Summary: While a storm rages outside Wayne Manor, Dick thinks about protectiveness, Bruce, and love.
Date Of Completion: July 28, 2007
Date Of Posting: July 28, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1597
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Well, it appears my DCU Muses are stirring again! Please enjoy this second little offering after a week of Harry Pottering. :) The first story is Haven (Bruce).
Dick slowly came up from sleep, yawning as he registered the warm body next to him. He could hear the storm still raging outside, but there was a toasty fire in here and of course that luscious body under the quilts and blankets.
He kept his eyes closed as he let his other senses drink it all in: the sound of the howling wind, the crackle of the fire, the deep, even breathing of Bruce asleep. He could smell the faint fragrance of Irish Spring soap on his skin, strawberry-scented shampoo in his hair, and the heat of Bruce’s skin next to his own.
He felt something else, too: Bruce’s peace.
Too often in the past on a night like this, Bruce would be restless or plagued with nightmares. Dick understood nightmares. Before that awful night under the Big Top at Haly’s Circus that changed his life forever, he had rarely suffered bad dreams. After that night, they came on a semi-regular basis, or at least had done so until the years had passed and now he felt completely safe, nightmares far less frequent.
He opened one eye and saw Bruce’s handsome face, his dark hair slightly mussed. Bruce’s beauty was very aristocratic, and it still could awe Dick to realize the legacy his lover lived as a Wayne. It was all around them in the form of the ancient Manor, in rooms that had housed generations of Waynes, in books stretching back to Colonial days, extremely valuable and extremely old, the rarest donated to the Gotham Public Library and surrounding colleges and universities for preservation. Priceless artwork adorned the walls as paintings or tables as statuary, and the chandeliers alone cost a fortune.
Dick had a trust fund that he could draw on at any time, and another that was his when he turned twenty-one.
All his as the sole heir.
Well, maybe not the sole heir, as Alfred would inherit a considerable sum, and there were bequests to friends like Clark and Diana, and charities and foundations would be taken care of, but the biggest bite of the enchilada was willed to him, Dick Grayson.
It was more than a little nerve-wracking to know that, and Dick preferred to enjoy the title of Wayne heir without thinking too much of the actual money. Growing up in a circus trailer and counting his allowance in dimes and quarters instead of a platinum charge card had been his experience before coming here.
But the house had spoken to him.
Grieving and lost, he had been rattled at first at the changes in his life: the loss of his parents, the loss of his circus life, the loss (he thought) of flying. Yet the quiet, the gloom, slowly grew on him, just as the proper Alfred and the distant Bruce did. And his own light had dispelled the gloom, illuminating the beauty in the shadows.
Proper Alfred allowed himself to show warmth almost right away, and Dick found a friend and ally in a warm kitchen with the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies and chatter, his questions peppering the butler, who never seemed to mind them.
Bruce? He had sensed warmth and caring from the moment he had met him, but he was surprised at the wall he seemed to put up around himself. He quickly learned from Alfred the reason and knew that they were connected in a sad, empathic way.
Ever since then, he had known that Bruce was, in many ways, a lonely, lost eight-year-old boy, covered in his parents’ blood and his own tears. A fierce protectiveness had risen in him, and he had managed to bring out the Bruce who liked to laugh, and listen to his stories about the circus, and who was genuinely interested in his day at school.
And there was Batman.
Learning Bruce was Batman had been exciting, exhilarating, and not frightening at all. He knew that Batman would never hurt him, because Bruce never would.
Becoming Robin had been one of the joys of his life. Working with Batman out in Gotham had become his life’s work, and he knew as the years passed that he wanted to continue sharing in Bruce’s life and mission.
When Dick was a child, he had naturally been a bright light in the dark Manor, instinct keeping him smiling even during the darkest days. Bruce had protected him, but had also considered him an equal partner despite their age difference. Out in Gotham, Dick was rarely afraid. He found the work exhilarating and never feared flying over the rooftops. Bruce would drape his cape over his body while they sat under gargoyles and watched the city, and those nights when he was afraid, the cape and the body close to him calmed him.
That simple act of draping his cape over Robin, protective and keeping the brightness of his costume under wraps as further protection against a harsh city, had touched his heart deeply. The older he became, the more he understood the protectiveness as he realized that he had been doing the same for Bruce even when he was still a child.
Dick took it for granted that he was supposed to watch Bruce’s back. Saving the older man’s life was part of the job description, and he was always relieved to the point of passing out when he did it, because a life without Bruce was a life without quiet warmth, understated humor, and love.
But he hadn’t just physically protected Bruce.
Emotionally, he fiercely protected him.
Very few understood Bruce Wayne. Alfred knew him well, and Clark was very close, too, but only Dick saw the man who faced the crazies of Gotham every night without fear…or with a fear so deep that he was driven to eradicate it, use it, banish it.
The Manor was the haven, Dick happy to call it home, and when Bruce needed him, he was there as his haven as well.
Dick slowly began to work his way out from under the cape on occasion, but having it draped over him never bothered him. He understood his capabilities. He had nothing to prove. As a child he had always been with Batman during the early days of his career, gradually taking on the occasional solo assignment, and by the time he was leader of the Titans he could go solo anytime. He was worthy of being Batman’s partner and teamed up often with Superman. What did he need to prove? Yes, he’d done the solo act.
It was more fun to be with Batman, though.
Dick slipped his arm around Bruce, who sighed but continued sleeping.
The walls creaked with the force of the wind, Dick watching as the clouds roiled across the window. He would have to go out later and stand by the seawall and revel in the ocean’s wildness, but for now he was more than content to stay by Bruce’s side in their warm bed.
He lightly rested his hand on Bruce’s back, his memories drifting back to the times when those who didn’t understand called Batman a cold bastard, and how could Dick stand being his partner, always subduing his light to Bruce’s darkness, always staying in the shadows?
Didn’t Dick want a life away from Bruce Wayne?
Dick would merely smile. From the time he was sixteen, he’d known he would never want a life away from Bruce.
At first despairing that he could ever catch the Bat, he decided to play it cool and make his move when he was of age, because while others thought Bruce had no feelings or was obsessed with the Mission, Dick knew better.
Obsessed with the Mission? Truth, but Dick knew that Bruce needed him, and he was bound and determined to replace the unhealthy obsession of the Mission with the healthy obsession of loving him.
Passion was their obsession as they came together, bone and sinew and blood.
No feelings? What people didn’t realize was that, Bruce had such deep feelings that he had to ruthlessly suppress them or go mad, he cared so much. If he didn’t play the ultra-rational card he would have become as loony as the Joker in Gotham, and Dick knew from loony clowns. He had grown up with clowns in the circus who under the facepaint could be suicidal, obsessed, or just plain scary. When you had to paint a smile on your face, watch out for what could be underneath it.
Dick loved Bruce with all his heart and soul, knew that Bruce’s life was his life, knew that he kept Bruce in touch with humanity, was light to his dark, and they would grow old together if Luck was with them, living in this beautiful old mansion with the priceless objects d’art, and Bruce was the most precious artwork of them all, fragile beneath the veneer of marble, beautiful in cold repose, possessing such a tender heart that he needed the armor of the Batman to keep it from tearing in two.
Dick picked up Bruce’s hand and placed it gently on his hip. Bruce wouldn’t wake at the movement, his total trust allowing him peaceful sleep.
Let those who thought the Batman was dark and cold and without feelings continue to think that. He, Dick Grayson, knew the heart and soul of Bruce Wayne better than anyone, and he would always protect his Bat.
Dick snuggled closer to Bruce, who made a small noise in his sleep and tightened his hold on Dick without thought.