Title: Elephants, Lions and Family... Oh My!
Word Count: 6,441 words
Summary: Robin invites the team to the legendary Haly's Circus. Wally gets a glimpse into his best friends past; Dick is reminded he will always be a Circus Brat; and the Big Top Show amazes the team. Later Bruce confronts his Little Bird and things work out.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters and I write completely for fun and not for profit!
Beta: youngjusticefanatic did a fantastic final edit for me! And Protectorkorii helped me out with everything from start to finish.
Idea: So everyone has seen them, most of you have probably read at least one version, but I wanted to take a crack at the "Team goes to the circus" story plot line. For some reason I was never satisfied with the stories I have read (not that I claim to have read them all). But I was having a conversation with the lovely ProtectorKorii and we got to talking "circus stories" and from that, this thing was born. A huge thank you to Protectorkorii for everything! Thank you so much for all your help with this story, with feedback and being so supportive! You are amazing!
Authors note: THE IDEAS CAME BEFORE THE EPISODE!I started writing this a few weeks ago, before I even knew about the circus episode... I don't know how I feel posting around it... don't know if it is good hype or bad. Oh well.
Now go read! And remember to REVIEW please!
ALSO TAKE THE POLL ON MY PROFILE!
Robin smirked at his team from behind a fan of glossy tickets, "Come on guys!" He said, shaking the coloured paper at the group, "It'll be a lot of fun!"
Megan smiled broadly back and took hold of Superboy's arm with a squeak, "Can we go?" she squealed, "I've always wanted to go to the circus!"
Connor gave a half shrug, looking both confused and uninterested. Artemis fought to hide her own eagerness behind a mask of annoyance. Kaldur was his usual calm self, with a smile on his face.
Wally had detached himself from the group, and shifted behind. The redhead frowned in confusion at his best friend, "What circus?" he asked.
Something unreadable flashed across Robin's face. "Haly's."
Wally charged forward and took the hacker by the arm. "Are you sure Di-ude?"
Artemis scowled suspiciously at the duo, "Why wouldn't he want to go to the circus?" She asked.
There was a moment of silence, "Clowns!" Wally announced, "Rob fights the Joker, so maybe he won't want to see clowns…" The red head trailed off awkwardly.
Artemis raised an eyebrow, obviously still suspicious.
"You know," Wally continued, "The guy with green hair andcrazysmile." His words blended together as his speech sped up. "Dresseshishenchmenupas," Robin elbowed his friend in the gut, "Clowns."
Megan let out a gasp, her hands flying to her face, "I forgot about him." she whispered looking guiltily at Robin, "Are you sure you want to go? We don't want you to be reminded of that horrible person."
Robin wrenched his arm from Wally's grip with a quick glance of warning. "All good Miss M. It was my idea, remember?" The little bird fanned out the tickets again, and offered them to the team.
The smile on the girl's face grew and she pulled a ticket out for herself and Superboy. Artemis and Aqualad claimed their own, leaving Robin to offer a ticket out to Wally.
The speedsters eyed the ticket hesitantly before turning his worried gaze to the little bird.
The Boy Wonder caught his best friend's eye, "I want to go." He said in a whisper.
Wally nodded once and accepted the offering. "So when do we leave?"
The team arrived at the Happy Harbour Fairgrounds an hour before show time. Megan had Superboy's hand in her grasp and squeezed with excitement. Artemis was at the other girl's heels, fighting her own excitement. Aqualad was at the blondes' side, trying to take in all the sights, sounds and smells. Robin and Wally took up the rear; Dick could feel his friend vibrating at his side.
Dick couldn't help but smile as the team weaved in between the stalls. Laughing children tugged their parents between the sideshows and food carts. Lights flashed from the game stalls and workers called into the crowd for someone to "step on up."
It was everything he remembered and so much more.
Dick slowed his pace and let the team disappear into the crowd. Megan pulled at Conners arm towards the bottle-knocking game stall, pointing at the giant stuffed dog hanging from ceiling. Artemis and Kaldur stopped one tent short at the ring-toss; the atlantean frowned at the tank of goldfish displayed as prizes. Wally eyed the nearby food stalls stall and he could practically taste the combination of funnel cake and lemonade. His mouth watered in longing.
