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[personal profile] munnin
Title: Fly your banner high.
Rating: PG-13
Verse: Mended Wings. Previous chapters:
here.
Characters: Dick, Tim, Bruce, Alfred & the company of the Haly’s Circus.
Disclaimer: No ownership, no profit and no offence meant. Everyone is of the age of consent in their country and period of history
Author’s notes: 100% organic. May contain minor flaws and imperfections that beta-treated slash wouldn’t.
Bingo card: H/C. Wildcard.
Masterlist here.

Summary:
Coming up to the end of winter, tradition becomes important to the residents of Wayne Manor.


Bruce ignored the paperwork in his hand, too busy watched his boys train on the lawn as Alfred placed a drink next to his elbow. The end of winter had turned mild, as if Spring had come early. The manor’s lawn was lush and soft and dotted with yellow daisies. Dick was on the mend and after much begging, Leslie had cleared him to train ‘just gently Richard!’ in an exo-suit.

The sigh that fell from Dick’s lips when he powered up for the first time since his injury was almost a blessing. And now he and Tim traded playful blows in the grass as Bruce and Alfred watched over them.

“Master Tim has come a long way.” Alfred commented with a smile, his tray folded in his arms as he watched the boys danced around each other.

“Hmm.” Bruce hummed, not talking his eyes off the pair of them. Janet Drake had fled the country only hours after mistreating her son, leaving her lawyers to make only token resistance to Bruce’s claim for Tim’s emancipation.

There had been a moment of panic and betrayal when the judge ruled that, on Leslie’s recommendation, Tim would be placed in monitored foster care for a year before he could be emancipated. In that moment Bruce found himself the personification of wrath, willing to do anything to protect the young man he had come to think of as his son. It wasn’t until Leslie pointed out that Bruce was a registered foster carer (an arrangement made in the early days of Dick’s adoption) that the red rage abated.

In the months since Tim had come to live with them, he had bloomed. As Robin, Tim had dedicated himself learning everything they could teach him, an eager study and a steadfast partner. And in turn, Dick had made it his mission to support Tim in every way possible, ever the loving brother and protective friend.

As Bruce watched, he felt pride swell in his chest for the two beautiful young men he called his own.

There was a thump as Dick landed flat on his back in the grass; grinning gleefully as Tim successful executed the attack they’d spent the afternoon perfecting. The warm breeze ruffled his hair as he bounced back to his feet, the suit restoring his grace along with his strength.

“Tim’s a natural!” Dick called, pulling Tim into a hug and bounding over the flop down in the chair next to Bruce. “I’ve never seen anyone learn that technique so quickly.”

Tim followed him, sitting down with a shy smile at the complement. The flush of exertion in his face only served to highlight the scar, pale and fine as a scratch down his cheek.

The sight of it made Bruce stomach turn and he hate himself for leaving Tim alone in that house... He swallowed back his regret. “I’m impressed by your form, Tim.” he said gently, meeting Tim’s eye. “I have some stretches that would strengthen your thigh muscles, if you’d like me to show you?”

“Please?” Tim nodded, ducking his head to hide his smile. “I’d like that.”

Dick used the distraction to steal of sip of Bruce’s drink, beaming as Bruce snatched it back with a playful growl.

Alfred tsked as he set down a drink for each of the boys, patting Tim’s shoulder as the young man thanked him.

Dick glanced over his shoulder at a sound in the distance, his face momentarily troubled.

“They’ll come.” Bruce reassured quietly, reaching out to squeeze Dick’s hand.

“I know.” Dick answered distractedly. “It’s just so late in the season.”

Bruce sighed, “There’s still more than two weeks to go. And their engagement in Star City has been extended but they will come.”

Dick entwined his fingers in Bruce’s for a moment and squeezed back. “I need to get out of this suit.” He muttered, suddenly sounding so very tired.

“Are you alright?” Tim asked, on his feet in an instant to help his brother up.

