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Overcoming Challenges

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“I still can’t believe I’m here,” Wally said, looking around the study with wide eyes. He stepped closer to a bookshelf and pulled out a copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince, accidentally brushing a vase in the process.

Dick grabbed the vase, steadying it. “You won’t be coming back if you knock that vase over.”

“Sorry,” Wally said, setting the book down and moving away from the shelf. “Seriously, Dick, how did you convince Batman to let me visit? He doesn’t let anyone visit.” Wally paused and looked at Dick seriously. “I didn’t even know that he knew that I know who you are.”

“That sentence barely makes sense,” Dick said, avoiding the question. Instead, he opened a cabinet and pulled out a wooden Scrabble board.

Wally frowned. “You know what I mean.”

Dick sat down in a chair and began setting the board up on the coffee table, studying each letter tile before putting it in the bag.

“Come on, Rob,” Wally said, sitting down in the chair on the other side of the table.

Dick sighed. “Bruce knows everything. You can’t hide anything from him, so I didn’t try. He didn’t exactly approve of me telling you my identity, mostly because it outed his, but as long as you don’t let it slip, he won’t do anything.”

Wally swallowed hard at the idea of Batman doing something to him. He was pretty sure that Batman wouldn’t actually kill him, but he didn’t want to test the theory. “My lips are sealed.”

“I know,” Dick said, he carefully counted out seven letters and held out the bag for Wally. Wally took the bag and counted out his own letters while Dick continued talking. “I’m surprised he let you visit too, but ever since that simulation he’s been watching me like a hawk. And then suddenly he suggested I invite you over for the afternoon.”

“Oh,” Wally said. “That makes sense then.”

“It does?” Dick said, surprised.

“Yeah,” Wally said. He laid down the tiles to make the word “meson” and looked up at Dick. “You’ve been moping around ever since that exercise. In his wisdom, Batman probably decided I could cheer you up.”

“I have not been moping around,” Dick said defensively. “There’s just been a lot going on.”

“Uh huh. Speaking of, have you talked to Zatanna lately?” Wally asked, winking at Dick.

Dick’s hand paused over the board for a fraction of a second before he laid down the word “whelmed.” He looked up and smirked at Wally. “I heard she was hanging out with Artemis the other day.”

The last thing Wally wanted to do was talk about Artemis, so instead he pointed at the board. “That’s not a word.”

“Sure it is,” Dick said.

“Just because you use it doesn’t make it a word.”

“Well, what about ‘meson’?” Dick countered.

“A meson is a subatomic particle,” Wally explained, “which makes it a valid word. It doesn’t matter though, because it’s too late to challenge my word.”

“’Whelmed’ is a valid word too,” Dick argued. He crossed his arms and glared at Wally.

“Prove it,” Wally said, crossing his own arms.

“Fine,” Dick said, standing up. “I’ll get a dictionary.”

**

“Perhaps you should intervene, Master Bruce,” Alfred suggested.

“They’re fine, Alfred,” Bruce said, not looking up from the monitor. A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips as he watched Dick take down the dictionary. “Besides, Dick is about to win this challenge.”

“Indeed he is,” Alfred agreed. “I believe Master Dick will swiftly whelm Master Wally in this game.”

Bruce nodded and turned his attention away from the Scrabble game and back to the Gotham news feeds. Dick was going to be fine.