Like Family

Notes: Hey everyone, SK here! This is my first attempt at writing anything Batman, and actually my first fanfic in about 5 years. I used to write a lot for YuGiOh and other anime shows back in the day. I mainly write original stuff now, but occasionally I come back to the fanfiction world.

This story is set in The Batman universe as based on the TV show from Kids WB. This is a one-shot, and focuses on Batman, Robin, and Batgirl. Please be kind in your reviews. Constructive criticism is welcomed, but no flames, please. Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment when you're finished! :)

"So who are we tracking down today?"

Dick Grayson looked brightly up at a Bruce as the two rode down the elevator that connected the Wayne Manor to the Batcave. Red-haired Barbara Gordon had joined them, and was leaning back against the silvery walls as the elevator passed underground.

Bruce kept his eyes forward.

"There's a local mob that's been receiving some pretty suspicious shipments lately," he replied, checking his watch. "I still need to do some research before I can be sure of what's going on, though."

Barbara grinned.

"Sounds like a fun evening to me," she declared, shifting her backpack off of her shoulders.

Dick glanced back at her.

"I bet I can bag more baddies than you," he challenged.

Barbara rolled her eyes as she brushed a lock of her red hair out of her face.

"Yeah, right," she scoffed as the elevator came to a halt. "How tall are you again?"

Dick and Barbara continued their typical back and forth banter as the three stepped out of the elevators and into the Batcave. Bruce frowned as he sat down at his computer and began looking up details on the shipments, tuning out the two younger members of the Bat Trio.

Barabra flopped down on the ground and unzipped her bag. As she pulled out her dark purple costume, a folded up newspaper also fell out. She snatched it up and opened it to reveal a photo spread across the front page.

"Oh, did you see?" she asked, turning to Bruce and Dick. "We were featured in the newspaper again. Well," she corrected, glancing back at the picture. "I guess Batman was, anyway."

Dick dashed over and snatched up the article.

"What do you mean?" he asked, looking the article over.

Barbara pointed to the photo, which was taken of Batman from midsection up. The tips of the pointed ears on Barbara's costume were visible beside him, and Dick was nowhere in sight.

"Hey, we were cut off!" he cried, looking outraged.

"There might be a tuft of your hair right here…but that could also just be a car in the background," Barbara observed, squinting at the photo.

Dick scanned the article over.

"We're not even mentioned," he frowned, looking disheartened.

He tossed the paper back at Barbara. She caught it and glanced over at Bruce. He was immersed in his research, and didn't appear to have been listening to any of their conversation.

"What does the Batman have to say to that?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

Bruce was silent for a moment as he continued his search. Data was running quickly across the screen.

"Don't you two have some homework to do before we go out tonight?" he asked a moment later.

Dick and Barbara both sighed.

A few hours later, Dick was sprawled out on the floor of the Batcave, his math book open in front of him. He chewed idly on the end of his eraser as he watched Bruce's tracking system up on the screen of the large computer out of the corner of his eye.

Barbara had gotten a call from her father to come home early, and she had reluctantly left. Although Dick would never admit it, he was sorry his fellow teammate was going to be missing out on the action.

"Hey Bruce, are you any good at Algebra?" Dick asked as he rested his chin in the palm of his hand.

Bruce remained silent again. He was pulling up shipping records and comparing them with those from previous months, his eyes fixated on the screen.

Dick sighed in exasperation and rolled over onto his back.

"Hey, tonight," he continued, changing topics. "Can I get a chance to go in on my own first? Like, you know. You cover me just in case, and I take out the baddies?"

Bruce's eyes widened as he found the information he'd been looking for. It all fit together, just as he'd expected.

"Gotcha," he whispered to himself, pushing his chair back and standing up. "Get suited up, Dick. We'll move out in ten."

Dick leapt to his feet and slammed his math book shut.

"Awesome!" he declared, punching a fist into the air. "But what about me going in first?" he asked hopefully.

Bruce shook his head as he took his Batman costume down from the stand where he had it displayed when it wasn't in use. He turned to go into the back room to change.

