This bunny struck completly unexpectedly having never written or even thought about writing anything in the batman fandom. But here it is, a cute little family piece. Beware some darkness though, implications of child abuse and torture, nothing graphic, and its very brief. No, it's not Dick or Bruce.

It had been one of those nights, the dark ones where it didn't seem there could be anything good left in the world. He was glad that he had insisted on leaving Dick home to finish his homework for a change and get something approaching a good night's sleep. Apparently, he had been falling asleep in class. Go figure.

Night in the manor was silent, dark, shadowy; a suitable setting for his present numbness, broken only by a soul deep ache, reflected by the ache in his muscles, strained and bruised from swinging a 6 foot bat around, from twisting and leaping, throwing himself and others against walls, swinging punches, receiving punches. It was tiring business, even for nocturnal crusaders. He walked slowly, resisting the urge to walk pressed against the wall and expensive furniture for support, settling for hunching and dragging his bare feet silently through the thick carpet.

It was the gray areas that were the hardest, the husband he had saved from the deranged wife who had tied him to a chair in their basement with the intention of slowly killing him. It had seemed black and white, until, sobbing, she had somehow clawed and twisted her way out of his grip to throw at his feet the horrible pictures the man had taken of their five year old daughter before curling herself into a fetal position on the dirty floor, sobbing "My baby, my baby". The girl had had her father's eyes.

Thank God Dick hadn't been with him for that one.

Bruce let himself fall into the supple, worn leather of his favorite armchair, leaning his head back with a sigh that sounded more like a groan. He didn't want to think about it, so he thought about his son instead.

The morning after he pulled his head out of his proverbial rear thanks to Aflred he had woke up in that very armchair. But there had been a little boy there with him, exhausted from crying the night before, tucked safely under his arm, his dark lashes encrusted with dry tears and stuck to his cheeks. It had been one of those moments, the defining ones that change your life. It was the morning he became a father, and he remembered well the feeling that had risen within him as he looked down at the tiny person who trusted him so unconditionally; the messy dark hair, the slender fingers wrapped loosely around his hand, held close to the boys' heart. He had cried, for his parents, mostly, and the night before for Dick. But he had never cried because he was happy until the moment he became a father. Apparently it was that way for a lot of people.

Pulling himself from his memories and from the chair with a sudden longing to feel the peace and quiet happiness of that moment again, he made his way up a ridiculous amount of stairs, and down the hall to Dick's room. The door had been left open a crack, a habit from when Dick was younger, and the faint glow of the old Superman (why Dick?) nightlight spilled into the hall. Stepping into the room, he spared a glare for the cursed thing. He had a suspicion that Dick kept it around just to annoy him.

Dick was sleeping the way he usually slept, sprawled our all over the place with blankets everywhere. Rolling his eyes a little, Bruce quietly tugged at them, pulling them back where they belonged and settling himself on the very edge of the bed. Recently, Bruce had been hearing a lot of comments from the bimbos he ran around with about what a handsome young man his boy was turning into. One had even dared to use the word sexy. Needless to say that date had ended rather abruptly. Personally, Bruce just couldn't see it, especially now, with his face relaxed in sleep, he looked to Bruce not so different from the eight year old that had fallen asleep on him not so long ago. Where had the time gone anyway? How could his little boy be 16 already? He realized suddenly that his eyes were getting misty, and with a soft chuckle, dared to gently brush a piece of dark hair from his son's face. The numbness was draining away at last.

He sighed, a real sigh that released all the tension and anxiety of the night as he remembered why he did what he did and that no matter how dark the world got, there would always be some light in it. For him, that light was Dick. The world was so dark, had taken so much from him, from everyone, that it was easy to forget sometimes that it had given him Dick. That alone made it was worth saving.

Finally at peace, he bent to brush a father's kiss on his boy's head, something he hadn't done in years, and rose to leave. Dicks fingers closed around his wrist. "Bruce?" He asked sleepily, and Bruce turned back to him, "Everything okay?"

"Everything's fine kiddo, go back to sleep."

Dick squinted at him in the dim light, then wrinkled his nose, a slight, groggy twinkle in his eye. "You look all sappy." He said, the humor in his voice made all the more amusing by his half-awake slur.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Bruce asked indignantly.

More serious now, Dick's grip on his wrist tightened a little. "That you're crying"

"No I'm not, it's just that damn Clark night light, makes everything look hokey." Bruce answered back, grinning despite himself, "Go back to sleep son."

On his way out the door he caught Dick's groggy whisper, "Good night dad, try not to cry over Alfred."

Dick smiled a little as he fell back to sleep. It felt good to be loved.