The first time it happened, Dick Grayson was nine years old.
He had been adopted by Bruce Wayne five months ago after spending four months wrongly placed in a Juvenile Detention Center because of Gotham’s racist social workers and their prejudice against his gypsy blood. It took a week after leaving the center for little Dick Grayson to start speaking to Bruce. Since then, Bruce had discovered that he was a rather lively child, though he did need to be reminded every now and then that Bruce wasn’t going to send him back to the Center. the elder man thought that one day, Dick would be told about his nightly escapades, but hopefully that day would be far off.
However lively Dick may be at home, in public he never spoke a word. Which is why Bruce was so surprised the first time he did. Alfred was in England on vacation, and Bruce had work that he couldn’t avoid. It was the only reason the man had taken his new ward out into public at all. The errand they happened to be on involved going to the bank. When they were about to enter the bank, Dick suddenly stopped and pulled his sleeve. Concerned, Bruce paused and looked down at him.
“What’s wrong, Chum?”
“Don’t go in there. Please.”
Startled by the nine year old speaking in public and confused by what he said, Bruce opened his mouth to question him on why, when he was cut off by an explosion. The bank had been bombed. Had they been any closer to the explosion, they would have been at least injured, if not killed. Curious over his charge’s apparent knowledge of the disaster, Bruce questioned him later, only to get the vague answer of ‘I had a bad feeling’. Chalking it up to coincidence, bruce didn’t think of the incident for three years.
The second time it happened, Dick was twelve.
He was Robin at this point, and had been for about a year and a half. Batman had finally deemed him old enough to patrol part of the city on his own, but only the better part of it, and he was to call Batman immediately if he encountered an actual villain instead of small time hoods. Which is why, when Batman recieved a call from Robin, he was concerned for his wards well being.
“Bruce, go back to the car.”
“Go back to the car. Trust me, I've got a feeling B.”
And then he hung up. Which he was so going to pay for later. But the last time Dick had a ‘feeling’, he had saved them both.
So, while his ward was definitely getting lip for hanging up later, right now, Batman was going to the car.
Jason Peter Todd was Bruce Wayne's ward a month later.
The third time it happened, Dick was fourteen.
He and Jason had been at home. Alfred was in England, Selina was god knows where, Bruce was at a meeting he couldn't miss and knew better than to take his little troublemakers to if there was another option, and Dick was responsible enough to make sure he and Jason were fed and watered and the house didn't burn down for a few hours.
Long story short, they were home alone.
They were watching How I Met Your Mother when the doorbell rang. Jason sighed, and went up to get it, but Dick grabbed his sleeve and pulled him back down onto the couch.
“Don't. I got a bad feeling, Blue Jay.”
Jason, honestly thought his brother was being ridiculous, but nevertheless allowed him to drag him to the safe room and camp out there for a couple hours.
When Bruce came back from his meeting, he found a man passed out drunk with a gun on his doorstep.
Worried for his children, he called the commissioner immediately. It was later discovered that the man had been fired from Wayne Enterprises last month for incompetence. His wife had divorced him and took the Kids to Metropolis yesterday. The man planned for Bruce to know the pain of losing his kids. He knew they were alone, and planned to shoot whoever answered the door.
When Bruce asked why they were in the safe room (not that he wasn't grateful, but he was curious), Jason told him that Dick had had a ‘bad feeling’.
Bruce was not a stupid man. The first time could be chalked up to coincidence. The second time made him suspicious. But this was the third time that happened, and even though he couldn't find a metagene, he was starting to wonder if his eldest son had a superpower after all.
When Dick was sixteen, it happened again. He had started the Teen Titans about a year ago, and he and Batman hadn't really spoken since their fallout six months before that .So when Dick called him, frantic, at four a.m, Bruce felt a mixture of emotions. Relieved, because he knew his son was alive. Worried, because if he had swallowed his pride to make the call, something was seriously wrong. And just a little bit pissed that he had waited this long to pick up the damn phone.
“Look, I know you're mad at me, but this is really important. I got a bad feeling, B.”
“He should be asleep in his room.
“Can you check?”
Jason was not in his room. He wasn't even in Gotham.
He was in a warehouse with the Joker.
And Dick never forgave himself for being too late.
When Tim came along, Batman warned him about his older brother, and how his ‘feelings’ should never be ignored. Tim didn't exactly believe it until it saved his life.
He had never met the original Robin face to face. That, apparently, didn't stop the man from calling him.
“Hey, this is Tim right? The new Robin?”
Tim narrowed his eyes.
“Yep. Look, I know we've never met, but I need you to listen to me. Whatever you're doing, stop.”
“I'm sorry, what?”
“Whatever you're doing, stop. Stop and go back to the cave. Trust me. I gotta bad feeling, Timmy.”
Normally, Tim would scoff and ignore this person he's never even seen face to face. But Batman had told him to heed any warning the first Robin gave, especially if the reasoning was “I gotta bad feeling.” And Batman had yet to steer him wrong.
“Ok, I'll go back to the cave.”
When Batman arrived at the end of the night and asked Tim why he'd cut patrol short, Tim told him that the first Robin had called and told him to. Batman searched far and wide, but could not find a reason for the warning, and even began to doubt his theory.
Until he happened to be walking by the same area and set off a trap.
The bullet hit Batman in the chest, getting stuck in his Kevlar.
Had it been Tim, the bullet would have gone right between his eyes.
A year later, Dick called the manor out of the blue.
“Alfred, I need you to tell me something.”
“Are we absolutely certain that Jason's dead?”
“Alfred, please, just answer the question.”
“Of course, Master Richard.”
“100% certain, as sure as the sky is blue and the grass is green?”
