A/N: This was posted in 2018 on AO3, following Nightwing (2016) #50 aka the birth of the infamous Ric Grayson. This is an exploration of that side of Dick.
WARNING: implied rape/non-con, explicit language, slurs, police brutality, gun violence, drinking, drugs
Bullets do not travel in straight lines.
Gravity, recoil, air resistance—the bullet motions in a corkscrew path. Drag increases as the square of the velocity. It's in the momentum—the quicker it loses its momentum, the more force it produces. The average bullet travels at 2.500 feet per second. If he reacted to the sound of the gun going off, he'd require at least 0.20 seconds to react; and he'd should be, at least, 500 feet away to do so. Sound travels at 1.126 feet per second—half the speed of a bullet—which means, the bullet would hit him before he even heard the gun go off.
They did not tell him this.
He does not know how he knows—just that he knows it like he knows sun rises in the east, drowns in the west, and that he isn't whoever they think he is.
The bullet came. The force hit. Things are lost. And he is what's left; something not quite a person. Not quite complete. Something with a hole in its head.
What they did tell him, is this: the bullet was travelling 3.200 feet per second.
There are consequences when you got shot in the skull, they said.
Things are lost: bone, blood, brain tissue, cerebrospinal fluid, memory. Severe vascular swelling. Memory loss. Mood swings. Blackout, seizures, loss of motor function.
Dick Grayson, they said. He said; the big man with the sad blue eyes and scarred arms, what's visible from the rolled up sleeves of his silk, expensive-looking shirt. And "Dick Grayson," he repeated, tried to fit the name on to his tongue and the name sat there dumbly like a rotten slice of orange, bitter and acidic. He spat it out.
"Told you he got that amnesia bullshit," Helen says. "He remembers jack shit."
"Jack shit?" Luis looks at him with a newfound fascination. "Like, forreal? Your name and shit? Your ma? Mother Teresa? Nothing?"
"Who the fuck is Mother Teresa?" he says. He adds, "this martini tastes like shit."
"Fuck you, Grayson," Helen, the bartender of the hour, cusses out. He shrugs.
"Holy shit," Luis guffaws. "This dude don't fucking know any Mother fucking Teresa."
"Should you be drinking?" Kevin, Luis' companion, says.
"Shouldn't you be minding your own fucking business?" He shoots back, and Kevin puts both hands up in complacency. "Just saying," Kevin says.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, don't you talk to my man like that," Luis says.
"It's fine," Kevin says, sounding chill enough about the whole thing. "Looking like that, he can talk to me however he wants to whenever he damn well wants to."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Luis shakes his head, now. "You stealing my man, Grayson?" And then he pulls Kevin in by the collar.
"So, dude," Luis starts, after he finishes making out with Kevin, "how did ya find out about yourself and shit?"
"I googled my name," he says.
Kevin finds this a suffice opening. "And what is that, handsome?"
"Richard Grayson," he says, the name rolls out of his tongue letter by letter, as if he isn't used to it. Testing out a new word from another language.
"Holy fuck," Luis says, after two minutes scrolling on his android. "Fuckin' bastard's Paris Hilton. Dude's a fucking millionaire heir and shit."
"Billionaire," Kevin corrects his boyfriend, eyes glued to Luis' cracked phone screen.
"What's the damn difference?" To Richard Grayson, he says, "so you got an amnesia, and you googled yourself, and the first thing poppin' out is—" Luis squints at his phone. "'A Tragic Accident Leaves An Entire Family Dead On The Trapeze'?"
Sounds about right. "Yeah."
Luis and Kevin stare at each other. "Fuckin' hell," Luis says.
"Helen," Kevin says. "Get this hot, sad, amnesiac Paris Hilton another drink, please."
"Vodka, neat," Richard Grayson says.
"momentum, robin. it's what makes you fly."
"dad said it's the heart!"
The first thing that hits him is the friction to his backside, fingers exploring and digging into the crevices of his torso, to under his shirt. And then the wet heat of a mouth underneath his left ear, to the back of his neck. The sick sweet scent of the Salvia splendens of their cologne, and they're close enough, grinding against his body that he can't nearly smell the smoke and alcohol and sweat permeating the room.
