The reunion was fully underway and everyone was having a great time. It had been too long since the first team of Young Justice came together as a whole, M'Gann, Conner, Kaldur, Zatanna, Artemis… even Wally even though he was gone his spirit was still there every minute. Dick looked around the room for the first time in a while he finally relaxed seeing that his fellow friends- his family -together. He went into the kitchen to get some more chips for snacks, poured them into a bowl and came into the living space with everyone, as he walked Dick felt a dull pain develop in the back of his head, but took no notice of it since that had happened the last couple of days, the dull pain would start in the back of his head and slowly fade.
Greeted by people around him, Dick was about to set down the bowel, when the dull ache from his head exploded through the whole of his mind, making him drop the bowel shattering on the floor, food and glass going everywhere and eyes drawn to Dick. He fell to the ground in pain, closing his eyes, images flashed before him, most of them were old ones of him and his parents but someone else, someone so precious to him and then it happened; something in his mind snapped, all this information flooded Dick's like a tidal wave. He couldn't take it. He opened his eyes to find tears running down his face from pain and brokenness. Through the blurriness, he could see his friends around him, all of them had concern in their eyes all wanting to help, but they couldn't with what he remembered, nobody was allowed to know, not after…
'No shut up, you need to be alone,' he told himself, as he got off the floor with cuts in his hands from the glass he took that as a grip to the world around him than the one in his mind. Dick brushed off his friends' hands and went to the loose plank on his apartment floor ripped it off the floor and found the iPod with headphones attached, he remembers why it was here for this exact reason. Before anybody could say anything or move Dick rushed to his room closed the door and locked it. He went to the other side of his room and sat on the cold floor, trying to calm the nerves that built up inside him, but that only made it worse, making him retreat deeper into his mind. Before getting lost in it, Dick pulled himself back and with a shaky bloodied hand, he pressed play listening for what the device had to say.
The night was amazing, Dick had done a great job hosting and organising the meet up with what M'Gann put them all as the family. Everyone was having a great time, only did it turn into a broken one when Dick came out with a bowl of chips only to drop the bowl and fall to the ground clutching his head.
Everyone rushed to help; as M'Gann got closer to Dick, there was this energy coming from his mind, it was like she could read his thoughts without the need to go into his mind. She could feel anger and sorrow, but it wasn't new, this pain was old, this pain was from Dick's past. But the scariest part of it was when Dick started to cry, nobody in this group has ever seen Dick cry publicly. If he ever did he would do it by himself. Everyone looked just as shocked as she was to see Dick like this. A few times Conner and Kaldur tried to call Dick and see if he would come back to the reality around him. But then there was a moment where M'Gann felt something rush in Dick she could hear his breath quicken and a little haggard and he started to shake as if he was in shell shock. Only then did this bring him back to reality, or sort of, he still looks like he was in a daze, there but not really. He got up off the floor cutting his hands in the process, Kaldur and Artemis try to help him but he shakes them off and quickly walks to a place on the floor bends down onto his knees and ripped off the floorboard scraping more skin off the top off his fingers. He reached into the hole he created and pulled out a small object that looked like some sort of device. With that, he rose from the floor and rushed to the closest room, which she guessed was his, closing the door half slamming it and the sound of the door locking just after he did.
M'Gann along with everyone else stood there uneasy and unsure of what had happened or what to do. After a few moments of silence, the sound of a phone ringing fills the room and Zatanna pulls out her phone and walks onto the apartment balcony to take it. It makes everybody slowly move to clean up and collect themselves. M'Gann got the dustpan and brush to sweep all the glass and chips. Kaldur and Conner were talking quietly among themselves about the situation that acquired and Artemis went outside to join Zatanna who had finished the phone call but looked on the verge of tears, she said something to Artemis who looked shocked and sorry for what Zatanna said before wrapping her in a hug they stayed like that long enough for the other three to get curious. The two women finally pull away and Artemis comes inside while Zatanna looks out at the view of the night sky outside.
"What's happened now?" M'Gann asked through a telepathy link joined by her, Conner, Kaldur and Artemis.
"Zatara he's- he's dead," Artemis replied, hanging her head low. Zatanna's father was dead meaning that so was Doctor Fate and-
"What!" Conner and Kaldur proclaimed in unison.
"All I've been told that Zatanna just got a phone call from Black Canary that her father was dead and Doctor Fate has been locked away waiting for the next person," Artemis stated.
"Well we shouldn't be standing here talking, we should be comforting her and helping-".
