Pairings/Characters: Wee!Dick, Bruce, Alfred :)
Series Notes: I'll be writing a lot of Bruce and Wee!Dick stories, but the stories of their first year together will be gathered together under this series title.
Genres: Challenge, Drama
Summary: Bruce’s training of his new protégé requires some tweaking.
Date Of Completion: December 29, 2009
Date Of Posting: April 21, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 857
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: While I love my slashy boys, I do love to write them early in their careers, when Dick is just Wee!Dick and even more adorable, if that’s possible! :) Also, Bruce teaches Dick a lot, but learns some things himself.
The entire series can be found here.
Entered into my 2010 DCU Fic/Art Wee!Dick Challenge. :)
Dick grabbed the trapeze bar, muscles protesting, but he swung back-and-forth. He knew this routine. He had cut his baby teeth on it. He let go of the bar, tucked, and rolled.
Bruce caught him.
“Let’s do it again.”
Disappointment flooded through Dick. Wasn’t that flip any good?
They ran through the routine again, then Bruce said, “Time for boxing.”
Dick wondered if the routine had fallen short. It shouldn’t have. The one area in which Dick excelled even over Bruce was aerial work. That routine had been good. Why didn’t Bruce say so?
Dick was starting to feel tired, but he had to keep pushing. As Batman’s partner, he couldn’t afford to wear down out there.
He was quick and could avoid a lot of punches, but he had to work on dishing it out. Rolling with the punches was easy, but delivering a hefty punch while still a kid was tough.
Bruce feinted, bobbed, then hit Dick’s shoulder. Dick went down hard, biting his lip against the momentary pain.
“Pay attention, Dick. You should have easily ducked that blow.”
Bruce was right; he should have avoided that punch. Being tired was no excuse. Would the Joker or Penguin care if he was tired? Would even a garden-variety thug?
He rolled away from the next punch and came up beaming. Bruce aimed for Dick’s stomach and Dick danced away.
“All right, I’ve got to make an overseas call. Keep practicing.”
A little of the sparkle drained from Dick. He was being silly. Why should he expect any praise from Bruce? He was just doing his job, after all.
Dispirited, Dick picked himself off the mat and started his moves, watching himself in the mirrors on the wall.
Bruce wiped himself down with a towel. He didn’t have time to shower before the call.
Alfred was standing a few feet away.
“Thank you, Alfred.”
Bruce went up the stone steps, followed a few minutes later by Alfred.
Bruce made his call from the library, sitting at his desk. Alfred delivered a strong cup of black coffee and set it on a coaster by his elbow, then started dusting the books lining the walls.
When Bruce was finished, he hung up the phone and sipped his coffee.
“I believe you’re going about your training of young Master Dick incorrectly.”
Bruce raised an eyebrow. “Please elaborate.”
“I shall.” Alfred put down his feather duster. “You are misreading the boy.”
“Master Dick is a sweet child. He is also strong, otherwise you never would have taken decided to train him. Yet you have a better understanding of criminal psychology then normal human psychology at times.”
Bruce bristled. “I’m not a psychologist, Alfred.”
“The point?” Bruce tried to keep the irritation out of his voice.
“Some people need a kick in the posterior, so to speak.” Alfred picked up the duster again. “Others need to be given praise. Master Dick is one of the latter. He will, despite being tired or otherwise overwhelmed, continue to strive to push himself to meet expectations to gain your approval. One word of praise and he will go to the ends of the earth for you.”
Bruce sighed. “Aren’t you being melodramatic? I have to be firm in training Dick. His safety depends on it. I can’t let up.”
“I understand, sir, but training should be tempered with insight. You have a rare boy here who is already devoted to you. Do not waste that. He will respond better to the carrot than the stick. ”
Alfred gave the first edition of The Collected Sherlock Homes a final dusting and left the library.
Bruce tapped a pen against the desk blotter, the grandfather clock ticking loudly in the silence.
After several minutes he stood and opened the clock, returning to the Cave.
The bats rustled overhead as Bruce walked toward the mats.
Dick was practicing his boxing moves, still watching himself in the mirrors. He feinted, jabbed, and punched, every movement fluid as he worked.
Dick stopped, staggering slightly with exhaustion, then he squared his shoulders and started again.
Bruce pulled on his boxing gloves. “Ready to mix it up?”
Dick smiled tiredly. “Sure.”
Dick was sharp despite his tiredness, calling on reserves of inner strength that Bruce had always suspected the boy possessed.
After a flurry of sparring, Bruce removed a glove and patted Dick’s shoulder.
“Good job. You’ve got good instincts for things besides the trapeze.”
The transformation was amazing. Dick’s face lit up, his blue eyes shining as his smile bedazzled.
“Thanks, Bruce!” He bounced on the balls of his feet. “Let’s go again!”
Bruce nearly laughed as he observed Dick’s renewed energy.
“All right. Keep your shoulder squared. Watch out now.”
As Bruce and Dick sparred, Alfred observed the duo from the shadows. Bruce and Dick weren’t the only ones to utilize the dark to their advantage. After all, where did Master Bruce get his first lessons in stealth, anyway?
Smiling, he quietly returned up the stone steps to the Manor.