Most parents do not choose their
children and most children don't choose their parents. This is
one of the ways that Dick Grayson is special. He was adopted
after his parents… Anyway, neither he nor his adopted father ever
had any reason to regret it, even after they had fallen out.
Bruce Wayne knew that he had found someone special in his young
ward. He was only a child, but he had great spirit and fought as
though the world depended on it. Bruce soon made him a full
partner in his night-time ventures and, together, Batman and
Robin defeated many foes. That's why it came as such a shock to
see what Oracle, formally Batgirl, had to show.Sure, Robin was
out on his own now, leading his own team, and yes they'd had a
falling out, but there must be some mistake.
Maybe I should start at the beginning.A 'Thermal
Blaster' was stolen from a Wayne's Enterprises facility. Oracle
was reviewing the CCTV footage with Alfred when Bruce came in.
He'd been out battling Poison Ivy, now safely locked in Arkham
"Master Bruce," Alfred called him over.
"Yes, Alfred. What is it?" he asked, joining them
at the console.
"There's something you need to see." Oracle told
him, rewinding the footage. She pressed play. There was no
mistaking that spiky haired teenager who was on screen, removing
the 'Thermal Blaster' from the vault, even with the strange dark
"No." Bruce gasped. "Barbara, is this real?"
"No one's tampered with the film. That's Robin, Our
Robin." Oracle replied.
"How did this happen?" Bruce fumed. "I know he's
been out on his own, making his own mark… and we may not have
parted on the best of terms… but he should know that he could come
to me for anything. Why would he turn to stealing?"
"There's more. Look what happens when his fellow
Titans show up." Oracle told him. They watched in silence.
"He fought them." Bruce said quietly.
"They don't seem to know any more than we do. Look
how shocked they were." Alfred said.
"But watch," Oracle rewound the footage again, and
then froze the image. "He was careful not to hurt them."
"Alfred, pack the Batmobile, we're going to visit
family." Batman said.
Meanwhile, the remaining Titans sat in their tower
feeling desolate. Why would Robin do this?
"Okay, the way I see it," Beastboy explained as he
paced, "there are only two logical explanations. One; Robin's been
replaced by an evil robot double. Two; he's another innocent victim
of zombie mind control." Raven and Cyborg stared at him for a few
"As… logical as that sounds, if anything was
controlling his mind, I would have sensed it." Raven said.
"And my scanners confirmed his bio-metrics. That was
the real Robin." Cyborg added. "Our Robin."
"LIES!" the cry came from Starfire. "That was
not Robin! Your scanners are wrong." Just then there was a
chime from the computer console and Batman appeared on the screen.
"Robin is our friend and nothing could ever make him betray us."
Starfire continued. "Nothing!"
"But something did." Raven replied.
"Three words:" Beastboy said, the others turned to
him, "Disgruntled Radioactive Clone."
"Hello Titans." Batman's voice emerged from the
computer, amused. "What's happened to Robin?"
"Sir!" Beastboy saluted as they all turned to
"How, how did you know about that?" Cyborg
"The company he stole from is owned by a good friend
of mine." Batman replied. "I had access to the CCTV."
"Well, um, Sir. We don't know exactly what happened
to Robin." Beastboy told him. "There was this bad guy, Slade, Sir.
He split us up. He had set up a fake chr…chron… bomb, sir. Then
this Hench dude Cinderblock attacked, sir, and Robin stayed behind
to fight. Slade must have got to him then sir."
"Robin… there's no way he would do this. Slade must
have some kind of hold on him." Batman told the Titans.
"Well, actually, he did do something similar awhile
back. Robin pretended to be a villain called Red-X. He approached
Slade as a partner as a way to find out what he's planning." Raven
informed the Bat. He sighed.
"Look kids, I'm on my way. I'll be there in half an
hour. Be careful." The screen went blank.
"Batman…" said Cyborg.
"…coming here?" added Beastboy. "Dude, no
"Booyah!" Cyborg yelled.
"Excuse me, but who is this Bat Man?" Star asked
"Even I've heard of Batman." Said Raven.
"You've never heard of Batman?" Beastboy exclaimed.
"He's only the coolest hero in the world! I know you're an alien,
but jeez Starfire!"
