Title: Irritant
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Batman
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or their world. Wish I did, but I don’t!
Summary: A run-in with Poison Ivy goes horribly wrong for Robin.
Notes: Written for the Sneezefic Fest 2011 Prompt words: ward, blind, improved




When they were caught in the midst of a fight, Batman was single-minded, focused only on capturing a criminal. He seemed aware that Robin was fighting alongside him, but he always left Robin to handle things on his own. Of course, Robin wasn’t about to tell him that sometimes he could use some attention. But sometimes—like this time in particular—he wished he knew how to say it.

Dick screamed for help as the pollen stung his senses. His tongue was numb, his eyes burning hot, and his nose tickling dreadfully. He dropped to his knees, hearing footsteps around him but completely unable to keep track of where Poison Ivy, Batman, and the six henchmen were. All he knew was that he felt wrong and paralyzed in misery. He took several heavy breaths, his throat on fire so bad he thought he might get sick. It was an irritant he had to expel before it ate away at him permanently. It would be just his luck to wind up blind forever from this botched run-in. Dick scrubbed his face, coughing and snuffling, tears leaking from his eyes, face flushed with panic he was trying to keep from showing.


Suddenly, he felt something cold and wet splash his face. “Hold your breath, if you can,” came Bruce’s deep voice, which always seemed deeper and more gravelly when he was in costume. It was a voice that had to be obeyed at any cost. And Dick trusted him absolutely, so he tried. His chest pounded, throbbed. His lungs burned as though they might explode. His hand was pulled away from his face.

But then he felt an ice cold mist against his cheeks, eyelids, lips. He wanted to rub his eyes—needed to rub his eyes—but both his hands were held down to keep him from doing so. He tried to fight, but Bruce was damn strong. And, a second after he gave in, another wave of water struck his face. This time, it wasn’t a light spray or even a splash. It was a jet of water.  It pounded and cleansed and, suddenly, his eyes stopped stinging so fiercely. His skin felt closer to normal as well. Even his breathing improved. He coughed a few times and bent forward.


His nose ran as water rushed down his face, and the spray struck him at just the right angle. The urge to sneeze overwhelmed him. He turned his head, gasping and then giving in as his breath raced uncontrollably. He pitched forward, sneezing ferociously as his system tried to expel the irritant. “That’s it,” Bruce said. “Cough and sneeze as much as you needed to.” The water stopped and a hand rubbed up and down Dick’s back as he sneezed and sneezed and sneezed some more. Even when his nose started feeling better, he still desperately felt like sneezing.


A warm, dry cloth found his face—since when did Batman carry a hanky on his utility belt? Duck snuffled and nuzzled into the fabric, but he continued sneezing for what seemed like hours. Finally, he opened his eyes and blinked at Batman. He sneezed once, but then he opened his eyes again. There was no pain, no burning, no irritation. He cleared his throat. “You should have gone after her.”


Batman looked at him for a long time, eyes narrowed through the slits in his mask. Then came the gruff voice. “You called for help.” He gripped a stunned Robin’s arm, helped him up, and guided him out of the Gotham Arboretum. Dick knew he wasn’t supposed to question the decision again. “Thank you,” he said, before slipping into the passenger seat.


At home, Dick was Bruce’s ward, not his equal, and it seemed that, for once, it wasn’t much different when they were the caped crusaders. But he’d never known Batman to abandon all hope of catching a villain in order to protect Robin and see to his welfare like this. Sure, Dick would have preferred if that Hell he’d just gone through hadn’t cost them. But he had to admit it was a nice for a change.