FIC: The Long Road Home
Figured I better post the parts that I had before, so that people could catch up. I know this is a lot to read right now, but if you do, I’d love some FB! New posts will begin soon- the story is actually done!!!
SPOILERS FOR ROTJ DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED!
Rated: PG-13 for violence, langauge and drama.
Takes place directly after the flashback in ROTJ when Batgirl is holding Tim.
THE LONG ROAD HOME
By: Susie (Ari82@aol.com)
The lightning flashed a streak of white light across the otherwise black sky. The bolt of energy stabbed its way through the storm clouds till it stopped with a loud pop. A crash of thunder sounded directly after the lightning, letting all know the storm was directly overhead. The large rain droplets splattered on the ground creating its own little beat, while the wind howled, singing its own song.
All the hidden beauties to the storm, though, were lost on the three individuals that sat inside the skeleton of a building. The old Arkham Asylum still sat, even though storms and time had begun to beat it. However, as if the asylum had a story to tell, it remained standing, along with all the old memories that haunted the building. The cries of the insane and murderous still seemed to echo in its halls telling a tale of a time long ago that somehow, also only seemed like yesterday.
Two people inside the old home for the insane, sat huddled around a small figure that, in Arkham’s peak, would have fit in perfectly. The small body’s laughter flew through out the hallways, the sadness and insanity present and recognizable to a perfect stranger.
Barbara Gordon, now dressed as Batgirl, held her young partner as laughter fell from his mouth and tears roll from his face. The young woman tightly closed her eyes, mentally trying to ward off the sick laughter, while whispering soft words to the small boy. Tears, also, ran down her face, but she silently vowed to be strong for Tim. Once at her own home, she would break down in tears of anger, sadness, and worry, but now, the young crime fighter needed her.
Barbara saw a shadow cast itself over her prone figure and looked up to the mask of Batman. She swallowed, but didn’t bother to wipe away any of her tears; she didn’t care if Bruce thought she was weak right now; because she was. Batgirl continued to stare at the Batman, waiting from him to make any movement. A loud crash of thunder broke the silence in the asylum and, as if that sound broke Bruce out of his stupor, Batman moved to the other side Tim and placed a gentle hand on the boy’s hair.
“My…god.” No two other words could sum up young Robin’s situation better than the ones Bruce said. Tim turned his disfigured face in Batman’s direction and released a series of painfully sad laughs. The older man slowly moved his hand towards his cowl and pulled off the mask. Robin picked up a shaky gloved hand and guided it toward his mentor’s face. With surprisingly gently movements, giving the boy’s current condition, he placed his hand on Batman’s face. Bruce placed his hand over Tim’s and squeezed it.
“We’ll help you.” The young crime fighter brought his hand and Bruce’s down to the ground. Batman used his spare hand and grabbed a small injector from his belt. He gently placed it to Robin’s neck and released a blue liquid inside the young boy. Within seconds, Tim’s laughter began to cease and soon he fell into a drugged sleep. Once he was calm and quiet, Barbara laid him gently on the ground and rose shakily to her feet. She looked to Bruce while wavering on her feet.
Without a sound the two moved closer and joined in a hug. Batgirl cried into the shoulder of Batman; releasing the pain, she already felt for her young partner. Bruce held the young woman close and looked down at Robin who laid silently. He watched the young boy’s chest rise and fall with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Joker knew exactly how to hurt Batman. No guns, no bullets, no bombs could ever hurt the invincible Batman as much as this current situation could. Bruce slowly moved Batgirl out of his arms.
“I have to call Alfred.” The young woman nodded and stood beside her mentor. Batman pulled out a small communicator and instantly heard the old butler picked up the phone.
“We found Robin.”
Bruce could heard Alfred audibly sigh on the other line. “Thank goodness.”
“Get Leslie.” That was all that was needed to be said for the older man to understand the severity of the situation. Batman ended the communication and turned towards Barbara. “We’ll have to tell Dick.”
Batgirl nodded, but said nothing. Once home, in the Batcave with Tim in medical care, she would bother with such things, but now, all she concerned herself with was getting Robin help.
Bruce moved past Barbara and grabbed Tim. He picked up the small boy and headed out of the asylum. The trio moved down the halls and could hear the old building creaking; as if laughing at them. Laughing at the idea that it finally won and the Batman lost.
