I. am. so. sorry.
April 4, 2007 10:16 PM One Year Later
Being ten had certainly hit Dick hard.
When he turned ten he had shut himself in his room the entire day, refusing any presents from Bruce, Alfred and Barbra. He was sitting on his thin, summer sheets, thinking back to his first fight on July 5th, 2006. His parents faces wove themselves into the memory, causing him to stare wide eyed at the dust that floated precariously around the room, the sunlight streaming from the window announcing their presence.
The bank fight.
His first fight.
A fight he would never forget. Of course, Dick had felt very proud in fact that he had won the fight without Batman's help and felt that if he told his parents this, they would've been proud too. He knew that he couldn't talk to them, he that they were dead, but he still sat at his desk sometimes and wrote letters to his parents. When he finished writing and crying, he would fold the letter up, stick in in an envelope and walk over to a wall that had a large tapestry (which he was trying to get rid of by convincing Alfred it was making his sinuses go weird) and open up a secret panel in the wall where all the letters were. He had discovered it accidentally when he was tapping on the wall to see if one was hallow and he could convince Bruce to put an entrance to the Batcave there. When he found it, purely going off confusion, he took off the panel and found a rather large boxy area where he could stick things. He wasn't sure how far it went back, he couldn't see the end, but found it very useful to store his letters.
There were, so far, over forty letters to his parents.
Some were short, with him only remarking about school and Bruce and some were long; they talked about his and Bruce's adventures as the Dynamic Duo. A lot of times, a letter was four or five pages long and only some of the time were they merely a page.
Dick was now staring down at the empty piece of paper, his Superman pen held in his hand he was poised over the desk, as if getting ready to jump over it into the wall. His blue eyes stared down in concentration at the paper. If looks could kill, he thought dully, my paper would be a mass of smoldering embers.
Suddenly, he fell back into his IKEA chair, and growled angrily at the paper. What would his parents want to know? He didn't know… he wanted them to know something about what happened. He hadn't written the letters till about five months ago, and so, of course, his first fight wouldn't be there.
His first fight.
The thought licked his mind.
That, he figured, his parents would love to know.
Dear Mami and Tati,
Hello again, I know it's been a while since I've seen you, but I still love you. I want to tell you another story. It is another one where Bruce and I went out as Batman and Robin. This is my first fight. I had no help from Batman! Isn't that not good? I found it very easy, because I trained with Batman for many, many months. It was good and hard, like I told you. It reminded me of training with you two, I was pushed very hard, but I could handle it. :)
We came down to the bank where the police were waiting. People were confused about me and did not understand why I was there. I thought it was funny but Batman did not like when the people kept asking me questions and pointing at me. I didn't care though, I liked the attention. I went into the bank, with Batman behind me just in case something happened to me (he wouldn't let that happen so it's okay mami). I went in and the bank robbers were holding the people inside hostage. I got really mad because they shouldn't be doing that. Anyway, I walked up toward one of them because he was facing away from me and tapped him on the shoulder. And then, quickly, I slipped into the shadows, so he spun around and saw nothing. Then, I threw a birdarang at him and he fell to the ground, unconscious. All of the other robbers looked around, scared, and one of them yelled that it was the Batman. Another said he didn't exist, it was just something the papers did too scare the criminals. And then, I laughed and jumped out and attacked.
Two of the robbers charged at me, but I punched and blocked their moves. I got hit a few times, but nothing more than a few bruises is what I got. I knocked them out (I didn't think I did too bad, and Batman said I did really good!) and then big guy with the gun came out at me.
I won. But I almost got shot twice. I don't want you to be mad at Bruce though! He was coming to save me when I threw down smoke bombs and the gas knocked him out. Then the police came in and it was okay. Batman and I left and he checked me for major injuries, I didn't have any big ones.
That is it. It's all I wanted to tell you. I love you.
I miss you.
-Your Little Bird
Dick took the letter and stuffed it in the compartment. He missed them so much. Wiping away tears, he turned around and sat on his bed.
When he grew up, he was going to be Batman. He was going to be strong, smart. He would help run Wayne Tech. He would be the Batman, working with the Justice League. He would be happier though, he wouldn't be sad. He would be a hero and he would make people smile. He would swing from rooftop to rooftop, launching himself into the air like a robin, saving people and stopping crimes; he would battle Arkham's worst criminals and defeat them without a single thought of losing. He would be Batman. He would be Bruce Wayne, and he would be his father, John Grayson.
Dick smiled to himself, hugging his pillow close to his chest. He closed his eyes, his tight pale hands gripping the pillow as if it were his lifeline.
"I promise," he said to himself in a slow whisper, "That I will be the Batman and I will be Tati, no matter what. And nothing will take that away."
