As soon as I've got the final copy of "Go, Tim Go!" finished, I'll post it here. But until then, here's my B-line story, which I somehow managed to finish. ::bowed head: Sorry.
Title: The Mask of Robin
Fandom: DC-verse/Dark Angel
Rating: soft R for language and violence
Disclaimer: I do not own the DC-verse or Dark Angel.
Summary: Robin isn't the only mask that Tim wears. He has more secrets than anyone would ever believe.
ROBIN: "I'm nothing like anybody."
He had fit himself so perfectly into the lifestyle of the Bat that no one even questioned his right to be there. He was Batman's Robin, the Boy Wonder, the Boy Detective, the Bait. But one mask he wore that no one even knew existed was the Betrayer.
He was the perfect Robin and no one ever questioned the sincerity of his presence. They just saw him at the side of Batman and it was all right; he was Robin.
No one ever looked at him with suspicions eyes. Not because they thought he might not really be Robin, anyway.
He didn't have a real name, just a numerical designation: X13-218. That was the identity he had been given since before he was in his test tube. He had seen his own schematics with his gene-structures carefully mapped out in every infinite detail. He knew exactly what he was.
Tim was the name he had given himself. Tim Drake, the name he used when he went out into the world on missions.
Few people would ever look at him and realize what he was truly capable of. Even when he was being Robin, the sidekick of the legendary Batman, most people still insisted on underestimating him.
To the world, he appeared as nothing more than a boy. He may have dressed in a mask and cape, but he was still just a child. No one else saw what else he was, the potential that burned in his veins. They had no idea who he really was.
"Robin, watch out!"
Hearing the panicked cry, he ducked and rolled out of the way with only slightly faster than human speed. The energy blast struck the spot where he had been with a shower of asphalt and smoldering embers.
Tim bounced back to his feet, his staff spinning between his hands. He gave a little grunt as he lashed out, liking the feel of the meaty impact. His blood burned with the desire to destroy his enemies, the predator in him wanting to come out and play.
The fact that he had to hold himself back from really letting go was always so disappointing. The fire inside him urged him to just let go, to truly pit his strength against his enemies and find out who would win. But he couldn't. He had a part to play and there was no room for mistakes.
Whirling with smooth grace, he palmed a batarang and flung it at one of the stormtrooper-clad sentinels taking aim on Cassie's unprotected back. The whistle of the batarang flying through the air was music and the sound of impact beauty unimaginable. He just wished the weapon had had a lethal edge. That would have been so pretty.
Diving out of the way of a set of slashing claws, he felt a fierce joy go through him. This was what he had been made for: the fight. The surging pulse of battle violence. This was why he had been created.
Then all of a sudden everything came apart. Robin was unmasked.
His keen hearing, enhanced by canine DNA, picked up the click of a gun cocking. Spinning around, his eyes focused on the man taking aim from the rooftop a block away. He could almost feel the squeeze of the trigger, the passage of wind as the bullet began its flight, the hissing burn of released gases and...
Shark DNA to tweak his muscle response time. Feline DNA to enhance his mobility. Canine DNA to juice up his sense of smell and hearing. Lizard DNA to make him heal faster and possibly be able to regrow lost limbs. The genetic material of dozens of different animals all merged with the DNA of the greatest human minds of an age.
So when the bullets started flying and his ingrown instincts kicked in, it should have been no surprise what happened next. Except that it was, especially to himself.
His lizard brain took over and he dodged the bullets with a thoroughly inhuman grace and agility, his body bending as though he had no spine as he flipped and spun. His brain calculated the trajectory of the bullets based on the angle of the gun and the estimated wind speed between buildings. His hearing automatically kept track of the click-click-click of the trigger.
And when the rifle finally clicked empty, Tim didn't even hesitate.
Acting on instinct, his predator-self thoroughly in control, his only thought was to kill whoever had attacked him.
He had already been pumped up on battle lust, so he really shouldn't have been that surprised when he slipped his human guise. Because that was one thing he was not--human. Sure, he looked human on the outside and he had human DNA in him, but he was really something else, something better. And some asshole had just tried to take him out of the world.
Moving so fast he was nothing but a blur, he took a running leap from one building to the next and kept on going. The scrape of asphalt beneath his boots was the only sound he made as he raced across one rooftop to the next to the next until he landed in a crouch on the roof of the building the bullets had come from.