Barbara felt the rain pelt her face and dampen her hair, but she didn’t care. She felt like hell, and thought she should look the part too. Batman pulled Robin closer to his chest once the rain and wind hit the duo, but never faltered in his step. Both older crime fighters were too numb to feel anything and didn’t care to feel anything. The time would come for pain and neither were looking to feel anything yet. The numbness was a welcomed escape from the harsh reality of what had just taken place.
The young woman sat in the front seat while her mentor placed Tim gently on her lap. She scooped the young boy up in her arms like a young child, which, in hindsight, he was. He was nothing more than a child that had his childhood taken away from him. Barbara knew Tim would never be the same; none of them would. They were forever changed and, once changed, you can never go back. The Dynamic Duo was soon going to be a thing of the past; and Batgirl…even Barbara didn’t know what she was going to do.
She didn’t know if she could fight again. For years, she, Bruce, Dick, and then, Tim fought against the evils of the world. They fought for the light, the good, anything, and everything that was wonderful in the world they were protecting. The right to enjoy a Saturday evening, the privilege of taking a walk downtown without worrying about being mugged or killed. They fought for the simple pleasures in life that no one should have taken away.
But, all in one fateful deal, everything they had fought against caught up with the in the worst way. All the evils, and wrongs, they attempted to make right came back and hit them in the face. The very things they kept others from being forced to faced tainted them. After all, they had done to help people and Gotham, they had the unspeakable happen to them.
All in all, it left Barbara with one question: why? Why did it have to happen to them? Hadn’t they done enough for the city to be safe from these kinds of evil? Hadn’t they fought long and hard enough to be given one break; to be given a small pardon from evil? Hadn’t they faced enough murder, rape, drugs, and death to not have it hit their own family?
Apparently, Batgirl realized, they hadn’t. Someone decided that their own family needed to feel the pain and suffering that happens to others. Somehow, someone was getting back at the Batfamily for every crime or murder or rape they failed to stop. Someone decided that it was their turn to face the evils of Gotham in the way only victims could understand and feel.
So, the young woman mused, what was the point of fighting when, even after you fight, the world decides to kick you in the face? Barbara didn’t know the answer and wagered she never would, but later she would think over her position as Batgirl, now, she looked down at Tim, she had other worries.
The Batmobile rushed away from Arkham Asylum just as a streak of lightning bolted behind the old skeleton- illuminating the building. It wanted the crime fighters to see, one last time, the place where their world crumbled.
Next part coming ASAP since it’s already been posted once it really is coming quickly.
In case anyone cared…ASAP in Susie-Speak means As SLOWLY As Possible. Just wanted to clear that up **smacks herself in the forehead** I’ll do better with posting the next part ASAP.
Bruce guided the Batmobile into the entrance of the cave at top speeds, but Barbara said nothing. If she had been driving, the car would have been going dangerously faster. The brakes squealed as Batman stopped in record time. Batgirl stayed in her seat with Tim, while her mentor moved around to help her out. She could see Alfred standing by her window and silently wished that he wasn’t about to see the scene he was.
The old butler had seen enough wounds, and bandaged enough of them, to last a lifetime- he didn’t need to see this. Barbara knew that Alfred considered everyone a child of his and, even if he never voiced it, he cared and worried for him or her every time they went out on patrol. Since Robin’s disappearance, although he acted as normal as possible, Batgirl knew inside he was a nervous wreck. He was just as concerned as anyone in the Batfamily because, even if he didn’t go out every night in a costume, he was a much a part of the crime fighting as Batman- if not more.
Barbara knew that as soon as the older man caught site of Tim, his worst fears would be confirmed- one of the family had finally met their match and lost. The roof of the Batmobile opened with a swoosh and the young woman looked at Alfred. The butler moved a hand to his mouth and looked ill.
“Oh my god.” Again, no other words would suit the situation. Bruce picked Tim off of Barbara’s lap and moved him over to a small operating table.
Alfred swallowed and, in a soft voice, answered. “She’s on her way and should be here momentarily.”
The Batcave suddenly fell into an errie silence. All eyes were resting on small boy lying on the table whose features betrayed the fact that he was only fourteen. All knew that somewhere, under all the distortions, was the face of a young boy who could be considered handsome. Now, though, he was nothing more than a mirror of the Joker.
The opening of the clock at the top of the Batcave, made all turn and watch the stairs. Everyone looked on as Leslie Thompkins, a trusted friend, and savior, descended the stairs. She had a look of determination on her face- she knew that when she received a call from Alfred it was serious.
“What happened?” The tone was crisp- business like.
