Us against the World
I'm back! I know, I know, it's been like forever! But summer does that to me, I can't help it. I also wasn't very happy with how the Christmas chapters turned out which made it harder for me to write. I'm glad a lot of you liked it but I didn't. This chapter is more to my liking, although I will warn you this is totally rated T. A few other chapters probably were too but this one seriously is. Like swearing and sexual references.
Disclaimer: I don't own it...any of it.
The Batcave was cold. Of course it was always cold since it was a cave, but today it felt colder to one Dick Grayson. He sat at the Batcomputer, a letter clutched in his hand and a scowl on his face. He'd been expecting this for a while since, according to society, he couldn't handle responsibility. Lucius Fox said Wayne Enterprises was meant to be handle by a businessman, not Dick. The superhero community said that Batman was meant for a harder man, not Dick. Now Gotham was saying that caring for his family was another thing that Dick Grayson could not do. He was 22 years old, but apparently too young to raise his brother in the eyes of Gotham. He'd expected a visit from social services eventually. He just hadn't expected it so soon.
Dick knew why they were coming. There were quite a few reasons probably. Damian's last trip to the school nurse had revealed some suspicious looking bruises to the school faculty. Dick had a meeting a week later to explain to them that Damian's hobby was martial arts and he often got injured sparring with his instructor. That had cleared up that problem, although not every one of the faculty members had believed him. Dick had wondered if those allegations would come back to bite him.
That wasn't the only reason a social worker was coming. It was, after all, hard to forget the disastrous outing that classified Dick Grayson as an unfit guardian. He'd had good intentions when he dragged Damian around town. Keep up appearances, get some fresh air, and bond like a normal family. The problem was, their family is anything but normal.
0000000 1 week earlier 000000
'So far so good.' Dick thought walking into the mall with Damian by his side. It had been a small miracle that Dick had managed to bring Damian shopping without physically having to drag him here. Now that they had arrived at the mall though, Damian made it perfectly clear what he thought about shopping.
"I still do not understand why you insisted upon bringing me with you when you are perfectly capable of shopping alone." Damian's expression was somewhere between a scowl and grimace as he looked around the small food court they were in. Dick let out a sigh at Damian's words. He wasn't surprised that his little brother didn't want to be here but he'd hoped Damian might warm up to the idea of shopping once they arrived. Apparently not.
"I told you Damian; we're not just here to shop we're here to bond. Family shopping is fun. You get to shop for things you need while having fun with miscellaneous merchandise like sunglasses or hats and; oh come on! It's not that bad." Dick frowned as Damian let out a -Tt- quietly beside him.
"Grayson, shopping in a place like this is neither productive nor fun. It is simply a waste of our Saturday. I can think of nothing worse that we could be doing today short of dying. We should just leave." Damian half turned to walk back towards the entrance, as though his decision was final, before Dick grabbed his arm and dragged him back into the food court.
"You're exaggerating Dami. It's not like I'm torturing you or anything. We're just going shopping and maybe we'll go out to lunch, but that's it. It's something that normal families do all the time. So if we want to keep our identities secret we, the Wayne family, have to go out on the town now and then." Dick tried to make his tone soothing and understanding despite his growing frustration towards Damian's attitude.
Damian was far from soothed though. If anything Dick's calming words seemed to have infuriated the little bird. "Don't talk to me like that; like I'm some stupid child. I understand things far better than you do Grayson."
Dick Grayson pinched the bridge of his nose in irritation at Damian's outburst before looking around the cafeteria. It seemed that his youngest brother's temper tantrum had brought judgmental eyes to focus on Dick. Fantastic, now he was a bad parental figure as well as a bad Batman.
"Your arguments are weak and shopping is a completely useless. We have all the clothes we need and if we wanted any miscellaneous objects we could just order them from the internet. If you were thinking things through you would have realized how pointless this shopping trip is. We shouldn't have to degrade ourselves by shopping in these middle class stores anyway, that's what a servant like Pennyworth is for."
Dick head snapped up at the insult towards Alfred. It was one thing to beat on Tim or call Dick an idiot, but no one insults Alfred. Dick glared at Damian, who paled slightly under the replica of his father's famous glare and then Dick snapped,
"That's enough!" Dick's yell echoed in the cafeteria. "I get it, okay! You hate Tim, you hate me, and you don't want to go shopping. I know! But I have news for you Damian, you may think you're an adult but in reality you're 10 years old. That means that despite being a little smart ass," Damian's eyes widened in shocked reproach at Dick words, " I sometimes know what's best for you! Now we're going shopping, got it!?"
