Chapter 1: Look What The Cat Dragged In
The streets of Gotham never slept, there was always some kind of crime happening or someone planning on causing trouble. Dick knew that much.
What Dick didn’t know was that he just so happened to stumble into the clutches of mayhem. He and Bruce were supposed to tour the city tonight, since Dick had only been on an official patrol once, when Bruce thought he might need an extra hand.
That’s when things went haywire. Bruce had heard that the bank was being robbed, and of course, he saw it as the perfect lesson for the little robin.
Sure, they stopped the bank from being robbed, but now Robin was fleeing from at least 3 men twice the size of him.
Now that he looked back on it, Dick really should’ve stayed and listened to what Bruce had to say about him saying that he’d lead the goons away.
He quickly leaped and ran up a fire escape, jumping and grabbing onto a window ledge before throwing himself further, getting onto the roof.
“Hey punk! Get back here!” One of the men yelled.
“Yeah! Come back here rat! We aren’t finished!” Another yelled.
Dick stood on the roof, taking a breath as his legs nearly gave out under him. He definitely wasn’t used to all this running, and Dick knew he’d regret it in the morning, if he made it out.
Lucky for him, it started to rain as he fell to sit down on the roof. He knew he gave himself some time by getting to the rooftop, but the thugs would eventually find their way to him.
“B?” He called out, trying to hide the small tremble in his voice, though, he couldn’t tell if it was from fear or the cold rain that had started to drip inside his costume.
“I’m here. Where are you.” The familiar, grumbly voice sounded in his ear. Robin looked around; he didn’t really see anything he recognized.
“I-I don’t know. On a roof top, the guys from the bank are after me, I-I don’t know how long they’ll take to find me.” He tried to lower her voice as he moved to hide behind some A.C. unit.
“I’m on my way. Don’t move.”
Dick didn’t speak after that, keeping that last order in his mind. The rain got worse, starting to almost pour. The A.C. unit provided him some cover, but it wasn’t much. He looked around, searching for any signs of the thugs after him. The area was silent, other than the rain. It was almost too quiet.
He thought that they had lost interest until he heard the sounds of grunting coming from the other side.
“Damn brat! Where did you go?” The first man said. The sound of a gun clicking made Dick go still. Then suddenly, someone was pulling him from his other spot, and another set of arms made sure that he went without a fight.
“Hey! Let me go!” Dick struggled against the men’s hold.
“Not until we’ve had our fun!”
“You’re only a little kid, what are you going to do about it?!”
They continued taunting him before the holds on his arms and legs disappeared, leaving him a victim to gravity. Dick fell on his back and groaned.
“Leave me alone!” Dick tried to get up, but a kick to the chest kept him down. He squirmed away too, getting a few feet before several hands grabbed his cape, almost tearing it off completely, leaving a good third of it.
The assault lasted a few more minutes, full of painful kicks and punches. Dick could barely see with his left eye, since it had now swelled up. He felt blood trickling down his nose, only to be washed away by the pouring rain.
Fortunately, a familiar, dark figure jumped onto the rooftop, picking up two of goons and easily taking them out. Yet unfortunately, the third, and arguably the worst had grabbed Dick and tossed him over the edge. Dick, in a moment of panic, grabbed for the first thing that he could.
“Don’t worry B! I’m okay!” He said with a hoarse voice as he latched onto a window ledge. He heard multiple grunts and groans as he hung on to the ledge, but his hand was starting to shake, and everything hurt.
Almost without thinking, Dick let go, falling down from the 3-story building. He landed just inside of a dumpster, hitting his head on a bag of trash. In a moment of delirium, he looked around, and the only word on his mind was:
So, he did, getting out of the trash and running away from the alley. He didn’t even notice that his ‘R’ emblem had fallen off during his crash. By the time he was a good distance away, his legs were burning with exhaustion, and his lungs bristled in pain with every breath.
He heard someone calling out, though he couldn’t really understand what they had said. He ran across a street and hid in a narrow alley, tucking himself behind a few boxes that were littered around. Once he sat down, pain shot up both his sides, and a throb left his head swimming. Curling up in a ball, he tried to protect himself from the rain with his shredded cape.
“B? Y-you there?”
His comm link must’ve gone offline from the storm or, had broken from the beating he took earlier. Dick looked around, but he didn’t hear anything that indicated Bruce, or Batman was around. Come on, Dick, think. How could he get home when his whole body ached with each movement.
Time seemed to fly past quickly. He couldn’t tell if he had been sitting in the same dirty alley for 10 minutes or an hour. Either way, it felt like he would be there all night. Well, he did think that, until he heard puddles splashing accompanied by clicking heels.
He shifted around to get smaller, hoping the boxes would provide him enough cover not to be spotted. It didn’t seem to work however because the heels had stopped in their tracks.
“My my, what do we have here?” The heels finally had a voice. Suddenly, the boxes were pushed out of the way to show a fairly pale woman in a black catsuit. He was still a kid, but he was smart enough to know that Batman and Robin were most likely the only good people who wore costumes at night.
Dick shrunk back, trying to keep a straight face as the pain coming from his chest made him want to cry.
“You must be Boy Wonder. Bats is pretty new to the whole ‘keep track of your ninja kid’ rule, huh?” The woman crouched down. “You lost? Or is this a set up?”
“I-I” He tried to form words before a shiver ran down his back and his torso flared up, forcing him to double over. The woman moved forward and put a hand on his back.
“Kid, you okay?” She asked. Dick didn’t know if she was genuinely concerned or if she was trying to trick him into trusting her but moving away seemed like it would do more harm to him than good.
“G-got separated. Bad g-guys got to me.” He spat out.
“I bet the cold isn’t doing you much good either. Well, I’m in a charitable mood tonight, and though me and Bruce aren’t really on speaking terms, I’ll help you out.” She paused, “My name’s Selina. Can I get yours?”
Dick looked at her. How did she know Bruce’s name? Why didn’t she tell anyone? He considered telling her his but shook his head.
“just Robin.” He mumbled.
“Well, just Robin, let’s get you back in your nest.”
He felt arms wrap around his back and under his legs as he was swept up. Dick let out a sharp yelp from pain and shock but ended up curling further into her hold. Selina chuckled and stood, walking as if she wasn’t carrying Batman’s sidekick in her arms.
“You’re freezing.” She frowned, looking down at the kid.
Dick could feel himself drifting in and out, which definitely wasn’t a good sign. He didn’t feel cold either, which was arguably worse. He looked up at Selina, who took a second to give him a once-over before continuing to walk.
It took only a few minutes for Dick to start losing the battle between him and sleep. He tried to grip onto Selina’s catsuit, but ended up slumping in her arms.
Selina knew that she could sneak into the Batcave, she’s done it maybe once, but she was confident in her ability. She used the Kid’s handprint on the scanner outside and waited for the door to open. She almost ran with him in her arms when she got inside.
Maybe Robin’s hand scan set off an alarm, because when she entered the Bat Cave, there stood Bruce Wayne, cowl off and everything. It took him maybe a fraction of a second for him to register Robin in her arms, but when he did, he nearly dashed over and took him from her.
“Dick.” Bruce shook Robin, no- Dick, but didn’t get a response.
“The kid was shaking when I found him and I’m pretty sure whoever you guys were fighting broke one of his ribs. He could barely move when I found him.”
He only gave her a quick nod as he got Dick to a table. He called someone down, and Alfred came into the Cave, holding blankets and hot towels. She smiled slightly at the old man, he was always kind to her when she snuck in or when Bruce brought her around. As soon as he saw the injuries on the young boy, he quickened his pace and was by his side in seconds.
Selina took a step back. She knew she probably wasn’t going to get a Thank you from Batman, but a girl could dream. She watched as Bruce took the towels and dried the kid’s face and hair first while the Alfred took off the remnants of a yellow cape and the outer layers of his costume.
She decided to make herself useful as she inspected the cave, grabbing a bag of fluids and an I.V. drip and wheeling it over. By the time she got there, the kid was in entirely different, and dry clothes. They left his mask on, but without the red and green suit, he seemed like a regular boy. She rolled up a sleeve of one of his sweater’s sleeves and found a vein on the crook of his elbow, sliding the I.V. in on her first try. Bruce was assessing the cuts and bruises left on his face while the older man hooked him up to different monitors.
Bruce put a hand on Dick’s chest and pressed down, frowning. “He might have two fractured ribs, and he’s coming down from hypothermia. Alfred, can you get some painkillers for when Dick wakes up?”
The older man nodded and left. Selina put a hand on Bruce’s back.
“He’ll be fine. You should’ve seen him; kid was trying to get away from me from the start. You definitely taught him well.” She chuckled.
“I should’ve been there earlier.”
“Hey. You did what you could. The best kids will always get in the most trouble.” She glanced at Dick’s body. The boy twitched in his sleep, which was an improvement from his unmoving body. Bruce took Dick’s small hand in his.
“Maybe I should reconsider-“ He began to say before Selina cut him off.
“Don’t you dare finish your sentence. You need Boy Wonder out there with you.” She put a hand on his shoulder. “I don’t like getting all mushy, but he’s a cute kid. Accidents happen, all we can do is learn from them.”
A moment of silence came over them.
“Hey B, could you turn on the heater?” A weak chuckle came from the table.
Bruce looked up, brushing the boy’s hair away from his face.
“Dick. Are you alright?”
He shivered, “Just cold, hurts too.” He mumbled. Selina looked around, seeing that Alfred was carrying several things. She rushed over, taking off her cowl and helping him.
It didn’t take long for the kid to take off his mask himself, wiping away tears. She knew he must be in overwhelming amounts of pain, and the shivering must not be helping either. Bruce stayed by his side, running his thumb over the boy’s knuckles in reassurance as he whispered to him.
Alfred and Selina got over to the table and set whatever they were carrying on a rolling cart. Alfred got a syringe, filled with painkillers and slid it into the I.V. pump, punching in some numbers and standing back.
The poor kid was starting to hiccup from crying, but Selina could tell he was trying to keep himself quiet. She pulled up a chair on the opposite side of Bruce.
“Dick, right?” She said softly. Dick looked at her and nodded, taking in a sharp breath.
“It’s me, Selina. We’re gonna need you to take some breaths okay? It’s going to hurt, but it’s for the better.” She reached for his free hand. Bruce never took his hand away from Dick but moved so he could wipe away the boy’s tears with a towel.
After a few minutes, Dick seemed to calm down, either that or the painkiller was starting to hit. The boy looked exhausted, but his tears were drying, and he stopped shivering. Bruce had kept a careful watch over his ward, not prying his gaze away for not even a second. Selina sighed.
“I should go.” She got up from the chair, ruffling Dick’s hair before turning away.
“Yes?” She turned. Bruce stood up, looking her dead in the eyes.
“Thank you. I don’t know what would’ve happened if you didn’t get to him on time.” He nodded.
A thank you? From Bruce Wayne himself? Either she was dreaming, or Batman wasn’t such a cold man after all. She chuckled.
“Good thing we won’t find out.” She walked over, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek before moving to Dick.
“Don’t drive him too crazy kid.” She messed with the boy's hair again. Dick looked up at her and smiled dopily. “Get some rest.” She whispered.
She went to walk out of the Bat Cave before seeing Alfred, who was coming towards her.
