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Changeover


by Darklady

Rating: PG-15

Disclaimer: I don't own Bruce Wane, I don't own Dick Grayson, and I damnsure don't own a Lamborghini - and those who do have a lot more money then me. So don't bother suing.

Slash? : Good question. Its Hornetverse, so yes.

Warning: (Almost) underage implications. Dick Grayson at 17. If you have a problem - don't read.

Archive: Other then here? Please ask



Fifteen minutes before I can leave.

Hair combed. Teeth brushed. Tie straight.

Hell, I've spent so much time staring into that mirror my face should be etched on it.

No matter.

Today is my seventeenth birthday. Bruce is flying in from a business trip to Canada, and I am picking him up at the airport. Tonight? Well, to blaspheme a bit - tonight I am a man.

I check my cuffs and straighten a cufflink. Another glance at my watch. Nice new Rolex with with a transmitter inside. Early birthday gift from Bruce. Ten minutes.

The last three weeks I've been living on edge, barely able to breathe.

Lucius had sent a lawyer into the Juvenile Court with papers for my emancipation, and normally such things pass, but with no pressing reason? Lets just say I prayed a lot. But Judge Morris apparently bought the excuse that I would be going off to college and needed to handle my own legal matters. That, and the firm promise that Lucius Fox was keeping control of the cash. Maybe. Or maybe he just signed it and never read the thing at all.

Doesn't matter. It is done. Finished. As of two days ago I became my own man. No more legal minor. No more ward of the court. No more parental relationship.

Thank God.

Because Bruce damn well wouldn't touch me while I was. And frankly, that was driving us both crazy.

Five minutes. I do a mental run through of the car. Did I check the trunk? I don't want to leave any junk food wrappers.

Thank God it's Saturday.

Yesterday was bad enough. I damn near bombed a history test for the first time in ever. Plain lack of concentration. Only my stark terror of what would not happen if Bruce decided my new status was harmful got my mind back on the Napoleonic Wars.

Thank God I don't have homework to do. Finished it all at school Friday. I do not plan to waste this weekend on calculus.

I spent last night polishing my car, and picking out a suit, and changing my mind about which tie to wear. Crazy I know, but I want to be perfect for him.

6:30.

Close enough.

"Alfred?" I call over to the kitchen as I head for the front doors. "I'm leaving now."

It won't matter if I get there just a bit early.



I make it a nice, slow drive. This is no time to get a traffic ticket. I concentrate on acting mature and responsible.

The guard at the airport recognizes my car, and he waves me through to the private plane area. I park neatly alongside the Wayne hanger and wait. 7:15 pm. If the plane is on time, he should be here within the half hour. I brought a book, but I ignore it. I just sit back and watch the sky.


7:36

I hear it before I see it. That's the problem with a polite paint job. The Batmobile you can see from twenty miles when he wants you to. That thing? It's indistinguishable from every other private jet out there - unless you are looking for it. I am.

I start the engine, then pause. No sense looking hyper. Normally I'd track the jet as it taxied in. Not tonight. I'll wait here until the plane is at a full stop. Bruce won't get off before then anyway, and it will show him how adult and sensible I've become.



I wait until the plane is still and the stairs are down before I ease the car away from the hanger. Nice and careful. Not too fast. I stay in the painted lanes. I'm so focused on my driving that I almost miss the first sound of heavy engines gunning to life. From the far hanger, a wall collapses and three trucks burst out.

A burst of automatic gunfire has me spinning away. The spray takes out the windshield. Dents the door. I'm grateful Lamborghinis have steel bodies. These guys are serious. I race for the far side of the hanger. Evasion first. Earl will have my suit and gear.

The second truck goes for the plane. The pilot is on the stairs. Captain Saunders, it looks like. He goes down in the next volley, falling over the side to the asphalt below. The rounds follow him down.

Engines fire up.The plane starts to move. Powers, Henderson, or Bruce? No way to tell. The next rounds shatter the windshield and shred the tires. I think whoever was in the cockpit is down too. This plane is grounded.

Three minutes to suit up. Too long. By the time I hit the ground they are shoving two bagged men into the lead truck. Bruce and Powers, I assume. Bruce's fate doesn't worry me. Well, it does, of course... but I know what he is. Most likely their target.

Bruce alone would not have been captured. Bruce alone I could free. If Powers was threatened? Bruce would risk himself before endangering another person. Before seeing an innocent killed. And these guys have already proved that they will kill.

The trucks or the plane? No choice. I start up a Wayne Air heavy truck and give chase.

The first one I ram. Good rear clip that send them spinning into a shed. A bit lethal at their speeds, but they are proven murderers, and that is not the truck Bruce is in. I couldn't risk Bruce.

