Just tweaking canon a bit...
Thank you, Djinn, for the beta.
"Who Is Dick Grayson"
Dick stared at the schematics of the new commercial airliner on his desk, his pet project since he'd started this job. But his mind was elsewhere.
He looked up, wondered how many times she'd said his name. He shouldn't have allowed himself to get distracted, but he needed to think. "Yes?"
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but these came by courier from Wayne Enterprises. They need your signature."
"Thank you, Cindy."
Dick took the large envelope and emptied the stack of papers inside onto his desk. He grabbed the yellow post-it note stuck on the top.
"I need to see you. B."
How convenient that he would want to talk now.
Dick had known that working at Wayne Enterprises could pose a problem, even if it was a subsidiary company located in New York City. It was still Bruce's company. Was he a fool to listen to Bruce and believe that the company was his, too? He'd fought the idea for a long time. But since the adoption, and the mess he'd made of his life in Bludhaven, he was allowing himself believe it.
He thumbed through the pages, signing the areas indicated with tabs, than sank down into his chair, thinking…remembering.
"As my heir, you need to learn the ins and outs of the company. Even if you decide not to establish a career within Wayne Enterprises, you need to be more familiar with its activities in order to oversee its interests."
Bruce's heir. Or just another way to control Dick?
"There needs to be a contingency plan in case anything should happen to me. You're it."
"And if I say no?"
Bruce smirked. "Then you'd miss out on testing some pretty amazing birds."
"Birds? You'd send me to New York? To Wayne Aeronautics?"
"I don't see why you can't have fun while you learn the ropes."
And oh how he had been having fun. He got to fly, both as Dick Grayson and Nightwing. His life finally seemed to be back on track. New York City certainly wasn't Bludhaven, but there was plenty for a vigilante to sink his teeth into.
But then, Dick was offered membership consideration in the Justice League. And Bruce got scared. And controlling. And they argued.
"You don't have the time to devote to the League."
"That's for me to determine."
"Not as long as you work for me."
"For you? Is that the real reason you wanted me at WE? To control me?"
"Clark shouldn't have made the offer before consulting with me."
"From what I understand, you're not on the League's recruitment board. And I can make this decision on my own."
"I don't want you to join and that's final."
"This isn't about what you want."
"It won't happen. Not in this lifetime."
Dick had walked away, no longer willing to fall back into the all too familiar routine that he and Bruce seemed intent on playing out again and again. He was an adult and he was determined to behave as one. Even with Bruce.
He checked his watch. Bruce should be home by now.
He walked to the door, grabbed his jacket and went home to change. Nightwing was going to Gotham.
Membership in the Justice League was not to be taken lightly, especially by members who didn't have special powers to fight the foes that usually attracted the League. Bruce knew this all too well. So did Dick. But he was afraid for Dick, nonetheless. And as usual, he'd let that fear drive his son away.
Bruce heard the unmistakable sound of Dick's motorcycle and looked up to see his son enter the main cavern of the cave. "You came."
Dick dismounted the bike, took off his helmet, and placed it on the seat. "You asked to see me. Is there a reason that I shouldn't have come?"
"After last night…"
"We had a difference of opinion, Bruce. That shouldn't change our relationship. Unless we let it."
Bruce pulled the cowl from his head. Even though what he had to say was between Batman and Nightwing, he needed to do this as Bruce Wayne. He owed Dick that much.
"I'm going to the Watchtower and…I thought…" He lowered his head. It had always been easier to talk to Dick without having to actually look into his eyes. Especially when Bruce was being contrite. "Maybe it's time we make it official."
Dick grinned. "The Justice League?"
A bigger grin. "Really?"
Another nod, then a sigh. "Really."
Dick's grin faded. Now he looked suspicious. "Why the change of heart? You were pretty adamant about me never joining the League. I believe your exact words were, 'not in this lifetime.'"
Bruce shrugged. "I was a bit harsh."
Dick clutched at his chest while flinging his arm out in an exaggerated gesture of a heart-attack.
"I can't. It's just too much."
"I can change my mind."
Dick straightened. "Oh, all right. It's just that it's not everyday you admit that you were wrong."
"I did no such thing."
"Yes, you did."
"No, I didn't," Bruce said, pulling the cowl back on and heading to the cave's teleporter tube.
Dick followed. "Did, too."
Bruce activated the device, but not before he was able to get in, "Did not."
The transport from the cave to the Watchtower seemed routine, although Dick hadn't used the tube as much as Bruce had, who seemed to think that something was terribly wrong.
"What happened?" Bruce's hand worked over the controls next to the technician in the transporter room.
"I'm not sure. I'm running a diagnostics of the system. If something's wrong, it should show up there."
"Something is wrong. If the diagnostics comes back clean, run it again."
The soft swoosh of the mechanical doors had Dick turning to face Superman.
"Nightwing. I heard you'd be here today." Superman turned to see Bruce and the technician studying the control system. "Something wrong?"