"Well aren't you the fast one," a rough male voice said. "What are you, X7, X9?"
A snarl twisted Tim's lips and he leapt into the attack. "X13."
Stewart had been sent backward in time after the foul little turncoat bastard that had so thoroughly destroyed the dream they had had of a better life. It had taken him decades to track the little bastard, but he had finally done it and was about to get revenge for what the punk had done.
But while he had managed to find and use time travel technology, he was still the last of the doomed X5 series. All of the others had been destroyed and Stewart had only managed to survive the Purge by being a coward and going so deep into hiding it was a surprise he had even found himself.
And now he was finally going to face down the Betrayer. But while he was an X5 and thus much faster and stronger than a Normal, his opponent was an X13 and younger and in even fitter shape than himself.
The outcome of the match was already decided before the fight began. And seeing the speed at which his enemy approached, he knew he wasn't going to win. Wasn't going to have even the dubious honor of surviving.
Glaring hatred at the man before him, Tim sprang forward with a snarl of rage.
The older man moved with the blurring speed of a transgenic. And though he would never admit it, Tim felt a thrill at being able to face down one of his own kind, even if the guy was of a different, far inferior classification.
They whirled around each other in a blur of punching fists and lightning-quick kicks. Truly letting go against an opponent for the first time in years, Tim displayed the vast differences between an X5 and an X13.
Moving at such speeds that his feet didn't seem to touch the ground, he kicked and punched and dodged with an almost childish ease.
It was almost pathetic how a mere X5 thought he could face him. Especially since the man was obviously from the pack of X5s that had escaped Manticore I long before they had completed their training. They were still children when they left, well-schooled in the basic combat skills, but miles away from being all that they could be.
Tim had completed his training. With honors.
For a few moments he allowed the man to think that he might actually have a chance. But once that ceased to amuse, he got serious and suddenly everything was different.
He had actually deluded himself into thinking that he might possibly make it out of this alive. That he might actually win.
He should have known the traitor was just playing with him.
The guy might have looked like a kid, but he definitely wasn't childlike. Especially when Stewart was forced to realize that the guy had just been screwing with him.
Suddenly the kid was flying around the roof, moving so fast he was a blur even to Stewart's X5 vision.
A donkey kick hard to his sternum sent Stewart gagging to the ground, trying to force his broken ribs to support his need to breathe.
He managed to stumble to his feet, only to be knocked back down by what might have looked like a playful shove by anyone that hadn't felt it. Stewart hit the ground hard and didn't try to get back up.
"Just... finish it," Stewart gasped, spitting out a gobbet of nearly black blood.
"Oh no," the kid, Robin, said. The blank lenses of his eyes only made things worse, especially when he crouched down and used his zip-line to tie Stewart's arms to his sides and his ankles tight against his buttocks. That close, Stewart caught a clear whiff of the boy before he rose smoothly back to his feet--leather, other peoples' blood, and metal. It was a wonder anyone believed he was a normal human, considering the fact his sweat didn't stink. "You're going to tell me all your secrets, then you're going to die."
"That's right." Robin cruised closer. "So start talking before I show you exactly how much of a monster I am."
Stewart writhed, trying to get back up, but the ropes were too strong and the fire in his heart had burnt out. He had already accepted the fact he wasn't going to make it out of this. His animal instincts were still urging him to fight, but his human self knew it would be no use and that all he could hope for would be the mercy of a quick death.
Lashing out with one leg, Robin kicked Stewart in the thigh. There was the crack of breaking bone, but Stewart managed to grit his teeth and hold in the scream of pain.
The world was nail bright around him, the pain as fresh and sweet as a thousand hammers. His chest, his leg, then the fingers of his left hand, snapping one by one like disjointed music--crack, crack.
So it was no surprise when the words welled up and escaped, telling Robin everything he wanted to know and more. It was a beautiful poetry of pain and truth.
Pretty much all of them had seen Robin's amazing feat of Matrix-like building jumping.
"Whoa, Bats, why didn't you say Robin was a metahuman?" the Flash asked.
"Because he's not," Batman growled, slamming a fist in a man's face.
"Then that wasn't Rob," Superboy said, sounding enlightened.
"Then who was that masked boy?" Kid Flash asked, zipping around faster than the eye could see.
"I don't know," Batman said, trying to think when Robin could have been replaced. Because that was the only explanation. Robin had been replaced by a robot or some kind of shapeshifter.
