A/N: Thank-you for all the reviews! (I've replied to everyone as best I can. If I missed you last time around, I'll reply back this time.)
I hope you enjoy the next part of this story.
…That's Master Richard after he won the Gotham Academy swimming championship backstroke; and that's him with his schoolmates after winning the team freestyle," Alfred pointed out the photographs on the album page as John and Mary leaned over his shoulder. "And there he is with Mistress Barbara at their Junior Prom."
Dick smiled behind his mug of coffee as his mother let out a sigh of endearment. They'd been a good three hours piling through the 'safe' albums Alfred had kept meticulously over the past fifteen years or so. Dick had made himself a quick sandwich and was now nursing raisin tea-cakes and coffee, while Alfred narrated through his childhood and teenage years to his parents.
"He looks so handsome. Oh…who are the young people with you here, Richard?" Mary inquired and Dick got up from his stool to lean over his mother's shoulders, as Mary pointed at a series of photographs on the opposing pages.
"Those are my best friends. That's Donna, Roy, Wally and Garth," Dick pointed out his casually dressed former teammates. Dick, Roy and Garth were holding up Donna while Wally posed in front of them, all five of them in swimsuits and posing on a California beach.
There was a buzzing sound from the intercom and Alfred put down the album and walked over to check the code, "It's Master Bruce. Perhaps you'd like to go meet him first, Master Richard?" He suggested.
Dick chewed his lower lip and looked between his parents, thinking about what Clark had said. "No…no, I think maybe if Mom and Dad came with me it might be best," he replied, Alfred nodded in understanding and John and Mary both got to their feet.
"I agree. I remember meeting Mister Wayne that night of our last performance," John narrowed his brown eyes. "He seemed rather…elsewhere. I just assumed it was his reptation as a playboy gadjo, annoyed at having to attend a family circus instead of a nightclub."
Motioning to his parents, Dick lead the way out of the kitchen and John, Mary and Alfred followed him out, "That's not really who Bruce is at all. It's a cover because of the circles he's always moved in. Gotham isn't the nicest city in the world, even for the upper-class." He revealed.
"Master Bruce is classically educated, worldly and serious; not just some rich playboy." Alfred added gently, "I can assure you that Master Richard was never exposed to any scandalous, or overtly age-inappropriate, scenarios during his years under this roof."
Dick winced inwardly at the easy way Alfred embellished the truth, but, then again, Bruce was a ladies man despite his solitary nature, Dick was secretly thankful for the years he watched his guardian easily woo the most beautiful woman in the room practically all the time.
Not that Dick would be telling either his father or mother about that, even under duress.
Mary nodded, "I'm grateful to hear that, Alfred. Richard might be grown now, but I'm still a concerned mother as to his growing up," she said firmly, glancing up at her son, "I know there's some things I'll never be privy to, but you must promise to tell me some of them, Richard."
Dick nodded and smiled, "Of course, Mom. You don't know how good it is to be able to do that," he longed to wrap his mother in a hug, but had to settle for reaching out his hand to her and Mary matched his gesture. "Whatever you want to know, I promise I won't lie."
The moment was interrupted by the open of the right-side, heavily carved entrance door and Bruce Wayne, dressed in his usual designer, black suit. Dropping his briefcase to the ground, the broad-shouldered head of Wayne Enterprises loosened his Windsor-knotted, dark blue tie and glanced over at Alfred.
"Alfred. Could you bring–" he looked over at Dick, smiling thinly, "–Dick? What brings you here this late at night? Is something…" Bruce trailed off when he noticed the semi-transparent, apparitions, standing on either side of his former ward.
Dick motioned between his parents, "Bruce, I think you remember my parents, John and Mary Grayson. Mom, Dad, you also remember Bruce Wayne, my former guardian," he re-introduced.
Bruce looked over at Dick again, raising an eyebrow in the silent code they'd developed over fourteen years. Dick knitted his dark eyebrows together and nodded seriously, Wayne then quickly inclined his head and smiled kindly over at John and Mary.
"Well…this is slightly out of the ordinary, but it is good to see you after all of these years, Mr Grayson; Mrs Grayson," Bruce folded his arms over his chest and put a perfect mask of apprehension over his features. "Is there–I mean…why are you here, if I may enquire?"
