This takes place a year before Dick and Damian met.
Through some sort of an event Dick gets transported twenty-five years into the future. As he starts to remember the events that led him there and pieces all the clues together he slowly realizes that the world has changed, drastically so, pollution and corruption even in the most remote places. Major cities destroyed, contaminated water, the rise of the black market, human trafficking…
Without money, Dick is forced to delve into the criminal world to survive but even at his lowest he keeps showing kindness towards others. Once he has enough of money he sets off to America to seek help but all the superheroes he used to know are dead or retired never to be heard from again. As he continues his journey to Gotham he keeps hearing rumours about Batman and hoping to see Bruce again (despite it being logically not possible) and he decides to seek out his mentor and find the answers to all his questions. The closer he gets the more stories he hears about this new ‘Batman’ and Dick realizes that this could not be Bruce.
Gotham ,as if being the centre of the pollution is barely keeping itself together and Dick sees inhumane acts done in a broad daylight, too much injustice to be taken care of by a single human, no matter how determined. He immediately goes to the Wayne manor but finds it burned to the ground; the entrance to the Batcave sealed shut with no signs of anyone being there for years. Wanting to investigate further Dick tries to look for anyone related to the Wayne family however with the economy completely destroyed the Wayne enterprises fell apart and Bruce Wayne is declared dead, his body missing. There was a son but he too is nowhere to be found. Tim is dead, buried in the Gotham cemetery. Nobody knows anything about Jason.
Then who is Batman?
Dick decides that the only way to track him down is to meet Batman face to face and after a few unsuccessful patrols he decides to find him through cops, however seems like this Batman has no ties with the police and Dick’s only chance is to find him through all the different gangs that rule in Gotham.
He joins one and after a few nights witnesses Batman in action, more brutal and extreme than Bruce, than any of the superheroes he ever knew. He seems to recognize Dick and even knows his name however his voice sounds unfamiliar and Dick is sure they never met. He demands to know what’s going on and what gave him the right to take the cowl and after a heated fight they reach a truce and the mysterious man introduces himself as Damian Wayne.
Blah blah I’m gonna make this shorter now. So basically Damian is like 30 or something and lives on his own being the cat lady that he is and super angsty and serious all the time and Dick starts to live with him and help him out as Nightwing and he has no idea that they even knew each other before because Damian keeps it a secret. Dick died when Damian was fourteen and it basically fucked him up forever but now he’s back except he doesn’t know him and Damian’s older now and omg the angst potential I can’t even
Somebody write this. Seriously cuz I’m too busy trying to write that robot fic.
There were several signs that the waiting room used to be a living room once upon a time and Dick had time to carefully observe all of them; an old, unused fireplace opposite his chair that was hidden behind a table covered with white cloth…the position of the lamps…the carpet under his feet with odd dent marks on it that suggested there was a couch to his left and an armchair by one of the windows…
It was quiet in the room, the rain raging outside. Dick could still feel it on his skin, like a liquid reminder of his past actions; in his hair, running down his cheeks and chin, dripping from his eyelashes, weighting down the bathrobe he hastily wrapped around his body in his hurry to leave, his drenched sneakers trapping his ice cold feet within. No socks.
His hands still smelled of strawberries.
The clock by the door showed that he had been looking at the same spot for over an hour and that it was going to be seven o’clock soon, the time when they usually got up in the morning. Dick sighed at the realization; that meant they were here for four hours already.
He wondered what Jason was doing, whether he was asleep or getting drunk or stalking the streets of Gotham, doing something that would make Dick disappointed if he witnessed it. He suddenly wanted the man’s kisses more than anything; being held down and loved, the touch of skin on skin with or without a sexual release, it didn’t matter to him, all he wanted was Jason’s rough touches …but even those were tainted by Bruce now. He could not think of Jason without thinking of their guardian holding him down and the image in his mind was so terrible, so shameful that he just forced himself not to think of his brother altogether.
His fingers briefly brushed over the bruise on his cheek; a result of being in the middle of the fight. It probably looked far worse than it felt.
