Characters: Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, Jason Todd, Kon Kent, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cane, Roy Harper, Kori’andr
Batman/Pacific Rim crossover
Summary: Dick left the Jaeger program for good and never thought he’d return to it. But when it becomes clear that the Jaeger’s are humanity’s last shot for survival Dick returns to Gotham City Shatterdome to pilot a Jaeger one last time, but with a new partner.
Author’s note: So I went and saw Pacific Rim and thought I wanted to write a Batman crossover. Then I read Hawkstout’s fic and really wanted to write a crossover. So this is inspired by Pacific Rim and Hawkstout.
When Dick sees vivid red hair from his perch on the wall he knew that, regardless of what was said, he would packing his bags and leaving.
“Never thought I’d see you here, Babs.” He calls down with a grin. The woman looks up and smiles back.
“You’re a hard man to track down, Dick Grayson.” Barbara Gordon answers, wheeling herself over to where Dick is sliding down.
Dick finishes sliding down the pole of the wall and takes off his gloves. “Now I don’t believe for a minute the one and only Oracle had any trouble tracking little ole’ me down.” Dick walks over and embraces her in a tight hug.
Babs hugs back just as tightly. They hold onto each other for a minute, reliving the memories they had together before they let go.
Babs sighs and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “Well, aren’t you going to invite me in?”
Dick laughs and gestures to the semi-built wall. “Let me show you my office.” He walks around and grabs onto her wheelchair, pushing her in himself.
“Dick, I can move myself.” Babs says, smacking his hand lightly.
“You could probably destroy this entire wall with a click of a button.” Dick says as he pushes her into a private corner, “But it’s been a while since I’ve gotten to act like my usual charming self around a lady.”
Babs gives him a teasing look. “Are you telling me the ‘Grayson charm and grace’ is only for women?”
“Of course not.” Dick says, just as teasing, “I have made sure to be a perfect gentleman to all of these wonderful and kindhearted men as well.” He looks over at a man walking by with a rather large nose, “Isn’t that right, Oswald?”
“Fuck off, Grayson.” The man answers.
Dick turns to Babs and smiles widely. “See? Wonderful, wonderful people.”
Babs laughs hard. “Oh I’ve missed you Dick.”
Dick’s smile turns nostalgic. “I’ve missed you too, Babs.” He sits down one a stack of boxes. “How has it been being Gotham City’s Oracle?”
Babs gives him a smile and shakes her head in wonder. “It’s been…the only way I can describe it is crazy. But even after the accident I couldn’t leave the program. I was too invested in the Jaegers, I had to do something.”
“The Jaeger program has been your ‘everything’ since I’ve known you.” Dick says warmly. “I can’t see you doing anything else, either.”
“But,” Babs says, “You know what’s been going on, I know you’ve kept in touch with everyone. You know that the government is cutting funding for the program…”
“And putting everything into this wall.” Dick finishes. “I know.” He rests his hand on top of hers.
“The problem is, and I know you know it too, is that this wall isn’t going to work.” Babs continues. She places her other hand on top of his and strokes her thumb across it. “Bruce has gotten the last of the Jaegers together, and there aren’t that many of us, because we’re Earth’s last hope for survival. We’re humanity’s last hope.”
Dick sighs. “I know that, Babs.”
“And Bruce wants you to come back as a Ranger. He wants you there with us, with your family. Because even though he won’t tell you, you’re the best thing Bruce has done with his life.”
Dick is ten years old when he sees his first Kaiju in person. It is also the first Kaiju the world sees. Haley’s Circus is in San Francisco and it is their last show; as well as Dick’s debut. Before then he had only been allowed to stand on the floor and announce his parent’s act, but this time he is being allowed on the trapeze and he’s going to show the world his quadruple flip, something that is his alone.
He stands at the bottom of the platform, waiting for Pop Haley to announce him, and shakes with excitement. The entire night had been a success and he can feel it in the air, the delighted smiles of the other circus members’ fuels his excitement and he can’t wait for his time to shine.
As Dick is watching his parents fly, performing their most daring routine without the use of a safety net, the ground begins to shake. In his excitement, at first, Dick thinks it’s just him. But as the shaking begins to become more intense Dick frowns and looks around to see what was going on. The audience is starting to stand up and look around in confusion as well, quiet murmuring filling the tent as the audio to his parents act is cut. He watches as his mom and dad stop flying and stand on top of the platform, waiting to see what was wrong. And then what felt like an earthquake hits the circus
The tent starts falling down around them, the crowd is screaming, everyone rushes to try to leave the tent, get to somewhere safe and Dick stands at the bottom of the platform, screaming for his parents to get down.
“Dick! Get out of here! Go!” His father shouts down to him as his mother starts moving down the platform.
Dick shakes his head frantically. “I’m waiting for you.”
“Dick, sweetie we’ll meet you outside, just get out of here, it’s dangerous!” His mother calls down as she moves slowly down the frantically shaking platform.
That is when the Kaiju bursts through the tent.
Dick screams out as he watches the platform his parents are on get ripped away with the rest of the tent and sees his parents fly through the air like they had done so many times before, but this time there is no one to catch them; no one to stop their fall. His mother catches his eyes and she calls out, “Dick!” in a voice of agony and Dick watches them hit the ground.
For a moment everything freezes and Dick feels his breath hitch in his throat. “Mom, Dad.” He whimpers before he is pushed out of the way by one of the jugglers as a piece of metal crashes into the ground.
“Get out of here, Dickie!” The man screams, shoving him away. “Now!”
Dick takes a few stumbling steps back. The tent is all but gone now, the Kaiju destroying it and everything around it. Dick watches as it swings its limbs in every direction, roaring as it does, and shatters buildings and kills people, and he starts screaming.
