Title: Light To The Dark
Summary: Dick reflects on his relationship with Bruce.
Date Of Completion: November 24, 2006
Date Of Posting: January 4, 2007
Word Count: 2449Notes: After the Modern Era dawned, I discovered after trying to read the ‘new’ DC that I preferred the Silver/Bronze Age of DC,
with a liberal sprinkling of Golden Age in the Earth-One/Earth-Two stories and lovely reprints. Frankly, I was appalled at the
changes DC made in 1985. I think what hurt the worst was simply wiping out my beloved characters and their pasts out of
existence. Sort of Bobby Ewing in the shower, y’know? So I stopped reading the comics but I never stopped loving the wonderful
characters I’d known. Doesn’t mean I don’t like darkness in their souls sometimes. There was plenty of that, especially in the
Bronze Age. This ‘polar opposite, antagonistic’ Superman/Batman was a sad remnant of the close friendship the two enjoyed
before the Modern Era. Of course they had conflicts, as all good friends do, but there was a warmth and affection between them
that even Batman couldn’t deny! J So since my interest is in the ‘best friends’ of a long time ago, that’s what I write,
not to mention what the next step of that friendship is in my evil little mind. That’s my comics universe now! J
It was the dripping.
The constant drip, drip, drip of water in the Cave. He supposed that it should have
been like Chinese water torture and driven him mad, but it never did. Probably so much
a background noise over the years that he barely registered it.
This time he heard it, as he smelled the mustiness and richness of earth and the
dampness of stone. He heard the rustling of bats, silent sentinels that never bothered
the inhabitants but kept their vigil as if honoring the human who wore their personas.
Dick’s mouth quirked at such poetic sentiments but he continued down the stone steps.
He walked as silent as his mentor as he went to the changing room, then re-emerged in
full Robin regalia. A gloved hand touched the hood of the gleaming Batmobile, then he
wandered over to the computer, sitting in the chair in front of the main screen.
He kept the computer off. Long, strong legs crossed in the chair, his yellow cape
draped over the back.
The Batcave was eternal. Keeping the family secrets, keeping the family business
intact, it was cool and quiet and the water dripped.
Dick folded his arms. He knew the Cave as well as he knew the Manor. He had been
brought to both as a child exactly eight years and six months old, in the aftermath of
the worst night of his life. Not a day went by that he didn’t think of them, his
strong, laughing father and his graceful, cheerful mother. Those qualities lived in
him, because he loved to laugh and to smile. He knew those skills kept Bruce in touch
with the rest of humanity. It was a role he was happy to play.
He had insisted upon being let into the mission, the crusade, the family business.
Burning with the desire for vengeance, he had demanded the right. Bruce had taken his
measure of him, then nodded his head silently in consent. The oath was taken in the
shadows of the Cave with the single candle’s light flickering against the damp walls.
The Purpose, the Mission, kept him sane during those wild days of grief. It kept him
focused as he started a new school, learned about Bruce and Alfred, explored the Manor,
The training consumed him at first as he burned to be out on the streets, the Batman’s
partner. But even as a child, he knew he had to learn. And so he set about it,
quipping and smiling as the first months slipped away, the grief carefully folded and
put away, always there and driving him as the nightmares plagued him. Bruce heard his
screams and came to him in the night, and also allowed him to come to his bed and
finally fall asleep.
Dick Grayson was slowly settling into the pattern of his young life: learning to be the
heir to the Wayne fortune, balancing school and society functions that he was expected
to attend. He had insisted upon public school, feeling more at home with kids from
working or middle-class backgrounds that those of the ultra-wealthy. He had to hobnob
with the rich kids enough. His circus background was much more inclusive than that of
silver spoon kids.
The training had continued, both physical and mental, and on his tenth birthday he
first put on the bright costume and became Robin.
Dick glanced down at his costume. He supposed that now he was 19 there would have to
be some modifications made, sturdier boots and leggings, but for now this costume would
do, yes, it would.
His gloved hand rested on the keyboard. Robin was part of him. Justice was as much a
clarion call for him as it was for Bruce, though there was one significant difference:
after his career had begun and he had proven himself worthy at Batman’s side, he had
found some sense of peace…until the chance to nail Tony Zucco, his parents’ murderer,
was presented to him.
