Chapter 11 – The Forgotten
Dick Grayson P.O.V
Where was she? Soră.
Skye just disappeared. People don't just disappear like that. The police were gonna take me away but then this man, Bruce Wayne, came up to me. He was the special guest that night. He said he could help me. I remember screaming for Skye, but she didn't come back. We made it to the bottom of the ladder and were instantly surrounded by our circus family. They were waiting for us at the bottom. Mr Haly pulled me away from their bodies – it wasn't fair. Why did they have to die?
I didn't even notice Skyla was missing until Mr Wayne started talking to me. How could I not realise she was missing? I'm a horrible Frate. I was supposed to protect her, but I lost her. I failed…
I wanted to run after her, but Mr Wayne stopped me. He said it wasn't safe. He told me that they'd find her – so why haven't they found her yet? It's been weeks!
Bruce sat me down and told me that she just vanished. That the police think she ran into the forest and never left. They couldn't find a single trace of her anywhere. But I don't understand that. People can't just vanish off the face of the earth.
I was sitting in my new room at the ginormous window seat, staring out at the grey drizzle of rain over the foreign city. I wasn't allowed to stay with the Circus anymore. With Mamî and Tatî gone Mr Haly said it wasn't safe. He said that Mr Wayne would take good care of me.
But Bruce wasn't around much. He was always working and going to meetings. It was kind of lonely. His butler, Alfred Pennyworth, was nice and all, but not exactly 'company.'
I really missed my sister. Where was she? I thought she was beside me, but then I turned, and she was gone. Sometimes, at night, I think I hear her voice, calling out to me. But then I open my eyes and know it was just a dream. I hope more than anything she's still okay.
She was lost, but maybe I'd find her again. Was she alone? Was she afraid? Was she looking for a way back home? Why did she have to go? Why couldn't we stay together?
Watching Mamî and Tatî fall… it felt like I'd died inside. It wasn't fair. And then Cer, my best friend, just gone. How could I lose her? She was a part of me. I feel like I've lost who I am. Why do I feel like my heart has been broken? It feels like the end. Bruce kept telling me they'd find her, but I knew it was a lie.
Still, I'll keep waiting for her. I'll wait every night until I see her again. And I pray to the Gods that They'll protect her. I can't live without her by my side. And if Bruce would let me go, I would run – I wouldn't stop 'till I found her. I'll never stop looking for her.
And the man who killed our parents. Tony Zucco. I'll make him pay. I swear he'll pay.
I've lost everything, but I know Cer is alive out there somewhere. She has to be. Gods, I hope she finds her way back home.
'Where are you Cer? I need you.'
Slade was a great teacher. He wasn't mean like Hadrian. He was gentle and funny, and he never made me do anything I didn't want to. He was teaching me how to use my acrobatics in a fight.
Hadrian taught me Kung Fu, but only the fighting part. Slade showed me everything. Techniques and forms and weapons and self-defence. Slade told me that he would teach me everything he could. Brazilian Jujutsu and Tae Kwon Do were the other two martial arts he wanted me to learn first. He said that they were both useful in real life fighting. Especially because I was so small, he said I'd be able to fight people three times bigger than me. He kept me practising with shuriken, which were super close to my old throwing knives. And he showed me how to throw a knife to stun someone, by whacking them with the hilt instead of the blade. That was really cool. It makes this funny wathunk sound when it hits the board. Hadrian only ever showed me how to stab people. But all the targets Slade had me practise on were circular instead of human shaped.
Apparently, you're not meant to aim at the coloured rings to make a circle with the ninja stars, and just hit the centre, but that was boring, so I always try to make shapes out of the shuriken. Slade's really nice. He didn't get mad at me or anything for doing that, he just laughed at me and said I was strange. That kinda confuzzled me at first, cause of how Hadrian used to get all mad and strict on me for messing around in training. But I think Slade's different. He's really funny and doesn't get cross with me when I stuff up or can't do something. He doesn't even hit me or anything either. Hadrian and Tatî would usually slap me if I misbehaved. Slade just says I'm silly and shakes his head at me. The other day I was hanging upside down from the roof and he smiled at me.