Dick reached up to ruffle Tim’s hair. “I’m ok, Tim. Just had enough for one day.” Now that they’d stopped training, the cool edge of the breeze pulled at his light shirt, raising goosebumps on Dick’s skin and he shivered.

“Let me help you inside?” Tim stood solicitous at Dick’s elbow but Dick shook his head.

“I’ll be fine.” Dick forced a smile. “You and Bruce work on those stretches, it’ll help you cool down.”

Bruce glanced up at Alfred who nodded sagely and following Dick inside. After not using the suit for so long, the cramped muscles in Dick’s legs would need massaging and he would be more likely to let Alfred look after him than anyone else.

Tim watched after them with a worried expression. “Is he-”

“He’ll be fine.” Bruce assured, “He’s over-extended himself and doesn’t want to show it. Alfred will make sure he cools down properly.” He pushed aside his paperwork and shook off his jacket. “Shall we work on those stretches?”

An hour later they came in, the gathering dusk making it too cold to keep going. Although the days were warm, the nights were still far too chilly.

“May I ask a question?” Tim asked quietly as Alfred poured them both tea.

“You’re wondering who Dick is waiting for?”

“Yes.”

Bruce sipped his tea and composed his answer. “There is an old tradition of travelling players seeking a safe haven for the winter, a manor where they can see out the season. Mr Haly of the Haley’s Circus takes that tradition very seriously. Every year the company comes here at the end of winter. They use the time to repair their equipment and take stock for the coming year.” He paused a moment, “And to spent time with Dick, of course. They are his family after all.”

Bruce tried to keep his tone neutral, to hide the edge of sadness and guilt he felt but Tim had become quite adapt at reading him and reached out to touch his hand.

He gave the youth a brief if slightly forced smile. “I should go check on Dick.”

***

Almost a week passed before they came, the first rumbling of the trucks echoing up the long driveway to the manor.

Dick came skittering down the stairs, more of a controlled fall than anything else. “They’re here! They’re here, they’re here, they’re here!”

Bruce caught him as he hit the bottom step. “Slow down.” He growled affectionately. “You know it’ll take them a few minutes to prepare.”

Dick grinned breathlessly, scrapping his fingers through his hair to straighten it. “Do I look ok?”

Bruce chuckled quietly, steadying Dick on his sticks. “You look very handsome, little Robin.”

Dick glanced up, spotting Tim who was hovering quietly in the doorway. “Timmy! They’re here! You have to come meet them with me!”

“Gladly.” Tim held out his hand to Dick as his brother fell on him in a hug.

Bruce ushered them towards the door as music sounded from the lawn. They stood together on the top step, watching as the company of Haley’s Circus came towards them in a great, winding procession. The players were decked out in bright colours, streaming with banners and ribbons. The youngest of the company danced ahead, scattering petals and playing whistles.

As they came to the foot of the Manor’s great marble stair, C.C. Haly stepped forward, a sombre figure in a sea of colour. “Good sir,” he announced with a great sweep of his ringmaster’s top hat. “We are but a poor band of players. We seek a patron who will let us bide and shelter from the storm. We have little but will gladly sing for our supper and provide such service we can.” He bowed again.

Bruce stepped forward, aware of his own part in this pageant. “As lord of this manor I welcome you. I give shelter and patronage to this company till the breaking of spring.”

A great cheer went up from the crowd and Samson the Strong Man reached out, plucking Dick from the top of the stairs in his big arms and carrying him down to be engulfed in hugs.

Bruce squeezed Tim’s shoulder, feeling the youth tense at the sudden movement. Tim nodded and relaxed under Bruce touch. Lost in the crowd of familiar faces, Dick’s laughter echoed across the lawn.

***

It never ceased to impress Bruce how quickly the company could set up. In less than an hour, the grounds had become a sea of trucks and caravans, penned animals and crates of equipment. He strolled amongst the company, feeling strangely redundant as everyone rushed back and forward, each to their own purpose. He was a stranger here, even in his own home.

Dick darted out of the chaos, flinging his arms around Bruce’s shoulders, his face spilt with a grin. “I missed this!” He exclaimed, burying his face in Bruce’s neck as his sticks clattering against Bruce’s shins. “Thank you so much for letting them stay.”

