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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.
Note: Since LJ is being weird, I had to split certain chapters into two parts.

Previous Chapters: Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven

The first place they start their search for Jason’s mother is her last known location. It’s standard operating procedure, and Tim is sure that he doesn’t need to tell Dick where they’re headed. After all, he’s worked with Batman long enough to know how these things work, and Tim can’t imagine the strategy is any different here. Dick, for his part, seems to just be enjoying traveling from rooftop to rooftop, and Tim doesn’t have the heart to tell him to take things more seriously the way Bruce would. Besides, he’s saving that for when their investigation really gets going, although, Tim’s not exactly sure how long that’s going to take.

Jason seems to have done a lot of legwork on his own, given that he has already checked all of his mom’s usual locations. However, Tim’s certain that he’ll be able to persuade people into giving him information where Jason had failed. After all, people are far more willing to tell someone like him things that they would normally try to protect a kid from, and Tim knows the right questions to ask. Not to mention, having Robin with him is always a perk in this part of town. Tim watches Dick laugh as he tumbles through the air, and merely shakes his head at the kid’s enthusiasm. It’s not as if he’s unaccustomed to Dick’s particular brand of whimsy, even if he’s used to it from a far older Dick Grayson. He ignores Dick’s exuberance -- just as he always does -- in favor of focusing on the task at hand, but he’s been having some trouble with that lately. After all, it’s been a long time since he has had to work with a partner on a missing persons case, and even longer since he’s had to deal with someone with Dick’s energy levels.

Tim spends the entire journey to the Seventh Avenue convenience store desperately trying not to let his mind run wild with the possibilities of what could have happened to Jason’s mother. He only knows a few details about the Catherine Todd of his world from the case files on the bat computer, but what he does know doesn’t leave him with too much optimism about the possible outcome of this case. It’s something that Tim hasn’t ever really considered, but now that he may very well have to face breaking the news to a far-too-young Jason Todd that his mother has abandoned him for good this time or worse…well, Tim’s not really sure what he’s supposed to do. This is hardly the first time that he’s had to work on an emotionally compromising case, but this is the first time such a case has involved so many possible complications.

When they get to the convenience store, Tim signals for Dick to follow behind him. He’s actually caught off guard by the lack of argument. Tim is so used to dealing with a Robin who fights him at every turn that he’s actually forgotten what it’s like to work with someone who just follows their elder’s lead. It’s refreshing, but also makes him tense at the same time, due to the lack of familiarity. Tim forces himself to relax as much as possible while they wait for the last few customers in the store to leave. It isn’t long before Tim sees his opening. He makes his way to the outside fuse box and flips the fuse for the lights. He loves it when things are this easy, which is something that doesn’t happen very often back in his own Gotham. He can feel Dick behind him shifting from one foot to the other, clearly wanting to simply move already. Tim waits for the lone worker to lock the door as she makes her way to the fuse box, and once again reminds himself to work on Dick’s patience during training.

The worker sighs heavily as she opens the fuse box, and that’s when Tim makes his move. He signals for Dick to follow him once again, and the two of them drop down behind her, making sure to make enough noise to draw her attention. The woman spins around, evidently startled by their sudden appearance. Tim made sure to land to the side of Robin, so she would have an unobstructed view of him. The recognition in her eyes and the sudden calming effect his presence has on her makes Tim want to smile. He clears his throat directing her attention to him, which causes her weariness to return tenfold. Tim holds up his hands in a pacifying gesture. “It’s okay. We just have a few questions for you, Gale Hareston.”

While Tim is glad that he took the time to do his research on the convenience store and Gale on his palm computer as soon as they left Jason’s apartment, he wishes he had gotten more time to observe her; but Tim has a feeling that time isn’t on their side. The fact that he knows her name doesn’t calm her any, but she doesn’t look ready to bolt, either, so Tim guesses it will have to do. “We’re searching for a woman. Her name’s Catherine Todd.”

Before Tim can continue, Gale nods her head. “Yeah, I know Catherine. She ain’t been in since last Friday. Her boy, Jason, he was in here a couple a days ago askin’ about her, and I tell ya what I told him. I ain’t seen her.”

Tim ignores her suddenly belligerent attitude, which seems to be the standard response of any Gothamite, and presses on. “Any idea where she went after leaving your store?

Gale shakes her head, clearly annoyed by the interrogation. “Nah, I don’t keep track a people once they walk out the door. I ain’t runnin’ a damn nursery.”

Tim can’t stop himself from rolling his eyes. He can tell that Dick wants to say something in response, but a sharp jerk of his hand is all it takes for him to keep Dick in check, and it makes him hate himself slightly. It’s the gesture he most commonly uses with Damian, when he can tell the younger boy is about to launch into a tirade, but Tim figures whatever works right now will have to suffice. He’ll apologize later when he isn’t trying to get answers out of people. “Do you have a security camera that faces the street?”

