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Author's Note

Summary: Martha Wayne and her two-month-old baby are kidnapped. Dr. Thomas Wayne and Johnny Grayson to the rescue. Or should we say, Dr. Mid-Nite and Kid Acrobat?

Acknowledgement: This is in answer to a story challenge at Untold Tales mailing list.

Disclaimer: All the characters are owned by DC Comics and Time/Warner; this is an original story that does not intend to infringe on their copyright. Feedback is welcome!

Copyright: March 2000


by Syl Francis

Johnny ran down the deserted midtown boulevard. The lengthening shadows of the Gotham skyscrapers warned him of the lateness of the hour. He'd missed the bus! If he ran, he might still be able to catch it at the next stop. Johnny mentally kicked himself.

He'd been so involved in the wonderful sights and marvelous shops that he'd completely lost track of time. His father was going to kill him. If Johnny missed tonight's performance, he'd be canned for sure.

It would be the third time this season that Johnny missed a show. And anything Papa might say to him would pale in comparison to what Mama would say. At the thought of one of his mother's tongue-lashings, Johnny poured on the speed.

Rounding a corner at a full sprint, Johnny slammed into an angry group of people. Slipping on the wet pavement, Johnny scrambled to regain his feet while apologizing profusely. As he struggled to disentangle his legs he realized that the sole woman was screaming, pleading for help.

"Help me! Please!" she cried.

"Shaddup, lady!" a hulking brute growled. He was fighting to shove her into a waiting, open car. Another goon came up from behind and grabbed the small bundle that she'd been holding.

"*No*! Please! My baby! Don't hurt my baby!"

That's all Johnny needed to hear. Without pausing, he sprang into action. In a sudden explosion of speed, he flipped in midair and landed with both feet on the back of one of the woman's attackers.

The both went down in a heap. Johnny quickly recovered and back flipped out of harm's way.


"What's going on?"

"Rocco! Get that kid!"

The woman screamed again as she was shoved into the backseat of the waiting car. Desperately, Johnny executed a forward handspring, somersaulted and landed on Rocco's shoulders. He proceeded to pummel the larger man on either side of the head.

"Hey! Get him off'a me!" Rocco yelled.

Johnny back flipped off the man's shoulders, kicked out with the heel of his right foot, and connected nicely with his opponent's temple. He had to delay these thugs before they--

A shot rang out! Johnny's head exploded in a shower of crimson stars. He heard the woman shriek in horror. A man's evil laughter drowned her out. And above it all, Johnny heard a baby's forlorn, frightened wail echo in the descending darkness...


"...He's coming to--" Papa?

"Oh, thank God!" Mama?

"Mr. and Mrs. Grayson, I know that this is a terrible time, but we'll have to ask your son a few questions." A stranger's voice.

"Questions?" Mama's desperate voice cried. "Our son was almost killed last night by some terrible hoodlums in your horrible town. I warned you, Papa!" she said. "Gotham City is not safe! We should never have agreed to come here."

"Mama..." Papa said soothingly. "Now, now. We go where the Haly Circus goes. It's our home."

"Our home?" Mama said. "Harriman Haly is an idiot. Always with the big ideas and the big shows. Always bigger and bigger. Not like his papa, God rest his soul."

"Mama, Harry and I were boys together growing up in the circus. He's a good man. He has big plans for the circus. Good plans."

"Good plans," Mama said scornfully.

"Now, now, Mama. The good police officer here does not need to hear our dirty laundry. I am sure that he is a very busy man. If Johnny saw what happened to that poor woman and her baby, then he must help. Officer--?"

"Gordon. Detective Jim Gordon."

"Uhhhhhhn..." Johnny murmured as he stirred. He hurt. He didn't want to open his eyes, but a sense of urgency overwhelmed him. He could still hear the baby's cries in the night.

He swallowed painfully. Forcing his eyes open, he struggled against the morning light.

"Papa--? Mama--?"

"Johnny!" Mama cried. She hugged him immediately, planting several kisses on his face. Johnny withstood his mother's greeting stoically. He looked helplessly over her head at his father. Papa gave him a wink. Johnny smiled in return.

At last, Johnny turned to the other man. His father quickly introduced him.

"Son, can you tell me what happened?" Gordon asked. "Who did this to you?"

"I never saw them before," Johnny whispered. "I was late. I'd missed the bus." He glanced shamefacedly at his father. "I'm sorry, Papa. I missed the show again. I know, I promised..."

"Never mind that for now, Johnny. We must help this police officer find these men."

Johnny nodded. He told Gordon about the men who were forcing the woman with the baby into the dark, late model Ford.

"One man called another one, Rocco." He shrugged. "I'm sorry, Detective Gordon, but that's all I know."

"Will that be enough, Jim?" a new voice asked from the open doorway. Startled, Johnny looked over at the tall man in a white lab coat. He had a stethoscope dangling from his neck.

"You should be home, Thomas, in case the kidnappers call," Gordon admonished.

"You know I can't leave my patients, Jim." He reminded Johnny of the tall skyscrapers that he'd admired in the city yesterday. But Johnny also sensed a depth of loss that seemed to radiate from him.

"You didn't answer my question, Jim. Do you have enough information to go on?"

"I don't know, Thomas," Gordon replied, "but it's a start." Gordon turned to Johnny. "Young man, this is Dr. Thomas Wayne. The woman from last night is his wife, Martha. The baby--"

"--The baby is our two-month-old son, Bruce," Wayne finished sadly.

Johnny dropped his eyes in shame. "I'm very sorry, Dr. Wayne. I should've stopped them. I should've--"

"No, son, it's not your fault. Thank you for trying, though." With that, Wayne left the room. Johnny turned sad eyes back to his parents.

"Johnny, if you remember anything else, give me a call at this number," Gordon said, handing him a card. Johnny nodded.


The baby's cries tore at him. Why didn't they feed him? Couldn't they see that the baby was hungry? He could *feel* the baby's hunger pangs, his *need* to be held by that soft, tender warmth that he associated with 'mother,' with love and safety.

The baby called to him. Slowly, painfully, he pushed back the covers and sat up in bed. Feeling himself being pulled, he stood and began walking...



Johnny woke, startled. He looked around bewildered. He was standing, barefoot, outside of Gotham City General Hospital. He was halfway across the parking lot.

"Johnny, where do you think you're going?" Dr. Wayne ran up to him and grabbed him by the shoulders. "You've suffered a grazing gunshot to the temple. You need to rest!"

Johnny looked at him, his mind in a muddle. He could still hear the faint cries of the baby, but they were quickly fading. He shook his head. Everything was spinning. "Can't you hear it?" he asked confused. "The baby...he's crying. I've got to--"

He collapsed.


He hears voices, garbled whispers in the dark. After a few moments jumbled words begin to form, soon they become coherent sentences.

"We can't leave him!" Mama says.

"We *must*!" Papa insists. "The circus train leaves in two hours."

"I don't care. He's just a child," Mama whispers.

"~I'm *not* a child, Mama! I'm nearly fourteen!~" Johnny protests, but they don't hear him.

"The good doctor will take care of our Johnny until he gets better," Papa says.

