Author: anakinlove PM
They all needed him, but no two in the same way. Of course, it was also true that he needed them, perhaps even more than they needed him. Bruce Dick Jason Tim Damian supercutness!Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Bruce W./Batman & Richard G./Nightwing - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,961 - Reviews: 45 - Favs: 90 - Follows: 70 - Updated: 11-20-12 - Published: 03-20-12 - id: 7942443
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I am an idiot. This idea was not actually mine in the first place, I simply embraced it. All credit for this lovely brain child goes to smergrl3495. I merely wrote it and did some tweaking. Sorry about that.
"Sometimes I just wish you never took me in!" The words were out of my mouth before I could stem their tide. And he was just looking at me. Hurt didn't register on his face, but I could see the flicker of it in his eyes. A moment later, it was gone. I tried to convince myself I had imagined it, after all, Batman didn't have feelings, but it was easier said than done. His blue eyes darkened and narrowed.
"If that's the way you feel", he said stiffly, "Perhaps I could find alternative living arrangements for you."
"Yea", I snapped, too angry to even comprehend fully what he was suggesting, "Go find me a real family. Now, are we gonna go out on patrol or what?"
"I have half a mind not to let you go. You're unstable right now."
"You're not my father, I'd probably have killed myself by now if you really were, I'll go if I want to." I couldn't believe what I was coming out of my mouth right now, but somehow, it just kept coming.
These awful things that tasted like bile coming out of my mouth, so acrid that they bit my tongue as they rolled off, just kept spewing forth. And he took them, like he took the blows from all the goons and all the supervillians. He rolled with the punches, just like he always did.
I stalked over to my costume and got dressed quickly. Then, I got in the car, folded my arms, and stared out the front window. He slid in next to me and revved the engine. We didn't say anything else to each other as he propelled the car out of the cave.
The countryside flew by as we soared towards the city. I was still fuming. It wasn't as if he'd done anything incredibly awful to merit me saying such things, I had been in a bad mood and it had taken me a little too far.
I was just so sick of those stupid taunts. I was sick of being made fun of at school for my current living situation. I was sick of the snide looks those other parents always gave me, sick of all of it. I was sick of the crap I kept getting from everyone about Bruce. Many of them knew only my name, but to them I was just Bruce's boy toy. I wasn't in reality, but no matter how many times I said it, they just kept right on with their whispering and their giggling and their pointing.
Stalking down to dinner when Bruce got home, my anger had had a chance to incubate and though it usually lessened with time, today it had merely intensified. Several rude comments on my Facebook page had helped with the rekindling.
So, when Bruce started talking to me about how I had failed so and so test, I just snapped. It wasn't like he was yelling; Bruce didn't like to yell, but it was enough to rile me up. So, I screamed hurtful things at him and now we had an awkward car ride to the city where I could beat some moron to a pulp for stealing a television.
But, I was too angry to ponder any of this. And for some reason, Bruce was just letting me rage. He wasn't making me stop or anything. He wasn't yelling at me, telling me I shouldn't be disrespectful, he just let me bark like I was a dog at the end of a chain. Somehow, that just made me want to rebel even me.
Scarcely before the car had even stopped, I was out and darting after some random goon. He called after me to stop, but I ignored him. I could tell it was going to be a long night.
Arguing with him felt good, yelling at him even better. I was just so mad, I felt the childish need to push his buttons too. Him bellowing at me on that rooftop in front of those goons was enough to spurn me on.
"I TOLD YOU TO WAIT BEFORE YOU JUMPED IN LIKE THAT, THIS ISN'T A GAME, YOU COULD HAVE GOTTEN KILLED!"
"I DON'T CARE, GOD, JUST STAY OUT OF MY WAY. I CAN HANDLE THIS ALL ON MY OWN, YOU DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING."
"JUST GO HOME, YOU'RE DONE TONIGHT."
"NO, I'M STAYING."