The Kaiju whips its head over to look at him and changes course to his direction. Dick keeps screaming as he stumbles backwards before turning around completely to run. Fear completely overtakes him and all he can manage to do is run forward and cry as the rest of the crowd does the same. When a helicopter flies by, though, the Kaiju switches direction, but Dick keeps running, a grimy arm rubbing at his eyes.
Dick manages to find himself in the middle of the crowed of people and looks desperately around for a familiar face. They keep moving him farther away from the circus and Dick can’t find anyone he knows.
Every so often he feels screams hitch in his throat and he forces himself to hold them back. When a tank rolls in only an hour later, the crowd of people break apart and Dick finds himself alone again. Dick hides inside one of the few buildings left standing. The sounds of jets flying and guns firing fill his head as he crouches in the corner of the building, trying to block out all noise by covering his ears. He spends that night crying himself to sleep.
Dick isn’t sure how many days he spends in that debris covered building, but eventually there are no more roars, no more cries for help and no more guns fired and Dick stumbles his way out of the building, dizzy from thirst having only managed to find a bottle of half drunk water in the safety of the building. Dick stumbles his way out of the building and begins to wander the desolated streets of San Francisco.
“Pop Haley?” He calls out weakly, bare feet scratched and bleeding from the debris on the ground, “Bruno? Pete? Connie?”
When Dick can’t walk anymore he stops in the middle of the road, sitting down tiredly and watches as tears drip onto his dirty legs. He can’t remember how long he had been sitting there when he hears footsteps approaching him. “Mom, dad?” He mumbles, deliriously, as he looks up into the harsh glare of the sun. A man in a military uniform crouches down in front of him. Dick scrunches his eyes and sees dark hair and blue eyes with a name tag that said ‘WAYNE’. “Are you okay?” The man asks in a gruff voice.
Dick nods and his bottom lip wobbles. “Y-yeah.” He chokes out.
The man sighs and reaches down to pick Dick up, lifting him easily into his arms. “What’s your name?”
“D-Dick Grayson.” Dick says, holding back tears.
“I’m Bruce Wayne.” He says, gripping Dick tightly as he begins to walk. “You’re okay now Dick, I’m going to take you somewhere safe.”
Dick feels the tears begin to drip down his face. “M-m-my…my parents….they…” Dick stutters and he begins shaking.
Bruce places a hand on the back of Dick’s head and presses his face gently against his chest. “Shh, I know, it’ll be okay Dick.” Dick begins wailing, gripping the fabric of Bruce’s suit tight in his fists. “It’ll be okay.”
“Dick, they need you back out there.” She says softly.
Dick shifts his hand out from under hers. “I can’t.”
“You don’t understand. It’s not a war anymore. This is it. This is the last shot.”
Dick rakes a hand through his hair. “Look, Babs, I’m not even sure if it would be safe for me to try to drift with anyone. I’d pull them under. It would have to be Bruce and he’s not piloting anymore.”
Babs smiles. “It might not be Bruce, but I think we found the next best thing.”
“Listen. I’m coming back with you. I was going to regardless of what you said to me because it’s my family and they need me. But I can’t make any promises about getting in a Jaeger.” Dick says carefully.
Babs laughs. “I think you’re going to find yourself in one because of this partner.”
“Heard from a certain beautiful redhead that you missed my company.” Dick jokes, walking into the command room where Bruce stands watching multiple screens that all held Kaiju fights.
Bruce turns around and smiles at the sight of his oldest son. “Dick, it’s good to see you.” He walks over and places a hand on his shoulder.
“Aw, come on, old man. You haven’t seen me face to face in years. You’re getting a hug.” Dick reaches up and grips Bruce in a tight hug.
Dick feels Bruce grip back just as tight momentarily before letting go. Dick isn’t afraid to say that he missed this; missed being around his family, missed the familiar atmosphere of the Shatterdome. He takes a deep breath, taking in the familiar smell before letting go. “How’ve things been in the Batcave?”
Bruce musses up Dick’s hair. “You know you’ve called my workspace that so many times it’s spread throughout all of the PPCD. They even started calling you lot the ‘Bat-kids’.”
“Cute.” Dick answers. “And fitting. I like it.”
Bruce snorts. “I figured you would.”
“But as much as I would like to quip back and forth with you and catch up on the good old times, I know that’s not why I’m here.” Dick says as he perches in one of the chairs. “So what’s the sitch, Wayne?”
Bruce walks over to where Dick was sitting and brings up a new screen filled with stats and numbers. “Ted Kord and Michael Carter, two of our top leading scientists here, have predicted…”
“Wait, wait, wait.” Dick interrupts. “Ted and Michael, aka the two dorks who nicknamed themselves Blue Beetle and Booster Gold and helped raise me, are now your top scientists?”
“We aren’t an army anymore Dick,” Bruce says, “We’re the resistance. The government is stopping funding. We’ve got to use the resources we have.”
“Guess so.” Dick answers. “I didn’t realize it had gotten this bad.”
Bruce continues on. “They have predicted that the next Kaiju attacks. They believe that the next attacks are going to be within a week of this. And then hours. And then minutes.”
“Until there’s a Kaiju attack every few seconds.” Dick says in horror.
“Exactly.” Bruce turns to a screen and pulls up footage. “The latest Kaiju attack wasn’t anything we haven’t faced before. But it broke through the Anti-Kaiju wall within seconds. The Scarlet Speedster, our fastest Jaeger, went in to kill it. It was piloted by Barry Allen and Wally West who, until then, had never lost a battle. The Kaiju took them down in sixteen seconds and Titan had to come in and kill it. Now Ted and Michael have a plan. They believe we can drop a nuke within the rift and destroy it, effectively destroying the link between our two dimensions.”
