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Fic: A Displaced Red Robin Chapter 8

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 Chapter Seven

The team is on a mission, which leaves Tim here, alone. It's the perfect opportunity to get some work done, so he heads down to the library. It feels weird being in this room with his suit on, but he doesn't feel comfortable being here alone wearing anything else. It feels wrong not to be prepared for absolutely anything and everything. He's about to get started in on the new books that he's just found, when Tim hears a loud crash coming from the training area. Normally, he wouldn't even think twice about it, but given that the team is gone, Tim is up and moving before he's even consciously aware of it.

When he gets closer to the room, it's apparent that there are two people in there, and it doesn't sound like they are just sparring. Tim slides three batarangs into his hand as he silently edges closer to the door, without being seen. “He's still just a kid--just like the others--whether you want to admit it or not.” Tim recognizes Black Canary's voice immediately, but he doesn't relax any, especially since the seething tone of her voice promises violence to whomever she's speaking with.

“He's well trained. That's all that matters.” Tim's eyes widen with the realization that Black Canary is fighting with Batman.

“Weren't you just saying that you still don't trust him? What are you going to do? Put a tracking device on him.” There's silence for a moment, and then Black Canary erupts again. “That is not an actual plan.”

“He's not a member of the team, and no one else has taken any responsibility for him. His skills would be useful in the field, and I see no reason to continue wasting them here.”

Tim's getting a sinking feeling about this conversation, but he's interested, so he places the batarangs back into his belt, and crouches down. He's barely breathing in the hope that he'll remain undetected. “Of course no one's taken responsibility for him. He doesn't belong here! Besides, Superman won't even take responsibility for the one with his DNA.”

“I'm working on that.”

Black Canary scoffs at him. “And I'm sure that that's going really well, but back to the problem at hand. Are you even trying to send him back home? It seems like you've just been using him. You have him training the team full time, and now this. When I told you that the kid needed to get out, this isn't what I meant.”

Bruce doesn't say anything for a moment, and Tim can only imagine the glare that he's directing toward her. After another second or two, Tim hears the unforgettable sound of a cape whipping past someone's legs. “The boy is coming with me.”

Tim hears something that sounds an awful lot like Black Canary tackling Batman, and he's pretty sure that he doesn't want to be here for the fallout, but he still doesn't want to attract attention to himself. Before he can figure out an acceptable escape route, though, he hears the unmistakable sound of someone's hands being zip-stripped. “This doesn't concern you, Canary.”

“The hell it doesn't!” Tim hears the zip-strips breaking. “I know for a fact that you've never let Robin do what you're intending to do with this kid.”

“Robin isn't as well trained as him.”

“And that's the real problem, isn't it? You just can't deal with the fact that you've spent the last four years training Robin, and this kid comes out of nowhere and proves that it's not enough. You said it's clear that he wasn't trained by just Batman. So, what? Are you just going to replace Robin with this kid, because I swear if you do...” Tim can imagine Dinah's eyes narrowing, and it makes him want to return to the library even more, but he needs to hear the rest of this conversation.

“I have no intention of replacing Robin, but Robin is with the team and this boy could prove to be useful.”

Black Canary sighs, and Tim is really starting to think that he needs to retreat now before they catch him listening in. “If this is your way of saying that you need help while Robin is away, why not just ask one of us? You know that we wouldn't hesitate to...”

“I don't like metas in my city, Black Canary. You know that.” Batman cuts her off, which Tim knows would only anger the Dinah on his world even more, so he's not really surprised when he hears Black Canary's low and feral growl.

“Right, of course, so you'd rather endanger some...”

Tim really can't deal with her calling him some kid again, so instead of just standing outside or leaving he walks through the door. “I'm not a child, so tell me what it is you want me to do.”

Black Canary's eyes soften, and she looks as though she wants to protect him. Tim wants to smile and assure her that it's fine. Instead, he simply nods to her once before turning his attention back to Batman. He folds his arms over his chest, and raises an eyebrow while he waits. Batman looks as though he wants to smirk, which only makes Tim's eyebrow rise higher.

Before Batman can tell Tim what he wants, however, Black Canary moves beside him, and places a hand on Tim's shoulder. “Red Robin, you can tell him no. You don't have to go with him.”

Tim holds up a hand to stop her from continuing, and turns to face her over his shoulder. “Thank you, but Batman's right. I am well trained, and there isn't any reason to waste my skills here.” He turns back to Bruce and stands tall. “So, what's the mission?”

Batman nods at him once before gesturing for Tim to follow him. They stop in front of one of the main computers, and Batman starts pulling up files. “There's been a massive breakout at Arkham Asylum. It's a facility which houses...”

