After Alex showered and changed into the PJs Alfred provided, she met with Tim in the kitchen and had a “midnight snack.”
They chatted about school; Tim talked about being the CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Then Alex finally asked the question that’s been jerking at her over the past few days.
“Tim, you said something about Bruce coming back. Coming back from where?”
“Oh man. That is THE longest thing to explain,” he laughed. “Well, remember, like, eight months ago when the Earth was under attack?””
“Yeah, by Darkseid, right?” Alex replied.
Tim looked at Alex in shock, “You know who Darkseid is?”
Alex laughed, “Yeah, now continue your story Mr. Drake!” she ordered.
“Well, Batman, as in Bruce, got captured by Darkseid. Bruce was finally able to hurt Darkseid, like A LOT, but Darkseid shot his ‘Omega Beam’ at Bruce. We all thought he was dead.”
Tim voice went into a whisper.
“And that’s when I left school, and Gotham all together. I knew Bruce was alive. I… had this…feeling that he was alive but the omega beam, that Superman said killed him, actually sent Bruce back in time. With the help of Superman, Green Lantern and other heroes we got Bruce back into present day.”
“That’s…that’s intense!” Alex exclaimed.
“That’s not even the half of it,” Tim laughed. “You should ask Batgirl another time for her cartoon timeline of the bat-family history.” Tim chuckled.
After they ate, the two went back to their separate rooms. Alex woke up at 12 Noon. She changed into the clothes that Alfred put in the closet and went to the kitchen. Alfred was setting the kitchenette table waiting for the rest of the “bat-family.”
Alex found a younger boy balancing on his hands and his feet in the air across from the kitchen.
“You must be Damian, right?” asked Alex, kindly.
“Please. Do not disturb me as I train my mind.” He replied, rudely.
Alex flinched from his pompous response and turned to find Tim behind her.
“Good morning…erm…afternoon.” Tim said. “Damian giving you trouble?” he asked defensively.
“Drake, you forgot your bra in the dryer.” Damian snickered.
Alex couldn’t help but giggle, as well.
“Yeah, Damian. Don’t forget, I can always convince Dick to give you his old Robin costume. You know, the ones without the pants.” Tim winked at Damian and wrapped his arm around Alex’s shoulders.
“You hungry, Alex?”
“STARVING!” she yelled.
Tim smiled. “Good, ‘cause Alfred makes the best omelettes and pancakes on the planet.”
“Really?” Alex asked sarcastically.
“No, I’m actually serious. Superman’s tried ‘em and he said that Alfred’s omelettes and pancakes are the best he’s ever had and he’s eaten in different planets and centuries.” Tim replied in all seriousness.
As the two walked to kitchen table, Alex couldn’t help but notice the shine in Tim’s bright blue eyes and his smell. It wasn’t cologne, it was as if it was a natural scent. A clean smell that Alex could not help but breathe solely from her nostrils so she could continue smelling it.
After “breakfast,” Tim officially introduced Alex to the rest of bat-family as her new secret identity: Black Robin, in the Bat- bunker. She was personally introduced to Dick, Damian, and Stephanie Brown (Batgirl); and through the Bat-computer, to Oracle, the network coordinator for the JLA, JSA, Bat-family, and Birds of Prey.
“It’s great to have you part of the team.” Dick said with an attractive smile.
“You will fight me, soon.” Damian challenged. Tim punched him in the arm.
“We should totally hang out sometime!” Stephanie was friendly.
“Finally, we have an even number of girls and guys.” Joked Oracle.
Alex was unsure of the real name of Oracle but she’ll find out, she thought.
“Where’s Bruce?” Dick asked Tim.
“I think he’s in Hong Kong, oh yeah!” Tim turned to Alex. “There’s one more member but she’s in Hong Kong right now. Not sure when she’ll be back in Gotham but once she’s back I’ll introduce you two.”
Tim drove Alex home but he dropped her off a few streets away from her house. It would be too much to explain if he dropped her off, from journalists to Alex’s parents to neighbours. Alex walked the rest of the way. At the front door she found Zoanne and Jake waiting for her.
