Fic: Home

Jul. 6th, 2008 10:16 pm
cavaleira: (Default)
[personal profile] cavaleira
Title: Home
Pairings/Characters: Bruce/Dick
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don't own them, blah blah...
Summary: In the aftermath of Alfred's death, Bruce and Dick must finally confront their feelings for one another.
Word Count: 2074
Notes: This story is set about 10-15 years in the future. The only character death takes place before the story begins.

Dick Grayson blankly stared out at the countryside as he maneuvered the car through the curves of a familiar back-road.

It was a road he had driven down many times before. On motorcycles and in the back of chauffeured cars. Or in various models of the Batmobile.

Pulling up to the stately Manor, he felt a sense of trepidation and familiarity. This was what it always felt like when he was coming home (because no matter how he and Bruce fought or just plain didn't see eye to eye, this place would always be home).

But it would be different this time.

Bruce had told him not to come, that he didn't want or need the company (or the comfort). But Dick had never been one to desert Bruce in his time of need. It seemed fundamentally wrong to leave Bruce up in the Manor all by himself. Especially now that Alfred was gone.

Well. And there it was.

Dick sighed and opened the car door, stepping out into the brisk autumn air. He walked up to the front doors knowing that things would never be the same again. This time there would be no formal greeting, no proper British accent so obviously laced with affection, no slightly disapproving glance at his clothing or latest hairstyle.

Dick pulled out his keys, unlocking the heavy doors and stepping inside.

“Bruce?” he called out, his voice almost echoing. “Bruce? Where are you?”

The Manor... it didn't even feel right anymore. It had always been a heavy place. A place filled with ghosts and secrets and grief. But when he was a child and Alfred was still around, it was different. Brighter somehow.

But standing there in the foyer, Alfred's absence was palpable.

“Bruce?” he said again as he headed for the study. He hoped that Bruce hadn't gone down into the Cave. That would only make things more difficult.

He didn't want to deal with Batman right now. This wasn't about him. It was about Bruce. It was about family being there for each other.

“Bruce.”

The man was standing at the large bay window, staring down at the grounds or out into nothingness. Dick wasn't sure which.

“Dick.”

Bruce didn't turn around.

“You didn't have to come. I know you must have to get back to New York.”

“We're family, Bruce. There's nothing more important than that.”

Bruce nodded turning away from the window slightly, but still unable to look Dick in the eye.

“He... taught you well.”

“You too.” Though you try to pretend otherwise.

“I'm fine, Dick. I don't need you to stay. You can go home.”

“I am home. Bruce. Look at me.”

Bruce sighed.

Look at me.”

He finally looked into Dick's eyes.

For someone so intelligent, Bruce had always had a hard time expressing himself with words. And for someone so guarded, Bruce had always had a hard time hiding his true feelings from those who knew him best.

“You're not fine, Bruce. Neither one of us is fine. Alfred was always the heart of this place. Of this family really. You don't have to pretend, Bruce. Not with me.”

Bruce nodded.

“I... thank you. There's some leftover takeout in the fridge. I was about to heat it up, if you'd like.”

“Sure,” Dick said, setting his bag down on an armchair.

They walked to the kitchen in silence and then worked quickly, heating up the various cartons of food and making their plates. But then they had always worked well together.

They ate in the kitchen. The dining room seemed too formal. Plus the kitchen had always been Alfred's space. It was almost like some residue of his presence remained there.

“So, are you going out tonight?” Dick asked.

Bruce chewed thoughtfully and paused for a long moment.

“No. He never wanted this for me anyway.”

Dick nodded in understanding. He felt relief wash over him inside. He was glad Bruce had chosen to honor Alfred by taking the night off rather than beating criminals to a pulp or burying himself in work. He had a long way to go, but it seemed he really had changed.

“The others can handle it.”

“Yes.”

The two former Robins and the former second Batgirl (and current Batwoman) were more than capable of handling patrol for the night. For a loner, Bruce had managed to assemble quite a few disciples.

“How's the League?” Bruce asked, attempting to make small talk.

“Good. I'm still getting used to the full-time thing though. Who knows, maybe I'll go back to being a part-timer like you.”

“I'm sure you'll get used to it. You were always more... team-oriented than I ever was.”

Dick smiled half-heartedly, shaking his head. “Well, that's one way to put it. You always did have a weird sense of humor, Bruce.”

Bruce attempted a small smile of his own, but it only served to accentuate the tiredness in his face and the bags under his eyes.

“Well, I suppose I'll call it a night,” Bruce said as he picked up their plates and put them in the sink.

“Yeah, me too,” Dick yawned. He went and grabbed his bag from the study while Bruce washed their dishes.

Dick came back into the kitchen with the bag slung over his shoulder and then they headed up the stairs with silent steps. They stood awkwardly in the hallway, staring at each other.

