|Find Your Way Home
Author: Kimura Hana PM
The road to healing is a long one, especially when they've made so many mistakes. Deals with the fallout after Dick leaves to be Nightwing again, and how it affects both him and Damian, as well as the rest of the family.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Richard G./Nightwing & Damian W./Robin - Chapters: 20 - Words: 29,518 - Reviews: 134 - Favs: 107 - Follows: 90 - Updated: 11-01-12 - Published: 07-25-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8359576
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Hi! This fanfic is going to be longer than all the ones I've published previously (most of which were oneshots anyway). I can't be certain how many chapters it will end up at, but I hope to update it regularly. Reviews are always welcome, but never required. (As long as someone can enjoy this piece of writing, I'm happy!) That said, I'll be quiet and let you start reading! Please be sure to read the note below.
Disclaimer: Characters and events discussed or referenced in these chapters are property of DC and do not belong to me.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is kind of set both pre- and post- reboot. It's the pre-New 52 timeline (because I don't have a good working knowledge of the new timeline and when/if specific things occurred yet, and the prior timeline works much better in the context of this story) but using events from the Batman and Robin v2 series as well. Most of the story will take place after the events of the new Batman and Robin. (As of when I started this fic, issues #1-11 had been released. Events in later issues may or may not be referenced or included, depending on whether it would make sense in this context. Please keep in mind this is fanfiction, and it can—and will—differ from future issues of the comic.)
Things had changed. Bruce had returned, Dick didn't need to be Batman anymore, and so he wasn't. It was never even that much of a revelation. He just knew it was his time to leave and return to being Nightwing—going solo, living his own life. He hadn't disliked being Batman, but it was time to move on, to go back to flying across a city without a cape in the way.
At first, he hadn't even thought about how Damian wouldn't be coming with him.
He had gotten so used to his Robin's presence by then that his mind subconsciously put Damian right there beside him. But he knew all along that wasn't fair. He knew that. He had always known that when Bruce came back, Damian would want to work with his father, the man he had always looked up to, respected, wanted to be. As much as Dick had grown to love Damian, he wasn't what his partner needed. He could be a stand-in, but he couldn't be Bruce. He and Damian were a great team once they had gotten over the first few rough patches, but Damian needed a father, needed someone that was his own flesh and blood. That wasn't Dick.
That was probably why he tried not to think about Damian now. It hurt.
He wanted to be something to Damian, he really did, and maybe he had been, but it wasn't enough. Damian needed Bruce now. He needed to work with his father, where he belonged.
Dick could hardly stand the tension that surrounded the household in the few days before he took his leave. Damian barely spoke to him at all, Bruce and Damian were already at odds, and he felt like he was caught in the middle of a scene he didn't belong in.
Was this the right thing to do? Leave?
He couldn't fix anything by changing his mind now, but he wasn't sure whether leaving or staying would have the worst outcome.
On the last day, Damian's eyes absolutely burned with hatred, and Dick realized he had destroyed the trust between the two of them. Damian probably thought he was abandoning him or giving up but he wasn't, he just wanted him to be able to see Bruce as a father and not a stranger. Because even though Bruce can be the worst parent in the world sometimes, he's still their father. He's been a father to all the Robins, each in a different way.
But Damian would never see it like that, if his last words to Dick were any reflection.
"You're a liar and a fool, Grayson! Why don't you just run back to your circus? I don't care. I hate you! I hope you die!"
The only thing Dick could think through the pain was I'm so glad Bruce isn't here.
So few words and so much pain he hadn't been expecting. No, he hadn't thought Damian would see him off with a hug or anything, but he'd hoped...hoped whatever they'd had still meant something to Damian. That he hadn't completely screwed this up by leaving.
But he had. He had screwed this up so badly he couldn't even put it into words.
His little brother—does he even have the right to think of him that way anymore?—hates him. He…
No. Stop. Focus.
You're Nightwing. He's Robin. Bruce is back to being Batman.
But he misses his feisty little Robin like crazy.
I hate him. Damian has never been more certain of anything. He hates Grayson for lying to him, for leaving, for not telling him directly. It had just been "I've decided to go back to being Nightwing" all of a sudden and the next thing he knew, Grayson was gone.
He had yelled. He had crossed a line and probably hurt Grayson's feelings, but he deserved it. He deserved it if he thought of Damian as nothing more than a nuisance that could be left behind whenever he saw fit, made someone else's responsibility.
Damn it, Grayson, why couldn't you have stayed? There was no one forcing you out of the role of Batman. Father would have allowed you to stay. I would have allowed it. I would have...liked...it...
Damian slams his fists into the training dummies harder, even though he can feel his father's eyes and the way he must be thinking him some uncontrollable child that would kill at a moment's notice. He grabs a sword and slices through another dummy with practiced ease.
In some ways, he is.
In some ways, his old habits are coming back now that Grayson has left, now that there's no happy foil to his dark past.
In some ways, his father does not understand him nearly as well as Grayson did, just keeps spitting out orders and keeping secrets and thinking that's okay because Damian is ten and more of a sidekick and a responsibility than a partner. Grayson didn't treat him like that.
Then again, Grayson will never treat him like a partner again.
Suddenly, he can't destroy his imaginary enemy fast enough.
Bruce doesn't think he'll ever truly become accustomed to being a parent. Even after Dick, Jason, and Tim, he still makes so many mistakes, obvious mistakes. Everything he does with Damian feels like a mistake. It's something about Damian's eyes, and how he looks at Bruce like he's a stranger, how he won't follow orders in costume or out. It might be because his way of doing things is so different from Dick's way, which is what Damian's obviously used to, but it goes beyond that. He had seen the changes that had taken place in his absence. Damian wasn't the same child he had been when he first entered the Batcave. He was a little calmer, a little more in tune with Batman's idea of justice, a little less hostile.
Then Dick left.
He can see that it isn't regression so much as sheer determination to shut himself away from his feelings because he doesn't know how to handle being so upset and angry over one person. One person he had trusted with everything he had.
It makes everything worse, because now Damian is keeping everyone away. There's bottled-up anger inside of him with nowhere to go, so it comes out as brutality, physical harm, because that's what Damian knows how to do and that's what he will always fall back on when he can't find another way to handle things.
Bruce can only watch. He can only try to protect his son, a boy who he still feels he barely knows. He can try to do things right, but he can never get it across without making it sound like orders. And Damian hates being told what to do, so in the end this can do nothing but make it worse.
The circus alone keeps Dick busy, even without the complications his Nightwing identity brings. So many things have changed.
Dick wonders what's happening in his absence. Are Bruce and Damian learning to work together? Are they safe?
Worrying about their safety seems silly, given what they do and who Bruce is, but he does worry. He hopes they're fine, that nothing big will get thrown at them until they begin to form their own partnership and bond.
But it's Gotham, and Gotham isn't that kind.