Started as a drabble. Now I don't even know. Decided to leave it as it was and just post it here, because I can. o uob
He isn't really sure what had happened.
One instant, he was sitting across Bruce, pushing around the remainders of his very British meal with his fork; the next, he was on the ground, trying to avoid the bits of crumbling wall that had exploded not ten feet away from him.
He had ignored the sting of the chips of stone that cut into his cheek on their way to the ground, pressed himself close to the ground as he crawled away from the sounds of explosions, and tried his best to behave as a civilian would in this sort of situation. Step one had been finding Bruce.
"Bruce!" he'd called, coughing a bit at the dust that sucked into his mouth when he breathed. "Bruce, where are you!" The panicked edge to his voice had all been an act, he told himself flatly. Because there was no way a terrorist attack would finish off The Batman. But everything had been so confusing and loud, and he'd known the battle was still going on somewhere over his head, and Bruce was not answering—
He would never admit to anyone how much relief he'd felt upon hearing the familiar voice among the chaotic sounds.
Step one, check. Step two, getting to Bruce, or getting out of explosion range; whichever would come first.
His planning had been interrupted by another loud explosion, this time just over six feet away from him. Dick followed instinct, and was rolling across the floor to shelter himself under a table, arms curled around his head for protection. But the little explosions followed where he went, and he'd known, in a dreadful moment of clarity, that he'd somehow turned into a target.
So maybe step two wouldn't be as easy as step one.
He had no clue how anyone had found out they were there, and the list of suspects had been far too long to try to narrow it at the moment. There were many who would give an arm and a leg to get a hold of Richard Grayson, ward to one of the richest men on Earth, and therefore good kidnapping material. And there were also many, many others who would go incredible lengths to murder Batman and Robin, unlikely – impossible – as it was that they had managed to get their civilian names and tracked them all the way here.
With the dust gradually settling, he'd been able to see a dark figure advancing towards him, pointing something – a gun – straight at him. While rolling out of the way of probable bullets, he was more than ready to drop his act and roundhouse kick the gun away, possibly breaking wrist bones in the process. The whole street around him was a complete mess of screaming and running and bodies laying worryingly still on the ground, so even if someone saw him or managed to snap a photo, he was still wearing his sunglasses. They wouldn't have recognized him.
Luckily for him, he never had to, because by the time he'd gotten up on his feet, hoodie haggard and stained with dirt, someone had come to his aid ("Stupefy!"), and suddenly the man was on the ground, face-down.
Dick had immediately swept down to fetch his gun, just in case he came back to, but instead found himself staring down at a stick.
"Come on!" a voice had urged right next to him, and his free hand was taken, and then he was running down the street, leaping nimbly over wreckage and easily keeping up with the person guiding him – away from danger, if the dimming sound was any indication. "Dad's got a portkey ready! Just a bit more!"
The ground exploding to bits behind them was a clear sign they had pursuers hot on their trails, but there was people suddenly appearing out of thin air and intercepting them.
The windblown (explosion blown?) red hair he could spy on his rescuer reminded him of Kid Flash, though the slow pace they held and the clumsy trips over small rocks on their path didn't.
He'd tugged them both to the side of the street when he felt movement behind him, narrowly avoiding what looked to be a ray of violet light. To this moment, Dick hadn't puzzled out what that had been, and when it happened, he'd merely let out an intelligent "What—" before their trek resumed, at a forcibly faster pace.
Then he had reached the end of the street with the redhead, and there were a few other people standing there (two redheads, one brunette), all seeming to be waiting for them. He still wasn't sure of what had happened yet: all he knew was that he'd touched – more like was forced to touch – what seemed to be a worn-out newspaper, and then someone hooked something in his navel (he might have heard a faint "Richard!" in the background) and whisked him away.
Which left him in his current predicament.
The present found Dick Grayson standing awkwardly on the side of a cozy, if overcrowded, living room. Like in the alley, there were people rushing around to each other, asking very loud questions over everyone's heads, and shaking shoulders as well as giving fierce hugs. There had been only been five people in the room, including Dick, when he came. Now the number was closer to eight, but he might have miscounted them. As if.
He had gotten the grand total of four hugs from three different redheads and a rather overbearing brunette when they finally realized something was off.
