The first time they called you “mom” - Batmom x Batboys
I...Did not plan on writing this. But today, I wanted to reply to some asks about the Batfam (more particularly about Batmom), and um...Well I got so carried away on the very first question I tried to reply to, that I ended up writing a full fic about it and I guess I’ll answer other asks later ^^'. So anyway, here we go, the title is pretty self-explanatory, hope you’ll like it :
My masterlist blog : @ella-ravenwood-archives
“And here we go Dickie. Now, you’re a true pirate.”
You say, as you adjust an oversized tricorn on the boy’s head. He moves a bit too quickly to peak at his look in a mirror, and the hat falls back on his forehead. And oh it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, him turning back to you and trying to look at you from below it.
Once again, you place the tricorn back as best you can, smoothing the huge peacock feather planted on its side while you’re at it. You hold it in place for a few seconds to make sure it won’t fall again, trying to figure out a way to balance it on his ears, and say :
“We really need to get you a hat your size...This one is way too big, it’ll get in the way if you have to fight for the treasure !”
He looks at you with sparkling eyes...Well, with one sparkling eye. A “true pirate” obviously wears an eye-patch ! He looks at you with that one, bright blue sparkling eye, and with the deepest voice his little nine years old vocal cords can muster, he says :
“Arrrr, a simple hat won’t get in the way of me getting my treasure ! I’ll throw it at the ruffian who wants to steal my gold from me, distract them, and then I’ll...make them fall on their butt ! ”
You chuckle and shake your head, utterly charmed, once again, by this little boy. Really, how could you resist such a sweet smile ? His cuteness emphasized by the fact that he just lost a few of his front teeth.
“That’s a very nice technique little one ! Show me how you’d do it !”
He jumps a bit in the air out of excitement, and takes a few steps back from you. Harboring a fighting stance, he unsheathed the wooden rapier you made for him, and the gesture makes the hat immediately fall on his eyes again...But he takes hold of it with his hand that isn’t holding his sword, and throws it at an imaginary enemy.
He then stabs the air, yells a very piratey “Aaarrrrr” and tackle his made-up opponent fiercely. Getting back up on his feet, he takes his hat again and put it on his head and say, proudly, looking at the empty spot in front of him :
“Stay on your butt, you miscreant ! Captain Grayson wins again !”
But as he takes his victory pose, the tricorn falls on his eyes again, kinda ruining the moment. He turns to you, lifting it up and says :
“...Maybe I need a smaller one.”
You chuckle as he comes to you a bit pitifully, hat in hands. But then in a matter of seconds a smile is back on his face and he says :
“Hey, this can be yours instead ! My second in command needs a fancy pirate hat ! This would look great on you !”
He puts the hat on your head, it fits. And his sweet smile widens. He mouth the word “perfect”, as you say, a bit mischievously :
“Oh ? I’m your second in command ? You sure you wanna give me that much responsibilities ? What if I commit mutiny ?”
“Oh you would never !”
“How can you be so sure ?”
“I just know you wouldn’t !”
“But what if I want all the gold for me ?”
“Nah, you’re not like that ! You don’t care about rich people things ! I know because you say no to a lot of things Bruce wanna give ya ! Now, if you were Miss Kyle I’d be a bit worried. Because she would definitely try to steal the treasure for herself. She likes fancy things ! Nothing wrong with that of course, I like fancy things too ! But I wouldn’t make her my second in command...but you’re you, not her !”
Your smile falls from your face immediately. Ugh. This is so ridiculous. You don’t want to act like that, jealousy really doesn’t look good on you (though Bruce would argue that you look cute, when jealous).
Selina Kyle is such an extraordinary woman that you can’t help but compare yourself to her, wondering why Bruce ended up choosing you. You and him had been together for a while now, but from time to time, your insecurities would surge again. In the worst moments possible.
Like right now, as you were having fun with Dickie.
You force a smile back on your face as the boy comes to sit next to you. He looks deep in thoughts before turning back to you and saying :
“She’s pretty. Miss Kyle.”
“She is pretty.”
Oh. Oh that dear boy. You felt a bit silly that even an eight year old noticed you were bummed out by just him mentioning her name, and that he felt obligated to cheer you up. You ruffle his hair and say :
“You’re too sweet.”
“For real ! Only saying what I think...Plus you’re nicer.”
“Selina is very nice.”
It’s true. Selina was really nice. When she realized Bruce was totally head over heels for you, and that you were a bit insecure...She completely stepped down. And started to actually flirt with you, definitely boosting your ego (I wrote a fic about that, now I can’t link it because if I do it this won’t appear in the search since Tumblr “killed” links, but you can find on the Batmom’s master list, it’s called “Insecurities schmunsecurities”.)
She actually became a close friend of yours, over the month. She was a very supportive one at that, which made you feel even guiltier that from times to times, you found yourself jealous of her. Or afraid Bruce will realize the mistake he made and go back to her, leaving you (you will realize overtime that this will never happen, that this is a ridiculous thought, Bruce being too deep in love with you).
You hate the fact you think those things, but you can’t help it. You can’t get over all your insecurities in a matter of seconds. It’ll take years, for you to finally see things for what they are...That Selina moved on and is only friend with Bruce now. That she would never even think of trying to steal Bruce away, because that’s not who she is. That Bruce doesn’t see her as anything else but as a good friend. That he’s in love with you, and only sees you.
Yes...It’ll take time for you to get over all this confidence issues and...Dick’s voice takes you out of your thoughts :
“Oh yes yes. She’s nice. But she um...how to say ? She’s cool. And was never mean to me. But I don’t think she cared that much about me.”
“Aw sweety, I’m sure she likes you.”
“I know she does. She thinks I’m cute”
You can’t help but chuckle at the kid’s confidence. Haha, maybe you should take his example ? Dick continues :
“But she doesn’t...care. Not like you at least. She cared a lot about Bruce, but she just kinda liked me, you know ? While you...You like, took Bruce and I in the same package ? She likes me, but she had no intention to be to me what you and Bruce are. You know ?”
“What do you mean ?”
You ask, smoothing the tricorn’s feather absentmindedly. On that very moment, you didn’t quite realize what the kid was getting at...His next words make your heart race with joy :
“Like...like a mom and dad ?”
He says shyly, looking up to you before avoiding your gaze.
Silence fills the room. You want to say something, but you’re too touched and every words die in your tied throat. You’re trying very hard not to cry, in fact. But the silence stretches and Dick wiggles nervously next to you.
Finally, he talks first, and his shaky voice breaks your heart :
“Am I...am I a terrible son ?”
Is the only stupid thing you can say.
“My mommy and daddy died only a year ago. And I miss them so much. Every day. But it’s getting easier ? Because you and Bruce are here ? Sometimes I almost call you...Sometimes I...wanna call you and Bruce...I want to...I...”
Tears are welling up in the boy’s eyes, and you could slap yourself for still being unable to say anything. Because what he’s saying ? You’re feeling it deep inside your bones. Your heart. Your entire being.
You don’t know when it happened exactly, but you’ve been considering him your son for a while now. You know you’d do anything for him. And hearing him say that he considers you his...his...That he wants to call you...It’s too much for your heart. And you can’t say anything.
But you can do something. You reach for him, remove his eye patch to truly take a good look at him and...You bring him in your arms, holding him tight against your heart, so he can hear how happy it made you that he...that he...
Later. Later you’d tell him that you knew for sure his parents wouldn’t mind if he called you and Bruce “mom and dad”. That his parents would forever be that, his parents. And because of this, they would want for him to be happy. To move on and not get stuck (like a certain Dark Knight).
That he wasn’t a terrible son for only remembering the good times with them. That he wasn’t a terrible son if he didn’t always go see them and their graves. That he wasn’t a terrible son if he found a family again...
Later. Later you’d tell him all that.
For now, you just held him tight against your heart, hugging him with all the love you could give. And in a whisper, holding onto you for dear life, he says :
"Aaaaaaaaaaaare you gonna take me home tonight?
Aaaaaaaaaaaaah, down beside that red fir’light
Aaaaaaaaaaaaare you gonna let it all hang out?
Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin' world go 'round”
Your voice mixes with Jason’s, as you skid down the floor in Wayne manor, wearing socks (they slide really well on the wooden parquet) and pajamas.
Jason is holding an oversized bowl filled with sugary junk food. Ice cream, popcorn, candies, loads of sprinkles ! And you’re using a whipped cream canister as a mic...Those things are probably what got you both on a very big sugar high !