“The criminally insane...I'm aware.”

Batman glances down at him for a moment, and Tim swears he can see an almost smirk. Tim is starting to get the impression that this Bruce isn't as cold or as closed off as his own, which makes sense, because this Bruce hasn't lost a Robin yet. “It will take too long for me to track down every escaped prisoner on my own.”

Tim's eyes roam over the map of Gotham, which Batman has pulled up on the screen. He stares at it for a moment, before interrupting Bruce again. “You want to break the city up into a search grid, and you want me top side while you search the sewers for Killer Croc. I'll need some time to go over the files of everyone who escaped. After all, while I'm prepared to deal with the big ones like The Joker of my own world, I'd hate to be surprised by any deviations your world's criminal element has from my own.”

Batman nods once again as he steps away from the console. “How quickly can you have these files read?”

Tim copies the files to his palm computer, and immediately starts reading. He can't express how relieved he is that his technology is still compatible with this world's tech. “I can have these files memorized in half an hour.”

Tim can see Batman staring down at him from the corner of his eye. He looks as though he wants to say something, and then his hand twitches. It's barely even noticeable. In fact, if Tim hadn't spent most of his life following a very different Batman, he probably would have missed it completely, but Tim knows that hand twitch. It's the same one that his Bruce has when he wants to put his hand on Tim's shoulder, but doesn't know how it will be received. True, Tim mostly hasn't had to deal with that reaction in quite some time, but he'd never forget that response. After all, he had to deal with it for years before the two of them became comfortable around each other. Tim doesn't know what to think about the fact that he's now getting that same reaction from this Bruce, but before he can give it much more thought Batman turns away from him and starts walking out of the room.

Tim knows better than to say anything. He's spent enough time with his own Bruce to know that any conversational attempts will yield nothing, so instead, he focuses harder on the files he copied. They're heading to the entrance when it occurs to Tim that now is the perfect time to do something that he's been considering since his impromptu movie-watching night with Roy. “I'll be right with you, but I've gotta talk to Black Canary first.” When Batman raises an eyebrow at him, Tim gives him shy sweet smile number seven. “I just want to reassure her that I've done this before, and that I'll be fine, you know. There's no sense in making her worry the entire time.” Bruce looks like he's reassessing his first impression of Tim, which just makes Tim want to laugh. It hasn't been this easy to manipulate Batman since he was Robin.

Tim takes off in the direction of the training area, hoping that he'll still find Dinah there. He breathes a sigh of relief when he enters the room to find her pummeling a training dummy. Tim knows better than to sneak up on someone when they are in the middle of making a practice dummy look like a natural disaster victim, so he deliberately scuffs his foot against the floor. Dinah spins around clearly ready for another fight with Batman. Tim can see when she registers that it's him, because she visibly relaxes. “Is there something that you needed, Red Robin?”

Tim sighs as he steps closer. He doesn't actually know how to do this. He's never really had to go to an adult for help with something that wasn't directly related to him...well, no one except for Dick, but Dick rarely acts his age. “I think it would be a good idea if you took an interest in Red Arrow.”

Black Canary's eyes narrow at that. “Why? What do I need to know?”

Tim shakes his head. “I don't have any conclusive data yet, but it would be in everyone's best interest if he was aware that, not only does he have people who care about him, but he has someone to turn to when things become difficult. Someone who won't judge him, isn't his own age, and doesn't have anything to gain or lose from his...indiscretions. Someone who he knows would never turn him away.”

Her brow furrows at that. “What? I assure you that Green Arrow would never...”

Tim holds up his hand to stop her. “I know I don't know this Green Arrow, but I've spoken with Red Arrow enough to know that he needs someone beyond his mentor. He needs someone who he doesn't have...issues with.”

She stares at him for a long moment. Clearly, Dinah wants to ask him more questions, and really Tim can't blame her. He's pretty sure that if he was in her position, he'd be demanding to know everything that Tim's not saying, but he also knows that she's spoken to the team enough about him to know that it wouldn't do her any good to demand such things from him. After another moment or two, she nods at him. “I'll...I'll speak with him as soon as I can.”

Tim turns to leave, satisfied that he's done what he can for the moment, but before he gets a chance to take more than a few steps away, Canary's voice stops him in his tracks. “Hey, Red.”

Tim turns back to her, and he's a little surprised to see such a deep level of concern directed towards him. “Yeah?” Tim is actually uncomfortable with the amount of emotion in his voice right now. He doesn't normally sound this confused even when he's puzzling out one of The Riddler's games.

