“Grayson! My office!” Officer Park yelled onto the training grounds as the BPD cadets finished their warm-ups.
A few of his police academy classmates snickered as Dick bit back a groan. What could he possibly be in trouble for now? He hadn’t been chased out of the BPD gym in weeks. There was no reason for Officer Park to show up glaring at him.
Walking into her office with a smile that even he realized was probably too fake, Dick asked, “How may I be of service ma’am?”
Officer Park ignored his friendly nature like she always did. She waved to the chair in front of her desk. “Have a seat.”
Reluctantly, Dick did as instructed.
“After a solid month of medical leave, you are still top of your class. Care to explain that?” Officer Park growled at him.
Dick couldn’t quite manage to keep his bafflement out of his voice. “Am I in trouble for doing well?”
Belatedly, he realized that wasn’t the correct response. He knew he wasn’t supposed to noticeably succeed as a cop. If people started connecting him to Nightwing or any of the Bats, he would be in serious trouble.
“No,” Officer Park grunted. “It seems there is a need for more honest cops, and they want to graduate the top 5% early. The brass found out that Bruce Wayne’s son is at the academy, and they want you specifically.”
This time Dick couldn’t control the groan that escaped; he barely refrained from collapsing onto the desk in front of him. He moved to Bludhaven so that he could avoid Bruce’s shadow that touched everything in Gotham. Was it too much to ask that he was judged on his own merit and not his adoptive father’s money?
Do you really want to be judged on your own merit? A sinister voice in his head whispered. You know you’ll be found wanting. Worthless.
No. He cut off the voice with a vicious snap of his brain. He wasn’t going to go there now.
The sound of chuckling distracted him from his internal conflict. “I’m glad you feel the same way. The short of it is the commissioner believes that Bruce Wayne’s son won’t be able to be bought.” Officer Park snorted. “He didn’t say it, but I know he’s also hoping Mr. Wayne will donate a large sum to the BPD to protect his son.”
Dick didn’t bang his head on Officer Park’s desk, but it was a near thing.
His commanding officer gave him an amused smile. “I like you, Grayson. I know this isn’t how you wanted it, but keep up the hard work, and they’ll notice that you’re more than your father’s money.”
He returned the smile. “Thanks ma’am.”
“Your final exam is Friday morning. Now send Cadet Cook in after you.”
“And don’t let me hear about you overworking yourself again,” Officer Park called as he left her office.
After Dick finished his day at the Bludhaven academy, he retrieved his phone from his locker where a text from Barbara was waiting for him. He hadn’t heard from Babs since he left the cave in sweats. She had been busy with the smash case that everyone else had dropped. Curious, Dick opened the message.
Spar tomorrow? 5am? Bludhaven’s Gym on North and 3rd?
Dick didn’t remember the last time he saw 5am. Okay, that wasn’t precisely true. He saw 5am all the time during the whole invasion disaster, but he had been working on sleeping by 2am now. He fired back a quick response.
Do you ever sleep?
Her response was just as quick; she always did have her phone on her. *eyeroll* Some of us can manage to go to bed at a decent time.
I’ll believe that when I see it.
Barbara ignored him. Spar tomorrow? Yes or no?
He wanted to see her, but. Yes… but not at 5am.
Dick rolled his eyes. Realistically, he knew he couldn’t push it back any further if he wanted to be on time to the academy, and Babs would have suggested the evening if she were free. …and he wanted to see her more than he wanted to sleep in, which he didn’t want to examine too closely. Babs deserved someone a million times better than him.
The next morning, Dick dragged himself out of bed at 5:30am, scarfed down a protein bar, and headed to the gym. He had hoped to beat Babs there to prove a point. He arrived a good 15 minutes early, but her motorcycle was already parked in front of the gym. Parking next to her bike, Dick hopped off to join her.
This particular gym was a personal favorite of Dick’s, meaning it was in complete disarray. Paint flaked off the once white walls that had turned yellow with age, and the floors hadn’t been scrubbed in the last decade. There was little to no equipment besides a few boxing gloves, sparring mats, and punching bags. In short, it was the type of place Bruce Wayne wouldn’t be caught dead in, and Dick loved it all the more for that.
