One Week Later…
Oliver walked through the halls of his manor, once again finding himself unable to sleep. It had been a week since the attacks and its aftermath. A week of dealing with the fallout and a week of worrying that Luthor or someone else would return for Roy. Down the hall he could hear the TV on and see its glow coming into the hallway. Quietly he peered into the room to see Roy on the couch, a cluster of arrows before him as he worked on modifying the tips. His ward had stayed with him in the days immediately following the attack to care for him and the injuries he had sustained. Oliver had to admit, he had milked the recovery a little longer to get keep Roy from going home. He missed having him around and was still on edge with Luthor still running free.
"You should be in bed" Roy said without looking up from his work. "As should you" Oliver countered sitting down next to him and seeing what Roy was watching. It was still coverage of the attack, Godfrey on another one of his rants "The so called Justice League waited hours to go in and start assisting the terrified citizens of Metropolis. Lex Luthor, one of the biggest victims of the Injustice Leagues attacks is such a great man and has been defending the Leagues actions in the press, saying they did it to ensure the safety of the wards of both Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen. But really people were the lives of 2 spoiled brats who have never had to work a day…" Oliver felt his blood boil and hoped that man would find himself alone in a dark alley in Gotham one of these nights "And you shouldn't be watching this" he added turning it off.
Roy gritted his teeth beginning to tire of hearing what Godfrey and many others, even within the League, were saying privately and publicly. "He's going to get away with it isn't he?" he asked referring to Luthor. Oliver could only sigh "It looks like it; he provided video evidence of the Joker and Sportsmaster "storming" his office and forcing him down to the lab. Joker also confessed to masterminding the entire thing."
"What about Dick and I…how does he explain that! I gave a statement that he was calling the shots…and Ra's" Roy snapped feeling the helpless frustration creeping back in. Oliver placed a comforting hand on his shoulder "Claimed it was all done under duress...to save the two of you…"
Oliver had to take a steady breath himself he'd nearly decked Superman when he was given the results of the investigation, "He said that Sportsmaster and Joker threatened to kill the two of you if he didn't play along….I'm sorry Roy, he covered his tracks too well. Believe me the League and Bruce especially are beside themselves".
Roy remained silent and Oliver looked him in the eye "I want you to know how proud I am of you". The ward snorted and looked away "How can you be proud of me? I walked right into a trap, stopped you from saving the city, let Ra's make off with Bruce and Dick, and got you injured protecting me….and that was just the last week, before then…"
"Roy, you did not choose to be taken, or held hostage, if fact you were taken specifically because you mean so much to me. And in the end you made them pay by helping Robin get in and taking Sportsmaster down. As for before I am as much to blame if not more so". Roy opened his mouth to protest only to have his mentor silence him "I didn't want to admit you were growing up and thought that if I keep treating you like a child, you would stay that way forever"
If possible Roy felt like even more of a jerk at his actions of the previous months "I wanted nothing more than to be recognized as my own man and to step out of your shadow. Then when I left I felt so betrayed when you took Artemis off just after, thought you didn't want me, thought I would show you I could do better on my own. And I couldn't, I need more time to learn from you and the League. I know you've been better for a few days now but I just wasn't ready to leave".
Oliver felt as if a weight had been lifted "I do think you have outgrown Speedy, but maybe it's time for Red and Green Arrow to work together and Oliver Queen and Roy Harper to bury the hatchet. See if we can find a way to really make Luthor pay for what he did?" he said holding out his hand "Partners?"
Roy gave a genuine smile for the first time in what felt like weeks grasping his mentors hand firmly, elated that he was getting his family back "Partners".
Hundreds of miles away Dick tossed fitfully in his sleep, wrapped in the throes of another nightmare. Since his parents death he had been prone to them and the events of the last week pushing many of those fears back to the surface.
He was dangling over a pit of green ooze, arms above his head in shackles that were attached to some sort of pulley. Before him on the platform stood Ra's and Bruce, "It's your choice Detective…either he goes in or you". As the Demon spoke Dick could feel himself being lowered towards the toxic substance. "No" he screamed to his mentor eyes pleading not to give in to yet another demand at his expense.
"No, please no!" he screamed again suddenly feeling strong arms on his shoulders accompanied by strong but gentle voice telling him to wake up. The nightmare began to lose its hold and Dick opened his eyes to see Bruce's frantic face. At the sight of his guardian he collapsed into his chest and began to cry "Don't do it, not for me, please don't do it".
