A/N: Oops. Sorry that this is late (I got distracted by Pachowable's "The Girls of Gotham Academy" - which I'd highly recommend, by the way, especially if you want to read some Art/Babs/Bette/Dick friendship).

...IDK exactly why this is in italics. It just...fits?

II: Rise, Fall

| April 1 2006

"Ladiiiiieees and gentlemeeeeeen!"

Lights. Spotlights, camera flashes, glinting metal. A blur of awed faces, oohing and aahing as their entertainers flipped and spun and flew. Weightless.

No nets. Who needed nets? The Graysons didn't. The only safety net they required was each other.

The boy's hands snatched at the bar easily.


Like Superman.

"For the first time, in Goooothaaam City..."

Dick's fingers curled around air -

Strong hands caught them. John Jr.'s hands. Spotlights reflected off of his white-toothed grin.

Keep it up, squirt!

"...the most talented trapeze artists of our time..."

Back on the platform. The boy gripped the rigging, his other arm extended out towards the crowd - come fly with us - with Aunt Karla's strong arm around his waist - John Jr. and Uncle Rick mirrored them on the opposite platform as John and Mary Grayson twisted around the trapeze bar and ropes in tandem, a mid-air tango. They moved like liquid. Like poetry.

"...the only people in the world who can perform the quadruple somersault!..."

Dick turned over in the air, once, twice, thrice, and finally a fourth time. The crowd gasped.

Back on the platform, Dick held his arms above his head. His eyes followed his family with envy as they caught each other's ankles, a living chain swinging from a single trapeze.

One by one, they swung themselves up - eliciting awe each time from their spectators. John sat on the trapeze like a swing, John Jr. balancing his shoulders on his namesake's with his feet looped around the rope; Rick and Karla clutched one of John's hands each, stretched out horizontally; Mary gripped John's ankles and swung her weight like a pendulum, propelling the group back and forth.

Dick's heart fluttered in his chest.

One day.

"...the Flllyyyyying -"


Dick's heart skipped.


John Jr.'s head shot up.




Crrrrunch. Twitch.





Dick fell to his knees and screamed.