-Better Together-

I've only seen clips on youtube of that episode, so forgive me if I get anything totally wrong. Ummm... this was written in a 20 minute time frame, please not that it's 4:30am and my beta is sound asleep. MS spellcheck sufficed. Oh, and the lyrics belong to Keith Urban. Um. Not mine. Enjoy!

He could never really blame Dick for leaving. It had been brewing for a while when he finally had packed his bags, and all of his fights with Barbara had only pushed him over that last precipice faster. Much like a caged bird, he couldn't thrive solely on being a part-time Robin and a college student, living up to Gotham's expectations of him. He felt trapped, he'd told Bruce once, trapped in Bruce's shadow, and he needed to get away for a while. That's what Gotham University was supposed to have been, but then, that wasn't quite far enough.

Bruce knew he'd come back eventually, but he hadn't been expecting this.

You said you needed your space,
I wasn't where you wanted to be.
I didn't stand in your way,
I only want you to be happy.
And so how surprised am I to see you here tonight?

He'd spent most of the evening at yet another boring Gotham City fundraiser. Mingling with the other socialites and discussing future causes and projects. Those things were always more entertaining with Dick there.

Now, finally at home, it was late, he was tired and prepared for a quick nap before heading out for his nightly patrol.

Only… someone else was in his bedroom. Alfred would have alerted him of it had been an intruder. The man knew everything going on in the house at any given moment, and he'd barely looked up from the laundry he was folding as Bruce had wished him goodnight.

Not that it mattered. Bruce knew who it was. Mask or not.


The costumed figure grinned. "I go by Nightwing, now." He said, gesturing to the costume. A reminder that when capes and cowls were in play real names were not. He remedied that by removing the mask, revealing hair substantially longer than it had been the last time Bruce had seen the man.

"Alfred's going to have a fit when he sees that." They both knew he meant both the hair and the costume.

"Already has." Dick shrugged. "I doubt he's through with me, though."

Bruce, one curious eyebrow raised, asked the question that had entered his brain the moment he's seen the man. "You planning on staying?"

Another sigh. "Bruce…"

That answered that question. "Alright, then. You want to come on patrol with me tonight?"

"Yeah, sure."

Well, oh, can't you see,
That for worse or for better we're better together?
Please, just come back home.
No, don't say that you're sorry,
And I won't say I told you so.

The two figures were crouched on the edge of a building overlooking the docks. Just below them, the Joker was hashing out the details of his latest plan.

"But, Mr. J, the banks security is foolproof! We'll never get in there." They heard Harley argue.

"Ah," The Joker replied. "But nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool."

Their conversation went on for a few more moments before Batman and Nightwing took their leave. "Whatever they're planning, it's not going to go down tonight. Most of his crew is in Arkham, so he'll be looking for some more goons to use." Nightwing theorized. For only having been back in town a number of hours, he was sure up on their usual cases.

Batman said as much.

"I kept track of our favorite baddies while I was away." He explained, with a noncommittal shrug. "Where are Robin and Batgirl?"

"Away." He'd practically ordered Barbara to take a vacation with her father last week. They'd be gone at least a few more days. And Tim was with Alfred's ex-spy friend training in covert ops, as subtle entrances were not always the boy's strong point. "We'll do one more sweep and head back, okay?"

Nightwing looked like he wanted to say something else, but he only nodded in response.

Sometimes in our life,
We get to where we wonder if
The long road that we're on
Is headin' in the same direction.
When it comes to you and me,
We're right where I know we should be.

"I missed you, you know." Dick finally said. His first word spoken since they'd headed back to Wayne Manor. "A lot."

Bruce nodded, hanging up the Batsuit. He spared a glance toward the old Robin suit. The one that would always be Dick's no matter how old Tim got. "I missed you, too." He motioned to a spare hook for the Nightwing outfit. "You can hang that up, if you want."

Dick did so, silently, and the two made their way out of the Batcave. Now changed into normal clothes, Bruce hoped they could have a conversation without their alter egos surfacing.

"What made you leave?" He asked, sitting down across from the other man in one of the easy chairs in the study. "Specifically, because I'm afraid I never really understood that."

Resigned to the game of 20 questions this was undoubtedly going to become, Dick shifted until he was comfortable before he answered. "I dunno… it was a little bit of everything, I guess. Barbara, Tim, the bad guys, school… you."


"Yeah. You were probably a big part of it." Dick amended, looking anywhere but at the other man.

Bruce mulled that over for a moment, but Dick spoke again before he did.

"Not… in a bad way, I mean. I just, there were a lot of things I didn't really understand until I went away. And some of them had to do with you. And… damn, Alfred's not here, is he?" Dick asked, glancing around in case the older man was spying on them.

"Probably. It's late, he might be asleep."

Unwilling to have more witnesses around than need be, Dick stood, heading for the stairs up the bedrooms to continue this discussion in private. "Come on." He prodded, and Bruce followed.

They sat in Dick's old bedroom. The one he'd moved into a few weeks after he'd arrived. It was the closest to Bruce's room. Unlike the one he'd first been in when he'd arrived. The furniture had recently been uncovered, thanks to Alfred, no doubt, and they sat down opposite each other on the bed.

"You were saying?" Bruce urged him, curious as to why Dick had left and what it had to do with him.

"It's just that… we're good together. And I didn't want to mess that up."

Oh, can't you see,
That for worse or for better we're better together?
Please, just come back home.
No, don't say that you're sorry,
And I won't say I told you so.

"I don't think I'm following." Bruce admitted.

Dick heaved a sigh, obviously wishing Bruce could read his mind or something, anything to make this easier than actually having to come out and explain it. "I never thought I'd want to be anything but Robin. I thought that would be enough, you know? But, eventually, especially once Tim and Barbara showed up, it changed. I was… Jealous, I guess. That it wasn't just us anymore, the Dynamic Duo. The Dynamic Quartet doesn't have quite the same ring to it. I know I was off at GU when Tim showed up, but I didn't think you'd ever..."

Bruce had things he wanted to say in answer to all of this, but he stayed quiet. Mostly because the things he had to say sounded more like accusations than conversation and it was things like that which had led to their fights. And those were never good. So, he just listened.

"While I was away, I realized that I couldn't be mad at you for that. I left, I was your back up, and you needed someone to watch your back out there. You took Tim in and it all worked out. You had a Robin and I could stay in classes." Dick continued, watching Bruce to gauge his reactions to this as he went. "I… I realized, too, that I was, like I said, jealous. And it took me a lot longer than it should have to figure out why."

And then Bruce got it.

After a long moment, he finally reacted. One arm curled around the younger's frame and pulled him close. He stopped, and let Dick make the move that would verify that his thoughts were correct.

They were, and Dick practically knocked him off the bed with the sheer force behind it. He pressed their lips together like he'd been dying to for so long now.

Bruce's fingers tangled in Dick's hair. The hands fisted into the material of Bruce's shirt assured him that Dick was certainly enjoying himself, too.

But, he had one last thing to say.

"Come home."

Sometimes it's like we're deep in nothing but love,
The slightest thing can grow so foolishly.
Remind me please.
Oh, can't you see,
That for worse or for better we're better together?
Please, just come back home.
No, don't say that you're sorry…
You don't gotta say you're sorry, baby.
Oh, can't you see,
That for worse or for better we're better together?
Please, just come back home.
No, don't say that you're sorry,
And I won't say I told you so,
And I won't say I told you so.
But, I told you so.
Shoulda known better than to leave me, baby.
Shoulda known better than to leave me, darlin'.