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Brand New Person, Same Old Mistakes?

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Dick frowned down at his bowl of disproportionate cereal and milk. The milk only touched the top layer, a few sparse rivulets trickling down onto the parched frosted flakes below. Still, he had settled in for the night, and nothing short of a high-priority distress call from Barbara, Tim, the Titans, or possibly Bruce could get him out the door now.

Thunder rolled outside, and Dick wandered over to stare out of one of his small apartment’s windows.

Someone rang his doorbell, and Dick rushed over to it, setting the cereal on the table by the front door (an addition of Babs’--it included a large cloth box-drawer for him to quickly stuff anything incriminating into). He checked through the peephole he’d installed himself after becoming landlord and was rather startled at the sight.

Donna Troy stood in the rain, holding a black coat closed with her hand, glancing up into the peephole.

He whipped the door open immediately, the wind blowing some rain in alongside Donna. “You’re soaked, I’m sorry I didn’t get to you sooner--”

Donna shook her head, still holding her coat.

Dick swung the door shut. “You can leave your coat or keep it on, either is fine, you know me, I’m not super--”

“I’m pregnant,” Donna said, slipping off her coat and holding it up off the floor.

The words slipped out quietly, but with a weight and force all their own.

Dick froze for a moment before blurting out the first question to come to mind. “Does Roy know?”

Water dripped off her coat onto the tile floor as Donna searched for a hook or knob of some kind. “Not yet. I went to the doctor and then I remembered you lived near there, and I just wanted to talk to you.”

Dick found it highly doubtful that Donna, living in Star City, would voluntarily go to the doctor in Gotham, but tactfully refrained from commenting. “Alright, then. Let’s talk.” Dick motioned to the couch.

Donna hung her coat on the front doorknob and made her way over to it, Dick following. She flopped down in the couch corner, back to where the armrest met the cushions over the back slats. She grabbed one of the few pillows Dick kept around mostly for when Tim crashed with him after patrol and clutched it to her chest.

“I’ve been feeling...I mean...I’ve been through this before. With Robbie. I’ll spare you the gory details.” She smiled, but it was clearly forced.

Dick sat down on the other end of the couch, arms looped over his crossed legs as he leaned against the armrest.

“So I went to the doctor and she was like ‘yeah, no doubt about it.’”

“Are you sure it’s the same as human pregnancy?” Dick asked cautiously.

“It was before,” Donna said, shrugging. “I might ask Mid-Nite later on to make sure, maybe go back home to Themyscira if it starts going downhill. ‘S not like I’m Superman or something, there aren’t too many hurdles.”

Dick nodded. “Do you want something to drink? Water? Juice? Coffee? Don’t recommend the coffee,” he added as an afterthought.

Donna smiled and shook her head. “You need to cut back.”

Dick rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. Water, then?”

Donna nodded. “Thanks, Dick.”

Dick headed into the kitchen to fill a small glass, returning in a moment to find Donna had pulled her legs close to her chest, burrowing into the couch, the pillow carefully discarded on the coffee table instead of the floor. (She was considerate as always).

Dick held out the glass and sat down beside her, close enough that she could rest her head on his shoulder if she so desired.

She took the glass and sniffed. She took a couple deep sips that went down as gulps, then held the glass in her hands like a mug of hot chocolate that could give comforting warmth. “I’m scared, Dick,” she whispered.

Dick slipped a hand over her shoulders, and she shifted out of the way. His thumb traced a circle on her far shoulder as he listened.

“I love Lian,” she murmured. “I love Roy. But it’s different like this, I...I didn’t protect Jenny, or Terry, how do I know I can protect them either?” She sniffled. “I shouldn’t even be near them, let alone having another kid. Like Robbie.” She swiped at her eyes. “Nobody’s safe around me.”

Dick leaned away without letting go or dragging her with him, managing to snag a box of Kleenex. He held it out to her, and she blew her nose several times before going on.

“Why am I even here, Dick?” She shook her head, renewed tears gushing from her eyes. “There’s literally...there are forces trying to wipe me out of existence, or at least someone close to me. Why am I still here?” She repeated, her voice creeping higher and higher.

Dick leaned around with the other arm to hug her in what was half-regular, half-side hug. His mouth rested by her ear, and he whispered, “Donna. No.” He swooped his arm up so that he could look her in the eyes even as she glanced away. He slid off of the couch to kneel in front of her, gently grabbing her shoulders. “Look at me. Don’t torture yourself like this, okay? You’re my best friend in the world. You’re kind, and you’re brave, and you’re a good mom to all the Titans, and you’ve saved who-knows-how-many people. Those forces trying to hurt you? That’s their problem. Because there’s no good reason to want to wipe you away, alright? You make everything better just by being around, Don.”

Donna scrubbed at her face, seemingly forgetting the tissues for a moment. “Thanks, Dick.”

Dick smiled. “You’re the main reason I’m not just a mini-Bruce, alright? Give yourself some credit.”

“What, because I slapped you that one time?”

“One time? One time?” Dick teased with mock-outrage.

“You were being awful,” Donna pointed out, her tears subsiding. She blew her nose a few times as Dick said, “I was brainwashed, come on!”

“Slapping works against brainwashing like 50% of the time.”

“I’m fact-checking that.”

Donna grinned, dabbing at her face with her sleeve. “Be my guest.”

Donna left about an hour later, full of memories of and nostalgia for the Titans and Teen Titans of yesteryear (along with Dick’s terrible fashion choices, which were unending and ever-inventive in their awfulness).

Dick choked down the half-incredibly soggy, half bone-dry cereal and went to bed. In the morning, when he swung open his refrigerator, he found a carton of milk with a note taped to it.

I noticed you were out last night. Thanks for everything.

Dick smiled and poured himself a bowl of cereal.