lately i've been, i've been losing sleep

dreaming about the things that we could be

and baby i've been, i've been praying hard

said no more counting dollars

A scream of agony he screamed, as he awoke from his 'mare. Dick sat on his bed, panting, following his usual schedule of talking himself out of either crying, hyperventilating, or having a panic attack. Or all three.

He remembered when he was about 4, and he was going on a trapeze for the first time. He looked down and started hyperventilating. He couldn't stop his chest from heaving up and down, all the while not being able to breathe enough to have his chest go up and down. Everything was shifting in and out of focus, growing and shrinking, but the ground only seemed to get farther away.

"In and out Dick. In… and out… in… out… in… out… good job," rung his father's voice in his head.

"All you have to do is hang on tight," said another voice, a replica- a re-creation, a memory - of his mother's. "And if you fall, the net, Haly, Mami and Tati will be here to catch you and help you back up."

I nodded, and then breathed in. I did what I was told and I hung tight onto the trapeze- I remember my knuckles were white for a while afterwards -and my feet left the ledge. It came so naturally to me. I even somersaulted off of it. I looked down and everything was ok. Everything was great. My parents and the rest of the circus were smiling up at me, and I felt my cheeks go red.

It felt so amazing to do what my parents, my entire family wanted me to do. It's not like they even forced me to do it, I wanted- IwantedIwantedIwanted -to do it, and to continue doing it.

The only difference was, there was the safety of a net. It would be there to catch me if- no -when I fell. I always wanted to be able to go without the safety of a net. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that my parents were able to.

Until they weren't. For once, I wished my parents didn't have so much bravado, and just allowed one safety precaution, the one that could've, possibly, just maybe would've been able to save them. They didn't even had to have come out unscathed without injury.

Just alive.

He wiped a tear from his eye and left his bedroom. He hurried down the stairs, out and away from the dark, where things are people could hurt him.

Richard curled up in a large single-person chair in front of the fireplace. He looked up at his parents. At least, an illustration of them that Bruce hung up.*

He subconsciously sighed. Bruce was never home. Never an explanation either. Dick could only guess he was out on business trips, doing city people things. Doing rich people things. Doing non-guardian-like things.

Dick jumped when he heard a hiss coming from the grandfather clock. It never worked and was set to 10:47, but it would function just fine if it wasn't stuck. He curled himself into a ball as small as he could. only his pupil (and possibly some hair) peeked out behind the back of the chair.

The grandfather clock was fine. Better than fine. It was upgraded to disappear into the floor to reveal an.. Alfred?

Dick disappeared further into the chair as Alfred passed by him. Whew, he thought, as the butler ceased to notice the boy.

Dick wasn't sure what he did, and what he discovered, bt somehow he got into the clock and was shot down, or something, down a lit up tube into… somewhere.

It was dark, and a large cave. It couldn't have been a secret to Bruce, unless Alfred didn't tell Bruce about it, which wasn't likely. Alfred worked for Bruce… right?

His eyes wandered as did his body around the place. It was primarily black and a cast of icy pale blue, which was created by the lighting.


He felt a whisk of air pass him and he spun with it involuntarily. He wasn't alone.

Dick's walking picked up in pace and his eyes darted around the room- room? -faster as well. He noticed all the glass, the weights, the gadgets, the playing card with Joker, the batmobile, the compu-

The batmobile?


He felt a hand on his shoulder that pushed him to turn around.

Batman. It was Batman. He was standing in front of the freaking Batman.

Speechless for a few seconds, Dick finally sputtered out, "B-batman!" slightly in awe.

The dark figure removed the cowl and the squinty-whited-out eyes were replaced with familiar blue-green ones.


Soon, Dick was back in the same chair in the living room, and somehow out of that cave. Somehow alive after all of the shock he's been in for the past week or so.


"You're the Batman! The dark knight of Gotham! An-"


He shut up, realizing he was talking to the Batman.

"Yes, I am the Batman but you can't tell anyone. If anyone else were to know, there could be serious consequences. For you, for me. For Gotham."

Dick understood and nodded immediately. His expression then turned angry.

"Have you been going after Zucco?" His eyes narrowed. "Without me?"

Bruce sighed. How was he going to explain this? "I-yes."

Dick almost grunted. "He's for me."

"Master Bruce, if you would like to join me in the kitchen for a moment?"

Bruce nodded, and Dick said, "I'm counting to 90. A moment is 90 seconds."

"What is it, Alfred?"

"You really don't know, Sir?" Alfred asked, one eyebrow raised.

"Alfred, this is an important case. Zucco needs to be brought to justice. If Dick lets this vengeance get to him, he could turn into-"

"Forgive me for interrupting, Sir, but he's not you. And wouldn't it be-" Alfred paused. He refrained from using the word healthy; "good for the young Master to deal with Zucco."

