Appearing in "Past and Present"
Synopsis for "Past and Present"
Five years ago, Dick Grayson and his friends from Haly's Circus were playing around a bonfire when Mr. Haly appeared, and revealed that he had convinced their parents that they had chores to do, but was going to let them go out to a midnight movie in his truck instead. Raymond and Zane made a run for the front seats, with Raya behind them. Mr. Haly held Dick back for a moment to let him know that Raya could have beaten the boys to the truck, but was hanging back because she knew she'd be able to sit in the back with him. To this day, Dick remembers these kind words of encouragement.
Now, Dick is attending Haly's funeral, having witnessed his friend murdered by the assassin called Saiko. Before dying, Mr. Haly had left the circus to Dick, and revealed that the secret to the rumour that Richard Grayson is the deadliest killer in Gotham City lies in the heart of the circus.
At the funeral, Mr. Haly's drunken son Bryan becomes angry, incredulous that Dick would be given the circus over him. Afterwards, Dick and Raya go over what they know. Dick has no leads on assassination contracts in Atlantic City, but Raya suggests that the police should be investigating their old friend Zane. Apparently, since the death of Dick's parents, the circus went downhill, and Zane ended up falling in with a bad crowd. Now, he acts as a manager and liaison to hired killers in Chicago. Dick wonders how something like that could have happened, but Raya blames him, to an extent, noting that his insistence on looking forward rather than looking backward has allowed him to ignore the plights of his old friends.
As Nightwing, Dick heads to Chicago, having found plenty of information about Zane's dealings. Zane notices Nightwing in his office early on, and calls him out. Dick notices a number of posters on the wall hearkening back to Zane's days with the circus, and comments about them. Zane responds that he keeps them there to remind him of where he came from. Dick tries to get information out of him about who contracted Saiko, but Zane's response is violent.
Nightwing suddenly finds himself bombarded with images of his own failure. A vision of his parents accuses him of having allowed them to die. While he struggles with these images, it is all Dick can do to avoid being shot by Zane, who seems to be causing the hallucinations somehow. Dick tries to focus on an image that's real, one that actually happened. He focuses on an image of Raya standing over their friend Raymond's coffin.
The focus helps Dick lessen the hallucinations, and think about what Zane is doing to cause them. He realizes that they must be created somehow via radio frequency. To counter it, Dick uses his suit's comm transmitter to reverse the signal, sending it back to Zane's brain.
The feedback causes Zane significant pain, and Nightwing again demands to know who hired Saiko. Zane responds that he doesn't know who, otherwise he would have killed them already himself. Annoyed, Dick warns Zane to stay away from this case, or he might not be so lenient.
Later, Dick boards the circus train to Philadelphia and knocks on Raya's cabin door. He admits that she was right about his need to move forward. However, though she had thought that he hadn't attended Raymond's funeral, the truth was that he had been there, but when he saw her face, it reminded him of when he had to say goodbye to her after his own parents' death. He couldn't say goodbye to her again. Now, though, he is there with the Circus, and with her right now. He intends to stay with them until they find out who killed Mr. Haly. Smiling, Raya drags him into her cabin.
Elsewhere, Bryan Haly regrets getting Dick involved in the circus' problems. He is joined by Saiko, who vows that when the time is right, he will kill Dick Grayson.
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