A/N: First off, this is a one-shot of Richard's (Robin's, whatever, you get the point) P.O.V in the second chapter of my other fic Bad Start to a Good Day. You may want to read that first for this to make the most sense, but I'll try to make it so you don't absolutely have to.
Disclaimer: If it was mine, the first season would have been completely animated by now, but that's life and it isn't always fair, unless you're actually at a fare, then it's very fare-like.
Dick got home about the same time he did every school day, as if some internal clock told him that Bruce would be less irritated with him if he was home at a normal time.
Either way he went in through the back door and made his way to the kitchen where he knew Alfred would be, preparing dinner. It was sometimes easier to use Alfred as a buffer in these sorts of things.
He had barely reached the door when he heard the crisp British accent, "Oh, good, you're home. We were getting worried." Well, at least now he knew where the Batman learned it.
He stuck his head inside the door and saw Alfred's smiling face, "I guess the school called?" he asked tentatively.
"They did," the old butler said calmly, frowning, and then looked up from whatever he was chopping, "Are you all right, my boy?"
Dick nodded quickly, a little too quickly, and tried to cover with, "I'm fine."
Alfred just paused, watching him for a moment. Then he reached behind him and held out a plate stacked with some of Richard's favorite cookies, "I suppose you won't want these if that's the case?"
Richard smiled, "I'm not that fine," he said, taking the plate from Alfred.
"Why don't you take those to your room?" the butler said turning to the stove, "I'll let Master Bruce know you're here." Dick nodded and walked out silently.
As he walked up the stairs to his room, he rehearsed his story one more time in his head. Bruce, even out of his uniform, liked things cataloged and sorted just so.
The posters weren't there when he walked into homeroom that morning. Whoever did it had to have worked pretty quickly to put it all up, and so many of them, so fast.
And yet the bell rang, Dick walked out of class and there it was, taped to the wall opposite the classroom door.
The poster that had once advertised Haley's Circus, featuring the Flying Graysons. Dick froze.
The other kids flooding out of the classrooms snapped him out of it, and he ripped it down before anyone else could see. Then he looked around and he felt the blood leave his head so fast it felt like he might pass out. His fingers that still clutched the offending flyer went numb.
The posters were everywhere. On the bulletin boards, the lockers, littering the floor. Kids were pulling them down to get into their lockers and staring, double-taking, quite a few eyes found him with mixed expressions, though he hardly registered any of them. He could hear them talking but not what they were saying and at the moment he didn't care.
Artemis finally made it out of the crowded door behind him, already speaking but stopped when she saw his pale disbelieving expression. Then she looked around and saw why, "Oh no," she muttered, "Richard . . ."
She trailed off when Pricilla walked by, long brown hair seeming to sway with the tune she was humming loud enough for only Dick and Artemis to hear, The Flying Trapeze. She winked at Dick over her shoulder. That one little gesture made the message in her latest cruel stunt very clear. Just didn't want you to forget, honey, you're still a freak, her glance and smirk at Artemis still standing behind him also said, And don't you forget that it's still my castle. With that she walked away, humming her new favorite tune, the soft tap of her high-heels enhancing every note.
Dick didn't stay to see Artemis throw Pricilla the dirtiest look possibly in history, or the several pitying looks he got as he threw the flyer still in his hand to the floor and walked as fast and as discreetly as possible away from the crowd in search of . . . he wasn't sure, maybe a hiding place.
Yes, right then he was perfectly okay with running away and hiding.
Artemis found him, under the bleachers of the gym. He hated that she found him so easily, especially when he wanted to just be left alone. Then again his hiding place was not the most creative when he thought about it.
Dick was about to tell her to leave, just go away and let him sit there in his own misery till the final bell rang and he could go home.
Oh, how badly he wanted to go home. He'd go to his room, Alfred would bring him some of the most amazing cookies in the world and then Bruce would come and sit with him . . .
Artemis started talking, telling him what had really happened. That the posters were all payback for a prank she pulled on Pricilla.