Dick watches the footage of Titan charging in and smashing the Kaiju into the ground. Most who watched Titan fight thought that the Jaeger relied entirely on brute strength to win the battle, like a gorilla smashing randomly until the enemy was down. But Dick can see Tim’s mastermind behind every move the Jaeger made. Every hit was precise and would move the Kaiju into the next position necessary for its defeat. Titan was a beast, but one of intelligence and accuracy and that was what made Tim and Kon’s partnership so deadly.
“Barry and Wally…are they?”
Bruce turns off the screen. “Both dead.”
Dick knew that that was case, very few Rangers ever survived if their Jaeger was destroyed, but he still feels tears well in the corner of his eyes. “Wally and I…we trained together. Practiced drifting together…”
“I know, Dick.” Bruce places a hand on his shoulder. “This is the end. No more just fighting them. We can’t just run defense against them anymore, we’re humanities last shot of survival. Either we destroy the rift or we all die.”
Dick sighs. “I know, Bruce. Now take me to this mystery Ranger.”
“Damian?” Dick asks incredulous. “Bruce, seriously? You want me to partner with your fifteen year old son?”
“Dick, Damian is young, but he is brillia…”
“Father you can’t expect someone as incompetent and useless as Grayson to be a worthy partner to me.” Damian interrupts, arms crossed and glaring over at Dick.
Dick rolls his eyes. “Oh yeah, this is going to work out great. Thanks for the vote of confidence, little D.”
“I told you to cease calling me that insufferable nickname Grayson!”
Dick smiles. “Maybe if you weren’t such an angry little kitten all the time…”
“Maybe if you weren’t a disgrace to the name of Jaeger pilots everywhere this could work. You probably could not hit a dead Kaiju five feet away with a stick, Grayson.”
Dick tilts his head to the side. “Huh,” He cracks his knuckles calmly. “Why don’t we put my incompetent and unworthy fighting skills to the test against you then?”
Damian smirks proudly. “It will give me great pleasure defeating you, Grayson.”
Bruce sighs and Dick sees his eyes roll slightly. “Boys this isn’t the time for this.”
“We’ve got time.” Dick says. “And what better way to see if we really are drift compatible like Babs says then a good ole’ fashion spar?”
Living at the manor was different from the circus. There was often a cold, unending silence, as Bruce worked long and odd hours with the newly created Jaeger program to defend against the Kaijus. Dick’s only relief from the silence was in the form of Bruce’s butler, an older man named Alfred Pennyworth. But he never crossed the line of master and servant and Dick was left with a constant feeling of inadequacy as he sat in a giant manor while people were risking their lives to save Earth.
“Bruce. I want you to train me to be a Ranger.” Dick says firmly at dinner.
Bruce doesn’t look up from his paper. “When you’re older you can enter the academy and…”
“No.” Dick interrupts. “I want you to train me now. I want to start now.”
Bruce sighs and puts down his paper. “Dick you’re ten years old, you’re too young to seriously train to pilot a Jaeger. You aren’t even old enough to drive a car.”
“Well who even guarantees I’ll live to be old enough to go into the academy!” Dick says loudly. “Bruce, please, I want to avenge my family! I want to do something so that no one else has to go through what I went through.” He looks into Bruce’s eyes, begging. “Don’t you understand?”
Dick sees Bruce’s fists clench. “Fine, but I am training you entirely myself. And you won’t go out until I say you’re ready. You listen to everything I say and don’t question it. Understood.”
Dick can’t keep the grin off his face. “Understood!”
Dick stands on the mat and rotates his shoulders and neck, watching as Damian carefully takes off his shoes and bows before stepping on the mat. Damian grabs his bo staff and moves to the center of the mat, leaning back on one leg and extending the bo staff forward.
“I hope you don’t mind me fighting with eskrima sticks,” Dick says, conversationally, falling into a similar position, but with both eskrima crossed in front of his body, “They’re sort of my weapon of choice.”
Damian snorts. “Use whatever you’d like Grayson, after all I will be winning regardless.”
“If you let your ego get too big it might make you off balance little D.” Dick says with a smile.
“Tt.” Damian clicks. “At least I have a sense of style, Grayson, you are wearing a shade of green brighter than the sun with equally bright blue pants.”
Dick looks affronted. “There’s nothing wrong with my style!”
“Only the color blind would agree.”
“Boys.” Bruce warns. The two fall silent and steady themselves in their positions. “Begin.”
Neither of them moves. Damian’s eyes dart in every direction and Dick watches the muscles in Damian’s arms carefully, waiting for the slightest movement to tell him what direction he was going in. Dick sees a tensing in Damian’s arms and moves, swinging one eskrima stick down towards his shoulder and the other whipping around for his side. Damian moves fast and blocks the one coming for his shoulder before twisting around the second. He sweeps his staff against Dick’s legs and Dick falls hard to the mat, ending with Damian’s staff pointing directly at his neck. Damian smirks, “That’s one.”
Dick rolls back and jumps up onto his feet and Damian moves quickly back. Damian’s staff twists around and aims for Dick’s side, but Dick pushes it up and out of the way with an eskrima and brings his second to Damian’s side. Damian twists his staff away from the eskrima and blocks the one about to hit him. Dick smirks and uses that moment to bring the first eskrima back to Damian’s side and flips the boy around and onto the mat. He smiles down at him, “And that’s one for me.”
Damian’s eyes widen and his lip curls into a snarl as he stands back up. He brings his staff down and around in a flurry of fast and intense movements and Dick soon finds himself with the staff pointing directly at his forehead. “Two.” Damian says, grimly.
Dick grins and pushes off hard, flipping over Damian before crossing his esckrima sticks across Damian’s neck, blocking him from any movement. “Two.” Dick teases back.
Their fight continues, sticks flying and the cracks of wood hitting against each other echoing throughout the small dojo. Dick feels as the atmosphere changes from proving themselves to almost a dance. It was like the two were no longer fighting each other, but another enemy. And from the grin on Damian’s face, Dick knows he’s feeling the connection too.
“You’re getting sloppy, Grayson. Five.”