No one opened their mouths- no words could describe what happened to Robin. Bruce moved towards the elder doctor at the base of the stairs and took her hand. He guided her towards the table where Tim laid. Once close enough, Barbara, who had bee standing in front of the young boy, moved aside. An audible gasp from Leslie echoed in the enormous cave.
Her shock quickly wore off and she about-faced to looked at Bruce. “What in Heaven’s name happened?”
“The Joker.” The doctor could tell by the tone that if she wanted more she would have to speak with Barbara later. Leslie took a deep breath- she had a young boy, who deserved saving more than anyone she knew, to save.
The elderly woman threw the black bag she brought with her on a table near Robin. She opened the bag and pulled out a variety of instruments and medicines. “I didn’t know what had happened, so I brought everything.” The Batfamily knew that Leslie held special items for them and them alone. Certain medications and anti-toxins, were always on hand at her office just for Batman and all. She understood the dangers presented to them and knew that they didn’t always have time to make the mixtures needed to save their lives.
Soon, everything the woman brought was out of the bag. She put on a white hospital coat and moved closer to Tim. She repeated over and over in her head that he was just another patient.
Only a patient and not someone that held a special place in her heart.
The woman doctor slowly began to examine Tim while everyone looked on awaiting her prognosis. Leslie carefully scrapped a few cells of Robin’s skin, placed it on a slide, and handed it to Alfred.
“I want you to give me the cellular structure of this.” The butler didn’t ask a question, but proceeded to the Batcomputer- anything he could do to help, he would.
The doctor went back to the young boy and her examination. All in all, Tim’s physical appearance would probably return to normal after anti-toxin treatments. However, Leslie wondered about his mentally capacity. She didn’t need to ask anyone to know that the Joker altered Tim’s mind somehow, she only wish she knew how- as to better assess his situation. The elder doctor didn’t know if he would ever be sane again and, even if he was sane, if he would ever be Tim again.
This wasn’t just something a psychiatrist could help him through, either. This was far harder and more delicate. He had to be brought back from the realm of insanity and, Leslie wasn’t certain if that could be done.
A tapping on the shoulder turned the doctor around and she saw Alfred holding out a print out. She grabbed the paper and quickly looked it over- it confirmed what she thought. The cellular structure of Robin, though drastically altered, was fixable. The toxins only had a minor surface change on the young boy and that could be reversed. A soft sigh escaped Leslie- she was happy to know that one miracle had occurred tonight. If, for some reason, Robin’s features were going to be forever as they were now, the doctor wasn’t certain what she would have done.
Luckily, she didn’t have to worry about that.
Leslie looked up at the anxious group that had formed. “With the proper treatment he can be restored to his old physical appearance.” The older doctor saw a few tears of joy run down Barbara’s face.
“And what of his mental capacity?” Of course, Bruce had to be the one to bring down the small joy that had just past through the Batcave.
“I can’t tell you that- I’m sorry. There’s no way for me to know how badly the Joker effected him. Do you know anything of what the Joker did to him?”
Bruce didn’t pause a beat before answering. “He was able to find out who we are and said that he pealed away layer after layer, so I wager that he simply destroyed Tim’s mind.”
For some reason, the shock of knowing that the Joker knew who they were was completely passed over by all in the Cave. The only thought on everyone’s mind was- what would happen to Tim?
Leslie moved away from the young boy and made her way to another counter which contained vials and vials of chemicals. Without a word to the group, she began to make different mixtures. Bruce watched the doctor for a moment before turning towards Barbara.
“Someone needs to call Dick.” The statement held no question- SHE had to call Dick. Batgirl removed her mask and placed it on the table. With an unsteady hand, she ran he fingers through her hair, attempting to removed some of the tangles that had formed. The young woman made her way to the Batcomputer very slowly.
“Richard Grayson.” No matter where any of the Batfamily was, the Batcomputer had tracking on them. That way, if they ever had an emergency and needed to meet quickly, there was no phone tag. And this was an emergency.
A series of beeps and rings, let Barbara know that the computer was trying a number of phones, attempting to find Nightwing. Finally, she heard someone pick up.
“Dick, it’s Barbara.”
The young man on the other line could already sense the depressed atmosphere. “What happened? Is Tim all right?”
The young woman sighed wearily into the phone. “No, and you need to get here as soon as possible.”
“I’m on my way.”
One thing about the Batfamily was when someone was in trouble everyone moved together in only a matter of hours. Barbara knew Dick would be true to his word and would be at Wayne Manor as soon as possible. Until then, everyone would have to wait for Leslie to work her magic.
