Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Bruce/Dick, Alfred
Genres: Challenge, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Claim: For the dcu_freeforall Challenge (Bruce/Dick)
Prompt: T 10; P 29: Mists
Prompt Count: (10/15)
General Summary: Strange mists envelop Gotham.
Chapter Summary: Dick is uneasy about the weird mists enveloping Gotham.
Date Of Completion: June 15, 2010
Date Of Posting: August 21, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1134
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
"LISTEN TO YOUR BLOOD"
The mists crept up on Gotham City like a malevolent thing, curling around leering gargoyles and whispering down the alleys. Sound was muffled as Gothamites hurried home as dusk began to fall, looking over their shoulders as if they expected something to reach out and grab them. Even the criminals were wary tonight.
High up above the city watched the Bat and his Little Bird, capes billowing in the breeze. While Batman nearly disappeared into the fog, Robin's bright splashes of color kept sparkling, tiny rainbow jewels of mist reflecting his costume. He looked like a rainbow over Niagara Falls, Batman thought with a small smile.
Robin felt the droplets of moisture on his skin, shivering slightly. He wasn’t reacting to the cool air.
He’d seen heavy fog before. It seemed as if fog and Gotham went together like peanut butter and chocolate.
This was different. As oppressive as Gotham fog could be, this was almost...alive.
Batman didn’t move a muscle, surveying the city with implacable precision.
Except that there wasn’t much to see. The mists were obscuring everything, sounds echoing in odd directions, distorted and eerie.
Robin shivered again.
“No.” Robin drew his sunshine cape tighter around his body. “There’s something…off…about this mist.”
Batman ran a gloved hand down Robin’s leg. “Intuition?”
Robin smiled at the caress. Batman being comfortable enough to do such a thing while on patrol spoke volumes to him.
“Yes.” He moved closer to his lover. “We know what Gotham fog is like. This is…different.”
Batman trusted his partner’s instincts. “We’ll take a swing down by the docks before heading home. Stay close.”
Robin nodded, taking out his decel line as he followed Batman over the rooftops.
The docks were always menacing at the best of times.
Tonight was not the best.
Robin looked over his shoulder as he and Batman alighted on top of a crumbling warehouse roof. He didn’t like the feeling of being watched. He edged a little closer to Batman.
“It’s quiet. Let’s go home.”
Robin was more than happy to oblige.
Wayne Manor was shrouded in mists, looming like a Gothic castle by-the-sea.
An exhausted Bruce and Dick tumbled into bed as the windows were fogged in. Dick sought out Bruce, curling himself around his lover, needing the security of the older man. Bruce wrapped his arms around Dick, pulling him close as Dick’s legs entwined around him.
Bruce rained butterfly kisses on Dick’s brow and eyelids as Dick rested his head on Bruce’s chest. Sensing Dick’s need for reassurance, Bruce let his lips and hands do the job.
They fell asleep, a tendril of mist slipping down the chimney and wafting over to the bed.
Dick shivered as he walked though the mist-enshrouded alleys. The tall buildings of Gotham were obscured as he strained to hear anything, but there was nothing but silence.
He glanced down, not surprised that he was naked. In the way of dreams, he knew that he was dreaming.
He shivered again as he walked, bare feet nearly gliding over the rough, cracked pavement.
He wanted to fly, but his limbs felt leaden. He slowed down, unable to lift one foot in front of the other. He was frozen to the spot.
Tendrils of mist curled around his body, cool yet making him uneasy. His heart fluttered as he heard a noise behind him...
Dick jerked awake, heart pounding rapidly as he sat up. Bruce stirred next to him, his hand grasping his arm.
“What is it?”
Bruce gently pulled Dick down and wrapped his arms around his lover.
Dick glanced at the window. The mists were still thick against the panes, and for a moment he thought he saw a wisp of mist right here in the bedroom.
“Shh, I’ve got you.” Bruce kissed the younger man’s forehead.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t let this mist affect me, but it’s weirding me out.”
Bruce chuckled softly. “I don’t blame you. It’s giving me the creeps, too.”
Relieved that he wasn’t the only nervous one, Dick snuggled closer. “Make me feel safe and secure.”
Bruce smiled and kissed Dick’s temple. “You’re never safer than with me.”
Bruce caressed Dick’s back as he pulled the covers up over the two of them, wispiness retreating.
The mists were still in Gotham as morning dawned. They were clinging to the outskirts of the city that included Wayne Manor.
Dick stayed inside studying. He had exams coming up and wanted to ace every one.
He also didn’t want to go outside.
The mists were thick around the Manor, obscuring the gardens, and Dick resolutely concentrated on his books and laptop, ignoring the windows.
Alfred appeared with a tray of oatmeal raisin cookies and buttermilk. “Would you care for a snack, Master Dick?”
“Wow, that’d be great, Alfred! Thanks.” Dick eagerly took the glass and plate, Alfred placing a coaster on the coffee table, as Dick was sitting cross-legged on the floor, resting his back against the couch and using the coffee table as his desk. Alfred had give up long ago trying to get Dick to sit properly on the furniture.
“Studying hard, I see.”
“The tests coming up are gonna be killers.”
“I am sure you will do your usual fine job.” Alfred glanced at the windows. “That damnable fog is still out there.”
“Yeah.” Dick bit into a cookie. “Delicious as always, Alfred.”
Alfred smiled. “Thank you, young sir.” He sighed. “Such strangeness in this city.”
Dick felt a little shiver go though his stomach. “Gotham sure seems to attract the weird.” He tapped his keyboard. “Does the fog remind you of home?”
“Somewhat.” Alfred shook his head. “But even the land of my birth was never this odd.”
Dick looked uneasily out the windows.
“Are you bothered?” asked the butler.
Dick snapped his head around. “I…”
Alfred rested a hand on Dick’s shoulder. “You have superior instincts. It must be your Gypsy blood.”
Dick laughed. “Bruce would scoff at the notion.”
“He would do well to think about it. His work as the Bat relies on scientific methods, certainly, but also on the theatrical. There is no rhyme or reason to the imagery of the Bat, just raw visceral reaction.”
“That’s true.” Dick beamed. “And Bruce says that hunches are a detective’s best friend.”
“There, you see?” Alfred squeezed his shoulder. “Listen to your blood.”
Dick smiled again.
Outside, the mists swirled and dipped, forming briefly into an ethereal visage, then breaking apart to dissolve back into the fog.