The family – because he had no doubt they were related, but he wasn't too sure about the bushy-haired girl – had finally calmed down, once they had counted heads for the hundredth time. It was in that tense but relieved silence that someone actually bothered to take a good look at him. Dick thought it was the redhead who had dragged him down the street. It mattered little, beyond the point that he was looking at Dick.
The next words spoken were shaken and painfully weak.
"You're not Harry."
If anything, the speed at which everyone else turned white couldn't be healthy, and Dick idly wondered if being here (wherever 'here' was) made for an acceptable Step two.
So not feeling the aster.
Two hours later, Dick found himself sitting in a very cozy kitchen, holding a cuppa while the family of redheads blundered about nervously.
"Dear, dear... do you need anything else, sweetheart? Have you eaten lunch?"
Dick had to hand it to her, despite the obvious distress they were all in, she was a very thoughtful hostess.
"No, ma'am, thank you very much. I ate just before the attack."
She smiled at him, fidgeting with the wooden stick in her hands and glancing constantly at the door leading to the living room.
"Who did you say you were with, dear?" She eyed his cup of tea, and he pretended to take a sip from it before she could ask if he wanted it reheated.
"My father, ma'am. We were in a restaurant just off Charing Cross Road when it began." And he'd already said that to her husband when he declared he would go back to look for the Harry kid, promising to have a look out for Mr. Wayne while he looked.
The woman nodded, her lips thinning at the memory of the attack, for sure. "I'm sure he'll be fine, dear."
And he agreed easily with this, because his adoptive father was the freaking Batman. Unknown energy-ray weapons or not, he would be fine, even if he had to keep up the famous-businessman front.
"But all those Death Eaters... Why would they attack Diagon Alley," she continued fretting.
Here, Dick nodded and put on a carefully wary expression, as if he knew everything about what she was talking about.
The whole family had stared at him in shock when they found he was not Harry, and he had not missed the point at which the older couple spotted him holding one of those sticks they were so fond of and relaxed, as if that was a small weight off their shoulders. He was not sure why they should relax when he was seen holding what had been used as a weapon, but Dick was not stupid. He was Batman's protégé, and he knew all about secret organizations, and how they tended to 'deal' with people foreign to their groups.
He just hadn't figured out what sort of secret organization would involve a whole family, most of which's members were kids, yet.
"We weren't expecting anything like that to happen while we had lunch. It was very scary," Dick murmured over the top of his cup, eyes dancing behind his dark glasses. If he wanted a clue about what sort of situation he found himself in, his surroundings would be a good place to start.
And boy, were his surroundings interesting.
The books, rubber toys, and trinkets laying around the house were nothing new. He saw plenty of it when he visited Wally's room: normal teenage debris, and with six of them in the house, it was not odd it spread into the kitchen table. What was interesting were other things. Like the plates washing themselves on the kitchen sink, or the strange grandfather clock sitting across the room and its strange readings. There was a worn newspaper sprawled over the seat next to him, and he could clearly see the pictures in it moving. Nothing in this house was normal.
Even his hosts were weird. The chubby woman leaning against the kitchen counter had prepared his cup of tea without even touching it, instead waving one of those little sticks to have the tea prepare itself in front of him.
The most obvious answer to this situation was also the most childish one: Magic.
But he wasn't going to go with that right away, because these people could still be telepaths who had to use sticks as catalysts.
Which reminded him to check his hood's pouch to make sure his own stolen stick was still there. Yep. Hadn't moved. Not like he'd expected it to, but you never knew in these sort of situations. Unless you were Batman, and then you probably knew all about it.
And thinking about Bruce, Dick's fingers moved to his pants' pocket, clutching his civilian cell-phone. He was sure that Bruce was okay. The mess in the street must have been bigger than he'd thought, if he hadn't called to check up with him yet. Maybe he should try contacting him first, protocols be damned.
He pulled out his sleek black phone, black-and-yellow plastic bat-signal dangling from side to side happily (and cut him some slack, Dick Grayson had been 'rescued' by Batman before, he could idolize him publicly without eliciting suspicion). He was just going to make sure there were no missed calls, but instead found his phone was dead.
"Huh?" he murmured, holding the phone over his head to see if it felt more inclined to revive if kept higher above his seat. No such luck.
