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Fic: A Displaced Red Robin Chapter 7

Title: A Displaced Red Robin
Author: Brokaw22
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Tim gets transported to the cartoon Young Justice world, and he's not sure he knows how to deal with it.
Thanks to Kathy for beta work.

Previous Chapters: Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six

Next Chapter: Chapter Eight

Tim awakes to the sound of screaming, only to discover that the screams are his own. He's not surprised. It's actually about time again for him to have the dreams of his father's blood all over him and the floor. He's not really sure when the dreams began to come in a scheduled manner, but he finds relief in the solidarity of it. Tim has no delusions that he's going to return to sleep. He never does after those particular dreams, and he figures if he's not going to sleep, then the least he can do is get some work done. Normally that would mean pulling up one of the many cases he's currently working on--there's always something to be done, something to be worked through in Gotham--but he's not in Gotham. Hell, he's not even on his own earth.

Tim doesn't have any cases to work through, so he grabs a notebook, a pen, and four, large, heavy, theoretical science books and heads to the kitchen. There are some equations that he's been working through. He doesn't actually believe that he can teach himself everything that he needs to know, but it makes him feel better to try. The first thing Tim does when he gets to the kitchen is to head for the coffee maker. The reason for his wakefulness doesn't change the fact that, if he wants to be able to function on any level above sleep deprived zombie, then he's going to need the caffeine.

He's on his third cup of coffee. He has all four of the books open to various pages, the notebook is laid out in front of him, and Tim keeps flipping back and forth to find the notes that he needs, when all of a sudden he hears the sound of a small projectile slicing through the air. He's already out of his seat and in a ready position when he notices the harmless trick arrow lying on the ground from where it ricocheted off of the wall behind where he was sitting. Red Arrow steps into the kitchen, smirking. “Wow, you move faster than Robin.”

Tim is blinking rapidly trying, and failing, to figure out when Roy got here. He's just happy that he remembered to grab one of the domino masks that he had gotten from Robin before he left his room. Tim isn't sure how he's supposed to deal with this encounter. It's not as though he's on friendly terms with this Roy Harper. “Is there something I can do for you, Red Arrow?”

Roy shakes his head. “I heard you got the a-okay from Batman to train the others.” Tim raises an eyebrow behind his mask, but doesn't say anything. “I guess that makes you trustworthy. Anyway, I didn't come here to annoy you. It's just, sometimes--when I'm in the neighborhood--I come here instead of heading straight home.”

Tim's not sure why Roy is being so forthcoming with the information, especially when Tim didn't actually ask any questions, but he's fairly certain that it isn't just because of how late/early it is. He's also pretty sure that, what Roy really means by 'in the neighborhood,' is when he's feeling a little too lonely, and doesn't feel like heading back to wherever he's staying right away. It's making Tim really want to run a drug test on Roy, and alert Black Canary to the possibility that he might need some supervision for a while. Tim just has to find the best way to do that without drawing the team's attention, or worse, the entire JLA. He shelves the idea for now. After all, there's nothing he can do about any of that at this precise moment.

Roy shuffles his way over to the table with all of Tim's work on it. “So, what are you doing?” He randomly starts flipping through Tim's notes. “This looks...heavy.”

Tim sighs as he reaches over for his coffee mug. “I'm still trying to find a way back home. Unfortunately, I just don't have the background in theoretical physics that I need. I always preferred computer algorithms for a reason.”

Roy pauses in thumbing through Tim's notes long enough to just stare at him blankly. “Man, you're not kidding, are you?”

Tim shakes his head. “Anyway, I'm sure that you would like to get some sleep.”

Roy opens his mouth to respond, but before he gets the chance, the two of them fall silent to focus on the whispered voices that they can hear floating in from outside the doorway. Tim recognizes M'gann's voice immediately, and he isn't at all surprised to see Superboy trailing into the room behind her. She glances at both of them with a questioning look before gesturing for Superboy to follow her over to the refrigerator. Everyone seems content to just ignore each other, but Superboy looks upset, certainly more-so than normal, and Tim has already resigned himself to the fact that he's probably not going to get anymore work done tonight. He starts closing his books and putting his notes in order. “So, what are you two doing up?”

Before M'gann gets a chance to speak, Superboy spins around to glare at Tim. “What? So, now I need a a bed time and a babysitter?”

M'gann places a hand on Superboy's shoulder and shoots an apologetic look at both of them. “Superboy, he's just asking out of curiosity.”

Superboy stares at her for a moment before muttering an apology. “Sorry, I'm just...”

“Defensive.” Roy finishes for him, and Tim can't help but glare at Red Arrow. He desperately wants to smack him upside the head, but it's not as though he has that type of relationship with Roy's counterpart back home.

