Surface Chapter 06
Disclaimer: I don't own Batman or anything else I might make references to.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading, everybody! Your feedback and compliments mean a lot to me! Please enjoy this final chapter!
How could I have fallen for that? thought Damian as he sat in the tub while it filled up with warm water. Why did I have to be so stupid? And why can't I remember anything? I've been beaten and left for dead numerous times, had several concussions and I STILL remember those! Why can't I remember a thing from last night?
The child sat in the slowly-filling tub, hanging his head, desperately trying to message his headache away by rubbing his fingers on his temples. He was still in too much pain to sob, but the tears continued to fall from his eyes.
Back in the living room, Dick and Tim were moping about, trying to think of a way to tell Bruce that they'd gotten his son drunk.
"How should we break it to him?" asked Tim.
"I guess the best way would be to just say, "Bruce, just so you know, Damian got drunk last night." It's short, to-the-point and allows for fast mental-processing."
Tim laughed- just a huff of air through his nose- and smirked. "And I know it won't matter, but I think we should mention that it was your idea."
"Yeah, yeah, I'll tell him," said Dick. "Do you think we should ask Damian if he wants to be the one to tell his dad?"
"I suppose taking his opinion into account wouldn't be a bad thing," Tim admitted. "Oh, I hope he's OK."
"Me too," said Dick. They couldn't hear anything over the sound of the tub filling up, so they didn't know if Damian was still crying.
"Want to go check on him in a little bit?" asked Tim.
"Mm-hmm," said Dick.
Soon enough, the house grew quiet, as Damian turned off the bathtub faucet and just lay back in the tub. His headache had gone away by now, and he was just wallowing in the soothing water when he heard a knock on the door.
"Damian?" came Tim's voice. "You OK?"
"Can we come in?" asked Dick.
"Yeah," Damian said softly. The two older brothers walked in and smiled apologetically to the child.
"How do you feel?" asked Dick.
"Better. My headache went away," said Damian.
"Good," said Tim. "I guess we should tell you how it happened, huh?" Damian nodded. "Well, the other night, Dick and I were talking about how we wished you were just a little more open with your feelings, and then he suggested that we get you drunk."
"But how did you do it? I mean, I don't remember anything from last night, but what did I drink?" asked Damian.
"Well, I'd gotten these bottles of Orangina, and I put some vodka into them," said Dick. "Not very much, but I guess you're a lightweight."
"Did I act like an idiot?" Damian asked. Tim and Dick smiled.
"Not at all," said Tim. "You just complained about some stuff, and you said that…well…"
"You told us that you loved us," said Tim. Damian's eyes widened, almost as if in fear.
"I said that?" he asked, his voice full of dread.
"Yeah. And that's what made us feel really guilty about the whole thing," said Tim. "Because we started plotting it because we were so fed up with you, since you're usually such a grouch-"
"Nnnnghhh…" Damian grunted as he sat up in the tub and covered his eyes with his hands.
"Damian, what's wrong?" asked Dick. Damian just continued to cry into his palms. "Damian?"
"Damian, why are you crying? It's nothing to be embarrassed about," said Tim.
"Please don't tell my father!" he sobbed.
"What?" said Dick.
"Please don't tell my father! He'll never forgive me! He'll fire me from being Robin! Please, promise me you won't tell him I got drunk!" begged the child.
"But it was our fault," said Tim. "Damian, you're not going to get in trouble. We are."
"Yeah, what's the matter? Why are you so down on yourself?" asked Dick.
"Because I was stupid!" cried Damian. "I should have noticed the alcohol in the Orangina. I should have suspected something strange was going on, but I didn't! I let my guard down! I let this happen to me."
"Damian…" said Dick. "…is that what you think?"
Damian sniffed and nodded.
"Is that something Talia told you? That if anything bad ever happens to you, it's your fault?" asked Tim.
Dick and Tim looked at each other, both with creased foreheads and pity for their little brother in their eyes.
