AN: *breathes in deeply* well guys this is it, the final chapter to this story! I would like to thank you all for reviewing and sticking with me even though there were times that it took me A LONG WHILE to update! You guys are awesome, and your reviews inspired me to keep going! This may sound cheesy, uncomfortable, and corny but… I love you guys! Thank you all so much, and I hope you all love it, remember to read & review! :)
"DICK!" yelled Roy and Wally. Running toward the tech-loving teen, Wally was the first to give Dick a gentle but fierce embrace. Roy and Kaldur were there just as fast, enveloping their younger brothers into a group hug.
Squished in the middle, Dick smiled "Hey bros! A little whelmed aren't we?" hugging them back. They gave wet, shaky laughs and pulled away from the Boy Wonder. Everyone else followed suit, greeting Dick back by giving him hugs or a pat on the back.
Clark, Diana, Barry, Oliver, Aquaman, his team; all asking the kid if he was okay, and what happened, if he needed more rest. Truth was Dick felt fine, the pain in his knee was gone and for the first time since he got kidnapped he felt completely happy.
"Yeah, guys I'm fine. Uncle Barry, Wally calm down, you guys are vibrating!" the young crime fighter said, his smile widened
The two speedsters laughed and ruffled the kids raven-colored hair, huge grins on their faces.
A hand went on his shoulder; the acrobat looked up and saw his father next to him.
"Dick, ready to go?" Bruce asked
I smiled at Bruce, and nodded. "Yeah, let's go home". Batman and I walked toward the Zeta Beam-
"-Wait! What about this dog?" Barry asked
I froze. I completely forgot... Luna... I turned around and found Luna, sitting patiently next to Connor, who was scratching her behind the ear, a small smile on his face.
I had to take her back to Gloria, even though I really didn't want to go back to that place. Even though we been through so much together in such a short amount of time, even though I struck up a bond with her ever since she first laid her head on my lap in that cabin, even though I really didn't want to give her back... Luna wasn't my dog to keep, she had an owner that loved her just as much and longer than I have.
"Luna! C'mere girl!" I called patting my leg gently. Luna immediately jumped up, barking and running circles around me.
I smiled sadly. I'm going to miss that about her, finding a way... even if it's a small way to make me smile. I rubbed her head playfully; she licked my fingers and barked again.
"Now let's go home" I said turning to Bruce who was watching me and Luna the whole time.
He nodded and in a few short steps he was right next to me again, his arm around my shoulder.
"Okay" he said smiling
Still Dick's POV
"Master Richard!" a voice cried out as my dad and I walked into the Bat-cave.
I saw a flash of a black tuxedo and the next thing I knew I was being hugged to a point where I couldn't breathe. But I hugged the person back nonetheless.
"Hi Alfred!" I couldn't help the grin that appeared on my face.
"Are you alright young, young sir?" he asked
It was then that I noticed just how incredibly sore I was. But I nodded anyway "A little sore, but other than that I'm feeling the aster."
Alfred smiled. "Well sir I'm glad you can still give your opinion on your condition, but I still must check you over."
"Okay" I said simply sitting on the steel medical bed.
Alfred checked me over carefully, and re-bandaged my wounds. "And who this, Master Richard?" He asked gesturing toward Luna, who was on the other side of the medical bed looking at us with interest.
"Oh, this is Luna! She protected me when we-" I stopped "...She came along to help me get back here" I finished
Alfred smiled, something he always did; a silent acceptance that told me I didn't have to talk about that topic anymore. "On a scale of one to ten how bad is the pain sir?" He asked as he put away the medical supplies.
I thought for a moment. "It's not agonizing, but I'd say a 6" I told him honestly.
"I think I may have a way to make it go away completely" Alfred said leaving the cave without another word.
I sensed Bruce watching me. "What?" I asked turning my head toward the Bat computer where he was leaning.
He licked his lips. "Nothing, it's just..." Bruce paused swallowing once. "I'm just... so happy that your back home.. Dick, the two weeks you were missing were... I thought that you...I'd never... I missed..." He trailed off breathing in deeply.
It was right then, when I noticed the dark circles under his eyes, the five'o clock shadow, how skinny he was compared to the last time I saw him, before I got grabbed.
He hasn't slept or eaten this entire time. I thought
Just like all the other times you've been kidnapped. A voice said in my head.
