title: Incidentals: Safe
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Bruce, Dick
rating: Teen
warnings: sexual thoughts
summary: Bruce tries to keep Dick safe.
notes: chi coaxed this from me, which is only fair, given all the fic i've coaxed from her. ^_~ takes place early incidentals, before Dick leaves the house.

Bruce was not watching him work out. Not at all. At least, not watching him. Just. Watching. He had to keep an eye on him, for safety. It was only about the safety. Anything could happen on those wires. He never should have allowed Dick to install them in the first place. They were not safe.

Of course, neither was vaulting over alleys pursuing criminals, but that wasn't the issue. This was avoidable risk.

There was no cause for him to be up there... flying... flipping through the air, doing those insane acrobatics... Dick always argued that he'd been doing this his whole life, but there was no one to catch him, now. Bruce had tried to keep up, but... He just wasn't Dick's father.

He blinked.

No, he wasn't Dick's father... Dick's father would not... would not sneak peeks in the shower... would not moan his name as he beat off at night... would not steal touches on the practice mat...

But that didn't mean he wasn't responsible.

Bruce turned his back to the wires, and put his hands on the keyboard again, forcing himself to type, gibberish if he had to, but just to watch the characters pop up on the screen....

He wasn't watching. He wasn't. He didn't see Dick's reflection in the shining monitor. He didn't stop breathing when he saw Dick fly away from the swing, just floating in the air, seemingly... His heart didn't begin to pound when he heard Dick's hands meet the next bar.

He heard Dick's feet hit the ground, and he deleted the file he was working on, and opened the most recent previous file. He was busy pouring over the data as Dick stripped off his skimpy tank top and washed himself down with a bottle of water.

Alfred would scold Dick for getting the cave floor sopping wet for no good reason, but Alfred wasn't here. He was visiting relatives for the weekend. It was just the two of them.

Bruce shut down the program he was working on, and went to the heavy bag. He took a moment to ground himself, and get a proper visualization going. He pictured his own face in the bag, his lecherous grin as he ogled Dick mocking him. He let loose his fury with a sharp cry, releasing his tension.

"Whoa!" Dick called out. "What'd he ever do to you?" Dick's bright grin was suddenly before him. "C'mon, Bruce, Al's not around to get another one if you bust this one open. Save some for the guys on the street. Can we go out early tonight?"

Bruce did not want to look into those shining blue eyes. Did not want to see everything that was broiling beneath the surface. He was projecting. He knew that. Whenever he saw that spark in Dick's eyes, he was projecting his own feelings onto Dick. He didn't even have any proof that Dick preferred men... Any suspicions he had may simply have been youthful experimentation.

He closed his eyes. "Have you finished your homework?"

Dick wilted. "It's Friday, Bruce..."

Bruce shook his head. "No excuses. Who knows what will happen over the weekend? Best to be prepared."

"But if something happens..."

"End of discussion. Finish your homework first."

"I can drive myself, you know! You can't stop me from going out!"

Bruce turned, his eyes burning brightly. Yes, this is what he wanted. To see this disgust on Dick's face. This anger. This is how it was supposed to be.

Even if Dick wasn't mad for the right reasons, as long as Bruce kept him mad, he kept him safe. And that's all he wanted; for Dick to be safe.

Dick's face went red, and his eyes were narrowed. Bruce smirked. "If you are going to behave like a child, I will have to treat you like one. No car or bike privileges. For a week. And I'm going out now. I expect to see your homework done and ready for inspection when I get back."

"Inspection?!" Dick spat. "Since fucking when?"

"Language, Dick. You don't want to make it two weeks."

"You expect a lot, Bruce," Dick leveled evenly. "Someday, you may find you expect too much. I won't bark to your command forever."

"As long as you are under my roof..."

"Whatever!" Dick growled, dismissively tossing his hand up at Bruce's face. "Just remember, I won't be under your roof that much longer. And then you'll end up barking orders to the bats!"

Dick stormed off, but Bruce didn't watch him go. He didn't watch his pert bum flexing as he took the stairs three at a time.

He dressed for the night, pushing aside the emptiness that always came when he went out alone.

All that mattered was that Dick was safe.