“Alex! Where’ve you been?” asked Zoanne. “I’ve been calling you for the past week but no one answers the phone and you haven’t replied to any of my voicemails or emails.” Zo said in worry.
Alex wasn’t expecting her friends from school to show up; She was mostly afraid that Zo had already spoken to her parents and they would know that Alex wasn’t with Zoanne last night.
“How long have you been waiting out here?” Alex asked, ignoring Zo’s questions.
Zo looked at Jake, “I don’t know, like, ten seconds?”
A wave of relief swallowed Alex. Her parents probably aren’t even awake yet. It’s a Saturday afternoon so I don’t blame them if they want to sleep in, they don’t have work today.
“Alex, is everything alright? How are you… recovering?” Jake chose his words wisely.
“I’m fine.” Alex replied coldly.
She found herself repressing her emotions inside her. She realized that it was easier to grieve and express her emotions with Tim, training, hitting bad guys, saving people, and looking for Max’s killers.
“Where were you, Alex? It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon!” Zo lectured.
“I was going to get some groceries but I forgot my money.” Alex lied.
Zoanne’s forehead creased. She was frustrated. Her best friend hasn’t talked to her in a week and she’s worried. Alex has been grieving and Zo feels that she isn’t grieving healthily, if that is possible.
“Can we talk, Alex?” asked Jake. He was also worried.
“Uh, sure. You can come in. Alex unlocked the door with her house key and let her friends in behind her.”
“Is that a new outfit, Alex?” Zo was suspicious.
Shoot! Alex forgot that Alfred got this outfit for her.
Alex, again, pulled a lie out of her butt.
“Heh, the opposite, actually. It’s a really old one.”
Alex sat with her friends in the family room. She could hear movement from her parents’ bedroom. They’re awake.
Alex and her friends talked. They chatted about Max, school, but mostly about Max.
“Have the police found the other guy?” asked Jake.
Alex shook her head, “Nope, they only found the one.”
The conversation continued. Mostly about the crummy job done by the GCPD. Then Zoanne asked,
“When are you coming back to school?”
Alex smiled, “Probably Monday. My parents are finally leaving the house and I’m slowly coming to terms with Max’s death. The other day I was at his grave. And I came to the realization that…” Alex paused. “That he’s gone. It hurts. Oh God, you have no idea what stupid things I’ve done since that afternoon.”
Alex thinks back to sneaking around the GCPD and almost getting arrested by detective Nick for turning on the Bat-signal. She couldn’t help but smirk.
“But, I’m… healing.” Alex concludes.
Zoanne gives Alex a hug, “Listen, if you need ANYthing, you let me know, okay?”
“Thanks, Zo.” Alex hugged back.
Jake stood up and hugged Alex as well. “You know I’m always here for you.” He added.
Alex walked them to the door. Before Jake walked out he leaned in and kissed Alex on the forehead.
Alex accepted it but felt like it was odd. Unlike her and Zo, her and Jake aren’t even close to best friends. Weird.
That day, Alex made her parents dinner and finished her essay and other homework.
Once again, Alex and her parents haven’t said much to each other. Her father looks at her every few minutes and smiles, as if to say “we still love you.” But is there any reason that they shouldn’t still love her, thinks Alex.
As Alex finishes up her homework she hears a beeping sound. She searches around her room and finally hears the sound coming from her pillow. She looks underneath and sees a cell phone. It doesn’t look like any cell phone she’s seen before but she finally flips the screen up and finds a message on the screen:
Meet me in the backyard.
When did Tim put this in her room? She thinks.
“Mami! Papi! I’m going out for a bit. Don’t wait for me, I’m going to be late.”
“Okay, mi angelita. Be careful!” Alex’s father replied.
Alex’s father has seen her train with her sensei and has been told that she can easily handle herself in a fight so he does not worry too much when she goes out at night.
Like the previous night, Alex sits on Tim’s motorcycle and they ride away. However this time, Alex notices, they’re not going to Wayne Tower. Alex sees a sign up ahead that reads “Gotham City limits.” Meaning, they’re going towards Bristol, a rich area on the outskirts of Gotham, also the location of Wayne Manor. They’re going to the Bat-cave.
