Alright, here we go! This is the last chapter, the end of this behemoth! I sincerely apologize for the extended delay. I'm a bit excited, to say the least. This is my very first successful fanfic and it's actually finished. This is very new to me. I hope you all are satisfied with the ending.
Like I've said before, if you've received inspiration from this fic, you have my permission to write one shots, sequels, or "deleted chapters" if you so wish. Obviously this fic could have had so many outcomes and scenes that didn't get put in. For instance, Poison Ivy, Harley, and Catwoman were supposed to try to persuade Barbara to join their little rag tag group.
There were many other ideas that weren't put in, but please enjoy the ones that did!
I give you… the end.
Dick quietly rapped his knuckles on the wooden door to Damian's room where his siblings had continued to hole themselves up. He hoped the door was unlocked so he could at least say goodbye. Slowly, the door opened and he was greeted with Barbara's apathetic figure.
"Hey, I'm leaving soon, so it's time for me to say goodbye."
"Shut the door Gordon." Damian ordered from inside, still extremely pissed off about earlier.
Barbara moved to do just that when Dick stuck his foot in between the door and the frame. She opened it back up a fraction only to slam it back, crushing his foot in the process. Dick grunted, but refused to move his foot.
"Wait, wait! C'mon, just let me say my peace!"
Barbara quirked an eyebrow and turned back to the hidden occupants of the room. "What do you think, should we let him?"
"Dismember his foot if you need to." Damian growled.
"Just let him talk." Tim sighed.
"Why? S'not like it's going to change much."
"I agree with Tim." Barbara stepped away from the door, allowing Dick to enter.
He breathed a small sigh of relief, but it quickly faltered when none of his siblings bothered to look at him. Biting his lip he struggled to remember what it was he was going to say. He'd never been so nervous before.
"Look, I know it sucks, but I have to go."
"Then go. Forget about us and move on with your pathetic little life." Damian snapped, chucking a kitten plush at him.
Dick caught the plush and smiled fondly at it. "It's hard for me too. I've never had any siblings before and you guys were the best I could have ever imagined."
Jason rolled his eyes and snarled. "Didn't you hear the brat? We aren't interested in some sappy speech. Just leave and get it over with."
"I'll find you. Each and every one of you. I'm going to find you and we'll be a family again. I'll be the older brother this time, so you'll have to listen to me. Babs, I'll try not to tease you so much, even if it is payback for when I was nine. Jay, I promise I'll cut up all of your cigarettes. Damian, I'm going to make sure you get a kitten. Tim, I guess I'll have to re-teach you how to hack, but what are older brothers for, right?"
For once no snarky remark was made. The bunch stayed quiet, listening to the promises Dick made. He reached into his pocket, pulling out a photo, corners folded over and a wrinkle through the middle.
"I didn't tell you cause it's embarrassing, but I still have that picture we took at Christmas. It's coming with me, so I'll hang up in my room. I know you think I'm just going to forget you, but I promise I'll bring us all together again. After all, we're brothers, right?" Dick paused. "Bruce has been training with Batman, so just watch out for him, okay? He's going to be learning right beside you, so make sure he's up to speed. Don't ever let each other cross the line, and make sure Joker stays locked up. I left all of my files here, so use them wisely."
Barbara took in a shaky breath and reached over, pulling him into a hug. "We're going to miss you."
"I know. I'm going to miss you guys too. Look after my parents, okay? The device is staying here, so make sure it's locked up somewhere safe. I'll check in from time to time with a note and some pictures. I'm sure you guys will want to see that I've found you."
Dick turned to leave, sending a smile at his brothers, who failed to reciprocate. He understood though, and closed the door behind him. His hand lingered on the handle for a moment before opening the door back up.
"Oh, and whatever you do, do not let Batman kill Superman. Trust me, they don't get along."
Tim quirked an eyebrow and Dick sheepishly closed the door once more. He was three feet away when he furiously turned around and entered once more.
"I forgot to actually say goodbye… So I guess… goodbye."
"Are you ever going to leave?"
Dick barked out a laugh. "I don't know if I can. I'm really going to miss you guys."
"Go on, go." Damian urged with a wave of his hand. His tone held no bite and if Dick looked hard enough, he would notice a small smirk on his lips.
"See you around."
"Bye." Barbara watched him close the door once again.
"Bet you five bucks he comes back." Tim whispered to Jason.
The cocky teen grinned. "Done."
Five minutes passed, then ten, and then twenty. Reality began to sink in; Dick really wasn't coming back. A sick feeling sank into Tim's stomach. He should have at least hugged his brother goodbye. Maybe he could have said something. It reminded him a lot of death. Once someone was gone, there was no saying goodbye, no last hugs.
