Pairings/Characters: Barbara Gordon, Bruce/Dick, Alfred Pennyworth, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cass Cain, Jason Todd, Damian Wayne
Genres: Challenge, Fluff, Holiday, Humor, Romance
Summary: Bruce and Dick have a secret to reveal on Christmas Eve to the family.
Date Of Completion: December 25, 2012
Date Of Posting: December 28, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1920
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for the 2012 Bruce/Dick Small Gifts Exchange for silvertales. Prompt #2: Bruce And Dick Come Out To Batfam (Everyone Already Knows). And written for my 2012 DCU Fic/Art Silver Bells Winter Holidays Challenge. Prompt: Sleigh Bells, Christmas Eve. Finally, also written for saavikam77’s 2012 DCU_Freeforall Winter Holidays Challenge. Prompts: No. 1: Holiday Party, No 6: Champagne, and No. 8: Family/Home/Shelter/Hearth.
It’s joy they bring,
So make sure and sing,
When sleigh bells ring."
"When Sleigh Bells Ring"
Barbara’s fingers flew over the keyboard as she scanned the date flashing across the screen. Working on the computer was highly satisfying. She liked the logic and clarity of computers. There were no gray areas, just clean, sparkling logic and order.
She smiled. She and Bruce shared that appreciation. Dick’s appreciation was how illogically he could divine a problem, using brilliant flashes of insight that came out of left flied to confound and amaze everyone.
Barbara smiled fondly as she thought about Dick. He’d had a brief crush on her when they’d first met, his teenage hormones reacting to an ‘older woman’, as she was college-age. Her attraction had been mostly appreciation for a gorgeous guy, but she had sensed that his heart lay elsewhere.
Oh, how true I was.
Barbara finished typing. “What is it, Boy Wonder?”
He laughed. “I haven’t been the Boy Wonder in awhile.”
Barbara leaned back in her wheelchair. “What’s up?”
Dick was clad in his Nightwing costume but had removed his mask. “I, um, have something to tell you.”
Dick ran his gloved hand over her keyboard. His dark hair hung in sapphire eyes framed by long, feathery lashes. The man has no right to be this beautiful, Barbara thought.
“Well, uh, it’s like this…”
Barbara used her escrima stick to poke Dick’s ribs. “Why so shy, Wingster? C’mon, I won’t bite. Much.”
Dick looked up through his lashes. “Bruce and I…we…” He took a deep breath. “We’re together.”
Barbara laughed. Dick looked hurt and that just made her laugh harder. “Sorry, Boy Wonder.” She patted his hand.
“What’s so funny?” Dick was royally miffed.
“It’s just that I’ve known for a long time.”
“Brilliant riposte there.”
Dick grimaced. “How long have you known?”
“Oh, since I started working occasionally with you and Batman when I donned the cape and cowl.”
“That’s right,” she smirked.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“What, and spoil all the times I watched you two dance around each other?”
Barbara laughed again as Dick grumbled.
Alfred precisely chopped the onions, using his knife to scrape them off the cutting board and into the boiling pot of beef stew on the stove. He took another small onion and began the process again, enjoying the smell of the stew and listening to jazz from the countertop radio set at low volume.
“Yes, Master Bruce?” He continued chopping.
“I need to speak to you.”
“Certainly, sir.” Alfred put down the knife and turned to face his charge.
Bruce looked uncharacteristically nervous. His hair was wet from the shower and he was dressed in dark-green pants and a yellow-and-white ski sweater. The yellow shade was pale and different from the bright color that Dick would wear. Alfred had long ago given up on Dick’s fashion sense, but it was a part of his bright boy.
Bruce tugged on his sweater. “I need to tell you something.”
“Yes, sir.” Alfred could smell the garlic bread just starting to toast in the oven. He was pleased that the nightly patrol had been cut short tonight. It was time for a little holiday cheer.
Bruce leaned against the counter and tapped his fingers on the top. Alfred shook a smattering of salt into the stew. This might take awhile.
