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Fanfic / Innocence And Experience

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Following the events of New Years Eve, The Team is feeling every confident about themselves, being trusted with more difficult and dangerous missions and even following Batman on his daily sweeps on Gotham. With Robin swinging around and joking alongside his surrogate father, he couldn't be happier. Suddenly, a powerful energy surge rocks the area, driving the group of heroes to investigate, discovering a strange portal as a man clothed in a white and gray armored suit flies out as it is about to close, but is quickly followed by a boy in a yellow cape and red armor. While the man escapes, the boy falls unconscious on his way out of the portal, only being saved by Superboy's timely intervention. Shocked to see a familiar "R" on the young boy's chest, questions and fear race through The Team, shaking Robin to his core as the boy claims to be Robin before single-handedly defeating the entire Team until Batman intervenes. Thus the story begins.

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Innocence and Experience is a Fan Fic written by redgrass-and-silvertrees. A crossover in which Damian Wayne stumbles into the past while hot on the tail of the time-travelling assassin Epoch, he struggles with a reality in which he does not yet exist and is treated as an aberration by the people he loves most. At the same time, a young and conflicted Dick Grayson wrestles with the idea that he could be replaced as Robin, exacerbating his paternal issues with Bruce.

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Tropes associated with Innocence and Experience include:

  • Affectionate Nickname: As explained under Code Name below, Damian is called Thomas for most of the story to avoid revealing his real name, leading the Team to call him "Tommy" affectionately as they warm up to him. He later receives "Little D" and "Dami" as he does in canon after they learn his real name.
  • Alternate Timeline: It's revealed that Damian's timeline and the one the main Young Justice series takes place in are closely related, but parallel to each other since Epoch can't jump back in time in the same timeline, relying on grandfather paradoxes to affect the timeline he took his contract from. In addition, the final mission of the story ends up with baby Damian being handed off to the Team, thus generating an entirely new timeline where Damian was never raised by the League of Assassins.
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  • Angst: Loads of it in this fic for both Dick and Damian.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Damian lampshades this trope in the face of his father's unwillingness to believe in time travel. Made extra prominent in the second season of the canon show, which features Impulse, a time-travelling speedster and the Flash's grandson.
    Damian: You and your children dress up in colorful costumes and work alongside aliens and super-powered freaks and you're questioning the possibility of time travel?
  • Big Brother Instinct: For all his posturing and envy, Damian panics when he realises Epoch is going after Jason and Tim.
  • Canon Welding: The fic fuses elements of Damian's pre-New 52 life with the Young Justice universe as well elements from New 52.
    • Future Bruce is presumed dead resulting in Dick taking up the mantle of Batman with Damian with the role of Robin.
    • Damian's relationship with future Jason and Tim is from New 52, as it's less Cain and Abel and more Sibling Rivalry.
  • Code Name: To avoid providing unnecessary details about the future, Damian tells his father to call him something so that he won't have to give his real name, with Bruce deciding on "Thomas" after his own father until the end of the story, during which Damian accidentally reveals his real name while falling asleep in the Bioship.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Both Damian and Dick, with the former struggling to overcome the hostility and prejudice towards him while Dick remains hostile towards Damian for much of the story, but both of them begin to open up to one another as they fight alongside each other.
  • Exact Words: Damian relies on this to avoid unleashing butterflies when he's asked questions about the future. He noticeably cringes when he mentions Dick visits Wally quite often.
  • Fantastic Racism: Damian is not cordial with Connor or M'gann until the latter began advocating for him after reading his mind.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Damian and the Team become far more friendly as they work alongside each other, going from wishing he was gone to sad that he has to leave.
  • For Want of a Nail: The story runs on this, focusing on all of the little changes that happen because of Damian's presence in the past. The epilogue basically lists all of the ideas the author has in this altered timeline.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Talia ultimately decides to entrust the infant Damian to Batman, to be raised away from Ra's and the League.
  • Happily Adopted: Dick of course, but his relationship with Bruce is strained because of the revelation of Damian's existence. Jason Todd joins the bunch soon afterward, but averted with Tim, who ultimately stays with his parents despite hanging out the the Waynes and the Team constantly.
  • Heroic Bastard: Damian, as usual, but this fic averts the Rape as Backstory point from the New 52 in favor of the origin of Damian's original backstory in which Bruce and Talia had a brief but intimate relationship together, but Talia told Bruce that she had miscarried, thus preventing him from knowing about Damian.
  • Infant Immortality: Damian goes to great lengths to ensure that this trope remains in effect when Epoch begins targeting a young Jason Todd and Tim Drake.
  • Insufferable Genius: As per canon. Damian easily takes down the entire Team, even Superboy, with relative ease on top of his stand-offish and mouthy behavior. There's also the fact that he uses vocabulary that no ten-year old would normally use.
    Damian: [Upon receiving a farewell cake] The gesture is nonsensical, extinguishing a flame will not change reality nor expedite my journey.
    Dick: [Drolly] Tommy...
    Damian: [more thoughtfully] But the sentiment is appreciated I suppose. This has been an informative trip; while I am anxious to return where I belong, I believe I have come to understand the affection Robin holds for this team.
