Title: Still a Child
Disclaimer: I don't own YJ
Notes: I realized that with YJ:Invasion, with the new Robin, and the old Robin being much older, there wouldn't be as many Daddy!Bats fics between Bruce and Dick any more like there used to be. So I decided to write one because I refused to accept the fact that just because Robin is now Nightwing that he can't bond with Batman like he used to... I really wasn't expecting myself to end it like this. Consider this a fail attempt to write something cute and fluffy between the two.
Just because he had promoted himself from Robin to Nightwing did not mean he was all grown up. Bruce liked to call it Peter Pan Syndrome, often teasing the young man even though it was he who refrained himself from treating his ward any differently from when he was first adopted.
Sometimes that ticked Dick off though, and he used his age as an excuse to fight with Bruce, claiming to be older, wiser and capable of taking care of himself – don't think he aged without fighting with his guardian, because Alfred and their neighbour, the Drakes, and even the media, could easily confirm that the two had their occasional spats. But once those arguments were forgotten, he was back to being the boy who laughed in the midst of night, distracting the villains whilst his partner knocked them out.
Being sixteen, then seventeen, and now eighteen didn't justify him from being a child of Wayne. He still had his problems and turned to Bruce for guidance. He was still watched like a hawk from the nocturnal superhero whenever he was on missions. He was still being told to eat all of his vegetables – though that was more of Alfred's job than Bruce's.
He had long ago quit his word games with Batman and the team, and although his pranks weren't quite frequent with the newcomers to the mountain, they were still common at the manor. Dick still finds himself being lectured by Bruce over and over again for them. Last week, he had to scrub the Batcave with a toothbrush as punishment.
Nightwing is taller now, his voice is deeper, and he handles situations maturely. He is the older brother to Jason Todd and to Tim Drake; he had graduated high school (top of his class!) and was being accepted to many prestigious universities without Bruce even lifting his influential finger. Gotham Today claims that Dick Grayson could maybe one day give Wayne a run for his money with the number of girls he's been with.
But he's still a child in the eyes of Batman.
The League are always instructed to watch over the manor whenever Batman goes on an off world mission because in the back of his head, the League are, not only his co-workers and some of the most powerful people in the universe, but his children's babysitters.
They know Dick's deepest, darkest secrets, can recognize his voice in a crowd of hundreds and memorized each and every one of his habits from eating to sleeping to just plain talking. Despite all this, the League treats him like one of them – a colleague – rather than a child whom they once had to chase around the Watchtower to get him to take a bath. Unlike their dark caped friend, they treated him as an adult who had the same responsibility as they did.
It wasn't until that day when they find him lying in a pool of Batman's blood, curled up next to the dead body, that they remembered he was always going to be a child – Batman's child – and even if they were the Justice League, none of them had the heart to pull the boy away from his father.
Some of them had to look away when they saw his fingers forcefully tighten around the black cape and then curl into balls, pounding against the Kevlar protected chest as if attempting to startle the body into responding. From what the others could tell, Nightwing's face was scrunched up, mask already slipping off as his tears drowned his face. He let out sobs of anguish and ear deafening shrieks, making the situation more and more nightmarish for the Leaguers who had seen basically everything in their entire career as superheroes.
"Please, Batman. Please, you promised me. You promised me. Don't leave me..."
The police come and even they are frozen at the sight. Jim Gordon was the only cop allowed to take a step towards the scene, but doesn't move. He was merely waiting for any turn of events that may happen as he was used to Batman pulling these types of stunts.
There were no stunts, he realized, when he caught a glimpse of a tormented Dick Grayson, mask half off and looking more broken than the first time he had met the boy during the Haly's Circus incident. The Justice League members begin shooing the crowd away as far as possible.
Superman was the first to take any action with Nightwing, putting his hand on the trembling shoulders, but was quickly swatted away.
Nightwing continues to cry out ugly sounds of torment and incomprehensible words. His hands are covered in blood as are his legs and hair from every time he dug his face into the chest that stopped beating just a little over an hour before. He's lost all feeling in his feet from kneeling next to the body at an uncomfortable position, but it doesn't compare to the twisted ache in his chest every time he looks back to the half covered, unresponsive face – at the motionless, slightly parted and cracked lips of the Bat.
There are reporters from the multiple news stations behind him, and the worrying stares of his – of Batman's – colleagues behind him could easily penetrate through Kevlar, but Nightwing doesn't notice. Everything around Batman was blurred; every sound including the screams from his own throat isn't heard. Nightwing is loud until his voice dies. He cries until he runs out of tears and his mouth is dry.
His body suddenly drops and he lies next to Batman, his fingers loosening around the torn and wrinkled cape. He wraps his arms around the thick suit of armor like a soft, cuddly bear. His eyes, most likely bloodshot, begin to sting and are releasing the tears slowly. He still finds it difficult to breathe. Nightwing hiccups mid sniffle, then he buries his face into the crook of the neck of the lifeless body before closing his eyes.
The League recognizes this image immediately, having seen it many times in the past: it was the image of a whimpering, eight year old circus boy, holding onto his father for comfort after a nightmare.
They would never see it again.