Upon entering the gym, he was surprised to see Babs already engaged in a duel with Cass. The two girls spun around the mat in a fascinating fury. Neither managed to land a solid blow on the other, and Dick was mesmerized watching them spar like it was a circus act. A familiar pang hit Dick as he remembered his former life. He pushed it aside. That life was dead and over.
He turned his attention back to the spar in front of him. Barbara tried to sweep Cass’s feet out from underneath her, but Cass jumped over the attack and front flipped to land a hit on Barbara’s back. Babs stumbled, and Cass managed to sweep the redhead’s feet out from under her in the same move that Babs had tried on her. A pounce and Babs was pinned.
Dick clapped. “Impressive,” he called to the two girls on the mat.
Cass flipped off of Barbara, and Barbara pushed herself off the mat.
“You’re early,” Babs greeted him.
“Not as early as you two.”
“Yes well, not all of us need to sleep in.”
Cass made a face at Barbara’s assertion, and Dick laughed. “I think your protégé disagrees with you.”
“Cass isn’t my protégé. She’s my friend,” Babs argued. “Besides, she’s better than me at hand to hand.”
The girl in question beamed and turned to Dick. “Better than you too.”
Dick smiled. “I bet.”
Barbara scoffed. “Right now, a yellow-belt is better than him.”
Bouncing on the balls of his feet, Dick rose to the bait – despite the fact that they both knew that Dick was still recovering from his muscles loss and retraining his body. It was the constant reminder of how weak he allowed himself to become and how long the recovery process was taking that convinced Dick that no matter what he would keep eating. He barely remembered his recovery after Jason’s death because it had all blurred together in pain, both physical and emotional. Grinning, he teased, “Care to back that claim up.”
Babs threw a loose hair out of her face and grinned. “I thought you’d never ask.” Readjusting her ponytail, she turned to Cass. “I brought some books for you to read while we spar.”
The girl may not be her protégé, but there was no question that Babs had taken Cass under her wing. Bruce had still refused to hire a proper speech therapist, arguing that until David Cain was behind bars and he could legally adopt Cassandra, it wasn’t worth the risk of finding another doctor with a confidentiality agreement. Barbara had taken it upon herself to teach Cass to read and was helping her with her speech.
Cassandra chose a spot where she could easily see all entrances and exits, leaning against the wall as she sat with her legs out in front of her. She pulled a picture book out of Barbara’s backpack and began reading. Dick cracked his neck and returned his attention to Barbara.
“Are we sparring until someone’s pinned?”
Babs rose one of her red eyebrows and a playful smirk decorated her features. “Do you think you could pin me? I was just going to go first to three hits.”
There was no way in hell that Dick would be able to pin Barbara with his current physical skill, but he couldn’t allow a challenge like that to pass. He smirked right back. “You’ll have to catch me to pin me.”
Barbara ran at him with no warning, and Dick blocked her punch with a muscle memory that had lasted beyond the muscles.
“Starting a fight without bowing, what would your teacher say?” Dick teased as he danced out of the way. He feinted to the left, but Barbara blocked it and slammed her elbow down to block his attack from the right.
She scoffed. “He’d say,” And she dropped her voice down an octave to match Batman’s gravely tones. “Your opponents will give you no quarter. Give them none.”
Dick laughed, and Barbara used his distraction to land a punch to his obliques. Dick skirted away from it, but it would probably bruise.
“Ow,” he feigned a grimace. “You’re not kidding around today.”
Barbara ignored him and dove at him with a fury she only had when she was royally ticked off. She clocked him in the chin with her elbow. That would definitely bruise. Only this time he didn’t understand what had pissed her off.
He backflipped out of the way and twisted to the left when she followed.
“Want to tell me what’s going on with you?” Dick asked as he ducked under a jab.
Babs didn’t reply and spun around and kicked him in the gut. Dick failed to dodge the kick, but he rolled with it and spun out of the way. Flipping over her and towards the other side of the mat, he grunted, “Okay, what did I do?”
Not stopping in her pursuit, she replied, “You tried to attack Harley in sweats.”
“That’s what this is about?!” He exclaimed as he blocked another blow to his midsection. “Come on, Babs. Don’t you think Bruce and Alfred already tore me enough of a new one?” His voice was more exasperated than frustrated.
“You don’t get it, do you?” Babs aimed a punch to the left while shifting her wait and kicking with her right leg. Dick backflipped away from both. “We love you, you idiot. Do you have any idea how terrifying it is to hear you’re out against a super villain with no armor and no equipment?”
