“A little to the left, Green Lantern. A little more. Perfect! Now, hold it steady.” Superman made some final adjustments to the angle of the shrinking-ray projector. He looked around to make sure that the building site was clear. Then he turned to face the bank of microphones that had been set up for the occasion.
“Ladies and gentlemen, three days ago, Metropolis witnessed one of the most horrific events in its history. Before our eyes, and despite my own best efforts, the Daily Planet Building was seemingly destroyed, and dozens of lives lost with it. Now, thanks to the members of the Justice League and the New Titans, I can tell you that the Planet Building was not destroyed, but was stolen by a megalomaniacal madman using alien technology. That discovery would not have been possible without the efforts of one hero in particular, one who looked at the same information the rest of us did, but, because he has not dealt with these types of villains and situations as much as the rest of us, came up with new answers. I feel it his right, therefore, to restore the Daily Planet Building and its occupants to their rightful place in the world. I present to you — Robin!”
It was a very startled Jason Todd who, at the prodding of Batman and Nightwing, stepped forward to take his place at Superman’s side. Thunderous applause followed him as he approached the dais and the projector.
Wordlessly, he made a final sweep of the space that would momentarily be occupied, then pressed the button. Blue-white light struck the foot-tall building in the center of the crater. There was a blinding flash, then there was standing before him a tall building, reaching high into the sky, topped by a gleaming metal globe.
The front doors of the Planet Building were thrown open, and people rushed into the street to greet their loved ones. Repairmen from the utility companies rushed into the building to restore all of the proper connections to get the building’s operations back on-line as soon as possible.
And among the gathered heroes of the JLA, one garbed in midnight blue and gray smiled with pride.
“More tea, gentlemen?”
“Alfred, why don’t you sit down and join us for a while?” asked Bruce Wayne.
“Why, certainly, sir.”
Bruce looked around the study at the three men who were the closest thing to family that he’d had since he was a young boy. “Dick’s been filling us in on what he’s been doing since the Crisis. It seems you already knew a fair amount of it.”
Alfred looked down, a flush crossing his features. “Ahem, well, I felt it best that he have somebody back here that he could confide in, and leave word in case he found himself in a dire situation. After all, the two of you have not been on the best of terms for some time now.”
“Bruce, I asked him to keep my business to himself. Don’t start in on him now.”
Saying nothing, Bruce stood and walked over to the French doors, looking out toward the lights of Gotham in the distance. “Blame him? No, I’m damned glad he did.” He turned back to face the trio. “I’m just sorry that I created the need for it, son. I got so caught up in protecting Gotham for so long, it never occurred to me that you were still growing, still finding your place in the world. When you decided to leave Gotham and then adopt your Nightwing identity, I felt like I had failed you somehow. That I had somehow made you feel unwelcome here. I guess that became a self-fulfilling attitude, didn’t it?”
“Failed me? Are you kidding?” Dick rose and came over to stand beside his mentor. “Bruce, you took me in and taught me everything I needed to know to avenge my parents’ murder. You taught me that there is always something in this world worth defending, and you proved that every day of our life together. When I got into college, I knew that I wouldn’t always be at your side in Gotham, and somehow Robin didn’t seem right by himself. That’s why I made the change. That, and to make room for a new Robin. I didn’t know that it would be Jason, here, but I knew that there would be somebody else to take the name, and that you needed somebody at your side.” Dick glanced over at Jason Todd. “I knew that it would be someone worthy of the name, too. Or you would never have started with him.”
Bruce looked into the eyes of the younger man who was a son to him. “Dick, I’m, I’m sorry, I–”
“Bruce, don’t worry about it. I’m home now. I don’t know where my life will take me from here, but this will always be home for me.”