AN: Hiii, guys! *hugs former readers/reviewers of the Child Series*! I have missed you guys soooo much! :D Here is another addition to my Child Universe! This was originally going to be posted on Wally's Birthday, January 16th... As you can see; I'm a bit behind schedule... Oh well, I do hope you guys enjoy either way.
Info: This is not set on Earth-16 canon verse. It's my own little universe and is the fourth part of what I have called "The Child Series." The other three are named: "Child's Gift," "Child's Mind" & "Child's Play". Please do read those as well.
Gotham City, 2004
There were many things the Batman, main protector of Gotham City, could defeat. No matter what situation he always pulled through, always remained victorious. His life had brought with more than just physical scars, but nevertheless he was still alive and breathing; he was a victor. Yet, there were certain things not even the Caped Crusader could overcome.
And, at this very moment, there was such an obstacle before him. Big, teary eyes, gleaming ever so brightly, were currently severing all forms for self-discipline. Bruce rubbed his temple, feeling his determination wither under that adorable, pleading face of his adopted son.
Richard Wayne Grayson's lower lip was shaping into a small pout and Bruce sighed. "Dick… I don't know…" The billionaire scratched the back of his neck lightly. "… I am still not comfortable about anyone knowing of your secret identity, save for the few Leaguers who know mine and going to this party…"
"B-but, Wally's eight, Daddy! I got to go! And everyone that is gonna come are superheroes!" Dick looked devastated; his eyes seemingly growing even bigger. Frankly, Bruce hadn't thought that was possible. Why did that face have such an effect on him? "He's countin' on me! I have to be there; he's my bestest friend and I would be a bad friend if I'm not there!"
Pursing his lips, Bruce kneeled down by his five-year-old child. Dick was such a good kid, so denying him this just seemed wrong. Yet, he was protective. Children didn't always know when to hold their tongue; if Wally got to know his best friend's identity and spilled at the wrong place at the wrong time…
The consequences made him shudder.
"Pleeeease, Daddy," Dick sniffled, and now his eyes really were teary – very teary. He wrapped his arms around his father's strong neck, standing on his tiptoes even though Bruce had kneeled. "I got to. I promise I'll be good. I promise! I can use sunglasses! We can both, right? Both of us!"
He supposed that if they both made sure to shield their faces, he could accept. Although he, himself, had rarely been to anyone's birthday party, the look on Dick's face made him realise it was a big deal to a child. It didn't mean he liked agreeing, but it was the right thing to do. Dick deserved to have an eventful evening with his best friend.
Giving in, Bruce picked up his son and pressed the five-year-old child to his chest. Dick cheered gleefully when hearing the good news and instantly hugged Bruce tighter. "Thanks, Daddy! We need to buy him the awesomest present ever!" Gaining this comment the Caped Crusader only sighed; he knew Dick would not let him rest until they had a neatly wrapped gift for one Wally West-Allen.
And it was due to his son's request that Bruce Wayne found himself at Gotham City's greatest shopping centre the day after. Dick was tugging on his arm to the extent that he earnestly felt afraid he'd lose it – the young boy was stronger than he looked like. "Dick, calm down, and tell me quietly where you want to go," Bruce instructed with a stern voice.
"Toy store, toy store!" Dick said, his grin brilliant as he tugged on the sleeve of Bruce's dress-jacket. Hearing this, the Dark Knight felt rather ignorant for asking such when their destination had been so obvious. He could only blame it on his lack of coffee; Dick had forced him out of bed before he had the chance to consume his regular morning drink.
In a slower pace than Dick really appreciated, the two of them ventured through the building. Bruce watched a bit fondly as the young boy bounced up beside him, never once letting go of his adoptive father's hand. As they kept going, Dick talked of how excited he was about the upcoming evening.
"Hey, Daddy! Can we bring balloons? Wally loves balloon! Miss Mona blew one up in the classroom and he made sure that no one else got it! Artemis got mad so she tried to kick him; she's not very nice to Wally!" Dick's eyes turned curious as he glanced up at Bruce's face. "Hey, Daddy, does girls really have cooties? Wally acts like they have!"
