AN: I'm back with another one shot! Other than a slight reference to Young Justice, this story can go with basically any Batman mythos of your choosing. I chose YJ because I think Bruce and Dick have the best relationship than any other animated interpretation...anyways. I hope you enjoy!
It seemed like only every other blue moon that appeared, that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson would have a fun night out just simply because they wanted to. This particular definition of fun being: not fighting crime. This trip to the theater was not just another cover up to hide their secret identities, but it was truly because they wanted to spend a day together as father and son. Out of all the years they spent patrolling the city as Batman and Robin, they noticed that there was always a certain time in the year when almost nothing illegal or dangerous would happen.
The rest of the world also seemed pretty quiet since most of the Justice League were either home, in the watch tower, or patrolling their own towns and Young Justice were not on any particular assignments that evening. They decided to use at least one day during this time of the year to have some fun—and also because Alfred had bought them a pair tickets to a favorably acclaimed travelling production of The Pirates of Penzance.
One Week Ago
"A normal father/son outing is usually something like a basketball game or maybe even a hockey game." Dick sarcastically commented when Alfred presented them with their tickets and tea on a silver platter.
"You of all people should know that we are not exactly the perfect picture of a 'normal' family, Master Dick." Alfred replied as he gave the thirteen-year-old and Batman their cups of tea in the Batcave.
"Touché, Alfred." The boy responded as he blew slightly into the cup and sipped the hot earl gray.
"Besides, I believe that more exposure to the fine arts will be a great benefit to the both of you. If you did go to a sports event, I believe that you two would just sit there and spend the entire time criticizing the positions of the athletes and talking about how they could improve their stamina by turning their left foot twelve degrees outward."
Neither Dick nor Bruce responded…because it's true.
Batman had the appearance of extreme concentration to his files on the computer…but he couldn't help but smile internally at their conversation.
"The show is next Saturday, sirs. Starts at 7, be sure to be there by at least 6:45."
So now here they were at the Gotham Opera House, already halfway through the first act of the musical. And to be honest…the both of them did not exactly share Alfred's high level of appreciation for musical theater, especially for a musical in which every piece of dialogue is sung in an operatic style followed by squeals. They were beginning to be annoyed out of their minds.
The sounds of irritating and overdone giggles was starting to get to Dick as the females playing the characters of the seemingly infinite amount of sisters sang "Climbing over rocky mountain", which was then immediately followed by the pirates capturing each of the girls.
"I read up some things about this opera before coming here and all these girls are the daughters of a freaking captain." Dick whispered to Bruce. "They should at least know some self-defense techniques."
Bruce gave a small smile and whispered back, "I believe you mean 'major-general'" and as if on cue, the Major-General began to perform his catchy and upbeat song. Both could not help, but he mesmerized at how fast he was able to sing the lyrics—Dick would love to see the Flash or Wally try to perform this.
Throughout the entire first act, Bruce simply acknowledged his thirteen-year-old's comments with either a nod or a grunt, and once with a finger to his lips when he spoke a little too loud…but he had to agree. Although he did accept and sometimes thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the theater, it just was not exactly a thing he was really into.
The final notes of "Pray observe the magnanimity" were sung and the curtains came to a close. The ending of Act I finally came much to Dick and Bruce's relief. "I don't think I'll be able to hear girls giggling without getting annoyed for a while—a long, long while."
"Same here." Bruce agreed.
They both got up from their seats to stretch their legs during the fifteen-minute long intermission. They walked around for a minute or two in silence—composing themselves for the next act—before Bruce broke the silence. "Do you think you can handle any more of that?" he asked jokingly.
"I'll be honest…probably not." Dick said with a shy smirk as he looked up to his guardian.
Bruce looked around the lobby area of the opera house and noticed that the audience members were beginning to walk back to the auditorium to take their seats. He bent his back down to be somewhat eye-level with Dick. "Wanna get out of here?" he whispered.
Dick smiled widely, let out a small snicker and nodded his head anxiously.