Barbara moved away from the computer and considered going to see if Leslie needed help, but forgot that idea when her eyes fell on Tim again. The poor boy was still dressed in the grotesque outfit Harley and the Joker had dressed him in. In an instant, the young woman was to her feet and taking the steps to Wayne Manor two at a time. No one seemed to think her action was odd and continued what they were doing.
A little over a minute later, Barbara came back down the stairs with a T-shirt and boxers in her hand. She moved next to Tim and began to gently undress him, all the while speaking softly to him.
“Hi Tim, I know you can hear me. Everything’s going to be fine and I give you my promise. You’ll be back to your old self before you even know it and we’ll be telling you to slow down again.” A tear slid down the young woman’s face, but she continued her work and her speech. “You know we all care for you so much and love you. Dick is on his way here and will be here later tonight. All you have to know is that no one will leave you ever again.”
Finally, Barbara finished her dressing and looked down at the young boy. His sheet white limbs stood out even worse against the dark pajama bottoms and shirt, but it was for the better. As soon as she left Wayne Manor, she was going to burn the outfit the Joker had him in.
“I love you, little brother.” The young redhead placed a small kiss on Tim’s forehead, ignoring the changes in his features. She knew he was still the Robin they knew and somehow, they would get that young boy back.
Dick Grayson didn’t bother to completely stop his motorcycle before he jumped off of it and ran through the doors of Wayne Manor. He rushed through the front room and moved directly to the clock against the wall. Noting it was opened, he slammed it shut behind him and took the stairs at a blazing speed. He made it to the base and took a look at those in the Cave. Leslie sat in front of a table with dozens of chemicals laid out before her, Bruce sat in front of the Batcomputer just staring at the blank screen, Alfred was busy dusting the entire Cave till it shine, and Barbara was laying her head against a bed where…
…OH MY GOD!
“Tim?” He barely whispered the question, but the young red-haired woman picked up her head and looked in Dick’s direction. With a simple nod, she answered the young man’s worst nightmare.
Laying on that table, was non-other than Tim Drake- his little bro. Dick moved next to Barbara and placed a hand on her back. He looked down at the young boy on the bed and closed his eyes, praying that everything was a horrid nightmare. He re-opened his eyes and found Tim still lying there- it was a reality.
Barbara looked up at Dick with tears evident in her eyes. “The Joker made him a Lil’ Jay so that he and Harley could be a family. He deteriorated Tim’s mind and he made him…this.” She waved a hand at the young boy’s body.
The two young adults fell into a silence as Dick took in everything he had just been handed.
“Is he going to be okay?”
The young woman sighed. “Dr. Leslie said that she can restore his physical appearance. Um…but…she doesn’t know what the Joker did to his mind and if he will ever be…normal.”
Dick matched Barbara’s sigh and grabbed one of Tim’s hands. “Hey there, lil’ bro. It’s me, Dick. Ya know I’m here for ya and will be when you wake up.” The young woman smiled at him and he squeezed her shoulder.
Silence dropped itself into the Cave and over its occupants- while exhaustion crept upon everyone. The weeks of worrying and searching, and more worrying, finally took its toll on everyone due to the events of tonight. Everything, their whole world, ideals, way of life, came crashing down in a single moment of horror when Robin’s figure was shown to Batman and Batgirl.
Now, the initial shock and adrenaline that came with that shock, was worn away. Leaving everyone empty and alone inside.
The clanging of glass by Leslie and the soft swooshing sound of Alfred’s duster were the only sounds in the Cave for the rest of the night till dawn.
The elder doctor carefully poured the mixture into a small syringe and held it up to the light. The dark purple liquid was Tim’s first step back into humanity and Leslie was all too ready to give it to him. She made her way over to the young boy, who was still (thankfully) sedated, and placed the tube to his neck. With a quick push, the liquid flooded itself into the resting lad. With a soft groan Tim stirred slightly, but then fell back into his unconscious state.
Due to the noise, Barbara awakened to Leslie standing by Tim. “How is he?”
The older woman shrugged. “I gave him the first anti-toxin treatment just now. Because the chemicals have been inside of him for so long, I was forced to make a strong batch, but I had to split up the doses. He needs two more- one in an hour and another an hour after that.” Leslie stretched her arms over her head. “After that, we’ll see where he is.”
The redhead smiled in a thank you. “You should rest.”
Leslie pointed a finger at Barbara. “You should be too. And,” She pointed to Dick whom was laying on the ground at Robin’s bed. “so should he.”
