Murphy's Law kicked in after the notice I gave about re-writing the story. I now have two more people who love the story so now I will have to work even harder to keep them interested. Anyway, Here's the re-write. Please understand, this is the original first chapter divided into three parts so if you read the first chapter, you already know what's happening. I swear, I will let you know when the change kicks in.
Dick Grayson was sort of tired of being the foster son of a billionaire. He was too noticeable and the fact that he had to go to parties made his face very recognizable. He'd been in front of so many cameras that he'd lost count and he had no intention of starting over fresh every year - month. He sighed as he became even more aware that he felt cornered at the charity parties like the one he was at presently. He had to wear a suit that was nowhere near as comfortable as his Robin uniform and he had to wear a tie. He had to smile and he had to mingle with people who didn't even care about what he and his team did. He had to pretend he was normal and he had to be convincing about it all.
He wasn't sure what he hated most about these things; the pretending or the fact that they were so...open to attack. He hated these get-togethers but at least he knew he wasn't the only one. He could see Clark Kent trying very hard to keep up the 'simple small town guy' facade which was his greatest cover seeing as he was Superman. He watched him stumble after Lois Lane who was trailing after Bruce Wayne for a quote. Bruce was being cordial as always but refusing to 'incriminate' himself as he put it; all the while making smooth invitations to lunch or coffee to the female reporter. Clark could only stumble after the two people and glare at Bruce.
What you get for not asking the woman out before you made an idiot out of yourself, Dick thought as pity raced through his mind. He shrugged it off. Clark had made the choice to be that way with his secret identity so it was the man's own fault he couldn't do anything against the suave Bruce Wayne.
"Dick?" Bruce called kindly as he waved at him to come over.
Dick sauntered over, his practice as a 'rich kid' beginning to show more than ever now that he'd been at it for four years. He smiled as he was introduced, shook hands, and stood patiently at Bruce's side. He even made sure to smile and listen as he looked at his mentor admiringly. He glanced at Clark and gave him a knowing glare. Clark sent one back but got caught when Lois looked back at him. When she glanced to Dick again, he was a perfect little angel again. Bruce sent a smirk to Clark and then sobered up again when Lois looked at him questioningly.
"Clark must not be used to kids huh Lois?" Bruce asked amiably, covering for his ally's slip up perfectly; like it had been rehearsed by both parties. Dick smiled sheepishly and shuffled his feet. He glanced at Clark innocently before murmuring that he could leave if the man was uncomfortable with his presence.
"Oh ignore Kent," Lois chimed as she looped her bare arm around Dick's shoulders and hugged him close. "I don't get why he'd have a problem with kids. Especially since you've got such wonderful manners young man!" She looked at Bruce with approval. "You've done well with big, bad Bruce Wayne haven't you Dick?"
"Yes Ma'am," he replied making sure his tone oozed with believable sincerity. It wasn't hard to do anymore. He had done well with Bruce as his mentor and foster father. He set his dark blue eyes on Bruce again. "He's done well by me too."
"Indeed I have," Bruce said with a chuckle. He sounded like he'd been scolded; by a thirteen-year-old boy of all people. "Dick has been a greatly needed part of the family Ms. Lane."
"Ms. Lane is my mother. Lois, please!"
The group smiled their eyes all lying to each other as the two Gotham Knights continued to give Clark knowing looks. Clark of course continued to glare back at them. Of course, the Gotham Knights hid their looks better than Clark Kent did. It was probably because they got so much practice at it. They didn't rely on masks to hide their features all the time; that would have been stupid to do. Lois of course wasn't completely truthful herself seeing as her eyes shone with pity for her coworker. She could tell that something was making the fumbling geek act the way he was but she wasn't going to blame it on Bruce or Dick; not when they were being such perfect gentlemen to her.
