And here's the next part. I realized that somehow, I had messed up posting parts, so I'm just calling this one 5&6, even though, in reality, it's only post 5. *Sigh* One day, I'll learn how to do math correctly...
Thanks again for all the FB. You guys have made my day again and again.
"Consider this the slip that brought me to my knees." REM
The first thing Cassie noticed was the soft sound, almost like... crying? She shared a look with Cissie, who almost noticed it, and together they headed off into the conference room. The boys, shrugged their shoulders, and followed the girls.
Upon entering the conference room, the teammates found something they never thought they would see. Huddled on the ground by their table was a young looking boy who was softly crying. He seemed completely oblivious to his watchers, lost in some kind of self-depression. Wondergirl silently hovered over to him while the others watched back a bit.
Tim's head jerked up and he was on his feet in a second. He stood on the balls of his feet ready to attack whatever entered. Even through the tears that still ran down his cheeks, the young boy was able to sort out who was in front of him. Embarassed, he quickly adverted his eyes.
Though, without his mask or outfit, Wondergirl still recognized the young teen in front of her. "Robin." Not a question, but an observation.
Taking a deep breath, Tim looked up at Wondergirl attempting to put himself into 'Robin-leader-mode.' He knew he was failing when Cassie looked at him with wide eyes filled with support, concern, and worse of all, a bit of fear. She slowly took a step forward and lowered her voice so only the young teen heard.
Tim looked at the young girl and shook his head.
The rest of the YJ members moved away from their spots and came next to Cassie. Kon cocked his head to the side.
"Rob? Where's the mask?"
Again, Tim just shook his head. He couldn't talk because first off, he didn't know what he would say and second, he didn't trust his voice.
Impulse looked between his teammates and their leader when he noticed something. "Were you crying?"
Of course, the other fighters had noticed this, but had the tact not to say anything, Bart, however didn't. Everyone focused their vision on their leader as his face suddenly fell.
Tim's eyes darted between his teammates and he instantly felt claustrophobic. He opened his mouth trying to find the words to say anything, but ended up looking like a fish out of water. ~Think, Tim, THINK!~
"I... um... it's nothing." The last word was said in the best imitation of a Batman growl he could muster.
Cassie, however, was not daunted. "What's the matter, Robin?"
Timothy Drake felt his breaths shortening and hands start to tremble. Wondergirl noticed this and took a step forward with her hand outstretched. "Robin?"
The young boy felt his hand grasped by Cassie and that contact broke the reserves he had tried to build. "It's awful. Everything's wrong."
Wondergirl looked the leader in his face. "Tell me."
For the moment, Tim forgot that there was anyone else in the room. All he knew is that there was someone here who would listen and not judge him. "My dad found out about Robin."
Impulse turned to Kon and whispered, "I thought Batman already knew that he was Robin." SB quickly elbowed the speedster getting him to shut up.
Tim didn't even notice this whole exchange. "He knows, Cassie. Batman knows he knows, and I'm dead. Dead, dead, dead." The young Robin began to shake his head while chanting.
Wondergirl did the only thing that she could think of. Moving gently, she pulled her leader into a hug. Tim fell against her shoulder and relishing the embrace. The other teens stared on in a stunned silence at their one-time fearless leader who now looked like a scared, lost child.
Finally, Tim's awareness caught up with him and he realized what he was doing. He pushed away from Cassie and took a few steps to create distance between him and everyone else. The young Robin eyes darted around the others in the HQ as his face slowly became redder.
Finally, the young boy looked down at the ground in front of him and sighed, "I'm sorry, it's just that... it's been quite a shock." Cassie frown at the change in Robin's demeanor. Already she could see him bottle up what little emotion he just recently released.
Now, it was Kon's turn to lose tact.
"So, Rob, if your dad knows, you could tell us right?"
Cissie glared sharply at SB and then looked desperately at Cassie hoping her friend could think of something to shut Kon up.
No one, however, needed to say anything because Tim took it completely upon himself.
Minutes before, he was ready to break down sobbing, and as a matter of fact, did. He had even felt sick to his stomach because of the guilty sorrow he felt. Robin felt sorry for himself and lost in the giant world. At the time, the only thing he could do was cry.
Now, though, that feeling of depression was replaced by anger. Not at his dad, or Bruce, or Dick, but at himself. He had gone through berating himself for being stupid, but not he was just furious with himself. Kon's question had just pushed him over the provable edge.
"You want to know who I am? Is that all that matters to you; knowing who I am? Finding out the mysterious identity of the kid behind the Robin mask?" Timothy let the question hang open in the air. By now, he had taken steps closer to Kon and the Boy of Steel was slowly backing away. Without the mask, the dangerous glint in Robin's eyes was quite apparent.
