Chapter 1: Coming Home
It had been a while since Dick Grayson had come home to Gotham City from Bludhaven, and he would be a liar if he said he didn't miss his life here. The life he had as Robin, as a member of Young Justice and all the friends he made and the adventures they had. To be honest Dick missed being a sidekick, because being a full fledged superhero was pretty lonely work for someone so used to having a close-knit group around him at most times in his life. When Bruce called to invite him to the latest fundraiser for Wayne Enterprises Dick jumped at the chance to come home, even if just for a few days but it was still home. It wasn't like he just drove off into the sunset to never be seen again, he visited and kept in touch, and Bruce kept him up by sending many to him even though Dick was adamant that he didn't need to, but he appreciated it anyway. Driving back into the city limits of Gotham was like driving back into his past, but he had responsibilities in another city now, but god it felt good to be back he thought. It wasn't too long until Dick pulled his car in front of the huge estate of Wayne Manor, parking the sports car sent to him by Bruce for his 21st birthday Dick went up to the door but that was opened before he'd even had the chance to knock. The first sight he beheld once he returned to his home was that of a young man, about twelve or thirteen hugging him as hard as he could around his waist. Picking the young man up Dick spun around with him in his arms around the foyer of the mansion, as the young man let out a laugh.
"How are you Tim, you've grown so much since I saw you last time." It was true Tim Drake had grown up right in front of his eyes, Dick only wished he could have witnessed it like Bruce, Alfred, and Barbara had gotten to. He could have been a part of the Bat-family here in Gotham but he just had to move away, to feel like his own man and be a hero. He could have stayed, could have been a bigger part of this young mans' training, been a better brother. He wished he had done a lot of things differently, especially to his friends in not saying goodbye. He had never truly gave Barbara all he had in their relationship too, and he felt so awful for hurting her the way he had, but she had moved on and it felt good to know she was okay and to be friends with her. He felt good though, the first time in awhile, especially now he was back in Gotham City, back in his home.
"I'm good, I've been working really hard to improve physically to be Robin, watch!" Climbing down from Dicks hold, the young man stood straight and took a running go, and was suddenly flipping through the air. After three full rotations Tim made a shaky landing , but a landing none the less, and Dick couldn't help but to clap as pride washed over him, because he had taught him that. HE had taught him that, just like the older brother he was supposed to be. It wasn't long into his reunion with the new Robin until Dick noticed Alfred making his way down the stairway with a smile on his face at the two young men. Running up to the older gentleman Dick threw his arms around him, and the action was reciprocated by the old butler.
"God I've missed you old man." Dick had meant that, more than Alfred could possibly know. It wasn't the same for the young hero waking up every morning and not smelling the fantastic cooking and seeing the old mans' smiling face. He was more like a grandfather than a butler, and not a day went by that Dick felt bad for leaving the way he did and taking away a child from Alfreds' life.
"I've missed you too, Master Dick. I've prepared your old room for you, it's just the way you left it." Dick hoped so, he missed that place, it's the place that reminded him of some his favorite memories as Robin, the title that belonged to Tim now and Dick hoped the young man would make his own memories as the Boy Wonder. Just as he was about to walk up the stairs he caught the sight of another person from his past, well two actually, and his breath caught in his throat. Barbara Gordon and Roy Harper holding hands were the sight that greeted him at the top of the stairwell. Taking her hand from Roys' Barbara launched herself down the stairs and into Dicks' arms, wrapping him in the most bone crushing hug he had received yet. It felt good holding Barbara again, not like when they dated, but like old friends who had not seen each other for a while, but he couldn't help but remember.
"Welcome home you thick headed jerk." Smiling at what she had called him when he left, turned nickname, he realized that this made his return worth everything. Being a part of the family again.
"Nice to see you too, you self-righteous and judgmental harpy, it's been a while." Dick could feel her smile as well, Roy was rushing down the stairs next hugging him around Barbara. To be honest he didn't see them working out at the time they announced they were dating, but Barbara was good for Roy, and vice versa, they brought the best out of each other and after a while his mind was changed. It had been a long time since he had seen Roy, but here and now it felt like it was just yesterday. After talking to the two for a while they took Tim to the park together, leaving Dick to get settled in and get ready for tomorrows big party. After being home for a few hours Dick found himself sitting on the bed in his old room thinking about seeing the last person he hadn't yet, Bruce. It had been a year since the two had spoken face to face, and he was a little worried about the meeting. Sure he had constantly sent Dick money and a car last year, but Bruce had never made the trip to see him since Dicks' last visit to Gotham. His thoughts were interrupted by Alfred entering the doorway.
