Length of fragment: 1700 words
Fandom: Pre-Crisis DCU (Batfamily & Teen Titans)
Main characters and/or pairing(s): Dick Grayson, Dick/Bruce Wayne
Rating: PG-13(?) for boyslash kissing
May changes be made to what you've already written? I'd prefer not, but slight tidying-up is both okay and understandable.
Other notes: I'd intended to play with identity porn here, such that Bruce is untouchable - he can approach Dick, and attempt to reciprocate, only as the Bat. I also wanted to do a lot more with the Roosevelt Island tram. *g* Oh, and these scans might help you envision both Bruce and Dick's interaction at this point in canon and Dick's sex-ay Robincycle.
Make the Morning Last
Dick is late. Although that's a pretty familiar feeling these days, as he runs between Gotham and Manhattan, the Titans and Bruce's penthouse, Robin and...whoever he is when he is at home, he's never going to *enjoy* this.
He just doesn't see any other way. He owes the new Titans team so much, and he owes Bruce - far more than he can say.
Tonight, the highway south from Manhattan is slick with fast-falling flurries, nearly glowing black, then hot bronze, under his bike's headlamp. He hunches closer over the handlebars and blinks against the shearing cold wind.
He's late. Urging the bike aloud isn't going to make it go any faster, but he does it anyway.
Dawn's coming up to his left, streamers of lavender and bruise-pink against the dusky clouds and whirling flurries.
Christmas morning, and he hasn't even had a chance to get Bruce a present.
"I do wish you'd consider taking the train, sir," Alfred says when Dick stumbles off the elevator. He helps Dick shed his coat, hands him a toddy and a towel, and smiles fondly. "Such weather can be very dangerous."
"Can you really see me with all the commuters in their gray flannel suits?" Dick drains the toddy and wipes his face. His balance wavers, rocking him back onto his heels, but Alfred's there -- rescuing the mug, lifting the towel away, steadying Dick's elbow.
He's been pretty unsteady lately. Must be tiredness.
"Hm," Alfred says and steers Dick down the hall. "Rather not, I'm afraid."
Dick stumbles past the public rooms of the penthouse, decorated with twinkling lights and braided pine boughs, and remembers too late that there was a party. Last night, which he missed, thanks to --.
"Big meanie with an evil golem Santa," Dick mumbles as he falls face-down onto his bed. He is dimly aware of Alfred moving about the room, lowering the curtains and tugging free the bedclothes. "Merrychristmasalfred..."
"And to you, Master Richard."
Dick wakes in the early afternoon, jolting upright and smacking his forehead. The bruises inflicted by last night's anti-Santa golem throb as he swings out of bed and into the shower.
He's almost human when he enters the breakfast nook. Alfred hands him juice and a plate of eggs, but Dick looks around, feeling slightly lost.
He never beats Bruce out of bed. That's just impossible. Nor is it entirely conceivable that Bruce, of all people, would go into work on Christmas Day.
Then again, their habits have been in a heck of a lot of flux lately. Ever since Dick dropped out of Hudson and Bruce moved into the city, things have been even more up in the air than usual.
In reply to Dick's unfinished question, Alfred glances pointedly at the west wall. Dick scrubs his eye and starts to ask what he's trying to say.
A crash, clattering crystal and shouts of laughter, leave him silent.
"We appear to be entertaining," Alfred says and turns back to the stove. "More juice, sir?"
Dick's hands flex against the edge of the table, seeking balance.
Feminine laughter, high and pealing like something out of *Poe* (and he hasn't thought about poetry since Hudson, why should he be thinking of it now?), echoes down the long hall, joined by Bruce's rumbling chuckle. The one he uses in public, the one that Dick has never heard here. At home.
The manor is home; the *manor* is where they should be for Christmas. They'd never made a big deal out of the day, other than taking the night off from patrol and eating Alfred's goose and pudding, but as Dick twists out of the kitchen, hoping to dodge any encounter in the hallway, he misses the manor. He's slightly mad that they aren't there.
Maybe not mad, actually.
More like - disappointed. After all, he's not a kid any more, and Bruce never was - wanted to be - his dad, so he has no reason, no right, being mad. Even vaguely irritated.
So he shakes off the mood as best he can.
"And this must be the young ward?" Her voice is light and rich, and strangely familiar.
Halfway down the hall, Dick freezes, then turns slowly. When he's done, he's smiling, polite, on his best behavior. "Hi. Merry Christmas, Miss -"
"Olivia," she says, holding out her hand. She's wearing a man's - Bruce's - tuxedo shirt and nothing else, the tails skirting her full thighs. Bruce has his arm around her, his favorite purple robe loose around his waist.
"Olivia Ortega, Channel Four Spotlight News, of course." Dick smiles more widely and squeezes her hand. "Nice to meet you."
Both as Batman and himself, Bruce is working several angles on the Tentaglio family case. Dick, and Robin, missed the first phase of the investigation. Clearly, this assignation is another, later, phase.