Damian might not know what this meant, but Dick easily recognizes the feeling of being drift compatible. The sense of unity, of an undeniable bond, knowing you could go out to battle with someone just like you by your side; it was something you felt before you stepped foot in the Jaeger.
“Actually little D, looks like you’re getting sloppy. Six.”
And if this spar was proving anything, it was that Dick and Damian were probably the two most compatible people for each other that Dick had ever faced.
Panting harshly Dick looks up at Damian and smiles. Damian smiles back.
“We’ll have a test run tomorrow then.” Bruce says and Dick sees his mouth twitch with a smile.
It had taken Bruce a long time to allow Dick to pilot the Dynamic Duo with him. Dick was a prodigy and at the age of 14 was deemed ready to be a Ranger. The Pan Pacific Defense Corps wanted Dick out and fighting a year ago, but Bruce wouldn’t let him. And Dick had understood, at the time Dick was all Bruce had left. But Bruce had broken from that cold shell he once was. He had friends in people like Clark, Diana, Babs; throughout the Jaeger program and Dick felt it was time for him to step up and protect the world from the same monsters that killed his parents.
Dick watches as Bruce paces angrily throughout the room. “Bruce…”
“I don’t care what they want. You are not ready to be a Ranger.” Bruce says with gritted teeth.
Dick resists the urge to roll his eyes. “Bruce they wouldn’t be asking for me to go out there if you hadn’t trained me to be ready.”
“Well I say you’re not ready.”
“Except it’s you who submitted my perfect scores to the PPDC.” Dick points out.
Bruce stops his pacing and glares at Dick. “Stop being contrary.”
“I’m not,” Dick says, exasperated. “I’m just pointing out that you already know I’m ready.”
“I,” Bruce stops and lets out a sigh. “You’re too young.”
“When the world is in such chaos,” Dick says gently, “does age really matter anymore? I’ve seen things that no one should ever see, Bruce.”
Bruce closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. “That doesn’t mean you aren’t still young. You’re 14 years old. You’re too young to be sent out to fight a war. You aren’t ready.”
Dick hops off of the desk he was sitting on. “But I am ready. Bruce you know I’m ready. And you know the age thing doesn’t matter, so what’s really holding you back?”
Bruce opens his eyes and slumps against the wall. “I don’t want you in a Jaeger with some random person who might not be able to keep you safe.”
“If that’s the case.” Dick muses. “Then why don’t you be my partner?”
“Absolutely not.” Bruce says firmly. “I’m too invested in the past. I don’t…drift well with people.”
Dick moves over to the wall Bruce was leaning on. “You’ve raised me for more than 4 years now. You’ve trained me every step of the way and you’ve been a father to me when my father couldn’t. If I were to fight beside anyone, I’d want it to be you. Not any of my classmates, not any of your friends.”
“And anyways,” Dick says with a grin. “Who better to keep my safe out there than my dad?”
Bruce is silent for a while before he answers. “All right.”
Dick jumps and hugs him. “We’ll be like nobody else! The Dynamic Duo!”
Dick and Damian walk into the cafeteria where people were bustling about, eating and chatting noisily and happily.
“Dick?” He hears someone ask in confusion and excitement before he is tackled from the side. Dick just barely manages to keep a hold of his lunch tray and he looks down to see blonde hair and green eyes staring up at him. “Hey Stephanie.” He grins.
“Oh my God it is you!” She squeals, hugging him tighter. “Holy crap, it’s been years!”
Dick laughs and set his tray down to hug her back. “It’s good to see you too, Steph!”
“Why don’t you remove yourself from him, Fatgirl.” Damian says grumpily.
Stephanie lets go of Dick and pulls Damian into a hug. “Aw, were you jealous Demon? You know I’ll hug you too!”
“Let go you slanderous harpy!” Damian grunts, trying to push her off.
Dick laughs, watching the two, “Where’s everyone else?”
Stephanie lets go of Damian and smiles. “Well you know us Gotham kids, we’re bats, always have to hang from high places.”
“Well then, let us go to the docking station then.” Dick says. He grandly gestures to the walkway out. “And after you, m’lady.”
“Ever the charmer, Dick.” Stephanie says as she walks through.
“You shouldn’t encourage her antics.” Damian grumbles as he too followed.
“It sounds to me like somebody has a crush.” Dick sing-songs as they walk.
Damian’s face turns beet red. “I do not!”
Dick laughs and holds up his hands in defense. “All right, all right, no crush.”
Damian huffs and walks faster, leaving Dick’s line of sight as he turns the corner that leads to the Jaeger docking bay. Dick just smiles as he trails after them. He takes in the sight of the base he grew up at, all of the places where he nearly gave Bruce and his ‘aunts and uncles’ heart attacks with his acrobatic tricks. When he walks in it was to see his family all setting up on one of the rigs. Jason and Tim are sitting next to each other and arguing about who gets the last piece of cake. The two had argued ever since Bruce had taken them in and Dick remembers the eventful occasion where the two tried to drift together. It had gone so terribly they hadn’t even made it to the mental handshake. Jason was eventually partnered in one of the very few three person Jaegers, the Red Hooded Outlaw with two of Dick’s friends: Kori and Roy. Tim found a perfect match with a fellow graduate named Kon Kent and the two had been piloting the Titan ever since.
Stephanie is just sitting down next Cass, her partner. Bruce was one of the original Rangers to try to pilot a solo Jaeger, his being the Dark Knight. When it became clear that Jaegers would need two pilots the Dark Knight was set to the side. It was later revamped to be fit for two pilots, but would need two people with a true and unbreakable bond to pilot it. So when it was time for Cass and Steph to graduate, Bruce gave the Dark Knight to them. It wasn’t the biggest or the fastest Jaeger out there, but what the Dark Knight had that no other Jaeger had was stealth.
