Pygmalion: Fathers and Sons II
by Grey Bard
Dedication: For Pop. The survivor. Because sometimes the deepest loves aren't always the easiest ones.
When he'd found out about this, he knew he couldn't let it pass. Max had thought he was crazy when he had asked her to set up an alert on the next time this guy showed up in Gotham, but she had done it. And here it was, that the alert went off this weekend. It had to be some kind of sign. Dick Grayson, Robin #1, the Notorious Nightwing was in town. It looked like the Batman would be paying him a call.
Obviously, Batman had decided not to inform the big guy at the mansion. This was personal.
In the suit, he walked carefully along the narrow ledge to the window of the address he had been given. It was the right one. No reason to do things the hard way. He tapped on the pane. The apartment's inhabitant walked over to the latch and opened it, stepping back. "So you're the new one." Grayson said looking less than surprised." I was wondering. At least you knock. Did he send you?" he asked looking over his uninvited visitor with faint interest.
" I sent myself." was the reply. Terry took advantage of the moment to look at his quarry. Not exactly what he expected, whatever that was, Grayson was a long, lean man that still screamed danger with every move. Despite the fact that this man was probably older than his father would have been, the current Batman did not like his chances going up against him. The dark gray hair in the long tail and widow's peak shadowed a face that made him think twice about the rumors of gypsy blood in circus people. This one looked wily and unpredictable, as much hunted as hunter. "I need your help."
"You know we're not on good terms?" Grayson asked, eyes narrowing.
"Trust me, I've heard. But I've got something I want you to see." he said.
"Why?" Sharp. If Bruce is a worn old battle-ax, this guy was one of those scary little knives that gang members always seemed to pull out of nowhere at the worst times. And they were father and son?
"Call it a respect for age. Coming?" During the conversation Batman had eased into the room. Now he returned to the window.
"Why not." Grayson shrugged and followed him onto the ledge without any apparent difficulty or fear as they headed around the corner of the building to where the Batwing was hovering.
"Nice wheels. You do of course know they're not worth it." The older man smirked as they got in. There was some resemblance after all. A look around the eyes and the way their mouths pinched shut when they were sure they were right. Terry wondered if either even noticed it.
"Depends on your perspective." he answered. The vehicle sealed itself again and took off for its destination. There was a very long silence.
"Never thought he'd give up the suit." Grayson said shaking his head.
"You catch on quick. He's using you." he cautioned.
"Some things are worth being used for." The current avatar of the Bat said and shrugged.
"Do you hate that much? To make it worth ruining your life. What was it, revenge? What did he tell you to make you put it on?" The former Robin asked harshly.
"Revenge?" An answering anger blazed up in Terry as he replied. "No. My father died, staining the walls of our apartment blood-red, but he's dead now. He won't come back. He died for this city and he didn't need a suit to do that. I expect I'll follow him someday. Not much changed when I got Wayne to let me in on the suit. If I didn't have it, I'd eventually be doing the same thing wearing a uniform, but without the armor and getting a lot less done. Revenge? I don't have time for revenge. I have a family to protect. A lot of families to protect." This time the silence lasted until they reached the Batcave entrance. The machine parked and he freed himself from the cowl as he got out. For the first time the aging acrobat looked disturbed.
"J*s*s you're young! Are you even out of college yet? Hasn't he learned?" The eyes of generations met, as if in the first stage of a dog fight. Grayson finally broke the gaze. "What did you want me to see." he said looking at the floor.
"Look at the calendar and tell me what you think." There was a date circled in red on the calendar. The cowl might have been off, but the voice was all Batman. Both sets of eyes went towards the door that would soon be opening to investigate the activity in the cave.
"I won't do this. How can I?"
"I don't know, how can you? You've lost one father already. I don't predict this being all candy and roses, but what do you expect? He's a tough old man with a long memory and you haven't exactly moved on with your life either."
"A father? What kind of father is he?" There was something in the voice that made it painful to hear. Hate? Was this a mistake?
Still in the suit, he pressed on, keeping up the pressure, becoming mocking and deadly serious at once. "What, nobody else has childhood trauma? So there wasn't any house with a white picket fence. Poor Dickie-boy. What there is, is a lawless city and an old man that would work himself into the grave trying to save it. Are you going to wait for him or not?"
"What makes you think he'll want to see me? He fired me. He trusted a lunatic more than he trusted me. He didn't trust me to be what he forced me to become!" It wasn't bitterness in Grayson's voice. It was very old pain and maybe, just maybe a grasp at desperate hope.
"You left. He may have said he fired you, but you left. You know how he is. If I took no for an answer, I'd be gone long ago. But I didn't and I'm just the guy that feeds his dog. You're family. So either stay here and stop him from spending another miserable day looking at those d*mn display cases or just turn around and I'll take you back to your apartment where you can call yourself a coward. Decide. Now." Terry snapped as he stood, arms crossed.
A very odd look passed over Dick Grayson's face. Amazement. Amusement. Incredulous joy. Laughing disgust. He sobered. "You really are just like him. You know that?"
"I'm not insulted."
"I didn't think you would be." And he squared his shoulders. And he looked at the door as he waited. And Terry quietly, very quietly, slipped back towards the exit. Not out of hearing range, though.
In the cave a door opened and a voiced echoed in the cavern, rough with emotion. "Dick? Why?"
Almost afraid, but gaining strength, another voice answered. "Somebody made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Happy Father's Day, I guess."
Terry smiled in the darkness. It was going to be all right.