"You can go with them Wally." Dick offered, without looking at his best friend.
The red head flashed a smile, pushing the thoughts of food out of his mind, "Na, I'm good with you bro." Wally paused and his gaze fell to the ground. "Unless you don't want me to stay, because I would totally understand if you wanted to be alone, Dick."
The little bird flashed a smile of his own, "Follow me." He whispered with a hint of mischief in his voice.
Wally trailed after his friend through the maze of stalls and people. He didn't question Dick, as the ebony haired teen seemed relaxed and confident in where he was going. Finally, the duo came to a stop outside a dark green circus tent.
"Dick are you-" When Wally turned his head, the younger teen was gone and the tent flap was falling back into place. Wally glanced around to see if anyone was watching before he followed his friend inside.
"Dick what are we -" Wally fell speechless, and his mouth dropped open. Dick stood in the middle of the room, smiling broadly at the gathering of circus animals. In one corner was a roped off section of horses feeding on a bale of hay. On the other side was a family of lions lounged around in their cage. In the middle of the room was what looked to be an empty section, with a pool of water and a barrel of untouched hay.
Dick caught the eye of the lioness, and his childish grin grew. The cat untangled herself from the cubs and slinked towards the door of the cage. The rest of the pack watched through half lidded eyes from their pile on the floor of their pen.
The horses glanced up from their meal, and watched the ebony teen approach the caged cat.
Wally followed his friend from behind, step by step, until they were a few feet from the cage. The redhead gripped Dick's arm and forced the boy to stop walking. "Dude." Wally hissed, "What are you doing?"
"Relax, It's cool." Dick pulled out of Wally's grip.
The redhead took hold of his friends' hood just in case he needed to pull Dick away.
Dick's fingers were inches away when a voice broke through the silence. "Hey! What are you are doing?"
Wally flinched back, dragging Robin with him a few feet. The duo whipped around to face the tent door.
A middle-aged man with an elephant at his shoulder glared at the friends. "What do you two think you are doing here?" The man demanded starting forward to tower over the two. "Those are dangerous animals and children should not be sticking their fingers where they don't belong."
The man continued to lecture, and all the while, the elephant that had accompanied him into the tent had started forward. The creature pushed the man lightly to the side with its trunk and reached forward.
A smile grew across Dick's face, as the trunk sniffed his face before wrapping around his waist. The elephant let out a squeal and its ears flapped wildly in the air.
Wally and the man watched in surprise as Dick was hoisted off his feet and placed on the elephant's back. "Good girl." Dick whispered, rubbing the top of the creatures head.
The man gapped at the kid and elephant, "Zitka hasn't…" The man trailed off. Then his eyes grew wide. "Dickey?" he whispered.
Dick smiled back, standing to balance on the elephant's back and flipped forward. For a moment, the acrobat balanced on his hands on the creatures head before rolling forward and sliding down the trunk. Dick landed feet first in front of his small audience.
"Hi ya, Mr. Spencer!" he chirped, pulling off his sunglasses to reveal his right blue eyes. "Long time no see."
The man, Mr. Spencer, swooped forward and pulled Dick into a tight hug. "It's good to see you kid." He whispered. Dick hugged back, taking in the moment. Finally the two broke apart, and Dick could see the unshed tears in the man's eyes. "Look at you," The man, muttered, "The perfect mix of John and Marry."
The Boy Wonder flashed a sad smile, "Thanks Mr. Spencer." The teen's voice broke slightly.
Wally stepped forward and placed a hand in the centre of Dick's back. The gesture was almost invisible to anyone watching, but it was a reminder to the little bird that he was there to support him.
"Anthony, what are you doing?" A voice echoed in from outside. "It shouldn't take you this long to put Zitka away." A woman pushed away the tent flap and stormed in. Blond curls bounced on her shoulders as she marched. "Mr. Haly wants to start the…" The woman froze.
Zitka had retreated into her pen, ears still flapping and her tail swishing happily. Anthony crouched in front of two boys, his hands resting on the smaller boy's shoulders while a red head stood to the side.
The woman stared at the blue-eyed boy and tears slowly gathered in her eyes. One hand flew to her mouth, while the other reached out.