Dick missed the rest of her rant because his mind stopped. “You love me?”
Babs stopped her brutal assault. There was a brief pause where Dick wondered if Barbara’s cheeks reddened or if that was all in his head. Her checks were most likely flushed from the exertion.
“Of course, I love you, idiot.” There was a pause where Dick’s brain went to the blue screen of death and a warmth spread throughout his body. “I also love Artemis and Jason.”
Feeling foolish, Dick flicked his eyes to the floor. Of course, Barbara loved him as friend. It was irrational to think someone as perfect as Babs would fall for someone as worthless and incompetent as him. Forcing the negative thoughts out of his head, he moved around a mumbling Barbara and swept her legs out. Babs toppled, and the two grappled on the floor. Dick rolled on top of her. She bucked and forced him off and grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back. Luckily, she wasn’t quite as strong as Jason.
Dick twisted, bent his arm and dropped to the floor, forcing Babs to release her grip and tumble to the floor. They rolled in opposite directions. Babs sprang up first and wrapped her legs around Dick’s waist before he could stand up. Dazed from the sudden movement, Dick failed to prevent her from grapping his wrists and keeping him pinned.
Barbara grinned. “I win.”
Staring up at her face flushed with exertion and wild red hair around her face, Dick couldn’t stop himself from focusing on how absolutely gorgeous Barbara Gordon was. Trying to prevent his feelings from open display, Dick offered an over exaggerated pout. “You win.”
“And you’re not going to fight supervillains in your sweats again?” She teased refusing to get up.
Dick groaned playfully. “Yes, fine.” For some reason, when Barbara asked him, it didn’t bother him like it did with everyone else. It was nice knowing that Babs wanted him to be alive. He tried not to analyze his reasons for that and instead focused in the warm feeling that flooded his chest.
Babs rolled off him with the same teasing smirk on her face. She offered him a hand up, and he took it without hesitation. An alarm beeped from Barbara’s phone.
“You need to head to work,” she said as she walked over to where Cass was sitting to collect her stuff.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “I’ll see you later. Bye Cass.”
Cass looked up from her book to watch Dick for a long moment. He always felt uncomfortable when she gave one of her unnerving stares. He never could tell what she was thinking. She didn’t verbalize her thoughts like Dick or Jason did, and he couldn’t read her like he could Bruce or Tim. She was an anomaly. One Bruce and Babs both adored, and why shouldn’t they? She was clearly better than Dick. He breathed out the negative thoughts and tried to clear his mind.
After an eternity too long, Cass offered Dick a parting wave. He didn’t give a parting remark as he left the gym and headed for work.
Twice a week, Dick drove his bike from Bludhaven to Gotham. Sundays, they had their awkward family dinners where Jason and Bruce still sat as far away from each other as possible. Although some progress had been made, Jason had started responding to Bruce’s questions with one-word answers. Cass and Alfred took turns reminding Tim to eat. Tim had never been the largest of eaters, but the death of his parents had killed most of his appetite. Dick spent most of the dinner, performing a one-man show, trying and often failing to engage the rest of them in a form of pleasant conversation and desperate that no one saw how empty he felt at each and every one of these family meals. Bruce spent the majority of the meal studying all of them and reminding Dick to eat, which in recent weeks had become less of a necessity, mostly due to the other weekly Sunday evening activity: therapy.
Therapy had been going better than he thought it would. Dr. Waqud didn’t push him to discuss anything he wasn’t ready to talk about. Some days he connected with her easily; the conversation flowed, and she helped him process. Other days, for reasons he couldn’t explain, he clammed up; he felt empty inside, and he had nothing to offer. Either way, Dr. Waqud was patient with him and offered techniques that helped – like telling someone when he was struggling with wanting to be alive. It was always so, so hard to get the words out, trapped in his chest by some unseen force that shoved them deeper and locked them up. But when he could manage to coerce the words out, he was always greeted by comfort and a reassurance that he was loved. It was the only thing that could force the impeding darkness away in that moment.
Surprised by his relative success, he knew he was doing better. And not just fake better where he pretended for everyone else’s sake. No, he was doing better. He wasn’t who he used to be, and he was miles from fine – but he was better.
