Summary: Dick awakes afters a nightmare. Luckily his mentor and lover is there to comfort him.

Disclaimer: don't own

The clown laughed as he fired his gun and he felt a sudden pain in his chest, the bullet had missed his heart by a hair's breath.
Dick awoke with a gasp and his right hand grasped his covered chest in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
He didn't notice as the larger body under him stirred.

Why wasn't there any blood?
Confused the young man looked at his clean hand, unconsciously he undid the buttons on his shirt.
He threw the garment carelessly on the floor and in a matter of seconds his hands were back on his chest.
There was still no blood and a part of him relaxed, yet another part in him screamed that there was still something incredibly wrong.
His finger tips traced along the sensitive skin, there should be a scar...

Suddenly his world shifted as the body under under him moved and Dick was pressed against the mattress.
Muscular arms and legs pinned his own limbs down.
"Nightmare?", asked a low voice above him.
A blush coloured Dick's cheeks red, he had just roused his Master.
He forced himself not to tense in the older man's vice-like grip.
Danger, screamed the same the voice that still insisted that he should have felt a scar.

"That psychopathic clown from Gotham had shot me and it had felt so real for moment", he explained softly.
It was strange how well he could remember the city, he couldn't have spent more than a day there.

"The news report was rather graphic", mused Slade out loud. "It it upsets you so much, then you won't watch the news again until I know that you can handle them."

But teaching me how to kill is perfectly fine isn't it?, spat the voice with disgust.

"But I know that you kill and you are teaching me the craft", pointed the younger man out.
Lord his head hurt.

A chuckle answered him, which did nothing to appease the angry voice in head.

"Knowing the theory and acquiring the muscle memory to use weapons isn't the same as being out there", was added in a didactic manner.

Another lecture, you really love the sound of your own voice don't you?, sneered a part of him.

"I try to be emotionally detached while I kill. There is always pleasure in a job well done, but I don't enjoy hurting others. It's a professionalism which someone like the Joker lacks, interacting with such people is a different challenge in itself", continued Slade in a more gentle tone.

Nobody cares if the killer feels good or is 'emotionally detached', hissed the voice.

"If I don't watch the news, I will never learn how to handle it", nearly begged Dick instead of listening to the voice.

His parents had been killed before his eyes when he had been eight years old.
The police had taken him away from the circus to question him and they wanted to make sure that Zucco didn't kill him, too.
Yet those strangers had decided that the circus hadn't been a good environment for traumatized child.
The other performers might have liked him, but without his parents he wouldn't have been able to work as an acrobat and would only have been another mouth to feed.
So they hadn't fought for him and instead aloud the police to keep him. Angry and confused he had ran away and been found by Slade.

The man had offered him a home in exchange for his loyalty.
Slowly he had started to understand that he wanted an heir and saw a potential student in the trained acrobat.
Due the nature of their work Dick hadn't been allowed to leave their hideout without supervision, something which hadn't happened very often.
Truthfully he could hardly remember anything outside their hideout.

He understood why, yet sometimes it bothered him how much time he spent inside.
Years of training seemed all to blur into one long day.
The only distinct cuts had been in his relationship with his Master.
During his first night here Slade had allowed him to sleep with him in his bed, afterwards he had bought a separate bed for him so they still slept in the same room, but not in the same bed.
The first night he hadn't been able to sleep so he had sneaked into the kitchen were someone had given him a cup of hot cocoa. Slouched in the chair he had fallen asleep and later had been carried back towards his bedroom by someone. A few days later he had skipped the cocoa and went directly to the other. He had looked at the older man who had at first resisted, something about a man and a child shouldn't sleep together, yet he had caved under Dick's gaze. It hadn't worked every time, but the child had been determined.

A few years later he had his first wet dream. Terrible embarrassed he had expected that his Master had wanted for him to get his own bedroom. Instead he had ignored it and Dick hadn't known how to talk about it.
After his first wet dream he hadn't been allowed to sleep with him any more. No matter how much he had tried with either crocodile tears or even real ones. If he had a nightmare, he could go and drink something in the kitchen and would wake up with an aching back. Kitchen chairs weren't comfortable to sleep in.

Time had passed again until his hormones had overridden any common sense and he had waited in his Master's bed for him to return.
The man hadn't reacted and instead simply undressed, something Dick had watched far to many times for all the wrong reasons.
He had gathered all of courage and given the man his own first kiss. Tenderly it had been reciprocated, followed by soft touches but nothing more.There had been different people, younger and older than him. One hadn't pushed him away, but encouraged him to talk about his feelings. Her red hair had been like the warming fire of the sun during his time of need.

He had shared a bed with Slade since then and three weeks ago he had been allowed to watch the news.
Previously all he had were the books and his Master to learn from.
Weekdays had become a part of his life again and he couldn't loose it.
The timelessness in the hideout wasn't something he could return to.
Four weeks ago he had been outside, until he had seen someone he hadn't been able to recognize.
The stranger had seen him and tried to escape.
He had ran after him, the chase had lead him through the city until his vision had suddenly faded.

"The nightmare must have been something", interrupted his Master.
Something dangerous was in his tone Dick couldn't understand.
He is afraid you remember, howled the voice.

However he ignored it, that he had been so lost in confusing thoughts must have given Slade the wrong impression.
He could handle the news, he needed the voices from others, the reminder that there was a world out there.

"You really enjoy having me in this position don't you?", he teased instead.
Strange, hadn't the strong grip not just been the subconscious reaction to a threat, why did his Master still act as if he could be one?
You are, you should be, the voice was weak from despair.

"I really should chain you down, each limb connected to another bedpost, so you would be helpless to do as I please", the words spoken in a sensual purr, but strangely also with an underlying threat.

No voice commented this time and Dick fully relaxed in Slade's grip.

"So you can use me?", half asked, half requested the acrobat.
Maybe the whole tender touches thing just didn't arouse Slade and he had only done so to please his younger partner.
It would explain the grip and the mood, wouldn't it?

"Only with your permission", answered the older man which confirmed his own suspicion.
Something had eased in his tone, too.

"I trust you, Master", Dick agreed, the thought about finally having sex didn't allow for much else in his head.
The single eye looked into his own ones as he was searching for something.
He returned the gaze fully, the acrobat wasn't scared what of what his more experienced partner might have planned.
An entertained smile played on Slade's lips as he leaned down to kiss him.