A smirk formed on Bruce's lips and the muscular man squeezed his son's hand softly. He found it rather humorous that such a childlore still existed. "No, Dick. You can safely touch a girl without getting cooties."
"But Wally doesn't like them."
Bruce snorted lightly. "Oh, I'm sure that will change when he gets older."
The young acrobat tilted his head to the side, but before he had the chance to question further his eyes found the entrance of the toy store. This caused him to cheer once more. He let go of Bruce's hand, which the Bat allowed. They were too close to the store for Dick to get lost and with his sharp eyes – despite the lack of his morning coffee – he was not worried.
It was hard to fathom how anyone managed to work at a place like a shop that sold toys. Already after being in there for ten minutes with an overjoyed Dick, Bruce wished to smash every noisy device the store was selling. He also found it rather peeving that there were Batman merchandise filling the shelves. Last time he checked, the Batman himself had not given permission for any of them being produced.
Then again, suing people who made superhero clothing, toys, devices… well, it wasn't his style, nor any other hero's either. As crazy as it may seem, the Justice League had more serious matters to tend to than complaining about their rights to decide whether they should be printed on a lunchbox or not.
"So," Bruce spoke up as Dick was looking big-eyed around in the superhero section. "Have you decided what to give him?"
The young boy shook his head, frowning. Dick was intelligent enough to leave out anything related to the Flash. Wally's biggest idol was his own father, yes, but if there was one thing he would never miss out on it was a Flash toy, a T-shirt or anything else. Thus, Dick, smart as he was, had concluded Wally possessed all merchandise ever made for Central's number one hero.
"He needs something special!" Dick said, eyes serious and determined.
Bruce shrugged. "You know him the best, Dick."
That was true; he and Wally had been friends for months now and Bruce could tell the boys had formed a very strong friendship. It worried him, but at the same time he was thoroughly happy that Dick was going through essential factors of a child's life, despite having become his future-to-be sidekick.
"I know!" Dick beamed. "Goggles!"
Bruce frowned. "Goggles?"
"KF doesn't have the yellow ones he had before! They broke!"
"I doubt you'll find those kind of goggles here, Dick."
"Oh…" the young boy's face fell a bit, before he grinned and latched himself onto his father's arm, grinning from ear to ear. "Daddy, you can make some."
At this the billionaire raised an eyebrow. "Make some?" he repeated.
"Yes!" Dick lowered his voice and said: "You make batarangs and-and grappling hooks, and so many other stuff! You can make Wally goggles! Can't you, Daddy? Pleeeease?"
And there came the eyes again – those big, dark blue orbs off pure cuteness that gave hope that world peace could someday exist. Bruce knew that if he said 'no' now his child would be saddened beyond repair. Dick truly wanted to give his best friend a new couple of goggles; special made for the young speedster.
Sighing, Bruce gave Dick the 'ok', which in turn made the young boy's face lit up like a sun. Needless to say, he was not surprised when Dick once more took hold of Bruce's sleeve, for so to tug him back out again. The billionaire could not help but feel a bit sour that the tour had been for nothing; yet, Dick's smiling face was rubbing off on him.
Central City, 2004
Dick was an energetic child; loud and very active. Yet, Bruce could honestly say he had not seen the child as happy and excited as now. The boy's hands were tightly folded around the wrapped gift as they walked down the streets of Central City; they had teleported to their destination through the various zeta tubes the Justice League used. Normally, Batman didn't feel quite comfortable using anything League related when he did not don a cape, but considering that both he and Dick were disguised with sunglasses he supposed it was an exception.
Although they were going to a birthday party, both Bruce and Dick were wearing casual clothing that could not, in any way, be associated with the billionaire and his son, Richard Wayne Grayson. Now, Bruce would not profess that he was enjoying the feel of these light, plain clothes on him, but it was more than bearable. After all, he did run around in his Batsuit, which did weight quite a lot. It was an effort in itself to put it on every night.
