Warnings: Mild violence
Summary: There are times when the Batman is not good at waiting. Bruce is even worse.
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Date Of Completion: February 5, 2007
Date Of Posting: February 6, 2007
Word Count: 1507
“We’re sorry, but we have lost contact with our man on the scene, and the police are
keeping people out of the area.”
Bruce stood in the middle of the living room for a handful of seconds, then turned and
walked past Alfred. “I’ll be downstairs.”
Alfred said nothing, worry sharp on his face. He debated for a moment, then shut off
the television and returned to the kitchen, leaving the radio on as he checked on his
muffins. Cranberry was one of Master Dick’s favorite flavors.
& & & & & &
A gentle zephyr of wind swirled around the Cave, the only sound as the Batman stalked to the
computers. He booted it up and clicked on all the news sites but nothing new showed up.
Maybe he should call Clark. He was about to use his JLA communicator when he saw a
headline on MSNBC about Superman battling a tsunami. He replaced the comm unit in his
The current picture was in New York, of rubble strewn among the smoke as a picture
refreshed on the site. Suddenly, Starfire went on her own rampage, exploding every
machine in sight and driving the attackers back. The other Titans were rounding up
the scattered troops, but there was no sign of Wonder Girl, Speedy, or Robin.
& & & & & &
Batman’s voice was sharp and laced with panic. Fire raged in the tenement, firefighters
struggling to contain the blaze. Batman had brought out a screaming little boy, Robin
close behind escorting an elderly man. A shower of beams and concrete walled off the
doorway that Batman and his charge had just escaped through. There was no way back in.
“Batman, get back!” ordered the Fire Chief.
“Robin’s in there!”
Agonized, Batman watched as the roof began to cave in.
“Need some help here!”
Batman turned wildly, cape swirling, heart triphammering. A scorched, tattered Robin
staggered with the old man’s arm around his shoulders. Batman raced to grab Robin
before he collapsed, a paramedic taking care of the old man. Robin coughed and allowed
his mentor to help him to a firetruck, where another paramedic checked him out.
“Just some smoke inhalation, Batman. His voice’ll be raspy for awhile, but he’ll be
Batman kept his arm around Robin as the paramedic moved away. He leaned in close.
“Dick…” he whispered.
Robin looked up at him. A smile curved his lips, brightening his smudged face.
“I love you, too, Bruce.”
& & & & & &
Bruce understood the fine art of waiting. He had cultivated it as the Batman, one of
the tools of his trade.
That didn’t mean he always liked it.
He slammed his fist down on the console. If he lost Dick…
Not his partner, his brightness, his reason for living.
The Mission was a poor substitute for love. It didn’t keep you warm at night or sit
beside you in the Batmobile or steal your English muffins from your breakfast tray.
Please, God, don’t take him way from me, too.
He should fly to New York…wait, Dick had taken the Batplane…he was going to be
disappointed to miss that ziti and tomato sauce tonight…
Bruce felt lightheaded as the silence closed in on him. He grabbed the computer chair,
staring unseeingly at the screen.
The scrape of a footstep on stone set him whirling around.
At the entrance to the Cave stood Dick, his uniform in tatters, blood and smoke and
dirt on bare arms and legs.
For a second, time stood still.
Then Dick limped over to Bruce, and Bat gathered Robin under his wing, seeing Superman
standing discreetly by the entrance.
Bruce and Dick hugged tightly, Bruce smoothing Dick’s smoky hair compulsively.
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Dick murmured. “Just superficial cuts and bruises. When Clark
showed up at the Tower, I asked him to bring me home after I knew everyone was all
Bruce remained silent, still stroking soft hair.
Reluctantly, Bruce let go. He immediately began cataloging injuries: cuts, bruises, a
“I have to go back. I’m their leader.”
Duty called. He’d taught the boy well.
“First you have Alfred bind up that ankle and attend to those cuts after you shower and
put on a fresh uniform.”
Dick looked down at his uniform and laughed. “Looks like not much left of my costume.
Though I suppose…” he removed his mask and winked “…you wouldn’t mind that.”