"More than that," added Cyborg, "he raised Robin
from a little kid. They fought side by side for years."
"Then why does he never mention this Bat Man?" Star
"I don't know," Raven replied. "A while back, Robin
turned up here and the Bat started fighting solo. No one knows
"Besides, when do we know anything about Robin?"
Beastboy said. "He never talks about himself. He doesn't trust
"That is not true! Robin is our leader. He deserves
our trust. He tells us what we need to know." Starfire
"Come on Star, he's not exactly open with us is he?"
"Leave it alone, guys!" Raven said
seeing the tears in Starfire's eyes. Her own glowed red. Then she
continued more softly. "Whatever the reason, Robin's a criminal
now, and just like any other criminal…"
"The Teen Titans have to bring him down." Cyborg finished.
Starfire gasped, her face awash with pain, the tears falling
The night before, after the fight with the fake
bomb, Robin stood in a pool of light, surrounded by darkness. He
slowly, despondently, divested himself of his garish costume. He
hung it gently on a pipe nearby, ignoring the pleading calls from
"Robin, Robin, please respond." Starfire's pained
voice came. "Robin, you must answer. Please!"
He sighs and carefully lifts the black and gold
uniform. He pulls it on, his face screwed up in distaste. He snaps
on the metallic wrist guards over his plain black gloves, tightens
his new utility belt and screws on the upper chest plate. Slade
steps out of the dark behind him, his skull-like mask, glinting
black and gold.
"I know it seems bad now, but trust me, you'll learn
to like it." Slade's sinister voice emerged form the four vertical
slits in his mask as a black gloved hand came to rest on Robin's
Batman's black gloved hand came to rest on Oracle's
"Barbara, we'll figure it out. He'll be alright." He
"Yes, miss Oracle. We will save him." Alfred stepped
"I still think you should have stayed behind." Bruce
told them, a frown on his face.
"Do not begin that again, master Bruce. He is as
much my family as yours." Alfred answered as he pushed Barbara's
wheelchair up to the base of Titan's Tower. Batman walked
alongside, leaving the Bat-copter on the rocks behind them. They
were admitted by Cyborg and were led up to the main area where the
Titans spent most of their time. They were gathered there, still
trying to track Robin down. Oracle grinned as she looked
"Wow! He keeps the Tower a lot tidier than he kept
his room back home!" she said. The Titans who had remained upstairs
turned at the sound of her voice and hurried over to greet their
"Sir, Batman, Sir!" Beastboy snapped a salute.
"Beastboy reporting, Sir!"
"I'm Cyborg Mr Batman. I'm in charge whilst Robin's
away. This is Raven…"
"Hey," Raven said dryly.
"… and Starfire."
"Joyous greetings friends!" Starfire exclaimed.
"With you here Robin shall soon be rescued!"
"Pleasure to meet you kids. I'm Batman, not Sir or
Mr Batman. This is Alfred and Oracle."
"Charmed." Alfred said.
"Good to know you." Oracle added. Star studied the
girl, noticing all their similarities, both redheads of similar
size and build.
"Please," Starfire asked Raven, "Why is the Oracle
in the chariot? Ah! Is she royalty?"
"Starfire!" Raven gasped. "Hush. It's not
"Sorry, Miss Oracle. Star isn't from around here,"
Cyborg said as it was obvious everyone had heard. "She doesn't
understand Earth customs."
"I am sorry to have caused offence." Star said, eyes
downcast, "I did not intend to."
"It's okay." Oracle smiled slightly. "It's kind of
refreshing actually. I was shot by the Joker. The bullet severed my
spinal column and my legs don't work anymore."
"Dude! You went up against the Joker?!?" Beastboy
"We all did." Barbara replied with a sad, nostalgic
A few moments later everyone was galvanised into
motion. They all wanted robin back where he belongs.Batman was with
Cyborg at the computer whilst Raven meditated on Robin's spirit.
Beastboy was looking through the mission log for the mission they'd
lost Robin on with Alfred. Starfire and Oracle were looking at a
map, trying to pinpoint possible targets.
"You have known Robin a long time, have you not?"