They had been patrolling Gotham when the call had come in that Lex Luthor was leading an army of metahumans, robots, and human thugs in an invasion of Metropolis that would eventually span out to take over the world.
Superman and Superboy had flown to pick them up in time for them to join the battle.
It was hard fighting for nearly six hours when they had found themselves atop the Aggiela building fighting the last of Luthor's army. Superman was handling Luthor himself.
The embattled superheroes were hard-pressed fighting Luthor's army, because the ones they were facing now were the best of the best, those that had survived everything else.
So when Robin suddenly started dancing across the roof with inhuman speed, dodging bullets, it was highly suspect. And when he took a running leap from one building to the next, one of the heroes would have followed him right then and there if any of them could have been spared. As it was, it was a good fifteen minutes before Batman, Superboy, and Green Lantern made it to Robin's side.
What they saw when they reached the rooftops was as unbelievable as it was true. It was just that none of them had ever expected to see such a thing, not from Robin.
"Holy crap," Kon whispered, which seemed to be all he could manage. His eyes were glued to the sight before them.
Robin had trussed a guy up with his zip-line and was systematically taking him apart one bone at a time.
The man had to be some kind of metahuman because there was no way a normal human could have experienced that much pain without succumbing to the mercy of unconsciousness. But all the man was showing was tightly drawn cords in his neck, hard gritted teeth, and tears slowly tracking down his cheeks. The skin of his face was red from the effort of holding in his screams.
Robin knelt down before the man, pushing his face in close. "Who sent you?"
"You killed the Dream. I volunteered," the man rasped.
"So you don't have any brothers or sisters about to step out of the woodwork and try to off me." More statement than question.
"I... I am the last."
Robin's lips moved in what might have been interpreted as a smile, if the person was blind. "And you are utterly pathetic."
Reaching out with one boy-sized hand, he exerted a negligible seeming amount of effort and there was a sharp CRACK. The man fell to the side like a broken bird, his neck snapped.
"Holy shit!" Kon raced forward to stop Robin, but it was already too late. He had never imagined his friend doing such a thing, which is why he had foolishly hesitated.
Robin whirled around, seeming to notice them for the first time. There was absolutely no sign of guilt or fear on his face.
"Who are you?" Kon demanded. "What did you do with Robin?"
A faint amused quirk shaped those familiar lips. But he said nothing.
Kon growled low in his throat and moved closer, ready to pummel out some answers.
Kon froze at that sharp command, turning his head to shoot Batman a disbelieving look.
"That is Robin. There is no other," Batman said.
"What?" Kon asked.
"When did you know?" Robin asked, rising gracefully to his feet from his crouch. "What made you suspicious?"
Batman snorted. "There have been numerous little things, but I was never sure until now. Just minor concerns."
Robin laughed. "Paranoid old man. You can't trust anyone, even Alfred or yourself. Especially yourself."
"What I can't figure out is what you are or where you came from," Batman said.
"So I guess you think this is story time," Robin said. He suddenly jumped six feet backward to pose gracefully on the roof ledge. "Not." And stepped off.
Kon zipped to where Robin had disappeared, but he was gone.
He turned to Batman. "What the fuck?"
He was angry at himself for blowing his cover. That was such an amateurish thing to do.
No longer having to hold back, he whipped from building to building with a phenomenal show of agility. His grappling hook barely had to grab purchase before he was swinging through the air, his legs curling up to add speed. His feet bounced him from one building to the next and onward until he was sure he had lost all pursuers. Then he came to a landing in an alley and stripped off the Robin suit for normal clothes.
Stalking down the street with a predatory roll to his hips, he felt his mind whirring into high gear. Plans began spinning themselves out of the nothingness as he considered what he should do next.
I'm tired of playing "goody-goody" Tim Drake, he thought. Maybe it's time I be a little more me.
A smirk twisted his lips as he came to a decision.
He had spent years trapped in his roles of Tim Drake and Robin. It was time that he completed his mission once and for all and moved on to something else. Someone else.
I'll just kill Batman and destroy the Justice League, then I can go anywhere and do anything that I want.
Tim Drake, born X13-218 in the labs of Manticore II, headed down the street toward the waiting arms of destiny.
I'm thinking about writing a sequel, and I've already got the idea of a prequel etched out, telling how Tim betrayed the "Dream" and how he ended up coming backward in time.