This morning, Jason had a mild fever. A certain Bruce kinda freaked out and allowed him to stay home instead of going to school...Which fell perfectly well with your one day off this week !
Jason got over his fever before lunch time, and was getting bored.
Enter you, with a stereo on your shoulder, blasting Queen. The boy jumped on his feet, abandoning the animated show he was watching to follow you into the kitchen, overly excited. You always came up with great and fun activities !
You guys started to mix every single dessert that were available in the Manor in a big mixing bowl, singing the lines of “Don’t stop me now, ‘Cause I’m having a gooood time, having a good tiiiime” to Alfred as he pointed out all of that wasn’t very healthy...The butler gave up quickly, seeing how Jason and you seemed to be beaming with joy.
With a fond smile on his face he left the two of you alone saying a quick “clean after yourself please”, and ignored the fact that young Master Jason was climbing on the kitchen counter and was air guitaring the solo of the song, walking in and spreading sprinkles EVERYWHERE.
And now, a few minutes later, you were dancing all around the mansion, holding your huge bowl of desserts and a whipped cream canister.
Jason was standing on the living room’s coffee table, opening his mouth as you filled it with whipped cream, while you continued to sing :
“Hey I was just a skinny lad -you point at Jason, who takes a huge spoonful of ice cream -
Never knew no good from bad
But I knew life before I left my nursery, huh
Left alone with big fat Fanny
She was such a naughty nanny
Heap big woman, you made a bad boy out of me
You’re aware the song is a bit inappropriate for an eight years old boy...But he doesn’t really understand the lyrics and the tune is so catchy that you couldn’t care less. Plus it’s too cute to see how he wiggles his little butt to the rhythm. That kid really knew how to dance.
You’re sliding down the corridors now. Your slippers had been discarded somewhere in the house a while ago, so you could slide properly all around the wooden and marble floors.
Jason dances happily following after you, the huge boom box on your shoulder not hindering any of your movements.
He takes a spoonful of dessert and puts it in your mouth, a wide smile spread on his face as he misses on purpose and spread ice cream all over your chin.
You laugh and stick your tongue out to him, as the song continues :
“I've been singing with my band
Across the wire, across the land
I seen every blue eyed floozy on the way, hey
But their beauty and their style
Went kind of smooth after a while
Take me to them dirty ladies every time”
Yes. Lyrics definitely not appropriate. But Jason is having too much fun to realize what any of this is about. Plus he’s still such a pure and innocent little boy, you know he has no idea what most of this means.
You’re in the house’s main hall now, where the acoustic is the best, and you both sings your lungs out. You settle the boombox on the floor, and spray a large amount of whip cream in your mouth before giving some more to Jason.
Putting away dessert and canister, you take his hands and start jumping around the room. Just for the happy face the kid makes, all this is worth it.
Oh, won't you take me home tonight?
Oh, down beside your red firelight
Oh, and you give it all you got
Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin' world go 'round
Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin' world go 'round”
Jason is definitely not sick anymore, and his giggles fill the house. You chase after him all around the main hall, and when you finally catch up to him he burst into a loud laughter, drowning the rest of the song with it.
It’s contagious, as you start to crack up too, unable to stop. It’s only when the song comes to an end and the CD does too with it, the music stopping altogether, that your laughter subsides.
Jason frowns and, turning to you, exclaims :
“Again mom, please please, again !”
On the moment, neither of you even realize he just called you “mom”. It felt THAT natural. THAT normal. He had been in your life for months now, and this was just the definite next step to take.
Later on, it’ll finally hit you and you’ll give him the biggest hug of them all. And for him ? Well he always wanted a caring mother, but wasn’t gifted with one at birth...So your existence was truly salvation.
But that would come later. For now, you didn’t even notice him calling you “mom”, and he didn’t even realize he called you that, as you turned the music back on and were both dancing around the manor again, eating way too much dessert. Oh well, you’d worry about bellyaches later !
Cassandra didn’t speak. Couldn’t speak.
When she needed to communicate, she’d mainly use sign language.
She wasn’t mute. She could make sounds, use her voice.
But she...never really learned to talk. Her biological father raised her to be the ultimate weapon, and cut her out of any social contact to try to achieve this.
The only encounters with other people she had, was to fight...Which resulted in her being unable to speak.
Bruce brought her home two years ago.
And those two years were filled with a big personal journey for Cassandra.
She communicated through vague hand gestures and drawing, at first. Then eventually learned sign language. You and Bruce spend hours and hours with her and videos, teaching it to her, as she still seemed to be unable to speak. As if something stopped her from doing so...
She learned how to interact with other people, without fighting or killing.
She...She learned to know that she was worthy. That redemption was attainable. That it wasn’t her fault.
Bruce was sweet, with Cassandra. More delicate than with his sons. Maybe it was because she was a girl, maybe it was because she was more broken than any of them (at the time, Damian wasn’t in your life yet). More forgiving, too, as even after he discovered her past and the fact she started to kill when she was barely eight, he didn’t give up on her. On the contrary.
He actually settled to teach her his own values. No kill. Justice. All that. And she listened. Eagerly. Abiding by his rules willingly, understanding the worth of all lives. Slowly getting over what the man who called himself his father taught her, over all this pain and misery she went through since she was born.
And you ? Well you, you made it your mission to teach her about anything and everything. To show her the World, the one she was deprived of all those years.
You started things slow and easy, as to not overwhelm her.
You showed her your favorite movies and TV shows. Put on some music and talked about your favorite bands. You talked and talked and talked, hoping that maybe she’d copy you at some point ? Try to make a sound ?
But she only listened. Eagerly. However no words came out of her mouth.
Eventually, you moved on to things you didn’t particularly like music, movie or book wise, because you wanted her to experience “everything”. To catch up.
She seemed to like it, so you kept going. She liked movies you hated, and vice versa. She was forming her own personality, and wasn’t trying to copy you, or to agree to everything you said. You made sure she knew it was safe to be herself, when she was with you (and with the rest of the fam). It was good.
After a while, you took her with you on outings in Gotham. She only ever saw the city from the roofs, as she roamed them looking for her targets.
It was such a joy, to see her eyes go wide at the sight of some shops. Or to touch trees, lost in her thoughts. Looking at ducks on the pond. Being overly excited about giving bread to said ducks.
She became a big fan of hot dogs, and whenever she saw a cart would point at it excitedly and smile at you. You could never resist, even if Alfred would scold you afterward because you guys ate right before lunch time.
You went to see movies at the cinema with her, took her to concerts. You took her to the mall, thinking maybe she’ll like clothes and such...And she did. Albeit not exactly what people would think. She took a liking to the “punk subculture”. And to be honest, ripped jeans, spiked necklaces, platform shoes and such fitted her perfectly.
She went through multiple hair color phase, and each time, you supported her and dyed her hair however she liked. Because in your opinion, a teen should go through those phases !
But she still wasn’t speaking.
Two years. Two years of you helping her discovering the world, while Bruce taught her his principles. Two years of sign language, and slowly learning she wasn’t a bad person.
Two years. But not one word.
You were still hopeful though. She made such progress, since she first arrived. You kept all her drawings, when she was communicating only with those, and...It broke your heart, how her first drawings always represented her as if she was the worst person in the world.
When she met you and Bruce, saw your life, she blamed herself for so much. Both you and your husband reassured her though. She knew her past actions were wrong, which was more than most even realized ! Plus, it wasn’t her fault. It was all her “father”. All the man who turned her in a weapon.
Because when she was finally given the choice to “repent”, she took it without hesitation. She followed Bruce. She left behind all this pain and violence to start a new life.
Two years. For two years she followed that path. And she was great at it. You were convinced this kid was a deep empath...She cared a lot.
But she still didn’t speak.
You didn’t intend on giving up though. You knew one day or another she’ll find the strength to talk. But the healing process to come back from this past life of hers was long and laborious.
She couldn't be fixed in two seconds. She needed time. So in the meantime, you’d settle on showing her everything you knew, helping her experience the “real” world.
You were showing her one of your favorite TV show, “Gilmore Girls” when it happened. The show was mainly focused around the deep bond between a mother and her daughter, which in retrospect...Well, it made sense that it happened when you were watching this.
You were starting the third season when...
At first, you didn’t quite register what had just happened. You were so used to her silence. In your head, it wasn’t possible that this sound you just heard came from her.
But it did. The main character from the show, Lorelai, was having one of her most famous quirky moments, it was one of your favorite scene and...you slowly turned towards your daughter. Your daughter ? Um ? When did you start to consider her as such ?