Like the sneaky vigilantes that they are—they hid successfully in the crowd finally making their exit out the front entrance of the building unnoticed by Bruce's "high society friends" and other theater goers. Once they were out, Dick breathed in some of the Gotham air and looked up towards the sky. "Feels good to be out here." He said as he exhaled.
Bruce looked amusingly at the boy and let out a small chuckle. "Alright, let's go get something to eat. I think I saw a diner around the corner on the way here."
"Sweet." He replied as he stepped in tow along Bruce who began casually walking towards the new destination.
As they walked, Bruce could not help but feel something like a nick in his heart…that something was not right. But he then thought that this was a special night with his son and that his Batman paranoia was just trying to get the best of him. He brushed off the uneasy feeling and continued his stride.
Neither could have guessed what was coming to them.
In the diner they were suits among a very small crowd of sweatshirts and jeans as they watched a rerun of a college football game on a small TV hanging in the corner of the establishment. It was true about what Alfred said...they kept making comments on how the players could improve their performance.
"Number 4 should not have his leg stretched out so much." Dick commented as he drank from his glass of cherry coke.
"He's on the offense." Bruce told him as their waitress came by to refill his mug of coffee as she eyeballed the both of them for looking so out of place.
Embarrassment was something the both of them learned to tolerate. After all, Bruce dresses like a giant bat most of the time and Dick also paraded around in a cape and mask.
"Whatever he is, if he stretches it out more he will pull something."
As they continued watching the game, eating their dinner—Dick was right: Number 4 ended up having his some of his teammates help him limp over to the bench to be observed about a pulled muscle.
"Told you." The boy said as he sucked the last drops of his drink from the straw
Their waitress came back up their dinners and quick refill of Dick's cherry coke. The boy's mouth slightly watered as he looked down at his place of pizza and a side French fries both of which were sitting atop a big green leaf of lettuce. Yes…pizza and French fries.
"Pizza and French fries?" Bruce questioned as his plate of chicken-fried steak was placed in front of him. "I think hanging out with Wally is having a strange influence on your diet."
"Is there a law saying that I have to eat my fries with a hamburger?" Dick joked as he chewed on one of them. He then looked at the plate sitting opposite his own. "That is one of the least fancy things I have ever seen you eat. I think it's also kind of funny how places like these try to make the food seem fancier just by putting a piece of lettuce under the food" he commented as he easily pulled off a small piece of green vegetable and played around with it between his fingers.
"Alfred is not to know about this, alright?" Bruce said as he stole a few fries from his son's plate. "As far as he knows, we stayed for the whole play."
Neither one of them wanted to face their butler's wrath if he ever found out about them eating something that was less than acceptable. Cheap diner food falling in the top five of that category.
One college football team had dominated the other college football team and as estimated, the team with the player who had stretched his leg out too much had lost the game. In all honesty, Bruce and Dick did not care all that much about it. They just enjoyed criticizing their moves.
Bruce ate the last of his steak and Dick ate the final fry. Bruce paid for the meals, took out a breath mint, and then they were on their way back to the parking garage that was only a few short blocks away from the diner and an even shorter distance from the Opera House.
"We should take Alfred to a diner one of these days. He needs to 'lax and let someone else make his own food for a change. At least once."
"So what are we going to tell, Alfred?" Bruce quizzed the boy as they walked.
"That we loved it." Dick responded mockingly.
"And that I think it was one of the most wonderful works of art that I ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Then he'll probably catch on the lie and say something like 'Oh false one! You have deceived me!'" Dick quoted from the musical which received an amusingly odd look from Bruce.
"Did you just—" the older man chuckled as he looked down at him.
"Don't tell me that didn't amuse you, Bruce."
"I thought you said that you couldn't stand it."
Suddenly…"Just like how I can't stand you high society rich creeps." said a grungy shadowy voice from nowhere.
Neither of them said that. They looked around as Bruce instinctively pulled Dick closer to him. "Who's there?" Bruce called out aloud.
Emerging from the darkness of a seemingly empty alleyway, they both caught the sight of the barrel of a gun almost seemingly floating in midair. The exposed barrel gleamed against the moonlight and the continuous blinking of colorful neon lights of a motel across the street.
