Disclaimer: Officer Grayson and related characters are the properties of DC COMICS. This is an original fan fiction story, not written for profit and not intended to infringe on their copyright. Teresa and Kenneth Thompson are the figment of this writer's imagination.
Authors Note: This story mentions an incident that happened in THE BATMAN ADVENTURES: THE LOST YEARS #2 Published by DC COMICS. However, you do not have to read that issue to understand this story.
"Kenny get back here! You are NOT going out with those hoods!" Teresa Thompson knew the fight was on but she couldn't just stand by and watch as her teenage son threw his life away. Since her husband had left a year ago, all she and the seventeen-year-old boy did was argue. It had become a daily habit for both of them. She couldn't remember the last time they had spent any amount of time together without arguing. Guilt plagued her constantly, for surely it must be her that was doing something wrong as a mother. Feeling that she was losing him had made her try to hold on to him that much tighter in desperation. The tighter she clung the more distant he became. Feeling that she was at the end of her rope she tried once more.
"Kenneth did you hear me? I said NO!" Teresa reached for the youth trying to pull the car keys out of his hand. The almost six foot tall teen pushed her back in frustration. Why did he have to put up with this? Why couldn't his mother be 'normal'?
"I'm too old for you to be pulling this shit. I'm going out tonight and any other damn time I feel like and you ain't gonna do shit to stop me!" The teen tried to get past his mother but as always she was there to block him. Anger welled up inside him. His other friends could come and go as they pleased, why not him? As she reached again trying to make her point by grabbing the car keys, resentment mixed with temper got the better of him and he slapped her hard knocking her into the wall. Blood dripped from her mouth as she turned to stare at the child she loved in total disbelief. The hurt in her eyes screamed his name, although her voice never made a sound. He ran then, knowing what he had done was unforgivable; knowing their relationship had just crossed a line and what he had done could never be taken back. She reached out her hand for him whispering his name, until the hurt in her chest became too much and she screamed for him. Not looking back he slammed the door behind him as she slowly sank down along the side of the wall, falling into hysterical sobs.
"Hey rookie! Get it together we've got a call.." Sgt. Amy Rohrback yelled impatiently for her new partner. He quickly paid for the hot dog and coke and ran back to jump in the squad car. Once inside, he shot her a dazzling smile. "Let's do it partner!" He retorted and for a moment her breath caught. She chastised herself instantly. She was far to aware of his all too masculine form, the squad car being too close an area to be confined within. Hitting the sirens she tried to stay focused on the task at hand and not at the boyish grin of 'Bludhaven's FINEST' as the rest of the female cops in the precinct had taken to calling him. Officer Dick Grayson shoved the hot dog in his mouth dripping ketchup on the seat. Clumsily he tried to wipe it up while still shoving more food in his mouth. She dared a side ways glance and had to shake her head in awe. She hadn't known her rookie partner long but she had observed him enough to know he really didn't realize the effect he had on her or the rest of the female population for that matter. The fact that he could be so nonchalant about his obvious good looks totally surprised her. He was the first male she had met up with in a long time that wasn't full of ego. What was wrong with him she wondered? Didn't the guy own a mirror? If that were the case she hoped he never possessed one. She found his attitude toward life to be as refreshing as his outward appearance. Still she knew better than to let her guard down. The majority of Bludhaven's police force was on the take and she had no reason to believe that Grayson would be any different. Still somewhere deep inside she hoped she was wrong. Hoped he was in fact what he seemed to be.
"So what's the call?" Grayson asked curiously. His hotdog binge over, he was sucking his straw hard at the bottom of the cup thus making that annoying slurping sound. She had to suppress a smile.
"Possible jumper on roof. Just past corner of Kelley Avenue. A monstrous looking part of town, like something out of a horror movie. Better brace yourself rookie. Cops don't usually get a good reception from folks around Kelley." Amy's uneasiness showed. She hated that part of town but a call was a call and she didn't think twice about answering it.
"Look alive Grayson, we're here. Remember keep your eyes open." Dick nodded and exited the car searching immediately for the possible jumper. Still searching he commented to his partner on her obvious reluctance to use his first name. He watched as she stiffened and turned away from his gaze. "I... uh... have trouble calling you... THAT." Her embarrassed evident, it was all Dick could do to stifle a laugh. "Yeah" he retorted, "I know what you mean. It's all I can do not to think improper thoughts when I call you Amy..." His teasing got the desired reaction as she smiled and slugged him hard in the arm. "Watch yourself Grayson." She warned and with that they began their climb up the apartment fire escape that led eventually to the roof.
"Don't! Don't come any closer!" A shrill excited voice was the first indication that their police call had been justified. The crisp night air carried the woman's pleas to the attentive Sgt. and her rookie.