“It’s always good to see you, Miss Kyle.” He said warmly.
“How could I forget my dear Alfred.” She smiled and hugged him, “Next time I get in here, I’m taking the Batmobile out for a joyride.” She pulled away, looking around one last time before leaving the Bat Cave.
As soon as she left, she sighed. “I guess I’m getting soft.” She muttered as she fumbled around a bat-a-rang she managed to smuggle out in her hand.
Bruce went to walk out the Bat Cave to get some water after Selina left. He only got to the stairs before he heard Dick calling.
“Here.” He walked back.
“Can you stay? Until I fall asleep?” The kid slurred. God, the boy almost had him wrapped around his finger. Without a second thought, Bruce nodded, returned and sat by his side.
Alfred had gone back up to the manor to make something hot for the two of them to eat. Dick had gotten less and less coherent the more his painkillers kicked in.
Bruce ran a hand through Dick’s hair. It was starting to grow out and was probably getting in his face. Next time he was able to go on patrol, Bruce would have him slick it back with gel.
He’d also have to make modifications to his suit. For example, he’d had to place a tracker in his boot rather than in the Robin emblem, and then add an extra lining to keep the warmth in.
Bruce was so busy in thought he didn’t even notice that Dick had fallen asleep. He took the blanket on top of him and tucked him in. As much as he knew feelings were a weakness, he couldn’t help but feel the need to watch out for the kid. He couldn’t even bare the thought of Dick growing up to be like him.
He knew Dick would be better than him if he was raised right. He had the potential. Bruce stood up, making sure he was asleep before walking away.
When he got back up to the manor, he and Alfred ate a small dinner together, having very small talk. After Alfred left to go to his room, Bruce changed into a loose T-Shirt and some sweatpants and went back to the bat cave.
Dick woke up early that morning with playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne sleeping with his head on his bed.
Chapter 2: Hazy
Sometimes Bruce wishes talking to people wasn't as complicated as it is.
It had been three full months since Bruce had last seen Dick face to face.
He thought it was good for Dick to get out of Gotham with his own team. He took in Jason after he had left, though that was just a mere coincidence. The boy had been training for months, and wouldn't make his debut as the second Robin until Bruce deemed him ready, which wouldn't be soon, so he thought.
He was getting ready to go on patrol when the main computer started to ring. He looked up at the screen, it was the ‘Teen Titans’. He had to admit, the name was nice, more original than the Justice League. He answered after the fourth ring.
The screen shifted so it could accommodate a face cam while also leaving space for Bruce to access different things while on call. He put on his cowl as he clicked away from the cam, not needing to see who it was to know. Or at least, he thought so.
“That’s the Batman!” A familiar voice said. He’d only met the team once, when Dick wanted to show Bruce around his city. He rose an eyebrow and clicked back to the screen. A girl with bright red hair and slightly orange skin showed up.
“Starfire. Where’s Robin.”
“Uh, that’s why we called you.” Another voice said. Cyborg appeared onscreen, “He’s been missing for three days now.”
Bruce drew in a breath and held it there, “And now you’re just calling me?” He tried to bite back a sour tone. He knew he chased people away, even if that wasn’t his intention, he already did that to Dick before. He wasn’t going to do the same with his team.
“We just thought he was being Robin. Dude likes to be by himself a lot.” Garfield spoke up, making it his point to show up on screen. “But he isn’t like, answering any of our calls.”
Bruce glanced up at them, “Was he acting any different before he disappeared?”
“No. He just dipped. I mean, he’s been very grumpy for the past week but that’s just his personality.” Garfield shrugged.
Cyborg nudged him off screen, “We can’t even pinpoint a location. We thought you’d be able to help.”
“Send me his last known location. I’ll find him.” He said as he ended the call. Bruce sighed; he’d have to stay in tonight.
Taking off his cowl, he turned away from the screen to put his suit back up. Dick was probably on a solo mission. Though, that didn’t really explain the fact that he didn’t tell them where he was going.
He got dressed in casual clothing before walking back up to the manor.
“Jason?” He knocked on his door.
Jason opened the door quickly, looking at Bruce, “Yeah?”
“I just wanted to let you know I’m staying in tonight.”
“Why? Isn’t there crime to be fought? Criminals to be stopped?”
“It’s about Dick. He’s missing.”
Jason looked disappointed in his answer for a second but nodded anyways.
“’Course he is.”
“Don’t get like that. You’ll be out in the field soon enough. You’re improving every day.”
Jason just looked down, “I’m guessing you’re going to be in the ‘cave all night?”
“That seems to be the situation.”
“Cool. I’ll probably be here.” He shrugged, going to close the door before Bruce stopped it with his shoe.
“You can help me look for him, if you’d like.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“You know where to find me.” Bruce took his foot out from the door and watched as Jason shut it.
Jason was a strange kid, a good kid, but very strange. When Bruce took him in, he was already almost a teen, yet younger than Dick. The two boys had some similarities, but otherwise, were very different.
Sometimes, Bruce thinks that he messed up with Dick.
But that’s besides the point. He looked for Alfred, finding him in the kitchen.
“Dick’s missing, I’m staying in to help look.” He gave him a quick notice.
“Don’t overwork yourself Master Bruce, teenagers are very difficult.” Alfred advised as he poured the tea that he was making into several cups. “I will keep Master Jason company.”
“Thank you, Alfred.”
“Don’t forget your cup, it’d be a shame if your tea got cold.”
Bruce nodded, walking over to get his cup. He walked back down to the Bat-cave after that, sitting down at the main computer and going over the information the Titans had sent to him.
Dick’s last location had him in Jump City, which made sense, that’s where he’s supposed to be. However, that was taken four days ago, a day before he just vanished. Bruce took a sip of his tea and got to work.
A few hours in, Jason poked his head in the Bat-cave. He had on a big black sweater that had a band logo on it with dark red shorts.
“Any luck?” He asked.
Bruce turned the seat to look at him, shaking his head.
“Nothing so far. He’ll turn up sooner or later.”
Jason walked over, glancing around the Bat-cave before looking to the screen.
“It’s really late, you should get to bed, Jason.”
“You should too, but if you’re gonna stay up, might as well do it together.” He looked around for a seat but couldn’t find one, hopping up on the desk.
“Thank you, Jason. Has Alfred gone to bed?”
“Yeah. He must’ve thought I was sleepin’.” The boy stretched out.
“You should be.”
“Let’s just find Dick.”
Bruce chuckled at Jason’s sudden switch in subject and nodded. Turning to the screen, the two of them searched traffic cams together, noting anything strange.
They continued to do that until an abrupt alarm ringing in the cave interrupted them.
“There’s an intruder trying to get in. You have a suit, it’s by Dick’s previous one, go put it on.” Bruce got up, immediately bee-lining to grab his own.
It took them both at least a few minutes to get fully suited up. By that time, they had lost connections with the security systems. Bruce ran to the computer and initiated total lock-down. Jason came up to his side.
“What should we do?”
“We’re going to have to fight.” Bruce nodded, looking around until he caught a glimpse of a shadow hopping around the roof of the cave.
“Show yourself.” Bruce called out, He stepped in front of Jason, just in case.
“I have a feeling you know who it is.” A voice came from the entrance of the cave, not the figure. “I think you know them very well, indeed.”
The shadow came down from the ceiling and stepped into the light.
It was indeed Dick. He wore a black stealth suit, and a see-though gas mask that covered his mouth and nose. It was puffing this purple mist inside. Bruce felt his stomach drop. It wasn’t like he looked okay, Dick was shivering, and it was obvious he was in some sort of distress.
“Bingo.” The villain stepped out and chuckled. “It really is ironic. After all this time I’ve spent plotting, it only takes 3 days to get to you.
“What did you do to him.”
“Marvelous, isn’t it? Ever since the Teen Titans stopped me the first time, I’ve made it my goal to humiliate and torment them in the same way they did to me. I’ve developed a special gas for this occasion, just for you to see how far your little bird has fallen.”
Bruce glanced to Dick, who was trembling as he stared on.
“Shut up and fight already!” Jason called out from behind Bruce, stepping beside him.
“Oh, Am I seeing double? Or have you replaced the first Boy Wonder.” Haze walked over and slung an arm around Dick.
“Hey B-“ Dick tried to say before the villain pushed him away and onto his knees.
“Let him go, Jupiter.”
“Ah, we’re using last names now. Why don’t you get him yourself, Wayne?”
Bruce went stiff at the use of his name. Jason looked between the two before he ran forward and jumped at Haze.
Bruce went to follow before Dick’s body came in between them. Robin took out his staff and pulled it to its full length, ready to use it against Bruce.
“Robin, stop.” Batman narrowed his eyes.
“I- I can’t.” Dick muttered before leaping at him with the full intent on striking him with the staff. Bruce blocked it with his forearm and grabbed the bar, flipping him to the ground.
He glanced over to Jason. The boy was stumbling and swaying side to side. Jupiter just watched and moved away every time Jason got close.
Robin took the moment to his advantage and struck Bruce in his chest. Falling back, he quickly regained balance as he scanned Dick over. He’d had to tear off the mask he was wearing, and then separate Jason from Haze. That would be his game plan.
He waited for Dick to strike again, grabbing him by the arm and twisting it around his back. Reaching his free arm around Dick, he forcibly tore off the gas mask around his face. Robin fell to his knees and sucked in deep breaths like he hadn’t been breathing for days. With that task done, he turned to Jason and Haze. Jason was currently chasing after him, but it was obvious not everything was okay. He looked like he was seasick, unable to even get remotely close to him.
Batman raced after Haze and was able to strike him in the face. Then unexpectedly, his vision doubled, and tripled until he was surrounded by clones of Jupiter. He searched around in confusion before being knocked to the ground.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Wayne.” Haze cackled as he walked up.
Bruce swung at one of the Jupiters but didn’t hit anything in the end. He was kicked in the gut, forcing a grunt to come out his mouth.
After a few hits, there was a pause, and then he heard a voice, Dick’s voice, actually.
“What, don’t have any more chemicals to hide behind, Haze?” He taunted.
Bruce’s vision cleared after a second. He looked up to see Dick cornering Jupiter and striking him with his staff.
“News flash. You don’t scare me anymore.” Robin growled as he forced Haze on his knees and whacked him across the man’s helmet. Jupiter fell limp onto the floor of the Bat-cave, not moving as Robin hit him again, and again.
“Dick, that’s enough.” Bruce got up onto his feet and looked at him. Jason ran over and stood beside him.
Bruce knew he made a mistake when Dick looked Jason’s red and yellow costume. It was practically a copy of Dick’s, without most of the green, even the emblem on his chest was the same.
“Huh.” The older Robin said as he walked past the two of them and moved to the computer.
Jason’s mouth twisted into a slight frown, “What do you think you’re doing.”
Dick didn’t reply as he turned on the systems and released the lock-down using an override code.
“Hey! I’m talking to you!” Jason tried again.
Bruce put an arm in front of him, silently telling him to stop as he took off his cowl. He walked up to Dick himself and put a hand on his shoulder.
Dick flinched and jumped away as if the touch burned.
“Don’t.” Robin hissed as he went back to the screen.
Bruce frowned and looked to see what he was doing on the screen. Dick was sending a message to the Titans, telling him he’d be back the next day. After that, Dick turned away, and wiped something from his face.