The party dragged on, Lois hounding Bruce while hanging on his arm like a purse on a woman as Clark circulated the area getting quotes and avoiding Lois' biting comments. Dick slipped through the crowds in an almost bored manner as he looked for something to interest him. Naturally though, there wasn't much to draw his attention away from the party long enough to give him a viable excuse to leave the place for a few minutes.
He didn't hate the parties too much to actively sabotage them just to get free of them for a little while. Bruce had caught him doing that once and he'd learned the hard way to not bother. Besides, Alfred was a force to be reckoned with if he found Dick doing something on the sly. Again, another lesson that was learned the hard way by the Boy Wonder. Dick actually liked the parties for certain reasons; one of which was that the parties were the most relaxing thing he got to do sometimes.
"Does Bruce plan on giving me crap every time I see him?" Clark asked suddenly. He stood in his classic 'reporter' pose, notepad at the ready and pen in hand as he stared intently at his 'prey' for a simple word or two. Dick had forgotten that, when he wanted to be, Clark was pretty damned sneaky himself.
"Off the record? I have no clue really," Dick replied smoothly as he channeled his inner Bruce Wayne. "I really can't read the man as well as say Jon can."
"Not funny Dick," Clark said, his tone darkening slightly. Dick didn't even twitch.
"I'm telling the truth," he replied calmly as he passed the taller man. "Bruce doesn't tell me everything just so you know. I'm usually guessing with him."
"Dick," Clark growled.
"Think about it Supes," Dick whispered, his voice serene. "You, Mr. Perfect, can't compare to the psychotic Bat when it comes to family." He glared up at the elder man, somewhat proud with himself when he saw the look of pure shock that danced over the Kryptonian's face. "I mean seriously. I feel bad for Superboy; waiting for someone who refuses to acknowledge his existence."
"I do not refuse to acknowledge his existence," Clark stated, his eyes darting to the side as he blushed. Dick smirked at him.
"Then why not show up at Mount Justice a few times. Talk to him like you talk to me." Dick shrugged then. "Then again, that may be too difficult for you to do now that you've been avoiding him so resolutely."
Clark opened his mouth to reply but that was when Bruce made his easy appearance. The raven haired man smiled at Clark amiably and then focused his gaze on Dick. The youth knew that look and he promptly nodded his understanding. Trust Bruce to have ears everywhere and to be listening in on every conversation going on in the place. He'd probably been pretty close by though seeing as he did tend to be a bit overprotective of the teen. Dick didn't really mind the fact that Bruce was protective of him; he was used to that. It was Dick's teammates' over protectiveness that he wasn't yet used to.
Dick slipped out of the crowds and took the chance to glance back. Bruce and Clark were having a glaring contest as per usual and Dick took it as a sign that he wouldn't be missed any time soon. He strode away from the party, hands stuffed his pockets and his eyes fixed on the surrounding area. He wasn't about to let himself be caught off guard after all. He couldn't afford to be caught off guard.
The trees whispered as the wind danced over the leaves, the branches bending lazily. Dick smiled. He always liked the feel of the breeze on his face. He chalked it up to being raised in a family of acrobats who did death defying stunts on the trapeze without a net under them. He blinked away the stinging tears that were threatening to breach his eyes. Right, how dare he forget that it was that time of year; the anniversary of his parents' death. He glanced back at the party, the soft music muted thanks to the distance between him and the tents. Bruce and Alfred had been tactful not bringing it up around him and he was beginning to realize it. He'd have to thank them for that later.
"Damn it," he sighed as he kicked the dirt with his shoe. He turned on his heel and strode back to the party, flitting to Bruce's side as soon as he was able. He wasn't surprised to find Clark and Lois still there, yakking away without a care in the world. Actually, the two reporters were bickering over something that Dick could only guess was meaningful to only them. He glanced at Bruce questioningly.
"Forget it," Bruce said as he shook his head. "I brought up Superman versus Batman: who is better at their job." Dick winced.
"Why do you do this to yourself Bruce?"
