title: Fear
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: one-sided Bruce/Dick, mentions of Barbara
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: It's not the snow that makes the Batman cold... (challenge fic)
notes: there was a songfic challenge a ways ago. this is only sorta a songfic, but still... this is in the animated series continuity.

The rain was near freezing. By morning, it would be snow. In the morning, Gotham would be coated in a thin blanket of white.

Batman stood on the ledge, his back against the wall, his cape wrapped around him, the shadows clinging.

Below, the red and blue and white lights of the emergency vehicles swept around in wide arcs, spinning madly. The woman whose ledge he was perched on had the stereo on, loud. She must have just broken up with her boyfriend, or maybe she was a lesbian, or a hippie. Or just liked that fem music. It was a folk rock ballad, played way too loud, so that the bass line beat into his spine, vibrating, and the words...

Echoed.

Somewhere, Barbara was working as Batgirl, and later she would come back to the cave and bounce around, madly relating her adventures, the adrenaline seeping out of her system too slowly for Bruce's taste. She would want to train, until she nearly fell down, exhausted.

No wonder people were gossiping about Bruce Wayne's 'friendship' with Police Commissioner Gordon's daughter.

Batman wondered about her. Didn't she feel as lonely as he did? Wasn't her life as empty as his without him? She had been dating him, after all. They were talking about marriage. Not seriously, of course, but still. Dick hadn't been gone three days before she started to settle in as his new 'partner'.

But she wasn't. Not his partner, not his friend, not his equal.

Dick had been, but Bruce hadn't told him. Batman hadn't made it clear, and he had left. 'Run away', except he was too old to run away from home, and anyway, Wayne Manor had never really been his home. Batman had wanted to make Dick at home there, but it hadn't worked.

Apparently.

What did he have to give? Dick had been the first person, the only person, really, to slip through his defenses. Sure, Bruce Wayne had fallen for a few pretty faces, and Batman had colleagues, but with Dick...

With Dick he was himself. Not Bruce, not the Bat, no masks required. Always worn, out of habit, out of fear, really, but not necessary. He'd always felt more... at ease with Dick than with anyone. Even if it didn't show.

Soon it would be Christmas. Batman remembered the first Christmas Dick had spent at Wayne Manor. Bruce had long ago thrown out all the ornaments and decorations, and so they had had to buy all new ones. Dick had been excited, his blue eyes wide as they went from store to store, getting all the supplies they needed to make the perfect Christmas, together.

He remembered the last Christmas, they had spent the night on the couch, watching old movies, shoulder to shoulder, fingers barely grazing as they reached for the popcorn. Barbara had invited Dick to spend it with her and her father, but he had declined.

He had chosen to spend Christmas with Bruce.

And now he was gone, and after all this time, Batman was beginning to fear that he might not be coming back.

He had tried to follow Dick, to find him, but he didn't start until nearly a month had passed. Dick had been clever, liquidating his resources so he would be harder to track.

Batman could have found him, but he had to respect Dick's privacy. Clearly, he wasn't interested in being found.

He had had so much to lose, and now it was possibly gone. Dick had left, and had taken something with him. Batman couldn't identify exactly what it was, maybe purpose or hope or bad jokes at inopportune but perfect times, but it was gone, and now he was left feeling empty.

Standing against a wall in the rain that would soon be snow, sad music vibrating into his back, as lights flashed beneath him, Batman's jaw became glazed, his cowl furrowed into a scowl, as he watched his city, seeing nothing.





the song involved in the story is 'fear', by sarah mclachlan, whose refrain goes:

but i fear
i have nothing to give
i have so much to lose here in this lonely place
tangled up in your embrace
there's nothing i'd like better than to fall
but i fear
i have nothing to give

has struck me as being such a batman song for a while, now...




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