Leaving the Nest
A/N: This is a work of Fan Fiction. Quite obviously, I don't own any of the characters or situations related to the DC Animated Universe Young Justice Series. I only wish I did.
The young man's brow furrowed as he killed the motor on his bike and shoved the kickstand into place. He could not remember ever arriving at Mount Justice's garage without someone responding.
Maybe he was the first to arrive… but that was odd too given that M'gann, Connor and Red all lived in the facility.
Ever cautious, he took in his surroundings. Red's tools were on his pegboard. The truck that Connor was always tinkering with was still in pieces. The bioship lay resting in its dock. Where was Sphere?
Despite the absence of Conner’s dedicated sentient vehicle, everything seemed…normal.
So why was he on edge?
He dismounted his bike and made his way out of the garage, into the training area.
The lights were already on as he entered… a fact that added to the general oddness of the situation since they were motion controlled. He moved forward toward the kitchenette area where the team would meet to eat and joke around. He moved silently, despite the cavernous size of the room, his footsteps made no sound.
Opening the refrigerator, he found M'gann's vegetable platters, and Conner's pizzas. He reached in and pulled out a can of cola.
The air rippled slightly to his right, but giving no indication that he had noticed, the young man continued to move toward the stairs that led to the living quarters. "Yo, Connor? You up yet?"
Silence was his only answer. "Get up you lazy bum!" he shouted, as underneath the cape that covered his shoulders he gave the soda a few rapid shakes.
With a single smooth move, he opened the can, causing it to spray violently, revealing the cloaked form moving to aim its weapon.
The man known as Robin drew his collapsible staff from his belt, expanding it to its full length as he did so. The natural swing of the staff hit the dripping silhouette upside the head, dropping the nearly invisible man to his knees. Robin did not pause, swinging into the now kneeling man with another stroke.
MOVE! His training screamed as he rolled to his right as the beam of a pulse weapon passed through the space he had inhabited. His left hand sought his belt and pulled a handful of small spheres, tossing them along the vector the beam had come. He closed his eyes and waited. The flash bangs did their jobs and Robin was sprinting toward the garage, tapping the back of his left glove as he did so. He heard his bike startup, its defensive systems coming online.
He'd taken two out, but there would be more. If they had taken Connor and M'gann… He had to move, put distance between himself and those chasing him. Distance was his friend.
His bike had already turned itself 180 degrees so that it was facing the garage exit. Robin leaped onto the seat and kicked the bike into gear even before he hit the overrides for the doors. More beams… two maybe three. He hit the access to the shore highway at 80 mph as the beams stopped and bullets replaced them.
Whoever these people were, they were not playing nice any longer.
They had mounted a pursuit, but as long as they did not have airpower, he was not worried.
Then he saw that what they had was worse than airpower. They had a flier. The flying man was following him at height, beyond the reach of his weapons. Weaving in and out of traffic, Robin forced the flier to keep his distance. They didn't want a scene then? Good, he could use that.
That was when a fist hit him on the right side of his head.
Robin swerved the bike wildly, trying to see who had hit him. He had been tagged pretty well, but he had been hit a lot harder before. It would take more than a single cheap shot to…
There. They had a speedster? Then he saw the runner's eyes. Wonderful, a Velocity 9 freak. He hated fighting metas. It always got messy.
"You think you're fast Bird Boy?" the runner screamed over the sounds of his own speed. "Let me show you fast!"
Robin took another shot to his head and shook it off. His left hand found the tee-handle of his grapple. This would never work against Wally, but Velocity 9 gave its users speed, not the awareness to go with it. The gas-powered grapple drove itself into the pavement, anchoring the speed freak's right foot to the asphalt.
Imagining he could hear the man's leg snap, Robin gunned his bike into more speed. His only safety from the flier would be buildings. Half a mile to go.
Happy Harbor's Welcome sign was well to his rear when Robin reached the first of the town's multi-story buildings. He hit the release on his cape letting it flutter away. Part of him wished the flier would swoop down and pick it up. The chemical destruct matrix would give him a nice little surprise.
The mask and gloves went next. They too would dissolve to nothing; the electronics in the gloves sparked as they hit the roadway, and screamed an electronic death rattle as they did so.
A hidden switch caused the bike to change from black with a stylized red trim to a plain dirty white. He was going to miss the bike, he had only had this one a month, and it was a dream. But it was better to abandon the bike than to end up captured because of it.
