Alright so this is actually my first story so please be kind. I've never written anything other than English papers in school so I have no idea what I am doing. I hope y'all enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman/Bruce, Robin/Richard, Alfred or the Justice League. I wish I did but I don't. They belong to DC comics as y'all know already.
"Bye Bruce!" Little seven-year-old Richard Grayson exclaimed as he hastily swung his backpack over one shoulder.
"Hold on young man," Bruce said as he stepped in front of the rushed child. "Where do you think you're going?" Richard abruptly stopped a couple feet away to keep from barreling into his guardian.
"Out," He mumbled, slightly winded from practically flying down the stairs in his haste. Bruce raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms over his broad chest.
"I can see that. Did you not think to ask for my permission first? Not to mention tell me where you are heading in the first place?" He questioned the small boy. Richard looked down, guilty.
"I told Alfred." He lied quietly.
"I do not recall you telling me such thing, Master Richard." Alfred quipped, appearing out of nowhere and startling the boy. Bruce looked down at the boy disapprovingly. Richard shrunk at being caught in his lie and looked down at his shoes; his backpack slid off his shoulder and landed on the floor with a loud thump.
"I want to go play," He whispered, looking up at Bruce with wide, innocent blue eyes.
"Where?" Bruce asked, knowing there was more to the story.
"At Aaron's house," Richard replied. Bruce frowned.
"Aaron Anderson? Mike and Lisa Anderson's kid?" Bruce asked, thinking about the family that lived in the mansion down the road. The parents were nice people but their child...now he's another story.
"I do not want you around that boy." Richard frowned.
"Why not?" He asked in disbelief. In the six months that he had lived with Bruce, he had never been denied a thing. Well, on the few occasions that he has asked for something. He never once took advantage of living with a billionaire. Other children would have asked for every toy in the market; But not Richard Grayson. His parents taught him to be humble and to not take advantage of people.
"That kid is bad news. Not to mention he's four years older than you." Bruce said, an air of finality in his voice.
"Is he not the child that caught the small forest behind his home on fire last year?" Alfred asked as he picked up Richard's bag.
"But today at school he said he wanted to be my friend." Richard spoke up, looking at Bruce with sad eyes. Bruce's expression softened. The boy had been in school for almost three months and he's yet to make a friend at Gotham Academy. Bruce suspected that his classmate's parents might have prohibited their children from becoming friends with a boy that they didn't consider up to their status. It made Bruce furious but there was nothing he could do. It's not like he could pay a kid to become friends with his ward. Or could he? He immediately shook that thought out of his head, knowing that it would do more harm than good. He could let his son play with the Anderson's kid, but he knew that the boy was a bully. He didn't want Richard to get hurt. Or become a bully himself.
He sighed and squatted down to the boy's level and placed his large hand on his tiny shoulder.
"Richard..." he paused, trying to find a way to word what was in his head in a manner that would not hurt or confuse the boy. "Sometimes...older boys pretend to be nice to children that are younger than them." Bruce saw confusion in the boy's eyes.
"Why?" Richard asked, his little eyebrows furrowing.
"They pretend to want to be their friend so they can take advantage of them and push them around." He could see something click in the boy's mind.
"You mean a bully?" Bruce nodded, glad that he understood. "Aaron is not a bully, Bruce." Richard defended. "He is nice to me."
"He is nice now. How does he treat other kids in your class?" Bruce asked. Richard frowned. Well there were many times when he'd seen Aaron and his buddies push Harry around. But who wouldn't? Harry eats glue and picks his nose all the time. Who wouldn't be mean to him?
"He treats them okay." He finally said. Bruce wasn't convinced. Richard could tell that no matter what he said, it would not change Bruce's mind. So he decided to use another approach. His eyes suddenly filled with huge tears. Bruce freaked. He hated seeing him cry.
"I-I juss want a fwend," Richard's words were slurred as more tears trailed down his flushed face. Startled with this sudden reaction, Bruce looked up to Alfred for help.
