There was something about bleeding out in his adopted father's arms that made Dick relax comfortably in his hold. Truth be told he's not sure if it's a voluntary choice or just his body going numb from the blood loss, but Dick's fingers slip away from the tightly clasped grip he had on the gaping hole in his abdomen and he can't muster up the energy to bring them back up.
The pain is a dull throb in his stomach but it still elicits a weak choked gasp when Bruce's own hand struggles to stem the rush of red still pooling into a puddle underneath his son's slowly cooling form.
The irony of it was, they weren't in their masks. This wasn't Batman trying to save his partner. This wasn't Nightwing garnering an injury after a drug bust gone wrong.
This was Bruce Wayne, crouched on the marble floor of the Hilton Hotel Ballroom in his crimson stained undershirt. Black tuxedo jacket dripping wet from where he held it against his adopted son's gunshot wound. A wound he received after a hostage situation at a charity event Dick wasn't even meant to show up for.
5 gunmen, 4 shotguns, 3 school children, 2 vigilantes and 1 bullet wound. Because Dick had been the only one brave enough and stupid enough to rush forward and shield the crying children as a spray of bullets rain through the air from both the criminals and the S.W.A.T team rushing the building.
Bruce doesn't even know which gun had caused the damage. He hadn't been there when it happened. Too busy trying to usher people to safety at the exits to realize his son hadn't been standing behind him anymore. It was only after the room had been properly cleared that he catches site of the acrobat who was still trying to calm the tearful children even as he clutched his side. The blotch of red beneath his fingers growing so quickly it had escaped the width of Dick's fingers by the time Bruce reached his side.
Bruce manages to catch the acrobat just as the younger man began swaying on his feet, "I got you. I got you Dick…" he whispers, attempting to sooth the pained gasp bursting through gritted teeth. But his own voice comes out a fearful rasp as panic closes itself around his throat like a noose.
There is no Batmobile that Bruce can carry him to. No Alfred waiting at the Batcave with a fully stocked infirmary for emergencies such as these. No Kevlar padding underneath their shirts to soften the blow of bullets enough that the severe damage was preventable.
There is only a jacket, cold fingers and gentle whispers desperately fighting to hold back Dick's soul from looming ever closer to deaths door.
But Bruce feels Dick's hand slip to the floor. Watches as his eyes glass over, head leaning closer to rest against his father's chest. Ears no longer listening for the distant sound of sirens that he knew didn't have any more chance of saving him from his fate.
"Breath with me. Dick… Dick breath with me…. Breath..." the words come out a plea but his eldest seems to obey them nonetheless. His chest continuing to rise and fall at a steady pace along with his father's.
The heavy thud of paramedic boots against marble floor echoes in the empty hall just as a hitch passes through the acrobat's throat.
"Sir, we'll take it from here. Let him go please", the paramedic says. Her voice popping through the calm bubble Bruce had built around himself the second he'd seen Dick bent over with his hand pressed to his stomach.
"No. No please!" Batman doesn't beg. But Bruce feels no shame for doing it. Hands held out to take back the child they'd taken from him. His child, who's breathing begins to falter. Who grows limp in the paramedics hold as they heave him onto the stretcher. Who's heart rate displayed on the ECG they've hooked him to emits one final beep before it falls with an ear splitting screech.
His son, who breaths his final breath 5 seconds after they take him from his father. Cold and soaked in red from a wound of a gun in a glistening ballroom. For a charity event he wasn't even supposed to show up for.