Pairings/Characters: Bruce/Dick, Clark, Barbara Gordon, Ollie Queen/Dinah Lance, Jim Gordon, Sarah Dickinson, Dell Rayson, Steve Trevor/Diana Prince
Series Notes: When Gotham falls to an epidemic, Batman and Robin need help to protect the city. All chapters can be found here.
Categories: Drama, Angst
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: The heroes begin their Gotham patrol while Bruce remembers a quiet night at home not so long ago.
Date of Completion: April 13, 2007
Date of Posting: April 29, 2007
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, DC does, more's the pity.
Word Count: 1736
Author's Note: Once in awhile an original character will slip into the group up there in the Pairings/Characters line, so if you don't recognize the name, that' s probably why. :)
Superman descended onto the rooftop, nodding at Batgirl as she came forward from the shadows, and Green Arrow and Black Canary leapt lightly onto the roof from the next building.
“Arrow, Canary, glad to see you.”
“Thanks, Superman.” Green Arrow’s smile was infectious, then it faded as he asked, “How is he?”
Superman took a deep breath. “Not good.”
Sadness fell over the little company, then Green Arrow said, “Speedy will be here soon. He has to help wrap up a Titans’ mission, but nothing short of alien invasion will keep him away.”
Superman smiled a little. “Good.”
Black Canary and Batgirl began talking and Green Arrow sidled up to Superman. Quietly he asked, “How’s Bruce?”
Clark sighed. “Not good.”
Sympathy was in Ollie’s body language as he used the same white lenses as Bruce did, hiding his eyes. “Clark, if…if the worst happens…”
“I know.” Clark shuddered. They’d lose Bruce forever, and would have to deal with a Bat dark and dangerous, with no anchor to the world.
Ollie squeezed his shoulder. “Dick’s strong. He’s survived a lot more than most men have. I know he’ll come through this.”
“I hope so, Ollie.”
The women rejoined them and Batgirl laid out the schemata of the city, the group deferring to her as it was her territory. It was decided that they would pair off for now, Superman and Batgirl as one team and Green Arrow and Black Canary as the other. They made plans to meet at the top of Wayne Enterprises at midnight.
They first made a stop at Police Headquarters.
& & & & & &
Jim Gordon looked up from the schedules on his desk. He didn’t know why he was bothering. He barely had enough personnel to fill half the slots needed, but the people working had to have rest at some point in time.
A noise at the window caught his attention. It couldn’t be Batman, because he was at Robin’s bedside, unless he had decided to go out on patrol after all…
His eyes widened behind his glasses. Superman was already through the window, Batgirl behind him, and Black Canary and Green Arrow.
“Good evening, Commissioner," said Superman.
“Good evening, Superman.” Jim rose from his chair. “And to you, too, Batgirl, Green Arrow, Black Canary.”
All nodded, and Batgirl stepped forward. “While Batman’s with Robin in the hospital, these heroes have volunteered to help us out here in Gotham.”
Warmth spread through Jim. “Thank you. We certainly could use all the help we could get.” He came around the desk and shook the visitors’ hands. “Have you seen Batman?”
“Yes,” Superman answered.
Superman’s eyes looked very blue. “Holding his own.”
Not a great answer, but better than it could be. “He’s been through quite a bit. I feel he’ll get through this, too.”
“I believe so, Commissioner.”
The heroes left, Jim feeling good about the safety of the city.
& & & & & &
Out in the night, the heroes silently went their ways. As they parted, Superman hoped that they would find Dick still holding on at the end of the patrol.
& & & & & &
Sarah Dickinson was an experienced ICU nurse and she had seen more than her share of strange things here in Gotham. One of the strangest things, of course, was caring for one of the spandex crowd, especially when his mentor was hovering in the shadows like his namesake for hours on end.
Probably a good thing each unit comes with a private bathroom. Can’t see Batman making trips to the men’s room out on the regular floor.
The thought amused her, then she sobered as she thought of the severity of the situation.
Robin’s not doing well.
Like so many Gothamites, the influenza was hitting him hard. Wearily she ran a hand through her dark-red hair. All personnel had been called in and working around-the-clock, working double shifts, then getting some sleep in the residents’ lounge. Those lucky enough to live close by could sleep at home for four hours and return. Sarah was one of those, but she still had twelve hours left on this shift.
She walked down the hall and pulled back the curtain of Room 331. Startled, she noted Batman sitting in a chair by the bed, his long, black cape elegantly draped around him as he held the hand of the young man in that bed.
So the Batman does have a heart.
She walked around him to get to the I.V. machine. “You needn’t move.” As she adjusted the flow of medicine, she noted the bag of candy on the small nightstand. So, the little bird has a sweet tooth. The thought amused her as she was pleased to see that little human touch.