"But, Richardo, we are Romany! Dr. Wayne, he is a Gaje--!"

"Graciela!" Papa interrupts sharply. "We go now."

A door quietly opens and closes. Soon, all sound fades once more into the darkness...


When he woke, Johnny felt more himself, clear headed. He looked around the room. This wasn't his hospital room. Where was he? Taking a moment to study his surroundings, Johnny noted the massive four-poster that he was lying on. He looked up and took in the expensively carved ceiling and crystal light fixture.

Moving his eyes downward, his somewhat blurred vision fell on a wall-sized tapestry of a woodland scene. Blinking rapidly, he concentrated on the wall hanging and realized that it was scene out of Robin Hood.

Another wall was taken up almost entirely by the largest fireplace Johnny had ever seen. He sat up slowly and threw back the covers. A wave of vertigo passed through him. He looked down. A pair of slippers waited next to the bed. Quirking a single eyebrow, he slipped his feet into them.

He stood up slowly and walked up to the drapes, drawing them.

The late morning sun flooded the gloomy room transforming it into a bright, cheery sanctuary. A set of French doors led outside to a small balcony, which overlooked beautifully manicured grounds. A giant oak stood sentinel immediately on the other side of the balcony.

He smiled to himself. Some lucky kid could have fun jumping on and off the balcony to the lower branches below. That is, if that kid were circus born and raised like *he* was.

But then no circus kid that *he* knew would *ever* be able to afford a home like this, much less live in one. He shrugged philosophically. Well, not too many rich kids would ever be able to 'fly' 200 feet up on the trapeze, either.

The door opened behind him. An urbane gentleman walked in and greeted him.

"Good morning, young sir. I am the Wayne family's personal valet, Alfred. I am here to see to your needs. You will find suitable clothing in the drawers and in the closet. Clean towels in the bathroom." He paused.

"Your father and mother came by. The Haly Circus closed earlier than expected, and the circus train should have left the depot already. Dr. Wayne wishes that you remain here during your recovery. Your parents have agreed, and wish you to know that the circus shall be back this way in another three weeks when it heads towards Metropolis. At that time, you'll be able to rejoin them."


"No buts. Everything has been settled already. Dr. Wayne says that you should feel strong enough now to take care of your basic needs, but if you require help getting dressed, I shall be only too happy to--"

"--No! No, I don't need help getting dressed, thanks. I'll be done in a few minutes."

"Very well, sir. I shall be back in twenty minutes."

Johnny found himself nodding to a closed door. Grimacing, he walked to the chest of drawers and found what he needed.

Within minutes he was showered and dressed and standing outside in the cool spring morning. It was a beautiful April day. A bright splash of rainbow colors carpeted the immaculate lawn. Johnny felt a responding leap inside him as he gazed upon the garden of wildflowers.

A sudden cloud passed over the sun, casting a shadow on the earth below. Johnny shivered in the sudden chill breeze.

Somewhere in the recesses of his mind, he heard a baby's cry. The broken-hearted wails tore at him. He had to help the police find Mrs. Wayne and her baby. He had to!


Johnny felt like a rube from the country. The Haly Circus had played in some of the most impressive venues in the country. But to have performed in such places was not the same as living in one.

Johnny had never stayed in such luxurious surroundings. He found himself gaping and consciously closed his mouth.

Wayne greeted him downstairs. He was dressed casually, wearing an expensive smoking jacket and open collar. He held a pipe in one hand, seemingly forgotten.

"Johnny, I hope you've found your room comfortable. Is there anything else you need? Your mother dropped off some of your clothes, which I see you've already found."

Johnny smiled. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir," he stammered. "Everything's fine. Your house is beautiful, sir!"

Wayne smiled. "Thank you, Johnny. Mrs. Wayne and I--" he stopped. He stared off momentarily, and then abruptly came back to his guest. "I'm sorry. It's hard not knowing where they've taken her. If she's all right. If the baby..."

"They haven't called yet, sir?"

Wayne shook his head. "No. Gordon and the FBI say there's little they can do until the kidnappers call and demand a ransom. They could be halfway out of the country by now!"

Johnny felt sorry for Wayne. He seemed like a kind, caring man. Should Johnny reassure him? Should he tell him about the baby's cries? But the doctor was a Gaje, a non-Romany. He would not understand. He might even become angry. He was about to speak, when they were interrupted by Alfred.

"Dr. Wayne, Master John...sirs, lunch is served."

"Thank you, Alfred," Wayne said. He looked at Johnny. "Shall we?" Johnny nodded.


The afternoon passed with excruciating slowness. Alfred, carrying rags and furniture polish, disappeared somewhere within the dark nooks of Wayne Manor. Wayne retired to his rooms.

Johnny haunted the quiet corridors of the manor alone.

Eventually, he found a massive door that led into a quiet study. The room was lined with more books than Johnny had ever seen in his life. Curious, he walked in to explore the shelves. As he read the gilded, leather-bound titles, his eyes fell on an eight by ten, antique-framed portrait. It was centered on one of the shelves, surrounded by other, framed family photos.

It was a picture of the woman he'd seen the other night being dragged into the dark car. She was dressed elegantly in a long, shimmering gown with a low decolletage. Her dark hair was swept up a French chignon, held in place with a mother of pearl hair comb. A simple strand of pearls and matching earrings accented the comb.

She was seated in this very room, with the bookshelves serving as backdrop. In her arms, she held a small bundle wrapped in baby-blue blankets.

What struck Johnny as he studied the portrait of mother and son was that Mrs. Wayne had eyes only for her baby. The love she emanated was that of a mother for the miracle of her first born. Whatever the reason, Johnny knew that this was a woman who glowed with warmth and comfort.

Very carefully, Johnny returned the framed photograph back to its place of honor.

The jangling of the phone on Wayne's desk broke the stillness of the afternoon...


"*No*!" Wayne bellowed, snapping the briefcase shut. "I *won't* allow either of you to endanger them."

"Thomas, you can't go there alone," Gordon said reasonably. "What if it's a setup? What if all they want is to take the money and kill all three of you?"

"You say they wouldn't let you speak to your wife?" The new speaker was Special Agent Reed who was assigned to the Wayne kidnapping.

"No, but I don't care! If there's the slightest chance that this money will get my wife and son back, I'm going!"

"Thomas, you're not thinking straight," Gordon urged. "Let the FBI handle this. These people aren't to be trusted."

"*No*!" Wayne yelled again, his desperation coming to the fore. "Martha and Bruce are depending on me to get them out of this! Don't you understand? They're depending on me. I won't let them down."

"Thomas, we know that you're feeling guilty for not being able to prevent this, but it isn't your fault. These kidnappers tricked all of you--!"

"--Boy, you called *that* right, Jim!" Wayne interrupted. "First they call me away on some wild goose chase, telling me that one of my patients is going into toxic shock." Pacing around the desk, Wayne laughed in self-mocking anger. "Ever the vigilant doctor I *left* my *wife* and *two-month-old son* at the Gotham Hilton--*alone*!"

