Another Child of Gotham’s Cold Night.
When the twelve year old boy, Dick Grayson, gets the opportunity to avenge his parents murders, Bruce Wayne has to reach within himself to convince the boy not to make this terrible mistake.
Set in the history of Man of Steel/BvS Zack Snyder universe.
The home invasion of Wayne Manor is concluding. Tony Zucco, one of Gotham’s upcoming crime bosses, had been making a second attempt on the life of a twelve year old boy, Dick Grayson. Zucco had recently staged the murders of Dick’s acrobatic parents and sent two men to finish off the boy when he attempted to reveal Zucco’s involvement. After Dick deters Zucco’s men in a “Home Alone” like manor, Bruce secretly offeres his home to commissioner Gorden as a sort of safe haven for Dick until he could testify and the escalating situation would be resolved. A poorly kept secret apparently as after only two days, Zucco and his men invade Wayne Manor in search of Dick Grayson. The home invasion does not go as planned however, as Bruce, Alfred and a defiantly insistent Dick work together to take down Zucco’s petty armed thugs, utilizing the darkness of the huge mansion. When Zucco attempts to franticly flee for fear of a mythical demon (The Batman), Dick takes him down in a stunning acrobatic feat where Dick crashes down on Zucco out of nowhere, disarming him. As Bruce and Alfred assess the situation and contact the authorities, Alfred is shocked to find an emotional Dick Grayson across the room holding a gun to a waking Tony Zucco.
“The boy, Master Bruce” Alfred whispers urgently with his hand covering the phone. Bruce’s attention is drawn across the room where a twelve year old Dick Grayson trains a gun on Tony Zucco. Bruce eyes the boy intently, carefully watching as stunningly familiar hopelessness and rage swallows yet another child of Gotham. Bruce does this quickly before cautiously proceeding to defuse the situation.
“It’s fine. I’ll handle it.” Bruce assures while slowly moving in on Dick. Alfred continues his call with Commissioner Gordon as Bruce takes only a few slow steps before Dick cautions,
“Bruce, stay away from me!”
Dick’s eyes are trained ahead though as he watches Zucco gathering himself. Still on the floor, he finally positions himself upright against the couch. Zucco stares back disgruntledly as Bruce observes from across the room.
“You shoulda died three times over kid” Zucco says. His voice is cold and wispy as he wears a smug expression.
“It was you, wasn’t it.” says Dick. “You killed my mom and dad.”
Zucco turns to spit access Blood from his mouth. Glaring back at Dick he grins, saying,
“Yeah. I putcha folks on ice. That was me, what of it boy?”
Bruce watches as a frustratingly pained rage presents it’s self in Dicks face. He grips the gun even tighter now.
“Dick” Bruce calls out, edging a little closer. “Think about what you’re doing.”
Dick is still for a while. He glares at the man who murdered his parents simply because they refused his ‘protection’.
“Why should he get to live?” Asks Dick, tears forming in his eyes. “Bruce, I’m not like you, I don’t have an Alfred or a fancy mansion, ive got nobody, nothing.” he continues, his voice cracking all the way.
“That’s not true Dick, you have your life and-” says Bruce before Dick retorts,
“My life was at Haley’s! With my parents…and now the’re dead and it’s all gone…all because of him.” says Dick as he eyes Zucco, clutching the gun even harder now. “You don’t deserve to live”
Zucco glances at the gun while smirking callously. He chuckles before asking,
“So whatcha gonna do kid? You gonna shoot me, or just cry about it?”
“Shut, Up.” Says Dick through gritted teeth as a tear rolls down his cheek. But Zucco continues to ramble before Dick threateningly flicks the gun’s safety. Zucco mockingly shows his hands in a facetious gesture.
Bruce is now positioned in Dick’s natural field of view as he stares relentlessly at the smug filth that is Tony Zucco. Bruce raises his hands in an attempt to draw Dick’s gaze.
“Hey, look at me.” says Bruce, but Dick glares onward. “Dick. Look at me.”
Dick hesitantly glances at Bruce. The firelight glistens on the far side of Dick’s face, casting a dark shadow on his nearer half. For a moment, their eyes lock and everything becomes clear. In his eyes Bruce sees not only rage, but obligation wet with despair. Dick doesn’t want to do this, to kill a man. It’s not who he is, but who he needs to be. This moment doesn’t last long before Dick’s eyes drop to the floor. His mouth opens, he lets out something faint and unintelligible but Bruce knows exactly what to say.
“This isn’t you Dick, you don’t want to do this, do you?” Bruce asks earnestly. Dick quickly wipes his face before he replies,
“I do…I should, I should want to kill you…” he lets out. Tears quickly reform in the base of Dick’s eyes but Zucco is unfazed.
“Come on. You gonna get this little sissy or what?” says Zucco, looking from Bruce to the now trembling boy. Bruce eyes the thug devilishly.
