Dick was tired, he was bruised too but who was going to see it under the Nightwing costume? There was no going back to Gotham for him right now. He needed some time and some space. He had pushed too hard and too soon. He knew better than anyone how to deal with Bruce but he had fucked up as usual hadn’t he?
And now he was back at square one in more ways than one. Dick sighed as he walked through the corridors. He had no idea why he had sought out the League. Maybe because it would be mostly empty? He could go up to the station but the earth base was good enough. Countless halls, countless rooms and plenty of work to be done. No one would bother him either.
He entered the east lounge and let a sigh escape him. Empty, just how he needed. He could sit here maybe melt into the furniture for a while. Think or not think about how the night had gone so drastically wrong so easily and how his mouth had gotten away from him yet again.
“Dick?” The voice startled him. The room was empty wasn’t it? Dick focused until he saw on the other side of the room on one of the couches sat Lex Luthor. And he was not alone. In his lap rested Kon-El. Kon-El’s head was on Luthor’s lap his eyes closed with Luthor’s hand in his hair. How Dick had not noticed him he didn’t know. He had to be more shaken up than he had realized.
“Luthor.” Dick was not in the mood for this. He was tired and his heart hurt. “You’re here. Were you helping with a project or-“ Wait. “Did you just say-“ He felt his body chill. “Dick?” He swallowed and felt himself step back. This was bad. Luthor knew his name? Had Kon… had Kon-El told him? No the boy wasn’t like that.
“What?” Luthor frowned as he reached forward for a glass on the table. “Ah, guess I’m more tired than I thought. I didn’t mean to startle you but I guess it is time to cut to the chase. I know. All of it.”
Why was this happening to him tonight? Everything was crashing down around him. First Bruce, now Lex Luthor had figured out their secrets. It might not be just theirs either. It was the worst case scenario.
“Oh jesus.” Luthor snorted. “Calm down, this isn’t something new. I know, I know all of it and I’ve always known." Luthor gently stroked Kon-El’s hair as the boy continued to sleep. “About Bruce, about Clark.” He laughed. “Chloe, Oliver. Roy, Jason. Bart Allen, Wally. I’ve always known Dick. Just who did you think you were dealing with?” He laughed softly. “I knew about Bruce just like I knew about Selina, I knew you, the rest of the Robins. I’ve known all along.” He snorted. “Way before Bruce dragged me into helping the League. I always knew.”
“But-“ As long as Dick had known of Luthor he had been fighting Superman and leaving Clark and his associates alone. Luthor had never come after Bruce or the Wayne’s outside of business. He stepped close trying to see Luthor’s face better. “This doesn’t make any sense.”
“It does to anyone not a complete idiot.” Luthor laughed. “You know, I’ve known from the start. Bruce is good you know. it’s easy to figure out who the Batman is. Proving it. Now there lies the problem. But for me that’s fairly easy too. There was just no sense in it. What would I gain? He’s better as an ally. Better off free doing his own thing.” Dick watched Luthor comb his son’s hair with his fingers. “I’ve always been good at compartmentalization Dick.”
“What about Superman?” Dick’s eyes moved to the sleeping boy. “You’ve never-“
“Sentiment.” Luthor cut him off. “And because if I did that the game would be so easy and over so fast. If I had ever gotten serious it would be over too soon.” He said softly. “That had been the reason in the beginning. Now it’s because of him.” Luthor smiled down at his son. “A real combination of trouble he is. Now I can guess to the reason you’re so dejected you never noticed or sensed me.”
“You’re the one drinking in enemy territory.” Dick pointed out before he took a seat on the arm of the nearest chair facing Luthor. “Why are you here? Working late?”
“I needed to take my mind off my failed engagement.” Luthor said softly. “And I wanted to talk to my son about his troubles. He fell asleep halfway.”
Dick had heard about some of those troubles from Tim but not all. He had overheard somethings from Roy. Seen Jason’s face when Kon-El’s name was mentioned. “Is he okay?”