"Thomas, please. They weren't alone. They were with friends. It's unfortunate that she became separated. The Concierge says that they received an emergency message about a car accident. She wouldn't wait for the hotel to call her a cab. Instead, she ran outside to hail one. Before any of them could react, a group of men tried to grab her off the street. That's when young Grayson here came along and almost put a stop to it."

Gordon shook his head. "But it wasn't your fault. It was too well planned. To the last detail."

Wayne turned his back on the other men and picked up the same portrait that Johnny had been admiring earlier. Finally, he shook his head. Taking a deep breath, Wayne turned around. He glared at the two police officers, his self-loathing for failing to save his wife and son projecting out at them.

"I'm sorry, Detective Gordon, Agent Reed. But I'm going to have to ask you politely to leave my house. I do not wish either the GCPD or the FBI involved in this." He pressed a buzzer. Alfred appeared instantly. "Alfred? Will you please show the gentlemen out?"

Alfred stared mutely at his employer, his eyes telegraphing his own pain and loss. Recovering quickly, he nodded and addressed Gordon and Reed in his most urbane voice.

"Gentlemen? This way please."

"Thomas--?" Gordon began. Wayne looked determinedly away from his friend. Sighing, Gordon turned and left the study.

"What will you do, sir?"

"What?" Wayne looked around confused as if he'd fallen asleep.

Johnny stood up from the corner easy chair where he'd been sitting quietly watching the proceedings. He walked up to Wayne.

"What will you do now, sir?"

Wayne looked sternly at him. His dark eyes hooded in the growing shadows of the late afternoon. Johnny swallowed, his own gray eyes wide with fear and concern. Wayne's glare softened. He placed a strong hand on the boy's shoulder.

"I'm sorry, Johnny. I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm driving to the pickup point that the caller gave me. When there, we'll make an exchange. They said that if the police came, they'd kill Martha and little Bruce." He shook his head. "I won't risk their safety by allowing Gordon or the feds to help."

"But, sir, what if it *is* a trap? They wouldn't let you to speak to your wife. You don't know if they even have her or if--" Johnny stopped. Or if she's dead, he'd been about to add.

Wayne's haggard eyes turned back to his wife's portrait.

"I know," he whispered.


The car stopped at last. Johnny let out a relieved breath. "Note to self," Johnny muttered, "do not *ever* attempt this stunt again!"

He waited a few seconds, not daring to move. Finally, he heard the driver's side door open and Wayne step out of the car. Releasing his feet from their precarious toehold on the car's chassis, Johnny placed them carefully on the pavement below. Once he could feel his feet on the road, Johnny felt it was safe to release his strong grip on the car's bumper.

Traveling at 60 mph, *underneath* a car might look 'neat' while James Bond was doing it on a movie screen, but Johnny Grayson decided that flying 200 feet in the air was more to his liking. Besides, he thought he'd choke on the gas fumes.

Rolling out from under the car towards the passenger side, Johnny creeped forward until he was crouched next to the front bumper. Staying hidden, he watched Wayne's tall shadow standing next to the driver's side.

The minutes inched by. Johnny was beginning to think that it had all been a hoax, when two high beams suddenly flooded the night. Johnny slipped to the ground and hugged the side of the car, making himself as small as possible.

Two shadows in long, dark overcoats profiled themselves in front of the headlights.

"Dr. Wayne?" one shouted. "You got the money?"

"Not until I see my wife!" Wayne yelled.

"The money first, Wayne. Or your wife and son die!"

Wayne looked like he was about to protest, but instead nodded curtly in surrender.

"Take five steps forward and leave the briefcase on the ground, then step back to the car."

Wayne did as told. As soon as he was back at the car, one of the shadows broke away and walked deliberately to the briefcase and picked it up.

As soon as Wayne began walking towards the drop point, Johnny slipped quietly to the underbrush that lined the desolate, county road. Inching noiselessly, he made his way around to the kidnappers' car.

When Wayne returned to his own sports car, Johnny was crawling just outside the kidnappers' vehicle. Risking a look, he quickly scanned the interior, front and back. It was empty!

He felt a moment of panic. Could Mrs. Wayne and the baby be in the trunk? He had to do something! These men had no intention of returning their victims. Maybe they didn't even have them.

"My wife and son! I want them now! I've held my end of the deal. You said no cops! No feds! Where're my wife and baby?"

The two 'kidnappers' broke into raucous laughter.

"Wish we *knew*, doc!" one guffawed. "But if we had 'em, you can bet we'd keep 'em until you paid out your entire Wayne fortune!"

"Why you--!" Wayne rushed towards his tormenters, both arms swinging. Still laughing, the two thugs ducked easily under his inexperienced blows. It was obvious to all that, while Wayne was a successful doctor, he was not fighter.

The men easily boxed him in between them, and then began taking turns punching him, first one, and then the other. Wayne rallied valiantly, but he was no match for the two hoodlums.

Johnny watched uncertainly from the sidelines. What should he do? Suddenly, Wayne went down, and the two men, guffawing with the sheer pleasure of rendering pain, began kicking him. Wayne cried out as one of them connected with his midsection.

Enraged, Johnny sprang up and leaped over the car, using his momentum to carry him forward towards the two thugs. He barreled into them with the full force of his 130 pounds, taking them by surprise.

He didn't have time to think about what he was doing. He just moved by instinct. As a trained acrobat, Johnny knew several ways to use his feet to maximum effect. After all, a kid growing up in the circus had to know how to take care of himself. As he kicked out in desperation, he noted that Wayne had managed to regain his feet and joined the fray.

Johnny ducked quickly underneath his opponent's fists. His smaller size made it easier for him to kick and bob. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Wayne subduing his opponent as well. Within minutes, Johnny and Wayne had the two would be extortionists on the ground, immobilized.

"Where *are* they!" Wayne screamed. His pent up anger, coupled with a sense of overwhelming despair and desperation, manifested itself. Wayne held one of the hoods by the lapels and pounded his head against the pavement. Johnny watched in growing horror as the man's head split open and started bleeding.

"Dr. Wayne! Please, sir! Stop!" he cried.

"I don't know," the hood pleaded, his voice blubbering. "I swear to God, I don't know!" Wayne felt around the pavement until he found the revolver that one of the thugs had dropped. Holding it, Wayne quickly removed the bullets from the cylinder.

Keeping his eyes on the gangster beneath him, Wayne held one bullet out between his thumb and forefinger, allowing the light from the car's high beams to strike it. Smiling ruthlessly, he carefully loaded it. Snapping the cylinder back in place, Wayne grimly turned it several times. Pointing the gun towards the woods by the roadside, he pulled the trigger. The gun clicked.

Holding the revolver to the frightened hood's temple, Wayne addressed him coldly.

"Now you listen to me and you listen good!" he snarled. "The cops kept my wife and baby's kidnapping out of the papers. There's only one way that you could've known. You have a choice to make. Understand?"

The hood shook his head. "I-I swear I don't know," his voice squeaked in terror.

Wayne pulled the trigger. It clicked on an empty chamber.

His terrified prisoner started whimpering almost incoherently, tears streaming down his face. "I-I *swear*! *Please*!"

