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Villain to Hero
by Onyx

Starla sat alone in her room, hiding from the party downstairs. It wasn't really her room; the house belonged to Zoe DiGovanni, a friend of Alaska Del La Rocha, who was a friend and member of the Gypsy Mafia. Counting in Starla, there were about 13 Gypsies, and since they all lived in the same house, noone really "owned" a room.

Loud music blared from the front room. Starla cringed at the sound of it. During the day, when Alaska was at home, only oldies music was
played-Alaska hated anything in music that was new. That meant stuff from 10 years ago way back to the 1960's, especially 80's and early 90's, and Starla was used to that.

The reason she was hiding from the party was because she didn't like any of the people invited. They all came from bars-regular and kareoke. At this moment, they were singing along to bad music, moshing, and completly trashing the house. Alaska was going to be pissed. So was Zoe. She'd be coming home from a hard day's work as a paramedic, expecting dinner and then wanting to go to sleep.

Alaska had some wierd problem with being dirty. She took 3 or 4 showers a day, folded her clothes before putting them in the dirty laundry pile, and washed her hands too many times a day to be counted, often to the point of making them bleed. She had a fit if someone didn't use coasters and left water rings on the table. Starla didn't want to be around when she saw the mess that the Gypsy Mafia's latest party had created.

With this in mind, she grabbed her Gypsy Starla costume-black trenchcoat, black steel toed boots, and gray steel mask. She went to the window, and climbed down to the ground. With her costume in a backpack, she hitchhiked her way to the next town.

After hanging out for a while, she decided it was time to go home. She'd been in town for 4 or 5 hours, and it was now 1:30 am.

Luck was not on her side. For all her attempts, she couldn't get a ride home.

"Dammit," she said softly and started to walk. It was going to be a long way home.

She got back into Gotham at about 2 am. After coming to a road where there was no sidewalk, and no place to walk but right in the road, she spied a dead orchardy-woodsy looking place. It looked sorta spooky, but Starla would rather be spooked than roadkill. She crossed the road to it, and went under an ancient barbed wire fence, the kind that was three wires held up by a wooden pole. After crossing it, she set across the property, noting happily that it was a shortcut that would get her home faster.

"Cool," she said, not knowing the land she was walking on was private property.

Although it was an innocent mistake that she was walking on private property, the property belonged to Bruce Wayne, and as Starla ventured closer to the house, Ace the Bathound began barking.

"Hey girlie, want to go for a ride?"

Starla turned around, wondering who was talking to her. She was now infront of Bruce Wayne's house, and had been cursing at herself for walking on someone else's property. They had a dog, and it had begun barking. She was afraid the owners would wake up and call the police.

When she saw who was talking to her, a look of fear came to her face. It was Jokerz, two of them, but that was one too many for Starla, who had just turned 13, and didn't know how they fought.

They got off their motorcycles and started walking towards her, their white face makeup seeming to glow in the in the dark night.

Don't run, she thought to herself. They would chase her if she did.

The one with the green hair shoved Starla against the iron fence of Wayne Manor.

"How much do you charge?" he whispered to her.

Bruce Wayne was not happy to be woken at 2am. His dog Ace had been barking, and that was what had woken him up.

"What's the matter, Ace?" he asked. The dog only whined, scratched at the door, and started barking again. Bruce looked out a window, and saw three people in front of his house-a girl and two guys.

He glared at them, even though they couldn't see him. He got dressed, and went out to tell them to get off his property. He didn't like strangers to be there, especially some trouble making teenagers who were out after curfew.

"Hiding out from their parents, no doubt," he said to himself as he walked towards them. "But they can't go bringing their girlfriends here." But that wasn't the case, he discovered, as he came up to them. Two Jokerz, and a girl, who looked about 12 or 13 years old.

"What do you want, old man?" one of the Jokerz asked.

"I've told you before-stay off of my property," Bruce said. He looked at the girl. She was obviously here against her will. Her shirt was torn, and one or both of the guys had been hitting her. Blood trickled from the corner of her mouth, and bruises were starting on her arms.

"Let the girl go," he said, "then leave."