Dick didn't move, and Wally gave his friend a light poke in the back. The jab brought the boy out of his daze and he flew forward into the woman's arm.
Tears were flowing freely down the woman's face, as she rocked Dick slowly. Wally could see the woman's lips moving next to his friend's ear.
Finally Dick was released and the woman's hands rested on either side of his face. "Mon petit garcon." My little boy.
She whispered placing a small kiss to the boy's forehead. "Mon bebe oiseau." My little bird.
"Bonjour ma tante." Dick murmured, "I've missed you." Hello my aunt.
The woman used her thumbs to wipe away the tears slowly trailing down the acrobats face. "And I you, Dickie." Another kiss was placed on the teen's forehead. "Do you want to visit everyone else?" she asked at least.
Dick nodded, his face still caught in her grip.
The woman smiled, ""You have perfect timing. The group meeting is just about to start."
Dick wiped his face with his sleeve, before finally looking at Wally. The duo trailed behind Mr Spencer and the woman, introduced as Sophie Roux, as they left the animal tent. "Hey." Dick muttered his voice almost back to normal.
If Wally didn't know better, he would say Dick was fine, but he knew his best friend better than that. He caught the slight redness to the eyes, and saw how the smirk didn't reach the eyes. There was a new glow to the baby blues, one of pure, childish joy, and underneath a spark of indescribable pain and sadness. Wally couldn't even begin to understand how his friend was feeling, and he secretly hoped that he never would, but he would support Dick every step of the way.
"Hey." Wally answered back with a smile. Their shoulders brushed lightly and there was a moment of content silence. "So, what do you know about the hot blond?"
Dick let out a cackle that caught the attention of the two adults. The Boy Wonder just laughed harder, and Wally flashed the best smile he could muster.
Wally was last to enter the big top and his mouth fell open almost instantly. It was definitely bigger on the inside than it seemed on the outside. The bleachers lined the tent, circling around the centre ring. Two wooden posts held the tent up, Wally could see the trapeze wires above the two platforms.
He couldn't tear his gaze away. He knew the stories. They had fallen. They had fallen because the trapeze had been sabotaged. Dick had told him that it had been a long fall - nearly two stories - but nothing had ever looked so far away as the wires did right now.
"Wally!" A hissed whisper broke through his haze. The speedster's head snapped towards Dick. "Come on!"
A group was gathered in the centre ring, a large portly man in a red suit with extra-long coattails stood on top of a wooden box. The crowd listened with intense focus, oblivious to the four newcomers.
A smirk grew across Dick's face and Wally could only smile back. The bird was up to something, and experience said it was going to be good.
Silently, Dick placed himself directly behind the box, "Mr. Haly, you have been giving the same speech for as long as I can remember!"
Mr. Haly barely saved himself from falling head first off his pedestal, "Dick?" The name was barely out of his mouth before Mr. Haly jumped to the ground and pulled the boy into a tight hug. "It is good to see you lad!"
It took the crowd a few seconds to react; but by the time Mr. Haly pulled away, they were surrounded.
Wally watched as his best friend was pulled into hug after hug; every time the brunette was released, his smile grew. A hand landed on Wally's shoulder and he was ushered to the centre of the crowd. The speedster fell into place at Dick's side.
"Wally!" Dick said pointing at the man with the top hat and coat tails. "This is C.C. Haly, ring master and owner of Haly's circus."
The redhead was caught off guard by the firm handshake and broad smile.
"Everyone," Dick continued, addressing the crowd. "This is my best friend Wally West."
The redhead awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck and gave a slight wave, "uh, Hi?"
Things were a whirlwind as Wally was introduced to every single person. Stories were told, that brought tears of laughter to everyone's face; Wally clutched his ribs and gasped for breath, leaning on Dick for support.
He heard about the time a three-year-old Dickie Grayson went missing only to be found fast asleep in the lion's cage. He listened to the story of when Dick decided, he wanted to join the clown act, and coated himself in makeup and turned his face blue for three days. He heard the about the first time Dick had ever landed a triple back flip. He heard about his best friend growing up with the elephants, and among the circus community
The strong man wiped his brow with a spotted handkerchief, and then clasped the two boys on the back. "It is good to see you kid."