His eyes narrowed dangerously. "Go home", he hissed. I felt a chill go down my spine. He hardly ever looked at me like that.
"No", I replied. The goons stared at each other fearfully as he stalked up and hauled me off my feet by my collar.
"BOY, YOU BETTER DROP THE ATTITUDE OR I SWEAR…" Right then however, the bat signal went up, flickering to life across the cloud cover. Batman dropped me. "Lets go", he growled. He'd put enough of the fear of God I me at that moment to make me limit myself to just grumbling quietly under my breath as I followed him.
We landed alongside each other on the rooftop, but it was with stiff spines that we faced the commissioner. It was as if he could feel the tension in the air when he spoke next. "I'll keep this short Batman. There's a hostage situation up on the north side of town. Some psycho has kidnapped several people and is demanding money for them. We have reason to believe he has under his employ a few child soldiers so it's a bit delicate."
"Understood", Batman replied gruffly, "lets go Robin."
"I'll go if I want to", I growled under my breath. The commissioner looked at me a little surprised and Batman shot me a venomous look, but I took off.
"Teenagers", the Dark Knight muttered darkly to Gordon before shooting off after me. We landed lightly atop the roof and gazed through the window. There were a few teenage boys there, milling about and hefting large guns. An older man came through and started barking at them.
"I don't see the hostages", Batman muttered softly, "Do you?" I shook my head. "I know you're just going to fight me if I try to assign us posts so why don't you make the plan." I was surprised by this, but I supposed the hostages meant more to him than my temper tantrums. I knew I was gonna get it at home though.
Bruce had never spanked me. He seemed to understand that it would change things between us, alter them in an irreversible sort of way. It would elevate him to a position he didn't want to be in and didn't belong in. Anyway, he had never been able to stomach the idea of deliberately inflicting pain on me whilst I was helpless, or so he said.
However, but it occurred to me that he might get over that tonight. He was awfully angry. I didn't care though, or told myself I didn't. After all, it would only prove what I had known all along, that he hated me and that was why he adopted me, just to make my life miserable. I'm a master at feeling sorry for myself, obviously.
"Fine", I muttered, "You fight the goons, I'll get the hostages."
"Agreed", Batman said, "We go on three. One…two…" but in a sudden spurt of rebelliousness or a death wish of some sort (because if the goons didn't kill me, he would) I leapt on two and started to attack. He looked so furious when he followed, I thought he might ignore the goons and just come after me. But, he didn't and as soon as he had their full attention, I slipped out of the fray and into the next room.
I could hear the sounds of battle and though I was fairly sure that would mask any of my movements, I slid stealthily along, searching for hostages. It was then that I came upon an awful sight.
Skulking into the next room, I stumbled across a hidden area in the back. There, trapped in cages scattered throughout the space, were dirty whimpering little boys. They ranged from eight or nine to about thirteen or fourteen, all of them trembling, frightened, starving and filthy.
They were covered in various bruises, sores and slashes; it was obvious they had been abused. I was so horrified, I stumbled backwards a few steps. I spied the hostages, tied up in the center of that room, but for a moment, I couldn't even process them. All those little kids just looked so pathetic and scared. Then, one noticed me.
"Robin", he screamed, "Robin, help me please." I put a finger to my lips, bidding him to remain silent. He watched me with wide, hopeful eyes. He wasn't quite as skinny as the others; I surmised he hadn't been there as long. He looked no older than eight.
I crept by the cages, holding my finger to my lips as I passed the kids. Though most of them looked excited to see me, some didn't even seem to realize I was there. They gazed right through me with dull, empty eyes, as if nothing mattered to them anymore. They chilled me more than any others.
I made it to the hostages and was about to reach out and untie the first when I felt a hard kick in the side. I went flying and hit one of the cages. The child within shrank back and I looked up, vision swimming, to hone in on my attacker. It was a teenager about my age, snarling ferally like a wild dog.