“Okay… I must be going crazy. Sorry for bothering you, Alfred.”
“It's quite alright.”
“Could you not mention this to Bruce? I don't want him to worry more than he already does.”
“If you wish.”
“Thank you, Alfred.”
“You're welcome, young sir. Do call more often, will you?”
“Of course. Goodbye, Alfred.”
“Goodbye, Master Richard.”
By that weekend, a new crime boss had arisen in Gotham, taking the drug trade by storm.
The stories were absurd, and differed greatly from witness to witness, but they could all agree on one thing.
The new boss had a red helmet, and a certain hatred for the bat.
It wasn't too long after that he called Barbra in a panic.
“Babs, are you there?!”
“Dick, you're breaking up.”
“I can't understand a word you're saying.”
“As much as I'd love to talk to you, someone's at the door. Call me back when you get better service, okay?”
That night, batgirl was killed forever, and the Oracle was born.
About a week after that Selina Kyle got a voicemail from her honorary son only containing two words:
She had heard the stories. She hid everything incriminating and couldn't sleep that night.
It was the only reason she was awake at 5 am when the police threatened to break down her door.
Stephanie Brown would have died had Batman not received a call from his eldest warning him about the little girl in Cluemasters layer.
Cassandra Cain would have never been found and given a chance without a well timed phone call to a certain redhead in a wheelchair.
Alfred would have died in a plane crash in the middle of the Atlantic, the wreckage gone to the waves had his grandson not called and told him to book another flight to England.
By the time Damian came around, the ‘feeling’ had been coined The Grayson Intuition, and everyone in the family knew that if Dick said he had a feeling something was gonna happen, then it was as good as done.
Damian didn't believe it until Grayson called Batman in the middle of patrol.
“Take the fear toxin vaccine right now. I got a bad feeling.”
Damian scoffed internally and expected Grayson to be told off for interrupting patrol, only to be surprised when Batman thanked Nightwing for the tip and injected himself with the vaccine immediately before telling Damian to do the same.
They would have been poisoned the second they walked through the door if they hadn't.
So when, one year later, when his father was dead and Grayson was Batman, he was told to get out of the building and return to the cave immediately because Batman had a feeling, he didn't hesitate. He didn't argue, he didn't grumble, he didn't promise revenge at a later date. He knew that this was an order he should take seriously.
So he went back to the cave and sat at that computer, listening to the com and waiting.
He heard a scuffle, the mad cackle of the Joker, then nothing.
So he turned toward the door and waited to hear the car.
He barely noticed when Alfred brought him breakfast, or lunch, or dinner. He didn't move when Barbara rolled her chair up next to him and put a hand on his shoulder.
He simply stared, and waited, and stared some more.
At least, until Superman flew into the cave carrying a limp body in a cowl, and quietly pronounced the Joker and Batman dead.
Then, and only then, did Damian scream. He charged the man of steel, punching his chest and screaming liar, liar, fucking liar, he can't be dead he can't be dead he wouldn't leave me he can't be dead.
And when Damian's knees gave out in his grief and he expected to hit the floor, he was caught, and only then did he feel the teardrops hitting his hair.
That was the day that the Heir to the Demon learned that even gods had to cry.
Bruce Wayne rose from the dead a week later, and came home to his youngest, who he had never known to show his emotions, sobbing uncontrollably over a fresh grave behind the manor in the rain. He stood there behind his son, wondering whose grave it was and having flashbacks to a lifetime ago when he would stand behind his first doing the same thing over his parents.
And when Damian had no more tears left to give to the dead, he stood, whirled around and punched his father in the stomach.
“It should have been you.”
It was only when Damian walked back towards the manor that Bruce was able to see the name on the tombstone.
Richard John Grayson-Wayne
Beloved brother, lover, father, and son
May he Rest In Peace
Below the words was an etching of a robin.
Damian wasn't the only Wayne sobbing uncontrollably in the rain over that grave that day.
Six months later, Damian still couldn't sleep. When he slept, he'd see him. The closest thing Damian had ever had to a dad. And when he woke, he'd remember he was dead.
Tonight, Alfred had drugged him and removed the choice entirely.
So here he was.
On the couch.
Watching Disney movies with a dead man because every kid needs Disney, Dami, born assassin or not.
He had scowled and spent the whole day cursing Grayson in his mind, swearing to himself to never admit out loud that he enjoyed them, as a matter of pride.
Now he would scream it from the top of the Wayne Clocktower, give up every ounce of pride he'd ever had to sit on this couch next to this man and watch just one more movie with him.
It was this thought that made him realize how strange it was that he knew he was in a dream. He never knew until he woke up, and he had never before had a lucid dream. So why now?
His voice sounded far away. When Damian turned to look at him, he wasn't looking at the tv and he wasn't smiling like he had been that day. He was serious, looking at his pseudo son with a sense of urgency.
“Damian, you have to wake up.”
Please don't say it please don't say it please don't-
“I've got a bad feeling, Little D.”
Damn those words damn them to hell damn that god forsaken intuition that couldn't even warn its owner-
“Breathe, kiddo. I know you want to stay. I know you want to see me again. And you will, one day, I promise you that. But you're not safe at the moment, Dami, you need to wake up. I don't wanna see you again any time soon, okay? If I do, I will kick your ass.”
Damian stared at him. He didn't want to wake up. He didn't want to leave. The man across from him smiled sadly, before leaning forward and pressing a kiss to his forehead, and whispering wake up, Damian in his ear.
Damian Wayne awoke to an assassin that looked suspiciously like him in his bedroom.
Bruce Wayne lost his second son that year.
Alfred never forgave himself for drugging the child.
And Dick Grayson kicked Damian Wayne's ass.