Author's Note: This bunny has been chewing on me ever since I bought the Steeleye Span "Wintersmith" album and listened to the song "The Making of a Man". I have given the song my own interpretation. You can hear it at /#!pl=5d8593d83b773bf5edf9ec9ad3aabc20e0669e1b

I had asked for stories about why we first fell for Dick Grayson. I've always loved Dick for the incredibly close relationship he and Bruce have. They are father and son and the best of friends, no other duo in the comics can match them. This story will have 3 chapters.


"The Making of a Man"

You have:

Gold enough to buy a bean

Silver enough to coat a pin

Lead enough to ballast a bird

But that just isn't enough to make you a man.

A man has strength enough to build a home

And time enough to hold a child...

And love enough to break a heart.

(The Making of a Man, by Steeleye Span)

1. Build a Home

"Is he asleep?" Bruce Wayne asked, yawning. He'd been out late tonight, trying to hunt down Zucco. He'd cleared his calendar and was spending both his daylight and nighttime hours hunting that murderer. Consequently, he'd missed most of Dick's sleeping woes.

Alfred lifted a finger to his lips and gestured for his master to follow him down the stairs. Once in the study, the butler closed the door gently and turned to the man he'd raised, frowning. "If you were home, Master Dick wouldn't have these nightmares. He needs you, sir."

A familiar feeling of guilt rose in Bruce's chest. He pushed it down with more than his usual ferocity. He was looking after Dick, or his interests, anyway. Batman was closing in on the man who had killed the boy's parents and Bruce Wayne himself was providing the friendless child with a home, new clothing, care, in the form of Alfred. "I'm doing all this for him, Alfred. He deserves justice, and he'll have it!" Bruce was conscious that his lower lip was protruding, as it often had during childhood disagreements with Alfred.

Alfred merely pursed his lips and folded his arms. "He is not my son, sir. You have filed the adoption papers and you are currently legal guardian. A gentleman always takes his responsibilities seriously and fulfills them to the best of his ability."

"Are you saying that I'm neglecting Dick?" Bruce demanded.

"He has not demanded justice of you, nor has he asked about Zucco since we took him in. He has, however, asked me many times when you are coming home and whether you like him at all. And today," Alfred's lips pursed even more tightly. "Today, sir, he asked to go home."

"Home? This is his home,"Bruce said.

"Home. As in, the circus. He told me that since you didn't seem to have any time for him, he felt that he should relieve you of the burden of his care. He felt that he could earn his way, as he always has, by performing at the circus. He didn't believe that you would mind. I was able to persuade him to refrain from packing his bag until tomorrow and you had a chance to discuss the matter with him. He does not see Wayne Manor as his home, sir. Nor has it been much of a home since your parents' death," Alfred said, gesturing around with an arm. "The furniture is old and dated, as is the carpeting. You have ignored my many requests to update the kitchen and bathrooms, saying that it didn't bother you and therefore it didn't matter. You put more time into the gadgets for your cave than you do into the house you occupy. And occupy is all you do, sir!" Alfred stormed to the study door and opened it. "When you decide that you want to actually live here, sir, do inform me! And tell me whether young master Dick is intended to be some kind of exotic pet or your son. At least in the circus, he was loved and not ignored." Without another word, Alfred stormed through the door, shutting it behind him.

Bruce was left speechless. He hadn't bothered with the house much, beyond making sure that the roof was weather-tight. And now, he had a child to care for. He sat down in his armchair, thinking hard.

He'd been so focused on Batman, training for the job, working at establishing himself, patrolling his city, that he'd forgotten the rest of his life. Did he regret taking in the boy? No. He'd felt a connection to Dick Grayson from the moment he'd seen the boy crying in the center ring. He knew that he could give Dick the kind of life he'd never had. He still intended to. But just what did that mean?

He could send Dick to boarding school, give him an excellent education. Of course, that was what his uncle had done with him and how had that turned out? Bruce's long, lonely boyhood ran through his memory. He hadn't had a home, either. Just a room at school that he had to leave for holidays at his uncle's sterile estate. Dick deserved more. He deserved a real home with a real family.

Was he up to it? Could The last people Bruce had known that he loved were his parents and Alfred, of course. What makes a good home for a child?

He stood. The most important thing for a child was having a parent who loved and cared for him. Everything else was secondary. He glanced around the room, eyed the threadbare upholstery on the couch. He could upgrade a little more, too. He strode across the room, out the door, and tiptoed up the stairs.

He heard Dick crying through the closed door. By the dim nightlight, he saw a small lump under the covers, shaking a little with sobs. Abruptly, he remembered the nights after his parents died and how very alone he had felt and his heart melted.

"Hey, now," he said softly and sat on the bed. He laid a hand on the lump, rubbing Dick's back. "It's okay, Dick. You want to talk about it?"

The lump, still covered, shook its head, but the sobbing diminished to a gulping sound.

"Well, I'll talk then," Bruce said. "I've got the day off tomorrow. I thought we could spend the time together. Alfred says we need some new furniture and we'll start with your room. D'you want to help me pick it out?"

The covers slid down, revealing a small boy with bright blue eyes. "You mean, I c'n have a bed that isn't the size of a VW?"

"It is a very big bed for a small boy," Bruce agreed. "We can get something smaller and friendlier, I think."

"With a Superman logo, ya think?" Dick asked eagerly while Bruce quietly winced.

"If that's what you want," Bruce said. "But we'll see what 's out there, huh?" He gathered up the boy and held him close. After an astonished moment, Dick cuddled into him with such enthusiasm that it was clear he'd been longing for a snuggle for some time. Head on Dick's chin, Bruce felt all the stress of the day fall away. Building a home for this boy? He could do that.