Favorite DC Characters | Dick Grayson
When I was a boy, my parents kept a big map of the country tacked to the wall of our dressing room. The map had pins stuck in all the places our troupe was going to stop that season. Different towns and cities were marked with different color pins. Blue pins meant small towns … which meant small shows, less dangerous tricks. Red pins meant big cities. So, big shows and more dangerous tricks. All the stops were marked red or blue .. except for Gotham City, which was marked by a black pin. According to my father, the black pin meant no holds barred. Pull out all the stops. Bring down the house. It meant put on the biggest, riskiest show of the season. No catch wires. No safety nets. Everyone pushing themselves to the limit. I remember one time when I asked my father why. What made Gotham so special? And my father, he looked down at me and he said … ‘Some places just have a hunger about them, son. And you either feed them what they want … or you stay, far, far away.’
Inspired by (x)
Dick is actually an asshole, Jason thinks as the older man proceeds to make funny faces at him while he’s attempting to act through an emotionally trying scene.
"Jesus – " Jason cuts off, glaring at Dick, as he attempts to not laugh, “Can you not do this? I can’t work with this asshole!”
Of course, that’s when Dick puts on his most serious face.
Actors. Don’t trust them. They are lying liars who lie for a profession.
"I’m not doing anything."
"What are you two, five?” Tim buts in as he moves in to fix Jason’s make-up. “Dick, stop making Jason laugh. It’s messing up the blood on his face.”
"Yeah, Dick, you’re fucking up my mortally wounded scene, here. Don’t you have your own scene to be prepping for?"
"But, Jay,” Dick gasps, “This is the most emotional scene. I have to be here to see this happen – “
"Out." Cass says, narrowing her eyes at Dick from the director’s chair, "You are ruining my grand vision."
"You heard the lady." Steph says, idly checking the camera, "You’re ruining her vision, pretty boy.”
Tim rolls his eyes and steps back, apparently satisfied with the amount of gore on Jason’s face, “Let’s go, Dick, I have to get started on your prosthetics, anyway.”
Cass gives Tim a fist bump as he herds Dick off set.
"Okay." Cass claps her hands, "From the beginning then."
"You know what, you’re stupid. You are all stupid. I hate you." Tim presses his face into his hands and wills himself to sink into the earth.
"Your wings say otherwise." Tim feels Jason run a finger along the edge of one of them, feels them flutter in response. Stupid, stupid wings. "Aw, shit. Glitter."
"It isn’t glitter.” Tim snaps, wills his stupid, stupid pixie wings to stop fluttering.
"They’re fairy dust." Dick laughs, "And you love us. You know it. You’re just embarrassed because you’re stuck in the fairy division."
"No self respecting person is happy in the fairy division. The fairy division is where people go to slowly grow insane and turn into manic, crying, lunatics.” Tim gestures towards himself, “I’m not ready to turn into a manic, crying, lunatic.”
"Your friends are in the fairy division." Jason points out, wings rustling behind him.
"My friends are poor examples of sane and socially acceptable people." Tim reminds them. "I’m pretty sure that the only reason why the fairy division isn’t in some sort of lab or testing facility is because the scientists don’t want to go anywhere near Bart when he’s ingested any form of sweetener."
Dick and Jason grimace. Tim’s wings flutter sadly. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Jason surreptitiously take a step away and shake his wings out, little bits of – let’s face it – glitter twinkling in the light. His wings flit dejectedly. Like they have their own personality.
That’s just what Tim has always wanted.
Wings with attitude.
"He comes here every tuesday, I swear.” Dick says, snagging Tim’s arm. “It’s suspicious. I think he’s stalking you.”
"Why me?” Tim whispers, because if Steph or – god forbid- Jason hears the word stalker they will descend like avenging furies and there will be a lawsuit or five.
"He keeps looking at you!"
"Tuesday is oddly specific. If he was a stalker, and I’m not saying he is, wouldn’t he be more obvious about it?”
"Yeah, you’d know." Dick replies after a moment, "I never did figure out how you – "
"Can we not talk about my formative years?"
"Are we talking about Tim’s formative years?" Jason says, carrying a tray of breadsticks out from the back, "Boy were those some creepy times."