Receiving a fully detailed explanation of the day's events from the Graysons, Bruce nodded seriously, glancing aside at his former ward every so often in deep thought, before looking solemn as the tale came to an end.
"That certainly is a strange series of events. And you do think preforming once again with Dick should allow you to move on?" Wayne questioned, again turning attention to Dick; who was leaning his arm against the stairway banister, chewing on his lower lip.
John nodded, also looking over at his son, "I believe so. Richard's girlfriend, Barbara–"
Bruce looked surprised, "Barbara Gordon?" He questioned, looking over at Dick, who gave him a small smile in response. Wayne tilted his head slightly and shook it, smiling to himself.
"–yes. She believes it to the best option. Although she said there may be another," John finished, taking Mary's hand, not entirely sure if he liked the fatherly way Bruce smiled at Dick when he heard about Barbara. Richard is my son. I don't care if Wayne has had more years with him.…
"Perhaps we can continue this conversation somewhere more seemly." Bruce's smooth, deep voice interrupted John's thoughts. "Alfred, could you escort Mr and Mrs Grayson to the sitting room down the hall. I need to speak to Dick privately if I may; then we'll join you both."
Mary glanced aside at her only child, "Richard?" She questioned and Dick nodded.
"It's all right. I'll see you in a minute," Dick assured his parents, who nodded and moved to follow Alfred out of the entrance hall. John glancing behind quickly as he did so, noticing the immediate stiffness of posture arising both in Bruce and Dick as they began to talk.
Dick looked solemnly, slightly up, at his former guardian. "Bruce. They don't know about anything. I've managed to keep it from them up till now."
Bruce folded his arms across his powerful chest, "I could see that for myself, Dick. For one thing, they weren't accusing me," he raised his eyebrows. "This is a strange turn of events. How are you feeling?"
Grayson rubbed his upper arms, "Shocked. Angry. Frightened…everything I've felt from the moment my parents crashed to the centre ring right and up until this point about their passing. They're here again, like I wished and prayed for so many nights." Dick reached up to rub his eyes.
"But they're not here. Not really– they don't belong here anymore. I accepted that I couldn't ever see them again when I was ten years old. Now they're right beside me, talking to me. Planning a routine for us, the Flying Graysons."
Bruce watched as the younger man paced up and down, wringing his hands before pushing them through his lanky hair.
"All the same memories; the expressions on their faces…except I only feel a cold shiver, instead of a warm touch, when my Dad rests his hand on my shoulder. And I can't even embrace my Mom," Dick slumped down on the bottom step. Resting his face in his upturned hands. "I never could have planned for this. Nothing ever prepared me for this."
Bruce sat down beside Dick and rested his hand on his former ward's shoulder, "I know what your going through. I can't say I haven't thought about the possibility of my parents coming back to existence; and what I would say to them." He furrowed his brow. "But I could never think of how I could ever explain what has happened in my life, over the past thirty years."
Dick raised his face from his hands and glanced aside at Bruce. "How do I cope if I have to let them go again, Bruce?" He whispered the question so quietly, the Dark Knight of Gotham barely heard him.
Pulling away his hand resting on Dick's shoulder, Bruce put his hands on his knees and exhaled thoughtfully. "Hnn. I don't think I have an answer for you Dick. I'm not quite sure how I'd act either in your position." Bruce replaced his hand back on his former ward's shoulder.
"I think you need to go get some air. Go see Barbara now. Alfred and I will see to your parents for tonight." Wayne insisted, narrowing his steel-blue eyes.
Dick sighed heavily and gave Bruce a half-smile, "Is that an order?"
Allowing himself a small smile, Bruce got up, patting Dick's shoulder as he moved away, "Yes, old chum. That's an order." He replied, thumbing towards the kitchen. "I promise Alfred and I will say nothing, we'll leave it up to you to explain to your parents. Go now."
Making a mock salute, Dick got to his feet and walked passed Bruce, "Oui, mon Capitaine," he said with a sigh, stopping briefly to turn around and half-grin at his former partner. "Just so you know, Babs is refusing to make anything official, so it's not and you didn't hear anything from me."