Before M'Gann could finish her sentence a violent thud noise came from the room Dick locked himself into. All eyes went to the room's door, nothing but silence follow the noise,
"I don't hear anything," Conner said after a good ten minutes. Zatanna had just come back inside, her eyes were slightly bloodshot but other than a tear stricken face she took the grief of her father well so far. M'Gann added her to the telepathy link,
"What's going on?" Zatanna asked looking around at everybody staring at the door.
"A noise came from Dick's room, can't be anything good," Conner says out loud this time, now that most of them were all here. Zatanna went up to the door and slightly knocked.
"Richard open the door," she said. Though moments ago she was crying, M'Gann was surprised to hear the authority in her voice let alone use Dick's full name. No response came so Zatanna took that to let herself in.
"Rood eht nepo," Zatanna chanted. Almost immediately the door unlocked itself and swung opened.
The room was quiet and empty, as the group went in, and M'Gann could find that most of the lower part of the wall on the far side of the room's paint had been ripped off. The small device from the floorboards was on the floor a little bloodied, and the window was wide open letting the cool breeze into the room. Dick wasn't in the bathroom nor was there anywhere else in the room, a jacket had been taken out of the drawer leaving a trail of other clothing items hanging out of it. Mean Dick was somewhere other than here and had escaped through the window.
"We need to find him before he something rational," M'Gann voiced for everyone.
They were all about to leave-
"Wait, I should go and find him I think I know what is going on with Dick," Zatanna said, only she didn't explain what. "B-but I don't know if he wants to be known or private so…"
"Yeah we get it," Conner said calmly though his eye locked on the open window.
Zatanna left as soon as possible and as she left, the friends sat down on the couch, all having the same thoughts.
'Dick, what's going on?' M'Gann thought looking around at her fellow friends, all looked like they were in pain, their thoughts radiated into her mind, sorrow, sickness, hope that their friend, their teammate was all right.
Zatanna found Dick in the cemetery a few blocks from his apartment, he was hard to miss, a tall young man with raven black hair and piercing blue eyes. Out of all of the young justice founding members, he was the youngest yet the tallest at this point. As Zatanna approach him, she could see that he was worse than he looked in the apartment, Dick had his head slightly down looking at the graves in front of him, his hands in the pockets of his jacket that was a little raffled and not exactly doing anything because he was visibly shaking not just from the cold.
Zatanna moved slowly and loudly not to startle him yet letting him know that someone was approaching him. She reached him and brushed her shoulder against his arm, making him flinch, surprised that she was there. Seeing his visible feature of Dick's face made Zatanna's heart sink. His eyes were lined red and swollen from crying something she had never seen before, bags were under his eyes making him look older than he really was and he was ghostly pale like he had seen his worst nightmare. His eyes reflected everything that was going on inside, brokenness, and old pain, but she knew these were memories.
"I-I-I'm s-sorry about your dad," Dick whispered still keeping his gaze to the grave. Zatanna snapped right up to his down casted eyes taken aback as she could have sworn they were blood red as in the actual eye was a different colour the iris was blood red, but just as he blinks they went back to a broken looking sky blue.
"H-how did you know, did you hear through the link too," Zatanna said at the same level.
Dick didn't say anything but that, still eyeing the pair of graves in front of him. Looking closer at the grave, she caught sight of who the owners were and held her breath reading the plage tied for both graves:
Here lies: Kipo and John Grayson
They were loved by many,
Siblings, Parents, Partners, Duets,
We will never forget you both,
May they rest in peace and their sprits run wild, free and ever
lasting with us
Zatanna read the plage three times before looking over to Dick,
"Why did my dad take your memories?" she asked causing him to flinch, knowing that her theory was correct. Her father had cast a spell on him to forget certain memories.
"Because I asked him to," Dick simply whispered although there was another meaning behind his words that Zatanna couldn't work out. Before she could push any further a black van rolled up, the windows were tinted with no way to see in. When Dick could sight of the van his eyes widened with panic and backed up two steps before moving his eyes to plead into Zatanna's.
"Z, get out of here," he said his voice was slowly rising from a whisper becoming cracked and croaky.
"Just go," he said his voice rose more and because firmer despite sounding like a frog. Although his eyes were fixed on the parked van, they pleaded despite it.
"Please Zatanna, this isn't your fight," he whispered, his voice soft, but broken like he was made of glass and someone had thrown a stone at him. "I've been hiding for too long, whatever happens, if they come, don't come looking for me, take this and run-" he handed her a USB, scars were already visible on his glass cut hands. But just as the USB was handed over, the van door open, soldiers poured out of the van, in full combat suits, masked covered their faces. Each of them either had a taser stick or a long shot tranquilliser gun. Last to come out was Vandal Savage himself, the scar across the upper part of his face, crinkled as he grinned wickedly down at the two young heroes before him. Zatanna noticed that Savage's view was mostly focused on Dick, almost completely ignoring her.