The younger woman looked down at Tim’s body. “I can’t leave him. I said I wouldn’t and I’m going to keep that promise.”
The elder doctor nodded her head and moved towards the Batcomputer, where Bruce still sat. She moved next to him and put her arm around his shoulder. “How are you doing?”
Normally, he would have waved away concern and told Leslie he was doing as well as could be expected, but right now he didn’t even have that strength. “Terrible.” He growled
“Well, in three hours we’ll be able to get an idea of what exactly happened inside his mind. Until then, I can’t say anything to help you out. I wish I could though- I really do.”
Leslie could tell her company wasn’t welcome anymore and headed up the stairs to the house to express her own sorrow by herself. She needed time to herself to grieve for the young boy she had just helped to save. No one needed to help the doctor with her pain because they had their own to deal with.
Bruce kept his eyes on the elder women till she disappeared up the stairs. Once she was gone, he turned towards the table and saw Barbara with her head still on the table and Dick lying on the ground. The older man’s eyes drifted to the young boy he hadn’t got out of his head all evening. He looked at his surrogate son and felt sick.
He had done this to Tim- it was all his fault. The Joker was HIS foe, HIS enemy, and HIS fight. It wasn’t Tim or Robin’s. Yet, the young boy was the one who paid the ultimate price.
Bruce slowly moved to his feet and headed towards Barbara and Dick. The latter stirred with the vibrations of footsteps and slowly sat up. He looked at Bruce approaching and rose to his feet.
“Hello Dick.” The younger man stepped closer to his ex-mentor.
“Don’t hello me, Bruce. Damn it, how can you be so calm? Look at him. Look at HIM! Look at what your crime fighting did to him. He’s a monster because of YOUR enemy!” The younger man stepped closer to Bruce. “When is it going to be enough? How many more lives do you have to ruin? He’s fourteen! He’ll never be the same AGAIN! That boy is forever changed and it’s your fault!”
“I never meant for any of this to happen, Dick. Believe me- I never wanted to hurt any of you.”
“Well, you did! Bruce…”
“STOP IT! Both of you shut the hell up!” The two men turned towards Barbara. “Can’t you both just put everything aside for ONE visit? Look at Tim. LOOK! This isn’t about whose fault it is, it isn’t about past grudges, this is about HIM. This is about a poor little boy who has had his whole life destroyed. This is about trying to save him!” The red-haired woman paused for a moment to collect her breath. “If you two can’t stop your arguing for him than I want you both to leave because he doesn’t deserve this right now. He doesn’t deserve ANY of this and he especially doesn’t need you to fighting over whose fault this is.
“It happened and there’s nothing we can do about it. No matter who we point the finger at the fact still is Tim is changed- forever changed. Nothing can alter these past weeks- they happened and that’s a fact. But, Tim needs us and, by God, I’m going to be there for him, but will you two?”
With that stated, the young woman turned away from the men and took the seat she had occupied for the last hours.
Dick watched Barbara and then looked at Bruce. He nodded his head at his elder and moved a bit closer to Tim. Bruce remained in his spot and saw Leslie heading down the stairs- she silently moved to the table she had been at for hours and grabbed another syringe.
“It’s time for the second dose.” She explained to the watching group and went about her business. Again the young boy stirred, but didn’t wake. All sighed in unison.
Leslie, ever being the doctor, address the semi-conscious Batfamily. “You all need get sleep. In an hour, Tim will receive the three treatment and, if my math is correct, it will still be another two hours or more before he is semi-conscious or conscious.” As if reading Barbara’s mind, the female doctor answered her question. “I’ll run up stairs and grab a few sleeping bags for you so you may stay down here, but you WILL sleep or I WILL sedate you. It won’t do Tim any good if, when he wakes up, all of you are dead on your feet.”
Although, they had faced the greatest evils Gotham could throw at them, no one argued with the elderly doctor because, deep down inside, they knew she was right. They had to rest, if not for their sake, then for Tim’s.
Within a half an hour, Leslie had three sets of sleeping bags down and ready for the fighters. She ushered Alfred upstairs because he was “too old to be stuck on the floor.” Barbara and Dick lowered themselves to the floor with no argument, however Bruce stood next to Leslie.
“I need to stay awake for him.”
“Bruce, listen to me, you NEED to sleep. I don’t care how many hours you’ve stayed awake fighting crime, but right now, I’m in charge. I know what’s happening with Tim more than any of you so I don’t want any arguments that ‘you know best’. I am now ordering you to sleep or else, I will hold true to my threat, and sedate you.”