He pulled into an alley, and leaped from the bike, shedding his tunic as he did so. He popped the hidden collar of his under shirt out so that it now appeared to be a black rugby shirt, a pair of black gloves and a pair of shades completed his disguise from his disguise.
"Not bad kid," a man said. "Really good to tell you the truth. You almost lost me a couple of times."
Robin turned to face the flier. Metas tended to have specific powersets. As a rule, fliers did not tend to be faux-Kryptonians, despite the cape this one wore. "You know who I am and who I work with," Robin said in a threatening monotone. He had not worked with the Batman this long without learning a few things. "Do you think you're the first Superman wanna be I've faced? Do yourself a favor and take off. Take the bike, it will make your boss happy. Half a mill in the electronics alone."
"Oh, I’m taking the bike alright," the flier said, running his hand down the frame, a smile on his face as he imagined the payday just as Robin had intended. "My team is ten minutes out, and you're staying here."
"Ten minutes?" Robin asked. "Good to know." The bike exploded when the still active defensive systems determined that the one touching it was not authorized, the shape charges ensuring the explosion erupted from the frame at either side. Right into the flier.
Robin made his way to the fallen Meta. "I'll be leaving now. If you're smart, you'll turn yourself in to the police and tell them where the rest of my team is. If I have to find them myself, I'll come looking for you." He reached down and pulled the injured man to his eye level. "There's a reason Metas don't operate openly in Gotham. This is me, caught unprepared. I shredded your weapons people, I disabled your speed freak, and I've taken you out without raising a sweat. If I have to come looking for you, I'll be ready. Think about that. I'll be ready for you . You aren't ready for the big leagues, flyboy."
The man known as Robin allowed the flier to fall to the ground, exited the alley, and vanished into the crowds of Happy Harbor.
Justice League Watchtower
"Excellent evasion," the big man in blue said after listening to Robin's report.
"You made a few mistakes, but given the end result, acceptable," Batman corrected, offering the only opinion among the League that Robin really valued. He knew his mentor was right. He had made mistakes and gotten lucky.
"You're too hard on the boy, Batman," Flash said with a shake of his head. "My concern is that this is an obvious ploy. We've confirmed that the entire rest of the team is unaccounted for. Are we really to believe that Robin, with no powers was the only one not taken?"
The sixteen year old silently bristled, wanting nothing more than to teach the speedster what someone with no powers could do.
"Robin wasn't taken because they underestimated him, the same as you are doing now Flash," Black Canary said in a dismissive tone. "I'm responsible for the team's physical combat training, and I've sparred with all of them as you well know. When our training started, I could win against any of them consistently. Now, they've all improved but the only ones able to give me any consistent competition are Artemis, who appears to have put up the biggest fight of those captured, and Robin. Robin didn't get away because they let him. He got away because they underestimated him and did have the assets in place to stop him. You've trained him well Batman."
"How I got away isn't important. What is important is that someone has my friends. We need to get them back, now." Robin insisted.
"Superboy and Ms. Martian were taken from Mount Justice," Batman said in a low monotone. "There were traces of a synthetic kryptonite compound found in Superboy's room. Evidence of multiple intruders in Ms. Martian's room, and the room was all but destroyed in the struggle. We believe they had a telepath on hand to assist in subduing her. Aqualad was taken from the beach outside the mountain as he emerged from the sea. We found residue of multiple dehydration weapons there. Artemis was taken from her home, but not before she damaged at least four of her attackers and Kid Flash from his. His attackers captured and threatened his family so that Kid Flash had no choice other than to surrender."
"Zatanna was taken between shows in Las Vegas. No one noticed a thing until she didn't show up for her 3 o' Clock performance," Black Canary continued. "And Rocket was taken when she and Icon were ambushed on the outskirts of Dakota City. Icon defeated their attackers, but not before Rocket was teleported away."
"And their families?" Robin insisted trying not to think what might have happened to Wally.
Understandably upset," Wonder Woman supplied. "But physically unharmed and relocated to safe houses. We believe the entire team was taken alive."
"I've been to Mount Justice and the West home," Elongated man said, his nose twitching the way it did when he was in the midst of an investigation. "Whoever is behind this used a lot of ordnance. I've identified most of the residue to be from Lexcorp tech."
"We will get them back," Superman assured Robin, his hand on the boy's shoulder. "You've been through a lot, why don't you take it easy and leave it to us?"
