Title: First Meeting
Characters/Pairings: Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Superman
Summary: The newest Robin gets invited to a Justice League gathering. So he goes. Very reluctantly.
Notes: This was partially inspired by this image, which keeps floating around Tumblr and was - until recently - on deviantART. Basically I fell in love with the idea of a little scowly Damian clinging to Dick's leg, and it grew from there.
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The room was too loud, full of excited chatter and bursts of laughter. Damian’s eyes narrowed into a glare behind his mask and he stopped in the doorway, tugging his hood close around his face to drown out the noise and light. Everything was too bright: the bright smiling faces, the bright openness of the room, the bright obnoxious costumes…
He already wanted to go home.
A hand settled on his head and Damian saw a dark cape shift in the corner of his eye.
“Stop being such a grump,” Dick said, and Damian could hear the smile in his voice. “Someone might think you don’t want to be here.”
“I don’t want to be here, Grayson,” he grumbled, his voice too quiet for anyone other than Dick to hear. “It’s pointless.”
“Nonsense,” Dick said. “It’s an honor to be invited to the Watchtower at such a young age. And it’s a large part of your father’s legacy. You could at least act proud, right?” The hand patted his head and Damian tutted and crossed his arms. “Fine,” Dick sighed. “Do what you want. I’m going to say hello to Superman.”
Dick swept past him into the room and Damian suddenly felt very small without the imposing form of Batman at his side. Gritting his teeth, he hurried to follow Dick and curled a hand into his partner’s silken cape, figuring if he was forced to attend this ridiculous function he may as well stay near a familiar face.
He watched the other heroes mingle while Dick made small talk with Superman, who was a lot bigger in person. Damian had always pictured him as an overlarge Boy Scout with a flashy costume and even flashier smile, but this man was really, really big. Almost large enough to be slightly terrifying, despite his kind face.
A quick glance around the room proved that Damian was by far the youngest hero in attendance, but there were a few costumed teenagers socializing nearby. Damian recognized one of them as the speedster Impulse, another as Superboy, and beyond them was – Damian glowered – Red Robin. Tim noticed him looking and gave a grin, but Damian just intensified his glare and turned away.
“So this is him?”
Damian blinked up into bright blue eyes as Superman leaned over to look at him.
Dick rested a hand on Damian’s neck, squeezing reassuringly. Damian huffed and ignored the happy, squiggly feeling in his stomach that came from that gesture.
“Yes,” Dick said, smiling down at Damian. “This is the newest Robin.”
“Scowly little fellow, isn’t he?” Superman said, cocking an eyebrow, and Dick laughed.
“I’ll give you one guess who he gets that from.”
Superman chuckled and held out a hand to Damian. He pitched his voice lower so only the three of them could hear. “Hi, Damian. I’m Clark.”
Damian edged slightly closer to Dick’s legs before reaching out to return the handshake. His own hand was completely dwarfed by Superman’s, although the grip was gentle, and he felt smaller than ever.
“Hello,” he said, knowing that Dick would probably scold him later if he did not at least feign politeness. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
Superman’s smile was blinding. “Right back at you.” Then he straightened to resume his conversation with Dick. Damian felt better without that intense blue gaze on him.
“Hey, Robin,” said a laughing voice, and Damian turned to glower at Tim.
“Red Robin,” he growled.
“Look, why don’t you come meet some of my friends? You can’t spend the whole party clinging to Batman.”
“Watch me,” Damian said, and shifted his grip from Dick’s cape to his leg. It was a testament to Dick’s patience that he barely even reacted, instead only settling a hand on Damian’s shoulder and continuing his conversation with Superman.
“Whatever,” Tim sighed. “But I’ll be over here when you get bored with following Batman around like a lost puppy.”
“Very well,” Damian said, and if his cheeks were slightly flushed because of Tim’s comments, so be it. So what if he wanted to stay near Dick? Batman was one of the only people Damian knew at this ridiculous gathering, and Damian felt better – safer, even, although Damian was hesitant to acknowledge that – around people he knew. It was not because he liked Grayson, of course. It was just because he did not know anyone else, and he was easily the youngest (and smallest) in attendance. It was a survival instinct.
