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Silent Nights

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“Master Timothy, it's probably not wise to go down there right now,” Alfred says, standing in front of the teenage boy with a worried look. Tim can tell by the loud voices coming from the bat cave that it's indeed not a good idea, so he closes the secret entrance door behind the clock with a sigh.

“Let me know when they have cooled down or Dick is gone. I'll be in my room.” That's where he headed thinking that he most likely has to deal with a pissed of Bruce later and starts to work on a new surveillance program for Oracle. He had offered to help her out with it.

 

Tim has really looked forward to his training with Dick before patrol. Sadly, that is canceled now.  When Bruce and Dick fight like this, the younger one prefers to stay away from them as much as he could. In the past, Tim has tried to intervene but he has learned his lesson from the beating he got from Dick during training afterwards.

 

Three weeks later and the two of them still haven't spoken to each other. Bruce is even shorter on words, lips in a tight line all the time and doesn't Tim dare to mention the vigilante who operates over in Blüdhaven now.

 

“Bruce!” Tim shouts in frustration not for the first time. “Just call him. You know he'll come. If you'd just talk-”

The Robin is cut off by the glare he can very well imagine the dark knight is giving him beneath the cowl. He only huffs and let's his eyes glide back over Gotham City. It's going to be a silent night again.

 

*

At first there’s the pain; which he is used to. Then there’s the darkness. He's used to live in it. Usually he is conscious though. When he comes to, the pain is still there. It's still dark too but his eyes get used to it quickly. Night vision. The mask is still over his face and the Kevlar in his suit has prevented the greatest damage. Fortunately, he took all his opponents out before he lost consciousness by falling down the stairs which still probably has caused him a concussion. This could have only happened because he's already been exhausted, hurt and sleep deprived. Crime never stopped in Gotham, there was always work for Batman and so he's worked non-stop for the past few weeks. Because when he stops working he starts thinking. And when he starts thinking about him, he starts missing him. Right now isn't the time for that.

 

The dark knight turns his sonar lenses on and scans his surroundings. The basement. There's the backdoor leading out into Crime Alley. Not a good idea. So, back upstairs and towards the rooftop. A couple of painkillers out of his belt and he is good to go.

 

On the rooftop the Batwing is already arriving and landing for Batman to get inside. Back at the batcave he gets a scolding eye from his butler. Of course Alfred doesn't approve whenever Bruce goes out on a mission alone. Not completely alone. Alfred and Oracle are kind of always with him. Usually Robin tags along and has his back as his trusted partner. But Tim isn't available tonight and it's a quiet night. Totally a night to handle for Batman alone. Or so he had thought. Yes, he could have called for help. That's what his butlers look tells him. He could have asked Nightwing. But the Batman doesn't ask for help. Not when he really needs to. His pride doesn't allow it especially when it's Dick he has to ask. The one he has driven away, sent away. Still, he knows his former partner would come. Even though they are at odds. That's why Bruce won't call. Even though it hurts. Even though he misses him. So he works. Sometime alone. He barely sleeps. It's been weeks now. He has to get his shit together.  A sigh and Alfred knows what's wrong. He always does but he has given up calling Bruce out on it.

 

“The drug ring has been taken out I presume, Master Bruce? “ He says instead.

A nod was Bruce’s answer.

“Anything else you require, sir?” This time Bruce looks up from the screen of the bat computer. “No, you can go to bed Alfred.” The butler nods and retires to his chambers upstairs.

 

It is quiet in the cave except for the occasional beeping of the computer and the tapping on the keys. It's also very quiet in Wayne Manor.  The silence in the big house is something Bruce isn't used to anymore. Bruce doesn't know if he likes it. The silence means neither Tim nor Dick (or Jason) are there. And he has started to enjoy having them around. Since his last big fight with Dick these silent nights happen more often. He hasn't spoken to Dick in weeks and Tim seems to avoid him. Alfred says it's because Bruce is even more grumpy and moody when he and Dick are not talking.

 

Circles. Here he is again. Thinking. Not about a case. About him.  A frequent beeping and the blinking incoming call sign on the screen lets Bruce snap out of it. “Oracle. What's the matter.”

Barbara’s terrified face appears on the screen. “Bruce. It's Dick.” The red haired woman stifles a sob and something in Bruce’s chest tightens painfully.

Chapter Text

Dick makes it out alive. He feels a bit dizzy but he makes it to the clock tower in one piece. Someone must be watching over him seeing as he almost misses the opposite rooftop in a sudden state of nausea. As if the circumstances of his lucky escape isn't embarrassing enough. Dick doesn’t get out fighting, no. Poison Ivy, who has him in her trap, just lets him go and retreats. She could have killed him right on the spot because his head wasn't really in it. Very unprofessional of him, doesn't happen often, still, sometimes it just does.

 

Damn you, Bruce. All the training wasn’t enough. He’s never been as good as Bruce when it comes to dealing with emotions and concealing them. Dammit being human and having feelings.

Anyway, instead if killing him right away Ivy, as her name indicates, she has poisoned him. So that he got out alive was just because he would be dead sooner or later, slowly dying from some vicious poison.

 

Barbara’s worried face makes him feel so stupid all over again. She most likely already figures what has been going on. She doesn't say anything about it after Dick had told her what happened but he can tell that the judgmental words are lying on the tip of her tongue. Barbara runs a few tests analyzing his blood and yes, as he already predicted, he is dying.