"It passes the time." Bruce smiled down at him. It was one of those rare, genuine smiles that Dick knew were hard for even Alfred to earn. He beamed back at his mentor with a small giggle. He glanced back at the dynamic duo of reporters and snorted.
"Whatever floats your boat I guess."
"Did your breather help?" Bruce asked simply, his tone soft and undemanding. The question was what Dick expected more from Alfred than from Bruce. He didn't mind the fact that the elder hero was opening up to him a bit but he didn't really know how to deal with it the way Alfred – who had been around since forever – did. Yet, oddly, he knew what his answer had to be.
"Yeah," he replied. "It helped a lot. Thanks."
He smiled up at his mentor, feeling his admiration and joy at the simple question he had been given slip onto his face and throughout his body. Alfred had told him that sooner or later he'd know just how important he was to Bruce and that it would come unexpected but needed. He opened his dark blue eyes to find his mentor smiling back at him.
Again, it was one of those rare, genuine smiles that Dick wanted nothing more than to see on the man's face more often.
Dick's smile was quickly smacked from his face when he heard hysterical cackling over the loudspeakers. Bruce glared at the speakers before his eyes flashed over the area. Dick quickly followed his mentor's lead, his dark blue eyes falling on Clark and Lois, their eyes wide as the raspy laughter fell over the crowd. His eyes continued to sweep over the area until he heard a muted thunk at his feet.
"Bomb!" Bruce yelled, his arms wrapping around Dick protectively. The next thing Dick knew, he was on the ground, Bruce shielding him as the bomb went off. Bruce then dragged him behind a concrete wall that would have come up to the youth's hip before the dust settled.
"Sorry," Dick whispered.
"Later," Bruce said tersely. Dick nodded in understanding. Bruce's head whipped around when he heard a squeak. Lois and Clark were pinned behind the sound stage systems, Clark shielding his coworker. A look passed over Bruce's face; a look Dick knew well enough to heed. "Stay put Dick," Bruce ordered with a growl before he slipped to the reporters.
"Like I'd want to," Dick muttered as he heard a popping noise and flinched from the flying bits of the wall edge. He winced when bits of concrete hit him, bouncing off his body and head. His eyes glanced to the place where Lois was with Bruce.
"Hello Gotham fat cats!" Joker's unmistakable voice laughed insanely. "Guess who's back from Arkam and wants your money!"
"Fuck," Dick sighed. He really wasn't in the mood for the cackling mad man from hell. He gave another quick glance towards Bruce to see a similar feeling oozing over the man's face. Dick blinked; Clark was gone. Things just kept getting better and better."Here comes Superman," Dick muttered to himself.
The cackling rose and Dick heard the telltale whoosh of Superman's classic arrival. He sighed and waited, flinching when more concrete exploded around him. He stiffened when he heard something crack and groan. Looking up, he found one of the concrete pillars had been badly compromised. His eyes widened as it bent away from its usual placement.
"Dick!" Bruce yelled, his tone commanding. "Move!"
Dick dove to the side as the pillar gave. A chunk of concrete slammed onto his back causing him to grunt through clenched teeth. Another chunk hit his head. His vision swam but he forced himself to concentrate as he rolled into the bushes. He over shot and nearly tumbled into a fountain. Each time he blinked, more blackness encroached over his vision. He cursed softly and automatically began to search for Bruce. His vision began to blur further and it was all he could do to keep the little party food in his stomach where it belonged.
"Whoopsie daisy!" he heard Joker laugh manically.
"Dick!" he heard Bruce yell. He glanced to the side in time to see another pillar falling...over his prone body. As his eyes widened, he looked Bruce in the eye and felt his hand reach out for the elder man's. Panic raced through Bruce's eyes as he watched.
"Dad," Dick moaned, the darkness swimming over his vision, drowning it almost completely. He felt someone hovering over him, wrapping a strong arm around his chest and leaping away. His eyes caught sight of a red 'S' surrounded by black before he was out.
If you've already read it, don't review. If haven't I'd love to hear from you.