The first day she entered your life, a little voice answered in the back of your head. And it was true. Cassandra became “yours” as soon as she sat foot in the batcave, with her lost little eyes and inability to properly communicate.
She says again, pointing at the TV. At Lorelai, the main character and the “mom” of the show. You were so shocked, that you could only nod.
Cassandra smiled, apparently satisfied of your reaction. She pointed at the screen again, and said :
You nodded again. Yes. Yes Lorelai was a good mother. She turned back to you, pointed at you this time and said :
Better ? Uh ?
“You. -she pointed at herself - My -she was pointing at you now-...mom. Yes ?”
Your heart stopped. You felt like you were dying. Those few words...Those few words overwhelmed you.
Two years. Two years Cassandra stayed silent, occasionally interacting through sign language, but mostly listening. Smiling, nodding, being curious...
Two years of silence.
And when Cassandra finally found her voice. When she was finally able to speak...
“Yes Cassie. Yes. Your mom. Yours. I’m...”
You said, chocking on your own voice, barely audible, as you brought her into a hug.
“You. The one. Cannot speak now.”
Cassandra says, amusement in her voice. And it’s true, this time...this time you’re the one struggling to get any words out.
Two years of silence finally broken, as your daughter found her voice.
“You. My mom.”
You were so, so, so so so so so SO proud.
Tears filled your eyes, as you saw him on the stage, holding proudly his trophy.
Things were made even more beautiful because...This was a normal moment, in a normal kid’s life. This didn’t involve capes, too many coffees and hours of sleep spend on the computer instead of in a bed.
This was all...Normal.
Tim had been in yours and Bruce’s life for a few years now. At first, his parents were still alive so he still lived with them...but they never noticed when he was gone. Parents of the year right ? When they died, it seemed logical to adopt him as your own.
He was such a smart boy, guessing at the mere age of eight who Batman really was, while no one else in Gotham seemed to have a clue.
But because he was so damn intelligent, his life...His life really hadn’t been normal. All of your kids’ life wasn’t quite normal, but you somehow always managed to give them a semblance of normality. By playing with them, by being silly with them etc etc.
But Tim ? Well. Tim was too focused. Tim never quite really acted like a normal boy. He reminded you a lot of Bruce, but Bruce was a grown ass man now. And even him, according to Alfred, had his moments of being a kid even after his parents’ death. He also lived eight blissful years being the most spoiled child in the World...
But Tim ? Tim never acted like a boy his age. Sure, he played sometimes. And he joined in on Disney movie night. He would accept your cuddles and affectionate hair ruffling any time. He loved when you read him a bed time story...But those moments were so rare !
So here, right now, at his school’s science fair...You were just incredibly proud and happy. Because it just felt like he was a normal kiddo.
Still smart as hell, sure, but that he had “normal” worries.
That very same morning, he was so stressed and scared of not winning the fair. That his experience wouldn’t work. That he’d be ridiculous.
He had “normal” kid of his age worries ! Albeit, you wished he didn’t had any worries at all, but it was nice to see him act just like all the other ten years old at the fair.
It was also nice to see he had many friends at his school. That he wasn’t a loner, that he didn’t isolate himself like he sometimes did at home.
If you didn’t go look for Tim to spend time with him, he would get lost in his work and never come out of his room. Forgetting to sleep and eat. He was way too dedicated...Well. Again. He reminded you a lot of Bruce.
But here he was, being a normal boy, proud to present his work at a normal science fair.
Of course, you and Bruce came to see him. And he seemed so happy, when he saw you coming in the room.
It kinda broke your heart, that he wasn’t sure if you would come or not. He did reserve you some seats though, in the front.
“I’m not sure I’ll win, I probably won’t but...I’m glad you came !”
You saw him worked on his project for the past six months, and it was amazing. Maybe it’s because he was your son but you were sure he’d win.
Wait. Your son ? Um...no. No question mark.
Yes. Your son.
He still called you and Bruce by your first name, but in your heart, he was your son. Yours.
And oh, seeing him so proud and happy to show you his work, and to introduce you to his friends...it was such a joy !
Plus, it was so rare to hear him blabber about normal subject. It made your heart beat with happiness when he whispered in your hear that he had a crush on the girl whose project was just next to his. She was a “smart cookie”.
You and Bruce teased him a bit about it, just enough so that he would still tell you things afterward and not be vexed or anything like that.
He showed you around his school, and...He just talked so much ! It was great.
And then...Then the day arrived to its end.
He was sitting between you and Bruce, holding yours and Bruce’s hand tightly to his forehead as if to give him courage, waiting eagerly for the result of the contest and...His name. It’s his name they called.
People applauded, but no one quite cheered him on as much as you and Bruce. You whistled, yelled “YAAAAY TIMMMMMYYY !!” while Bruce was telling to whoever was listening that it was “his son”.
The boy climbed on the stage, and was handed his trophy.
And oh you were so proud. And he looked so happy, so far from the dark world he lived in at times...Seeing him so happy, made you happy.
Just like seeing him sad made you sad. He was your son. Your little boy. You wanted only the best for him, and sometimes it was so difficult to give it to him...
Not today though. No. Today, you were glad you encouraged him to take part in the science fair contest. Because oh he just looked so joyful !
The teacher asked him if he wanted to give a quick speech, and you got a bit worried. Tim was such an introvert, public speaking was definitely not something he enjoyed.
And yet, yet he grabbed the mic excitedly and yelled :
“Mom ! Dad ! I won ! Look ! Look I have a trophy !! Look it’s almost as big as me ! Look mom !! Look dad look !!”
He was trotting all around the stage, under people’s fond laugh. Everyone was definitely thinking about how cute that little kid was ! And he was...yours !
No more first names. “Mom”. “Dad”. And he won. The trophy...The trophy was really almost as big as him (damn private school and their bling bling).
You were an absolutely blubbering mess by the time he jumped down back to the seat and showed off proudly his trophy to you, calling you “mom” and “dad” repeatedly as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
And it was. Because he was yours. Your little boy...
“Stop, stooooop ! I’m fine, I really am ! Oh my god unhand me now !!”
Damian tried to wiggle out of your grasp, but you were holding onto him too tightly for him to be able to. Exasperated to the maximum, he yelled :
“MOM, LET ME GO AT ONCE !! I’M OKAY !!!”
This did the trick. You let go off him and just stared at him, shocked.
What did he just call you ?
He looked at you and let out a nervous chuckle. He...He didn’t really mean to call you that.
Or rather, he meant to do so for a long time, but never dared. Because what if you didn’t want to be his mom ? What if you didn’t want him as a son ? He wasn’t technically yours, after all.
Now of course, none of your kids were technically yours, and yet you accepted all of them. But Damian...Damian was actually Bruce’s son. So he thought...He thought maybe you hated him for existing ? Even though he was conceived before you got with Bruce ?
Damian was overthinking. And he never overthought. Not on such matters at least. Because you know what ? He was so sure he didn’t care about you, at first. So sure it didn’t matter if you didn’t like him, because you were just “the woman married to his father”.
But then...Then he changed his mind. Because even though he wasn't yours, and even though he was really mean to you, you still treated him like you treated your other children.
Even though he was a brat who insulted you many times...You never got mad at him. Sure, you got a bit snarky a few times, but just enough to make him realize he was being ridiculous, and yet not ridiculing him.
You even stopped Bruce from getting mad at him (your husband had the tendency to always jump in to defend your honor, even if you could defend yourself just fine...it was actually rather cute, in the end).
Instead, you just accepted him as he was. You withstand his tantrums, not batting an eye. You listened to his rant, without ever scolding him, but instead conversing with him. Trying to show him another point of view.
Damian didn’t want to get attached to you...But it just kinda..Happened.
He had been wanting to call you “mom” for a while, by now, but never dared. Because he was afraid you’d reject him, even if you shown nothing but understanding to him. He just...Well, he wasn’t sure his heart could bear your rejection.
He never really had a real loving mother. Instead of good night kisses, his mother left him beaten half to death in his bed, left him to take care of himself.
He never had bed time stories, but assassins send in the middle of the night to train him to be always vigilant. He never had cuddles, but punches.
And sure, he had encouraging words, but they were all about him becoming ruthless and heartless, and one day ruling the world. Not about him being close to beating his high score in a video game !
No. He never had...Someone like you. A real mother...A mom. And he was afraid that if he finally called you “mom”, the spell would be broken. You would be weirded out, and things would change.
