Disclaimer: Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne belong to DC.
Wilbur Dernell, Aaron Lansing, Lenore Group, First Centennial Savings Bank, and the Blood Dragons are mine.
Notes: Follow-up to 'Misrouted'; because it needed a sequel of sorts. And if anyone wants to see the fanart I mentioned in this fic: deviantart dot com/art/Robin-s-Daddies-190594922
It took months for the investigation in First Centennial to finish. The misrouted funds were returned to their proper destinations, the bank's organization went into a massive overhaul with changes in authorizations, and a stricter policy of non-acceptance of second-endorsed checks went into effect.
It was all kept quiet, of course. Fearing the panic that might be caused if the scandal was leaked, the bank president decided to give only the barest facts to the media; frequently reassuring the public that what happened was an isolated incident and that the bank is doing everything it can to rectify the error.
It was treated as an embarrassing mistake; one that was easily fixed as evidenced by the quick restoration of normal operations. The bank's investors had even decided to stick through the crisis and thereby allowed the bank to maintain its profitability. Unfortunately, not everyone could return to normal as easily.
Dernell's family had suffered the same fate as the former bank executive: poison pellets in the mouth. Police had found them in the living room; their bodies already gone cold. Their neighbors were shocked, and rumors ran high in the socialite circles. Dernell was known as a man who had made it: he was a nine-to-five worker who moved up to VIP status in two decades. Now it was being said that he resorted to illegal means to gain success so quickly.
Rumors had it that he wasn't the only one Lenore had gotten its hands on.
That didn't make Bruce happy and he stepped up his investigations into the Lenore Group. He had Dick – while recuperating – build up a case as Batman and Red Robin chased down leads.
Oracle was especially vicious in her search. She hated that something like this had gotten past her, and she hated even more that they had so casually shot Dick. She hacked into bank records, telecom records, police records; she even hacked into government files.
And all that research now led to this.
"Blood Dragons?" Dick repeated as he scanned the information on the screen. "I thought we broke them up years ago."
"We did." Bruce grunted and brought up a file of the gang's known members. "But only in Gotham. They've been active in other cities since, with Lenore's backing. They're reputedly armed with high-powered, expensive weapons - weapons that should only be supplied to military."
"So they've got friends in high places." Dick mused.
"Or they simply have a near unlimited source of laundered money."
"Wait, what's that?" Tim asked, pointing at one of the photos associated in the file.
Dick leaned forward to take a closer look. His eyes widened in recognition and he dropped back in his chair, a reddish tinge to his cheeks. "It's nothing. And I thought you'd gotten rid of that." The last was directed towards his adoptive father.
"It must have been Alfred." The billionaire muttered, pointedly not meeting his stare.
Tim glanced back and forth from Dick's blushing to Bruce's averted gaze. When he realized neither of the two were about to answer, he reached out and typed the commands to zoom into the photo.
Seconds later, an old newspaper article appeared on the screen. It included a black and white photo of a very young Dick, dressed as Robin, holding hands with Batman and Superman. The small caption read, 'Robin's Daddies."
Tim burst out laughing. "This was on the news? H-how?"
Dick's blush deepened. "It was a long time ago; when I was still Robin. I was chasing a couple of Blood Dragons through a condemned building. One of them had managed to get his hands on a grenade and tossed it on the floor in front of me. I ducked behind cover but the floor gave way. I think that was one of the few times I scared Bruce."
"I was in the next building, following." Bruce crossed his arms over his chest. "I heard the grenade exploding; then all I could see was over ten floors of steel and concrete crumbling to the ground."
"The perps I chased were buried. They died in the hospital days later."
"You nearly shared the same fate."
" 'Nearly.'" Dick grinned at his adoptive father. "I'm still here, Bruce. I still grew up."
Bruce gave a half-smile in answer.
Tim was awestruck. Despite everything that happened to him, despite the tragedies he had to go through, he'd always idolized the original Batman and Robin. Listening to past cases narrated by his idols themselves made him feel like he was five years old again and hearing of the Dynamic Duo's exploits.
He turned to his older brother. "And you? How'd you get out?"
"I had help." Dick gestured at the screen. "Superman was passing by to discuss a case with Bruce when he heard the explosion. He grabbed me before I got buried." He ran a hand through his hair. "I thought I was a goner that time too."
"And the media?"
"They were shooting a human interest story nearby." Bruce answered. "The cameraman got lucky."