"You too Mr Samson!"
Mr. Haly pulled a pocket watch out, and gasped at the time. "My word, where did the time go? The show is supposed to start in five minutes!" The man slipped the watch back into his chest pocket and turned his attention towards the crowd. "Start letting the people in, everyone in the first act go and get ready. We can let the crowd sit for an extra ten minutes and I can stall for a few more. Let's go people."
Nothing else was needed, as the crowd dispersed in a hurry. People fled for the exits, both the front and back, scurrying to get ready.
Mr. Haly caught Dick and Wally by the shoulders and led the duo to the side. "Are you two staying for the show?"
They both nodded vigorously. "We have to meet up with some friends, but we will be back in time. Who would come to Mr. Haly's circus without going to the Big Top Show?" Dick answered.
The man chuckled, "Good question lad."
"We should probably go find the guys." Dick continued, glancing at Wally.
"Arty is probably pissed." The redhead mumbled.
"But Megan is probably worried." Dick countered.
This brought a smile to Wally's face. "Then let's get going." The teen took off in a jog towards the nearest exit.
Dick paused for a moment, "Mr. Haly." He whispered.
The man gave a light hum of response.
"Could you not mention anything about me being here during the show?" The teen asked, avoiding eye contact and rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
"Your friends don't know that Dick Grayson is Robin." The man stated.
The acrobat stared open mouthed at the circus owner.
Mr. Haly just smiled back. "Lad I have known you since you were born. I watched you learn to become an acrobat and announced you as one of the few people to be able to do a triple back flip. I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but I know one of my people when I see them. You can take the kid out of the circus but you can't take the circus out of the kid."
"Please, Mr. Haly you can't…"Dick was cut off when a gloved hand rested on his shoulder.
"I'll keep it to myself Dickie, don't worry." The man whispered, crouching to the teen's height. "Just stay safe." Mr. Haly ruffled the boy's dark hair. "I am proud of you Richard," the man paused, "And your parents would be too."
Dick flashed a sad smile. "Thank you Mr. Haly."
With a chuckle, the ringleader gave Dick a small push towards the same exit Wally had disappeared through. "Now go find your friends before they get too worried."
"Right-o!" Dick nodded, taking off in a run and cart wheeling to the door. The teen paused to give a deep bow to the almost empty tent.
"Show off!" one of the workers yelled, clapping his hands none the less. Dick let out a giggle and gave one more bow before running past the tent flap and out of sight.
"Kid!" Mr. Spencer called, catching the teen's attention before he made it a few feet out the exit. Dick stopped mid stride to turn his attention to the caller. The man tapped the side of his face, "Forgetting something?"
Dick smiled and slipped his sunglasses from his sweatshirt pocket and onto his face.
"Thanks." He called, before breaking out into a run and vanished into the crowd.
Dick was on the run, his eyes searching the crowd for his team. The team wasn't too hard to find, a group of misfit teenagers standing awkwardly near the front entrance of the tent. Superboy looked unconformable, and was eyeing up a little kid with a Superman shirt with a frown. Megan was standing on her tiptoes, staring intensely into the crowd, in the opposite direction. Wally seemed to be pleading his case to a very pissed looking Artemis, and an amused Kaldur.
Robin approached silently, blending in with the wave of people shuffling towards the big top. At the last second he side stepped and slid next to Superboy. The clone sent the hacker a quick glance, then turned his gaze back to the crowd, the young superman fan long gone.
Artemis had a slight red tint to her face, "Wally, you can't just run off and do your own thing whenever you want!"
The redhead had the dignity to look apologetic before the smirk took over. "Why Arrow Breath? Miss me or something?"
Artemis open and closed her mouth a few times, her face growing darker.
"Guys," Miss M interrupted, "I can't find Robin!" The Martian subconsciously hugged herself, and turned towards the team.
"He's right here." Superboy stated, shifting slightly to reveal the missing bird.
Robin flashed a smile, and waved at the team. "Hey guys, what's up?"
Megan darted forward and pulled the younger teen into a right hug. The little bird accepted, squeezing the girl back lightly. "We were worried." Said Miss M, pulling away after a few seconds.
