I don't own Nightwing, Batman or any other characters. There's no point suing me because I'm a college student over my head in student loans. This is my first Nightwing fanfic…so sorry if it isn't up to the standards that the brilliant people at DC have created. Thanks for all the reviews.
"…he's strong, he'll be okay…"
"…lost a lot of blood…"
"…wasn't ready to be back out there…"
"…never was good at following orders…"
"…blood pressure's dropping, hold that gauze down…"
Dick felt a sharp pain around his middle and couldn't open his eyes. Everything around him was dark and cold. Voices filtered in over the pounding of his heart in his ears, but he couldn't make out the words much less who spoke them. The pain sharpened again, he knew he was going to die and then there was nothing.
The next thing he knew was that it must be day. He could see the bright light even through his closed eyelids. He is then aware of the pain barely held in check by the drugs that blur and cloud him. He doesn't want the drugs, but knows that the pain will rip him apart without them. He tries to open his eyes, but it's too much work, he's not strong enough even for that small movement.
Okay, Dick, you can't rely on sight now. You don't know where you are, but you can figure that out. His thoughts are slow and simple from the drugs and pain. Listen, just listen. He picks up a rhythmic beeping. Bomb, alarm clock, forklift? Forklift, that's a good one. Heart monitor? Hospital. Shit.
Then there was nothing again, just the silent darkness of unconsciousness, like being miles under the ocean, the crushing dark depths of sleep.
He struggled to consciousness, a fight he didn't think he was strong enough for. He managed to open his eyes a little. The daylight pierced his brain and triggered a monster of a headache to match the pain round his middle. He groaned in spite of himself.
"I think he's waking up."
"He's been out for days."
"Vitals are stronger, still low, but stronger."
The first person he saw was Leslie as she leaned over to check the pain medication flowing into his veins. "So, you decided to return to us."
"Return?" He couldn't speak above a slurred whisper.
"Tried to cut out on us." Bruce said calmly.
Dick painfully turned to him; of course he was standing in front of the window, silhouetted. The light that poured in from outside was like a dagger in his brain.
The blinds were closed and Alfred stood next to the window, the string for the blinds in his hand. The pain in Dick's head lessened some and he took a slow breath.
He blinked slowly. "How long?"
"Three days." Bruce answered as he sat in a chair at the bedside.
"Hospital?" He sighed.
"This time, yeah."
Dick's blurry mind slowly put the pieces together. The rooftop, the footsteps, the black cape. "You had my back."
Bruce smiled a little. "Always. Barbara called me after you left for patrol."
Dick nodded slightly.
Leslie took Dick's temperature and checked his pulse. "He needs to rest." She looked up at Bruce and Alfred. "You can stay, but keep it quiet."
Dick drifted back into the darkness of sleep.
When Dick woke again, another entire day had passed. The room was empty around him, though Bruce and Alfred's jackets were draped over the arm of a chair. He shifted under the blanket and regretted it as pain tore through his middle. That was when he remembered the shot, Kamkazie's shot.
Leslie came into the room with another bag of medication to replace the nearly empty one that hung above Dick's head. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I was shot." He smiled a little.
"Seems to be a recent trend."
"I hope not." He sighed.
She changed the medication and checked his vitals. "How's the pain?"
"The bullet entered, tore through your diaphragm and nicked your liver where it then lodged itself near your spine. You're lucky to be alive and walking."
He pushed himself up on the pillows a little and winced. "Luck's my middle name."
"You're middle name's John." Bruce said with a smirk as he came into the room with a cup of coffee in his hand.
"Then I'll change it." He smiled.
"Might be something to consider." He sat down in the bedside chair. "How are you feeling?"
"Better." He paused, looked away from Bruce's blue x-ray gaze. "Thanks, for…you know, saving me."
Bruce shrugged and let the moment fade into the silence that he and Dick were accustomed to.
Dick was tiring from the few moments awake and fighting the pain. Leslie saw the pain flash in his eyes as he took a breath and increased the drip on his medication.
Bruce saw it as well. "Get some rest. I'm glad you're all right."
Dick nodded and let his eyes slip closed again.
"I was thinking." Dick muttered with his eyes still closed. "Instead of changing my middle name to Luck, maybe it should be Chance."
Bruce smiled a little as Dick's breathing evened out in sleep. He and Alfred stayed by his side. Barbara came into the room not long after Dick fell back asleep. She looked from his still form to Bruce who nodded slightly to her. Alfred stood to give her his chair. The three of them watched Dick sleep and knew that this injury could have been his last.
"Second chances." Bruce muttered with a crooked half smile.
Alfred turned to him. "What was that, Master Bruce?"
Bruce shook his head. "Nothing." He turned his attention back to Dick with a slight smile. "He's going to be fine."
Thirteen Years Previous.
Dick was dressed in a new black suit. His usually unkempt hair was slicked and combed down. Bruce stood behind the boy with a hand rested on the small shoulder. Alfred stood a few feet away.
Dick looked down at the two caskets that held his parents, he burned the names on their headstone into his mind. The priest said some words that Dick wasn't paying attention to. All he knew was the cold marble in front of him and the strong hand on his shoulder grounding him, everything else spun away.
"Come on, Dick." Bruce's voice was quiet.
Dick looked up and saw that the service was over. He allowed himself to be steered away from the graveside. Halfway back to the car, Dick stopped and turned back. The tears that he had been fighting since that night at the circus suddenly filled, but didn't fall from his eyes.
Bruce knelt in front of the boy and held his shoulders. "We're given chances and second chances, Dick. They may not always come in the way we want, but we have to take them."
Dick didn't meet Bruce's eyes. They boy was looking over Bruce's shoulder at his parents graves.
"Dick." Bruce gently cupped the boy's chin in his hand and turned Dick's face to meet his eyes. "This is a second chance, one that I'm truly sorry came. We have to go on because we are given the opportunity to. Do you understand?" Dick nodded slightly and took a breath. "I was given a second chance, too."
"I know." Dick whispered.
"Then we'll do this together. I'll always have your back, always."
Dick's jaw was set in an effort to quell the tears.
"It's going to be all right."
One tear fell down his cheek. Dick suddenly took a step forward and wrapped his arms around Bruce's shoulders. Bruce stood and carried Dick to the car.