“They are your family, Dick.” Bruce replied, cupping the back of Dick’s head and pulling him into a hug. “They’ll always be welcome here.” He leant back to brush his thumb over Dick’s cheek. “Go and enjoy yourself.”

As Dick vanished again into the crowd, My Haly caught Bruce’s eye and beaconed him over. They walked side by side through the gardens in silence, moving away from the bustle of the company.

“He looks well,” The ringmaster observed quietly after a long moment, “But he’s favouring his right leg.”

“He had a bad fall in early January. He’s recovering.” Bruce answered gravely.

“And the new boy? Another foundling?”

Bruce schooled his expression, refusing to rise to Haly’s remark. “Tim was there for Dick when he fell. They have become very close friends.”

“And brothers?” There was a rebuke in Haly’s tone.

“His mother hurt him. Badly. I offered him a home here when he needed it.”

Haly harrumphed. “Convenient for a new young man to enter your life when Dick was no longer of use to you.”

Bruce turned, his eyes blazing. “How dare you! I love Dick as my son. I would never seek to replace him!”

“And yet you have.” The ringmaster growled. “I saw the footage of the hostage rescue last month. I know that wasn’t Dick at your side!”

“No, it wasn’t.” Bruce dropped his voice, dark and dangerous. “It was Tim. He was there because Dick chose him, because Dick trained him. When Dick first raised the idea of passing his title to another I was against it.” He closed his eyes for a second, drawing a deep breath to calm himself. “But he knew I needed a partner in the field just as much as Tim needed a purpose, and people in his life who would value him. Dick’s made it clear to me he has no intention of giving up any time soon.”

Haly paced away a few steps, composing himself as well. “Forgive me. I had no right.”

“You love him.” Bruce said quietly, his voice now steady. “It’s understandable you wish to see him happy.”

“I wish we could make a home for him like you have.” The ringmaster sat down heavily on a low stone bench, his head in his hands. “God knows we’d be glad to have him with us but... our life is a hard one and no place for a cripple.”

Bruce glowered, feeling his face flush. “Dick is not a cripple.” He growled, his tone taking a dangerous edge once more.

“I mean no disrespect.” Haly muttered, “Lord knows the boy’s been through more than most could ever handle and still come up smiling... but a company like ours, every man must pull his weight, as our little Robin was taught from birth. It’s Dickie’s pride that’d be his downfall; hurt as he is, he’d never hold back. He’d take on more than his due and be the worse for it. We’d be back on your doorstep, cap in hand for his healing before half the season was done.” The older man rubbed his brow with a pained sigh. “God knows the trade gets harder every year. We’re scrapping by but only just. I wish there was some way I could repay the debt we owe to you.”

“There is no debt.” Bruce answered, sitting at his side. “I love Dick and always will. He will have a home here even when his heart goes with you and your company.”

“You’re a good man, Wayne.” Haly muttered, pulling himself to his feet. “A better man than I.” He turned his back and walked back towards the company before Bruce could answer.

***

There was a bonfire burning as dusk fell and long trestle tables were set out on the lawn, groaning under the weight of a great feast. Alfred moved through the thick of the crowd with laden platters as the children of the circus scaled the trees to hang lanterns. Everyone gathered as bottles of wine and moonshine were passed around. As they sat to eat, Mr Haly raised his glass, silencing the company with a single gesture. “To the founder of the feast.” He nodded to Bruce.

“To My Wayne.” The company chorused, drinking deeply from their glasses.

Bruce returned the toast with a respectful nod, “To the players.”

“To Haleys!” the chorus returned.

They both raised their glasses together, looking across to Dick. “To the prince of the feast.” They said in harmony.

To Dickie!” The boom of their cheers echoed across the grounds as Dick blushed, red and grinning.

Pretty soon music struck up and the meal gave over to dancing and drinking, leaving Bruce to slip away.