"Hey, we found her," the other Joker said. "Her parents must not care about her very much, or she wouldn't have been out so late, would she?

She's ours now."

The one with the green hair had been at this scene when the Jokerz had ganged up on Terry McGinnis. "You were lucky that last time. You had someone to protect you. But now you don't. What are you going do?" he taunted.

"This," said Bruce, and then he whacked the Joker over the head with his cane.

Starla saw her chance. Now that the Jokerz's attention was turned to the old man, she hit the other on the back with her backpack, which had a few bricks in it, just for cases like this. He wasn't expecting it and fell to the ground with a cry of surprise.

Greenie the Joker looked shocked. "You're gonna be sorry for that," he warned, and he and his buddy got on their motorcycles and left. They left behind a cloud of dust that made Starla sneeze.

Underneath his cool composure, Bruce was also surprised. This girl's attack had been too exact, and planned-looking, to be coincidental. She must have some experience when it came to self defense.

"Are you alright?" he asked the girl. She nodded, embarrassed at having been attacked. If the Gypsy Mafia found out about this, she'd be kicked out for sure. It was a strict code not to go our of the house alone. This was for safety reasons. The Gypsies worked as a team, always.

Starla tried to be optimistic. This man didn't know her, or know she was a Gypsy. She was grateful she'd forgotten she had her costume with her, and left in her bag....

Oh, no. Where was her bag? She looked around, and saw it on the ground. Her costume was in full view, the trademark costume of the Gypsies. Bruce saw it, and his eyes narrowed.

Just when she thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. Starla remembered those eyes. Thought shaped differently, Alaska had the same cold colored eyes.

Starla suddenly realized that this man was Alaska'a grandfather, and also the original Batman.

"So you're a Gypsy," Bruce said calmly. "Where's the rest of your gang?"

"Not here," Starla muttered. She hoped he would let her go without telling anyone what had happened.

"Obviously," Bruce said. "Which one are you?"

Starla looked at him, not knowing what to say. Her real name, the one she'd been born with, was one she no longer used. Now she was simply Gypsy Starla.

Another code in the Gypsy Mafia was to never tell your code name. That is, when you were out of costume. But she'd already broken one rule; would it really matter to break another?

"Starla," she said finally. "My name's Gypsy Starla."

Bruce's expression changed. Starla couldn't read it. Was it disbelief? Contempt?

"A few weeks ago-" he began.

"Yeah, I know," Starla interrupted. "The Gypsy Mafia tried to rob a store. Batman then came, and we captured him, and tied him up, but he got away."

"From what I heard, one of you let him go. He said it was the youngest. Is that you?"

Starla nodded.

He gave her a long look, as if by looking at her, he'd answer all his questions. "Why did you do that?" he asked, his harsh tone softening a bit.

"It was 13 against one. It wasn't a fair fight."

"11 against one," he corrected. "If you let him go, you weren't really gainst him. And Onyx obviously wasn't either." As an afterthought, he
asked, "Is she all right?"

"Yeah. She had to get stitches though. And a shot of some kind, cuz that sword wasn't exactly clean."

"A tetnus shot?"

"Yeah, that's it."

A moment of silence passed, then Bruce said, "I'll give you a ride home."

As they were driving there, Starla suddenly asked, "Is it true?"

"Is what true?"

"That Alaska is your granddaughter?"


"Oh, I forgot; you call her Hannah," Starla suddenly remembered.

"Yeah, it is true," Bruce said. "Is that what she goes by now?"

"That and Onyx the Sorceress, when she's out doing crime."

Starla wanted to ask Bruce more about Alaska. She didn't really know much about her. They'd gone to the same boarding school, but Starla was about four years younger, and in a different grade. And Alaska had been Zodiac's friend, not hers. But Bruce didn't seem to want to talk anymore about it, so she didn't press him.

"What were you doing there all alone?" he asked her.

"I was hanging out in the next town, and didn't have a ride home."

"Where are your parents?"

"I live with my older sister, Zodiac. She's the leader of the Gypsy Mafia."

"And she lets a little kid in a gang?" Bruce's voice had obvious disapproval in it.