"Get in here before anyone sees you or I swear, I will shoot!" The voice commanded as it practically spat out the last word.
This scene was all too familiar to Bruce…it resembled that night.
Eight-year-old Bruce Wayne had just walked out of the movie theater along with his parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne just six minutes ago. Six!
Now he sat on his knees with his face buried in his hands as tears streamed down in rivers down his cheeks as the gunman ran out of the alley as fast as he could. This was the one night that they were going to spend time together as a loving family!
How could everything go so wrong so quickly? He desperately asked himself.
His mother's broken pearls were scattered everywhere. The bounced when they caught impact to the cold cement. Some got lost in the cracks while others landed near his feet. Drops of blood even landed perfectly on them without touching the ground.
A small pool of blood was making its way towards his knee, but he didn't move it. He continued to bawl and shake in place. His eyes were closed very tightly almost to a point that it was beginning to hurt, but the pain of that was the very last thing on his mind.
"Somebody help!" he cried out as he risked taking a look at the dead bodies lying in front of him.
Minutes passed and he did not look away again from the bodies, not until he heard the sirens of Gotham police vehicles finally approaching the scene of the crime. Policeman soon began crowding the narrow alley, one of them was Lieutenant Gordon. He made his way through the crowd and immediately kneeled in front of the boy and placed his hands on top of his shoulders.
"Come on, son," he said calmly. "Let's get out of here. The police will take it from here."
Bruce didn't know why, but in that instant tears once again began to stream down his cheeks and shoved himself into Gordon's chest. The boy continued to bawl as the Lieutenant wrapped his arms around the trembling body and let him break down for a moment longer. He helped the boy stand up and at his pace, Gordon escorted Bruce to his police car.
Remain calm...that won't happen—not again!
They were currently Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson—plain civilians! They could not just pull out the vigilante card in that instant. In order to avoid more conflict, they simply adhered to what the shadowed gunman demanded and entered the alley as Bruce kept Dick very close to him. The man continued to aim the gun at them as he turned his body to face them.
The man's back was now facing the street. Bruce, while still keeping a tight grip on the boy's shoulder, moved Dick behind him—to avoid the worst.
"A-alright now," Bruce managed to say with his hands slightly up in the air. "Let's settle this in a nice, formal way. I'll give you my wallet, m-my watch, even the keys to my corvette." he tried to negotiate as he pulled out all the items he mentioned. "We can all leave peacef-fully and no one gets hurt, i-is that ok?"
Dick silently continued standing behind his guardian while squeezing his arm reassuringly staring wide-eyed at the scene going on before him. He had never heard Bruce sound so...afraid. He never stumbled over his words—at least never unintentionally. Not even as Batman facing Gotham's most notorious madmen had he ever spoken like that.
He realized that although this was a first time mugging for him—Bruce was reliving the one night that changed his life forever.
The gunman still kept an unsteady aim of his weapon towards the both of them. "No funny business, alright?! No tricks!" It was starting to look like he himself was not even sure of what he was doing.
"O-of course not."
The man's figure was now becoming more visible as a small ray from a streetlight slightly gleamed over them. Despite the sound of his raspy, shady voice, he looked like he was trying to be menacing, but almost came off as nervous. He took one hand out of the overcoat pocket and held it out as Bruce gave him the wallet, watch, and car keys.
Things were beginning to look better as the gunman for a moment let the weapon down and hastily rummaged through Bruce's wallet. He carelessly took out the dollar bills and credit cards and pocketed them in his coat. As he continued looking, he stopped to look at one of various receipts that was sloppily scrunched in with the bills.
"One hundred!" he suddenly shouted very loudly. "And eighty-five dollars! On a three-course meal?!" he raged as he dropped the wallet and pointed the gun once again at the billionaire and his boy. "Do you know how many people would kill for that kind of money just to pay a month's worth of rent?!" he continued. "You rich idiots just make me SICK!"
Bruce felt almost dumbstruck. He continued to keep Dick behind him. "I-I'm sorry," he said suddenly feeling. "That is a pretty outrageous bill. L-look, you have all my money and credit cards, l-let's just leave it at that and I-I promise to spend my money for effectively."