"Let me handle this" Amy whispered as she slowly made her way to the top and side of the six-story apartment building. Dick stayed right behind her, ready to catch her if she fell.
"Everything's going to be all right." Amy tried to keep her voice even and calm. "We just want to talk to you."
"Don't need no talk, need to be left alone." The woman's voice was becoming more agitated and, as if to show her uneasiness, she stepped even closer to the edge of the building. Nothing was between her and thin air with a long hard drop to the pavement below. If she lost her balance it would all be over with within a blink of an eye. Where Dick mused, was a grappling hook and a monofilament line when you needed one?
"We just want to help." Sgt. Rohrback tried again. She had stopped about a foot and half away from the jumper with Officer Grayson now directly beside her.
"Leave me be!" The woman looked frantically around her as if trying to find an escape. Dick realized if she wasn't careful that's exactly what she would get, a permanent one.
Sgt. Rohrback gave her rookie partner a hateful look. Now was not the time for him to disobey orders.
"Why are you doing this?" Dick moved ever so slowly so that now he was in front of Amy and had closed a six-inch gap between him and the jumper.
"Ain't none of your damned business!"
"No Ma'am." Dick's voice was soft and noticeably filled with concern. "I guess that's true enough. I was just wondering about your loved ones. If you go through with this-what's that going to do to them?" Dick lowered himself so that instead of standing he was sitting on the edge of the building. He made no move toward her since a wrong move could prove fatal for both of them.
"Don't have anyone who cares..." The woman's voice was filled with emotion as she choked out her answer. Dick knew better than to let her dwell on that thought.
"I can't believe that ma'am. Surely there's someone. A special friend, a husband or boyfriend, someone?"
"Husband left!" The woman was shouting now and Amy silently cursed Grayson for not following orders.
"Parents then or children?" At the look on her face at the last, Dick knew he had hit pay dirt.
"Do you have children ma'am?"
"Stop calling me MA'AM!"
"Okay but 'excited pretty woman on the edge of apartment building roof' is kind of long..." Dick teased ever so gently and Amy was shocked when the woman actually smiled.
"I guess it is. My name's Teresa."
"Teresa, it's nice to meet you. I'm Dick and this is Amy." When no response was given Dick tried again.
"So how old are your kids?" Silence rang out for so long that Dick thought she wasn't going to answer.
"I only have one, he's seventeen..." Teresa's voice was so full of pain that Dick was sure he was on the right track.
"Is that who gave you the busted mouth?"
Teresa seemed surprised by the question as if she didn't realize that her wounds were more than internal. As she started to cry, Dick slowly stood up and put his arms around her shoulders, with soft pressure he eased her down so that they were both sitting on the edge.
"Ssshh. It's okay."
Teresa was truly surprised by the amount of caring seen in the handsome police officer's eyes, almost as if she wasn't just another call to him. She let herself relax and without meaning to, found herself talking to the young man, who couldn't be too much older than her son. Sgt. Rohrback felt her jaw drop slightly as the jumper settled in and began to tell Officer Grayson all the pain that she held in her heart. How she wondered, had he managed to get control of the situation so quickly and effectively?
"Amy, would you get Teresa some cocoa? I have some in my thermos in the car..." Amy realized that Grayson wanted to talk to the jumper alone to build a rapport with her. She was hesitant about leaving the rookie but one glance told her that Grayson had the situation handled.
"Be right back." Dick nodded and once again turned his attention back to Teresa.
"He hates me!" She sobbed.
"I don't believe that Teresa. In fact, I'd bet my life that he doesn't..."
"How can you be so sure? You don't even know him."
"No." Dick took a deep breath. Should he open up to her? Would exposing old wounds to her help in any way?
"But I've been where your son is..."
"What? What do you mean?"
"In fact," Dick reflected, "I was about his age..."
"What happened?" Dick saw that Teresa was genuinely interested. He only hoped his story would help and not hurt the situation.
"My... uh... Dad and I were having a lot of trouble getting along." Dick forced the words out as guilt still plagued him even now.
"The anger and resentment grew between us. We... I guess we both handled things all wrong." Dick's voice grew even softer until it was barely more than a whisper. He saw the emotions in Teresa's eyes and decided to go through with his story.
"Teresa, I've never told anyone this but... one night we were arguing and I just lost it..." Dick didn't look at her face it was too much of a reminder of a painful past.
"So what happened that night?" Teresa gently pressed and seeing how upset it still made him, she reached for his hand and held it firmly inside her own.
"Oh God Teresa! I HIT HIM! We were yelling at each other and the next thing I knew he was on the ground where I had punched him in the mouth. I don't know which one of us was more surprised. I'll never forget the look in his eyes. That look of hurt and betrayal. I'll... NEVER forgive myself for that."