And really, why wouldn’t he stay by Batman? He was Robin, for goodness’ sake. They were partners. They were supposed to stick together, if only for appearances, and Tim must not have been a very good Robin if he suggested otherwise.
Damian looked up to see Dick smiling down at him, blue eyes glinting behind the cowl.
“What?” Damian asked.
“I’m going to go talk to Speedy,” Dick said.
Damian frowned. “So?”
“I kind of need my leg back.”
“Oh. Right.” Damian released his grip on Dick’s leg and damn it, there was that flush again, creeping unbidden to his cheeks.
Dick hadn’t gone more than two steps before he paused and glanced back at Damian expectantly. He held out one dark gloved hand, fingers flaring.
Damian tsked, but he took the proffered hand anyway. Only because Dick expected him to, of course, and it was silly to let an invitation like that go to waste.
The meeting dragged on, with more and more introductions and heroes cooing over the new Robin. Damian wished his death grip on Dick’s hand actually had the effect he intended, but rather than breaking Dick’s fingers and thus forcing him to finally give up and go home, Damian found himself competing in a silent battle of grips, gauntlet versus gauntlet. The roguish grin that kept appearing on Dick’s face despite Damian’s best attempts to crush his hand did not help, either.
Damian was just about to abandon his efforts as futile (and his fingers as numb) when an alarm blared through the Watchtower. All sounds of merriment halted and the older heroes began to converge near a flashing screen across the room.
“What is it?” Damian asked, voice low. He looked up at Dick and watched as the grin faded and the eyes narrowed and the Dark Knight took over.
“A cry for help,” Batman said, and with one last squeeze of Damian’s hand he strode off to join the other senior members of the League, cape flaring behind him.
Irritated, Damian was about to go after him when a hand came down on his shoulder.
“Easy there, tiger,” Tim said. “This isn’t our problem.”
“Of course it is, you twat,” Damian said, brushing Tim’s hand from his shoulder. “Isn’t this what the Justice League is for?”
“You’re not in the League yet, Robin,” Tim said, glaring. “Not even I get involved when the heavy-hitters are available, and –“
Damian turned his scowl from Tim to Batman.
“What?” he growled.
“The alarm is from Gotham,” Batman said. “It’s the Joker. He escaped from Arkham again and he’s already wreaking havoc. The League needs our… expertise. You want to help out?”
Damian smirked. “You really have to ask?”
“That’s what I thought.” Batman turned away, already heading for the door.
Damian flashed Tim a wicked grin and followed Batman out to their waiting ship, and within moments they were on their way back to earth.
Damian looked over at Dick, but his cowled face was hard to read in the dim light of the ship’s cabin.
“For what?” Damian asked.
“For coming with me today. I know stuff like that isn’t really up your alley, but it was nice of you to make an appearance. Bruce is kind of a legend among the League, and quite a few of them were, well…” Dick glanced sidelong at Damian. “Concerned, I guess. About his legacy. But I know the League appreciates being able to put a face to your name now, so… thanks.”
Damian looked back to the glowing controls, unsure of what to say. He fought the urge to fidget and instead clasped his hands in his lap.
“Ah,” he said. “Well, you’re… welcome. I guess.”
They lapsed into silence for a few moments, the world still rushing up to meet them. An instrument pinged, signaling that Gotham was getting closer.
“You ready for this?” Dick asked, and he was Batman again and it was comfortable territory so Damian let himself smile in the dim light of the controls.
“Good. Pound it.”
Damian glared at the offered fist with disapproval. That was not very Batman-like.
“Come on,” Dick goaded, grinning. “You know you want to.”
Damian huffed and tapped his knuckles against Dick’s.
“Happy?” he muttered.
“Thrilled.” The ship landed and the doors hissed open and Dick slid gracefully out. “Come on, Robin,” he said. “We’ve got a Joker to catch.”
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Thanks for reading, guys!