Heh...well it was my birthday not too long ago, and I meant to write up a little something for you...so here it is. Little oneshot I've had in my head for quite some time now...finally brought to the computer screen. Injoy.

Richard Grayson stared with narrowed eyes at the towering structure before him. In that moment, he hated every turret and tower, every cruel iron spike that bled the sky. He hated every brick, every window, every cruddy inch of this place that he was now expected to call home. It was more a prison than a home, anyway.

A hand landed heavily on his shoulder. "It's not much...but it's home," rumbled the low voice of Bruce Wayne, the man who had stolen him away from the only place he had ever known, and legally too, thanks to his stupid lawyers' adoption papers. He had never wanted to be eighteen so much in his life.

With a viscious jerk, he got rid of the unwanted, possessive hand. "This isn't my home," he growled, as best as an eight year old could. He was leaving this place the second Wayne took his eyes off him.

The man must have been afraid of silence, because he was quick to supply a new subject. "Alfred should have your room all ready. Do you want to go take a look?"

Gritting his teeth, eyes still squinted at the castle before him, Dick snapped, "You're the legal guardian. Doesn't that make you the boss?"

Wayne just smiled pleasantly, bringing another wave of fury into his chest to the point where he felt most like yelling or hitting the man for his refusal to be provoked. He reached helpfully for Dick's single suitcase, but it was jerked out of his reach. No way would he lay a finger on his things.

Unperturbed, Wayne led the way up the long, winding driveway as twilight darkened the trees around them. Dick considered bolting right then and there, but one glance back at the high-voltage gate changed his mind. He'd have to wait until Wayne opened that gate again. Until then... Frustration pounded through him. He was stuck.

Dinner passed in silence. Dick sent his hatred straight for Wayne's head like a death ray, but he gave no indication that it bothered him in the slightest. Barely holding back a scream of rage, the boy sank low in his enormously elegant dining chair, poking violently at his meal.

"You don't like the chicken, Master Richard?"

He gave an uninterested glance at the butler, then returned to stabbing the piece of meat. "The chicken is fine. It's the fact that I'm even here eating it that I hate."

Wayne chewed as though making an art of the act, swallowed, then folded his napkin back in his lap. "Hate is a very strong word, Richard. How can you feel that strongly about something you know nothing about?"

Dick felt his face burn with fury at the man's condescending tone and the use of his hated name Richard. Refusing to be outdone, he retorted, "I can tell a bad situation when I see one."

Wayne set down his fork. "Oh really?"

Unable to control himself any longer, Dick slammed his fist onto his plate of chicken, scattering bits of food across the enormous table. "What makes you think you have any say in what happens to me? I didn't ask you to adopt me! You're not my father, and I don't have to stay here! I WON'T!"

He pushed back the chair as hard as he could, leaping from its seat just before it crashed to the floor. He faintly heard Wayne calling his name as he tore up the marble staircase and out of sight.

Dick spead down the twisting and turning hallways at a constant sprint, hardly breathing, feeling the fury slowly burning away inside his chest. When he could no longer run, he stopped, yanked open a door, and found himself in an enormous, shadowy closet. Tucked away in a dark corner, sheltered by long-forgotten trench coats, he let his breath tear him up inside, shaking, weezing, but not crying.

The red glow of light burned behind his eyelids, dragging him from a short and fitful sleep. He felt someone pulling him gently out of his corner, and his first instinct was to fight it, but then the gentle voice reached his ears.

"Shh, Master Richard. It's all right...Shhhh."

Allowing himself to go limp once again, he let the warm arms gather him up, let himself be carried away until the soft warmth of blankets engulfed him. As his body relaxed, sleep emerging once again, a gentle hand stroked his forehead. "Sweet dreams, Master Richard."

Deep, delicious darkness surrounded him...

"Sweet dreams."

Dick pushed open the door to the dining room with ruffled hair and wrinkled clothes, blinking the sleep from his eyes. Wayne sat at the head, newspaper opened and coffee mug in hand. Alfred emerged from the side door leading to the kitchen, carrying a plate loaded with breakfast foods.

"Good morning, Master Richard. Are you hungry?"

Dick nodded; the old man couldn't possibly know just how hungry he was.

With a kind smile, the butler set the plate before him. A bacon piece smiled beneath happy egg eyes, hashbrown hair, and a strawberry nose. Dick felt nothing but the hollow ache in his chest as he swallowed once, unable even to say thanks for his breakfast. Slowly but surely, he forced every bite past the lump in his throat to avoid any awkward questions.

"So, Richard," Wayne rumbled from the far away head of the table. "It's looking as though it'll be a pretty slow day at the office, so I was thinking you could come with me. Maybe get a tour of Wayne Enterprises?" With a glance at the butler, who gave him a reproachful look, he cleared his throat and added, "That is, if you want to."

"Yeah!" Dick burst out before he realized his mistake. Trying to cover his eagerness, he mumbled, "I guess...if you want me to..."

"Good. Alfred, help the boy get cleaned up. I want him looking his best."

"Yes, Master Wayne."

Dick's mind was racing all the way back to his "bedroom". If he planned this right, he could be free of the both of them in a matter of hours.

The ride to Wayne Enterprises felt unbearably long to Dick, though the clock was convinced it only lasted ten minutes. It took every ounce of self control he had to stop himself from squirming impatiently in the seat as the car crept through traffic light after traffic light. When the building finally came into view, it took another eternity to get into the parking garage, though Dick noticed that Wayne had his own reserved space. He guessed he would have to, since the company was named after him and all.

Dick watched every detail carefully, jotting them all down in his mind as they went through floor after floor, all filled to the bursting with busy people. He would have been intimidated, had he not been well aquainted with the idea of crowds.

At last, he could wait no longer. It was now or never. Stopping abruptly in his tracks, he tilted his head well back and looked Wayne in the eye. "I need the bathroom."

"Oh." Wayne scratched his head in thought, as though uncertain about something. Shrugging, he pointed back the way they had come. "It's just straight down, turn left, and its the second door on your right. My office is right here when you're done."

Dick nodded and marched off in the indicated direction. He turned the corner, counted to ten, then peeked back down the hallway. Wayne was just shutting the door to his office.

Moving quickly, he weaved almost unnoticed through the crowds as he retraced his steps exactly, from floor to floor, past office after office. In a matter of minutes he was on the ground floor and out onto the streets of Gotham.

With a nervous, and pointless, glance behind him, Dick tore off down the street, eager to put as much sidewalk between him and Wayne as possible. He had no idea where he was going...but he knew anywhere was better than here.

Ok...looks like this is gonna have another chapter after all. If it seemed like I was getting tired towards the end...it's because I was. Hope you enjoyed it so far...the next one should be coming real quick here. Thanks! -Dusty