***

The quiet of the cave gave Bruce a chance to clear his head, taking his time to gear up. He wasn’t concerned that Mr Haly knew their secret; having recognising a move in Robin that only Dick could have pulled off. For Dick’s sake, he would never endanger them by revealing their identities to the world...

But part of him feared that Dick would one day leave with them, that his little bird would fly the nest and go back to the family who had raised him. The happiness that shone in Dick’s eye, the lightness in his step when the players came was a pleasure to behold but one that ripped at his heart.

Quiet steps on the stone pulled him from his reverie. Tim stood next to the case that held his equipment, patiently waiting for orders.

“Go back upstairs and enjoy the party, Tim.” Bruce said softly.

“You don’t want me to come with you on patrol?” Tim asked, his voice level and quiet.

Bruce sighed, reaching for his cowl. “Traditionally Batman flies alone this time of year.”

Tim took a step closer. “But he doesn’t have to anymore.”

Bruce felt the corner of his mouth curve in a half suppressed smile. “Thank you Tim but...I’ll be fine. Go and be with your brother.”

Tim stared at him for a long moment, his head slightly cocked in a gesture he’d clearly picked up from Alfred. Finally Tim relented and reached for the tiny ear-bead that made up part of his comms. “Stay in touch.” Tim said firmly, sliding the comm. in place. “If you need me...”

“Thank you Tim.” Bruce laid a gentle hand on the youth’s shoulder. “Now go, watch over Dick for me.”

***

Thankfully things were quiet in the city of Gotham and after a few simple muggings and car-jackings, Bruce returned home and geared down.

The music still played as he edged closer to the firelight. Only a handful of the company still lingered, singing songs and trading stories. Dick was lying, half asleep with his head in Tim’s lap.

In the flickering firelight, Tim carded his fingers through his brother’s hair, listening avidly to the stories and tall tales. He flashed an inquisitive look at Bruce as he joined the circle. “Quiet night?”

“Very.” Bruce answered.

Dick mumbled something sleepily and shifted from Tim’s lap to Bruce’s, snuggling against his mentor’s thigh as Bruce sat.

“You should be in bed, little bird.” Bruce whispered, rubbing Dick’s cold arm through his too thin jacket. “Come on.” He lifted Dick into his arms, nodding to the assembled company as he carried Dick, not towards the house but to a nearby caravan. Tim stepped ahead, opening the door for them.

“It belonged to his parents?” Tim asked quietly, looking around as he peeled back the blankets on the compact little bed.

“Others use it now but they always keep it clear for him when they come here.” Bruce answered softly. “It’s his by right but...”

“They can’t afford to spare the space.” Tim finished, nodding with understanding. “Will you stay here with him?”

Bruce shook his head. “This is his home, and his time with his family.”

Tim reached out and touched Bruce’s shoulder. “We are his family.”

Bruce covered Tim’s hand with his own.

Dick rolled over in his sleep. “Cold.” He mumbled indistinctly.

Bruce grabbed a blanket from a small chest at the end of the bed and spread it over Dick, caught off balance as Dick reached out and snagging the hem of his jacket. “Stay?”

Bruce perched on the edge of the bed, brushing Dick’s dishevelled hair back from his forehead. “Just for a little while.”

Bruce glanced up to see Tim lingering in the doorway with a smile.

***

It took Bruce two days to get over the heavy feeling in his chest and remember how much he enjoyed the company of the circus folk. For ten years now they had spent, at least a portion of the winter together and it was too easy to forget that in many ways they were his friends too. For the brief time they gathered, the manor was alive; a riot of colour and activity.

Children followed Alfred like ducklings, eager to find ways to make themselves useful in exchange for treats. Leslie’s mobile clinic took over several spare rooms inside as the company took full advantage of her skills and resources. Tim was making the most of every opportunity to be useful and learn new skills, often to be found knee deep in the truck’s engine bay or being taught to splice rope or patch canvas.

But every night he stood faithfully by his case, waiting for Bruce’s edict. It was tempting to let the youth join him but it was a temptation born of selfish loneliness more than need. The city was blessedly quiet and back up was never more than a call away. Better to let Tim have his time in the sun.

