The bed was warm. It was comforting and kept away all the uneasy, nightmarish feelings that he had felt before. Now he knew he was safe. The distant sounds of birds chirping in a nearby tree made their way into Dick's dreams, slowly bringing him to awareness as his dreams dissolved away. Suddenly a loud crash woke Dick from his sleep, making his dreams disappear abruptly.
It sounded like something metal had smashed against the marble floors down at the base of the stairs, startling Dick immensely. Alfred and Bruce were both quite careful when they moved about the mansion. He wondered what had happened, but he was still slightly groggy from sleep, and the small paranoia leftover from the fight with Scarecrow compelled him to find out what was going on. It sounded like it could have been one of Alfred's serving trays hitting the floor, but Dick had to be sure.
The sound of voices carried up through the house, the tones of the voices ranged in emotion. Normally Bruce didn't invite guests over if Dick was injured because he didn't want to raise any suspicion about being Batman, so it was weird that he could even hear people in the first place. It also added to his paranoia. What if something bad had happened? The sounds were just so out of place, but then laughter rang out and that just managed to make Dick even more puzzled.
Dick took the IV out of his hand and pulled off the tabs to the EKG machine. It started to make a flat-lining sound and he quickly turned it off, not wanting to hear the unsettling ring. Dick pushed himself up from the bed, and slowly made his way off of it. He couldn't stand not knowing, as a detective he wanted to find out what was going on if only to relieve his own worries.
He found that it was easier to sit up than he had anticipated, but standing was a whole other issue. His chest hurt when he moved from the bruises, and his legs were shaky from being in bed for so long. He also felt a slight twinge of vertigo, but Dick didn't let that stop him. He had been through so much worse; he could at least make it to the top of the stairs.
He walked over and opened the oak door of his bedroom. It swung open quietly on well oiled hinges, and he went out into the hall. It was cooler than his bedroom, making him shiver a bit. The floor was also cold under his feet, even though it was carpeted. He wished that he had thought to grab a hoodie or something before he left his room.
Dick walked the short distance to the stairs, which overlooked the sitting room and led down into the foyer. By the front door there were four pairs of shoes sitting on a mat. The voices had gotten louder, and Dick thought he could almost recognize them, but he wasn't sure if he had heard right. He grabbed onto the railing and carefully went down the steps. The lounge was off to the side through a pair of double doors which were currently open. He rounded the corner, standing in the doorway of the room, holding onto the frame for support. He couldn't believe what he was looking at.
Dick stared wide-eyed as he saw his friends in the lounge talking animatedly with each other. There was a platter of snacks and a pitcher of iced tea on the table. A Caucasian Megan was talking to Wally about the cookies Alfred had most likely placed out. Superboy was sitting on the sofa looking around the room and Kaldur was quietly reading over the titles of the numerous books on the bookshelf.
"W-what are you doing here?" Dick asked surprised.
They all stopped what they were doing and looked over at him. Wally had a cookie shoved into his mouth, and swallowed quickly to answer Dick.
"Hey dude!" Wally smiled at him. "Bruce invited us over. He said you would be awake soon, but I didn't expect to see you down here yet."
"What…Bruce really asked you here?" Dick looked around the room to see if he could find Bruce, but he was nowhere in sight. It was strange though. Bruce had been so adamant about protecting their identities, and now his friends were sitting in his living room in civilian clothes. "I must be dreaming still."
"No, you are not, my friend. We wanted to see how you were doing after what happened last week. After Batman took you from the mountain we were still concerned." Kaldur said. "You scared us all."
"Sorry, for putting you through that. I didn't want any of that to happen."
"We aren't blaming you and it's not your fault at all. It's just were were all so worried about you. Batman, or rather Mr. Wayne told us we could come and visit you after you woke up. We never thought he would invite us to your house." Megan explained further.
"Oh." Dick responded, somewhat overwhelmed by everything that was happening. Dick smiled though. He had asked Bruce if they could do something after they finished the mission. This was certainly an interesting surprise.
"How are you doing?"Superboy asked.
"Better," Dick answered. But he was still sore, even standing at the moment was presenting a challenge. He felt light-headed and knew he should probably sit down. He leaned against the doorframe heavily as his vision swam suddenly, and his legs threatened to give out on him. He started to slide down to the floor.
"Dick!" Wally was next to him in an instant and grabbed him around the shoulders. "You probably shouldn't walk around yet. Your body has to get used to being up."
"Haha yeah I know. But I heard something crash on the floor, and it bothered me."
"Oh sorry. That was me; I backed into Alfred by accident and knocked a tray out of his hands." Wally explained. "Want me to help you back to your room?"
"No, I'll just sit on the couch for a while." He said pointing at an open space in between where Wally had been sitting previously next to Superboy. Wally helped him over to the couch, and Dick sat down gratefully. He leaned his head back against cushion and closed his eyes waiting for the sense of vertigo to go away. "Sorry. I got dizzy."
"Do you need anything, Robin?" Megan asked. "Some food perhaps? You haven't had anything to eat lately have you?"
Dick laughed and looked over at her. "You don't have to call me Robin. My name is Richard; well you can call me Dick."