"Your mom's wrong, Damian," said Dick. "You shouldn't blame yourself when other people mess with you."
"That's right. Especially if the people are sitting right in front of you, admitting that they did something wrong," Tim added.
"I'm not supposed to make mistakes," said Damian. "I'm supposed to always be in control."
"Damian, you shouldn't put so much pressure on yourself," said Tim, resting his palm on Damian's neck behind his ear. "Not even Batman can be in control 100% of the time."
"Yeah. This is why Bruce wanted you to spend some time with us. So you could loosen up and enjoy life for once. That's not a crime," said Dick.
"So…he won't be mad at me if he finds out?" asked Damian.
"No way! For the hundredth time, he's going to be mad at US!" said Tim.
"But if you don't want him to know, we won't tell him either, OK?" said Dick. "Now come on, get out before you get all pruned."
Damian giggled and pulled up the tub-stopper to let the water drain out.
"Then will you two at least allow me the privacy to put my clothes back on?" he said, trying as hard as he could to sound snotty, though it was hard with a cute grin on his face.
"Certainly," said Dick as he and Tim stood up and left the room.
Within about five minutes, Damian emerged from the bathroom, fully dressed, but with his hair still a little damp.
"Ready to go home?" asked Dick.
"Uh-huh," he answered. And so the three brothers got into Tim's car, and drove out to Wayne Manor. While Tim was driving, Dick called Alfred to let him know that they would be home soon.
"Master Dick?" Alfred answered.
"Hey, Alfred," said Dick. "We're on our way home with Damian. Is Bruce there?"
"I'm afraid Master Bruce is catching up on his sleep," Alfred informed Dick.
"Ha. Good. The old man could really use more of it," laughed Dick. "Well, we should be home in about 20 minutes or so."
"Very good, sir."
"Alright, see you soon, Alfie."
Upon arriving at Wayne Manor, Dick let himself and his brothers in, and called for Alfred.
"Alfred? We're back!" But Alfred was nowhere to be seen.
"Where's my father?" asked Damian.
"Alfred said he was sleeping," said Dick. "Listen, are you going to be alright? Do you want us to stay here for a while?"
"No, that won't be necessary, Grayson," said Damian, his snottiness back intact. "I can find my way to my father's sleeping quarters on my own, thank you."
Tim and Dick just rolled their eyes, happy that Damian was back to normal. For once, they were relieved that he was being himself.
"OK, kiddo, we'll see you later," said Dick, kneeling down to hug him.
"Must we degrade ourselves like this, Grayson?" groaned Damian, resisting the hug as best he could.
"Yes, we must," said Dick, kissing the ten-year-old on the forehead. "Tim, you want to get in on this?"
"No thanks," chuckled Tim. "Come on, let's go."
"Alright, alright," said Dick.
"Bye, Damian," said Tim. Dick went out the front door and back to the car, while Tim lagged behind in the doorway. Turning back to his little brother, he added softly, "I love you."
Damian whipped his head around, but by the time he was facing the door again, it was already shut.
"I know," he whispered. "I know that now."
Damian slowly ascended the staircase and padded down the hall to his father's room. He opened the door slowly, and found Bruce sleeping soundly under the covers of his great, king-sized canopy bed.
Taking a deep breath, the child slowly approached the grand bed, and climbed up onto the mattress beside his father. Bruce was sleeping on his right side, with his right arm under the pillow, and his left arm limp beside him.
Damian slowly but gracefully lifted up his father's left arm, rolled underneath it, and wrapped it around his shoulders like a scarf. Breathing a deep sigh of contentment, the child closed his eyes and melted into the warmth of Bruce's chest.
"Mmm, did you have fun with your brothers?" Bruce whispered sleepily.
"Yes, Father," said Damian. "But right now I just want to be with you."
Bruce only smiled and gathered his son closer.
"Fine by me," he said softly. Damian smiled to himself as he felt his father kiss the back of his head.
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