Thanks to Sara for inspiring this, and starting my obsession with Dick Grayson, lol. I always liked him, but she's the one who started me on writing fanfictions concerning him. Thanks, girl.
Disclaimer: DC owns everything here ('Cept for the Jars of Clay song, three guesses who owns that.), even the stuff I made up. I figure it's all theirs, fair and square. Bob Kane owns it too, he's awesome like that.
"It's a lot like giving up. If the wind should shake this house apart, the cradle hits the ground with a broken heart. Will we say we never knew a thing while we pray to the god of the lesser things? Is there grace for a wayward heart? Ash to ash and dust to dust, steel on steel or rain to rust."
Jars of Clay Lesser Things
By: The BatThing
Chapter Eight: Two Halves Make a Hole, Crawl Through
Three days had passed since Dick's blantant lie, and not much was broached on the matter. Bruce seemed more distant then ever, and Alfred appeared more concerned then before. He was always asking Dick what he was doing, wanting to talk, suggesting having a friend over. As for the eleven-year-old himself, Dick was at a loss and in a lie.
A big lie.
He had stolen some Lunesta and Ambien from under Bruce's sink, from the usual stash, and hid them securely under his bed, slid beneath the support boards there. They helped him escape the insomnia that was option number one. And Dick wasn't much up for that – not yet at least, thank you.
So he used the pills, every night after one of many baths that had been added to his schedule. Some nights he only needed one pill, others – it took a few more. Just as long as Dick could sleep through the nights, he didn't care what it took.
Robin duty had been shut down temporarily, as well as training. Bruce was always making excuses, or having to be some where. Dick took that with a grain of salt; at least, he tried to.
Bruce was ashamed, embarrassed.
And Dick didn't blame him. It was ok if Bruce felt that way. It was all ok.
The young gypsy did what he could to forget what happened, tried to actually lapse his life into his lie. Though, try as he might, he couldn't smile, and he couldn't shake the unwanted feelings and memories that kept returning to him again and again.
"Master Richard?" Alfred's voice called through the bathroom door, which was strange in and of itself. The butler hardly ever bothered Dick when the boy was in here, in fact – this had to be the first time in years. Though, a small knock on the door brought the situation to reality within seconds.
Dick turned off the water from the shower, blinking as he rubbed a damp hand across his face, getting the soap out of his eyes. "Alfred?"
"Dinner, Master Dick."
Dinner? Dick ran his tongue across his upper lip, tasting the shower water and not liking what he had heard. Dinner this early? Well, ok. "Alright, Alfred."
Alfred listened as the water was once more turned back on, and headed out of the room, going down the stairs and walking to Bruce Wayne's study. It was time he voiced his mounting concerns. Pushing open the door, he found his employer, and the closest thing to a son he had, napping on the desk. "Master Bruce?"
Bruce gave a jump and jerked his head up, looking at Alfred and then shaking his head. "I was asleep?"
"I just came from Richard's room."
Silence, but a look.
"He's showering again."
"Again?" Bruce made a face, his head tilting slightly at the words. "He took one earlier?"
"This is his second today, and no doubt – he'll be taking one again tonight before bed, per his usual schedule."
Bruce was looking away, staring at a window, looking out beyond the glass that confined him in the room. He wasn't spacing out, no – he was listening to what was being said with great earnest. It was just – it was just that he felt the guilt whelm up in his chest, and his head start to hurt, his whole body seemed to go numb with guilt, and the world seemed to grow so much larger and more impossible. Looking out the window, he wished he could just break the reason for Dick's strange new behavior. Break Ganthers.
He'd see what he saw, take the saw and saw Ganthers' in half. Two halves would make a hole – and Bruce would crawl out of this trouble. He'd make things better.
"He says he doesn't remember, and while I do believe him – I can't help but believe that perhaps a visit with someone who is … professionally trained … might be of use. He isn't happy. He isn't happy at all." Alfred waited patiently for Bruce to look back his way and quirked an eyebrow in waiting when the billionaire finally did.
"Yeah, good idea." He turned his vision back to the glass window, not seeing what lay beyond. "Good idea."
"Then I'll expect you to tell him by the end of the week."
"Me?" This tore Bruce away from the window to look, in shock, at the butler. "Me? Why should I tell him?"
A look was more then enough to make the billionaire rethink what he had said.
"It's just that – you're so much better with him."
Alfred paced towards the desk and looked straight down at the man. Narrowing his eyes, the butler made sure to have Bruce looking at him before he said anything. "Master Bruce, he might appear to get along wondrously with myself, and yes – we talk more than you and he do. There is just one minor detail you're excluding from your … conclusion."
Bruce looked away in a sort of shame.
"He idolizes you."
"How was your day?" The question was asked almost every night, like it was all he could think of, like he needed that introduction to actually start a conversation. Bruce kept his eyes on Dick as the boy pretended to drink his water. Why, Bruce wasn't sure. The eleven-year-old held the cup to his mouth and acted like he was drinking even though the water was going nowhere. Oh well, he could pretend he didn't notice.
Dick set the cup down after a few seconds and shrugged his shoulder in the usual response of the last few days. "Good."
"Anything interesting happen?"
He shook his head, going a bit ridged at the question. Couldn't they just not talk? Though, Dick wanted to talk. He wanted to laugh and joke, have a casual conversation with his guardian – like they use to. Maybe talk about a case, or about school. But what could the talk about now? There wasn't anything, because Dick didn't do anything now.
"Mom says I don't have to go back to school." Felix's voice was soft, small, and hidden at times. He had called, to Dick's surprise, wanting to talk because he was bored. "She said you aren't going back either."