Damian's eyes were on the floor, hiding his face from Dick, but he murmured a resigned yes. Dick relaxed a bit when Damian spoke, his anger dissipating. He immediately felt guilty for snapping at his little brother. Sure Damian could be a little brat and sometimes needed a good lecture, but yelling at him in the middle of a crowded place had been harsh. Plus he was only 10.
Gently placing his hand on his brothers' shoulders, and hating himself when the boy flinched, Dick lowered his voice to a soothing murmur. "Hey...Dami. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell...let's just go home, okay? We can try shopping some other time." Damian gave another small nod and although he still his face down Dick felt a little tension leave his shoulders when Dick said they were going home.
"Come on then." Dick whispered to Damian. They walked out of the food court judgmental whispers following them. Dick's arm came to rest around his little brother's shoulders, attempting to protect him from the harsh words and disapproving eyes but knowing it was already too late. The damage was done.
00000000 Present 000000000
The two of them had spared for a few hours, releasing built up tension, and had forgiven each other not long afterwards. Not out loud of course, Damian would never apologize out loud, but no words were needed. A simple hair ruffle and "tt" were all the brothers needed to reassure them that there were no hard feelings. However, while they may have forgiven each other Gotham had yet to forgive Dick Grayson for his outburst. A visit to determine Damian's home situation was inevitable after the mall scene.
Dick was jolted out of his memories by the clink of the tea tray being placed beside him. He turned with a grateful smile to accept the hot cocoa from Alfred.
"Thanks Alfred, you're a lifesaver." Dick said before lightly blowing into the steamy cup. Alfred nodded and looked down at the letter in Dick's hand.
"I shall prepare for social service's visit next Thursday Master Richard. In the meantime, might I suggest you spend a little time with Master Damian? An improvement in your relationship would be the best course of action at this time." Dick nodded thoughtfully as he sipped his drink.
"Do you think I should tell Damian about the visit Alfred?" Dick couldn't stop the question that came out of his mouth. It had been bugging him since he'd first read the letter. Does he tell Damian about the impending social service visit so that he could be on his best behavior? Or should he just tell his brother that someone was coming to visit and let everything happen naturally? Either option could turn out to be disastrous.
Alfred looked at him with raised eyebrows. "I believe that is your decision to make Master Richard, not mine." He then left Dick alone down in the dark cave.
Dick sighed and placed the crinkled letter on the keyboard. It was a tough decision. When he was younger Bruce had never told him that their visitors were from social services. However, while Dick had been a happy child who loved Bruce like a dad, Damian... wasn't the most joyful child and his relationship with Dick wasn't the best. Anyone who really knew Damian could tell that he was happy and that he was fond of Dick but anyone who didn't understand the young bat would simply see a sullen child who constantly snapped at his family. Not exactly the perfect family image a social worker would be looking for.
Dick ran a hand through his disheveled hair and groaned. Why couldn't he get a normal little brother to train and raise? It would've made his life so much easier. He loved Damian, he really did. But at times like this...a normal little brother would be preferred. Another loud sigh echoed in the cave when Dick finally decided on a course of action; he wouldn't tell Damian about the social worker. They would act natural and hope for the best.
'Something is wrong, something isn't right.' Damian had been thinking the same thoughts for the past week. He had gotten home from school last week and was immediately greeted by a smiling Grayson. That was normal and at first Damian hardly spared a glance towards his over excitable brother. Then Grayson had started speaking and Damian knew something was up. Grayson's usually light voice sounded deep, as if he'd like nothing more than to speak in his gravely Batman voice. That alone was reason to worry but then Damian turned to look at his brother. What Grayson wore on his face could hardly be called a smile; at least not compared to his usual smile. It was a simple baring of the teeth with no joyful emotion behind it that Damian could discern. That was when Damian had known that something was wrong.
All week long Damian had attempted to discover what was bothering Grayson but to no avail. He had asked Pennyworth and, although the butler stated he had no idea what Damian was talking about, he clearly sensed something was wrong with Grayson even if he didn't know what. A powerful tension hung in air around the manor; a feeling of impending trouble. It frustrated Damian to no end that he couldn't figure out what Grayson's behavior meant. Did Grayson get a girlfriend he didn't think Damian would approve of? Was he sick? Was he thinking of...removing Damian as Robin and reinstating Drake? The last one worried Damian the most but he doubted that outcome. Drake had his own identity now. Damian went through hundreds of possibilities in his head and yet he still had no idea.