“You could stay here for the night.” Bruce offered, trying to get some conversation going.
“No thanks. My team’s waiting.” Dick nearly hissed, brushing past Jason.
“Look, Dick, if this is about-“
“About what? The fact that you haven’t tried talking to me in weeks or the fact that you found yourself a new Robin.”
Bruce felt his heart drop to his stomach. Jason seemed to sense the tension and took off his domino mask, going to leave the two alone.
Dick looked at him and glared. He ripped his mask off and Bruce could see that he was trying to contain himself.
“I’m sorry too, Bruce.”
And with that, Dick walked away, pulling Haze with him before disappearing into the shadows of the cave. The quiet footsteps vanished a few seconds later, leaving the cave completely silent.
Batman looked down at the floor of the now soundless cave, forcing the unsaid words in his heart to quiet down. He sat down in a chair and sighed, thinking to himself.
Bruce knew he chased people away, even if that wasn’t his intention.
Chapter 3: Death In The Family
Only a month after Jason’s death, Dick showed up at the door.
He didn’t let himself in, waiting for Alfred or Bruce to allow him in instead. It felt like he’d be waiting for hours before Alfred opened the door, giving a weak smile.
“Master Dick, it’s nice to see you.”
“It’s always great to see you Alfred.”
Dick pulled him gently into a hug. Alfred sighed, wrapping his arms around him.
“I’m guessing you’ve heard the news.”
Alfred pulled away from Dick. The boy had grown since the last time Alfred had seen him. He was still shorter than Bruce but was built almost the same as the Batman. Dick’s hair had grown longer too. Overall, the boy he had helped raised was growing into his own man.
Dick nodded, “I need to talk to Bruce.”
“He isn’t home at the moment.”
“I’ll call him.”
Alfred moved to the side to let Dick in and closed the door behind him. Dick walked beside the older man as he led him to the living room. He hopped on the couch and tried to make himself comfortable
“Let me get you some tea.”
Dick leaned back into the couch after Alfred left. He’d just come from the cemetery, and he just wanted to speak with Bruce at the moment.
He glanced around the room; it hadn’t changed much since the last time he was there. The room felt empty, even with all the furniture and photos filling up most of the space. The dusty purple couch he was sitting on was in the middle of the room, right behind a coffee table.
If there was one thing Dick hated about the Wayne manor, it would be the fact that sometimes the house felt isolating.
Time seemed to slow as he sat alone, thinking to himself.
Jason was dead, and Bruce didn’t even try to tell him.
The only reason he found out was because of Danny Chase. He and Kori went to the cemetery together, but Dick felt like he needed to confront Bruce alone. However, being by himself means there would be no one to stand beside him, not that he needed that, but it would help. There were so many emotions trying to bubble up at once that it left Dick feeling almost numb.
Alfred ruined his train of thought by setting a cup of tea in front of him.
“Thank you, Alfred. I mean it.”
“You’re welcome. Have you called Master Bruce yet?”
Dick picked up his cup, blowing on it lightly before taking a sip.
“No, I wanted to look around the place first.”
“very well. If you need me, I’m going to be tidying up.”
Alfred walked out of the room with a nod, leaving Dick alone again.
Taking a sip of tea, he stood up and walked around. The hallways were quiet, as expected. At this point, he was running on autopilot, letting his feet carry him to wherever they chose to go. Stopping at Jason’s old room, he turned the doorknob and allowed himself in.
The room looked pristine, like it had been cleaned of all human touch. Dick walked in and sat on the bed, taking in the air.
“Dick! You wouldn’t believe it, Bruce let me drive the Batmobile.” Jason boasted, voice booming with pride.
Dick took off his jacket and hung it up on the hangers in the entry room.
“Really? Was that your Christmas wish?”
“You bet. Ever since I laid eyes on that thing, I knew I had to get behind the wheel.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t crash the thing.” Dick teased as he walked over, messing up Jason’s hair.
“Hey! I did great!” He raced to fix his hair, narrowing his eyes at Dick.
It had been two years since Jason had taken on his vigilante title as Robin. Bruce and Dick still had a somewhat rocky relationship, but in the end, Dick couldn’t hate Jason. He knew it was good for all of them. Since then, Dick gave himself a new name, Nightwing. He operated away from Batman, but they’d still help each other every now and then.
Jason and he had developed a good friendship that could even translate into a brotherly bond. Dick couldn’t stop himself from feeling happiness swell in his chest every time Jason gushed to him about his adventures with Bruce.
The two headed to the dining room and sat down. Alfred walked in and smiled, putting a hand on Dick’s shoulder.
“Master Bruce is on his way.” He said before walking away to the kitchen.
“So, keep telling me about the Bat-mobile.”
“it was awesome!”
The two chatted for at least half an hour before Bruce walked in, brushing his shoes against the ‘welcome’ rug, then made his way to the dining room.
“Sorry I’m late, traffic doesn’t move fast unless you’re wearing a bat costume.”
A joke from Bruce? He must be in the right mood.
He was welcomed right into the conversation, the three of them discussing stories from previous missions until Alfred brought dinner into the room.
It was peaceful. One of the nights that made its way into Dick’s heart and made him wish that every night was like that. The four of them sat together and ate dinner like a family. No one argued, no one was whisked away for hero duty. It was perfect.
Dick blinked the water away from his eyes as he looked around once more and got up. This room didn’t feel like Jason’s anymore. The bed wasn’t messily made, and there wasn’t anything on the floor. The mirror was spotless, and the air smelled like fresh flowers.
Dick didn’t want to get the floor messy again, so he walked out and made his way to the Bat-cave.
Nothing ever changed in the cave. The statue of the T-Rex was always there, along with the enormous penny. He wondered around the encased trophies. Something he had noticed was that the collection stops abruptly after Dick and Bruce’s last mission together as Batman and Robin. He looked around for any sign of Jason until he found his old suit. Displayed in a separate glass case, it had slight blood stains, and small tears in the fabric.
Dick winced and had to turn away.
“Goddammit Jay.” He muttered.
He must’ve been there for a while, because he heard footsteps approaching him next.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” was the first thing that he blurted. Dick looked up at Bruce. He was dressed in a suit, and he guessed that he was coming from a meeting of some sort.
There was a silence.
“You didn’t even try, did you? How could you? It wasn’t like it was important, huh?”
“It’s not like that.”
“Then what is it like. Jay’s dead. I went to his damn grave. My-“ His voice stopped for a second.
“My brother died, and you failed to tell me.”
Bruce was frowning at him, and God, did it annoy Dick. It wasn’t like he was sad by the fact that he chose not to speak to him for the past month.
“And what do you have to say about it.”
“I’m very close to getting the Joker. I have several leads-“
Dick almost laughed, “Of course. Of course, the only thing you’re focused on is your work. Jason died. Not Robin. This isn’t about Batman, Bruce.” He stuck a finger to his chest.
“He’s dead. You can’t brush that off. This isn’t like the times where one of us just got hurt. He’s gone, Bruce.”
“And I mourned. Jason’s death was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. But all I can do now is make sure nothing like that happens again.”
Dick’s hands squeezed into fists, but he took a deep breath and stared at him, choosing to ignore the tears welling up in his eyes.
“He’s gone.” Was all he could say.
It wasn’t supposed to be Jason. He was only starting out. He wasn’t only meant to be Robin. It wasn’t fair. The same man they’d been fighting since Dick was a kid had killed Jay, the kid who tried to steal the damn wheels of Batman’s car. The same kid who got so excited to learn new moves from his predecessor each time he visited.
He was dead, and Dick will never get to see him again.
He must’ve said some of that out loud, because when he opened his eyes, Bruce had him in a hug. He hadn’t realized he had been crying, but there he was, getting tears on Bruce Wayne’s suit.
“It’s okay, chum. It’ll be okay.”
Except it wasn’t.
Batman and Nightwing were returning to the cave after a pretty long battle with the Joker, who, of course, got away, again. They had been so close to getting him for weeks, but each time they confronted him, they returned with more wounds than they did leads.
The moment they stepped into the cave, Jason peeked out from the chair in front of the computer and almost raced over.
“Did you get him?”
Dick took off his mask and shook his head, “Got you a souvenir though.” He tossed him a plastic flower from his utility belt.
Jason gave it a quick once-over before being sprayed in the face with water. He wiped his face and glared at Dick, who was giggling.
“We spend months searching for this clown, and this is all we get?” Jason muttered in frustration before throwing it at the wall.
“We’ll get him soon enough.” Bruce took off his cowl, “Anymore leads?”
“No, but every day that this stupid circus act, no offence Dick, runs free, the more people get hurt, or killed.”
“I understand your frustration, but we need to be smart about this.”
“Well look where being smart is getting us. Nowhere!”
Dick sighed, “I agree with you, Jay, but Bruce has a point.”
“Siding with him, again? Dick, you’ve been trying to get this lunatic ever since you were a kid, doesn’t it make you angry that he’s still killing people like it’s his fucking day job?”
“Of course, it does.”
“If we put him down. No one else would get hurt.”
Bruce stepped back into the conversation, “Jason, we’ve talked about this. We don’t kill, it’s against our moral-“
“Moral code, I know! But if we kill a mass murderer, isn’t it justified!”
Realizing that the argument was going no wear, Jason took off his cape and tossed it over the chair, storming out the cave.
Dick sighed, patting Bruce on the shoulder.
“He’ll come around, don’t worry.”
Chapter 4: Birthday Bash
Every time Dick comes home, it doesn't always have to end in someone getting hurt.
Thank you all so much for the positive feedback! It means so much! The next few chapters may or may not be delayed however, because school and all that fun stuff. Have fun reading!
Bringing Tim into the Bat-family was something they all needed. He was completely different than the previous Robins, mostly because he was voluntarily joined the Wayne family, but that was okay.
After that, Dick and Bruce seemed to get closer too, especially after they figured out that Jason had been resurrected. They tried their damned best to bring him home, but the anti-hero kept refusing.
But with all of that pushed to the side, today was Tim’s birthday two years after he officially became Robin, and Dick was making his way over to the manor to surprise him. Bruce knew he was coming, in fact, he was the one who made Dick keep it a secret, which definitely surprised him.
He was in his Nightwing suit, jumping from building to building because the traffic in the city was a drag and Dick would prefer it if he was back home in time for dinner. He had his duffel bag slung around his back, full of his own stuff and a small present for Tim.
Before he got to the manor, he found a little back alley, made sure no one was looking and took off his mask, putting a hoodie over his suit and then some sweatpants. He walked the rest of the way, because it would be slightly suspicious if someone saw a costumed vigilante standing in front of Bruce Wayne’s mansion.
When he got to the door, he took the hood off and knocked on the door, setting his bag on the floor as he waited.
Luckily, Tim was the one to open the door. He smiled immediately and went to hug him.
“Happy birthday.” Dick smiled as he wrapped his arms around Tim.
“Thank you, for coming.”
“How could I miss my favorite person’s birthday. Now that would be extremely rude of me.” He chuckled, pulling away and grabbing his bag, “Come on, time to get this party started.”
The two headed inside the manor. Alfred was there to take his bag after giving him a hug.
“Bruce is in the cave.” Tim looked up at him as Dick took off his sweater.