He blinks. She doesn't stop—it's a woman, he thinks, as she circles around him, taking his hands and put them on her ass. He blinks. She's a lithe blond, reasonably pretty with mascara thick as tar. She puts her hand onto the zipper of his jeans, somehow making it work amidst the mass of bodies on the dance floor. The strobium light flashes once, twice, thrice, on and on. The scene seems like a dream. He does not know where he is. Doesn't recognize this place, this club. The last thing he remembers is —
(Throwing up at the toilet at Denny's? No, that's last Thursday (what day is it?). Jack telling that raunchy joke about condoms? Cheating at Poker and got punched, or was it last Friday (what day is it now?)? Throwing up at McDonalds' parking lot?
Ah. That's probably it. )
—throwing up at McDonalds' parking lot.
He does not know who this woman is, what her name is or what he's doing.
He knows what she's doing, though.
"Stop," he says. "Don't. Don't touch—"
She doesn't. Maybe the music is too loud and she can't hear his voice. Maybe she wants to fuck and she doesn't care. Her hands are fumbling with his belt, and he closes its eyes, listens to the shitty beat of the obviously high DJ in the club, and how it resonates with the beat of his heart, the sick steady badum badum badum. Tries to make sense of it all.
She manages to open its belt. He stole that belt from some rich guy's closet last month in Upper East Blüdhaven. Or was it two months ago?
He feels suddenly overwhelmed with disgust. "Stop," he says, again.
She doesn't. So he pushes her. She falls to the floor with an indignant yelp, crashing into several people along the way. The music continues, though people are looking now, curiously, drunkenly, annoyed. He doesn't care about the stares. His fists are shaking, his mouth acidic.
"Hey," says a man from the right, having witnessed the predicament. He has his arm around some poor girl with a bob cut. "You can't hit her like that."
He ignores him, putting his belt together—god knows how, since it's dark as shit, and his hands are still trembling like twigs in a storm. "Real men don't hit women," says the man again, boastful now. "Hey, you listenin', fag?"
He did the belt. He sneers. The lighting system hits his grinning teeth, gleaming like chandelier. His fingers are shaking, but this might fix it. "Keep talking," he tells him. He nods to the bob cut girl, "she's still not gonna fuck you."
A beat passes. "Hell did you say?"
He smiles, cruel.
The punch comes, the crowd cheers, there is blood in its mouth, shitty EDM in his ears, fire burning up his knuckles as flesh meets flesh. He never feels more alive than he does, in this moment, adrenaline flaring up his system like the sweetest MDMA.
He never feels less like a ghost like when there is a fight.
in his mother's mystery novels that he'd read (not to her knowledge, dick wasn't alllowed to read those), they always said that it was as if time had slown down. that you could recall the event in a vivid detail.
they were wrong. it happened fairly quick. and dick didn't exactly recall the event in a vivid detail. he just remembered that they were flying, and then they were not.
but this: right here, at this very moment, he felt hyperaware, like he was seeing everything in the brightest setting. Everything was loud and pounding in his ears, but nothing beat the rhythm of his own heart, and the yelling of the crowd. Every single detail, the burn of his knuckles, the rise and fall of his own breathing, the constant stream of fight fight fight from the other kids, the bruise that's starting to form over his right eye, the burn, the sheer rage charring through his heart—never had he felt more alive.
"say that again," he said, vicious and furious and winning. the boy under him—big bob, they called him, because he was the biggest kid in their block, stupid nickname—was gasping for breath, nose bleeding profusely. some of the blood got onto his shirt, tainting the white uniform of the juvenile center with red. "call me that again, i dare you you fuckinggăoază."
big bob spat to his face. "fucking cunt," he says. "gy—"
dick saw red.
when he came to, he was being pulled by two guards in both arms. big bob was moaning in pain, tears and blood all over his face and two loose teeth. the guards were yelling at him, rapid shots in english and he couldn't care less. he'd won. there was some kind of relief. the thing that had been screaming in his chest like a monster—it was silent, then, sated. he felt like how he did after an act. he felt a dizzy kind of exhilaration.
everything in his body hurt and he knew he'd get punishment for this. the other kids talked about it. correction, the adults had called it. a fuckin' beating, the kids had called it. dick didn't care.
the monster in his chest whispered: tony zucco. so dick waited.
"You got into a fight. Again."
"And you got into my business. Again."
Barbara glares. She has one hell of a glare. Hued somewhere between blue and green and blue again, fire in the cold of those shades.