Sarah checked the rest of the machines, taking pulse and respiration and noting them on the chart.
“No change,” she said to the silent figure by the bed.
Batman looked at her for a moment, then nodded. She left him to his vigil, sadness heavy in her heart.
Sighing, she took a moment to adjust her wristwatch before she would return to the nurses’ station.
“How’s the kid doin’?”
Sarah looked up at the arrival of her friend from Emergency. She had worked with Dell Rayson for years in the chaos of the Emergency Room, finally breaking off from the stressful environment and choosing the ICU instead.
Not that the stress isn’t that much less, but it’s not quite as crazy, especially in Gotham.
Dell was stocky, whisky-voiced and the best nurse in the whole damned hospital.
Dell grimaced. “Damn.”
Dell had given up smoking years ago but always looked like she should have a cigarette in her stubby fingers. “I was in the E.R. the night he brought in the mother of the girl he and the Batman saved.” She shook her head, keeping her voice low so as not to disturb the patients. “Never saw someone light up a room like he did. Everyone was cranky, sick, and frustrated, not to mentioned worried, and he actually brought smiles to some faces!” She leaned against the wall, arms crossed. “Not many people like that in this world.”
They remained silent for a moment, then Dell said, “Well, the kid’s young and strong. He’s got a good shot.”
“He’s not exactly a kid anymore.”
“He looks like he’s barely pushing eighteen!”
“Yeah, but that’s only because we’re used to seeing him around. He must have hit the streets when he was ten or eleven.”
Sarah nervously looked over her shoulder. “Dell…”
“He can’t hear us.” Dell’s voice was confident, and neither of them had spoken in anything much above a whisper. She pushed away from the wall. “Listen, my break isn’t long, but give me the details of Superman’s visit. The peons down in E.R. want details!”
Sarah smiled. She walked with Dell back to the nurses’ station. “Well, he’s even more gorgeous in person than what you see on TV or in pictures…”
& & & & & &
“You mean we’ve got the whole place to ourselves?”
“Yes, Alfred’s going to stay over at Leslie’s tonight.”
“That old dog!”
“Don’t let him hear you say that.”
Dick laughed, eyes sparkling as he slipped over the back of the couch to land beside Bruce. He immediately curled up beside his lover and Bruce slid his arm around him, Dick settling comfortably as he stretched out his legs on the couch.
“What are watching? PBS? The news? That Civil War documentary?”
“There’s a special on Amazon heritage I thought I’d check out.”
“Cool.” Dick snuggled closer as the program started.
The special was interesting and they learned some useful things about Diana’s background, though of course some facts were not part of the documentary, such as some of Aphrodite’s dictums about men stepping foot on Paradise Island and those consequences for the Amazons. The special did end with the story of a young captain crashing off the coast of the island, and the legend of Wonder Woman was born.
By the time Bruce clicked off the TV, he thought Dick was asleep. The image of Dick for most people was that of a perpetual motion machine, but even a nineteen-year-old needed rest now and again.
“That was really good,” Dick mumbled.
“I thought you were asleep.”
“What, and miss the story of Steve being rescued by Diana? You know me, I’m a sap for true love stories.”
Bruce’s tone was amused. “So you think they’ve got true love?”
“Oh, yeah.” Dick yawned. “I could see that the first time I saw them together. I mean, it was so obvious. Steve’s eyes would sparkle and he’d have this big grin on his face and Diana would laugh and her eyes would go all soft when he was around.”
Bruce felt a touch of amazement. “How old were you when you noticed all this?”
“Oh, I think I was ten. Wonder Woman entered the superhero game soon after I did, remember.”
Bruce kissed the top of Dick’s head. His young lover’s reading of people when it wasn’t in a criminal situation was exemplary and superior to his own.
Not that being superior would be hard. I seem to have a deficiency in people skills, he thought wryly.
Dick yawned again. “I guess we’d better get ready for patrol.”
“Well, I did ask Barbara if she would cover for us tonight.”
Dick lifted his head up. “Really?” His eyes sparkled. “You mean we can stay in tonight?”
Bruce nodded. “Provided she doesn’t call us for assistance.”
“I can live with that.”
“Can you live with going to bed?”
“Ooohhh, yeah, I can.” Dick started to uncurl his legs when Bruce whispered against his ear, “What if I swept you off your feet?”
Blue eyes sparkled. “Sounds like a plan to me.”
Bruce rose from the couch, then swept Dick off the couch. Dick promptly slid around, locking his legs around Bruce’s hips.
“Steve and Diana aren’t the only ones with true love, eh?” Bruce said softly. Dick’s eyes lit up.
Bruce smiled as he carried Dick up the stairs, his young lover laughing and kissing him all the way…
& & & & & &
Bruce still sat grasping Dick’s hand.
Guilt welled up in him.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.