"Yeah," Starla said defensively. "But I'm not a little kid! I'm 13 years old."

"Congratulations," Bruce said dryly.

Starla glared at him, but then remembered who she was talking to. "I'm not really a criminal," she insisted. " I only do what the gang tells me
to, so I can stay here. I don't want to go back to Alaska. If they find out I've been gone tonight, they'll kick me out for sure. Then I'll have to go back. So please, don't tell them," she pleaded.

"I won't," he promised, then started asking her a bunch of questions. Questions like, Do you know how to fight, and if so, who taught you? He asked about the gang, and about her sister, and if Starla was in school at the moment, to which she said no.

She didn't know why he was asking all these questions, but she answered all of them.

He dropped her off a block away from the house, so noone would see him. She thanked him for the ride, and was starting to leave, when she heard him call her.


"What?" she asked, turning around.

"Come to my house tonight, at eight."

"Why?" she asked.

"You'll find out," he told her, then drove away.

The house was quiet and dark now. She wasn't sure if that was a good ign or not.

She snuck back into her room easily enough, but was surprised to see Alaska sitting on one of the beds, calmly drinking from a bottle of tequila.

Starla's heart sank. She knows, she thought.

"Out a little late, aren't you?" Alaska asked, her accent a bit harsh from the booze. "Who brought you home?"

"Just someone in town," Starla lied.

Alaska looked at her coldly. For a breif instant, her eyes looked almost exactly like Bruce's, when he'd been talking to the Jokerz. "Liar," she said. "I saw the car, and it was my grandfather. What were you doing with him?"

"Like you said, he brought me home."

"But why him?" Alaska persisted.

"Leave me alone!" Starla yelled. "It's none of your business."

"In case you're wondering," Alaska said, "Noone's here. They all went back to the bar. The only ones who are here are asleep, so you're safe."

"Thank God for that," Starla said, more to herself than to Alaska.

But Alaska heard her. "However, I'M awake," she continued. "And I'm sober enough to remember all this. If you still want to be a Gypsy, you'd better tell me where you've been, and what's going on."

Starla told her everything that happened that night, starting with the party, to having to walk home, to the Jokerz, and finally, ending with Bruce's parting remark.

"What do you think he meant by that?" she asked.

"How should I know?"

"Well, he's your grandfather," Starla pointed out.

"Probably wouldn't admit to it though."

"Actually, I asked him about it, and he said you were. He asked about you, and he even sounded worried about you, you know, about the stabbing."

Alaska truly looked surprised by this. She turned away, but not before Starla saw a look on her face, a very strange one, of total bitterness.

"You're on time. I like that in a person."

Starla was at Bruce's house, a few moments early that night.

"So why do you want me here?" she asked.

They were in the Batcave. Starla thought it was amazing. A huge computer and weapons and stuff, and the Batmobile. But what interested her the most was all the memorabilia from when Bruce was Batman.

When he'd first learned she was a Gypsy, Bruce knew that more likely than not, she probably knew about him being the original Batman, since Onyx was in that gang. No reason to hide it. Besides, she was going to have to be there anyway, for what he was going to have her do.

"If I had called the police, they'd have thrown you in Juvie for sure," he said. Starla nodded, grateful that he hadn't. "Very few Native Americans live in Gotham. They'd have recognized you right away. You not living with your parents would only serve as ammunition to put you there."

"And so?" Starla asked.

"You were out after curfew, and you broke the rules of your gang. Not to mention all you've done with the Gypsy Mafia. You're a little kid, and you SHOULD be punished for that.

"But the police would take it too far, and I doubt your sister would give you a punishment that would fit what you've done. So I'm going to do it for them."

"What are you going to make me do?" Starla asked suspiciously.

"You're going to counteract all the time you've spent doing crime by fighting crime. Stopping muggings, shoplifting, small stuff like that."

"How long?"

"For the same amount of time you've been out as Gypsy Starla-three weeks." He smirked, then said, "Call it Community Service."

"How am I suppose to keep this from the Gypsy Mafia?" Starla asked. Her first thought had been to refuse to do this, but she was afraid he might call the cops on her. He knew who she was, and where she lived.

