Bruce blinks, and then he blinks again, staring outside the window at what had to be the strangest sight he’s ever seen. Bruce turns to Alfred, a slight crumple to his forehead. “Is Dick…jumping into a pile of leaves?”
Alfred sighs fondly from where he’s mixing ingredients, giving Bruce a slight smile. “According to Master Dick, ‘today is an awesome day to go leaf diving.’ Master Dick’s words, not mine.”
Bruce hums and looks out the window. He hadn’t done anything so childish since before the alleyway that dark night, but he remembers how fun it was. How much fun he’d had with his own father one chilly, autumn day.
Bruce watches as Dick starts climbing one of the taller trees in the garden and jumps towards a moderately sized pile of leaves. Dick free falls for a moment, and Bruce tenses slightly, remembering a different night a little more than a year ago, but Dick lands safely in the leaves below the tree and Bruce relaxes when the ten year old pops up, laughter on his face.
“I think I might go check on him,” Bruce says, his gaze swinging back to the butler. “Maybe join him if he wants.”
Alfred huffs what could be a laugh, but maybe Bruce is just imagining things. “I am sure that Master Dick would not be opposed to it.”
Bruce smiles and heads for the door in the kitchen that leads outside.
When he gets outside, Dick’s constructing a new pile of leaves under his chosen tree, using a rake that has to be at least twice his size—God. Bruce doesn’t think he will ever get over how small Dick is sometimes. He’s a child, Bruce is reminded at times like these. An actual child, that jumps into leaves during autumn and will probably want to carve pumpkins with Uncle Clark and go trick or treating Halloween night.
Bruce has taught a ten year old how to fight crime.
He doesn’t regret it, though. The two of them have gotten past the awkward stage of trying to adjust to the other’s style, and they’re starting to click, now. To the point where Bruce can tip his head in a certain direction and Dick will almost always know what he means.
Bruce clears his throat, and Dick looks up at him, a smile on his flushed face—whether it’s from fun or the chill in the air, Bruce can’t be sure, but he’s glad that Dick’s at least wearing a coat in the mid-October cold. He doesn’t want Dick catching a cold.
“Heya, B!” Dick says cheerily, and Bruce smiles back almost automatically. Dick just seems to have that effect on Bruce when he’s this happy, and Bruce doesn’t think he minds it. It’s a warm feeling that spreads through his chest whenever Dick shoots him that bright smile of his. Dick gestures proudly to his pile of leaves. “Whaddaya think?”
Bruce hums, pretending to look the pile over. He circles it once, twice, three time, just to see Dick roll his eyes fondly and bounce over to pull on his hand impatiently.
“Well?” the boy demands. “Come on, Bruce, don’t you think it’s perfect?”
“I think maybe you need to reinforce this side over here,” Bruce says, pointing to the left side of Dick’s pile, “with a few more leaves. It’s sagging a bit, and you seem like the type to go for maximum fun.”
Dick narrows his eyes at the side of the pile, tilts his head like he does when he’s got the Robin uniform on and Batman has just asked him a particularly difficult question about a theory or the details of a crime scene. He’s taking time to think it through.
Dick hums thoughtfully. “I think you might be right, Bruce,” he says and then he looks back up at Bruce with that mischevious grin of his that can only spell trouble for anyone involved. “But what if we make a super pile. That way it’ll be big enough for both me and you, old man.”
Exasperatedly, Bruce says, “I’m in my late twenties, Dick.”
“Like I said,” Dick teases, “old.”
Before Bruce can really respond to that, Dick takes off running for another (smaller) pile of leaves, and Bruce watches as Dick gathers as many leaves up in his arms as he can carry and deposits it carefully onto his own pile. He catches Bruce’s eyes and puts his hands on his hips.
Bruce tries not to show any amusement as Dick says, “Well? Are you gonna help or not? This thing isn’t supersizing itself, you know.”
Bruce rolls his eyes. “One jump.”
Dick snickers into his hand and pats Bruce reassuringly on the arm. “Don’t be surprised if you change your mind, Bruce. Once you jump, you’re gonna want to do it again. And when that happens, I promise I won’t say I told you so.”
Bruce raises an eyebrow. “If that happens, there’s no way you won’t.”
Dick snickers again, and doesn’t seem to respond to that. Instead, he grabs Bruce’s hand again and pulls him toward the other piles. “Grab as many as you can, B. We’re gonna make this thing massive.”
Bruce breathes a laugh, that warmth bubbling up in his chest and racing through his veins, until it’s encompassing Bruce’s entire body, blocking out even the chilly autumn air. He helps Dick reinforce their new super pile, all the while relishing this moment.
Dick had been right when he’d told Alfred today was a good day to leaf dive, but Bruce thinks that whenever Dick is around, whenever his son is with him, any day is a good day.