They were also both dressed in thick coats. Central City was cold this crispy January afternoon.
As they got closer to the centre of Central, which was necessary to cross to get to Barry's house, Bruce took hold of his soon-to-be six-year-old son and hoisted him up so he was now seated on Bruce's strong shoulders. Not only was he well trained for it not to strain him, but Dick was light, which made it easy.
"Yay!" the boy cheered, but without raising his hands like he usually did. They were still held tightly onto the gift.
Bruce let go of a slight chuckle as a response.
Outside of Wally's home big bouquets of balloons were lined up by the railing that led up to the front door. Dick pointed excitedly at them; since he hadn't attended these kind of birthday parties in his life, everything was new and, obviously, thrilling. "Off, off, off!" was all the young aerial artist could utter due to excitement.
His adoptive father complied by removing him from his shoulders. As soon as his tiny feet hit the ground, Dick was sprinting toward the entrance, though making sure that the gift did not fall from his grip.
Wally West Allen's green eyes were bright as the stars themselves when he eagerly opened the door to the Allen household. He was dressed in a small, yellow shirt that matched his fiery red hair and light jeans; he also wore noticeable, red gloves that reminded Dick of the ones he possessed when he was in his Kid Flash uniform.
"Wally!" Dick exclaimed happily, his small hands instantly shooting out to show the redhead his neatly wrapped gift. The wrapping paper was dark blue with the Superman 'S' shield adorning it. Bruce hadn't been all that amused when Dick had pleaded for them to buy it, but those sparkling eyes usually got it their way.
"Robbie!" Wally was so eager that Bruce caught the kid slightly vibrating as he quickly took Dick by the hand and jumped up and down eagerly. "You came! You came! You came! This is so cool! All the others are here too and Mom's been making the best stuff ever! Oh is that my gift, thanks!"
Bruce was not surprised that the little speedster helped himself to the gift; he became a bit fascinated by the way Dick seemed happy about it though. Usually, Richard didn't appreciate anyone snapping things from him, that even included Bruce and Alfred some times, but Wally seemed to be a clear exception.
Suddenly, the redhead seemed to have forgotten his gift and his tugging of Dick's sleeve. Instead he blinked up at Bruce who now came closer. The green eyes widened somewhat, showing off confusion. Then Dick pointed and grinned: "Hey, it's just Batman. You don't have to be scared!"
This caught the older child's attention. "I'm not scared!" claimed the speedster sourly.
Dick just continued to grin. "You so are, Wally!"
They both stuck their tongue out at one another, before the freckled teen grinned a bit sheepishly up at the silent Batman. "You can come in now!" he announced, grabbing Dick by the hand again before tugging the younger boy inside. Bruce merely rolled his eyes and followed after, closing the door behind himself.
"Bats! I can't believe you're actually stepping inside my house; I'm honoured!"
Sighing, Bruce looked unimpressed as Barry came walking toward him, the Scarlet Speedster dressed almost identically as his son, though with a red shirt instead of yellow and without gloves. He grinned as he crossed his arms, eyeing the Caped Crusader whose hands were buried deep down in his pockets. Bruce looked like he wanted to be anywhere else than at the Allen Household at the moment.
"Don't make me regret coming here even more, Allen," Bruce warned, his Batman voice still in tact.
This only gained him a chuckle, which was, honestly, not what he'd been aiming for. Nevertheless, he was pleased when Barry didn't come any closer. The speedster merely shrugged his shoulders, before gesturing toward the open door that seemingly led to the rest of the party. "After you, Bats."
Bruce was tempted to give a snarky remark, but only steadied his glasses, which Barry found ridiculous. Most of the Leaguers knew of the Batman's identity by now, so it was really paranoid of the Bat to believe Wally wouldn't know sooner or later. Granted, Barry never revealed any of his colleagues' secret without their permission, but Wally was his son – keeping the identity of his best friend a secret wouldn't last long.
