Disclaimer: I don't own Batman.
A/N: Sorry for the crappy title. didn't know what to name it. Another oneshot I had in mind since a long time. Hope you enjoy. Please review. I enjoy knowing what you think of my stories. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy!
The Names that Follow My Name
I am known as one of the toughest man in the World. My identities vary from place, to place. In some occasions, I'm called the 'World's Greatest Detective', but yet, I am also known as the 'Dark Knight'. But the most common one is Batman. Yet, my most used, is the playboy billionaire 'Bruce Wayne'.
Each of these names is supposed to give something to my personality. As the 'World's Greatest Detective' I'm supposed to be keen, to solve the most difficult clues. To trap the craziest criminals, with a dysfunctional mind, and take them to the place they belong.
As Bruce Wayne, I'm supposed to be clueless, yet smart for business. The irresponsible guy, who only looks after himself, who is self centred, and goes on sleeping with the first cute chick that crosses his way. I have to admit, I kind of like that, sometimes. It can get tiresome, it gets tiresome. Fearless, thinking that 'money can solve anything'. Yeah, right.
As the Dark Knight and Batman, I'm supposed to be the fearless crime fighter. Fear. What does that word mean anyway? As any of the identities I'm supposed to be fearless, but yet, there is fear on me. Not any kind of fear, fear of a loosing a little someone, a little boy who came into my life in the most tragic of ways. The death of his parents.
Richard Grayson, or Dick, is that little boy. Well, not so little now that he's almost 14, but, every time I see him, it's like I see that 8 year old child that once entered my life. I don't know why I have the urge to protect him, to hold him, to avoid any kind of danger that he must face, the urge to see him happy, to see him smile. It's crazy, but yet, it feels so normal.
Behind my scowl, or my crazy playboy attitude, there is fear hidden. Every time I take Robin with me, every time we have to patrol, I have fear of something happening to him. He gets mad with me, and always starts saying he's not a child anymore. Maybe he's right, he's not a little child anymore, but, in some unexplainable way, he's MY little boy.
Since he came here, he has had nightmares, though that has stopped lately, or he tries to hide it from Alfred and me. Every night, he would wake screaming, crying, calling for his 'mommy' and 'daddy'. Sometimes it was Alfred, well, all of the time it was Alfred who tended to him. What would I do without that man? I think it was one of those nights I realized just how much I cared for this boy. It wasn't so long ago, but yet, it seems as if it were decades ago.
I think Dick was about 9, had just turned nine. I had been there before when he woke from those nightmares, but he always acted distant, or Alfred entered then, so I just left, or my night crusades interrupted one of those.
Alfred had gone to England for a couple of days. He had received a call that one of his relatives was sick. He had left me by myself plenty of times before. Though, he had NEVER left me WITH a child to care.
I didn't thought it would be so difficult, and it turned out, it was my worst nightmare come true.
I actually told Alfred, assured him that everything was going to be fine. When I told him that Dick was going to be fine, he looked straight at me, and just said,
"It is not for Master Dick I worry for, sir."
I didn't understand then.
The first night was a disaster. Dick already knew my other identity as Batman, but, I had promised Alfred to stay with Dick unless The Joker got free and made a union with the Penguin, Two-face, or other villain and started killing people. He also said that the day I didn't went on a mission, would be the day I would marry Catwoman. Hmph! Me? Marry Catwoman? Alfred does have a good imagination.
Anyway, Dick asked for some candy. Alfred had apparently confiscated Dick's candy. So, I thought, why not? It's just candy, what harm can it do? It seems that in the hands of a nine year old, it can do A LOT.
An hour later, he was jumping all around, doing all his acrobat stuff, which made me extremely nervous. It's not funny to find your kid hanging from the roof like if he was a monkey.
How much candy did he eat? I don't know. I made the slight mistake of giving him all of it. I have NEVER done that again. I would rather let the Joker free.
I later had the dilemma of how to make him go to bed. My patience was getting thin, very, very, very thin. And I'm not one with patience. Not knowing what to do, I ended up calling Leslie.
Finally, almost five hours later, Dick was finally asleep in his own bed, and I was moving to my own.
I admire Alfred. What would I do without him? Taking care of Dick made fighting crime look like a piece of cake! How had his parents managed for 8 years is beyond my imagination. I don't even want to imagine how his terrible twos were.