"I'm fine," Robin said, shaking off the comforting hand. "I want to help get my friends back."
"Things have gotten serious, kid," Green Arrow noted.
"It's time you let the Adults handle this," Flash said condescendingly. "Be a good sidekick and head home."
A cold fury consumed Robin for a moment, and then the boy seemed to calm himself. "I would remind you that the last time 'things got serious' it was when you were all under the control of the Light, and we sidekicks saved all your asses," He looked Flash in the eye. "Some of us fought some of you to a draw, and in the end, we won."
"That was different!" Flash protested but the boy was no longer paying any attention.
"What's it going to be Batman?" the boy was now standing in front of his mentor looking up into the man's grim visage. "I thought we had a deal, you and I. Am I your partner or am I your sidekick?"
"That's enough," the Dark Knight said. "Go home, cool off."
The pair locked eyes for several seconds until the boy nodded and without a word left the room for the Zeta chamber.
"That," the Martian Manhunter noted, "was a mistake."
"We can't be taking children into a fight with Luthor," Superman insisted.
"Perhaps not," Wonder Woman interjected. "But none of the Team has truly been children for a while. Perhaps that one especially."
"Some of the League has forgotten what it's like to be a teenager," Batman said.
"But you supported them," Diana nodded toward Arrow and Flash as the pair exited the conference room.
"They were following Superman's lead, just as we all do," Batman pointed out.
"And I am right in this. Luthor is dangerous, far more so than the opponents the Team usually face," the Kryptonian insisted.
"Different than those they normally face, perhaps," Diana of Themiscyra disagreed. "They risk death every time they go out on any of the missions we assign them. As any warrior knows, death is death. After all, as Robin pointed out, he has faced us, faced his own mentor, and won. Together with Superboy, someone with a fraction of your power, he beat you Clark. What could Luthor possible do that would be worse than the time we tried to kill him?"
"His mind was in an emotional turmoil when he left," the Martian Manhunter reported. "I do not know what he is going to do."
"He is going to avoid me for a while," Batman predicted. "Most likely he's headed for the headquarters he set up for himself in Bludhaven that he doesn't think I know about. Batgirl calls it 'Robin's Nest'. From there he will use his hacking skills to find out what he can. He will contact us to rub our noses in the fact that he found something we could not. Then he'll petition to join us on the assault to retrieve the team."
"And we will say yes," Canary said simply, "assuming we don't find them first."
"On it," Ralph Dibny said as he left the room.
"As am I" the Martain Manhunter agreed as he followed.
"I'm against this," Superman protested. "He's just a boy."
"A boy who defeated both you and me, Clark," Bruce pointed out, "with a little help from his friends."
"Hello boys," Flash and Green Arrow were startled to find that Black Canary had joined them at their table in the cafeteria, with Batman standing behind her, his mouth set to a firm line. "Never tell Robin that things are suddenly serious or that he should leave it adults again."
"Or?" Oliver Queen asked.
"Or next time," Batman said, "I don't call him off."
"Is that supposed to frighten me Bats?" the archer smiled.
"Does the idea of fighting me appeal to you Oliver?" the Dark Knight asked.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Queen asked.
"You and I have fought Oliver," Dinah Lance said, "and I've fought Robin. If the two of you sparred, you would win every time."
"Of course I would," Green Arrow said, smiling widely in the face of the Batman.
"If you made him angry, however," Black Canary continued, "if he stopped following the rules of the sparing match, and started to actually fight, he would wipe the floor with you. He is very well trained, very disciplined. It takes quite a bit to make him angry. You managed it with only five words. He knows how to fight weapons users like you. His first move would be to disable your bow…" her left hand shot out across the table, before Oliver Queen could react his bow clattered to the floor with its bowstring in pieces. "Where I had to work to break your bowstring, Robin has blades in his gloves. Then he would disable your arrows, probably with something out of his belt."
"He would take the arrows first," Batman growled. "A pellet of fast expanding epoxy into your quiver would do it, or if you really made him angry, a handful of flash bangs ought to set off most of your explosive arrows. You are good Oliver. Very good. Possibly the very best weapons fighter the League has. I've trained Robin to fight weapons users and used you as the model. Train to fight the best, the rest are easy. He would destroy you."
Oliver Queen's mouth hung open at the idea that a sixteen year old could take him in a fight, his expression changed to a grimace when he noticed Barry Allen's wide grin.