Bruce sighed heavily and folded his arms over his chest, "You two only make things more difficult for yourself. Why can't either of you two be honest about these things? You've been going around in circles for years." He rolled his eyes.
Dick pointed defensively at his chest, "Hey, I've always been honest to Babs, she's the stubborn one and you know it," he turned on his heel and continued to stroll away. "And I wouldn't be one to point fingers, Bruce. How is Selina Kyle these days, hmm? Or are you still trying to figure out Talia al Ghul's 'agenda'?"
"Brat!" Bruce called out and Dick just waved his hand dismissively as he disappeared down the hall, smiling to himself.
"You've been spending time with Carter Hall again, haven't you?"
Dick sleepily opened up his eyes with a groan and loosened his grip slightly around Barbara's waist, as he rolled over to see a pair of familiar, intent, transparent brown eyes –dimly glowing in the otherwise darkness of the small apartment– looking down at him.
"Dad?" Dick whispered, glancing across the sleeping form of Barbara at her alarm clock. It was just past four a.m. "What is it? Is something wrong? How did you get here?"
John's eyes narrowed as he pulled back, "Everything and nothing. But, mostly, everything." He answered in that achingly familiar roundabout way Dick had missed so much. "And I walked here. You know us Rom, we like to walk. Can we talk, Richard?"
Dick nodded, "Sure," he let go of Barbara and the young woman mumbled slightly in her sleep as she rolled over. Gently pulling aside the sheets, Dick swung his legs over the side of the bed and reached for his boxer shorts. Pulling them on, the young vigilante then reached over to turn on the bedside lamp, realising his mistake at the last second when he heard a sharp intake of breath from John.
Turning around slowly as he got to his feet, Dick held out his hands, "Dad, I can explain–"
John stepped forward and stared at the scars criss-crossing over his only son's well defined chest, only slightly less rampant than the ones he'd previously been privy to on Dick's back.
"Richard…these scars…so many…they're years old," John swallowed hard, reaching out with a transparent hand to point at a circular, long healed scar just above the younger Grayson's heart. "That is a bullet wound. And there is another here." He stepped back and placed his hands on his face.
"What have you done, Richard? Oh, what have you done?"
All the fear of how his parents would react crept up upon Dick once more, now being faced with his all but weeping father; and the young man had to fold his arms across his bare chest, to prevent his hands from shaking, Oh My God… "Dad, I–" he tried to talk again and John lowered his hands from his face.
"No. I'm going to speak," the spirit of John Grayson interrupted slowly. "I didn't want to believe it. I've spent the past four hours, wondering around after leaving that manor –pleading to God like I haven't done in years– that it wasn't true."
Dick lowered his arms defeatedly, "How…how did you find out?" He managed to form the shaky enquiry.
John pointed to the balcony adjoining the bedroom, (the doors open to allow the cool, summer night breeze to waft through.) "I don't wish to wake up your girlfriend, come," he motioned, gliding away from his son and heading out of the bedroom.
Dick sighed heavily and followed his father, joining him outside on the simple apartment balcony, over looking the dark skies of early morning Gotham, the cityscape still lit up with thousands of lights. There was so little noise of traffic, that the sound of the GCPD blimp could actually be heard nearby, making its rounds.
Leaning his arms across the balustrade, John was staring out at the cityscape and Dick mirrored his father's pose, waiting for the spirit to begin explaining.
"I was never a good child, Richard," John began slowly. "I ran away from my family when I was fifteen years old to join the circus. I'd had ancestors and living relatives in the business, but your grandfather and your grandmother didn't want me to follow them. They didn't want me to be a 'clown'. I was the first in our family to attend school regularly, you see? They wanted me to be someone respectable."
Dick had never heard his father talk about anything to do with his past, and he'd never thought he would ever, after his parents had passed away.
"I didn't listen. I ran away and joined up with the first circus I came across. I'd always had a natural talent, your Great-Grandparents had been a trapeze artists; and their parents before them; and so on. For at least half-a-dozen generations, it runs in our blood. I took my Great-Grandfather's name, which I translated to 'Grayson'." John lowered his gaze down to his ghostly hands.
