The title is from the lyrics in "You will be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen and the prompt is from trash-by-vogue's "The Way You Said 'I Love You'" prompt list on tumblr. animallover612 requested #22: Muffled, from the other side of the door.
Being a hero is hard. Period.
On the good days, it makes them remember why they started doing this in the first place. All the training and setbacks and failures—all to let this one case, this one mission, this one patrol go right. They did it; they saved someone, they helped, they made it better.
On the bad days, it makes them feel lost. It all feels like too much, but like they still aren't doing enough. Can never do enough. So they start to question why they ever bothered in the first place. They wonder if they're making things worse.
Dick has had a few too many bad days too close together, and this last case proved to be his breaking point. He had been working on it for months; the time and dedication took its toll on him and his friends could see that the stress was getting to him. At some point, Dick knew there was no way of closing the case in a good way. But. He still hadn't been prepared for the tragedy that had been the aftermath.
Wally doesn't know the details. Dick won't talk about it. Wally does know it involved families—kids—and from the other information he had gathered, he knew the outcomes were too great for someone to handle on their own. Dick, of course, was the type to use that as a way to punish himself.
Well, Wally isn't having that.
He hasn't seen Dick since he had gotten out of the hospital, hasn't talked to him even longer. Sure, he's talked at him. But the first night, Dick was too injured to really talk and the words had been comforts, reassurances. The following days hadn't been productive, and at some point, Dick started to fain sleep to get out of conversations. And it wasn't like Wally was talking about the case—god, he was not going to push that, especially when it was so recent, so raw—just trying to be there for Dick. Basically, it was clear that Dick was already starting to isolate himself.
When he got out of the hospital, Wally gave him a day to himself. He was worried the whole time, but Bruce and Alfred were helping Dick get settled, so Wally knew Dick would be fine. After that, though, Wally started checking up on him via texts and calls.
He had asked to visit, too, but Dick said he needed space. Wally kept sharing reassurances, but he kept his worries about Dick's mental state to himself. Grief after something like this was normal, expected. But normal had a time limit, and for Wally, time moved at an all too slow speed.
Wally has heard from other friends that Dick is flat-out ignoring most people trying to communicate with him, and Wally figures Dick's short response texts are merely a boyfriend-perk. Dick has stopped taking his calls, though, just sending him texts after missed calls saying he's busy or tired (which Wally is starting to suspect are set to automatically send after missed calls). They're lies all the same, but Wally doesn't call him out on it. That's an in-person discussion.
It isn't long before Wally's patience and understanding runs out. He soon announces that he's coming to visit Dick later that afternoon. Dick texts back two hours later that he's not up for it.
The roles reverse and Wally ignores him.
When he gets to the apartment, he doesn't text Dick that he's there (partially out of concern that he'll run off). He lets himself in with the key he had been given when Dick first moved in and sets a bag of takeout down on the counter before making his way to Dick's room.
Unsurprisingly, the door is locked. Wally could let himself in anyway, but he knows that would just make things worse.
"Babe?" Wally knocks. "Babe, open the door; I really need to see your face right now."
Wally doesn't hear any words, but he does hear a thud against the door like Dick threw something at it.
"Dick," Wally sighs, leaning his forehead against the door. "Please."
"Go away," comes the muffled voice from the other side of the door. "I want to be alone."
"That's the problem," Wally points out. "You know, isolating yourself like this isn't healthy."
He hears a scoff, but nothing else.
"I have takeout," Wally tries to tempt.
"Not hungry. Just go away." There's a pause, and then in an even quieter, barely audible voice, "Please."
And that makes Wally's chest ache.
He turns and slides down the door, sitting on the floor with his knees up and his head against the door. Wally will give Dick this bit of privacy, but he doesn't feel right leaving Dick alone like this. Wally's too worried to leave Dick alone like this.
"You don't have to come out, but I'm not leaving," Wally tells him, and he doesn't hear a complaint, so he takes the compromise.
He hears Dick sniffle, and Wally wonders if he's taking his pain meds as prescribed. He could look, he supposes, but he doesn't want to move from the door.