Wayne pulled the trigger again.

"All right!" the kidnapper cried desperately. "Please! Put that thing away...I'll tell you everything I know!"

"Talk!" Wayne screamed.

"O-okay! Okay!" he sniveled. "Me'n Ted, w-we overheard two guys talking. I swear--!"

"*Where*?! Where did you hear them talking?" Wayne demanded. He was almost nose-to-nose with the man.

"At Sharkey's Bar. On twentieth and West. A coupla guys...I-I think they work for Snapper Daggett--"

"Shut up, Leo!" his partner shouted. "Are you *crazy*?"

"You shut up, Ted! You ain't got no *gun* to *your* head!" Leo whined. "I ain't goin' up the river for no kidnapping of no baby and his mother. You know what the cons at Blackgate will *do* to us?"

"You know what *Daggett* will do to us?"

"Johnny! Find something to tie these two with," Wayne instructed brusquely. "Stay with them. I'm headed for Sharkey's Bar."

"Sorry, Dr. Wayne," Johnny said, "I'm going with you."

"Absolutely not, Johnny!" Wayne said sharply. "I won't let you risk your life."

Johnny looked steadily at Wayne and then broke into a wide, bright grin.

"I'm afraid that you don't have a choice, Dr. Wayne."


Holding onto the door handle to avoid sliding over to the driver side, Johnny looked askance at Wayne. The doctor was driving like a maniac, taking blind curves around the hills that surrounded the outskirts of Gotham City with careless abandon.

Johnny's lifestyle was one of thrills and constant danger, but his family trained incessantly to minimize risk and maximize safety. Wayne was acting just plain crazy!

"Who's Snapper Daggett?" Johnny asked, as much to get his mind off the danger as to gain information. He quickly closed his eyes and looked away as yet another huge tree seemed to be careening straight towards them. Wayne jerked the wheel to the left at the last possible moment. The low sports car took the sharp curve on screeching wheels.

After a seemingly long pause in which Johnny had just about decided that Wayne wasn't going to answer his question, the doctor began talking reluctantly.

"Samuel Daggett, AKA Snapper Daggett, is the CEO and founder of Daggett Pharmaceuticals, a chain of medical supplies store. DP has stores in Gotham, Metropolis, and is currently looking to expand to Central City."

"I don't understand, sir," Johnny said perplexed. "He doesn't sound like someone who'd stoop to kidnapping."

"You work in the circus, kid," Wayne said. "You should know that looks can be deceiving. Gotham General Hospital awarded a multi-million dollar contract to DP about nine months ago for the latest in preemie neonatal care incubators."

At Johnny's obvious look of incomprehension, Wayne explained. "'Preemie' is just a term we use for premature babies. 'Preemie neonatal care' is the medical care we provide premature babies following birth. Because preemies are at times not fully developed, they require being placed in incubators to allow their tiny bodies the time necessary to come to term. That is, the time they didn't get due to being born too soon."

Johnny swallowed. "Elinore gave birth to a 'preemie'. The baby didn't live long. Bartholomew, the elephant handler, was heartbroken. I was, too. I love Elinore. Everyone in the circus does. The audience loves her, too."

"Who's Elinore?" Wayne asked curiously. "One of the circus performers?" Johnny laughed.

"You could say *that* again! Elinore is the star of Haly Circus--she's our prize elephant and gets to lead the circus parade every show. Sometimes Bartholomew lets me ride her."

Wayne smiled. "It must be fun growing up in the circus," he mused.

"It's the best. But it's also a lot of hard work," Johnny added. "Anyway, I still don't understand. Why would Daggett kidnap Mrs. Wayne and the baby?"

"Soon after we began to change over to the incubators that DP sent us, the neonatal nursing staff began to notice an alarmingly high failure rate in the units. Invariably, we'd have to change back to one of the old incubators until DP could supply us with replacements." Wayne paused, disgusted.

"To make a long story short, the replacements failed, as well." Wayne concentrated on his driving for a few moments. Johnny noticed that since they'd started talking, the doctor's driving had settled down to a safer speed. Finally, Wayne continued.

"Unfortunately, we lost three babies in the process, Gotham General's first set of triplets: Amy Marie, one pound, two ounces, Christopher Robin, one pound, one ounce, and Lindsey Lee, one pound, three ounces. They were barely thirty-six hours old. Little Amy Marie held my finger during her first feeding."

Wayne's voice caught. Out of the corner of his eyes, Johnny saw the good doctor bring his hand surreptitiously up to his eyes. Johnny looked determinedly away.

Wayne cleared his throat. "I had to tell Jeannie and Robert Miller that all three of their babies were dead due to massive heart and lung failure caused by the catastrophic malfunction of the Daggett Pharmaceutical incubators."

Wayne's jaw hardened into a grim line.

"I vowed that I would never have to break identical news to another set of parents. Needless to say, Gotham General Hospital sued Daggett Pharmaceuticals for medical malpractice. The Gotham State Medical Board found DP guilty of willful negligence, and they lost their medical license to sell medical supplies in Gotham City. DP's stock took a downward turn, but that wasn't the worst of the fallout." Wayne paused momentarily, reflecting on the previous months of anger and frustration at Daggett's supply company.

"The Gotham District Attorney's office decided it had enough evidence to bring the case against Daggett Pharmaceutical to a Grand Jury. My medical testimony was largely responsible for Snapper Daggett and several of his Board of Directors being indicted on three counts of involuntary manslaughter." Wayne sighed. "The criminal case is due to go to jury trial in another two weeks. I am, again, the lead medical expert witness for the prosecution."

Wayne futilely slammed his hand on the steering wheel. "I thought that this was almost behind me. I underestimated the lengths to which Snapper Daggett would stoop."

Johnny nodded in agreement, and then keeping his eyes straight ahead, he asked the question that was uppermost in his mind.

"Would you have killed him...? That guy back there?"

They drove on for a long moment in complete silence. Finally, Wayne held out his open palm to Johnny. Curiously, Johnny waited to see what he was up to.

"As I said earlier--" Wayne closed his hand into a tight fist. "--looks can be deceiving." He shook his closed hand, opened it, and then snapped his fingers. "Presto! Change-o! The hand is quicker that the eye!" The soft moonlight streaming in through the windshield caught a metallic glimmer in the palm of his hand.

Wide-eyed, Johnny reached for the gleaming bullet in the doctor's hand.

"You mean, you never--?" Johnny whispered awed.

"I'm a doctor, son. I've taken an oath to save lives...I don't take them."

"Even if they're responsible--?"

"Even if," Wayne said. "Otherwise, how will I ever be able to look Bruce in the eyes in the future?"

Johnny nodded. He settled in his seat, lost in thought.


"What will you do if we get in?" Johnny asked. They were sneaking outside the filthy alleyway next to Sharkey's Bar. Wayne didn't answer him. Instead, he turned and held his finger to his lips in a shushing motion. Johnny rolled his eyes.

Following stealthily behind Wayne, Johnny kept a sharp lookout for anyone who might sneak up behind them. Wayne found a window further down, obviously leading to the basement. He tried it, but it was locked.