"I've got news for you, Kon. I don't know who I am anymore." Tim stood inches in front of SB. "My father says he doesn't know me anymore. He doesn't see the son he raised in me and I have to agree with him." He turned away from Kon and began pacing. "I've spent so much time as Robin that I lost track of where he ended. The only thing that helped me keep things straight was that my two lives were separated most of the time.
"You guys knew Robin, my dad knew the kid outside of the outfit, but now... now those two have collided. Now, I don't know who I am. If my dad sees me as Robin, what happened to my other half?" Tim, at this point, had stopped pacing and turned back to Kon one more time.
"So, to answer your question, no I can't tell you who I am because I don't know. I just don't KNOW!"
With that, their leader turned and ran full tilt away from the startled teens.
For a small eternity, no one said anything, until Impulse broke the silence. "We should go find him." It was the most adult statement anyone had ever heard Bart say and they were all inclined to agree.
Cissie and Bart took off in the direction that Tim had gone while Cassie floated next to Kon. She looked at with a sad, blank expression on her face. SB looked at his hands.
"I never thought he would freak like that. I didn't mean to have that happen."
Wondergirl sighed. "You owe him an apology." She watched him nod. "Let's go."
The two followed the same trail of their previous teammates.
Tim made his way into the small first aid room that YJHQ held. He found a seat atop of the metal operating beds and sat cross-legged with his head in his hands. He knew his teammates would only be a few seconds behind him and tried to collect his thoughts in that short time. He knew they all had to think he was completely cracked by now. First, they found him out of uniform, then crying, and next he flipped out on Kon practically having a nervous breakdown.
Just as he thought, Cissie and Bart slowly entered the room and looked cautiously at him. For his part, Tim avoided their eyes and stared straight down at his hands. A few more seconds later, Cassie and Kon entered.
SB moved away from the group and got closer to Robin. "I just wanted to say that... I... um... I'm sorry for what I did."
Tim sighed deeply and held up his hand. "It's okay, Kon, I was out of line. I shouldn't have snapped at you-it was unbecoming of me."
No one knew anything to say at that point. The quiet, however, gave Robin time to considered this next action. It was probably not the thing to do, but it was something he had to do.
"Listen, guys, there's something I have to tell you, but it can't leave this room."
Brain quickly working, Cassie was the first to pick up on what their leader was about to do. Acting on impulse, she said the first thing that came to mind: "NO!"
All eyes jerked to her direction, but she paid them no heed and, instead, looked directly at Robin. "Don't do it, Robin. I, as much as anyone, am curious as to who is behind the mask, but not right now. You need to sort things out before you do something this rash. Please think it through and do it another time if you still want to."
Tim looked at Cassie and suddenly felt very proud. She was turning into quite the heroine both in skill and compassion. He gave her a soft smile and slowly nodded his head. He knew what she said was what he should do, all ready things were so confusing and messed up that just randomly giving out his secret would compile things even more.
With a graceful movement, Tim uncurled his legs and hopped to the ground. He looked at each member separately and released, yet another, sigh. "I have to go."
Cissie moved away from Bart and closer to Tim. "Why don't you stay here for a while-forget your troubles."
Robin gave them a sad smile. "I don't think I would be able to forget my troubles. Besides I have a lot of patching up to do."
Tim began to walk away when he heard his name called by Kon and turned back.
"You know, if you ever need someplace to hang we'll be here." Tim nodded in response and made his way to the Redbird.
The rest of the team went off to have their party that suddenly seemed to deflate.
The remainder of the night was spent mainly in silence with their own thoughts occupied on their leader. (Expect for Impulse who's thoughts ranged from elephants to pink boxers).
No sooner had Tim stepped into the Redbird then his communicator start buzzing madly. He took a few calming breaths to get ready whomever was on the other line. He could lose his cool with YJ, but he didn't want to lose it again with someone else that would not be as easy to apologize to. Finally ready, he answered.
"Good, Tim, listen there's a small problem." Barbara's voice filled his car and he felt instant relief that it wasn't Bruce, or worse, Batman.
"What's the trouble?" Tim silently hoped that he would not be needed to go out as Robin right now, because even though he would work as if nothing had been happening, he would feel better spending the evening in deep thought about his future and what he was going to do.
Babs' voice brought him out of his thoughts. "It's your father. I just happened to run across a call he was making to the police. Apparently, he's filing you as a missing person." She heard Tim's groan and was quick to comfort him a bit. "There's nothing to worry about because I intercepted the call and made him believe the police were on it." Barbara's smile carried over in her voice. "Once again, Oracle's super genius saves the day."
At this, Tim left off a small chuckle. "Thanks, I really owe you one. I guess I have to go home now then." The question went unanswered. "I'll talk to you later, I guess."
"Bye, Current Boy Wonder, and have faith, things will work out."
Tim didn't have the heart to laugh at Barbara's optimism, so he said his goodbye and disconnected. Getting into gear, he set off for home with a heavy heart.
Later...father and son confront each other...