“Uh... well, my room is that way so I'm gonna...” Dick said finally.

“Yes, I...” Bruce trailed off and then they both went in separate directions to their separate bedrooms.

Dick put his bag down and sat on the bed for a few minutes before he found himself stalking down the hallway and into Bruce's room.

“Dick?”

“Yeah, it's me.”

He didn't know what he wanted from Bruce now (or what he could reasonably expect to have), but he couldn't stand the way they had left things in the hallway. He wanted to do something more. Some small gesture. So he walked over to the bed and pulled the blankets up to Bruce's shoulders.

Bruce made a surprised sound.

“Alfred... he used to do that when I was younger. After my parents died.”

Dick smiled sadly.

“Yeah. He used to tuck me in too, especially when I first moved here. He'd come in the middle of the night to check on me. I think he always knew I was still awake, but he never said anything. Just pulled the covers up and patted my head.”

Bruce nodded in the darkness.

“I'm sorry I can't.... I know you're upset too. I should-”

“No, don't worry about it Bruce. It helps to take my mind off of things.”

“I just... I don't want you to think you have to hide your own grief. I don't want you to be like that.”

I don't want you to be like me, he didn't say, but it hung there in the air anyway.

Dick was quiet for a moment.

“You know, some of those nights, it wasn't always Alfred came by to tuck me in. I'm sure you we're exhausted from searching for my parents' killer, but you came anyway. I guess what I'm saying is to just let me return the favor.”

Dick squeezed Bruce's shoulder, letting his hand linger for a moment.

“It can be cathartic to help someone else who's going through the same thing.”

And no one knew that better than Bruce.

They gazed at each other and a look passed between them. A look of understanding and... something else.

Dick quickly pulled his hand away. Maybe he should have just stayed in his own room. They weren't ready for this. He wasn't ready.

“Good night, Bruce,” he said and slipped out silently. He went down the hall to his own room to be alone with his pain.

***

Dick spent the next hour tossing and turning. That and debating whether or not to just throw caution to the wind and go get into bed with Bruce already. They didn't have to do anything, but it just seemed so stupid to be apart when they both so obviously needed each other now. But after awhile, he had managed to banish those thoughts and finally fall asleep.

He slept for all of 20 minutes and then was awakened by a loud clatter coming from the kitchen.

He jumped up and ran out into the hallway and down the stairs, following the noise.

Had there been a break-in? But that was impossible, security at the Manor was -

Oh.


The kitchen was an absolute mess and there was Bruce, standing in the center of it. An open sack of flour was leaning over on the counter, spilling its contents all over the floor. A puddle of vanilla extract here, chocolate chips there, and the smell of burning butter coming from a saucepan on the stove.

“Bruce! What the hell are you doing?”

“Baking. I couldn't sleep and I thought about how Alfred used to make me warm milk. But then I found the recipe for his cookies and I thought you might...”

Dick sighed staring at the flour-streaked man in front of him. He had followed this man into certain death more times than he could count, but he had never seen him look so lost.

“Bruce,” Dick said gently, “I appreciate the thought, but you can't cook. You can't even boil an egg.”

“But... I'm Batman.”

In another situation, Dick would have laughed at that. But instead he just said “I know,” and hugged him.

They stood like that for a long moment, clinging to each other in the midst of the chaos around them.

***

Dick pulled back the covers and slipped into bed next to Bruce. He pulled him close, kissing him lightly on the temple and then on the lips.

Bruce didn't shy away. He didn't run or make excuses this time. Instead, he kissed Dick back.

Finally, here they were.

There was nowhere left to run, nowhere to hide from the basic, irrevocable truth that they loved each other. Always had, always would, and pretending otherwise had only made them both miserable.

Bruce let his fingers tangle in Dick's hair.

“I always wondered about how he would react. If he knew.”

“I always thought he did know, but was just too polite to say so,” Dick said, “Honestly, I think what he wanted more than anything was for his family to be happy. I don't think the 'how' mattered so much.”

“Maybe you're right.”

“And besides,” Dick chuckled, “He saw you dress up in a Batsuit every night to go out and fight crime. He saw me in short pants with matching pixie boots. And he never batted an eye. After all that, I don't think there was anything either of us could have done to really shock him.”

They spent the rest of night in each other's arms, reminiscing about Alfred and all the good times. How he was just as comfortable with a teapot as he was with a shotgun. The many times he'd patched them up, given stiches and painkillers, cookies and milk, unwavering support or that look of disapproval that really made you think about the latest hare-brained activity you wanted to attempt.

And then finally, they slept.

***

Several months later...

“Bruce, are you almost ready? Everyone will be here soon,” Dick yelled up the stairs.

“Just a minute,” Bruce called back as he fixed a stray strand of his graying hair.

Tim, Jason, Cassandra, Barbara, Clark, Jim... they would be all be arriving soon. It was a very special occasion and the beginning of a new family tradition.