Back to the story, it was around 3 in the morning, when I heard some noise. At first I thought it was just Alfred, but then, Alfred was NOT home. I slowly got up and started searching around the place. When I walked past Dick's door I heard the noise coming from there. Not thinking it twice, I entered.
The sight of him broke my heart. Yes, even the Batman has one. He was squirming, kicking, fighting with his own quilt, whimpering and crying. He was mumbling something but I couldn't say what it was. It was evident he was having a nightmare.
I hesitated at what to do. I moved to sit besides him, the only thing that I thought about was to wake him up. He was sweating, his shirt was already wet, and the bangs that had fallen on his face where as wet as his shirt. I also noticed he was slightly trembling.
I reached out, placing my hand on his shoulder and called his name. He didn't seem to notice. His whimpering raised and he started crying. It was like if he was in pain, so it was then that I decided to put my hand on his forehead. He was burning. Oh God.
I did the only thing I could. I panicked.
How do you take care of a child in the middle of the night? Not thinking twice I ran to my room, grabbed my mobile and dialled Leslie.
"Bruce, calm down. You HAVE to calm down if you want to help him." She stated once I was over telling her everything.
"Breath, Bruce, breath." She waited until she heard me breath before continuing. "You need acetaminophen or ibuprofen for children, also fetch a thermometer. I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Ok." Was the only thing I could say.
"If you feel his fever is too high, get him into the tub with cold water, that will make his fever get low, and change his pyjamas into dry ones."
"yeah." I mustered again. I was already looking for the medicine and thermometer.
I found what I was looking for and ran upstairs, taking two stairs at a time. I entered Dick's room and lost no time. I felt his forehead, his fever wasn't higher, but also was not ending. I gave him, as I could, the doze that it said at the label of Tylenol. It wasn't easy, he was still asleep, but somehow he drank it. Then, I got him out of his wet clothes and into dry ones, just as Leslie said. I waited ten minutes, and his fever started increasing. 103º read the thermometer.
I moved to the bathroom and turned on the water of the tub. I stripped Dick out of all his clothes and placed him in the cold water. It seemed crazy to do this, but, I trust Leslie fully.
Just as she said, his fever started coming down. I felt relief getting into me.
"Alfred?" Dick muttered opening his eyes.
"No, it's me chum."
He just nodded, and then suddenly opened his eyes, sitting straight in the tub. He looked down at himself and started flushing furiously. Even though his face was red of the fever, it got even redder. He turned to look at me with wide eyes.
"You had a fever." I answered knowing his questioning look. I grabbed the towel that was on the perch and motioned for him to stand. He just nodded and said nothing, standing up, placing his arms around his torso. I lost no time and wrapped the towel around him. The last thing I wanted was to get him with another fever.
Dick reluctantly accepted my help in getting him to bed. Just as we were finished, he threw his dinner all over the place. I could see some fresh tears in his eyes, he looked up at me and then looked the other way. Did he think I would be mad at him?
"C'mon, chum. Let's get you out of here." I called for him. He said nothing but move to the other side. His pyjamas had a little of vomit, so, he had to change yet again. The carpet on the floor had received all of it, and his bed covers too. Thankfully his faithful animal stuff, Eleanor, was on the other way.
Everything was a mess, and I was too. I was wet from the cold bath, had a little of puke on me, which was making me sick, and I was slightly all worried. I moved Dick (and Eleanor) to my room, tucked him in bed and begged Leslie to hurry up. What was taking her so long?
I waited until Dick fell back asleep, and moved out to his room to clean. Minutes later, Leslie finally arrived. I had already changed, and she was quiet impressed when she moved over to check Dick. Apparently, the candy and pizza, and some other stuff he had eaten were not of help and had made him sick. I wasn't surprised, but I did felt guilty.
"Cheer up, Bruce." She told me after we had finished all over Dick. We had cleaned his room entirely, even changed the mattress, and had moved him to his room.
"I'm a mess at this, Leslie." I admitted. Why had a thought I could care of a child? She seemed to read this question through me, as she came to my side, and laid her hand on my shoulder.
"Bruce, every parent have doubts." I looked at her surprised at this. Not because the doubts part, but of the parent part. I was, and am, only his guardian.