He grabbed one of the hostages and held a knife to her throat. She whimpered, trembling, but remained relatively quiet. Bleeding as she was, I could tell she had probably been punished for crying out before. She needed attention.
"Easy now buddy", I said as gently as I could, slowly getting up, "How about you just hand me the girl."
"You wish", the boy hissed, his filthy brown hair falling in his eyes. "That's not gonna happen boy blunder, I suggest you just run back to daddy."
"I'm sure we can work something out", I said gently, "We can get you out of here. I can't imagine this is all that nice of a place."
"Are you kidding me", the boy asked, grinning to the roots of his twisted yellow teeth, "This is a glorious place, look around you."
"All I see is little kids crying", I replied.
"Not kids", the boy whispered ruthlessly, "Little soldiers. Gregor, he breaks them down and builds them back up, just as he did with me."
"We can get you help", I said calmly, slowly inching closer. If I could get near enough, I might be able to move faster than the knife and disarm him before he hurt the girl.
"Help!" the boy shrieked with primordial laughter, like an ancient savage, "Why would I want help? He has liberated me, he has given me purpose. I was his toy, his plaything and now I am his soldier. I am for him alone."
"Alright", I said, "Well, you can go back to being his only one or whatever, just release the hostages and the kids and I'll be gone."
"He takes us from the streets", the boy continued dreamily, as if he hadn't heard me. "We are like rabid dogs there, all orphans, kids the state could never adopt out and so forgot. We're from all sorts of places, this state, others, it doesn't matter to him. My parents were murdered in front of me when I was eight." I froze. He continued, his creaking voice like an old windmill, stopped me in my tracks and rolled over me with a kind of power that allowed me no movement.
"Yes, they were killed by a mobster, someone who wanted protection money. They were in the accounting business you know, my wonderful mom and my good old dad. He used to call me sport and play ball with me in the backyard. Then, this mob guy came and killed them, right in front of me."
"I didn't know it at first, that it was a murder, I was so confused. After all, it had been a fire in our house. I watched them burn to death, listened to their screams. Then, I was taken to this police station. They said someone was gonna adopt me, but nobody ever did. Nobody wanted me. It was the middle of the recession and anyway, who wants some dumb, traumatized eight year old?"
"After about a year, I was on the streets, bitter and alone. Then, Gregor kidnapped me and suddenly I had purpose. He broke me down, tore me apart and built me into the man I am today, a man capable of taking the life of the one who took my parents, Tony Zucco." Then, he started laugh like maniac, tossing his head back and throwing that messy hair out of his eyes. They bulged and glittered with frenzied light.
I was so shocked by his testimony, which was so familiar to me, I couldn't move. My chest constricted and I couldn't breath. Continuing to cackle, he darted up towards me with almost inhuman speed and slashed the knife down at me. That was when I snapped out of it and danced to the side.
But suddenly, it was as if all the fight had leeched out of me. I could barely move. His leg snaked out and he tripped me. I toppled, my jaw smashing into the pavement, and he was atop me. He raised the knife above his head to bring it down to my chest, quietly whispering in that chilling voice "blood for blood". I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment, thinking these moments were my last when a pair of black boots appeared where he had been.
The boy smashed against the wall and went limp like a rag doll. Batman was standing there in the light, face contorted in a snarl as his chest heaved in heavy breaths. He looked down and then offered me a hand. "Are you alright?" he grunted. I nodded silently, still too deep in thought to react very much to anything.
Batman looked around the room in disgust and said, "Lets start freeing these kids. Then, we can go home." I knew in the back of my mind he was gonna murder me at home, but I didn't even care. I just couldn't get that boy's awful eyes out of my mind, or that laughter, or his tale, all these little boys' tales. All orphans, all living in this hell because they hadn't been taken in.
Slowly, I began to unlock the cages and let kids out. Some of them hugged me, but I barely paid attention. I carried a few out, but led most out on foot to be taken away by the police officers. I didn't know where they were going, but I felt for them. At least this publicity might get them adopted though.