"No." Dick managed, clutching the phone and looking about to see if anyone was around. Alfred knew about the call, but left as soon as Dick had picked up. It was just him in his empty room – nobody would hear him lie. Nobody but Felix – and how would that go over? "Home school for right now."
"…Me too." Felix made a small noise and then when he spoke again he sounded a bit shaky. "Hey, Dick?"
"Do-do you ever dream about Haden and them? I mean, do you think about them? 'Cause … 'cause I do. All the time, I do."
"Felix, I –." Dick didn't finish, he let his voice fade away. This was a chance to talk with someone who truly and deeply understood what Dick was dealing with. Well, at least more than anyone else. Felix had seen it. Felix had been with him … all up till Ganthers' dragged him away. "I … I don't really know."
"Do you want to come over?" It was an unexpected request.
"I, uh, I'll ask. Um, hold on?"
Dick put down the phone and took in a series of deep breaths, trying to regain himself. Thinking over how to say it, Dick finally picked the phone back up and felt himself starting to blush once more. "I can't. I don't think Bruce wants me go anywhere for some reason. Not yet at least. I don't g – I don't get it."
Felix was quiet for a few seconds and then made a noise of agreement. "My mom said that I probably shouldn't do anything either, though she said hanging out with you was ok. I guess she likes you now. She's never even met you."
"I wish I could."
"Yeah." Silence, an awkward kind of silence as if Felix had been expecting Dick to change his answer, but finally, after a few moments, he sighed. "My leg is hurting. I better go take some pain stuff. I'll talk to you later."
"Another shower, Master Richard?" Alfred had come into Dick's room after knocking and being invited in. He carried a hamper of clothes and looked at the boy with his usual concerned mask on tight.
Dick shrugged. He had been getting ready for bed when Alfred had knocked, and was just now finishing brushing his teeth. Rinsing out his mouth, he walked into his bedroom, watching as Alfred put away the clothes. "Is Bruce still home?"
"Master Bruce is … working."
"Oh, ok. That's good. I saw the signal and you know, figured he'd be gone. I just wanted to – to make sure." Dick walked over to his bed and pulled back the covers, pausing for a moment as Alfred glanced out the window, as if to see what Dick said were true.
"How is your friend?"
Alfred gave a small nod.
"I dunno, he didn't talk very long. His leg hurt and he had to go." Dick crawled into the bed, wishing that the butler would leave so he could take some of the sleeping medication. After a few minutes, Alfred was done, and folded the hamper into half and smiled once more at the raven-haired boy in bed. "Sweet dreams, Master Dick. If you need anything, just ask."
Dick watched as the light flickered off and was more than thankful for the brightness pouring from the bathroom. After a few moments he slid onto the floor and crawled under the mattress, taking the Lunesta and popping a pill into his mouth.
Within half an hour he was fast asleep, tossing and turning at the occasional nightmare, and unwanted recollection. The dreams were so strong at times, they seemed so real. Dick was reliving things he didn't want to have to think about every again. He was there, back at the school, and Mr. Ganthers was saying things to him, and everyone was watching. Haden, Darcy, Felix, Greg, Bruce, Alfred, Leslie, his mom and dad, Roy, Wally, Donna, Garth, Clark – they we're all watching, and none of them did a thing. They just stared.
Stared like they didn't care about Dick, like he deserved what he was getting.
And maybe he did.
Haden, Greg, and Darcy.
He deserved it?
He deserved it.
"You deserved it."
"NO!" Dick shrieked, and suddenly he was awake. He was in his room. The cool breeze from the open window floated around him, mixed with it was the familiar smell of Gotham and spring, bittersweet. He gasped it in, shivering as he sat up, thinking of everyone watching him like they had been. "Oh, no – don't think bad, don't think that. Don't let me think that." He doubled over, resting his head against his legs in an awkward position as he let a few jagged tears flow. He thought about his mother and father in heaven, and them watching out for him.
They were watching out for him weren't they?
"Moh-hah-hahmmee." Dick felt a bit of saliva running onto his blankets, touching his cheek as it swelled there. Why wasn't anyone coming? Where were Alfred and Bruce? Didn't they know he was up here crying? Didn't they realize he was awake from a nightmare? Why weren't they here?
Because you deserved it.
"No. I. Don't!" Dick declared aloud, viciously, like he meant it. He wanted to mean it. "It was him. It was him."
Pushing the covers away and getting out of bed, Dick stumbled a bit, feeling dizzy. He made his way under his bed, pulling out another pill and swallowing it without any hesitation. "Just go back to sleep." He made his way back under the covers and wiped at his eyes, feeling the dampness of his cheeks. "Go to sleep, Dickie. You'll be ok."
Bruce got in late and all but crawled up the lengthy run of stairs towards his bedroom. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, he was spending a lot more time out on the roofs now-a-days. It hadn't even been a week, but his body was sore, exhausted, and he was tired through and through. Escaping at night to Gotham and by day at the office didn't do much for him. But, Bruce Wayne didn't really realize. He passed it off as catching up.
That's what he was doing – catching up.
He showered, changed, and got into bed, more then ready to fall asleep. But there lay trouble. Bruce did what he could, repositioned again and again, flipped his pillow, opened and closed the window, turned on the ceiling fan, but nothing seemed to be helping him. He kept thinking about Henry Ganthers.
Even if the man was dead, that didn't stop him from hating him and wasting hours thinking about what he might do if the man were still alive.
Finally, admitting defeat, Bruce stumbled into the bathroom, opening the cabinet and taking out the container of pills. He'd be missing work tomorrow if he took these. But right now, he didn't mind. There were only four packets of the pills left, to the billionaire's confusion. Had he really been taking so many? Swiping a drink under the facet, he returned to his bed. Really, he needed to stop relying on these so much.
To be continued…
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