Then late Wednesday afternoon Grayson had come up to Damian, stress and worry practically radiating from him, and told him that they were having an important guest tomorrow and that Damian should be on his best behavior. Outwardly Damian had scoffed at Grayson's words and walked away but on the inside he was anxious. All the signs pointed to their guest being the reason for Grayson's unease. Damian just couldn't understand why a guest to the manor should worry Grayson. The likelihood of said visitor finding the Batcave was very low... so what was Grayson afraid of?
The sound of the doorbell echoed through the manor and Dick listened from Bruce's office as Alfred went to go greet their guest. From what he could hear the social worker was a man with a stern voice and a stiff posture (He could tell from the man's footsteps). In other words, this man meant business. Holding down his panic Dick went through his mental checklist. Batcave sealed, check. Manor clean, check. Damian presentable, check. Pants...Dick looked down, check. A soft knock sounded on the door and Dick took a deep breath.
"Come in." He said nervously smoothing down his hair as Alfred escorted the man inside.
The social worker was dressed in a black suit and tie, professional with no flash of playful color in his outfit. He had short brown hair and spectacles that kept slipping down his nose. He looked rather familiar. He already had a clipboard out and seemed to have started taking notes. He paused after entering the study to jot down something else before making his way to Dick.
"Mr. Wayne, pleasure to meet you. I'm Mr. Russell." The man stated as they shook hands. Dick started at the familiar voice, but couldn't place where he'd heard it before. Shaking off his curiosity he smiled and said,
"Pleasure's all mine Mr. Russell but please call me Mr. Grayson." Dick knew that the man would refuse to call him by his first name. Mr. Russell was far too formal to refer to anyone as 'Dick". His last name would have to do.
Mr. Russell however raised his eyebrows at Dick's statement. "Correct me if I am wrong but I do believe your legal documents have your name as Richard John Grayson Wayne."
Dick nodded with a self-conscious smile. "Well yeah, they do. But I've gone by Grayson my whole life and Wayne was always Bruce's name so..." Dick stopped talking when he caught the look of obvious disapproval. The man said nothing else to Dick though. He simply wrote something down on his clipboard while shaking his head.
Dick had almost forgotten how much he hated those clipboards. When he was a kid he was always worried when social workers of guidance counselors wrote things down on their clipboards; he worried he'd said something wrong. Right now, with the looks this man was giving him, he knew he'd said something wrong... and man did that expression look familiar.
Mr. Russell pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose and said, "If you would be so kind as to escort me to see the child, your...brother." The way the man paused and sneered before saying "brother" infuriated Dick. Who the hell was this guy to come into his house and ridicule him and his family relations!? He simply took a deep breath and smiled, pushing away his anger towards the man.
"Of course Mr. Russell, Damian is in the den, if you'll follow me." Dick put special emphasis on his little brother's name. He wouldn't permit this old man to call Damian child. It was rude and if Damian heard him say it they'd have problems. He then turned and led Mr. Russell to the den praying Damian would be on his best behavior.
A soft knock sounded at the doorway. Damian looked up from his place on the floor where he had been coloring to see Grayson's head popping in.
"Hey Damian, mind if we come in?" Grayson asked, raising an eyebrow playfully when he saw Damian's drawings. Damian kept his face completely blank as he quickly stuffed his art under the rug, although he was blushing.
"Tt. It's your house Grayson. You can go wherever you want in it." Damian's harsh response was his attempt to hide his unease towards the situation. He wasn't stupid; he knew something wasn't right. Grayson would no doubt see right through his aloof mask but their guest would not.
Grayson and his "guest" entered the den. Damian scanned the man up and down and decided he wasn't the type of person Grayson would usually invite to the manor. He was dressed formally and had a stern countenance. Grayson's usual friends and acquaintances were loud and happy. The fact that this man was different from the others made Damian sure that this wasn't a friendly visit.
Damian wasn't sure if he liked the man. Of course he wouldn't judge the man just by his appearance. But from the moment they walked in Damian could tell that Grayson did not like their guest. His usually fluid movement was slightly jerky, as if he had a thorn jabbing his feet as he walked. Damian knew very few people that Grayson didn't like and most of them were bad guys. So Damian was uncertain about the man. Dick led their visitor into the den and over to Damian. As they stopped in front where he was lying down Grayson turned to the stranger with a forced smile on his face and said,
"Mr. Russell this is my little brother, Damian. Damian this is Mr. Russell...our guest." Grayson's prompting for proper behavior was unnecessary. Damian was well aware of how he should act towards a guest.