"Can we not?” Tim hisses as he picks at some dried tomato sauce on the counter. “Jay, can you get more of the pepperoni pinwheels?”
"The point is," Dick grabs Jason’s wrist and drags him over to their little circle of whispers and secrets and embarrassment, "Tim has a stalker. Maybe."
"No," Tim yanks Jason back when he turns around to look, "You are not getting us another law suit. I am not studying law school for this, I am not studying law school to become the family’s defense attorney. No.”
"It was only one assault charge.” Jason mutters, “And how do we know it’s a stalker?”
"He comes every Tuesday and keeps looking at Tim."
"Isn’t Tuesday a little oddly specific?" Steph says, shoving her way into the circle, "Tim, Cass has an order of iced coffees she needs filled and you’re the only one who makes the coffee around here not taste like piss."
"Why do you know what piss tastes like?" Tim asks, even as Steph shoves him towards the coffee maker.
"Well, on Tuesdays it’s the day before Tim’s laundry day." Dick tells Steph, "And he’s oddly routine in that he always wears the same pair of pants on Tuesdays because he’s out of all the other things he normally wears."
The trio look over at him and that’s so not true. These just happen to be his only uniform pants left and -
"They kind of make him look obscene." Steph says, squinting at him, "I accept this premise. It’s totally a stalker."
No one is listening to Tim anymore. It’s just another Tuesday.
"You have yourself to blame for your horrible life choices."
Bruce sighs as Jason walks around the lab – “Weren’t you supposed to be going through testing?”
"Nah, Tim’s in testing right now. All the other little lab geeks love him, yanno? They don’t even realize he’s got them wrapped around his little finger. Hey – for the next bot you make, can you make him less of a manipulative freak?"
"Tim is not manipulative." Bruce says, "I merely programmed him to adapt to situations better – "
"Pfft." Dick cartwheels in, stopping in a hand-stand, "That’s a really nice way of putting it. And I think I broke one of my joints – B, fix it. Please?”
"What did you do this time?" Bruce swears that Dick breaks his parts on purpose just to annoy him. Jason helps Dick up onto the repairs table, shoving aside various projects in the process.
(Tim is actually going to rip them apart for that. He spent the entire morning cataloging and sorting Bruce’s work space.)
“Well.” Dick says, in an voice that promises a headache and complete regret over ever creating the first autonomous AI.
"Never mind. I don’t want to know."
"Good call, B." Jason says, head tilted as he listens in on the network, probably. Bruce is going to figure out how to keep Jason from eavesdropping, one day. "Hey, Tim’s out of testing. Or, should I say that Tim’s done playing with your little henchmen?"
"The next AI I make is going to be polite." Bruce vows, just as Tim hi-jacks one of the computer monitors to spell out -
I do not play with the employees, Jason.
The doors slide open a few seconds later, and Bruce blinks at Tim’s exposed circuitry. Jason wolf whistles – “Jesus, Tim, you flash everyone in this joint?”
Tim shoots Jason a blank look – Bruce still hasn’t figured out if Tim’s emoting program isn’t working or if Tim is just perpetually choosing to wear a poker face – before turning to Bruce, “My paneling broke during today’s compression test. May I please get a replacement?”
Bruce waves his hand towards where the parts are, “You know the codes. And get me a replacement knee joint for Dick, please.”
Tim bobs his head, even as Dick and Jason gape – “You told him your security codes! B, not fair!”
"I trust Tim with being able to repair himself." Bruce says, examining Dick’s knee, "Besides, he always asks before using it."
I did it in Age Reversal, I hope that’s okay.
Tim sighs. “Behemoths. All of you, behemoths. So disappointing.”
Damian does not roll his eyes, but it’s a close thing. “You are a dramatic.” A smirk overtakes his features – it looks so out of place on the cowl – “And you do not complain about it in bed-“
Tim smacks Damian’s stomach. “Not in front of the children.”
Jason coughs, “I’m eighteen.”
Tim sends a pointed look at Dick. “I’m fifteen, doesn’t that count for something? I think we all know that I know all about-“
"Nope." Tim deadpans. "No. Nope. No. No. You are not finishing that train of thought. Ever. Ever. Anyway. I’m not complaining so much as I’m worrying about how Alfred and I will ever manage to drag your unconscious bodies to a proper bed the next time one of you passes out.”
