Title: Man on the Bench-part one

Author: Simon

Characters: Dick Grayson and Manor crew, plus OC

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Dick's maternal grandfather shows up

Warnings: none

Disclaimers: These guys aren't mine, they don't belong to me, worst luck, so don't bother me.

Archive: Fine, but if you want it, please ask first.

Feedback: Hell, yes.

And thanks to Lisa for the speedy beta…good job, sweetie!

Man on the Bench

Part One

He was sitting in then wooden bench, the one with the bronze end caps some class had given to the school as a parting gift decades ago. He was just sitting there, quietly, calmly watching the children arrive for the start of the school day.

Sipping a cup of coffee in a paper container, he sat there as the various classes went out for their gym periods, playing baseball and running laps.

He was reading a newspaper when the children came out for lunch recess and he was still there when the various parents lined up in the driveway at the end of the day.

He spoke to no one and no one spoke to him. When it seemed that the school was empty he got up, walked to a late model Jaguar sedan and left.

The next day he was back.

About half way through the second day John Denburg, one of the phys Ed teachers watched the man there, wondering about him. The man was gray haired, but not really old, wearing what seemed to be a good suit. His shoes, even from the window, seemed well shined. He didn't look like he was a threat, but it was odd and they had to be so careful with the kids who were enrolled here. St James was a private school and only either the well to do or the well connected were admitted; a good many of the families who sent their children were both the possibility of kidnapping wasn't impossible.

Well, no. It hadn't actually happened, but it easily could and they were all aware of it.

A thirty-something year old woman, a student's mother sat down on the bench beside the man as John was watching. They seemed to be chatting and he saw her point out a particular child on the playground. The man's interest was obvious even from a distance and when he got up and went over to a group of eighth graders. Well, that was enough. John went outside to see what was going on. He stood a few feet away, listening to the man talking to one of the kids—probably the richest in the school.

"I'd have known you in a crowd of a hundred young men, Richard—in a thousand. You look exactly like your mother and your eyes; no one has eyes like her—or me." He was smiling as he said that and he was probably right. Both their eyes, both the man and the boy he had singled out had the same clearest, bluest eyes John had ever seen.

"Excuse me, Dick, do you know this gentleman?"

Dick Grayson looked up, an expression of pure joy on his face. "He's my grandfather."

Skipping his usual ride home in the school van, Dick got back to the manor in Philip Lloyd's Jag, talking almost nonstop and with his grandfather giving as good as he got.

"I saw you perform, did you know that? I must have gone to a dozen shows when you were near enough to wherever I was at the time—you were incredible, son—no, don't look like that, you really were. I knew your father could do all those stunts, but when I saw you and your mother up there—good Lord, I couldn't believe it…and you were, what? Maybe five years old and flying from one trapeze to the other like you were born to it and with Mary—up there like she'd been doing it all her life!"

"You saw us? But you should have come backstage…"

"Well…I know—but I wasn't really… you amazed me, Dick, you really did!"

"Did you know I was the youngest person ever to throw a quad?—there are still only three people in the world who can do it and I'm one of them. Even my Dad couldn't do that. I was eight the first time I performed one in public and I can still…"

"You still do that sort of thing? I had no idea…where…?"

"Oh, y'know, just around, but I could show you when we get to the house, I mean, if you want…"

"Good Lord, yes, show me—show me everything, young man. Time to make up for, that's what we have; too much wasted time to make up for, that's what we have, indeed."

Five minutes later they were walking into the kitchen. "Alfred? You here? I really want you to meet someone—this is Philip Lloyd." A pause and Alfred could swear the young master smiled bigger than he'd ever seen. "He's my grandfather. Grandpa, this is Alfred Pennyworth."

The man put out his hand to shake, a distinguished looking man in a good suit, stern looking but smiling now and with Master Dick's blue eyes. Happy, that's what Alfred saw, the two of them were so happy.

"My gracious, this is an honor, sir."

The man put out his hand to shake, a distinguished looking man in a good suit, stern looking but smiling now and with Master Dick's blue eyes. Happy, that's what Alfred saw, the two of them were so happy.

"My gracious, this is an honor, sir."

"After everything you've done for Dick here, I'm proud to shake your hand, sir."

"May he stay for dinner, Alf? You can, can't you, Grandpa? He should meet Bruce and…"

"Of course he may—Mr. Lloyd, would you do the masters the honor of sharing the evening meal with them?"

"If it's no trouble, thank you, Mr. Pennyworth—and I see you've taught this one decent manners and I thank you for that."

