Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce/Dick, David Ackerley, Barbara Gordon
Genres: Angst, Drama, Holiday, A Touch Of Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Rating (this chapter): G
Summary: Dick falls victim to a magic spell.
Chapter Summary: Dick’s loved ones gather around him in the hospital.
Date Of Completion: July 26, 2014
Date Of Posting: October 11, 2014
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1407
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2014 DCU Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. Prompts: Pumpkins/Jack O’Lanterns, Books on Halloween/Magic, Gotham City, Yellow, Spells/Curses/Hexes.
All chapters can be found here.
Breaks the curse,
The future is bright
None for worse.
See the gold
In days of old
Shining and bold,
Truth be told.
"Love Spells For
The Modern Witch"
Alfred laid out what he would need to start dinner. Dick could be as quiet as Bruce when he wanted to be. He looked over his provisions and decided he had enough to cook roast beef, red bliss smashed potatoes, and butternut squash. A simple meal would suffice before patrol. And the leftover roast beef would make excellent sandwiches.
He decided to collect Dick’s plate and cup before starting to cook. He left the kitchen and went down the hall to the living room.
“Master Dick!” Alfred rushed over to his young charge sprawled out on the rug in front of the fireplace, his books scattered around. He checked Dick’s pulse. It was weak but steady. “Master Dick, please awaken.” He checked Dick’s eyes next. They seemed normal. He closed them again.
Alfred performed a few more checks: heart, respiratory, and so on. He sat back on his heels and considered the situation. He reached for the phone and called for an ambulance.
Though the young Master should just get up and perform a somersault. There is nothing wrong with him!
Bruce drove his Lamborghini almost recklessly as he sped to Gotham General Hospital. He parked in the visitors’ lot and ran into the hospital, demanding of the nurse at Admissions, “Where is Dick Grayson?”
“Are you a relative?”
“I’m his guardian.” Old habits died hard. Dick was of age now.
“Room 612, sir.”
He hurried to the elevators and impatiently waited for the doors to open. He dashed in and waited for the elevator to rise to the sixth floor, every muscle ready to spring. When the doors opened, he strode down the corridor, bursting into Room 612.
The butler turned to him, his face solemn. Dick was lying in bed, still and peaceful.
“Alfred, what happened?”
“Most peculiar, sir. I found Master Dick sprawled out in front of the fireplace.”
“Was he sick?”
“He was perfectly fine.”
“What does the doctor say?”
“They cannot find anything wrong with him.”
Bruce noticed the lack of multiple machines around the bed. One machine monitored the patient’s heart and respiration but otherwise nothing else was attached to him.
Bruce stood next to the bed and gazed down at his friend. He looked merely asleep.
“Is it a virus?”
Alfred shrugged. “No trace of one. The whole thing is rather odd.”
Bruce could feel an ache in his chest as he continued to look down at Dick. There had to be something causing this state.
“They did a CAT scan?”
“Yes, sir.” Alfred stood on the other side of the bed. “They have scheduled more tests.”
“I want to talk to his doctor.”
“I will fetch him.”
Bruce stood rigidly as Alfred left. He was numb. Seeing Dick so pale and motionless shook him to his very core. He could not reach out to touch his young friend
Not the way I feel about him.
Alfred returned with the doctor, a man in his early thirties with dark, wavy hair already peppered with gray. Bright, blue eyes were set in a tanned face as his shoulders slumped with weariness. He held out his hand.
“David Ackerley, Mr. Wayne.”
Bruce shook his hand out of ingrained courtesy. He looked directly into Ackerley’s eyes. “What’s going on, Doctor?”
Ackerley looked unhappy. “We don’t know, sir. Every test we’ve run so far shows nothing. The CAT scan shows normal brain activity. He’s not in a coma. He just won’t wake up!”
Bruce could hear the frustration in the medical man’s voice. “Tell me about the further tests you’ve ordered.”
As the doctor spoke, Bruce’s mind was racing. If conventional medicine had no answers, it would be time to consult unconventional sources.
The night was long and the dawning day ever more endless, one of waiting while Dick was wheeled out for tests and back. The sun rose high in the sky, reached its zenith at noon, and began to sink as dusk fell early. The lights of the city came on as Big Dan chimed the hour of five o’clock.
“I’ll have to call Barbara and ask her to take patrol,” Bruce said as he stared out the window, his hands clenched tightly behind his back.
“No need, sir. I called her earlier today and she is coming over right after work.”
“I’m here, Alfred.”
Barbara stood in the doorway, frowning at the empty bed. Bruce could see her reflection in the window. Alfred went over and took hold of her hands.
“Out being tested. He has not responded to any of them, alas.”
Bruce could hear the worry in her voice. Her footsteps were light across the floor. She laid a hand on his arm.
“I’ll patrol for you tonight.”
The silence in the room was almost unbearable. As he started out at the sunset, its rainbow colors streaking across the indigo sky, he remembered his thoughts from earlier in the day when he was alone with Dick…
Dick lay motionless, pale and beautiful. It hurt Bruce to see him unmoving.
There was a slight smile around Dick’s lips. His heart lurched. What was it about Dick and his smiles? Even in the heart of darkness, his light was there.
With a trembling hand, he brushed the hair back from Dick’s brow. His hand hovered over Dick’s lips, barely able to feel his breath.
He ached with the pain of loss, afraid of it settling upon him again. This whole thing speaks of magic, or some strange new virus, or maybe we’re all dreaming it.
“Come back to me, Dick,” he said quietly, desperately.
Barbara let herself in through the kitchen door. Alfred had given her his spare key and she liked the old-fashioned kitchen with its wooden beams and spice rack hung on the wall. The appliances were up-to-date, and the smell of gingerbread was warm and inviting.
This kitchen always smells good.
She walked out of the room and across the foyer. She was headed for the library and the entrance to the Batcave when she noticed the scattered books in the living room. The librarian in her could not resist going in and picking up the books.
She smiled sadly as she noticed the titles. She stacked the books and reached for the last one sprawled on the floor. Glancing at the page, Barbara noticed the incantation. She read the spell carefully as the embers died down in the fireplace.
She gathered up the books and left the room, heading back to the hospital.
“Here’s the source of Dick’s condition.” Barbara held the book out to Bruce. “Page 36.”
Bruce took it while Alfred looked up from his vigil at Dick’s bedside. Bruce looked at the page, midnight-blue eyes reading rapidly. He looked up at Barbara.
“Seems simple enough.”
Barbara smiled. “Yes, it does.” She could hear the slight tremor in Bruce’s voice. When he handed her the book, she passed it over to Alfred.
“We just need to find his True Love,” Bruce said, jamming his hands into his jacket pockets.
“Bruce,” Barbara said gently.
He started at her, still resisting. He always would, at least at first. Bruce had never learned to take what gave him joy, she thought with a touch of pity.
He finally took a deep breath and looked down at his partner, his face unreadable. His fingers curled around the bed railing so tightly his knuckles went white. He bent down, gently kissing Dick. He straightened up and all three started down at the sleeping beauty.
Time ticked slowly as they all waited, wondering at spells and the world they lived in, that magic was often real and not just some imagined tale.
Dick’s breathing left the evenness of sleep and increased, his eyes fluttering open and his gaze settling on Bruce. A smile curved his lips.
“Bruce. You look so…handsome.”
“Always the charmer,” Bruce said dryly, grasping the younger man’s hand. He smiled, relief relaxing the tension around his eyes.
Such a simple thing, really, Barbara thought as she slowly closed the book of spells. True love just needs the key.
The clouds scudded across the bright moon as All Hallow’s Eve crept closer on the whispering winds.