At first the Batman had not wanted him to be involved, but in the end, he knew Robin
had to be part of it. And the burning desire for vengeance had dissolved once Zucco
was arrested and convicted. Dick could breathe again, without hurting so sharply, and
know the Mission was to save the living as the dead had been honored.
Dick and Robin had grown happier, loving every minute of the battle beside Bruce and
the Batman, throwing out quips and puns quicker than ever, and enjoying his position
as heir. He never wanted to be an adopted son. By the age of sixteen, he understood
The thought hadn’t shocked him when he first realized the nature of his feelings for
Bruce. In fact, it seemed quite logical and a perfect fit. After the first rush of
emotion, Dick had begun to plan.
Maturity in ways only dreamed of in his peers enabled him to realize that he had to
bide his time, as much as he wanted to slip into Bruce’s room and into his bed. No,
Bruce would be too conflicted in so many ways, not the least of which was his ward’s
age. So Dick continued his partnership, dated several willing girls and even lost his
virginity to one, and found himself enjoying a few nights a week with people his own
And yet his happiest times were spent with Bruce, reading or doing homework in the
study, or working on classic cars or motorcycles, and of course, patrolling Gotham as
Batman and Robin.
They were in sync, rarely using words to hatch schemes or to swoop down on villains.
Robin had never felt more in tune with anyone else, even as he leapt rooftops with
Batgirl on occasion and while they were amazingly in sync, it wasn’t quite the same.
He allowed himself a small crush on the beautiful older woman, but he was waiting for
the time when he could make his move on Bruce. In fact, one of the reasons he knew
that his love was real and not some infatuation was his attraction to Clark.
Hero-worshipping Superman had been part of the job description since he was ten years
old, and he became close friends with the Kryptonian. Their personalities were
similar: cheerful, optimistic, and always smiling. The smiles they exchanged behind
Batman’s back were fun, as was teasing the grim Bat, who hid any smiles he might have
bestowed upon them. They were in sync as well, from long experience and a compatibility
that Robin found highly satisfying. If Bruce simply could not love him the way Dick
wanted to be loved, there was Clark. He had not been physically attracted to Barbara.
It had been more of an emotional crush. With Clark, it was both. Therefore, he knew
where his destiny lay in the area of sexuality.
But, of course, Dick had devised a plan to win Bruce. The Batman had taught him the
arts of analyzing, planning, and biding his time. Bruce could be the stubbornest man
on the planet, but he could not hold out from Dick for long. He could be the stern
teacher and lay down the law, and out on the streets, Robin would willingly follow
Batman’s lead, but with a smile Dick could get anything he wanted out of Bruce.
Dick shifted in the chair, his hand clicking on the computer. Connection to the
Internet. The day’s issue of The Daily Planet. Next, the Gotham Gazette. The Gazette
was strictly work, to keep up with the city’s doings. The Planet was to read Clark’s
articles and to sample those of Lois and Jimmy. Besides, Metropolis was a bright,
clean, cheerful city. Exactly the opposite of Gotham. He smiled. Superman and Batman
in a nutshell.
As he scanned articles, he continued to think. Wings rustled in the high reaches of
College. Bruce had suggested, “Why not go to Hudson University, or Harvard, or Yale?”
“All great colleges, Bruce, but Gotham U. is Ivy League and right here.”
“You don’t want to spread your wings?” Said with perfect smoothness, yet Dick heard the
hope, the desire that he turn down the notion.
“Well, Bruce, I’m not about to let you go out night after night without me. Besides,
Gotham U. is Ivy League, like I said, and prestigious enough for the Wayne heir to
attend. I’ll get the sheepskin, then be qualified to help you run that billion-dollar
company of yours.”
Warmth spread through Dick then, and did now. Being the heir of the Wayne scion could
be a pain at times, but he’d never have to worry about money ever again, and the
business was a good living. The corporate world could be endured as long as he could
head up projects that would help people instead of simply raking in profits. He was
determined to figure out a way to do that. Bruce already had the Wayne Foundation for
charitable efforts, but Dick was going to transform the company into the best damned
‘green’ company he could. There was a wealth of opportunity out there with money at
his disposal. Batman and Robin could do the dirty work of keeping the city clean and
the world safe, but money was power, and he had every intention of using it for
bettering an oft-sorry world.