"Yeah, you heard right. Listen, you may not be Dick's biological father, and I know you don't want to take that place on his life, but, you are finishing what the Graysons started. You are raising Dick now."
"More like, Alfred is raising Dick."
"Maybe, but you are here now. Don't be so hard on yourself. Everything will be alright. Besides, you've both done a great job so far. He's not scared and shy as when he first came here."
With that she started giving instructions on what to do in any case Dick got sick again. Ten minutes later, I was alone besides Dick's bed, watching him sleep.
Even today, just the sight of him sleeping makes me feel as if everything is ok in the world. Yeah, he can be a headache awake, but, knowing his fine, just makes me feel fine.
"Bruce." I looked up surprised at Dick. It was morning already. I had fallen asleep on the chair. My back and neck reassured me of that. May be that is the reason why I later changed those chairs to more comfortable ones.
"How are you feeling?" I asked, my voice heavy of sleep. He was sitting on his bed, the blankets on their place, which is not often seen as Dick is a crazy sleeper. I could see his eyes were red, and he was breathing by his mouth. He looked much better though. I turned my eyes to the watch, 7:40am.
"Better." He said simply. I nodded.
"You stayed here all night?"
"Yeah, didn't know if your fever was going to return."
"Oh." Was all he could manage out. He moved out of his bed then and went to the bathroom. I was about to ask where he was going, but it was kind of obvious.
"It's a mess in there." He stated once coming out of the bathroom. I had already brought him a glass of orange juice and some toast. Thankfully, Alfred had made things very simple by leaving almost everything done, what could be made beforehand.
"Well, it was an unusual night." I said.
I thought it was going to be easy to make him eat his breakfast. Just making him drink his juice was a fight. I thought the toast was kind of hard for his throat. I managed to make him drink almost all of his juice and two bites of his toast. He needed his medicine, and I remembered Leslie tell me about giving him some Gatorade or something like that.
Everything went well, Dick's fever didn't returned, though I made him stay in bed all day long, which he didn't liked at all.
"Yeah, chum." He was hesitating for a moment, but I nodded trying to encourage him to talk.
"Have…have you ever taken care of someone sick before?" he asked looking down to the elephant, Eleanor, in his hands. That was quite an unusual question, but I have learned there are many unusual things with Dick.
"No." I said simply.
He looked up surprised.
"If you weren't Batman, I would tell you to get a hobby as nurse." He blurted out, playing with Eleanor's ears.
I was choked at this. I can't picture me as a nurse. And a hobby? Kids sure come out with weird stuff at times.
"Really?" now it was my turn to question him.
"Yep." He said emphasizing this with the elephant, which he made move its head up and down.
"You think so, uh?" Again, the elephant nodded its head.
"Don't you think I'm a bit boring?"
"Nop." He emphasized yet again, making the elephant shake its head. "I like it when you're with me."
That took me by surprise. He liked me being with him? He looked at me as if waiting something from me.
"I…I also enjoy being with you." He smiled at me as if I had just given him the best news in the world. I couldn't help but smile back.
After that day, Dick tried to be with me almost all of the time. Alfred came back some days later, surprised to know all that had gone by, as Dick informed him quickly. Of course, I got a lecture of how NOT to give children too much candy. I learned that by experience.
Shortly after that, Dick became Robin. Of course, I trained him first, in which I learned he was a natural at.
We've had hard times, good times, and times in which I am seriously thinking on hanging him with all the bats in the batcave. I know I'm quite strict, and overprotective, but it seems to be quite right. I don't want Dick to suffer more than what he has already suffered. I fear for his safety, I fear for his happiness, I fear for his future.
Leslie and Alfred keep telling me how I am now a surrogate father to Dick. How did this came to be, I don't know.
I don't know how Dick looks at me like. I don't want to take his Dad's place, I'm sure of that. But, I do know one thing.
I'm known as the World's Greatest Detective.
I'm known as the Dark Night.
I'm known as the Batman.
I'm known as the playboy Bruce Wayne.
But, of all this names, of all this identities which follow something, I must say there's one, which makes me feel complete.
That one of Mentor, that one in which I'm called a 'father'. I might be crazy about this, but having Dick in my life is one of the best things ever happened to me. I may not be the best, but at least I try.
Call me as you like, for I might just be one of them, or none of them at all.