"How much were those tickets to that opera that you just ditched?!" the gunman demanded.
"You were following us?!" Dick suddenly interrupted as he kept a tight grip on Bruce's arm.
"Dick!" Bruce scolded in a whisper as he looked down at him with worry in his eyes.
"How much?!" the stranger demanded as he shoved the gun further inward into the gap between the two of them.
"I-I don't know." Bruce answered. "Those tickets were a gift."
"That makes you even worse, Wayne! Throwing away someone's gift just because you didn't like it. Have you no sense of decency?!"
"Y-yes, I admit it. It was quite thoughtless of me."
In that instant, the sound of sirens could be heard blaring from a distance becoming louder as it approached their destination. "I SAID NO TRICKS!" Although the tone of his voice sounded angry, they could both tell that the man was actually very nervous as the gun began to shake violently in his hands.
Panic ran throughout his body. The worse was definitely about to happen if he didn't attempt to stop it. "I-it wasn't us!" Bruce cried. This feeling of panic was strange. It was so rare, not even as Batman did he feel it that intensely.
"It's true!" Dick added with a sense of horror laced in his voice.
And in that moment it seemed like time had slowed down. The mugger had shot his gun. Multiple times. He then looked down at the weapon in his hands and dropped it immediately feeling unquestionably disgusted with himself. He ran out of the alley with Bruce's valuable in his pocket and didn't turn back. Seconds passed and a fire truck sped down the street.
It wasn't the police…
Bruce observed his surroundings. The gun was on the ground. He was on his knees with his hands around his abdomen. He unwrapped himself and saw all the blood coloring his hands and white dress shirt. His mind had not clicked that he had been shot.
Was he to leave this world like his parents? Was he to leave his son in that same state that he was left in all those years ago?
A sharp pain then vibrated throughout his body as he twisted to look behind him, but he ignored it. He was standing in front of the boy…how could he have gotten shot too?!
The view in front of him was absolutely terrifying. A view that no parent should ever have to witness. As Batman he had seen this view various times, but it was part of the job and they were both usually wearing Kevlar lined suits. And he always knew that they would have gotten out of the situation.
This particular view…was different. He was not wearing a Robin suit, nor was he shot at for being Robin. Dick Grayson was lying on the ground, eyes closed, unconscious—oh god forbid, dead—and blood seeping from his body onto the concrete—he was shot at just for being with him.
"Dick! No, no, no!" Bruce cried as he pulled the small body closer to his. He ignored every twang of pain that screamed throughout his body. He pulled him into his lap and cried into his hair. "Not again!" he screamed in distraught.
He remained there rocking his body back and forth as he silently pleaded Dick to open his eyes. He needed to see those baby blues to reassure himself. Neither of them should have the same fate as his parents.
He said in a quiet and harsh whisper. "Dick…wake up."
Bright lights were everywhere. They really irritated his eyes. Bruce's entire body ached as he began to stir back into consciousness. He moaned as he tried to sit up and bring a hand to his forehead, but groaned and fell back against the pillow as the pain got worse when he tried to bend his abdomen.
Then he remembered…
He opened his eyes and looked around the room. He was in the hospital. His heart monitor was going crazy at his rushed excitement. "Dick?" he called out, coming out a little soft. His throat felt rough when he spoke.
A nurse wearing her brown hair in a tight bun came in when the heart monitor began beeping hysterically. "Mr. Wayne, please." She said trying to sooth him. "You were shot, doctors were able to save you and remove the bullets, but you must remain calm."
"I'll be calm when I see my son!" Bruce growled. "Where is he?!"
"Mister Wayne!" the nurse cried as she tried to push him gently back down on the mattress. "You need to rest if you want the wounds to heal as soon as possible."
"What's happened to Dick?!" Even after being shot at and being asleep for who knows how long, ignoring all the pain that screamed for to him to lie back down, he overpowered the nurse and practically jumped out of his bed as she fell against the wall. If this woman was not going to answer his questions then he was going to very well find out for himself! He would apologize later.
Wearing nothing but his bandages and his hospital gown, he pulled along his IV pole out the entrance of his hospital room. As the door closed behind him he heard another commotion going on in the hallway.