“Got it, I’m gonna go change, Kevlar isn’t the comfiest thing to wear to a birthday fiesta.” Dick smiled before he walked up the stairs and to his room. It looked exactly as he left it, except it smelled like flowers, and the air was cool. Alfred already had left his bag on the bed, so he just reached over and undid the zipper, slipping into a t-shirt, some jeans and a jacket and a pair of sneakers.
By the time he walked downstairs, Bruce was sitting in the living room with Tim, so he guessed they were waiting for him.
“Sorry to keep you guys waiting.” He walked over. Bruce stood up and hugged him, patting his back before pulling back.
“I’m glad you’re here, Dick.”
“And I’m glad to be here. Now let’s have ourselves a kick ass birthday.”
So that’s what they did. All of them, including Alfred (even though he tried to refuse.), went out to a local diner to eat. Dick talked about his newest missions and Tim spoke about his. Alfred had to constantly remind them to not talk while eating, but Bruce was just content with listening to the two ramble on and on.
They were there for at least an hour, a full hour of Dick telling awful jokes while Bruce rolled his eyes, Alfred chuckling along and Tim dying of laughter. As they were leaving, they all turned down some alley to get to the car faster, even though Alfred had advised not to.
“Master Bruce, walking through a dirty alley is not a very ideal situation, what if we get robbed?”
“Don’t worry Alfred, you have us, nothings gonna happen.” Dick nearly skipped as he turned to look at him, walking backwards. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tim stop in his tracks, going to say something, but before he could react, there was something pressed to the back of his neck.
“You should’ve listened to Grandpa.” A gruff voice said behind him. An arm wrapped around his throat, and then he saw a gun point to Bruce. Dick could tell that Batman was pretending to be scared when Bruce Wayne, flinched and rose his hands.
“What do you want?” Tim scooted back and moved to stand with Alfred and Bruce.
Completely ignoring Tim’s question, he got a good hold around Dick, “Is that the Bruce Wayne? Oh man, have I hit a jackpot.” The thug sneered, and god, he could so use a mint, Dick thought.
“Why don’t you put down the gun and we can discuss this over coffee?” Dick chuckled. It wasn’t like he could be Nightwing right now, even though he could’ve gotten out of this situation. He was just Dick Grayson, he’d just have to play along for now.
The man didn’t seem to like his comment, tightening his grip around his neck so quickly it made a choking noise come from his mouth without him realizing.
“Leave him alone.” Bruce stepped forward, “I’ll do anything, just don’t hurt him.”
“That’s more like it. I’m in control here, if anyone moves, pretty boy gets shot.” The man loosened his hold a bit but kept the gun to his head just as a friendly reminder that he could kill him at any point.
“Hey, you’re scaring the kid.” Dick glanced at Tim, who just looked shocked honestly, “I’ll tell you what, you let us go, and we won’t tell the cops.”
“Okay, that’s enough. No more games.” The gun clicked off its safety, and the sound made Dick go stiff. He watched Alfred flinched as Tim and Bruce took a step further.
“Stay where you are! Give me everything in your pockets, now!”
Bruce stuck his hands in his jacket’s pocket and took out his phone and wallet, “This is all of it.” He said, placing it on the floor and stepping away.
“I know you have more than that!”
“If I did than I’d be putting it on the floor too. Let him go.”
The man’s hands were starting to shake, and Dick thought to himself, this can’t be good. Being held at gunpoint already sucks, but being held at gunpoint by an anxious and aggressive robber could be counted as worse. He knew he’d have to get out of the hold soon, or else he’d be running the risk of getting shot.
Dick waited until the man’s grip around his neck loosened just enough for him to slip out. He ducked under and swatted the hand with the gun to the left. The man shot at the wall as Dick kicked him to the floor.
He thought he had escaped danger for at least a few more seconds until he felt pain flare up in his side.
“Dick!” He could hear Tim yell. Bruce was suddenly behind him, dragging him back. He held his side and winced.
“Now that’s just rude.” He muttered.
The thug was back on his feet now, and Dick felt his heart stop when he realized that the man was aiming the gun at him and Bruce.
There was a bang, and Dick swiftly swung himself in front of Bruce out of pure instinct. Holding his breath, he waited for pain to burst out of his chest. Surprisingly, it never came.
Confused, he looked back, and there stood The Red Hood.
Of course, the last person he expected to see today, just saved him from taking a bullet. Jason stood over the thug and whipped him over the head with the blunt end of his pistol.
The man fell onto the ground, unmoving.
“Jason.” Dick looked at him, smiling as he held onto Bruce. Pain throbbed from his side, and he could feel blood dripping down onto his skin and shirt, but that didn’t matter at this point because Jason was here, and he didn’t just kill the robber.
Red Hood turned to look at him, walking up and punching him in his other side, though it wasn’t as hard as Dick expected it to be, it was more like an aggressive fist bump to the abdomen, which still hurt. Bruce tensed up, and pushed Jason back.
“Don’t expect me to save your sorry asses every time.” He growled before walking backwards, looking up and grappling away.
Once the alley was silent, they all sighed in relief. Bruce supported Dick, wrapping an arm under his. Tim walked right next to Alfred, now cautiously looking around.
“Well, that was definitely an exciting birthday gift, right Tim?” Dick chuckled.
Alfred shook his head, “You should all listen to me next time.” He said as he walked past the two, towards the car. Tim quickly hurried after him. Bruce called Commissioner Gordon as Batman, just saying there was a robbery and that the criminal was handcuffed to a pole in the alley. When he hung up, he gave him the usual ‘you were reckless’ speech as he helped Dick along.
Once they got back home, Alfred helped Dick get fixed up, since the bullet had just violently grazed above his hip. He was taking off his jacket when he felt something in his pocket crumble. Careful not to move too much, he stuck a hand in his pocket and found a folded-up piece of paper with ‘Tim’ written on the top of it. Jason.
He smiled and put it back in the pocket. Alfred tied off the suture and looked up in curiosity.
“Master Dick, what was that?”
“Oh, nothing.” He looked at him, “Just something I forgot to take out of my jacket,”
“Alright then.” Alfred slipped off his gloves and threw them away. Dick moved to his feet, regretting how fast he stood and leaning on the table he had just been sitting on to avoid falling.
“There’s a cake in the fridge, I suggest you sing Happy Birthday to Master Tim before it’s tomorrow.”
“Thanks Alfred, I will.” Dick took his jacket in his hands, making sure not to mess with the pockets in fear he might crumble up the letter more than it already was.
He went back up to his room and changed into a clean shirt, taking a very poorly wrapped present from his bag and into his hands before walking downstairs and into the kitchen.
“Tim! Come here for a sec!” He said as he pulled the box with the cake inside out of the fridge. He set it on the island counter and opened a drawer to get a lighter. He heard footsteps by the time he was able to frantically light the only candle on the cake.
Tim popped his head in the room, “Yeah?-“ He said before he saw the birthday cake. He smiled and walked in.
And with the most over-the-top voice he could muster, he began to sing Happy Birthday at the top of his lungs.
“-Happy birthday dear Timothy!” He walked over and smushed Tim’s cheeks together before wrapping an arm around him and dragging him over in front of the cake.
“Happy birthday to you.” Dick quickly ruffled his hair. He looked up and noticed Bruce and Alfred standing by the doorway, Alfred with a smile, and Bruce with rolling eyes, possibly at the fact that Dick had just screamed the entirety of Happy Birthday, but it could always be something else, who knows.
Tim laughed and blew out the candles on his first try. Dick took his finger, swooped up some icing at the edge of the cake, and smeared it over Tim’s nose.
On Jason’s birthday, he used to sing one of the many versions of the Spanish ‘Happy Birthday’ song, but for Tim, annoying the shit out of him would have to do.
“Thank you.” Tim looked up at Dick, quickly taking off the icing with a napkin.
He handed the kid a knife, “It’s all yours buddy.”
Alfred had moved from the doorway and got some plates out from the cabinets while Bruce leaned on the counter and watched Tim cut himself a slice.
Once the four of them each had a slice of cake, all varying in size, they sat down in the dining room. Before Tim could dig in, Dick set his present in front of him.
“You didn’t have to-“
“But I did, go on. Open it.”
Earlier, Tim had told Dick that Bruce got him a brand-new laptop before he came. Even though he didn’t get him a laptop, he was pretty confident that Tim would like his present at least a bit.
Tim tore up the wrapping and pulled out a short, yet wide navy blue box. When he opened it up, he just smiled at it for a second.
“I love it. Thanks Dick.”
He pulled out a thin gold chain, and in the middle, it had a small flying bird dangling off of it. Dick had bought it during one of his missions out of town a month earlier and had held on to it since. Standing up, he went behind Tim.
Tim handed him the two ends of the necklace and stayed still as Dick fumbled with the lock, eventually getting it to work as it clicked around Tim’s neck.
He took the opportunity to pat the right side of his chest, slipping Jason’s note inside Tim’s shirt pocket. He was sure Bruce noticed, because when he sat back down, he felt Bruce’s ‘detective eyes’ staring at him. He shrugged it off and took a piece of cake, sticking it in his mouth with a fork.
They ate in silence, but it wasn’t awkward. They were all comfortable enough that they didn’t have to speak. Bruce seemed to enjoy the peace the most, taking his damn time to savor it. As expected, Dick was the first one finished, hopping out of his seat to put the dish in the sink. It didn’t take long for Tim to finish either, joining Dick a minute later, followed by Alfred, then Bruce.
After they all helped clean up, everyone sat down for a movie. Tim had fallen asleep halfway through, leaning on Bruce as Dick and Alfred quietly debated on what would happen next. Overall, it was a pretty entertaining film, but it had an atrocious ending, because everything was left up to interpretation. And yeah, some of those films are good, but when they end on a conflict, it’s emotionally devastating.
When the credits rolled and the movie officially ended, Alfred excused himself and walked off to his own room. Bruce picked up Tim carefully and stood up in one fluid motion.
“Thank you for coming Dick, Tim had a good time.” He spoke softly.
“You know I can’t resist parties, are you heading to bed?”
“After I put Tim in his.”
He waited for Bruce to leave before he got up. Dick made his way to the kitchen and opened the fridge, pulling out the leftover cake and then a plain white paper plate. Dick cut a decently sized piece and set it on the plate. He wrapped the whole thing up in tin foil before putting the box of cake away.
Dick finally got back to his room, sighing as he cracked open the window and put the cake piece on the ledge.
After that, he changed into pijamas and climbed into bed. His wound still ached, but at least he wasn’t sleeping on a stretcher. It took nearly an hour to fall asleep, and in the morning, the cake piece was gone, plate and all.
He glanced around outside but didn’t see any sign of Jason.
He still had his hopes that he’d come home one day.
Chapter 5: The Colony Of Bats
Dick Grayson is a very social person.
Every now and then, he’d drop by the Wayne manor just to see his bat family, though, he’d never say it out loud.
One-time, Jason found him sitting on the chandelier when he was coming back to get something from Bruce. Dick just told him that he needed to borrow some sugar and hopped down, walking off as if nothing happened.
Another time, Tim nearly fainted because Dick snuck up on him in the middle of the night. Sure, Tim should’ve heard it coming, or at least sensed something. but that day he had currently been awake for 3 days straight.
He’d only got Barbara once, but ended up with a black eye.
Cass had started to scare him before he even attempted to sneak up on her, and he always started laughing before he got to Stephanie.
