Disclaimer: I don't own Batman or the songs.
This was actually a pretty hard chapter to write. My main purpose with this chapter was to add a side to the family no one expands on. It's always those Dick Babs fics where she's concered if it's out of pity that Dick dates her or not. The other is the Selina Bruce thing that is messing with the idea that they can't be together. As I have shown you, they can. This delves into the family concept and how one person affects the entire group. There's not much action, but a lot of drama. Every person has a different relationship to another person. One reviewer states that Tim seemed so distant to Dick when he first saw his brother in the hospital. I wanted to make it that way because Tim has always tried to push things aside to get a job done. Of course, everyone has their limits. The identity of Azrael is still a mystery, but it's worth the wait I am told. I'd still like to know who you all think is Azrael. This chapter gives a tiny hint, but you have to look carefully. Most chapters give some form of hint to Azrael's identity, so reread some chapters and see if you can spot the clues to figure out the mystery.
By the way. I know this chapter is kinda short, but I feel it holds some insight and power to what drives Batman and his partners. Enjoy reading and please review!
"Oh my God," Selina gasped as she looked into the room once the elevator doors fully opened.
"Dick!" Bruce rushed out of the lift with Selina close behind and ran to his oldest son's side. Dick was spread out on a table; every wire and tube imaginable connected to his barely motioning form. Leslie and Alfred were working diligently on cleaning Dick's wounds and replacing the blood stained bandages. Neither of the two showed any hint of emotion; emotions were a liability that they could not afford. Nothing needed to be said anyways. The tension in the room spoke volumes. Bruce could barely stomach the sight of his son looking as if he could die at any moment. Alfred removed the final bandage that had covered a large gash in Dick's chest and the sight of the injury made everyone turn pale. The old English butler turned to look at his employee and surrogate son. He rested a hand on Bruce's shoulder; there was no need for Bruce to ask the inevitable question.
"He has sustained multiple fractures in both arms and a sprained wrist. His right shoulder is dislocated..."
Leslie continued to work on Dick in prepping him for surgery as she finished listing the other injuries for Alfred. "His knee is out of place. And his left tibia is broken. Several broken ribs, and those that aren't broken are bruised. His breathing indicates a punctured lung. Not to mention the giant stab wound in his chest. Barely missed his heart. Lucky little brat." Leslie gave a sad smile to the injured hero. Dick was almost like a grandson. She shook her head out of those thoughts and looked up to the butler. "Alfred, I need you to administer a sedative."
Alfred was quick to respond as leslie Leslie continued. "His face is full of bruises and he most likely has a severe concussion. We need to keep him elevated. How's that sedative going, Alfred?"
Before Alfred could answer, Dick's eyes opened and he abruptly sat up. "Barbara!" Dick cried out. His sudden movement toppled over several machines he was hooked up to.
"Hold him down!" Leslie shouted. Bruce and Alfred attempted to push the boy down, but Dick kept fighting.
"Barbara!" Dick yelled again. His heart rate was nearly off the chart and the beeping of the EKG was coming within seconds of each other.
Leslie kept one hand on the convulsing boy while snatching the syringe from Alfred with her other. "Selina!"
Selina was over in an instant.
"I need you to give him this." Leslie handed the younger woman the syringe. "Give him this and it will put him under."
Selina nodded and moved into position. Bruce pinned Dick's arm and Selina administered the shot. It took a few seconds, but Dick's heart rate began to slow down and the strength of his struggle was slowly fading.
"Barbara," Dick's eyes started to droop. "Barbara..." Finally Dick relaxed and was slowly lowered gently back down. Bruce was stoic for a moment; just staring at the barely breathing boy on the table. He brushed the hair out of Dick's face and then finally looked up at Alfred. The older man had tears welled up in his eyes, but kept himself composed.
Alfred wiped the tears from his cheeks. "Master Timothy left for the lab shortly after he arrived.
Bruce nodded and gave one last glance at his son. "Selina, watch over him." Bruce's voice was gruff and without emotion. Selina knew however that emotion was one thing Bruce could not afford right at this moment. She nodded and Bruce turned and headed to the elevator.