"Grandpa?" And Alfred saw the joy when Dick said that one magical word. "C'mon, I'll show you around, okay?"

"Wait until you meet your cousins—they're just your age and…"

Though it was rare for Alfred to disturb the master at his office, this occasion seemed to warrant a call. Forewarned and forearmed being the watchwords Alfred tried to live by.

"I'm sure you can understand my feelings in this, Mr. Wayne. You've lived with the boy for five years now and I'm more grateful than I can say about what you've done for him but he belongs with his family."

"My. Lloyd, you can't honestly think I'd just hand him over to you, do you?" They were in Bruce's study, the fire crackling softly and Alfred hovering just out of sight in the hall, anxious to hear what was going on. He would have denied it with his dying breath if confronted.

"Of course not. I realize that the two of you have become close and I wouldn't want you to lose touch with one another—he's lost so much already; certainly I'd encourage contact between the two of you, but he's my grandson. I believe I'm the best person to raise him, to make decisions that will guide him as he gets older. He should take his place as part of his own family, get to know us, spend a good deal of time with his grandmother and myself—maybe visit with his aunt and uncle and see what it's like to have a whole group of people who love him."

"Dick has people who love him right here."

"Yes, of course and we're grateful for that, but now he needs to come home."

Not knowing about Alfred's call to Bruce a couple of hours ago, Dick had also called him at the office that afternoon, excited, almost giddy with the news that his mother's father had come to school and spoken to him—was it alright if he had dinner with them? They had so much to talk about and wanted to see where he was living and wanted to meet Bruce and Alfred and see everything and learn everything he could and they could talk about his parents and…it was alright, wasn't it?

Bruce had left the office as soon as he'd hung up, gone home and found out everything he could about Philip Lloyd. There was a bit to know. Yes, Bruce had checked all Dick's relatives when the boy first came to the Manor, but beyond knowing that they weren't involved in anything illegal, didn't want custody and would agree to sign away any claims to Bruce's money he really hadn't paid much attention after the guardianship papers had been approved. He'd made it clear that they could see Dick, have him visit for family functions, call or write him whenever they wanted but almost none of them did. In five years his contact with his blood relatives had consisted of a few mailed Christmas presents, a very few letters or brief phone calls and little else. They became non-entities in his life and Bruce was just as glad. It made things less complicated.

Philip Lloyd, on the other hand was someone who might become a problem.

He was the head partner of a large law firm based in Chicago that specialized in corporate law and offshore mergers and contracts. They listed twenty-seven of the Fortune 500 on their client list. He was a regular lecturer at both Harvard's and Yale's law schools and annually took fifteen of their top students as summer interns. Oh, and his firm had a department which employed some of the best family law people in the country on staff as well.

He was married to his wife of forty-odd years, Carolyn and had a surviving daughter, Patricia, who was also married with three children—Dick's cousins.

The man had the finances and the backing to make serious trouble if he took it into his mind to do so.

The question Bruce had been unable to answer was why he'd shown up now the way he had. Surely a phone call or letter would have been a better, less disruptive way to let them know he wanted to have some kind of relationship with his grandson. Why handle it like this if not to win Dick over before anyone had a chance to sit down and think about this.

And, because Bruce was at heart an honest man, he had to wonder if Philip Lloyd was right. Would Dick be better off with his real family? "But why now? Why didn't you take him in five years ago when his parents were killed? You must know how difficult this will be for him—he's settled here, he likes his school, he has friends and he's thriving. I don't understand why… You were contacted the night the Grayson's were killed and you refused him then. In fact, you refused to even contribute to or attend the funerals and not once in those five years have you ever visited Dick or gone so far as to pick up the phone to ask how he was doing. Why the change of heart?"

"Because it's time—past time, in fact. Five years ago—I'm ashamed at how I reacted then and I was wrong, terribly wrong to cut him off the way I did and, God help me, that's something I've had to live with. I want to correct a terrible wrong I did to that child and to his parents as well." Philip shifted in the leather chair, sipping his wine. "I know it's less than a poor excuse, but I'm embarrassed to say my daughter and I were estranged when she was killed—something that was my own fault, I add. I disapproved of John Grayson, forbade the marriage. She ignored me and I cut her off, removed her from my will and—well, all of it. I did see Dick once, when he was three months old. Mary surprised me at my office with him, hoping for a reconciliation, but I was still angry and, well, I acted badly."

"And now your conscience is bothering you?"