"I went home only once, when I was only a year younger than you are now. When I was going to marry your mother. I wanted–" John took in a deep breath, "–I wanted to show them, that I had made a good life for myself. I was world-renowned. I was going to marry the most beautiful woman in the whole world." He narrowed his brown, semi-transparent eyes.
"My parents wouldn't see me. They said they knew no-one by that name and had my cousin send us away. They left your mother and I standing on the doorstep, rain pouring down and no one else would take us in for the night, by the order of my own mother and father." John glanced up and aside at his son.
"I made a vow that moment, that if ever I was to have a child, no matter what they did or didn't do, I would never hold it against them. As long as I breathed, they would always have place to call home and a place in my heart."
Dick rubbed his hand over his eyes, wiping away the threatening tears, "Dad. I– never planned what happened. I was…" he almost laughed painfully, "…only a kid…"
"How long?" John questioned stoically. "When did it begin?"
Raising his blue eyes to gaze slightly down at his father's spirit, Dick swallowed hard and rubbed his mouth, "The moment you and Mom hit the ground. I'd seen Zucco and his lackeys lurking around Pop Haley's trailer, making threats. Remember that I was trying to tell you something important before the performance?" All the anger and resentment from fourteen years came rising up to the surface.
"I should have begged harder for you two to listen, for Danny, Har…anyone to just check those cables and the ropes," the tears began to roll down Dick's face. "It wasn't enough. I wasn't enough."
John reached out his hands, then pulled them back, "It is my fault, Richard, I never really listened to you. I…" he turned his head, "…I hardly ever spoke to you outside of training or preforming. Not really. I thought…" the Grayson patriarch shook his head.
"…I thought I had all the time in the world, when you were older. When we could have real conversations. Not realising that I could have talked with you at any age. I always put the preforming first and you and your mother second. I'm the one who's sorry."
Dick wiped his eyes and leant back over the balustrade, "It's all right. I've spent most of the last fourteen years with someone who hardly ever spoke, even when we were training." He assured his father.
"If not for Alfred, Babs and my friends, I would have gone mad. But Bruce did something more for me than talking. He helped me channel my rage and anger to help others and prevent my own personal sorrow from happening to someone else. He gave me a purpose after so much tragedy."
John nodded slowly and glanced away, "It was an accident, how I found out, Richard. Your mother and I were looking over the albums with your butler friend–"
"Alfred." Dick interjected with a small smile, remembering his father's perfect memory; and tendency to deliberately shorten names to hurry up whatever story he was telling.
"–Pennyworth, yes, I remember. Anyway, your Mister Wayne had excused himself about an hour before, because he said he had some work to finish. He came back in afterwards and asked Pennyworth to assist him. Pennyworth followed Wayne out and I decided to leave your mother and go exploring, which Wayne said I was free to do."
John folded his ghostly arms across his chest, "I was passing through the hallways, when I heard Wayne and Pennyworth talking. I made myself not visible to them and watched as they all but ran past. 'Sir,' Pennyworth questioned, 'are you quite sure you don't want me to call up Master Timothy or Master Richard for backup?'
'No, Alfred,' Wayne said, 'I'll contact them myself if need be. I'm going to need to assess the situation at ground-level first.' He and Pennyworth darted into a room and I followed them. It was a study, and I watched as Wayne pushed aside a grandfather-clock , revealing a secret passage with a staircase, like something out of a Gothic movie. I waited for both Wayne and Pennyworth to enter and then I followed at a good distance behind them. 'You look troubled, sir. And I sense it's not about the mission.' Pennyworth said as they went down the stairs.
'Astute as always, Alfred. The Graysons, Dick's parents…I've had nightmares for so many years about them judging me for the way I raised Dick. My own parents sometimes appear and start arguing with them…then Jason…' Wayne and Pennyworth continued talking as they reached the bottom of the stairs and headed towards that monstrous computer.
"I was going to hear more of their conversation, but I was distracted by that cavern. It's incredible. All those cars, machinery and technology everywhere. A giant penny of all things; a large 'Joker' card hanging from the rafters and a huge dinosaur–"
"It's a robot, you know?" Dick interrupted, fond of the massive, green t-rex and trying to find a way to lighten the mood. He could so rarely talk about anything to do with the Batcave with anyone outside of the superhero community.
