“That storm is pretty bad.” You glance out the window and can’t help but agree. Hurricane Renee had been on the news for days, and now that she had hit, she seemed determined to live up to her name.
Unfortunately for you, this meant that your seven children were cooped up inside. The manor had become a complete mess between various board games, and one or two games of extreme hide and seek.
So far, the casualties included a chandelier, a Ming vase, two of Bruce’s golf clubs, and Alfred’s blender. You’d left your children to the mercy of the butler and retreated to the library to find Helena staring out the window.
Your daughter was a daddy’s girl and had been from day one. She was fierce, tough and outspoken, and she hated storms with a passion. More often than not, lightning and thunder filled nights found her in your bed with you and Bruce.
Hurricanes seemed to be even worse. The usually rambunctious girl was sullen, and more than a little pouty. This was proved even further when she snuggled up to you. Dick, Jason, and Cass were your snugglers. Helena preferred her personal space.
Never one to pass up an opportunity, you pull the girl close. Kissing the top of her head you say, “Don’t worry baby girl, Daddy will be home soon.”
She sighs, “I hate business trips.”
You smile, “You and me both.”
“This was a long one.”
You nod. Two weeks was a long time for Bruce to be gone. Typically, he skyped conferences, went only for a few days, or took the family with him. That hadn’t been an option this time.
When midnight comes and goes without any word, you start to get anxious. Bruce’s plane had landed before the storm had really started. The closing off of streets had kept him from coming straight home, but he had still called to check in. But now, he wasn’t answering his phone and that worried you more than a little.
You’re brought out of your thoughts when someone yells, “Code green.”
Pushing your husband to the back of your mind, you spring out of your office chair and towards the clock. You turn the hands to your anniversary date, and make your way down to the cave. You find your Dick, Jason, and Cass suiting up, and raise an eyebrow in question, “And where exactly do you think you’re going?”
Dick’s face is straight laced, serious as can be. A perfect imitation of Bruce’s. “The Riddler has cut power to the entire city. He’s offered a challenge, if someone can issue a challenge that can stump him, he’ll turn the power back on.”
You bite your lip, before issuing your orders, “You’re not going out there alone.”
You watch Dick’s and Jason’s eyes go wide, “Mom!” You listen as Tim turns in the computer chair to face you. You take a deep breath, “I said alone. Call in Wally and Barry.”
You see Jason hesitate, “Dad …”
“Isn’t here. You’re not going out there without a League member. Hell, I’ll call in Superman himself before I let you go out there alone. I know you’ve been doing this for years, but I’m still your mother. I have my limits.”
It takes half an hour for the speedsters to arrive. Even then, you’re left with a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. You watch them go before taking over Tim’s chair.
You’d spent less and less time in the cave as the boys had gotten older. You imagined, you’d spend even less time there as your children got older. Tim would soon become the next Robin, his training was almost done, and then Helena and Damian would take over. Eventually, Terry would start his training, and that broke your heart. Your last baby was growing up, and it made you want to cry.
It’s a long night. A very long night, with more close calls than you care to admit. By the time dawn breaks, the storm is still going strong, but your kids are back home. You tend to the cuts and bruises before sending them to bed.
You’re on your fifth cup of coffee when you get a call from the hospital. There’s been an accident with your husband, and you’re needed. Now. You’re certain that your heart stops at the words.
One look out the window tells you that you’re not getting anywhere right now. Between the winds, the flooding, and the damage from Riddler’s attack, you’re stuck. You’re forced to wait two days, before going to the hospital, alone.
You arrive at Gotham general looking a mess. And you’re certain that at least one paparazzi had taken your picture. Still, you walk through the hospital with the authority of someone who’s family has donated enough money to build two new wings.
You find your husband sleeping in the waiting room. He’s wearing scrubs of all things, and sprawled across several chairs. So of course, you hit him. He startles awake and stares at you while you rant, “How dare you Bruce Wayne. Not one freaking phone call. Not one. I thought you were dead in the morgue, or lying here in a coma. But no, I find you here dressed as though you just performed surgery. I have been worried sick.
“I lied to our children. I said that you called, that you were stuck at the airport. How DARE YOU!”
Bruce takes it all in stride, before pulling you in for a hug. He holds you while you cry, and says “I’m so sorry. They only had time for one emergency call, and I thought I asked them to tell you that I am okay. I am so sorry.”
You take deep breaths to calm yourself, before asking “What happened Bruce? Why are you in a hospital?”
He wipes his hands over his face, “I was driving home, when there was an accident. Someone spun out on the road, crashing into me before spinning into another car. The driver, and two passengers were killed. There was one other survivor. A twelve-year-old boy, his name is Duke. I was able to get him out, and get an ambulance out but there was nothing they could do for his parents, or the driver. I couldn’t leave him alone.”
You sink down beside him, “What are you thinking Bruce?”