Barry showed Bruce to the living room where most of the Leaguers were gathered (this being: Martian Manhunter, Zatara, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, both Green Lanterns, Green Arrow, Superman and the Hawks), and also some other heroes Batman recognised. Whilst Bruce tried not to count the seconds up until the moment they would leave, Wally had pulled Dick to the small lounge on the first floor.
It had used to be an office, but since neither Iris, nor Barry took much use of it anymore they had fixed it up and put in two sofas, an old TV with a game station, and several tables. The room was decorated with balloons, and the floor was filled with board games, already smashed balloons and other kinds of toys.
Dick didn't find any Flash merchandise in the room though; he guessed Wally had locked them away for no one to find.
He instantly recognised the children; Superboy, Aqualad, Miss Martian, Wonder Girl, Zatanna, Artemis, Beast Boy, Aquagirl, Tempest, and Roy. He hadn't expected anything else, because these were whom Kid Flash were the closest to. They looked up, some greeting him and some too preoccupied with themselves to notice.
Then, quickly, Wally tugged Dick over to a table loaded with gifts. The five-year-old looked in awe, the bright wrapped presents and the amount, of course, mesmerising him; he was still not used to it. Although his circus family loved him, the presents hadn't been this big, nor that many either when he'd lived there. Economically that hadn't been possible.
Despite that, it wasn't totally rare anymore. Not after moving into Wayne Manor where presents always filled up the room when his birthday arrived. Alfred had scolded his charge for that (but not too harshly); the old butler claimed that Bruce Wayne was spoiling his son with all the gifts he'd received the two birthdays (and Christmases) Dick had lived at the manor. It wasn't all that far from the truth, but Bruce didn't completely overdo it… According to himself anyway.
Wally put the wrapped gift on the table, pouting slightly. "Mommy says I have to wait. I don't get that; I want to open them now. I mean, come on, it's not making any difference, right?" The redhead looked at his younger best friend for support, which was easily granted by a big nod.
Dick always agreed with Wally. Because Wally was always right. Always.
The two children shrugged their shoulders, because trying to understand adults was nearly impossible. Happily, Wally pulled Dick along, like always, as the two children looked around in the room. They quickly sat down by Superboy and Roy who were just about to start the brand new Justice League: Brawl Playstation 2 game.
"I'm gonna be Superman," Conner steadfastly said, eyes determined.
"Flash!" Wally proudly declared.
The kids exchanged grins, not the least surprised by each other's choices. They thought the other heroes were cool – Captain Atom for instance, and Uncle Hal; he was awesome – but none could live up to their idols. And playing with them during video games was like a challenge of whose daddy was better.
Wally, having Control 1, picked first, followed by the other three boys. They had barely time to start the game, however, before Iris stuck her head out through the door, a big smile on her face. "Kiiids, we're ready for pizza and cake in here!"
Of course, those were the magic keywords. Hurriedly, the children rose and left their activities, instantly turning their destination to the kitchen. Iris held up her hand and announced for them to find their seats, which were marked with Flash place cards. Roy, however, crossed his arms. As the oldest and being nearly ten, he refused to eat by the children's table.
"Roy," Dinah sternly warned, causing the redheaded boy to shrink back a little.
Her look silenced him.
"There's an age limit at sixteen for joining the adult's table, I'm afraid, kiddo," Green Arrow said, playfully ruffling the fiery hair. The young boy glared up at his father, but didn't say anything more as Ollie pushed him toward the table and said: "Sit beside your sister now and be nice."
When the redhead sat down, he noticed Wally was slightly glaring at him, arms crossed. "You think you're too big for being my friend?" he asked; he looked like he was trying to be mad, but the hurt shone through. Wally was an emotional kid, so that was not very surprising.
Roy suddenly looked a bit resentful. "That wasn't what I meant," he mumbled, though he did send Beast Boy – who was already starting to put the straws inside of his nose – a nasty glance. Roy was proud and sharing table with some of these kids was rather beneath him. Or so the nine-year-old claimed.
