Title: Dancing in the Rain
Author: DC Luder
Summary: Love, life and loss plagues our favorite Family.
Infringements: Batman and all recognizable characters are property of DC Comics not DC Luder.
Author's Note: Reference made to George Leybourne's song "The man on the flying trapeze". The poem Barbara recites is from an anonymous poet.
I'll see you again someday.
The dull sky softly leaked cool mists of rain upon the grass. I had my long coat on, which kept any moisture from seeping into my dark clothing. I guess it was fitting for it to rain that day of all days.
After I pushed my right hand into my coat pocket, my fingers traced the edges of the three by five cards that were there. Not that I needed them, as I had spent all of last night memorizing the words I would say.
But I had been taught to always be prepared for the unpredicted.
I didn't need them.
My left arm cradled a single white rose, wrapped protectively with clear plastic. Only the best for you, Dick. Suddenly, I felt a strong hand gently touch my shoulder. Looking up, I wasn't surprised to see Bruce's grief stricken face. When my eyes fell, they instinctively found the cane in his left hand.
Still not up to par.
He was taking this hard, blaming himself for what had happened to his son even though there had been no physical way for him to have prevented it. He had slept in a week, resulting in deep bags under his eyes and a paleness in his face.
Not that I looked any better.
I smiled at him and spoke quietly, "It's okay, Bruce."
He nodded, glancing away to hide the pain in his eyes, "I know."
After setting a hand on my shoulder, we made our way to the group of people huddled together under a tent of umbrellas. I was unable to recognize several of the faces but there were far many more that I had known for decades. Amongst the dark, plain suits, "I spotted the formal garb of several of Dick's fellow officers that I had come to know as friends in the last week.
They were grieving the same as the rest of us.
Standing adjacent to Tim, I offered weak smiles to several others that had come to honor Dick, just as they had throughout his life.
Clark, Diana, J'onn, Wally…
Alfred was kind enough to share his umbrella with the dark haired girl at his side, wearing her new wool coat. Dick had given it to her for Christmas the year before and she had yet to wear it in public as she didn't want to get it dirty.
Daddy's little girl.
Bruce and I stopped five feet away from the group. Actually, I paused first and he took a step passed me before turning back. A sudden heaviness had settled in my chest, and I had to force myself to breathe.
I have to be strong, I reminded myself. I promised myself I would be strong.
Bruce squeezed my shoulder before letting go and resuming his trek to stand beside Alfred, doing his best to navigate the soggy ground with his injured leg. Watching him, I found my eyes had grown glassy. When I managed to continue, I caught up with him just as he said, "He's watching, Barbara. Remember that."
I nodded, but as I moved to position myself before the group, I could only think of Dick's voice, echoing from our past. Saying that I was his favorite babysitter. His favorite girl. His only girl. That he was always going to be with me. That he loved me…
After taking his place on the other side of my daughter, Bruce leans over and whispers something to her. She smiles and shrugs before looking down at her feet. Everyone always said she had my smile and his eyes. I secretly thought that they both were his. His best features were passed down to our daughter, and I would always be grateful for that.
Something to remind me of him.
No one had seen it end coming, no one. He had gone against all of our advice to pursue Two-Face after Bruce had been severely injured, nearly bleeding to death from two bullets, one to the leg and chest. Dick's lusts for revenge had left him less cautious and lead him to eventually become face to face with Dent.
When Two-Face had flipped, the coin had come up tail's.
The week that had followed had been a blur of agony. He was gone. My husband, my love, my best friend and father of our child… I spent days in bed, sobbing into his pillow, breathing in the scent of his horrible cologne with each sob.
On the morning of his calling hours, over an uneaten breakfast, I had realized that Dick wouldn't have wanted me to act that way. He would have wanted to see smiles and hear funny stories being told about him.
And there were plenty of stories.
With a shuddering sigh, I touched the cards again, leaving them in my pocket.
As I cleared my throat, I directed my gaze away from the solemn group before me and focused them on the marble stone, bearing words that would be with me forever.
Richard John Grayson
He'd fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young man on the flying trapeze.
Help me to be strong, Dick. I need your help so much right now…
Without looking away from the engraving, I began, "I have known Dick since we were kids. I grew to love his mind, body and soul as many of you have. He was gifted with intelligence and willpower that was only countered with a boundless imagination and sense of humor. Although when we first met he was a rude young boy with a troubled past, I learned he was more than that. He was a man, with a kind heart and a undying concern for others."
My gaze slowly turned to the crowd, looking over faces damp despite beign protected by umbrellas.
"Dick proposed to me six years ago. I was shocked, but happy. We were going through Robinson Park after a dinner. He took me into the plush grass and asked me. I cried and said yes. I'd never seen him happier than he was at that moment. We had so many troubles in our lives, but right then and there, it was just us. I married him and we shared a celebration of our love with our baby girl. Our miracle child. I learned then how gentle he was, as both a husband and a father. He made our family come together."
Actually, the only dry face I could see was my daughter's face. Looking closer, I could see her bottom lip quivering.
Daddy's little girl.
"I hope that we always cherish the good times we had with Dick. Whether it be singing Billy Joel off key or cheating at Blackjack, he always had a way of making someone smile. He lived his life every day, every moment. Always with his trademark smile. And he made every moment count."
My eyes found Bruce's face, solemn and stoic despite the tears running down his cheeks.
"He made his life all that it could be. And more." I paused and leaned towards Dick's coffin. I gently uncovered the rose and kissed a velvet petal before setting it on the glossy black surface.
After sitting upright, I continued, "When I was thinking of what to say today, I could only think of the day he proposed to me. The ring, our joy of just being together, now lost. So much is gone from our lives, but yet, he's still here... I found a poem a few days ago… I think it fits him… What he left with us…
"Something's dead inside me, some yesterday is slain. My heart is hung open on a cross; my thoughts are filled with pain. And yet, there is within me, a hope I can't explain. For in the darkness I can see God dancing in the rain."
Tears finally spilled over my face and somewhere in my mind I thought the rain had slowed.
"I surrender to the mystery of loss that turns to gain. The little seed must die to become a field of grain… And I know that it's in this time of grief, that Christ has risen again…"
As the rain suddenly ended, a flash of light shone through the clouds. Looking skyward, a faint glimpse of blue beyond the gray.
My daughter's lips formed into a familiar smile.
It was then that I felt it. Felt him. His presence overwhelmed my senses, comforting the heavy ache in my chest as it encouraged my body to relax. I felt the warmth of his eyes, the sound of his laugh.
You're doing just fine, Babs….
"Dick?" I whispered back. He may have left this earth, but he wasn't gone.
I spoke softly and confidently, because I was doing just fine.
"For in the darkness I can see God dancing in the rain."