What would he tell Mr. Clarren? They had that meeting about the new project and he was supposed to be giving that presentation and now somebody else had to do it because there is no way Clarren would let him even enter the meeting room looking like this and he just can’t afford another mistake-
Dick cleared his head and took a deep breath. Then slowly exhaled.
When he looked at the clock again it was five minutes to seven.
Tim’s condition was steady and there should be no lasting damage, just a slight scar to add to the seventeen year old’s collection. Dick already went to see him earlier and the boy was sleeping, his eyelashes fluttering slightly as if he was dreaming about something particularly intense. He could not believe that he had been kissing that mouth just earlier that night; the fading hickeys on the boy’s neck-the mark of a lover, his red lips the most prominent feature on his white, sleeping face.
If Dick didn’t know any better he would have thought that he was looking at a drowned boy, a victim of a tragic accident down by the lake or river that was too careless and slipped into the icy coldness of the streaming water. But his brother was thankfully only asleep and very much alive and although the panic slowly subsided, the shock had yet to leave him.
How could he have let this happen?
Just when did it all get out of control like this?
Or was their previous life just an illusion and Dick never had any control over their family’s disputes; just a naïve, perhaps even an arrogant belief that he would be able to handle all of this, step into Bruce’s shoes the same way he stepped into Batman’s but it was not the same, was it?
He wanted to be better than Bruce, he wanted to give them what he never had, what they never had either but he was just making them unhappy, wasn’t he? He tried to think of any happy memories that they shared together but all he saw were the dreary, seemingly colourless walls of their apartment and Damian’s hostile eyes, Tim’s absence.
And Jason-no, he didn’t want to think of Jason and once again Dick turned to look at the clock only to realize that barely a single minute has passed since he checked the last time.
Damian was currently getting checked over, the doctor making sure there wasn’t any brain damage from the …from Dick’s punch. He had never hit Damian so hard before and he realized that he was scared at the time and if he was thrust into the same situation he would have found some other way. He remembered Damian’s tears mixing with the blood on his face and Dick lowered his eyes to the floor, ashamed.
He was not enough.
Perhaps he didn’t put in enough effort or time; didn’t have enough social skills or patience, didn’t know how to talk to Damian, didn’t understand him, didn’t listen to him…
Or perhaps it was impossible to achieve with a single person in this situation but the bottom line was that Dick was not enough. He could not handle this, he could not handle Tim, he could not handle Jason and most importantly he could not handle Damian.
Of course that begged the question, what to do now? If he sent Damian to some other place he needed to be sure that the people there would succeed where he had failed, give Damian the love that he so needed and Dick clearly couldn’t make him accept. In many ways he had failed Damian and this incident just made him realize how close everything was to falling apart. A house made of glass: delicate and fragile.
What the fuck was he thinking? How could he be a parent to anybody when he still wanted to be taken care of, starving for love like the pathetic little orphan that he was?? How could he give Damian what he wanted when he was still running after other people hoping they would complete him, thriving on their dependence on him, craving to be needed and at the same time using them for their affections and shamefully loving them for their love for him? He was selfish and rotten to the core… In the end using people for his own means exactly like Bruce.
He suddenly remembered Jason’s words on that night in the alley and his cruel eyes.
“You’re pathetic! You give out your love for anyone like a cheap whore but you never…you never…”
Dick buried his face in the palms of his hands and waited. The clock kept on ticking in the silence of the room.
“Excuse me, Mr. Grayson” said a voice, as if from a great distance and Dick immediately looked up and spotted the old doctor standing by the door.
“Yes? How is Damian?”
His voice sounded old, as if belonging to a man twice his age. He coughed to get rid of the sensation.
The retired doctor frowned at the bunch of papers he was holding and appeared unsure as he responded.
“He’s fine, there was no serious damage however…” he made four large steps into the room and looked up from his papers “…the boy’s scan and the blood sample…the results are quite unusual…unnatural even. I have never seen such a thing in my entire life.”
