Hell yeah Young Justice Dick Grayson origin story, 'cause that's totally an original idea.
Chapter Summary: Jack 'CC' Haly makes what's later known as his greatest mistake.
Rated T for language and any future situations if you catch my drift.
"Performing in Gotham? Ted, that's crazy talk!" Jack stares at Ted Colby, the publicist and co-manager for his international circus. Ted's a good man, has been since the two of them were college roommates in business school. Even when Jack dropped out to help run his family's circus after his uncle died.
But over the years, ever since the Flying Grayson's became the circus' star act and started earning money and recognition for the once small time circus, Jack's become worried that Ted no longer realizes that this circus is about family, not a retirement fund.
Ted throws an arm around Jack, smiling that easy grin that always led the two of them into trouble on campus. Haly privately wonders, yet again, why he lets his friend manage the circus' profits and publicity. This guy can be a snake, slick and fanged. And especially now that Julie has gone through with that divorce threat... "C'mon, Jack! You've already agreed to performing in cities like Metropolis and Central! How're we supposed to start-off our superhero themed tour around the nation if you won't even include the hometown of the Dark Knight?"
The circus owner has to raise an eyebrow at that. "I thought you didn't like Batman?" The memories of a drunk Ted, wobbling whilst shouting about 'that no good, crazy Man-Bat!' while Mary and John ushered Dick to an early bedtime are vivid in the forefront of Jack's mind.
Ted at least has the decency to look abashed at the reminder of his lapse of judgement. "I did apologize to the Grayson's for that, remember? I didn't mean to scare their kid…" At the reminder of the Grayson's, Ted gets back on subject and leans forward on Jack's desk with a serious expression on his face as he regards one of his oldest friends, trying to figure out a new tactic for persuading his friend.
Remembering Jack's weakness for kids (you just have to look at how he acts around little Dick Grayson and his cousin Johnny), Ted tries a new ploy. "Look, Jack, I know I've never been a supporter of that so-called 'Justice League'. I'm just not comfortable with the idea of the world's most powerful people working as one group, y'know."
And Haly has to concede to that, a little wary of the idea himself. Of course, all that negative propaganda from the government aimed towards registering and retiring all heroes doesn't help either. "... Where are you going with this, Ted?"
Crap. He forgot how sharp his friend is, even if the circus owner did drop out of his first year of college. Concealing a wince, Ted continues smoothly, growing more confident with each word. This has to work. He has to convince Jack. "Jack, you know I come from Gotham. And I know that I've told you all about how awful that place was. But from what I'm hearing from the family I still have down there, Batman is cleaning up the streets." By throwing Ted's own relatives in jail, not that the man would ever talk about that side of his family. "In fact, my cousin even tells me that she's okay with letting her kids play in the backyard nowadays!"
"And all I'm saying, is that if a crazy man dressed as a bat can help kids feel happier in Gotham, what could the circus do?"
When Jack Haly stays silent, Ted knows he's got him hooked on his plan. Slapping on a smile, the businessman slides a form over to his friend. "Sign here, please." Picking up a pen, Jack adds his signature at the bottom of the page, already thinking with a smile about how excited some of his circus family will be about this tour.
Snatching the form back from his friend once it's been signed, Ted practically sprints out of the room before his friend can change his mind.
Frowning at the back of his friend as the other man runs out of the cramped trailer he calls his office, Haly becomes distracted when he catches a glimpse of little Dickie playing with Johnny and the elephants outside his tiny door, and the and the expression on the show runner's face changes into a grin at the delight on his pseudo-grandchildren's faces. Knowing they'll only distract him from his work, Haly reluctantly gets up to close the door to his office, but laughter still trickles in from the open windows.
If the timing of the circus is correct, they'll be in Metropolis just in time for Dick's seventh birthday, and Haly knows how much the acrobat loves Superman.
With plans in mind on what to buy the little boy for his birthday, Jack Haly turns his attention to the mess of paperwork he'll have to sign to let his circus perform in the various cities.
Yes, the man thinks as he gets comfortable in his chair for the long hours of signing his name he'll be going through. This will be a good tour.
(He has no idea.)
Ted doesn't want to do this. He doesn't want to go to Gotham.
But he's in too deep now; ever since his wife left and took their kids with her, leading to his alcoholism, he's been getting deeper and deeper into debt. Damn that game called poker, and damn his inability to play.
He doesn't want to face Tony Zucco.
That man is a sick man, and Ted's ashamed to know him. But growing up in Gotham, being a teenager in Gotham, led to Ted making some bad life choices. Making some bad 'friends'. Going to college and meeting and helping Jack Haly is one of the best things he's ever done with his life. Maybe the only good thing he's done.
But he's in too deep.
Leaving Jack's office, Ted has to turn away from the smiling faces of Dick and Johhny Grayson. Because by this time in a month, one of them is going to be dead.
And the other…
Ted shudders, because there are rumors of Zucco distributing not only chemicals to his employers, but kids.
Ted knows he's not a good man. But the mob has an enormous reach, with fingers dug deep everywhere, and his ex-wife and kids living in Gotham aren't safe, no matter how 'good' Batman is at distributing justice. Thugs slip through the Caped Crusader's gloved fingers all the time.
Even if he tipped off Batman to what Zucco was planning, who'd even know if the Bat would take the case? Or even if the cowled man did, what if that lunatic the Joker broke out and distracted the superhero and Zucco's revenge against his family carried on as planned. Plus, everyone knows at least half of the police force is in the mob's pockets, so they're no use.
No. He can't risk it. He can't risk his family to save some circus freaks.
Because damn it, Ted loves his kids. And it's either the children of Jack's performers (Jack's family, his traitorous mind reminds him, and Dick is the same age as Terry, too), or his own kids.
Ted chooses the lesser of two evils.
(It doesn't feel any lesser.)
But, he's my OC, so I get to cause him as much pain and suffering as I want. LOL.
Also, if you can't tell, this story is AU in some parts, a lot AU in others, and so canon the rest that it hurts. Swaggy.
Please help me put off my summer homework by writing reviews that I can kill time by reading. Thank you.
Edit: 28/8/13: Fixed some spelling errors. Changed Keystone to Central. Whoops!