He layed down on his bed, staring up at the velvet coverings and grinned to himself. Tomorrow, he was going to go hang out with Wonder Woman, or in other words, Diana Prince. Batman was doing something for the Justice League with Superman. He couldn't wait to join the Justice League. When he asked Bruce when it would happen, Bruce just said sometime when you're older. Dick took that at thirteen, because that was three years a way and that was a heck of a long time for a ten year old. Still, he couldn't wait to join, to be a part of the Justice League. Despite G. Gordon Godfrey completely throwing it under the bus all the time, a lot of people supported the JL and a lot of Dick's school did too. It was funny, he would think, when he was walking down the hall and someone would be having an argument with someone else about Superman and Batman. Dick was smirk to himself and think "I know of them. What." but he couldn't exactly say that so he could just smirk.
Dick glanced up to see Alfred standing over him, hands on his hips and a steady glare on his face. He smiled innocently, knowing why Alfred looked so angry.
"Master, sir, you're supposed to be in bed. It is 10:30 now. In bed! Did you brush your teeth, sir?"
Dick groaned, puffing an annoyed breath, blowing his hair out of his face. "Yes Alfred."
"Yeah, yeah," Dick muttered, sliding under the covers and watching Alfred retreat from the room, turn of the light and whisper and hurried good night. He lay in bed for a while, staring up into the darkness that wasn't just dark yet, the moon wormed it's way through his curtains to give his room a light, blueish glow. He layed on his back, his hands clasped loosely on his stomach and his eyes unblinking. His mind, racing a thousand miles a minute. Of course, he didn't go to sleep for what seemed like hours but actually only twenty minutes. He thought about school and how his classes seemed to be easier than he expected. He thought of Barbra, his only friend at school, and how she was too much trouble than she was worth and yet he didn't care anyway.
He thought about Bruce and Alfred and how he'd come to love them just a little more since he'd moved in. He'd grown accustomed to not seeing Bruce a lot but then again, he saw him far more frequently now that they were partners in justice (though partners in crime had more ring to it, Dick figured it would be rather ironic) and he found that Alfred was a lot like Pop Haley because he acted like such the grandfather. However, Pop Haley was more inclined to make Dick laugh, while Alfred seemed to be more inclined to him doing his homework the day he got it.
Dick found out that homework was the worst thing ever. He didn't have it when he was homeschooled (and don't try the 'Isn't all work homework then'? joke, he'd heard it enough) because he simply sat there and memorized math text books, science texts and read everything he could get his hands on and did problems frequently. It was easy and he balanced it with his training, which was far more entertaining, so that he was flexible enough that he could match most professional, regular gymnasts at the age of four. Of course, he hadn't reached his parents level yet but he figured that wasn't until he was at least 18, if he did the math correctly and continued on with gymnastics and being a hero, which he had no doubt that he would continue doing.
Being ten years old of course, did not allow him to add death into the equation and as far as Dick had done, death was not going to be in his future until he was ripe and old, like Pop Haley or Alfred.
"Dick, I don't think you get it, the weather is like a woman on this thing my dad won't tell me about, it constantly changes, alright?"
Dick nodded, chewing his sandwich slowly in his mouth. Barbra nodded and glanced away, toward where a group of older middle schooler's were standing. Neither said anything for a moment, shivering in the cold as a light drizzle cascaded onto the city. It was cold, chilly even for April, and Dick was wrapped tightly in a navy blue Gotham Academy cardigan that literally did nothing to keep out the cold. Barbra was eating potato chips from a plastic bag, scanning the area for any unwelcome schoolmates who might've wanted to join them on their bench.
No one came near their bench and no one sat on their bench. It was theirs and Dick and Barbra were inclined to keep it that way.
"So, see that girl over there?" Barbra pointed at a blonde girl who was wearing the regular Gotham Academy Uniform for girls. Dick nodded, taking the final bite of his sandwich and moving onto his apple.
"Okay, her name is Bette Kane, avoid her like the plague."
Dick glanced at her curiously. "What's the plague?"
She shrugged. "I don't I hear my dad say it once so it must be smart. Now, her and all her friends. Their gonna think you're weird, they'll be right but when they say they will mean it in a bad way."
Dick scowled, knowing where she was going with it. He stared at Bette Kane though, wondering why Barbra was telling him to stay away from her, despite being at the academy for a while now. He was ten, he figured he could stay away from people he judged correctly. "I know that Babs. And I'm not weird!"
"Yes you are," Barbra inclined, patting him on the head. He shot her a glare. "But it's a good weird," she continued, ignoring the glare. "Like, not bad-weird but good-weird. Know what I mean?"
"No. And I'm not weird… I'm just whelmed."
She looked at him curiously. "You're what?"
"I'm whelmed. Like, you know… whelmed. Everyone is either overwhelmed or under whelmed, why can't they just be whelmed?"
She rolled her eyes, but a smile was playing at her lips. She turned away again to stare at Bette Kane, who was holding up a jacket over her bleach blonde hair from the rain as she and her friends ran across the courtyard. "Because it isn't a word."
"I don't know, it just isn't."
"I think that gives me more reason to use it."
Dick didn't respond for a while and then…
"Yeah, I know."
After a good ten minutes, they finished up their lunch and threw their trash away, walking into the dry school and parting ways, waving as they walked to their classes. Dick grinned as he walked into his english class, thinking of the word whelmed and how Barbra wasn't very whelmed.
He laughed and sat down in his seat, thinking of the future.