"Bruce had it brought into the cave for me. It was from one of our first assignments; and to this day I don't know how he got it and the Giant Penny down there. I can't tell you the amount of times we nearly got bowled over, moving that big old coin."
John cleared his throat, "Yes. Well, I also noticed an assemblage of glass cases that lead into a separate area away from the computer and all those cars. I saw props, carefully labelled with names like 'The Penguin' and details of cases. Then I saw the Robin costumes, Dick, in the red, yellow and green we preformed in, with the high-cut leotard style you wore. They get progressively bigger, up to the size of a man." The spirit took in a shaky breath.
"One of those Robin outfits, the first one, was so small. A child's costume…but it wasn't a costume, it was a uniform. How old were you?"
Dick swallowed hard, "I…I was almost ten." He admitted. "Dad, Bruce didn't want–"
"I knew then." John continued, ignoring his son's attempts to explain. "I didn't want to believe it, but it was yours. They all were up until the dead boy wore the one you did in your early teens. I saw another man's uniform there, after the Robin uniforms; primarily blue, with an acrobat's collar, like the ones I wore as a younger preformer; and the ones your mother and I wear–wore, during the super-circus shows.
"There is a another uniform with gliding yellow wings; then finally a black costume with a blue winged motif. I assume that's what you wear now. Nightwing, is what they call you, correct?"
Dick nodded, "I…I borrowed the name from a Kryptonian story Superman told me as a boy," he murmured, trying to hold himself together. I never thought how painful this would be explaining to my parents…I thought they'd be on the other-side, watching over me. Seeing everything as it happened and understanding…
"Naturally," John replied, a note of sarcasm in his lightly accented voice. "I saw pictures of the Justice League of America; amongst the other photographs of The Batman and his Robins, Batgirls…Bat-hound?"
Dick nodded and looked sheepish, "My dog, Ace. I was thirteen, having a dog in a mask, riding shotgun with Bruce and I in the convertible Batmobile, seemed like a cool idea at the time. You would have loved Ace. He was this big German Shepherd we…" he trailed off when he saw his father clearly still looking solemn. "…sorry. Go on."
"The dead boy. The one who came after you as Robin," John mentioned suddenly. "How did he die?"
Dick hesitated and then pinched the bridge of his nose between his eyes, "Jason. His name was Jason Todd. He was killed in a foreign country –trying to protect his own mother, who he never knew abandoned him and betrayed him– he died wearing the mantle I created. He was fourteen. Just a boy who was another needless victim of a madman's insane, continuing vendetta…" Dick took in a shaky breath.
"It never stops haunting me, Dad. Not just Jason's death. Any young partner who dies… because, you see, I was the first. They all followed my lead." The younger Grayson rubbed his eyes, "I even ended up becoming their very first leader, the Teen Titans founder." Dick let out a small, sardonic laugh.
"I spent my teenage years leading and planning battles against demons and monsters with a teenage army…I was a general before I could even shave."
"I'm sure it didn't take too long, Romanians aren't exactly slow developers when it comes to hair," John interjected lightly, and Dick lowered his hand to see his father actually sporting a small smile. "I'm beginning to see the real you, now, Richard. The man whom you've grown to become. And I'm not exactly sure how to feel about that. But," he stepped forward. "you are always my son, and I love you. I need you to be honest with me and–"
Father and son turned to see Barbara –wearing her green satin robe– had wheeled herself over to the balcony entrance and was holding a cordless phone handset in her right hand; keeping her left hand gripping on her chair's left wheel to steady herself.
"John," Barbara greeted in surprise, before turning back to Dick and holding out the transmitter. "It's the boss, hon. You're needed. Full arsenal."
Dick nodded his head and turned to his father, "I have to go, Dad. We can–"
"I'm coming with you." John interrupted bluntly, gazing steadily at his son.
Pursing his lips, Dick knew that John was going to have a war of words with Bruce sooner or later, at least this way Dick could be there to intervene if necessary. "All right." Dick moved back into the apartment and looked around for his uniform.