"It's not going to work here." His head snapped over to the doorway, where the bushy-haired girl he'd spotted before was watching him. A quick glance at the other woman in the kitchen showed her staring curiously at his phone. Had he messed up? "There's too much magic in the household, I think. Are you a Muggleborn?"
So it was magic? Well, Wally was going to have kittens when he told him of this one. What was a Muggleborn, anyway?
"Should I have mentioned that?" he asked with furrowed eyebrows, while discreetly placing one hand closer to his utility belt. The movement didn't go unnoticed by the girl's sharp eyes.
"No, its fine. No one here minds," she promised him earnestly, taking a seat on the table and shooting a smile at Mrs. Weasley, as the woman had introduced herself a while ago. "I'm a Muggleborn, too."
"Oh." Dick allowed what he hoped was a companionable smile at her. "So, how far from the house would my phone not be dead?"
Out of the kitchen window, he could spot the countryside (despite the fact they had been in the middle of a city last time he checked), and he knew for a fact that the countryside was not normally 'magic'. Fail that, he would try his Com Link. If it could connect to the Justice League base in case of extreme emergencies, it would get through whatever electromagnetic disturbance magic caused.
"Oh, um, well, I suppose not too far..."
Dick frowned at the wary glances shared between the women. The way Mrs. Weasley fingered her wand nervously made him think she hadn't just been keeping him company. He was suddenly glad he hadn't drunk any of the tea.
"You should really stay inside, dear," the redhead said tersely, and her smile looked strained. "Just while Arthur gets back. He might be here any moment now, maybe with Mr. Wayne."
"I suppose," Robin said dejectedly, sinking into his seat with a sigh.
Neither the woman or the girl looked to be in good shape. The other redheads in the house all looked a tad on the skinny side, so he was fairly certain he could take them all on, sticks or no. But he was in no immediate danger he could discern, as long as he continued looking harmless, and he did have a secret identity to keep.
"I don't think I caught your name," the bushy-haired girl attempted after a few minutes of silence.
"Dick Grayson." And unless his memory was terribly off, her name was Hermione Granger. Who was he kidding, he was the protégé of the freaking Batman. That was her name.
"Grayson?" He could see the gears turning behind those intelligent brown eyes, but she had not reacted to Bruce's name, so he could guess what this was about.
"Bruce took me in when my parents died. I kept their name." Which was common knowledge in Gotham, so it was safe to tell. Not that he enjoyed explaining it, and he was inwardly pleased when the girl took on a chastised look. Well, Dick was used to socially inept people, so he guessed he could deal with another one for a few hours.
One of the redhead sons decided to pick that moment to come sulking into the kitchen, where he sat down beside Hermione. Dick had to raise an eyebrow at the sour, disgruntled look sent his way by him.
"Ron!" the girl beside him hissed under her breath, elbowing him on the ribs.
"What?" he hissed back, and Dick wondered if they realized they were not being very secretive. "Its his fault Harry's not here! He could be part of them, and he tricked us while they abducted Harry—"
"Ahem." Dick looked at the tense English people from over his dark glasses, giving them a peek of baby blues and eyebrows that arched all the way up to his hairline. "Sorry, but, you know, I seem to recall it was you who suddenly barged in and rescued me from the scene. Not that I'm not grateful, mind."
Actually, he was very ungrateful. Because if it wasn't for the redhead, he would already have rendezvoused with Bruce in their hotel room, which was always Plan B when the Batcave was not an option.
At any rate, his rebuke seemed to have shut Ron up, plus given his ears an amusing red tint.
"I hope you find your Harry, anyway," he stood, hands stuck in his hoodie's pouch. "Could I borrow your bathroom, ma'am?"
Leaving the room after getting his directions, he could hear the teens begin to bicker once he left, and rolled his eyes. He was painfully reminded of KF and Artemis, and sorely tempted to try to prod at their mental link. But he already knew that Megan's powers would not reach this far, much like they wouldn't reach Gotham when the rest of the team lounged at Happy Harbor.
"Get here already, Bruce," he sighed, twirling the stolen stick between agile fingers in a bored fashion.