But tonight...Tonight as he came back to the bat cave, something snapped in him. That night, his intercom broke in a fight and you were worried sick that something might have happened to him as you had no news.
And when he came back, and only had a few bruises and cuts...You just couldn’t hold yourself anymore. You were completely unaware of Damian’s inner turmoil about calling you “mom”, because for you...he was your son.
He became your son that first time he finally warmed up to you, finally smiled at you and said “yes” to playing a simple board game with you. And you thought you made it clear enough that you considered him your son...But oh, to Damian, who wasn’t used to it, of course it would be scary. And of course he would be unsure if he understood things well or not.
As soon as he came in the cave, and you saw he was unharmed, you rushed to him and took him in your arms. Making sure not to touch his bruises and cuts.
And that’s when it happened.
That’s when Damian struggled against your hug because oh my god he was fine ok ?! No need to worry that much !!
That’s when Damian said, in the most natural way ever, “mom”. Because of course...of course only a mother could be THAT worried about him. Right ?
That night, something truly snapped inside him. Suddenly, everything made sense. Yes. Of course.
“Really mom, I’m fine.”
His siblings, his father and Alfred were all looking at him, a wide smile on their faces. His brothers and his sister remembering the day they themselves first called you “mom”.
And you ? Well, you had one of your famous “burst of affection” all of a sudden, and grabbed onto your son, crying and saying :
“My baby boyyyyyyyyyy !!”
It made Damian incredibly happy, those few words...Even as you were almost suffocating him under your hugs and kisses.
I feel like I wrote a lot of stuffs talking about what Batmom means to those kids. Talking about how they feel about her and vice versa. But I realized I never wrote about that first time they called her...”mom”. If you want all the background infos about how everything came to be, go check my other “Batmom x Batkids” fics (especially the sad ones at the end of the list, if you know what I mean) :). Anyway I hope you liked this thing I wrote on the spur of the moment, and as usual, feedbacks and reblogs = LIFE. On that note, it’s very VERY late (again, I got carried away) so I’m off to bed. See ya soon !
PS : If you’re wondering why Duke does not appear, simple reason : while he’s a member of the Batfam and all, I don’t think he considers Bruce (and by extension Batmom) like a dad (and so mom). Bruce is definitely a mentor. And he takes care of him while his parents are “sick”...But Duke’s parents are still alive, and there will eventually be a cure for what they have. Know what I mean ? I feel like Duke is more like a “cousin”, a “nephew”, than a son. HOWEVER, to compensate the fact I didn’t write about him here...I’ll write an entire fic just about him and how he fits in the Batfam. Because I can. Bam.
PPS : Appreciate this cute Dick Grayson from Earth 42. Imagine him looking like this in the fic, but with a pirate costume. Cute lil Dickie. Also, his story was the longest out of all the Batboys because I realized he’s the one I made interact with Batmom the least. And Damian’s is the shortest one because I wrote a LOT of stuffs with him bonding with Batmom :).
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“Can you be my dad’s girlfriend, please ?” - Bruce Wayne x Reader (x Batkids)
I was just thinking about the kids’ experience in school, being both part of the Wayne family and everything it brings AND a vigilante...and this story just came to be. I hope you will like it :
Fair warning : this is very long. I hope you will not find it boring. The subject interested me, and I wanted to write a slow burn story for ages. And here we are.
My master list : @ella-ravenwood-archives
"Are you sure about this, Dick ?"
"Yeah, I am.”
The boy looked sure of himself alright, but Bruce couldn’t help and be a little worried, faced with the building’s decrepitude, and the general state of the neighborhood. Of course, he himself would never care about that, but this didn’t concern him per se.
It wasn’t about his safety, but Dick’s.
Bruce Wayne could wish to change Gotham all he wanted, do everything in his power to make living in this city better, and hope for progress...He wasn’t an idiot.
He knew his work just started, and that most of the city was still very much unsafe. And Dick went through so much already...
Was enrolling him in this school the right choice ?
“You know, Gotham Academy is currently the best rated school in the city ? And it’s closer to the Manor, not by much, but still...It’s also closer from Wayne Tower, just in case.”
Dick frowned, and Bruce could see that he was going to say something before he could truly think about it. His little ward was very impulsive, at times. And sure enough, Bruce was right, as Dick turned to him and started vehemently :
"It's full of phonies and not payed enough frustrated teachers who are mean to kids because they were born rich ! I mean, some of those kids totally deserve it, being phonies and all, but there’s many that are just normal nice kids with rich parents ! I can’t learn with a teacher who hates teaching. And the phonies are getting to me now, mocking me because I was in the circus...And it’s harder to fit in when you go home and are not in the boarding school part ? Most of them are in boarding school, and were jealous I could go home. And I don't care about the "prestige" everyone was always talking about. I don’t go to school to appear better than I am, I go there to learn !”
There’s a short silence, during which Bruce feels a pang of guilt in his heart.
Other kids were mocking him ? The teachers weren’t nice ? Why did Dick wait three months into the school year to tell him he wasn’t feeling well in that environment ? Was he not feeling comfortable enough around him yet ? It has only been six months since he started to live with him, after all..
Bruce tried his best to make him feel at home at the Manor, but it proved, at times, to be more difficult than anything he ever did in his life.
And this was coming from a man who went to train all over the world for years, enduring impossible trials after impossible trials. None of his training though, prepared him to raise a kid. Thanks god Alfred was always there to help him out when he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do.
And the more he thought of it, the more Bruce realized that putting Dick in the fanciest school of the City might not have been the best move...
“Do-Do you um, care about the prestige ?"
Dick asks, breaking the silence, looking up at Bruce shyly.
It was clear in the little boy’s eyes, he was very worried about what Bruce was thinking right now. And that the short silence after his passionate diatribe made him nervous. Because...Maybe Bruce would disagree with him ?
Maybe knowing the reason Dick wanted to change from private school to a "normal" public school in would make him angry ? Offend him ?
After all, Gotham Academy was very much like the school Bruce went to as a youngster (said school blew up a few years prior after an “accidental” gaz leak).
Looking at the boy’s almost panicked face, Bruce reassured him quickly :
"Of course not chum. I want you to be happy and feel comfortable in whatever school you choose. If you want to go to this one, then you're going to this one. I was just making sure everything was truly ok with you."
"Well it is ! I have friends here, people that came to-to the circus, you know ? Kids I met during intermissions and all that. Back in the other school, people, and not just the kids, the teachers too, made fun of me because I was in a circus ! Always talking about how I probably was uneducated and all. Bruce, They kept saying I was a clown when I was an acrobat !"
Once again, Bruce felt his heart tightening in guilt and sadness. Three months. The kid waited THREE MONTHS, enduring mockeries and not feeling well, before saying something ! And he only said said something after Bruce kinda forced him to talk about his feelings...
Which had been a very laborious process. Dick was a stubborn child, and Bruce wasn’t really the best person when it came to the concept of “opening up”. Eventually though, he finally got an answer out of the kid.
It wasn’t going well at school, which is why he was being angrier and angrier, and lashed out even more often than when his...The subject of parents was sort of taboo, right now.
Nonetheless, Bruce observed a clear improvement in Dick’s mood and behavior over the Summer. Being with him made the boy more cheerful, and like his entire world still had some sense. Like he wasn’t all alone. When Bruce thought back to his own childhood, and the months after his parents’ death, he truly realized how much Alfred helped him go through everything.
And he wanted to be that person for Dick. It succeeded, as the boy opened up more and more, and was starting to smile again. Be snarky and sassy, too, which Bruce could definitely do without (or not).
When school started however, he went back to a morose like attitude and it didn’t take a genius to understand something must be up..
And here they were, in front of a completely normal school in the Otisburg District, Uptown Gotham. Not the worst neighborhood, most definitely not the best.
Dick said he knew people that went to this school, and that’s why he chose it. And today was his first day. Even though he was a rather extroverted child, Bruce could tell he was nervous.
Made sense, it’s not easy, being the “new kid”.
Laying his hands on the boy’s shoulders, Bruce gave them a light squeeze he hoped felt reassuring, and said :
“Well, buddy. Should we go in ?”
This was one of the most stressful day of your life.
No. Second most stressful day. The worst one was most definitely about a week after you graduated college, all cheerful and happy about the prospect to start teaching ! You were riddled with enthusiasm and willingness to change the World, give kids a chance annnnnnnd...realized that day finding a teacher’s position where you wanted was difficult.
Because of sentimental reasons, you did not want to leave Gotham. This city had been your home all your life, and you just couldn’t envision yourself teaching anywhere else.