"I wasn't." Superboy muttered.
"You just disappeared." The usually green girl continued. "Kaldur said we should let you guys go until the show was supposed to start, but then we couldn't find you."
Robin patted, the girl on the arm, "Sorry Miss M, I didn't mean to scare you. But we're back, and everything is fine." The little bird flashed a reassuring smile, before turning to the rest of the team. "We hitting the show or what?"
"Of course." Kaldur said pulling out his ticket. "I believe we even have front row seats."
Megan let out a squeal and grabbed Superboy by the arm. "Let's go."
Superboy allowed the girl to pull him towards the circus tent and the couple were swept up by the crowd
Artemis cut in front of Robin, Kaldur, and Wally; the blond glared at the formerly missing duo. "Kaldur," she hissed, "those two just vanished for the last hour, and you aren't going to do anything?"
The Atlantean glanced between Wally and Robin, "Next time inform someone before you decide to sneak away in public." he said.
The duo snapped into attention and gave a salute to their leader, "Sir, yes sir!" they chorused.
Kaldur nodded with approval, and a small smile danced across his face. "Now let us join Conner and Megan before the show starts." The teen waved his hand, ushering Wally and Robin to take the lead.
The best friends darted forward into the tent, leaving the Atlantean and Archer alone outside.
"That is it?" the blond scoffed.
"What would you wish I do, Artemis?" Kaldur asked, "They did not get into trouble, nothing was destroyed, no one was injured, and no one was left sad or angry. They just disappeared for a little while. If anything this is a step up for them."
The blonde continued to look sceptical, "Aren't you interested in where they've been?"
Aqualad thought for a moment, then nodded, "Of course, but everything seems to be fine, I do not see a need for me to pry."
Artemis sighed, "Fine," she pointed a finger at the other teens chest, "but if something happens, I am blaming you." The archer gave a single poke before turning on her heels and marching into the tent.
"That is fair." Kaldur agreed, following his teammate, smile still on his face.
The lights dimmed almost immediately after the remaining two members of the team took their seats.
No one but Wally and Dick seemed to notice the single look, sent their way by the man in the centre ring. A drum roll from the band in the corner brought the crowd to an instant silence. A spotlight rolled over the crowd until finally coming to rest on the man with top-hat standing alone in the middle of the tent.
The man brought an old fashion megaphone to his mouth, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages!" His voice echoed around the tent. "My name is C.C. Haly, and I welcome you to the world famous Haly's Circus. Before we start the show, I want to dedicate out performance-," Dick ignored the panicked expression on Wally's face, "to family. No matter how far you wander, your family will always welcome you back." a warm smile spread over his face, "Now, hold onto your hats, and get ready for a show, because the adventure is about to begin."
Two more spot lights flashed on, aimed towards two of the tent entrances. Zitka burst though one of the tent doors, while two pearl white horses entered across room. Two women in matching feathered outfits balanced on top of the horses, while clowns danced around Zitka's feet.
Dick heard Megan sequel to his right, and Wally was slightly vibrating in excitement to his left. Dick's smile was huge, as Zitka trotted around the ring.
"Let me introduce you to our first act, Zitka! The ringmaster cried, taking a few steps to the side while gesturing to the elephant. "And her lovely assistants"
Megan let out a gasp and a hand few to her mouth as the two men on the backs of the horses. A woman attempted to climb on top to form a three-person pyramid.
Robin gave a quick squeeze to the girls arm, "Don't worry Miss M." He flashed a smile, "They know what they are doing."
"What if they fall?" she whispered.
The group of riders and animals did laps around the ring; the woman smiled at the crowd eagerly, as the music encouraged them on.
"They won't." Robin explained, pointing as the horses came closer. "if you look close enough at the horses back, you can see a coat of resin. It makes the horses less slick and allows them to keep their balance."
Miss M visibly relaxed and nodded in understanding.
"Plus," Robin added, "They're professionals."
Even Superboy was on the edge of his seat when the lions came out. Robin couldn't keep the knowing smile off his face as Wilhelm cracked his whip. The lion circled around the man with a low growl as the lioness and cubs watched from the sidelines. The whip cracked in the air and the lion snarled in response.