It's funny, he doesn't seem to be the type of person to smile or laugh or be kind, especially when he put that orange and black suit back on after dinner one night. He told me he had a job, and that he would be back soon. At first, I thought he was abandoning me, but then I remembered that I was still in his home and that made no sense. Slade didn't put the mask on until he walked outside, but it was still really strange seeing him in that again. I'd only seen him in it once before and that wasn't a night I wanted to remember. There were so many weapons attached to his armour. He wouldn't tell me what he was doing but he promised he'd be back before I woke up.
I tried to fall sleep like he said to, but I just couldn't. Too many bad thoughts. What if he got hurt? What if something really bad happened to him? What if they found him? What if they found out that I was with him? What would they do to me if they found me? What would happen to Slade if they found out Slade had helped me?
I didn't want to think about that. I was safe. Slade had promised. And he had promised that he was more than able to take care of himself, so he'd be safe as well. Nothing bad was gonna happen.
In the end, I pulled my blanked around my shoulders like a cape and curled up on the couch. I hoped he wouldn't be mad at me for disobeying him. He had said to go to bed, but I just couldn't. Maybe I could wait up for him? Monsters Inc was on TV and I watched that for a little while, but I think I fell asleep halfway through. I don't remember how I ended up in my bed the next morning, I don't sleepwalk, so Slade probably carried me. At least he wasn't cross with me. He never said anything about it, so I guess he didn't really mind.
Slade had to help me with my hair yesterday. It was in this super massive knot and I couldn't brush it out. It took ten minutes and a bowl of cereal. I never thought a man could do hair, but Slade braided mine… that really confused me. Tatî had never been able to do mine or Mamî's hair. I thought that was normal. Boys can't do girls' hair. But Slade was really good. I wonder who taught him…
He'd speak to me in Russian sometimes. I didn't know Russian Sign, but it was still so cool that we knew the same language. I don't know how he knew I can understand Russian, because I never told him. Slade found out that I can speak and write in Japanese during a training session – that was my fault. He was showing me how to land safely after falling or jumping from really high up. Of course he didn't make me start practising from up high. Slade had these really cool foam mats in the training room. We laid them out all over the floor and they were super squishy. I got distracted doing flips on them and Slade had to catch me mid flip to get me to stop and pay attention. I actually expected him to hit me, I wasn't listening to him after all. But he just lent down and stared at me. He held onto my arms as he explained the exercise to get me to stop fidgeting.
We were doing this thing he called a commando roll. I started on the ground and slowly started from higher up. I was about a meter high, and I did a flip before a landed cause I was bored. I think he thought I was about to hit my head on the ground. It scared him so bad. He said a bad word in Japanese and I started giggling at him. He looked so confused. He asked me if I could speak Japanese in Japanese. I nodded at him. I almost responded in Japanese, almost. I almost spoke to him. But I bit down on my lip to make sure I didn't. I wasn't supposed to speak anymore. I told myself I'd never speak again. I promised.
So now he swaps from English to Russian to Japanese to Sign and back in a single day and it was really confusing at first, but I kinda got used to it.
He taught me how to something really crazy today. Slade showed me how to throw a shuriken mid flip. Cause he saw me doing flips and thought it would be handy. And it is super-duper hard. I struggled just to hit the target. No more fancy board patterns, I'm just trying to get the blade to hit the damn thing.
Slade was standing off to the side, giving me tips and correcting my form each time. I was getting frustrated cause I kept missing the board and that's when he decided to half drag me to the kitchen. He said I was "hangry", I didn't know what that meant. I had to ask. It's another hybrid word, hungry and angry smooshed together. It's when you get angry at something but it's actually because you're hungry.
English is really weird. I feel like words are just made up whenever there isn't a single word to describe something. Like smooshed. It's not even a real word. Well… it is but it isn't. It's a triple combination of mashed, smashed, and smeared. I don't really know how that works or where smooshed came from, but I love it. Only problem is it doesn't exist in Auslan. Which sucks.
I really wanna ask Slade to teach me how to use his Katanas, but I feel like it's a no. Those things are almost as tall as I am. But sword fighting looks so cool. I wonder if he'll ever teach me. Then I could be like Robin Hood. Or the Musketeers.
I turned to look at him. What? I looked down and realised I'd left my half-eaten sandwich on my plate. Oh. Whops.
"You zoned out on me, Ky. Everything okay?"
I nodded, picking up me food and eating with renewed enthusiasm. Food was good.
I thought about Slade's question. Was I okay? I had food, a place to live. Lots of fun living with Slade and I got to train with the man every day.
Yeah. Everything was perfect.