He stares at you, “How would you feel about having and eighth kid?”
Terry’s fifth birthday is a big one. Your home ends up filled with other five year olds and their parents. It’s all hands on deck for the big day, as the kids run all over the house. Despite having done this countless times before you’re more than a little stressed.
Between making sure the kids don’t kill each other, and keeping the society climbing mothers away, you’re stressed to your max. You do your best to hide in the kitchen, as the older kids corral the younger ones. “Never again.”
You roll your eyes, “You say that every time.”
Bruce scowls, “And every time I think it can’t get worse, it does.”
You hmmm, “So are we going to cancel Cass’ birthday?”
Bruce scowls, “Of course not. I’m just saying an event planner is something to invest in.”
“They’re children’s birthday parties. We don’t need an event planner.”
“Just a clean up crew.”
You take a bottle of water from the refrigerator, and kiss your husband’s cheek, “We’ll survive. Now go mingle with the other dads.”
“Do I have to?”
“Yes, because I have to mingle with the vipers that are their mothers.”
You slip out of the kitchen and allow your eyes to scan the crowd. Your eyes find a group of moms and you steel your nerves and force yourself to walk over. You approach from behind, just in case you chicken out. That’s when you hear them, “She didn’t even give poor Bruce a chance.”
There’s a giggle, “I know. How she tricked him into marrying her, I’ll never know.”
“I mean really. Running away together and getting pregnant right off the bat, it’s the oldest trick in the book.”
“And look at how many they have. Six biological kids, and then the two orphans, what is she trying to prove?”
“She’s not even that pretty. Her body has certainly gone to hell.”
You bite the inside of your lip to keep from saying something. Stepping back, the nausea takes over and you slink back into the shadows. You slip upstairs and into your room. Your lunch makes a reappearance, before you collapse on your bed. The bed dips a moment later, and a head rests on your back.
Glancing back you grin at Duke, “What’s up kiddo?”
“They’re harpies. Mean bitter old women who are miserable in their own lives and looking to feel better about themselves.”
You sit up and he does too. Duke was a person who thrived on touch. His own parents had been big on hugs. You had sought to continue that. And as he had adjusted to your home, he’d grown comfortable in seeking reassurance, and finding his place in the family.
“I was playing hide and seek with Terry and his friends, I was under the table.”
“Did you win?”
He nods, “Yep, but I might have scared those women. I jumped out from underneath. One spilled wine down the front of her dress.”
You can’t help it, you laugh. “This would be the point I would normally parent, but I’m too exhausted right now.”
“So does that mean we’re off scot free.”
You blink at the sound of a new voice before several heads pop up. You smile as all your kids climb up onto the bed. Terry climbs right into your lap, “Thank you for my party mama.”
You kiss the top of his head, “You’re welcome baby.”
Turning to your older kids you ask, “You were all hiding under the table?”
Jason shrugs, “We all think alike. I blame dad.”
Cass places a hand on your knee and signs “You’re very pretty mama.”
Tim nods, “What she said. They’re just mean.”
Dick’s smile is easy going but you can see the anger hidden below the surface, “I think from now on, these parties should only be family and close friends.”
There’s a chorus of agreement before a moment of silence settles over the group, “I like having a big family.”
Your eyes flash to Helena. Her eyes are thoughtful, “Sure sometimes these guys are annoying, and they only leave like three chips in a bag, but they’re always here for me.”
Jason echos the sentiment, “There’s always been someone to talk to, or play with, or blame.” You raise an eyebrow at the last one but he just smirks.
“There’s always someone to help us with homework, or spar against.” Damian chirps in.
Duke smiles, “We’re a family.”
You smile, “Very true, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” With smiles on their face you watch your kids leave the room.
You sit there on the bed for a few more minutes, and wait for Bruce to peek his head in. “How are you feeling?”
He nods, and takes a seat next to you, “That’s common at this stage.” There’s a moment of silence before he asks, “Should we even bother saying this will be the last one?”
You smile, “This is the last one.”
Bruce wraps an arm around your shoulders and pulls you in close, “You sure about that?”
Your hands go to your belly, “No.”
“Duke’s right you know.”
“You’re amazing, and beautiful.”
You smile, “Those harpies were right. I have stretch marks, and a flabby tummy. Lord knows I’m not nearly as put together as I should be.”
Bruce’s hand goes to cover yours, “This belly has carried six babies, and is now carrying a seventh. You’re a mother to eight soon to be nine children it’s understandable that you’re not magazine cover ready. And the most important thing, you are gorgeous, and courageous, and I thank God for you every day, because you are the love of my life.”
Leaning into your husband you take in the amount of happiness that’s surrounding you, and you smile.
Your family is a lot to handle. As the matriarch, you know this. However, you don’t really understand how much they are until Duke comes into your lives. Cass had come from a horrible situation, but a familiar one. Bruce knew how to deal with her training. Duke’s situation is completely different.
