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Everything is not alright

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Bruce grunted when he tripped, one of Dick’s limp arms slipping from his shoulder, and paused to wait for his son to readjust his arm.

“Dick,” he rumbled lowly in an effort to rouse the younger man.

The pained noise he received in response let him know Dick was awake, and Dick corrected his arm.

“…go back to sleep, chum.”

A drawn-out hum that could have passed for a sigh slipped from Dick’s barely parted lips. 

“’kay,” his cracked voice rasped.

In his ear, the comm continued to crackle, lacking a frequency to be tuned into. Bruce sighed and resumed his trudge through the dark tunnels of Gotham’s underground. The gross warmth of Dick’s blood seeping through small crevices in Bruce’s armor both repulsed and increasingly worried Bruce, but he tramped the fear down.

Soft giggles sounded next to Bruce’s right ear, and he sighed. It was one of those nights for Dick, then.

Pausing, Bruce called Dick’s name again to wake him.

“Hnn,” Dick slurred, rousing and lifting his head off Bruce’s shoulder. “Wha? Wha’s up?”

“I need to put you down for a minute.”

Dick made a strangled sound, but slowly untangled himself from Bruce, knees giving out beneath him when he was relying on his own two feet.

Bruce easily caught him, lowering Dick to rest against a curved wall. When Dick’s pain-hitched breaths started to turn into something resembling normal, Bruce reached for the oxygen mask he carried for Dick in his belt, and secured it over Dick’s face before turning the gas on by clicking a button on his gauntlet. Bruce only had four water-bottle sized containers of anti-toxin on him, but it was hopefully going to be enough to last Dick until they reached the Batcave and his room in the manor, where he had a cannula and three tanks of the anti-toxin to help him get a restful, nightmare-less sleep.

Dick sucked in a quick breath of the gas, going a little more boneless.

“Let’s get going again, son.”

“Jus’,” Dick wheezed breathlessly, “a sec, B.”

Regretfully Bruce shook his head and helped Dick to his feet, then onto his back, trying to ignore the pained sounds the movement elicited from Dick.

It was two minutes later that Dick passed out, breaths evening out shallowly. This time there were no quiet and unnatural giggles.

Bruce again sighed, but in relief. He forever regretted taking Dick onto the streets at such a young age, because of the early traumas not only to his psyche, but also the damage dealt to his brain.

The regret was just another in the long list.