Dick takes your face in his hands, narrowing your line of sight to only him. He’s worried, warm brown eyes laced with concern. Is this your fault? You hadn’t meant to scare him. In truth, you hadn’t really thought Dick felt fear, always being the barrier between you and your worst nightmares. You thought the least you could do, with him protecting the city, protecting you, was to shoulder some of that weight on your own.
But you’re drowning. You can feel his gaze trained on you everywhere, watching how you move, how you sleep. You haven’t been doing much of either. It feels like a struggle to even wake up, to suffer through the motions.
“Sweetheart,” he says, jolting you back into the present. He speaks barely above a whisper, tracing a thumb slowly up and down your cheek. “What is it, what’s wrong?” Your big, strong superhero’s voice breaks, and you briefly consider that he might feel fear, too.
You shake your head, unsure of where to even start, but he holds your face up, insistent on keeping your gaze.
“I know it’s something,” he says. “I don’t know what, but I can help. Whatever it is. I want to help.”
A tear spills onto your cheek, and Dick is quick to kiss it away. You sigh, overwhelmed by the tender gesture, making more tears spill over, and making Dick kiss them away until it tickles. You laugh for the first time in days (yes, he’s counting), and Dick grins at the sound.
“I just, I don’t know,” you say, laughing in disbelief. It’s been the only thing on your mind for days, weeks maybe, and you still can’t put it into words. “I just feel wrong. Like no one likes me or wants me,” you add, squeezing Dick’s hand, still snug against your cheek. “And I know it’s not true, but I feel like it is. And I feel like I deserve it.” You can hear the strain in your own voice as you speak, and you worry you’ve shared too much. This isn’t a problem he can fix, especially when he has his own. But if he’s shocked, he doesn’t show it. He stands before you unbothered, as committed to you and your safety as ever.
“Here I was thinking I could punch your problems away,” he says, eager to hear your laugh again.
“If you figure out how to take sad thoughts out and punch them, be my guest.” You rest your head on his chest, relieved to have been able to share.
“Can I stay with you?” he asks, rocking you back and forth. You nod into his chest, hopeful he feels it.
“I like you. And I want you,” he says, looking down at you. “Even when it doesn’t feel true.”