Disclaimer: Young Justice © DC / Warner Bros. - Full disclaimer on my profile.

Summary: The mansion had everything a child could want - except a family. / Threeshot; pre-s1; gen.

A/N: Kind of based on the YJ tie-in comic, issue 6, but its not necessary for this oneshot for you to have read it. A bit of backstory, though:

In the comic, Dick details his origins, talking about his family. In Earth-16, the Flying Graysons were not only he and his parents - it also included his aunt, uncle and cousin. Then his parents, aunt and cousin fell to their deaths, but his uncle survived the fall, albeit paralysed and unable to take care of Dick. Basically, his family was twice as big, so he lost twice as much family. Ouch.

This isn't really a long fic, but based on advice from a friend and my own instinct, I decided it'd be better to split up the sections. The second part won't take long (to read or write - it won't be much longer than a paragraph, if that). Three will be longer.


An Empty House
~YJ~


I: Before


| NEW YORK
| 29 March 2006

The Flying Graysons shared two caravans between them (how else were they to accommodate four adults and two growing boys?), but even then, space was in short supply. The star attractions of Haly's Circus lived virtually on top of each other and though, technically, one caravan was allocated to one set of parents and child and one to the other, they had no qualms about spontaneously invading the others' living area at any hour of the day. It was not uncommon for Dick, the youngest of the troupe, to wake up and find the floor of his cupboard-sized bedroom occupied by his cousin, John, in a sleeping bag - or for Dick and his parents to immediately migrate to the other caravan in the early morning and eat breakfast there.

It was loud and cramped and privacy was rare but Dick Grayson would not have traded it for the world, because for every inch of space that he sacrificed, he received a warm embrace or a fond hair-ruffle or an extra waffle 'accidentally' slipped onto his plate.

One such morning, Dick Grayson was the first one awake. His parents, John and Mary, were - understandably - still exhausted from last night's performance, but a few hours rest and Dick was already recharged. "Careful, son, our bones aren't as young as yours are," his dad had once teased when the first thing a seven-year-old Dick had done the morning after showcasing their trapeze act (for Dick, it had been his first time on the trapeze with an outside audience, and he'd still been buzzing with leftover nerves) was to enter his parent's room and jump on top of their sheets.

The morning in question was in late March. Spring was well underway, but the air still had an icy edge that was enough for Dick to crave the toasty warmth of his quilt - almost. He stayed huddled in bed for all of three-and-a-half minutes before restlessness won the battle, coaxing him to throw off his quilt and dive for his socks and dressing gown to ward off the chill already nipping at his fingers and toes. He didn't want to wake his parents - but perhaps John was up?

After a moment's deliberation, he decided to take his bedroom window instead of the caravan door, leaping out of it with ease and circling around to John's. It was unlocked. The first thing that met Dick when he was lowering himself through was a well-aimed pillow to his head.

"Beat it, squirt. I'm sleeping."

The nine-year-old pouted, indignant. "You're not sleeping! You're talking to me."

John - sixteen - sighed, sitting up in bed. His black hair was tousled and he'd not bothered to change out of his acrobat uniform before going to sleep (an image of golden wings was emblazoned across the red fabric of the shirt, Dick's Uncle Rick's design). John and Dick looked so alike that, but for their eyes (Dick's were as blue as his mother's, John's the same hazel as his dad's), they could have been brothers, and many mistook them as such, even some of the older members of the circus, who sometimes forgot that they were not their fathers (and the identical names didn't help).

John gave in and smiled, pushing himself into a sitting position. "Perceptive as ever, bird boy. Hey, great job on the trapeze yesterday. You got the twist right!"

Dick glowed. He'd been hoping for someone to comment on that - that flip-twist-catch had been vexing him for weeks, taunting him as he'd tumbled down into the safety net time after time during practice yet he'd managed to achieve it a mere three nights before - just soon enough to insert it into the performance.

"Thanks! You were better, though."

"Yeah, but I've got seven years on you. I wish I could have done half the things you can do at your age. You're practically a kid prodigy."

Dick paused. Judging by his expression, John could see what Dick was going to pursue next, so spoke before his cousin could: "And no, you're not going to do the finale with us in the next show. I'm sorry, Dick. You're not that good yet."

Dick's expression dropped, and John's became apologetic. He ruffled Dick's hair. "Don't worry, squirt. You'll get your chance sooner than you think. Unless you grow up to be too much of a wimp."

Dick threw back the pillow, aiming for John's face. "Just because you're jealous that I'm so good."

"Sorry - who's jealous now?" Before Dick could dodge out of arm's reach, John had shot up and grabbed Dick in a headlock - he grinned as he rubbed his knuckles into Dick's scalp and Dick wriggled, protesting loudly. "Imagine it. Richard Jr., the Cowardly Grayson. We might have to disown you, take you back to the cabbage patch."

"John! Joh-ohn!"

"Di-i-ick!" John mimicked before finally releasing Dick, who pulled away and immediately set about smoothing out his hair again, poking his tongue out. John pulled down his eyelids in retaliation, sparking a face-pulling war that lasted an entire five minutes. In the end, John and Dick were rolling on the floor (or as best as they could - they kept on bouncing between the wall and the legs of John's bed), sniggering.

Suddenly remembering something, John attempted to calm himself down - taking slow, even breaths to quell the laughter - and pointed at Dick. "Hey, squirt! You'll never guess where we're going."

Curiosity piqued, Dick watched John reach under his bed for his large, cardboard box of possessions (it was the most efficient means of storage in a place so small) and produce a news article, holding it out for the younger boy to see:

SUPERMAN RESCUES CHILDREN FROM BOMB BLASTS
Lex Luthor denies involvement in supposed terrorist attack.

The joy that took over Dick's face could not have warmed John's heart more. "Metropolis!"

"City of -" John posed: shoulders pushed back, a fist held aloft and his lips in the most ridiculous pout, so that Dick had to fight another peal of laughter. "- The Man of Steel!"

Dick bounced where he sat. "Can we see him?"

"Sure, but - well, we're not going to Metropolis just yet. We've got a week in Gotham first."

"But you will take me to see him when we get there, right...?"

"'Course, little Rob'. What kind of cousin would I be if I said no?" The older boy slung an arm around Dick's shoulders and squeezed. "Who knows, maybe we can convince him to make us his sidekicks."