I jumped off the bed and wrapped my arms around my dad's waist so fast that if the computer wasn't there we would have fallen to the cement floor.
Bruce hugged me tight, running his glove-covered hand through my hair. "I've missed you little bird..." he whispered
"Of course you have! I'm adorable, who wouldn't miss me?" I said trying to make him laugh.
It worked; he laughed and hugged me even tighter. "Heartless people... Would be the only ones who wouldn't miss you" Bruce said chuckling
I sighed happily, nuzzling my head into the armor waist of my dad.
"So….what should we do with your new friend?"
I was silent for a moment. "Take her back to where I meet her and her owner; Luna…..isn't mine to keep. Even if I don't want her to go" I said finally
Bruce ruffled my hair, smiling "My smart, wise, brave little bird" he said proudly
He began to type on the computer when I broke the embrace "Where did you meet her owner?"
"Her name's Gloria, I met her about a couple of miles away from where…I woke up" I trailed off, I looked at the ground. Why is this so hard for me to talk about? I thought. Bruce isn't going to judge me!
"Dick, why don't you and Luna go upstairs? I'll find where this Gloria lives." Bruce said putting his big hand on top of my head.
I looked up "No…I need to tell you what-"
"Son" Bruce said firm but gently "Your exhausted, you've been through a hell of an ordeal. Go get some rest buddy" gesturing his head to the stone steps out of the cave.
"I'm not tired" I protested but not convincing Bruce in the least, when I yawned so big that it made my eyes water.
Bruce chuckled. "So not tired, huh?" He said smiling
"N-no" I stammered in the middle of a another yawn. I began rubbing my left eye, as they started to droop.
I felt myself being lifted off of the ground and into Bruce's arms in seconds.
"C'mon Dickie, bed time" my dad whispered, holding me close. I rested my head against Bruce's shoulder, my eyes closed. I gripped the fabric of the Bat suit, remembering again how much I missed the suit, and the man wearing it.
I feel asleep before Bruce could even walk up two steps.
"Dick, buddy. Wake up"
I groaned, but didn't open my eyes.
"We're here" I heard Bruce say. Huh…..
"Here….?" I asked confused as I forced my eyes to open, and realized that I was in the Bat-Mobile. Bruce was in the driver's seat. Looking out the window I saw Gloria's house.
My eyes widen, we were…..
"Wally informed me where your communicator was last located, so it didn't take me that long to find it" Bruce said simply smiling a little.
I returned the smile. I heard a small bark behind me, I reached around and I gently patted Luna on the head.
"…You ready?" Bruce asked
I hesitated "Yeah…" opening the door, my feet stepping on familiar sticks, leaves and rocks, Luna followed me out the door, then bolted toward the house.
I gulped a little, my throat becoming tight all of a sudden. I walked until I was in front of the dark oak door. "Glori—" I stopped when I saw that the door was already open a crack.
Oh no…. Thinking the worst I went inside. The whole place was trashed, everything was covered in dust…..It looked like no one has lived here in a long time.
But that doesn't make any sense! I debated with myself, she was here I know she was!
I heard Luna panting, walking around the poorly lite house. I turned to look at Bruce, who was leaning against the car. The look on his face, It seemed like he knew what I was going to find when I walked in here.
Turning fully around "I-I don't understand" I said completely perplexed
Bruce moved away from the Bat-Mobile "Dick" He paused which caused me to worry a little "No one's lived here for over 15 years" He finished
I just stood there, my dad's words hung in the cool forest air. 15 years? But….I know I saw Gloria, she WAS here! I started to breathe heavy, a lump forming in my throat "But….I know she was here! I know it, Bruce! I'm not crazy! I—"
"Whoa, Whoa! Dickie, I'm not thinking that at all" Bruce said gently, putting his hands on my shoulders. "What I was thinking; is that whatever is going on, I'll— we'll figure it out together, Okay?"
I inhaled, letting the air out slowly "Okay. Together"
Ugh! I'm so confused! I thought. I just couldn't wrap my mind around anything! Why!? Why: Is it that I saw Gloria when it was crystal clear that no one lived in that cabin? And how could Luna be there when there was no one to take care of her!
"This is torture!" I squeezed my eyes shut, turning onto my stomach as I lay in my bed. I looked at my clock 2:23 a.m. I groaned, Bruce said that we would figure things out in the morning. But he and Alfred don't get up until 8:00 or 9:30 at the least.