"This," she starts, and he already knows what she's going to say. He can play it by ear now. "This is not—"
"—not him," he sneers, like it's a joke. "You people act like he's Mother fucking Teresa. Like he's Jesus the goddamn Lord and Savior—"
"Don't you dare talk about him like that," she says, eyes like fire, fingers strong and painful digging to his arm.
It hurts. "Don't touch me," he says, and she lets his arm go as if electrocuted. His skin is burning hot where she'd grabbed onto.
(He doesn't bother to think about what that means, or implies.)
She looks at him like—like that, like he had just burned down a nursery, like he had just fucked up her whole world.
But does it matter? What the fuck does it matter?
"Whoever this Dick Grayson is—if one shot to the head is what it takes to make something like me," he says, with the intent to hurt, "then he is nowhere as perfect as you people made him out to be."
"Dick," she starts, after a moment, looking like she's just been stabbed fifteen times.
He shakes his head, and starts laughing.
"What's so funny?" Her expression shifts from heartbreak to fury real quick. She looks like she is going to punch him.
He laughs harder. She looks like she is going to punch him twice.
"It just hit me," He says. "God. How could I—I just realized," he turns to look at her. Her position blocks the street light. The outline of her hair is brilliant ginger where the light hits them. Distantly, he can hear Skrillex being played from three different clubs. "Are you his girlfriend or something?"
She looks like she doesn't understand. "What?"
"Dick Grayson," he says, impatiently. "Are you his girlfriend, or what? 'Cause I can't see any other reason you should be out on a Friday night stalking me around—"
"I'm not," she says, and something about her words—her voice, maybe, the tone of her voice, the coldness of it. "And it's Monday, not Friday."
"But you love him," he says. He doesn't know how he knows. He knows.
Her face twists painfully, like she is about to start crying. And then it shifts again, quick, as if by a push of a button. "Always," she says, her voice clear and does not shake, even if her shoulders do.
He doesn't reply. He looks away, to the dark, somewhere up there between the neon lights, the shadow in the alleyways. She is so bright, looking at her hurts.
"Tell him to stop following me," he says. "It's fucking annoying."
And then he turns and walks the other way. He can feel her eyes on him all the way, sharp pinpricks of blue and green and blue again—and another pair of eyes, familiar sad eyes, somewhere from the roofs, beneath the cloak of black, in the dark.
"it's all in the momentum, timmy. it's what makes you fly."
"well. gravity makes me fall."
"gravity gives you mass, which gives you momentum, which—"
"makes me fly, okay, I get it. cool. cool cool cool cool cool. ice cold. alright."
"…phew. okay. cool."
"yep. cool. you can, uh, start at any moment now."
"okay. any moment. got it. yep."
"…tim, if you don't want to—"
"i want to! i mean. ahem. i want to. it's fine. i'm fine. i'll do it, okay? i want to!"
"okay. just saying."
"..your form is fine."
"i'll catch you. you know that, right?"
"..yeah. yeah. i know, dick."
He dreams sometimes.
Sometimes it's just sensations. Drowned out sounds. A tangle of feelings, not quite grasped; a flutter somewhere in the trenches of his chest, a tug in the wells of his stomach.
Sometimes it's snapshots. Flashes. Sometimes they're so vivid, scenes that he'd forget the next day. Sometimes they're fleeting, barely a whisper, barely registered. Voices. Bits of meaningless, indecipherable conversations lost in time. Or smiles, laughter, without a mouth, without a face.
Screams, on some nights.
He dreams of bright, red hair. He dreams of flying. And falling. Of warmth. Of lost. Of hands that reach and never touch.
He wonders if those are memories, or just some product of fucked up mental state or whatever. Or, quite possibly, some side effect from getting shot in the head.
Either way, Dick Grayson needs a therapist. Or maybe just some really good weed.
He wakes up. For once, he knows where he's at..
"Morning, handsome," Bea says, leaning against the door. "Jeff said to tell you there are some waffles in the fridge if you wanted breakfast."
He doesn't feel hungry. On the contrary, he kinda wants to throw up. "How about," he says, voice like sandpaper and his mouth feels like something had died in it last night. "Advils."
Bea raises a groomed eyebrow. "I ain't your babysitter, sweetheart."