Tim eyes Damian and Jason, glancing at Dick for a few seconds. Damian rolls his shoulders, “As if I would be unconscious.”
"Clearly we aren’t remembering Hell Week before Halloween." Tim points out, idly turning his helmet over in his hands. "Also. Dick, I’m afraid you’re getting a little old for getting into bed with me for cuddles."
"I thought so." Dick deflates a little and Damian preens. "Did Demon wing tell you that?"
"It only took him five years to convince me." Tim pats Dick’s shoulder. "But on the upside, you will never be too big for cuddles with Damian and Jason. Ever.
"You can all jump off a bridge and die." Tim declares. "Steph can be Princess Peach."
"Steph is with Cass." Dick replies, throwing the wig at Tim’s head. "And it’s not like any of us could pull it off."
"Does I look like a girl to you?” Tim snaps, eyes daring them to answer. “I’m sorry. I’m lacking certain body parts for that role. Why do you even need a Princess Peach?”
"Because I’m Mario, Jason is Luigi, and Damian is a mushroom. We need a Peach."
"I hate it when you do themes." Tim grumbles. "Why couldn’t we be something else? Something that wouldn’t require one of us to cross dress? Or at the very least, cross dress so obviously?"
"Hey. Mario is a classic. We haven’t done Mario yet. And no one cross-dressed last year."
"No." Tim dead pans. "Because last year I was busy recovering from," he air quotes, “‘being shot in the spine’ and Jason was still out to seriously injure all three of us."
"Well when you put it that way, you make our Halloweens sound awful."
"It’s Gotham, Dick. Our Halloweens are awful.”
It hurts. That’s what Dick thinks, as he watches Tim try to meld into the wall. Back and palms pressed against it, face blank.
His scars are vivid pink slashes across his pale, sleepless face.
But as usual, his wit is as ever sharp.
(Sharp enough to cut.)
But there is a limit to how far a person can be pushed before damage begins to show. And Jacky-Tim has always had a problem with acceptance and inclusion. Dick knows because for a majority of Jacky’s life, Dick has been the one he told everything to.
Dick catches Jacky’s eye, smiles at him, effortlessly cuts through the crowd.
"Who even let this psycho in here?" He hears as he passes by a group of leaguers from – well, obviously not anywhere near Gotham.
"That psycho is my little brother.” Dick declares, pulling Tim into a hug. “You okay, kiddo?”
Tim nods, not returning the hold – it was always hard for him to do so. Especially when he’s trying so hard not to cry. Dick ruffles Tim’s growing-out hair, takes him by the hand.
"C’mon Timmy," He coaxes, gentle and warm, "Jay’s home."
"He is?" Tim whispers, perking up, "I thought he wasn’t coming back until next week."
"You know Jay, always with the rush jobs." Dick squeezes Tim’s hand. "Don’t mind them, little brother. They’re just jealous of your awesome fashion sense."
Tim’s laugh is weak, but it’s still a laugh.
Dick never thought it’d be hard to get Timmers laughing.
"Kids these days just don’t have any class. Motor cycle fetish instead of maître de."
Jason holds the note in his hands. He’s certain he wrote this. It’s his writing. He just can’t remember writing it. Remember why.
The ring – he’s married? What? – rests, cold, in the palm of his hand. He tries to make sense of the note, once more.
Reading it for the twentieth time doesn’t make the simple statements on it any clearer.
Jason swallows, takes a look around the unfamiliar room. It- it’s his room, because there’s a sign on the door that says Jason’s room. There’s pictures of him and other people in picture frames.
That’s his dad, those are his brothers.
He can remember that.
But he can’t place the shorter, blue eyed, black haired man standing next to him. Even though he’s in almost every picture. Jason rolls the ring between his fingers.
He places the note down, and still doesn’t understand. Why would he write that to himself?
In bright red pen he wrote – You left him because you love him. It’s better not to remember.
What does that even mean? Jason slides the ring onto his finger, tosses the note into the trash. There are similar notes like it, in there already.
You love him, forget him.
It’s better if you don’t remember.
If you love him you’ll forget.