Dick bit his lip and fought to stay in control of tears that threatened to fall. No matter what he refused to come unglued. He was here to help Teresa and feeling sorry for himself, he was sure was not the way to do it. Looking up at her he noticed she didn't have any luck controlling her own tears as they flowed like perfect raindrops from her hurting eyes.
"Did he, did he hit you back?" She whispered and Dick realized she was almost holding her breath waiting for an answer.
"No... my... uh... Dad has never hit me. Not ever, not even once and believe me I've given him plenty of reason to at times..."
"So what DID he do?"
"He just looked at me with so much love and so much hurt in his eyes. I couldn't stand it. Couldn't bear to look at him. I... just... left."
"Just like Kenny" She whispered and squeezed his hand.
"I never meant for things to go that far, to get that out of control. I'd give my life if I could take it back."
"So what did you do?"
"I felt sorry for myself for a while. Blamed him for a while. Then one day I took a good long look in the mirror. I decided he had been right about a lot of things, maybe not everything but enough things. With admitting that he had been partially right I had to admit that I had been at least partially wrong... that was... hard for me. When I finally realized that I loved him more than my stupid pride, I came home."
Teresa looked relieved. She smiled at him weakly still continuing to hold his hand.
"So he took you back right?"
Dick thought for a moment before he answered. He knew Teresa wanted a happy ever after ending; unfortunately, he didn't have one to give her.
"Back into his life yes, back into his heart..." Dick took a deep breath "Well, we're still working on that one."
"What do you mean?"
"I hurt him deeply. Some wounds take longer to heal. I know he loves me but he is afraid now to show it. Afraid that I'll hurt him again, afraid that I'll leave again..."
"So he hasn't forgiven you?"
"Oh no, it's worse than that. He loves me so much that I think he could forgive me of just about anything."
"Well, if he's forgiven you, then where's the problem?"
"My... uh... Dad is kind of melodramatic. He thinks everything is his fault. It's not me he hasn't forgiven; it's himself. Sometimes, I don't think we'll ever have things back the way they used to be."
"Have you... talked to him about it?" Teresa could tell from the 'I couldn't do that' look that Dick gave her that he hadn't even really considered it as an option.
"My... uh... Dad doesn't do 'talk'".
"Maybe you shouldn't give him a choice. Get him alone where he has to listen and tell him how you feel. I think you owe that to yourself and uh... your... Dad."
"I wouldn't even know where to start. I've thought about it often but to bring it up means to bring up all those old feelings. So like a coward I always opt to let sleeping dogs lie."
"You aren't a coward. You are just afraid of losing him again."
"How did you get so smart Teresa?" Dick gave her a brilliant smile and she thought of her own child and how he must be feeling.
"It would hurt him, wouldn't it?"
"Yes, Teresa, it would. If you take your own life he'll never get over it. Never is a very, very long time."
"Dick would you take me to my ex-husband's house? I think it's time he and I buried the hatchet. We should have a talk about Kenny. Maybe together we can reach him."
"Will do, on one condition..."
"What would that be?"
"If you ever need to talk to someone you call me..." Dick pulled out his wallet and handed her a card with his phone number on it. She took it with her free hand and squeezed his other hand tight.
"On one condition..." She gently pressed.
"What would that be?" He smiled.
"Go tonight, after your shift. Wake him up if you have to but talk to him-TONIGHT."
"You drive a hard bargain, pretty woman on the edge of apartment building roof." Dick's eyes twinkled as he teased.
"Do we have a deal then, handsome police officer that just saved the life of a pretty woman on the edge of apartment building roof?"
"Oh God! I'm NOT saying that five times real fast!" Dick laughed and to his delight so did she. By the time the Sgt. got back with the thermos of cocoa she found the two just sitting there laughing like they hadn't a care in the world. Amy shook her head in total disbelief. This rookie was really something...
Dick opened up the door to his apartment to find Bruce already inside. He had called his foster father after the talk he had shared with Teresa. He asked Bruce for a meet without going into details. He honestly hadn't expected him so soon. He hadn't even prepared what he was going to say...
"Dick are you all right? You look pale."
One look into Bruce's eyes and Dick almost backed out. Remembering his promise to both Teresa and himself he knew that wasn't really an option.
"Sit down Dad, we need to talk."
Bruce looked alarmed at Dick's strange behavior.
"Did... did you just say... Dad?" Bruce stuttered.
Dick looked into Bruce's deep blue eyes. He had put this off for too long.
"Yes, I need to talk to you and I need you to listen. Really listen... okay... Dad?"
Bruce gave a double blink and sat down beside Dick on the sofa.
"Okay son, I'm listening..."
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