The second flanking truck turns back to fight. Damn! I need them out but I can't afford the delay. This driver is a pro. Cold and lethal. I try to edge past him. He hits me broadside and sends me spinning. I recover and curve around again, but he has cost me time. Too much time.

The third truck is getting away. Damn! That is the one that counts. No time to check if Bruce is transmitting. I load a batarang and send it into the back bumper. They will find it, of course... but they may not understand it. At least, not until it's too late.

I take the guard truck from the front.

They fire off a clip. It takes out my windshield. The radiator too, and likely the engine block. No matter. I have the momentum, and my pure mass sends us both sliding into the damaged jets landing gear. I hear, then feel, a very major crunch. From the plume of black smoke, they won't be going far.

Sirens. Many sirens.

The airport police have arrived. Good. They will handle these punks and get medical help for our fallen. Robin is free to follow the bat-tracker.



No batchopper here, but Earl does have an unmarked motorcycle on hand. Good enough. I clip in the tracker and grab extra gear. Extra batarangs, bat cuffs, gas pellets and line. Especially gas and line. I will need to take the crooks sentries out and secure them before Batman can get clear.

Plain helmet only. That will do. This isn't a beauty contest.

I gun the engine and hop the hedge. Fifteen seconds and I am on the main road and just behind my target.



One virtue to sunset. It clears the road and make tracking easier - at least if you're going by radio telemetry.

I have my cape black-side-out, and with it tucked around me I make a low recognition target. Even so, I try to mix with whatever traffic there is.

The truck is moving fast. I pray for a ticket-minded traffic cop. Or a fender-bender up the road. Anything that might slow them down.

If I have to attack here, I will - but it will be safer for Powers if the truck is stopped before I make my move.



8:06

They pull into a old warehouse down by the docks. Lots of cover here. I ditch the bike behind a pile of crates and take to the roofs. I find a convenient skylight and start to break the locks while I watch.

Three men in this truck. Two rifles and a Uzi. The last could be bad news, but from the cursing and shaking I gather it's either jammed or out of ammo. Maybe both. Those guns can be tricky if you don't know exactly how to clean them. Scowling boy doesn't look like he knows how to shower. Good luck for our side.

Bozo doesn't know how to work either. He strikes a Rambo pose with his dead piece while the other two stash their guns and go for the cargo.

They pull their victims from the back of the truck, and after a minute jerk off the hoods. Bad sign. Kidnappers never show their faces if they plan to let anyone live.

A tall man flanked by two guards steps out from the back. Not quite masked, but he's got a hat pulled down far enough to screw up ID. A pro - and nasty with it. He looks at one bound man, then the other. After a few seconds, he points at Bruce.

"This is Wayne. The other one is trash"

Worse sign.

I'm not in perfect position, but from the look of the pistol pointed at Powers' head, I'm out of options. At least with Bruce able to see, I should have some help.

I hear the action cock. This is it.

Two gas pellets straight down. Bad cover, but something. I launch my batarangs, shoot a line, and swing.

Rambo and one punk go down from the flying blades, and the executioner is thrown off by my impact on the back of his head. The gun fires, but the bullet misses Powers. He's forced down on the floor from the impact of my drop, and trapped half under the body of the unconscious assassin. Good. Safest place just now.

I swing to the left. From the grunts of pain, Bruce is handling the right. One scissor kick for the nearest bodyguard. He gets off a round, but only into the rafters. Ignore it. One more kick and I hear the crack of bone and a scream. Another bad guy is disarmed and out of the fight.

I release my line and drop to the floor, rolling as I go.

The other body guard is on the floor whimpering, and Bruce has his shoe in Mr. Major Badguys face. A bit of a persona risk, but none of these creeps are going to be in any shape to tell stories.

I fling a last batarang just in case. Probably overkill, but I'm in a bad mood - and that bastard is responsible. It hits him in the kidneys and takes him out.

Six bodies, two moaning. Plus Powers , of course.

I drop to the floor, and cuff the nearest perp. Then the next.

Bruce is standing over the ringleader when I get to him.

"Mr. Wayne. Are you all right?" I ask as I free his hands.

My voice almost cracks, but I recover. Calm and impersonal. Just like in training. Bruce will be proud of me.

"See to Powers."

OK. I clap some bat cuffs on the moaning baddie before rolling him off the other victim. Not that the punk had much fight left. Still. No need to take chances.

"Mr. Powers? I'm calling for the police. You'll be OK."

I untie his ropes, and after a moment Powers can walk over to sit on a crate. The events have been a hard shock, but there is no major physical injury. He will recover.

Powers is babbling something worried, and I'm making reassurance noises, when I hear Bruce's voice.

"Best call an ambulance too."

"For the shock?" I look up. "Mr. Powers does look a bit pale."