Tim drives through a hidden path. Alex looks up to see that Tim is driving full-speed into a rock wall. She screams as the bike comes closer to what seems to be her death. Then, all of a sudden, when the bike is about a meter away from the rock, it disappeared. Alex could hear Tim laughing as he continued to drive through the tunnel. Alex turned her head around to see the wall re-appear. Confusion washes over her.
The tunnel leads to the Bat-cave and Tim parks it on the side. Alex gets off, her heart still beating a mile a minute. What the hell was that? She thinks.
Tim takes off his helmet. Laughing.
“Oh man! I wish I took a picture of that!” Tim tries to catch his breath from the laughter.
“Not funny, Mr. Drake!” Alex pouts.
“I’ll have to apologize on behalf of Tim, Alex. He forgets that I have a video of him going through that entrance for the first time.” Bruce says, “I think he screamed louder than you.” He smirked.
“Hey, Mr. Way-“
“Alex, I told you. Call me Bruce.” Bruce interrupted her.
Alex blushed. “Are we training in here tonight?” she asked.
“Not really. There’s a few things we have to do first and then Tim will lead from there.” Bruce turned to Tim, “You can go ahead and go on patrol. Dick is with the JLA [Justice League of America] on a mission and Alfred said Damian’s getting edgy. Take him with you, but keep an eye out on him. And try not to fight, I know he’s a brat but he’s family.” Bruce lectured.
“Aye aye Cap’n” Tim saluted, jokingly.
Once Tim left, Bruce continued.
“Yesterday you showed me that you are mentally and physically capable of this job. Once again, it is dangerous. You…remind me of myself when I was younger. My parents were murdered in front of my eyes when I was a little boy, much younger than you,” Alex could hear the sorrow in his voice. “I vowed on my parents’ grave that I would rid this town of the same evil that took their lives,” Bruce’s voice became grim. “Yesterday you said the same thing. And that is how I know that you can do this. You have the motivation. The heart. The strength. Tim told me about last night, you saved a lot of people out there. And that was in one night, imagine how many people you can save, how many ‘Max’s’ will go home safely to their mothers, fathers and sisters.”
Alex restrained the tears in her eyes as he mentioned Max.
“Before we figure some other things out, I need to explain to you your responsibilities. You will, beyond the best of your abilities, save civilians and criminals. No questions. If a building erupts into a fire, you will go in there and save everyone, unless ordered otherwise.” Bruce’s voice was stern, showing the importance of this, “if The Penguin is drowning, you will jump into the water and save him. That is your duty. You will think strategically and tactically. You must use your training to be able to do this. . .” Bruce continued and Alex listened tentively.
Finally, Bruce asked Alex to follow him. She followed behind him to a corner in the Bat-cave. Bruce held a box in his hands as they walked. Alex could not see a thing, but she followed close behind him because she trusted him. Bruce finally stopped and Alex almost walked into his back. He turned to face her.
Bruce opened up the box. Alex found a candle and a lighter in the box. The candle looked like it has been used before. Alex was confused as to what was happening. Bruce pulled the candle and lighter out of the box and place the box on the ground beside them. Bruce lighted the candle and held in between Alex and himself.
Alex looked at the ground below them and with the help of the candlelight sees a thick layer of dried candle wax.
“Alex, would you please raise your right hand please?”
Alex does as told. Her and Bruce make direct eye contact. Alex pledges her allegiance to the war against crime and to Bruce as the wax on the candle drips. Sealing the vow.
After, Alex and Bruce walk towards a table in the middle of the Bat-cave.
“Your training with Tim and I isn’t enough. “Bruce stated. “We, Tim especially, are not teachers. We cannot teach you everything we know because it is too difficult and there are better ways to learn.” Alex cocked her eyebrow in confusion. “We will be sending you for a week to the ancient city of Nanda Parbat. There, you will learn to control your body and soul to reach your full potential.”