He looked around for something to break it with. Johnny stopped him, urgently signaling Wayne for attention. Wayne looked impatiently at him. Johnny pointed straight up. There was a pipe that ran all the way to the roof.

Wayne's eyes widened. "Are you crazy?" he hissed. Johnny grinned. He suddenly leaped up, grabbed a firm handhold, and began climbing.

"It's really easy, doc," he said. "Hold the pipe like this...keep your feet and knees like this...and pull up like this!" Within minutes, he was up on the roof. Looking down, he waved encouragingly at Wayne.

Shaking his head in bemusement, Wayne looked at the pipe, looked at his hands, shrugged, and went for it.


Gasping, Wayne reached his hand up to the roof. A surprisingly strong grip, closed around his wrist, and he found himself being assisted expertly onto the rooftop to safety.

The amateur sleuths moved across the roof's tarmac. Wayne watched Johnny move with cat-like feet in the shadows. Observing how the boy carefully placed his feet toe to heel on the pebble-strewn blacktop, Wayne followed suit.

Finding a maintenance door that led to the bar below, Wayne tried it. To his disappointment, it was locked. Johnny stepped up to it and studied it by feel.

"Doc, do you have a light?" he asked. Wayne immediately struck a match and held it next to the door's lock. Johnny smiled and quickly took out a straight pick. Within seconds, he had the door open.

Wayne blinked, slightly taken aback. Johnny grinned.

"I'm a circus brat. You'd be surprised at the kinds of things I've picked up both inside *and* outside the ring."

Wayne shook his head in mild disapproval, but shrugged. They were in. At the moment, that was all that mattered.


"Stay here, kid," Wayne whispered. They'd made their way down to a shadowy corridor adjacent to the main bar area. The narrow hallway was a dark, enclosed space, with the rancid odors of countless patrons who'd been sick or who'd relieved themselves along its darkened recesses rather than bothering with the ten additional feet to the men's room.

Johnny gagged at the overpowering sour stench. The Haly Circus animal cages smelled better.

Trying to take his mind off the stink, Johnny glanced into the smoke-filled bar. He could make out several hardcases who were too busy drowning their sorrows to care about anyone around them.

"Keep your eyes peeled," Wayne warned. "No telling if things could get rough."

"What are you going to do?" Johnny asked, worried. He remembered Wayne's ineffectiveness in a fistfight.

"Nothing," Wayne said straight-faced. "I'm just another drunk looking for my next shot."

Johnny nodded and took up a position near the door. This offered him the clearest view of the entire bar area, that is, whatever wasn't obscured by the thick haze that seemed to just hang there.

Observing Wayne weave his way across to the bar, Johnny's attention was suddenly caught by two men who were walking towards him. Realizing he'd be caught if he didn't do something quickly, Johnny ducked into the men's room.

The smell was *worse* in here. No wonder most of the drunks relieved themselves in the hallway. Even drunk, they had enough presence of mind to be disgusted by *this* place!

The restroom had four stalls. Johnny ran quickly to the farthest one and locked it. Trying not to see what was inside the overflowing toilet, *and* attempting not to lose his lunch, Johnny held his breath and climbed onto the toilet seat.

Not daring to think about germs, Johnny held his hand to his face and forced himself to breathe through his mouth.

The door to the men's room opened. Eyes wide, Johnny remained as still the Great Marko's, loyal assistant and loving wife, Maria. The Great Marko was the Haly Circus' famed knife-thrower. His assistant knew the importance of total muscle control, since the slightest twitch could cost her her life. Johnny had grown up watching them practice their act.

I hope I've learned something, he thought.

"I don't like this, Grady! We'll end up taking the fall--"

"Shut up, Tip," Grady answered. "Mr. Daggett gave his word. Once the trial's over, we return 'em safe'n sound to Wayne. You'n me, we skip the country. Rio de Janeiro, here we come!" He laughed. "Just think, Tip! We'll be rolling in dough 'n dames. And the feds won't be able to touch us!"

"But Grady, the trial is over two weeks away," Tip argued. "The cops and the feds are hot on our trail. They'll find us!"

"Not unless one of us lets something slip," Grady insisted. "Besides, Mr. Daggett says that there ain't gonna *be* no trial. Not once this doc gets wise to who has his wife and kid...that is, not if he ever wants to see 'em alive again."

"Awwww, no, Grady," Tip whined, clearly upset. "I ain't gonna ice no baby. I done a lot bad things in my life, but a baby and his mother? I'm no angel, but I ain't no baby-killer!"

"Shut up you, idiot!" Grady hissed. "You want 'em to hear you in Metropolis?" Tip kept muttering that he "wasn't no baby-killer."

"Look, Tip, we *ain't* gonna ice no baby, okay? Wayne's gonna wise-up, and he ain't gonna testify against the boss. As soon as the DA drops the charges, the boss is home free, and we return the dame and her kid home. All safe and sound."

"Really? You ain't just sayin' that?"

"Would I lie to you? I'm your brother...I *love* you, Tippy-toes!" Grady said calling his brother by his childhood pet name. "C'mere, kid! Didn't I promise Ma I'd always take care o' you?"

"Yeah," Tip said in small voice.

"Well, that's what I'm doing right now. Rocco's watching 'em while you'n me have a couple of brewskies! Whataya say? Buy you drink?"

Johnny didn't hear a reply; however, the 'timid' kidnapper must've nodded, because the next Johnny heard was the other one exclaiming, "Hey! That's more like it! Come on, little brother. Let's toss a couple back for the road."

Johnny listened for a few moments more. He heard footsteps, and then the restroom door opened and closed. Waiting a while longer, he finally risked a peek over the restroom stall.

All clear.

Johnny quickly jumped down and made his way back out to the narrow corridor. He had to keep his eye on these two men and somehow get word to Dr. Wayne. A sick realization suddenly came over him.

He knew what they sounded like, but didn't know what they looked like.


Wending his way carefully through the hazy, smoke-filled room, Johnny finally spotted Wayne, hunched over the bar. Staying low, Johnny yanked at Wayne's jacket, indicating that he listen. He quickly filled Wayne in on what he'd overheard.

Wayne nodded and jerked his head, indicating that he wanted Johnny to get out of the bar. Making a face, Johnny nodded.

Wayne called the bartender over and took out a large bill. Placing it on the bar, he pushed it out to the obese bartender. The intense glare he gave the bartender told the corpulent man that the drunk to whom he'd been serving cheap rye liquor for the past half-hour wasn't quite as drunk as he'd seemed.

The bartender looked down at the bill, one hundred dollars. Swallowing, a hungry look of pure greed flitted across his piggy eyes. He reached his hand for the C-note, but a strong, vice-like grip closed around his wrist with snakelike speed.

"First things first," Wayne murmured. The bartender looked up at him, a shimmer of sweat on his forehead. His flabby jowls shook with nervousness as he nodded, once.

"I'm looking for Tip and Grady...brothers," Wayne said in a low voice. "Point them out, and the money's yours."