As he stepped off of the lift, Bruce could see his youngest son standing at the computer, diligently working. Currently, Tim was running a DNA scan on the blood he had found at the crime scene.
"I'm running a search over every rogue we have ever faced. No matches so far."
"Try expanding the search to incorporate other criminals working outside of Gotham."
"You think this could be someone from another city moving in?"
Bruce stopped just behind the boy and looked intently at the screen. "Possibly. From the wounds Dick sustained, whoever this Azrael is, he or she is trained. Do we have any footage from the security cameras? That might give us a lead on who we're dealing with by what style they used."
Tim nodded. "Not much I could gather though. This guy somehow short circuited the whole system. All evidence points to the use of a device similar to the Cryptographic Sequencer we've been working on."
"Was any image taken of him?"
Robin did not answer for a while. Instead, he simply pulled up a video window on the monitor.
"Bruce, I have to tell you that what you're about to see-"
"Play it." Bruce said in a gruff tone.
Tim sighed and clicked the play button.
Bruce looked on in shock and horror as he witnessed the brutal fight on the screen. No matter how much he tried to keep his emotions in check, his facial expression betrayed him. The image was of the fight, if you could even call it such, between Dick and Azrael. Bruce's stomach was in knots as he watched his son being systematically beaten to death. No matter what Dick did to try and defend himself or attack, Azrael had a counter for every move. Bruce tried to push his quickly growing anger to the side; he needed to study this new enemy. He was startled when he started noticing the different styles mixed used; Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Karate, Jujitsu, Ninjitsu, and that was only some of the styles used. The mixture of styles was the same style he used as the Batman. It was like looking in a mirror. Every move; every action was nearly perfect and identical to how he would have done it.
Bruce could tell that Dick's mind was on something else. Most likely Dick's thoughts were focused on Barbara. He could not say his son was careless. Bruce would be the first to admit that similar situations had come up in the past. He would have most likely been in the same state of mind. But his son's thoughts would still be more intense than his own.
It was no secret that Dick loved Barbara. The way that he had stayed beside her through thick and thin was a testament to that. However, even if Dick's head had been fully focused on the fight, Bruce doubted that his son could even handle himself against this opponent. Bruce was even starting to doubt he could handle this new enemy. This new Azrael was good. Very good. It was in the way he moved and how he anticipated his opponents moves. He was by far one of the most talented fighters Bruce had ever seen and, for a split second, the Batman was afraid.
The fight was over in less than three minutes, and it was the longest three minutes of Bruce's life. Bruce nearly lost control of his anger when the blade pierced Dick's chest. It was the hardest thing Bruce had ever had to watch. Dick's body sunk against the wall to the floor; motionless save for the shallow breaths. Azrael wiped the blood from his wrist mounted blade and retracted it into the gauntlet. Then he looked up at the camera, and Bruce could see the smirk formed underneath the mask. Azrael was taunting him. Bruce's fist clenched hard and his knuckles turned white. The camera feed cut just then and Bruce closed his eyes. Then he lost control.
He grabbed one of the computer chairs and threw it across the room, smashing it into several machines. He yelled out in rage to the sky only for it to echo of the cave walls.
"I should have been there!" He smashed his fist into a wall, denting the metal where his gauntlet covered fist impactied. "I should have been there when he needed they needed me! If anything, it should be me on that table!"
"Bruce." Tim's voice broke through Bruce's rage. The boys voice was quiet. Bruce turned to see the child shaking. He was looking down at the ground so that Bruce would not see him cry. Bruce then realized what was wrong. Tim had kept his head the entire time. He never showed any emotion and did what needed to be done. He had kept the emotions bottled up this entire time. Bruce slowly walked over to his partner; his son; his friend and laid his hands on the boy's shoulders. Tim looked up at his mentor. The spirit glue keeping his mask in place was coming undone because of the salt in the tears. Bruce reached up and gently removed the Robin mask. Tim's eyes were filled with unshod tears that steadily started to flow down his cheeks once the mask was removed.
They remained facing each other for a while; both hardly moving until Tim jumped up and embraced Bruce around the neck. Bruce reacted in the only way he could. He wrapped his arms around his son and the boy cried into his shoulder.
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