Wilhelm pointed at the small pedestal and cracked the whip twice in the air. The lion looked between the box and its tamer, before lazily pulling itself up and waiting for another command.
The lion tamer dropped his whip to the ground and approached the giant cat. The lion watched, almost uninterested, nuzzling the man's outstretched hand. "Sit!" The man commanded, his voice cutting through the silence. The lion plopped its but down and waited. "Open." The animals yawned revealing its mouth full of sharp teeth, the lion let his jaw hang open.
"Dude, he isn't" Wally whispered in surprise, sparing Robin a glance.
The Boy Wonder chuckled, "He is."
Wilhelm pat the lion on the side of its face, before sticking his own head, into the lion's mouth.
The cheering continued as Harry the Clown and his posse of pranksters bowed out of the tent. Mr Haly clapped along with the crowd, before addressing the people. "Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of myself and our entire cast, I hope you enjoyed our show."
Men and women in brightly coloured outfits flooded in, and the music started from the band.
"We wish you all a safe trip home and please come back as soon as you can." Mr Haly spread his arms wide, and everyone took their places. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sorry to say, it is now time for us to say our goodbyes!"
The music swelled and lights began to flash, the people coming to life. Dick sat back in his seat with a smile on his face, taking in the moment, and getting lost in the memories.
Batman, Flash and Black Canary were all waiting when the team arrived, back at the mountain.
Wally took a bite from the cheerio in his hand and waved eagerly at his uncle. "Ay unfil 'ary." Food sprayed out of the teen's mouth, showering the stone floor.
"Dude!" Robin scolded, "Say it, don't spray it."
Wally rolled his eyes and took a long sip of his lemonade. "Hey Uncle Barry." he repeated, sticking out his tongue at his best friend.
"How was the circus?" Black Canary asked, eyeing the giant stuffed Scooby-Doo in Superboys arms.
"It was marvellous!" Megan cried, "We played some of the games, and Superboy won a stuffed animal. We went to the show and we saw a man stick his head in the lion's mouth. There were clowns and elephants and people did tricks on horses. I thought they were going to fall off, but Robin said they were safe because they put stuff on the horses so they don't slip."
"Sounds like you guys had a blast." Flash said, swiping the last bite of his nephew's Mexican desert and throwing it into his mouth.
Wally bit at air before realizing he was no longer holding his cheerio. The redhead scowled at his uncle, and held his cup of lemonade closer to his chest for protection.
"It was a lot of fun." Miss M nodded, "Well, except for when Wally and Robin went missing."
The attention shifted and all eyes were on the duo. Kid Flash shifted under the gazes of friends and mentors. Robin paid no mind to the starting, and kept eye contact with his mentor. The team and league members could see the subtle changes in expression as the dynamic duo held a silent conversation.
A beeping from Batman's wrist communicator cut through the silence, and the Dark Knight pressed the side of his cowl. "Yeah?" The frown deepened on the man's face, "On it." Batman dropped his hand and turned his focus to his protégé. "We are leaving." he stated turning on his heels and marching towards the teleportation system. Robin gave a quick nod to his team before following after his father.
"Don't you care where they snuck off to?" Barry called after them.
"No." The computer kicked to life and the duo vanished in a whirlwind.
The duo arrived at the bat cave though the transportation system. The only announcement of their arrival was the whirl of the machine. "So what's up Bats?" Dick asked, following Dark Knight into the cave. "Who escaped this time?" The Boy Wonder turned towards the changing room, to go change into his uniform.
Bruce pulled off the cowl and let it pool around his neck. "No one"
The Boy Wonder stopped mid stride and turned a raised eyebrow towards his mentor. "Then who called?"
"How was the trip to Haly's?" Bruce asked, ignoring his sons questioning gaze.
"So we aren't going back?" Dick asked. Bruce shot a glare at the teen and Dick raised his hands in defence. "Got it, moving on." Silence fell between the two and a sad smile drifted on the teens face, "It was good."
Bruce settled into one of the chairs and waited for Dick to continue.
"Actually, it was great. I got to see everyone again. Zitka recognized me right away." Dick let out a light laugh. "She knew who I was even though I haven't seen her since I was eight."
"They say elephants have great memories." Bruce stated.