And Dick...

Bruce felt his insecurities and fears burn away under the brilliance of Dick’s smile. Never was the boy so happy than when his family was here. Or so worn out. Bruce could see Mr Haly’s point when Dick lolled against Tim’s chest of an evening, pushing himself to the point of exhaustion in his efforts to help with the preparation for the coming year.

Bruce dumped his roller in the bucket as he and Pedro finished repainting one of the caravans. “Have you seen Dick today?” he asked, taking a swig of the water the dwarf pulled from a cooler.

“Not recently.” Pedro answered, his accent thick and rich. “Last time I saw him, he was going to play with Kira.”

Sure enough Bruce found him in the lion’s pen, curled up asleep against Kira’s side with his head resting on her shoulder. The old lion gave a quiet snarl as Bruce approached, warning but not threatening as she turned her head to nuzzle the sleeping youth.

“Don’t worry girl, I’m not here to steal him.”

“But you already have.”

Bruce turned to see a young woman watching them, her skin pockmarked with acme scarring, the result of years of greasepaint.

“You took him away and made him into a prince.” Her voice was low and rough, bitter with recrimination. “You took him away and mended his broken wings and now he can never be free again. He can never be wild.” She spat on the ground and muttered something that sounded like a curse in Romani before taking to her heels, vanishing between the trucks.

When Bruce looked back, Dick’s eyes were open and dark with sadness. “Lula.” He whispered. “She was my...” he breathed a confused sigh. “We would have been married if I hadn’t fallen. Our fathers arranged it when we were young.” He pushed to his feet carefully, reaching for his sticks as Kira growled her discontent at him moving. “Sorry girl, I promise I’ll come brush you again later.” He accepted Bruce’s help to open the gate and fell in at his side, his crutches squelching slightly in the churned up earth.

“I wasn’t aware your parents had committed you to an arranged marriage.”

Dick shrugged. “It wasn’t so much arranged as...sorted out in advance. Lula and I were friend, as were our parents. It just seemed to make sense that we’d end up together.”

Bruce let silence settle between them for a long moment as they climbed the stairs into the house. “Do you regret-”

“No.” Dick cut him off sharply. “Being with Lula, it would have been a convenient arrangement, something to settle for. Not something I would have chosen for myself.”

Bruce let Dick led him into the library, settling in one of the chairs as Dick flopped down on the couch. “You didn’t choose this life either.”

Dick stared at him upside down over the arm of the couch with dark, serious eyes. “Yes. I did.” He rolled over and sat up, looking Bruce in the face. “When I was thirteen and recovered from all those operations, you drove me to Connecticut to spent a week with the Haly’s crew. Something happened in Gotham and you had to come back early. Remember when you came to pick me up and my eyes were all red? I told you it was hayfever but...I cried myself to sleep every night you were away, petrified you might never come back for me.” He reached out and covered Bruce’s hand with his own. “I choose then and I’ve never regretted it.”

Bruce entwined their fingers. “I built you your first exo-suit that week.”

Dick threw his hand back and laughed. “God I loved that thing. It was clunky as all hell and creaked like a clipper in a gale.”

“It was only a prototype.” Bruce muttered with feigned reproof.

“And I loved it!” Dick repeated. “Seriously, my place is here. I’ve known that for a long time now. I feel sorry for Lula but...that life wasn’t meant to be. This one is.” He brought their joined hands to his lips and kissed Bruce’s scarred knuckles. “Promise you’ll be with me tomorrow?”

“Of course.” Bruce promised, “I know what the first day of spring means to you. I would never make you go alone unless you wanted to...and even then I’d make sure Tim or Alfred followed you just to be sure.”

“Creepy much!” Dick giggled, slapping Bruce’s arm. “God I smell like lion. I really need a shower.” He tried and failed to stifle a yawn.

“You should get an early night.” Bruce chided, “I know the party tonight will go on till late but...”

“Will you stay with me tonight? In my parent’s caravan?”