It doesn’t make sense. Jason walks down the hall, hand sliding over the banister. Unfamiliar. His eyes carefully trace the smiling faces in the pictures on the walls. Some he can vaguely say he recognizes, others he can’t. But he doesn’t remember any of these events.
Jason lets his feet carry him into the kitchen, out the door. He lets himself be taken onto the bus, getting off at the third stop. His feet take him, boots making quiet sounds until he reaches a gate.
Gravel crunches under his feet and the cold morning air snaps against his face as he looks around. What is he looking for? Who is he? Is he here?
That- that’s his brother? Right? Dick? Dick is standing on the path, ahead of him. He smiles, sad and a little disappointed. “Hey, Jay.”
"What’s going on?" Jason frowns. "What are you doing here?"
"I’m here to take you home, Jason." Dick answers, hand heavy and warm on Jason’s shoulder. "Like I am every day. I’m here to ask you to not come back."
"I’m here every day?" Jason’s blinks, surprised. "Why the hell do I come here every day?”
Dick’s smile is a grimace. “Because he’s here.”
Jason looks at his left hand, the cold ring on his finger, Dick nods. “Where is he?”
"You’re standing on him."
Jason looks down. And he remembers.
Two hours later, Jason staggers to his feet, grass stains on his knees, ring fisted in his hand. “Tell me to not come back tomorrow.” Jason whispers, voice hoarse, eyes sore with tears.
Dick nods, even though they both know Jason will forget by the time tomorrow comes. Dick drives him home, watches Jason enter his (their, Tim) house before driving away.
Jason scribbles out, in red pen-
He would want you to forget how much you loved him.
Jason slides the ring off, places it down on top of the note.
Of all the things he can never remember, of all the things for him to rediscover every day-
It’s this thing. This one thing.
The love of his life is dead.
(And he can’t even remember what his voice sounds like.)
"Gummy bats." Dick declares, tossing a packet of said sweets at Jason’s head, who retaliates by throwing popcorn balls at Dick’s face. Popcorn balls that could be made out of stone.
"Almond joys." Jason says. "It’s fucking Almond Joys.”
"You’re both wrong, it’s dark chocolate." Tim shields himself with a pillow, warding off an onslaught of gummy bats, popcorn balls, almond joys, and – "Where did you get an apple?”
Dick blinks, looks into his bag. “I threw an apple at you?”
"Tt." Damian sneers. "Unobservant as always, Grayson. And of course Father thinks candy corn is best."
"The fuck. You’re kidding. He’s kidding, right?” Jason says, popping a jolly rancher in his mouth, crunching down on it as obnoxiously as possible. “He is kidding, isn’t he?”
Damian throws an apple at Jason, “Candy corn is delicious.”
"Isn’t it too plebeian for you?” Jason sneers back, hand disappearing into his bag of candy before pulling out a toothbrush. Jason looks perplexed for a second before shrugging and throwing it at Damian anyway.
Tim cautiously edges further away from both Robins, Dick takes the opportunity to shove a packet of gummy bats down the back of Tim’s shirt. Tim yelps, “Dick did you open that packet?”
"Yes, Timmy. Yes. I did." Tim lets out a frustrated yell before turning around and smacking Dick with a pillow.
From there it dissolves into a full on fight between the four of them, stopped only when Bruce enters the room.
They stare up at him, before blurting out, “B what’s your favorite candy?”
With a complete deadpan and unchanging expression, Bruce answers, “No candy, only justice.”
They stare at him before he adds on-
"And candy apples."
Tim slams the door in Dick’s face, opens in a crack to hiss no before slamming it again.
"I told you so." Jason says, leaning against the wall next to the door. "What’s your back up plan, genius leader?"
"Tim." Dick calls, trying the doorknob. "Come on. I promise, it won’t be so bad."
"The last time we all went out on Halloween," Tim says through the intercom by his door, "there were four supernatural cultist incidents, one demon summoning, and I lost my soul for two hours.”
"We’ve got Zatanna on call for that this year. And Etrigan."
"The year before that I was dead for three minutes.”
"Alfred is ready for this."
"And the year before that-"
"Jesus, kid." Jason interrupts, eyes wide, "Just how unlucky are you?”
"More than enough. I’m not leaving this apartment until Halloween is over in all time zones.”
