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broken toys, broken boys

Chapter Text

"Good day, Grayson."

"Good morning to you too, Lancelot." Dick Grayson gave his fellow colleague a firm nod as he walked along the cars that were flanking him from each sides. Hands shoved in his pockets of his coat, he walked through the parking lot towards the main gates.

Nothing like a mocha frappuccino to start his tiring, crazy day spiraling around vigilantes and crimes.

His feet dragged themselves out onto the street and on the sidewalk. Random people were walking about, complaining on how cold the weather was as they snuggled their noses deeper into their scarves and blowed puffs of hot air onto their bare hands.

The cold, morning breeze bit at Dick's cheeks, turning his nose a bright red, but he didn't really care. He just wanted coffee.

Feeling a bit more comfortable when he neared one part of the city where it had much lesser crowds of people, Dick loosened his tense muscles and walked down the street. Dust and old takeout paper bags littered the grounds, along with a few cigarettes—some old, some still smoldering at their tips. Dick Grayson was never one to smoke.

"Aright, Ryder—open your eyes."

Dick spun to the side to see a dark alleyway, all charred and filthy—a small group of boys that looked to be about eighteen were standing beside a metal trash bin.

A tall brunette with a gaunt face along with a pointed chin, who seemed to be the leader of this group, stood in front of the boys who all seemed to be grabbing hold of another kid in particular. This one wore nothing but a short-sleeved shirt and a pair of sweats, and had the most peculiar green hair—a jacket was discarded on the ground at his feet.

"Stop, what the hell do you think you're doing?" The boy jerked his arms to free himself from the older kids' grasps. "Let me go!" They soon dropped him to the cold, concrete floor, pressing his back with their forearms and hands and knees to keep him from standing back up. Eventually, the young boy stopped struggling, and his hands dropped defeated, falling down onto the ground beside him as he was forced to kneel in front of the tall kid.

The brunette—Ryder, Dick supposed—removed his hands from his eyes, which Dick conluded that he'd had over his face for a long time. His face remained blank and emotionless as his gaze dropped to see the boy kneeling on the ground in front of him.

"Happy birthday, Ryder." One of the boys told the guy with a smirk plastered on his face, a look of pure craziness and insanity. "We knew that you wanted us to get you a cake."

"But we didn't have enough money." A short, pudgy blonde kid mentioned.

"So we brought you another treat." And with that, another boy with jet black hair nudged the young boy in the back with his knee. "And it comes with a free cake recipe."

Ryder didn't move, didn't say anything until the boy on the ground shifted uncomfortably on the concrete. The brunette looked up at the group of boys expectantly. "Well?" He questioned.

On cue, the boy with blond hair reached his chubby arm into the trash bin and, to Dick's surprise, fished out two bags of flour, a carton of eggs, and a big bottle that seemed to be full of alcohol.

"First, you crack the eggs open." The black-haired boy said aloud with a smile as he opened the carton of eggs and let the others take one each. The blonde threw it the young boy's head and the yolk splattered all over his hair, running down his temples.

The boy didn't even flinch, just stared at the ground blankly like a dead man who seemed to be awaiting his own funeral.

One of the eggs hit his back, egg shells and yolk dripping down his shirt. One exploded on his shoulder, another on the back of his neck, seeping into his clothes. All twelve eggs were soon gone, and the boy was covered from top to bottom with egg shells and yolk.

There was laughter, and the egg carton was dropped to the ground. The blonde handed a bag of flour to the other boy beside him, keeping one for himself. They both ripped the bags open like chidren unwrapping their gifts on a Christmas day.

"Next, you add the flour." The black-haired boy said, and Dick watch in horror and disgust as the two boys dumped the contents of the bag onto the boy's wet head and over his clothes. Leftover flour scattered all over the black, charred ground while most of it stayed on his hair, his shirt, his bare arms and face. The boy's expression was completely blank.

The boy, Ryder, looked down at the helpless kid at his feet. For a second, Dick wondered if the boy was about to stop his 'friends' from doing any more of this.

