DISCLAIMER: DC owns 'em, unfortunately. If they ever find out about this, they'll probably sue me. Or at least try to take me for a ride... what kind of ancient slang is that, 'take me for a ride'?! That's it. No more Abbott and Costello movies.
Anyway, this is a continuation from Prologue. In that story, Dick says he's fifteen, but I sorta changed it since then. This story starts when he's thirteen and ends when he's fourteen, but other than that everything should stay the same. Sorry 'bout that.
Also (this is the last note, I swear), the content of some of this story may be slightly disturbing, blah-blah-blah, please read with caution. Thank you. Now read.
Taunts. The school days always started with taunts. It never failed—every day when he walked in through those doors, some moron would inevitably shout out "Hey, Circus Boy!" or try to trip him in the hall, or something like that.
Why did summer vacation have to end so fast?
Not that he wasn't used to this. It had been happening every day since he'd started attending this stupid school, and all schools that Bruce had enrolled him in before that.
He was used to it, alright.
But he still hated it.
He couldn't even fight back—oh, no. He couldn't break some guy's nose and tell him to stuff it, though that's certainly what he'd like to do. That would prove what a good fighter he was, prove he wasn't just the resident geek, and possibly give away his other identity. Bruce would flip out if that happened.
Of course, it didn't help that his teachers hated him as much as the students did. They were used to teaching rich kids, and as far as they were concerned, Dick Grayson didn't belong there. He belonged at the circus with the rest of the 'freaks'—they wouldn't mind watching him perform, but actually associating with him was a different matter entirely. The same principle applied to just about anyone else he'd ever met here in Gotham.
Except Barbara and Commissioner Gordon, of course, but that didn't help with the situation at school, especially since Babs was away at college at the moment.
So he had no choice but to live with the taunting and teasing every single school day, probably from now until he finished high school—maybe even college, depending whether he attended an ordinary school or one of these fancy expensive ones filled with stuck-up rich kids.
Maybe he'd just skip college altogether…
No, he couldn't do that. Bruce would murder him.
Bruce, Bruce, Bruce! That's all I hear! Dick thought bitterly. He shoved his books haphazardly into his locker. Actually, all I hear is Bruce ordering me around: 'Do this', 'do that', and then 'do it better'!
Dick slammed his locker door shut and headed for his first class, trying not to stomp his feet as he went.
Does he ever ask me for my opinion about anything? No! All I get are orders, orders and more orders!
He had every right to be angry, really. For the past five years—ever since he was eight years old—Bruce Wayne had been right there. Taking care of him, yes, teaching him things and making sure there was a roof over his head. Unfortunately, these all came at a price.
And, as Dick was soon to find out, a very hefty price it was.
"…Richard, would you mind getting your head out of the clouds and rejoining us here on Earth? Please?"
It wasn't the sound of his teacher's voice that brought him back to reality, but rather the sound of the other students' laughter. And, of course, the fact that the teacher didn't really try to keep them quiet.
"Uh, yes, Professor White?"
"Do you think you can answer the question now, Richard?"
Dick gazed at the blackboard and found a series of chemical elements and compounds with varying charges staring back at him.
Dick mentally cursed. Normally, this would be no problem for him. But since he hadn't really been paying attention, he had no idea what the teacher wanted him to say.
And boy, did he know it.
"Well, Richard?" Professor White said in a slow, calculating tone that made Dick want to hit him over the head with his science book. "Can you answer the question or can't you?"
Dick bit back the sarcastic retort in his throat, shook his head reluctantly, and said shortly, "No, sir."
"Well, then, perhaps someone who has been paying attention can. Yes, Kristin?"
And Kristin proceeded to give him the oxidation numbers for all of the examples on the board.
Dick rolled his eyes. He knew how to do this stuff; it was easy. Of course, now the entire class thought he was an idiot just because he'd spaced out for a moment…
The day didn't get any better, either. As soon as he got home and tried to change out of his school uniform, he quickly discovered that he had outgrown several shirts—not by much, but enough so that he certainly would never be able to wear them again.
No big deal. He had plenty of clothes. But Alfred would probably want to know, so Dick went down to tell him.
He found the elderly butler dusting the study. Unfortunately, Bruce was reading in there as he told Alfred the news.
"Already?" was Bruce's first response.
"Well don't sound so enthusiastic," Dick grumbled. "Personally, I think it's about time I started looking more like a thirteen-year-old." Under his breath, he added darkly, "Even if I don't sound like one…"
Bruce heard that last bit of commentary, but ignored it.
"Getting taller is fine, as long as you gain enough weight to go with it. And the last time I checked, you hadn't gained an ounce. That isn't healthy."
"Oh, Master Bruce, really," Alfred admonished. "The boy will gain weight when his body is ready."
"Thank you, Alfred," agreed Dick.
"I still don't like it," Bruce insisted. "During growth spurts, you need more nutrition than you do normally, and you eat like a bird, Dick, you really do."
"'Like a bird'? You mean like a robin, don't you? How appropriate!"
Bruce sighed, and Dick refrained from rolling his eyes. He knew that his guardian was just worried about him—which was definitely nice to know—but he'd had a pretty lousy day and was in no mood to be picked on.
"Okay, Bruce, fine. If it'll make you feel better, I'll eat a little more, okay?"
"You will do no such thing," Alfred said in as sharp a tone as he ever used. "You are perfectly fine the way you are, and don't let anyone tell you any different. And I mean anyone."
Dick nodded and left the room.
But the seeds of doubt had already been planted. Was he too thin? He had heard that kids usually gained weight before growth spurts so that they'd still be a healthy weight when they shot up four or five inches.
Dick headed into the bathroom and pulled the scale out from under the sink. Then he kicked off his shoes and weighed himself.
At five-foot-one, he weighed one hundred and twenty pounds. Actually, according to BMI, he was at risk of becoming overweight. But that thing didn't account for muscle mass, so Dick didn't really worry about it too much.
So Bruce wanted him to gain a little weight.
So he'd gain weight.
"Master Bruce, really. Telling the boy to eat more? That can be just as unhealthy for him as eating too little."
"I was just telling him the truth, Alfred. And we both know what a picky eater Dick can be, which makes it that much harder for him to gain weight."
"If I may say so, sir, Master Dick is more an overly-healthy eater than a picky one. And might I also remind you who is responsible for his unusual diet?"
"You. You're the one who won't let him have however many sweets in a day."
"…If he's going to be Robin, he has to stay in shape. That means plenty of exercise and a healthy diet."
"Perhaps so, Master Bruce, but if you keep pushing the young sir in this manner, he is likely to end up with an eating disorder."
"Don't be ridiculous, Alfred. Dick is much too sensible for that."
This is just to set the stage a little. Give you a sneak peek into Dick's life. It gets better, I swear! Oh, and I don't really know how much Dick weighs at that age, I just used the Body Mass Index to find a sensible weight. I don't know how tall he was, either. But gymnasts are short, and five-one is short, and he's still got growing to do, so whatever.
Please review, but be nice. It's almost the holidays already. I'm being nice by posting, so you be nice in your reviews, or else Santy Claus is gonna put coal in your stocking. ;-)