My first story based on DC Comics, and my attempt to explain how the Reboots will work with the current story line (As well as explaining why the Nightwing costume has changed so suddenly. I mean why? Why remove the finger strips? They were the best part of any superhero costume ever!)
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in the DC universe except the plot of this story. And even then, I am sure a lot of other people have had similar ideas.
Warning: No beta. But for those who know me, that isn't much of a surprise.
The sun was setting across Gotham, the people finishing their day and retreating to the safety of their homes as the city's night-time inhabitancies slowly roused. In the outskirts of the city, a house stood. This wasn't any family home. This was Wayne Manor, the infamous dwelling of the city's richest man, Bruce Wayne.
The lights were on, the family at home.
In his room, the oldest of Bruce Wayne's children, Richard Grayson was packing. At 25 years of age, the young man had long since stopped living at home. However, the last year had seen that change when Dick had become the legal guardian for his youngest brother. The boy who was leaning against the door frame, arms crossed and infamous scowl on his face.
"You know, if you keep that look on your face, it will get stuck." Dick commented as he folded the last piece of clothing, the blue bird showing against the black.
Lifting the costume, he carefully placed it in his backpack before zipping up the trick bottom. Being a vigilante hero since the age of ten, Dick had long since gotten use to keeping his equipment close.
Behind him, eleven year old Damian Wayne tutted.
"Grayson, you are an idiot. It is physically impossible that a look can become stuck on someone's face."
It was such a Damian answer that Dick couldn't help but smile.
"Calling me an idiot Little D? You might want to be careful with that. People might start to think you don't like me."
"I don't like you Grayson. You continued to degrade my father's legacy by parading as Batman. It was truly embarrassing."
Dick rolled his eyes.
"Well kiddo, you don't have to worry about that anymore. Bruce is once again the only Batman and I will be going back to the Haven as Nightwing." He said as he glanced over at Damian.
The kid look conflicted. Sure he played the tough card, but in reality, he was a kid. And one who didn't have a stable home or loving family until recently. To be honest, Dick was worried for his little brother. It had taken so much work to bring the youngest Wayne out of his shell, a shell the boy was slowly retreating back into. Bruce just didn't seem to understand that. In truth, Dick was worried for the future of Batman and Robin.
Stuffing the remains of his clothes into the pack, Dick sighed.
"Look Damian. I am not really going anywhere. Sure, I won't be Batman anymore but I will be in the next town over. I promise I will be here whenever you need me."
Picking up the last piece of clothing, a blue hoodie, Dick pulled it over his head. Tugging down the edges, he carefully smoothed the yellow and red emblem over his chest as behind him, Damian mumbled something.
"What was that Little D?" Dick asked, turning to his brother.
"I said, your clothing is an insult to my father." The boy growled.
Dick glanced down at the jumper, Superman's famous 'S' Shield proudly stamped across his front. It had been a joke present from Superboy, aka, Conner Kent. A few years before, when Tim had been searching for ideas for a present for his best friend, Dick had suggested a t-shirt to replace Superboy's current costume. Conner had liked the black shirt with Batman logo so much; he had repaid both Tim and Dick in kind, getting them matching Superman hoodies. Tim had conveniently lost his but Dick continued to wear his, often to annoy Bruce and once to embarrass the Man of Steel himself.
And now, it was clearly embarrassing Damian.
Dick grinned and stepped towards the door and the scowling child. A look of panic crossed Damian's face as the little assassin realised what was going on, but he was too slow to escape as Dick scooped him up, pressing the boy to his chest.
"I'm sorry little D." He laughed, swinging the boy from side to side. Damian growled, his face muffled in the folds of the fabric.
"I will kill you Grayson." He muttered.
Dick released Damian and stepped back, reaching for his backpack.
"You will take good care of your dad, won't you? Make sure he doesn't do anything stupid and help him and stuff?" He said, swinging the pack over his shoulder. Damian snorted.
"I am Robin. It is my job to help Batman. Plus, my father is not nearly as incompetent as you." The boy shot at the older hero.
Dick smiled, ignoring Damian's comment.
"I've gotta go and talk to Tim. See you downstairs in a few minutes?" he asked.
Damian rolled his eyes but stepped aside to let Dick pass.