"Since we were just children." Oracle
"It is hard to imagine Robin as a young one; he is
so serious and adult."
always. We used to go into battle laughing. He was only a child,
and he'd been through so much already when I met him. Yes he was
serious and driven, but that didn't stop him from having
"You care for him a great deal."
"Of course. I love him." Oracle smiled as she said it.
"Oh, I see." Starfire's face fell.
"Not like that! Not really. We're more like brother
and sister than anything."
"How was it that he came to leave you and his
"He hasn't told you? No, I guess he wouldn't, would
he? He's old enough to take care of himself. He felt he needed some
time apart, out of the Batman's shadow, but Batman didn't
understand. He still sees Robin as the little boy he took in. He
gave Robin an ultimatum, either fight at his side or stop fighting.
They got into a big argument. Batman didn't mean anything bad; he
was just trying to protect his boy. But Robin, Robin thought that
Batman meant he wasn't good enough and so he left."
"Did the Batman not know that Robin is a strong
"Yeah, he knows. But Batman raised |Robin from when
he was really young. It's hard for him to accept that he's grown
up." Oracle sighed. "Bad things happen. We know this better than
most. Batman doesn't want Robin to suffer because he wasn't
Suddenly there was a chime from the computer. At
almost the same instant Batman's phone rang. He moved away to take
"It's him!" Beastboy said, starring at the
"Titans go!" Cyborg cried and then they were gone,
leaving Alfred, Oracle and Batman behind them.
Bruce hung up and turned to face his friends.
"There has been a break in at a Wayne enterprises
facility near by." He said.
"Let's go!" Oracle said.
"Wait. I don't want him to know we're here yet.
We'll go but don't get involved unless we're needed." Bats replied.
They moved out after the Titans.
"Excellent, Robin. I'm pleased. You're already
proving to be a perfect apprentice." Slade's voice pierced the
"This deal can't last forever!" Robin said
"It can and it will." Slade pushed a button and a
wall of monitors came to life, each showing a Titans blood
stream, crawling with electric devices. "The Titans still have no
idea that my chronoton detonator was more than a decoy. Now that
my probes are inside their bodies, they could remain undetected
for years, decades."
"Sooner or later, you will let your guard down. I
will get that controller and the instant they are out of danger,
you will pay."
"That sounds like a threat young man. Quite a good
threat actually. Betrayal, destruction, revenge. We really do think
alike." Slade smiles. Robin grits his teeth and charges his would
be mentor. He doesn't even lay a hand on him as Slade grabs his
wrist and twists his arm behind his back. The bones grind and creak
worryingly. "I monitored your vital signs during the mission.
Elevated heart rate, adrenaline, and endorphins. You won't admit
it, but at some level, you enjoyed stealing for me. It was a
thrill, wasn't it?" he finally released Robin's arm and the
apprentice staggered to one side clutching his poor arm. "You're
going to keep stealing for me, and you're going to keep getting
that thrill. And sooner or later, you're going to see things my
way." Slade took Robins right arm and attached the Thermal Blaster
he had had the boy steal. "Who knows, I might even become like a
father to you."
Robin lowered his arm sullenly and refused to meet
"I already had a father." He replied softly. A
flutter of wings echoed around Slade's lair. A few bats fly from
their hiding place past the pair and up into the night.
Robin looked up at the building Slade had sent him
to and smiled ruefully. The irony of his situation didn't escape
him. He threw his grappling hook and began to climb. He stopped two
floors from the roof and smashed, feet first through a window, not
worried by the alarm. He runs through the building. First left,
second right, don't stop. He came to a halt in front of large
reinforced steel doors with a huge 'W' on them. He attached a small
device, marked with Slade's stylistic 'S' to the doors, then
retreats a few paces. The door explodes. The room beyond is dimly
lit, and almost completely empty, save for a little gadget
suspended in a force field at the centre.He approached it
cautiously, slowly. His hand extended. He was about to take it
"You aren't walking outta here Robin!" Cyborg's
voice was loud and sure. Their ex-team-mate span in his tracks to
see the remaining Titans stood in the wreck of the doorway. "Not
without a fight!" Robin charged with a cry and Cyborg called out
"Titans go!" The Titans raced across the floor, Beastboy turned
into a tiger as he ran, and Star primed a star-bolt. Robin dodged
Cyborg's punch and Beastboy's lunge. Beastboy changes back to human
form and Robin vaulted over his head. He sailed neatly between
Starfire and Raven and tore away a ceiling panel. He was away
before his former fellows could react.The starred, flabbergasted at
the opening through which he fled.