Even then Bruce won't let me help. Though he said we'd do this together, I'm probably….No I thought. I know for a fact that I'm going to end up sitting in a chair in the Bat-cave, with Bruce saying to "Take it easy" or "You just being here is help enough". I sighed frustrated, DaddyBats could be real overbearing, now I know what the Clark, Diana, Barry, Oliver and the rest of the Leaguers feel like.
I stared at the ceiling of my room. I then closed my eyes, and nodded to myself. Bruce is right; I have been through a lot. But that doesn't mean I'm helpless, I found my way back, and I did that with no memory of who I was, I wasn't helpless then and I'm not now. I sprung out of bed, yanked a piece of paper and pen out of my desk drawer and wrote:
Bruce don't worry nothing's wrong with me.
Just went to find some answers my way, be back later
Placing it on my desk, I quietly fast walked down to the cave, where Luna was. (Alfred didn't want her in the house yet, in case she might have fleas or anything else that might be harmful.) Her head popped up when she saw me, jumping up from her blanket-made bed that Alfred had prepared for her.
I shook my head "No, Luna you have to stay here. There's no room for you in the vehicle I'm taking" I said walking over to the Bird-Cycle. Usually I would ride this when I was Robin, this would be the first time I would ride this thing as Dick Grayson.
Luna whined but stayed where she was. "I'll be back soon" I reassured the black female Newf dog.
I turned the ignition on; making sure the stealth mode (that I installed) was on so I didn't wake Bruce and Alfred. I then drove away from the Manor towards Gloria's "home".
Bruce wake from a dead sleep, with the feeling that something didn't feel right, that something was missing. He walked into the bathroom, and splash some cold water on his face. He stood there and looked at his clean shaven, showered reflection in the mirror. After Dick and Bruce got home from that woman's "house", Alfred was not at all happy they had left without telling him, and while he played to have the rest of the remaining day with Dick, Alfred however had other things in mind.
Bruce would be lying to himself if he said that he was a little embarrassed, when Alfred grabbed him by the ear like a child and dragged him into the bathroom, telling him that he would not be coming out until he cleaned himself up. Bruce could hear his son laughing hysterically on the other side of the doorway, Alfred soon joined in with a few chuckles of his own.
Then if that wasn't bad enough, after he was clean from head, face and toe. Alfred forced him to go rest, saying that the dark bags under his eyes were screaming at him to "Go to sleep!" Which Bruce obeyed, but then regretted, when he woke up a couple of hours later and saw that Dick was already in bed.
He had miss tucking his son in the first night he came back, from being gone for two weeks. He stood there in Dick's door way, disappointed. Alfred materialized out of nowhere and said that he should go back to bed; he needed the rest as much as Dick did. Bruce did so, Alfred was right; he did need the rest, the Dark Knight was drained physically, but now Bruce was wide awake, and very unsettled.
But for the life of him, he couldn't figure out what! He check everywhere in the house to see if there was an intruder that was causing his uneasiness; the bathrooms, living room, his Study, the kitchen, Alfred's room, nothing seem to be wrong—.
Bruce froze, mentally hitting himself for not even thinking about checking the one room that has been unoccupied for the last two weeks.
His son's room. The Caped Crusader bolted into Dick's room, to find that it was empty. His heart stopped for a second, then resumed its beating when he saw a note on Dick's desk. He picked it up:
Bruce don't worry nothing's wrong with me.
Just went to find some answers my way, be back later
Bruce eyes grew to the size of teacup saucers. Dick wasn't in any condition to go anywhere on his own! His heart rate started to increase again. The Dark Knight ran down to the Bat-Cave, It's obvious that he went back to that house. He thought. Bruce found Luna awake and standing toward the cave entrance, she jumped up and barked when she heard The Caped Crusader come in.
Bruce gently put a hand on her, soft, black head, whispered "Want to go see Dick, Luna?"
At hearing Dick's name, Luna jumped around and barked again. "Okay then" he said jumping into the Bat-mobile Batman-style, and drove toward his son.
"What did I think I would get outta coming here?" I asked standing outside of Gloria's house as
I swallowed the lump that grew in my throat. What's wrong with me? Why am I so nervous? There's nothing to be nervous about! I told myself determinedly.