“I…” Bruce took a deep breath. He plunged ahead. “Dick and I are in love with each other.”
Bruce blinked. “What do you mean, ‘Yes, sir?’”
“Exactly what I said.”
Bruce looked confused for a minute, then his intelligence kicked in. “You knew?”
“Of course, sir.”
Bruce sighed. “Of course you knew.”
Alfred returned to chopping onions. “Now, sir, do you prefer coffee or tea for dessert tonight?” He hid his smile as he heard a huff.
Bruce wandered out of the kitchen while Alfred smiled knowingly as he continued his preparations for Christmas Eve supper.
Down in the Batcave, Dick and Tim had just finished their showers. Steph was already showered and dressed.
“Is Cass coming tonight?” she asked as she dried her hair with a towel.
“She’s going to try,” Tim replied.
“Great. I know it’s quite a haul from Asia.”
“She’ll make it.” Tim finished buttoning his shirt.
Steph nudged Dick. “What are you so distracted about?”
“Oh, I stopped by the Clock Tower to see Babs. I had to tell her something.”
Dick slipped on a garish red-yellow-and-green sweater decorated with nine reindeers pulling Santa’s sleigh. The lead reindeer’s nose glowed red.
“Where did you get that?” Steph giggled.
“Bruce gave it to me,” Dick answered proudly.
“I think he and Alfred finally gave up trying to teach you good fashion sense,” smirked Tim.
Dick ran his hand over the sleeve, a small smile curving his lips. “He gave it to me even though it went against his better judgment.” His voice was soft and he wore a dreamy expression on his face.
“Oh, brother.” Tim rolled his eyes. “Sappy. I’d say get a room but you’ve already moved into the master bedroom.”
Dick looked at him. "What?"
Steph guffawed. “Face it, Dickie-bird, you and Bats are about as subtle as sledgehammers.”
Dick sighed. “Does everyone know?”
Steph put a lovesick expression on her face. “When you look like this, yeah.”
“C’mon, Bruce and I are way better at hiding our emotions than that.”
”He is. You aren’t.” Steph did a little jig.
Tim laughed. "Yeah, you just have to admit that you're see-through, Dick."
"Am not." Dick disappeared into a storage room.
"Am to!" Steph called after him.
“Don’t encourage him,” Tim lamented.
The sound of sleigh bells echoed throughout the Cave. Time groaned.
“What’s that? Is Santa coming to town?” Steph chirped.
“Maybe just Rudolph,” Dick said cheerfully as he came out of the storage room, festooned in leather straps with sleigh bells attached. He jingled with every step he took. He held out something bright and shiny to Steph.
“What are these? Sleigh bell earrings? They’re adorable!” She clipped them to her ears, delighted as her earrings jingled as she shook her head.
Tim rolled his eyes again and went up the stone steps to the Manor, Steph and Dick jingling behind him.
Once upstairs they headed for the dining room where Bruce was already waiting. The whole house was decorated with fragrant evergreen garlands and poinsettias of traditional red mixed in with pink and white and even yellow. An arrangement of poinsettias in green pots with red bows graced the center of the table draped with a white tablecloth edged in green and set with bright red Fiestaware. The good china would be used for Christmas dinner tomorrow.
“I’ll go see if Alfred needs any help,” said Steph.
“I’ll come with you.” Tim joined Steph. “Alfred will hear us coming from a mile away.”
After Steph and Tim had departed with her deliberately moving her head to jingle, Bruce laughed and touched a bell on Dick’s shoulder. “You’ll never change.”
Dick brushed up against Bruce. “Would you want me to?”
“No.” Bruce nuzzled Dick’s neck, chuckling as he nudged the sleigh bells. “Are you my red-nosed reindeer?”
“Depends on how much champagne I drink tonight.”