Up on the roof, Robin has emerged. He was
silhouetted against the neon lights which spell the word 'Wayne' in
capitals. (Hence the irony). He ran across the roof, reaching for
his utility belt.
"Not so fast Robin. You have yet to achieve your
objective." Slade's voice sounded in Robin's earpiece.
"The device was too heavily guarded. I'll have to
steal it another-" Robin was cut off.
"NO!" Robin flinched at Slade's anger. "Go back.
Unless you want me to destroy them, go back and fight." Robin
"Robin!" Cyborg's voice sounded from behind. He
turned. "Look, I don't know what's going on, but we don't want to
fight. We just want to talk." Cyborg had his hands raised as though
in supplication. Robin was touched by this display of loyalty and
friendship. They were risking an attack to try and help him. He
could only do the same. So, with a yell, he launched a flying kick
which sent Cyborg staggering.
"Guess there's nothing to talk about." Beastboy made
his voice hard. He cracked his knuckles and transforms into a green
Just then, the Bat copter landed a few roofs away.
The three passengers emerged.
"It really is him." Barbara gasped as she saw the
fight. "I guess I was hoping…"
"I k now what you mean." Batman agreed.
"You must help him, Master Bruce." Alfred
"Let's see what happens first."
Beastboy banged his fists on the rooftop, narrowly
missing the boy-wonder who leaped backwards again and again as
Beastboy presses his attack. Robin launched up and forwards to
perch in the centre of the 'A' in WAYNE. A huge green hand follows
him but grasps air. Robin had jumped to the 'A's peak then back
down towards the roof to as Beastboy climbs up after him. In the
air, Robin twisted and pulls out a Slade-a-rang. It shoots a rope
out as he throws it, and this winds itself around one of Beastboy's
wrists. Robin drops down through the centre of the 'A'. He threads
the rope through and it is pulled taut, yanking Beastboy through
the too tight hole so that he is stuck. Robin finds himself face to
face with Star.
"Please-"she said before he rushes past her to come
down with a flying kick and a flurry of strikes against
Raven.Cyborg aims and primes his sonic cannon. He filled with
dismay and unease. His uncertainty was clear on his face.
"Don't make me…" he begged. Then, with a growl of
pent up emotion, he gave up, disarmed and ran in to do this the old
fashioned way.The punch he threw missed Robin and connected against
the shield Raven had thrown up to protect herself from
"These kids can handle themselves." Batman said from
his nearby perch.
"He's still not trying to hurt them" Oracle
countered. "Did you see him avoid Starfire?"
Above the fighting across the way Beastboy has
finally broken free from the 'A' by changing to a snake and
slithering down. When he is back on solid roof, he turned into a
Ram with large curved horns and charges. He slams into Robin,
sending him rolling to the edge. Robin stopped just in time to
prevent certain death. He lies still. Beastboy, shocked at what he
had done to the boy he still considered his leader.
"Dude!" he ran over, amazed he'd managed to hit him.
"Are you okay?" he cried. Robin answers with a high kick to the
chest, knocking him back into Cyborg.
"Fight to win Robin. Use the Thermal Blaster." Slade
said in Robin's ear. Raven rises to the air in front of him.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" She cried and Robin was
suddenly encased from neck to knees.Somehow he managed to get his
right arm free. He sent a Slade-a-rang flying towards Raven. It
exploded inches from her face.
"I…I can't see!" she cried falling as her power
"No!" Starfire gasped. Robin meanwhile, freed as
Raven fell, had re-engaged Cyborg. He was hitting the half-man,
half-machine, who backed away, blocking the punches.
"Come on, man, don't make me do this! I don't want
to do this!" Cyborg pleaded. He grabbed his arm, preparing to fire
his Sonic Cannon, but a low foot got under his guard, knocking him
to the floor. The Sonic Blast went off as he fell and Robin leaped
away. He landed back atop the 'A'. As his friends (former) started
to recover and press the attack, he ran from one letter to the
next. He reached the 'E'. Starfire, furious, was waiting for him at
the end. She steeled herself, readying a Starbolt.