The city was big, but there wasn’t that many schools, in the end. Or at least, not enough teacher jobs available. None at all, in fact. Well, in the schools you wanted to work at.
There was work in the few private schools all around the city, but you didn’t want to be a teacher in such a place.
You grew up in a bad neighborhood of Gotham (which wasn’t telling much, since most neighborhood in Gotham were “bad” at the time), and you were certain that it was only thanks to the best sixth grade teacher you’ve ever had that you didn’t turn bad.
Out there, in the street of GC, it was so easy for kids from disadvantages families to fall into petty crimes. There wasn’t really a lot of prospect for those kids, with no money to continue their studies and nowhere to really go.
Eventually, a lot of petty crimes turn into organize crimes and...Well, you were sure that one of Gotham’s root problem was their bad public schools.
You swore to yourself that when you’d become an actual teacher and have your own class, you’d advocate a lot to the city council to have a bigger budget, and give a real chance to kids from the lower neighborhoods !
But right now, after three months of not being able to find any steady work in the area you wanted (only short subbing times), and almost accepting a position at Gotham Academy...You finally found a job (well, at least you think you did) and were waiting nervously in front of the principal’s office for him to give you a class !
You didn’t know yet which one you’d get, and it made you extremely nervous ! The entire ordeal was settled really fast, and just enhanced your stress because you had barely any time to prepare. And since you didn’t know which class you’d have, you prepared for any grade you could have in an elementary school (because yes, you were an elementary school teacher. You were sure that trying to lead kids the right way had to start from an early age, as so many of them, in Gotham, just quit school before the age of 15...).
The day before today, you received a call from a panicked principal in the Otisburg district, talking about one of his main teacher quitting after she got mugged for the 7th time that month (it was particularly hard for her because she was originally from Metropolis, so not used to all this violence...), and he was in desperate need to find someone to fill her spot ! The principal’s words particularly resonated within you, since she was saying that those kids, given their circumstances, couldn’t afford to miss a few days of school.
It could have terrible consequences. Which is why she called you (you remember perfectly well that principal, and couldn’t help, when she hung up the phone, to feel utterly giddy because...she was running one of the school you wanted to go the most to !).
But then you realized she didn’t tell you which class the quitting teacher had, or if the spot would be “regular” of if it was yet another subbing time for you...
And here you were, waiting in front of her door, stressing the hell out. And oh my god WHY did you came an hour earlier ?! It just enhanced your stress.
Next to you, there was a trash can full of the espresso you got from the machine in the empty teachers’ room. All this caffeine running through your blood system surely didn’t help you relax.
You were about to take yet another walk around the school to try and release some tension when...
“Can we get ramen for dinner ?”
“I’m not against it chum, but I believe we’ll hurt Alfred’s feelings if we come back for the fourth night in a row with take away.”
“Oh. Right. Then maybe he can make ramen ?”
“I’m sure he’d learn for you.”
“Can you call him so he’ll do it for tonight ? I really want ramen. I miss it..”
“Dick, we ate ramen the past four nights.”
“But it’s so good ! Pleaaaaaase Bruce please please please ask hiiiiiim ?!”
“Alright alright alright. I’ll call him after the meeting ok ?”
Half-standing half-sitting, as you were about to leave for yet another walk, you noticed two persons coming your way, and caught a little part of their conversation.
A man and a boy, probably his son. The little one was jumping up in the air, fist bumping the nothingness, clearly happy about the prospect to eat “ramen”. As they both came closer to you, you realized that...
“Ah, mister Wayne ! I see you’re here too, Miss (Y/L/N), good good. Perfect timing.”
You jump in the air, surprised by the sudden appearance of the principal. Was she a ninja or something, to open her door so stealthily and just appear out of thin air ?!
The thought made you smile, because honestly, in Gotham City ? It was a possibility that the principal of this little school was an assassin of some sort...You stopped your mind from inventing stories about a famous ninja acting as an elderly school principal as a cover, and being one of the most prolific hitman of Gotham at night, and turned to her.
Why was it, that your imagination always ran the wildest at the worst moments ? Right now, you were about to have your first briefing at your first teacher job ever, in the company of the famous Bruce Wayne, and you were thinking about ninjas and whatnot ! WHY ?!
You smile awkwardly at her, and walk into her office, wondering now why a man like Bruce Wayne was here.
According to TV and diverse newspaper, he was a few years older than you, and after everyone thought he died long ago, came back out of nowhere to take his place back in the city’s life just a few months ago.
Why was he here ?
Wasn’t he supposed to be a billionaire who was gonna “turn Gotham around” ? A rush of excitement suddenly filled you. Was he-Was he getting interested in helping schools out ?!
That little boy who was with Bruce Wayne, it was “Richard Grayson”. You read his story in the paper, what terrible tragedy...Made worst by the fact it was the only news going around in Gotham for quite a while.
Turned out though, the papers and other media missed one hell of a headline... Their beloved Bruce Wayne adopted the kid ! And no one talked about it ! Your guts were telling you that the reason why this was kept a secret was the man himself. You didn’t know him, but he most definitely seemed like the kind of person who would make sure no further stories about a poor defenseless little boy would surface all around the city.
“So as I was saying, perfect timing ! I thought, mister Wayne, a man of your stature might want to meet your son’s teacher first ? Well here she is ! Miss (Y/N/L) ! She’s starting at our school today too, and will teach the third graders.”
Bruce cleared his throat, and looked at you worriedly. Wow, rude. You didn’t quite know why, but your guts were telling you again this Bruce guy wasn’t very convinced about you right now.
“Um, how old is miss (Y/N/L) ?”
You raise an eyebrow, and answer before the principal can :
“Miss (Y/N/L) is 23, almost 24. Why, is that a problem ?”
“Um, no no. I mean...Maybe. I was under the impression Dick was going to be in the class of someone who had a lot of experience being a teacher ?”
WOW ! RUDE ! You turned an outraged face to him, and he avoids your eyes. The little one though, “Dick”, looks at you apologetically and elbows his gardian in the ribs.
“Can I ask you something mister Wayne ? Do people tell you the same thing when they realize you’re about my age and are raising a child right now ?”
Bruce turns to you, and...Oh you hit the bullseye.
“I think I have every right to ask about your experience, as I’m about to leave my child in your care.”
He says coldly, and oh you just want to punch him. You knew he got the analogy, and maybe you were a bit out of line but come on, he was too.
You were about to answer something, and was ready to get fired before you even started school as you knew you were going to put the richest man in Gotham back to his place, when the principal said :
“I can assure you miss (Y/L/N) is the person we need ! When she came to leave her curriculum vitae a few months ago, I just had hired Miss Hick, who quit. Poor woman, she was from Metropolis, you know ?”
Both you and Bruce nod knowingly. The principal continues :
“In any case, I almost regretted that I hired Miss Hick when I saw miss (Y/L/N). Let me tell you mister Wayne, I can assure you that she’s really the person this school needs ! She came out top of her class from school, and clearly has the passion to teach ! She might not have a lot of experience yet, but I think both the kids and her can grow a lot because of this. I’m a very gutsy person you know ? I can have a “feel” of people, know what they’re worth...It’s the part of me that was raised in the Bowery, you know ? Well in any case, from all the things I know about her, and the many letters of recommendations I had from schools where she had internships or subbed, she’s the perfect person for the job. And you, mister Wayne, I feel like you’re a reasonable man...Give her a chance, will you ?”
Well, this was interesting.
Sure, your first impression of Bruce Wayne wasn’t very good, but you had to admit that the way he seemed worry about his ward kinda warmed your heart.
It wasn’t very nice, to be questioned about your ability because you were young. But you could understand where he was coming from. And you kinda started to feel guilty about lashing out, and talking about his own legitimacy to raise a child.
Since when was hurting someone because they hurt you the right solution ? You knew better...
Oh ? Haha. You both talk at the same time, as you close the door to the principal’s office, raising your heads to look at each others.
You were both clearly feeling ashamed, and were looking down at the floor, when you decided to apologize. At the same time. And so you both start to laugh. Under the gaze of little Dick, who is most likely thinking : “What the Hell ? Adults are so weird.”, given his confused expression.
“I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude or anything. It’s very unlike me, I assure you. It’s just, I want Dick to...Be alright.”
He says, smiling shyly at you. And you can’t help but thinks this is probably not a look people are used to see on Bruce Wayne’s face.
“No no no, I’m the one who is sorry. Your concern was totally receivable, and I didn’t really help my case by being an as-um, very immature right afterward.”