They were all used to him dropping by when he could. It became a habit for them to leave the window to his bedroom unlocked just in case.
Sometimes he stayed for just the night, sometimes he’d stay for a weekend. It all depended on how busy Blüdhaven was at the moment.
Bruce seemed to be the only one who didn’t really know the extent of it, mostly because whenever Dick snuck in, Batman was out on the streets of Gotham, along with Damian.
Tim had given up the title of Robin a while ago, becoming Red Robin, and while Jason came around to visit but never stayed around long, he always had some excuse to leave, but having him back at the house for even an hour was good.
It had been a rough week in Gotham, Batman had heard that Penguin was transporting some sort of weapon into Gotham while on patrol, but they couldn’t even find a trace of such a thing. They asked Jason but he said he knew nothing about it, and that he’d keep his eyes out.
Tim was sat at the main computer in the Bat-cave, with Bruce just hovering over his shoulder. Damian paced around behind them, impatiently muttering to himself.
“It just doesn’t make sense, every time we get a lead on something, it just leads to a dead end.” Tim sighed, leaning on the desk with his arm.
“It’s not like Penguin to be this underground. He must be partnering up with someone.” Bruce was watching a traffic cam on the corner of the screen.
“We know where his nightclub is, Father. Why can’t we just go there and question him ourselves.” Damian almost growled, walking up on the other side of Tim.
“Because we have to find out what his plans are, we can’t go in headfirst.” Bruce stated calmly, “We don’t even know what type of weapon he’s harboring.”
“I do.” A hoarse voice echoed from the entrance of the cave, getting closer and closer until someone appeared at the entrance. Nightwing came stumbling in, holding up a t-shirt to his face. Tim got up and turned around.
“They got bioweapons. They’re in Blüdhaven too.”
“Jesus Christ, Dick, what happened?”
“Don’t get closer. I don’t know-“ He took a second to cough into the shirt, “-I don’t know what I have.”
“Robin, get the masks and protective gear in the medical closet, we need to isolate him.”
Damian, with a grumble, walked away to fetch the gas masks they had in storage. The masks they had looked like a plastic shield over the face, with an air filter at the bottom while the gloves were a deep blue, and they reached halfway up the forearm.
Tim watched as Nightwing very slowly approached the two and the closer Dick got, the worse he looked. His skin was pale, and Tim could see sweat making his forehead glisten, he even swayed where he stood.
Once Damian passed out the gloves and masks, Bruce put them on and made his way over to Nightwing, still wary. They didn’t know what they were dealing with, just because it was Dick, it didn’t mean it was safe.
By the time Bruce got to him, Dick was trembling, barely able to stand on his own. Bruce put an arm around him and helped him to a table where he could sit down. Tim sent an alert up to Alfred, telling him to keep everyone out of the cave for a while.
Damian gave Dick a thin surgical mask, hoping that it would help contain whatever he caught while they got him stable, Tim took the t-shirt he had been holding and quickly put in a zipbloc bag. Tim then left to find the room they had in the cave just in case something like this would happen while Bruce checked Dick’s vitals.
“Keep talking to me, Nightwing.”
“I had the best pizza in all of Blüdhaven last night, was hoping I could go home and finish it up.” Dick chuckled, “Looks like I’ll have to wait for a while.”
“I tried going to a salsa class last week. I don’t want to go back. And then…“
Dick continued to do what he does best, and ran his mouth until Tim came over.
“I found the room.” He sighed. Bruce nodded, helping Dick slide off the table as they walked to the space. The room had a window as a wall, and a bench with some cushions.
“Home sweet home.” Dick joked as he stumbled in and hopped on the bench, wincing.
“Are you hurt anywhere else?” Tim frowned as he looked over him. Dick shrugged and tore off his domino mask, rubbing his eyes.
“Not much, just some bruising I think.”
“I’ll bring you a change of clothes.”
Tim slipped past Bruce and walked out the room, leaving the two alone. Bruce walked closer, going through a drawer and picking out an I.V, rolling up Dick’s uniform and sliding it into a vein in his hand, going ahead and collecting some blood.
“Are you alright?”
“Just a little tired. It’s not everyday I get dosed with some bioweapon.” Dick giggled softly.
“You can’t fall asleep yet.” Bruce sighed, “We’ll find out what this is. You’ll be okay.”
“I know.” Dick shifted to get somewhat comfortable once Bruce was done but ended up on his side, leaning on his elbow.
Bruce had something to say, but abandoned his thought, leaving the room with the vials of blood in his hand.
Damian was leaning up against the wall, looking up at Bruce and raising an eyebrow.
“Is he dead yet?”
Bruce walked past Damian and put the blood samples into a fridge where they kept all their fluids and what not. He took off his gloves, and then his mask. Damian followed after him, taking off his equipment as well before jumping into the computer chair.
Tim walked past them, holding a stack of clothes and going to Dick’s room. When he returned, he made sure all his gear was properly disposed before approaching Bruce.
“He almost didn’t notice I was there. I’m gonna put fluids in him, see if that helps.”
“I can give him fluids; can you analyze the blood samples I got?” Bruce looked at Tim.
“What about Penguin? Isn’t he the one who got Grayson ill in the first place?”
“We need to stabilize him first. Then we can go find him.” Bruce walked to the fridge, got the blood samples and a bag of fluids. Tim moved to take the vials of blood from him before walking away to run tests.
Bruce put his gas mask back on, then gloves, and made sure he didn’t have any exposed skin before he walked back to the room Dick was in. He knocked on the door lightly before entering.
Dick was laying on his back, taking up almost all of the bench, and he hadn’t touched the pile of clothes Tim had brought him. His eyes were darting around the room, but it seemed like he didn’t recognize where he was. Bruce frowned, moved closer, bringing the I.V. stand and putting it on the floor, setting it up. Once he hooked the bag on, he took Dick’s arm gently and connected the line.
Dick didn’t seem bothered by it, which worried Bruce quite a bit. After the drip started, he let Dick’s arm move to his side. He put his gloved hand on his forehead.
Dick was still hot, but it wasn’t like he was burning. There wasn’t like he could do much. They wouldn’t be able to give him medicine because of the possibility that the chemicals wouldn’t mix well and end up hurting him more than they help.
Bruce sighed, brushing the hair from Dick’s face before leaving the room. Seeing him like that made him wish that he couldn’t feel a damn thing. He’d just have to hope that Dick would be okay long enough for them to find an antidote.
“He’s unresponsive.” Bruce reported as he took off his mask.
Damian frowned, “Maybe if we find Penguin, he’ll have to have an antidote.”
“We’ll have to go soon. Time is running out, and I don’t want to see what will happen to Dick if we wait.”
Tim walked back up, “I ran the blood through several scans, but there’s no match. I’m going to try to see if there’s anything I can do to slow it’s effects for now.”
“Thank you, Tim. Damian and I are going to find Penguin, I’ll keep comms active. Contact Barbara, I have a feeling we’re going to need her help.”
“Got it. I’ll keep an eye on Dick.”
“I know you will, let’s get suited up.” He turned to Damian before walking away to grab his. Damian smirked, then almost raced off to find his.
Tim looked around when Bruce and Damian left, searching for anything that would help. However, all he got was a bunch of morphine and antibiotics, which seemed useless in this situation.
He made his way over to Dick’s room, peering in the window. He was still on the bench, but his eyes were closed, and his fingers twitched. Tim took a note of that, went back to the computer.
He sent a message to Barbara, explaining the situation and Dick’s status. After that, he went to work on finding an antidote.
As Batman got out the Batmobile, he looked around for any signs of Penguin and his goons. They were outside his club, known as the Iceberg Lounge. Damian hopped out and scanned the area, almost bee-lining to the door.
“Don’t go in yet, we need a plan.”
Damian froze, mumbled something under his breath and stayed put.
Batman thought to himself for a minute. He could go in as Bruce Wayne, but then he’d be left without his gear and Kevlar suit, and it wasn’t like he had a tuxedo in the backseat of the Batmobile.
The sound of a line zipping past them interrupted his brainstorming.
“Taking out Penguin, huh? Very rude for you to not invite me.” He heard Jason’s voice come from behind him.
He turned around to look at the Red Hood. His helmet shone in the dim light, and Bruce swore that Jason had waxed the thing because it was almost spotless.
Robin walked up next to Batman and scoffed.
“What do you want?” He hissed.
“To kill Penguin, of course. Bastards been a thorn in my side since forever.” Jason walked towards them, “But since Batman over here is against justice, I can settle for breaking his nose.”
“We can handle this.”
“Shut it, demon-brat. I know about Dick, wanted to help. So, how does it sound? A sort of fucked up family reunion that’s missing half the family.” He put a hand on his hip.
Batman looked at him, nodding very quickly.
“Fine. But there is no killing whatsoever.”
“We all have our preferences.” Jason shrugged before he walked to the backdoor of the club, that was surprisingly left unguarded, and kicked it through.
“Ladies first.” Jason gestured for Damian to walk through the door.
Robin, instead, punched him in the stomach and then entered the building. Red Hood grunted, and nearly fell, but leaned on the wall instead. Batman sighed and walked in after.
Penguin was the only one in the club, sitting at a table by himself, tapping an umbrella on the floor.
“Did you make an appointment?” Was all he said, giving a nasty smirk to the three.
“Where are the bioweapons, Penguin.”
“I see I only got half the Bat-clan. Where’s the annoying one? Is he doing any good? Nightwing- that’s the bastard’s name.”
Jason ran up and kicked him out of the chair, flipping the table in the process. He then picked Penguin up by his shirt and yelled.
“Answer his question!”
“If you want the gas so much, then you can have it!” Penguin cackled.
The walls made a hissing sound, and Batman immediately knew what was going to happen.
“Robin! Red Hood! Get out!” He called before fog started to fill the room.
Damian ran out of the doorway, silently thanking Jason for kicking it down in the first place. Bruce went to leave, but saw that Red Hood was being surrounded by the mist, yet he was still beating Penguin into the ground.
Bruce took a second to collect a sample of the gas, stashing it in his utility belt before running over, grabbing Jason by his arm and pulling him out.
It was definitely a struggle, considering that Jason almost weighed more than him, but he eventually got him out.
Red Hood tore himself away from Batman’s grip and cursed.
“He got away.”
“You were almost infected, that was reckless, Jason.”
“now I’m getting the Batman ‘I’m disappointed in you’ speech.”
“You could’ve gotten hurt.”
Damian chuckled before going to get in the Batmobile. Jason crossed his arms, staring at Batman through his helmet.
He was about to say something before Tim’s voice came over the comms.
“Batman, we need you back here right now. Nightwing’s conditions getting worse by the second. I’m so close to finding the cure but it’s getting really bad.”
Bruce stopped, took a deep breath and turned on his comm.
“We’ll be there in a few minutes. Hold on.”
Looking to Jason, he walked to the driver’s side of the Bat-mobile.
“Need a ride?”
Tim and Barbara were by Dick’s room, his temperature had reached 104° and Tim had used the defibrillator once. He laid several icepacks over Dick’s body, but there wasn’t much they could do at this point. Barbara had helped him with analyzing the chemicals in Dick’s blood but was now by Tim’s side as they watched Dick squirm in his unconscious-like state from the outside of the room.
