Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
I feel like I’ve been posting too many fluffy things in the past couple days, and I’d just like to remind everybody of the black hole that my soul is. Please enjoy.
Summary: Dick’s just had brain surgery
and Bruce is alive. It’s everything that Dick had hoped for.
Whatever pain medication Dick’s on, he thinks that maybe it should be a little stronger. Or a lot stronger. Anything, really, to push away the pounding ache in his head that’s taken over any and all rational thoughts.
For some reason, Dick decides to open his eyes. It’s a mistake.
The light is blinding, and it pierces straight to his brain, amplifying the pain. He groans and lets his eyelids flutter shut again, hoping that it will be enough to dampen the pain enough to make him feel like he’ll survive the night.
“Dick?” a voice whispers, and Dick knows that voice. He knows it like he knows how to perform a quadruple flip. Maybe even better. And despite past experience, Dick opens his eyes again and squints over at the man sitting in the chair at his bedside. Guilty eyes peer down at him, and a hand holds Dick’s own carefully, like if it grips too tight Dick will shatter into a million pieces.
(But Dick thinks that maybe he’s already shattered, because he doesn’t feel all that much like himself anymore, so the hand is more than welcome to hold his as tight as it wants. Especially if it’s this hand.)
Dick closes his eyes again and slumps into the pillows underneath his head. He’s lying on his side in his bedroom, and he’s exhausted. He can’t think of why at the moment, but he knows he’s not the least bit surprised at his own state. He probably did something completely stupid again, knowing him, and when Damian finds out—if he hasn’t already—Dick’s going to get those angry eyes thrown at him again.
He doesn’t think he can handle Damian’s angry eyes when the guilty ones keeping watch over him now are already bringing him closer and closer to the edge.
“Dick,” the voice says again lowly, and Dick can’t help it when he screws up his face against the emotions welling up inside his chest. They come out in a hitched sob, and Dick can’t stop it. He can’t. A warm hand runs through his hair, hushing him softly. “I know it hurts, but you’re going to be okay.”
It hurts so bad, but Dick doesn’t think it’s just the pain in his head. He thinks that maybe the pain in his chest has something to do with this, too, and it’s nothing physical. It’s an ache that comes solely from seeing that face at his bedside once again like nothing happened. Like he hadn’t been dead for almost a year.
“Bruce,” Dick sobs, squeezing Bruce’s hand to the best of his ability. It’s not very tight, and Dick isn’t sure how to make it tighter, but Bruce squeezes back, and that’s all Dick really needs right now. Dick says thickly, “I thought you were dead.”
“I know,” Bruce tells him. He sounds calm.
Dick opens his eyes a third time, desperate to match Bruce’s tone to an expression, and when he does see Bruce’s blurry face again, it’s all wrong. There’s a twist to Bruce’s features that betrays his voice, and—god. It looks like Bruce is grieving Dick before he’s even gone. There’s guilt and anger and fear all mixed up in that face, in those eyes, and Dick has a hard time not reaching up his other arm to grab Bruce’s shirt and shaking some sense into him.
But Dick is tired. He’s just had brain surgery, he remembers. Damian isn’t dead. Dick isn’t dead. And Bruce—Bruce isn’t dead, either.
Nobody’s dead, so why does Bruce look like he’s just lost his entire world again? Dick doesn’t know, and he doesn’t know if he’ll ever figure it out.
When Dick wakes up again, Bruce is gone. Instead, Damian is sitting in Bruce’s abandoned chair, brow furrowed as his pencil moves along the page of his sketchbook. He’s concentrating hard, Dick can tell, and Dick takes the few moments that Damian doesn’t notice he’s awake to just watch him.
There’s a breath of relief in his lungs that he’s desperate to let out, but there’s something missing. Dick doesn’t know whether it’s the brain surgery or his own mixed up emotions that are in the way of letting him identify it, though.
Bruce. Bruce had been here. Where is Bruce now? Why would he leave?
“Richard,” Damian says, watching him with careful dark eyes over his sketchbook. Dick meets them with his own bright blue, and they just look at each other for a long silent moment. Finally Damian sighs, and it’s long-suffering, and he says, “You’ve been unconscious for the past fourteen hours, only occasionally waking up to mumble incoherently.”
The way Damian says it, it sounds like a report Robin is giving to Batman, and Dick can’t help the upward quirk of his lips. It falls almost immediately, though, and Dick whispers, “Bruce?”
Damian hesitates. There’s something in his eyes, just like there had been something in Bruce’s the last time Dick remembers being awake. But this—this is more anger than guilt, and Dick doesn’t know what to make of it.
“Father is downstairs with Drake and Pennyworth,” Damian finally offers, but it’s reluctant, and his words are tinged with bitterness. At Dick’s uncomprehending stare, Damian looks away, towards the floor. “I told him he wasn’t allowed to sit in here anymore.”
“Damian,” Dick croaks, and he’s tired, but this is more important than sleeping. Understanding Damian is always more important. “Why?”
Damian’s eyes meet Dick’s again, and the anger blazes. “He’s grieving over you, Richard, and that’s something I cannot stand for. You’re not—” Damian cuts off and looks away again. When he speaks again, it’s so quiet Dick almost misses it. “You’re not going to die, and I will not tolerate the way he’s acting like you are.”
Dick blinks against his emotions again, but the urge to hold Damian in his arms right here and now is too strong, so Dick shakily reaches a hand for Damian. The ten-year-old grabs onto it immediately, and scowls as he lays it back down on the bed.
“Idiot,” Damian breathes, but he doesn’t let go of Dick’s hand. Not for a long time.
Well, that’s just fine for Dick.
Bruce is back.
Somehow he’s managed not to wake up the boy dozing in the chair by Dick’s bedside, but Dick knows that the moment Bruce touches Damian, there will be hell to pay. So they’re all lucky when Bruce leaves Damian alone and decides to sit on the edge of the bed instead.
Dick tracks Bruce’s movement through the dark room, and he only relaxes when gentle fingers card through his hair.
“Go to sleep,” Bruce tells him.
“You’re not dead,” Dick says instead of obeying, because when has Dick Grayson ever actively followed an order from Bruce that didn’t involve a life or death situation. And besides, this is important. “You’re alive.”
“I’m alive,” Bruce agrees.
“I’m not dead, either,” Dick says, but it comes out as more of a question than a statement. With the amount of pain radiating through his head, he’s not all that sure he is still alive, despite what Damian had said before.
Bruce takes longer to answer this time, his eyes impossibly sad as he gazes down at Dick. But eventually, he sighs and says, “No, you’re not dead. You’re alive, Dick.”
And Dick—he’s been holding back these feelings for much too long. His chest tightens, his eyes burn, and he closes his eyes against the tears. It’s been a long time since he’d felt Bruce’s fingers running through his hair, since he’d heard Bruce’s voice, since he’d seen Bruce’s face, and he’s so unbelievably relieved. He’s exhausted, but he’s happy that, yes, they’re both alive.
“I missed you,” Dick chokes out.
Bruce is silent for a long time, so long that Dick’s eyes are drooping closed again and he’s drifting off before he hears the words, “Go to sleep, Dick. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
And honestly, that’s one of the only things Dick has wished for in the last nine months. He decides to believe Bruce this time. They’re both alive. Bruce will be there.