Dick noticed a movement out of the corner of his eye and turned back to the doctor. He was probably referring to Damian’s spine and the genetic enhancement.
“That’s quite alright; Damian’s…special. Thank you for letting me know.”
He didn’t quite know how to end the conversation but the doctor sent one last puzzled look at his drenched bathrobe and nodded, seemingly very keen on leaving the strange man. A minute later, Damian entered.
Dick didn’t look up but he could feel the boy’s presence in the room, like a ghost by the door; standing without making a single sound, an animal that didn’t know whether to expect violence or affection from its master. He wondered what kind of an expression he was showing but continued avoiding the boy’s gaze, the shame caused by his recent realization still very fresh inside his mind. After a moment, Damian broke the silence with a quiet voice.
“Do you think I’m unnatural?”
So the boy was listening in to the conversation…Dick thought he saw something for a second there.
Damian’s words sounded hesitant and terribly lonely as he asked that question and when Dick turned to look at him he noticed that the boy’s eyes were irritated and red as if he suffered from a bad allergy. He was standing much farther than he imagined; hadn’t in fact made it through the door yet and just continued staring at him from the hallway like a naughty child, expecting to be punished for his misbehaviour.
His hair was damp from the rain and he had his pyjamas on; grey, worn out looking shorts with a white t-shirt. Both were dirtied by Tim’s blood.
Dick turned away.
“I never thought you were unnatural” he responded mechanically, his mind already somewhere else, thinking about where to put Damian, who to trust with the boy’s future, who to ask for help…
There was silence and then the sound of soft footsteps from the doorway; Damian walking into the room and closing the door behind him. He continued walking until he was standing right in front of Dick’s hunched figure and the man stared down at the small legs as they stopped in his field of vision.
“I’m sorry I hit you” the boy said. Dick looked up in surprise (no! it was the other way around, he should be the one apologizing…!) and Damian’s fingers awkwardly caressed the side of his face where he knew a bruise has already formed fully.
“But I don’t regret what happened- Drake got what he deserved.”
“How can you even say that?!” Dick shouted angrily and in the silence of the waiting room, his voice was positively deafening and he saw Damian flinch slightly at the response.
“It’s true. He…he tricked you into-“
“Tim didn’t trick me into anything!” Dick stared at the ten year old in disbelief and Damian looked away for a second, as if composing himself. He didn’t seem convinced but didn’t argue any further. Dick shook his head and decided it was now or never.
“Damian this can’t go on like this.”
The boy looked at him with an unreadable expression, waiting for him to elaborate.
“What happened with you and Tim tonight…it made me realize that things have to change before something really terrible happens.”
Damian blinked at him and Dick expected the boy to look worried, angry or perhaps even frightened but instead was greeted by a smug expression and the boy’s Wayne eyes shining with satisfaction.
Did Damian understand what he was implying? Dick tried one more time.
“I thought I could keep all of us together but I was…I was wrong…” he said and had to stop for a second, to compose himself. He felt so pathetic. If only Bruce could see him now.
“…and I’m sorry that I couldn’t…make this work out, make things better for you, show you…show you and teach you about how a real family…” he trailed off in the middle of the sentence, overcome with regret.
“I’m so sorry, Damian.”
The boy’s expression changed almost instantly and he stood frozen, horrified.
“What are you saying, Grayson?”
“I wish I could fix this but I don’t know…I can’t, I’m obviously the problem here not you-“
“DRAKE IS THE FUCKING PROBLEM!” Damian shouted into his face and Dick turned away, unable to meet the accusing gaze. He could feel some of the boy’s spit on his cheeks as he continued shouting at Dick and each new word broke something deep inside his very being, like a little boy tearing off insect’s legs in the hotness of the summer, limb by limb…
“YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO SEND DRAKE AWAY, NOT ME! THAT’S HOW IT’S SUPOSSED TO GO!”
Damian was holding his shoulder now in a painful grip and started to shake Dick in his desperation for the man to understand; making his head move back and forth like a doll. Dick let him.