"I call the R-cycle." Jason declared loudly, jumping up and grabbing his crutches, aiming to exit the room.
"If you can find it!" Tim snarked, shoving him over and back onto the bed.
Jason cursed, struggling to regain leverage to pull himself back up, but Tim was already out the door, now competing with Barbara in a race to the Batcave. Jason hobbled out after them; if anything, he'd already called it.
Damian was left scowling on the bed, grabbing his pillow and chucking it at the door. The pillow hit an unexpected Kon, who was wandering the halls in hopes of finding Tim to cheer him up. Pillow in hand, Kon entered Damian's room.
"What was that for?"
"You put yourself in the line of fire." Damian shrugged.
"Wasting time with Gordon and Todd in an attempt to retrieve the R-Cycle."
Damian sighed, growing irritated with the younger Kent. "Yes, the one he took to… DC…"
Damian smirked, he didn't need to move in order to claim the impressive homemade vehicle. Grayson had left it in DC when he had decided to hitch a ride on Kon back to the manor. His brothers were too dumb to figure it out. Grayson hadn't installed the necessary equipment to call it back home, either, so the three wouldn't be able to retrieve it that way either. He'd won.
"You aren't so useless after all, Kent." Damian declared.
Kon gave him a funny look before quickly exiting the room. That kid creeped him out to no end.
Dick watched as Batman fired up the device. Three hours prior Batman had already tested the device, receiving a message back from the Justice League. Preparations had been made, and they were clear to return home. Glancing back at his ward, he noticed the small fists clenched up in anticipation.
Wally patted Dick's back, trying to not to be too rough. "It's going to be fine."
"Yeah." Dick agreed, thought the waver in his voice was noted.
Dick glanced back at the manor; Bruce, Martha, Thomas, and Alfred were standing on the steps, all watching carefully. Bruce was clenching and unclenching his fists, rocking slightly back and forth as if to hold himself back. It was hard on Bruce too. The goodbye hadn't exactly been the easiest for the both of them, but each knew it had to be done.
Dick would never admit to sobbing, especially not to Wally, who had unintentionally eavesdropped. Bruce had sat through the poorly choked out apologies and "thank you"s, knowing that the only comfort he could provide was to hold Dick close and reassure him that they would all be fine. A hug from Martha and Thomas was the brief farewells from them.
Batman, on the other hand, had his own goodbye session with them while Dick was upstairs with his own parents. Alfred was another story. He simply offered his best wishes, struggling not to show any feelings. He was "only the butler after all". Dick had hugged him anyways, assuring him he was most definitely not just a butler.
Here, standing at the brink of that window that had started it all, Dick was trying his hardest to swallow down a full blown panic attack. Batman shoved his heel into the glass, sending the shards first. A black glove was extended to Dick and hesitantly he took it. Very quickly, he took one more glance back at the family he had gained over the past year and offered a tiny, thankful smile. They returned the favor and he was pulled into the darkness within the window once more.
The landing was far more graceful than Young Justice's first trip through. Everyone had landed on their feet in the large room of the Watch Tower. Opening his eyes, Robin was surprised to see nearly all of the Justice League members in the room. The presence of all of them was nearly overwhelming. He hadn't expected such a gathering for his return. His jaw was slackened in awe before a body slammed into his, enveloping him in a tight embrace.
"I'm so glad you're safe!" Zatanna whispered in his ear.
He was momentarily blinded by her thick black hair, but he hugged back nonetheless. She pulled away after a moment and in her place was Artemis. She also went for a hug, her blonde hair pulled back and out of his face.
"Good to see you Robin."
She pulled away and Batman urged his protégée to move forward and out of the room. He obeyed, exhausted from all of the emotional outbursts from the past couple of days. Superman and Wonder Woman took a step forward in an attempt to intervene, but Robin's shy declaration warded them off.
"I think I'm going to go home now."
It was the best decision he could think of at this point. While he would love to say hello to everyone again, he was just so worn down. Already he could feel the tension between Batman and the rest of the League and he didn't think he could handle it so soon. Batman agreed and shadowed him out of the crowd's line of sight.
This Watch Tower was quite different, the layout far more advanced, as well as the technology. The transporter didn't cause his teeth to vibrate and he was grateful. It was well past midnight, despite having been only slightly past noon back at the other manor. Outside of the Hall of Justice was a single black limousine, two figures standing in front.
Dick felt the tears he'd thought he exhausted flood back. Diving into the arms of the old man he'd come to know as a grandfather, Dick wrapped his arms around the butler's neck. Alfred returned the embrace, taking in the scent of the boy he had been waiting to return home.
"We've suffered greatly through your absence."
Those words meant the world to Dick and he let go of a sob. From beside him, a soft hand was placed on his back, rubbing small circles. Babs smiled down at him.