From now on, Alfred's birthday would be a day of celebration and remembrance. And Dick had even baked a batch of Alfred's famous cookies. It seemed he wasn't as hopeless in the kitchen as his partner was.

The doorbell rang as Bruce came down the stairs.

“You look nice,” Dick said, right before he pulled Bruce into a quick kiss.

Bruce smiled and turned to the door.

“Ready?”

Dick squeezed his hand in affirmation.

As they went to greet their guests, Bruce couldn't help wishing Alfred could have been there to see it.

He would've been proud of how his boys turned out.

Date: 2008-07-07 05:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anthraciteowl.livejournal.com
This is lovely! Alfred would be so pleased to be remembered that way.

I really liked the way you wrote Dick. He trepidation and his devotion were both so clear.

Date: 2008-07-08 01:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com
Thank you!

I really liked the way you wrote Dick. He trepidation and his devotion were both so clear.

Aww, thanks. I'm really glad the characterization worked!


P.S. I love your icon :)

Date: 2008-07-07 10:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angelnimp.livejournal.com
Oh just lovely! Sad, but sweet...

Date: 2008-07-08 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-07-07 11:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gilda-elise.livejournal.com
What a wonderfully warm and tender story! So sad that it took Alfred's death for them to see the light. I think he would have approved.

Date: 2008-07-08 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com
Thanks!

So sad that it took Alfred's death for them to see the light. I think he would have approved.

Yeah, nothing can ever be simple with the Bats *shakes head*. But they also seem to have an ability to take tragedy and turn it into something positive.

Date: 2008-07-07 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laramoon.livejournal.com
awww! Lovely.

I'm sure Alfred would be proud of how his boys turned out, yes. :)

Date: 2008-07-08 01:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com

I'm sure Alfred would be proud of how his boys turned out, yes. :)


I agree :)

Thanks for commenting!

Date: 2008-07-07 06:53 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (batman--robin embrace)
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
What a sweet story! Sad, but sweet.

Poor Bruce would be lost without Alfred. He's always been there for him, especially after the worst time of his life.

Dick needed Alfred, too, and his comment about Alfred watching Bruce dress up in a Batsuit and Dick in short pants and pixie boots to go fight crime made me smile. Crazy family, but Alfred loved them to pieces!

And I like the new family tradition. Alfred would approve. :)

Date: 2008-07-08 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com
Thanks BradyGirl!


Poor Bruce would be lost without Alfred. He's always been there for him, especially after the worst time of his life.


Yeah, Alfred is definitely the glue that holds the family together. And in many ways he's the last link Bruce has to his parents.


And I like the new family tradition. Alfred would approve. :)


Aww, thanks, I like to think so too ;)
(deleted comment)

Date: 2008-07-08 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! :)

Date: 2008-07-08 04:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laurapetri.livejournal.com
OMG this was so beautiful and sad! Bruce was so lost that line but ...I'm Batman absolutely killed me and Dick jusy being there for me.*happy sigh*

Date: 2008-07-10 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com
Yay, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Without Alfred, Bruce is like a lost little boy again. Luckily, Dick was there to pick up the pieces.

Thanks for commenting!

Date: 2008-07-09 04:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladybugkay.livejournal.com
Oh, my pretty, broken boys, how I love you.

And I love the way you've written them, here. I think Alfred would be very happy to know that these two finally stopped running from each other and just let themselves be happy. It is all he ever wanted for them, no matter how it came about.

Date: 2008-07-10 05:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com
Thank you!

I think Alfred would be very happy to know that these two finally stopped running from each other and just let themselves be happy. It is all he ever wanted for them, no matter how it came about.

It seems like letting themselves be happy is the hardest thing for the Bats to do. Jump off a building? No problem. Kicking ass and taking names? Easy. But happiness? *Then* they have issues. But yeah, I think Alfred would have been pleased to see that they finally go over it. :)

Date: 2008-07-29 10:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saavikam77.livejournal.com
This was so wonderful! So poignant and sweet and sad. I love that Bruce and Dick were able to come together in their grief. Alfred wouldn't have had it any other way. :)

And gods, Bruce attempting to bake, making a mess, and saying, "But... I'm Batman." XD *hugs him* That was sheer genius. So perfect.

*applauds*

Date: 2008-07-30 05:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cavaleira.livejournal.com
Yay, thank you! I'm sure Alfred would have loved seeing the boys (finally) together.

I'm glad you liked the part with Bruce in the kitchen. I had intended to go in a different direction with this fic, but then that scene just came to me and I had to run with it.

So glad you enjoyed it!

Date: 2008-11-06 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dariclone.livejournal.com
wow, very great fic. I thought you did a great job writing Bruce and Dic and I loved that line about Bruce not being to cook.
And Bruce's response "But I'm Batman!"
Excellent.

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