“I think that we’re all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.”
Bruce cannot ever sit down just for himself. After a long day, he sits down in the coveted Laz-E Boy chair. Immediately Cass is curled up on one arm, feet tucked into the cushion crease. They talk quietly, pleasantly. Bruce is so involved in the puzzle game that Cass is showing him on her phone that he almost doesn’t notice that Damian has alighted on the other chair arm (or wouldn’t have, if Damian had not knocked into Bruce’s elbow with his knobby adolescent knees and push his arm off the appropriated seat). Damian is there peering over Bruce’s shoulder at the puzzle, arguing every possible move. Soon Dick has joined their little group and boots Damian off his arm seat.
Damian grumbles but eventually ends up sliding into Bruce’s lap. Bruce lowers the phone and extends his arm so everyone can see the screen. Sometimes Jason is there, and he’ll set his elbows on the back of the chair and lean his chin on the back cushion, right next to Bruce’s head, just like when he was a kid.
(“You need glasses, old man.”
“I do not.”)
Tim sits on the floor, Titus on his outstretched legs. He’ll join in at certain times, teasing mostly at Bruce’s expense, even though he can’t see the screen. If he’s exhausted, he’ll barely rest his head on Bruce’s knee. Then complain about Damian’s kicking.
This will go on until eyelids become heavy, and muscles lax with sleepiness. Dick’s feet end up in Damian’s lap, poking at his tummy purposely. Jason has his face against the back cushion, tucked into his crossed arms. Cassandra leans her head against one of his shoulders, blinking twice as often to stay awake. Damian’s head lolls against Bruce’s chest, and Bruce reaches down and tucks Damian’s legs on his lap (just in case he kicks Tim in his sleep). Tim had stolen the throw pillow that had been behind Bruce’s back, a ransom exchange for Damian’s feet. He curls against the front of the couch, Titus clogging his space.
It’s become a sort of ritual, now. Bruce being surrounded by his children. Even if he’s alone, he expects the ghost of a touch or laughter against his ear. And every time Cassandra plants her arms on his head, leaning over to look or watch a sibling argument, and Dick pinches Jason or Damian’s ticklish sides, he can’t help but think how proud his parents would be to meet his family.