“What if they don’t get here in time?”
Barbara shifted in her wheelchair.
“Tim, he’ll be fine. Dick’s been through worse.”
“Shut up. Bruce will be here soon.”
Just as she said that, she heard the Bat-mobile quietly enter the cave. She turned to see Bruce rushing over, along with Jason while Damian walked.
“I need you to watch him.” Tim said, ready to run back to his workstation.
“I got this, a sample of the gas.”
Bruce passed him a vial. Tim looked up at him, confused, but just left quickly.
“His BPM spiked a few times, he has a raging fever and hasn’t woken up in the slightest.” Barbara looked up at Bruce from her wheelchair, “Hey, Jason.”
“Barbara.” The Red Hood nodded before taking off his helmet, watching Dick through the glass.
They all sat there and watched painfully in silence. It took Tim a few minutes to come back with a syringe filled with a clear substance, not even bothering to explain before speed-walking into the room and running it through Dick’s I.V.
A minute or two passed before Dick stopped moving completely. Jason was ready to walk in and slap Nightwing back to life if he needed to. When Tim showed that his temperature had dropped to 101°, they all let out a collective sigh of relief. Damian had surprisingly stuck around to watch as Dick gained consciousness.
“God, give me five more minutes.” Was the first thing he muttered.
“Wake up, sleeping beauty.” Jason tossed a piece of crumbled paper his way, which, to Jason’s delight, hit him in the face.
Barbara smiled, wheeling herself closer to the bench, “Dick, wake up.” She chuckled.
“Oh, I must be in heaven.” He opened his eyes to look at her.
“Not yet, boy wonder.”
It took an hour to conclude that the toxin was out of Dick’s system. Jason decided to stick around for the night, and Barbara left after she knew Dick was totally fine. Bruce scolded him for around half an hour before releasing him back up to the manor.
The whole team was exhausted, except for Alfred, who had been playing chess against himself. Dick decided that he needed some more sleep, and before he went to bed, he playfully said,
“If anyone wants to join me, my door is wide open.”
Bruce took some time to track where Penguin had gone to after their encounter. By the time he emerged from the cave, everyone had gone to bed, including Jason.
What was strange was that all of their bedroom doors were open, and he couldn’t hear Jason snoring. He peaked his head in through the door and found no one.
He went to Tim’s room, found nothing, and then to Damian’s, and found nothing.
Bruce almost considered calling out for them before he walked through Dick’s door.
Dick was sprawled on the top of his bed, not even under the covers, and under his arm was Tim. Damian was sleeping quietly on the other side, facing away while Jason was sleeping on the floor. Bruce nearly chuckled in amusement before he walked away, heading to his own room.
Maybe his family wasn’t as torn as he thought.
Chapter 6: Finally Home
Tonight, had been one of the worse nights Dick has had ever since he moved to Blüdhaven. It definitely not number one, but its easily in the top ten.
Not only was he facing the Joker, he was doing it alone. He had tried to contact Bruce, but he never responded, so it could mean one of three things. Either Bruce was in trouble, which was highly unlikely, he had read the message and didn’t believe him, which was just as unlikely, and option three, that Bruce had read his message and was on his way.
He silently hoped that was it but knew he couldn’t rely on his former mentor to come and save the day.
Sitting on the edge of a tall building, Nightwing let his feet dangle, feeling the wind brush against him. The feeling of cool air made him think of his time as Robin, when he’d swing around the city with the brand new grappling hook that Batman trusted him with.
Times were simpler back then, it was always who was good, and who was bad. But it was lonely back then too. Dick wouldn’t trade the family he has now for the simplicity of then.
Still, it didn’t hurt to reflect on his past. Being Robin saved him from having a normal and boring life but cursed him at the same time. Robin was his escape, yet it also kept him focused and centered. He hadn’t been the perfect kid growing up, he knew that, but he was happy where he was now.
Of course, he had regrets, but sacrificing what he had now wouldn’t be worth correcting his mistakes.
He sighed as he checked the time.
Pushing himself off the ledge, he let himself fall for a few seconds before shooting a line out to a building ahead.
Dick always liked to swing around, to be up high where he could see everything from a bird’s eye view. When he first moved into the Wayne mansion, he bet Bruce had no idea what to do whenever he saw Dick hanging out on top of the shelves, or the time he had somehow made his way up to the chandelier. Sure, the chandelier wasn’t the comfiest thing to sit on, but it was better than being stuck on the ground.
The memory made him laugh as he shot another line out, allowing himself to fall again once he disconnected it. Flipping in the air, he let himself take a breath for what seemed like forever. Just as he started to reach what he considered ‘too close for comfort’, he shot another line, and then another, until he reached the docks.
He glanced around before climbing onto one of the metal shipping crates, getting used to his surroundings as he hopped down. Dick made sure he had all his gear on him before he began searching for his least favorite clown.
He stopped in his tracks when he heard several feet approaching. Nightwing hid behind a shipping box, careful not to be seen.
Three men walked past, they all had a different pattern on the mask they wore, each resembling a clown in some sort of way. That just further confirmed the fact that he’d have to put up with his running mouth.
Nightwing knew he had a habit of not shutting up too, but at least he was genuinely funny. The Joker was just annoying, and also a mass murderer. It was hard to find anything he says funny.
“Over here!” Dick leapt out of his hiding spot, easily catching the attention of the goons.
“Get him!” One of the men said as they charged towards Nightwing.
“Now that’s a bit aggressive.”
As the men tried to rush him, Nightwing simply took two of the arms coming towards him and flipped them over, along with himself, except he landed on his feet. The third man had been polite enough to wait for his turn, now running at him.
The goon reached for a gun, pointing it at him before Dick kicked it away, pulling him close by his shirt, punching him before throwing him against the metal crates. He frowned at how loud the thud was but kept moving.
He jumped on top of the crate he threw the guy into and kept running, leaping over people and more men until he reached the main warehouse.
Knowing it was a bad idea from the start, he snuck in and blocked the entrance with some hardware that had probably been there just to have a place to keep it.
Dick took a deep breath, thinking he bought himself at least some time. He took one of his escrima sticks and walked around, making sure there was no one inside locked with him.
He thought he was in the clear until he heard maniacal laughter echo from behind him. He immediately ducked, glancing up to see a crowbar swing over his head.
Dick rolled away from his spot and hopped to his feet, turning back to face the Joker.
“Come back here! I want to have some fun!” Joker swung at him again, “Your replacement was rather fond of these!”
Nightwing took a deep breath, keeping cool as he grabbed the crowbar and threw it as far as he could, then whipped the escrima stick in his hand at the Joker, striking him in the arm.
Joker fell back a few inches, looking him straight in the eye, “That isn’t very fair.”
“Sorry, but life isn’t fair.” Nightwing huffed, pulling his other rod out.
Joker pulled out a dagger and flipped it around his hand, “En garde.” He said before charging towards Dick.
He blocked the knife coming at him with one of his sticks. The Joker was sloppy, aggressively swinging at him in hopes that he’d hit Nightwing at least once.
“I thought you were better than this.” Dick taunted, grabbing him by his forearm and threw him into the wall. Nightwing sighed, “You know what they say, out with the old, in with the new.”
Joker didn’t seem to like that, running at him full force. He was laughing, which made Dick feel off. Even if he was a clown, the Joker was not a laughing matter. He was a murderer, one Dick should keep his guard up against.
“You bats are all the same, thinking you’re three steps ahead, but really, you’re three steps behind.” The man laughed, grabbing Nightwing by his arm and pulling him close. Dick felt something sharp pierce the skin on his neck and thought, Goddammit.
Joker pulled away, showing off the ring with a spike on the bottom sitting on his pale and crusted finger. Dick felt laughter begin to bubble up from his chest, his face scrunching up in the biggest and most painful smile he’s ever had. Seconds passed, and the laughing just got worse and worse, to the point where he was having trouble breathing between laughs. Dick fell to the ground, curling up into a ball.
Through his squinted eyes, he saw the Joker’s black and white shoes approaching his view, getting closer and closer, and with one nasty kick, Dick felt pain for a sharp second before his world faded to black.
When he woke up, he was heavily chained to a cushioned chair. His head throbbed, and his body twitched in discomfort.
Nightwing glanced around. He was in a dark room, but it wasn’t dark enough to the point where he couldn’t see. There were pictures on the wall, though he couldn’t make out what they were. Sitting in front of him was a giant camera. Great, he thought. At least he had his mask on.
As soon as his head’s throbbing started to die down, lights were suddenly turned on and his eyes burned.
“You’re finally awake. I was starting to worry you couldn’t handle a little Joker juice, that would’ve been boring.”
Joker walked in, a ghost of a sinister smile on his face.
“Fuck off.” Dick shook his head, squinting as he glared up at him.
“That’s not very nice. How about I beat some manners into you.” Joker went off laughing again before he slapped Nightwing across the face, “I won’t do too much, I wouldn’t want us looking bad on T.V! We’re live now!”
Dick finally forced his eyes opened. The camera had a red glowing dot shining back at him, so it was recording, or streaming, how fun. Two of Joker’s men entered the room, wheeling in a box tv, which displayed Dick’s own face.
“That’s generous of you.” Nightwing managed to hiss as his eyes adapted to the light focused on him.
“Why don’t you say hi to Batsy?” Joker walked behind him and grabbed his jaw, forcing him to look straight at the camera.
“I’m pretty good, thanks for the offer.” Dick hissed, pulling his head back out of his grip. He didn’t want to be seen as weak, especially on live T.V. If he had a few minutes, he’d be able to get out, but he needed to find a way to distract the genocidal clown behind him.
Joker chuckled, “Oh Batsy, you’ve trained the kid well, he’s just like you!” He shouted before he stepped away, kicking the chair forwards.
Dick landed on the floor, face against rough and chipping wood. He grunted but rolled the chair and himself on his side.
The Joker put his foot on the chair and posed as if he was a great explore before he faced the camera.
“I have four bombs hidden, two in Gotham, two in Blüdhaven. You have an hour to find all of them, and if you don’t, I’ll clip another Robin’s wings.” He sneered.
“You won’t get the chance. Get the bombs, Batman, I can handle this.” Dick rose his head off the ground and glared at Joker, who pulled out a suspiciously large pen from his pinstripe suit jacket.
Nightwing tensed up as he heard Joker say, “Tick tock” before a shock came from his arm. White hot pain sent him shaking, but he did his best not to make a sound. He’s almost been killed before, electrocution couldn’t be that bad. Except, it kinda was. His body moved and trembled involuntarily for a few more seconds before the pain in his shoulder ceased.
He faintly heard laughter as his body just laid on the floor, trying to gain composure. The chair he was sitting in was pulled upright and he was left nauseous for a second. Once Dick blinked a few times, his stomach felt a tad bit better than he did while he was on the floor.
He realized Joker had made his exit, and he was relieved. Dick glanced at the camera. It was now turned off, which made now the best time to hatch an escape plan.
He glanced around, searching to find anything he could use to get out of the chains he was in. Using the fins on his suit, he jerked his forearms against the chain. It seemed to loosen them up a bit, so he tried again. The chains whipped against his chest on the third attempt, but he kept going until one of his arms were free and made quick work slipping out.
Once he was freed, Dick took a second to stretch. This was definitely too easy. He walked up to the camera and turned in on.