  • Invincible Hero: Damian never actually loses a fight in the story, either standing down voluntarily or being distracted by something else. This comes to a head in the finale when, he utterly trounces his grandfather in single combat using the lessons taught to him by his adoptive brothers and sister.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Damian as usual, but Dick gets some of this treatment as well due to being rather hostile for much of the earlier chapters until he begins to open up to his little brother.
  • Kid from the Future: Damian, of course. It's downplayed since he's already born in the past but his future version is much more active and important to the plot.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Tim is a Batman fanboy and is very excited to be rescued by him and Robin from Ra's Al Ghul.
  • Last-Name Basis: Damian, as usual. He refuses to refer to anyone by their first names and derisively refers to Conner and M'gann as "clone" and "Martian" respectively. The only exception is Batman, whom he refers to as "Father" as he does in canon.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: How Damian introduces himself to Batman as a proof of trustworthiness.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Epoch's goal, setting him up as the Big Bad of the story until it's revealed that the events of the story were orchestrated by none other than Ra's Al Ghul. In addition, Damian limits the amount of information he provides about the future to avoid polluting the timestream and triggering the butterfly effect, thus invoking this trope.
  • Mama Bear: Catherine Todd's knee-jerk reaction when a Psycho for Hire from the future comes for killing her son? She throws herself in front of him to let Jason run to safety.
    • Talia willingly sabotates her father's army to give the League the time they need to flee with baby Damian in tow.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: Confirmed on the author's Tumblr page.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Damian's attempts to get the Team and the Justice League to listen to him aren't helped by the fact that he's constantly spewing insults at everyone.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Epoch's ranting implies Terry McGinnis humiliated him so much he decided to screw the timeline to prevent Terry ascending as the Batman.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several moments.
    • When Damian learns Catherine Todd was murdered and realizes the true target is actually Jason.
    • Tim's abduction by the League, since it's a major clue pointing at Ra's being The Man Behind the Man.
    • Played for Laughs everytime info about the Batfam is leaked. Poor Bruce's distress is quite obvious with the growing realisation he's going to have a truckload of apprentices.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Dick is rather angry, hostile, and bitter for the first few chapters over Damian's appearance, which serves as one of the major sources of conflict for most of the story.
  • The Plan: Future Ra's actually hired Epoch to kill Jason and abduct Tim to weaken Batman - without the boys, his grip on his morals or his survival instinct would probably be looser, which would be perfect to recruit the Dark Knight or pulling a Kill and Replace by Damian or a brainwashed Tim.
  • Raise Him Right This Time: A darkly villainous variant with Tim's abduction. Since he grows up a genius able to surpass the Batman, Ra's really wants to have him on his side. And since kids are more easily groomed...
    • A more traditionally heroic example with baby Damian, with the epilogue revealing he became a much more normal, well-adjusted kid under his father's custody.
  • Ret Gone: Epoch's MO is to kill his targets in the past so they will have never existed in the future.
  • Screw Destiny: When storming Ra's al Ghul's island, Dick is intent to bring baby Damian back with him, pointing the timeline was already changed and as such his younger brother doesn't have to be raised as a Tyke-Bomb.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Damian does so unintentionally over the course of the story, culminating with his actions causing Talia to hand his infant self to Bruce, thus taking Damian away from the violent upbringing as an assassin. Luckily for Damian, this created an entirely new timeline, keeping him from being blipped out of existence and allowing him to return home.
  • Shout-Out: To Timecop when Wally tackles Damian just as the latter is about to touch his infant self in fear of triggering a mass melding, a paradox, or some other ghastly event. Epoch also references Batman Beyond during his Villainous Breakdown at the end of the story. Damian also leaves notes to warn his father about his own impending death along with Jason's and asks him to look for Cassandra.
  • Smug Super: Epoch is a genuinely terrifying threat, but Jason notes his behaviour reeks of unexperience and easily guesses the villain is doing this job hoping it would be his "big break".
  • Something Only They Would Say: You can see the cogs turning within Tim's head when Robin carelessly drops the same slang word than his favorite babysitter Dick.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: How the team discovers Damian's real name.
  • The Bus Came Back: Epoch is an obscure foe of the Justice League who has rarely appeared since Crisis on Infinite Earths, whose most recent appearance was in a single issue of Convergence. Here he's the driving force of the plot as a time travelling assassin-for-hire who inadvertently brought Damian into the past.
  • The Man Behind the Man: While Epoch is set up as the main antagonist, he is effectively shunted aside in importance by his contractor, Ra's al Ghul, with Epoch himself only being useful as a device to set up the story.
  • Time Travel: The central premise of the story is the fact that Damian is sent back in time to meet the Team and all of the emotional baggage that comes with knowing about the future, not being able to tell anyone, and the hostility and suspicion being placed on him by the people he's grown to care about in the future.
  • Tsundere: Damian, as usual.
    Wally: He likes us, he really likes us!
    Damian: [Glaring] You are a fool, West. You are obnoxious, arrogant, and moronic... But I can see why you are so beloved. You must do your best to keep on surviving.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When all of his plans are ultimately thwarted, Epoch begins to rave about how he meant to wipe out the Batman of Batman Beyond and raging at Damian for ruining them.
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