A/N: I. Am. Not. Breathing. From. Shrieking. So. Much.
Take a look at the new image cover for this story, and you'll know why. XD
Anyways, onto story stuff. Thanks to starfire25, talk-ape, Sappho's cat, 1st fan of yours/fan obsessive ('cause I know you're one person xD), Anonanon-chan, and NightWindAlchemist for reviewing! *hands out cake* I love you all for reviewing! Sorry for taking a little longer on the update with this one, but at least it's not taking a few months! *optimistic* Trying something that I'm not all that used to with this chapter—first-person, Dick's perspective. I admit, I'm doing it for my sake more than anyone's (it's hard only referring to Dickybird as he/him!), even though it's going to be harder for me since I hardly ever write first-person. Be aware: the fourth wall will be broken. That seems to happen every time I write first-person. Let's give this a shot!
Had I been thinking, I would've kept my mouth shut and ignored all of them. But hey, since when have I used common sense for the heck of it? It's much more fun to use my own logic than somebody else's idea of what should be done, you know? Although…I admit, thinking things through a little might've helped.
Okay, maybe I should back up some…
"Assuming things go 'normally'," I said to Jason, making air quotes around the word 'normally', "the supervised part would be first? So you know I'll last longer?"
"Something like that," Jason said. "There's usually a few minutes while everyone's getting their food that the priests can't keep an eye on everybody. You might run into trouble there if you keep up the attitude."
Mischievously grinning at him, I innocently asked, "What attitude?" Jaybird rolled his eyes and kept walking. I smirked and followed. Honestly, he didn't need to be worried about me. I was living in Blüdhaven for a while after all. I could take care of myself. 'Course, he wasn't really worried so much as he was curious to see how long I'd last—I'm not an idiot; I could see that—and all he'd done was tell me. Technically, he hadn't said I wouldn't make it through the unsupervised half. Oh sure, he never said I would make it either, but that's pushing a moot point.
Let me just say here—I grew up in the circus. That definitely is far from a normal childhood. I didn't go to school like a regular kid/pre-teen/teen. Oh, sure, I learned all the basic stuff (I think), but I got to do that and then run out and practice acrobatic tricks rather than do homework. After my parents were killed, Haly, the circus ringmaster, kept teaching me all of that stuff and made sure I didn't quit it altogether. Blüdhaven, on the other hand, didn't really bother (and I admit, I wasn't too bummed out about that). The point of all this? I'm not entirely sure how some of the things I'm going to reference are supposed to be normally. Therefore, my description of things might be a little skewed from how they really are or would be or whatever. Just throwing that out there.
The whole set-up was kind of how a school lunchroom is (on TV, anyway). There was something resembling a line-ish…meaning a whole group of guys, from little kids to some guys who looked a bit older than me, were clumped together waiting to get food. A few adults were dishing out the food, but I could see the irritated looks on the older guys' faces especially. They were impatient. Why should the little kids get food first? After all, it's not like there was only about a two minute gap tops between the kids getting food and the teens. Nooo, they couldn't wait that long at all.
Needless to say, I knew right away that there was going to be an issue between me and them.
But I would've kept my mouth shut. I really would've! Until they did something stupid and a fight started…but I wouldn't have started it! Ah, who am I kidding, of course I would've. They were jerks, and I wouldn't have sat around and taken it. I'm lying when I say I wouldn't have made the first move against them. It's better to fight on your own terms. You lay down the ground rules, and you have an automatic advantage. You're in as much control as it's possible to be in. The argument could be made that not having control of everything is part of the thrill, but Blake hammered it into my head (sort of literally) that control in a fight shouldn't be overrated.
"Come on," Jason said, pulling me along with him. I guess it was a ground rule here that the kids got to eat before the teens because he tugged me past the older guys to stand with him. Ahead of them.
Guess they didn't like that. "Hey, Batboy," one of the guys said loudly. He had sand-blonde hair and dark green eyes that had a mocking gleam in them. From how he was standing—hands in his pockets, kinda leaning back on air—and his cocky grin, not to mention the lackeys surrounding him, it was obvious he was the head honcho. He didn't look that much older than me, maybe a few months. Half a year was stretching it. Already, I didn't like him, although I did notice one of Jason's hands twitch a little and his eyes narrow. I wasn't alone in not liking the guy.
"Shut it, Roland," Jason nearly-growled quietly, shooting a quick glare over his shoulder. So the guy's name was Roland? I was thinking about how in the world I could use that for a nickname that he'd hate when I realized he was talking again.
"—show around the newbie, and both of you skip in line?" Roland had a slow, easygoing tone, but it was strictly to irritate us. Everybody knew he was pushing for a fight.