Black Canary smiles at him sadly. “Be careful out there. I know that you're well trained, but the Arkham escapees are...”

“I know. I've dealt with them on my own world. I assure you.”

She nods at him. “I know, but you have to understand something. Batman has never allowed Robin to track down more than one of them on his own, and he's never allowed him to face The Joker without backup.”

Tim sighs to himself. “I know the risks, Black Canary, and we both know that if Batman didn't think that I was capable of holding my own he wouldn't allow me to do this...especially not in his city.”

She huffs out a breath and smiles down at the ground. “What can I say? Part time den mother...I worry.”

Tim smiles shyly back at her. “Thank you...that...means a lot actually. I know I'm not a member of the team, but it's nice to know that someone cares.”

She looks as though she's ready to hug him, and Tim's caught off-guard by how much that doesn't bother him. She shakes her head, and then makes a shooing motion towards the door. “Go--before I get a lecture for holding you up.”

Tim's smile only grows wider. “You'll probably get one anyway.” He listens to the sound of her laughter as he goes to meet Batman by the entrance to the HQ.

Batman, predictably, doesn't say anything when Tim meets up with him, but he does give Tim a look--one that Tim doesn't know how to decipher. He's about to just come out and ask, but before he gets a chance, Batman calls out to the computer. When Tim hears the computer respond, “Recognized Red Robin 0719” he isn't sure what to think.

Fortunately, Tim doesn't get a lot of time to dwell on it. In a flash, they're in Gotham. Tim would recognize the city, no matter the changes. It feels like coming home in a way that he wasn't prepared for. Tim takes a moment to reorient himself, and he gets another hard stare from Batman, but he knows what this particular expression means. It's the get to work glare, and it makes Tim want to laugh. Instead, however, he simply holds out his gloved hand for the transmitter and tracer that he knows Batman will insist that he use...not that Tim has any intention of arguing. “I'm sure that you've already put one tracer on me, but the communicator may prove to be useful.”

This time Tim does get a smirk from Batman as he slips the two little devices into Tim's open palm. He isn't sure how to feel about a Batman that is this expressive, but he guesses it makes sense, given everything that this world hasn't been through. “Don't overestimate them. Call if you need backup.”

Tim nods once, and heads for a rooftop. This almost feels like his first night out as Robin. He has to pause on a rooftop for a few moments to get used to the new terrain. While this is still Gotham, it's not exactly the same as back home...not that Tim was expecting it to be. He finds it surprising that, for an Arkham breakout, the city is so quiet. This is a city that has never lost a hero before, and the contrast is nearly startling. He heads toward Robinson Park first, knowing that it's the most likely place to find Poison Ivy. Tim knows that she's not the easiest villain to subdue, but he's gotten good at placating the version of her on his own world. He just hopes that this Poison Ivy doesn't have any reason to attack first and ask questions later.

When Tim gets to the park he doesn't even need to go inside to see that the vegetation is flourishing far more than it should be for this time of year. It doesn't take a genius to know that he chose the right place to come to find Ivy. He treads lightly through the overgrown trees, carefully stepping to keep from crushing any plants. He doesn't want to give Ivy a reason to attack if he can help it. The further Tim gets into the park, the faster the plant life seems to be growing. He can see flowers blooming right before his eyes, causing the air to smell sweet and heavy with their fragrance. He knows that he's getting closer to her.

Tim's watching for any winding roots and vines. He's been caught off-guard by Ivy's seemingly harmless plants enough in the past to know to be on high alert. However, that doesn't mean that Tim can do anything when a weeping willow wraps it's branches around him, and slams him into it's thick trunk. He doesn't bother to struggle. After all, he wanted to speak to Ivy, and upsetting her by setting fire to her pet tree will only ensure that negotiations don't go well. He waits calmly for her to emerge from somewhere within the thick vegetation. It takes her longer than he expected, but soon enough two large trees part to allow Ivy entry into the little grove her plants have created.

She takes a long moment to look him up and down, and Tim just stays silent and allows her to take her time. “You aren't who I was expecting.” She takes another long look at his clothes. “Are you friends with the little Boy Wonder?”

Tim will never get used to anyone referring to Dick as little, and he hopes he'll never have to. He takes a deep breath, and settles in for the usual banter. “I'm kind of new in town. Go by the name Red Robin, if that answers your question. Anyway, I wanted to speak with you.”

Ivy smiles at him in a predatory way. “Oh, little bird, you want to speak with me? I'm flattered. Now, what is it that you could possibly want from little ol' me?” She gets closer than Tim is strictly comfortable with, and starts running a finger over the top of his cowl.