"We'll stick to the normal routine," he replied firmly as he disappeared around the corner.

Dick frowned and folded his arms across his chest indignantly.

"That's how it always is," he grumbled as his eyes wandered over to the screen of the computer.

There was a red circle over a grid of Gotham city, pin-pointing the location of where the mob was going to be.

Dick stood there for a moment, and then a determined grin spread across his face.

He grabbed his Robin costume off the stand, and then hurried off to the hanger portion of the cave.

Robin sped through the chilly night on his motorbike, his dark bangs whipping across his face wildly through his helmet.

"I'm tough enough to take on goons like these on my own!" he though to himself determinedly. "They're just typical gangsters. But every time I help out normally, Batman is there to take all the credit. No one even gives me a second thought, even if we do a lot of the work!"

He recalled the time Commissioner Gordon had practically brushed him and Batgirl aside after the encounter with Black Mask's goons. He and Batgirl had commiserated over their mutual frustration, but it hadn't really solved anything. Batman still got all the credit, while he and Batgirl were largely ignored. The evidence was even in the newspaper article.

"Not that Batman doesn't deserve the credit," Robin admitted as he took a sharp turn around a corner.

"I just wish sometimes…even just once…that people acknowledged me as someone other than just the kid that tags along with him. I feel like a joke sometimes."

He sped past a fancy black car that was parked in front of a nightclub and continued toward the far side of town near the docks. Once he'd reached the docks, he slowed his bike down to a low speed and gently wove in and out of the crates that were stacked on the docks between warehouses.

"It's got to be one of these…" Robin murmured to himself as he scanned the area.

The tracking device in his motorcycle was almost the same as the one Batman had in the computer, but it was slightly less accurate. He watched as the circle flashed red on an area just in front of him. He looked back up and glanced around his surroundings.

Suddenly, Robin spotted a light come on in one of the far warehouses. He pumped his first into the air triumphantly.

"Yes!" he declared, speeding over to where the warehouse was. "It's time to kick some butt."

The young crime fighter hopped off of his bike and stowed the helmet in the compartment under the seat. He pulled his grappling hook shooter from his utility belt and blasted a line up to the top of the building. As he scaled the building, he peered into the windows and caught sight of a group of men crowded around a stack of crates in the middle of the room.

"Those are probably stolen goods," Robin muttered as he reached the top of the building and pulled himself up.

Slowly, he made his way over to the one of the skylight windows and peered down. Although he couldn't make out what the men were saying, he could tell that they were deep in conversation over whatever was in the box. One of the men grabbed a crowbar and began to pry the wooden cover from one of the crates.

Seizing the opportunity while everyone else inside was preoccupied with the crate and the noise from opening it, Robin quietly cut through the lock on the light and slipped down into the building via another grabbling hook.

"Grab the goods, bag the baddies, and make a call to the police," the young man thought to himself. "And then stick around long enough for the police to see that Robin actually did something tonight."

"Good," one of the goons, Marcus Marino, murmured as he bent down and rummaged through the straw in the crate. "This is exactly what we need. Now we just need to get them all unpacked and transferred into the storefronts for our clientele."

The man with the crowbar nodded.

"Gotcha, boss," he responded as he tapped the crowbar on the cement floor.

Robin had reached the ground undetected. The dark-haired boy reached into his utility belt and grabbed a handful of smoke pellets and a sharp bat-shaped throwing weapon.

As Marino turned around, Robin thrust out the fistful of pellets, enveloping the entire center of the warehouse with smoke.

"What the hell?" one of the henchmen shouted as the smoke spread quickly around them.

Robin could hear them scrambling around in confusion. Quickly, the acrobat threw out a rope, entwining one of the henchmen. Robin darted toward the center of the action, armed with more bat blades.

Dodging the henchmen's blows was simple, even as the smoke started to clear. Robin was far too flexible and agile to get hit, and so the young man made his way around the circle, attacking and deflecting as he went along.

Marino caught sight of the boy and frowned angrily.