Dick sighs, “Alright. Fine. Have it your way.” He turns, he hopes Damian isn’t mad that they made him wait in the car-
There’s the sound of glass breaking on the other side of the door before it opens. Tim calmly steps out, jacket draped over his arm, closing the door behind him, locking it.
"Change your mind?" Jason asks. Tim’s face remains passive as he answers.
"It would appear that there is an inter-dimensional rift to hell in my living room. My night has effectively been freed of plans."
Dick and Jason exchange a look. Tim walks towards the building exit. Dick jumps when he hears something large and heavy thunk against the door. Jason’s eyes widen and his hand goes towards the gun he keeps in the waistband of his pants.
"Replacement you are a walking trouble magnet." Jason yells out before breaking into a run towards the car. Dick follows after him, Tim launching into a full out sprint when he hears the door break.
"I don’t need you telling me that, Jason." Tim calls back. "I really don’t."
"Nice costume dude, but you got the colors wrong." Dick stares, wide eyed as a guy smiles at him, waves, and crosses the street with his kid.
He turns to his brothers, “Did that just happen? Did someone just tell me that I got my own colors wrong?”
Jason snickers, “That is hilarious.”
“How.” Dick gestures, staring after the man, "How.”
Damian and Tim are both smirking, Dick waves his hands, “Blue. Nightwing blue. How. How does that translate to red.”
"Robin red." The three other robins chime. Dick makes a strangled noise.
“Blue. Does not. Equal. Red. How. What. Colorblind?”
"I think he’s broken." Jason declares. "Do we get a new one?"
"No, I think the warranty ran out." Tim answers, Damian clicks his tongue.
"Do we retire him?"
Dick pulls at his hair. “Guys. This isn’t even funny. People think I dress in black and red. People think I don’t have finger stripes. I don’t even know what’s happening.”
At that moment someone bumps into Jason, turning around to apologize before blinking. Smiling. “Dude, that’s one cool Red Hood costume. But you’re kind of missing something.” The guy taps his chest where a red bat is emblazoned before waving and walking away.
Jason blinks, mouth hanging open before he yells, “Hey, asshole, I’ll show you missing something,-“
"It’s not so funny anymore, is it?" Dick hisses as Tim slaps a hand over Jason’s mouth while Damian wrestles the knife from Jason’s hand.
"That is disgusting, Jason." Tim grimaces, pulling his hand away. "You don’t even know where my gloves have been.”
"What, you do something dirty with them, pretender?"
Tim glares, about to answer when his eyes zero in on something across the street. He blanches, Dick turns and nearly falls down in shock. “How is that even close?" Tim whispers.
Across the street is someone who is wearing a Red Robin tunic, the Red Robin insignia, but with giant wings.
"That isn’t even practical or aerodynamic." Tim whispers, faint edge of hysteria in his voice as Damian bursts into cackles. Jason doubles over. Tim actually starts to cross the street before Dick jerks him back by the cape, out of incoming traffic. Tim turns to them, pulling his cowl down – blue eyes wide. "That isn’t even close. I don’t understand. Those wings serve no function other than the aesthetic and the pouches aren’t effectively placed and-“
Tim crouches down, head between his knees as he sucks in deep breaths.
Dick suddenly feels so much better about his own costume mishap.
Damian smirks at Dick, holding his candy away from Titus’ curious nose. “I believe the expression is, suck it loser.”
"I don’t understand how I could lose."
Tim gives Dick a mildly amused look as he holds Titus back by the collar. “Dick, you’re over twenty years old. You can’t just dress up and go trick or treating.”
"College kids do."
"People are afraid college kids will egg their houses if they don’t give candy." Tim quirks a brow. "But it’s kind of hard to get that same feeling from you."
"I can be threatening if I wanted to."
"Titus is more threatening than you, Grayson." Damian declares, popping candy corn into his mouth. "I am an assassin of the highest caliber. Of course I provide the aura of a threatening menace."
Dick resists the urge to tell Damian that the reason why he got candy had less to do with his katana and more with the fact that people thought he made a cute ninja turtle.
Halloween is traditionally one of the worst nights for patrol in Gotham. If it isn’t one of the big names out causing trouble, it’s some fanatic or – worse – several fanatics.
For all of this – every year, Bruce still gives them all the night off.