Wally also doesn't want to sit there in silence; he doesn't want Dick's self-deprecating thoughts to take advantage of the silence. He doesn't know what to say, either, though. If he says "it wasn't your fault" then Dick will think "but I should've stopped who's fault it was." If he says "you did everything you could" then Dick will think "and it still wasn't enough."
So he doesn't go for reassurances about Dick's competence. He won't talk about anything tied to the case. He'll wait for Dick to come to him. (And he will; he always does.)
Instead, he talks about his day. He talks about his commute and small talk with co-workers and the call from his mom asking the two of them over for dinner. He talks about a funny commercial he saw while watching a YouTube video as he waited for their takeout order to be ready. He talks about the little things throughout his day that reminded him of Dick.
"I know it's only been a week, and not to sound clingy or anything, but I've really, really missed you," Wally says lightly, a soft smile on his face. He swallows and his smile drops back into a neutral expression before he continues. "And I'm worried about you . . . I was so relieved when they found you. Relieved when you got out of surgery okay. Just relieved that you were even here. So even when you weren't—aren't—doing well, I took it because it was better than the alternative. And obviously I'm not expecting you to bounce back right away. No one does. But—" Wally cuts himself off, unsure of where this is going. He runs his hand through his hair and lets out a breath. "Look, what I'm trying to say is that I know you're in a bad place, and even though you probably don't love yourself right now, I do," Wally reminds Dick. "You're not alone, Dick, and you shouldn't have to feel like you are or that you deserve to be. I just need you to know that I'm here for you and I love you so, so much. No matter what, okay?"
He's not expecting his words—this single, one-sided conversation—to suddenly fix anything; that would be ridiculous. But he hopes it can help Dick feel a little better, even if it's temporary. And maybe hearing that someone cares about him will be enough to get Dick to unlock the door and eat some dinner.
"Wally?" Dick's voice is quiet, but Wally's ears are primed to respond to anything even resembling Dick's voice, so it's no problem.
"Yeah, babe?" Wally asks.
"Can you," Dick stops, and Wally can picture him biting his lip as he thinks about what he wants to ask. "Can you come lie down with me?"
A weight is lifted off of Wally's shoulders. "Of course. Can you unlock the door?"
Wally stands when he hears the lock turn, and then there's Dick, leaning against his wall as he pulls the door open. He's pale, and he has bags under his eyes that indicate he hasn't been sleeping well. His hair is standing up in the back, and he's wearing sweats and a plain gray shirt. The same outfit he was donning when he left the hospital.
Wally doesn't say anything, just embraces him, kisses his forehead and then guides him back to bed. He gets Dick situated, then lies down next to him and starts running his hand through his hair while his free arm curls loosely against Dick's chest.
"Is this okay?" he asks, and Dick nods. Then Wally whispers, "I'm so sorry this happened to you."
Dick shivers but still says nothing.
They lie together in silence, but it's comfortable. Finally being able to hold Dick is relaxing—therapeutic even—and it makes Wally realize just how on edge he had been over the past few days. He hopes it's doing the same for Dick, and from the way Dick is clutching Wally's arm like it's a security blanket, he thinks it does.
Their breathing is slow and matched, and when Wally thinks Dick is just about to slide into sleep, Dick suddenly turns his head and whispers, "Wally, I know I've been ignoring you lately, and I'm sorry about that, it's just—"
"You don't have to apologize or explain yourself to me. I get it," Wally tells him. "If you want to talk about what happened or how you're feeling with everything, I'm here to listen. But only if you're ready."
Dick hums, scoots closer to Wally. "I love you."
Wally holds Dick a little tighter in response. "I love you, too."
They don't talk about it that night, won't talk about it for another week, but Wally does stay with him. He doesn't leave after that night, either. He stays with Dick until he's back on his feet, and by that point, Wally already has most of his stuff at Dick's place and it doesn't make sense for Wally to renew his rent.
This was my last prompt request, but I'm not done writing birdflash by any means (you should see my WIPs folder). No idea when the next story will be posted, but it will probably be for my EDS AU. Thanks for reading, I hoped you liked the story!