The world has gone straight to hell. No one can be sure how soon it can be fixed. The corpses of the loved, the forgotten, the hated are being mobilized and sent against the living.
And Dick feels like he is regressing — to that ignorant and baby age of eight again.
It only takes a few words from the rotting, gray lips of John Grayson and Dick's arms rise sluggishly on their own to catch rotting, cold hands: "Let's show these folks what we're made of, son."
They're flying. Flying above the hardwood floor of the center ring. The misty, evening air hits Dick's face as they swing together on the trapeze. Trapeze. A circus tent set up over a graveyard. "RobinRobinRobinpleaseno" is being called from below. Teammates. Friends. The flamethrower strapped to Dick's back and under his cape — their bodies can only be injured fast enough with fire, injure them long enough to prevent regeneration and sever the connection to their rings, Batman says — and those rational thoughts of defeating the Black Lanterns vanish away into nothingness when Dick glances out of the corners of his lenses, breathless and -hungry- for the sight as a solemn (grayanduglywrongsowrong) Mary Grayson waves from the platform box.
Time slows in their beautifully dark and fluttering sweep towards the ceiling of the circus tent, in their macabre performance.
Dick faintly hears Mary take off from the boxand clasps onto his ankles. Even fainter can Dick hear the unimportant sounds of Artemis and Kid Flash screaming at the top of their lungs.
"You're thinking about killing us, aren't you, son?" John stares down straight into the Robin mask, glossy and marble-like eyes sorrowful, "Wasn't one time enough for you?"
Thin, weak gasps bubble up from Dick's wind chapped lips. It isn't real. It's all a trick. But it feels…
A hot rush of tears gathers before trickling down Dick's face and drying quickly.
"…Daddie, I'm sorry. I never wanted…—"
John's fingers, impossibly strong and unbearably cold in sensation, squeeze around Dick's wrists comfortingly at the broken whisper.
"We will always love you, Richard. Even if you couldn't prevent our deaths all over again."
A cord snaps above them deafeningly. The tension from the suspension on the trapeze loosens and then disappears. Dick rolls instinctively in the long drop.
The bodies of his parents hit the center ring, cracking, splitting apart bones and bursting organs, and he feels it this time underneath him.
One of his ribs is on fire. He can't concentrate, not on the meaty, gray, rotting mess; not on the new injuries; not when Dick hears an oily, pleasant voice call out from nearby, "And here I was hoping I could get rid of their little brat this time around too." A deep cut above Dick's eyebrow allows some running blood to blind an eye but the other can still make out the stout, pudgy man who had spoken.
The end of a cigar burning glow-red.
"Does it make you feel rage, little whelp?"
Dick's gauntlets, caked with shining and silverish gore, fist themselves and shake. It burns like hell to run, but he ignores it, like he ignores the voices of his friends closing in, and Dick throws off his flamethrower before jamming his fist into Boss Zucco's rotting and grinning face. The emblem of the Black Lantern flecks with silver, disgustingly sour-smelling blood.
"STOP IT, STOP SMILING—!"
A female voice says encouragingly from behind him, "That's my boy."
Dick turns his head, woozy enough to sense the ground rocking, and gawks up at the reassembled corpses of the Flying Graysons. The dead veins under John's gray and toned arm bulge as shadowy energy collects around his hand and thrusts itself into Dick's chest. His heart stutters, and fingers clench around it, and Dick belts out a scream of agony before going on his knees. Cold. Cold.
And then… the heat of flames.
His discarded flamethrower now held tightly in Aqualad's hands as he grimly sprays a fury of those flames towards all four of them. Fingers unclench. Remember. Survive.
In a matter of seconds, Dick hunches down to cover himself with his fire-resistant cape, his black bangs singed. Inhuman shrieks. Clawing bone-hands gripping at him doused in the flames but harmless.
Gripping. Dragging him out of the hellish inferno.
Bat cowl. Batman. Bruce.
"…uugh.." Dick coughs up saliva and bile onto himself, and a rebreather presses roughly to his slickened mouth. A pinching to the slit of skin exposed from his torn Robin uniform.
A soft, firm command.
"Relax, soldier. It's over now."
The sedation injector in Batman's hand tucks away into his utility belt, and a soothing, light feeling creeps towards Dick's heavily weighing eyelids. His head droops back to a Kevlar chest. Blurs. Flicking in and out. The top of Miss Martian's head. Aqualad and the flamethrower. The Kid Flash ear bolts. Artemis and Superboy talking frantically to Wonder Woman.
DC comics and YJ are not my property. Based off the events of "Blackest Night". Happy Halloween, everyone.
"somehow The Flying Graysons come back to life as villains"