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Appearing Tonight: The One and Only...

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Halfway down the steps to the Cave, Terry froze. There was somebody down there and it sure as hell wasn’t Bruce. He’d just come back from the hospital where he’d spent most of the day waiting to hear if the Old Man made it or not.

He approached quietly, watchful—and froze again as the intruder remarked, “Huh. Third step from the bottom still squeaks. I always thought he’d fix that.”

Terry glared down at the traitorous step. “And you would be?” he asked with as much Batman as he could muster in his voice. The effect always fell a little short, he suspected.

“I am vengeance, I am the night,” came the reply, so uncannily like the Old Man that a chill ran up Terry’s spine. “Or at least,” the voice changed to a lighter tenor, “that was the plan when it all started.”

Terry began to have a hunch and proceeded as nonchalantly as possible when a million questions were bouncing around his brain. “Way to go with the early warning, wonder dog,” he muttered as he spotted Ace stretched out in front of the costume case, right at the stranger’s feet.

Except that wasn’t remotely the right word. If anyone owned this space besides Bruce, it was this man before him. Terry guessed he must be in his sixties now, Boy Wonder days long behind him. It was funny, though; there was such a youthful aura to him that details like the gray-salted hair barely registered. In fact the first word that popped into Terry’s mind as he looked at him was…sparkly.

Blue eyes narrowed slightly and the bright smile shadowed with a trace of suspicion. “What?”

Terry shook his head. “Nothing. I…guess this is where I say, Richard Grayson, I presume?”

The first Robin, the best and brightest of them all, smiled and bowed. “Except my friends call me Dick.”

“Bet you had fun with that.”

“There were moments. So.” Dick Grayson looked at him, taking his measure. Whatever he thought was masked by a poker face he’d probably mastered at an age when Terry was still learning to tie his shoes. “How’s Bruce? Barbara called me.”

Terry guessed she would. He shrugged. “He’s cranky and complaining and wants to be discharged right now, so, you know--”

“His usual charming self?” The words were spoken lightly enough and Terry might have imagined the trace of bitterness behind them.

“Will you see him?”

Dick glanced away, that bright aura dimming. “I don’t know.”

Terry wasn’t sure what to say. What he didn’t know about this part of the Old Man’s life was…pretty much everything. “You two were legendary. Yin to the other’s yang.”

Dick shot him a look but then busted out a smile so bright it might have even lit up the Old Man’s life, once upon a time. “I guess that’s one way to describe it.” He sighed, looked around the Cave as if seeing things hidden to Terry. “Will he see me?”

“Only one way to find out.”

Dick nodded and squared his shoulders, and Terry wondered if there was any way he could be there to witness the reunion first hand.

Something told him it would be beyond schway.