It was nearing dinner time, and Bruce had not contacted him in any way. By this point, Dick was staring out of the window, as if smoke signals would begin drifting from beyond the green fields around the house. His cell phone had taken permanent residence in his tight fist, despite Hermione's many reminders that it would not work so long as he was in the house. But they wouldn't allow him out of it to make his call, and it was getting on his nerves.
He'd been staring for precisely ten minutes when someone flopped down on the couch beside him.
And then he was smiling at her like he wasn't worried out of his skin. "Hey. Ginevra, was it?"
"Ginny's good," she assured, her nose scrunching a bit at the full name. "Richard, was it?"
"Just call me Dick. How's the search for Harry going?"
"As well as the search for Mr. Wayne, I think," she said flatly. Then she sighed, curling up back against the couch. "Dad hasn't come back yet. I hope he's found something about Harry or your dad."
"That makes two of us," he admitted, taking off his sunglasses to rub at his temples tiredly. It wasn't that the people in the house weren't nice and welcoming (or as welcoming as they could be with someone they didn't seem to trust alone), but he was feeling distinctly like a prisoner.
At least there are no underground facilities, plastic domes, or electric pincers of death.
"Why do you wear those indoors?" she asked, pointing to the glasses he held up for clarification.
"Oh, didn't realize I still had them on." The Cave was a tad darker than this living room, and he still wore them all the time. "I just—"
He was forced to stop his made-up-on-the-spot explanation (because who would wear sunglasses indoors out of habit?) when a fast-moving shape on the corner of his eye made him duck instinctively, arm darting out to tug Ginny along. A sizzle, the sound of glass breaking, and then sparks of red were dancing around him.
He looked up, and immediately discarded the idea that the guys from the restaurant were back. But while it wasn't them, the situation didn't look very promising. He took in the details because that was what he was trained to do – Mrs. Weasley on the kitchen door, wand out and face red, one of the twins standing on the other end of the living room and his sibling on his way upstairs but returning; broken vase on the right, toppled cardboard box on the first twin's feet -, but he could not make sense of the many little dots of light dashing across the air. He darted a look behind him, and yes, it was one of those same lights which had darted over his head and out of the window, showering the air behind it with red lights.
"What are those things?" Ginny had picked herself up from the ground, but wisely kept her arms over her very flammable hair.
"Nothing, just a little—"
"—experiment we've been working on—"
"—They're completely harmless!"
Another loud bang, a lopsided chair toppling over after being tackled by one of the lights.
"Mostly," the twins winced at the same time.
Dick twisted out of the way of a bludgeoning light, trusting the twins' judgment as much as he trusted Wally alone with a pizza. The lights bounced more and more loudly off the walls with every passing second, and Dick knew he wasn't imagining them picking up speed. Wally had nearly broken his ribs with a running hug once. He wasn't taking any chances with these things.
"Get rid of them!" the redhead girl shrieked, barely managing to crouch out of the way of the light and make a dash for the kitchen. Which was a good idea, at least until one of those things bounced into it.
"You need to disable them one by one!" George explained, and his twin had already drawn out his wand and begun aiming at the lights while chanting out what Dick assumed to be a spell.
But he seemed to have waited too long to attempt this, because the darn things were moving very fast now. A pained 'oof' and a tumbling Fred later told Dick these things did hurt if they hit you. But they didn't set you on fire, which was a huge plus.
And then it was the restaurant scene all over again, but there were less frightened cries and more indignant Finite's.
Was this normal in 'magic' households?
They had only gotten one of them when Dick decided to try his hand at it. Side-stepping a furious ball of light, he drew out the stolen wand from his pouch. These people couldn't aim properly at such fast-moving targets, but they had never flown over Gotham's rooftops at top speed or tried to keep track of where Kid Flash was. What he doubted was his ability to get the stick to work.
Regardless, he aimed, mimicked the movement of his hosts' hands, and called: "Finite!"
Warmth spread through his arm, and the ball of light he'd been pointing at disappeared in a poof of smoke and a sound like a little fart.
He danced easily across the living room, tossing the little chant around and hitting a light with each one. This would actually be a good training exercise, if done in a room with few things breakable and no escape windows for the light to go out from. The last light actually forced him to leap over a couch to avoid, but after a last Finite, the Weasley family found Dick sitting on the couch he'd just leapt over, grinning.
"Twelve out of twelve. How many were there?"