"Grayson?" he called as Dick stepped into the hall. Dick stopped and turned back to his little brother. Damian took a deep breath.
"For what it's worth, you could have been a worse Batman."
Dick smiled again.
"Thanks Little D."
Leaving the boy on his own, Dick walked down the hall towards Tim's room. Opening the door, Dick peeked into the room. The middle child of the Wayne family was sitting on his bed, staring out the window.
"Hey Tim." Dick greeted.
Tim turned to look at his brother.
"Hey Dick." He replied.
Lowering his pack to the floor, Dick jumped on the bed, the sudden weight causing Tim to almost fall off his perch. Dick laughed as Tim jumped back onto the bed and grabbed the nearest pillow. The pillow connected with Dick's face. Dick laughed and repaid in kind, the two brothers wrestling on the bed for a few minutes. Finally they called a truce and after a few moments to rearrange the bed, the two sat back down.
"So, what are your plans?" Dick asked.
"Well, Bruce has the little demon now, so he doesn't need me anymore. Kon has been bugging me to hang out with him and Bart again. So I guess I will go back to the Titans."
Dick sighed. This old argument.
"Tim, Bruce will always need you." He said, hugging the other hero. Tim sighed.
"I know, I know." He muttered.
Dick slowly released him.
"Well whatever you decide, I still expect to see you around Bludhaven occasionally. You are the only one I trust to help me clean up the Haven."
Tim smiled slightly, nodding.
"Deal." He said.
The two brothers sat in silence for a few moments before Tim jumped up from the bed. Walking to the desk, he picked up a folder before passing it to Dick. Dick opened the file and flicked through the sketches. He glanced up at his brother.
"New Red Robin costume?" he asked.
"Those are the finals. What do you think?" he asked.
Dick flicked through the sketches again.
"You got rid of the cowl." He commented. Tim sat back down on the bed.
"Yeah. I'm sick of people making fun of me for it." The younger hero replied.
Dick passed the file back.
"It looks great." He answered. Slowly, he stood up. "Well, I had better get down stairs."
Tim rose to his feet and followed Dick as his older brother shouldered his pack and left the room. The two made their way through the maze of halls and down to the garage where Bruce, Damian and Alfred waited with Dick's bike.
Bruce was the first to turn and greet the two brothers.
"Dick. Are you sure you want to go tonight?" he asked.
Dick looked around at his family.
"Yes. It's going to take a few days to get settled in and I want to be back out on the streets as soon as possible."
Bruce nodded. Dick's answer was of no surprise to the Dark Knight. Dick walked past the three, only pausing to run his hand affectionately through Damian's hair. The youngest member of the family glared at him before pulling the hood of his jumper up and over his head. Dick smiled before walking over to his bike and picking up his riding jacket. Dropping his backpack to the floor, he slipped the leather protection over his Superman hoodie before once again sliding his pack over his shoulders. Turning back to his family, Dick quickly exchanged hugs with everyone. Even Damian reluctantly gave the hug before Dick retreated back to his bike, picking up his helmet.
"I guess I will see you all soon." Dick said as he slipped the helmet over his head.
"Good luck, Master Dick." Alfred called.
"Bye Dick." Tim said.
"TT" Damian muttered.
Bruce stepped forward.
"Thank you." He said.
Dick nodded before sliding the visor of his helmet down. Kicking the stand away, he gunned the engine into life. Slowly, the bike costed out of the garage and down the drive, fading into the night.
Bruce turned and left, heading down to the cave. It was time to start work. Alfred followed, leaving only the two brothers to listen as the motorbike disappeared. Finally, Tim sighed.
"Don't worry Damian. He will be back soon." He said, placing a hand on Damian's shoulder. Damian shrugged it off.
"I'm not worried Drake." He muttered, but he didn't move from his spot, his eyes still scanning the night.
Tim rolled his eyes.
"Sure. Anyway, it's time to go out."
Not bothering to worry about his little brother, Tim turned and headed off to the cave. Slowly, Damian tore his eyes away from the night and following the rest of his family, went to protect Gotham.
