A/N: My first story in this fandom. Full of fluff, cause I like fluff. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think. I may continue with more chapters if there is interest. I do not have a beta, so all errors are my own. Also, I do not own these characters. Thank you for reading.
Because we're lucky
Bruce Wayne sat on his king sized bed, kleenex in hand, and a large pile of blankets stacked on top of him that were somehow all tucked in neatly at his sides. Another coughing fit shook the fever ridden man's large frame which left his usually strong and healthy body aching and miserable at the assault.
A truly terrifying glare that could cow Gotham's worst criminals and was usually reserved only for use by the Bat was now aimed solely at his loyal servant, Alfred Pennyworth. Unfortunately for Bruce, his butler was the man who'd raised him, and the only man living (save perhaps the man of steel himself) who could withstand such a look without a hint of fear.
The glare had been the vigilante's last resort. He was known as the world's greatest detective, Vengeance, and a slew of other intimidating nicknames. Still, his fever wrought brain had been incapable of coming up with a suitable counter argument. One that would convince the old man to let him out of bed to prepare for his nightly patrol. It was rare that Batman was benched and would not make an appearance in Gotham, but it was looking more like this would be one of those nights.
"-anna see him, Alfie!"
"My sincerest apologies, Master Dick, but as I informed you previously, I'm afraid Master Bruce is feeling quite under the weather this evening. It would not do for you to catch his fever."
Bruce blinked in confusion at the new voice and glanced where Alfred was talking to his young ward at the door. When had Dick arrived? To have let himself space out like that, Bruce had to admit with no small amount of self-loathing, that maybe his cold was worse than he'd earlier concluded. Glancing over at the time, he noticed that it was already after four. The soon to be nine-year-old had probably just finished his homework and needed Alfred to look it over.
Without warning, the small acrobat ducked under the old butler's arm and ran to the bed. Big blue worried eyes that were so similar in hue to his own stared at him with an intensity of emotion that always left Bruce's chest clenched tight and his vocal chords tense. Those expressive eyes were impossible to ignore, and had played a major role in convincing him to take the boy in.
The bedridden man cleared his throat, but that quickly turned into another cough. The boy handed him his Kleenex with a determined expression.
"Don't worry, Bruce. I'll stay here and help you feel better."
Dick's sincere intentions were appreciated, but unnecessary, and would almost certainly prove inconvenient. While Bruce found himself most of the time genuinely enjoying his new young ward's company, there was no way he would be getting any rest with the young chatterbox around. There was also the point of not letting the boy catch his cold.
"Dick. You shouldn't be in here. Alfred already told you…"
"I don't care! I gotta be here with you!"
Bruce was immediately about to start reprimanding Dick for interrupting him and remind him who was in charge here, but a few months of having a child in the house had done wonders for the Dark Knight's patience. The boy was still just a child, and was acting out of worry over the person he'd come to see as the primary adult figure in his life. Bruce forced himself to settle back and speak reasonably.
"I'll be fine, Dick. Alfred has a lot of experience taking care of-"
"That's not the point!"
This time, Bruce raised an eyebrow. The boy was practically tearing up over this for some reason. It cued the detective to attempt using his already overwrought brain to recount what had been said so far, if perhaps he had missed something. Coming up with no satisfactory reasoning for the boy's uncharacteristic outburst and disrespect, he finally just asked.
"Alright, Dickie. Why is it so important that you stay in here with me?"
"Because… we're lucky."
That certainly had not been the answer he'd expected, but then again, nothing that ever came from Richard Grayson ever was. "You're going to have to explain that one to me, kiddo."
"Mom and Dad… they told me…" A small tear rolled down the boy's pale cheek. It was still less than a year since Dick had lost his parents, and Bruce knew with keen insight that it would be a long time before the boy could control his outward grief whilst thinking of them.
The tear combined with Dick's obvious distress gave Bruce the patience to wait while the boy calmed himself enough to continue speaking. Though Bruce had never met Dick's parents personally before their tragic end, based on their son's character, he had gathered that they must have been very doting and loving parents. Why on earth would they tell their child that being sick was lucky?
"They said when we're sick… is when we know best how lucky we are…"
Perhaps the boy was referring to how most people took their good health for granted, until something akin to the cold he was currently battling gave them a strict reminder of their mortality. Bruce nodded silently, encouraging the boy to continue.
Now that Dick had composed himself, wiping his tears away with his sleeve (a habit he was sure Alfred would strive to correct sooner rather than later), those expressive eyes were once again aimed at him with that same determined intensity they'd had when he'd first walked in.
"Cause when you're sick, your family is there to take care of you, and show you how much they love you no matter what. So I gotta be here!"
It was the second time that day Bruce was left speechless and without a good counter-argument, only this time it was against an eight year old.
His breathless whisper of the boy's name was interrupted by another painful set of coughs. For once, they were welcomed, since it gave him time to not let his weakened state allow himself to fall to pieces over what the boy had just said, what he had insinuated.
"I believe, Master Dick," Alfred made his presence known again, further saving Bruce the need to respond right away, "that it is time for Master Bruce to take his medicine. If you wouldn't mind assisting me down in the kitchen, you may bring up Master Bruce's pills and be sure he takes them. It would be a great help if you were to watch over him should he need anything whilst I finish preparing dinner. I will set up a chair for you in here where you may read quietly while he rests."
The young acrobat's eyes lit up, and his smile brightened the dark room like the sun. This was the most dangerous expression of all. "Okay! Don't worry, Bruce! I'll be right back. I promise I'll take good care of you!" With that said, he raced out of the room, but somehow the sunlight he'd given off still lingered.
Alfred shook his head, obviously miffed at the energetic youth's need to run in the manor, though he'd been frequently chastised for doing so. The older butler then turned to face him, a rare soft smile pulling at his features.
"I believe, sir. That you are, indeed, very lucky."
Luck had never been a notion the Dark Knight had ever assigned to himself, or even believed in its credibility. However, as his eyes followed the path Dick had taken out the door, and heard the boy's cries for Alfred to "hurry up," despite himself, Bruce found himself mirroring his own surrogate father's expression.
"Yeah… I guess I am."