"It's Batman's little partner!" he shouted to the others as Robin dodged a right hook and kicked one of them in the gut.

Marino looked around wildly, expecting Batman to drop down any second. When he didn't, Marino dug into his coat pocket and pulled out a gun. He took careful aim at the red and green-clad boy wonder and fired.

Robin lost his footing, startled momentarily by the sound of gunfire. He could tell the bullet had been close. Marino took aim and fired again, but this time Robin was ready. He dodged the bullets as he continued to run through the crowd.

"He's a child, just grab him!" Marino shouted angrily as he continued to fire.

Robin smirked as he did a handspring over one of the fallen henchmen whom he'd already tied up and landed on the other side. He stumbled over the man's arm, however, and for a brief moment, he was off guard.

One last fire rang out, and Robin thankfully skidded out of the way in the nick of time.

"Whew," Robin declared as he got back to his feet.

He could hear the sound of Marino's gun clicking, indicating that it was out of bullets.

As Robin reached down to his utility belt for another shot of rope, he felt a sharp pain across the back of his neck and shoulders. Stunned, he fell to the ground, his head throbbing.

Robin rolled over on the ground and looked up to see one of the henchmen standing over him, a crowbar in his hands. The man lifted a foot to kick at the fallen boy, but Robin rolled out of the way and pushed himself back up to his feet, trying to ignore the throbbing pain.

His vision was spinning, and suddenly there seemed like there were a lot more of Marinos goons that he had initially thought.

The crowbar goon lunged toward him again, and Robin staggered backwards into one of the wooden crates. He was about to leap up when another blow came at him from the side, sending him sprawling to the ground again.

This time, it had been from another henchmen's foot.

"This isn't good!" Robin thought to himself, his heart rate speeding up as he tried to scramble to his feet once more. "Normally I never even get hit once by these kind of guys!"

The two blows had slowed him down, however, and before he was able to get to his feet, another henchmen slammed their boot down on top of his chest, knocking the wind out of him and causing pain to ripple across his body.

"Urg!" Robin cried out, as tears began to well up in his eyes.

He rolled over to his side, tenderly clutching his chest. He felt as though he couldn't breath, and the pain was more intense than anything he'd ever felt before.

"Not so tough now, are you, you little brat," Marino taunted as he walked toward the boy.

Robin felt another sharp kick to his back, causing him to roll several more feet across the cold cement floor.

"Get up, Robin!" his mind told him, but his body was shaking from the pain and refusing to listen.

The sound of cruel laughter filled the warehouse as Marino waved away his other henchmen and approached the boy. As Robin struggled to get up, Marino struck his face with the side of the empty gun.

Robin collapsed on the ground again. He could feel blood trickling down his cheek. He gasped, each breath causing more and more pain to ripple through his body.

Marino tossed the gun to the ground with a clatter and reached down. He gripped the collar of Robin's cape and roughly pulled the boy to his feet.

"How did this happen?" Robin thought to himself groggily as his vision swam.

He could see Marino's terrible face looming in front of him.

"You're not so brave without your bat-friend around to protect you," the mobster sneered, punching the young boy in the gut.

Robin coughed horribly, the taste of blood rising in his mouth.

"Is this it…?"

Marino's cronies laughed behind him. Robin could barely see anymore as a fog of unconsciousness was starting to overtake him. The pain all over his body was so intense that the young man subconsciously welcomed the darkness.

"Next time don't go sticking your nose where it doesn't belong," Marino snarled, tossing the boy into one of the wooden crates.

Robin's body thumped against the crate and then fell onto the hard floor below it. As he finally came to a rest, he prayed that Marino's henchmen would leave him alone; the thought of taking anymore hits was torturous.

"I don't think … I don't think I can take anymore."

"Come on boys," Marino's voice echoed through Robin's foggy mind as they started to leave the building.

Robin lay facedown on the cement. Blood was pooling up around his face from his wound, and his insides felt like fire. Each breath was almost too much to take. In his last conscious moments, Robin's thoughts turned to Batman and Batgirl. What would they say when the found out what had happened?