Finding the Kevlar suit in the corner on top of his other clothes, Dick pulled it on hurriedly and zipped it up in the front. Barbara had wheeled herself back into the room, John following beside her.
Dick walked over to one of the closets in the bedroom and opened it up, reaching up behind the right door's latch, he pressed a button and a hidden panel was revealed. Dick grabbed a -pair of gauntlet gloves and a pair of heavy-duty boots. Pulling on the boots and then the gloves, Nightwing reached in and pulled out a pair of escrima sticks.
Slipping them into the holder on his back, Dick then grabbed his mask from one of his suit's hidden pockets and turned around, "Dad, whatever you do, don't intervene, please. I've been doing this practically all my life," he requested.
John inclined his head, but said nothing. Dick raised his right eyebrow, but said no more as he put on his mask and walked over to Barbara.
"I'll be back soon as I can," Nightwing kissed her gently and Barbara pulled him into a quick hug before letting him go.
"I'll be watching," Babs let her lover pull back and she kissed his cheek quickly. "Go get 'em, Hunk-wonder."
Dick laughed and tapped Barbara's nose, "Not in front of my Dad, Babs, please?" He teased and Barbara shoved him away, turning to smile up at John.
"I'm sorry if I think your son is handsome, John."
The elder Grayson cracked a smile, "He should be very thankful about that, Barbara," John replied with a raised brow at his son.
Dick rolled his eyes and motioned to his father, "We gotta go. Later, beautiful," he waved to Barbara and John repeated the gesture as he followed his son out of the bedroom and back onto the balcony.
Dick flipped over the balustrade and landed on the fire-escape, "Sorry, Dad, gonna have to make this quick," he mentioned, preforming several flips down and then sliding down the ladders, till he reached the alleyway; where he'd stashed the '69 Harley Davidson.
John joined his son on the ground and looked over at the vintage motorcycle, "No fancy-shmancy bike this time?" He questioned, and Dick shook his head.
"Just a classic. I restored this one the summer when I was sixteen, I think," Dick mounted the bike and reached for the 'R' logoed helmet. "Couldn't find another helmet, but sometimes it's nice to play 'Teen-Wonder' for the evening."
John mounted the bike behind his son and Dick pulled the helmet, "' 'Teen-Wonder' ? You let people call you that?" He actually laughed and Dick joined in.
"Well, they had to call me something after I hit puberty. Boy-Wonder no more, the fabulous Teen-Wonder to the rescue," Dick started up the bike and kicked up the brake-stand. "I tell you what, though, I was nineteen when I finally became Nightwing. It was a long time to go around in a short-cut leotard, I was going to have to start shaving my legs."
John chuckled, "I noticed that in the photographs. I particularly liked the ones of you and Barbara…she was Batgirl, wasn't she? I recognized the red hair." He mentioned and Dick inclined his head. "You were very cute…although, I've got a few questions about that golden girl you were dating, back when you were with that group of yours–"
Dick revved the motorcycle engine of his bike, "Sorry, Dad, we gotta go." He yelled out, cutting off his father before they got into a discussion about Koriand'r. The cycle sped off out of the alleyway and Dick heard a crackle in his mask communicator as Barbara began to talk.
"Corner South Hampton and Meyer boulevard, Dick. I told the big guy you're on your way."
Screeching the cycle to a halt, Dick whipped off his helmet and took a flying leap off the motorcycle and into the melee going on in the middle of the alleyway outside of a basement building, burning up in a fire that had smashed the glass.
Whipping out his escrima, Dick preformed a round-house kick as he landed, knocking out the nearest goon and locating Bruce, fighting off about three thugs hand-to-hand.
Easily slipping into the age-old-practice, Dick found a way –kicking and beating– to be back-to-back with his former mentor and partner. "What's the sitch? " Nightwing questioned over his shoulder, knocking back a goon with the butt of his right stick.
"Drug runners. Tried to shut down it down, place caught on fire. Melee." Batman replied curtly. "Manoeuvre six."
Dick inclined his head and leapt up into the air, placing a hand on Bruce's cowled head as he flipped backwards, "Allez-oops!" He called out, bringing down both feet into the chest of the massive, muscular goon in front of Bruce. The huge guy letting out a yelp of pain as the wind was knocked out of him; and Nightwing whacked him into unconsciousness with a blow of his right escrima.