“Hey, Batman, I know you’re out there. Probably Joker too, but oh well.” He crouched in front of it, shrugging.
“I’ll take out the Joker, you worry about the bombs.” Dick said before turning it off and breaking it. The box T.V. next to it turned to static, and he let out a soft sigh. His weapons had been kindly left on a table in front of one of the many portraits of Joker in the room.
Walking into the hallway, he kept an eye out for any incoming thugs. There was no sign of the Joker, which was definitely unsettling considering the man would plaster his face on every wall of Gotham, given the chance.
Turning in the corner, he was hit in the face with a boxing glove.
“I should’ve expected that.”
It took twenty minutes for Nightwing to conclude that the Joker had gotten away to his disappointment. He found his way out of the building and gazed around. He was in the less populated areas of Blüdhaven, so it wouldn’t be hard to sneak away luckily.
Nightwing huffed and shot out a line, trying to call Bruce over his comms. Straight static sounded in his ears, causing him to lose focus and fall for longer than he would’ve normally liked. He turned off the comm and kept going.
He had to look for the bombs now, Joker was gone, and there were still people he needed to protect.
Where would be a place Joker would put a bomb? It was a hard question considering that Joker was a very unpredictable person, but he still had a style of doing things. He would probably hit somewhere that would make a lot of noise.
It took maybe a minute to run through all the possibilities, and why they wouldn't work until the light bulb in his head finally lit up.
St. Bernadine's Church. It was cliché but it definitely sounded like something the madman would do.
Dick hoped he was right and started swinging towards the heart of Blüdhaven.
He thought tonight would be a little more exciting than his normal gigs, but this was just stressful. At least he’d probably see Bruce and Damian again, that was nice.
It was almost second nature for him to be hopping around the buildings in the city. He’d been doing this for years now, it wasn’t like he was a well-known vigilante heading to stop a bomb or two from killing hundreds of people.
His background allowed him to adapt to swinging around easily. Falling was his favorite part. The moment where he became victim to gravity and could just let go. It was ironic too, considering his past, but flying in the air, being able to twist and turn however he pleased was refreshing.
With so much thought on his mind, it felt like it only took five minutes to arrive at the Church. It was dark around, and there wasn’t a person in sight. That just told him how late it was.
Nightwing perched by one of the Church’s windows, unlocking it quickly and quietly sneaking inside. Searching around, he made sure to look through any room. It didn’t take long to find the haphazardly made bomb, it just looked like a bunch of dynamite sticks duct taped together.
He was able to disarm it in 10 minutes. They only had 20 minutes left until the bombs would go off.
He heard a whoosh behind him, and then the signature voice.
He turned around to look at Bruce. Damian slipped in the same window Dick had, looking between the two.
“Meadowdale Mall.” The Batman said before heading out again.
Great, being dragged around by Batman is just what Dick loves to do. He sighed and followed after but ended up leading the way to the Mall.
Fortunately for them, the mall had closed an hour ago. It should’ve made the job easy, right? Wrong. As soon as they entered the building, the Joker’s voice come over the P.A. system
“Hello Batsy! I see you’ve found my other toys.” Laughter followed his sentence, “To make things a little more fun, I’ve set the countdown to five minutes! Sorry, not sorry!” Then the intercom clicked off.
Being that Meadowdale Mall was the only mall in all of Blüdhaven, he knew it like it was the back of his hand.
Without a thought, he blurted out, “I’ll take this half, you and Damian go after the south half.”
He knew the bomb would probably be in the electrics room, considering it was well hidden and had the space needed for a bomb.
Batman looked at Nightwing and nodded, leaving without a word.
Dick sprinted towards the electrical closet, and of course, he was right, his guess had been proven by the scanner in his mask. By the time he started to disarm the thing, he had two minutes left. He knew he didn’t have enough time so he took the bomb in his hands and ran away from the room, hoping to get to the center of the mall so it wouldn’t cause that much damage.
He dropped the thing the minute he knew that the bomb wouldn’t destroy the place, he had lost count of the time he had left, but hoped it was enough time for him get out of harm’s way too.
Dick had only started to run away when he saw Batman and Robin coming his way, saying words too distant for him to hear.
Then his senses were flooded with too much light, sound and feeling, then nothing at all.
Batman swore that time slowed down as he watched Nightwing be propelled by explosives. The building shook for only a second, but seemed fine afterwards, if you don’t count the massive hole in the floor.
Robin seemed shocked, almost not moving from his place. Bruce shook his head and ran over to the rubble. He’d already lost a son in an explosive manner (done by the Joker), he wasn’t going to let it happen again.
After a few terrifying seconds of digging in the debris, he found Dick. He was covered in cuts and ash, and his wrist was definitely in the wrong place.
Batman picked him up, cradling the grown man on his chest.
“Robin, call Alfred, tell him that we’ll need Leslie there.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Damian nod and start to do so. Bruce looked over Dick again, trying to access his wounds. Lucky for him, it seemed like Dick had gotten far enough to not receive anything that would kill him on the spot, but he wasn’t out of the woods yet.
He adjusted his grip on Nightwing to take him in one arm and ran out of the mall.
Carrying the man over his shoulder seemed to bring back memories. Memories like when Dick would fall asleep in the Batcave rather than in his bed, or the times Robin had practically thrown himself at Batman to get out of harm’s way. It was still hard to believe that the bright eyed, always smiling and positive boy had grown up to be a better man.
Bruce was proud of his son, but he knew he didn’t really show it as well as he should.
After swinging back to the Bat-mobile, he set Dick in the passenger seat, and Damian had to fit in the seat with his unconscious brother, which would have been funny if the situation wasn’t so severe.
Getting back to Gotham took longer than he thought, and by the time they finally made it to the Bat-cave, Dick’s breathing had gotten shallow and labored. Damian had been tasked with keeping track of his pulse but he hasn’t said anything so far so that was a good sign. Bruce stepped out of the Batmobile and walked to the passenger seat and helped Damian get Dick out.
Nightwing looked worse than before. His skin was starting to peel off, there was glass cutting into his visible skin and he wasn’t breathing normally at all. Alfred and Leslie were already waiting for them, rushing over and helping place Dick on a table. Bruce stepped away and went to collect everything they needed like gloves, an I.V. stand, fluids, possibly an oxygen tube and a kit full of surgical tools.
Damian backed away, there wasn’t much he could do besides being there for emotional support, which wasn’t his strong suit either. He watched as they peeled off Nightwings costume, disinfecting his cuts while Leslie listened to his lungs.
She set an oxygen tube under his nose, scanning his chest with a small device.
“He has a collapsed lung, we need a chest tube.” She sighed.
Bruce walked over to Damian, crouching down to reach eye-level before he put a hand on his shoulder, “You should go upstairs, I’ll tell Tim about the situation when Dick’s stable.”
Damian just nodded, looking down to the floor as he pulled away and turned to leave.
It took 3 hours, but Dick was finally stabilized. He had a chest tube, a cast around his wrist and several sutures scattered around his body. Leslie left quickly, saying her brief goodbyes before exiting. Bruce sighed, and walked up to the manor.
He opened Damian’s door without a knock, and found the boy sitting on his bed.
“He’s stable now, you can go see him.”
“You told Tim.”
“Are you mad?”
“No, just wasn’t expecting it.”
Damian nodded, sliding off his bed and walking past Bruce. He assumed he was heading to see Dick. As much as Damian didn’t want him to notice, he could tell he was warming up to the family. Bruce watched him walk down the hallway and out of sight.
He headed to his bedroom and decided to call it a night.
Dick woke up to a bright light being shone in his eyes. He pulled away out of instinct and tried to say something along the lines of “stop” or “this doesn’t look like hell” but couldn’t organize his thoughts enough to form the words.
He knew he was drugged up on something, his head was heavy and whatever was draped over his body weighed him down comfortably.
There were voices in the distant, but everything sounded muffled. His vision eventually cleared, and two faces appeared in his field of vision. It took a few seconds to recognize the voices and faces belonged to Jason and Tim, but when he did, he just smiled.
“The gang’s all here.” He slurred.
“So you’re finally up. About time, asshat. Made us worry about you.” Jason spoke quickly, but slow enough for Dick’s drunk ears to understand.
“He’s trying to say that we’re glad you’re okay.” Tim smiled reassuringly.
“I know.” Dick chuckled before a sharp pain came from his side, causing him to wince and tense up.
“’M fine.” He muttered through gritted teeth as he tried to settle.
“Do you need more painkillers?” He heard Tim ask. He shook his head, forcing himself to breathe.
“Already drugged up. I’m good.” He tried to look at where the pain came from, and nearly stopped breathing again when he saw a tube digging into his side.
“You have a collapsed lung, a broken wrist and some cuts n’ bruises.” Jason leaned back in his seat.
“Great.” Dick muttered, leaning back in the bed, trying his best not to move much.
Alfred walked through the doorway, holding a cup of water. Dick looked at it, taking it with his good hand and carefully taking a sip out of it.
“It’s good to see you awake, Master Dick.”
“I’m happy I’m awake too.”
“Besides the tube, how do you feel?” Tim asked.
“Fine, you guys dosed me up good I guess.”
Dick took the second to look around. He was in his old bedroom, and there were several machines next to his bed, but not enough to cause him to worry a lot, he’d definitely been through worse. Alfred had left the room after he had given him the glass of water. Jason and Tim were sat in chairs on one side of his bed. He saw Damian lurking by the door and frowned slightly.
“You can come over here too.” He tried to call out to him.
With a heavy sigh, Damian walked over.
“You should’ve been more careful, Grayson.”
Dick chuckled, reaching out (even though it caused him mild discomfort) and pulled him close by his hand. Damian didn’t seem to object, frowning.
“I’ll tell you a secret. My middle name is Danger.”
“No, it’s John.”
Dick ruffled the kid’s hair, smiling. Jason and Tim had scooted a bit to make room for Damian to sit with Dick. They all scolded him for being reckless, but that ended up with them watching a movie on Dick’s T.V. somehow.
Bruce stopped by when they were halfway through watching The Princess Bride. Dick looked over, managing a tired smile. Jason looked over and got up, gesturing him to come over. Tim had gone to grab something to eat and Damian was just quietly watching the classic movie.
Bruce walked over, messing Dick’s already fluffed up hair.
“How are you feeling?”
“Like I was hit by a truck.”
That earned a chuckle from Bruce.
“I trust that your brothers have already bullied you for getting hurt?”
“You know it.”
“Good. Alfred’s making stew for you. I’m taking the tonight off too.”
“Wow, I must be special.”
“You know it.”
They spent the day in Dick’s room, watching old movies and discussing them afterwards. Jason decided to stick around, making fun of the cliché plots in the movie and arguing with Tim about the endings of each film. Damian stayed quiet, which was unusual for him, but he didn’t seem distressed. Alfred brought them food, which was awesome and by the time the sun had started to set, Dick was exhausted. The chest tube had stopped bothering him after a while, and thanks to painkillers, he wasn’t in much pain.
It was nice, not counting the several wounds on him. He was with his family, he wasn’t fighting some rogue, or being kidnapped because he was Bruce Wayne’s adopted son.
He was home.
Bruce didn’t care for Christmas much.