Tim suppresses the need to get away, and swallows down a biting retort. It annoys him that he can't escape the nickname 'little bird'--not even here, where he clearly isn't even the smallest bird running around. He's certain that this is going to be one of the more annoying moments of his night. “I've got a lot to do tonight. There's more than a few of you who have escaped from Arkham, and I'm hoping that you'll be the easy one to deal with.”

Ivy throws back her head and laughs as she digs her fingers in against his cowl. It's one of the many reasons that Tim is happy that he switched to it from just a domino mask. “You're a silly little bird. Why should I possibly go back when I've got all of this wonderful green around me? My babies are thriving here. What could you possibly offer me as an incentive?” She's back to stroking his cowl within seconds, and it makes Tim want break her wrist.

He smirks slightly at her, and ignores her roaming hands. “Well, if you come back quietly. I won't set this lovely little grove on fire. Think about it, Ivy. You walk out of this park with me, and all of these lovely plants continue living the way they should. You don't, and they don't get to live at all.”

She backs away from him, glaring the entire time, and he can see the plants in question rearing up for a fight. “And how exactly do you intend to do that? You are trapped to my beautiful willow tree, after all.”

Tim narrows his eyes and allows his voice to show his annoyance by becoming gruffer. “Trust me, Ivy. I have my ways.”

Her glare only intensifies. “You're bluffing.”

The words aren't even out of her mouth before Tim draws two knives from his belt and begins hacking through the tree branches around him. Even with Ivy's control, weeping willow tree branches are no match for him. He lands on the ground in a crouch. “Are you sure you want to do this, Ivy?” Tim slips a handful of pellets into one hand and grabs some batarangs in the other. “'Cause I can assure you, you won't like the way that this ends.”

He can tell that Ivy is too enraged by the pain that she can feel from her 'baby' to think clearly, and an angry Poison Ivy is always the most dangerous. She lets out an animalistic scream, and then plants are shooting towards him from all sides. Tim throws the explosive pellets at the plants behind Ivy, knocking her down for a split second. It's just long enough for him to dodge the plants striking at him from behind, and to throw the batarangs at the ones coming at him from the sides. He then gets in close enough to fight her hand to hand. It's not as easy as it could be, though. They're in a small space, and he still has to evade plants from every which way, but the enclosed space doesn't work for Ivy's benefit anymore than it does for him.

True, Ivy isn't trying to fend off her own plants, but in order to protect herself, she's backed herself into a corner, and that's all that Tim needs. He rolls out of the way of another plant strike, and ends up behind the little circle of plants that she's surrounded herself with. He places a small explosive and moves. He's barely out of range when he hears Ivy scream, and bits of plants go flying everywhere. Tim has to use his cape to protect himself from the foliage raining down on him. He gets out his bo staff, and calmly walks over to Poison Ivy, who is lying on the ground breathing heavily. She doesn't look that much worse for the wear, all things considered. “So, Ivy, you ready to go back to Arkham now?”

She glares at him, but doesn't make any move to attack. Tim zip-strips Ivy's hands behind her back, and drags her out of the park. He then contacts the necessary authorities. The wait is longer than he would like, but Tim can't complain. There are nights in his own Gotham where reaching the proper authorities isn't even an option, so Tim checks his supplies while he listens to Ivy babble about all of her poor plants that he destroyed. After the fifth time that she asks him how he could do such a thing, Tim feels compelled to remind her that he gave her a choice.

Once Ivy is on her way back to Arkham, Tim takes off in the direction of Crime Alley. He doesn't really have any reason to go there beyond the fact that it's Crime Alley, but for some reason Tim feels obligated to check it out. On his way there, he stops three muggings and a car jacking. It's not unusual Gotham crime, but the lack of heavy hitters is concerning. He knows how bothersome it can be when the big name villains go underground...both literally and figuratively.

Tim's standing on a rooftop above Crime Alley when he hears the unmistakable maniacal laughter of the only madman who has ever truly frightened him. He glances down and sees a kid running as fast as his scrawny little legs can carry him. The Joker is following him, laughing the entire time. Tim takes off in hot pursuit. He's jumping over rooftops, making sure to keep both the kid and The Joker in sight. Tim needs to get closer if he's going to help that kid. The Joker has the boy backed against a grimy alley wall when Tim catches up. The kid looks like he's honestly going to try to fight, despite how scared he so obviously is. Tim doesn't even know what to think about that.

The Joker is saying something--Tim can't tell what from his place on the roof--but, whatever it is, it makes the boy shake a little. The Joker then pulls out a knife, but before he can do more than flash the blade, Tim slams both of his feet into the back of him. The Joker is only down for a moment, but Tim already has his bo staff out. He'd tell the kid to run, but there's no place for him to go. Joker's got the only exit blocked, and there's no way Tim is allowing him anywhere near the boy behind him.

