"What are you doing here? You are gonna catch a cold"
Wally's worried voice made Dick realize that he was not alone anymore.
What was he doing here? Under the rain?
Even if he knew, he wouldn't be able to explain it.
So that morning seemed normal. Dick had a free day, so he decided to put on his comfiest clothes, that were probably closer to sleepwear than actual everyday clothes.
Wally was back in central city to help his uncle with an investigation, so he was alone in their now shared Blüdhaven apartment.
He had a lot of chores to do that day. First, cleaning the dishes like every morning, then breakfast, then working in that case he was helping Tim with, then his own Blüdhaven disasters… Oh! Right! Bruce had asked him to look into some drug dealers that were operating between Blüdhaven and Gotham and also, he had a couple of college assignments to take care of… and he had to study Chinese, because he needed to practice his language skills… And train, he had a gymnastics competition soon and he needed to be at his peak condition to classify for the Olympics…
He put his airpods on, some music and started cleaning.
Then revising those cases.
Yet he did nothing.
He couldn't. Somehow, suddenly, he couldn't move anymore.
Why was he doing any of this?
Suddenly the lyrics of the song was too loud, too clear, too painfull…
And he started crying.
He was so afraid.
Afraid that he was doing so much yet nothing. He wasn't solving any cases, he didn't know if he was gonna be good enough for the Olympics, he couldn't join a circus just yet, he was staying out of patrolling because he couldn't risk an injury, and yet, with all this time on his hands he still had not done his college projects.
He felt like he was failing.
And failure was scary.
It was like he had gotten stuck in the side of a cliff, if he tried to move, he was going to fall. He was going to fail.
He tried breathing in and out.
The day happened in a blur. He tried calming down with some tea, music, drawing, a tv show.
Yet the moment he reconnected with reality he felt the breach that had opened on his chest. His ribs were compressing his lungs that did not seem to get as much air as they normally would.
Yet for once, his brain was so overwhelmed by this fear or flight slumber that it had gone silent. It was pleasing. The silence. He felt like everything was blurred yet his thoughts were crystal clear. Like it was not him who was thinking.
Yet he was so full of feelings and at the same time empty.
Was he allowed to feel that way? He was so fortunate, born with loving parents, adopted by a rich guy who loved and cared for him like his own son, he had brothers who appreciated him and Alfred. He had Wally, he had his friends… Was he allowed to be this broken? He shouldn't feel like this.
He could see the rain falling in the fire escape. It seemed so far. Yet he needed it. He needed to stop thinking, to feel something, to escape from his own thoughts and expectations. To do something stupid and for no reason.
So he had gone out, barefoot, on the rain.
And there he could think.
There was that idea of the person he wanted to grow into. He still wanted to. He was running out of time.
But that image was now blurry, he couldn't figure out what he wanted to be anymore. A vigilante? A cop? A circus performer? A gymnast? Was he allowed to fall in love? Did he even want to stay in college any longer? Should he focus more on his objectives?
He knew, he was allowed to feel this way, that breakdowns were not something you chose to go through. Yet he still felt guilty.
He was this weak and broken man.
Yet on that fire escape, under the rain, he felt awake. He felt the kid he once was, the freedom of not thinking, of not being feeling the crushing pressure of time. The feeling that he still had time to figure his life out.
"What are you doing here? You are gonna catch a cold"
Dick turned and looked at Wally's eyes.
The redhead seemed to see his tears.
"Are you okay?"
Dick was feeling numb, too focused on his introspective discourse to answer right away. After a few seconds, he managed to answer.
He wasn't crying.
He felt exhaustion, yet he managed to laugh a bit.
He looked up.
The rain was so refreshing. He knew he should go in, yet he couldn't find it in himself to feel remorse for going out and getting his clothes and hair get wet.
"Do you trust me?" asked Wally.
"Do you trust me?" he repeated.
"Yeah… I guess?"
Then he entered the apartment at a normal speed and disappeared from the younger's view.
Wally's head reappeared on the other side of the window after a couple minutes.
"Everything ready, come on in" he said offering his hand.
Dick grabbed it and entered their living room through the window.
Wally had brought a change of clothes, some warm socks, a towel, a hair drier, a blanket and some warm tea. Once Dick had change, he covered himself with the blanket and Wally lead him to the sofa where he sat while Wally blow dried his hair.
They were silent, yet it was a comforting silence. An accompanied silence.
Dick sipped on his tea as Wally finally turned off the hair drier and sat beside him.
"Do you need to talk?"
Dick nodded, looking at his tea.
"Probably… But I don't even know what happened… I just… Broke? Like I bottle up emotions I didn't even know I had, and they became too much and I just… couldn't handle it… And yet I feel guilty, because I should've been productive today, and I couldn't, but I know, that I didn't chose this, but I can't stop feeling like I am running out of time, like I am not working hard enough to achieve my objectives, like I should do more and more and at the same time I have this sensation like I have already failed… Do I make any sense?"
Wally caressed his hand without answering. Dick continued talking for a while, letting out everything, every thought, every conflict he had pushed aside until it had turned into a weight too heavy to carry.
Then he fell silent, his head resting on Wally's shoulder with some furtive tears still scaping every now and then.
"You know… it's not even the first time this happens… I… I always struggled with this… this… anxiety… and it will probably happen again…"
"Why are you saying this now?" asked Wally.
"Because, you know… you can see how broken I am… you know… I don't want to make you feel down because of me… so I understand if you…"
"Nah" he laughed sweetly, caressing the youngers head "you are not broken. You are alive. Emotions are such a wonderful thing. Being sad and afraid, being consoled and consoling someone, being happy, making someone laugh. That's what being alive means. I don't care if you breakdown, I trust you, I know you are strong, and you know when to ask for help. And I'll be there for you when you need me. You don't have to feel ashamed of feeling negative emotions, there is no guilt in needing to heal. The only thing that is important is that you want to heal, that you want happiness. As long as you want to be happy, you can experience every other emotion without guilt or fear. Because you are feeling the hurt to find your scars and let them heal. And once they heal, happiness will come back. I don't know if that makes sense…"
Wally laughed embarrassed. And Dick chuckled softly.
They stayed there, put a movie on, and Dick fell asleep as soon as it started.
Wally looked at him. He kissed his forehead and, after a couple minutes, also fell asleep.