Bruce opened his mouth as if to argue, but shut it. He was too tired and lost to argue, so he relented and made his way into the sleeping bag. Within moments, all were in a shallow-sleep, but a sleep none-the-less.
Leslie looked over the Batfamily and sighed sadly. This was the breaking point for all of them- from here to the future, things would be downhill battle. The ‘good-old-days’ of fighting against the bad guys was over and evil had taken a shot and hit its mark. The elder doctor moved towards the Batcomputer and flopped into the seat. She hit a switch that darkened the lights in the Cave and rested her neck against the back of the chair.
This was pure hell for her and everyone else involved. Her only condolence was that the Joker was dead and would never bother Gotham or the Batfamily again.
Leslie spent the next hour in the dark, thinking about everything and nothing at all. A small alarm on her watch let her know she had to give Tim another treatment. She did so and then went back to the chair.
In two hours, the doctor and everyone else, would see just how badly the Joker effected with Robin. All in all, Leslie was not looking forward to seeing the Joker’s effects on the young boy.
New post time. you know what would be GREAT? Reviews. Yup, those sure would be terrific!!! Please....pretty please with sugar on top? **falls to knees** I'm beggin' ya!!!
okay, enough of that drama. Here's the next part.
Leslie was the first to hear the soft voice, next was Bruce, followed closely by Barbara and Dick. All four were on their feet and by the young boy in a matter of seconds. The red-haired woman threw a hand to her mouth as she looked at Tim.
He looked almost like Timothy Drake again. His skin, although still pale, was no longer that blinding white. His face and limbs were no longer contorted and held in paralysis. Rather his arms and legs rested limply at his side and his face didn't have the hideous smile to it, but was relax and almost peaceful looking. The only thing reminder of the Joker that remained was the dark green hair. However, Barbara knew that the hair was only dyed, and in twenty minutes, he would look like Tim again.
Relief was also noticeable on Dick and Bruce's face. Everyone around the small lad felt one step of control gained back when they saw the physical appearance of the Joker removed. Now, it was only a matter of time before they found if they could removed the Joker's control from the young Robin's mind.
The sound of a groan from the young boy made everyone hold their breath and wait. They watched as Tim slowly moved from side to side on the bed. The young body became more and more violent with movements and, finally, Barbara grabbed one of Tim's hand.
"Tim. Can you hear me? It's Barbara. Come on, little brother, come on." Even with her encouragement, the young boy remained silent and continuing his movements.
Dick turned towards Leslie. "I thought he was supposed to be coming out of it."
The elder doctor looked at the young man. "I said, we'd be able to see the control the Joker had on him. Never once did I say he'd just wake-up."
The young man opened his mouth to either apologize or say something more (Leslie wasn't sure) when he turned back to Tim who had suddenly stopped moving. Bruce moved forward and placed the young boy's hand in his own.
"Timothy, I know you can hear us. Please, I begging you, push past everything and come back to us. Please, son."
In a pivotal moment, the Batcave's silence was broken by the voice of an angel.
"Yes, Tim's it's me."
"Tim? Timmy Drake? Bird boy...hehehehe! Lil' Jay, Lil' Jay, Lil' Jay!" The voice of the angel soon began to cackle and laugh like the devil. Leslie moved away from the young boy and ran to her worktable. She grabbed an already made syringe. She injected the sedative into Robin and waited, till he calmed down and fell asleep.
No one moved or said a thing, but rather felt the impact of what had just happened. It was obvious, that whatever sick and twisted procedure the Joker did to Robin, was stronger than they had ever imagined. It would take everyone's dedication and a lot of prayer to save their young partner.
In a flash of a movement, Bruce let lose a loud yell and turned away from Tim. He stormed over to the Batcomputer and proceeded to punch the console. He let lose a fury of attacks on the computer- enjoying the cracking sound of the broken parts.
"Bruce!" Dick moved away from the bed with Robin and ran over to his elder. He grabbed a hold of Bruce's arms and stopped the destructive action. "Stop."
The older man desisted his motion and looked at Dick. For the first time that the younger man could remember, he saw fear in Bruce's eyes. Fear for his young partner, fear for the rest of the family, and fear of the future. Dick felt the same fear his mentor had because, after the anger and sadness, that was all that was left.
"I know, Bruce. I know." The two men, who at times held the greatest distance between them that two people could, now moved together in a father-son hug. The moment was quick, but was there. Everyone had come together for one young boy and they would see it through till either he survived or it killed them.