"Don't be too pleased with yourself either, Barry," Bruce Wayne growled. "Since Velocity 9 has become so readily available, Robin has also trained against Speedsters…"
"I know he and Wally spar, Bruce," Barry said condescendingly.
"And I always train to fight the second best," Batman said as he turned away, shaking his head. "You know me so well, Barry."
"Good afternoon, Master Dick," Alfred Pennyworth said as he entered the young man's bedroom. "I didn't expect you to be home today. Packing for a trip?"
"I don't know how long I'll be gone Alfred," Dick said hesitantly. "There was an incident in Happy Harbor, and Bruce, he… Our partnership is dissolved."
"Oh, dear," the old man said, sitting down in his shock. "The partnership break is irreconcilable? I only ask because of the… humanizing effect you have had on Master Bruce over the years."
"Jason is ready," Dick said as he continued to pack, "And Barbara is more than ready. Between the two of them, they'll keep Bruce grounded. Besides," he said with a grin," it's been getting harder to pull of the laughing 'boy wonder' routine every day."
"Quite," Alfred agreed. "So, you've moving to your own headquarters, at least for a while?"
"Yeah," Dick nodded.
"Master Bruce knows about your 'Nest'."
"Of course he knows," Dick laughed. "It was setup specifically so that he would know about it. I've arranged for someone to take up residence to keep Bruce's sensor suite occupied so that I can do what I need to do without his interference."
"So, you are Robin no more?" Alfred nodded. "Good, it is high time that you established your own identity. And if I must say so, the new uniform looks much better on you. The young ladies will love it."
"Matchmaking Alfred?" Dick asked.
"Indeed," the Gentleman's Gentleman agreed. "I have all but given up on Master Bruce providing me with the next generation of the Wayne family to care for; I am depending on you to produce more Graysons so that I might have something to do in my dotage."
"Thanks Alfred," Dick said, "For everything."
"Don't speak like this is goodbye forever," Pennyworth said, pulling the young man into a fatherly hug. "Master Bruce will come to understand his errors, even if they must be beaten into him. Pain has always been his best teacher."
Happy Harbor Police Station
Happy Harbor, RI
Jake Strauss fidgeted in his chair. He had woken from what the boy wonder had done to him to find a pair of uniformed police standing over him with their weapons drawn. It was the spandex he wore coupled with the smoking residue of the boy's motorcycle that did it. Cops institutionally hated metas, a lesson he had learned before, and a special hatred existed for a meta who wore villain's colors.
Strauss had found it odd that as soon as the paramedics had finished fixing his injuries and had performed a Fox-Infantino index test on his abilities he had been hustled into this windowless room and left to stew. They had not even questioned him.
That did not bode well. Each moment that passed had him considering the boy's words back in the alley. Did he really want that little psycho after him? He had seen what Robin had done to Clearwater on the highway outside of their little clubhouse.
What would the boy do to him?
The door opened. Strauss found himself holding his breath.
"Thank you officer," the large man in blue said as he stepped into the room.
Strauss looked up into what was quite possibly the most famous face in the world, and felt a sense of… relief.
"I've got nothing to say."
"That's too bad really," Superman said sitting down across from Strauss. "You understand that you have been implicated in multiple kidnappings of minors, right? In this state, that's a life sentence for each instance."
"Nothing to say."
"You know who I am, you know what I can do," the Kryptonian said reasonably. "I know who you are, and I know at least part of what you've done. I also know who injured you."
Strauss just stared straight ahead.
"Your friend with the taste for Velocity 9 will likely never walk again," Superman said conversationally. "The surgeons are doing their best, but they tell me that there is just too much damage to his hips for them to hold out much hope. The investigation on that is all but done, dozens of witnesses all describing what happened. Robin is going to be ruled justified in his actions. For what he did to you as well. Tell me what I want to know, and I'll see to it that you aren't charged for the kidnappings, just simple assault."
"I have nothing to say."
"Alright," Superman shrugged and stood up. "I tried."
"Time for the bad cop now?" Strauss snarked.
The Kyptonian just smiled and exited the room.
"You're up," Superman said as he entered the monitor room.
"You just wasted five minutes of my time," Batman growled as he headed for the interrogation room.
Superman smiled and shook his head. "Batman likes to go first. However, when he does, no one ever needs to go second. I'm trying to become a better interrogator."
