Half the Fun…
I must give credit to the show Full House and the movie Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and don't come back!) because that's where I got this idea in the first place. So if you recognize parts of this, ya know why. OH and I don't own either of those.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Alfred or Bruce or Dick (aw, nuts!) and I don't own American Airlines. But I DO own everybody else, especially Robin Bowillow. She's one of MY Secret Super Spies and demanded to make a guest appearance in a Bat-fic (she's a bit obsessed. Like me.) To learn more about her, go read my original stuff. You can find the address in my bio, which you'll read or ELSE… ;)
How can teachers talk so much? he thought. They must REALLY like the sound of their own voices!
He felt as if he had been sitting there forever. It might as well have been forever; the teacher's voice droned on and on and on…
She could at least put a little heart into it!
The extremely bored ten-year-old glanced across the room at Jesse Wilder. Blond-haired Jesse was not only the smartest guy in the class, but he was also the brother of the most popular, fifth-grader Matt. Both brothers had even been the presidents of their classes since the third grade, from what he had been able to pick up from conversations in the halls.
He sighed. He had only recently been enrolled in this school and had yet to make more than one friend. And with the way things were going, he wasn't about to make any more anytime soon. He just didn't fit in with the other kids. Why couldn't he be more like Matt or Jesse…?
"Dick!" the teacher fairly yelled, trying to get her daydreaming student to pay attention. "Dick Grayson, I asked you a question!"
Dick snapped to attention. "Uh… yes, Ms. Whitman?"
Ms. Whitman shook her head in frustration. "You didn't hear a word I said, did you, Dick?"
"Well… no ma'am," Dick admitted sheepishly. Several of the other kids in the class giggled, thoroughly enjoying the sight of their new and slightly unusual classmate in trouble—again.
Ms. Whitman sighed. Turning to the rest of the students, she asked, "Can anybody tell Dick what we were just discussing?"
More than a few hands shot up instantly, making Dick feel all the more ridiculous.
"Yes, Jesse?" Ms. Whitman said. Dick cringed. Of all the people in the class, she had had to pick the smartest!
Who wants to bet she did that on purpose? Dick thought with a little sigh. Sometimes, it seemed as if everybody in the whole entire school was against him!
"Ms. Whitman was just saying how she was planning a three-week Spanish course for us," Jesse said. Dick wished he could be more like him, but it wasn't exactly easy when the kids called you 'Circus Boy' all the time. Not that that was a bad thing, but when they said it…
"Thank you, Jesse Wilder," Ms. Whitman nodded with a slight smile of approval. "Yes, I am planning a Spanish course for all of us—ALL of us—and if you each get at least 90 on the quiz at the end, I'll have a special surprise for you."
"In other words, Grayson, don't mess us all up," said Billy, who sat to the left of Dick. The others snickered and Ms. Whitman turned a disapproving eye on them. Dick could feel his face burning and was quite tempted to throw a punch at Billy. After all, wasn't it Billy who had started all the trouble? Wasn't it just last month that Billy had informed the entire school that Dick was formerly a circus star, and then proceeded to announce that only freaks were in the circus? Yes, Dick thought, he'd give just about anything to throw a punch in Billy's stuck-up face right about now.
"Now," said Ms. Whitman loudly. "Let's begin our Spanish course by learning a few of the more common verbs. Repeat after me—hablar, to speak: hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, hablan…"
A month later, Ms. Whitman's fourth-grade class had finished their Spanish course. Grace Winslow—the only friend Dick had managed to make in the past five months—was handing the test papers back along with Nichelle Applegate. Both girls looked rather fidgety and nervous as they placed the papers face-down on the students' desks. They knew that the only way they'd get the surprise was if everyone had gotten at least a ninety… but there was a problem. What if it was a good surprise and someone failed? And what if the surprise was another pop quiz and everyone passed?
They could only hope that things had occurred in their favor.
Once all the test papers had been passed out, Grace and Nichelle sat down and waited for Ms. Whitman to tell them it was alright to look at their scores.
"Now, class," began the middle-aged teacher. "I would like to start out by congratulating the students who DID get over a 90. That was about… five of you."
Dick groaned with the rest of the class. Five out of twenty-three got an A? That was sad. No, pathetic. He just hoped that his score was at least an A-, or Robin's training would probably grind to a halt for about three weeks, or until his grades were back in the As again.
"However," continued Ms. Whitman above the moaning. "I don't think it's fair for the five who worked hard and got As to be punished just because no-one else did. Therefore, along with Miss Eugene and her seven A-students from the fifth grade, I am taking my five A-students on a three-week trip to Mexico."