For seventy more hours, the Batfamily sat in the Batcave attempting to gain back some of their senses. They knew they had lives that, somehow, they had to get back into. Saying that Timothy Drake had the been in the hospital with a terrible flu was easy enough, but Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon couldn't easily disappear- too many questions would be asked. And no Batman or Batgirl would make the city go crazy, especially due to the death of the Joker (which no doubt was already being broadcast all over the television).
Luckily, though, Richard Grayson/Nightwing, could remain at the Cave and leave the "real world" for awhile.
After Leslie told everyone that Robin would be out for at least another three days, the group decided to make some decisions. First and foremost, Commissioner Gordon had to be told what happened- he deserved that much.
Next, there was the matter of finding Harley or at least her body. Knowing that one of the people involved in Tim's "make-over" was out there left an open wound in everyone. They needed to close at least one more chapter of this whole fiasco.
Barbara decided that she would look for Harley because she didn't want to speak to her father about Robin. Batman was his trusted friend and her father needed to hear the story from him. Bruce agreed with her and let her go back to Arkham, though with a transmitter and a communicator in case she had any troubles.
Batman, after drilling Dick with the instructions that he must contact him if Tim made ANY moment, left for the Gotham police department.
Batgirl's motorcycle streamed through the dark city nights like a bat out of hell. Her speeds breaking anything a sane individual would dare. However, the speed was a release of the emotions that she couldn't show in the Batcave. Secretly, she wanted to check out Arkham Asylum by herself because she needed to BE by herself- she needed to grieve in her own way.
Finally, the cycle crashed through the already open gates of the old asylum and Barbara jumped off the still moving cycle. She slowly dredged up the deteriorating steps of Arkham and entered the creepy building. Quick flashes of the last time she was in this old building pasted through her head. She distantly heard Harley's insane singing, she picture the Joker with Tim beside him, and she could picture the body of the Joker lying dead on the ground.
The redhead shook her head to clear her thoughts- she needed to stay focused a little longer. Barbara moved in front of the Operating Room doors and put her hand to the sign. This is where everything started and ended. With a deep breath, Batgirl pushed opened the door.
Inside was just as she last saw it. A small table still stood with the same flowers Harley had been handling. The Joker's 'TV room' still sat and Barbara could almost picture him sitting there reading his paper. The young woman moved deeper and found her eyes wandering to the spot where the Joker had died. Someone had removed his body and, Batgirl figured, at one point during the last couple days, Batman had called her father telling him just about the body and saying he'd fill the Commissioner in later.
Barbara past through the rest of the room and headed out doors to where she had chased Harley. Outside, was also as she remembered it- save for the lack of rain. The young woman moved to the edge where her and her opponent had their stand off. She looked down a few feet to where she and Harley had been hanging on to the edge. Barbara walked away from the edge and placed a hook to a sturdy plank, then dragged a long cable to the end. With a quick double check, she jumped off the side and felt herself fall downwards.
The thrill of the air rushing past was lost on Batgirl as she concentrated on watching the ground move towards her. She saw the distance to the hard earth approaching faster and began to slow her descent. Finally, she stopped herself completely with five feet to the ground left. With a click and a tug, Barbara released herself and landed on her feet.
She detached her body from the cable and looked around. All over was a deep, brown mud that had built up from the rains. Pulling her feet out of the inch high mud, Batgirl moved around the area looking for any sign of Harley. For over thirty minutes, Barbara wandered around searching for a foot print, a body, anything that showed a resemblance of the clown-girl.
Finally, the young woman gave up- there was no Harley. Somehow, the insane woman had survived her fall and was out there. Batgirl only prayed that she moved on and left the Batfamily alone.
Barbara turned around, headed back to her cable, and adjusted herself in the clasping. With a tug, she began to pull herself up. The redhead made it a good five feet before her clasp came un-done. With a gasp, she tumbled to the ground.
The young woman landed with a loud thump on her bottom and back, but was otherwise fine. Batgirl used the cable above her to pull herself to her feet. However, due to the mud on her hands, her fingers slipped off of the wire and Barbara found herself back in the mud. With a frustrated cry, Barbara rolled to her knees.
She felt tears swarm in her eyes and didn't bother to stop them. The falling was nothing to her, almost comical, but in her current state it was the straw that broke the camel's back. She pulled off her gloves viciously and placed her hands to her eyes. Sobs racked her petite frame harshly, but she didn't hold them back. With her knees sunk into the mud and the wind tossing her red hair everywhere, the young woman cried.