"I'm sorry … Batman."

The last thing Robin saw before he faded into the darkness was a caped figure leap down in front of him, and then turn toward him.

"I'm sorry…"

Batman's eyes widened as he spotted his partner's limp body crumpled up below one of the crates.

"Robin!" he cried, hurrying to the boy's side.

He gently rolled the boy face-up, and his heart skipped a beat as he saw the extent of the damage: there was a nasty gash across the boy's face, bruises and cuts on the rest of his body, tears in his uniform.

Fearing the worst, Batman pressed a finger against the boy's throat.

Several tense moments later, he let out a small sigh of relief. There was still a very faint heartbeat. The boy's chest was barely rising and falling, however.

"Why did you go off on your own, Dick?" Batman thought to himself bitterly as he looked over his young charge's battered body.

He was trying to remember the last things that he'd said to the boy, but realized that he'd spent most of the evening tuning him out and focusing on his targeting of the gangsters. Batman remembered that he had asked him a question about Algebra at some point, and then about getting a chance to go in first…

The sound of police sirens wailed in the distance, and Batman suddenly was jerked back into the moment.

"We…we can't have anyone knowing that you're Robin," he thought to himself as he hurriedly removed the boy's costume and tucked it away in his own utility belt.

As he removed the boy's red shirt, his eyes widened at the amount of bruising across the boy's chest.

Batman shook his head in dismay as he pulled Dick's body into his arms. He easily lifted the young man, and for the first time, it had dawned on him just how small and fragile he really was.

"He's a 14-year old kid," Batman thought to himself as he rose to his feet.

The doors to the warehouse burst open, and police flooded into the area.

"Why did I let this happen?"

Bruce paced about tensely. The bright lights and white hospital walls were jarring on his tired eyes, but he pushed the mild discomfort from his mind as he tried to focus. His mind was spinning, however.

"Mr. Wayne?"

Bruce turned around and caught sight of one of the doctors walking toward him holding a clipboard.

Bruce stopped pacing and nodded at the man.

"How is he, doctor?" he asked immediately, his heartbeat growing faster as he dreaded the news.

Dick had been in surgery for hours after having been rushed to the emergency room from the warehouse. After Batman had handed Dick over to the EMT's, he had vanished from the scene. Bruce Wayne had showed up at the hospital half an hour later.

The doctor frowned slightly as he looked down at the clipboard in his hands.

"To be completely honest, Mr. Wayne?" he began, glancing up at Bruce with tired eyes. "The kid is a mess: three broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, and a concussion on top of all the other cuts and bruises."

The doctor flipped up the top sheet of the clipboard before looking Bruce in the eye.

"He's lucky to even be alive," he summarized.

Bruce nodded slowly, taking it all in. His dark eyes were fixed on the ground.

"Is he going to be all right?" he asked after a moment.

The doctor sighed uncomfortably and scratched his head.

"He's still unconscious right now," he replied. "We've repaired the damage to his spleen, but until he regains consciousness, I really can't say for sure. He took quite a beating."

Bruce nodded again, feeling a cold chill come over him.

"Would you like to see him?" the doctor offered after a moment of silence.

Bruce hesitated, and then nodded.


The two made their way down the hallway to an open room. They stepped inside, and Bruce caught sight of his young charge.

Dick was lying unconscious in bed. There were IVs in his arm, and an oxygen mask over his face. Gauze patches were wrapped around his chest, and there was a bandage over his face where the gash had been. Dark purple bruises peered out from under the bandages, particularly around his eye.

A heart monitor beeped steadily beside the bed, monitoring the boy's vitals.


"I'll leave you alone," the doctor said in a hushed tone. "Please let me know if you need anything."

Bruce stood there for several minutes after the doctor had left, watching his young friend. His chest rose and fell slowly with each raspy breath.

And even though he knew that it was Dick's decision to go off on his own, Bruce couldn't help but feel responsible.

"I'm his guardian. I should have been more careful, more watchful!"

Bruce's thoughts were cut off as a cry came from behind him.