As soon as we had finished, I followed Batman back to the car. The ride was silent and I wondered if he felt the change in my demeanor. No longer was I angry. No, now just felt empty.
We returned to the cave and exited the car in silence. I was almost surprised he didn't bring up the topic of my attitude right there, but he asked me first if I was injured. I shook my head; I hadn't sustained anything serious enough to merit his attentions. He nodded and walked off, no doubt pour over more crime files. I climbed up the stairs slowly and painfully, deep in thought. I didn't know what to do.
Lying in my bed, my mind leapt from the bonds I had put down for it and eagerly flew to all those places where it would torture me the most. It dove fervently into them, ripping and tearing and destroying me. I was so much like that boy, that crazy boy.
I had looked him up on my computer before I had gone to bed. His name was Jeffery Mcdougal and he was my age. We had been orphaned within a month of each other. I saw a picture of him next to his father and mother. They all looked so happy together, just like my family had been.
Tossing and turning in bed, I wondered. What if Bruce hadn't wanted me, what if he hadn't taken me in? What if no one had wanted another "dumb, traumatized eight year old"? What would I have done?
Would I have ended up like Jeffery, cackling as he held a knife to the throat of an innocent hostage? Would I have been beaten, starved, abused and terrified, crouching in one of those cages like an animal until I went insane?
All these thoughts tumbling through my head, I felt suddenly an incredible sense of guilt crash over me. Bruce had taken me in, no questions asked, open arms and tonight, I had thrown all that right back in his face. I felt I was the most awful human being that had ever lived. I could have ended up like Jeffery, but it was Bruce that had kept the revenge from eating me up inside like it had that boy.
It was Bruce that kept me from living on the streets or being passed from foster family to foster family. I had Bruce to thank for everything, but here I had been yelling at him.
Unable to deal with it lying alone in the darkness any longer, I got up and slowly padded down the hallway into Bruce's room. His light was on and he was quietly reading. He looked up when I came in. "Dick", he said smoothly, his voice cool and even, "We need to talk. I'm concerned about your recent behavior and I think…"
But whatever he was going to say after that was blown away by my rushing up to him, tossing my arms around his neck and climbing up onto his lap. I straddled him, my legs hanging down on either side of the chair, and started to sob. I buried my head in his shoulder and cried frantically.
He was noticeably taken aback, but I had to give him credit because rather than trying to figure out what was wrong, he decided to deal with the immediate problem of the fifteen year old weeping on his lap and put his arms around me. I hadn't pulled something like this for years and no doubt he assumed something must be awfully wrong. I didn't exactly get all worked up about dropping an ice-cream cone anymore.
"Alright Dick", Bruce said gently, stroking my hair, "Alright, alright, it's ok. Shh, everything's alright." Him not just kicking me off his knees, him not yelling, broke my heat even more because here I had been so awful to him and he was being so wonderful.
My tears intensified, something that surprised him even more because normally his gentle words calmed me, rather than seemingly digging deeper into my wounds. "Dick", he said anxiously, "Dickie bird, it's ok. Whatever it is, it'll be ok. Just calm down and tell me what's wrong. I can't help you if I don't know."
"You're so wonderful", I wailed, "and I'm so awful. You're the best father there ever was and I'm a terrible human being. You're so good. I love you so much. Thank you so much for loving me and taking care of me and being so good to me when I didn't deserve any of it. You're such an amazing person and I'd be dead without you. I'm a wretch."
Bruce was so shocked by this, which was probably the last thing he had expected to come out of my mouth after our awful night, he stopped trying to comfort me for a moment. I took this immediately as a rejection and my wailing sobs intensified. He regained his composure in a moment and put his arms around me again.
"Alright, alright kiddo, hey, just hush ok, everything'll be alright. Just calm down. I promise, whatever it is, I won't let it hurt you. I love you." Slowly, I stopped sobbing and calmed, leaning against him heavily as he stroked my back.
