I own nothing.
*Get ready for "Lies"!*
"Mis, really, what are you-"
She hushed her boyfriend, slapping the back of his head gently as she used one hand to cover his eyes. Normally, she wouldn't hesitate to be rough-and-tough, but he had only gotten out of Medical a week earlier. He still even had to use a crutch to get around without wearing himself thin. "It's a surprise."
The ebony groaned deeply, a throaty groan that warmed the small of Artemis's back, sending tingles up her spine. "Just keep going."
The small click, clack, click of Richard's crutches against the fine Chinese tiles in Wayne Manor echoed throughout the hallway. The same could go for Artemis's metal-toed and heeled ballet flats. She also wore a long, willowy dress of a satin green, to match the emerald color of her shoes. Richard, himself, wore a baby blue tee with dark, forest-green camo pants and white high-tops. "Where are we going?"
"To the Manor."
"Just shut it, Grayson, before I shut it for you."
"Is that a threat or a promise?"
Artemis whacked the back of his head again, a bit harder this time. Then, they arrived in the kitchen, with its black-and-white tiles, granite counter tops, and metal instruments hanging from the professional chef bars above.
Then, she removed her hand.
Richard jumped slightly at the shouts, his cobalt eyes snapping wide open. I can't believe I fell for that!
All around him stood his teammates and family: Wally, in his famous ACDC shirt and skinny jeans, Connor and M'gann in matching floral outfits (to the clone's obvious delight), Kaldur in his usual turtleneck, and even their mentors in civvie attire. Bruce stood behind everyone, leaning against the counter top, not quite smiling yet not quite scowling as he watched his son limp towards his friends. Arms crossed, Bruce couldn't help but let his expression turn a bit happier at the gleam in Richard's eyes. Even when Artemis kissed his cheek, hanging on the teen's shoulder, he didn't frown. If Artemis made his boy happy, then he could deal.
But if she hurt him...
And then there was the deal with her past-
Bruce shrugged off those thoughts. If she hurts him, I hurt her.
Meanwhile, Alfred was bringing forward a royally baked cake. Richard snorted, almost rolling his eyes at the sugary black bats and little yellow 'R's on the white fondant, but when he saw Alfred's smile- the twinkle in his surrogate grandfather's eyes, the way the old man was beaming proudly at his now-seventeen-year-old 'grandson'- he restrained himself.
Artemis leaned forward, putting her chin on Richard's shoulder, and breathed warm air onto his neck, sending shivers up the teen's spine. "Make a wish, birthday boy."
"Oh, you know what I'm wishing for-"
Oliver's eye twitched, and Dinah had to restrain him from attacking the already injured boy.
"Watch it, Grayson."
Alfred rolled his eyes. "Master Dick, would you care to blow out your candles now?"
The young man nodded and took in a deep breath-
"WAIT!" Wally cried, sticking his hands up as he super-sped in front of his best friend. "Haaaaaapp-yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy... Birthday to you!"
Everyone joined in- even the Atalanteans and Martians that didn't know the lyrics.
"Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Diiiiii-iiiiick...
Happy birthday toooooo...
"Blow out the candles!" Barry exclaimed with a grin.
Richard smiled meekly, blowing out the candles with a deep breath. He got them all in one whiff, and everyone cheered. Minus Bruce.
The man was no longer in the room.
Richard frowned slightly at the disappearance of his foster-father. Sure, Bruce wasn't the lovey-dovey type, but he was always there for his son's birthday party- no matter how un-Batman-like.
Artemis squeezed her boyfriend's shoulder, drawing his eyes towards where Alfred was cutting the large cake. Wally and Barry, both already on their fourth pieces, were chattering non-stop to J'onn, Clark, and Dinah, all of whom were trying to sneak away. M'gann and Connor were in a dark corner, making out with muffled moans. Kaldur, King Corin, and Oliver were in line for cake, and Bruce was still nowhere to be found.
Eventually, everyone sat down around the kitchen in various spots (Alfred's left eye was twitching at the fingerprints, smudges, and footprints that were getting everywhere) to enjoy their cake. Richard sat with his leg propped up, Artemis sitting on his good thigh as she fed him some of the red-velvet cake (my favorite!).
Then, the sound of Bruce's soled shoes could be heard. Everyone turned (besides Richard, who couldn't, and only craned his neck) to see the billionaire walking in, a mischievous glint in his navy eyes. In his hand was a manilla envelope. A sharp gasp ran through the air, and everyone's head snapped towards Richard. His eyes glistened with surprised tears, and Artemis jumped up. "Dick, what-"
The teen stood, his legs shaking- but not from his weak chest. The tears welled up behind thick black lashes, and Bruce smiled gently.
"Is- Is t-t-that what I..." Richard began slowly, clutching at the back of the chair. "Is that what I t-think it is...?"
Was it the lighting, or were the Dark Knight's eyes glistening?
Bruce nodded, nodding slowly. "The adoption papers went through. It's official, Richard John Wayne."
Even with his injuries, Richard managed to charge forward and envelope his new father in a hug. Bruce hugged him back even tighter, both ignoring the teen's injured ribs. His shoulders shaking with silent sobs of joy, Richard buried his face into Bruce's shoulder, allowing the man to kiss his head tenderly.
Artemis stood back, grinning dumbly for her boyfriend. Barry tilted his head to the side. "Aww..."
Everyone shot him a look.
Richard laid down in his bed, half sighing and half moaning as his chest protested. No lights were on, but the full moon provided just enough of a glaze to see the sheets of paper that spread over his lap. One was his original birth certificate.
Richard John Grayson
Father: John Samuel Grayson
Mother: Mary Annabelle Grayson-White
Date: March 21st, 1998
The second was his guardianship papers.
The third was his adoption papers.
Sex: Male Age: 17 DOB: March 21st, 1998
Name: Grayson, Richard John
Father: Grayson, Samuel John Mother: Grayson-White, Mary Annabelle
Amended Name: Wayne-Grayson, Richard John
Amended Father: Wayne, James Bruce Amended Mother: N/A
Grandfather: Pennyworth, Hugo Alfred Grandmother: N/A
Date of Adoption: March 21st, 1998
At the bottom, the Judge (a very kind, plump, female African-American, Richard remembered) wrote in chicken-scratched cursive, 'Happy Birthday, Richard'.
For hours, Richard stayed up and awake, tracing his new name over and over again with his pointer finger. Finally, at around 3AM, the teen fell asleep, the paper hugged to his chest.
Slowly, the door cracked open, and Bruce's head crept in. He saw his son- his actual son- and grinned- actually grinned- and stepped forward, gently taking the papers and setting them neatly on his son's desk. Boy, that sounded good...
Richard turned, mumbling "Artemis..." in his sleep. Rolling his eyes, Bruce pulled the red comforter up and over Richard's shoulders. The teen's eyes popped open, and Bruce swore inwardly.
"Sorry, Dick. I didn't mean to wake you."
He shrugged gently, yawning loudly. "Whuh-eber... Love you, Dad."
Bruce felt his breath catch in his throat. "Good night, Son..."
Yeah, kinda' mushy, kinda' OOC, but I like it, and that's all that matters!