The obese bartender looked pointedly to the left, over Wayne's shoulder. Wayne looked up at the mirror over the bar and saw the reflection of two men sitting in a dark booth. Nodding, Wayne released the bartender's greasy, sweaty wrist. The man's hand quickly closed around the hundred-dollar bill, and he turned away under the pretense of washing dirty shot glasses.

Wayne had a sudden desire to wash his hands. He made a mental note to call the city health inspector and have him pay the place a visit. Dr. Wayne must have observed at least a dozen violations of city health ordinances in the brief time he'd been here.

Keeping a keen eye on the two men, Wayne continued to play the part of sodden drunk. Finally, the two took a last deep gulp from their beer mugs and stood to leave. Wayne waited until they'd passed him and were halfway to the exit.

Standing slowly, he staggered towards the front door, following his prey.


When Wayne ordered him to leave the bar, Johnny remained at a low crouch and headed back the way he'd come in. Unable to sit and wait at his lookout position any longer, he moved stealthily in the back rooms for anything that might be of use.

Finding nothing, he made his way back up to the roof. Perhaps he'd be of better use watching people as they came and went. He might be able to spot license plates of suspicious characters or something.

"Who'm I kidding?" he asked himself. "Everybody in this place looks suspicious." Nevertheless, Johnny hurried to the roof and took a position watching the back exit and rear parking lot.

The clear, moonlit night held a slight chill. He shivered a little and gritted his teeth. He took a deep breath of fresh air. Johnny hadn't realized that he'd been taking short, shallow breaths inside Sharkey's Bar. How could people stand being in such a nasty place like that, he wondered.

After a few minutes, he heard voices. Listening, he realized that they were the same men he'd heard earlier in the restroom. Looking down, he followed them with his eyes. A stumbling shadow behind the men caught his attention.

Grinning broadly, he recognized Dr. Wayne. He shook his head in admiration. The man had grit, Johnny had to give him that. Wayne would have made a great circus performer. He had certainly displayed courage and determination this night, and he seemed to revel in performing feats of derring-do!

Wayne kept to the shadows and ducked into a recess along the wall. The men continued to their older model sedan, a Chevy Impala, Johnny noted. The driver had to turn the key several times before the engine finally caught and the car started. With a loud muffler spewing out a noxious oily smoke, the car putt-putted out of the parking lot.

Johnny saw Wayne sprint to where they'd parked the doctor's sleek sports car. Spotting a radio/television antenna mast about ten feet away from the building, Johnny estimated the speed he'd need for safe clearance. He saw one of the antenna's guide wires angling downward at approximately 45 degrees.

Without further consideration, Johnny leaped across the empty space, nothing between him and the blackness below. At the exact moment, he grasped his hands with around the guide wire. Wrapping his ankles around the thick cable, he quickly lowered himself, hand-over-hand.

Reaching the ground, he took off after Wayne, just reaching the passenger side door and sliding in as the car roared off in pursuit.

"You were maybe gonna leave without me?" Johnny asked. Wayne grinned and pushed down harder on the accelerator.


Keeping a safe distance from the kidnappers' car, Wayne and Johnny followed, blending into the Gotham City night traffic. Johnny wasn't familiar with the city and soon felt hopelessly lost. They seemed to be driving through endless corridors of skyscrapers and gothic towers.

The glare of the city lights drowned out the weak moonlight. Johnny caught sight of it occasionally amidst the giant glass towers.

At last, they left the bright lights of the central business district and began driving through a less developed part of the town. As they drove, Johnny began to recognize familiar landmarks.

"The fair grounds!" he cried. "We're near the fair grounds where the Haly Circus set up during our run last week." He looked around eagerly. "If I remember correctly, the Gotham City Amusement Park should be just over the next rise." He waited as they drove past the fair grounds.

"There!" Johnny said. "You can just make out the giant Ferris wheel."

"The amusement park isn't due to open for another month," Wayne mused. "If they're holding Martha and Bruce here, then they'd have the place to themselves until at least Memorial Day, which is still several weeks away."

"That's right," Johnny said. "I remember reading a playbill that announced opening day for the park's summer season as Memorial Day."

They saw the target car pull up to a side gate. Wayne immediately turned off his headlights and coasted to a stop. As they watched, a dark shadow leaped out of the car ahead of them and ran forward to open the closed gate.

He opened the gate and let the car drive through, then closed it behind them. The car drove on into the amusement grounds.

"Let's go!" Wayne said.

They jumped out of the sports car and ran towards the gate. It was locked. Johnny could've easily cleared the fence, of course, but the top was covered with sharp razor wire and there was no guarantee that Wayne could've climbed it without serious injury.

Johnny easily picked the padlock, and they ran in.


Following the sounds of the ancient muffler, the two would-be gangbusters ran across the deserted amusement grounds. The moon had already set; therefore, Wayne and Johnny relied on the weak light of the starry night.

At last, the rattling sound they'd been pursuing died out. Johnny felt an icy hand grip his insides at the sudden stillness. He looked around the abandoned grounds.

The Ferris wheel stood silent sentinel over the park. A light breeze kicked up papers that lay scattered throughout the deserted compound.

"This way," Wayne whispered, waving Johnny to follow him.

They kept stealthily to the many shadows that were being thrown up by the silent amusement rides and shuttered booths. Rounding a small roller coaster, they came to the 'Haunted House.' Parked between the Haunted House and Tunnel of Love entrance was the late model Chevy Impala they'd been following.

Johnny walked quietly up to it and placed his hand on the hood. He nodded at Wayne. It was still warm. Narrowing his eyes at a sudden idea, he stooped and began gathering dirt and small rocks. Opening the gas tank, he shoved as much as he could into the narrow opening.

"Good thinking," Wayne said, smiling in amusement.

Satisfied that the car, which was already in poor condition, wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, Johnny wiped his hands on his jeans.

The question that faced them was which attraction to go into, the Haunted House or the Tunnel of Love?

"We should split up," Johnny suggested.

Wayne nodded in reluctant agreement. "Very well. I'll investigate the Haunted House. You check out the Tunnel of Love." He paused, and then added, "But under no circumstances are you to try *anything* by yourself. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, sir," Johnny agreed.

"Good. Let's get going, then," Wayne ordered.

The two set out towards their respective objectives.


Wayne entered the Haunted House without trouble. If the kidnappers *were* here, then they'd foolishly left the door unlocked and unguarded. Once inside he waited a few seconds to allow his eyes to grow adjusted to the deeper darkness. As he squinted, his eyes fell on a sign immediately to his left.

"BOYS AND GIRLS!!! Get your 'Captain Midnight' see-in-the-dark goggles and decoder ring! Only $3.99 for a complete set!"

A life-sized poster of a caped and hooded figure, presumably Captain Midnight, stood in a heroic pose surrounded by admiring children. He was wearing a set of dark goggles--"The better to see in the dark, no doubt," muttered Wayne--and he held out a tightly closed, gloved fist, which prominently displayed a ring with the initials 'CM'.

Wayne rolled his eyes at the cheesy advertisement. About to move on, he halted. On impulse, he reached for one of the 'see-in-the-dark' glasses, which had probably lain there during the off-season, forgotten.