Gale throws her head back and laughs. “You kiddin’? Course, I do. In this town, you gotta have your ass covered.”

Tim manages not to sigh out loud in relief by biting the inside of his cheek. It’s a start, even if he knows it could be a dead end. “Great, mind if we have a look at the footage from last Friday?”

Gale shrugs. “Whatcha gonna give me in exchange?”

Once again, Tim is relieved that he did his research before coming here. “Well, let’s put it this way, either the police find out about the illegal fireworks you sell from a certain storage unit in Pennsylvania or they don’t. It’s entirely up to you.”

Gale grumbles for a moment to herself as she folds her arms over her chest. “Fine, whatever. You gonna let me flip this fuse now or you got somethin’ else ta say ta me?”

Tim smiles sweetly. “Nah, you can just let us into your back room and I think that’ll be all. Thank you for your time, Ms. Hareston.”

She doesn’t say anything, but Tim can tell that she isn’t at all pleased with how her night has gone. Tim waits for her to flip the fuse and unlock the door to her back room for them. She doesn’t offer to help Tim find the right footage of the right day, but it’s not something he’s unfamiliar with, and at least, for once, he has a second pair of eyes to help him. “Well, Robin it looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Dick smiles at him brightly. “Dude, that was awesome…like Batman awesome.”

Tim still isn’t comfortable with being compared to Batman, not even after all of these years and how many times he’s heard it, both as a compliment and an insult. “You know, I never get used to hearing you say that.”

Dick’s grin only seems to grow. “So, I take it your brother compares you to him a lot.”

Tim nods as he surfs through various dates, looking for the right one. “Yeah, and he doesn’t always mean it as a compliment.” Tim can hear the sudden strain in his voice, so he does his best to cover it with a cough, though he’s sure that he doesn’t fool Dick at all.

Dick folds his arms over his chest. “Well, then he’s wrong, because Batman is awesome and so are you.”

Tim can’t help but laugh. He wonders if his own Dick remembers ever being this enamored with Bruce. When Tim met Dick for the second time, it was as if being anything like Bruce was a sin to him, and, while Dick’s attitude has certainly changed over the years, that certainly doesn’t mean that he isn’t aware of all of Bruce’s flaws and, by extension, all of Tim’s. Tim shakes his head. He’s unwilling to inform this Dick about all of those possible changes. He clears his throat and tries not to focus on the disconcerting feeling of working with a thirteen year old Dick Grayson. “It’s time to work, Robin.”

Dick just nudges him with his shoulder and grins brighter. “See, just like Batman.”

Tim decides to ignore him, and if Dick’s smile is slightly off for the duration of their search for the proper footage… well, there isn’t much Tim can do about that anyway. It takes them hours of sifting through footage of random people coming and going from the convenience store before they find something useful. There’s a short image of a woman who matches Catherine Todd’s description, fumbling with a pack of cigarettes, as she exits the store and heads towards the right down Seventh Avenue. It isn’t much to go on, but at least they have a direction to go from here.

Tim gestures for Robin to make his way out of the little room and he follows suit. The knowledge that he’s going to have to find buildings that have security cameras facing the street, and hope they still have any footage of Catherine Todd’s route, and then find a way to access that footage without the help of Oracle is daunting and frustrating. Tim has always wondered how Bruce had managed to get along without Barbara constantly feeding him information before she became Oracle, and it looks as if Tim’s about to find out.

He doesn’t say anything as he makes his way down Seventh, knowing that Dick will follow him without question. It’s odd to think that, for once, Dick’s following him and not the other way around, but Tim keeps that to himself. He systematically checks every building for cameras that could possibly get a view of the street and makes a mental note of them. He’ll need time to figure out the best way to break into each of the buildings in a timely and efficient manner. It isn’t until he’s reached the end of the block that Tim realizes Dick’s gaze is following his. “So, which buildings do I get to break into, Red Robin?”

Tim smiles as he remembers that this Dick Grayson is just as computer savvy as himself. It’ll be nice to work with someone who’s on his level and doesn’t want him to help with upgrades or feel the need to get back at him if he wins. The thought makes Tim smirk. “You get the left side of the street. We’ll download the specs of the buildings, and then whoever collects the most images of Catherine Todd’s path by the time we’re both done wins.”

Dick grins sharply at the challenge. “Oh, you think you can beat me? I’ll have you know, I’m the faster hacker on the team. You’ll still be standing outside your first building by the time I’m done.”

Tim’s smirk only grows at Dick’s boast. “Correction, you were the fastest hacker, but this is my element.”