Part of the reason, Dick was improving was because of his fierce commitment to therapy. He didn’t always want to do the homework or practice new coping mechanisms, but he had to because as Dick had slowly begun to crawl out of the deep pit he had been trapped in, he realized how much his depression was affecting those he loved. He had always known that Wally was frustrated and worried about him, but to see how his depression – and that was a hard pill to swallow; he was clinically depressed – affected his family hurt worse than the emptiness inside.
For the first time, Dick recognized that Bruce’s overbearing protectiveness came from a frantic fear for Dick’s safety. Dr. Waqud had forced him to roleplay how he would feel if someone he loved behaved as he did in the last few months. Dick wasn’t willing to say that Bruce’s fear was justified, but he was willing to give his father a little grace. After all, Bruce’s worry was messing with his sleep and ability to function. Batman still hadn’t tracked down the rest of the kryptonite that had unsurprisingly been stolen from the government. The only thing that spared Nightwing the lecture of the century was the simple fact that Nightwing had been locked out of the cave.
Alfred seemed impossibly older, and Dick worried that was his fault. Jason, well, Dick didn’t know what was wrong with Jason, but something was wrong with his younger brother. Dick had only recently started noticing the gaps in memory and the way Jason would zone out at times. If Dick hadn’t been preoccupied with himself and his feelings, he would have seen it sooner.
Then, of course, there was Timmy. It was Timmy that first convinced Dick that he needed to change. It physically hurt to see the way Dick’s depression damaged his younger brother. Tim was the reason Dick was committed to therapy. After the incident with Harley Quinn, Tim was scared. It had been masked by anger and determination, but Dick knew fear wrapped in more palatable emotions.
“I can’t lose you too.”
Dick couldn’t forget those words or the anger behind them, even as tears swam down his younger brother’s face. Tim was hurting, and it was Dick’s fault. Determined to fix the colossal mess, he drove out to Gotham every Thursday to spend time with Tim. No matter how he felt. No matter what he thought about himself. Every Thursday he drove out to Gotham. His depression was only allowed to kill him.
He didn’t know if he’d be able to help Tim though. Clearly, he was responsible for tearing his family apart. Who knew if he’d be able to fix it? He probably wouldn’t be able to. Who was he trying to fool? Everything he touched turned to ash. He would end up hurting Tim even more; he needed to leave and disappear.
A car horn jerked him out of his despairing thoughts. He swerved his bike into the open left lane. His chest hurt, and his breathing was labored. He should pull over and figure out what was wrong with him, but he was on the bridge that connected Gotham and Bludhaven. There were no safe spaces to pull over that would allow him to collect himself without drawing attention. The last thing he needed was his picture to end up on the Gotham news as a stranded motorcyclist.
Doing his best to ignore his swirling thoughts and strange difficulty with breathing, he focused on the road in front of him. His hands tightened on the handlebars. By the time he reached, Wayne Manor, the strange physical symptoms had passed. He jumped of the bike and tore off his helmet. He shoved his thoughts into a separate compartment of his mine and searched for Timmy. He found him in the second-floor den. Sunlight, flowing in through the opened curtains, provided the only light in the room. Tim sat on the couch with his knees pulled up to his chest and arms wrapped around his knees.
“Hey Timmy,” Dick greeted with a smile on his face as he flopped onto the couch next to Tim. “What’s up?”
“Cassie and I broke up,” he whispered.
“What?” Dick asked, bewildered. Had he even known Cassie and Tim were dating?
Tim rested his forehead on his knees and then turned his neck to the older man. “I disappeared for a while, and she sent me a text message.” Tim shook his head and mumbled something into his knees.
Dick wrapped an arm around his brother’s shoulders. “Hey, it’s okay.” Anyone who broke up via text wasn’t worthy of his little brother.
Tim lifted his head up. “Then she found out what happened to my parents, and she felt awful. We got back together for a bit, but…” he trailed off.
Confused, Dick asked, “So you’re not broken up?”
Sighing Tim dropped his head again.
“I broke up with her this morning.”
“Why?” Dick wasn’t exactly a stranger to break-ups, but Tim seemed upset for the person who had decided to end it.
Timmy shook his head against his knees, and Dick decided not to push for more information. Instead, he pulled Timmy into a side hug. “Come on. We can head out to the skate park.”
“I’d rather just stay here.”
