Today was one of those ideal spring days with strong sunshine, few clouds, and a slight breeze. Damian even observed birds flitting about the perfectly manicured lawn of Wayne Manor from where he sat in the window seat of his bedroom. The perfection of the day only darkened Damian's mood further. He'd arrived last night and spent most of the night sharing a vigil with Barbara over his brother's bed. Damian rubbed his eye quickly, telling himself it was lingering sleep rather than a sudden tear. When Alfred had called to tell Damian about the attempted assassination of Dick, he had left the Teen Titans as quickly as he could. He'd arrived while the surgery was being finished then spent the evening at his bedside. He stood and stretched now. The tea that Alfred had brought sat mostly untouched and now cold. To appease any worries of the butler, Damian dumped the tea in the sink of the attached bathroom then headed downstairs. Alfred was in the kitchen and staring blankly at some freshly rinsed carrots. Damian set his cup and saucer on the counter loud enough to make Alfred look up.
"Forgive me, Master Damian. Is there something you needed?"
Damian shook his head, "Is Barbara still with him?"
"Yes. She was a few minutes ago."
"Still abed. Though I suspect he will be up soon. I'm amazed he's managed to sleep two hours as it is."
"I'm amazed he managed to go into Gotham at all last night." Damian said. Alfred frowned at the bitterness of Damian's tone.
"Your father is not good at sitting still and worrying. He does best expending his nervous energy."
Damian scoffed, "I thought it would be different for his son."
Alfred sighed and Damian regretted taking his grumpiness and anger at his father out on Alfred, but it was not in his nature to apologize even when he wished he could.
"I suppose father's here at least. Grayson's other supposed brothers are nowhere to be seen."
"Master Damian, the family does not need division during this time. Your anger serves no purpose."
"Dick would be here if they were hurt. If it were Drake or Todd."
"I'm sure both will be here as soon as they are able."
Damian scoffed again.
"Would you take this tea up to Miss Gordon?"
"Sure." Damian picked up the tea cup (a silver rimmed antique with grey roses on the side) and saucer then headed to the downstairs bedroom. This had been more convenient than relocating Grayson to his bedroom upstairs. Barbara was looking at her tablet and was evidently exhausted.
"Hey, Damian. Couldn't sleep?"
Damian shook his head. He had left long enough to shower and spend a few minutes trying to rest. He'd caught a little sleep throughout the night.
"Pennyworth sent this for you." Damian said, offering the cup.
"Thanks. I need a boost."
"He should wake up soon."
"Yeah. He should." Barbara agreed. She set aside her tablet and sighed, "This never gets easier. I know we have risks with the job, but it doesn't make it easier to watch people you love get hurt."
Barbara took a deep breath. Damian had never been close with Barbara despite her closeness with Dick, but he granted her capabilities respect and her loyalty had meant something.
"We'll have our work cut out for us tracking this guy down." Barbara said, "Bruce probably will leave to chase him soon. Next few days."
Damian was torn over this. He wanted to stay with Dick as after a head injury like this, he would need help, but he wanted to punish the party responsible.
"It's best he pursues quickly."
"Yeah. While the trail is fresh. We'll need some people on hand in Gotham while he's gone."
Damian did not snap at this placation even though it felt like he was being treated like a child. And while he was disciplined and dedicated, he could recognize his bad temper and knew his self-control may slip in this situation. Damian sighed.
"Has he woken up yet?" Father asked this as he came in the room. He looked haggard, but they all did.
"Not yet." Barbara said. Bruce sat on the other side if the bed. There were four chairs around the bed as their attempt to hold vigil in shifts had not worked. No one except Alfred (who always took care of the family) had left his bedside for more than a halfhour at a time. Until late last night when Father had gone into the city.
"Leslie is coming by this morning." Father said. Barbara nodded. They settled into silence and Damian watched Grayson breathe. His mind was wandering through all the things he needed to do then drifting further back to his time as Robin with Grayson as Batman. Grayson had been his first and only friend and recalling that made Damian angry at the absences of the other brothers all over again. He huffed just as Barbara gasped. He looked and saw Dick beginning to open his eyes. He straightened with a sudden lightness.
"Dick." Father was saying, leaning over him. Dick made a soft groan of pain.
Barbara was leaning over the opposite side and as much as Damian pressed closer to Barbara so he could see him better.
Dick struggled to sit up and looked at Barbara then Bruce, but something was wrong. Why wasn't he smiling? Why didn't he say something?
"What? Where am I?"
"You're home. You're safe." Father said, reaching to pat Dick's shoulder. Dick leaned away from the touch, "This . . ." Dick began, "I don't understand. Who are you?"
Damian's throat felt constricted, but he found himself speaking anyway, "Dick, we're your family. You know us." Dick met his eyes and Damian saw no recognition in his eyes. None of the exuberance that should be there. Just analysis as he tried to decide if he knew Damian or not. Damian opened his mouth to say more, but Dick said, "I don't . . . I'm sorry. I don't know you." Damian left with this, blowing past Alfred and his tray of muffins and coffee. He knew there was no excuse for the burning in his eyes and didn't care enough to comfort himself with one. When he reached his room, he found no escape so he went downstairs to the cave. It was here, punching his way through training dummies, that his Father found him an hour later.
"Damian." Damian did not acknowledge him, but delivered another kick to a dummy's head.
"Damian." His father repeated. Damian huffed a breath and punched the dummy one last time. He looked at his father and he wanted to feel pity for how haggard he looked and for that obvious hurt in his eyes. Damian looked away, "What?"
"Dick doesn't recall much. Yet. Leslie is on the way. Barbara and Alfred are with Dick right now. He knows who he is and some about his childhood, but it seems the bulk of his life is forgotten for now."
Damian snorted, "What are the chances? The bullet doesn't kill him, doesn't leave him braindead. I thought we were lucky. But . . .he doesn't even know who we are."
"We are lucky. He's still Dick Grayson. Even if he doesn't remember us. At least he's alive."
Damian laughed bitterly, "At least." He swallowed against the wash of emotion, "This isn't fair." He knew life was hardly fair. The idea of anything being fair had never really occurred to him until he lived with his Father.
"Damian. I know this is hard, but-."
"He doesn't deserve this. He was here to help you. All he does he help the rest of us and he gets hurt. Maybe it's better this way. At least he wont lose anything else this way."
Hia father sighed, "We just have to be optimistic."
Damian gave another bitter laugh and his father sighed again, "I know that seems unhelpful, but Dick has always believed in optimism."
Damian went back to the training dummy. His father lingered a moment longer then left.
Damian avoided the others for a few hours, waiting for a chance to speak with Dick. Some immature part of him had crafted a fantasy that if he could just speak to Dick, then he would remember. The fantasy felt so possible that when Barbara finally left Dick's side, he almost expected Dick to greet him with a sudden remembrance. Of course, Dick only looked at him without recognition and maybe a little annoyance.
"You're Damian, right?"
"Bruce's son. So my brother."
"I'm sorry I don't remember you."
Damian did not know what to say to this, but Dick as usual worked through the lull.
"It's going to take a while to get used to this place. It's huge."
"I know this is going to be kinda tough since we used to be close."
"Did Bruce tell you that?"
"I guessed. I mean you were here when I woke up."
"I just wanted to assure you were okay. I wish you the best, Grayson. The Wayne Family has never been very close so there's no need to apologize."
"I . . . I am sorry."
"Like I said, it's nothing. I only came by to tell you goodbye. I have business to attend to so I'm leaving now. " Damian left the room with this. He could tell by his last glimpse at Dick, even without remembering Damian, that his brother didn't believe him. Grayson didn't need to believe it though; Damian did.