"I never thought he was real," Happy Harbor's Chief of Police said. "I mean, sure, everyone knows you, but him…"
"Batman likes his aura of mystery," Superman admitted.
The pair watched as the man in the dark cowl and cape entered the room and stood in front of the prisoner, neither of them saying a thing.
"So, he's a cape, like you, right?" the Chief asked.
"Well, Batman isn't really like anyone. He wears a cape…"
The pair watched for several seconds as the Batman continued to stand staring at Strauss.
"So, what are his powers? The reports out of Gotham are… thin at best." The Chief asked, continuing his questioning. "Is he a mind reader?"
"I wonder sometimes, but no," Superman shook his head. "He doesn't have any powers. Batman is a completely normal human being, and is rather proud of that fact. Everything he does is the product of skill and training."
"And you still let him in your club?"
"We didn't 'let him in', we almost had to beg him to join," Superman admitted. "He doesn't like leaving Gotham, and for good reason, but sometimes we need him more than his city does."
After five minutes, Strauss could not take the silence any more. "If you're the bad cop, you're doing it wrong."
"I'm not a cop," Batman growled. "Where did you take the children?"
"I have nothing to say."
"You and your team attacked my partner," the Batman observed. "He gave one of your stealth team a concussion, he deafened the other one. He crippled your Velocity 9 Freak, and he almost killed you. Some people say that Robin being my partner is what keeps me sane, and that if I lost him, who knows what I might do. You attacked my partner, now you are going to answer my questions."
"I don't have to say a word. I have Rights!"
"Believe me, I know all about your Rights," the Dark Knight leaned forward until he was almost nose to nose with the meta. "Sometimes, I count them, just to make myself a little crazy. Where did your team take the children you captured?"
The Police Chief's jaw dropped when Strauss began babbling, explaining he didn't know the plan, he was just along to deal with any runners, that he hadn't been brought into the plans, that he didn't know anything."
"How did he do that?"
"I wish I knew," Superman admitted. "I really do."
"He does this a lot?" The Chief asked.
"All the time."
"No wonder you wanted him."
"We didn't know he could do that," Superman laughed, "until well after we recruited him. It's very annoying, with everything I can do, what we all can do, we can't do that, basically because no one is frightened of us. I don't really want people to fear me, but it would really make my day if, just once, one of the villains were just a little frightened by my powers."
"They're not?" the policeman asked incredulously. "If you were after me, I'd…"
"That's what I always thought too," Superman admitted. "But no, the Villain community sees me as, well, a boy scout. They respect my strength, my powers, but they don't fear me. He," the Kryptonian pointed through the one way mirror at the man in the bat motif, "terrifies them. He knows and cultivates it. It's true you know, you always want what you don't have."
Lexcorp World Headquarters
"Well," the Billionaire said leaning back in his chair, "is there anything else I should be concerned about.
"Lex," Mercy said from her security position, before nodding toward the window behind Luthor. Lex swiveled in his chair to find Superman hovering outside his window in a standing position, his arms crossed.
"I see. Everyone out."
"Should I stay, Lex?" Mercy asked.
"No need Mercy," Luthor answered, his eyes narrowing as he manipulated the controls that caused his 95th floor windows to slide open.
"You should be honored Alien," Luthor snarked. "I had these installed just for you."
"Imagine how much it feeds my ego Lex."
"What do you want?"
"A team of young heroes were abducted today," Superman said in measured tones. "Including the young man who shares our DNA."
"The so-called 'Superboy' has rejected me," Luthor sneered, "choosing you over me. Why should I care if you lost some of your followers?"
"Lexcorp equipment was found at the site of each of the abductions," Superman noted. "As well as a rather fascinating synthetic Kryptonite, something that would take a genius of your caliber to develop."
"By sheer coincidence," Lex said pulling a folder off his desk, "I had a rash of thefts from several of my facilities. I wouldn't be surprised if the equipment you found were on this list,., and I can't imagine what anyone would want with a synthetic Kryptonite."
"Your list of stolen property matching the evidence found at the scene wouldn't surprise me in the slightest, Lex. I just thought that I should stop by and warn you."