"STOP!" she commanded. He did so. "Do not
"I thought I told you to use the Blaster. Attack!
Now!" Slade's voice sounded in his ear. Robin readied the weapon to
fire on Star, his face set in a snarl. She was torn, her eyes
widened. Friend or foe? She lowers her arm and the starbolt went
out. She lowers her head.
"Robin, you are my best friend. I cannot be in a
world where we must fight. If you are truly evil, then go ahead. Do
what you must. Her voice trembled.
On the other roof the three onlookers starred in
confusion and amazement.
"What is she doing?" Barbara cried out. Do something
Star just stood there, head bowed, defenceless.
Robin stared at her in disbelief, eyes wide. He lowered the
blaster, and took a trembling step forward (on the other roof,
Batman has removed a grappling hook and rope from his belt).
"Starfire! No! I-"a shrill burst of feedback from
his earpiece made Robin stop and grab his ear. "Aaarrrgh!"
"ROBIN!!! I gave you an order!" Slade was stunned.
"If you won't attack, my probes will." And so they do, as Slade
pressed the trigger with malicious pleasure. (Batman stops just as
he is about to swing out to the other building.) The Titans all
begin to glow orangey-red and cry out in pain.They start to fall.
Starfire is still airborne, floating in thin air, over the gap
between buildings. She convulses and goes limp, falling.
"Starfire!" Robin cried out, he crossed the distance
between them in an instant and caught her before she fell. He
turned around, Star in his arms, and saw the other Titans all laid
out, writhing in pain and glowing just as Star was.
"Stop! Please stop!" Robin shouted in obvious
distress. (The three onlookers exchanged confused glances.)
"Attack Robin. It's the only way to save them.
Attack with everything you've got." Slade replied.
Robin looked from one of his friends to the next,
finishing by meeting Star's eyes. He was still cradling her in his
arms. He became resolved looking in those eyes and he gently set
her down on the roof.
"Robin…" Star pleaded weakly.
"I'm sorry." He told her an instant before he shot
her with his thermal blaster.
Slade smiles in the darkness of his empty lair. He
is watching on CCTV.
"That's my boy."
The Titans slowly came to as the effects of the
probes wore off. They stopped glowing as they come round
"Huh?" Starfire asked as she pushed herself into a
sitting position. They stood slowly and gathered together in front
of the 'A'.
"Okay, weirdness. What just -?" Beastboy started. He
was cut off by a wordless yell from Robin as he dived towards them
in a vicious attack, firing his Thermal Blaster. He landed in the
middle of the group and flung Beastboy into Raven's face and
shoulders. A low kick followed and Cyborg was knocked backwards.
Starfire let loose with a couple of Starbolts which Robin expertly
dodged. He leaped up and went flying across the roof in a
somersault as he trained his blaster on her face. She saw that his
aim was true and gasped. There was no way she could get out of the
way in time. At the last possible second he shifted his aim
slightly to avoid her. Instead the blast shot harmlessly past her,
hitting the base of the 'Y'.Robin landed in a fighting crouch and
was immediately up again and firing upon Beastboy and Raven. BB
scampered away as a monkey and Raven blocked with a hastily
rendered shield. The little green primate darted in whilst Robin
was distracted by Raven and climbed all over Robin. He was more of
a hindrance than a real threat but it took Robin a precious moment
to remove the hairy little creature. As he was preoccupied, Raven
used her powers to dismantle the weapon on his wrist. To reward her
Robin sent her careening across the roof with a hard shove to her
chest. Cyborg suddenly grabbed him from behind. The Boy Wonder
ducked away, turned, and saw that the others have regrouped to
fight him. Beastboy; a massive, ferocious, bear, Cyborg; locked and
loaded and both the girls were prepared to use their respective
powers. Robin, desperate, looked behind him as his footing
faltered. He was right at the edge of the roof. His face hardened
as he threw a handful of discs which he pulled from his utility
belt. The Titans tried to dodge but they didn't stand a chance.
Somehow the projectiles miss them anyway. They fly over their heads
and explode on contact with their real target, the base of the 'A'.
It starts to fall.