“Well, let’s start all over, alright ? I’m Bruce Wayne. And this is my ward, Dick. He’s going to be your student this year.”
“I’m (Y/N) (Y/L/N), I’m um...Going to be your ward’s teacher.”
“Well, a pleasure to meet you miss (Y/N/L). I’m sure we’ll see a lot of each others, in this coming years.”
He tells you with a charming smile. And you try to pack in your brain all the rumors about him being a womanizer, to try and take away how attractive he is. How handsome, sure. But also how his voice is deep and soft to the ear, and how he genuinely seemed to care about his kid in that short meeting...You almost forget his rudeness. Well. He did apologize.
“Pleasure to meet you too, and I’m sure we will.”
Bruce shook your hand, and crouched down to be at Dick’s eye level. He put a hand on his head and said :
“Well chum, see you tonight ?”
There’s a short silence, and you can see Bruce wants to say more but is searching for his words. Finally, he says :
“Are you going to be ok ?”
The boy smiles widely, and nods enthusiastically. Bruce gives him a worried smile, and after ruffling his hair stands up, and leaves. But not without turning around one last time, as he’s about to disappear at the corner of the corridor, and waving at his boy. Dick waves back, and puts his thumbs up.
Everything was going to be ok !
Nothing was going to be ok !
What was Dick doing ? He should’ve said to Bruce he was really scared and worried about starting everything over in this new school ! He was pretty sure that if he had, Bruce would’ve taken him with him to work, and give him time to not be afraid anymore.
Bruce was like that. Always caring about his feelings first. He would probably homeschool him if he wanted...but that’s not what Dick wanted. Although he was thinking about it right now.
He did want to go to a normal school. And see the friends he made while in the circus. And have good teachers (this miss (Y/N/L) sounded great). But it was still scary ?
Dick could act as if he was confident and outgoing all he wanted, he was still an eight (almost nine) year old boy who was about to be thrown into an unknown environment. Not very reassuring. He was thinking...
“I’m nervous too, you know.”
“This is the first class i’m going to teach as an actual teacher, and not just a substitue teacher. It’s very nerve wracking. I’m also about to meet a whole lot of new people, that’s always a bit scary, right ?”
The boy answers, feeling his nervousness slowly fading away, as you smile at him reassuringly. It kind of reminds him of how Bruce would talk about his own problems to relate to his, which always helped him understand things more.
It helped him greatly, when he thought about his parents, and Bruce told him about his...
“Let’s make a deal. If I feel like I’m going to freak out, I’ll say “banana”, and you’ll make a diversion so I can escape ok ? And if you feel like you’re about to freak out, ask me if you can have some bananas and I’ll make something up so you can go in the corridor to regain some countenance ok ?”
“Ok, ok banana maybe isn’t the right word. What about...”
Oh god, the kid was most definitely thinking you were crazy, right ? You were trying to find a way to actually make him feel comfortable, and tell him it was ok if today become too overwhelming and he needed to take a break from all this novelty. Oh geez if you couldn’t make one child feel ok, could you even hold a full classroom ?!
“What about saying we need to go to the bathroom ? Everyone needs to go to the bathroom at one point.”
“Oh, brilliant idea Dick ! So, if we both feel like things are too much, our escape plan will be the bathroom...ok ?”
The boy answers excitedly, and you feel a sudden wave of relief. Ok. Good. Mission accomplished. He was clearly not feeling as nervous anymore. And you ? Well, this little victory calmed you down quite a bit as well.
Still though, as you pushed the door to your classroom and was met with all your new students, you felt like saying you needed to go to the bathroom right away...
When Dick came home that night, he wore the widest smile Bruce saw him wear for a long time. And oh, oh he was so excited to talk about what he did that day.
“Miss (Y/L/N), Miss (Y/L/N) !”
Dick calls you across the corridor, as the rest of the children exit the school to go home. It’s the end of today’s lessons, and you’re exhausted. You can’t wait to go home, but you never really mind doing some extra hours to answer a kid’s question.
Especially when said kid is Dick Grayson.
Of course, you’re not playing favorites in your class, oh no no no you would never...But you liked that kid.
Dick walks to you, and waits a few minutes for the corridor to empty out. And then he looks up at you, and as if it was the most evident question in the World, he says :
“Can you be my dad’s girlfriend ?”
For the first time in ages, you can feel your face growing hotter, all the way up to your ears. You spit the coffee you were drinking, and you turn to the little boy who just asked you the cutest question ever, that also made you highly uncomfortable.
“Um uh I um uh...What ?”
You totally blank. You. The person who spend her entire days answering kids’ questions, no matter how weird and kinda useless. And here you were. Completely unable to say anything.
“Can you be my dad’s girlfriend ?”
There another short pause, where you just stare at the boy and he stares back, not flinching one bit. And then there’s a sudden light in his eyes, as if he just understood something, and adds :
And it kind of melts your heart, how he thinks you weren’t answering because he wasn’t being polite. Trying to choose your words carefully, you say :
“What brought this up ?”
You knew that asking their thought process first, could help you greatly understand a child.
“Well, you’re great and pretty and nice and the best teacher I ever had and he needs to be taken care of. You take great care of us !”
“Dick, your dad isn’t a child anymore..”
You smile at all the compliments the boy gave you. How sweet and innocent. You also smile at him calling Bruce his “dad”.
As the school year unfolded, you saw a shift in Dick’s behavior. A good shift. He opened up more and more, and it was obvious he was slowly finding a new family again, without forgetting the one he lost.
You actually thought Bruce’s approach to tell him he could call him whatever he wanted, and that Dick’s parents would probably just want for him to be happy, and would be happy themselves he wasn’t alone...Was very cute.
You talked about it with him in a parent/teacher meeting. Of course, you had said meeting with all “your” kids’ parents. Not just Bruce. Um.
“I know he isn’t ! Though believe me he acts like one sometimes. But I’m saying that because...I think he’s lonely ? And sad ? Sometimes it feels like he’s just not with us you know ? I don’t know how to explain it, I don’t have the words to...”
Oh but you see exactly what Dick means. You noticed it too. Sometimes, Bruce, when he thought no one was looking, had this melancholic look in his eyes, as if lost in his own dark world indeed.
Not that you saw Bruce THAT often. I mean, just like you saw the other students’ parents really. After all, the school this year really worked on involving the parents more. You and the principal really had the same ideas, and you thought that getting the parents right into the student’s school life was vital for a good development.
“Dick, you know you can’t just become someone’s girlfriend like that ?”
“Sure you can ! I asked Rose McDowell yesterday if she’d be my girlfriend, and she said yes ! It’s simple, you have to ask and then you’re in love.”
You smile at how sweet this child simplified vision of love is, and say :
“Adults are complicated, Dick. We can’t just fall in love by asking someone if they want to be our girlfriend or boyfriend. We have to go on dates, and know each others, and such things ?”
“But miss, you know my dad. If you’re not sure about something, ask me ! I know everything about him, and if I don’t, then Alfred must know !”
Again, you smile at how easy that little boy seems to find solutions to any problems. And oh you wished it was that simple.
“This isn’t how it works, Dick. You have to have feelings for each others, too.”
“Well, I know he likes you !”
You feel your heart jump in your chest, and a rush of excitement...Until you realize. “Simplified answers and solutions”. And thinking he loves little Rose. Dick clearly does not know what “likes” truly mean, and might mix up friendship feelings with love.
After all, it was true you and Bruce got along. Strictly in a...teacher/parent kind of relationship of course. Let’s just say Bruce Wayne agreed with your kind of teaching. Not every parents saw eye to eye with your “fun” methods and such.
So in the eye of a kid, agreeing with each others might seem like this “like” feeling. But really, there was NO way a man like Bruce Wayne would be interested in someone like you.
You saw the models he dated at charity balls and other galas. It never lasted long, and he had much less flings since he officially adopted Dick, but you still saw how they looked and such. Why, when he had such options, would he go for a plain elementary teacher like you ?
“Dick, I don’t think he likes me in the way boyfriends like their girlfriends, do you understand what I mean ?”
“There’s more than one way to like a person !?”
The boy seemed blown away by that, and you can’t help but smile once again his innocence :
“Of course there is. You don’t like Bruce the same way you like Rose, right ? Or your friend Harry ?”
Quick connections seem to be made in his little head, and he nods slowly. But oh horror, his shoulders flop down dejectedly, and he looks sad now. You don’t have time to try and find a way to make him understand everything is alright as he says :
“So you don’t like him ? I mean, like like him ?”