Surprisingly to Dick, Artemis actually made him laugh.
It seemed to surprise her too, but she ran with it. Seeming bound and determined to make it up to him she talked him into skipping the rest of school, against his better judgment. On second thought, Bruce would probably understand this one. He'd probably gotten a call from the school already, informing him of what happened.
Or he might expect Robin to be tougher than running away.
Over a stupid prank. A prank that still stung when he thought about it. It really stung when he thought about when he had to go back to school.
The ice cream Artemis had gotten them suddenly turned rather bitter in his mouth.
Artemis noticed his expression, "Don't worry, kid, we'll get her back," she smiled at him, and Dick realized how truly weird this was; that Artemis of all people was comforting him. He laughed again, What would Wally say?
But the civilian archer was right and he wasn't going to worry about anything right now.
Now, Dick was a little worried.
He sat in his room, absently chewing the cookies Alfred so graciously had ready for him, waiting for his mentor to come in and give him what he knew would be a scolding.
Sitting up straighter on his bed, he watched Bruce walk in and say, "Hey Dick," in a much softer tone than the boy was expecting, "Relax, you're not in trouble."
Richard did as he was told and smiled at Bruce a little, "Sorry if I made you worry," Dick said softly as the older man came over and sat next to him on the bed.
"Well we weren't too worried. It was you and Artemis after all, figured you could handle yourselves," Bruce then looked at his protégé seriously, as if he stared long enough he could read the boy's thoughts, "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," Dick lied. And his eyes were pricking. And his stupid throat was getting tight.
Bruce watched him a moment longer, then turned away as if to change the subject ever so slightly, "Listen, the Principal told me that they didn't know who did it but I'll tell them to launch an inquiry –"
"Oh, good grief, no," Dick interrupted, his voice cracked, but he continued anyway, hoping Bruce didn't notice (Fat chance), "Can't we just pretend it never happened and go from there?"
He looked hopefully at his mentor, pleading with his eyes to just let the matter drop (maybe he could convince Artemis of the same thing).
Bruce blinked at him and shrugged, "Alright then, if that's what you want."
Dick sighed and nodded, not trusting himself to speak again.
Bruce was watching him again, "You sure you're okay," he said it like a statement, like he already knew the truthful answer, which he probably did.
The younger looked away and almost lied again, determined not to cry, but paused. He shook his head, again not trusting his voice.
Bruce nodded and reached up to push the boy's bangs away from his face, hand lingering on Dick's shoulder.
Dick swallowed finally and said in an attempt to lighten the moment, "No offense Bruce, but rich kids suck," Bruce chuckled along with him.
"I know," he replied. Then Bruce, the Batman, did something that could have left the entire Justice League speechless; he pulled Richard into a hug.
Dick's resolve about not crying nearly crumbled completely as just a few tears escaped him. He buried his face in Bruce's shoulder to stifle the flow and said, "It's not that it was that bad really. I guess I just haven't had to think about it so hard for a while, and then it was right there . . ."
He trailed off, but Bruce still understood, "Cruel reminder, huh?" Dick just nodded, face still pressed to Bruce's shoulder.
They both stayed like that, neither knew how long, until Dick sat up, brushing a few rebellious tears from his face, "Thanks," he said simply, smiling shakily.
Bruce smiled back, "Any time," he said, "And pass the cookies, Alfred's hoarding them down there to make sure he can stuff you with them later."
A genuine laugh escaped Dick as he passed the sweets, "Maybe I can talk him into letting me have cake and ice cream for dinner."
"You can only ask if you make sure I'm taping his response."
A/N: Not sure how much I like this, but I wrote it for the reviewers who wanted to see Dick's side of the story in Bad Start to a Good Day. This is for you guys (or gals, whatev)!
Anyway, hope I was clear enough with everything, there's a little more detail about the prank itself and I just skimmed over the part with Artemis. Right there at the end the fluff fairies came back (remember them?) with their fluff dust. Hope it was what you wanted, though.
But thanks for reading and please review!