Jason shoves the cake over to Tim who crows in victory. As Tim digs into the cake Jason looks over and sees Dick walking in. He grins. “So I see you’ve been paired with the little Demon, Dickface.” Jason says, conversationally as he bites into his sandwich.
Tim and Cass both look over and smile when they see Dick.
“I am sitting right next to you, Todd.” Damian grits out, sitting down next to Jason reluctantly.
Jason swings an arm around Damian’s shoulders and pulls him in. “And that you are, Devil’s Spawn!”
Dick shakes his head at his brother’s antics, choosing to ignore the nickname. “Seems like it.” He answers as he reaches over to embrace his brother and sister in tight hugs.
“I have 50 bucks saying he’s going to murder you before you even set foot in a battle.” Jason continues.
“Jason!” Stephanie admonishes as she hits him across the head. Jason’s head jerks to the side and he lets out a grunt of pain. “Damn, you hit hard.”
“Do not be stupid, Todd.” Damian says hotly. “Grayson and I are perfectly drift compatible.”
Dick continues to smile as Jason and Stephanie got into an argument. “Wow, ‘perfectly drift compatible’ I think that’s the nicest thing Damian’s ever said about me.” Dick says, turning to look at Tim and Cass.
Tim quirks a brow, “I think it’s the nicest thing Damian’s ever said period.”
Dick lets out a bark of a laugh. “Probably.”
“So, it’s been a while.” Tim says to him, “Phone calls and such don’t beat the real thing.”
“Yeah.” Dick agrees with a grimace. “Just being here’s making me feel all guilty.”
Tim shakes his head. “Don’t. You needed that break and we, well,” Tim gestures with his head, “We all managed without you.”
Cass places a hand on his shoulder. “For the best.” She says simply.
“Maybe.” Dick sighs. “But I’ve got terrible timing about when I’m coming back.”
Tim smiles. “Nah, I’d say you have perfect timing; as always.”
Dick grins. “Well, as I always said, it’s all about the timing.” He looks around. “Where’re Kon, Roy and Kori, I thought they’d be with you guys.”
Cass wipes her hands on a napkin and leans back on her palms. “Wanted to give us this moment. Just us. Like before.”
“Like before.” Dick says softly and leans back to look at the view of all of their Jaegers together on the floor.
When Dick turns 12, Bruce brings home 10 year old Jason Todd. He was covered in dirt and blood and all Dick could do was reach out and hug him, like Bruce did to him just two years ago.
When Dick turns 13, Jason brings home Tim Drake. The boy’s parents had been on vacation when his city was attacked and never returned for him. Jason found him wandering the streets of Gotham alone. Tim looks at him with admiration and tells him that they met before. With a little nudging, Dick remembers the little boy whose parents sat him on his knee and stared blankly ahead for a picture. Dick hugs him too.
When Dick turns 15 Tim introduces them to Stephanie Brown. Stephanie is smart, funny and kind and she gets along with all of them so well and visits so often that people just assume Bruce has taken in another stray.
Later during his 15th year Stephanie brings home Cassandra Cain, a young girl who had seen far too much horror in her few short years of life and couldn’t speak because of it. Dick spent as much time as he could when he wasn’t training reading to her; teaching her as much as he could about love and kindness.
When Dick turns 16 he himself brings home Damian Wayne. Damian is only 6, but from the way he acts you would assume he was an adult born in a child’s body. He had been groomed to be the perfect Ranger, destined to pilot the Dark Knight like his father before him. At first Damian doesn’t get along with anyone but Dick, but he soon grows fond of all of his siblings.
All seven of them tell Bruce the same thing. They want to train to be Rangers.
Word gets around the Jaeger program and soon they’re dubbed the Bat-kids. Word also gets around that you leave the Bat-kids alone, because targeting one meant targeting them all.
They were the best and the brightest. Because Bruce Wayne would only deliver the best.
“All right Damian, just remember: relax and let my mind flow with yours. Don’t latch onto any memories, don’t chase the rabbit.” Dick cautions as they stepped into the Dynamic Duo.
“Tt,” Damian says as he walks in behind Dick. “This is not the first time that I have drifted, Grayson.”
“No, but it is the first time it’s been for a real Jaeger.” Dick gestures around the consol. “Right or left side?”
“I have no preference.”
“Well I’ll take right side; it’s what I’m used to.” Dick answers as he walks over and steps onto the right platform.
Damian steps onto the left and smirks at him. “Always just the right hand man, Grayson?”
Dick laughs and shrugs. “Someone’s got to do it.”
“Enough chit-chating, boys.” A voice says over an intercom. “Are you two ready?”
“Ready to go, Oracle.” Dick answers.
“Ready.” Damian confirms.
The two fall silent next to each other. “Pons system bridging.” Barbara says as the helmets light up.
“Spinal Clamps connecting. Relay Gel filled. Impulses are connecting. Initiating Neural Handshake.”
Dick closes his eyes as he feels himself move through his memories. He lets himself relax and keeps himself unfocused as his childhood flashes before his eyes. Soon the memories are melding with that of Damian’s. The memories filter through his mind and meld together, making them undistinguishable between either of them.
He sees memories with the al’Ghuls, sparring against other Rangers in preparation for being a Ranger himself at the age of 5.
Swinging on a low trapeze, his parents catching him and laughing
Talia telling him he would lead the world to victory.
The face of a Kaiju as it destroyed the world he used to know.
Watching the Dynamic Duo Jaeger take down a category 3 Kaiju from the safety of a helicopter.
Bruce ruffling his hair when he came back with a high score in his combat class.
His mother dropping him off in Gotham City, the first time he met his father and his sons.
Jason’s death. Seeing his brother’s Jaeger taken down by a Kaiju with a mouth that looked like a grin. Donna’s death, Barbara paralyzed when her partner was ripped from their Jaeger.