Alex’s jaw-dropped. “What is ‘Nanda Parbat’?” She asks.
“It is a secret city in a country I cannot fully disclose with you. It is the best way to learn and train.”
“Wait, will I be going after we catch The Calculator?”
“Usually, I’d say ‘yes’ but Calculator has been causing us a lot of trouble, and we’re going after him, soon. So, after Calculator is put in jail you will be going. We’ll tell your parents that you’re going on a Wayne Foundation grant to further your education.”
Alex nodded. Wow. How much does this crusade actually cost Bruce Wayne? She wonders.
Alex hears someone behind her clear his throat. Bruce smiles.
“Ahh, I see Alfred has finished.”
Alex turns to see Alfred standing behind her with something in his hand.
“Miss Alex, I present to you your costume.” Alfred formally announces.
He holds it out for her to see. Alex jumps with joy. Her own costume! She screams in her head. She holds herself from screaming from excitement. She doesn’t want to embarrass herself more.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Go put it on!” Bruce says.
Alfred leads Alex to a room in which she could change into her new garments.
Alex puts on the Kevlar reinforced suit. It is similar to Red Robin’s costume but rather than black and red. Alex’s is only black. However, the symbol in the middle is red and she does not have a cowl that fully covers her head. The costume has a domino mask and thin cape. It also includes a utility belt, like all other Bat-family suits, and boots.
She walks out of the room and sees Alfred and Bruce waiting for her.
Alex can’t stop smiling. She’s finally part of the legend, she thinks.
“Woah! Alex! You look amazing!” Tim parks his motorcycle and gives Alex a hug.
“Thank you!” Alex does a pirouette with her cape.
Bruce and Alfred show Alex what each compartment of her utility belt holds, the mini-computer located on the wrist of the costume, and the special features on her mask.
“Now let’s go introduce you to the crooks on the street.” Tim says.
That night, Tim and Alex park the cycle in the Bat-bunker and patrol the streets by swinging.
“How was Robin tonight?” Alex asks Tim, remembering to use code-names in the field.
“A brat as usual. Last time he cut my rope when I was swinging. Almost tore him to bits before Batman showed up.”
Alex laughed at the thought of Tim losing his cool. Tim and Alex did another patrol. It was a quiet night so Tim and Alex decided to dig-in to the school shooting. They swung to a rooftop and talked out their next steps.
“Okay, Black Robin. So Marcus Wright was taken into custody. I talked to Detective Nick and he said that Wright won’t talk. But you and I are sure that Calculator is behind this. Batman told Huntress to stay out of this…for now. Darin Blake escaped capture on the day of the shooting.”
“How are we going to find him?” Alex asks.
“Tonight, your lesson is on interrogation. But first things first, where would Darin be holing up?”
“His mom’s house.” Alex replied. Tim looked at her in surprise. “When I snuck onto the GCPD computer, I was able to access his file. Where he lived, family, all that stuff. It said that his dad died when he was younger but his mom still lives in Gotham.”
“Her name is…umm…” Alex took a moment to remember, “Margaret! That’s it!” she yells with excitement.
“Very impressive. Now let’s ask Oracle where Margaret Blake lives.”
Red Robin uses his comm-link to contact Oracle.
“She has an apartment on Bush Street. 485. Apartment 3B. Let’s go.” He says as he swings from one building to another and Alex follows right behind him.
They land the rooftop of Margaret Blake’s apartment building.
“Alright Black Robin, watch how I do this. Her apartment is on the third floor and,” Tim checks the blueprints of the building with the mini-computer on his wrist. “It’s on the north side of the building. Follow me.”
Red Robin and Black Robin use the fire escape to climb down to the third story window. Red Robin whispers to Alex,
“Reach into the compartment two pockets over from your buckle. You’ll find a mini-laser. Use this laser to make a big enough hole in the window so we can fit through.”
Alex does as instructed and follows behind Tim into the apartment.------Next chapter will be interesting. A lot of emotion as Alex confronts one of the men that pulled the trigger on her brother’s life. Tell me what you think!! J