-A/N: Hello, dear readers! Hope you like this new fic. I finally found inspiration and motivation to write this. Tell me how it is in the comments, please!-
It had been a month after Dick Grayson had been taken in by Bruce Wayne, and the public finally knew about him.
Of course, the public knew about the incident at Haley's Circus, but no one had known what happened to the eight-year old acrobat afterward.
They finally found out when Alfred had taken Dick out grocery shopping. Dick had been spotted, and nosy reporters had investigated further. They found out that Bruce Wayne had indeed taken the young gypsy to be his ward.
The newspapers and news channels had, in essence, flipped out, spouting all day about the new ward of Bruce Wayne. Reporters stood outside Wayne Manor, hoping to catch a glimpse of Dick Grayson, cameras held in readiness.
Alfred had gotten tired of the flashes and annoying sights of reporters and had closed all the curtains.
Bruce was used to all of this. It was part of being Bruce Wayne, and somewhat part of being Batman. Reporters were always hoping for a shot of Batman for the newspaper. Batman, however, didn't like to give them the chance.
Dick... Dick was having trouble understanding. In fact, he had asked Bruce for clarification.
A little hand tugged on his shirt, and Bruce turned to see Dick looking up at him with a confused expression.
"Bruce, why do they want pictures?" Dick said "pictures" with a slight Romani accent. Bruce found it slightly endearing.
He sighed. He had been waiting for that question. Dick had been staring out the window earlier that day with the same puzzled look on his face.
"They want pictures for the news, buddy," he said with a sigh.
"But why? They already have some," Dick asked.
Bruce honestly didn't know how to answer that one. "They're just pushy people who like to be nosy, and they want to know more about you," he tried.
Understanding dawned on the little one's face. "Oh."
"Dick..." Bruce hadn't wanted to explain this, but since word had gotten out about his new ward, he had to tell he boy. "Dick, you know I have a very prospering company, right?"
Brilliant blue eyes blinked intelligently at him. "Yes."
"And you know that that makes me rich, right?"
"Right," Dick confirmed.
"Well, since I have lots of money, some people want it. And they would do things to get my money," Bruce continued.
"What things?" Dick asked.
Bruce ran a hand through his dark hair.
"They... they might kidnap you." There. It was out now.
Confusion and alarm grew in the child's face. "How would kidnapping me get money from you?"
This might be harder to explain than he thought.
"Well, since word has gotten out that I have a child in my care- you- then bad people might think that if they take you, they can get me to pay a lot of money to get you back. It's called holding people for ransom."
Dick's eyebrows drew together. "But you won't pay, will you? I mean, I'm not worth that much. I'm just a circus boy."
Bruce's eyes widened. How low was this kid's self esteem?
"Dick... I know you haven't been with me that long, but... you're worth every penny to me."
The acrobat's surprised face mirrored his own. Had that just come out of his mouth? He wasn't known to be a normally affectionate person, but maybe there was something about this certain child that unlocked that part of him.
Dick surprised them both again by hesitantly slipping his thin arms around Bruce's waist. The billionaire stiffened at the touch, then slowly relaxed and curled his arms around the small boy.
"Thank you," Dick whispered.
"Of course," Bruce replied.
Dick was still thinking about that two days later, while he was running errands with Alfred that afternoon. He didn't really want to go pick up Bruce's dry cleaning, but it was the only thing he could do, since no one was at the manor to watch him. Plus, Alfred promised ice cream afterward.
Unfortunately, Dick had to stay in the car. Bruce had said that now that the public knew of Dick Grayson's existence in Bruce Wayne's life, they had to be cautious.
So, there he sat, alone. Really, it wasn't so bad. The car was an bright red expensive car that Dick couldn't identify, but all the windows were all tinted, so he could watch people, and they couldn't see him.
There was a shiny pickup truck in front of him, gleaming black. There were trees on the right side of him. Dick saw a woman pushing a stroller with a toddler in it, and a man running down the street to catch a taxi. There were two big men sitting on a bench across from him, admiring Bruce's car, and an elderly woman with a walker slowly crossing the street.
He was about to turn back when he saw a car speeding past and straight for the old lady. Dick didn't even think; he just leapt out of the car and ran for all he was worth toward the lady. He barreled into her, pushing her out of the way. The car sped past without stopping.
Jerk, Dick thought.
He picked himself up off of the ground, then helped the woman.
"Thank you, little one," she said with her old lady voice.
"No problem, ma'am," he replied, then helped her the rest of the way across the street. The two men he saw earlier were eyeing them, and Dick felt a shiver go down his spine for some reason.
They're probably just wondering if we're okay. We did almost just get hit by a car. Dick brushed off the weird feeling, turning and walking back to the flaming car that was Bruce's.
He was almost three feet away from it when the same tingly feeling hit him again. What was wrong with him? Turning, he looked around. The same people were there, minding their own business. Nobody was even looking at him. The old lady had made it a bit further down the sidewalk, the woman with the toddler had crossed the street, and the man eating the bagel was climbing into a taxi. Everything was normal.