“He will be. His favourite robins won’t leave him alone.” Luthor said softly. “And Impulse and Arsenal are better for him than people assume. Cutting the engagement was the right thing to do.” Luthor continued softly. “There is nothing more important to me than my son. I want more children, I want a bigger family. However, not at the expense of the child that I already have.” He shook his head. “Kon-El comes first always.”
“It’s weird to hear that from you.” Dick said softly. He knew that Clark tried but Luthor… he knew it but it was different to see it. This terrifying man really loved his son regardless of the blood inside of him.
“I’m a monster but I am one forged not born.” Luthor chuckled. “Besides in all fairy tales doesn’t love solve all?” He asked softly. “My son saved me. I choose him over any lover any day.”
“Wait.” Dick had not even known he man had been dating again. “Why stop an engagement? Wouldn’t a mother for Kon-El do him good?”
“She would put Kon-El at risk. She would not treat him kindly and I fear what could happen if I let my guard down.” Luthor said softly. “I can’t risk my child. The women that catch my interest the longest are those fully capable of killing me or taking advantage of my weaknesses. Kon-El can never get caught up in that game. He’s between myself and Clark as it is.”
“So you truly know.” Dick tilted his head. “But a woman to make Kon-El comfortable that won’t bore you and kill you. Where the hell are you going to find that?”
“Who said it has to be a woman?” Luthor laughed softly. “Isn’t Kon-El born of two men? I require a partner Dick. Nothing more, I would love for more children. Brothers and sisters for Kon-El. Children that carry my eyes like he does but even if I were to have no more. That I have this son is already enough. All I wish is to ease his pain and loneliness.”
“This life isn’t exactly easy.” Dick admitted softly. “Finding someone that understands you that trusts you enough. That you can trust. It is not easy.”
“Which is why I’m glad that Bruce has you.” Luthor’s eyes glittered with an emotion that Dick could not figure out. “When I realized it was you I was glad. No one else could put up with him. Even those of us who understand him don’t have his admiration and trust the way you do.”
“But he pushes people away though.” Dick laughed softly. “And he isn’t gentle with it.”
“But he draws you back in. he can’t leave you alone. He’ll always be watching over you. He’s proud of you Dick. You know better than anyone that Bruce can’t say those words. At least not yet.”
“I’m surprised you can say that.” Dick laughed. “What about you?”
“Many years ago.” Luthor said softly. “I thought I had found the person to make me believe and say such things but I was wrong. Now I know better, Kon-El is the one. He is why I don’t regret the past, I had to crawl to get here but he makes it worth it.” He said softly. “I’ve known the cold, I’ve seen barren. I’ve seen madness but now I have a bit of peace. Bruce is the same. I can say it and if he were a little less stubborn he would admit it.”
“I don’t see that happening.” Dick said softly. “But I guess I can’t just lick my wounds and run for now can I.”
“Bruce and I are the same in some ways. He won’t leave you for long.” Luthor said softly as Kon-El softly grumbled. “He’ll always be watching. He’ll always be waiting and that light you bring with you. He’ll crave it.”
“When it comes to Kon you really do your best don’t you Luthor.” Dick said softly. “It’s kind of scary.”
“It’s only scary to those who never believed.” Luthor said softly. “All those who never had faith or changed their minds too soon. Those who never saw me for anything but my blood. They don’t matter but it is amusing to see how they look at me now. For Kon-El I would give up everything. He’s my light and my hope.”
And Dick could see that. Luthor was still strange, terrifying even but considering how gently he stroked his son’s hair as he slept. Dick could understand a little why Kon-El refused to leave him. Why the boy fought everyone that tried to pry him away from his father. It must be nice to be loved like that. To be accepted and welcomed like that. Well Dick’s feelings were a little different but he had to say he was a little envious of Kon-El. Luthor was no saint but for Kon-El he was truly doing his best.