But Dick didn't seem to hear him. "She lifted me into the air like when I was little. Then Sophie came in-" his voice cracked, "And she said she was proud and how much she missed me." Dick ripped off his sunglasses and flung them towards the table. The teen used his sleeve to wipe away the threatening tears. "And then Mr. Haly..." Dick couldn't continue.
Bruce was out of his seat and crouching in front of his son in an instant.
A heavy hand rested on Dick's shoulder before he was pulled into a hug. "I miss them." he whispered. "I loved seeing the circus again. I got to see everyone I grew up with, they were part of my childhood. But it also reminded me of them."
Bruce pulled away and wiped away one of Dick's stray tears. The older man hadn't seen Dick break down like this in years.
Dick briefly wondered when his surrogate father took off his gloves. "I was so happy to be back and to see everyone. But I was reminded me how much I have miss them." The acrobat dropped his gaze to the ground.
"That's okay Dickie." Bruce whispered pulling up the teens chin to make eye contact. "You can miss your parents."
"I know. And I'm glad I went." Dick gave a small smile. "It was good I went." As quick as the tears came they were gone.
Bruce gave Dick's shoulder a light squeeze.
"Mr. Haly knows I am Robin." The remaining Flying Grayson's announced, his smile growing, but worry shown in his eyes.
Bruce quirked an eyebrow in question.
"I didn't tell him. He just kind of knew; he said that you can take the kid out of the circus but you can't take the circus out of the kid." Dick explained, "And that he can always recognize his people. But he promised that he wouldn't say anything"
Bruce could see the slight panic behind his son's bright blue eyes. "It is fine Dick. I don't doubt that Mr Haly can keep a secret. Wally on the other hand..." The Dark Knight trailed off hiding his smirk with a glare, as Dick's eyes widened.
"I... eerr - Wally... we...uuhh"
"Calm down Dick," Bruce chuckled, "I've known for a while. But let's just stop there, okay?"
Dick snapped to attention and saluted his father, "Sir yes Sir!"
"Brat" Bruce muttered, ruffling the ebony boy's hair. The man straightened and turned to retrieve his gloves from the table. "Go get changed, we need to for patrol." he announced.
"That is Circus Brat to you." Dick snapped, pushing off into a back handspring and flipping towards the changing room. The sound of laughter echoed around the cave walls. The Boy Wonder gave a deep bow from the doorway before disappearing into the other room.
"He's fine Alfred." Bruce announced to the room as gentleman approached from the shadows.
The elder man nodded in agreement, "I had no doubt Master Bruce. Young Master Richard loves his childhood at the circus. I knew he would enjoy returning for a visit."
The Dark Knight nodded in agreement and straightened his cowl. Bruce threw a cautious glance over his shoulder, before turning back towards the butler, turned grandfather. "Mr Haly figured out Dick is Robin." Bruce whispered.
Alfred nodded once, "I heard."
Bruce let out a deep chuckle, and nodded in agreement, "I guess you did."
"And?" The Butler prompted, "Should we be worried?"
"No, Dick trusts him to keep the secret. But…" A rare expression of uncertainty flashed across the man's face and Bruce took a moment to find his words. "You know Alfred, sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing allowing him to become Robin. Sometimes I think Dick deserves a normal childhood."
"Master Bruce," Alfred said, a knowing smile sat promptly on the English gentleman's face. "Richard was not a normal child before he came to live in the manner. Even without the adventures in the mask and cape; I doubt he would have, have what someone would call, a normal life, as the ward of a billionaire."
"But-" Bruce cut himself off as Dick strolled out of the changing room.
"I'm ready to... What?" The Boy Wonder frowned at his unofficial father and grandfather. The teen was clad in his traffic light coloured uniform, his hologlove lit up his mask covered face. The elder men stared back, Alfred still had on the knowing smile, while Bruce was unreadable.
"Nothing, let's go." Bruce ordered, nodding towards the bat-mobile.
"Sure, boss man." Dick nodded in agreement, taking a running start and diving into the car. The Dark Knight followed with a swish of his cape and the roar of the engine sounded before the card disappeared.
Alfred nodded once to the empty cave, "Yes Master Bruce, you did the right thing."