 

“Awesome,” he sighs as he hears his death sentence from the woman's mouth. Twenty-four hours, approximately. “I can think of so many better ways to go.” The way Barbara looks at him shuts him up and he looks down. “Dick,” she says softly. “We need to find a cure. We need his help.” Dick bites his lips as she calls their friend. He knows it's true. If he likes it or not, he needs Bruce.

Dick stays out of the camera's view because he doesn't want Bruce to look at him. He already feels bad enough and not just because he is poisoned.

 

Not long and he's been taken to the bat cave where he's greeted by his worried looking friends Alfred, Tim and Bruce.

“I’m fine,” he repeats for the third time.  “No, you're dying,” is Bruce’s dry answer. Dick snorts. “Yeah, aside from that. I'm feeling-” he is cut off by a sudden blackness that comes over him for just a second and he stumbles against the medical table that he is approaching.

“Crap.” Raised eyebrows everywhere. “Yeah, you're so fine,” Tim says. “Shut up,” Dick grunts and sits down as Bruce tells him to and takes the water and pills Alfred gives to him. Then he takes another blood sample from Dick and Bruce compares the data he got from Oracle with it. Bruce types everything into the computers database, waiting impatiently for it to spill out what kind of poison Dick got infected with and how to cure it.

 

There is an uncomfortable silence in the cave now. Everyone is worried for Dick’s life. Bruce is concentrating. Dick wants to say something, make a joke, and lighten the situation up. However, even if he could have come up with something, his mouth is too dry, his body is getting hot.

 

A loud thud startles him and he groans. Dick manages to turn his head to look at Bruce who apparently had slammed his fist down on the table. “It’s nothing I’ve ever seen before. The computer can’t find a match either. Ivy must have grown a new plant. The poison has similarities to Ageratina altissima and Abrus precatorius. Similar symptoms. Only deadlier and quicker to kill.”

Alfred is wiping Dick’s brow now with a wet cloth. “Need a bucket,” Dick groaned. Alfred is fast enough as Dick rolls over and starts throwing up.

 

“Is there a cure?” Tim asks Bruce, barely audible over the retching sounds. “I have to make one.” And I have to do it fast. Bruce tries to block out every sound coming from the medical bay as he rushes to the lab. He needs to focus. And more ingredients. To Tim and Alfred e orders what he needs. While Bruce is working, Dick slips in and out of consciousness. By the time Alfred comes down with fresh coffee like he has repeatedly for the last 5 hours, Dick isn’t awake anymore, his breathing shallow. Very shallow. Bruce thinks he needs at least one more hour.

 

If they just haven’t had this stupid fight Dick maybe wouldn’t had gone alone. If they just had talked. If he had listened to Tim. Bruce can’t even remember what that fight was about. Probably something rather trivial. He checks the compound again and looks over to where Dick is lying. One more hour.

 

They are alone in the cave when Dick finally wakes up. Bruce has his cowl off and looks relieved but also tired, even more than usual. Dick lifts his head to see him better then suddenly there are hands and arms around him and his head his pressed against the black hard bat symbol. He closes his eyes for a moment, relaxing into the embrace. Evan though it is completely silent in the cave, Dick almost misses the words murmured into his hair.

“Thought I’d lose you.” Still groggy, Dick barely shakes his head. “’m here.”  The grip on him loosens and Bruce’s face was stern. “Don’t ever do that again.” Dick bit his lip. “Sorry. I wasn’t really in it. Otherwise she wouldn’t have gotten to me.” Ashamed, he wants to avert his eyes, but can’t tear them away from Bruce’s which are so full of concern and affection. A gentle hand is placed on his shoulder now and Dick has to keep himself from grapping it and pull Bruce down to him and kiss him. That makes him look away now with guilt and heartache. He knows he shouldn’t feel that way for Bruce.

 

“You still need to rest. I’m gonna bring you to your room.” Then he is in Bruce’s arms once again. His eyes go wide with surprise when he is carried upstairs into the manor and up the stairs to the master bedroom where he is carefully laid down. This time Dick just can’t help himself and pulls Bruce down and crashes their lips together. He blames the poison or the antidote or whatever drugs they have given him to ease the pain. When he realizes Bruce is kissing back, open mouthed, probably half lying down on him, his brain is short-circuit anyway so he can’t think about it anymore.

 

Later, Dick wakes up in Bruce’s bed, Bruce lying next to him, watching him. Panic starts to rise in him because he can’t remember why he is in this situation and what has happened. He sits up, looking at Bruce in shock. Bruce puts a gentle hand on his cheek. “Easy. It’s alright.”

 

Dick swallows. He closed his eyes and remembers. The poison. The pain. Then the darkness. Then there was Bruce, carrying him to the bed, kissing him.

“What happened? I mean, why–“  did you kiss me back?

“You talked while you were under the influence of the poison.” Dick frowns. “What was I saying?” In the dim light coming from the moon shining through the window in the bedroom he can barely make out the faint smile on Bruce’s lips. “My name. Over and over.” Dick falls back on the pillow with a groan, burying his face under his arms. There is a quiet chuckle. Then he slowly lowers his arms to look at Bruce. There, in his eyes and his smile, his goddamn so rare but so beautiful smile, that was directed to, no meant only for him, there Dick finds the answer he has hoped to find and then Bruce is kissing him again. And Dick takes it, takes it all and shoves the guilty feelings deep down, to hell, because they don’t matter anymore. The fight is forgotten, all is forgiven. He is alive. Here, in the silence of the night  Bruce is with him, they are in this together and that is all that counted.