Bruce reached up to brush the hair back from Dick’s face, releasing the strong musk of the lion. “I’ll stay with you till you sleep.”

Dick leant into his touch with an almost sad sigh. “That’s all I can ask.”

***

Bruce jerked himself awake as Alfred touched his shoulder. He’d fallen asleep on the edge of Dick’s cot, the youth sound asleep in his arms. At some point during the night, someone had draped a blanket over them both.

“Forgive me for waking you, Master Bruce but its seven thirty.” Alfred whispered with a soft smile. “Would you like me to bring your clothes down?”

Bruce untangled himself from Dick, the youth barely stirring. “No Alfred, it’s alright. I’ll prepare in my room.” He pulled the blanket over his sleeping son. “Can you make sure he eats breakfast please?”

Alfred gave a low, put-upon sigh as he laid out an outfit for Dick. “It will be a fight Master Bruce. You know how he gets.”

Bruce rested a hand on Dick’s brow, brushing stray black strands back from his face. “All too well.”

The lawns were busy but quiet as people moved about, each focused on their own jobs. They tipped their hats to him as they passed, eyes distance and preoccupied. There was a sombreness in the air this morning but it would pass soon enough. Already there were bright colours peeking out around the edges...

Alfred had his clothes laid out when he got to his room. Plain black slacks, a simple cream shirt of soft cotton and a dove-grey vest. He showered and dressed briskly, combing his hair back from his face. No flashy watch, no cufflinks, no chain but the light one hidden under his shirt that had held his parents wedding rings. Today wasn’t about flash or show. Today was about Dick.

Tim stood in the doorway, dressed in a similar outfit but with a deep Robin-red vest which he smoothed out self-consciously.

“You look very nice, Tim. That colour suits you.”

Tim gave him a shy smile. “I’m afraid I don’t understand the significance of the clothing.”

Bruce crossed to him, straightening the lapels of Tim’s shirt. “This is tradition Romani festival costume. Today is an important day for the people of Haley’s Circus...and your brother.”

Tim nodded slowly. “It’s the anniversary of his parents’ death today; we’re going to visit their graves aren’t we?”

“You are talented detective, Tim.” Bruce said with pride, resting a gentle hand on Tim’s shoulder. “Let’s go and find your brother.”

Dick was standing with a group of circus folk by the cars, dressed in a vest of midnight blue, a garland of flowers in his hair. The smile he gave them was open and unguarded and in its own way, unbearably sad.

One of the circus children ran over and dumped a hand full of flowers in Dick’s arms.

“Thanks Katie.” He turned, leaning on his canes to lace a chain of yellow daisies in Tim’s hair. “Thank you for doing this with me, little brother.”

Tim smiled softly, a blush creeping across his cheeks.

Bruce put out a hand to steady his son as Dick turned to him, juggling a garland of white blossoms.

“Bruce?”

“Hush now, my little Robin.” Bruce said softly, brushing his thumb over Dick’s cheek as he leant in to let Dick settle the wreath on his head. “Are you ready?”

Dick smiled sadly and nodded, letting Alfred open the door for him.

***

The cemetery was surprisingly cheerful in the bright spring morning. The great cavalcade of cars from Wayne Manor pulled up, filling the graveyard’s car park to capacity.

Mr CC. Haly was at the door of the limo before Alfred could reach it, holding his arm out to help Dick.

Dick smiled and shook off his sticks, handing them to Alfred as he let Bruce take his other arm, his weight balances between his two guardians.

Tim fell in at Alfred’s side as the circus folk formed a great procession of colour behind them. “He won’t use his canes?”

Alfred gave him a quiet smile, Dick’s sticks folded in his arms. “Master Dick’s pride depends on doing this walk alone every year.”

Tim watched as Dick walked towards his parents’ grave, Mr Haly supporting him on his left and Bruce on his right. “Hardly alone.” He said with a quiet smile.

***

As the parade wound its way through the cemetery, Dick paused for a moment, closing his eyes as he shifted his weigh off his aching leg.