"Oh, yes. It was out of habit I guess." Megan said blushing slightly.
"Oh there you are, Master Richard," Alfred was standing in the doorway now, a tray in his hand. Dick hadn't heard him approach, absorbed in the conversation with his friends. He was slightly alarmed at the new voice. "My apologies. I did not mean to startle you, but I was looking for you."
"It's okay, Alfred. Um, sorry I didn't tell you where I was."
"It is not a problem. I figured you would end up here. I brought you soup if you would like some."
"You always know what I want, Al. Thanks." Dick said and took the mug and spoon out of Alfred's hands. "Where is Bruce?"
"Master Bruce is in the Batcave. He got distracted with some work and said he would be up shortly."
"All right. Thanks Al."
"Of course, Master Richard. Call if you need anything, I will be nearby." Alfred said and left the room.
Dick took a sip from the mug filled with soup, savoring the warm broth. It felt really good as it trickled down his throat. He hadn't realized just how hungry he was until now. They all sat in the lounge for a few minutes quietly, until Dick had finished his soup and Wally had devoured most of the cookies on the coffee table.
"Is it only the three of you in this house?" Kaldur asked, breaking the silence.
Dick shook his head. "Um yeah. Alfred has been here since Bruce was a kid and raised him after his parents died. And Bruce did the same for me after my parents were taken away from me. I suppose it's something we have in common, and allows us to support each other so well. I've been really fortunate to have Bruce around."
"It must have been difficult for you though. I'm sorry, Dick." Megan said.
"It's been hard at times and I miss my parents a lot, but I've gotten used to this new life. Although it took some time. I was so used to circus life that after I moved here I got lost in the mansion. I was stuck up on the third floor for almost two hours completely turned around." Dick replied with a short laugh. He leaned forward to put the mug on the coffee table and winced as the movement aggravated his chest.
"What's wrong?" Superboy asked with concern.
"I've just got some bruising on my chest. I'm fine."
Wally paled. "Oh man. I'm so sorry about that. It's my fault, isn't it?" He apologized frantically. "Not like you needed any more pain to deal with. Geez, I feel awful. Sorry Dick."
"Slow down, kid mouth. It's okay." Dick responded with breathy laugh. "I don't blame you, Wally. You helped save my life. All of you helped save my life. I can take a little bruising in order to keep breathing."
Wally relaxed and looked at Dick. "Well, I'm still sorry that you're hurt, but I'm glad that you're here too. Seriously wouldn't know what I would do without you, bud."
"I think we can all agree with that." Kaldur added.
"Absolutely," Megan said cheerily.
"Thanks everyone." Dick couldn't help but smile. "So I heard that you put Scarecrow in a body cast." Dick said to Superboy. "Thanks for that."
Superboy smiled a little. "Anytime. But I don't really want to do it again under the same circumstances."
"Yeah, me neither." He replied, his voice a bit shaky at the end. It wasn't like it bothered him, Dick had brought up the fight in the first place, but the events with the toxin and Scarecrow would take some time to get over. Thankfully Dick didn't think it would be that hard with his friends beside him.
"So Dick," Wally cut in, trying to change the topic. "Uh…why don't you tell us about your life as Richard Grayson. I mean you've told me some stuff, but what's it like to be you. I mean look at your house…it's huge!"
Dick rolled his eyes. "Haha fine. I guess I can share if you want." They all nodded at him so Dick started telling them about the little things first. What his school was like and small bits of his life with Haly's Circus. Superboy was interested when Dick mentioned that his school gymnasium and some halls had to be renovated after their fight with Amazo. They would all ask questions occasionally, and it was fun for Dick to tell them his story. He enjoyed sharing things with them because it allowed him to express his trust in them, and it appeared as though they liked learning about him just as much.
Hours passed by as they talked, until Bruce finally came upstairs from the Batcave. Alfred told him that they were in the lounge so he headed there. The sun was setting leaving a dusky orange on the walls of the lounge as he entered to check on Dick. It was strange that there were no voices coming from the room as he approached, but once he came to the door he found out why.
Dick was asleep on the couch, his head leaning back against the cushions, almost resting against Wally's shoulder. Each one of them had dozed off with a movie playing in the background on the flat screen television. The stress and axiety from the past week must have finally caught up with them leaving them exhausted, but now they had time to rest. It was odd to see them all so peaceful when normally they were out fighting criminals or training. Yet it was to be expected, they could only do so much. After all they were still only kids. It also showed how deeply they trusted each other and proved to Bruce that he had made the right choice in sticking with Dick's judgment. Together as a team they created a bond, something strong that could withstand the blows any villain throws in attempt to topple them. They trusted each other fully, and that is the most important thing. This was a family that would watch out for one another.
Well that's the end of the story. I hope it turned out all right, because I was seriously struggling with this chapter. I had too many ideas, but finally settled with this. But overall it was fun to write, and I just want to thank everyone for reading this and sticking with it. I really appreciate all the wonderful comments that come in the reviews. You guys have been great!
Anyway, this one might be over with but I have started another story called "Forget Me Not" which also focuses on Dick. So if anyone is interested please feel free to take a look :)