A Father's Day to Remember
A Sequel to "Lake of Lost Souls"
by AUSSIE NIGHTWRITER
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters. Nightwing and all of his friends belongs to DC comics. I'd be a happy woman if Dick belonged to me...but no such luck. I have not made any profit out of writing this, so please don't sue me. It would not be worth your while.
# # HUGE THANK YOU TO EM for betaing for me.
# This is the promised sequel to the story "Lake of Lost Souls." Sorry it has taken so long.
# I have no medical knowledge so there a bound to be inaccuracies in this story. I invite you to enjoy it for what it is... and rumble about a couple of drop dead gorgeous guys. (G)
Special Thanks: Thank you to all those people who have left such wonderful feedback on my previous stories.
A Father's Day to Remember
Sequel to "Lake of Lost Souls"
Bruce's thoughts refused to form. The powerful hallucinogen pounded in his mind. A series of images were scrolling in front of his eyes.
Dick, eight years old, curled up in his arms asleep.
Robin somersaulting over a thug twice his size.
Nightwing flipping through the air somewhere below him.
Dick lying in hospital, so white and still.
Dick crumpled in the snow, unmoving.
Dick, so small and scared and snuggled up against his chest.
Robin somersaulting to safety.
Nightwing flipping with the grace of the acrobat he was…
Over and over again.
Through the haze, Bruce was aware the truck had stopped.
He was being man-handled again.
Light penetrated his darkness. Despite his grogginess, Batman's razor sharp mind kicked in.
Light… the flap had been pulled up.
Short trip… then again, it could have been hours.
Coldness on his face… snow. He was out of the truck.
He had to get help for Dick. Batman forced his eyes open. He concentrated on focusing his blurry vision. He needed to know where he was.
Open space… another parking lot?
Whiteness… secluded area.
Batman worked harder, his will battling the physical effects of the drug. His vision cleared. His sense of hearing returned.
"… and we'll meet you back here in four hours."
"Fine. Then we get off the island."
A blur from over head. The men gasped.
The blur came into focus, rolled twice and awkwardly rose to his feet.
"Dick!" Bruce cried.
"Now, where were we?" the young man panted. He was supporting his left elbow… a shoulder or collarbone injury, Bruce realized. "Ahhh, I remember. Let go of him and back away."
Bruce's heart soared, but he pushed that aside. He needed to be ready to respond to any signal from his partner.
"How did you get here?" one of Bruce's six captors demanded agape.
"He rode on the roof," another realized.
"Only way to travel," Dick muttered, releasing his elbow and gingerly reaching across his chest to support it. He directed his gaze at Bruce. How much help can you give me? The message was silent, but Bruce knew what Dick needed to know.
Dick's head bobbed. He understood the intense stare. Get ready to duck. "Let him go," Grayson repeated, his eyes flicking very briefly to his hand hanging at his side. Wayne's gaze dropped to it. The hand balled and Dick's index finger shot out of his fist. ONE.
Bruce understood. Dick's other hand lifted and he pointed at the closest man. "You." All of his adversaries focused on the raised hand.
"I don't know who you are, mister, but you really need to walk away." Macintosh nodded to two of his four companions and they started to move left and right.
Dick's middle finger shot out of his hanging fist – TWO. Bruce channeled all of his energy into his spongy legs. The grip of those holding him had eased as they focused on Dick's right hand which arced toward one of the other men. "And you."
"What the hell are you pointing at?"
THREE. Bruce pushed off from his legs, yanking himself free of the two men gripping him. He dived directly forward into the snow. At exactly the same time, Dick Grayson launched into the air, his right leg sweeping out and taking down the two men on either side of Bruce. Dick landed with grunt of pain, one boot on either side of his groggy partner who was struggling to draw himself up onto his elbows.
"Stay down," Grayson ordered, as they were surrounded.
"Who the hell are you?"
"A concerned citizen," Dick murmured, his eyes scanning the mob as they continued to close in. Dick waited another handful of heartbeats and then attacked.