It was a second or two before one of the twins (he'd lost track of who was who) replied.
"Blimey. You have very good aim, mate!"
"You know, bit of practice makes perfect," he confided, feeling his grin turn cocky as he tossed the stick into the air repeatedly, like he might a Birdarang during a slow night. Except this stick wouldn't try to cut into his palm if he caught it wrong (which hadn't happened since he was ten, thank you very much).
And before he had to explain himself to the four redheads still staring at him, a flare of green from the fireplace had it vomiting out Mr. Weasley. Seeing the soot-covered wizard (that was what they were, right?), Dick was suddenly grateful for the cleaner methods of transportation they had at the Justice Hall.
"Any luck?" it was not Mrs. Weasley but Ginny who asked, peering at the fireplace, clearly expecting someone else to step in after her father.
They knew the answer before the man spoke. If the wary and tired look in his face wasn't enough, Dick didn't think he'd seen anyone flop down on the couch with quite such a defeated air before. Mrs. Weasley gave a sound like a sob over the hands covering her mouth.
"No. But he..." he directed a careful look at his three children, but bravely continued, "He wasn't in the list of casualties." But he didn't sound heartened by this. Did they think he'd been abducted by the terrorists or something? The sobs from Mrs. Weasley told him yes, and the man quickly attempted a smile of reassurance. "Shacklebolt says he saw someone with Harry's description run towards a black automobile with a muggle man, so there's that..."
"Did they get the plates?"
Mr. Weasley looked at him as though he'd forgotten he was there. Which he probably had.
"His plates. You know, the number plate on the back of the car?"
"I... I don't think they did."
"A description of the stranger he left with, then?" Dick attempted. Because he didn't like being coped up in this house, no, but he was still secretly Robin, the Boy Wonder, and helping civilians was just second nature by now.
"Oh. Yes, he was quite tall, wearing a muggle gray suit, short black hair." Well, that could be anyone, but there was a nagging suspicion in the front of Robin's mind. No way... "Shacklebolt said he saw him punch a Death Eater hard on their way to the car. The bloke dropped like a stone, one of the few we have in custody-"
The man trailed off when the boy on the couch jumped to his feet, an unbelieving grin spreading his face.
"Harry does know where this is, right?"
"Obviously," the twins scoffed.
"He's going to be fine, then."
"How do you know?"
Dick barely heard her over the sound of the helicopter outside.
"What the bloody hell is THAT!"
The helicopter had landed well away from the house, but the sound it made was deafening until it died out. A scrawny kid with an oversized green shirt the same color of Robin's hoodie jumped out first. His dark hair was windblown and his glasses askew, and Dick couldn't care about him.
Because then it was Bruce stepping out, a hand steady on the door-frame as his eyes quickly scanned the field for his ward, -
-who tackled him a moment later.
"Richard," there was relief in Bruce's voice, and Dick just let himself hug the man and breathe in his scent and convince himself that he really was here, and this all wasn't some hallucination.
"What took you so long!" he demanded, but couldn't muster the will to be angry. Instead he smiled that shit-eating grin at Bruce, letting him know that he'd known all along he was getting picked up via helicopter.
"Harry wasn't sure where the Weasley family lived," His mentor squeezed his shoulder briefly and then turned to the group of redheads (plus a brunette) coming out of the house to meet them.
Dick spared a look at their faces (shocked, speculative, relieved) before deciding he didn't feel very curious.
"Thanks for having me!" he said with a wave, before he slid between Bruce and the metal frame, claimed one of the leather-covered seats, and secured himself in place. After some casual pleasantries and many grateful words, he felt Bruce do the same on the seat next to his.
"Hectic day?" he called loudly over the sound of the helicopter starting up again.
Dick groaned in response, rubbing his eyes with a hand. "And we're still going to that stupid Dinner tonight, aren't we?"
"Yes." Another loud groan met this declaration.
"Are you even going to explain to me what I just went through?"
"Of course." Pause, and then they were rising in the air. "It was Magic."
"Har freaking har, Bruce."
He melted on the seat anyway, knowing he would get to ask more when they were back in the hotel. He didn't even notice he still held the stolen stick tightly in one hand as they climbed higher into the sky.
Might make it into a Two-shot for Harry's side of the story.