"… It could use candles." Ryder announced, raising an eyebrow as he reached into his back pocket of his jeans—he fished out a small lighter.

"Got ya, boss." Another boy replied to the tall brunette by grabbing the bottle of alcohol from the blond's arms. Getting it open without any effort, he turned to the bottle upside down and spilled the liquid onto the boy kneeling on the ground, wetting his clothes and drenching his green hair, mixing with the yolk and flour.

Dick could see the boy's fists tightening at his sides, scraping dust and pieces of debris into his hands, shoulders trembling with futile effort to keep himself from breaking down.

"He's gonna look so good when he's lit up in those flames." A faint smile found its way onto Ryder's lips as he held up the lighter to the green-haired boy's head.

The boys laughed and began kicking him, spitting and sending curse words flying. And as the kid was being hit over and over by those older boys, he did nothing to defend himself. Only wrapped his arms around his legs and pulled his knees to his chest.

Dick felt sudden adrenaline rush through his veins, and all thoughts of coffee were gone instantly. He started his steps towards the group of boys in the alleyway, who didn't even seem to notice because they were too busy bruising the boy at their feet.

At last, all of the other older teens backed off, and the brunette Ryder stepped up with his lighter and put it to the kid's shoulder, only inches away from—

"What do you kids think you're doing?" Dick raised his voice—it seemed to bounce on the walls of the building flanking him from his sides. All the boys turned to see the young man in front of them, body stiff and coiled like a gun ready to shoot bullets.

When Dick received no direct response, he dropped his stiff stance. "I'm a cop; get outta here before I call your school and parents and inform them of your actions." He called out, and silently held his breath, hoping that it would be enough to drive the kids away. "Next time I see you doing this I won't hesitate knocking you out."

With grunts and whispers, the boys stepped away from the young boy on the ground, and dispersed, walking past Dick—he didn't forget to give them the sourest looks he could muster. After making sure all of them were gone, Dick speed-walked over to the young kid on the concrete floor, who was slowly sitting up, using hands to support him.

Dick pushed the empty glass bottle and the egg carton away with his foot and took a good long look at the boy in front of him—he seemed to be about fifteen or sixteen, hair unnaturally green, face pale and bruised and bloodied. Cheeks covered in dirt and soot. Clothes dirty and smudged with ash and dirt, stuck to egg yolk on his shirt.

"Are you okay?" Dick heard himelf ask, and immediately wanted to punch himself. Of course he wasn't okay. He didn't even look okay.

The boy looked up at him with such empty, lifeless eyes that he had to stop himself from kneeling down and giving the teen a hug.

"My name is Detective Dick Grayson." He started, crouching down to the boy's level who was still on the ground, making his voice sound as not-grouchy as possible. "What's yours?"

And instead of giving him the reply he had expected, the green-haired teen raised an eyebrow and said—

"Your name is Dick?"

In this situation (depending on his mood), Dick would have either gotten annoyed, been offended, or had burst out laughing. But for some reason, he didn't really want to answer the question. "Your name?" He repeated, a little more firmly.When he saw the boy giving him something that resembled a doubtful face, Dick sighed and pulled out his wallet, showed him his identification card for his workplace. "I'm a qualified detective."

"Garfield Logan." The boy replied softly, wiping some yolk off his hand and sweats, shivering visibly as he grabbed his jacket, draping it over his drenched, cold body. Dick kneeled completely onto the ground and took off his own coat, putting it over the kid's shoulders, wrapping it around his torso.

Dick got up onto one knee and gently grabbed the boy's shoulder with his hands. "Can you stand?" He asked him carefully, and after a moment of consideration, he nodded.

Satisfied with the simple response given, Dick slipped one of the kid's arms over his own shoulders. He then slowly helped the kid to his feet, and Dick could easily sense the teen's soft hisses whenever he moved his body, as if a small bending of joints sent pain all over his nerve systems. He smelled strongly of raw eggs and alcohol.

As he helped the boy out of the alleyway and back to the police station, Dick couldn't help but remember the coffee he had been going to go buy.

He could've really used a grande-sized mocha frappuccino.