Bruce did the only thing he could do and held him "Shh, it was just a dream. You're safe at home, I'm here and I will never leave you". The events of the week before had taken its toll on both of them, Bruce struggling and just how much of a target Richard and Robin had become. Everywhere that Dick spent any time had gotten a fair amount of security upgrades though Wayne Manor the most extensive. Talia's final words haunting his thoughts, he knew Ra's would return one day for him and his son. Then there was the fact that Luthor was still out there, practically gloating about it on TV every 5 minutes.
Dick stayed there for a few more minutes before he got control of himself, pulling back he wiped the tears away "Sorry, some hero I am scared by a stupid dream".
Bruce looked him in the eye "You are a great hero, and even heroes need to let it out sometimes"
Dick's turned attention was on the newspaper on his nightstand, Clark Kent's most recent article on the front page…Lex Luthor Victim of Villain. "I still can't believe he got away with it" Dick said in disgust "Even with my and Roy's statements to the police…you were under distress and couldn't see Mr. Luthor was under extreme duress as well" he mocked the police officers voice. "There really wasn't anything in the files Wally recovered?"
Bruce shook his head, he had personally been through every file on that hard drive multiple times and Luthor had covered his tracks too well. "No, everything was linked back to someone else. He even provided security footage of the Joker 'attacking' him and forcing him into the lab. Ra's made sure there was no trace he was ever even there. Though the League is looking into why they were working together and what the Light was that Ra's had mentioned".
Dick bit his lip, it was Ra's that worried him the most, especially considering what was going to happen in just a few short hours. Bruce Wayne was officially adopting Richard Grayson. Upon returning to the Manor that first night he'd asked his guardian about the papers, thrilled beyond words when he found out it was real. Bruce seemed sense his thoughts "Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked quietly his fears resurfacing as they got closer, terrified Dick would change his mind. "I can never replace John as your father but…"
Dick interrupted him "Never second thoughts, yes John Grayson is my father but so are you, you saved me, gave me a home, loved me unconditionally and I don't want to be anywhere else right now. Though I could ask you the same thing, are you sure you are willing to take on such a liability" Dick said finally voicing at had been bothering him since Two Face abducted him days before. His eyes were sad and he looked at the floor, afraid Bruce would suddenly realize what he was getting into and change his mind.
"Liability? Why on earth do you think you're a liability" Bruce asked gently inside ready to go find whoever had put such an idea in the boys head and beat them to a pulp.
Dick finally looked up tears shimmering in his eyes again as the last few days of fear and frustration worked their way out "Two Face, Luthor, Ra's…all of them used me to make you do what they wanted…I mean look at Metropolis it's in shambles because of me, nearly half the League was injured, the Leagues credibility shot, and then there is Ra's. He will be back, I know he'll be back and he'll use me again…especially when I'm your actual son…I don't want to lose you to him…"
Bruce slid over and enveloped Dick in his arms, he had been waiting for this, sensing the boy had been holding something in for days now. "Richard Grayson, it may not be by blood but you are my son and have been since the moment you came into my life. Don't you ever think of yourself as a liability, you are my light and you have no idea the dark place you pulled me out of. If I had gone down that path there would be no Justice League and who knows what would have happened to Batman without Robin…where would the world be without them now?" He took a deep breath as it was hard to admit to himself what he was about to say "Yes, there will always be people out there that will use you as means against me both as Richard and Robin…but I swear that I will do everything in my power from that happening again…and if it does I will always come for you".
"Promise, promise no matter what happens you will never let and of them take you from me. I can't stand to lose another father" Dick said quietly meeting Bruce's gaze. Bruce looked him straight in the eye his voice full of conviction "I promise that no one will ever take me from you neither in body or mind. But I want you to promise me the same thing; I know I couldn't stand to lose a son".
Dick smiled and gave him a hug "You've got it".
A slight sniffle from the door caused the pair to turn, Alfred standing in the door dressed for the day, wiping a tear from his cheek "Now sirs" he said trying to hide the waiver in his voice "I must insist you get your suits on and come down to breakfast, we are due at the courthouse in a few hours and we must plan on navigating a small sea of press on our way into town".
Dick grinned and ran to the butler giving him a quick embrace as well before disappearing down the hall. Bruce moved to go by as well Alfred stopping him just for a moment "Please savor today Master Bruce, forget Batman, the League, Luthor, and that horrid Demon and focus on the moment. For today it is the day our family becomes whole again".
Bruce embraced the man that had raised him and who he thought of a father as well "And it's a family I will never let go".
A/N: That's it! Hope you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for the reviews, favorites, and follows! There is already a sequel rolling around in my head but I do like to see what my readers want to see happen!