"Something like that, Rol," I said, careful to keep my voice calm. Honestly, at that moment, I should've been more focused on noticing how disadvantaged I'd be in a fight, with how muscled he was and how outnumbered I'd be even if Jason was on my side, especially after this morning. But to be a hundred percent honest, I was just kicking myself over not being able to think of a good nickname. Yeah, that was my biggest concern. "Newbie rights and all, right? I did only get here this morning after all. Or did you want one of your lackeys to taste-test the food for you before you deem it worthy to be eaten by you?"
Roland's eyes narrowed at me. "Picking a fight's a dumb idea, new guy," he said quietly. Ha! Like he wasn't out for a fight this whole time! The moron thought I was the dumb one? Man, sometimes the idiocy of some people… Blake would've had a field day ranting about this guy. "Especially considering the shiner you've got on your eye there."
"This?" I gestured vaguely to my left eye. Speaking of which, that was starting to throb again. Father Ellis, the priest who'd given me a semblance of a tour when I first got there, had offered me some ice, but I didn't take it. What kind of wimp would I look like if I went around all day pressing ice against my left eye? There was no way in the universe that I was doing that. "If you think this is something, you really are pretty sheltered, huh? I've pushed through worse."
"You in the mood to again, pretty boy?" Roland was on the verge of spitting the words. Somehow, this whole exchange had been quiet enough to keep the priests from hearing ever since Jason spoke. Call it an instinct that I guess they had, too. If you argue too loud, somebody hears and intervenes. If it's a fight you want, then keep it quiet. This Roland creep wanted a brawl, and I wasn't about to back down. Like I've said, paying any attention to common sense would mean I would've, but ignoring common sense becomes instinct when you grow up the way I did. After all, according to common sense, learning to walk on a high wire would be an extremely dumb idea. Me, I think it's the smart thing: you learn falling is bad and how to keep your balance. Win-win.
"Maybe, if I thought you could make me. I doubt that one, though." I admit, I wanted a fight, too. Adrenaline was already running through me, and an outlet for how much Roland's attitude was irritating me would've been nice. Slugging him in the face would be a very welcome present, almost enough to make up for Blüdhaven's awful good-bye gift. I was ready to lunge at him myself, knock the smirk off his face. Of course, I'm pretty sure he was thinking the same thing about me. Or something along those lines, anyways. I would've, too…
…if I hadn't gotten kicked in the shin. So much for Jason being on my side in this! He'd been watching us the whole time with a mixture of interest and approval, but he was the one who kicked me in the shin. Sometimes I really hate how easily some people turn on each other. But then Jay hissed, "Watch it," to me, his eyes darting to the priest who was serving the food. Who was also starting to pay attention to us, the look on his face somewhere between concern and ready to step in. So Jaybird had my back after all.
"You want proof, newbie?!" On the other hand, Roland missed the memo that we were about to be caught. He was dumb enough to start to raise his voice, too. I couldn't resist shaking my head and giving him a scolding flick against his forehead, pressing my finger against my lips in a shushing motion.
"Desmond!" the priest said sharply. Roland's last name was Desmond? Maybe I could use that for the nickname issue I was having… Yes, that was my train of thought.
"Whatever," Roland grumbled, an acknowledgement of whatever the priest said that I missed due to trying to think of something to call him. I moved on, getting my food and smirking over my shoulder at Roland, who scowled at me and mouthed 'This isn't over'. I could've been thinking of how he was right as I followed Jaybird to a spot against the wall. I should've been planning on how I was going to deal with Roland when we got around to our fight.
But honestly, the nickname thing was still what was bugging me the most.
A/N: This chapter's shorter than the other two…sorry…but that's 'cause it's a two-parter. And 'cause I wanted to update. ;P So some name stuff here. Roland Desmond is the name of the second Blockbuster, who is/was a villain in Blüdhaven in the comics. He's probably a bit OOC and described wrong, but I did my best with what I could find online about him (which wasn't much). I'm not lucky enough to own any comics with Blockbuster in them, but I tried to find out what I could, and I figured the name would be a little tribute. ;) When Robin mentioned Father Ellis, that would be the priest we saw in TDKR; since no name was given for him (trust me, I listened for it the third time), I decided to use the last name of the actor instead. Just throwing that out there~
Some more stuff I'd like your input on. Was the third-person writing better, or did you prefer the first-person talking-to-the-audience approach? I actually liked my attempt at first-person this time, but at the same time, third-person is still my gut choice, so I'd like to know what you think. Also, anybody got any nickname ideas for Roland…? *nervous laugh* Drawing a blank on nicknames is something I'm suffering from right now, so I'd appreciate suggestions. I promise you'll get credit~ Now, a great way to answer these questions is to type your answer into the box there and review for me! ;D I would love that very much. ;)
Next chapter will be part two of the action here! Until then, enjoy the Olympics and life! (Not necessarily in that order, of course. ;D) See ya later!