"Oooh!" "Wow!" "Cool!" "Neato!" "Yay!" cried the class at various intervals, causing Ms. Whitman to hold up her hands for silence.
"Now, I'm going to write the five A-students names on the board. After I do, you may all look at your grades."
Dick could feel butterflies fluttering around his stomach. If he aced this test, he was going to Mexico. If not, he was stuck with a substitute for three weeks. Probably with Billy, Dylan and Peter, too, if he knew them.
Ms. Whitman wrote the first name:
Now why didn't that come as a big surprise? Of course Jesse was going. He always got As. He probably got that highest mark out of everybody, too.
The second name appeared:
There was an excited little squeak from Nichelle as she read her name.
As Tina celebrated silently with pumping fists and mute cheers, Dick could see his chances getting slimmer. If his name didn't show up soon, he would have to explain to Bruce—and, horror of horrors, Alfred!—exactly what had gone wrong and why. That wasn't something Dick ever wanted to do.
Luckily for him, the next name Ms. Whitman wrote on the board was his own:
All the black-haired boy could do was heave a great sigh of relief.
Now that Robin was in no immediate danger of getting his wings clipped, he had room left to hope for Grace Winslow. She was his only friend outside of the Haly Circus, and three weeks without her would be pretty lonely, even in Mexico.
Ms. Whitman wrote the final name on the board:
Dick's face fell a little in disappointment. Grace wasn't going while this idiot Joey was? How unfair could the world get, anyway? He was stuck with Joey Spitball-thrower for three weeks.
"Now you may look at your grades," said Ms. Whitman.
Dick flipped his over without hesitation. In red at the top of the page was… a 100?! How the heck had he gotten everything right when he has guessed half the time? Not wanting to tempt fate, Dick put the paper in his desk.
When he looked up again, Tina was handing out little slips of paper to the five A-students. When Dick got his, he stared at it in half-concealed horror—permission slips! The one thing he had forgotten to count on—the appearance of those dreaded papers!
How did Ms. Whitman actually expect him to get Alfred's permission to go to another country? Bruce was simple enough to get past—a few rounds of begging and the puppy-dog-eyes look and you might as well be packing your stuff already—but Alfred was a different matter altogether! Dick could see his three-week vacation slipping away before his very eyes.
"I only missed it by one point," Grace was moaning on the way to recess that afternoon. "One more point and I would have been going with you. Now I'll be stuck with Billy and Dylan and Peter for three weeks."
"I really wish you were coming, too," agreed Dick, still disappointed.
"Oh, I'm sorry Dickie," Grace apologized. "I didn't mean to take away from what you got. I really am happy for you… and I heard that you got the highest grade out of the whole class!"
"Really?!" Dick answered in astonishment. "Even Jesse?"
"Yeah. I heard Tina telling Janice that he only got a ninety-five."
"Wow," said Dick, suddenly pleased. "And to think I guessed half the time!"
"If only I had guessed as well as you," sighed Grace.
"Well, I wouldn't worry too much," said Dick. "Alfred will never let me go anyway, so I'll be stuck with you."
"I hope not," Grace replied.
Much to Dick's surprise, Alfred was heartily in favor of the trip. He said it would be a very educational experience for the boy and would have signed the slip himself had he been the boy's legal guardian. And had Bruce not objected.
"It's absolutely out of the question!" Bruce was saying as Alfred observed silently.
"But why?" Dick whined.
"You are much too young to be going anywhere without adequate adult supervision, much less to a foreign country—and don't give me that look!"
"But Ms. Whitman and Miss Eugene are coming with us! Pleeeeaaasse?"
"I said 'adequate'. I hardly think two grade-school teachers are 'adequate'. And I told you not to give me that look!"
Dick didn't lose the puppy-dog eyes or the pout he always wore when he wanted something badly enough.
"But Alfred's right! It could be educational, and you're always saying how—"
"I also said you couldn't go! Now that's final!"
Dick looked at the ground and swallowed hard. What had he done to deserve this?!
At the pitiful expression on his ward's face, Bruce could feel his heart melting. How did that boy do that??
Bruce sighed deeply and said, "Don't forget to write."
Dick's head shot up, the begging expression gone and replaced with a smile as bright as sunshine.
"Really?!" Dick raced over and threw his arms around Bruce's waist. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK you!"
Before Bruce had a chance to react, Dick was racing up the stairs, muttering very loudly about what he should bring with him.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Alfred was giving Bruce a rather amused 'you old softie' look. When Bruce caught sight of it, he defended himself:
"What? He's right—it could be educational. And as Robin, he'll need to have a wide range of knowledge about a broad variety of subjects…"
"Of course, Master Bruce," said Alfred knowingly.
End of Part One
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