Smart boy. He understood fast that there were indeed a difference between love and friendship. Or at least, he understood the concept of it. You smile and you say :
“No buddy, no I don’t like like him.”
It’s a blatant lie, but sometimes, for a child’s own good, a lie is the best solution.
Because even if by some miracle Bruce Wayne “liked liked” you, he was still one of your student’s parent. When you were in college, one of your teacher hammered in your head that it was highly unethical to date a student’s parent, and this principle just stuck in there.
No. No way. You could never date Bruce Wayne. Because even if he liked you back (back ?) the fact was, he’d forever be one of your student’s parent, even the day Dick would go to the next grade...
Dick moves on to the fourth grade, and it’s quite painful to let go of this very first class you’ve ever taught. Those kids that help you grow as a teacher, as you lead them on the path of knowledge.
For an entire year, you all learned from each others, and it’s with a heavy heart you see those children moving on to the next class, as you welcome new kids yourself.
Wow. You didn’t think it would be that hard. But it really is. Even more so because you know, no matter the impact you had on those kids’ life, they’re bound to forget you one day...It was a sad thought, but one you wrongfully thought would be true.
Actual truth was, you shaped a lot of those children’s lives and they’d forever be grateful that you never gave up on them.
And as a new year starts, and your class is full of unfamiliar faces, you have to face the fact that this is what being a teacher is.
For the next few years, you don’t really see him. Briefly in the school’s corridor as he goes to a parent/teacher meeting or something of the like. Or in the principal’s office, after he made yet another large donation for the school (since his son enrolled in a “normal” school, Bruce got very involved in the education system in Gotham and donated a lot of money to a lot of schools in rough neighborhoods, unknowingly accomplishing your lifelong dream).
But you don’t see him as much as when Dick was in your class.
Which makes sense...Why would you keep seeing Bruce Wayne ?
You saw him often because you were the kind of teacher to involve the parent a lot. You saw him when Dick decided to make an expose on him, and dragged him in his classroom (it was very funny to see the famed Bruce Wayne awkwardly standing in front of a bunch of kids). You saw him when you had to talk about Dick’s progress or problems. You...Well, you saw him like every other parent. Nothing special was going on.
And now, as you don’t have his kid as a student anymore, of course you see him less.
But sometimes, sometimes when you finish work and walk back to your car, he waves at you from his own car (he always made sure to pick his son up) and smiles, and honestly...It’s enough for you.
This sort of non-relationship goes on for a very long time. Where you quickly see each others in hallways, waving at each others in the parking lot, and catching up with quick conversations that are always the same :
“Hello Mister Wayne.”
“Hello Miss (Y/L/N).”
“How are you today ?”
“Fantastic, and you ?”
“Great. Well, I have to go to my class.”
“Yes, I have to go to. It was nice seeing you.”
Hundreds and hundreds of short conversations, that started to mean a lot to you, even more so since Dick was almost going to graduate primary school and..Oh god.
You had a crush on Bruce Wayne.
Then again, in Gotham city, with how much he appeared on TV and such, a lot of people had a crush on Bruce Wayne.
But you…well, he was handsome, nice, funny, but most of all, he cared so much about this little boy he adopted, that…how could you resist really ? You rationalized everything by thinking that you liked him so much only because of how much he cared for Dick (who wasn’t even your student anymore !).
Of course. People caring about "your" kids, about their education and all, always kinda made you melt. Even more so when they were single parent !
Yes. Yes you didn't really liked Bruce Wayne. You didn't really have a crush on him. You just…Admired how well he took care of that kid that suddenly appeared in his life. Hell, he seemed to take care of him better than the parents who had their own children since birth…It was something.
Of course, you were sure their "butler", Alfred Pennyworth, that you met a few times, was for something in all this. Still. It was very sweet. And impressive. And all those feelings gave you the impression you had a crush on him...but you really don’t, right ?
No. No you don’t. Oh, but here he comes, you know he has a meeting with Dick’s 6th grade teacher and...
“Hello, Miss (Y/N/L).”
“Hello, Mister Wayne.”
The same conversation.
Over and over again.
And it always ends on large smiles being exchanged, and a short pause, as if neither of you truly want to leave...
Dick graduated sixth grade and you stopped seeing Bruce Wayne.
It made you oddly sad, but then again...That’s how life went, right ? It was time to move on from your silly crush that lasted those past three years.
Another year passes, and you’re slowly getting over Bruce Wayne. Your heart doesn’t beat as fast when you see him on TV, and you started to date men there and there, when you felt like you wanted to be with someone.
After his graduation, you didn’t see Dick again, which confirmed your theory that no matter the impact you had on a child, when they moved on...They moved on.
The truth was, Dick never forgot you, and wish he would have had the time to go back to his old school. But middle school was harder and more demanding than elementary school, and with his nightly activities...
But he never forgot the first teacher he had that made him feel like he could do anything. And that was always understanding, and adapted her way of teaching for every single kids in the class.
But that, you did not know. And you thought you had moved on, too. Until you saw him again. At the exact same place you met. In front of the principal office.
“Mister Wayne ?!”
“Miss (Y/L/N) !”
He says with a warm smile, his hands on the shoulders of a little boy that couldn’t be older than ten or eleven. And you understand that he adopted again, and realize that yup, you still have a crush on Bruce Wayne.
After Dick's debacle at Gotham Academy, how much he hated it and such…Bruce figured that with Jason, he'd just let him choose.
So he went and took brochures from each school, and brought them back to the Manor for Jason to take a look at. Alfred had a little tear at the corner of his eye, when he witnessed his master going all around Gotham just to pick up infos on every single school so his kid could choose…
It was particularly refreshing that since Young Master Dick left, Bruce felt lonely.
Even more so given the conditions they parted at the time…ah but that was another story, and the butler had no doubt in his mind that Dick would come around, forgive his father and vice versa. After all, young Master Dick was a teenager now (not since very long), he had to rebel at some point, and it did some good to Bruce to have someone disagreeing with his methods and making him reconsider things…But again, that was another story.
For now, everything was about Bruce going well out of his way to make sure Jason would be comfortable.
"You can go wherever you want."
"Yes, you're the boss. Choose where you want to go."
Jason's face brightened, and Bruce couldn't help but smile at him.
That little boy clearly had so few choices in his life…Oh god, Bruce hoped that suddenly having so many choices wouldn't overwhelm him !
But the boy was carefully studying brochures one by one, putting them away in three different piles. Bruce wondered for a second why, when the kid looked at him and understood his silent question :
"This pile is for the "big no no never", this one is for the "maybe", and this one is for "good ones""
Ah. Made sense. Organized little feller.
This went on for a few minutes until he picked up one brochure and exclaimed :
"Hey that's my old school !"
Bruce turned to look at what school Jason was pointing to. Oh.
It was Dick's old school, too.
The one in a not so nice neighborhood that he wanted to go to because friends he made while at the circus went there. And it used to be Jason's ? Well. It made sense. Also, fate had funny ways sometimes.
“And do you want to go back there ?”
“Well I only went one year there, but I think I still know people who are still there...It might be nice, to already know a few people ?”
“So this one ?”
“I think so, yes. This one. I have a good feeling about it !”
Bruce smiled, and...Did that mean he would see you again ?
“This is my son, Jason.”
He says proudly, hands holding reassuringly the boy’s shoulders.
Oh yes, yes you vaguely remember reading an article about how Bruce Wayne adopted a new kid, after his older son went away in boarding school (which always made you feel odd, Dick didn’t sound like the boarding school type of kid ? Ah, but he must’ve been about 14 or 15 now, right ? Maybe his teen years weren’t going as smoothly as his childhood...).
Wondering if you should ask how Dick is, or if it was maybe too personal given the circumstances, you turn to look at Jason and...
"Hey I remember you. You used to come to this school right ? In a few class below the one I teach currently, and then one day you disappeared !"
"You-You remember me ?"
"I always notice children that seem a little-"
"No, not odd. Sad. It was obvious something didn't go well in your household. I’ve been teaching long enough to...notice you guys. When you disappeared I asked you teacher and she told me you turned bad. There was no infos on where you lived so I couldn't go and see…I'm very glad you, in fact, turned the opposite of bad !"
"You…would've try to find me ?"
"Of course ! "Turning bad" is something too easily accepted in Gotham ! If you don't give up on a child, who might not have an ideal family environment, then they have a better chance ! Of course it doesn't always work, I did have a lot of failure…but a few hold on, and those few matters !"
