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The Gray Son

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He breathed. For fifteen minutes.

Dick tried to embrace his brothers at every opportunity he could. In each shelter, in each falsette, in each breath. It was his exit, hope tight within his arms and hold them close. Close. Very close.

And in the dark, he prevented the nails from exerting a lot of pressure. From scratching. That would mark the skin. He kept his arms from staying close to their bodies and don't slide up their necks, squeezing the trachea and pressing, pressing, pressing, until the air was scarce and had to stop.

Because there was always a part of him, that tiny little vibration on the left back side of the back of his head, which murmured blasphemies. Atrocities that he wanted, that he longed for, that he needed, that he was dying to do to his brothers. To those monsters without a face, without a name and without a smile, more than a copy of his.

Robin was his name. His legacy. The last laugh of Mary Grayson. His beautiful and unbearable mother. The one that fell and fell and fell until her body braked to the ground and her head was broken against the foundation, the blood splashed and dissolved the meat, painted red the temples and brains that exploded in the air and soaking the death in the gray canvas.

And Dick allowed himself a light smile when he catched Bruce's hand, patting Damian's head, very immersed in a file to notice his son's embarassment, and breathed. Breathed. Because his efforts have paid off and Bruce was a little more competent with his son. His biological son. Biological. His only son. A son of so many.

Breathed. When he saw Jason making Tim laugh from the other side of the room. When Tim leaned forward and snatched the red helmet from him to press it against his chest, ignoring all protest. Breathed. Because his heart pumped heat to see them get along.

Breathed. Because at last the robin had taken flight and could leave him alone so he could continue on his way.

But then Bruce turned in his direction and handed him a piece of paper. The empty and intelligent look of a child under the name of Terrence McGinnis covered his vision, and he put it aside. He looked at his father; the unknown, the non-John Grayson, the traitor, the abandoner, the dea-

"It's mine," said Bruce.

Dick inspired and the robin crashed again.

Then he smiled again. As usual.