"Maybe you should let him go just this once, Master Bruce." Alfred said, pulling out a tissue from his pocket and handing it to him. Bruce sighed and placed the tissue over the child's nose.
"Blow," he commanded. Richard hesitantly blew his nose. "I'll let you go," Richard cracked a tiny smile. "Only if you stop crying and take a cellphone with you. Just in case." Richard nodded his head enthusiastically before throwing his arms around Bruce's neck. Bruce smiled and stood up, bringing the boy up with him as he wrapped an arm around his back and the other under the boy's bottom. He placed the child on his hip as he took the backpack from Alfred.
"I'll go and fetch the extra cellular phone from the study," the butler said, turning around to leave the foyer.
"Gee, what do you have in this thing? Rocks?" Bruce asked, placing Richard's bag over his shoulder.
"No silly!" Richard giggled. "They're my toys."
"Wait, isn't Aaron eleven? Isn't he too old to play with toy cars?"
"I seem to remember you still playing with toy cars up until you turned twelve, Master Bruce." Alfred quipped, handing the small, sleek, silver cellphone over.
"They weren't toys. They were collectibles." Bruce defended.
"Keep telling yourself that, Master Bruce." Bruce rolled his eyes as Richard giggled.
"Do you want me to drive you to Aaron's house or do you want to walk?" Richard looked down and started to play with one of the buttons on Bruce's suit jacket.
"I was thinking I could ride my bike, alone." Bruce didn't know what to say. Was this the same boy that only two months ago would shadow his every move just because he didn't want to be left alone? When did this change?
"Uh...sure," he finally agreed after a moment of thinking and coming up with different scenarios in his head that could happen in the small trek down the road. He was batman after all. And this was Gotham. But then he figured he could whip his state-of-the-art bat binoculars and watch him from a window upstairs without smothering the child.
"Thank you, Bruce!" Richard exclaimed, leaping out of his arms and landed in front of Alfred, who was already standing by with a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. He helped the child put on the protection as Bruce placed the backpack securely on the kid's back and the cellphone in one of the small pockets within Richard's reach.
"Call me when you're ready to come back home. If you get hurt..."
"I know," Richard exasperated. Bruce chuckled as he followed the dark-haired boy down towards the garage. Richard skipped over to his red bicycle. Bruce helped him roll the bike over to the door, pressed the garage door button, and out to the large driveway. Richard quickly hopped onto the bike, ready to peddle away.
"Hold on," Bruce stopped the boy. "Don't go too fast. Remember what happened last time?" Richard frowned. Oh yeah, he remembered. He still had the scar to remind him of his horrible fall.
"I'll be okay, Bruce!" Richard exclaimed, sticking his tongue out to the side of his mouth as he concentrated on peddling down the driveway. Right when he reached the gates, they opened.
"Have a nice play date, Master Richard," Richard heard Alfred's voice say from the voice box.
"Thanks Alfred!" The boy chirped.
Bruce sighed as he saw his boy disappear over a small hill. He immediately reached into his pocket and pulled out his binoculars. He could never be too cautious. Once he saw Richard enter the Anderson's house, he relaxed a tiny bit. He's still stressed over the fact that this was the first time Richard had gone anywhere without him (aside from school of course.)
One hour later, Bruce sat in his study, reviewing a report emailed by his secretary from Lucius Fox. He sighed for the umpteenth time as he looked down at his phone. Not one call from Richard.
"I do not believe glaring at your phone will make it ring, Master Bruce. Much less make Richard call," Alfred murmured, walking into the room with a silver tray holding a steaming cup of coffee. Bruce thanked Alfred as he set it down on the desk.
"It's been an hour, Alfred. Do you think...?" His thoughts were cut off when his phone started vibrating. He immediately answered the phone.
"Uh…no. It's Clark." Bruce narrowed his eyes at hearing the voice on the other end.