"Master Dick, he's in the cave if you wanted to know." With that Dick pushed himself up from the bed, running a hand through his short messy black hair, putting a hand on Alfreds' shoulder as he exited the room, and made his way to the foyer, to the secret passage way, and into the stairwell that led to the Batcave. The journey was one that the young man made so many times before as Robin, but that was long ago. He was Nightwing now, as much as he wished he was still Robin, it had been Dicks' time to leave the nest. As he came to the main platform of the cave he saw a chair turned toward the main computer, and surely a Batman hard at work on the keyboard. His reservations were still in full force, but he started walking forward towards the man who had taken him in, with ever, with ever step Dick became more and more hesitant, but before he could turn to leave the chair turned revealing Bruce Wayne, his mentor and his father in every way except blood. For a few minutes it was simply staring between the two men, until Bruce held out his hand to Dick. The younger man looked at it for a few seconds before pushing it away, and enveloping the older man in a hug, one that said so many things; thank you, I missed everyone, and I'm sorry. Bruce being the detective he was knew what Dick was doing, he was asking for forgiveness even when he didn't need to ask for it. The only thing Bruce did was return the hug, and he felt like Clark was grabbing him around the waist as hard as Dick made his grip after he returned the embrace of the younger man.
"How have you been Dick?" Bruce asked, pulling back and placing his hands on the younger mans shoulder, and couldn't help but be proud of how he turned out. Dick was a strong, brave, and dedicated young man, the hero Bruce knew he could be when he took him under his wing all those years ago. Sure he missed having the young man here but he understood his need to be his own man, he had needed that as well in his youth. Dick just smiled back at his mentor, friend, and he was sure about the man as his father, with a biggest smile on his face.
"I've been good..." It was wonderful, the two men sat there in the cave and talked for hours about how life had been, the adventures they had been on, and to Dicks' surprise learned that Bruce was currently testing the waters of a relationship with Diana, he truly had been away from Gotham for far too long. Slipping in unnoticed by the two were Tim, Barbara, and Roy as they returned from the park, watching the reunion with huge smiles on their faces. They hadn't seen Bruce smile all that often, but now he was actually laughing with his former sidekick, and they both seemed genuinely happy to see the other again. They trio left their hiding spot letting the former partners continue their reunion in private. After talking for a few hours Dick dragged himself up to bed leaving Bruce to finish whatever project he was working on, after all he had a party to attend tomorrow.
The time of the party came before Dick had expected the next day, he'd forgotten how fast time flew inside Wayne Manor. He, Bruce, Tim, Barbara, and Roy were leaving in thirty minutes. Dick was already in his suit pacing the halls, a lot of his friends would be there that he hadn't seen in a while, Wally would be there with his fiancée Linda, Conner would be there with Megan, Kaldur would be there as well, and so would she. God did Dick miss her, she was the one he missed the most. Her long blonde hair, her light blue eyes, her calloused yet delicate hands, he could go on and on about the one that got away from him, but that would only make him more nervous. Lost in his thoughts the young hero saw Tim struggling in the mirror giving his best attempt at tying his bow tie, smiling Dick walked in and watched one more botched attempt before speaking up. "Need some help there my main little man." Dick said with a smile.
"Nobody talks like that anymore Dick, and I'm not little." Tim sighed, all the while with a small smile on his boyish face.
"I do agree you are not little but you look like you could use some help." Kneeling down in front of the younger boy Dick retch out for the younger mans tie, helping the newest Robin get his bow tie in order for the party. "I remember when Bruce did this for me, it feels good to do it for someone else now, especially if I get to do it for my little brother." Putting the finishing touches on the tie Dick watched Tim look away with an embarrassed look on his face. "Something on your mind Tim?" Dick asked softly, he'd never seen Tim look like that, the boy look downright bashful, and it amused Dick to no end to see his brother look so nervous, it meant he wasn't the only one hesitant about tonights festivities.