“You're new. I wonder if you're as fun to play with as the other birdy who's normally running around here.” The Joker's smile is just as grotesque in this world as his own, but he seems to have even more of an affinity with annoying one-liners here.

Tim knows his world's Joker enough to know that the knife isn't the only concern. It's just the immediate one. He blocks Joker's view of the kid, hoping to distract him. The last thing he needs is for The Joker to decide that the new bird in town isn't worth playing with. “Drop the knife, Joker.” He doesn't actually expect The Joker to comply, but it buys him some time to asses the situation a little further. The Joker is wearing one of those stupid flowers on his suit, and Tim refuses to end up as one of those clichéd face-full of acid victims. He takes out a batarang, and takes aim. He knows that there are other ways for The Joker to maim and kill him, but right now, Joker Venom and acid are his primary concerns.

“Why would I drop my knife? Where's the fun in that, birdy?” Joker glances down at the knife in question, and then his evil grin turns even more sinister. “Well, maybe you're right.”

Tim barely has enough time to change tactics as The Joker throws the knife, and Tim scantily manages to block the knife with his staff. It would have been easier if the knife had been aimed at him, but as it is, Joker was definitely aiming at the kid behind him. Tim knows that he's run out of time. The Joker has been staring past him this entire time, fixated on the kid who was willing to fight him with nothing but his fists. Tim knows that if he doesn't take The Joker out fast and hard, this boy will be in far greater jeopardy than he already is.

Tim throws his batarang, slicing through the flower on The Joker's chest. He sees the rage take over the clown's face when he realizes what Tim has done, and Tim knows that it's on now. He waits one moment longer to make sure that the flower problem has been sufficiently dealt with, and then he moves in, jabbing with his staff, and kicking as hard as he can. He can hear bones breaking under his boots, but Tim doesn't care. He knows what this sadistic clown is capable of, and he won't let it happen here...not if he can help it. Tim blocks a sloppy kick with his staff, and punches The Joker in the face. He doesn't waste any time before sweeping Joker's feet out from underneath him. The Joker lands with a heavy thud on the dirty ground. He's laughing through bloody lips and the pain of a few broken ribs, and staring up at Tim as though he's something funny. Tim's not naive enough to believe that the danger is over with, and when he sees Joker reach for something in his pocket Tim doesn't wait to find out what it is before he breaks The Joker's wrist.

There's a sharp intake of breath before The Joker's arm falls to the ground limply, and he stares up at Tim with a bloody smile. “Turns out you are more fun than Wonder Boy, after all.”

Tim doesn't respond, nor does he hesitate to bring his staff down hard, effectively knocking out The Joker. He's about to spin around to make sure that the kid behind him is okay, when the boy in question comes rushing at him with Joker's knife in his hand. Tim almost misses catching the kid before he plunges the knife into The Joker's heart, but at the last second he manages to grab the boy. He forces the kid to drop the knife, and then holds him close. “It's okay. He won't hurt you. It's okay.”

The kid is shaking, so Tim wraps him in his cape. “He said that he was going to carve me up...that he was going to...” The kid cuts himself off with a hard shake of his head, and Tim's more than a little surprised that he sounds more angry than scared right now. “He shouldn't be allowed to do that to anyone ever again.”

Tim doesn't know what to say to that, so he simply tightens his hold on the boy. “It's gonna be okay, alright? I'm going to contact the proper authorities, and...”

“No!”

Tim is caught off-guard by the sudden outburst...enough that he looks down, and Tim's stomach drops with recognition. He'd know those blue-green eyes anywhere. It doesn't matter that this kid is too thin for his height. He's still got some considerable bulk for his age, and Tim's mouth goes dry when he realizes exactly how old this kid has to be...considering Dick's age. Tim swallows hard and tries to make himself sound steadier than he is. “Jason, listen, this is the way that it has to be. Despite what you may think, the world wouldn't actually be a better place if vigilantes killed.”

The kid's eyes widen at the mention of his name, and then his gaze darts all around trying to find an escape from this scary guy who knows too much. “How...how do you know my name?”

Tim unfurls his cape from around the boy a little. “I know a lot more than just your name, Jason Todd, and, just so you know, stabbing unconscious people is more than a misdemeanor.” Tim sighs to himself. This is definitely going to be a long night.

The End (for now)


Comments

brokaw22
Jan. 17th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I kind of realized Tim needed to stretch his legs a little, and I'm really glad everyone is taking Jason's addition to this fic really well.