Damian had every right.
“EVERYTHING WOULD BE…IT WOULD FIX- EVERYTHING WOULD BE HOW IT SHOULD BE SO JUST SEND DRAKE AWAY! Is it…is it because of all the things he said about me? Did he tell you more?? HE’S LYING! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WOULD TRUST HIM OVER ME!”
Dick didn’t respond. Damian hit him and he could feel a sharp stinging sensation on his mouth; a split lip.
“How dare you, Grayson…” Damian said in a painfully quiet tone, almost whispering and Dick gathered the courage to glance up at the child and was met with a sharp red glare.
“How dare you…You think you can just send me off like I’m some kind of a PET?! Is that it?? Playing around, pretending you care about me, trying to replace my DEAD FATHER and playing the part of the martyr, you’re disgusting Grayson, PATHETIC! I DON’T NEED YOU! YOU NEED ME!”
“I just can’t Damian, I wish I-“
“YOU NEED ME! ADMIT IT!”
Something wet landed on his wrist and the man shivered at the realization that Damian was crying again. Before this night he has never seen the boy cry openly like this. Even when stitching up wounds, even when he had been on the verge of death…
But the boy was crying now and it was because he failed him (he was not enough) and it took all Dick’s willpower not to take his words back and continue with this fragile existence in their house of glass.
“I love you, Damian.”
He wanted to take the boy into his arms, hug him, kiss him, stroke his hair but the figure hovering over him was stiff and unapproachable and all he was left with were words. Empty. Replaceable. Ineffective. The same way they have been with Jason.
“And that’s why I’m doing this. I want you to be happy.”
Damian was clutching at his face, covering his eyes with his palms, tears streaming down his face and arms and Dick followed the path of a single tear as it went down all the way to the boy’s elbow and elegantly fell off, glittering in the light of the lamp.
“I’m sorry I hit you, Dick. I-I’m sorry that I cut Drake I was just angry I didn’t -I didn’t mean to do it…” the boy blabbered in between the sobs and Dick could tell he was lying almost immediately, just desperately spouting things that he thought his guardian wanted to hear. It was perhaps this that saddened Dick the most; he couldn’t teach Damian anything, basic morals as foreign to him as emotional responses and he was just parroting things that he was supposed to believe in and it was like Dick couldn’t reach him at all, it was so tragic…
“Please, I want to stay with you, I swear I won’t-I won’t do anything like that ever-unless you want me to-please, Dick don’t send me away, I can be useful, I am useful…I could be more useful…in the future!”
“Damian, don’t cry” Dick said, his voice breaking at the end as he felt the beginnings of his own tears form in his eyes.
Shit, he was supposed to be strong, he was not supposed to give in because he would be fucking up Damian’s whole life if they continued to stay together like this-sleeping in the same bed, Jesus Christ why did he think that it was ok, Tim was a full grown teenager, this was not the Circus anymore and he was not a child, what the fuck was he thinking?? But of course a part of him already knew why it ended up that way; not because of convenience or not enough money, the truth was that Dick hated sleeping on his own, he was so fucking lonely and he was just forcing-forcing-oh God…
“You need a proper family that would-“
“I NEED NO SUCH THING!”
“-take care of you, love you in a way that I –“
“If you send me away I will come back! Even if you run and hide I will find you…!” Damian hissed and grasped him by his neck, squeezing the tender flesh there, his hateful eyes, shining with tears and cutting him with their gaze like knives…
“I will find you and slit your throat!”
Dick didn’t intervene, letting the boy clutch at his neck and shout in his face; he knew Damian would never hurt him but it pained him to see the boy so devastated and…and it never occurred to him how much Damian cared until now and he couldn’t take it-
“Stop it!” Dick cried out and the hands around his throat slowly moved away and Damian forced himself into the man’s personal space, until he was basically sitting in his lap, his wet face pressed into Dick’s neck.
“I will kill you! And I will kill whoever you send me to live with-THE WHOLE FAMILY!”