Bruce gently kissed him and Dick pressed closer, beginning to arouse the two of them when the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it, Alfred!” Dick called toward the kitchen. He gave Bruce a quick kiss and jingled his way out of the dining room while Bruce shook his head fondly.
Dick opened the front door. “Cass!”
The lithe beauty smiled and hugged Dick, laughing as the bells jingled. “Merry Christmas, Dick.”
“Merry Christmas, Cass.”
“Hey, don’t close the door!’ Barbara’s wheelchair whirred up the driveway.
“I didn’t hear your car,” Dick said as she buzzed up the ramp that had been specially built for her.
“I took a cab.” Barbara wheeled into the foyer. “My car’s in the shop.”
“I hope your mechanic can fix your specialized car.” Dick closed the door behind her.
“He’s the best.”
“Good, but we could have sent a limo for you.”
“Thanks, but a cab is fine.” Barbara laughed. “Who are you, Rudolph?”
“That or Vixen,” Steph said as she poked her head out of the kitchen.
“Good one, Steph,” Barbara smirked. Steph matched her smirk and ducked back into the kitchen.
“I can do Vixen,” said Dick cheerfully.
“You’ll do anyone,” said Barbara and Dick chuckled.
“I’m spoken for.”
“To Bruce?” Cass asked.
Dick sighed as Barbara laughed. He didn’t even respond this time.
“Soup’s on!” Steph yelled.
The three of them went to the dining room. Barbara wheeled over to her place and Cass was directed to her chair as Dick went into the kitchen where Bruce, Steph and Tim were helping Alfred. He saw newly-arrived Jason leaning over the pot of stew, inhaling the delicious aroma. He must have come in through the kitchen door, Dick thought.
“Well,” Jason drawled as he heard Dick’s entrance. “Still with the glitz, eh, Golden Boy?”
“Merry Christmas to you, too, Hoodie.”
Jason smirked as he straightened up. “Where the fu…um, where’s the Hellspawn?” He glanced quickly at Alfred.
“Up in his room.”
“I’ll go get him.”
Dick smiled his thanks. He had a good relationship with Damian but Jason and the kid understood each other in ways that he never could.
With all the help he had, Alfred was able to get the late supper on the table in record time. Jason successfully dragged Damian down to the table and the boy sulked, but that was situation normal so everyone ignored him. Cass delightedly moved her head, the sleigh bell earrings that Dick had given her jingling musically. Everyone settled into their seats to enjoy savory beef stew with onions, celery, potatoes and carrots with crusty garlic bread and wine to drink. Compliments flew around the table for Alfred’s cooking and the elderly gentleman happily accepted the kudos.
Dick had placed the sleigh bells on the sideboard, keeping a small strap and wrapping it around his right wrist. He picked up his wineglass with a jingle. “I propose a toast.”
“Here, here!” Steph said as she raised her glass of champagne.
“Let’s be thankful that we’re all happy and healthy and together.”
“A fine toast,” Bruce approved.
Even Jason drank to that. Damian grudgingly drank his ginger ale.
“It’s good for the family to be together,” Alfred said serenely.
“Yes,” Cass agreed. “Family.”
“Exactly.” Steph beamed.
“And Bruce and I had an announcement to make tonight,” Dick said. “But you know-it-alls beat us to it.”
“You mean about you and Bruce gettin’ it on?” Jason took a big sip of wine.
“Apparently we need to practice concealment better,” Bruce said to Dick wryly.
Damian covered his eyes.
Later that night after the Christmas Eve festivities were over, everyone but Barbara went to sleep in the Manor. She returned home to spend Christmas Day with her father. Everyone slept comfortably in their beds, filled with good food and the anticipation of Christmas tomorrow. Even Jason consented to stay.
As quiet settled over the Manor, the sound of jingling could be heard from the master bedroom.
“Get a room!” yelled Jason.
“They already have one!” Tim yelled back.
Concerted cries of “Augh!!” came from the rooms and pillows were placed over heads as sleigh bells jingled a merry ride.