titans hadn't gotten rid of them after the . . . event.

He spent time just wondering what would be happening right then if he hadn't failed in trying to save his friends. Maybe he would be back in Jump City, eating pizza with Beast Boy and Cyborg. But, even though he wanted it, he sensed he wouldn't be able to go back to the Titans. Not after this, anyways.

He sighed, not wanting to think about this anymore. Instead he fantasized about if he hadn't been taken or if the other Robins had survived. He needed something good to think about. Of course, since none of it would really happen, it was sort of a bad thing to think about.

But it made him feel better.

After he had stepped out of the shower and clothed himself, he found Diane sitting on his bed with a tray of food. Since he had recently found out that she did most of the cooking, he decided to eat it. She herself was nibbling on a piece of toast, obviously hungry but unable to eat.

The two sat and talked for a little while. It was almost nice. If they were normal teens in a normal place with normal security cameras on them, they might have actually been happy. They might have been perfectly content.

They weren't.

. . .

After the meeting, Superman found himself speaking with Batman, who he knew had gone against every instinct he had to even have the meeting. It was rare that he admitted he needed help. But, this was Robin, the first and the last Robin. The one that was still alive.

"I will be looking out for him." Superman promised. He would come to Gotham as much as he could to make sure that Robin would be fine. He remembered when Robin was eight, just starting the job. That was the first time that he had seen or met Superman. He smiled sadly, thinking about it.

. . .

What was he thinking! Superman had ranted to himself. A kid in Gotham! He'd be dead in no time! He had known that Batman had taken a kid in for little over a month and hadn't been able to go over to yell at Batman himself.

Right then, he found himself flying through Gotham. It wasn't nice to be ranting at Batman, but . . . HE LET AN EIGHT YEAR OLD KID BE HIS PARTNER!

"What are you doing?" Came a hard voice. To his surprise, it wasn't Batman. Instead, it was the eight year old kid in green, red, gold, and black. His eye mask was narrowed. He didn't seem to like Superman in his home. "Batman says that no other superhero belongs in Gotham." Then he smirked. "Not that meeting with you isn't amazing, Mr. Superman." It was that that caught him off guard. The kid seemed able to switch between two different emotions in seconds.

"I'm here to speak with Batman." Superman stated, smiling at the kid.

"Let me guess. It's about how he's letting an eight year old be his 'sidekick'?" It was then that Superman caught the slight accent. Had he just learned English or something?

"I-"

"Because if you are, I would advise you leave now. I'm not going to stop, because you told me to, Mr. Superman." Those words had shocked him. No one really said things like that to him. It was a major shocker."

Even after he accepted the fact that the kid wasn't going to stop, he watched over him to make sure that nothing would happen to him. Of course, the kid must have noticed, because he would say things out loud once in a while to make sure that he understood something.

The kid was strong willed and possibly even more stubborn than his mentor.

. . .

The kid that survived was paying for it, too. He was living through an apprenticeship that might make him have to kill someone. Robin hated killing. He let Zucco go. He didn't kill the man who took everything from him.

This monster was going to scar Dick. Scars didn't heal. They only faded, their effects slightly dimmer. Dick had enough scars.

Superman was determined to make this scar the least damaging as possible.

He prayed he would succeed.

. . .

That night, Robin was jumping roof tops to get to his destination. He was on his way to Wane Labs, where a new weapon was being stored. The weapon, announced to the press just a few days ago, was to help the military. He remembered how dumbfounded and obviously unhappy Wane was with it.

He had no clue it was there.

And now, Robin, no, Dick was being sent to steal it. The half of his face that was hurt and blistered at least made him less recognizable. As he hurried along, he noticed a girl. She was in an alley. His first instinct was to watch her, make sure she was alright.

And his instinct was right. A guy came up behind her, calling her. She yelled back at him. Dick guessed that the guy was her ex. That was bad. The guy grabbed her wrist and swung her to the wall, getting in her face.

"Keep going, Richard." Slade commanded over his communicator. Knowing there was a bad chance of any vigilante coming to save her, he knew there was only one way to get Slade to let him do this.

"Master, please, let me-"

"No." Slade answered before he knew what was going on.

"Please, Master. I can't do this knowing that something is going down-"

"Do as I have told you, apprentice." Slade growled.

"I-" He was cut off by flowing electricity.

"I have made myself very clear. Do as you have been told." Dick bit his lip, praying that something could be done.

It took him only minutes to get to the desired destination and get what he was after. Once he reached it, he took the weapon and disappeared outside, only thinking of the poor girl. His mind was spinning. He didn't notice her until she stepped right in front of him.

"Stop!" She growled. He froze. He was fearful of seeing Batman again, but Batgirl? Batgirl was too much.

When she saw him, finally connected the dots on who he was, which was probably very hard with his unrecognizable face, she gasped. "Dick?"

She stepped forward, touching the hurt side of his face. "What are you-What happen-Why?"

Her worried voice seemed to hit him, like a slap to the face, even if it wasn't as bad as the slap from Slade. He pushed her hand away. "Don't waste time on me and my mess! There's a woman-"

"Dick, get out now!" Slade ordered.

Dick didn't even flinch. He had to get her help. "-east of here. She's in an alley, a boy with her. You have to help her."

"But why can't you?"

He disappeared into thin air, without answering. She frowned, not knowing how it was possible that he could disappear like that. Or how-how-

How he could be a criminal. She needed to speak with Batman. NOW!

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