"You got yourself into this; you get yourself out of it. Tell them you got a job or something." After a moment he added, "And no Gypsy costume until the three weeks are up."

"Great," she said. "Just great. How am I suppose to fight crime? Someone will recognize me if I don't wear a costume."

"I never said don't wear a costume. I only said not to wear your Gypsy costume."

"Well, that's the only costume I have. What am I suppose to wear?"

"This," he said, and picked up a bag that was on the floor. He pulled something out of it. It was the old Robin costume. "Put this on," he said, then go downtown.There's always muggings going on there. Try and stop one, and we'll see what you can do."

Bruce was right. There were a lot of muggings downtown. It was easy for her to stop one though, most of the time the muggers were just people coming out of bars or clubs. After she'd stopped one, Bruce told her she could go home, with the costume.

"I'll call you tomorrow," he said, over the two way radio he'd put with the costume.

After that, he had her downtown stopping muggings every night. She also stopped fights, shoplifting, prostitution, and minor problems on the streets. Copwork. It was actually easy for her to keep her secret from the rest of the Gypsy Mafia. She simply told them she had other plans, and they didn't ask anything else.

He wouldn't let her work with Terry though, because he didn't want her getting hurt doing the big time crimes. But that changed, the last night of her three week stint as Robin, or Robyn, as she preferred it to be spelled.

"Starla, go to the boatdocks immediately," Bruce told her. "Terry's there, and he needs help."

"I'm there," she told him.

Terry was getting his butt kicked, big time. A shipload of illegal drugs had come in, and he was trying to stop it. But the people bringing them in were too many for him. He'd brought all but one of them down, and was at the moment, getting hit over the head with a board.

Suddenly a small figure in a red suit hit the guy from behind, knocking him on the ground.

"What the....." Terry said, not knowing what was going on. Bruce had never really thought it necessary to tell Terry about Starla, as it was suppose to be only temporary.

"Hi," the figure said to Terry. It was a girl, a young one, about 13, and to add to his confusion, she was dressed in the old Robin suit, the one Mr. Wayne had had up in a case in the Batcave.

He wasn't able to say anything, because the guy got up, and went after him again. But this time, with the girl helping him, he was able to bring him down right away.

"Who are you?" he asked, once the guy was down.

"I'm an angel of mercy," she cracked, then said, "I'm the new Robyn."


"That's Robyn with a y," she told him.

Terry's head hurt. "How'd you get the suit?" he asked, still not sure how all this was working.

"Bruce gave it to me."

"Did he?" Terry asked."Wayne," he said, over the radio.

"What?" Bruce asked.

"Is this girl for real?"


"So I've got a sidekick now?"

Robyn looked insulted. "I'm not a sidekick. I'm my own person."

"What she said," Bruce told Terry. "Bring her back in the car."

When they'd returned, Terry dropped Starla off and went back out into town.

"Punishment's over," Bruce told her. "You can go home now."

Starla was silent for a moment. "Do I have to?" she asked.

Bruce looked like he'd expected her to say this. And knowing him, he probably had. "I thought you didn't want to be Robin," he said.

"Well, yeah, at first. But I don't want to go back there. There's nothing there for me. I'd rather stay here, and be Robyn." She then added, "And by the way, it's Robyn with a y."

"Sure it is," Bruce said. "If you want, you can stay here. But just remember, you do what *I* say. That means doing anything I tell you, and
going to school from now on."

"I can handle that," Starla said confidently.

She went home and got her stuff. The Gypsy Mafia was out in the town, and noone was there. She then went back to Bruce's home and moved into a room, wondering what her sister was going to say when she found out Starla was gone.

That night, the TV was on to the news channel. A commercial was about to be shown, and a list of what was coming up on the news was shown first. On the list, one of the topics was called, "The New Robin."

"Hey!" she said. "How many times do I have to say, it's Robyn with a y?!?" She reached into her pocket, and pulled out a tube of lipstick. In bold letters, she wrote ROBYN on the TV screen. "That's better," she said, admiring her handiwork.

There was a new Robyn in town now, and soon, all of Gotham would know about it.



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