Didn't feel like Spellcheck or editing. So, you have this poop. :)
I WILL BE UPDATING DOTB NEXT!
Sorry it took so long, i own nothing, blah, blah, blah, i have to go pick up dog poop now... grrrrr...
WARNINGS: OOC. sorry. Deal with it. OH AAAAAND...
TO ALL FLAMERS: guess what, this story is AU, so no need to tell me... Smart-ones... :)
The boy was stoic as he moved around the kitchen, his padded footsies making a soft 'pat, pat, pat' on the tiles as he shuffled towards the kitchen cabinet. His long black hair fell to his shoulders, curling up in wisps and bouncing lightly. His eyes were still a crisp blue, bright and shining, but there was no joy in them. All joy and childish fondness of life was gone, replaced by pain and suffering that no eight-year-old should ever have to go through.
Damian sat at the table, expertly multitasking his Gameboy and Cap n' Crunch cereal. Tim was eating slowly, nervously fidgeting and looking over to the ebony in the kitchen. Jason was hanging onto Bruce's arm and giggling as the man (unknowingly) swung him back and forth; Bruce was too focused on Richard. And finally, Alfred was washing dishes as he watched the gypsy child aimlessly wander around the expanse of elaborate tiles and oaken cabinets, granite countertops and steel hanging racks.
The child jumped. He had a habit of doing that any time someone spoke his name. "Da?"
Alfred smiled gently. "Would you care for any assistance?"
Richard shook his head. "Nu."
He could speak English, Richard just cared more for Romanian. Bruce assumed it was because it was the language his mother spoke most often- according to the circus people.
"Are you sure?" Bruce asked, eyebrows furrowed gently. He had been through this three times before, if in different aspects. Damian had gone through a five-month rampage of rage. Tim had been a crying, blubbering mess. Jason had been angry and violent, but also cried himself to sleep.
Richard just…. was. He existed, but nothing more.
Jason frowned and jumped down from his hold on Bruce's arm. "Hey! They're just trying to help!"
Richard didn't react. Bruce reached out to stop Jason, but he wasn't fast enough for the agile boy. Jason launched himself forward, past Alfred, and stood in front of Richard. "Hey! I'm talkin' to you!"
The younger boy stood upright and cast an innocent, unknowing, crushed look at the redhead. "Scuze, Jason."
Jason's eyes grew wide. Richard hadn't spoken any of their names since the guardianship papers had come in. "It's okay…" His face lit up. "Want some Cap n' Crunch?"
Richard frowned and tilted his head to the side, repeating the words. "Cap n' Crunch?" The unfamiliar name rolled off his tongue and forth from his lips.
"Yeah. Cap n' Crunch."
"Cap n' Crunch?"
"Cap n' Crunch."
Then, Richard gave a semblance of a smile and nodded. "Cap n' Crunch, va rog."
Jason beamed. "I'm guessing that means please."
Clark practically tore the school apart when he saw Robin- no. Richard. He was Richard now; Richard, a sad, scared, and angry thirteen-year-old boy. The reporter remained a calm composure, even though the raging storms inside his chest refused to cease.
Clark turned a corner-
And bumped head-first into Jason. "Hey! Watch where you're go- Clark?"
The reporter nodded, his spit-curl flapping against his forehead in a way that made Jason want to rip it off with his bare hands. "Jason. Where's Dick?"
Just then, Tim came around the corner, a death grip on his youngest brother's bicep. Richard's eyes were unfocused, and he seemed ready to faint.
Clark zoomed forward, grabbing Richard's other arm. Now closer, he could see the sweat pouring down the young teen's forehead, and his thick black eyelashes were falling onto blue eyes. "Dick? Dick, are you okay?"
"What do you think?"
Clark turned and sent his own version of the Bat-glare towards Jason. The redhead glared back, easily shrugging away any discomfort. "His parents' murderer broke out of prison! Do you think he's okay-"
Jason and Clark simultaniously winced and turned to see-
Tim was pale-faced. "These are new shoes!"
Clark brushed off the comment. "He's in shock." The reporter put his arm around Richard's back, as his knees were about to give. "Bruce texted me. He's going to meet us at the Manor."
"Wally should be coming, too," Jason grounded out as he supported the ebony, who was still shell-shocked. It had been delayed, and was now taking full effect. "Let's get him home."
Clark nodded fiercely. "Stand behind me. We'll have to fight out way out."
Tim snorted. "Like usual."
Wally was so freaked out that he reached the Manor even before Bruce.