The rest of the gang was quickly subdued; and the GCPD and the Gotham Fire Brigade arrived a few moments later to take care of the rest of the situation.
Commissioner Jim Gordon approached Bruce and Dick, "Right, details." He demanded of Bruce, who filled Gordon in on what had been going down, while Dick stood just off to the side. Folding his arms, Nightwing glanced aside at where, at the entrance of the alleyway, John was standing away from the cycle, staring over at him in disbelief at what he'd just witnessed.
"So, son," Gordon's kindly voice interrupted and Dick glanced down at the Commissioner. "Back in Gotham for good, or is this just a stop-over?"
Dick smiled, "Just visiting, sir. Don't think I'll be donning canary yellow capes, or pixie boots, again in this lifetime," he winked and Commissioner Gordon laughed.
"You make me feel old, kid. Your partner seems to stay exactly the same, however," Jim glanced aside at Bruce. "How is it that we all seem to get older and you don't?"
Batman smirked, "Now if I told you how I do it, Jim, you'd quit the police game and start up a business based around that knowledge; and I would have to start breaking-in a new Commissioner. Think of the hassle you'd be causing me." He mentioned and Jim rolled his eyes as Nightwing hid a smile behind his hand.
"Your youngsters are suppose to be the one who crack the jokes around here, Batman," Gordon waved his hand as he turned to walk away. "Don't quit your day job, if you even have one, that is."
Dick turned to Bruce after the Commissioner was out of earshot, "My Dad wants to talk to you," he whispered, pointing over at where John was standing next to the motorcycle, his position unchanged since the last time Dick had glanced over at him.
Bruce stared over at John Grayson, then back down at Dick, "Right. You want to come back in the Batmobile?" He questioned and Dick pinched the bridge of his nose.
"We'll take the bike back and we'll meet you in the cave." Dick looked back up at Bruce, "I don't know if I should have let my Dad come along. I think it might have made things worse."
Bruce put his hand on Dick's shoulder, "Don't make such harsh predictions yet. We just need to sit down and let your parents know everything." He squeezed his former ward's shoulder and Dick smiled a the familiar motion. "It's only right they should know about your life."
Nightwing nodded, as The Batman turned his gaze back over to John briefly, before turning and walking the distance over to the Batmobile, "Right. See you there."
Dick rubbed the back of his neck as he walked past the throng of police and emergency workers, nodding briefly to Renyee Montoya; the Latino police lieutenant nudging Harvey Bullock. The corpulent detective glancing aside at Nightwing as the vigilante walked past, shoveling another handful of potato chips into his mouth.
" 's ain't your usual beat nowadays, Nightbird." Bullock ventured, his voice half-muffled by the mound of potato-chips he was munching. "Things getting too tough in the 'haven?"
Nightwing waved his hand, "Nice to see you too, Bullock. Hello Montoya." He greeted and Renee nodded, folding her arms over her chest.
"Nightwing." The GCPD lieutenant replied stoically, half-smiling at the vigilante. "You're lucky I don't arrest you for indecent exposure. Your costume gets tighter every time I see you."
Dick let out a small laugh, "You're a tease, Montoya. If I were your type we would have been married a long time ago; and we'd have half-a-dozen raven-haired lieutenant-vigilantes."
Renee pointed her finger at Nightwing, "You'll keep, pretty-boy. Even if you were my type, I'm not sure if I'd give you the time of day, considering you want six children, garoto." She dismissed, walking away and motioning to Bullock, who rolled his eyes.
"You're still a menace, Mightwing," Harvey left the parting remark for Dick, who just smiled broadly and waved as the cops departed.
Turning around, Dick finally managed to get back over to his ghostly father, who was gazing at him solemnly. Wordlessly, Dick mounted his bike and glanced behind at John Grayson. "I'm–"
"Just take me to talk to Wayne, Dick. And I think it would be best to tell your mother at the same time." John interrupted bluntly, getting onto the bike behind his son.
Nodding, Dick kick-started his bike and kicked up the brake.
The next chapter will be along very soon. Thank-you for reading.