“Maybe your right. Maybe you should” says Bruce ominously.
Bruce can feel Alfred’s disapproving glare from across the room. Dick glances back at Bruce curiously while Zucco shifts his position nervously.
“Maybe scum like this doesn’t deserve to live. Maybe the world would be better off without him. Maybe, in another universe…where your father or your mother were here instead of you…maybe they would have pulled the trigger. And maybe it would’ve been fair.” Says Bruce
“Bruce, what on earth...” objects Alfred, before Bruce continues uninterrupted.
“But maybe Zucco would’ve been someone’s father, someone’s son, a brother maybe…Maybe there would’ve been people like that who loved him despite the monster he was. And maybe it would’ve been fair to take him away from those people the same way he would’ve taken you away from your parents.” says Bruce.
Dick’s eyes wonder as Bruce peers into his soul before he says,
“Fair maybe, but would it have been right, would it have been just?” Bruce continues by asking soulfully, “And do you really think your parents would’ve wanted this for them?”
Dick shakes his head hopelessly, tears falling from his closed eyes.
“I-I don’t know.” he says.
“But you do know Dick,” says Bruce. “I know you, and you do know.”
There is a few moments of silence broken only by the crackling of firewood and the sniffling of a defeated boy who stands across from Bruce as he continues to point a gun, staggering now. Bruce knows what he has to do as he watches the boy slowly conceding, succumbing to his innocence. But things start to sour just as Bruce takes a step in Dick’s direction when Zucco begins to laugh mockingly. Dick trains the gun intently again.
“Wow kid, you really got no balls do ya?” Zucco mocks.
“Shut up-” Dick demands firmly.
Zucco laughs callously before continuing to mock Dick while saying,
“Well you couldn’t’ve cared too much about ya folks if ya candy ass won’t even pull the trigger.”
Dick is beginning to lose control, why is Zucco egging him on like this? At this rate, the poor boy might actually kill him. Bruce watches as Alfred slowly moves on Dick, but he’s on the far side of the room.
“Dick.” Bruce calls in an attempt intervene. But the shouting escalates hastily.
“SHUT UP! You don’t know what you’re talking about!” cries Dick, his tone almost pleading.
“Tsk tsk, tsk, standin there cryin like a little sissy-” Zucco teases.
“Please…just-just…stop!” begs Dick.
“Hey, look at me.” says Bruce as he begins to advance on Dick.
But Zucco practically begs for death as he says,
“You aint the boy of the man who stood up to me that’s for-”
Alfred moves swiftly. It’s too late. Dick fires three rounds at Zucco. The room is silent and still. No! Bruce has lost, he’s let this happen. This innocent little boy has just killed a man solely because Bruce didn’t stop him. Surely he could have forcibly charged the boy, taken him by surprise, or taken the thug down himself and avoided all of this completely. Surely he could have done a number of things differently. He recounts the events briefly in his mind. He searches for moments where he actually could’ve done something; a line here, a move there, a change in position, a change in tone. But he didn’t, not because he couldn’t, but because he believed, however naively…that this boy was better than himself. That Dick could never kill the murder of his parents in the way that Bruce passionately dreams Bruce could. Because of this, he’s let this boy lose himself forever…They are now the same.
But as Bruce turns facing Zucco to accept this cold hard truth, to officially take it in; he is surprised to find that the thug is perfectly fine. Stunned, sure, but there is no blood, no bodily punctures, no being writhing in agony. Bruce gazes the area to find 3 encompassing bullet holes in the wall behind Zucco’s head. Bruce’s closes his eyes as he lets out a sigh of relief. Maybe Bruce wasn’t so naïve after all. Maybe Dick would be ok.
“You. You took everything from me!” Dick cries softly and shaken. “But I…can’t” His head droops low as he releases the gun, making a couple of loud thuds as it falls to the hard wood floor. It’s over. Bruce waists no more time. Without hesitation Bruces moves in on the boy. He pulls the boy close in a strong embrace.
“I…I could’ve...and-and I-” Dick forces unintelligibly. But Bruce understands him perfectly.
“Shhh. Its ok now, I’ve got you” Bruce whispers. Dick takes a breath before hopelessly asking,
“But, what does that make me, Bruce”
There’s a moment of silence.
“It makes you human Dick. Just like the rest of us” Bruce answers.
With Bruce’s arms clutched around the boy, Dick sobs into him, his upper face wetting Bruce’s neck. And for the first time since that faithful night, a tear trickles down Bruce’s cheek.
Zucco is shocked back to life when he hears sirens in the distance. He attempts to quickly go for the abandoned gun but is knocked out cold when a vase comes flying from across the room.
“My apologies, Mr. Zucco” says Alfred. “But you’ve done quite enough!”
Bruce and Dick’s moment continues untouched. Dick’s sobbing has turned almost inaudible. Bruce smiles before saying,
“It’s ok Dick…you have us now, and you’ll never be alone.”