"My conscience has been bothering me since the day she walked out and married Grayson." He took a longer drink of his wine and refilled his glass from the bottle on the tray. "When they were killed—I simply couldn't…I couldn't bear to—I was unable to face…" He hesitated. "I'm ashamed of how I behaved then. I couldn't give Dick a home then because…" Another pause. "I saw his picture in the papers and he looks so very much like Mary—I knew I couldn't have him near me then. Every time I looked at him I'd see her and I couldn't…I wasn't able to bear that and I would have been too hard on him so I, as you know, I stayed away."

Christ, emotional blackmail was the lowest form of… "Surely there are better ways of assuaging your ego than taking a child away from a home where he's happy."

"I loved my daughter, Mr. Wayne. I—regret what I did and now I want to make it up in whatever way I can. Beyond that, Dick is my grandson. I want to make sure he's raised well, that he has whatever he wants and needs. It's not very complicated."

"He's hardly living hand to mouth here." Bruce didn't like the way this was going. All this raw feeling, the emotion made him uncomfortable.

"I'm aware of that, but as good as you've been to him, the fact remains that he's part of my family, my daughter's son and he should be raised by his own blood."

"You realize that…"

Philip held up his hand to stop whatever Bruce was about to say concerning the legalities. "Yes, I know you're his legal guardian, but we both know that this would go through the courts and generate entirely too much publicity which would be bad for Dick. I'm sure we both want to avoid that."

The shoe was about to drop; Bruce had been through enough negotiations to know when someone was making their move. "And you have a suggestion?"

"I propose that you sign over his guardianship to me and my wife, with my daughter and her husband named as seconds should anything happen to us. You would, naturally, be allowed ample visitation and contact."

The gall of the damn man.

"You know as well as I do I won't do that. I would be willing to have you establish a relationship with him, but I'll retain his guardianship."

"Mr. Wayne—he's part of my family."

"And he's part of mine as well, Mr. Lloyd." Bruce wasn't comfortable discussing such things and to do so with a stranger was even harder, but… "Your daughter was his mother but he's my son as much as he was John Grayson's in every way but fact. He belongs here now."

"He belongs with his blood family. Do you want to be the one to explain to him that he can't go home?"

"He is home. Fight me and you'll lose."

"Oh, no, Mr. Wayne. Fight me and Dick loses—and so will you."

They both heard the footsteps in the hallway, despite the thick carpeting. "Bruce, Grandpa? Alfred says dinner is ready." The tension between the two men was obvious and caused Dick pause. "Is something wrong?"

"Your grandfather thinks it would be a good idea for you to visit with your family for a while."

Dick knew there was a whole lot more to whatever was going on than just an innocent family visit. Both men were staring at him as if waiting for him to make some kind of decision.

"Um, okay. That sounds alright." There was more to this than just a long weekend with some new cousins or something. "What's this really about?"

Clearly angry, Bruce eyes fixed at some point just past Dick's shoulder, jaw clenching—not a good sign. Philip Lloyd broke the awkward silence. "Bruce and I were just discussing that I think it would be a good idea for you if you spent more time with your real family, quite a lot more time—got to know us, let us get to know you as well."

"You mean more than just a visit? Like you want me to move or something?" That was it; he'd gotten it in one. "No way. I mean, thanks and everything, but no way."

"Now, son, let's not rule anything out quite yet—there's no reason to make a decision right now—there's plenty of time."

Dick, taught by his mother and Alfred to never be rude, just stared at his grandfather, the stranger in front of him. This was why he'd shown up today? This was what he wanted after five years—no, not five years, fourteen years of nothing? 'Hi, kid, good to see you, pack your bag and let's get going, now you have a real family and we're finally willing to acknowledge that you exist.'


He wouldn't do it. He wouldn't.


They were both looking at him, wanting him to say something but…no. He wouldn't. This was bullshit.

He was the kid here, they were the adults and they were waiting for him to do something, say something, and make a decision that would make them all happy?

A log fell in the fireplace, sparks danced and hissed.

They were the adults—this wasn't right.


"Gentlemen, dinner is ready if you would be so good as to remove yourselves to the dining room."

The dinner was strained, the conversation awkward now that Dick understood that this wasn't just an attempt for his grandfather to merely see him, but to make him understand that the best place for him was with his relatives. Or, as Philip Lloyd kept saying, 'his blood family'.

Sure, he was happy, thrilled, overjoyed to know his real family hadn't completely forgotten him, but to expect him to just pick up and leave?


Wasn't going to happen.

"Why did you disapprove of my father so much that you wouldn't speak to my mother anymore?"

"Dick…I loved Mary so very much. All I wanted, all any of us wanted was for her to be happy and I just didn't think that…"

"That my father was good enough for her. And since I'm half him, I'm not good enough, either so you waited fourteen years before introducing yourself."

