I don't own Nightwing, Batman or any of the character, that all goes to DC (who rock, by the way). So please don't sue, I have no money anyway and I'm only borrowing the brilliant characters.
Also, thanks for all the reviews, I love them.
Alfred, Barbara and Roy waited the hours away in the room. Other than a few quick updates from Leslie, not much had changed since Bruce left. Roy had taken to pacing the room slowly. He never was one just to sit and let things happen, none of them were.
Leslie came out, she looked as tired as they all felt. "I'll allow you to go back and see him. Try and keep it as quiet as you can."
Barbara glanced over at Roy. "Has he woken up?"
"No, but he has been stable for enough time to consider it an improvement."
Roy and Barbara followed Leslie down the hall. Alfred stayed back a moment to call Bruce.
"Alfred, how is he?" Bruce picked up on the first ring.
"We are going to see him. Leslie says he has improved some."
"I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Drive safe. One member of this family in the hospital is more than enough."
Alfred knew that Bruce would smile slightly. "I will."
Bruce came into the room ten minutes later. Roy and Barbara stood off near one corner, unsure what to do and determined to be out of the way. Alfred sat at Dick's bedside, but stood to give Bruce the seat.
"Any change?" He whispered as a result of the atmosphere of the room.
"How was patrol?" Roy asked.
Bruce looked up at him. "Fairly uneventful."
Dick shifted slightly. Most wouldn't have noticed, but the people in that room were so tuned in to how he was doing that they all noticed. Bruce leaned forward in the chair.
"Come on, Dick." He whispered. "Come on back."
Dick's eyes opened briefly and he started to fight the respirator. Bruce pressed the call button and held Dick's shoulders.
"Don't fight it, it's helping you breathe." His words were calm, controlled. "Dick, you're okay, just calm down."
Dick's eyes locked on Bruce's and he slowly realized where he was. He calmed some, but still fought against the respirator. Leslie came into the room and Bruce stepped back.
"Dick." She met his frightened gaze. "You have to work with me. Okay?"
He nodded slightly as he choked on the breathing tube.
"I'm going to count to three and I want you to exhale as I pull the tube out. Understand?"
He nodded again and glanced over at Bruce.
She tilted his head back and held the tube. "Okay. One, two, three."
Dick exhaled and she removed the tube. He gagged slightly and coughed. He was shaky and his breathing quick like he had been running. Leslie placed oxygen tubing under his nose and checked his vitals.
"How are you feeling?"
He swallowed, his throat sore. "Okay." He whispered.
She held a cup of water for him and he took a few slow sips. "I'll let you have some time." She left the room.
Bruce took the chair at the bedside again. Nobody spoke for a few minutes. They were all so relieved to have Dick back, to know that he would at least survive. He didn't know what happened, he didn't remember the days before Bruce found him. Everything was lost in the drug.
"Master Richard, so glad you came back to us." Alfred smiled at him.
Dick smiled slightly. "Sorry." He whispered, his voice not back to where it was.
"You did what you had to." Bruce said. "And we're all proud of you."
He paused and tried to straighten out everything in his head. "Is Alex all right? The officer I was working with."
Bruce paused, unsure how much news Dick could handle. "He didn't make it. I'm sorry."
Dick closed his eyes for a moment. "I thought it might have been true. I don't remember much from the time I was gone."
He was growing tired and everyone could see it. He tried to fight it, afraid that he wouldn't wake up again. He felt weak and sick and wondered how long he had been unconscious for. He didn't know if it was days or weeks.
Roy stepped forward. "Get some rest. We'll all be here, you can't get rid of us that easy."
Dick smiled a little. "Thanks."
Bruce gripped Dick's shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze. "I'm glad you woke up."
"Me too." He found Barbara in the room.
She smiled and came over to his bedside. She took his hand and brushed his hair back. They knew each other well enough to have conversations without words. She held his gaze for a few moments.
She leaned close. "Don't know what I'd do without you." She stood and met Roy's eyes as though defying him to say anything.
Dick fought sleep for a few more minutes, but it was a losing battle. Eventually he drifted off. Barbara and Roy walked over towards Bruce.
Roy glanced over at Dick. "We're going to go home for a bit, give you some time. We'll be back early tomorrow. Call if anything changes."
"Thank you for being here." Bruce looked like just another concerned parent for a moment, not a billionaire and certainly not Batman.
Roy nodded. Barbara picked up her coat and held it over her arms.
"Do you need anything from the manor, sir?" Alfred asked.
"No. I'm fine, thanks."
Alfred walked with them out. Bruce leaned back in the chair. He was content to watch Dick sleep, like he had so many years before. Leslie came in and checked his vitals again. She added another medication.
"What's that for?" Bruce kept his voice low.
"To keep the withdrawal controlled long enough for him to recover."
"He has a long road ahead."
She paused. "Yes, he does. If I could, I would keep him medicated until it was out of his system, but Gossamer doesn't work like that. It has to be worked out of the system on its own."
He looked at Dick and hoped the boy was strong enough. "When will you take him off the medications?"
"A week or so, depending on how he recovers." She looked over at Bruce. "He'll make it. Roy won't let him fail, neither will you."
"It's not up to me." Bruce said it mostly to himself.
Leslie documented the changes on Dick's chart and left the father and son together.
(Continued in Desire)