Bruce watched from the ground and even though he was losing the fight against the drug, he was aware enough to tell by the way Dick was moving that his partner was hurt. Nothing was smooth or flowing as it normally would be and his right shoulder was lower, clearly dislocated. However, Dick was a class above his talentless adversaries and he was employing maximum force to achieve the swiftest result. Bruce began to sway as the drug started to overpower him.
It was six to one.
Four… three… His partner was cutting them down, but Dick had tired quickly and his reflexes were slowing with each blow.
Bruce tired to refocus, pressing up onto his knees. He spotted one of the men retreat towards the truck.
Two to one.
Bruce knew he wasn't going to be able to remain conscious much longer, but he needed to stay awake until Dick had the situation completely under control.
Grayson rocketed a punch into the jaw of one of the remaining men sending him to the ground with so many of his companions.
"Give it up," Dick hissed, unable to hide the pain he was in. He pressed his hand across his chest and held it for a few moments before beginning to advance on the final man.
Bruce recognized that his partner didn't have much left. "Just one," he murmured, in slurred encouragement. Out of the corner of his eye, Bruce spotted movement. The man who had run to the truck, reappeared.
There was an explosion of sound in Bruce's ear. Dick threw himself sideways, but his reflexes were sluggish. His body arced, but as the bullet found its mark, Dick's head jerked with the impact and he collapsed.
The shot echoed out.
"Noooo!" Bruce roared. "Dick!" Wayne dragged his heavy body forward. Strength and coordination of movement returned for a fleeting moment and he gathered Dick into his arms.
The drug surged with the release of adrenaline and another hallucination swamped him-- a single phrase pounding in his mind.
Wayne Manor—6 days earlier
Dick blinked at him. "Pardon?"
Bruce smiled a little apprehensively and handed Dick the papers. "How would you feel about me making it official? That's the paper work. You just have to sign. You're my heir anyway… both Batman's and the brainless socialite's," he added, trying to relieve the tension. "I just… it's just a formality, really. Every man wants immortality and I've come to realize that we achieve that through our legacy."
Dick blinked again.
Wayne waited. "Are you okay?"
Dick blinked a third time. Bruce rose from his chair and walked around the huge antique desk to the young man standing on the other side. "Dick?"
"Yes, you can hear me or yes, you've thought it over and are happy to formalize our relationship in the eyes of the law?"
"Yes," Dick repeated in a hollow voice, dropping his eyes to the legal adoption papers he held.
Bruce raised his eyebrows. "Dick?"
"I'm sorry. Formalize it for legal reasons?" Grayson asked, seeming to regain his composure.
Bruce nodded. "I want to make it clear that I'm not asking to become your father. What I'm asking is that you become my legal beneficiary."
"If you're uncomfortable with this, we don't have to do it."
"No, you're uncomfortable, or no you're not uncomfortable?" Bruce tried to clarify. This wasn't going as he had envisaged.
"Bruce, what are you asking me? Do you just want to tie up the Wayne fortune so that no one else can get their hands on it if something happens to you?"
"That's part of it."
"Then why bother? Your will already does that."
Bruce stared at him. A plethora of emotions blanketed Dick's face… not the least of which was hurt, anger and confusion. Bruce swallowed. This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
"I'm already your heir. You just said that."
"And you don't need to worry. I'll carry on Batman's legacy. You must know that."
So, what's this about?" Dick asked, eyeing the adoption papers. "Just legalizing? What does that mean? Just having a second bit of a paper to ensure I'm your beneficiary?"
Bruce's face contorted. "Yes… well, yes… no, not completely."
"Then what's it about?" The accusatory look on Dick's face cut Bruce to the core.
"I just want to make everything right! If you sign the papers, you'll legally be my heir. No one will ever be able to question it." No one would ever be able to question what he felt for Dick. The words exploded out of him with volume.
Grayson's eyes widened briefly and he opened his mouth to speak but closed it slowly. Hurt melted into his features. He looked so vulnerable.