"Of course not…"

Shaking his head, Dick mumbled 'excuse me' and left the room. Philip, embarrassed, said he knew he should be going and apologized for the upset—he truly hadn't meant to cause trouble for anyone in the house—disingenuous as that may sound—and would be in touch the next day.

Bruce nodded—how could the man say such garbage and think it went unnoticed? Whether or not he wanted Dick for himself, as a member of the family or had some ulterior motive, surely he had to know this was the worst possible way to go about it. Bruce saw Lloyd to the door, watched the car's lights recede down the driveway then went looking for Dick.

After a quick search he saw the lights on in the gym located in the far wing of the Manor and made his way there, finding Dick on the high bar going through a routine he was improvising as he went along. It was one of Dick's standard ways to let off steam; going up on the bar and working till he had exorcized whatever was troubling him. This time it was with a series of advanced moves, giant swings and release to catch tricks Bruce doubted anyone else in the world could do; and certainly not with Dick's style, grace and ability.

He amazed even Bruce when he worked like this; no one could move like that, no one. And Dick was only fourteen, by the time he was twenty, there wouldn't be a gymnast in the world who would be anywhere close to his abilities.

Finally, after many long minutes of constant movement Dick ended with a series of increasingly fast giant swings to release, tuck and turned his quad, sticking the landing, arms raised as his parents had taught him.

Slowly, breathing only slightly harder than usual, he lowered his arms and looked calmly at Bruce standing at the edge of the mat.

"Not now, alright? Talk to me about it tomorrow."

Dick walked up to his room for a shower, homework and bed.

"With all respect, sir, I fear you must consider that this might well be the right thing for the young master, no matter how we may feel about the possibility. As Mr. Lloyd professed, he is the lad's grandfather, after all."

That brought almost a half smile to Bruce. "You're more of a grandfather to him than that man, Alfred and Dick would agree if we asked him."

"I would never presume, sir."

"You don't have to; a fact is a fact."

The next morning was Saturday, a later start to the day than during the week. Around eight-thirty Bruce sat down to breakfast with Dick, who started without preamble.

"Bruce, I don't know what to do about this. He's my grandfather and that's important. I want to get to know him and the others but I don't want to give up what I have here with you and Alfred. And I don't want to give up Robin and I'd have to if I left here."

That was so like Dick to state simply and concisely how he saw the problem and his thoughts on it. So like him.

"There's no reason you'd have to—so long as you were here. You know as well as I do that if you were to live with one of your relatives in Connecticut it would simply become too complicated for…"

"I know." Dick was moving his eggs around with his fork. "But I want to be part of them—they're my family, he's my mother's father."

Of course, and Dick still missed his parents desperately even if he almost never talked about them. "There's no reason why you couldn't visit them when you want; they're not that far away—less than two hours. That wouldn't be a problem."

"I know that, but he wants me to either move in with him or my cousins and I don't know if I want to. They're total strangers and they threw out my Mom when she hooked up with my father." More egg playing, this time with a piece of bacon. "That sucks."

"I don't know if Alfred would agree with your terminology, but you're right; that sucks." Bruce took a drink of his orange juice—fresh squeezed using the old hand squeezer that had been in the kitchen since he was a child. "The obvious thing would be to go see them, maybe spend a weekend to start, see how you get along. Maybe some of the questions you have would be answered for you."

Still drawing pictures with his bacon and eggs, Dick nodded. "That would probably be a good idea. Um, I'll go call them—if it's alright could I get a ride?"

"Of course."

A decision made, Dick ate what was on his plate, destroying the piece of art he'd been working on.

Ten minutes after that he came back into the dining room. "I just spoke to my aunt. She says that since it's a long weekend, I should join them; they were all about to go skiing, so could I meet them up at Butternut?"

"In Massachusetts? Sure—do you know where they're staying up there?"

"The said they own a condo and that they have enough room."

"Alright, look, that has to be more than a three hour drive and it's after nine now. Why don't I send you up in the chopper?"

"God, Bruce—no! They'll think I'm a rich jackass if I show up in a Wayne helicopter."

Of course. He should have thought about that.

"Okay. Well, unfortunately I have to work—a meeting I can't cancel at the last minute and I'd rather Alfred didn't have to make a long drive like that. I'll call Tom and have him drive you."

Tom was one of Bruce's many flunkies—he would be okay with it and Dick liked the man. "Fine—thank you. I'll call them back to tell them I can go and get packed—I shouldn't be long."

Less than an hour later he was loaded into the car and heading north to meet who was left of his family.