“Okay,” he easily agreed. Sometimes he didn’t want to go outside either. “I’ll put on a movie.”
When Tim didn’t disagree, Dick put on the Fellowship of the Ring. He’d try to stay awake as the movie played. He knew when he needed to put on a movie his brothers needed versus what he enjoyed.
Friday afternoon Dick walked into his apartment a full member of the Bludhaven Police Department. He would start Monday morning as Amy Rohrbach’s newest partner. Every other early graduate would start with graveyard shifts. But not Bruce Wayne’s precious son. Disgusted, Dick flung his new police badge onto the kitchen counter. He should have known Bludhaven wouldn’t be far enough to escape Bruce Wayne’s influence.
Opening the fridge, he searched for a late lunch. Last night, he and Jason had finished the last of the leftovers, so he made a sandwich and grabbed chips out of the pantry. He’d been avoiding the oven ever since Jason had freaked out after he accidentally burned himself on the top of the oven. The incident he desperately wanted to keep from Bruce and Alfred.
Dick never enjoyed cooking in the same ways that Jason and Alfred did. It didn’t mean he couldn’t cook. It meant that if someone else was willing to do the chore, why should he? Lately though, it took a monumental effort to convince himself that eating wasn’t optional, let alone fix a meal. Convinced Dick wouldn’t eat without support, Alfred had brought prepared meals over with instructions on how to heat them in the oven because microwaves were for heathens.
He reached in to pull the baked chicken out of the oven, but the top of his arm scraped the hot oven coils. He cursed and dropped the dish as he pulled his hand away from the heat source. Turning on the cold water, Dick paused. He felt something. Something that wasn’t a numb darkness. Pain released endorphins. Pain released endorphins. The same thought kept circling his brain. Pain released endorphins.
Staring at the open oven, Dick had a terrible idea. Pain released endorphins. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt something besides numb. He stuck his hand towards the oven.
“What the hell are you doing?” Jason screeched.
Dick pulled his hand back. Dumbstruck, he replied, “I dropped the chicken.”
Jason grabbed the discarded oven mitt and picked up the dish and slammed the oven shut. “And your solution was to reach into a hot oven.”
“I, I,” Dick struggled for words. It seemed like such a fool proof idea, but now, looking at Jason’s irate face and the burn on his upper arm, it was such a stupid idea. What had he been thinking?
Jason dragged Dick’s arm under the still running faucet. He didn’t say anything, and it made Dick feel even worse.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”
“Damn right. You weren’t thinking?! You idiot. If you need someone to hurt you, I could have done it for free.”
“I’m sorry,” Dick mumbled again.
Jason shook his head and left the kitchen, returning a few seconds later with the first aid kit. He applied a burn cream and bandaged Dick’s arm. Jason’s hands held a gentleness that belied his anger.
“Has this happened before?”
Dick nearly swallowed his tongue in his rush to reply. “No, no, I swear. This was just a lapse of judgment. I’m sorry.” Tears welled in Dick’s eyes. What had he been thinking?
“Stop babbling,” Jason scolded. “Okay, here’s what is happening. I tell Alfred.”
“YOU CAN’T! Jason, it was a one-time momentary lapse of judgment.” Dick didn’t care if he sounded frantic. There was no way he’d avoid a hospital if Bruce found out about this.
“I tell Alfred,” Jason repeated. “OR you start taking the prescription Leslie gave you over a month ago.”
One look at Jason’s face and Dick knew that he would not bend on this. “Okay, okay. I’ll take the pills.”
His phone buzzed in his pocket. A reminder popped up that he had midterms next week. Dick cursed under his breath and stood up to grab the textbooks that were still wrapped in cellophane. He unwrapped them and left them on the table. He deserved to relax after completing his police academy exam. He’d look at what he would be tested on after he took a small break.
Four hours later, Dick had binged through half a season of Parks and Rec. He considered that he should probably open a textbook or at least, bring one into the same room as him when the doorbell rang. Bruce stood at his door with a bag full of takeout containers.
“I heard congratulations were in order,” he offered, stepping into the apartment and shutting the door.
Dick crossed his arms over his chest. “I thought we agreed you’d stop following my every move.”
“I wasn’t tracking you,” Bruce replied, setting the food on the counter. “Commissioner Titus called to congratulate me on raising such a fine young man.” There was the beginning of a smile on his lips.