Not entirely current on comic book superheroes, Wayne wasn't certain who 'Captain Midnight' was, but if the haunted house carnies were hawking his goggles to their customers as they entered the popular attraction, then there was the *slightest* possibility that the cheap glasses might prove useful.

Closing his eyes, Wayne donned the glasses and then slowly opened his eyelids.

"Hey, neat stuff!" he said, unselfconsciously. He smiled at himself. How quickly one reverted back to one's childhood, he thought. The Captain Midnight goggles had specially treated red-filtered lenses that allowed the wearer to literally *see* in the dark.

"Probably, the better to see the monsters that are supposed to 'jump out' at the nervous customers." He took a breath. "Here goes nothing."

Wayne stepped into the Haunted House's labyrinthine interior.


Johnny furtively entered the Tunnel of Love. The place had been locked tight, but he'd made short work of all locks he encountered.

"They can't be in here," he muttered to himself. "All the locks were *outside*. They couldn't have come this way. Unless, there's a side entrance somewhere," he added. Nevertheless, Johnny squared his shoulders, determined to investigate the entire place.

He stood immediately inside the maintenance entrance. The tunnel was comprised of a narrow, shallow canal through which young lovers rode on small, two-person open boats. The couples would be subjected to 'frightening' scenes from history and legend in order to make the young ladies more amenable to being held and 'protected' by their male companions.

Johnny rolled his eyes at the silly premise. Still, it was an honest living for the most part, and while circus people didn't always get along with carnies, their line of work was somewhat similar.

Keeping carefully to the maintenance walkway, he made his way silently through the drafty tunnel. He could hear water dripping from the ceiling to the water-filled canal below.

After a few minutes of walking, he was just about ready to turn back, when he heard it, a baby's cry. His eyes widening, Johnny felt his legs speed up almost of their own accord. As he listened, he began to make out voices, male and female, echoing eerily down the length of the tunnel.

Stopping to listen, Johnny felt a chill shoot down his spine. The baby! Its cry was mingled with something else. Straining to hear, he finally made it out--coughing. The baby was coughing.

"This place!" he growled. "They've kept the baby in this damp place all this time?" A burning anger swelled within him. Forgetting Wayne's warning about not taking chances, Johnny rushed headlong into danger.

"I'm a Grayson," he muttered. "Courting danger and defying death is a family trait."


Wayne searched the Haunted House thoroughly. So far, the glasses had aided in startling him out of several years growth, he admitted chagrinned. The specialized lenses allowed the wearer to see images that were plastered to the walls, 'invisible' to the naked eye, but which showed up clearly under the treated lenses.

In reality, the images were treated with a special compound that showed up under ultra-violet light. Wayne finally realized that the Captain Midnight glasses had a filter that allowed light in the ultra-violet spectrum to be visible.

He grinned. The kids must *love* these things. He could almost imagine their squeals of delight at being frightened by the images along the haunted house's interior maze. After several minutes, he finally arrived at the exit. It was locked.

Sighing, Wayne turned around and hurried back the way he'd come in. Time was running out.


"I tell ya, Rocco," a familiar voice whined, "the baby's sick! If he dies while we have 'im, it'll be the same as a murder rap!"

"Shaddup, Tip!" a menacing voice growled. "Grady, if you don't shut your brother's trap, I'll shut it for him!"

"It's okay, Rocco," yet another voice answered. "I'll take care of it."

"Grady, you promised! Nothing'll happen to the kid and his mother. You promised me!"

"Hey, Tippy-toes," Grady said with quiet affection. "What've I been tellin' ya all along? I'm your brother, remember? Nothing's gonna happen to the baby *or* his mother. I promise."

The baby's wail cut through the conversation. Interspersed with the crying was a terrible, hacking cough. Finally, a new, pleading voice broke in.

" baby needs a doctor. Please, I beg you...he's running a high fever." A quiet desperate sob interrupted her pleas. "Please, don't let my baby die."

"Shaddup, lady!" Rocco's harsh voice threatened.

The baby broke out in frightened cries at the sound of Rocco's threatening voice. "And shut your brat up, or I swear I'll throw 'im into the canal and shut 'im up myself."

Johnny arrived at the scene, remaining in the gloom. Mrs. Wayne was sitting, wrapped in an expensive fur coat on the cold, concrete floor. She was crouched in the far corner, holding her tiny, baby-blue bundle. Johnny's heart almost broke as he saw the young mother desperately rocking her baby and crooning quietly to him.

Tears of fear and frustration were streaming down her dirty, bruised face. Johnny felt a surge of outrage almost consume him again. Her beautiful face was puffed and discolored where she must've been struck, and stained with dried blood. They'd obviously mistreated her horribly.

"Hush, little baby...don't you cry," she sing-songed quietly. "Mama's gonna sing you a lullaby..."

Little Bruce continued to cry inconsolably. His cries were increasingly interrupted with a hacking, choking cough.

"If that lullaby don't sing," she sobbed, "Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring..."

"*SHUT HIM UP*!!! Rocco screamed.

Little Bruce burst into even louder, more frightened howls.

Desperately, Mrs. Wayne hugged him tightly to her, using her body as a shield.

"If that diamond ring turns brass," she murmured in quiet despair, her face buried in the baby's blankets, "Mama's gonna buy you a looking glass..."

She gasped as she saw Rocco moving towards them...


The Captain Midnight glasses made running through the darkened Tunnel of Love simple.

"Enter Dr. Mid-Nite!" Wayne said half-jokingly. "Guardian of Truth, Justice, and the American way!" As he ran, he got into the spirit of things, partially to take his mind off his wife and baby's danger.

"With his young sidekick, Kid Acrobat, mild mannered Dr. Thomas Wayne by day, dons his special see-in-the-dark glasses and becomes--Dr. Mid-Nite! Defender of those who can't defend themselves...uhmmm...Helper to those who are...uhmm...helpless!"

Pausing to get his bearings, Wayne listened for any sounds. "Face it, Thomas, you'd've made a lousy comic book superhero!" Suddenly, he heard the distinct sounds of a baby crying.

"Bruce--!" he cried, momentarily stunned. Recovering quickly, he took of at breakneck speed.


Before Johnny could spring into action, Tip broke away from his brother and jumped on Rocco's back.

"Don't you *hurt* them!" he screamed. Rocco fought to toss the younger man off him.

"Get off me, you lily-livered mama's boy!" he roared. "Grady, get your sniveling brother off me, or I swear I'll blow 'im away!"

"Tip! Tip!" Grady yelled, panicked, pulling at his brother. "Tippy-toes, leggo of him. He'll kill you, little brother."

"No! He'll hurt them," Tip sobbed. "I can't let 'im. Not a baby! Grady...not a baby. *Please*! You promised."

While they struggled, Mrs. Wayne was slowly scrunching her way to her feet and hugging the wall. Still keeping herself as a shield to protect her baby, she began to sidle towards Johnny.

Seeing his opportunity, Johnny attempted to signal her.

"*Hey*!" Rocco roared, pointing at him. Too late! They'd spotted him. Not waiting for the kidnappers to react, Johnny instantly sprang into action.

"*Run*, Mrs. Wayne!"