"Titans move!" Cyborg yelled.They did so, just in
time as both the 'A' and the 'Y' topple over. Cyborg didn't move
quickly enough. Luckily, he was standing where the hole of the 'A'
landed. An inch either way and he would have been squashed.
"He's gone." Raven said as the smoke cleared.
(On the other roof Batman and his friends were still
watching. They had seen Robin swing away and abseil down a
neighbouring building. Batman had thrown a small device after
"Everyone okay?" Cyborg asked as Batman swung across
to join them. They nod in return.
"Uh, I know where Robin picked up the heat ray, but
where did he learn that little glowy, hurty trick?" Beastboy asked
rubbing his head.
"I do not think that was Robin. Perhaps it is Slade
who has learned a new trick." Starfire said thoughtfully. Raven
turned to Batman.
"Where were you during the fight?" She said.
"Yeah," Beastboy added. "You're supposed to be this
big hero, and you hide on another roof. What's up with
"He would have acted differently if he knew I was
here. Besides you guy's can handle yourselves. If you needed help I
would have helped. This way, I managed to get a Bat-Tracer on him.
We can find him." Batman replied.
"I think Star is right. Let's go home and figure out
what's going on." Cyborg told them.
Slade was watching the footage of the fight. He
watched Robin fire upon his friends. He rewound and watched it
again. And again.
"Thrilling." He smiled coldly as he rewound it yet
again. "My apprentice is progressing even faster than I'd hoped.
All he needed was a little…motivation." Robin's hand suddenly
shoots down and grabs Slade's wrist.
"Motivate THIS!" Robin cried. He threw a vicious
punch but Slade was quick to catch it without even flinching.He
wrenched Robin's arm to the side and sent him flying to crash into
some overhead gears across the room. He lands in an awkward crouch,
and then stood up as Slade rose, flexing his hands.
"Robin." Slade crossed the floor to stand in front
of his defiant apprentice. "That was vicious, deceitful and
ruthless. Excellent work. You're becoming more like me every
second." Robin wipes his bloody mouth, eyes downcast. Slade
turned as if to leave, and then whirled to face his apprentice.
He showered him with a volley of sudden blows. Robin dodged but
many hits still connected. His counter-attacks make no
difference; they don't stop the harsh rain of strikes. Slade
grabbed him into a headlock, pulling him backwards and up, so
that the Boy-Wonder's feet dangle in the air. Robin kicked his
legs up over his head, connecting with Slade's head, forcing him
to release his hold. They were both forced to retreat a few steps
to catch their breath and clear their heads.
Meanwhile, back at Titan Tower…
"I don't get it Bruce. We need to go after him
now!" Oracle said in a hushed voice.
"If we go now, then we may do our boy more harm
than good. We have to know what's happening and we must have a
plan." Batman replies. "I know how you feel, but we have to think
"You're right. I know you're right and
"I know." He puts his hand on her shoulder.
"Think I found something!" Cyborg called. Bruce,
Barbara and Alfred join the Titans who are gathered around the
computer which has Beastboy wired up to it. On the screen is a
read-out showing Beastboy's vital signs. "The enhanced sensors
are picking up interference on the nano-scopic scale." Cy
explained. He types and the screen changes to show Slade's
probes, attached to Beastboy's red blood cells.
"Those things are inside me? EEEWWWW!" BB
"They're inside all of us. Billions of 'em!" Cy
"With such technology at his command, Slade could
easily destroy us whenever he wants!" Star realised.
"Unless Robin does exactly as he says." Raven
"And you guys thought my zombie idea was crazy!"
Beastboy folded his arms with a sigh. In doing so he managed to
tangle the wires still attached to him and fell off his chair
trying to get free.
"We have to go in." Cyborg said simply. The Titans
turned to exit the Tower. They needed to find and save their
"Wait!" Batman called. He whipped a device labelled 'Bat-a-rang
tracker' from his utility belt. "Wouldn't you like to know where
he is?"The Titans returned, sheepishly, their exit ruined. "We'll
follow in the Bat-copter. We'll wait outside as backup. If you
need us yell."