"Well, yes," the Alien nodded. "This time it's not just me. Those kids are the protégés of some very serious people. If they don't understand how you are, of course completely innocent, you may well become the focus of their undivided attention. I mean, Arthur is a King of a vast empire, Jon is the Ambassador to Earth from Mars, Icon is most concerned about his friend Rocket, Green Arrow is a most… driven individual, Zantanna , as you well know is the daughter of the man who is the current Dr. Fate and Flash… well he could be anywhere at any time looking for his sidekick. Anywhere… Did you know he is capable of time travel under his own power?"
Luthor had heard that, but had discounted it as an impossibility. To have the information offered in such an off-handed manner…
"Of course, Superman said with a small smile, "none of them are as concerning as the Batman. He is rather upset, and with all that Lexcorp technology at the scene… well, his focus is pretty much complete."
"As if I care what some loon who dresses like a bat thinks," the billionaire sneered.
"You're right, Lex. What do you care?"
Luthor stood and watched as the Kryptonian effortlessly flew away.
Jason Todd's Bedroom
Twelve year old Jason Todd blinked awake; reflexes he had been working hard to gain had him on his feet ready to defend himself.
"Nice," the intruder in his room said. Jason could hear the smile in the voice.
"Robin?" he asked, reaching for the light switch.
"Not anymore," Dick Grayson said with a wry grin. "Batman has been hanging out with the league too long and has forgotten that we've always been partners. He's decided to treat me like an obedient sidekick instead. I'm out."
"Yeah," Dick nodded. "I know you are training to take my place, and well, Jason, Bruce needs a partner."
"I'm not…" Jason protested.
"You are," Dick laughed, "and you're pretty good, better than I was at your age." The sixteen year old reached for the backpack slung over his left shoulder and put it on the bed. "These are some of my older uniforms. They're yours, when you're ready; you'll make them your own."
"What are you going to do? Are you quitting completely? Bruce is going to go right over the edge."
"Not, entirely," Dick smiled, again. "I've seen this coming for a while. I've made arrangements."
"Ok," Jason said, sitting down on his bed. "So, what's going on anyway?"
"Luthor hit the Team," Dick said, a haunted expression crossed his features, "hit us all. I'm the only one who made it out."
"Shit," Jason said, the profanity sounding foreign coming from him.
"Watch the language," Dick scolded. "Things like that will make Bruce freak completely out. Trust me."
"Yeah," Jason nodded, having already received one of Bruce's lectures. "So what are we going to do?"
" We , aren't doing anything," Dick said sternly. "I, on the other hand, am going to get my team back. Until you hear from me, don't even think about putting on that outfit. I will not have them snatching you thinking you're me."
"You think you can stop me?" Jason sniffed. "You've already admitted that I'm better than you."
"You're a bit better than I was at twelve," Dick grinned. "Me? I'm a whole lot better than I was at twelve. If you set one foot outside wearing a mask, I'll break both your legs."
"Ok, ok," Jason laughed, and then he took on a solemn expression. "Dick, I can do the Robin thing, but I can't do the hacking stuff you do."
Dick reached out and ruffled the younger boy's hair. "Don't worry about it kid, Batman is going to have a new Tech Geek. Just remember the deal; you work with Batman, not for him. Robin is nobody's sidekick."
Barbara Gordon's Bedroom
"Quit skulking in the shadows and come in," she said as she closed her calculus text
Barbara Gordon raised an eyebrow. "I'm not sure how Daddy would react to finding out Dick Grayson climbing through my window in the middle of the night. Then again, he probably wouldn't be wild about Robin doing it either."
"Oh," she said when she saw his expression. "You've done it then?"
"Started," Dick admitted.
"The team was taken."
"Except for you," she nodded.
A smile quirked at his lips. "Thank you for not being surprised."
"You've always been the best of them Dick," she said with her own grin. "I know I've only met them twice, but the ones with powers…"
"Those are my friends you're talking about," he said warningly.
"They're good people," she protested, "but they don't have to try as hard, and they know it. Do you know who did it?"
"Luthor. The League traced it back to him from residue of the snatch sites, they all led to him through a forest of front companies."
"And the League?"
"They say they'll handle it, and I should go home and be a good boy, the literal words out of Flash's mouth," Dick paused for a moment, "Bruce just stood there when he said it, and didn't say a word, so I asked him, was I his partner or his sidekick."
"And he told you to go home," Barbara nodded. "Have you told Alfred?"
"Yeah. Look, what I came by for is to ask you to stay out of sight for a while, until this is taken care of."
"I’m not hiding," she protested.