Tim rolls his eyes and sighs. “It's fine. What's up?”

Superboy looks as though he has no intention of talking, and M'gann bites her lip uncertainly. It's clear that she wants to say something, but isn't sure how Superboy is going to take it. After a few moments of indecision, she heaves a large sigh and steps closer to Tim. “Superboy is upset that Superman won't speak to him.”

Superboy scoffs at that. “Ha, speak to me? He won't even give me the time of day.”

Tim doesn't know what to say to that. He thinks he might understand Superman's reasoning for such, but he's not really sure. He certainly doesn't know how much he should tell this Superboy or how much comfort he can really give the boy. Luckily for Tim, the decision is taken out of his hands by Roy. “At least Supes is honest about the fact that he doesn't want you around. Green Arrow acts like I don't even exist. Unless, of course there are cameras around. Put a camera in front of that man, and suddenly he's got an arm draped over my shoulders and acting like he's the best mentor a guy could have.”

Superboy balls both of his hands into fists at that. “They both suck.”

Roy nods in agreement. “All of the older heroes do.”

Superboy glares and shakes his head. “No, Black Canary doesn't, and Batman's not that bad.”

Roy sighs. “Okay, fine, I'll give you Black Canary. She's pretty awesome, but Batman? You've got to be kidding me.”

“Manhunter is great.” M'gann chimes in softly.

Red Arrow and Superboy both turn to stare at her for a moment before nodding in agreement. “Fine, I concur. Black Canary and Martian Manhunter are okay, but I still don't see how Batman makes this list. I mean, he's got some kid we don't even know training you guys.” Roy turns to Tim and adds, “No offense.”

Tim waves at hand him. “None taken.”

Superboy moves to sit down. “Batman has trained me more than Superman has, and he just wants everyone to be their best. I like him.”

The others sit down around the kitchen table as well, while Tim gets them all something to drink. From what he's observed Superboy and M'gann prefer sugary carbonated drinks to coffee, so he hands them both a soda before gesturing to Roy with another can. Roy simply shakes his head and points to the half full coffee pot. Tim smiles to himself as he gets another cup out for Roy, and pours more into his own. Roy nods his thanks before taking a long sip from his cup. He then places the cup on the table and returns to the conversation at hand. “Okay, I can see why you would like him, but just because Batman has trained you more than Supes--which isn't hard, since the man won't even glance in your direction--that doesn't mean that he's a good mentor.”

Superboy's brow furrows at that. “Okay, so what makes a good mentor?”

Roy shrugs as he downs half of his coffee. “The hell if I know.”

M'gann stares down at her can of soda for a few moments before lifting her head to speak. “Maybe we should ask Red Robin.”

The three of them turn to Tim expectantly. He doesn't say anything at first, so Roy nudges him with his elbow. “Well, come on. You're well-trained. Surely, you know what makes a good mentor, and if Batman is one or not.”

Tim has no idea how or why this conversation started, but it's making him uncomfortable, and he's not really sure what he's supposed to say. He takes a long swig from his coffee in order to delay the inevitable, and then sighs. “Truthfully, I wouldn't know if this Batman is a good mentor or not. I haven't exactly spent any real amount of time with the man, and all requests to speak to him have yielded no results. If I was judging based purely off of how Robin fights, trains, and interacts with you guys, I would say that he's trying his best, but there are certain lessons one can only learn from making mistakes.”

They're all silent for a long moment, and for one single tiny second, Tim thinks that he might have successfully evaded any further discussion on this particular topic. That is until Roy punches him in the shoulder, and gives him a very knowing look. “Oh, you know something. You know that he's doing something wrong--something that's probably going to screw up poor Rob, and you're just afraid to say it.”

The other two stare at him in alarm, and Superboy looks as though he wants to shake Tim until he tells them what they want to know. Tim just shakes his head. “This isn't my world. In fact, this place is nothing like my world. There's no way to know if the things that happened in my world will happen here, and I see no reason to...”

Roy shoves him at that. “No, no, that's a cop out and we all know it. If there's even a minute chance that something might happen that's going to hurt Rob, you have to tell us. You have to give us a chance to stop it.”

Tim holds up his hands in a pacifying way. He doesn't know how to tell them that there's really no way to stop what may or may not happen, especially since Bruce is Bruce. “All I can tell you is that Robin's counterpart on my world is a very physical creature. He needs a lot of physical affection, and well...that's just not something one expects to get from Batman, but this Robin isn't that Robin. Hell, this Batman isn't that Batman. For all I know, Robin gets hugged every day.” He smiles evilly at that, and Roy bursts out into laughter. The other two seem as though they're trying, and failing, to picture Batman hugging anyone.

