“Maybe you should get a dog for him,” Dick suggests after another frustrating day of telling Damian to follow Bruce’s orders in the field.
The older man is frowning as he types on the crays. The screen’s blue-hued light reflects on his face, highlighting the wrinkles of stress winding around weary eyes and graying hair of time passed. It’s the oldest he’s ever looked to Dick. A testament of how much his Damian troubles bother him.
Weeks of childish banter as Damian’s Batman seems to have backfired, leaving the kid unprepared for how rigid his father operates.
“I mean, yelling at him isn’t helping any,” Dick sits on the console. His hair’s still dripping wet from the shower, making a mess that he has to clean later, but Bruce’s short intense glance is worth it.
“Yelling,” Bruce says. The tone of that single word sounds like the snort Bruce is too cultured to make.
“Batman insisting, whatever, point being it’s not working.”
Bruce’s stance oozes exasperation without a change in expression. Continues typing with seriousness only he feels.
There’s nothing too important in the day’s report so Dick presses a random button on the keyboard.
Bruce shoots him a dry look.
“We had Ace, remember?” Dick taps a busily typing hand, “seriously, I talked to Ace when you were in one of your moods.”
He pouts as Bruce moves his hands away in favor of reading the screen. Scoots closer to press the enter key. Hears a sigh in return.
“Really,” Dick nudges the thigh closest to him, “taking care of Ace kinda gave me an idea about how much you worry sometimes.”
“He’ll end up in my room sooner or later,” Bruce grabs the foot prodding him to answer.
“And you’d be okay with it,” Dick wiggles his toes, “just like you were okay with me and Ace.”
Dick knows that’s as much an answer as he’s gonna get. He wiggles his toes again. Makes a surprised noise when Bruce starts an impromptu foot massage.
They fall to companionable silence, interrupted once in a while by bat cries and keystrokes. And it’s just like any other time they’re together. Bruce multitasks without error and Dick fights the urge to joke.
Dick’s almost half lying on the console and Bruce’s lap, lulled by Bruce’s warm hand now massaging calves too sore from days of battle tension combined with the low vibrating hum of the electronics around him, when an angry voice yells at the top of the stairs.
“Father, your acti–GRAYSON!”
And sometimes Dick wishes Damian needed training from teachers outside of the cave. The kid needs to do something outside of the cave.
Listening to Damian yell at both of them while making disgruntled faces at who knows what isn’t something he wants to deal with in these rare moments of peace.
So Dick doesn’t think anyone could blame him. It’s the easiest route to make the kid quiet, the quickest way to make him leave for minutes, if not hours.
Dick slips the rest of the way onto Bruce’s lap. Squirms a little to give Bruce’s arms room to move.
The horror on Damian’s face as he storms off borders on trauma, but days of frustration entitles him some selfishness, Dick reasons with himself. Days of irritable Bruce and hushed dinners, with him stuck in-between.
“I’ll get him a dog,” Bruce sighs. Flinches with the slam of the cave entrance.
“A breed like Ace,” Dick yawns, “stubborn dog for a stubborn kid.”
“Perhaps,” Bruce pats his hip once, twice, and resumes typing.
Both of them know that their positions are uncomfortable. Dick is way too big to be on anyone’s lap, and Bruce is way too muscular to be comfy.
But neither of them has the heart to protest yet.
With Damian’s wrath waiting up above.