"It's nice to meet you Mr. Russell." He said standing up and offering his hand to the stiff man. Mr. Russell didn't accept the handshake though. He simply nodded to Damian before turning back to Grayson.
"Mr. Wayne, if you don't mind would like some time alone with the child." Mr. Russell practically demanded. Damian scowled at the old man's back. He was not a child... and who was this man to demand anything of Grayson! In his own house! Damian opened his mouth to say so but held his tongue at the warning glare he received from his brother. Right. They were supposed to be nice to guests. Damian instead waited for Grayson to politely refuse the fool's demands. It was a foolish request anyway. Grayson would never leave Damian alone with this strange and unpleasant man.
"Of course Mr. Russell, I'll wait back in the study. Be good Damian and answer his questions." Grayson smile seemed more like a grimace as he agreed with their guest. He then left the room gently closing the door behind him.
If Damian had been uneasy before he was now a little worried. Grayson never left him alone with people who weren't trusted friends, he always kept Damian close in public and at parties. Partly because of Damian's social skills but mostly because Dick Grayson was an overprotective big brother. What was so special about this man that Grayson would leave Damian alone with him?
After Grayson left the room Mr. Russell turned to look at Damian. For a few minutes that was all the strange man did; look at him. Damian hid his obvious discomfort by ignoring the man's presence and resuming his coloring. Unfortunately for Damian, Mr. Russell would not be ignored.
"Damian Wayne..." Damian looked up from coloring his cats eyes and politely waited for the man to say more, despite the urge to continue ignoring him. "You refer to your older brother by his former families name instead of his first name or your family name. Why is that?"
'Former families name? No wonder Grayson doesn't like this man?' Damian thought absently while quickly formulating an appropriate answer to the question. Confident in his response Damian opened his mouth to reply but Mr. Russell didn't give him that chance.
"Is it because you feel he doesn't belong in your family or isn't worthy of the name?"
"No!" Damian exclaimed, nearly as surprised as Mr. Russell was at his exclamation. That was what he had always told Grayson, wasn't it? That he wasn't worthy of the Wayne family name or the cowl. Hearing someone else say it though, made Damian angry. At least Damian didn't really mean it.
Mr. Russell's beady eyes were bright with interest behind his spectacles as he jotted some notes down on a clipboard. Damian stared in shock at the clipboard. Where did that come from? What was he writing? Was he a reporter? Why the hell did Grayson bring a reporter into the house!? Damian prepared to tell the man that he should leave, however Mr. Russell wasn't done with him yet.
"Do you perhaps call him Grayson because his common name Dick is uncomfortable to say? Does it remind you of bad times with your brother or perhaps your father?" Mr. Russell's eyes were fixated on Damian's face as his words set in.
Damian felt his mouth fall open and eyes grow wide even as his cheeks flushed. Was this man suggesting that Grayson and his Father...that sick bastard! Damian's face quickly transformed from surprise to anger. It took all of his willpower not to leap at the insolent reporter and break his nose. He clenched his fists tightly and hissed,
"You are a sick bastard! Grayson has never lay a hand on me and neither did my father! We're a family you pervert; not a harem!"
Mr. Russell didn't seem perturbed at all by Damian's fury. In fact he seemed to get excited by the boy's obvious emotional state. He smirked, wrote something on his clipboard, then looked up at Damian.
"Well it's quite obvious to me that your brother doesn't care for you at all. So I could think of no other reason for him to keep you around." Mr. Russell sneered at Damian, whose face had gone pale at his words. "After all, if he really cared about you he wouldn't of left you with me and he wouldn't have yelled at you in the mall."
Damian's anger had completely dissipated at this point. The man's words resurfacing insecurities that Damian had buried within himself. Grayson had yelled at him in the mall...but he was just angry, that didn't mean that he didn't care about Damian...right? Damian wasn't so sure anymore.
"That's not true." Damian heard the slight waver in his voice and hated himself for it. He should be stronger than this. It shouldn't even matter to Damian if Grayson didn't like him; except it did. "Grayson cares for me."
Mr. Russell gave a harsh laugh at Damian's weak denial and leaned over him as he spoke. "Oh please, even a child such as yourself must realize that, in your brother's eyes, you are just a weak replacement for your father." Mr. Russell's eyes were bright with malice and Damian found it difficult to compare this personality with the man's original one.