Coasting through the streets of Bludhaven, Dick couldn't help but look around. The city was un-surprisingly quiet. The Chemo attack and later nuclear fallout had caused most of the population to flee. Even in these areas where radiation was well within safe levels, most people still refused to tread. Only criminals and those who had nowhere else to go still walked these streets. However, there were signs of life. Street lights flickered in the dark. A lot of new buildings were rising from the ruins. A lot of people were returning and moving into new homes. The city was slowly rebuilding.
Dick stopped his bike in front of the building and looked up. It was one of the few hotels in operation. Kicking the stand into place, Dick climbed off his bike and adjusted his pack before pulling his helmet off. Resting it on the bike, he glanced around. It was just a casual glance, but he still saw it. The shapes in the dark. Narrowing his eyes, Dick watched as the shadows disappeared around the corner. There was a scream.
Leaving his bike, Dick jogged over to the corner and pressed himself against the wall. Looking into the alleyway, he analysed the situation. In the faded light of the main street, he could see the three thugs and their victims. Two of them were backing a young man up against the wall while the third had cornered a young woman. The woman was being held at knife point, the thugs hand over her mouth as she cried silently.
There was a groan as the male victim was knocked to the ground and kicked by one of the thugs. Dick thought quickly. Reaching up to the collar of his jacket, Dick pulled the blue hood out and threw it over his head. It should be enough.
He ducked into the alleyway.
"Hey!" he called.
The three thugs froze, turning towards the hero.
"Leave them alone."
The thug holding the woman at knife point looked at Dick.
"Walk away man. This has nothing to do with you." He shouted.
Dick stared at him.
"You are attacking people in 'MY' city. This has everything to do with me." He replied.
The thug blinked at him.
"Are you for real?" he asked. Turning his head, he looked at his mates. "Ted, take care of this joker, would ya?"
The one called Ted left his victim and grinned, stepping forward. He had a crowbar in one hand which he swung lazily as he approached.
With a grin, Ted swung the iron towards Dick's chest. Dick dodged, grabbing Ted's hand and sending his knee into Ted's stomach. The thug dropped to the ground with a shout of surprise as Dick freed the crowbar from his grip and spun around, the iron bar connecting with Ted's back. The man collapsed. Behind Dick, one of the other thugs gave a shout. Dick turned and quickly dodged a series of wild punches as the unnamed thug attempted to advance on him. Ducking down, Dick brought the crowbar across the man's knee. The man gave a scream of pain as he dropped before a well placed hit from Dick's elbow knocked him out. Rising to his feet, Dick spun the crowbar in his hand. It wasn't as good as his eskrima sticks but it would have to do.
Slowly, he stepped towards the final thug and in Dick's mind, the ringleader. The man had released the woman who had dropped to the ground and was backing up, holding the knife in front of him as protection.
"Ok man, sure. Town's yours. I get that. Just please don't hurt me."
Dick dropped the crowbar to the ground. The man blinked. Then he charged.
Ducking out of the way of the knife, Dick's fist shot out, connecting with the thugs head. The thug fell, collapsing onto a trash can and sending it flying. The thug didn't get up.
With a small sigh, Dick rolled his shoulders before stepping towards the woman on the ground. She was rummaging in her purse but gasped as Dick moved. Holding his hands up, he lent down.
"It's ok." He said in a low voice. "I'm not going to hurt you."
The woman muttered something. Dick lent even closer.
"I'm sorry. I didn't hear that." He said.
The woman looked up at him, a hard look on her face. Something hit Dick in the stomach. Dick looked down. A thick metal dart had hit him, going straight through his jacket, jumper and t-shirt and into his abdomen. Wincing slightly, Dick pulled it out before looking at the woman. She held a gun in her hand. Dick's head started to swim. He tried to stand up but found himself over balancing. He dropped to his knees, his vision going black.
The woman stood up.
"I said, but I'm going to hurt you." She replied.
Dick hit the ground, unconscious.
The woman dropped the gun and her purse and reached for Dick's bag, pulling it open as behind her, her male friend stood up. He pulled the padding out from under his shirt.
"So, is this him?" he asked.
Rummaging through the bag, the woman found the false bottom. Ripping it open, she pulled out the costume. She quickly spread it on the ground, the blue symbol visible in the dark. She looked up at her partner and smiled.
"This is him." She replied.
And that is it for now. Hopefully it wasn't too terrible.