Batman was driving the batmobile home. Dick had been unusually quiet in the car today. He was just sitting in his seat, looking nervous.
"Is everything ok Robin?" Batman asked.
"Yea", said Robin, "I'm fine. What's gona happen to Clayface?"
"We'll catch him some other night", said Batman bluntly, "don't worry. He'll slink around for a while and I don't know where he'll turn up. He could be hiding almost anyplace. He is hard to find. I once found him in someone's house. He was under the man's bed." Robin nodded, looking none too reassured at all.
"Is there something bothering you?" Batman asked in his gruff voice that seemed almost devoid of emotion, "Did you get hurt?"
"A little", said Robin, "but not too bad." Batman tried to turn on his police radio, but accidentally got a music station. It started singing the song, "He could be anywhere."
"Darn thing", Batman said quietly. He switched it to the police frequencies. "Are you sure you're ok Robin?" Robin nodded, sinking lower into his leather seat.
When they got back to the batcave, Robin got out slowly, almost cautiously and searching his surroundings. Batman looked at him funny, but went over to the bat computer. Robin tried to stifle a yawn.
"Come here Robin", said Batman, "lets get you out of that costume and into some pajamas." Robin nodded wearily and walked over to Batman. He started to take off his shirt, but stopped halfway in fatigue. Batman took it off the rest of the way.
Batman knelt in front of the boy and checked his torso for any injuries. He found a few emerging bruises, but nothing that really required his attention. They got bruises all the time. Batman was sure every inch of Robin's body had been hit with something or other by now.
He helped the child into his pajamas and bid him to walk up the stairs with him back into Wayne manor. When it came to Bruce, most things had to be done yourself. Dick was almost never carried although he liked the sensation of those strong hands encircling him, making him feel safe and warm.
Dick padded up to his room and climbed into his bed. It was sure to be a long night.
Dick was trembling in his bed. It was about twelve o'clock, two hours after he had been sent to got to sleep that night. "Bruce", he called from across the house, "Bruce." He got no answer. Then, he started to cry again. "Bruce", he screamed.
Bruce came running in. His hair was tousled and sticking up at odd angles and he looked tired. "Dick", he asked, "What is it, what's happened, are you hurt?" Dick's bottom lip trembled with juvenile terror.
"There's a monster under my bed", he whispered. Bruce gave him an annoyed and almost unbelieving look.
"Seriously", he asked, "Dick there's no monster under your bed, there's no such thing as monsters."
"It's Clayface", Dick murmured, almost afraid to say the name lest it summon some terror from beneath sheets.
"Why do you think Clayface is under your bed?" Bruce asked.
"You said he could be anywhere," Dick squeaked, "even under the bed." Bruce suddenly felt like the stupidest person on earth. He wanted to kick himself for telling the kid that. Wow, he was dumb.
"Dick", Bruce said pleasantly, "if Clayface was under your bed, and I'm not saying he is, because he's not, he would have already strangled you or hit you over the head, killing you instantly, with his mallet hand." Dick gave a little shriek of terror and dove under his sheets trembling.
Bruce suddenly felt even more stupid. "Alright", said Bruce, surrendering, "What can I do to get you to go to sleep?"
"Check under my bed for Clayface. I'm sure you can chase him out", Dick said.
So, the Dark knight of Gotham knelt down on his knees and stuck his head under his partner's bed. "There", he said, "no Clayface."
"You can't see in the dark", Dick said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, "You need a flashlight."
"Alright", Bruce said wearily to tired to try to reason with the boy or fight him, "let me go and get a flashlight."
"Wait", shrieked Dick, "Don't leave me here alone."
"Then come with me", Bruce said annoyed. Dick slowly crawled out of bed and then made a mad dash for his guardian. He plastered himself to Bruce's leg, wrapping his little arms around it. "Dick", he said, "I can't walk with you attached to me."
"Will you carry me?" Dick asked softly.
"Fine", said Bruce gently. He picked him up and held him tightly as he walked over to the hall closet. He grabbed a flashlight and flashed it under the bed.
"See", he said, "no Clayface."
"You have to check in the closet", said Dick.
"Ok", said Bruce. Dick wasn't satisfied until Bruce had checked all the dark corners of the room and securely fastened the windows.
Bruce was about to walk out the door when he heard Dick say, "but it's not safe out there. This room is the only room that's safe because you already checked it. You could get hurt."
Bruce was moved by the boy's genuine concern for his well-being. He truly believed that if Bruce left the room, his safety was in jeopardy. "So", said Bruce, "What to do you want me to do, stay here with you?" Dick nodded.
"It would be safer. There's safety in numbers, that's what you always say." Bruce nodded.
"That is what I always say." He went over and sat down on Dick's bed. Dick crawled into his lap and buried his face in the man's chest. He gave a contented sigh as if all were now right with the world and settled in.
Bruce suddenly found he didn't have the heart to move him. He lay down on Dick's bed and closed his eyes. Just as he was about to fall asleep, he heard a whisper. "Bruce, do you love me?" Bruce was surprised by the question and didn't answer right away. He gazed down into those big blue eyes staring up at him.
"Yes Dick", Bruce said, "I do love you."
"I love you too Bruce", said Dick and he snuggled in, quickly falling asleep.
Hey everyone, quick authors note. for all of you who like this sort of things, i'm running low on ideas to write about with Batman and Robin. you know, normal childhood problems that can be hightened by the fact that we're dealing with super heroes. if you have any ideas, please PM me.