Damian's body began to tremble at the man's words and his chest felt extremely tight. It was a lie. Everything this man was saying was a lie. Grayson himself had told Damian on countless occasions that he loved him.
'But maybe he wasn't really talking to you.' A voice in his head whispered. 'Maybe he was talking to your father. He's told you time and time again how similar the two of you look. Maybe Mr. Russell is right; Grayson has never cared for you.'
"No! Stop telling me this!" Damian yelled jerking away from the man looming over him. He covered his ears, desperate to silence the traitorous voice in his head and Mr. Russell's harsh words. But Mr. Russell wasn't done with him yet.
"I don't think so boy!" Mr. Russell snarled as he wretched Damian's hands away from his ears. Damian, who could usually break the hold of even the strongest man, was fantically twisting and jerking in the man's grip to no avail.
"It's time you heard the truth about you perfect little family, starting with the truth that all of them hate you. You eldest brother hates you the most. I can see it when he looks at you. If I had to guess I'd say he blames you for the death of his precious father figure and can only stand to be around you because you resemble him."
"That's a lie!" Damian screamed finally freeing one hand which he then jabbed into Mr. Russell's gut. The man reeled away and kneeled over holding his stomach. Damian, who was now free, scrambled backwards until his back hit the far wall. Mr. Russell stood shakily and walked towards a trembling Damian.
He stopped a few yard away then leaned over him and hissed, "Your family doesn't give a damn about you and who can blame them. You're such a failure. They must be ashame-"
A loud bang interrupted Mr. Russell, who jerked around just in time to see Dick Grayson's fist slam into his face. The force of the punch threw Mr. Russell across the room where he then collapsed in a heap. Dick stood right in front of Damian, shaking in rage with a murderous expression on his face. He went to move forward, intent on beating the man within every inch of his life for what he just said, but a jerk of his sleeve stopped him.
Dick looked down and his heart nearly broke at what he saw. Damian was kneeling on the ground, his trembling hand clinging to Dick's arm, with tears running down his face; a face which Dick had never seen so distraught. Dick knelt down in front of Damian, rage giving way to compassion, and began to wipe the tears from his little brother's face.
"Oh Damian...I'm so sorry. I had no idea that he would-" Dick words were cut off as Damian flung his arms around him, shaking like a leaf.
Dick murmured soft reassurances into the boy's black hair as he cried. Dick himself had tears running down his face. He had only heard the last few sentences of Mr. Russell's attack but even that was enough for Dick to understand what Damian was feeling. Dick had brought this man into their house and purposefully left him alone with Damian. That simple fact coupled with the doubts that Mr. Russell had brought to the surface had left Damian questioning his worth. Dick felt horrible. This was his fault. He'd been the one who had left Damian alone with that man even though he had sensed something was off about him. He should have known better.
"Dick..." Damian whispered into his shirt. Time froze as Dick looked down to meet his brother teary but determined eyes. His next whisper was slightly scared, "Was he...right?"
"No! Everything that man said was a lie, you know that. You're not a failure; in fact you're quite the opposite. You get fantastic grades with minimal effort and you're the best Robin a Batman could ask for. Sure you're annoying sometimes but that's your job as my little brother. in fact, and don't tell Timmy, you're my favorite little brother." Damian let out a choked up –Tt- and buried his face back into Dick's chest.
"Why did you bring a reporter into the manor, anyway Grayson? Even an idiot like you must have known that to be a foolish idea." Damian mumbled into his mentor's shirt. Dick smiled at the insult to his intelligence then frowned as the first sentence set in.
"Mr. Russell isn't a reporter Damian. He's a social worker." Damian tensed in his arms at the word. Dick tried to keep him out of cases involving children but Damian was a smart kid. He'd no doubt hacked into all of those case files the second after Dick had benched him. "I had no choice but to let him into the manor." Dick felt Damian's hands fist into his shirt; clinging to him.
"Why was a social worker here?" Damian questioned in a whisper, his tone wary and uncertain. He knew enough about social workers from the case files to know that they were usually only involved in child abuse or neglect cases. He wasn't sure what one coming to the manor meant.
"I, well at least Gotham thinks that I, haven't- that I'm not..." Damian looked up at Dick anxiously as he stopped babbling. Dick then let out a heavy sigh and said, "Mr. Russell was sent here because I haven't been a good big brother to you."