Wait a second.
The two men were gone. Where were they? Dick turned a full circle, blue eyes scanning the surrounding area carefully.
The men were about a car's length away in front of him. And they were looking at him weirdly. What?
And why were they coming closer? Dick took a step back, eyeing the men warily. He was starting to get scared. They kept coming closer. He was starting to think maybe they weren't admiring Bruce's car.
"Uh... hi, guys," Dick tried. "D-did you need something?"
The one with the blond hair and brown eyes spoke in a gruff voice.
"Yeah, kid. You that circus kid Dick Grayson?"
Why does he want to know my name?
The one in the black shirt nudged the blond one. "Told you."
Dick was extremely confused. Why did it matter who he was? Why did they want to know?
The blond man suddenly reached for Dick with a determined look on his face.
Alarm bells went off in his head, and Dick's eyes widened. Oh. That's why. He didn't think; he just ran.
But he didn't get very far.
The guy grabbed Dick's shirt collar, stopping him effectively in his tracks.
Dick kicked, squirmed, punched, clawed, and tried everything. The man wrapped a bulging arm around his torso, pinning the boy's arms to his sides.
"No! Let go! Help! Help me!" Dick screamed. No one was around to hear. Everyone within a five block radius was gone. How did that even up Why wasn't anyone helping? Surely someone would be there to see this!
A rough hand clamped over Dick's mouth. The boy panicked.
He continued to scream, even through the hand. He continued to squirm, even when the arm around him tightened.
The blond guy moved toward the shiny black pickup, easily holding the light, but wiggling, form. Dick screamed bloody murder, he was so scared. Why was no one coming?!
The boy kicked free suddenly, the strong hands losing their grip on the tiny body, and both of Dick's feet landed on the ground. Dick wasted no time regaining his balance and sprinting away. He ran toward the stores; he was going to find Alfred and it would all be oka-
But he ran into the solid form of the brunet man. Dick fell hard on his rear, and before he could even move, the man above him picked him up and made for the truck. No, no, no, no!
The blond got in the backseat first, opening the door for the brunet. Dick was thrust into the dirty truck, and arms clamped down on him again. With his mouth now free, Dick gasped in fresh air, then screamed again.
"Alfred! Bruce! Help!"
"Ugh. Shut up," the blond said as the brunet slid quickly into the driver's seat and started the truck, pulling out of the parking space. No!
The other hand moved from his waist to his mouth.
Dick still screamed. And kicked. And squirmed. And his muscles burned from trying to get away. But the arms just wouldn't move.
They flew through the city, nearing the outskirts of Gotham no more than five minutes later. Dick kept fighting.
"Shut up, brat!" the man behind him warned.
Dick only yelled louder.
Blondie had had enough. Taking the hand he was using to muffle Dick's screaming, he raised it and struck the boy's cheek. Hard. Dick cried out in pain.
"You'd better shut up, now. Hear me? I swear I'll hit you again," the man spat.
Dick nodded fearfully and silently. His cheek was turning red now, and he could feel the pain blossoming through it. Tears shimmered in his eyes.
"I think I saw some duct tape in the floor there by your feet," the driver said.
Blondie, as Dick now mentally called him, spotted the tape and grabbed it. Dick knew why the man needed it, and he shrank away, back bumping up against the door.
"Oh, no. You c'mere," the man said. He grabbed Dick's arm and pulled the child toward him, ignoring the cry of pain the kid made again.
Blondie held both of the boy's wrists painfully behind Dick's back and wrapped a long section of tape around them tightly. The boy winced. "Please don't do that," he whispered in a small voice. "I- I don't like it."
Blondie chuckled darkly. "And I don't like being poor, kid. But sometimes life just doesn't turn out the way we plan it. Thankfully, that's all going to change with you."
What? What did he mean? Was this what Bruce meant by kidnapping? Am I being held for ransom?
"W-what...what are you going to do with me?" Dick asked fearfully. He really didn't like this.
Blondie had finished the tape around his wrists and had started on his knees. Then he moved on to Dick's ankles, wrapping what seemed to be miles of tape around them.
"We're going to see how much your new daddy loves you," he said mockingly.
So Dick was right. He didn't want to be right. But if he was right, then that meant Bruce was going to pay to get him back, and he would be with Bruce in just a little bit. A little trickle of relief flowed through Dick.
Blondie finished with Dick's ankles, straightened in the leather seat, and ripped a new, smaller piece of tape off of the roll. The acrobat saw him heading for his face, and he flinched away. But the man reached out and tangled his fingers in Dick's dark hair, jerking the boy's head harshly toward him. Reflexive tears sprang into Dick's eyes, and he whimpered.
The man smoothed the silver tape over Dick's mouth, then let go of the boy's hair, letting him move back against the door again. The man didn't seem to be interested in him any longer and pulled out his phone, tapping away at the screen.
Dick leaned against the window, letting his eyes squeeze shut for a moment. It was going to be okay. Bruce would pay for him. Bruce would get him.
Hot tears dripped down his face.