Bruce's eyes narrowed intensely. "Zucco will be brought to justice, by me and me only. I don't know what Dick will do. I don't know what he can do." Bruce walked back to the living room, silently followed by the older man.

Dick's eyelids were getting heavy, but they opened attentively when he saw Bruce and Alfred. "So?"

"Dick. Zucco is not a problem that you need to deal with. He is a dangerous man-"

"You think I don't know that? I know first hand how dangerous he is. He's a murderer, and he deserves a taste of his own medicine."

Bruce was slightly taken aback by the aggression in his voice. Gosh, he saw so much of himself in this boy.

With much remorse- "Fine. If you wish to bring Zucco down, you may do it alongside me."

"You? Or the Batman?"

"Oh, obviously Bruce Wayne would fight a mob boss from a circus- of course the Batman," Bruce said with a slight smile. It was small and sad, but it was genuine.

Dick giggled. It rang like chorus bells around the manor. The first music heard in the place since 10:47 on a lonely night. Anyone who was paying attention could say that even Alfred's lips twitched.

"Thank you thank you thank you!" Dick said, embracing his surrogate father. He felt Bruce try to pull away, but in emotions and tactile motions, Dick was definitely stronger. He held on with all of his might and exhaled when he felt Bruce's fingers relax around his figure. He pulled away and gave him an ear-to-ear grin, which was returned with a satisfied smile.

"Not today. I have to figure out where he is and where he'll be." Bruce exhaled shakily, trying to keep a steady voice. He hated lying to children.

Dick nodded slightly disappointed, but he tried to hide it. "Okay. Goodnight Bruce."

"Goodnight Dick."

Dick went upstairs quickly and tucked himself back into his bed. No matter how tired he was, he didn't notice. Maybe it was excitement, or anxiety, or being afraid of going back to sleep for the nightmares waiting for him. He quietly further opened the windows that were providing him with cool air and wind and hopped onto the roof. He wind, the moon, the batmobile leaving the manor, the sta-

Darn Bruce. The batmobile.

Dick ran down the stairs and went into the clock again, not before grabbing something from his closet first. He tucked it under his arm as he grabbed the smallest of Batman's utility belts and strapped it around himself. He ripped a black fabric and tucked it under his other arm.

Dick then ran behind the changing screen and put on his 'R' tunic.

"Ok Dick, come on out now." The voice was feminine and cheery, yet slightly demanding.

"No. I look like a loser." I stood in the darkness of the curtain. I felt… safe there.

"Your mother put a lot of work into the new costumes," was cut off by, "Just let me see you Richard."

I slowly walked out from the dark, hearing the pitterpatter against the laminate flooring.

He slowly walked out from the dark, soundlessly on the hard concrete of the cave. He jumped one of Batman's bikes and raced after the jetspeed car.

He followed him all the way back to the circus tent… tied up. There's goes Batman being the most tactical and prepared. Roped surrounded both wrists, both ankles, and loosely around his neck.

But more importantly, there was Zucco.

And more importantly, holding throwing knives.

He was taunting the man clad in black. He was throwing them close to his figure.


A graze on the cheek, as Zucco finished his sick story with, "One day, I missed."

Dick hadn't really been paying attention, but he assumed Zucco was a knife thrower who one day, missed.

Dick then decided to spring into action, as did Batman as he finished cutting the ropes. Dick used Tony as a springboard, doing a back handspring off of him. The older man then used a bowling pin to hit his temple.

Batman's look of shock was then replaced with determination as he backed the criminal up a ladder, then following him. That doesn't mean the reason of the shock ever left his mind.

Dick also raced up the ladder adjacent to the other. Adjacent plus about 100 or so feet.

Batman didn't even realize he walked Zucco off the edge of the shelf when he did, realizing he would fall to his death: Dick's wish.

He very expectantly was waiting to hear and see Tony's bones crack, but instead he saw his ward carrying him with one hand, the other holding the trapeze.

Setting the unconscious Zucco on the ledge, he made the first eye contact with Bruce of the hour. "You lied."

Everything had moved quickly. Dick had to leave so the police didn't know he existed. The entire scene was moved outside. The wind was merely a breeze and police sirens echoed in the chilly night.

"I'm not talking to you," Dick said when he heard Batman rustling through the bushes to get to him.

"I don't deserve that privilege." He paused, choosing his words carefully. "You were useful tonight."

When that didn't seem to work, he went for a different approach. "I didn't want you to come because I thought you would do something rash. You said he deserved matter."

Dick's voice softened. "People don't always get what they deserve."

Wow. Bruce had not expected that. "I have a feeling, Richard, that Bruce Wayne may not always be there to raise you. How would you feel about having Batman as a… babysitter?"

"...Why would Batman babysit a rich playboy's ward?"

Ouch… kinda. "What if he didn't? What if he sitted Mary and John Grayson's son?"

"Would he be called Mary and John Grayson's son?" Dick asked curiously.