"There's gonna be a girl at the party that I really like, and I don't know what to do about liking her. She's so cool and fun and I turn into a real dork around her because of it." Dick felt this was another time he could help the young man, so he offered his services once again to Tim.
"I can help you out with that buddy." He felt that this was going fine until he saw Tim give him a skeptical look, cocked eyebrow with a confused frown and all. "What's that look for?"
"No offence Dick, but I think I'll ask Bruce." This was confusing to Dick, was Tim really going to the Bat rather than him, 'What's wrong with my advice, I mean going to Bruce, really?', Dick thought.
"Why ask Bruce?" Simple enough, Dick knew Bruce didn't have the best track record with women so he wanted to know why Tim would go to him instead.
"'Cause you screwed up pretty bad with Babs and Bruce is dating Wonder Woman. No offense Dick, but Diana is way hot, and well you don't have a date tonight." Dick couldn't really argue with him there, but still, Bruce having success with a woman, what was he 1 for 50, Dick was just 0 for 1, well 0 for 2 if you included the one he let get away. He was curious as to if she would even remember him from the old days, the good days. Dick just waved the Boy Wonder on to go speak with Bruce, as he sat on the floor of Tims' room thinking about the difference between himself and Bruce with women, the difference Dick decided was that Bruce hadn't hurt one of the women he cared about most, and not even taken a chance with the other he cared for. His thoughts were interrupted when he saw Barbara standing in the doorway, looking as beautiful as ever, making him question why he ever left, but even now he doesn't feel the way he used too, Barbara didn't make him nervous to see again, it was her, the former teammate he could never forget.
"We're all leaving now, Diana finally showed up and Lucius decided to come over and ride to the party with us as well, he really wants to see you." Standing up Dick went to leave the room for the stairs, but not before Barbara grabbed him into another embrace, which her returned immediately. "I've missed having you around Dick, I wish you'd come home and stay. It would be good to have one of my best friends around to hang out with when Roy isn't here." Dick just smiled and placed a friendly kiss on Barbaras' hairline, as he made his way down to the foyer, walking up to the genius man who had helped him so much with his former and current hero equipment, Lucius Fox. Then the young man made his way over to the Amazon that had stolen the heart of his mentor, but before Dick could even make a motion Diana wrapped him in a surprisingly gentle embrace and placed a kiss on his forehead. Dick couldn't help but well up a little at the action, and he wondered if Diana was the mother figure in his life to the father figure of Bruce Wayne, he certainly hoped so. The entire ride to the Gotham Plaza hotel Lucius went on about how much Dick had grown, and how much he reminded him of Bruce, this brought a smile to the two men as they shared a laugh at the though. Heck maybe Dick would even be Batman one day. As the Bat-Family made their way up to the main ballroom of the lavish hotel, to make their grand entrance Dick kept thinking Bruce was shooting him sly glances, he wasn't sure why but they kind of unnerved him, you never could know what Bruce Wayne was thinking. The group began to file into the lavishly decorated room and Dick was about to follow until Alfred held him back by the shoulder, the old butler told him there was something special planned for him. That was when Dick heard Bruce over the microphone.
"Ladies and gentlemen I would like to reintroduce you all to the second prodigal son of the Wayne family, my son Dick Grayson." As he walked into the room Dick realized he was holding back tears at the words, he had always thought that was how Bruce felt about him, it was just good to actually hear it out loud and in front of so many others. Shaking hands with passersby as he made his way to the podium, he found her, sitting next to Oliver Queen and across from Dinah Queen, sitting there was Artemis, and his breath caught in his throat at how stunning she was, even more so than the last time he saw her if that was possible. Dick would deal with her in a moment now however he had to speak. "What do you have to say to the people Dick?" Bruce asked the young man, giving Dick the microphone as he gave the younger man another hug. Thinking it over and looking at the way Artemis' dress fit her Dick decided short as possible was the way to go with his speech.