Bruce adjusted his grip on his son’s shoulder. “Almost there.” He whispered quietly, wrapping an arm around Dick’s waist.

“Be strong little Robin. Ov yilo isi.” Haly muttered, adjusting his own grip.

Dick smiled and let them both support him the last few yards to his parent’s grave. With their help, he knelt in front of their headstones, speaking softly in Romani. The others crowded around them, listening in silence as Dick spoke at length to his parents.

Putrav lesko drom angle leste te na inkrav les mai but palpale mura brigasa.” Dick smiled and laughed quietly under his breath, leaning back in his heels. “I miss you both but I’m happy.”

Mr Haly sat down at his side, pulling the cork from a bottle of wine and raised it to the assembled company. “Te bisterdon tumare anave.

The company echoed the blessing back as more bottles were opened and passed around.

“Come sit with me, little brother?” Dick called to Tim, patting the stone at his side.

Bruce smiled as the two boys sat side by side, helping themselves to food from one of the many picnic baskets being passed around. By noon, the graves would be festooned in flowers. By noon, every bottle would be empty and every stomach would be full. By noon, voices would be hoarse with singing and rough with laughter. By noon, the Flying Graysons’ would be remembered in tall tales and riotous praise.

As the sun reached its zenith, My Haly nodded to Bruce and the pair of them walked together between the stone angels.

The ringleader said nothing for a long moment, his hand behind his back. “I can’t thank you-”

Bruce put his hand out to silence him. “Please don’t. I love Dick as my own. You don’t need to thank me for caring for him.” He held his hand out to the man. “Till next year Mr Haly.”

“Till next year Mr Wayne.”

They walked back in silence, comfortable in each other’s company.

CC Haly bent to place a kiss on Dick’s forehead. “Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa.” As he passed, he brushed his fingers over the Grayson’s headstones. “He is loved te'sorthene, never fear for him.”

One by one, the circus folk made their farewells, kissing Dick and pressing tokens and gifts into his hands. More than a few of them stopped to squeezing Tim and Bruce’s hands as they passed.

“Be good to your brother.” Madam Viki muttered, pressing a kiss to Tim’s cheek. “And you,” She turned on Bruce, her eyes glinting in her winkled eyes. “You look after these boys ray baro, look after them good or I come for you.” She ruffled Dick’s hair, “Dza devlesa little one.”

“And you, good mother.” Dick smiled, watching as the last of the Haley’s crew wondered back to the cars. He leant into Bruce, resting his head on his mentor’s shoulder, entwining their fingers.

Bruce gently squeezed his son’s hand; he could feel Dick’s exhaustion. As joyous an occasion this was, his eldest son was flagging. “Do you want me to help you back to the car?”

Dick shook his head and looked up at Alfred, his hands out for his sticks. “I’m ok.” He hauled himself up with an effort. “Besides, the next bit’s just as important to me.”

Bruce put a gentle arm around son’s waist as they walked towards the Wayne family mausoleum.

“Bruce?” Tim called gently, half a step behind them. “While we’re here I thought I might...I’d like to visit my father’s grave...If that’s alright.”

“Of course Tim.” Bruce answered warmly. It had always been his intent to suggest it and he now wishing he’d mentioned it earlier to spare Tim from having to ask. “May we come with you?”

Tim pursed his lips and nodded. “I’d like that. Very much.”

***

Dick was half asleep soon as they got back into the limo, his head resting in Tim’s lap.

“You’ve worn yourself out, little Robin.” Bruce muttered fondly, watching as Tim stroked Dick’s hair. The two boys looked very natural together, so very right.

Tim smiled shyly, letting his fingers brush through Dick’s unruly locks. “Thank you, both of you. I feel very honoured to been a part of this.”

Dick snorted sleepily and rolled over, burying his face in Tim’s thigh. “You’re family Timmy, wouldn’t do it without you.”

Bruce leant across and rested a hand on his youngest son’s shoulder, letting the pride and love he felt show in his smile. Nothing more needed to be said.
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