Home to You
He almost doesn’t make it in time.
Or maybe he doesn’t make it in time. Because when he drops through the skylight and takes out the two thugs standing over his son, Dick doesn’t move. And when Bruce finishes with the men, he’s crashing down on his knees next to Dick, praying, wishing, hoping that everything’s okay. That Dick’s not—
He’s not. He’s not. Dick’s chest is expanding and deflating, if only ever so slightly, and when Bruce checks, there’s a pulse. The odd thing, though, is that Dick’s eyes are wide open, staring sightlessly into the middle-distance, and Bruce realizes that wherever Dick is right now, it isn’t here.
Those bastards are going to pay.
Bruce focuses on Dick, scoops him up into his arms, and Dick still doesn’t react. It’s—hard. To see this energetic boy reduced to nothing but limp limbs, and Bruce grits his teeth against the emotions tightening in his chest. He has to get back to the Cave, has to take care of Dick. He can feel later.
(He won’t. Not if he can help it.)
“Hang on, Robin,” Bruce whispers into the air as his hold on Dick tightens. “Just hang on. We’re going home.”
“I’m sorry,” Leslie says, and she won’t look at Bruce anymore. “There’s nothing I can do for him.”
“You’re a doctor,” Bruce says automatically.
Leslie’s face tightens, but when she speaks, her voice is flat. “But not a miracle worker. Either he snaps out of it on his own or he doesn’t.”
“What can I do?” Bruce asks.
“Just be there for him.”
Bruce is slumped in the chair next to Dick’s bed in the manor when Alfred finds him. Bruce doesn’t look up from where he’s waiting for Dick to magically get up from his bed, to shake off his catatonic state and start flipping off the banister or swinging from the chandelier again. It doesn’t happen. Nothing happens. Just like nothing’s happened for the past two days.
“Sir,” Alfred says, and it’s quiet and edged with grief, but his face gives away nothing when Bruce turns. “I believe you have meeting with Mister Fox this morning at ten o’clock.”
“Cancel it,” Bruce croaks, and then he slumps back in his chair.
“I’m afraid I cannot do that, Master Bruce.”
“Lucius will understand.”
“Considering the backlash of the last few headlines, I believe Mister Fox would like you there to help him mitigate the damage,” Alfred tells him not unkindly. “It will only be for two hours at the most, and Master Dick will not go anywhere. To that, I will make sure.”
Bruce doesn’t want to leave—he hasn’t left, really. Only to shower, use the bathroom, and take his anger out on the bastards that had done this to Dick—but Alfred would never lie to him, and there’s a fierceness to his voice that has Bruce seriously thinking it over. It’s only for two hours, and this backlash does need to be dealt with.
So Bruce nods and says, “Okay,” and he leaves his son to Alfred’s care, and hopes that he won’t regret it.
When he gets back, nothing has changed. Dick still lies in the bed, IV attached to his arm because they can’t coax him to eat or drink anything, blue eyes staring into space. Bruce skips the chair entirely, and he settles carefully on the bed next to Dick, pulling the boy in so that Dick is in his comfortably in his arms.
He wonders what will happen now. Dick’s catatonic, and it doesn’t look like he’s getting better. Bruce can’t grieve, because Dick’s not dead, but the manor feels like a graveyard, so cold and lifeless without a cheerful twelve-year-old to paint the walls with laughter and happiness.
Bruce misses it.
He wonders what Dick is seeing. What’s got him so caught up in his own mind that he can’t come back to reality anymore. He wonders if he’ll ever get Dick back now.
He wonders and wonders and wonders, and he dares to hope.
Bruce startles awake, and he looks around Dick’s bedroom blearily, trying to figure out what woke him up. It takes a second, but he registers the sound of crying. And when he looks down, his chest tightens and he can’t breathe.
It’s Dick. Moving and crying and alive. He’s sobbing into Bruce’s chest, fingers twisted in Bruce’s T-shirt. It only takes another moment before Bruce is sitting up sharply and cradling his son in his arms, hunching over him, as if this way he can protect Dick from the whole world. He cups the back of Dick’s head, presses Dick’s teary face back into his T-shirt, and just holds him.
“Dickie,” Bruce chokes, and he almost can’t believe it when Dick’s hands twist the material between his fingers tighter.
Dick’s alive, he’s not catatonic, and Bruce prays and wishes and hopes it stays that way.
“I’m okay, now,” Dick reassures him, but Bruce doesn’t believe a word. The boy’s eyes are still rimmed red from crying, he’s shaking slightly, and there’s something fragile to his expression that makes Bruce think Dick could shatter at the slightest touch. Dick smiles a bit wider, a bit more genuinely, at whatever expression is plastered on Bruce’s face. “Really, Bruce. I’m okay.”
Bruce doesn’t think so, but Dick isn’t staring at the ceiling with sightless blue eyes anymore, so all Bruce says is, “I’m glad your back.”
Dick laughs tearily, throws his arms around Bruce’s neck, and whispers, “Me, too.”