"Guys," giggled Donna and pointed. "Look at Gar!"
"Urgh, that's disgusting!" Artemis stuck out her tongue and Zatanna just laughed silently beside her.
Iris put two fingers inside of her mouth, whistling to get the children's attention. Once done, she crossed her arms with a big smile and said: "All right kids, I'll say we open the presents before eating, you agree? Now, I want everyone to go and get their present and put it on the table. I'm gonna wrap a blindfold over Wally's eyes and when he can't see anything I will go around and point at each and one of you. He will say either 'yes' or 'no'. In the end, all presents will be opened." Iris winked. "All superheroes got that clear?"
The kids smirked, minus Roy who still meant he was too old for these sort of things, and soon everyone but Wally had dashed out to get their gift. Meanwhile, Iris wrapped the fold around her son, smiling and kissing his cheek. "Ew, Mom! Stop it!" Wally complained, blushing.
Iris just chuckled, but made sure to let her son keep his pride as the others came back. Artemis and Roy had bought a gift together, so the younger of the two placed the red wrapped gift on the table. Wally's urged to take a look at the presents again, but he didn't dare to try peek through the cloth wrapped around his forehead. Artemis, Zatanna and Donna would hit him if he did.
He heard his mother move around the table and then she said: "Yes or no, Wally?"
"That's boring, Wally! You can't say yes at once."
"Can so, Arty-farty!"
"Hey, kids, no insults!" Iris sternly said. "It's Wally's birthday and he wants to open the first gift. It's fair."
Gently, Iris draped the cloth over Wally's head and smiled. The redhead instantly received Conner's gif, which was placed on the right side of him. "Thank you!" he beamed; Conner just smiled a bit shyly. He never liked giving gifts because he was worried what people would think of them.
It didn't seem that he had anything to concern himself with. Inside laid a new pair of headphones and with lightning bolts. They were just stickers that was glued to the black surface of them, but it was still rather well done. Wally beamed like a sun and looked at Conner with sparkling green eyes. Consider he'd gotten an MP3-player for Christmas; these were perfect.
"They're awesome; thank you, Con!"
The Kryptonian blushed and glanced a bit away, but smiled nonetheless. Wally decided he would give him a real good hug later on. Thanking once more for the gift, Wally let his mother wrap the cloth around his head again, covering his eyes.
Most of the adults had now entered the room just to observe the gift opening.
"All right Wally, try not being so impatient now, right, dear?" Iris silently laughed as she started rounding the table again. This time she made sure to go the other way. Dick was a bit disappointed she didn't stop by him; he longed to give Wally the gift he and Bruce had made for the speedster.
Iris pointed at Artemis. "No," Wally said.
The redheaded woman continued and stopped several places; after saying 'no' two times, Wally was ready to accept the next gift. And so it went several times, each gift triggering excitement in the young eight-year-old. Then, it was finally Dick's turn. The brunet shook in anticipation as he handed Wally his present.
The superman wrapping was quickly peeled off, Wally now so curious as to what his best friend had given him that super speed was a must. The special made goggles came into view. Bright red, with yellow lightning bolts on the sides. They were made to protect the young boy's eyes, as well, as it possessed a few beneficial bonuses. Like, for instance, infrared vision.
Green eyes looked at the gift, big and full of gleam. Quickly, he took hold of them and put them on, his grin wider than Dick could ever remember it being. He blushed deeply when Wally tackled him to the ground, hugging him and saying how awesome the gift was.
"Dad, this is so cool! I can see inside the wall!" he eagerly told.
Barry just smiled, and Dick sent his own father a look that clearly expressed to Bruce how thankful he was. This, unexpectedly enough, caused the billionaire to smile as well. Seeing Allen's kid so happy wasn't the worst thing he'd witnessed in his life to put it mildly.
This is going to be a Two-shot, most likely. Please review, put me on author alert, story alert, etc! I love you guys! My writer's block is lifting by each review! :D