Dick looked down at Damian, expecting to see anger or reproach, and was surprised to see that the little bird looked confused. "What do you mean you haven't been a good big brother? True you've only been my guardian for 5 months but you've already talked to me more than Father did in the 4 months I stayed with him. How does that constitute as bad?"
"Damian...Gotham doesn't see our home life. They only see us when we go out, and when we go out you're usually angry at me for forcing you. Remember the mall scene?" Damian's small flinch at the memory was answer enough for Dick. "How do you think that looked to them? It doesn't help that the school nurse saw your bruises last time you went to be patched up after a school fight. It took me a week to fabricate a story and convince the school that I wasn't beating you. Do you understand why now?"
Damian nodded eyes still locked with Dick's, but now instead of confusion his eyes glittered with fear. Dick grinned and ruffled Damian hair, the lack of response showing just how upset Damian truly was, then he pulled Damian into a tight hug and whispered,
"Don't worry Little D, I won't let Mr. Russell take you away. You're gonna stay right where you belong; with your family." Damian tightened his grip around Dick's middle clearly not believing him. Dick grabbed his little brother arms and loosened them until he could see Damian's face. Dick smiled gently and tilted Damian chin up. "Hey, I promise okay? I won't let anyone take you away."
Damian scoffed and turned away, but not before Dick saw the look of relief on his face. Dick stood and offered his hand to Damian who was still a little shaky. They both walked over to the unconscious body of Mr. Russell and stared at him. Then Dick smirked as an idea came to him. He quickly whipped out his cellphone, ignoring Damian's questioning gaze, and dialed an old friend.
"Hey Clark, do you have J'onn's cell number?"
J'onn J'onzz usually would never tamper with people's memories, it wasn't right. He made an exception this time for two reasons. The first and most simple reason was that he owed Dick quite a few favors; for saving him during missions and for securing a place for Miss Martian with the Teen Titans. The other reason was a bit more complicated.
When J'onn had arrived and Dick had asked him to alter Mr. Russell's memory he had looked into the man's mind to see just what he had to change and was surprised by what he found. Mr. Russell had known Dick back when Bruce had first took him in. According to J'onn Mr. Russell had been Dick's third grade teacher. That's not all he was though.
Apparently he had been obsessed with Dick and had tried to kidnap him. When J'onn told Dick this, all the memories came rushing back. He was nine-years-old and had just taken the mantle of Robin. Mr. Russell used to help Dick with his school work. English being his second language made school a little difficult for Dick in the beginning. Dick remembered feeling uncomfortable every time the man put a hand on his shoulder...he'd never thought much of the feeling back then.
Then one day Mr. Russell had suggested that Dick come with him to the library after school to study. Dick was a crime fighter, a young one sure, but he knew a kidnapping when he saw one. He had rejected the offer and attempted to get away but Mr. Russell had cornered him. The man had tried convincing him that it would be fun and then, when that failed, he had lashed out. He had said horrible things about Bruce and Dick, separately and together. The confrontation was extremely similar to what Damian had been put through, even the ending. Mr. Russell had been yelling that he was the only one that cared for Dick and that Bruce was just using him when Bruce had kicked down the classroom door and ripped Mr. Russell away from him. The man had been fired the next day and Dick had forgotten all about him until now.
The man had thought that taking Damian away from Dick would be the perfect revenge for Dick escaping him all those years ago. After discovering all of this J'onn had agreed to alter the man's memories. Alfred had then escorted the dazed man to his car and sent him off.
'With any luck we'll never hear from social services again.' Dick thought as he lay in bed that night. The visit had put him off though, no doubt about that. Dick had never considered that someone with a personal grudge against him would come after his brother. It was unnerving. Dick looked down at the ebony sleeping on his chest. Damian looked almost like a normal child when he slept; relaxed and happy. Dick wished that he really could be relaxed and happy. Their life as vigilantes would give him neither relaxation nor happiness. Dick wrapped his arms around the sleeping boy unconsciously and was surprised when Damian snuggled closer in response. Dick smiled, Damian would never have a normal life or be a normal child and Gotham might see that as bad. But Damian wouldn't have it any other way and neither would Dick. They liked being different, together.
Finally done! Yay! I am sorry it took so long but you guys are great. Seriously even after not updating my stories for months you still reviewed and that kept me going. I'll have another chapter out for you soon and the next chapter is a request from one of my amazing reviewers. I hope you liked this story. Even if you didn't you should review anyway so that I know what to fix. ( For those of you who don't know J'onn J'onzz is Martian Manhunter). Review!