Bruce turned to see red-haired Barbara Gordon rushing into the room. Her eyes were filled with tears. She stopped short as she caught sight of Dick.

"Barbara," Bruce said, only half-surprised to see her at the late hour.

He hadn't told her what had happened, but there was a good chance that she'd heard from her father. After all, he was the police commissioner.

The red-haired girl stood in the doorway for a moment, and then looked up at Bruce.

"What happened?" she asked, her voice almost a whisper.

Bruce sighed as he glanced back over at Dick.

"…Marino's men…" he muttered, unsure of really how to describe what had happened. "I didn't get there until it was too late."

Barbara slowly walked over to her teammate's bedside. For all the rivalry and arguing that she and Dick shared, at the moment, Barbara looked genuinely concerned. Concerned, and frightened.

After a few more minutes of silence, Barbara sat down in the chair beside the bed. She pulled her legs up onto the chair and hugged them close to her body.

"Just a few hours ago…we were arguing about who could catch the most bad-guys," she thought to herself sadly, feeling a lump grow in her throat.

Suddenly the childish argument felt as though it may as well have taken place years ago.

"Why did he go off on his own?" Barbara asked, her voice cracking.

A tear dripped down the side of her cheek. Sure, she, Bruce, and Dick had received their share of scrapes in the past. After all, who can fight crime in Gotham without picking up the occasional injury? But nothing had ever happened on this scale before; nothing that had ever made her think that they could actually…

Bruce was still standing in the doorway, his hands deep in his pockets.

"He wanted to prove himself," he murmured. "Thought he was bigger than he was."

Barbara caught sight of the heart monitor, and she watched the blips on the screen for a few moments.

"This can't be real!" she thought to herself, her own heart thudding madly in her chest. "This kind of stuff only happens in movies. This isn't supposed to happen to us..."

"He's going to be okay, right?" Barbara asked, looking back at Bruce.

More tears rolled down her cheeks.

To see the normally tough and spunky Barbara crying was extremely disheartening for him. Of course, seeing the usually quit-witted and jovial Dick reduced to his current state was equally, if not more so disheartening.

"I hope so," Bruce said after a moment.

Without another word, he turned and walked out of the room. He closed the door behind him. Barbara stared after him for a moment, and then turned her eyes back toward the young boy.

Tears were coming faster, but she did nothing to stop them. Especially since Bruce had left.

"Ever since I became Batgirl, I felt like I was invincible," she thought to herself, hugging her legs against her chest tightly as she buried her head in her knees. "But right now, for the first time, I feel so helpless."

Batman shot out a line, and the grappling hook end wrapped around a tall flagpole that stood beside a neighboring building. With a running start, he leapt from the top of the hospital and swung over to the next building.

"The only thing I think of to do right now is to track down Marino and his men," he thought to himself as he dashed across the building and over to the next. "I can't do anything else for Dick now, except make sure the people who hurt him get justice."

Batman leapt down into an alleyway where the Batmobile was parked. As he slid inside, he felt another pang of guilt.

"Should I have stayed?" he thought as he started up the car and took off around the corner. "I don't like to sit around…and I hate to see him like that."

It had only been a few minutes since he'd left the boy wonder back in the hospital room with Barbara. If Dick regained consciousness while he was gone, at least he would not be alone.

As Batman continued toward the red circle indicated on his tracking system, thoughts were running wildly through his head. He tried to focus on the task at hand: bringing Marino and his gang to justice. He knew the police were on his trail already, and that it wouldn't be difficult to catch them.

But thoughts of Robin kept creeping into his mind. The passenger seat to the Batmobile felt very empty as he sped through the night.

Commissioner Gordon opened the door to Dick's hospital room. He poked his head inside, and saw that Dick Grayson was still unconscious. The heart monitor beeped steadily. As Gordon watched the boy for a moment, he caught sight of his daughter curled up in the chair beside the bed.

"Barbara?" he asked gently, stepping inside. "You've been here for hours. Don't you want to come home and get some rest?"

