Sorry for the delay!
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman. That is all.
Moonlight streamed through the window, casting a pale light throughout the room.
The only sounds in the richly decorated room were the sound of fingers quickly typing on a keyboard, the clink of a cup and the yawns of the young billionaire who sat at the desk. Exhaustion clouded his mind as he typed words mechanically. He was exhausted and sore after being out all night fixing the technical problems up in the Watchtower and protecting Gotham City as Batman. It was tedious work, but it had to be done before his meeting tomorrow. Shaking his head to clear his mind, he moved onto the next paper in his stack, attempting to take a swig of coffee from his cup. Failing dismally, he peered at it, groaning when he realized that it was empty.
"Great," he muttered to himself. The coffee had made him a little more alert, but not nearly enough for him to be comfortable. A throbbing headache penetrated his head as another wave of exhaustion hit him, and he was surprised that he was even conscious. How could a body stay functioning on so little sleep? Glancing out the window, he estimated that it was early morning, and he ought to be sleeping. Standing, he walked over to the cabinet where Alfred left a carafe full of coffee, irritation flashing through him when he saw it was nearly empty. Coffee had been keeping him functioning for many nights, it seemed. He wouldn't be surprised if he was addicted.
Shrugging, he grabbed the carafe and went back to his desk, throwing himself into the chair. Glancing back at his paperwork, he finally decided to leave it until he was thinking properly. He leaned his aching body back into his chair and closed his eyes. He immediately started to think about his young ward. He wondered if the events from yesterday had traumatized the boy more than he already was. He really hoped not. The poor boy deserved a break….
Bruce unconsciously started to slide down in his seat, his eyes drooped slightly. Maybe a little bat nap wouldn't hurt….
Before he could completely fall into unconsciousness, he heard the door to his study slowly creak open.
"Richard? What are you doing awake?" He asked the child that stood timidly by the door.
"I had a nightmare," Richard whispered, rubbing his eyes with his fists. Bruce motioned for the boy to come closer. He sluggishly made his way across the room. Bruce awkwardly leaned down and picked the boy up before placing him on his lap. He was still not used to caring for a child. Much less how to comfort them.
"Was it the same one as always?" Bruce asked hesitantly. Alfred had told him that Richard had been having reoccurring nightmares. Bruce was slightly disappointed that Richard confide more in Alfred than him with his nightmares. He was a little shocked that the boy came to him now in the first place. Richard buried his face into Bruce's chest and shook his head. "Did it have something to do with what happened yesterday?" He ran his hand through the boy's choppy hair.
"Yes," He mumbled. Bruce nodded silently.
"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked after a couple minutes of silence. No reply. "Richard?" He looked down at the small child on his lap. He smiled when he noticed that the boy had fallen asleep. He carefully stood up, cradling his young ward in his arms. He shut down his computer and slowly walked out of his study.
"Are you sure you want to go to school today," Bruce asked, glancing up at to look at Richard through the rearview mirror. The boy looked up to make eye contact with the man.
"Yes," he mumbled softly as he ran his hand over his freshly cut hair. He missed his slightly shaggy hair. Now it resembled Bruce's well-groomed do. If people before thought they looked alike they would definitely think so more now.
Bruce wasn't totally convinced. He could see the faint trace of fear in the boy's blue eyes.
"You don't have to if you don't want to." He received no response as he pulled into the school's large driveway. He parked the car before unbuckling his seatbelt and slightly turning in his seat to face the boy.
"Are you positively sure? You can stay home if you want," he prompted. If it were up to him, he'd drive right back home and keep him there for the rest of the semester.
"You're really, really sure?" Richard rolled his eyes at Bruce's silliness.
"Yes, I'm sure Bruce," he exasperated. Bruce grinned, glad that he got a tiny smile out of the boy.
"Alright. If you want to come home, I'm just a phone call away."
"I know." Bruce got out of the car and opened Richard's door. He helped the boy unbuckle his seat belt and jump off of his booster seat. Richard grabbed his new Superman backpack, much to Bruce's dismay, and swung it over his shoulders. Bruce gave his ward a quick hug.
"Go on now, don't want to be late for class."
"Bye Bruce." Richard chirped. Bruce watched as the boy slowly made his way towards the school entrance. He didn't get into his car until the boy disappeared through the door. He sighed as he pulled out of the school property. He really hoped nothing bad would happen to Richard today.
When the school doors swung shut behind Richard and he was positively sure Bruce couldn't see him, he let his shoulders slump. He really didn't want to be here, but he wanted to show Bruce that he wasn't a baby. He had a momentary relapse last night, seeking Bruce's comfort after his nightmare. Not that he wasn't close to Bruce or didn't like the guy, but for some strange reason he wanted to show Bruce that he was tough. He also wanted to show Aaron that he wasn't afraid of him. He's a Flying Grayson for crying out loud! He performed death defying acts on a regular basis when he was in the circus.
Richard sighed. Who was he kidding? Of course he's afraid. Positively terrified. He knows he doesn't stand a chance against a boy that's four years older than him.
Lost in his thoughts, Richard slowly made his way to his classroom. Right when he entered the room, everyone turned to look at him. He kept his gaze down as he walked to his desk.
"Nice haircut." He heard one of Aaron's buddies call out. The room busted out in giggles. They had obviously heard about the incident that happened during the weekend. He felt his ears burn with embarrassment. He did not dare look up to make eye contact with his classmates. He was thankful that Aaron was a 5th grader. That meant he only had to deal with him during P.E. He could easily avoid him in the hallways if he was careful.
"Alright class. Settle down." Mrs. Johnson scolded her students as she entered the classroom.
Bruce Wayne sat in his office, slightly drifting away into unconsciousness. Being a C.E.O, batman, leaguer, a billionaire philanthropist, and somewhat father was really staring to take a toll on him. Or maybe it was just because it was Monday…
"Mr. Wayne?" A perfectly manicured hand waved in front of Bruce's face. He snapped awake and turned abruptly, slightly startling his secretary.
"Oh, sorry. What do you need?" He asked the woman, slightly frazzled.
"Sorry to disturb you Sir, but you weren't answering your phone," She set a portfolio on Bruce's desk. "Mr. Jensen and his associates are in the boardroom on floor 27."
"Thank you, please inform them that I will be joining them shortly." Bruce stood up and straightened his tie as his secretary stepped out of his office. He shook his head, took a huge gulp out of the cold coffee on his desk, and grabbed the portfolio before heading after his secretary. Oh how much he hated Mondays…
Richard poked his head out the door, looked both ways before sprinting towards the next safe place he could see. So far no sign of Aaron. He prepared to make a mad dash towards the restroom before a hand was placed on his shoulder. He shrieked.
"Mr. Grayson, what are you doing out in the hallway and not in class? Not to mention running down the hall, hmm?" Mrs. Waters, the school principal asked. Richard took a deep breath, slightly relieved that it was only her.
"I was going to the restroom."
"May I see your pass?" She asked, her hand outstretch, waiting. Richard fumbled for the hall pass in his pocket before handing it to her.
"Alright. Go on. I better not see you running down the halls again. This is a fine institution, not a circus."
"Yes, Mrs. Waters, Ma'am." He watched as she walked away, muttering something about reckless children as she went.
Richard leaned against the wall and let out a huge breath. That was close.