"Only if you want. If you want another name-"

"Please don't make me choose something like Batboy or Batman Jr." Dick already knew… he already knew Batman and himself had differences.

"Of course not. It's your decision."

They sat in silence- well, as silent as Gotham could be -for a few minutes.

I was groaning like a drama queen, over exaggerating he severity of the problem. "Is there a reason this costume has to be so colorful?"

Mom stepped forward and kneeled in front of me. "Because every time I see you up there Richard, you make me think of a little robin."

"You are our Robin," Dad continued.

Robin… Robin… Robin…




"Okay. Why?" Batman was actually curious.

"It's a family name."

When they arrived back at the manor, at 2 in the morning mind you, Dick didn't go back to bed. He got right back where he was before.

He sat on the roof for hours. It was Autumn so the nights were getting longer and the dark, cold night ensued into the early morning.

Somewhere during that time, neither boy aware, Bruce joined him.

"I know it's stupid, but I'm still a little mad at you." Dick hated being mad at people. It made him feel so petty.

"I know. I am the Batman. And being the Batman, I can tell when something is bothering you. Something else," he added, when Dick opened his mouth to say something. "What's wrong?"

Dick felt his lower lip tremble, so he pressed his lips together really hard.

"How much did it hurt, Bruce?"

"How much did what hurt?"

"Losing them."

They sat in an uncomfortable silence for what seemed like hours, but was about 6 seconds. Bruce almost acted on his impulses when he was about to blurt out "More than you could imagine." That would be a wrong move.

"I think you know. It's… the hardest thing in the world. Things'll never be the same, but they'll get better."

Dick sniffed as he slowly put his head on Bruce's shoulder.

"It feels like things will never be okay again. People keep saying that but it feels like it… just w-won't."

Bruce bit his lip. What. On. Earth. Was. He. Supposed. To. Do. He realized in that moment that Batman wasn't a hero, not compared to the good parents. "It may not feel like that now, but you will have made so many good memories to compensate for that bad one. No good memory will wash away the pain and hurt of that one, but they will give you something else to focus on. A distraction.

"If you want, we could make one of those memories now."

He could feel Dick shaking on him and when they made eye contact, he could see the tears in Dick's eyes.

"Sorry," Dick said, wiping a tear that spilled out of his eye.

"Why are you sorry?"

"I dunno… I guess you're the Batman, and I'm just w-weak."

He was quiet for a second, and just went Bruce was about to say something-

"I'm sorry that I'm alive. I should've gone with them. My parents. We sh-should all b-b-be together."

That broke the dam. Both of their's.

The slightly sound of wind carried Dick's sobs and the sound of Bruce's heart breaking with them.

"Don't be sorry. Never be sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I lied to you. I'm sorry I didn't trust you. I'm sorry I was never there for you. I'm sorry you felt like this."

Dick hiccuped, his puffy eyes looking up at the night sky. The moon was big and white, slightly waning. It was surrounded by the tiny white dots. The stars.

He whispered, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…"

He stopped at a cluster of stars. "There's four of them there."

"I see that," Bruce said. Crap, that did not come out the way he wanted it to.

"Do you think they would've liked each other? Our parents, I mean."

"If your parents are anything like you, I don't see how angone couldn't like them," Bruce said gently.

"Do you think that's them? That they're having a good time.. wherever you go after you… after you…"

"Maybe. Maybe that's them, and they're friends and they're having a good time with each other. Maybe they talk about how they want to… instead of just watching us grow up, but helping us grow up.

"Maybe that's their mark on this universe. Even though everyone may not know about it, the most important people do."

"Is this… Is this a good memory?"

"If you want it to be, Dick."

"Can I ask you something without you… getting offended?"

"Of course, I would never be offended." Probably. He hoped he wouldn't have to go back on that statement.

"How could I possibly be happy without… them here? How can I ever have a good memory again?"

Bruce inwardly sighed. He'd have to go to parenting classes from Alfred for this. "They're not gone. They're here. In your heart." He put a large hand on Dick's small chest. Hearing the young boy's heart beat was… invigorating, but not in the way fighting was. It wasn't adrenaline, it was… motivation. Another motivation to live, to help a boy grow up normally. Well okay, semi-normally. "They're never gone. And, hypothetically, if they were, wouldn't they want you to have a good time anyway?"

Dick smiled. "Then this'll be a good memory."

Bruce was lost in thought. This boy… is almost the complete opposite of him, no matter how much they were alike. Now that he had Richard… he doubted he could live without him.

"Bruce? Bruce, count stars with me."

And so they did.

we'll be, we'll be counting stars

taken from The Batman season 4 episode 1 i think (they took it off netflix so i don't know anymore)

a/n: so there was a pov change. not a pov, more of a person change. it changed from third to first to third, and i did that semi-intentionally. i kind of wanted it to be like you were entering his thoughts, and were a part of them. just in case anyone was wondering. also, this turned out a lot longer than i intended, but don't necessarily expect this from the rest of them.