Barbara shook her head slowly, although she was fighting to keep her tired eyes open.

"No, I think I'll stay," she replied.

Gordon sighed uncomfortably.

He knew Barbara and Dick had been friends, and often spent time together after school. He didn't realize that they were so close, however, or that she would take his injury so hard. He was also slightly surprised that Bruce Wayne didn't seem to be anywhere in the vicinity.

"Okay, honey," Gordon replied. "I'm going to head home. Harvey is stationed downstairs to keep an eye on things while the criminal who did this is still at large. If you need anything, just ask him, or call me and I'll come back."

Barbara nodded.

"Thanks, Daddy," she replied softly.

After her father had left, Barbara turned back to face Dick. His condition hadn't changed much in the past few hours, and he hadn't even given any signs of waking from his comatose state.

Cautiously, Barbara reached out her hand and placed it over her friend's limp one. His hand was cold to the touch.

"Can you hear me?" she asked, her voice cracking.

Her eyes watered again, threatening another round of tears.

"I never thought I'd actually want you to start talking, but please wake up, Dick," Barbara pleaded, squeezing his hand gently. "Please be okay."

She smiled sadly.

"We still need to see who can catch the most bad-guys," she reminded him as another tear rolled down her cheek and splashed over her hand. "It's no fair if you quit early."

"How did I know it was too good to be true when you weren't there with your little buddy earlier?"

Marino grumbled as police officers slapped handcuffs across his wrists and led him over to the waiting police car. Batman stood in the shadows, watching as another office untied one of Marino's cohorts.

Marino snickered as he shot a last look at the dark knight before disappearing into the car.

"Too bad you were too late for him," he laughed.

The attending officer slammed the door and looked back at Batman.

"Someone was hurt earlier?" he asked, seemingly confused. "Your partner?"

Batman felt a small hint of panic, as he realized that Marino's gang knew the truth: it had been Robin that was injured, not Dick Grayson. If the connection was made between the two of them, both of their secret identities would be found out.

"It was teenage boy," he replied quickly. "He's at the hospital now."

The officer nodded slowly.

"Oh, yeah," he replied, remembering the police reports from earlier. "I remember the commissioner mentioned that. Bruce Wayne's kid, right?"

The police officer turned back around to face Batman, but the dark knight had already vanished. Scratching his head, the officer went back to securing the rest of the gang members.

Twenty minutes later, Batman swung into the hospital room through the window. The curtains billowed in the wind. It had been several hours since he'd left the room earlier to track down Marino and his men. As he scanned the room, he saw Barbara had fallen asleep with her head on the hospital bed, her hand over Dick's.

"Barbara and Dick," Batman thought to himself as he watched his young partners. "They're both just kids. Kids that have seen and done things most people will never experience in whole lifetime."

Batman felt another wave of guilt.

"And part of that is my fault."

Batman walked over the bedside. Somehow, it was even harder for him to see Dick Grayson as the injured victim than it had been when he had discovered Robin beaten in the warehouse earlier that evening. Even though in reality, Batman knew that there was no difference between them.

Even though Dick had only been a part of his life for a little over a year, the bond between them had grown immensely over that time. Of course, part of that was due in fact to their nightly patrols around the city, but part of that was also in the change that his presence had brought to the manor.

While the large house used to be dark and empty, Dick had brought a sense of life and youthful energy that it had badly needed. Always eager and interested, Dick's light-hearted nature was a definite change of pace that the Batman had needed.

The police officer's words earlier echoed in his mind.

"Oh yeah. Bruce Wayne's kid, right?"

Honestly, Batman couldn't imagine his life returning to the way it had been before.

"And I don't want it to," he spoke aloud. "Dick you're more than just a partner. You're…you're like a son to me."

His eyes darkened.

"And I don't know if I can deal with losing anymore family members."

Suddenly, the young boy stirred. Batman's eyes widened as he watched the vital monitors change. Dick's body moved ever so slightly. A moment later, his eyes fluttered open. The boy stared at the ceiling for several moments before blinking and looking around the room at his surroundings.