Slade and Robin, in the lair, were still trying to
collect themselves. Robin suddenly took the offensive; jumping
high to come down towards the metallic mask of his would be
mentor. Slade grabbed his legs and swung him low, scraping the
floor, and then throwing him up and away from him. Robin cried
out as he flew through the air. He caught hold of a nearby lever
as he sailed by, managing to stop himself falling as he slammed
into gearwheels. He climbed cautiously down, wary of Slade. But
the enemy is gone. He strode, still nervous into the centre of
the room.Still nothing. He looked around him, then approached a
bank of levers near the edge of the elevated platform he had
landed on. Steam hissed suddenly and plumed up as a stationary
gearwheel began to turn. Slade is riding it up like an
"Good Robin. You're doing much better than last
time. A few more years and you might actually pose a threat."
Slade headed across the platform towards the boy. Robin backed
slowly away, only to find himself against the bank of levers he'd
been contemplating earlier. In desperation, he grabbed one and
snapped it clean off. A makeshift fighting staff. He twirled it
back and forth, getting used to the weight. Slade merely pulls a
short stick from the back of his belt which telescoped out to
become a full sized fighting-pole. Steam surrounded them. Robin
charged with a defiant shout. Slade parried expertly. The two
leaned into each other, their staffs creaking under their full
joint weight. Robin is slowly but surely overpowered. He is
forced backwards and Slade catches him with a sudden high swing,
which forced the young opponent back against the steaming pipes.
Slade aims a savage, stabbing blow.
Robin jumped away as Slade stabbed the section of
pipe where he'd been an instant before. Steam poured out, hot and
thick, enveloping the duelling pair. The staff remained lodged in
the metal. Robin used it as a perch to get a better shot as he
swings his makeshift staff directly at Slade's face. A bell-like
sound told that the blow had found its mark, but Slade rose
quickly back to his feet. He was furious and delivered a vicious
downward blow, severing the end of his own staff, upon which
Robin still perched. Robin managed to dart away jumping high
overhead to land on a broken section of pipe. A large piece of
machinery moves back and forth in front of him like a pendulum.
He took a few cautious steps backwards as though readying himself
to jump through, but suddenly Slade was before him, on the other
side of the machine. A swing or two later and he is gone. Robin's
eyes widened in disbelief and he looked around him for his dark
master.An instant later Slade barrelled in and hit him broadside.
Robin fell and landed, dazed on a stationary horizontal wheel. He
struggled to lift his head, and then collapsed back down. Robin
snapped awake a second later though, as Slade charged straight at
him. One of the armoured fists slammed down, denting the metal
inches from the spiky haired head. Slade stood easy and cracked
his knuckles in anticipation. Robin's eyes narrow in pure hatred
and he used this emotion to fuel a running leap that takes him
past Slade. He turned, bringing his leg up for a savage spinning
kick. A second blow knocked Slade flying down to the lower floor
where the fight began. He landed in front of the screens showing
the Titans bloodstreams, and the probes within them.A piece of
machinery was glowing in the corner. Slade raised his head and
the apprentice can see that his mask is cracked by the force of
that last blow. Robin jumps down to land lightly in a fighting
"You're going to wish you hadn't done that." Slade
"I only wish I'd done it sooner." Robin replied
scathingly. (Unbeknownst to the two fighters, the doors have
swung open at some point in the last couple of moments and the
Titans were there with their allies. Watching.)Robin tore the
metal stylized 'S' from his chest and threw it to the floor at
Slade's feet. Slade was incensed. He charged at Robin with a
roar. Robin was forced to defend himself with a series of kicks
but Slade grabbed his foot, throwing him to the floor. The former
Titan lay there, panting, trying to find the strength to
"I have much to teach you, but the first thing you
must learn is gratitude." Slade told him. Robin forced himself to
his feet and yelled as he ran at Slade. Slade seizes his right
arm, bending it cruelly past his shoulder, up behind his back.
(The watchers outside stared in horror, and Starfire began to
move forward slowly but is stopped by Cyborg.They need to see how
this ends.) Robin is forced; face down, to the floor. He gritted
his teeth but a low moan escapes him. Slade releases his hold.
Robin moved to roll away.
"I made you my apprentice. All my knowledge, all
my power. All for you." He grabbed Robin's hair and pulled his
head sharply back. "But the only thing you care about is you're
worthless, little friends!" Slade's voice turned to a roar. Then
he suddenly seemed to return to rationality. He released Robin's
spiky 'do and casually lifted the trigger for the probes. "If the
Titans are so distracting, maybe I should just get rid of them?"