The feeling of agonizing pain when his Jaeger malfunctions and he’s shot with electricity.
Agony. Suffering. Jaegers.
“Grayson, focus! I will not have you ruin this. You are caught in the drift.”
He should’ve been there for them.
“Grayson Todd is alive, Troy is alive, Gordon is alive. You are no longer in pain. You are stronger than this. Focus!”
Dick gasps and yanks back from the memories. The rest flow by easily.
“Dynamic Duo, you’re in synch.”
Dick looks over at Damian. Damian looks at him. “Tt, you would make this difficult, Grayson.”
Dick feels the connection as they both raise crack the knuckles of their hands, the Jaeger moving with them. “My bad, lil’ D.”
“Amazonian Princess is down and Outlaw, Dark Knight and Titan are nonfunctioning.” Babs says, trying to get the computers to turn back on.
“What was that?” Ted asks in shock, voice broadcasting through the room.
“It was an EMP wave.” Bruce says grimly. “It shut down everything electric.”
“That wasn’t just a trick. That was a weapon.” Michael says over the intercom. “They’re counterattacking. This isn’t just mindless attacks, this is on purpose.”
Babs pushed off from her desk and moved to the other side of the room. “We need to retrieve everyone who is stuck out there. We need to send our copters back out to them.”
“That won’t work. The Kaiju would just destroy them.” Bruce answers. “From what we can tell, one Kaiju is just circling the three Jaegers and the other is heading in town.
“Oh crap.” Michael says and they hear the sound of rustling.
“What is it?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s coming for me, got to go!” Michael’s comm is turned off.
“Booster!” They hear Ted swear before his is turned off as well.
The room is silent and Dick watches the panic fill Bruce’s face. He glances over at Damian and the boy nods once at him in agreement. “Bruce, you’ve got to send out Damian and me.”
“How?” Bruce snaps. “Everything is down.”
“Dynamic Duo is nuclear,” Dick says, calmly, “It’s still functioning. We’ll go after the Kaiju in town and then go rescue everyone.”
Bruce stood quietly, fists clenching.
“Bruce. Diana and Donna are dead.” Dick says firmly. “If you don’t want the rest of them to follow you have to let us go.”
Bruce is quiet for a moment before he looks away. “Go.”
Dick nods and he sees Damian nod as well. “Let’s go Dami.”
The first time Dick drifts with Bruce is nerve-wracking.
They haven’t had any time for practice, it’s the real deal. There’s a category 3 Kaiju, something none of the Jaegers have ever faced before, and the two Jaegers that had been sent out to fight: Birds of Prey, piloted by Dinah Lance and Barbara Gordon and The Superman, piloted by Bruce’s old friend Clark Kent and his wife Lois Lane, are both down. Dick is racing over to the Dynamic Duo, right behind Bruce, with tears still running down his face at the thought of Babs’ death, and he can see the faces of his little brothers Tim and Jason watching from the command doc, standing next to James Gordon. Commissioner Gordon is gripping the table with white knuckles and looking grimly at the screen in front of him and it’s then that Dick remembers that regardless of the fact that Babs could be dead, Commissioner Gordon still had to remain a level of control.
Bruce and Dick enter the newly built Dynamic Duo and Bruce automatically moves to the left side, leaving Dick with the right.
“Dynamic Duo, are you ready to begin the neural handshake?” Dick hears the Commissioner ask.
Bruce reaches over and grips Dick’s shoulder tightly. “Are you ready?”
Dick wipes the tears off his face and nods. “Ready.”
“It’ll be fine.” Bruce says out loud.
“Impulses are connecting.”
“Just remember all that I’ve taught you.”
“Beginning to drift.”
“You’re my right hand man, Dick. I trust you with my life.”
“Initiating Neural Handshake.”
Dick’s mind is flooded with memories, memories moving too fast for him to even think of latching on. He can barely think as Bruce and his minds meld together as one. He feels Bruce’s mind stop at one particular memory and sees a gun and shots of red, pearls rolling into a gutter.
“Bruce, let it go.” He whispers and Bruce reluctantly lets go off the memory and moves on.
Their bodies jolt as Commissioner Gordon says “Dynamic Duo in synch,” andDick is awestruck by the feeling
Bruce sighs in relief. “Ready partner?”
Dick looks down and can see Tim and Jason jumping up and down excitedly, the first time they two had gotten along since Tim had come to them only a few months ago. He pushes back the feelings of anxiety and sadness and nods, vowing to himself to protect them at all costs. “Born ready.”
“Brace yourself for the drop, Dynamic Duo.” Dick hears Babs warn.
“Ready, Dami?” Dick asks and he and Damian crack their knuckles, the Jaeger mimicking their movements.
“Born ready.” Damian replies seriously. Dick nods and he feels weightless as the Jaeger is dropped down. He and Damian bend their legs together and brace themselves for the impact. As soon as they hit the ground they set off running towards the land, where in the distance they can see the category 4 Kaiju.
“We just need fight like we did before, Dami, but this time against the Kaiju.” Dick shouts as they approach the Kaiju.
“Tt,” Damian clicks and the two move the Jaeger in a feat of acrobatics only known to the Dynamic Duo, flipping over a desolated building and landing on the Kaiju; kicking it away from the refuge underground. The Kaiju skids across the ground and into another building, but before it can rise they are already in their counterattack. They reach down and grab its leg, lifting it up and throwing it to the side, away from civilization. The Kaiju braces itself against the building its thrown against and pushes; coming flying towards them.
“Okay Damian, get ready jump out of the way and get the eskrima’s out.” Dick shouts over to him.
“Wait Grayson!” Damian shouts back. “I have an idea!”
The idea floods through his mind and Dick grins, getting ready to implement it. The Kaiju is almost on them and they duck down and in Damian’s hand comes a large sword. He raises it up and they kick off the ground, slicing all the way down the Kaiju as its movement drives it down. When the stop they look back to see the Kaiju split open and laying on the ground.