When Dick learns of this, his eyes light up – “Really?" Bruce smiles, ruffling Dick’s hair.
"Of course." He raises an eye brow. (Dick thinks he knows where Demon Wing got it from.) "Why would I say it if I didn’t mean it?"
"Because he’s evillll.” Jason stage whispers as he rolls by in his rolling chair. Bruce catches the chair by the back, pushing Jason back towards the computers.
"You have the day off, but it’s a school night. You still do your homework."
Jason pouts, “Like I said, evil.” Dick bounces on his heels.
"Can we go trick or treating?" He’s never gone before. Normally he just had extra candy at the circus – usually there was an extra special performance. But he’s never actually gone door to door for candy.
Tent to tent, yeah. But it’s different when the person behind said tent can say Dick, your mother said that you only get one candy apple a week, kiddo.
Bruce smiles, nods. “That’s generally what kids do.”
Dick is totally unashamed to admit that he might have squealed at the top of his lungs and vocal range at that answer, jumped and hugged Bruce while babbling about aster and full of awe.
Jason snickers as Bruce awkwardly pats Dick’s back, coaxing the youngest Robin to eventually let go.
"But I don’t have a costume." Because Dick could go as Robin. It’d be authentic, for one thing. But it’d feel too much like…every day.
"Attach to Demon Wing, you could be a koala. Or a barnacle." Dick punches Jason’s shoulder, gets a nerve strike, and sticks out his tongue in response. "It’d be accurate.”
"What are you going to be?" Dick asks, perching on the table while waiting for the nerve strike to wear off. Jason shrugs.
"I haven’t gone trick or treating since." Jason looks uncomfortable. "Since mom died."
Dick doesn’t know how to answer that. (There are a lot of things people in this house, this family, say that he doesn’t know how to respond to.)
The elder Robin shakes his head, nudging Dick’s knee. “Go bother Demon Wing or Pretty bird. You heard B-man. I gotta finish my stupid homework.”
Dick smiles, “Fine. I can see when my glorious presence isn’t wanted. And you got number four wrong, by the way.”
He retreats as Jason swears at him, going off to find the other two birds. Huh. That’s an idea. They could be crows. They could be a murder. It’d be genius.
It’s not that Dick defines himself by his relationships.
But he kind of does.
So when he looks – and he does look – and finds that they’re not here. They aren’t anywhere he might have gone a little ballistic.
To the point where he’s in some sort of high tech prison cell, and this might be their equivalent of the JLA headquarters. But no, the JLA headquarters is in space, it’s not a floating hover craft.
It still doesn’t matter, Dick just wants to go home. He wants his brothers, his sisters, his dad, his grandfather, and the bats and the dog.
What’s a Nightwing without the rest of the flock? Everyone knows Nightwing is a Gothamite. But what does that mean if there’s no Gotham to put a fear of living in people?
Dick fidgets, and he could pick the locks if he wanted. But where would he go? What would he do?
(What would he do if he wasn’t teaching little D about growing up, or forcing cuddles on an unsuspecting Timbo? What would he do if he wasn’t talking little wing out of a rant or reading Cass some Shakespeare? What is he supposed to be doing if he isn’t prodding Bruce for more than monosyllabic answers or trailing and chattering after Alfred? What does he do if he isn’t chatting Babs up on a line or playing tag with Steph?)
"You are an incredibly…unique individual. Grayson, was it?" A man with an eye patch says, feet planted, hands behind his back.
"The one and only." Dick tries for a smile. It doesn’t mean much if no one knows who the Flying Graysons are. Where is everyone.
"It would appear you’ve been displaced, Mr. Grayson. An event that occurs often enough here that we’re quite familiar with the routine."
Dick perks up, “So- I can go home?”
(He’s going to attach himself to all of his family members, and he’ll figure out how – just watch – , and never let go.)
The man gives him an almost pitying look before sighing. “Eventually. First we have to figure out where you came from. A process that could take an abysmal amount of time.”
"So…" Dick licks his dry lips. "What am I supposed to do? Sit here an wait?"
The man smiles. It makes Dick think of Slade. It could just be the eye patch. Or it could be the distinct feeling of prey.
"Maybe you’d like to put our talents to some use while you’re here. As an officer of S.H.I.E.L.D.?"