"What do you want, Kent?" He asked. "And why are you calling me on this line?"
"That's the problem. Communication's down at the Watchtower. We need you to come up and take a look and see what's wrong." Bruce sighed.
"What did Allen do this time?" He heard Barry complain in the background, muttering something about how he's the one that always gets blamed for everything.
"Wasn't him. That's why we need you. We have some heroes on off-world missions at the moment. We need to get this fixed ASAP."
"Can't you get someone else to do it?" He growled, standing up from his seat.
"No can do. Anyone else that has the ability to do something is currently unavailable. You're our only choice." Bruce grumbled to himself as he stepped through the grandfather clock and trekked down to the bat cave. Alfred silently trailed behind him.
"So are you coming?" Superman asked.
"Yes." Bruce grunted before abruptly hanging up on the man of steel.
"I take it you're going to be leaving soon?" Alfred asked as he watched Bruce grab his costume and become Batman.
"I do not know when I will be back." He handed his cellphone to Alfred. "If Richard calls, please go pick him up. Tell him that I will be back soon."
"Of course," Alfred slipped the iPhone into his pocket as Bruce prepared to be teleported to the watchtower. Once Batman was gone, Alfred made his way back up into the manor to begin preparing tonight's dinner.
Alfred hummed softly to himself as he checked the casserole he placed in the oven thirty minutes ago. He was about to pull it out when the cellphone he placed on the counter began to vibrate. He turned the oven off as he removed the oven mitten from his hand so he could answer the phone.
"Wayne residence," Right then he heard a small sob come from the other end. "Master Richard?"
"Al-lfred," the boy sobbed, "They l-locked me in a closet," He stuttered. He heard a woman's voice softly speak to Richard. He heard the boy mumble a silent "okay" before hearing what sounded like him handing the phone over to someone.
"Hello? Is this Bruce Wayne? Richard's father?" He heard a soft, feminine voice ask.
"No, Master Bruce is currently unavailable." Alfred hastily turned the stove off and grabbed one of the many car keys hung beside the door. "Is Richard alright?" He heard the woman sigh.
"My son and his friends decided that it would be amusing to lock him in a closet and continuously bang on the door. I am terribly sorry."
"I'm on my way to pick the child up." Alfred shook his head as he stepped into the car and sat down. He pulled out of the driveway and drove quickly out of the property and towards the Anderson's house. Once he arrived, He saw a Blonde woman standing beside Richard in the front yard. The poor boy was clutching onto his backpack and sniffing quietly. Once he saw Alfred step out of the car, he immediately began to cry again as he ran over and wrapped his arms around the old butler's legs.
"Alfie," he sobbed. Alfred patted the boy's head.
"My word," Alfred gasped, "What happened to your hair?" He touched the noticeably shorter hair on the side of the boy's head. Mrs. Anderson stepped behind the boy and looked at his hair. She obviously hadn't seen it before. She frowned.
"Aaron." She muttered angrily. "That boy…I swear." Alfred smiled sadly as he picked the boy up into his arms. Poor woman. You can't choose your children or how they might turn out to be when they grow up. "Again I am terribly sorry." She murmured sincerely.
"It is alright, Mrs. Anderson. This is not your fault." He walked to the car and placed Richard in his booster seat. He strapped him in before grabbing the red bicycle and placing it in the trunk. He silently bid farewell to the distraught mother of the demon child named Aaron before driving back to the manor.
Batman grunted and cursed silently under his breath when he tried to find the problem causing their communication problems but to no avail. There was nothing wrong with the satellite…what is it?
"Having problems, Batman?" Bruce ignored the feminine voice ask behind him. He only acknowledged her with a curt nod. Wonder Woman stepped closer to the Dark Knight to peek over his shoulder. "What are you doing now?" She asked as Batman heavily sat down in front of the huge monitors and began typing away.
"I'm trying to find an alternative way to fix the problem without having to restart the whole system."