"Clark thought it was funny." Dick offered.
"He would." The billionaire grumbled.
"Then what happened?" Tim asked eagerly.
Dick opened his mouth to reply when Damian stalked into the room. The ten-year-old - his uniform torn and dirty in places - barely acknowledged them before he made a beeline for the scanners. He pulled out a hundred dollar bill and shoved it into the microscope.
"Counterfeit?" Dick grabbed his crutch and limped towards his youngest brother.
"Gang war on Fifth and Mulberry. Between the Street Dogz and a red lizard gang."
Bruce frowned at the mention of the street names. "What were you doing on Mulberry?"
"Meeting a contact."
"Colin Wilkes." Dick explained. "AKA Abuse."
"And the 'red lizard'?" Tim asked, recalling the tattoo the Blood Dragons sported.
"The raiding gang had a red lizard tattooed on their arms." Damian waved a hand at the screen displaying the Dragons' insignia, not turning his head from his project. "Similar to that, only this was done by an amateur."
"A copycat?" Tim said thoughtfully.
"Or an initiate." Bruce added.
Damian huffed in frustration and pushed away from the magnifier. "I don't see how the newbies got all this money. They look genuine to me."
"Let me," Dick took the magnifier and held it a few inches above one corner of the bill. "This one's a fake."
"Grayson, if you are playing jokes…"
"No joke, Dami." He ruffled his youngest brother's hair with a smile. "In this series of bills, there's supposed to be a tiny hair on the corner. If it's not there, the bill's counterfeit."
"But the paper and ink used-" Tim interrupted.
"It's a Super-dollar." Bruce explained for Dick. "The paper and inks used to print the counterfeits are the same used for another nation's currency. That's why it looks and feels like the genuine article." He turned to his eldest. "Where did you learn about the hair?"
"One of the Bludhaven cops in Financial Crimes taught me that," He grinned, "along with a few other techniques."
"Hn." The billionaire grunted and turned back to Damian. "Report."
The newest Robin snorted at his father's commanding tone. He crossed his arms sullenly and Dick half-feared the boy would refuse to answer. But to the acrobat's relief, Damian recounted his experience. "Wilkes had been suspecting something when he saw several street toughs meet up with a hooded man. Two days later, they raided Street Dogz territory armed with semi-autos and hundreds of bullets."
Tim's eyes went wide as Bruce's expression hardened. It wasn't new for the Blood Dragons to have expensive guns to use for their activities; but for a mob that wealthy and big, inciting a gang war with a small gang should be beneath its notice. And even if they gave the task as an initiation rite, they wouldn't allow their recruits to display any sort of insignia in case of failure.
Something wasn't adding up.
Bruce decisively turned on his heel. It was no longer the billionaire but the original Batman who headed for the bathroom to change, deep voice calling over his shoulder, "Tim, suit up."
Damian moved to follow the two when Bruce added, "Not you, Damian."
"No buts. Stay here and help Dick look into the Blood Dragons in Gotham."
Damian huffed and stalked over to the computers.
Dick watched his youngest brother for a while before limping over. "It's not that bad, Dami. I'm glad to have company around."
The kid clicked his tongue sullenly. "You had better recover faster, Grayson. Because the only way Father will let me patrol is with you."
"I'm sure Bruce would-"
"Don't patronize me! Father was clear when he said I'm not good enough for him. And I refuse to work with Drake."
Dick sighed, putting a hand on the chair. After all this time he had hoped his two younger brothers would get along better. Apparently, it didn't hold true. "Actually, Bruce never said that. You're plenty good enough, kiddo. It's just that..."
"...that he can't trust me?" Damian's voice was soft, softer than his usual mocking tone.
"...that you haven't gotten used to each other, that's all." He smiled at the boy. "Bruce and I...we clashed sometimes - okay, most of the time - but we made it work. We practiced, we trained, but we worked. Maybe..."
Damian spun the chair to face him, interrupting his speech. "Quit lying to yourself, Grayson. Father and I, we would never be as close as you were." Then he returned to the computer, signaling the end of their discussion.
Dick sighed again, "Dami..."
He paused at the boy's reluctant tone.
"I will only say this once. But you and I...you aren't bad for a partner."
Dick grinned and ruffled the boy's hair, ignoring the death glare he got in return. "Thanks, little D. So, let's find out who's pulling the strings on this Blood Dragon gang."