Agony's Best Friend

You Are My Hope

It was dark. The real kind of dark that was created by more than just an absence of light, but a feeling of dread. A feeling of fear. She knew she felt it. The darkness, however, in the real world was interrupted by a video that just kept repeating. Over and over and over again.

Fear. Dread. Pain.

Memories.

That was what she feared most. That those few happy memories with Dick were the last ones she would have. Ever. Dick had always made sure she knew how appreciated she was. If they had a romantic night, he might send flowers. If she had a bad night, he'd send over some gauze or some type of medication to block out pain. Even before he left for Jump, he had left a card. At the time, he couldn't tell her in person.

What really scared her was that she might not ever be there for him. That she would fail him. Again. She hadn't been there for him when he and Bruce got into that last fight over Damian. And because of that, the entire Batfamily had fallen apart. The dynamic duo separated and she was left with a sad, broken, empty heart, wishing she would've been there to pick up the pieces like she always had been before.

As well as that, Bruce was hurt. It wasn't just his pride, but the fact that he had lost another kid, another irreplaceable child to death, to the death-suicide-of the dynamic duo. Dick had left just like that. And all that Bruce was left with was a girl he knew was broken and ready to take a final blow, his father figure whom he had failed in the inability to keep one of the Robins alive and with them, and himself, an ominous figure that he would never, ever forgive.

So, fearfully and hurt, she watched the video again and again. She tried to look for something that would give her a clue to where he was being kept, but she couldn't see anything. All she could do was stare tearfully at Robin.

It had been an entire two weeks since then. After Bruce had passed out from watching the video so long even after getting busted up in Gotham, she had taken over the job. But it seemed impossible. Even Bruce-THE FREAKING BATMAN-couldn't find anything!

But there had to be something.

If there was, it wasn't going to be on Robin where her eyes kept going.

She yawned, letting a hand go through her explosive red hair as her eyes searched the screen or, in real life, stared at Robin painfully. He was hurt badly. Extremely badly.

"You really should be getting some sleep, Mistress Barbara." A wise voice said from right behind her.

"I'm fine, Alfie." She murmured, trying not to let her big, brown eyes slip closed like she knew they wanted to. "Besides, I can sleep when I'm dead."

Alfred sighed. "That is what I fear. Go get some shut eye, young mistress. I'm sure you will figure out what it is that you are looking for once turn the lights back on."

Yeah, that sounded nice. Besides, the Titans were asleep. So was Batman. If he was asleep, surely he wouldn't mind that she went to bed, too. When she turned the lights back on, she could be . . . .

Barbara's exhausted eyes widened. "That's it!" As tired as she was, she could only speed up when her hands moved across the keys, typing in her commands. Soon, the tape had been reset to a certain point.

"What do I want?" Slade asked maliciously. "I want to warn you."

It was then the light flashed on. Barbara blinked, setting in the command to do it frame by frame. The light dimly appeared. Nothing. It brightened. Not quite. It was enough to show the outline of Robin easily. THERE!

Right in the background next to Robin's head there was a slight flash, a reflection. It was right there.

There was a window!

She zoomed in on the window, feeling Alfred's presence over her shoulder. Slowly, she brightened the fame until it was almost white, but she could see outside. She never blinked, even if her vision became blurry or dark spots clouded her sight, letting her fingers type faster and faster as it was shaded and slightly adjusted to see what looked like another building and half of a gargoyle.

Familiarity swelled in Barbara until it exploded, giving her the one thing in the entire world that she had wanted right then: An answer.

Her lips stretched into a smile. "I got it!"

"Mistress Barbara!" Alfred exclaimed in shock, just catching her slumped form before she hit the floor. It wouldn't have mattered if she did. She was asleep the moment she closed her eyes.

. . .

Dick opened his eyes tentatively and slowly, letting his eyes adjust to the dim room. He let out a low groan. He was so tired . . . .

What's going on? Tim asked, confused.

Just woke up, dumb-

Damian. Interrupted Dick in a very straight forward, brotherly voice. The other personality quieted down immediately.

"I see you've woken up." A voice claimed.

Dick's eyes darted to the man standing next to his bed. How he hadn't noticed him before that, Dick didn't know. Whatever happened, though, he just had to keep his cool. He couldn't let the older man get to him. If he did . . . .

Slade. Stephanie growled in his mind.

Slade sat at a chair next to his bed. "Not very talkative I see."

In a moment of less control and tiredness, Dick couldn't stop Jason from taking over him. Slade only smiled when he noticed the brilliant blue change to a furious brown. "Who says I'm not talkative? Maybe I just don't want to talk to you."

Slade smiled. "Will you disobey me again?"

Before Tim could take control or whimper out a "no," Dick let his personality, although tired and ready to collapse at any moment, take control. "At every opportunity I get."

Slade's eye darkened angrily. He took a hold on the muscle shirt Dick was wearing and pulled him up. Dick hissed in pain as his skin and his healing broken, cracked, and bruised ribs burst into fireworks in protest. "Are you sure?"

Damian's voice suddenly seemed to explode. Screw this, you fu-

"Absolutely." Dick stated, silently chiding Damian for his language.

Slade stared at him for a moment, studying him, then threw down the boy, who once again let out small protests of the pain, somehow keeping all the pain for himself rather than his younger siblings, those that he missed, those that he wasn't there to protect, those that he swore to protect now more than ever.

"We will continue this conversation another time. Tomorrow, you will report to training at two p.m. Don't be late."

Just like that, Robin's captor had disappeared.

Don't be late. Stephanie mocked himbefore letting her anger overpower her. Don't be late! How are you supposed to train like that? How does he expect you fight so injured?

I don't know. Dick replied carefully. But I'll get through it.

I'm sorry! Cried Tim, who had been awfully quiet throughout the conversation. This is all my fault! I'm sorry!

Dick sighed. It's okay, Timmy. Come on, it was an awesome idea. We just had some timing issues. That's all.

But-

That guy is evil! Exclaimed Jason angrily. His mortified voice was completely consumed by rage that went long past the skin. He can't do this! He-he . . . .

Dick sighed, making the best he could of the impossible situation. We'll get through it. After all, we're Robin.

Just like that, it was as if a light had been turned on. Light and comfort filled their minds, slipping past them softly like silk. Perfection filled them to the brink, helping them. They knew that it was going to be okay. .

They had hope anew.

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