I tried to watch The Cape, but then I couldn’t. I wanted to like it? But then I saw the first ten or fifteen minutes and started laughing hysterically because I am a terrible human being and everything went downhill after that.
HOWEVER. It gave me an ~idea. (That I will never be able to write beyond this because, again, terrible human being. /o\)
Just, you know. That AU where there is no Batman because Bruce was shot by the same man who killed his parents and is now in a wheelchair. Wayne Enterprises is still going strong, but Gotham’s gotten darker, more dangerous with Batman to protect her, and Wayne Enterprises isn’t the only mega corporation in Gotham.
There’s Gordon, of course, and the mysterious Oracle who knows and sees all and is ruthless in exposing corruption. (Gotham’s elected officials, the police force, etc., etc., etc.)
Dick’s parents die while performing, but instead of Bruce adopting him he gets put into a group home. (Because the circus is no home for a child, never mind that Dick has people who love him like family there.)
And then he meets this kid, right. Younger than him and just as stupid. They stick by each other like brothers until Dick turns eighteen, and Jason. Jason’s heard all about the circus and how much Dick wants to go back there because they’re his family. Jason expects Dick to take off the moment he can, but.
Dick never thought this would be his life. Really. Not even when his parents died and Gotham’s social services stepped in, placing him in group home after group home. (Dick had problems with bullies, and the people running the groups homes had problems with him.)
And then there was Jason, mouthy, stupidly brave Jason who had even more of a problem with bullies than Dick did, but when it was the two of them together, the bullies had problems with them.
“Dick - “
Jason scowls at him in all his teenage glory. “You should cut your losses and run.” Jason says, looking away. “Go back to being the Bearded Woman or whatever it was you did.”
“Okay, first,” Dick says, flicking Jason’s forehead. “I was never the Bearded Woman, and second?” Another forehead flick, and he has to lean back to avoid Jason’s retaliatory swing. “I could never leave you, Jay.”
“I’m not a kid anymore, Dick!”
Not a kid, no. Jason’s fifteen, and in some ways that’s worse. Too old to be adopted and too young to leave the system. Just the right age for all kinds of bad things to happen to him if Dick just left.
“I’m not going to leave you, Jason.” Dick had every chance to get out of the system, get adopted and have a family again just like the movies say, but. But he would have had to leave Jason behind, Jason who was everything adoptive parents didn’t want because they didn’t look hard enough, didn’t see how amazing he was.
“You’re a fucking moron,” Jason says, but he can’t look Dick in the eye when he does because. Because.
Maybe. “So are you,” Dick says because. Dick does know how incredible Jason is, when he’s not being an ass. He knows he’s a good kid with a good heart who deserves better than what Gotham’s social services can give him. Better than what Dick can give him.
“They won’t let me adopt you,” Dick tells him, because this is important. Jason needs to know this. “But. I can foster you.”
Jason looks up, cautious. “What?”
“Not. Not right away.” Because there are all these hoops Dick has to jump through first, but that’s fine, it’s okay because he’s an acrobat and hoops are nothing.”I still need to go through the academy and get a job and prove I can provide you a good home.” And this all feels so strange to say, but he means it. “But then you can get out of here and come live with me.”
Of course, of course the only thing Jason picks up on is - “Academy? Dick, what the hell are you - “
“I think Officer Grayson has a nice ring to it, don’t you?”
“You’re going to get killed,” Jason says, looking at Dick. “You’re going to get killed because you’re too much of a fucking do-gooder to look the other way when it’s the smart thing to do, and then what do I do, Dick? At least if you were with Haly’s I’d know you were okay.”
And they fight about that, of course they do, because they both know what a cesspool of corruption and greed Gotham is. The given lifespan of a Gotham police officer - Gordon is the exception there.
But Dick wins, and another year goes by and Jason’s out of the group home and in the cramped apartment Dick manged to get for them. It barely passes muster, but Dick’s well liked and the social services people knows him, knows them, and favors get called in because there are still good people in Gotham.
Dick’s partner Barbara is one of them, even if she spends more time laughing at him than with him. (He finds this is a Gordon trait, which. Unfair.)
And then someone tries to kill Gordon, who survives but goes into a coma (because of dramatic reasons) and his replacement is someone everyone knows is corrupt but can never find proof, not even Oracle.
Shenanigans happen that place Dick squarely at the center of interest for many people - the ones behind the murder attempt on Gordon. The press. Oracle.
Dick’s working off the clock, looking for something, anything to point to who would want Gordon dead badly enough to try what they did, and he runs into people with guns and bullets and a desire to see Dick dead.
And then this kid, it has to be a kid, too small to be an adult, pops up out of nowhere and takes them down, leaving Dick holding his gun and staring at this kid, smaller than Jason. Smaller than Dick ever remembers being.
“Come with me if you want to live,” the kid says, corner of his mouth twitching up into a smirk. And because Dick really would like to keep living, he does.