"Alright Dickie bird", he said once I had quieted enough, "Why don't you tell me what all this about, starting with your behavior earlier this evening."
"I was mad", I said softly, feeling purged. I shifted my weight a little on his lap and he responded accordingly by moving his arms and drawing me closer. The feel of our soft pajamas rubbing together made me feel cozy and reminded me of cold winter nights in front of a fire, drifting off in his arms as a small child.
"I was mad because of the things people say about us." Bruce sighed.
"I'd hoped you'd be spared that, but as it is, I suppose I should have seen it coming. My poor Dickie bird, I know it's rough. I'm sure it doesn't bother me as much as it bothers you, but believe me I don't like it."
"I didn't really factor in the idea of how you would be treated when I took you in and I don't know if I made things clear but this isn't the only living situation available to you. If, at any time, you decide this isn't what you want, I can put you up for adoption." I lifted my head and looked up at him incredulously.
"No", I whimpered, "no, I don't want another family, I wanna stay with you." For emphasis, I snuggled my head into his shoulder. Bruce gave a sigh of relief, like things were a lot better all of the sudden, and stroked my hair.
"I don't want to lose you Dick, but I love you and I'm wiling to admit that our way may not be the best."
"It is", I whispered. He smiled. "I hurt you didn't I?" I mumbled, "When I said I wanted to go."
"Maybe a little", he replied.
"I don't wanna go though."
"I know", he replied, "I know, and I wish I could make them stop making fun of you."
"I suppose I'll just have to deal with it", I mumbled.
"I could always just go to their houses and threaten them at batarang point." I rolled my eyes. He chuckled and kissed my hair. I gave a sigh.
"Tonight", I said softly, "I met this boy, you know, the one that was trying to kill me." He nodded and stroked my back. He told me his story. He was eight when his parents were killed in front of him, murdered by Tony Zucco.
Bruce stiffened slightly and then relaxed again, speaking smoothly. "And this troubles you."
"His situation is so similar to mine, but with one difference. He was put up for adoption, but nobody wanted him, so that sicko picked him up and turned him into what he is now. All that rage over his parents ate 'em up inside. I just can't help but wonder if the same thing would have happened if no one had wanted me."
"But I wanted you Dick", Bruce said gently, "it's not good to dwell on those sorts of things."
"But", I murmured, "It could have been me. It's not like I was any more deserving or any more special than him. In fact, if I hadn't been real lucky, it would have been me. If you hadn't been there that night or if you hadn't wanted to deal with me…"
"Dick", Bruce cautioned.
"It's ok", I said, sitting back to gaze into his gentle blue eyes, "I'm ok with it now. You're the remarkable one; you saved me. Without you, who knows where I'd be. I owe you everything. I just wanted you to know how grateful I was that you've been there to make sure I never turned into someone like that kid. I wanted you to know how much I loved you for it." He grinned at me and pulled me in close.
"You're awful, you know that."
"How come?" I asked.
"Because here I was, all ready to punish you for behaving like a brat tonight and you come in and start getting all cuddly and now, I can't even think about doing anything." I giggled and snuggled in even more. "See, there you go doing it again", he growled playfully, giving me a squeeze. We sat in silence for a moment, enjoying each other's company. He hummed quietly to himself, a kind of lullaby that made me feel sleepy all of the sudden.
"I'm not still in trouble, am I?" He chuckled.
"No, I guess not. But, next time you're angry, don't blow up. I'll put up with it, but if it becomes a habit, others won't."
"You put up with so much from me", I said playfully.
"I know", he grumbled.
"But, it's because you love me", I replied.
"Yea, I guess I do kid. You better get to bed though." I nodded and climbed off his lap.
"Night Bruce", I said, kissing his forehead.
"Night", he replied, giving me a little kiss back.
"Love you too." With that, I trotted back to my room.