"Let's party!" 'Simple enough' Dick thought, as he pushed through the people in the crowd looking for Artemis he got more caught up than he'd thought he would have. Wally and his fiancée Linda were the first to find him, and no offence to one of his best friends, for someone who can move so fast he took up a lot of time when it came to talking. After catching up and a hug Dick was on the hunt for the female emerald archer, but of course he ran into Megan and Conner, he and Conner shared a hug and a smile and that was enough for the two of them, Megan however thought otherwise. After around forty minutes of talking about his life in Bludhaven and listening to their life together in Metropolis he was able to give her the slip with some lame excuse about needing to pee, Dick always loved Megan because of her sweet nature, but right now he had somewhere to be, he was grateful for Conner taking up her attention with a kiss to smooth out his getaway. Kaldur wasn't a problem at all, he knew what Dick wanted and a simple hug was enough for the Atlantian, Dick had always thought that Kaldur knew before even himself how he felt about Artemis. Eventually he saw her out on one of the balconies, her hair pulled back into that traditional bushy blonde ponytail that looked like gold against the dark cityscape of Gotham, the only difference was her bangs now framed her perfect face. Taking a deep breath the young masked hero slipped in silently behind her, steadying his nerves Dick leaned in and whispered in the young archers' ear. "What is a lovely young woman like yourself doing out here all alone in the cold?" The question was met with a surprised jump, a thump on his shoulder, and lastly an embrace from his former teammate, Artemis Crock, also known as Artemis Queen ever since Oliver adopted her. The team had found out about her ties to the League of Shadows and at first they had shunned her from their ranks, but when she helped fight against them the five teens had accepted her back into the fold. Later after a while back on the team against all of their beliefs, she and Wally had dated. Dick was actually amused at the time, until his last year on the team when Wally eventually broke up with her because he'd met Linda and their mutual love of science drove them apart. Artemis had been a mess, Wally had basically cheated on her in Dicks opinion and he was growing tired of being in Bruces' shadow, so he tried to help by offering himself to her. They had kissed, touched, and given themselves completely to each other in the effort to help the other feel alive again. Along the way Dick felt more for her, but by the time he'd realized how much, he had already moved onto Bludhaven and felt it best to leave the past in the past.
Artemis felt so many things come back to her, how she felt when Dick had held her, the way how he smelled made her go crazy inside, how she wished he had taken her with him to Bluhaven and they could have both started over. She pulled back to look Dick in the eyes, her steely grey ones meeting his ice blue colored eyes, and it was still there for her the butterflies he made her feel after she thought Wally had destroyed them all. Artemis had thought at the time when she was twenty and Dick was eighteen, they were only helping each other forget, but it turned into something else for her, and she though so for him too until he left for Bludhaven, and from there she dedicated her whole life to helping Oliver, wishing Dick would come back one day. Now here he was, and she was nervous and didn't know what to say, so she swallowed her nerves and just went with it. "Well I'm just waiting for the right guy to come along, have you seen him?" Sure Artemis was well aware of the way she looked, she knew she was attractive and that just about any man would want her, but the archer couldn't help but be unsure of her flirting around Dick. She could think back to the cute boyish thirteen year old she'd first met, then the attractive young man he became while on the team, and now here was this beautiful man standing in front of her and Artemis felt her need and desire for him come back unbridled, and hopefully if she was lucky enough she would get him.
"Oww, harsh, am I not a perfectly fine dance partner?" Dick couldn't help but to smile around the blonde archer, she'd always had that effect on him. The look in her eyes was such a strange mixture to him; mischief, hesitation, and hurt. Had his leaving really done all of that, completely taken this strong womans confidence from her when it concerned him, he'd never thought the name Dick felt more appropriate than at this moment.
"Well, with a few adjustments, like losing the tie, it makes you look like a square. Maybe some tighter pants, it's always good to show off that butt you've got buddy." Dick just laughed as he held Artemis closer as they heard the music from the ballroom float out to the balcony, and they started to sway with each other. Both becoming lost in the feel of being held by the other again, Dick could still remember the first time he'd held her this close, the time he found out Wally had left her and how even though she was broken hearted she still played the tough girl act. Artemis was remembering as well, the feel of his hands on her back felt more calloused and rough but just as soothing. It had been the hardest time of her life emotionally when Wally had decided that their time was over, but in came Dick soaring like an eagle into her heart, and then he was gone and she was broken again this time beyond repair. The young emerald archer let a sad smile grow on her face, maybe she wasn't broken beyond repair she could feel things were better now the he was here with her again.