I began to take hesitant steps toward the house, before I knew it, I was inside. It was cold, moist, dark, and lonely. These feelings I got were not the ones I felt when I first woke up here.
I sighed, extremely frustrated. "What am I doing here!?" I asked to no one in particular
"That's a good question"
"Ah!" I yelped taking a step back, turning around I saw none other than Gloria. I was shocked and ecstatic at the same time.
I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. I must have look like a fish out of water. Gloria smiled. "I see you got your memory back!" she stated
I nodded remaining silent
"So then why is it that you are here? When you could be home with your family?" Gloria asked
"I-" I cleared my throat. "I came to give Luna back to you. But I found this house" I gestured to the old, dusty, dark house. "Completely empty"
I step toward her. "So now I have a question for you." I said my voice growing stronger, more confident.
"Are you a hallucination? A ghost, a dream. Or am I just completely crazy?" I asked my heart beating so fast I could hear it in my ears.
Gloria just stood there and continued to smile. Then she walked over to the dusty couch and sat down.
"Dick, let me tell you a story" she said crossing her legs "There was once a girl who lived with her parents in a small house built only for three people. The girl's life was great; she loved her parents with every fiber of her being. Her parents spoiled their daughter, gave her everything she wanted. So when she asked if she could spend her birthday without her parents, only with her friends. The parents got in their car, and went to spend an evening together and get their daughter a birthday present.
The girl happy to have her friends and house to herself, enjoyed the party. Did nothing illegal, was a good girl; only invited her best friends. Her friends soon left, the girl got into her PJ's and waited for her parents to come home.
Three to four hours later the phone rang. The girl ran to it, about to give her parents a talk about worrying her like so much- But was shocked to realize that it wasn't her father's sweet, kind, understanding voice- but an old, husky, voice of an man much older than her father.
The man asked for her name and if she lived there. The girl stated that that was her name and she has lived here her whole life.
The man then said he was a police officer, and that the girl's parents were in a trouble accident, her father lost control of their car; it swerved losing traction then rolled on its side into a tree. They did not survive the event."
Gloria paused inhaling rather heavily. She closed her eyes. Everything was silent for a few minutes. I couldn't even here the crickets making that annoying chirp! chirp! sound any more like I could when I had first arrived. It kinda felt like time stopped.
"The girl-" She cleared her throat opening her eyes "Was…completely devastated. So much that she couldn't even be in her house, knowing now she would forever be alone in it. So she ran. Ran fast with no idea where she was going, no idea of the steps she was taking because of the huge tears blurring her vision. She began running down a hill, then she stumbled, fell, and rolled down the hill, and didn't get up… at first. When she did, she felt lighter then she had before.
She had the strangest feeling to look down, so she did. She regretted that decision. On the ground was her body, still and unmoving, eyes wide open, her head twisted in a way she knew shouldn't be. Her neck was broken, she was dead. She was a ghost"
Gloria inhaled again, bowing her head. Telling me her story was finished "Do you know who that girl was?" she asked
"Y-You" I said hoarsely I hadn't even realized how tight my throat became, nor did I realize that tears were falling down my face, only when I touch my cheek out of impulse, did it become aware to me.
She nodded once and smiled sadly
"But.." I thought for a moment "But why do you-"
"Look older?" She finished laughing a little "Dick, I died young, on my 15th birthday no less, after that I never grew, I stayed the same height, kept the same face, eyes, you know? So after a while of looking at myself knowing I would never age, I grew tired of my young pale, dead 15 year old self. I made myself change"
Gloria laughed louder when she saw my eyes widen a little
"The thing is, I wanted to be older so badly, that one day it just happened." She sighed "This-" she gestured up and down her body "Is what I think I would've looked like had I not died"
I was still confused about some things. "So wait, when I woke up here with no memory, this place was nothing like it is now. The car that hit me in the middle of the road before I came here? And Luna how does she fit in to all of this?" I asked
"Well that goes back to the huge desirable want. Looking at my house, everything was different, and I hated it. I wanted it to go back to the way it was, and it did. Even if I knew it wasn't real, I didn't care." She paused to bit the bottom of her lip.