Right. He grunts an affirmation. He had decided—somewhere at four in the morning today—to crash at the shitty couch in the bar. He's pretty sure someone had had sex on that couch, but the very much intoxicated Richard Grayson did not care at that time. The now very much hungover Richard Grayson does.
He stands up, nearly falling on the way. His head is pounding like hell. It does that a lot, to the point he's starting to get used to it. He inspects the couch with squinted eyes. Someone definitely had had sex there.
"Someone had sex on that couch, you know," Bea says, coming through the door again. She doesn't have make up on sometimes when it's not yet evening. "Jeff said you talked in your sleep," she says, putting on eyeliner by the cracked mirror near the beer dispenser.
"He said you kept calling for Batman. He thought it was hilarious."
"Funny," he yawns, stretches. "I'm gonna use the shower."
the bullet was travelling 2.500 feet per second.
bullets do not travel in straight lines. gravity, recoil, air resistance—the bullet motions in a corkscrew path. drag increases as the square of the velocity. it's in the momentum—the quicker it loses its momentum, the more force it produces.
.40 calliber glock 22. standard issue blüdhaven police department. the shot rings true and clear and dick's body moves before he knows it. he's too late. the bullet hits and the blood—jesus christ, the blood, the blood, the boy—
"no," dick said, to no one, to the boy, to the dark. stupid, stupid, stupid. he pressed his palms tight and steady on the gunshot wound. the boy gasped, eyes open and bulging and tearful. "stay with me, kid—stay—" he looked so young. tim's age. tim's fucking age. the boy's choking on his own blood, red stark against the dark of his skin, and dick is about to scream. "god—god, you shot him." stupid.
"didn't you see the way he was comin' at me—"
"he's just a boy!" dick snapped, his voice harsh and reverberating in the dead of the night, so loud and forceful like a gunshot. officer davis opened his mouth, but said nothing. he looked at dick like he never really looked at him before, but dick wasn't looking at him.
"144, dispatch," dick said to his radio. "144, dispatch."
"144, proceed." the blood—a trail of it runs from the boy's chin, to his neck, to the concrete. why won't the blood stop—
"10-52, civilian down," his voice was shaking, harsh, unfamilliar in his ears. "61 red line north requesting medic immediately."
"144 copy, medic on the way stat. do you have a suspect?"
dick already knew how this was going to go. the chest under his hands was stuttering, gasping for breath after breath, the blood warm and familiar on his fingertips.
his parents were falling 32.15 feet per second.
He drops his bag on the sofa.
He doesn't have much inside it. Some clothes. Dick Grayson's wallet. A phone. Not Dick Grayson's—a new phone, with emergency contacts and what not.
The apartment looks lived in. Somewhat messy. Books, stacked on the floor and corners (A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Japan and North-East Asia, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard Feynman, The Cat and the Devil, The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart). An abundance of maps, for some reason. Files.
He isn't sure if he likes it. Or if he hates it. He doesn't feel anything, not exactly. He touches the couch—light blue, a bit worn out. There is a leather jacket draped on it. The coffee table is dirt with scattered crumbs. Cookies, or perhaps cereal. An empty mug of what looks like coffee at the bottom of it. A scrap of sticky note. Written on it, with a blocky, capital lettered handwriting that he doesn't recognize:
TO DO LIST
SALT EGGS CREAMER SHAMPOO (THE ONE TIM RECS!)
7 AM SHIFT
18:00 PN SESSION
RVW CS 780B, 399B, 603A (O)
Tim Wayne. Bruce—Bruce Wayne. He doesn't know who Roy is, or why those names are underlined. The list means nothing.
None of the boxes are checked. They'll probably never be.
A newspaper. Some of the words are circled with red marker—names, dates, locations. He reads. Homicide cases. Arson. Blockbuster.
Picture frames, above the mess of a desk in the corner of the room. Dick Grayson's working desk, he assumes. It's cheap wood. Another pile of files on it. He picks one up, and tries to read it.
It doesn't make sense. Some are—some are readable, standard police casefiles, cold cases, active cases, or just plain, straightforward documents. Some are written in Russian. Some in Japanese. Some in Sanskirt. Some are just—numbers?
And some, are paragraphs of writing that don't make any sense.
One begins like this:
Julia walked into a bar and buys a duck filled rice cracker with a side of Montana whiskey crank into a cup shaped like Turquoise—
And it goes on, a bunch of words strung into indecipherable sentences—
He gets it. He puts the files back. These are files with sensitive information, probably encrypted—and can only be decrypted—by Dick Grayson himself.