“Think its dead?” Dick asks.
Damian gives him a look. “I’d say so, Grayson. Those are its entrails on the ground.”
Dick laughs. “Right. Now let’s go save our family.”
They stand up fully and crack their knuckles before taking off at a run again.
“We need to be careful about leading the Kaiju away from Dark Knight, Titan and Outlaw. We don’t want to fight it with everyone right there.”
Damian nods. “Right.”
“Get ready.” Dick says slowly. “And…charge it! Go!”
They put on a burst of speed and Dynamic Duo slams into the Kaiju, knocking it far away from the three other Jaegers. They recover their footing and look around. “Where did it run off to?” Damian asks.
“Dynamic Duo! Reading to your left!”
Dick and Damian turn to look left right as the Kaiju bursts from the water and slams into them, slamming them down. They push up and off with their legs, grabbing onto the bioluminescent horns on its head and snapping a few off. It roars at them and swipes with a large arm, crashing into Dick’s side of the Jaeger.
“Grayson! Back up!” Damian calls out and the two jump back and away from the Kaiju. “Get out your eskrimas! I have a plan!”
Dick flicks out his hands and two eskrima sticks form with the Jaeger. The Kaiju comes running at them, using its knuckles to increase its speed and as it jumps at them, Dick and Damian duck down and rain up on it with a serious of swift hits before using the last hit to flip the Kaiju onto its back. They flip up and kick down onto its exposed stomach. The Kaiju reaches up and grabs their extended leg, flinging them to the side.
They slide across the ocean floor and stop a good distance away from the Kaiju. “All right now, steady Damian. Steady” Dick warns as the Kaiju charges towards them, limping significantly.
“Jump up, Grayson!” Damian shouts and Dick moves to jump. He steps on the Kaiju’s head and uses it to flip over, landing on its back. They move their arms and jam the eskrima sticks against the side of the Kaiju’s head. “Now!” Dick yells and Damian flips a switch to send enough electricity to power a Jaeger through the Kaiju’s head. Its head explodes from the power and distantly Dick thinks he can hear Michael Carter crying out mournfully at the prospect of losing another Kaiju brain.
There’s silence as the dead Kaiju sinks into the ocean. Dick and Damian stand up, Dynamic Duo moving with them and look over at the three
Tim lets out a whoosh of air and collapses on top of Titan. “Oh thank God.” Kon lets out a laugh and falls over too.
Stephanie and Cass sit down. “Oh my God, I thought that was the end. I thought I was going to die following through with Jason’s stupid plan to fire flare guns at a Kaiju.” Stephanie says frantically. Cass braces her head against her knees.
“Hell yeah Dickiebird! I owe you like a thousand bowls of Crocky Crunch after this!”Jason shouts from his position on top of the Outlaw. “Bat-Family fuckin’ rules!”
Dick lets out a long breath and grins wide. “We did it, Damian.”
“I’ve never seen anything like them.” Dick hears Babs say.
“No. Neither have I,” Bruce answers.
“I’ve gathered you all here because Earth is at its last standing point for battle.” Bruce starts off grimly. “The governments of the world gave up on the Jaeger program, believing the Anti-Kaiju Wall would work. It has been proven that the Wall is useless. This is our last shot. We’ve lost many, many friends along the way and if we can finish this, their deaths will not have been in vain.”
Ted Kord stands up and walks over to the chalkboard in the room. “From my calculations there will be a three Kaiju attack within hours of this latest attack.”
“Which I’m still not sure about!” Michael interrupts.
“The numbers don’t lie Booster!” Ted says, tapping his pointer against the chalkboard. “You will need to deliver the nuke into the rift as the Kaiju are emerging. From what Booster has told me, when he decided it would be a good idea to drift with a Kaiju…”
“Which has turned out to be good for us.” Michael interrupts again. He picks up from where Ted trailed off, “The Kaiju are a civilization. They’re learning from us. So dropping the nuke might not work…”
“But it’s our last shot.” Ted finishes.
Bruce nods and continues on. “We don’t have time for a large scale plan. So for now this is what we’ve got. Outlaw will carry the nuke to the…”
“Wow, B, that’s real sweet.” Jason says with false sincerity. “Send me to blow up twice.”
Bruce sighs and runs a hand through his hair. “Jason the plan is for you to be sent back in time before the bomb goes off.”
“No, no, I get it.” Jason waves his hands. “It’s my magnetic personality, I just attract bombs.”
“B.” Dick interrupts, pushing Jason away by the head. “Wouldn’t it make more sense for Damian and I to carry the bomb? Dynamic Duo’s now the fastest and also the most agile Jaeger out there. We would do better with racing in and delivering the bomb then staying back and fighting.”
“As cowardly as that sounds,” Damian says with a grimace, “Grayson’s plan does sound more efficient.”
Bruce nods. “Dynamic Duo is faster, but Michael fears the next Kaiju will be even larger than what we’ve been fighting and Ted still holds firmly about his prediction of the next wave being three. Outlaw’s three arms will give it the advantage it needs in strength in case of this. Dynamic Duo will provide support for Titan and Dark Knight while they run protection for Outlaw to deliver the bomb.”
“Wait. You aren’t even letting us fight? You’re having his sit by idly while our brothers and sisters risk their lives?” Damian asks, incredulous. “Father.”
“That is final. Someone needs to be prepared to fight for the lives of everyone on shore who can’t defend themselves and that will be you two.” Bruce says harshly. “Dismissed.” Bruce walks out of the room. The rest of the team looks at the two uncertainly before following.
“I can’t believe him.” Damian shouts. “After all we’ve proven and he is still side-lining us.”
Dick’s eyes don’t leave the door. “We’re not being side-lined. If our family needs us, we’re going to go out there. What’s he going to do, fire us?”
