A/N: Someone asked in another fic about how Bart being from the future would affect the relationship between him and Nightwing. So I wrote it. With a twist. Which I love.
Disclaimer: I don't own.
I'm So Scared About The Future
Dick's fingers run their way through Bart's short, thick hair in a loving gesture; it's repeated constantly, like the tide hitting the shore. Fingers through hair, tugging at knots, flattening loose strands. He doesn't miss a beat when he asks, "What's the future like?"
The speedster's heart freezes for a moment before continuing in his chest, actually pounding harder as dark, ash-filled images pour into his mind. Black snow, grey skies, an empty world, slaves. He tries to make up for this folly (because he knows Nightwing heard the delay) by rolling over to make the momentary pause seem scripted. As he lays across Dick's chest, he buries his face in the warmth at the young man's neck. He hides his expression, desperately wanting to be invisible.
The tension in his muscles gives it all away. Before, Bart was relaxed like nothing could ever bother him, but then his shoulder blades tightened, his face scrunched up, and not everything could be hidden. Dick can't read his expression now, but by the way his fists were curled up and his legs tensed, something was upsetting him.
"I don't want to talk about it." The words come out small, and the way that Bart suddenly completely curls up against Dick is reminiscent of a child to its mother, desperate for comfort and safety.
"You don't have to," murmurs Nightwing, placing a kiss on Bart's brown crown. He then continues to stroke Bart's hair, even in this new position. "I won't make you, Imp."
It's not even a petname and yet it never fails to send shivers rolling down his spine. Bart clings on tighter, face still buried. "I know." Somehow, he manages to curl in closer and bury his mouth into Dick's neck and can feel the young man's pulse on his lips. Muffled words come out: "It's just hard to keep it in."
"You don't have to go it alone."
Bart then uncurls himself, quickly and deliberately. Wherever skin-contact was loss is suddenly very, very cold. He stretches out to cover almost the entire length of Nightwing's body like a blanket. "But I can't alter the future either," reminds Bart tentatively, his fingers reaching up to run along the man's chiseled, perfect jawline. "If I say too much, I affect the time stream and damage my own future. I'd crash the mode, DG."
After mulling over this silently for a few moments, Grayson finally speaks again. "What if I ask the right questions?" he prompts. "That way I only know about some future things instead of everything and anything you know."
Bart hides his face in Dick's chest. His face feels hot, and his heart is racing. "I guess you could do that," mumbles the boy through the t-shirt and layer of skin that his face is pressed into. Even the tips of his ears are a little red, and he's afraid of saying too much even when he hasn't said much at all.
Dick's lips purse; his hand continues through Bart's hair. "Are you alright with that?"
"Sure," he says softly, curtly. He nuzzles against Dick's chest more, drinking in that smoky Blüdhaven scent that he carries.
Dual emerald eyes turn their attention to a pair of azure orbs, clear as crystal, brighter than the sun. Bart's lower lip almost quivers.
"Are you sure you're okay with this?"
He hides his face again, staring at a blank tv that only holds their reflection: two bodies barely fitting on a couch, legs intertwined, toes touching and twitching. It's peaceful. He's comfortable. Bart forces his muscles to relax, and it's not easy for him. "Yeah," he says in breathy words, "I'm fine."
Tension falls from Dick as well. His shoulders relax; his hand moves from Bart's hair to the speedster's exposed back, and his fingers trace circles on his skin through the t-shirt he's wearing. "Do I ever become Batman?" he questions with pursed lips.
Bart now resumes his place further up on the acrobat's body, even wrapping his arms around Grayson's neck the best he can. He's struggling to keep the tension from his muscles. "Yes."
"So Bruce is dead?"
He already regrets it. He wishes he could've said that he wasn't okay with this. Because now he's not. His fingers twitch where they're locked behind Dick's neck.
Nightwing swallows hard but continues to draw circles on Bart's back; it seems to soothe the teen. Besides, having Bart so close calms him from his irrational outrage to this information, so can't he return the favor? "Am I happy as Batman?"
There's a pause. Bart's mouth finally remembers how to form words. "I don't know."
Dick takes this in, slowly processing it like a computer taking in data. The circles he's drawing become smaller and tighter. "Do we know each other? In the future?"
Bart's green eyes are suddenly wet. Why couldn't he have refused? Dick'll know everything if Bart doesn't just shut his mouth... "Not really." His lip does quiver this time, and he closes his eyes, swallowing hard; Dick's too busy thinking to notice. "We've never officially met. I mean, I know who you are, all about you, but you only know me through stories."
