Disclaimer:must have said this three times today. I own nothing DC. there, That should satisfy me for a couple days or so.
Just a bit of a response to agendas, the part where Bats says he trained robin so he wouldn't be like him. Thought this up a while ago. just finally decided to write it. Enjoy!
The meeting was over, letting every Leaguer go home to their Thanksgiving plans. Superman was rushing back to Earth, eager to get to Kansas and his parents. Both Hal and Flash were talking about going to their in-laws to visit and snag leftovers as they waited their turns for the teleporter. Marvel almost ran home like Superman, but was held back by Wonder Woman and other League members, adding conditions to him staying with them. He was ten after all.
It was while typing in very specific coordinates that Black Canary cornered Batman. "Is there something you wish to talk about Dinah?"
The woman smirked to herself. He hadn't even looked up at her. "Just a small thing. About what you said in the meeting, why you started training Robin at such a young age."
"What of it?" He didn't see the need to talk to any of the Leaguers about how he raised and trained his partner. They had no say in this matter. And Robin had proven himself several times over as a capable and talented crime fighter.
"Have you ever told him that? That you trained him like this so he wouldn't be like you? That you don't want him to be like you?"
The question took him by surprise. Batman looked over to the former Gothamite, raising an eyebrow. "Is it necessary?"
"Maybe." A secretive smirk grew on her face. "You see, most kids expect to grow up to be like their parents, maybe even take over the family business."
He grunted, tapping the last sequence into the machine. "Well if he wants to go back, he can. After high school. It's always been his choice."
"Batman," frustration grew on the woman's face as he turned to leave.
"I'll talk to him about his future," he said to end the discussion, "over dinner. I'm late enough as is."
The surprised look on the lady's face was just how he wanted to leave her as the light enveloped him, whisking him straight to his cave. Batman rarely used a direct line home for security reasons, but this was one time he wanted to get home now. Plus it gave him a chance to play with the teleporters over the zeta-tubes. Still experimenting with them.
After giving himself a moment for his head and stomach to settle, Bruce pulled back his cowl and walked around the penny to see the rest of the cave. The sight before him forced him back a step. "What the…"
Blood red paint, koolaid and ketchup was strewn around the place, mostly on the dinosaur and around its base. Dick, his hands up to his elbows in the red mess, jerked around from putting hand prints on the floor when he heard Bruce's voice. He could swear there was cranberry jam dripping from the kid's hair. The dread filled 'caught' look on his face was almost humorous if it weren't for the large mess he had made.
"Not yet! It's not ready yet! Go back to the tower and wait for it to be ready!" Though clearly filled with guilt at knowing he was in trouble, Dick's insistence for Bruce to leave until the prank was ready was amusing.
"No." He shook his head in mild amusement, remembering the last holiday prank the boy pulled. It was almost a tradition. If Bruce missed a holiday with him, Dick would pull an elaborate prank. Last Christmas, Robin painted his spare suits red and green, then left every window in Bruce's room open for the snow to cover the place. He kept making mental notes not to skip out on holidays with this kid. Dragging him along would have been better. Frankly the only reason they had the meeting that day was because it fit everyone's schedules. Dinners and visits could be pushed back a smidge.
"But you're back early! I'm not done yet." The pathetic pout on the kid's red stained face would have worked if he didn't look like he really needed medical attention and a bath.
"You are now." Bruce swept across the cave floor towards the lockers, trying not to let any of his amusement show. The kid really needed a better hobby than coming up with elaborate pranks. He had to complement the kid's creativity and ability to plan these things out, but really he shouldn't encourage it. Could lead to him becoming a supervillain instead.
Dick looked to the ground, knowing very well he was in major trouble. All his fun was spoiled before it even began. And considering how much of a mess he made, he definitely was going to get it from Alfred. All that work for nothing but a grounding.
"Clean up the supplies and hit the showers. You're getting the rest tomorrow," Bruce relented, removing his cape as he reached the lockers.
Some hope reached the kid's face. "But Alfred—"
"Will let it go until tomorrow." He gave the boy a scrutinizing look. "No patrol until Monday, and I don't want to see anything red that wasn't originally that color. Clear?"
Relief filled Dick's face. "Crystal!"
Instantly the boy was running, picking up, putting away, and tossing items he used to set his elaborate prank up. Bruce shook his head in mild amusement, removing the rest of his uniform before changing into street clothes. He was just adjusting his belt when Dick zoomed past him to the showers. He smirked, shaking his head. The cranberry stains on his face were going to be fun to explain to Alfred. He wondered idly how much soap and scrubbing it would take for the kid to get rid of it.
Once he was fully dressed, Bruce dug out a clean set of clothes and a towel for the teen. He set them just within of the shower door, then went back to the central part of the cave. He had some updating on his computer to do. Thankfully Dick hadn't colored the keyboard in his prank attempt. That would have been crossing the line in their little game of theirs.
After fifteen minutes of typing, he heard the sound of small wet feet coming towards him. Dick leaned over his shoulder, hastily drying his hair as he read what was on the screen. "New additions to the league?"
"Hopefully." Bruce started shutting down the file to turn towards his protégé. "We're extending offers to them at the least. There may even be some new additions to your team because of our meeting. If all goes well, we'll have six new additions. I think you missed a spot."
"Where?" Dick ran his hands over his face, trying to feel the spot the man was referring to. Bruce tapped a stain on his forehead. "Shoot! I thought I got it all."
"Cranberries stain skin," the CEO reminded him as he ran back to the lockers for a comb. "Sometimes for days. Why'd you pick that anyway?"
"I saw the mess it made on the carpet last year," Dick recounted as he quickly combed his hair over that particular stain. "I took a picture and showed it to Babs and Wally, telling them it was from a crime scene. They actually believed me. Thought it'd be good for simulating dried blood in hair."