The boy caught sight of Barbara asleep, resting her head on the edge of the bed. Dick's fingers twitched as he realized she was holding his hand.

Barbara jerked awake. Her eyes widened as she realized that the younger boy had awakened.

Slowly, the dark-haired young man turned his head to face her.

"Babs?" he whispered, his voice weak and strained.

Tears returned to her eyes.

"I…I thought I told you not to call me that," she laughed softly through her tears.

Dick looked confused as he watched his friend crying beside him.

"Why are you…crying?" he asked.

Barbara sniffed and wiped her tears away with the back of her hand.

"Because you were stupid and went off on your own, and almost got killed!" she replied indignantly, letting go of his hand.

Dick turned his eyes back toward the ceiling. Memories of the warehouse were slowly coming back to him.

"Oh…right," he murmured.

Barbara brushed away the last of her tears, feeling relieved that her friend had awakened.

"What were you thinking?" she scolded Dick, out of her own frustration more than anything.

Dick squeezed his eyes shut. He took a deep breath, and then winced in pain. He lifted his heavy arms up and touched his chest tenderly.

"You broke three ribs and ruptured your spleen," Batman spoke out from the shadows as he stepped forward. "You should take it easy."

Barbara jumped, startled.

"I didn't even hear you come in!" she exclaimed, looking embarrassed.

Batman nodded as he walked over to the side of the bed where Dick could see him without sitting up.

"You were asleep," he replied to Barbara, who was still looking over at him incredulously.

Dick looked up at Batman. He felt ashamed. As he met Batman's gaze, he suddenly looked away.

"How are you feeling?" Batman asked after a moment of silence.

Dick closed his eyes.

"Like I got run over by a truck," he murmured as he tried to relax his chest.

He hesitated.

"I also feel stupid," the dark-haired boy added, still avoiding Batman's gaze.

Barbara kept quiet, feeling very uncomfortable hearing Dick sound so serious.

"I…I wasn't thinking," Dick admitted. "I wanted to…prove I was just as valuable to the cause as you were."

He drew another shallow breath.

"But I was stupid to go in alone."

Batman watched the boy for a moment. Then, he stepped forward and gently sat down on the edge of the bed at the boy's side.

Dick turned his green eyes to where his mentor was seated. Barbara pulled her legs back up onto the chair again as she watched the two. There was a moment of silence amongst the three before Batman spoke up again.

"Do you know what I did when I realized what you had done?" he asked, looking down at his foster son.

Dick shook his head slowly.

"I wasn't mad," Batman continued, much to Dick's surprise. "If anything, I was worried; worried that something like this might happen to you."

Dick felt tears well up in his eyes for the second time that night. This time they weren't from pain, however. He felt sorry for himself, but he also felt horrible for making Barbara and Bruce worry. He couldn't stand to be lying in the hospital for something that was entirely his fault, causing pain to everyone he cared about; pain he didn't even know he was capable of inflicting on them until that very moment.

"I'm sorry," he said quickly, squeezing his eyes shut to blink away the tears. "I'm sorry I…"

Batman put his gloved hand over the boy's and shook his head to stop him. Dick looked up.

"Don't be sorry, Dick," the dark knight assured his friend seriously. "If anything, I should apologize."

Before Dick or Barbara could try to decipher the meaning behind their mentor's words, Batman spoke again.

"I'm just glad you're okay."

Batman smiled down at the boy.

Dick stared for a moment, before a small smile crept across his face as well.

For the first time since his mom and dad's deaths, he felt the warmth and comfort that came with having an adult - a parent – there for him. A reassuring kind of feeling that made him feel safe, and loved.

With Barbara on one side and Batman on the other, Dick felt as though he had a little family again. As unconventional as it was, it was there.

And suddenly being mentioned in the paper or bagging the most villains didn't matter so much. All that mattered was that Dick knew as soon as he was well again, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl would be back out on the rooftops of Gotham, protecting it from harm once more.


Ending Notes: Thank you for reading, and please leave a review! :)