A/N Someone mentioned how hugs weren't manly, and then challenged me to write a Bruce/Dick bonding fic...this is the result. Hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer I think I cause the characters to relive painful memories and be tortured too often to own Young Justice...

-Aiva


Spotlights swept across the room, casting dramatic shadows on the audience while lighting up the ring. Dick cocked his head back, staring at them like most of the audience. Watching his parents perform, so high in the air, gave him a small thrill of fear. Dick shook it off. He had seen them do this around a million times; they were always fine. Smiling, even. Yet a small knot of dread lingered heavily in his stomach; something was off.

He took a small step forward, mouth open as if to call them back. He shut it quickly; everything would be fine, nothing was going to - his failed attempt at calming himself was interrupted as the audience gasped as one. Then a shrill shriek ripped through the air, echoed closely by most of the audience. Dick's blue eyes focused, and he stood, frozen, unable to comprehend what was happening. His parents...were falling, dark silhouettes against the bright spotlights. A sickening realization swept over the young, small boy; there was no safety net below, nothing to catch them, to save them from hitting the hard ground so far below.

"NO!" Dick screamed, reaching for them instinctively. He had to do something, he had to save them, he had to - a dull thud echoed through the now eerily quiet tent, cutting off his panicked thoughts. Their fall, which had seemed to last an eternity, had suddenly ended, stopped harshly by the unforgiving ground. Dick froze, suddenly numb, dizzy, empty. This couldn't be happening, this couldn't be happening, this couldn't be happening. No matter how many times he repeated that to himself, it didn't change what WAS happening. Small frame shaking with gentle sobs, Dick closed his eyes, not wanting to see his parents' lifeless bodies crumpled into the ground.


"NO!" Dick woke with a start, his face wet, breaths coming hard and fast. Even after this long, the occasional nightmare snuck up on him, haunting him, torturing him. Each time it was like his heart had been laid open with a sharp knife. Every. Single. Time. He had been able to get over it, to live life...he was happy, even, thanks to Bruce. But at night, those demons inside of him would occasionally torment him. Putting a trembling finger to his cheek, he felt hot tears flow down him clammy skin. Shaking, he wrapped his arms around himself, squeezing his eyes shut as he cried gently.

Sudden footsteps sounded outside his room, and Bruce rushed in, obviously wondering what could've happened to make his ward, his son, shout like that, such a horrible, heart-wrenching cry... Bruce wasn't reassured by Dick's appearance. Blankets messy and tangled, Dick was hunched over, lithe frame shaking. Though his face was hidden by shadows, the small wet spots on the thick comforters and the sharp way his breaths were jerked out of him let Bruce know how hurt Dick was right now.

Bruce immediately went into "father mode", sitting on the bed beside Dick. And although hugs weren't exactly manly, Bruce found his arms wrapped around Dick, murmuring gentle words of comfort and support, just as he had when Dick was still so young, so small...Dick cried a bit harder, trying not to make too much noise, merely breathing harder, tears flowing a bit faster. He leaned into his father's embrace, accepting the small act of comfort.

"Shhh, Dickie," Bruce murmured, using an old nickname. "It's alright, it's ok..." Dick, still trembling, shoulders shaking with his gentle sobs, shook his head. "I k-keep seeing it," he whispered, voice shaking along with his lithe frame. "Them. I-I keep seeing it," he repeated. "Them falling, n-nothing I could do..." Dick's voice broke off painfully, which tugged at Bruce's heart. Bruce moved subtly back and forth, running his hands through Dick's dark hair and rubbing his back just as he had when he was younger. Eventually, Dick calmed somewhat, harsh sobs turning into shuddering breaths. Tears still outlined his cheeks, shining in the moonlight. His blue eyes, normally so cheerful and, well, Dick, were tinted red and still filled with tears.
They stayed like that for what felt like an eternity, Bruce continuing to murmur comfortingly, no longer aware of what he was saying.

"Sorry," Dick muttered eventually, voice still edged with tears. He cleared his throat, not meeting Bruce's gaze. "For what?" Bruce asked, eyes narrowing in confusion. "For...not being like you," Dick finally confessed, the words coming fast as if a burden was being lifted off his shoulders. "After that training simulation..." he continued, "when I had to...to sacrifice the team, my friends, my family..." He took a deep breath, swallowing hard. "I had t-to shut off my emotions, be like you. I-I know you aren't cold or heartless, that's not what I'm saying. But when I had to send Superboy in to be a distraction, sacrifice Kid Flash...I knew what was going to happen.I know I did what I had to," Dick said, echoing his conversation with Black Canary, "but I hated it." He left what came next out, not willing to say that part.

A look came into Bruce's eyes that Dick hadn't seen often before. He looked...guilty. That was it. Bruce - the Batman - looked guilty. "I never should have sent you into that training simulation. Never..." Now it was Dick's turn to be the comforter. "You didn't know. It's ok..." Bruce shook his head. "No, it isn't. I promised I would never do anything to harm you. I...failed."

"You've never failed. You've never let me down, not once." Light blue eyes met darker ones as Dick looked up at Bruce. "You came for me, when no one else would," he added, a bit quieter. "Without you coming...I-I don't know what would've happened." His voice broke a bit at the end. Bruce nodded slowly. "Thanks for coming for me now," Dick added quietly, wiping away the last of his tears with the heel of his hand.

Bruce stood, gently disengaging himself from Dick. Dick laid back down, and obviously recalling the first few years together, Bruce pulled the blankets over him. He walked out of the room with one last, fatherly glance in Dick's direction. He looked so young again, so small against the rather large bed, a faint glimmer of tears still on his cheek, though his face was much more peaceful. "Night, Dickie-bird," he said softly, walking out of the room.

Dick wrapped the blankets tighter around himself. The memories still hurt; they would probably always hurt. But he knew everything would be okay now.


A/N Hopefully, both of them were in character...this was written kind of late at night, so I'm a bit unsure about that. XD Anyway, please click below and review!