"It's good to see you Arty, I've missed you." Oh and he had, not a day went by when Dick didn't think about her. Bringing his hand to the side of her face he tucked some of the fringe of her bangs behind her ear. Artemis could feel her face heat up as Dick kept her close to his body, leaning her head on his shoulder. There was still the question she needed to ask him, the one that both could still feel hanging above them like a storm cloud.
"Then why did you leave without me?" This stopped Dick in his movements as he looked down at the beautiful girl in his arms. He wasn't really prepared for that even when he knew it was going to come sooner or later, so he just shrugged. "Didn't you want to take me with you?" Artemis could feel the words almost catch in her throat as she knew she was starting to well up at the emotion of getting her anger at the young man out as well as her desire to tell Dick how she still feels.
"Then why didn't you?" This question was also hard for Dick to answer, but she deserved an answer. Dick loved her enough to dig deep enough for one.
"I guess I was running from all of my memories Arty, running from Bruces' shadow. Now that I look back at my life, my memories make me realize how much of a screw-up I really am, they're just a reminder of what I've done wrong. Looking at all the nights I spent alone and knowing that you should have been there with me, I know I made the worst decision of my life." Dick sighed, making Artemis raise her head as she looked at the younger man in front of her. Putting her hands on the side of his face, she brought her lips to Dicks' in a passionate kiss. This was not what Dick had expected but he would be a liar if he didn't enjoy the way her lips moved against his once again, Artemis was just as blissful as Dick, this was her way of telling him how she had and still does feel about him, that she had always loved him. After a minute or two of sweet oblivion, the two heroes broke apart for air, their eyes opening and locking on each others' as they drew in ragged and shaky breaths.
"You're so stupid Richard Grayson." Dick could feel his eyes widen and his face redden at the outburst from the blonde archer as her mouth fell into a hard line. "You should have known that I would have followed you anywhere, you were all I had Dick and I needed. Do one thing for me though, don't ever discount your memories, because sometimes memories show us our mistakes so we don't make them in the future Dick." As the words left her mouth Dick scooped her up bridal style walked the two of them through the party area, flashing a mischievous look to Bruce who gave one right back, his arm Diana as they were talking to Clark and Oliver. Next he looked to Kaldur who was giving an approving smile back. As they were exiting the door he could hear Wally from behind.
"WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN, DICK AND ARTEMIS, SINCE WHEN?" All the two young people could do was to laugh as they made their way outside, Wally really was slow for someone who can move so fast. Hailing a cab to take them to Wayne Manor, the two teens continued to make up for lost years their lips never leaving the others as they stumbled through the doors to the Mansion, Artemis' heels becoming lost on the foyer floor, Dicks' jacket thrown over the handrail of the stairs, his Nightwing mask falling out of the chest pocket. Eventually they made it to Dicks' door, closing it with laughter and sighs of content from behind it. Later that night the two young people found themselves tangled in the sheets cloths discarded all around the room, and Dick wondered how he got so lucky to hold Artemis in his arms again. Both young heroes were simply whispering sweet nothings to each other until Dick decided that the serious question he needed to ask the girl in his arms needed to be put out into the open.
"Arty, you know my apartment in Bludhaven really is too big for one person and I was just wondering..." However the former Boy Wonder didn't even get his chance to complete his sentence when Artemis interrupted with a kiss and an answer.
"Yes!" Looking at the beautiful girl in his arms, thinking about the moments he had been having with his family the past two days, Dick truly felt like the Prodigal Son, returning from nothing to the fortunes of his former life. Maybe he'd be spending a few more days in Gotham, before taking himself and this angel back to Bludhaven. Heck it wasn't just that the city needed another hero, Dick needed her. Maybe someday the Prodigal Son could come back the Gotham for good one day, with his lovely archer in tow.
AN: This is how I'd like to see the future of Young Justice turn out, as I'm a fan of Robin and Artemis. This version Dick seems like he cares a little more what people think of him, so I wrote him a little remorseful about becoming Nightwing. Please leave a review if you don't mind they are very much appreciated, and check out my other story, Earth-One: Young Justice. It's not based on the cartoon, but if you like the cartoon I think you might like this story, thanks to all.