He was a good leader. It came naturally to him. He had formed the Teen Titans and was
now the acknowledged leader, something he had just fallen into, and it suited him.
Responsibility was no stranger, but there was no Batman there to rely on. He had to
use his own gifts and was successful at it.
So why not break away and be his own man? Maybe even take on a new superhero persona?
Dick laughed, the sound echoing in the Cave and wings rustling again. Not be Robin?
Sure, Robin was the Batman’s sidekick. Maybe he would always be viewed that way. He
didn’t care. He knew how to handle Bruce and the Batman, and the day he could no longer
feel satisfied at the job he did or smile while he did it, he’d hang up his cape.
Dick knew that it was expected that he would want to strike out on his own. He had
even considered it for a brief time, but the Teen Titans had helped him establish an
identity of his own, and truth be told, his identity was intertwined with Bruce. He
could waste time fighting it as some rebel without a cause, but in the end he would
wind up at Bruce’s side, so why go through all the angst? This was where he wanted to
be. If he didn’t believe in the Mission, if he didn’t believe Bruce was worth the time
and trouble, he wouldn’t stay. Very simple, when you came right down to it.
Dick clicked on the camera that was mounted atop Gotham Observatory. It was a useful
tool for scanning the city. Zooming in could spot a mugger in the shadows with ease.
The fact that the observatory was unaware of this particular camera was unimportant.
Let them be proud of their camera that was available to the public. This one, mounted
by the Dynamic Duo, would serve their purposes.
He smiled at the nickname. He and Bruce were certainly that. Whether gliding along in
the night among Gotham’s rooftops, saving each other at society soirees, or loving each
other in shimmering silk, they were a perfect pair.
Dick had planned and plotted carefully for two years. He kept seductive little touches
and double entendres out there but never allowed Bruce to guess at his true purpose.
He wasn’t about to spook a blue-blooded thoroughbred.
Dick had known his heart. He would wait for Bruce for years, if necessary, but not
forever. Life was far too short for wasting time. He was more than willing to scheme
and coax and cajole Bruce to allow their love to flourish, because he had no doubt that
Bruce loved him. If he had been uncertain, or if Bruce simply couldn’t love him that
way, he would have moved on, as painful as it would have been. Luckily for him and for
Bruce, his mentor had succumbed to Dick’s powerful persuasion.
Dick refused to allow himself to slide into the gloom and moodiness that Bruce often
coveted. Here it was easy to reference Clark again: the Kryptonian was much like Dick
himself: cheerful, optimistic, ready to greet the new day with joy instead of gloom.
Dick had always enjoyed exchanging frequent smiles with Superman, and he treasured the
friendship he shared with one of the greatest heroes of all. Clark was just as much a
friend, and his sheltered upbringing in Smallville probably accounted for an innocence
that could rile Bruce at times, but Dick liked it. He was less innocent, any vestiges
of that particular state of being shattered by the age of eight in his parents’ broken
bodies on the sawdust floor of the center ring. By the age of twelve, he had seen
Gotham’s underbelly and survived murderous attempts on his life by the likes of the
Joker and Two-Face. He knew darkness, but refused to dwell in it as often as Bruce.
But Bruce was improving. He was more relaxed, able to joke and smile now more than
ever, and Dick knew it was because of him. He was the brightness to Bruce’s darkness,
and he would never abandon that role. He glanced down at his uniform. That was another
reason he would never change to a new uniform beyond a few alterations. The brightness
was necessary. No one would ever have guessed that it could work. Bruce himself had
been highly dubious at the choice of colors by his youthful sidekick, but had given in.
Somehow, the fearsome Bat shadowed by the bright, laughing boy at his side had worked.
Their differences and similarities were seamless, creating a partnership that would
He could hear footsteps. Bruce.
“I see you’re all ready for patrol.”
Dick turned around to enjoy the view of his handsome lover in his casual clothes.
“I won’t be long.” Bruce disappeared into the changing room.
Dick powered down the computer and and swiveled the chair around. In five minutes the
Batman emerged and stood checking his utility belt.
Dick nodded and stood up. As Batman turned to go to the Batmobile, he missed Dick’s
smile. A smile that was confident and pleased.
Batman was in charge of the Batman/Robin partnership.
Dick was in charge of the Bruce/Dick partnership.
Even if Bruce didn’t always know it.
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