"Get back in bed, young man!" he heard a male voice, most likely a doctor, plead. "You and Mr. Wayne were shot. You need to get some rest!" he said practically mirroring what the female nurse had told him.
"Where is he?! At least tell me if he's ok!" a familiar, but very angry voice responded.
Oh, my god…is it?
Bruce followed the voice and soon saw a small mob of nurses and a male doctor crowding the entrance of one of the rooms, obviously trying to restrain someone trying to escape. "Let me go!"
"Dick!" Bruce called out almost desperately as he staggered towards the crowd.
All eyes moved towards the new voice. "Mister Wayne!" the doctor gasped. "You must get back into bed!"
Above the crowd, a small black haired head popped out. "Bruce! You're ok!" he smiled widely and broke his way out of the horde. He also wore a hospital gown and had bandages wrapping all the way down his left arm. There was also a single bandage on top on his hand.
He pulled out the IV tube.
Bruce staggered forward in a faster pace and halfway through both him and Dick landed on the ground exhausted but holding on to each other for dear life. Bruce dropped his IV pole as he held the boy. One hand ruffling the full head of hair and the other wrapped around his lean waist. Dick had his face buried into Bruce's heavily breathing chest and his arms entwined around his body.
Seconds before, all the nurses and doctors were trying to get them back to their beds, but now on one dared to interrupt this moving scene. They stared at a man and his son embracing each other, who were previously afraid that they had lost one another forever.
The doctor had eventually finally managed to pull the two of them apart to do an analysis on the both of them on their current conditions. Bruce was cleared to be able to walk around if he pleased, but Dick on the other hand had to remain confined in bed since he not only was shot at, but landed pretty hard on his head when he collapsed.
Commissioner Gordon and Detective Bullock along with another small handful of policeman had questioned them about their attacker and the events of that night. Apparently they had arrested someone that morning for public intoxication fitting the description their attacker. After a few minutes, they left and it was just Bruce and Dick in the room.
Bruce sat in a chair next to Dick's bed and they started talking. They had also been informed that Alfred was on his way over to the hospital.
"Bruce, you ok?" Dick asked, honestly concerned. "What happened last night…it was almost like that night…with your parents, wasn't it?"
Bruce did not want to talk about that. He had somehow miraculously survived two gunshot wounds while his son had survived one and a bad knock to the head. He honestly just wanted to appreciate the miracle that was blessed upon the both of them….but he also felt the need to apologize.
He took in a breath. "Yes and I'm sorry."
Dick was taken aback. "Sorry for what?" he asked. "It's not like you knew that that was going to happen."
"I had a feeling though. But I just ignored it, thinking that it was probably nothing. I could have prevented this. Not only that—I acted like such a coward! I have faced deadlier foes, been in more dangerous situations…last night just brought back very bad memories."
"You can't always be…" he looked around to make sure no one was around and said in a hush tone. "…Batman, but look, we're fine. Cops even said that they probably caught the guy this morning…we still have each other."
"And me of course."
Bruce and Dick looked towards the source of the new sound and smiled at the sight of Alfred standing at the entrance. "Alfie!" Dick greeted.
"I'm glad to see that this predicament still has not changed anything about you, Master Dick." He said as he gave the boy a hug and sat himself on the edge of the bed. "I'm also glad to see that the both of you are alright." He laid a hand of top of Dick's and gave Bruce a warm smile.
Bruce returned the smile.
"Oh!" Dick suddenly gasped as he remembered something. He cleared his throat and looked seriously towards Alfred. "We loved the show and I think it was one of the most wonderful works of art that I ever had the pleasure of experiencing." He said in an almost completely static tone.
Bruce covered his mouth and started scratching his cheek in an attempt to hide his laugh. He couldn't believe that he still remembered their plan.
Alfred raised an eyebrow amusingly. "Oh false one, you have deceived me."
AN: That ending seemed a little rushed...maybe I'll fix it later. I would really appreciate some feedback! And I'm sorry for making Bruce OOC! Thank you for reading! Time to get back to my multi-chapter story that I keep putting aside.