The kid ties a blindfold on him, and then puts a hood on over that, “Not that we don’t trust you, but we don’t trust you. Nothing personal.”
Dick rolls his eyes, and wonders if maybe Jason was right, that Dick’s made the wrong kind of enemies and he is going to break his promise to Jason, is going to leave him alone, and -
“I see you found him. Any trouble?”
“Nothing I couldn’t handle, the kid says, taking the hood off, followed by the blindfold.
Dick blinks, trying to make sense of where they are, but it’s dark, shadows everywhere. He can see the faint glow of what looks like computer screens at the back of the room, where the first voice came from.
“Where - “
“Our secret lair,” the kid says, from the opposite spot Dick thought he was in.
“Lair? Really?” Dick asks, because. Well. That’s a little supervillain, isn’t it?
“Watch your eyes,” the kid says, but before Dick can ask what that means the lights come on, and God, thanks for the cryptic warning.
“Was that really necessary?” the guy asks, and Dick agrees with him because really?
“I have to make my own entertainment, you know that,” the kid says.
Dick cautious opens his eyes. “Holy - You’re Bruce Wayne.”
“Oracle, actually,” the kid says, going to Wayne’s side. “He’s wanted to talk to you for a while now.”
Wayne shoots the kid a reproving look, but the kid just grins, and Dick would really like to know what’s going on now, please.
The kid grins at him and gestures to Wayne, who gives him another look. Neither of which seem to work.
And then Bruce explains how he’s been fighting for great justice the only way he can and how Tim found out about him and ended up as his sidekick and eyes and ears in Gotham and beyond when needed. How they’ve been keeping tabs on Powers Technology and their bid into taking over Gotham’s police department.
“You’re crazy, you know that, right?” Dick asks when Wayne finishes speaking.
Wayne smiles, faint. “You don’t even know the half of it.”
And Dick, okay. Dick wants to walk away from this, but. They tried to kill Barbara’s father, one of the good people in Gotham who wanted to make a difference.
“One more thing,” Wayne says, when Tim’s about to take him home.
(And what about that coincidence, huh? The Drake heir teaming up with Bruce Wayne and this is all very bad movie.)
“What?” Dick asks, wary. This is usually the part where things like, I’m afraid I can’t let you live now that you know my secret get said, and then the killing starts.
“You might want to consider Jason’s safety,” Wayne says.
It’s a threat, yes, but oddly enough, not Wayne’s threat. (Dick has the feeling it would be far more terrifying if it was.)
“They know you know something you shouldn’t,” Tim says, spreading his hands apologetically. “The next step is usually finding out how much you know, and if they can make you forget it,” Tim’s eyes dart towards Wayne and away again. “Using your loved ones against you is a good way to do that.”
Wayne’s mouth turns down at that and Dick. Dick gets the feeling Tim’s speaking from experience and God, what the hell has he stumbled onto here?
“Come on,”Tim says, holding out the blindfold. “Time for you to go home and think about things.”
And then he does, and Jason knows something’s up but Dick doesn’t know how to tell him, “And then a vigilante saved my life and I met his boss and you wouldn’t believe me if I told you who it was and our lives are in danger. I think I’m the damsel in distress and you’re my plucky kid and everything is terrible.”
Eventually Dick realizes he’s in too deep to just run off and leave, that he can’t just kidnap Jason and get the hell out of town – Powers has a long reach and if he thinks Dick’s a danger, he won’t let them live, (God, what even is his life now.)
“You’re going to need training,” Wayne says, and sets the kid, sets Tim, on him.
Dick’s done his best to keep up with his acrobatics – it’s all he has left of his family – and he knows some martial arts from the academy, but.
“Tim,” Wayne says, deeply unimpressed when Dick inadvertently goes easy on Tim because the kid’s tiny. Dick is clearly an idiot because a moment later Tim pulls a knife somewhere and throws it at Dick.
The knife passes over his head when Dick drops flat and he hears it sinks into the wall behind him
“Lesson two,” Bruce says, as Tim retrieves the knife, amused smile playing on his lips. “Never underestimate your opponent.” (The first lesson had involved lots of pain and Bruce smirking at him because Dick is an idiot and these people are clearly insane, Alfred included because he enables them.)
Tim turns around, examining the knife in his hand. “Not my preferred weapon, but it gets the job done.”
And then someone goes after Jason who is all, “What the fuck are you wearing, Dick?” when Dick and Tim arrive just in time to save him.
“He’s the terror that flaps in the night,” Tim says, tying up the unconscious guards. “He’s…Nightwing.”
And then Tim smiles, because he’s a jerk and a traitor and Jason punches Dick because what the hell, Dick, how stupid are you?
And then they all become a happy crime-fighting family who fight crime starting with Powers and his bid to become evil overlord of Gotham and New Jersey and okay, maybe also the world. Eventually.
(The ending maybe needs a little work.