Summary: Reposting from LJ. This is basically a product of my earlier grieving feelings about the DC Reboot. AU— if their universe erased the time Damian and Dick spent together.
Disclaimer: DC characters and locations are not my property.
His fingers move with a practiced and undisturbed tempo across the keys of the grand piano when the man in the black costume makes his presence known in the drawing room's entrance. The winged emblem spreading across his front, over to his shoulders, glares like a fresh, open wound.
Damian can easily keep the notes of "Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2" steady while taking the time to analyze him from the corners of his eyes.
Him. The first Robin. The one Father speaks of so highly. Tt.
"Father is decidedly occupied at the moment with his duties. Pennyworth didn't mention visitors."
The man gives him a vile sort of sentimental, chummy smile when Damian finishes the composition and turns on the piano bench to face him with a hard, reserved look. "We haven't met before, have we, Damian?" Of course not, what a simpleton.
"You certainly have a presumptuous manner of addressing me."
"Ha, I tend to make that kind of impression." The man sweeps midnight-colored bangs with gloved fingers, still with that vile smile. "And I'm not looking Bruce."
Damian scowls. "Then what is your business at my Father's manor?"
The statement is spoken simply, blandly, with no connotation of a form of tangible emotion — and it does nothing to deter the man with the scarlet, nylon-fabric wound from approaching him. "I know this seems strange…" His blue eyes narrow perplexed as he admits, "I can't really explain it myself…"
"…Are you intoxicated or something?" Damian interrupts him.
The man's laugh sounds clearly in the drawing room. Damian's earns burn. He mutters, "No… perhaps you are just retarded."
"I told you. I can't explain it. I just…" The smiling man with too-long, soft-looking bangs kneels in front of him — as if Damian couldn't just reach out and attack his pressure point whenever he felt like it, hrmph — and the smile fades into something morbidly heartbroken. "I…"
There is a sensation of the man's arms roughly embracing around him, pinning Damian's arms snug at his sides. Damian's face flares up with dark color.
"-…Unhand me, you—!" His throat swells uncomfortably and he has stilled himself from thrashing any further. Damian brings a hand up to cautiously touch his own warmed cheek. His fingers come back wet. "…What is this? Why am I crying? Explain this!" He feels lost. So very lost in this moment. Peculiar. And seemingly fragile. And somewhat unnerving if anything at all.
"It's because you are remembering… I don't think this was supposed to happen." The arms gently squeeze. "But you remember, don't you, Damian? And you're sad… you miss me…" The words come out… stifling themselves… as if only processing partway as they leave the man's lips in a whisper.
Damian shakes his head, dismayed as several new trails of tears fall from his eyes.
"Why would I miss you? I barely even know you."
The man's chest stiffens in.
"For the same reason that something told me to come back here!" A bitter overtone. "Gotham isn't my city. It's never been. I have no business here."
"Then why don't you leave? Save yourself from further embarrassment."
…Why couldn't he stop crying?
"You'll have to let me go first."
It is then that Damian realizes with mounting horror that the man has already let him go but his very own arms have betrayed him, clinging to the man's neck. No… Damian's stomach coils and his breathing shallows as a lump builds there in his swelling throat… no.
His face buries instinctively into the top of the man's right shoulder. "Grayson… this… this i-isn't…"
Grayson's hands rub his back in small, light strokes. He knew his name. Always had known. How…
"Easy there, Damian—" he murmurs.
"—WHY DID YOU-…!"
Damian's fingers dig punishingly into the fabric of the modified Nightwing costume. Accusatory. Hurt. This was wrong. All wrong.
"-…It was us," Damian grits out. "Together. You were… my Batman." Every. Word. Hurts.
Grayson — the unceasingly affectionate fool that he is — attempts to pacify him by cradling the back of his head. "…I don't think anyone had a choice," he murmurs, "I'm sorry, buddy… I didn't mean for us to be separated." Damian's arms squeeze in response, not so gently, but Grayson doesn't complain.
He never complains.
Maybe if he had… just once… they could have stayed as Batman and Robin.