Thus: he can't read them.
On the walls, there are photos.
A man with blue eyes crinkling with laughter, in most of those, with various of people—strangers—with his arm slung on their shoulders. One of the photos aren't framed. It's of two boys—one older than the other, also laughing. A scenery of mountains spread out behind them. Both have blue eyes, dark hair. They look like—brothers, maybe. Maybe one of them is Dick Grayson. Him.
None of that means anything.
None of this means anything.
The anger seeps out as quickly as it came. The pounding in his head persists.
When his breathing is back to normal, he realizes faintly that his hands are bleeding. Glass shards all over the floor, broken picture frames, photos of laughing strangers that supposed to mean something but do not. His head hurts.
The pain helps, though. Clears the anger up.
The cut isn't too deep. He inspects his hand, curiously. The blood—
(the disgusting revolting warmth the unbearable familiarity of red and the scent of iron and rust and clenched fists blood in his mouth on
his tongue everywhere on the floor on the concrete everywhere
everywhere everywhere everywhere poison poisonous blood in his hands
poisonous blood in his
han d s
—drips to the floor. Blots on a polaroid of a man—teen—redhead, freckles all over his face, smiling to the camera with a middle finger raised. On the corner of the photo, the same blocky handwriting: WALLS 2008.
Another name he doesn't recognize, underlined like a reminder.
It doesn't matter.
He takes the leather jacket, wears it. It smells faintly of something it doesn't know.
It fits, perfectly.
The bedroom is a bit plain, and funnily enough, looks much tidier and yet less lived in than the living room. The bed looks crisp, and made, like no one hasn't slept in it for quite a while.
(Which is the case.)
He sits. It's a size queen bed. Quite comfortable. He lays down. It feels foreign.
"Is this—the landlord? Yes, this is Richard Grayson," he says to the Dick Grayson's phone. "I'd like to move out."
"really? not even a little bit?"
"nope. 'cause you'll catch me."
Someone puked in his taxi just shy four hours ago—which is four in the morning. A girl, who looks underage underneath her make-up, accompanied her somewhat-sober friend who also looks underage underneath her make-up. He picked them up from some shady three star club. He'd been there once. The beer is absolute shit there, and he knows they don't card. And that it's full of creepy assholes.
The girl had told him how he was "the hottest guy I've ever seen will you marry me?" and cried (he'd said no), and then threw up mid-drive. And then her friend told him that she'd lost her wallet. He'd then stopped at a McDonalds drive-thru, bought them both a burger, scolded the shit out of them ("Twenty-one? If you're twenty-one then I'm the goddamn Wonder Woman."), and dropped them off.
The taxi still stinks.
He has the windows rolled down, and now it stinks not only of puke, but also of sewage and cigarette and trash and whole lot other scents that are distinctly Blüdhaven. The air conditioner also is not working. The temperature does not help. It's not supposed to be hot, it's April, but whaddaya say. Global fucking Warming.
He thinks he should stop doing night shift, but night is the only time when he feels most awake. He'd figured out that his sleeping schedule is fucked.
At the moment, eight in the morning, he isn't sleepy, exactly—but he's getting there. Fortunately, and unfortunately, the guy he's driving right now is a chatty one. He'd introduced himself as Old Nick because he's old (pretty stupid, and very uncreative, but he let it slide), and he does look old. Like, ancient. He's been talking about technology for twenty minutes they've been in this traffic.
"Huh, wouldja look at that," he says, after a lengthy speech about millennials and their fixation to phones. "Don't see the birds a lot around 'ere. This city's toxin is killing 'em," Old Nick says. "That's one pretty bird, huh?"
"It's April," he says, which is the second thing he'd said ever since Old Nick got into his taxi (the first thing was "where to?"). "That's a male Spruce Grouse. Now is their peak courtship activity."
"Huh. How'd ya know issa male?"
"The males' got the red wattle over the eye."
"Huh!" Old Nick does not sound particularly convinced, nor interested, and then he got back into talking about internet and anti-christ.
He dropped Nick off ("Repent yourself son! The end is nigh!") and turns his cab. There is a playground near here somewhere—he buys himself a $3 hotdog (that's all the cash he has on him, he lost the $10 at McDonalds) and sits in the bench he plans to sleep on for the next three hours. That's also, apparently, the amount of sleep he can get before he wakes up from a dream he can't remember.