"And Luna she found her way here, she was never mine. Animals can see the paranormal, so when Luna saw me walking around the area. She stuck to me. She stayed with me even though, the dog food I feed her was stall, even though I couldn't really pet her, she still stayed. And the car that hit you…..I'm not the only thing haunting these woods. My parents moved on but that car….Well I don't know how to explain it, it just didn't" Gloria said
There was a long silence.
"So why did you try to help me?" I asked still perplexed that a ghost would want to help me.
Gloria didn't answer me right away. She sat there on the couch, looking at the floor. "Dick, when I saw the look on your face, that sadness, the confusion, and fear…..It was the same look I have had since the day I died. I didn't want to see that on another kids face. That's why I wanted to help you"
"I have one more question." I said
"Shoot" she said gesturing for me to ask away
"Why is your house like this? If you hated this way then why?"
She laughed "The whole time I've been here, I've only thought of myself, my pain, anger. I guess that was why I never moved on, I was too focused on myself. Then you came along, and I finally was able to let go and actually think about someone else's problems for a change. I guess it cause of you that finally I'm ready to go." She smiled a true honest smile.
Then suddenly my vision blurred for a second, it rubbed my eyes when I opened them I saw that Gloria was not an adult anymore but 15 again
She smiled again "Thank you Richard" her voice was younger than before and was also fading as was she.
I then remember something "Wait! What about Luna?" I called to her
She chuckled still fading "I thought you had no more questions?" She shook her head "Like I said Dick, she was never really mine." Gloria stated
"As far as I'm concerned, Luna became yours the minute I brought you here."
I smiled slowly began to fill with tears.
"Go live an awesome life Dick. Okay?"
I nodded "I promise". Gloria slowly and peacefully faded away with a smile on her face.
I stood there, feeling strangely content in that old, dusty, dark wooden cabin. I stared at the couch, Thank you too Gloria I thought.
I continued to stand there, feeling relaxed—"Ahh!" I yelped when something solid knocked me to the floor and began licking me face, I saw black fur-
"Luna?" I asked she gave a happy bark to tell me that it was her
She continued to lick me; I laughed "Okay Luna! Okay! I miss you too!" I said as I hugged her and stroked her black fur.
"How'd you get here?" I said playfully
"She had a little help." A voice said
I jumped, I looked behind Luna and saw Bruce standing in the door way, his arms were crossed as he watch Luna and I. He didn't look mad, just curious and a little worried?
Oops… I forgot, I'd left without telling him
Bruce walked over, moved Luna off of me and wrapped his arms around me. I was surprise for a moment but then returned it.
"Mind telling me why you are here?" he whispered into my hair
"It's a long story" I said
"We've got time" he replied
I had thought it would take forever to tell him everything, but surprisingly it didn't, after like 5 minutes I was finished explaining.
Bruce inhaled deeply "That's quite a story Dick."
"Do you think I'm crazy?" I asked him
"Never son, most people would be very shocked about this but I do believe in ghosts. And I think what you did for Gloria, helping her move on, is amazing. I'm so proud of you, Dickie bird" He said ruffling my hair
Bruce stood up and offered me his hand, I took it. "So what happens to Luna?" I asked
"I'm sure Alfred won't mind sparring a bowl from the kitchen, or using an old blanket from the cupboard" my dad said with a smile
I beamed at him, wrapping my arms around his waist. "Thank you so much!"
He laughed as he kissed me on the top of my head "Anything for you Dickie, anything for you!"
2 weeks later…..
"Ready Robin?" The Dark Knight asked his protégé
"You know it!" The Boy Wonder leaping on the side of the roof
"Hey! You ready Bat-Hound?" Robin asked looking down at the black furred dog next to him
"Ruff!" barked Luna the Bat-Hound
All three silhouettes began jumping from roof to roof toward the Gotham Enterprises. Going to deal a little pay back to certain man…
A/N: I APOLOGIZE GREATLY IF THE ENDING WAS DISAPPOINTING AND SHORT! I'm a little disappointed with it, I just wanted to get this uploaded! I've kept you guys waiting long enough! Once again I would like to thank all of you who have read this story! It makes me so happy that you guys like this! *literally starts to tear up* Thanks again all of you! I love you guys! =:3 I also would like to apologize if this whole chapter was too rushed, or confusing, or didn't make ANY sense at all! And I'm also sorry if I got the whole ghost thing wrong as well! Which I am a 100% believer in BTW! ;D