I am so mad! They killed Damian in comics, they killed him! i just wnat to slaughter someone and eat their liver! My poor baby is dead because of the evil grant morrison. what am i supposed to do every month if not read about damian! i know, i'll write my own comic, i'll find an artist because i can't draw and write my own damn comics! grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Anwya, here, have some damian, there will probably be more tomarrow, i won't be able to sleep tonight! Hear that sound, it's the sound of my heart being crushed into a tiny ball and being thrown away!

Bruce's breathing was steady and deep; he was obviously asleep. The moonlight dappled his rippling shoulder blades. It was so late at night, Damian felt he might fall asleep right there. He gripped the sheets tightly with his small hands until they sweated through, leaving tiny, palm shaped wet spots.

Damian gazed with such intensity at the older man, it was a wonder he didn't wake. As it were, Bruce merely shifted his weight and rolled over, mouth open. He hadn't had a chance to sleep in quite a while; the new case they were working on took much time and it was good thing Bruce had cracked it before he had cracked, or he just would have kept right on working at it until he dropped.

Now, he slept, deep and dreamless and Damian sat, fear tapering his form, and watched his father slumber. Many a night he had come to witness his sire's sleeping countenance, for it soothed him a way words could not describe. Yet tonight… well, tonight was different. Tonight was so much heavier.

His mother weighed on his mind like a pound of bricks. He was like her in so many ways, though he wished he were not. Talia had manipulated his genes, he had no doubt about that in his mind, and he wouldn't put it beyond her to place something within him to make him one day take apart his surrogate brothers, if not his father along with them.

His soon to be biological brother, his clone, this troubled him as well. In his dame's quest for perfection, she had torn her elder son apart. Damian knew, with little doubt in his mind, that when the second came of age, he, himself, would be dealt with. His mother would dispose of him just as she had disposed of so many other things. He was nothing but garbage to her now.

And so it was that Damian now knelt, heart in turmoil, in his father's presence. What he wished for now was Dick, Dick who had strong arms, a soothing voice, a firm chest and no questions asked.

Damian would come in at the dead of night and Dick was never angry. He never queried unless Damien wanted to talk, which he rarely did; he just shifted and opened his arms, inviting the boy to lose himself in the older man's musky scent and warm embrace providing a kind of vacuum into which all his nightmares fled.

All that was left was the assurance of love; love pure and unconditional. Dick understood his younger brother and his needs like no one else did. Damian wasn't sure his father was of the same ability to soothe.

Unable to cope any longer, Damian scooted up to his father's side. Bruce's eyelids fluttered open and he noticed the small boy sitting on his bed. Long nights spent quivering on patrol and dozing on the job, as well as years of sleeping lightly in preparation for the crying of young children plagued by nightmares, had guaranteed the dark knight only cursory slumber at all times.

"Damian", Bruce said blearily, stretching out slightly before going limp, "is there something I can do for you?"

"I am troubled father", Damian said softly.

"And what is troubling you?" Bruce yawned.

"I'd rather not…I'd rather not speak of it."

"As you wish." Bruce replied, "Is there something you want of me?"

"Perhaps I might be permitted to stay for a spell?"

"If that's what you desire", Bruce murmured sleepily, lids already slipping down over the drowsy blue stars that twinkled in his eyes. Damian, in lowering himself slowly onto the sheets, paused halfway between lying down and sitting up. "Are you sure this would not bother you?" Bruce shook his head.

"Of course it won't Damian, you're welcome here." His eyelids fluttered and then fell closed. Damian, still eyeing him like a small bird eyes a dozing cat, fell fully upon the sheets, stretching out on his side. Bruce's breathing was steady and low so that Damian knew his father was falling asleep.

"I fear the darkness", Damian said softly, "That's why I came." Though he had never voiced such reservations to Dick and had hardly planned to speak at all with his father about them somehow, they had simply come out. It was his sincere hope that his sire would simply continue to sleep, unrealistic at best.

"Why do you fear it?" It was then that he felt a strong arm encircle his waist and he was pressed to his father's great figure, cupped against his body. Bruce was so much larger than his son, it was as if they had merged and Damian almost forgot where his tiny form ceased and his father's began. The moonlight had seemingly infused them.

Damian looked up at his father, who gazed down at him with a gentle expression gracing his strong, proud face. Suddenly faced with the chance to unload his insecurities, Damian felt exposed. He wanted to retreat back inside of himself, yet his father was willing to listen. So, making a decision that he would force himself to follow through with, he spoke.

"Because I am like it", Damian murmured, "I am dark. I'm afraid I'll become what we fight."

"I have faith in you", Bruce replied, his breath tickling his son's neck. "If I didn't, you wouldn't be here." Damian knew the remark was meant to soothe rather than sting, yet the boy felt it bite at him. Bruce, seeming to sense this, pressed his lips to his son's hair. Damian turned back to him.

"Do you think that I am good?" he asked. Bruce nodded solemnly and stroked the boy's side. It reminded Damian of Dick and that alone helped to disarm him further. "If my mother wanted me back, would you fight for me?" Damian queried.

"Damian", Bruce said softly, "You aren't like the others. Though I love them dearly, you are a part of me. You are my flesh, my blood, my bone. That alone bonds us inexplicably. Our fates are linked, intertwined."

"I don't take the fact that I sired you lightly, however you were conceived. I am your father and that gives me responsibility for you. I have no respect for those that don't take that fact as seriously as they should. That would spurn me to fight for you, that fact that you are mine and I am, in a very real way, yours."

"You did not choose to be my father", Damian murmured.

"Yet I am", Bruce replied, "and you are here. I can't change that so I've learned to accept it. You are my son."

"But if you could change it…"

"I wouldn't. Damian, I am linked to you because you are my son but our bond runs deeper than that. Dick, Jason, Tim and I aren't linked like you and I, yet you know how much I care for them. I may not like the facts of your conception, but you are here and I wouldn't change that.

I don't just love you because you are my son, though make no mistake, that is important and from it spawns love even I don't fully understand, I love you because you are you. You are special Damian. I know you feel overwhelmed sometimes because of the others, but you are very, very important to me. I never thought I'd have a biological son. I'm lucky I did."

Damian looked up at him, surprised. "Then you will protect me father", he asked, "from mother, the clone and from myself."

"That is my job. I'll always protect you Damian. I'll shield you from the world." As if to put emphasis on this, he drew his arms around the boy, cutting him off from the rest of the universe so that Damian focused only on his mighty sire. He felt safe. Bruce lowered his head and pressed his lips to his son's forehead, blowing lightly through his hair while he breathed out a heavy, satisfied sigh, as if, in all the world, there was no place greater than this one. Damian closed his eyes, long eyelashes fluttering closed.

"You are everything to me", Bruce whispered softly to him, "Don't ever forget that. You are my son, prince of the world." Damian gave a wispy sigh and pressed his forehead to his father's chest, trembling lightly with pleasure. Bruce put a hand on his head and listened to his breathing as he fell asleep.