"Hmm. I'll have to remember that one." Bruce left his chair to wait by the staircase. "You coming?"
The boy grinned, dropping the towel and comb to join him. Before either of them realized it they were in the dining room with Alfred, enjoying a much deserved Thanksgiving dinner.
After Dick make another of his silly word plays, Bruce remembered the short talk he had with Dinah. Watching the kid now, he wondered what his boy was planning for his future. What profession did he want to pursue? Lawyer, doctor, business man, circus performer, architect, computer programmer, politician, teacher, chemist? They never really talked about it. What did he want to do in his future?
"Hey Bruce," the boy cocked his head in curiosity, "what's up?"
"You're zoning off into space." There was a touch of annoyance in Dick's voice. He must have made a particularly funny joke he was expecting a reaction from. "What are you thinking about?"
Bruce gave himself a moment before straightening in his chair. May as well talk about it now. "Just something that Canary brought up after the meeting."
The boy stiffened for a moment, drawing his curiosity. "Like what?"
"Your future." Now he knew Dick wasn't comfortable. He looked away, probably remembering some talk the two had a while ago. Bruce decided to continue, if only to get to the heart of the matter. "Have you thought about what you'll be after you graduate?"
Now the kid was baffled. This was getting interesting. "After high school. She mentioned most children think they'll grow up to be like their parents, so I was wondering whether you'll go back to the circus or pick a different profession."
Dick blinked a few times before looking back to his meal in thoughtful confusion. "I… haven't really thought about it."
"You should," Bruce imputed. "It'd be a good idea to broaden your horizons, take a look at many different career paths before choosing one. And have a backup plan. I can always arrange a position for you."
"I don't really want special treatment," the kid interjected. He seemed to be getting his feet back underneath himself.
The man sighed. "I know, but the option is open. There are a lot of options open to you. I'm certain if pick one as a goal and start studying now, you can become anything you want to be."
Dick blinked at him a few times in silence, as if the sun was now just rising before him. Bruce couldn't figure out why his boy was confused and conflicted about this subject. All he talked about was the future he could have, which was so broad he could be talking about all the fish in the sea, and still not catch anything. After a few more moments of silence, the kid finally spoke.
"So, you'd be fine with me… being anything?"
Bruce nodded once. "So long as you're happy and healthy, and Gotham's still protected, you can be anything you want."
A relieved smile grew across the boy's face, confusing his mentor to no end. Did he already have a profession in mind he thought Bruce would disapprove of? Already the kid was chatting it up again. "So if I decided to be a cop or a clown, it'd be alright."
"I'd prefer cop over clown honestly." He cut another piece of his dinner as he spoke. "But wouldn't you exhaust yourself if you were protecting people day and night like that? And police have to learn to use firearms. Plus no mask so you'd be a target constantly. But Gordon would then have a good man on the force."
"It's just a 'what if'," Dick insisted, his mischievous personality coming back in full swing. "And I haven't decided yet if I wanna be that or not. I could be a bartender, or a curator."
"So long as you aren't drinking and everything's obtained legally," he piped in.
"You're gonna poke holes in everything aren't you?" There was a touch of playful annoyance in the kid's voice.
"Force of habit." Bruce grinned over his glass. Playing this 'what if' game was fun.
"Hmph. Well just for that I'm going to be a stripper."
"Okay, that's where I draw the line." Dick laughed gleefully as Bruce ran a hand through his hair, shoving him slightly. Mentally he noted some previous tension the kid felt was gone. As if this little talk removed some burden from his shoulders. "No stripping for you."
"By heavens!" Alfred was quickly on his feet, looking at Dick's head. "What happened to your head Master Richard?"
The other two exchanged glances, knowing they were caught. Bruce accidentally revealed the hidden cranberry stain from earlier, causing the worry they were hoping to prevent.
"Um… nothing?" Dick looked around awkwardly, trying to come up with an excuse. "We just had a bit of a food fight yesterday at school and I got hit with some cranberry jam."
"It'll take a few days before it goes away," Bruce added quickly. It was a good thing he picked up Dick the previous day from school alone. This lie was quite viable. "We didn't want to worry you."
"If you say so Master Bruce."
Judging by the elderly man's tone, he didn't quite believe them. Still, Alfred wasn't the infamous bat-butler for nothing. He let the matter drop. Bruce would never let one of Dick's injuries go untreated.
When dinner was over and each were about to go their separate ways, Dick slid up next to Bruce and gave him a quick hug. Confused, Bruce put one arm around him lightly. "What's this for?"
Dick grinned up at him before releasing him. "No real reason. Just keep being awesome okay?"
"Ooookaaaayyy…" Briefly he looked over Dick's head again, checking for a previously unseen wound. Concussion? The kid laughed merrily before running off upstairs.
"Have fun on patrol!"
Bruce just watched his boy run off, still confused as to what was going on in his mind. Everything from Canary's prompt to Dick's actions baffled him. Crimes and events were easy for him to read. But Dick's worries and emotions? Unless they were trauma related, he didn't have a clue. And it looked like it didn't matter if he knew or not in the end.
The dark knight hid a smirk as he heard the exclamation. Alfred must have found the batcave, covered in Dick's prank. Well, all that hard work wasn't quite going to waste after all.
A/N: i know Batman didn't really get the point of Dinah's comment, but I don't think he's worried about Dick being like him, at all. As far as he's concerned, he's succeeded. all Dick had to hear was that he could be whatever he wanted to be, and Bruce wouldn't be upset about it. So though Bats isn't really aware or acknowledged this worry, he does take it away in a sense. Gotta love him.
Oh, the prank was supposed to give the illusion that the t-rex had come to life and eaten Dick. Thought it'd be fun. XD