The boy had come from a loving home, with two wonderful parents. You’d read up on them, and with Duke’s help, you’d written their obituaries. In the days leading up to the funeral, you can’t help but worry. He barely eats anything, and he leaves the room when more than three people are in it.
The only one who doesn’t seem surprised is Alfred. When you question him about it he says, “The poor boy is grieving, Mrs. Wayne. His entire world has been turned upside down, he’s in a brand new environment, and to be quite honest, your children can be a lot to deal with.”
You purse your lips, “So Bruce went through the same thing?”
The old man smiles, “Master Bruce was quite different. With him I had to deal with him risking his life, and other odd entities.”
You roll your eyes, “Of course. What changed that?”
The butler smiles, “You, Mrs. Wayne. You pulled him out.” Without another word, you watch the butler go.
You lay in bed awake the night before the funeral, and without thought you send you arm flying so that your hand lands right on Bruce’s face. You feel him smile, before he kisses it. Turning towards you he asks, “Can’t sleep?”
“I’m worried about him, Bruce.”
“Me too.” There’s several minutes of silence before you toss the covers aside.
Bruce groans, “Don’t go, the bed will get cold.”
You smile, “Well I should hope so, I’m going to get ice cream.”
He smiles back and says, “Alfred will kill us for eating upstairs.”
“Then we shouldn’t leave any evidence.”
You make your way through the Manor, and you’re a bit surprised to find the kitchen light already on. You find Duke at the island with a plate of leftovers in front of him. You hesitate before walking in. He looks up and meets your gaze.
There’s a few minutes of silence before you say, “I came down to sneak ice cream. Do you want some?”
It doesn’t surprise you when he doesn’t respond. Instead of pushing, you head to the fridge, and then you hear, “What kind is it?”
You smile, “Cookie dough. I keep it hidden behind the broccoli, but that’s just between you and me, but I’m willing to share.”
He nods, and you pull out two bowls. You scoop generous servings into each and slide a bowl in front of him before pulling your own bowl in front of you. You don’t push him to talk, you wait for him to make the first move, “I’m dreading tomorrow.”
You meet his eyes, before sticking a spoonful of ice cream in your mouth, “I get it. My parents’ funeral was horrible.”
You nod, “They died in a car accident when I was eight. My grandmother raised me until she died when I was sixteen. Since then, it’s been Bruce and me.”
You watch him play with his ice cream, “Why was it so bad?”
“There were a lot of people there that I didn’t know, all saying how sorry they were. I was tired of hearing sorry by that point. Sorry didn’t bring them back, and none of those people could understand how I felt. Everyone’s pain is different. And losing parents at a young age is just…”
He nods, “Yeah. You think it’ll be that way for me?”
“There’s a good chance. That being said, Bruce and I have both been there, we have a few tricks.”
“Bruce has been there, too?”
“It’s one of the things that brought us together. Bruce’s parents were killed when he was eight too. But he had a lot of focus on him, being the Wayne heir. Alfred kept him pretty sheltered.”
“What tricks do you have?”
You smile, “Sandwich yourself between me and Bruce, use the other kids as shields if you need to. They know how to deal with people who might not have the best intentions.”
“You think there will be people like that?”
You sigh, “If only because of Bruce and me, I’m sorry in advance. We draw a lot of press attention, and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. Now you’ll have to deal with it too. I’m sorry.”
“You shouldn’t be.” You meet his eyes, and he gives you a small smile, “Bruce saved my life, he didn’t have to do anything else. He didn’t even have to do that. Instead he stayed with me, he was there every time I woke up, and then you guys took me in. You guys didn’t have to do that.”
You blink back tears, “Duke, I want you to know… we know we can’t replace your parents. We don’t want to, either. We do want to be your family, though. I know the kids are a lot to deal with. Damian and Helena are a pair of hellions, Lord knows, and Dick loves to flip around, and Jason and Tim bicker, and Cass has this ability to sneak up on you…”
Duke reaches over and places a hand on yours, “Thank you for giving me a home. Thank you for being here. I look forward to being a part of this family.”
With a smile, you stand up and walk over to him, and then you wrap him in the tightest hug you can. He hugs you back, and a moment later, he starts sobbing. You hold him until he falls asleep. When the sound of light snores hit your ears, you feel a hand settle on your shoulder. Turning, you smile at Bruce, and watch as he effortlessly lifts your newest son into his arms.
Together, you put him to bed. You stand there, watching him sleep, with Bruce next to you. You stare at his sleeping face and you know, he’s your son. He’s one of your kids.
This took me about three hours to film and I’m very happy with the way it turned out! I’m mostly familiar with DCU so let me know if there are specific characters you want makeup tutorials for. I’m hoping to do a Cyborg one soon!