Robin readied himself for another charge but froze when a single
gloved finger began to descend towards the trigger.
"Don't." Robin is defeated. His head hung down.
"I'll do whatever you say."
"Good boy!" Slade condescended. "And from now on,
I'd like you to call me master." The Titans have seen their
theory proved beyond any doubt and a starbolt suddenly shoot
across and hits Slade's chest, forcing him away from his teenage
"Leave. Him. Alone." Starfire said
"Robin! Attack!" Slade ordered. The four Titans
were ranged opposite, framed in the light of the door.
"Get out of here!" Robin begged desperately, he
gestured to the screens showing the probes. "You don't know what
that beam did to you!"
"Dude…" Beastboy interrupted.
"We know…" Raven continued.
"And we don't care…" Cyborg told him.
"We are your friends, Robin. And we're not leaving
without you." Starfire finished.
"How very touching, but Robin has no need of
friends." He pressed the trigger, and the Titans slowly collapsed
in agony, glowing red-orange. Tears poured down Starfire's
cheeks, white hot.
"This is the price for your disobedience, Robin.
Now, do as I command. Attack!"Robin, torn, looked from one of his
friends pain-stricken faces to the other. Then he notices that
the machine which had been gently glowing in the corner had
suddenly gone into overdrive, sparking out red lightning. Robin
put two and two together.
"No!" he cried out in righteous denial. He dashed
towards the device.
"Robin!" Slade was in shock. Robin gave an
almighty leap and landed at the machine. Almost immediately he
began to glow the same red-orange as his team. He groaned at the
torturous pain, but forced himself over to face his
"New deal Slade. I lose my friends, you lose your
apprentice." He fell to his knees. "And I know how much you hate
to lose!" Amazingly the apprentice could still grin as he looked,
through a cloud of pain, into his tormentors face. But it has
taken all his strength and he collapsed facedown on the grimy
Slade stared at him, genuinely astonished that he
has been outmanoeuvred. He could not believe it. He considered for
a brief moment, the he was forced to concede. He dropped the
trigger to the ground and the glowing stopped immediately. The
probes have stopped their painful work, but Slade was not through
with the teens. Robin was still prone before him. Slade raised one
steel toed boot to stomp that spiky head flat, but before he could
come down with a crushing blow, Robin had his hands up to grab it.
He stood, smirked, and Slade's eyes widened as the former
apprentice sent a devastating blow crashing into his face. It
propelled the older man down across the floor.
"Titans! Go!" Robin shouted, punching the air in
exhilaration. They charged together. Beastboy, now a green tiger,
swiped at Slade's armour, leaving claw tracks as Starfire and
Cyborg moved in from either side. Starbolts to the left of him,
Sonic blasts from the right. Slade fell back; Raven chanted her
spell, binding their enemy's feet, causing him to fall. Now, Robin
joined the fray, with a flying kick to Slade's head. There was an
almighty crash as Slade's mask split down the crack already
present. The arch-villain clapped his hands up to cover his exposed
flesh. He fled into the darkness, pausing only to call back;
"Another day, Robin." He hits a self destruct for
the lair. "Another day."
Gears started falling down around them. The building
shook. Robin had to run to avoid the falling machinery. He is
lifted from harms way by his loving Starfire. Raven towed Beastboy
to safety and Cyborg blasted any falling rubble that dared to
threaten him. They got to the door; a rectangle of pure white
against the darkness.
"Let's go home." Robin smiled and they exited the
building. He stopped in surprise, seeing the 3 figures before him.
"How…?" he ran over, leaving the others behind him. He stopped in
front of the tall costumed figure in the middle. "You came." He
said his shock clear.
"Master Robin." Alfred said in his stoic British
tone.Robin flung his arms about the staunch butler, he held him
tightly, surprising the teen onlookers.
"Alfred!" he grinned then slowly released the
"Batgirl!" he went down into a crouch to embrace the
"Please, its Oracle now, bird-boy!" she replied,
then gently kissed his cheek. Now he was back before Batman. He
expected a lecture on what happens when he's off on his own.