Dick laughs as they both begin downloading the blueprints to their buildings. “Yeah, we’ll see about that.”

The moment they both have what they need, the two of them head in separate directions. Even with the challenge keeping them both moving quickly, it’s still a long and boring process of searching through days worth of, more often than not, useless footage. After breaking into the various building and gathering the necessary data, Tim has only managed to recover a handful of images of Catherine as she made her way down the street, and what he does have only leaves him with a vague idea of where their search should continue. He’s lucky that Robin was able to find footage from the building on the corner that had a clear shot of Catherine ducking down a side alley.

The two of them hit the rooftops this time, and Tim takes a moment to check the list Jason gave him. He pulls up a map of Gotham on his palm computer, and he’s not the least bit surprised to discover that the alley Catherine apparently took leads to an old apartment complex that Catherine frequents. He’s in the process of trying to decipher the most likely reason Catherine would visit this particular building and where their search should continue, when Dick nudges him with an elbow. “Lighten up, Red. I know you’re sore that you lost the competition, but that’s no reason to go all grim and Batman on me.” He smiles brightly at his own joke, and it takes all of Tim’s self control not to roll his eyes.

Tim doesn’t respond, but mostly because he’s not sure what he’s supposed to say. It’s been some time since he’s had someone tell him to lighten up, and the last person to do so was his own Dick, but the situation was completely different. For starters, they weren’t in the process of following a week old trail for a missing woman that could quite frankly set Jason down a path of utter destruction and death. Tim sighs heavily to himself while he attempts to block out those particular thoughts. It’s not easy; however, because Tim knows the statistics. It’s been over a week. Assuming that she hasn’t just left Gotham… left Jason once and for all, the likeliness that she’s alive isn’t high, and Tim isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do if that ends up being the case.

At Tim's lack of response, Dick flips onto his hands and begins pacing the length of the roof, obviously bored with the older boy. Tim tries not to cringe at how familiar that move is, and how long it's been since he's seen Dick do it. It’s a shock, really, to realize how little Tim had seen of his brother before all of this happened, and worse, how little he saw Dick relax when they did meet up. Not for the first time, Tim contemplates if, possibly, it would be better if he didn’t make it home. After all, it would certainly cut down on the fighting Dick has to put up with.

However, Tim doesn’t get much time to think about it, because Dick is suddenly beside him nudging him again. “Hey, what’s up with you? Your face got all blank like Batman’s when he’s thinking about…about them.”

Tim doesn’t need to ask who Dick is referring to. They all know Bruce’s expression when he’s thinking of his parents, and Tim’s not sure what it says about him that he apparently mimics that same facial expression when he’s thinking of home. He shakes his head, and tries to give Dick a reassuring smile, even though he knows it falls flat. “Just…just thinking about my own Gotham.”

Dick raises an eyebrow and he folds his arms over his chest. “I don’t think that thinking of home should make you look like that.”

Tim glances down to the ground ruefully before the two of them head further down the alley towards the apartment complex. “We have work to do, Robin.”

Dick laughs loudly for a good long moment. “Man, you sure you’re not B’s bio kid or something?”

Tim has to catch himself from nearly falling off the side of the roof when Dick’s teasing question makes him stumble and still all over. He’s certain that there’s absolutely no way for him to cover that reaction, and he’s just waiting for Dick’s bombardment of questions, but what he gets instead is an arm wrapped around his shoulders and a tight squeeze. “You okay there, buddy?”

The arm is too thin, the height difference is all wrong, and the voice is too high, but the touch, the tone, and the phrasing is so much like his own Dick that Tim actually has to take a deep breath before he can steady himself. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. I just saw… something.”

It’s probably the lamest excuse Tim has ever given anyone, and that includes the time he told his dad he got a black eye from playing football, but Tim figures he’s allowed to have a few bad lies in his arsenal. He just hopes that Dick will be kind enough to let it slide, but Tim has never been known for his good fortune. “What did you see?” It’s evident that Dick doesn’t believe him just by his tone.

Tim stares down at the front of the apartment complex, and nearly laughs. Things do sometimes actually work out in his favor, after all. He points at the northeast corner of the building where an obvious drug deal is going down. “It seems we may have found Catherine’s motive for coming here, after all.”

Dick’s brow furrows at the possibility. “Do we have any reason to believe Catherine Todd is addicted to drugs?”

Tim takes a moment to consider how much he’s willing to unveil to Dick, and decides that now isn’t the time. “She had various prescription pill bottles in her bathroom, and a good portion of the pills were for pain…most of them were empty.”

“And various drugs cause sensitivity to pain, but that doesn’t mean…”

Tim holds up his hand to stop Dick from continuing. “Right now, this is the only lead we have.”

Dick nods once taking his statement for the command that it was. “Lead the way, Red.”