41) Not Who He Seems

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With shaky hands, Dick grabbed his phone and texted Bruce.

Hey
Sorry for telling you this so late but me and Babs decided to go to the mall together after school
Her dad is picking us up
See you later

The text sounded suspicious even to Dick. Dick always told Bruce if he was going to go out with friends beforehand. He doubted he'd fool the detective with a lousy text, but hopefully it'd be enough to give him enough time to go after the murderer of his parents.

The blue-eyed child swiftly passed the school staff, said he'd be walking home today, and made his way to Crime Alley.

It was ironic how Dick knew how to get there- despite the fact that he's never been- only because of Bruce's teachings. The person who would not want him there the most.

Dick had to take a taxi to get there. It was dangerous and stupid; he was a nine-year-old alone in the grimy streets of Gotham, vulnerable to getting caught in the claws of the vermin who lived there. Not to mention that this was all obviously a trap.

He didn't care, and he knew the risk. He'd wandered Gotham alone before, this wasn't anything new. Also, he could defend himself now. And if anything actually happened, he had his phone in his bag. He could call for help if necessary.

Not that he would need to. Dick would make sure of it.

The driver gave the kid a questioning glance but shrugged it off. He got paid, and that's all that mattered to him.

With a slight gulp, Dick stepped out of the last taxi and eyed the dark, worn out, apartments around him. He hesitantly began walking to the spot he had only ever heard of. Tony was right; he did know where the man would be now that he was there. Only someone like him would make the meetup spot this cruel.

Background city noises could be heard, but it was eerily silent where he was heading. Every rustle made Dick's breath hitch, and he wondered if this really was a good idea.

No going back now, he reminded himself and kept going forward.

Until he stopped and inspected the ground beneath him.

The spot Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed.

"It's about time, kid. I was beginning to think you'd chickened out on me," a male's voice announced from behind. Dick whirled around.

"Why did you want me here?" Dick questioned immediately. He glared at Zucco warily. "I don't think you came to turn yourself in. I can help you with that, though."

The mobster cackled. "Ah, this is too funny. I love my job."

Dick gritted his teeth. "Stop playing around."

The man smirked. "Where's your new Daddy, anyways?"

"Answer my question first," Dick hissed.

"Hmm, I'll admit. I'm impressed. I didn't expect you to be so snappy," Zucco commented. "I'm sure it'll get old soon enough, unfortunately."

Dick gave the man an incredulous stare. He didn't know what he expected, but it wasn't this. The man was acting totally weird and almost casual!

"If you don't surrender now, I'll fight you," Dick stated. He tried to sound intimidating but the words sounded strange coming from his mouth. Did he sound like he was trying too hard to be tough?

"Is that so?" Tony Zucco teased. Then he began pacing towards him.

Dick quickly got in position and raised his fist. All of his training had been to prepare him for this moment and more. Despite the anger growing in chest, he felt a little excited to show Tony Zucco what a fool he'd been to underestimate him. He'd been waiting so long for this.

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