"Welcome home Boy Wonder."
"Grayson!" Damian hollered, voice reaching a pitch Dick never would have imagined. Something had off put the current Boy Wonder.
"What?" Dick sighed, peeking into his own room, where the ten year old had been snooping.
A single picture was shoved into his face.
"Just what is this photo? I don't recall ever taking a picture with Drake or Todd! Why is Gordon not in her wheelchair and what on earth is Father doing smiling?" Damian's face scrunched up, severely disgusted by the notion of his late father ever having the emotion of happiness. The Waynes did not have time for happiness.
Dick grinned, grabbing the photo from him. "Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about this. Look at you, with your adorable little frown!"
"Shut up!" Damian snarled. "I asked you a question and I demand an answer!"
"You don't remember this? Gee, why am I not surprised? You've always blocked out memories of your brothers. Would it kill you to know you actually have a family?"
Damian huffed, stomping from the room. If Grayson insisted upon acting like a fool, he would not tolerate his presence any longer. It was hopeless to try and get an answer from the clown calling himself his "older brother". He would have preferred being an only child.
Dick smiled fondly at the photo before tucking it carefully back into a drawer. "I found you."
Damian froze outside of the room at the words. Just what had that meant? In any case, there was more to that photo than Damian had asked about. That boy wearing Grayson's old robin suit, for instance, and the appearance of his grandparents, long since dead.
Perhaps he couldn't wheedle out an answer from Dick, but surely Batman knew of this. There was a secret being kept and he did not appreciate it being kept from him.
Two figures analyzed three young heroes loudly arguing over headcount. It seemed crime fighting was nothing more than a competition for the three boys, a measurement of genital size, for sure. Stephanie glanced over at her companion, a silent female.
"What do you think Cass? Should we team up with them?"
Cassandra only shrugged, keeping her eyes trained on the three. Another figure swooped in, barking orders and cutting off the mindless bickering. Stephanie's lips quirked upwards.
"They sure seem interesting. The middle one is cute."
Cass didn't even bother shrugging. She wasn't so impressed. The man, however, drew her attention. There was something about him that seemed familiar. For once, she took her eyes off of the figures below and to her partner.
Stephanie's eyebrows shot up behind her mask. "Alright, we'll give it a go. We can always show them how real heroes handle Gotham scum."
The encounter would be interesting indeed.
And that's that. So, I've got a bunch of questions to answer down here, so look for your name!
For those who informed me of the chapter mix up, thank you! I don't understand what happened, but it's fixed now. The revision process was frustrating.
Your Local Cow – I did NOT promise a sequel. While I've been toying with the idea, I haven't come up with a solid plot, so I don't know if I ever will. If anyone out there comes up with something, I'd love to read it! Feel free to write it!
I have, however, been trying to work out a Mental Hospital AU. Let me know if this sounds interesting or not. I've only been playing around for now, but it might turn into a full blown fic—definitely not as long as this one—in the future.
Hane no Zaia – Thank you so much! I was so tired of reading a lack of plot in the YJ section so I decided to write my own. I don't know if it's the best, though. Skylark Evanson has definitely given me a run for my money. If you haven't checked out her stuff, I seriously recommend you do!
Comic-Surge – Thank you! I'm actually working on a novel currently. Hopefully in the future I'll make it big. It's big game of chance though, so I'm not sure how I'll fair.
As for why I left Artemis out, as I'm sure more of you are also wondering, I wrote the beginning of this in August. Way back then Artemis was popularly branded as the mole. I left it open for the worst case scenario that she was indeed the mole. Zatanna wasn't even a part of the team until recently, so there's no way I could have included her in this (not much anyhow) since 4/5 of the story was written by then. I hope the scene with the two of them made up for it though. I think those two would definitely go at it if one pissed the other off. They are both rebellious and feisty.
Also, I find it funny that everyone hates "Hello, Megan!" when she's only said it maybe once in the entirety of the last ten episodes. I didn't think it was that annoying, either. If anything, Robin and his words has sort of been grating on my nerves. They make sure he says it every single episode he's in. Sometimes I think it makes him sound a little goofy, to be honest.
Katiesparks - I completely understand! As I said before, the need for something really great pushed me to write this. So I guess you can thank the mediocrity of the archive in August for that. Alternate Universes are hard things to tackle, but I hope I managed it alright. I did my best.
Samian – Thanks! I'm glad you felt the emotions. Sometimes I worry I'm the only one feeling it. Emotion I think is the hardest thing to put down on paper. It's easy to tell a story, but to manipulate the reader's emotions is tough.
Thank you again for reading and I look forward to posting more fics…. Soonish? I don't know when I'll get the time—probably not until after graduation.