Bruce sighed. “Incorrigible.” He took Dick’s mask.
Dick grinned and hobbled up the stone steps, yelling for Alfred. The butler’s voice
could be heard from the unseen heights, “Master Dick! Thank all that’s holy!”
“Whoa! Do I smell cranberry muffins baking?”
“Come here, young sir. If you’re hungry you must be all right.”
Laughter floated down to the Cave. Bruce blinked back tears and was glad he was facing
away from his very perceptive best friend. Cowl or not, Clark knew him very well,
“He’s very special.”
Bruce nearly jumped. Perceptive, and as stealthy as Selina. He turned around.
“I’m…sorry I couldn’t get there sooner. I…”
“It’s all right, Clark.” Bruce laid a glove on a blue-clad arm. “You had to deal with
Clark sighed. “I know. It’s just that I like to keep my friends safe.”
“You do a good job of it.”
Clark smiled. “Thank you.” He looked up towards the manor and Bruce got the feeling he
was tracking Dick’s progress with his X-ray vision. “He never fails to impress me when
I see him with the Titans. He’s such a natural leader, Bruce. You should have seen him
after the battle was over. He was dizzy and bleeding and hobbling but still went around
to every member of his team and made sure they were all right. He probably would have
started assessing building damage but he wanted to come to you. He said that I was
faster than a speeding phone call, and he’s right.” Clark smiled again, amused by Dick’s
sense of humor. His voice softened. “He knew you’d want to see him.”
Bruce felt a myriad of emotions roil inside him: relief, pride, fear, and a love so
strong and tender that he felt like crying again. He took a deep breath and said, “I’m
proud of him.” He looked up at the steps. “Sometimes I look at him and think he’s the
only thing I ever got right.”
Understanding filled the Cave amidst the rustling of the bats, then Bruce roused himself
and said, “Alfred would consider me a poor host. I have bottled water down here, but if
you would like something else…”
“Bottled water is fine.”
They spoke of the attack by the Rampagers and JLA matters and before Bruce realized it,
Dick was coming down the stairs again, freshly-showered and in a new uniform.
Bruce took a swig of water from the bottle he had gotten for himself in addition to
Clark’s. His eyes took note of the bandages on Dick’s arms and legs, and his ankle was
tightly bound. He was carrying a large bag.
“So, I see my super-chauffeur is patiently waiting. Thanks, Clark.”
“Any time, Dick.”
“Here, have a muffin. Warm from the oven! Alfred gave me the whole batch to bring back to
“Gang, huh?” Clark bit into the muffin and looked at it appreciatively.
“Yeah, the whole gang. Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Buckwheat…”
Clark grinned and happily ate his muffin.
Dick grabbed Bruce’s water bottle and drank deeply. He returned it to his lover, his
blue eyes looking deeply into Bruce’s. Clark clapped Bruce on the shoulder and said,
“I’ll be waiting at the entrance, Dick.” He moved away, and Dick suddenly hugged
Bruce closed his eyes, smelling the scent of lemon shampoo and Irish Spring soap over
the lingering smokiness. He hugged Dick back.
Dick whispered, “I’ll be back tonight.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
Bruce released him and Dick smiled at him, gently taking his mask back from Bruce’s hand.
His eyes sparkled as he affixed his mask, kissable lips leaning in for a loving kiss.
Bruce desperately wanted to grab him again and keep him here in the safe confines of the
Cave, but he kissed back and then let him go. He received a muffin from the bag with a
wink and a smile from Dick.
Dick walked confidently toward Clark despite his limp. He would have jumped into
Clark’s arms except for the ankle, instead settling for the Kryptonian sweeping him up
into his arms while Dick waved his hand in a bored rich boy gesture.
“To Titans Tower, my good Superman.”
Clark chuckled. “Right away, Master Dick.”
They both laughed as Clark flew them out of the Cave, the bats squealing high overhead.
Bruce looked at the tunnel entrance for several minutes, the sudden quiet enfolding him
like a cape, then turned and walked to the computer and sat down, setting the water
bottle on the desk with care. He took a bite of warm muffin.
The Batman was good at waiting.
Bruce could be even better.