M'gann shakes her head as though just trying to imagine that hurts, and lays a hand over Tim's. “Well, what about your Batman? Is he a good mentor?”

Tim nods once. “Of course he is. He makes mistakes, but who doesn't? Sometimes he makes us...makes me make the wrong choice, especially when dealing with interpersonal relationships, but he does what he does for a reason, and I can't fault him for that. His choices are usually logical, and the best choice to keep us all safe.”

M'gann tightens her hand around Tim's for a moment. “Sometimes he makes you make the wrong choice? Do you mean like how he makes Robin keep his identity from us?”

Tim nods again. “I'm not going to lie to you. Keeping our identities safe is always going to be a priority, and I don't know if this Batman will ever be comfortable enough with you...all of you to ever let him tell you his name, and that will become a strain eventually. The thing you need to remember is that, as hard as it is for you to trust someone who can't even tell you his real name, it's twice as hard for him to keep it from you. I know from experience that there are days when the only thing we want is to be able to show our friends our true faces...to be honest with our friends, and for once not have to hide. Unfortunately, it's not really an option very often.”

All three of them stare at him somberly, each considering the full weight of what he's just told them. After a moment or two, Superboy pushes away from the table. “Whatever, I'm going to bed. Besides, Black Canary is still the best mentor.”

M'gann laughs and follows Superboy out of the room. “Night you two.”

Roy and Tim both wave and tell them good night. Tim gathers his books with the intent of going back to his room and finishing up his work for tonight, but he's halted by Roy's hand sliding his notebook out of reach. “So, you had a team, too? Back on your world, I mean.”

Tim nods and tries to grab his notebook, but Roy just pushes it further out of his reach. “What were they like?”

Tim sighs, and sits back down. It's clear that Roy isn't going to give him back his notebook until he tells him everything that he wants to know. Tim could just turn this into a spar, but he's tired, and really just wants to finish his research. “They are great. Present tense. I will get home...eventually.”

“And if you don't?”

Tim glares at him. “What's that supposed to be mean?”

Roy shakes his head. “Look, I'm sure you're aware that you may never find a way home. Then what? Can there be a Robin and a Red Robin? Are you just going to stay here and do nothing but train them? Is Batman going to allow you to work out of Gotham? Do you even want to? I'm just sayin' you might want to start thinking about this stuff, instead of wasting your evenings pouring over these books.”

Tim drops his head into his hands. “I do think about it. I think about it all of the time, and I don't know.”

Roy places his hand on Tim's shoulder. “Do you think that they're looking for you back home? Do you think that they know what happened to you?”

Tim shrugs. “I'm sure that they're probably looking, but I have no idea if they've figured out that it was a multiverse hiccup--and even if they have figured out that much, there's still probably no way of knowing where I ended up. This 'finding the right earth thing' is very tricky.”

Roy nods as he slides Tim's notebook back over to him. “Hey, at least you know that someone is looking, right?”

Tim smiles slightly at that. “You know that people would be looking for you, too, right? If this ever happened to you, I mean.”

Roy laughs as he shakes his head. “I don't know about that, man. I mean, maybe they would be looking for the me on your world--there is a me on your world, right?”

Tim nods. “Yeah, there's a you on my world.”

Roy's grin only brightens at that. “Cool, are you two friends?”

Tim shrugs slightly at that. “I like to think that we are, but you...or your counterpart is actually best friends with Robin's counterpart, who is my older brother. It's a little complicated, actually.”

Roy laughs again. “Yeah, sounds like.”

Tim sighs quietly as he drops his books back onto the table. It doesn't take a genius to know that Roy is lonely and really just needs his friends, but his friends are sleeping, and Tim isn't really good at being social. But, he figures, the least he can do is try. “Hey, I'm not really tired, and I know that you just had a cup of coffee, so...do you want to watch a movie or something? I don't really get to do much beyond train them, and it'd be nice to spend time with someone who isn't either testing me or trying to get me to make them better.”

Roy smiles and nods. “Yeah, I wouldn't mind watching something with you. Just don't fall asleep on me, okay?”

Tim grins slightly, but that's mainly because he has every intention of sitting on Roy's left side so that he can subtly check for track marks. He doesn't know what he intends to do if finds any, but Tim was trained to think on the fly. “No promises.”

Roy simply laughs at him, and goes to put in a movie. “Well, I'll make sure to tuck you in then.”

The End (for now)

Comments

lenetha_x3
Oct. 14th, 2011 03:51 am (UTC)
Wow! I wasn't expecting a chapter with Red Arrow. But I really love the character interaction here! Also, I love the fact that Tim is taking things into his own hands and trying to find a way to return to his world, though. It's very in-character of him!
brokaw22
Oct. 14th, 2011 04:23 am (UTC)
Thank you! I do try.