Hearing the sounds of what could only be a struggle, Wayne didn't hesitate for an instant.

"*Run*, Mrs. Wayne!"

"Johnny!" Wayne muttered. "I thought I told you stay out of trouble." Needless to say, he was gratified that the boy would risk his own life for strangers. The boy was a real hero, he thought. Brave in the ring, and in real life.

Wayne came upon the fray.


"Martha!" he cried, hugging his wife and son to him. "Martha go!" he urged. "I've got to help the boy." Taking off the Captain Midnight glasses, he handed them to her. "Here! Put these on. They'll help you see in the dark."

Martha nodded and did as told, donning the specially treated glasses. Smiling tremulously at her husband, she headed out in the direction that he'd just come from.

"Tip, are you crazy? He'll kill us both!"

"I'll get you, you sniveling pantywaist!"

"I don't care! I ain't no baby killer!"

Wayne jumped into the confusion of arms and legs. Johnny was displaying a virtuosity of kicks, flips, and punches that Wayne knew weren't the usual moves that the Kid Acrobat used during a public performance.

"Are you two out of your minds?" Rocco screamed. "The dame's getting away with the kid. When Mr. Daggett gets done with you two bozos, there won't be enough of you left to send home to your Mama--in a cigar box!"

Johnny connected a kick with Rocco's jaw. As the large thug went down, Johnny spun and kicked out again. He struck Rocco a solid blow to the side of the head. The dangerous gangster went down.

As Rocco crumpled, it was as if Grady finally realized that there were two other players in the struggle. He'd been so engrossed with saving his brother from Rocco's explosive anger that he'd blocked everything else from his mind.

As quiet settled into the echoing, drafty tunnel, Grady noted that Tip was kicking Rocco's unconscious form.

"Take that, big man!" Tip sneered. "Hah! Doesn't feel so good when it's *you* at the other end, does it? How would you like it if I tossed *your* worthless carcass into the Love Canal?"

"Tip...uh, little brother," Grady said, trying to get his brother's attention. Wayne and Johnny were glaring at them, their looks as close to murderous as any Grady had ever seen. And he'd seen plenty.

"Uh, Tippy-toes," Grady said, calling his brother by his pet name, "I think that you'd better stop what you're doing, little brother."

Tip looked up and then turned to face what his older brother was staring at--the muzzle of a .22 revolver held in Wayne's sure grip.

Besides Wayne, only Johnny knew that the gun pointing so menacingly at the two inept kidnappers was actually empty.


Wayne hugged his family to him. Tears of joy and relief streamed unashamedly down his face. He held his arms out for his son. Smiling through her own tears, Martha handed her husband their baby.

Little Bruce began to cough violently. Martha gasped in fear.

"Don't worry, dear," Wayne reassured her, "we'll get him to the hospital." The ambulance attendants were urging Martha onto one of the stretchers. She just as adamantly was shaking her head, 'no'!

"Young lady," Wayne said affectionately in his best 'doctor-addressing-a-stubborn-patient' voice, "you'd best follow orders and get on this thing, or no chocolates for a month."

Martha nodded, her exhaustion finally overcoming her. As she was about to be led away, Gordon came up to them. Wayne held up the ambulance attendants.

"Thomas what you and the young Grayson boy did was foolhardy!" Gordon shouted. "Dr. Mid-Nite and Kid Acrobat, indeed," he said sarcastically, referring to the light quip Wayne uttered earlier when explaining their actions. "More like 'Dr. Idiot and Kid Dum-dum!"

Wayne nodded distractedly, rocking Bruce ineffectually to stop his crying. "Shush, now, little guy," he said softly. "We'll have you out of those dirty diapers in a bit. And we'll take care of that nasty cough, too."

The baby gulped a few times, drawing breath enough to begin another round of wails. Wayne waited for the new onslaught of crying, when instead Bruce looked up and gazed solemnly at his father. The baby gurgled happily, then yawned contentedly in his father's arms. Wayne looked tenderly down at his son, his heart filling.

"We'll have you safe and warm and fed and tucked away in your own bed real soon. I promise."

Wayne looked around for Johnny. Gordon harrumphed and clumsily held a finger out to touch the baby who was now sleeping soundly.

"Martha," Wayne said, "I haven't introduced you to your savior. Johnny!" Wayne called as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the sleeping Bruce. "Over here, son."

Johnny heard Wayne calling and hurried over.

"Martha, may I introduce you to a very good friend of mine? Johnny Grayson, of the Flying Graysons, the Haly Circus' family of aerialists."

"You tried to stop them that night," Martha said by way of recognition. "When they first grabbed Bruce and me off the street. I'm so happy to see that you're all right. When I heard the shot, and saw you fall, I was so afraid that they had--" she stopped, a small sob escaping. She held her hand out to Johnny and looked at him, her eyes filled with gratitude.

"How can I ever thank you, or repay you, for what you've done tonight? For me? For my baby?"

Johnny shrugged. "I just couldn't stand by and let those monsters hurt a baby, ma'am. Or his mother. It just wasn't right what they did. Besides, I kept hearing little Bruce's cries in my sleep. I knew I had to do something." He smiled broadly.

"But the doc here deserves most of the credit. If it weren't for his 'Presto Change-o' magic trick, we never would've found you." He smiled up at Wayne. "Your husband is really brave, Mrs. Wayne...just like Papa up on the trapeze when he performs his solo act without a net." He paused, holding her eyes steadily.

"And you, Mrs. Wayne, you're brave, too. Like Mama up on the high wire." He smiled, his gray eyes admiring. "I think that the Waynes would make a great addition to the Haly Circus, ma'am. And when Bruce grows up just a little, I can teach him to walk on the high wire--just like a real aerialist."

Martha smiled, her eyes bright with tears. She pulled the boy down to her and kissed him gently on the cheek.

"Thank you, Johnny," she said simply.

The ambulance attendant broke in. "Dr. Wayne? We really need to go, sir." Wayne nodded. He handed baby Bruce to Martha.

"I'll follow the ambulance in the sports car, dear," he said softly. "You obey your doctor's orders, young lady. Y'hear?" He kissed her tenderly on the forehead. Martha held his hand, until the stretcher was loaded onto the ambulance.

Johnny and Wayne watched as the doors were slammed shut and the lights and sirens turned on.

Turning to head to where they'd left the sports car, they were stopped again by Gordon. Special Agent Reed had joined him.

"The brothers' statements, Grady and Timothy, AKA Tip, Finnegan, are enough for us to pick up Daggett on two federal counts of kidnapping and false imprisonment. I've already sent several units to his penthouse to have him taken into custody." Gordon paused. "Thomas, I think that it's finally over."

Wayne looked at him, tiredly shaking head.

"It'll be over when I can finally bring my wife and son home to stay, Jim, and not before," Wayne said. "I guess, Johnny, that tonight's adventures will be Dr. Mid-Nite and Kid Acrobat's debut *and* swan song. What do you say? Ready to go?"

Johnny nodded, happy with the way everything had turned out. Wayne placed a warm hand on Johnny's shoulder and they both turned to go.

The End

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