"No, for me." He points the red stain growing on his jacket shoulder, "I rather think I have been shot."


8:21

I call the ambulance first. Luckily, they have learned to give super-hero calls first priority, so a call from Robin has them here within minutes. Even so, that's too damn long. I help Bruce to lay down and I apply a pressure bandage, but I know that is not enough. He needs a doctor and he he needs one now!

I wait guarding the punks until the ambulance comes, and after it the police. It's a routine by now. Batman takes the thugs, Robin talks to the cops. They don't even ask for details. Powers is nattering away in the corner. He's not making much sense, but he's in shock. Bullock is pretending to listen while Montoya takes notes. Maybe. Or maybe that's her grocery list. With a bunch of known criminals on the ground and one of Gotham's leading citizens with a bullet in him; what's to ask? Only the question I want to ask and can't. Was it the stray shot I kicked away from Powers? Am I responsible?

I say my usual jaunty goodbyes and jumpline off for the alley where I stashed my bike. There, out of sight and sound - I hurl up my guts. I blew it. Bungled like an amateur. Failed, totally and criminally. I got Bruce shot. I misjudged and screwed up and got the angle wrong, like the stupid kid I am. I shot Bruce - and I don't know how I am going to live with myself.



9:12

Robin can't go to the hospital. Dick Grayson can. That is pretty much the only thing that kept me upright and pointed towards the cave.

Alfred had the story off the police band. He was waiting when I cleared the shock doors.

"Your suit, master Dick."

One of the ugly ones Alfred bought. Not nice like I planned. What did it matter? Bruce was never going to look at me again. I don't know how I can face him - but I don't have the strength stay away.

I change without speaking.

My fingers are numb.

We take the Rolls. Alfred drives. I can't. I can't even cry.



9:48

The triage area at Gotham Memorial is in controlled hysteria. Reporters shouting outside. Doctors shouting inside. Cops everywhere. Answers nowhere.

Alfred Penneysworth corners a charge nurse like a Collie with a stray sheep.

"Family to see Mr. Wayne."

Alfred has a tone that compels instant obedience even from hospital staff. Must be the accent.

"Room 23-C, but I don't know if he's out of surgery.."

"Surgery.. Oh my God..." I would have sworn my stomach was empty, but now there are eagles in there. Maybe vultures. Something larger and meaner then butterflies, that's for damnsure.

"Check."

Alfred commands. She obeys.

"Dr. Norris? Do you have a status on Mr. Wayne?"

"Who wants to know?" The scrub-clad man looks at Alfred, then at me.

"Richard Grayson." My voice cracks and I don't care.

"Oh yes, Dick is it?" He gives me the 'whatever' glance busy grownups always give to kids. "Your father's been asking for you."

He turns to Alfred as we head down the hall. "Rather minor wound, although no gunshot is insignificant. But it was a clear pass. No broken bones, no serious muscle damage. Nothing I couldn't repair. A bit ugly to the back, but it was only a 22. A bit of plastic surgery in a month or so, and the whole thing can be a bad memory."

Alfred smiles. The doctor seems relived.

"We limit visitors in recovery, but I think I can make an exception for Thomas Wayne's son."

When we reach the door, Alfred sets one hand on my shoulder. "I will go check on the Captain and Mr. Henderson."

I nod. I know I should say something polite but I ...just can't. I have to get to Bruce.



9:53

I have to force myself through the door. Strange, because I want to be inside.

Bruce is propped up in the bed, with an IV in one hand and the usual monitors stuck here and there. I've seen Batman in worse shape, but... this is Bruce. He's almost sleeping, but at my footsteps he opens his eyes. He...looks at me.

"Bruce?"

"Dick." His voice is gravelled, probably from the throat tubes. The very thought makes my throat ache.

"I'm sorry."

"Why?" He actually sounds curious.

"I fucked up."

"No." He shakes his head slightly. "I did."

"No. I blew the kick and sent the gunman off wrong..."

"He wasn't the one who hit me." Bruce tries to rise, then drops back. "Think, Dick. The Luger aimed at Powers was a .44. Much nastier. This was from the right hand bodyguard. I took his carbine, but he had a holdout derringer. And he didn't stay out like I thought he would. He got me when I turned for his boss."

Christ. Only the Bat would be shot and count calibers. I will never equal this man. Never. But maybe...

"You forgive me?"

"Dick, I'm proud of you." He gives me a moment for that to sink in. "You did a wonderful job tonight. I'm only sorry that.... well, this wasn't how I planned for this evening to end."

He reaches out with his unstrapped hand. I clutch it and raise it to my lips.

"I don't care." I say the words,and doing so I realize that they are true. "You're here, and you're alive.. and that's enough."



FINIS



KKR 2003







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