45) Subliminal Warnings

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Dick, with his hands clenched, watched the man below him laugh uncontrollably. Batman reached towards the boy to lift him up, but he pushed his mentor away with a harsh shove of the hands, and ran for the door.

It may had been his fault that the gas had been released, but it was Joker's fault that it had been there in the first place. His fault that the man had tripped.

And like an idiot, Robin let him go free. Why had he done it again? A foggy image of a female in red and black entered his mind, but he couldn't remember who she was, or why she was at fault, too.

Dick, simply following his instincts, ran towards Joker's direction despite Batman's protests- and the fact that he didn't know where Joker even was.

The green haired man was humming to himself when Dick found him, his back faced towards the young boy. He was shorter than Dick remembered, and alone in an empty plaza, not giving a care about anything in the world. How could he act like he hadn't just held numerous civilians captive and had a man killed?

"Hey," Joker said, his voice strangely solemn. He hadn't bothered to turn around to talk to Robin. "Mad? Well, that's nothing new. For the Batman, I mean. I'm surprised, though. Why come after me alone? You couldn't possibly be plotting something, could you?"

Dick glared at back of the man's head. "Look at me," he spat. He wanted to see the criminal's face before he killed him.

The joker turned around smoothly, and Dick froze.

Joker's face was as ghostly white as ever, but his face... his face wasn't his.

It was Robin's. He even wore the mask and had a little R insignia in his purple tuxedo.

"W-What?" Dick gasped before taking a shaky step backwards.

"What what?" Joker- or was it Robin?- replied with a cock of the head.

"You- you're... you're me!" Dick exclaimed breathily.

The green haired male shook his head with a grim smile. "No, no, no... I'm not you. Robin and little Dickie are different. Robin's a hero. You- well, let's just say that you and Joker are more similar than Robin is."

Dick knitted his brows more than he thought possible. "What are you even saying?"

Joker/Robin gave a dramatic sigh. "You thought I was Joker, and came to kill me. Robin would never take a life. He's a hero, and heroes aren't supposed to kill. But you, Dick- you aren't a hero; and I'm sure you'd kill a certain smiley man and that mobster guy you keep obsessing over if given the chance."

Dick went wide eyed and rigid yet again. "No, I- I wouldn't. Bruce is helping me catch him. And... Robin- or- I mean you- aren't a hero. You couldn't even help save a person on the first day of the job, Robin. You're a failure."

Robin shrugged, slightly hurt but used to it. "Maybe, but you're not so great yourself. Whether it be Dick or Robin- we always seem to let people down, huh?"

Dick bit his lip, looked down at the ground, and tried not to let his eyes water. He was right; he and Dick were screw ups. And though he knew that there were people who looked out for him and cared, he still couldn't help but feel like he didn't deserve it.

"Look, you made me to help people. I think that includes yourself. I haven't done a very good job at it, but let me make it up, okay?" Robin asked with a quiet voice.

Dick shook his head. "No. You- we- messed up enough. Just... leave. Just disappear! I don't want to look at you again. I don't even want to think about you again!"

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