"And I'm not asking you to," Dick said soothingly, "I'm asking you not to offer another target for Luthor and his snatch teams. And I want you to consider taking over as Bruce's tech geek."
"Does he really need the help?"
"When I was ten, he had this antique mainframe in the cave," Dick smiled at the memory. "No security, no remote access, only rudimentary search functions, matching a fingerprint took two days. It had a placard on it that said 'Bat Computer'. He tries, but computers aren't really part of his mission. Yeah, he needs help."
"Ok, I'll think about it," she grinned again. "He hates me in my uniform."
"He'll get over it. He thinks he owns the bat motif."
In a single smooth motion, Barbara flowed to Dick's side, took his face in her hands and kissed him tenderly. "The new outfit looks better on you anyway. Be careful."
"Always," Dick hesitated, "Barbara… thanks."
"Oh, get out of here!" she responded pushing him away.
"I'm gone," Dick said as he made his way to the window.
"Dick?" the redhead called.
He stopped halfway out the window, "Yeah?"
"Kick Luthor's ass," she said forcefully, "Hard. Make sure he knows he should stick to annoying invulnerable aliens."
"That's the plan," Dick said as he vanished into the night.
Lexcorp World Headquarters
The wind rushed past his body as he hit the releases on the balloon harness. Dick fell the five feet to the roof, landing silently, and freezing in place.
He waited unmoving for a reaction, any reaction from the defenses he knew the building must have.
Nothing. That was odd. Why no reaction? Surely Luthor would have some sort of security.
Deciding that he had to know one way or the other, Dick decided to activate his own sensor suite. His fingers danced across his left forearm, reading the display projected into his eyes.
There. There were sensors, but they were calibrated for Kryptonians. He had nowhere near the body density to trigger the security systems. A small smile played across his lips. It appeared that Luthor had some large blind spots.
Blind spots were good. He could use them.
His new uniform was performing perfectly, so far. Everything was telling him to progress with his dual mission of testing the suit and teach Luthor his lesson. He decided to chance discovery and started his infiltration subsystem. Activating his computer system, he started a search for wireless access. Finding none, not that that was surprising, Dick approached the rooftop access for the helipad. Opening the cabinet, he was unsurprised to find network access within. From his belt, he withdrew a cable, and plugged it in to the network port.
Breaking the network security was suspiciously easy. Dick's mouth set to a firm line as he probed deeper. As he suspected, it was a trap. A quick search found the Security hierarchy, along with the protected accounts.
A few moments allowed him to break the passwords, and he found himself with Admin privileges. Luthor was spectacularly unimaginative in his passwords. The door lock on the roof access clicked as it unlocked. Dick nodded to himself as he setup the subroutine in the digital video system that would edit his image out of the building's video feed. It was time to go hunting.
He slid through the door into the darkness of the stairwell. The time he had spent today accessing everything the League had on Luthor had not gone to waste. Now, he had just two goals for the night. First, he needed to find and get physical access to the building's mainframe. This would ensure his ability to remotely access the machine and its associated systems. Then, he had to find her. That was the key to Luthor's weak points.
Luthor needed to be shown the cost of his actions today.
A/N: I fell in love with Young Justice with the first season of the Animated Series, honestly it reminded me why I loved comics. That being said, the Comic version of YJ didn't do anything for me. I never cared for that book, though I must admit that 'lil Lobo' amused the hell out of me the few times I picked up an issue. The first season ended with the Team fighting against their own mind controlled mentors, and through a fair amount of cheating, managing to win.
Second Season involved a 5 year time jump, with 18 year old Dick Grayson now using the Nightwing identity, with 15 year old Tim Drake as a new Robin, unsure of himself. The YJ Wiki lets us know that Jason Todd was the second Robin, and much like Dick's graduation to Nightwing, what happened to Jason was not disclosed, leaving open the possibility of the Red Hood appearing in canon.
Unfortunately, the second season was the series last, so those stories are unlikely to be told… Unless Fan Fiction tells it. This is my shot at Dick's story.
Fans of Marv Wolfman's run on The New Teen Titans (read ' Old Farts' ) will recognize parts of Dick's egress from his near capture. I thought of using Death Stroke, but despite being one of the Big Bads in Titan canon, he's strictly a minion in the animated YJ canon, so Luthor got the nod as this story's Big Bad. Plus that let me slam him a bit for going soft with always fighting Superman… That comes next chapter.
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