"There was an extra thirty second delay in transport."
"Thirty seconds? Doesn't sound too serious. Any ideas, Mike?" Clark placed his hand on the technician's shoulder.
"You have a reason for being here?" Bruce glared at Clark.
"I just wanted to welcome Nightwing aboard, get him acquainted with the enrollment process, answer any questions he might have."
"That's what I'm here for."
"Well, I was the one who nominated him for membership, I thought I'd…"
"You thought wrong."
Dick knew that the two men were good friends. Knew that Bruce held Clark in the highest esteem, though Bruce certainly would never admit that to Clark. Or anyone else for that matter. Especially when Dick was involved. He was sure that Bruce had never gotten over Dick's childhood idol worship of Clark. The Superman pajamas had probably thrown Bruce over the edge. Dick should feel bad about that, but he didn't.
"I don't see why we all can't go through this process together. Maybe grab some lunch. Besides, I haven't seen Superman in a while. I'd like to catch up," Dick said.
"Good idea. I suggest we start right here." Clark moved next to the technician. "Nightwing, this is Mike. He'll get you started with your own set of security codes for the transporter."
"My own codes."
"Don't let it go to your head. It'll be restricted until you've been accepted as a member."
Bruce had always been the proverbial rain on Dick's parade. But the tone of Bruce's voice wasn't harsh, and Dick could swear he saw a grin trying to spread across Bruce's face. Well, one could hope.
"Right," Dick said.
Batman then faced Superman with "the look", and Dick held back the giggles that threatened to surface.
"Superman. I'd like to see you. In the hallway."
Clark didn't move. Just stood there with that goofy grin of his. He was definitely enjoying this.
Clark walked to the door, and stepped inside the frame with an outstretched arm. "After you."
Bruce grunted and walked past him, into the hall. This was going to be fun.
Dick looked over at the technician who shook his head. "I don't know how you do it."
"Me neither, sometimes," Dick walked over to him. "So, what's with a thirty-second delay?"
"Probably nothing. Can't be too sure with this thing, though. It's best to err on the side of caution."
Dick shivered at the thought of something seriously going wrong with the transporter.
The computer emitted a series of beeps.
"The diagnostics run is complete." Mike scanned the results. "This is interesting. I'm not sure if this has ever happened before?"
"No. A completely normal occurrence for the situation, actually."
Dick really didn't understand the complexities of the Watchtower's transporter and really didn't feel the need to. But he was sure that Mike was going to give him an explanation anyway. Engineers tended to do that.
"Look. Individual genetic codes are siphoned through the computer, where details are filtered out." He turned to Nightwing with a shrug. "So that secret identities remain secret. Anyway, when there is more than one person transporting at a time, the computer automatically separates your genetic codes. Otherwise you may materialize with the wrong arms, legs, or worst yet, combined."
"Isn't that normal? The separation of genetic codes, that is." Suddenly Dick wondered if anyone had been transported with someone else's limbs before.
"Yes, but because you and Batman have genetic familial traits, it took longer than usual. Exactly thirty seconds longer." Mike shrugged. "Now we know the reason behind the delay. Simple biology."
Genetic familial traits? "Biology?"
"Yes. You're Batman's biological son."
Dick's heart dropped and his stomach turned hot.
"Hey. You okay?"
Dick shook himself. "What? No. I just remembered there's somewhere I need to be. Can you send me back?"
"Sure." Mike looked confused, but Dick had to leave. Now.
He took his place in the tube, and Mike sent him back to the cave.
"Where's Nightwing?" Batman asked as he entered the transporter room with Superman.
"He said he had to leave, so I sent him back."
"Did he say why?"
The technician ran a hand through his hair. "I'm not sure. I was just explaining the reason behind the delay and the genetic sequencing that took place when the two of you arrived.
"Genetic sequencing?" Damn
"Yes. The computer took extra precautions in dissemination because of your shared genetics. It was the reason for the thirty sec…"
Bruce had already moved to the transporter. "Send me back. Now!"
"What is it?" Clark was standing in front of him, obviously clueless to what had happened.
Good. Maybe he could keep it that way.
Bruce felt the momentary tingle as his molecules were restructured in the cave. Alfred was waiting.
"Where is he?"
"I sent him upstairs."
Bruce pulled away his cowl. "What did he say?"
"He asked if you were his biological father."
"I have to explain to him…"
Alfred placed a reassuring hand on Bruce's shoulder. "No. He's too angry and confused. I will speak to him, try to explain."
Bruce shook his head. "I should have realized that the transporter could…"
"We both knew that this day would come."
"I was hoping it would never come."
Alfred smiled that smile Bruce remembered from childhood. The smile that Alfred used, telling Bruce that he wasn't fooled for one instant.
"What do I do?"
"Stay in town tonight? I shall call you once I've calmed him down and explained."
Bruce nodded. "Maybe you're right."
Alfred began the climb the up to the Manor. "I usually am."
To be continued...