“You think I won’t do it? I would kill all of them and it would be YOUR FAULT!”
Dick knew that the boy was capable of doing all of that and more but all he could focus right now was how terribly hurt Damian was and how he wasn’t able to fix things and comfort him. If only he could give in and allow the boy to stay, give him a second chance, just say he wanted to scare him and that it was all just a harmless prank-
-but no, he couldn’t, he couldn’t let himself be controlled by Damian like this; this is exactly why he failed to teach the boy anything; he let Damian dominate every aspect of his life without him realizing it and it had to stop.
So why wasn’t he pushing him away? Why wasn’t he saying anything?
“I’m not going. You can’t make me” Damian stated with a determined voice, intense eyes looking into his own and Dick felt as if he was under a spell, his heart aching at the thought of never seeing that small face again. He was helpless in that gaze, trapped in a cage of love and guilt and some sort of a power play that he had trouble keeping up with; manipulated by the little boy because he could not bear to see him hurt.
And it was as if Damian could see it too because his expression relaxed and there was a subtle change, his wet eyes no longer wide and panicked, his mouth slightly opened and revealing the front of his teeth like some kind of an animal gesture (I am your master, this is my meal, this is my territory, you are defeated) and he wrapped his hands around Dick in an awkward, forceful hug that felt more like a man about to lift a large object rather than a sign of affection.
After a moment of silence, Dick returned the gesture.
Just dropping this here to say that I think you're an incredibly amazing person and oh god your fics actually kinda scare the shit out of me but they're so good and I can't stop reading in the end.
So, um. Don't ever stop writing or being awesome please?
Is this a generation of 'dumper' girls or it's just me overthinking things?
I grew up thinking that it’s the guy that is usually the dumper and the girl the dumpee.
Stories and images of guys explaining awkwardly to hysterical girls that it’s just ‘not going to work out’ and that he’s ‘not ready for a relationship’ has been all over the TV (still is I think) and the stereotypical break-up has been the guy with intimacy issues and the girl who wanted to marry him and ‘change his ways’. Guys only wanting sex while girls want to cuddle and TALK and share their feelings and deepest darkest secrets “What are you thinking about?” etc. you know the drill.
I think all of this somehow fucked up with my image of men and from what I have seen around me I’m not the only one.
When I started attending university I realized that I’m the dumper. I was in five relationships in my life and it was always me that did the dumping (not counting the casual dates and flings and I was always the one not calling afterwards anyway).
I realized that I was the one who always found the guy to be too clingy and getting too fluffy and personal way too fast. I realized that I just dated good looking, muscular, popular guys and liked to show them off but hated whenever they opened their mouth or wanted to do something with me that was not sexual. Not only was I not in love with them but I found it annoying when they were doing lovey dovey things to me (AND I HATE CUDDLING). I only had one of them say the dreaded ‘L’ word and I still remember how awkward I felt when I heard it.
Oh God. Have I turned into one of those stereotypical ‘dumper guys’?
I was kind of horrified and was told that I have what you call ‘intimacy issues’ which I found confusing since I always considered that to be a man’s illness. However the more girls I talked with the more I realized that it’s not just me; I know at least twelve other girls with this exact problem.
When they talk about their current boyfriends or flings or one night stands…it doesn’t really matter because they refer to all of them without respect and complain about them being too clingy, whiney ect. while casually sharing embarrassing facts and discussing their sexual lives, treating them as if they were perfectly replaceable.
Perhaps I’m just not moving in the right circles but I have yet to meet the stereotypical clingy, hysterical girlfriend. The girls I meet everyday are heartless bitches. They read romantic books and watch movies about love but when it comes to real life situations?
There's something incredibly dynamic about their relationship, because on one hand there's this really intense, studious guy who is almost alien. His super-intelligence is intimidating and he doesn't seem to be on the same level as everyone else. And on the other hand there's this guy who is more down to earth and noble; this man can pierce through the other guy's wall with his likability and his hard-headed resolve and determination. In all respects, they shouldn't be compatible at all, but it just works for them.