It was the holiday that always slapped him in the face and reminded him that he was alone for years and years. It was only after he took in Dick that he started to appreciate the time they spent together on the holiday. As much as he hated to admit it, he still had his times where he’d rather be alone because he was so used to it, it was just easier.
After Dick became Nightwing, he would still always come back on the holiday. Even when they weren’t on the best of terms, he’d stop by for a day or two before heading back to Blüdhaven. His time spent during the holiday seemed to increase as he got older, and as their family grew bigger and bigger.
It had been snowing in Gotham for a few days now, which made patrols a little more difficult, but nothing Bruce couldn’t manage. He and Damian were standing on top of the many rooftops of the city. Although the boy stayed completely stoic, Bruce could tell Damian was trying to stand under his cape to get out of the cold.
“Why must we stand out in the cold and wait for something to happen? We could be in the Bat-mobile, where it’s not snowing.” Damian crossed his arms, looking around.
“Because we have to be ready for anything.”
“Doesn’t mean we have to freeze to death, Father.”
“Then we’re out here because I said so.”
“Grayson would never let me stand out here in the snow.”
“He’s also the same person who almost cried after stepping on a snail.”
Damian went quiet, and Bruce could tell he was glaring at him. After a few minutes filled with the faint sounds of car horns and the wind blowing through the city. Bruce sighed and looked at Damian.
“We can go to the Batmobile.”
Bruce went ahead and summoned the car to the alley next to the building they were standing on top of. Damian immediately perked up as the quiet sound of the engine purring echoed in the alleyway, obviously ready to get out of the cold.
“If I get sick because of this, I’m going to eat all of Alfred’s cookies, and not tell you, Father.”
They both hopped down from the rooftop where the car was now parked, snow softly sprinkling over the black sleek roof. Damian gladly got in the second the bat-mobile was unlocked, leaning back in the seat and stretching out. Bruce slid in the car, shutting the door and brushing the fresh snow off his suit.
An hour of two passed. Damian had been silent the whole time, which could be because he was tired or cold. The two kept sitting around until Tim called in from the comms.
“Red Robin to Batman, how’s it looking out there?
“There’s nothing happing, Drake. It’s just cold, and boring.” Damian spoke first, letting a sourness come to his voice.
“Robin’s right. I’m guessing it’s too cold to pull off anything tonight.”
“Well, if you guys are bored, there’s a surprise waiting for you at home.”
“What is it?”
“Drake, I’m not going to play your games, what is it?”
“I’m going to kill you if you-“
“We’ll be home shortly.” Bruce cut off Damian, giving him a look before he shifted the Bat-mobile’s gears, driving back to the Wayne manor.
When they entered through the Bat-cave, there was no surprise waiting for them. Everything looked the same, but Tim wasn’t there like Bruce expected him to be.
As Damian stepped out from the Bat-mobile, he took off his mask and glared around.
“Where is he?”
“He must be upstairs.”
The two took off their suits, getting back in civilian attire before heading up to the upper levels. If the surprise was anyone outside the family, Bruce would rather not have to explain the bat-suit and teenage sidekick.
To their surprise, the manor’s rooms had been tampered with. There were wreaths hanging on the walls, and fairy lights dangled from the crowning on the ceiling, drooping slightly where the clear tape holding them up was peeling off.
Bruce looked around, but there was no sign of Tim, Alfred or Jason. It took a second, but Bruce’s ears finally picked up on a faint voice coming from the living room. Damian seemed to have heard it too, because now he was approaching the room’s entrance. Bruce soon followed, scanning the room as soon as his head peaked through.
Alfred was sitting down in one of the armchairs, and in his hand was a copy of the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Bruce soon realized that he was reading out loud to the three figures on the sofa. Turns out, the three figures were Tim, Dick and Jason, in that order. All bundled up in blankets, the boys were apparently so invested in the book, they didn’t notice Damian and Bruce had come home.
Alfred looked up, “Hello Master Bruce, Master Damian, care to join us? There’s hot chocolate in the kitchen.”
Dick turned back, smiling as he saw Bruce. He set his mug of hot cocoa on the coffee table before stretching and standing up to greet the two.
“I thought you couldn’t make it.” Bruce met him halfway, pulling him into a tight hug.
“Surprise.” Dick looked at Damian after he pulled away, gesturing for him to come over. Damian reluctantly walked to him before being snatched into a bear hug. Dick picked the teenager up, basically twirling him around in a circle.
“Grayson! Let me down!” Damian tried to slip away but had no luck.
Jason was next to get up, leaping over the couch and hugging Bruce. Tim stayed on the couch and watched, chuckling as Damian basically hissed until he was freed from Dick’s hold.
After they had all greeted each other, Bruce spoke up.
“If we’re going to be doing this, let’s do this right. Go get in your pajamas, we’ll make cookies after we finish the book, okay?”
After all the four boys nodded, they all raced off and went their own ways. Dick came back dressed in dark blue sweatpants and a shirt that said, “Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.” With a picture of Santa Claus in 90s attire. Jason basically slid down the handrailing of the stairs with a sweater that had a sheep on it and below it, “Fleece Navidad”. Tim had chosen a “Mr.Klaus” shirt he had got from when he and Stephanie matched at the Christmas party last year, along with pants with penguins all over. Damian was one of the last, begrudging walking out with an ugly sweater with the word, “Naughty” written across his chest. Alfred was waiting for all of them in the living room, he had switched out his black suit jacket for a green one, and his tie was red with white polka dots sprinkled on it.
Bruce had to admit, he was the best at picking out Christmas sweaters. His was green, red, and white, but in the middle, there was a picture of Jesus holding a balloon that said: “Birthday boy” and unlike the others’, his had LED’s that lit up the outline of the print.
The hot chocolate was still warm by then, thank god. Damian must’ve grabbed a mug of it while Bruce was still upstairs, because now the boy was settled in between Dick and Tim with a cup in his hands.
The blankets the boys were using were still there, so while they all figured out a way to fit on the couch together, Jason had snatched one of them greedily for himself, happily curling up in it.
“Sharing is caring!” Tim chuckled, trying to find some for himself.
“You all are four years old.” Bruce sighed.
After a few minutes, all five of them had settled. Bruce was at the bottom of the dogpile, with Dick basically leaning on his shoulder. Damian was next to him, kicking his legs up to rest on Dick’s while Tim and he shared a blanket since Jason was too busy hogging his own. Speaking of Jason, the kid was the only one sitting by himself triumphantly. He sat with his legs to his chest, using his knees to comfortably balance the cup of hot cocoa he had. Bruce turned on the T.V., going to YouTube and turning on a video of a fire that played quiet Christmas music in the background.
Once Alfred saw that they had all stopped bickering over space, he continued reading the book. Bruce and the boys stayed awake, listening attentively to Alfred. For once, no one was arguing, and besides the funny comments Dick and Jason made every now and then, the five were, for the most part, quiet.
As Alfred finished, Dick slid out from under Damian and collected all the empty cups of hot chocolate.
“Master Dick, I can-“
“Nope, you read for us, this is the least I can do Alfred.” Dick shook his head as he walked to the kitchen.
Jason was next to hop off the couch, heading to the bathroom while Tim walked away to help get out all the ingredients needed to make cookies.
“That was a nice book, right Damian?” Bruce asked as he pushed the boy off to free himself.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Are you ready to make cookies?”
Damian nodded before getting up from the couch. Bruce followed as they both walked to the kitchen together. Dick was washing the dishes while Tim brought out flour, mixing bowls, sugar, milk, etc.
When Jason returned, they all stood in a circle and glanced around.
“So, who knows how to make cookies.” Tim asked.
Dick raised his hand.
“Without burning the kitchen down or poisoning us.”
Dick’s hand went down.
“It can’t be that hard, right?” Jason crossed his arms.
“On the contrary Master Jason, baking is quite complicated.” Alfred cut in, putting his hands behind his back, “And I, for one, will have a fun time watching.”
“Thank you, Alfred.” Tim chuckled, “Well, uh, let’s get started, and see how this goes.”
A whole hour and a half passed. The boys had just pulled out the last batch from the oven while Bruce and Dick were decorating them with what icing they had made. Jason was standing to the side, holding an icepack to his hand. He had been sidelined after he had burned his hand for the third time.
Dick popped one of the cookies in his mouth, “All this baking is making me hungry.”
“Grayson, we’re all hungry.”
“Well I’m hungrier.”
“Dick, stop eating the cookies.” Bruce warned, knowing that he could (and would) eat all of them before the others got the chance to try it out first.
Once the last batch was cooled and decorated, they all sat in the dining room and snacked on the sweets.
“For a group of superheroes, we sure know how to bake.” Tim said proudly.
“And we didn’t start a fire.” Dick chuckled, “But Alfred’s cookies will always be superior. These get like, an A minus.”
“I’m going to have to agree with Master Dick on that one.” Alfred took a clean bite of a cookie, shrugging, “These are decent.”
“Prideful much?” Jason chuckled, “We all know that we could never beat Alfred’s baking.”
“Agreed.” They all simultaneously said.
The rest of the evening went swell, except for the fact that Jason and Dick ended up wrestling over who was the better baker, even though they were trying to convince Tim to add more and more sugar the entire time that they were actively baking.
Bruce headed up to his room to grab something but was interrupted by a tapping on his window.
He split open his curtains and found a certain Cat waiting for him. He opened his window and sighed.
“Hello, Bruce. I was in the neighborhood; thought I might drop by, stick around for a while.” She immediately allowed herself in his room, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Well, I’m supposed to be downstairs with my sons. I’d love if Selina Kyle came instead of Catwoman, though.” Bruce gently took her free hand in his.
“I’ll think about it, but I’m only on lunch break right now. Tell me, how are my boys.”
“Your boys? I didn’t know they were yours.” Bruce smiled.
“They were mine the moment I laid eyes on them.”
“They’re doing good. Stephanie and Cassandra couldn’t make it on time but promised to stay next weekend.”
“Good. And how’s my absolute favorite bat doing?” She rose an eyebrow, leaning into his chest.
“I’m doing as best as I can. You know how the job is.”
“Yeah. Maybe Gotham wouldn’t mind it if we just ran off together for a week. You, me, the kids, and Alfred, how does that sound?”
“You know we can’t.”
“I’m not saying it has to be today, but you have to promise me that we’ll go to the Bahamas.”
“…Fine, we’ll go to the Bahamas.”
She smiled, knowing she won. After glancing at the clock on the wall, she frowned, “I have to go now, girls gotta get diamonds somehow.”
“You could buy them.”
“I could, but you know I won’t.”
The two shared a brief kiss before Selina pulled away, climbing onto the window ledge.
“Say hi to the boys for me.” She waved before running off, vanishing into the night.
Bruce sighed, glancing in the mirror and washing the faint red lipstick off his mouth before closing his window.
By the time he walked downstairs, the boys were staring at him.
“She came, huh?” Dick was the first to speak.
“You have a special smile for her, Master Bruce.” Alfred spoke up, “Now, are we going to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas, or not?”
Thank you for reading my fic! This is honestly the first fic I've ever finished and I'm pretty proud of it! I really look forward to writing more of the Batfamily, and other DC heroes, and I'd love to hear your ideas and requests! I'd love to hear what you guys thought of the fic, and I want to thank those who have commented and given kudos, because those really make my heart swell! I hope you guys enjoyed the official last chapter! Have a great day!