Damian looks over at Dick. “No, but if we come back he can certainly ground us for life.”
Dick snorts. “He’s tried that before. And it didn’t work then. So it won’t work now.”
“You swear, Grayson.” Damian says, seriously. “You swear that if we’re needed we go and help.”
Dick smiles grimly at Damian. “Lil’ D, I have made a living off of disobeying Bruce’s orders and I’m not stopping now.”
There was a joke that went around the Jaeger Program that if you could drift with Bruce Wayne, you could drift with anyone. It wasn’t an easy feat, after all, to be drift compatible with a man who clung so fiercely to the past. Before Dick came along it had been Clark Kent; until Clark had found true love with a woman named Lois Lane, the two now piloting the formidable beast of a Jaeger: The Superman. And before Clark it was Selina Kyle before she decided she had had enough with saving the world. It was after Clark that Bruce decided he would train new Jaeger pilots rather than drive one himself.
And then the word that went around the Jaeger Program was that Bruce Wayne trained the best. Dick was one of the first and people said he was the best, although Dick never agreed with that. In his opinion, Tim Drake was the best Ranger Bruce had ever trained and that’s because Bruce trained Tim to be like him; whereas Bruce just enhanced the already present potential Dick had.
Dick’s fighting style was a dance; not a strategy; which made him unique to drift with. Dick’s movements flowed and all his partner had to do was move with it. His compatibility with Bruce came from the fact that Dick pulled him out and the past and into the present and helped him to flow gently through the drift and into battle. The Dynamic Duo was formed.
Then Dick got older and they started fighting more frequently. Dick was a man now and couldn’t agree with all of Bruce’s somewhat cold and analytical decisions.
But it wasn’t just the fighting with Bruce that made him leave the program. It was a combination of too many bad things happening at once, Barbara, Jason, Donna, and then his own near death injury.
And at the age of 20 Dick left the Jaeger program for what he thought would be for good.
“You guys, stop! The plan isn’t going to work! I repeat, the plan isn’t going to work!” Dick hears Michael shout over the intercom.
“Details Carter.” Bruce orders sternly. Dick and Damian stop moving the Dynamic Duo and watch as the rest of the Jaegers stop.
“What, Booster’s trying to say,” Ted says. “Is that he stupidly drifted with a Kaiju…”
“And you did too!”
“…and encouraged me to do so as well and learned that the only way to get through the dimensional rift is to be a Kaiju. In order for this to work you will have to carry Kaiju DNA with you so that you trick the rift into thinking you are a Kaiju.” Ted finishes.
“You heard him. Positions stay the same. Dark Knight and Titan, you’ll need to destroy the two Kaiju protecting the rift and allow Outlaw to grab a carcass.”
“Father. You need to let Grayson and I move in and help. None of us have faced a category 4 Kaiju before, we will need all the help we can get.” Damian states.
“Negative Dynamic Duo. You need to stay and protect the mainland. Move out team.”
“Outlaw, come in! Outlaw!”
“We’re still here. Roy’s arm is shot to shit. Kori’s unconscious, but B, this Jaeger is down for the count. Nothings working, we’re just lucky the Conn-Pod hasn’t been breached.”
“Dark Knight. Protect Outlaw at all costs. Titan we need you to…Dynamic Duo what are you doing?”
“We’re going in B.” Dick answers as he and Damian start running forward, hatches closing as they proceed to sink under the water. “The Dynamic Duo is nuclear. We’re going to set off the reactor to work as the bomb and then get out of the way.”
“You will do no such…”
“It’s too late to argue father.” Damian says. “You might as well work on clearing us a path, because we’re almost there.”
There’s silence over the line before Bruce answers. “Dark Knight. Protect Outlaw. Titan, clear a path for Dynamic Duo. We’re ending this here.”
“Dick, Damian. You need to get out of there now! You’re missing your window of escape!”
“Shit! I have to turn on the reactor by hand!” Dick shouts out. “Damian, deploy out, I’ll meet you up top.”
“I am not leaving without you Grayson. We came here together, we leave together.” He says firmly. “That’s final.”
Dick looks solemnly at him before nodding. He offers a hand to Damian to bring him to the nuclear reactor. “Fine. Let’s end this once and for all.”
Damian nods back and grips his hand. “Together”
“Dynamic Duo, we aren’t getting life signs from either pod. Come in.”
“Dynamic Duo, respond!”
“Dick! Damian! Respond! NOW!”
“Oh God, no. Dick, Damian, please…”
“Bruce, I’m not getting life signs from either.”
“We’re looking at their pods, B, and neither of them are opening…Jason’s pod is closest and he’s trying to check, but…it doesn’t look good.”
“DYNAMIC DUO! RESPOND. NOW.”
Dick’s eyes flutter and he groans as he kicks the hatch of his pod open, “Jeez, Bruce, could you yell any louder?” He sits up and gets out of the pod, making room for Damian to climb out as well.
Damian rubs his ear and scowls. “Really, father, how undignified.”
“Oh my God, they’re alive.” He hears Stephanie shriek out. “We’re all alive! Tim! We made it out!”
Dick can hear the cheers coming from the Shatterdome and the others in the water with them, but more importantly, Bruce’s sigh of relief. He turns to Damian and grabs the boy in a tight hug. Dick rests his head against Damian’s. “We just saved the world little brother.”
Damian leans into the hug. “That we did.”
“Hey Dickface!” Dick turns to see Jason grinning at him from on top of a pod, Roy and Kori sitting behind him, injured, but alive. He sees Tim and Kon lying on theirs tiredly and Cass and Stephanie jumping up and down wildly on theirs; hugging each other tight and crying out in elation.“Nice job on saving the world and shit, but Jesus Christ did you cut it short!”
Dick grins back elated, but before he could answer Damian snorts and calls out. “Really Todd, it’s all about the timing.”