Bruce was utterly confused. "Dick, I didn't mean to snap at you. I just…"
"No, it's fine," Grayson dismissed, his voice unnaturally even. "I understand. If anything happened to you there may be challenges to the will and if I'm your legal heir in name also, no one will be able to question it. It's okay. I get it. Sure, I'll sign." He placed the papers on the desk and reached for a pen. The one that he picked up was scarred from use, but the inscription was still clear. He paused staring down at it. "I gave you this a long time ago."
Bruce nodded. Still he searched his mind to understand Dick's reaction. He'd been certain that Dick would be happy about the adoption. After all, he'd made it clear that he wasn't trying to take Dick's father's place… that was the most important thing, wasn't it?
"Just a legal formality," Grayson muttered, placing the pen on the paper.
The emphasis on the word 'just' hit Bruce in the face like a flat handed slap. Wayne was stunned. All these years, out of respect for Dick's father and to honor his promise, he'd gone out of his way not to cross that implicit line between guardian and father. How had he got it so wrong? Bruce reached out and stilled Dick's hand. "Wait."
Grayson lifted his face, still trying to maintain the emotionless expression, but he was failing badly. The two men stared at each other, both lost.
"No, Dick," Bruce whispered emotionally. "Not just a formality. God, no. Far from that. Oh, hell." He squeezed the hand under his own. "Many years ago I promised a terrified eight year old boy that I would never try to replace his father."
"When I was finalizing your wardship, some idiot of a social worker commented to you about how wonderful you must feel about having a new father. It traumatized you and so I promised I would never try to replace him. I would be your guardian but never attempt to… that privilege was John Grayson's alone. And rightly or wrongly, that's what I've done all these years. I've honored that promise, despite what I…"
Dick's face twisted with shock and a dozen other emotions.
Wayne swallowed and again squeezed Dick's hand. "Dick, I don't want to encroach on your father's place, but I can't continue to deny…" Bruce struggled to explain. "Quite selfishly, I want… Yes, I want you to be my heir, and yes I want you to carry on Batman's legacy, but that isn't what this is about." He searched for the perfect words, but he couldn't find any that came close to what he wanted to say. His voice became softer as his emotion rose. "I just want you to be my son."
Bruce prayed that would be enough. That Dick would understand. He saw tears gathering in his boy's eyes.
Wayne physically took Dick's shoulders and turned him so they were facing each other. He'd almost stuffed it up. He'd dehumanized the adoption -- reducing it to some sort of emotionless formality. He'd never meant for it to sound like that. In his inept attempt to make it easier on Dick, he'd cheapened it. "I'm sorry I… I should have… "
"It's okay," Dick assured. He nodded, reached up and patted Bruce's arm before turning and signing the document. Grayson's breathing had become rapid. Slowly he straightened up, still focused on the signatures.
Wayne smiled, physically turned Dick and wrapped his arms around his boy. "It's a new start. It's what I wanted to do years ago, but I didn't want to force you into something you didn't want. You did sign because you wanted to, didn't you?" he confirmed, stepping back.
Dick's Adam's apple jumped and with a voice rippling with emotion he whispered, "Yes."
Bruce's heart lifted. Dick wanted to be his son.
Pine Village, Havico - The present
Bruce collected Dick into his lethargic arms. Blood. His hand darted out for Dick's neck to check his pulse, but the fingers slid off. "Dick?" The word was screamed in his mind but came out as gibberish.
A shadow fell over him. Pain exploded at the back of his head.
The last thing Bruce saw as he toppled forward over Dick's body was his son's bloodied face.
Continued in part 11
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© January 2006 Aussie Nightwriter. : This relates only to the creative property in this story. The distinctive way the story unfolds, the specific dialogue and unique situations are mine. I acknowledge that some of the characters and settings belong to DC comics. (g) No infrigement of copyright was intended and no profit has been made from this story... so, please don't sue me. It wouldn't be worth your while.