When Dick awoke, he found himself, alive and in the Batcave's medical bay. He took a quick look around to find his newly abusive father was nowhere to be seen and let out the breath he didn't know he was holding. On a second glance he noticed Alfred sitting in a chair. He opened his mouth to ask what happened to Bruce, but found he couldn't talk.
'Great' Dick mentally sighed as he made a grunting noise.
"Oh, Master Dick, it is a pleasure to see you awake. I must say it was quite nerve racking, the way Master Bruce was acting" He said in his trademark British accent.
Dick nodded in understanding.
"He is currently occupying one of the jail cells above. Do you wish to, see him?"
Dick wasn't sure. Did he really want to see him? After all, the man had just tried to kill him. He looked up at Alfred with uncertainty.
"No then. That's perfectly understandable. I'll be back to check on you, soon"
Dick bit his lower lip, pondering the strange actions of Bruce. He couldn't understand. Bruce would never hurt him. So what had happened to him?
Alfred walked back in "Master Dick?" He spoke gently.
"Yeah?" Dick was surprised to find his voice had returned.
"You can't stay down here all night"
Dick turned his head in curiosity.
"You've been in there for almost three hours now"
Alfred's eyesight fixated to the bruise on Dick's neck as he remembered prying Bruce's hand from the innocent child and having to inject a knockout liquid into him. He sighed at the newest memory as he went off to fetch Dick a glass of water until he was startled by a voice.
"Hey Alf, what do you think is wrong with him?" Dick leaned against the bench.
"I don't know, but I suspect it may be the doing of Mad Hatter"
"Mind control, makes sense. But why would Hatter make him attack me?"
"I haven't a clue, Master Dick"
"I-I want to go see him"
Alfred took a moment before he nodded and took Dick back down to the holding cells. Dick saw Bruce immediately, but Bruce didn't see him, he was staring at the floor as if it would burst open and swallow him whole. At the sight, Dick's brain started replaying everything that had happened.
"Um, Bruce? Dad?" Dick asked skeptically.
Bruce immediately looked up from the floor and narrowed his eyes at the sound of his voice. He stood up and started making his way over to his 'son'.
"I bet you can't wait to see your parents, you'll be joining them soon enough" Bruce frowned, thoughtfully "But I bet they wouldn't want you either, who would?"
Dick wanted to say 'You' but he couldn't find the strength.
Alfred placed his hand on the sad and horrified child's shoulder "Perhaps we should leave"
Dick stared, terrifed of the cruel smile plastered on Bruce's usually blank face before slowly nodding and letting Alfred guide him away.
"This cage won't hold me!" Bruce shouted at the retreating boy "And when I get out, I'll make sure you don't evade your fate again" He added, sending a shiver through Dick.
He could feel tears welling up in his vibrant blue eyes, but didn't want to let them fall, not after what Bruce said earlier.
"He doesn't mean it, young sir" Alfred tried to provide some closure for his charge.
"But what if he does? He's just never brought any of it up in hopes I would figure it out myself"
"That is not true! Master Bruce has never had any problems with your actions"
"He got pretty mad after the whole Two-Face thing"
"Only because you were hurt. He cares too much for you, that is why he didn't want you to continue your chosen career"
Dick sighed quietly "I know, but it's kinda hard to believe that after he nearly choked the life from me and what he's saying"
Alfred sighed at his young charge "There is something wrong with him, Dick, try not to ponder on it for too long"
"Well then, how are we supposed to fix him?"
"That, I am not sure of"
Dick leaned back againt the orange-brown leather lounge and let out a long sigh "Well, this is great"
Alfred shook his head and Dick watched him walk out through the black of the TV screen. With no one paying any attention to him anymore, Dick lost the control he had over his tears and they streamed down his face.
"He does care, he wouldn't have taken me in if he didn't. He's just under some form of mind control or something" He tried to convince himself, but it wasn't working "He wouldn't hurt me, even if the fate of the world depended on it" Dick spoke through the tears and sobs escaping him.
Alfred stood against the wall, listening to the boy he considered his grandson cry. He went back into the cave and approached Bruce's cell.
"I'm not interested in you, old man"
"I raised you to have better manners than that"
"I'm not the boy you raised" Bruce looked up, with stony eyes "Not anymore" A slow smile crept acrosse his face.
"I don't know how you got yourself into this mess, but I intend to get you out of it"
"I wouldn't bother if I were you. It's irreversible"
Alfred shot a quick glare at his surrogate son and left him alone. 'Bruce' chuckled darkly, thinking of the best time to strike.