The speedster zoomed up to the front door, ignoring the fact that his shoes had been lost from his running at the speed of sound, and knocked rapid-fire.
An old man with withered skin and sad eyes answered, his mustache twitching with annoyance. "Master Wallace, however many times you knock, it will not effect how fast I can walk."
Wally brushed past Alfred with ease. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, Alf." He had to be careful to keep his words slow, despite how much he wanted to scream. "That rhymed, by the way."
A dinger went off, and Alfred straightened. "That would be the cookies."
Wally's eyes lit up, and Alfred couldn't help but chuckle, shaking his head as he walked into the white-tiled kitchen. "Yes, Master Wallace, I made enough for you as well. I thought you might make an appearance... But, it will be several more minutes until the Masters return. I suggest you sit."
The ginger shook his head. "I can't hold still."
Alfred nodded respectively. "In that case, I suppose you wish for something to do." A duster and damp rag were handed to the teen, who sighed and whimpered at the same time. "The foyer is in need of a cleaning."
By the time Wally was done, the cookies had cooled, but no one was back yet. Wally groaned, pulling on his cheeks so that his eyes drooped. "Master Wallace, unless you wish your face to be permantly frozen-"
The front door opened, sending a beep throughout the Manor. In a blur of yellow and red, Wally was at the front door. It was Damian. The black-haired young man stepped in quickly, turning to allow Tim and Jason in. Between them, Richard looked ready to die- or at least faint. After them, to Wally's surprise, came Clark Kent, his glasses now hanging off from his suit front. His hair was askew, and he looked extremely flustered. "That was... Fun."
Jason scoffed as he led Richard into the nearest room- the downstairs parlor. The thirteen-year-old plopped down on the nearest chair, instantly pulling into his metaphorical shell, his knees tucked under his chin.
Wally had never seen his best friend this... vulnerable. It just didn't happen. He was Robin, the fearless Boy Wonder.
Then again, he was also Richard Grayson. A scared little boy...
The teen crossed over and sat down on the arm of the chair, pulling his friend to lean into his ribcage. Then, Richard broke down.
Alfred entered, a red-faced and angry Bruce Wayne behind him. All of the 'Wayne' boys (minus Richard) looked towards him, their expressions separately intense. Tim looked sad, his whole face- from the downcast eyes, to the fallen lips- screamed of depression and sympathy for his baby brother. Damian looked ready to kill someone- Zucco, most likely. Jason was biting his lower lip, flipping his knife open and shut, open and shut, his eyes glazed over and eyebrows folded together in an angry scowl.
Nothing had to be said. The boys all left, Clark following. He stopped short, though, to stand in front of Bruce. They whispered quickly, casting glances towards Wally and Richard. Oh, what the speedster wouldn't give to have super-hearing just then...
Clark nodded, then turned to face Richard, who was still looking at the cold and empty fireplace. Clearing his throat uneasily, he said, "Goodbye, Richard. I- I'll see you soon."
And he left.
Bruce walked forward, his lifted shoes leaving ominous clanks on the wooden planks. He walked slowly, and Wally knew that Bruce was trying to scare him off.
His grip on Richard's shoulders tightened as the teen's cries turned to a stoic face. Wally snorted. Of course... He won't let Bruce see him cry.
The billionaire paused in front of the red velvet chair, and Wally was sure that he was about to preach from his pulpit.
Instead, he bent down and pulled Richard away from Wally and into a hug.
Well, then... Now might be a good time to leave Daddy-Bats alone...
Wally slowly crept out of the room, closing the creaky door as he went.
The eight-year-old growled as Damian laughed, his cocky tunes echoing through the Bat-Cave. "C'mon, kid! Show me what you got!"
With that, Richard charged forward with a tiny roar, and the two began again.
It was a quick spar that ended with Richard on the ground, angry tears in his eyes. Damian scoffed. "Hey, you wanted this."
Richard grimaced. It was true. So, he pulled himself up, tiny shoulders heaving, bruised ribs protesting, and readied himself in a fighting stance. "Adu-l..."
Damian cocked an eyebrow, and Richard grinned eerily. "Bring it."
That was the first time Damian lost to a younger fighter.
And it wouldn't be the last.
Don't you like the flash-backs?
OKAY: I know it's going annoyingly and painfully slow, and, yes, this chapter was CRAP and a filler... I'll admit it... But the plot- MAIN plot- is revealed in the next chapter. so stay with me, people! (Oh, and YJ comes in SOOOON!)