"It has been too long Red Claw, it is time to see if you still have the potential," the Savage said only it sounded more and more sinister. Dick growled actually growled, like a full predator animal growl. Zatanna backed away a little from Dick without the mask is. His facial expression made him look lethal. His eyes were glowing blue orbs of fire, his mouth was locked in a tight clench as she had first met Superboy and he was still visibly trembling more violently than before. And Red Claw, he was Night Wing… wasn't he?
"Z get out of here NOW!" He shouted at her, frighting her out of her thoughts causing her to scramble away in shock of the situation.
Zatanna got around the first block of buildings before looking back at the cemetery and she saw something that was called impossible for Dick to do. He blinked hard, opening his eyes, they were glowing blood red, his fingernails extended into sharp gleaming ink-black claws and his teeth sharpened. He let out a battle cry that turned into a furious roar the sounded like a lion. Tattoos like red and black jaguar rosettes appeared on the visible skin under his neck and hands. At the roar, a couple of the first ranks of Savage's forces backed up, looking a little intimidated by the new appearance of their target.
Once recovered, Zatanna watched as the ranks piled in on her new superpowered friend, guns raised and sticks crackling, three went for his sides and abdomen with sticks, but Dick was ready he grabbed two at once and snaped them into pieces, the third move quickly though and angled at the lower part of his back sending green shock waves around Dick's body causing him to tense. A gruff noise tore from his throat almost making Zatannna run back and help Dick, but she knew that she couldn't, not without her breaking the trust of her teammate. She watched as Dick swung his hand around, slashing the attacker's headgear with his claws, they went straight through the fabric and first layer of protection knocking it unconscious. Two more stepped in with tranquillising guns shooting rapidly at their target only there was no luck, Dick moved faster than the darts themselves, too fast for even Zatanna to fully see even with a spell. The two firearms were taken down with their own darts that were deflected. The battle ended with only a row of two firearms and three laser sticks left, while ten lying on the ground unconscious or asleep from their own weapons. Zatanna had watched the whole time her eyes never left Dick. Hundreds, upon hundreds of times, had she seen him fight in hand to hand combat, calm and ready, but in this fight, Dick looked more like a beast with rage hot enough to light a fire. Now that he had taken down so many the first shock he got from the sticks wasn't his last either, Dick had suffered another five shocks from what Zatanna had counted. She noticed that he had left the opponents in front of him and scanned the area, only after did Dick freeze.
'What-' started to think, but then it occurred; were was Savage?
A shadow deepen under the faint light in front of Dick, before anybody could fully understand what was happening an inhibitor collar was strapped around Dick's neck making him cough slightly, catching him off balance, only then did Savage appear his own stick in hand connecting it into Dick's back for a good minute before pulling it away and watching with sinister delight when Dick fell to the ground hard. It took all of Zatanna's willpower to not run over to Dick's aid. The five that were left moved in and retrivied him, got into the van with Vandel Savage and drove off, leaving a scatter of bodies all over the cemetery. When the van was out of sight was then when Zatanna rushed out of her hiding spot and to the cemetery.
"Siedob eseth edih," Zatanna chanted. Immediately a vale came over the bodies like glass and they vanished. A surge went through her with the feeling that someone was approaching her.
"Ezeerf ,em dniheb!" she chanted again out of habit. Turning around to find that it was the young hero Static, or Virgil Hawkings without the suit. His eyes were wide open shifting from side to side, with the rest of his body frozen on the spot.
"S-sorry I thought you were someone else," Zatanna sighed. "Esaelp ezeerfnu."
Virgil visibly relaxed only the slightest although the spell wore of and the continue to walk over to her.
"Did you- because I just- Dick, he-" Virgil stammered. Obviously he had been watching as well, only he didn't seem to find the words for it.
"Take a deep breath," Zatanna instructed. A full tensed sigh filled the air letting the energy slowly drift into a comfortable silence. "Why don't you tell me what you saw over a walk."
Zatanna led the Sixteen year old back down the streets, to the apartment. Fortunetly Virgil had seen only the back end of the fight, but that wasn't the problem at hand. One the Light has taken Dick; and two what was she going to tell Zatanna going to tell the others. Griping on the thoughts, clenched her fists at her sides with anger and regret on not helping her friend; her thoughts slowly came to the small hard drive in her hand reading the label: Past.
'Past?' Zatanna thought, repeating the word in her head. 'What past could he be talking about?'
Little did she know, that there was never fire, only Light.