Dick woke up.
Normally, he didn't mind waking up that much. New day, new chance to help people, all that other cheerful, uplifting stuff.
This time not so much. The only thing that was waiting for him this time was a pounding headache and a wave of nausea. He grunted and shuttered and swallowed back a mouthful of bile.
He wasn't sure when exactly he started hearing Bruce's voice in his head whenever he felt sick repeating "breath" over and over, but there it was. Like most things Bruce taught him, it was good advice. After a few of them, he started to feel better. Or a little better anyway. Well enough to open his eyes.
"Dick? You all right?"
It took a lot of effort to roll his head over towards the voice that had asked the question. He really didn't expect it to be Tim who was sitting next to him, leaning towards him anxiously and putting his hand on Dick's shoulder. That was weird, why was Tim here?
"Guess so," he muttered.
"You need anything?" Tim asked.
"Water?" he suggested. "Or maybe to throw up." He really wasn't sure which one needed to happen more. His mouth was so dry he wasn't sure he could move his tongue, but his stomach was enthusiastically twisting around, apparently crawling towards his throat.
"Got you covered," Tim said, holding up a glass of water, with a straw in it, in one hand and a small silver tray in the other. "Whichever happens first."
"Thanks," he rasped, looking back and forth between them, and still hearing Bruce's voice in the back of his head repeating "breath". Finally he decided on the water. He leaned forward, reaching his mouth for the straw. Tim's hand caught the back of his head, which hurt a little but was pretty much the only way he was going to get there. "Thanks," he muttered after he'd taken a sip and leaned back into the pillows behind him.
"Don't mention it," Tim said. "How's your head? Leslie said you might need another dose of morphine."
"It's not that bad," Dick lied. It was relative right? Getting shot had hurt a lot more, the headaches before the surgery had hurt almost this bad, but in this case he knew he wasn't going to die from them so which made them a little more manageable.
Still, the thumping in his head was the last thing he wanted to think about, so he asked "what're you doing here?" instead.
"Guarding," Tim said with a grin.
"Isn't here the Batcave?" Dick asked, rolling his eyes around a little. Yeah, he knew the smell of the place even if he couldn't see it very well. Kind of damp and cool, but also homey somehow. No where else in the world smelled like the Batcave. It made him feel safer, calmer and his stomach started to settle a little more.
"Yeah," Tim agreed.
"Why are you guarding me if I'm in the Batcave?"
"He wouldn't leave," Tim growled looking over to the other side of Dick's bed. Very slowly because moving his head definitely hurt, Dick turned to see Damian, curled up in a little ball in a chair, apparently sound asleep. "I'm not leaving you alone with him."
"You left me alone with him for months Tim," Dick pointed out, smiling kind of wearily. The kid looked kind of peaceful when he was out cold. He looked like a child and even though he was one, Dick didn't think of him as anything other than a small, annoying assassin most of the time.
"Yeah but you were awake enough to do something about it if he tried to kill you."
"Damian's not going to try to kill me," Dick said, grimacing at little while he spoke, although he wasn't sure if it was the headache that was getting steadily worse or because of that time Damian tried to kill him.
"If you say so," Tim agreed. "You made him your Robin. But I'm still not going anywhere."
"I'm kind of glad," Dick said really, really softly. "Must be the morphine talking." Tim laughed a little and leaned back into his chair. There was a thick book balancing on the arm and when his elbow bumped it and knocked it into his lap Tim tucked it under the chair. "Where's Bruce?" Dick asked.
"Off working on his newest ridiculous master plan," Tim said.
"What is it?" Dick asked.
"It's too crazy for me to explain it," Tim answered. "Bruce's going to have to tell you. Speaking of, he wanted me to give him a call when you woke up. Do you mind if I?" He pulled out his phone and waved it back and worth for a second.
"Go for it," Dick agreed.
He needed a minute to catch his breath anyway and to think things over. He remembered the fight, he remember Bruce coming back, he remember Damian as they left Bruce to handle Dr. Hurt but after that the details were fuzzy. Apparently he'd made it to a clinic or a hospital because he wasn't paralysed and there was an IV dripping morphine and fluids into his arm. That was good. Surgery, that explained the nausea.
"Hey," Tim said. "Yeah, he's awake. No, he seems pretty coherent. Yeah, all right I'll see you shortly then. Okay."
Typical conversation with Bruce. Short, to the point, not weighed down by any unnecessary words. Dick smiled and he wasn't even sure why. "He said he'd be back as soon as he can," Tim said, hanging up.
"I'm sorry I didn't believe you. I mean, about Bruce being lost in time."
"Don't worry about it," Tim said. "Every time I said it out loud I realized how crazy it sounded and I knew it was true. I understand why you didn't. Besides, you were needed here. It sounds like you've made a good impression around town."
"I still should have trusted you," he said. Tim shrugged. "When'd you get here?"
"I was actually on my way back to Gotham when Bruce called," Tim explained. "I'd just figured it out and was coming to tell you and see if Bruce'd turned up." Typical. Sometimes Dick thought Tim was too smart for his own good.
"So I haven't been out for that long then?" Dick muttered, feeling a little better now that things were starting to make sense. It didn't make his head hurt any less though.
"No, it's been about ten hours since your surgery," Tim said. Dick nodded and immediately wished he hadn't. He clamped his teeth down hard on the groan that almost slipped out. "I got here at the prefect time to keep an eye on your little Robin over there."
"Tim, I'm sorry I made Damian Robin instead of you. You know it's just because," Tim interrupted and waved his hand.
"I know," he said. "It doesn't matter. You did what made sense. Maybe it even helped the little demon, I don't know but I still don't trust him."
"That's okay," Dick said. "I do." Tim shrugged again. "Hey, remember what you asked if I needed more morphine and I said no?"
"Yeah," Tim said with a grin, like he'd known that it was coming. Well he probably had. Kid was a damn good detective. He stood up and pulled a syringe out of a drawer somewhere and slowly injected it into the IV.
"Thanks," Dick said. "Sorry to be such a pain in the ass."
"Dick, please just stop apologizing," Tim said with exasperated affection. "Let the morphine kick in and go to sleep. You still need a lot of recovering. I heard Bruce is going to keep you off your feet for months."
"Right. 'Cause we're really good at following doctor's orders around here." Dick couldn't help yawning. Tim smiled. "Will you wake me up when Bruce gets here?"
"I'll try," Tim promised. Dick wasn't sure he liked that answer but he knew for a fact he wasn't going to get a better one before he slipped out of consciousness again. Somewhere above him Tim laughed a little. "You're drooling." Dick managed to smile. Brain surgery aside, it was nice to be home.