"Why don't you want to restart the system?" She asked curiously.
"If I did, the Watchtower's defense system will be momentarily offline. I still don't know if this is just a technological failure or a plan to keep us from communicating efficiently if someone were to attack." Diana rolled her eyes at his paranoia.
"I highly doubt someone will attack in the five or so minutes it will take to restart."
"We can never be too careful, Princess."
"Keep telling yourself that, Bruce."
"Why do you think this malfunction suddenly happened now?" He questioned.
"Maybe it's just a glitch in the system. It happens."
"Things like this just do not happen to Wayne technology."
Diana rolled her eyes once more.
"Please," she laughed, "technology isn't always one hundred percent reliable." Bruce turned his head to face the woman leaning over him, only to notice how closely she was standing beside him, to the point that her soft, dark hair brushed against the exposed skin at his jaw. He cleared his throat. She looked down at him, noticed that she unconsciously stood too close to him, and blushed as she took a couple steps back. The awkward silence that soon followed after was interrupted by the shrill ringing of a phone. (Can cellphones work in space? Whatever, it does now) Diana watched as Bruce answered the phone.
"Hello?" He answered. Diana watched as Bruce's expression turned from confusion, to extreme anger, to frustration all in a short period of time. Those where the most expressions she had ever seen Batman make other than his usual stoic face or usual bat-glare.
"I've got to go." He muttered abruptly.
"What's wrong?" Wonder Woman asked, worriedly. "What happened?" Batman ignored her as he left. She stood there, staring at the place he was moments ago before sighing softly. What was that about?
Alfred looked up when he heard Bruce's footsteps resonate from behind the Grandfather clock before it opened.
"How is he?" Bruce asked, already making his way upstairs. Alfred trailed behind him.
"He fell asleep not to long after I called," Alfred answered. Bruce quietly opened the bedroom door, stepping inside. He immediately made his way closer to the giant king sized bed. The nightlight plugged into the far wall provided enough light for him to see the small bundle. What he saw broke his heart. Poor little Richard Grayson was curled up on his side, his arms wrapped securely around his favorite teddy bear. His face was flushed with red tear tracks still visible on his cheeks. He was having difficulty breathing through his nose, so his mouth was slightly opened as he quietly snored. Every once in a while he would hiccup and stir, but the poor child was too emotionally exhausted to wake up. Bruce ran his fingers through the boy's choppy hair.
"This is my fault, Alfred," Bruce stated. "I should have never let him go." Alfred shook his head.
"There was no way we would have known this would happen, Master Bruce."
"Yes I did. Do you think I wouldn't have ran a background check on everyone that lived within a ten mile radius around us before letting Richard even take one step outside without supervision? That Anderson's boy had been expelled from his old school and suspended twice from Gotham Academy."
"Even so, Master Richard needs to learn that he cannot trust people here unlike when he was in the circus. He needs to know now that he is your ward, not everyone is trustworthy of his friendship." Bruce knew Alfred had a point. But he didn't want Richard to get hurt. His brooding was interrupted by a soft groan. Richard's azure eyes cracked open slightly.
"Bwuce?" He tried to sit up but Bruce pushed him back gently.
"Shhh…go back to sleep. I'm here." The child visibly relaxed, closing his eyes as he settled back into bed. Bruce leaned down to gently brush his lips against the boy's forehead. A few minutes later he stepped out of the bedroom with Alfred at tow.
"I have scheduled an appointment with your hairdresser. He will come by around noon tomorrow to fix Master Richard's hair."
"If you would like, dinner is ready."
"Can you make it to go? I still have to return to the Watchtower." Bruce said, walking down the stairs.
"Of course, Master Bruce." Alfred bowed before heading to the kitchen. Bruce glanced up towards the direction of Richard's room before heading towards the cave.
Who knew raising a child could be this stressful?
Well, that's it. Tell me if you'd want me to continue? Some advice on what the next chapter should be about? Please?