There's a pause. Richard's fingers stop moving through Bart's silky hair. His breath catches. "Why?"
Anxiously, he starts twitching, body going rigid with stress and fear. Words tumble out of his mouth, fast and almost unintelligible. "Because there's no Justice League in the future. There's a small cult sort of group, but it's not enough to save the world and it never will be because the whole planet has crumbled to slavery and you're leading a cult while I'm conspiring and sleeping with your son and it's all kind of crazy because the whole world is ruined in the future and nothing's going to stop it unless I fix it now."
Dick barely catches every few words because he feels like he'a trying to get water with a butterfly net whenever he listens to pure speedster speech. He's manages to decipher a few things though, like "no Justice League", "cult", "whole planet", "son", and "fix it now". "Slow down, Bart," murmurs Dick into the child's hair, even pressing a kiss into the caramel-colored crown. "Slow down. You don't need to worry right now." His face is captured by a broad smile, which Bart unfortunately looks up into and the tears start to well up; Dick misinterprets and continues gently, "That's in the future. You're here and now."
Bart's painfully aware. Dick's smile looks just like Daniel's, and it's painful to see him so innocent and naive of the future that's coming for him. Bart feels the hot tears on his cheeks before he can conceal them, and he quickly buries his face in Dick's chest. "I know," he whispers, not wanting to see that smile anymore.
It's too much like his. The son and the father are nearly identical, the only difference being how chiseled Dick is as opposed to his scraggly, unkept kin. Bart feels so safe in this Grayson's arms only because they're reminiscent of another's. Daniel. The speedster misses his boyfriend terribly; it stings his heart to believe that he's doing this to help the future, but he's really just trying to spare a life. There have been plenty of times Bart has second-guessed his entire plan, but this seems to be the key. He can save Daniel.
There was a time when Bart felt safe. In the future. With one person. And no other.
"I'm so scared about the future," breathed Daniel, running his fingers through Bart's hair as he and the speedster lay together, side-by-side, naked chests gleaming with sweat.
Bart swallowed hard. "Me too, D," he murmured, trying to keep the pain out of his eyes and to bar the tears that threatened to escape from behind dams. Because Daniel was never in on the plan. He knew Bart was always disappearing somewhere, but a time machine was the least of their concerns. And now Bart was leaving soon. And he wouldn't breathe a word about it to anyone. Only he and Nathaniel could ever know.
"It's getting harder to get in touch with my dad," he mumbled while drawing an infinity symbol on Bart's chest, silently letting him know that this was forever. "Food's scarce, and people are dropping from starvation. The collars feel tighter and tighter every day." It was Daniel's turn to swallow hard. "I wish we could change it, Bart. I want to make this world good again."
Bart could feel his own bare neck and mostly-full stomach. Sneaking in to sleep together was getting ridiculous when Daniel wouldn't allow him to bring provisions or assistance from the outside world. "I know," he whispered, his whole body cold with dread.
He would be escaping soon on a mission that could change the course of this world. He'd save Flash. He'd save Blue Beetle. And he'd save Daniel if he could. By sleeping with his father. By ensuring that Daniel didn't exist in this terrible, disgusting future. Save him from this awful world.
That hand stroked his hair again lovingly and then continued to trace designs into his chest. "I love you, B," said Daniel with a smile on his calm face, those blue eyes shining, his kind heart glowing.
"Love you too," Bart responded softly, fighting back tears as Daniel's eyes slowly slid shut...
The next morning, Bart was gone before his boyfriend could even wake up. Nathaniel was waiting for him.
"We won't talk anymore," says Dick, dragging Bart from his tragic memories and back to the past, or present, something like that. "I'll call Babs and see if she can't pick us up some chicken whizees, alright?" And Nightwing pecked a quick kiss to Bart's forehead before reaching out for his cellphone to get in touch with the redhead of the Bat Family.
Bart listens as Dick talks; his words are smooth and charming, and Barbara is pretty willing within a few minutes to do a quick favor for the former Robin. The speedster's senses dull as he relaxes, the stress of a long moment over.
And he realizes that the gentle circles that Dick was etching onto his back before have turned into a figure-eight. Infinity.
Bart's not sure whether to laugh or cry.
A/N: Review? Thanks for reading.