"Well." Dick turns back toward his room, tripping slightly over the threshold. "I'll leave you two alone."
Bruce has, in the past several months, voiced a few doubts about Dick's moodiness, his lack of direction, his absence of ambition. Each time, Dick has spluttered, grown angrier, then, eventually, found himself promising to try harder.
He promises himself, he promises Bruce, he'd promise *Superman* if he thought that would help.
"Growing pains," Alfred has murmured, "nothing more."
Dick wishes he could believe that. If things were so easy as those crippling aches he used to get in his shins, then he'd be all right.
Olivia departs in the late afternoon, and Dick emerges from his room to join Bruce and Alfred for Christmas dinner. There's goose, and plum pudding, all the usual trimmings. He has the annual argument with Alfred about sitting down to eat with them, Bruce carves as expertly as a samurai, yet everything still feels off.
Maybe he's just been moping in his room too long.
That's probably it.
After Dick has succeeded in keeping Alfred in his seat and clearing the table himself, the dinner is, abruptly, over. Bruce retreats to the small library off the large main room and Alfred retires to his quarters.
Dick races himself down the hallway on his hands, then travels back via handspring.
He's nauseated, a little woozy, when he comes upon Bruce in the doorway to the library.
"Having fun?" Bruce has a book in his hands, another under his arm.
Dick can't tell if that's a regular question or a criticism. "Sorta?"
Bruce tilts his head slightly. "That's good."
Dick's hands feel loose, aimless, at his sides. "I - I haven't had a chance to get you your present. I *was* going to go to the Argosy bookstore, but then -" There was a golem, and Wally was mooning over Raven, and Dick got distracted. He sighs. "Merry Christmas."
"Dick -" The light from the room behind Bruce makes his hair look even darker than normal. It shadows his eyes, sharpens his chin.
Dick shifts his weight and looks away. Anywhere, upward, and that's when he knows what he needs to do. He doesn't need to be in the manor, he doesn't need to re-enroll at college, he doesn't even need to stop arguing with the world.
"Look!" He points upward, grinning. A warm certainty settles, sifting slowly, in his chest. When Bruce glances up, his lips part slightly and Dick presses forward.
"Mistletoe," he whispers against Bruce's chin, then his mouth. He presses his palm on Bruce's chest, sweeps across the fine cotton of Bruce's shirt, holds on as he forgets how to breathe.
Cologne, brandy burned off the pudding, *Bruce*: Dick hangs there, in place, at the apex of a leap, balanced and endless.
Then he gasps. When Bruce touches his cheek, strokes a fingertip along his eyebrow. He's lost even the memory of being touched, and this is electric, jolting, far more than a shock.
And then, of course, he shouldn't have expected any less, Bruce pushes him firmly away.
"Di-*Richard*," Bruce says, voice hoarse.
"Sorry," Dick stammers, and repeats, and turns, and goes.
He isn't late any more. Nothing's open, not on Christmas day, not in Gotham or Manhattan. There's nothing to be late *for*.
He stops in at Donna's apartment on the Upper East Side, has some eggnog with her and Koriand'r, tries to explain eggnog and presents to Kory, then goes when they remind him they have a double-date to dress for.
He has scallion pancakes at a Chinese diner in the meatpacking district, stops a mugging on Houston Street, retrieves a lost engagement ring that fell down a sewer grate, watches a 1940s noir movie he can't follow in the Village, and keeps on moving.
He calls Roy from the pay phone on the corner, but Roy won't let him come up.
"Got me my own little Santa Baby, if you know what I mean." That wet smacking sound is, Dick suspects, Roy leering aloud. Or trying to. Dick shakes his head. Is *everyone* in his life dating except for him?
It's late, and the snow's falling again, and the city is terribly, eerily *quiet*.
He left Gotham wearing only a corduroy Levi's jacket over his red Christmas sweater and dungarees that spill over his canvas sneakers. Dick realizes, knocking his forehead against the phone, that he is, in fact, quite cold.
"Catch you on New Year's?" Roy adds.
Dick promises to try to make it.
The new year will be better. It has to be.
Babs will be back from Bermuda then, and he can look into taking a couple classes at Gotham U. He can make it through the next week or so.
He can't go back to the penthouse, of course, *ever*, let alone the manor.
Luckily there are plenty of free beds at the Tower.
He's standing outside the entrance to the Roosevelt Island tram, kicking his feet to shake off the slush and rubbing his hands together, working back in the sensation before he can sort out his change for the fare.
Before him, the tramway rises thin and dark against the lights of the 59th Street Bridge. In the dark, in the snow, the bridge looks like something natural, a buttress of rock approaching the city mutely, inexorably.
Despite himself, Dick shivers at the rasp of the Batman's streetvoice.
And again when Batman repeats himself.
"I'm okay," Dick says and - can't turn around.