That's life. That's his life.
It isn't so bad. He could get used to this. He wipes the back of his mouth, throws the hotdog paper into the nearby trashcan. He is getting used to this.
"Brother," a kid says, running up to him. She's wearing a cap with Wonder Woman logo over it. "You're bald! You're bald! Bald brother."
Great. "Go away, kid," he says.
She eyes him curiously. "Gégé, you can speak Mandarin?"
"Shénme?" He pauses, frowns. He is—he can speak Mandarin, apparently. "Oh."
"Whoa! Smart brother. Smart bald brother."
God. "Where is your māma?" He squints, looking for the lady in question.
She shakes her head. "I don't have a mom. I have two dads!"
"Where are they, then?" Before they see their daughter speaking into a hobo looking stranger and beat the shit out of him.
"They're buying me ice cream," she says.
"Shouldn't you be with them—"
"Brother, why're you bald?"
Sigh. "I'm ill," he says, after a while. "So they shaved my head."
Her eyes sparkle. She breaks into a brilliant smile. "Me too!" She exclaims, and takes off her Wonder Woman hat, revealing a bald head.
Something twists in his chest.
He smiles, even if there's a lump in his throat. "Twinsies?"
She nods, gives him a fist, which he bumps into. "Twinsies!"
"Wanna see some cool trick?"
She tilts her head inquiringly. "What kind of trick?"
He stands up, and goes to the monkey bar. There aren't that many kids around, and while he's at it, he should look over this little girl. Even if her dads will probably beat him up or something. "This kind," he says, and hangs onto the monkey bar. They are short enough that his feet are touching the ground, but he can improvize.
He lifts both his knees to his chest. And then he starts pretending to walk vertically up the air.
"Whoa!" The girl cheers in delight. "Bald brother, you're awesome!" And then he goes up beyond the bar, on top of it, and holds his body up with his hands. She gapes. He then hangs upside down, dangling from his hands and feet. She starts clapping.
"Brother, you're so awesome! Like Batman!"
"Like Batman," he repeats, and gets down. "Now, let's take you to your dads, okay?"
He could get used to this, he decides.
"momentum, robin," mary lloyd-grayson said. she'd always smelt like chalk, spices, and the rose perfume john bought her every six month. she didn't like roses, she'd told dick, but she'd worn it everytime anyway. "it's what makes you fly."
"dad said it's the heart," he said, and she smiled, rolled her eyes in endearment. john had always been the sentimental one.
"i'm not wrong, am i?" john said, smiled at them. he kissed dick first, on the forehead, and then his wife. he is wearing his training suit, like all of them. the performing platform is scarce — they have the tent for all themselves, and the trapeze.
"yes," mary retorted, flicked her husband on the nose. "of course, it's the heart, and all that jazz. but it's also physics, you see," mary had her hands on her hips. "can you say that again for me?"
"momentum equals mass times velocity," dick recited proudly. he'd had it memorized. mary gasped, pretending to be surprised.
"oh my!" she said, and kneeled so their faces are the same height. "what an intelligent boy you are. I wonder whose boy this is?" she kissed his neck, which always made him giggle.
"mine, of course," john swooped dick in one big movement, and held him tucked into his chest. he looked terribly small like that. dick laughed happily. he had always loved the height.
"mine," mary said, and shot her husband a challenging, perhaps flirtateous look. john wished that was the case.
"you're both mine."
"no. you're both," mary flicked his nose, and dick's, "mine."
"eh," john tilted his head to the side, pretending to consider it. "i can live with that. ready to fly, dickie?" he set him down again, and he had the biggest smile on his face as he looked to his son.
"heck yeah!" dick said, and john gave him the trapeze. he had the biggest smile on his face. the kid didn't even look nervous.
mary circled him, checking out his form. "remember what I said?"
"and how do you have more of that?"
"um," dick had a tiny frown between his brows, when he tried to remember stuff. "impulse!"
"smart boy," mary said, and gave him a kiss like how she did to her husband before he flew.
"afraid?" john whispered, hands wrapping around dick's on the bar. "nuh-uh," dick shakes his head.
"really?" john said, smiling. "not even a little bit?"
"nope," dick says. "'cause you'll catch me."
john gives him a kiss. "fly, robin."