Dick snorted and shook his head. “How much did he ask for?”
“He didn’t ask for anything, but he did spend over three minutes discussing the inadequacies of the BPD police equipment and the dangers of police work.”
“Right. How much did you give him?”
“I didn’t give him anything.”
Dick jerked his head back and gave his father a disbelieving look.
Bruce gave him an exasperated look. “You told me repeatedly that you didn’t want my money buying you promotions.”
“And I don’t,” he agreed. “But since when do you listen to what I want?”
“Dick.” The younger man knew the expression on his father’s face. It was the pained I’m trying that the older man had never been able to express well.
“Okay.” If Bruce could try, so could Dick. Plus, the BPD’s equipment was notoriously out of date. “Enough to buy bulletproof vests, but that’s it.”
Bruce grunted, but Dick knew him well enough to understand it as an expression of gratitude.
Dick shrugged. “Probably the library. He’s been studying for his SATs.”
Bruce’s face lit up with pride, and Dick stuffed his feelings of inadequacy as far down as he could. Before Dick could respond with his rising bitterness, Jason walked through the apartment’s door. After he had hung his coat in the closet, Jason rounded the hall and eyed the two men in the kitchen, paying close attention to Dick.
“What did Dick do now?”
Dick rolled his eyes in exasperation.
“He graduated from the BPD Police Academy,” Bruce replied. “I brought lobster thermidor to celebrate.”
“From Gotham,” Dick clarified.
“You can’t get lobster thermidor in Bludhaven.”
“You just hate eating in Bludhaven.”
“It’s not my fault that there are no quality restaurants here.”
Dick ignored his father and pulled out three plates. The man was a spoiled prince.
Jason eyed them both and settled for speaking to Dick. “I’ll let you two eat then.”
Bruce got an uncomfortable, constipated look on his face. “I brought more than enough.”
“No, it’s okay. I don’t want lobster.”
Dick froze. Jason loved lobster. Dick was the one who didn’t like lobster. As soon as he smelt the food, he had known Bruce was extending an olive branch to his younger son. Bruce might be here on the pretense of celebrating Dick, but everyone in the family knew that he was desperate to repair the broken relationship between him and Jason.
Turning to face his brother, Dick shot him a look. “Don’t be like that. We all know that lobster is your favorite.”
“I’ve never had it,” Jason argued.
Bruce and Dick stared at the younger man. That had been true when Dick had scooped Jason off the streets, but Bruce had introduced them both to ridiculously expensive and fancy foods. Jason had hated French food; he had dubbed it a fancy way to eat bugs. But he had loved lobster.
Jason realized that he misspoke and tried to cover it up, “I mean, I haven’t had it in a while.”
Predictably, Bruce ignored him. “How long have you been having issues with your memory?”
“We’re not talking about this.”
“Jason, this could be a symptom of something dangerous. You can’t just ignore it.”
In response, Jason snapped, “You do not get to tell me what to do.”
Dick stepped between the two. “Okay, okay. How about this? Jason joins us for a celebratory dinner, and Bruce drops it.”
Bruce immediately protested. Dick placed a hand on his forearm and shot him a look. Please let me handle this. He relented, but Dick saw the message in his eyes. If you don’t, I will.
“I hope you know this is your present,” Jason declared as he stomped towards the kitchen table.
“That’s fine, Jay,” Dick soothed and brought the plates to the table where his never-been-used textbooks sat.
Bruce, following with the food, raised an eyebrow.
Dick rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “I, uh, was going to review before my midterms.”
Bruce made a noncommittal noise, and Dick quickly put the books in his room. The last thing he wanted was to have a discussion about the real reasons he dropped out of college in the first place. Oh yeah, that would go over well. Bruce was worried about enough when it came to Dick.
When he returned to the table, Bruce had finished placing Dick’s meal onto his plate. It was blackened salmon with wild rice and vegetables.
“I thought you said you got lobster?”
Bruce gave Dick a confused look. “You hate lobster.”
“Yeah, I just thought…”
Piercing him with those cold blue eyes, Bruce stared at Dick for a long moment. “I wouldn’t bring you something you hated to celebrate your accomplishments.”
In other words, I care about you. His father may not always have the words or do the right things, but he loved him. It was time Dick started accepting that.