On the ledge above Batgirl, unbeknownst to the crime fighter, stood a figure. Muddy, cut and bruised, but still alive, Harley Quinn watched the young woman sob to herself and, for the first time since meeting the Joker, felt something strange. She felt guilt. Guilt at what she allowed the Joker to do the Robin, guilt at not stopping him, and guilt at tearing that family apart. She never really wanted to hurt the Batfamily regardless of what she did- she always found them to be...fun. All she wanted out of life was to have fun and not to be the serious Dr. Quinzel. With a sad sigh, Harley moved back into the shadows and removed her mask plus hat. She threw the items on the ground and walked away from the sobs in the crevasse.
Batman pushed open the window and stepped into the Commissioner's office.
"Hello, Jim." The older man jumped in surprise and turned towards the Dark Knight.
"Still not use to that." Bruce just nodded his head. "I guess we both know why you're here."
"You found the Joker then? Did you bury him?" Jim now nodded. "Thank you."
"I guess you're welcomed. Did you mind if I ask..."
"...What happened? I owe you that much." For over an hour, Batman told the Commissioner what happened to Robin at the hands of the Joker. He told Jim how the Joker met his end- all the while the older man said nothing. Finally, Bruce ended his one-sided conversation and silence fell in the office.
Jim turned away from the Dark Knight and paced his room. This was all...unbelievable.
"How is...um...young Robin?"
"He's in the process of giving treatment and, as of right now, we don't know. Batgirl and Nightwing are with him right now."
"Good...good. I...um...I wish you the best."
Batman nodded. "I should go."
Jim moved towards the window with Bruce. "I'm not going to tell anyone what happened to Robin- for his sack. Down the road maybe we'll come up with some cover-up."
"Perhaps." Was all Batman answered before he left. For the first time ever, the Commissioner watched him leave.
As the Dark Knight flew away, Jim felt his heart drop ever so slightly. Things were never going to be the same with him and The Bat or with Gotham. The older man closed his blinds and turned back into his office. With a weary sigh, he fell into his chair and closed his eyes.
Things were changing now, and he knew he would be called upon to hold everything together in Gotham.
"I'm getting too old for this." Jim muttered to himself and, for the first time, he honestly meant it. He was too old to deal with a city where young children's childhoods were stolen from them.
You're right, Susie, you should have some reviews. A story this good deserves them...lots of them.
The only problem is, I don't know what to say. This story is so good, it's left me speechless. Oh, while I was reading it I was talking to the screen as usual--cursing the Joker, screaming at Dick (sometimes I think Bruce deliberately goes to Dick at times like this because he's looking for punishment), not to mention crying my eyes out---but now that I'm done I'm numb and just plain stunned...kinda like the Bat-Family. But that's how good this is...the character's feelings and emotions are so real and so strong, they pull me right into the story and I become one of them, part of this angry, confused, anxious, grieving family. All I can say is fantastic...and more please!
One more note: I loved the scene with Harley. Joker went too far, and Harley finally realized that it wasn't funny. Beautiful.
So much for being speechless! Good work, Susie! Please keep it up!
M'ral (thinks that with writers like Susie on the boards, she's going to get a reputation for being a praise-gusher!)
Thank you so much for the wonderful FB. I'm so glad that I stirred emotion from you- that means a lot to me.
I never really thought Harley was a bad person and kinda wanted to get across that she wasn't completely insane. I thought, with the end of ROTJ and her getting her grandchildren out saying "I try to make a good life for you", she did straighten up.
Thank you again so very much. I'm going to have the next part up soon.
Oh, M'ral, you're not a praise-gusher. You're just speaking the truth. Which I happen to agree with.
Susie, you rock. 'Nuff said.
Oh, no one has ever said I rock before Thanks SK!!!
Hopefully, as soon as I find my story again...yes I lost it...how's that for luck?, I'll post the next part. Once I find it, too, I'll be able to post it fairly quickly- provided I can keep my eye on the disk this time!
Thank you again!!!!!
As always, Susie, just gorgeous. Your range of emotions with the characters is superb, as is the backround information. You've gotten every character down pat; the reactions, the distress. It seems like it's just one blow after the other for the Bat crew, and we know not every one of them will come out of it psychologically intact, but we still have a sort of twisted hope.
Again, I just wanted to remind you what a wonderful and talented writer you are. Keep up the good work.
"Paris is a city for lovers. Maybe that's why I've never been there for more than half an hour."
Humphrey Bogart, Sabrina