Jason’s mind was blown away. He stopped going to school when his mom overdosed...He was 8, and suddenly had to fend off for himself, as no one cared to know what happened to the “son of that junkie on the third floor”.
He survived as he could, by committing petty crimes and dangerous stunts. Until Bruce found him (or rather, until Jason stole the Batmobile’s tires and got caught).
And here he was, having a home again for the first time in ever, and faced with a woman that genuinely was concerned about him, but didn’t have the means to help.
And what would’ve happened if she had ? Well, Jason was glad she didn’t. She seemed nice, but he wouldn’t trade his new dad for the world.
Bruce was his hero. And he loved him dearly. Why would he want any other parent now ? He had one that, in his eyes, was perfect for him.
“So, you know him ?”
Bruce was looking at you with eyes full of interests. The little speech you made about going out of your way to make sure every kids you encountered was ok...moved him. It stirred something in his heart. Something good.
Something that felt nice.
“Well, not per se. But I saw him around, like I said. It’s very nice to properly meet you, Jason.”
You answer with a smile, and Jason finds himself wishing you’ll be his teacher, for this first year back to school in a while.
“It’s unfortunate that Jason here, is entering fifth grade. He will not have you as a teacher...”
“Fifth grade ? Well what a coincidence. I’ve been teaching that class for the past two years, to break the routine, you know ? There’s a lot to learn in fifth grade, it’s a pivotal year for kids, so I’m glad I was transferred to that class ! And I’m double glad because that mean we’ll see a lot of each others, Jason.”
And you smile at him, making him blush because he’s still not used to people being nice to him like that...
Bruce smiles too, but not for the same reasons. So you’re teaching fifth grade now huh ? Well. That means you’ll see a whole lot of HIM too...
Young Jason Todd.
Promising. You were sure he would have a very VERY bright future ! It wouldn’t surprise you if he was the one to take on Wayne Enterprise, he was THAT smart. Yes. Bright future in coming for sure (um...).
More studious than Dick was. More attentive, too. Dick could sometimes be the class clown, and get distracted. But Jason ? Jason was listening carefully, drinking your every words, and oh it was so nice to have a student like him in your class ?
Even more so when you knew that he could’ve turned very bad if Bruce didn’t adopt him...Ah damn. This just enhanced exponentially your crush on Bruce.
It’s like it’s a redo of when Dick was your student.
Once again, you see a lot of Bruce Wayne (and are comforted that this will go on for at least one year afterward, until Jason graduated). But since his son is your student again, he’s often at the school.
Working with the principal to help financially, and participating greatly in Jason’s school life.
And the crush continued, although you were pretty sure he just saw you as his kid’s teacher...Then again, why would he see you any differently ?
“YEAAAAH GO GIANNNNNNTS !!”
Jason screams at the top of his lungs, standing up on his chair in the massive Knightsdome Sporting Complex, watching with attention the baseball match unfolding in front of his eyes.
For his birthday, the boy asked to go to a game with his dad, and here he was, with Bruce...at a game. Not any game. The game of the year !
And he was so excited and hyped, that Bruce didn’t regret one bit taking the day off from Wayne Enterprise to be able to come with him here.
And that’s when he sees you.
You’re a few row down, on the left, and you’re...Talking with a guy.
Who was that guy ?
The dude kisses your cheek and Bruce’s heart tighten. Probably your boyfriend.
Something escaped him though...Why was seeing his kid’s teacher with her boyfriend made him feel so melancholic ? Why did it hurt his heart ?
And then the answer came as easily as Jason screaming in happiness as his favorite team just scored a point...He had a crush on you.
He was pretty sure he had a crush on you ever since he met you, when it was Dick’s first day. And all this year he was your student, and the moments you shared with him...The moments you shared ? What was he saying ?! You didn’t share any moments. You were just his son’s teacher !
It was normal to have meetings and such. And then, it was just courtoisie to say hello after that, when Dick was still in the school. Right ? No matter if he wasn’t as close to any other of Dick’s teachers...If he wasn’t as involved. They weren’t like you and...
This was stupid. You were his kid’s teacher. He couldn’t have a crush on you.
Ah but now you smile, and throw an arm around that guy’s shoulder, looking happy and. It dampens Bruce’s mood greatly. Why ? Why does he feel so blue ? This is suppose to be a great moment with his son, why are his eyes fixed on you and...
“DAD DAD !! DID YOU SEE THAT DAD !!!???? THIS WAS AWESOME !!”
Dad. This is the first time Jason calls him dad. And Bruce focuses back on the boy, lying about having seen “that”, and looking at his son enthusiastically jumping up and down his chair in excitement. Cute boy.
“Thanks for those killer seats, sis’.”
“No problem, I’m enjoying it too haha. Happy birthday, dumbass !”
You say, putting your arm around your younger brother’s shoulders, while enjoying seeing the Giants kicking Metropolis’ team’s ass.
Aaaah, you loved baseball.
“AH YES GOOO GIANNNNTS.”
Jason was still screaming, holding a stray ball Bruce caught for him above his head in a sign of victory. They were walking up the path to Wayne Manor’s entrance now, but Jason’s excitement still hadn’t gone down.
He was still jumping all around, talking about how cool everything was, and how much he loved the stray ball Bruce caught, and how he hoped he’ll get it signed one day, and how much he loved his new Giants t-shirt, and his new giants cap, and his new Giants baseball pants, and his new Giants shoes, and how he wished he could wear all of it to school and...
“Hey, why don’t you ask miss (Y/N/L) to be your girlfriend ?”
The sudden question takes him by surprise and he stops mid-way up the stairs to the entrance, and stare at his son.
Jason talked so much and so fast, the past hour, that Bruce didn’t catch everything he talked about, and most certainly missed how they arrived on this subject ?
“Why don’t you ask miss (Y/N/L) to be your girlfriend ?”
It’s the first time Jason sees his father stutter, and he realizes he must’ve stroke a cord with that question. He smiles slyly and adds :
“Oh you thought about it huh ?”
He got up a few stairs ahead of his dad so he could be at his level, and nudged him with his shoulder knowingly, being absolutely obnoxious.
“What are you talking about ? She’s your teacher, we can’t !”
There’s a short silence, during which Jason loses his smirk that is replaced by a confused expression and, as simple as that, he asks :
“Why ? You like her, no ?”
Yes. Yes he did...But it was more complicated than that. And she apparently had a boyfriend ! Bruce didn’t feel like ruining the day trying to explain his conflicted feelings to his son, and so he said :
“Because she’s your teacher, and that’s that.”
Three years after Jason isn’t your student anymore, you hear about his death. In the worst way possible. Through the TV, as you’re preparing dinner.
And it shatters you. You’ve always liked Jason a lot, he was so bright, he was supposed to have a successful future !!
He died during the Joker’s terrorist attack, apparently, along with a few other people. And it was the most tragic day of your life...
You don’t see Bruce for years, after that.
After Jason’s death, you vowed your entire life to teaching, even more than before. It became vitale to you, that future generations would make this city better, would give it some sort of sense.
Because in which world was it normal for a 15 years old boy to die because yet another psycho was roaming the streets ?
Jason fuels even more your wish to make this city a more bearable place to live in, and you work more than ever towards this goal, creating the “Jason Todd school foundation”, a name barely in homage to the student who inspired this entire action. In homage of a student who particularly touched your heart, and represented in himself why there was a desperate need to improve the education in Gotham City.
Your non-profit charity works harder than any other, to improve schools in Gotham, and give a better chance to this kids.
One of your biggest donator is a certain Bruce Wayne, but you still don’t see him anymore.
It’s only when he sees you talking to one of your students, right there, at the end of the hallway, that he realizes how much he missed you.
Two years passed since...Since his life completely changed. Since everything was painted in black again. And yet, yet it feels like it was yesterday he saw your smile.
He heard your voice.
He saw you care for “your” children.
It’s like a small ray of sunshine in his heart, as he finally sees you again. After Jason...After what happened, he felt like he couldn’t face you. Like he couldn’t face one of the only person in the world that cared greatly about that boy.
And so he avoided you. But Destiny brought him back in your path, and as you notice him, and a natural smile spreads across your face...He realizes how much he missed you.
In his hand, he squeezes Tim’s hand a little tighter, and the boy looks up at his dad curiously. What got into him ?
The other small ray of sunshine in his dark and dry heart, his new son, is about to asks him what’s up, when he sees how his dad is looking at that woman, at the end of the hallway.
Timothy Drake-Wayne has always been the smartest little boy around, and he immediately understands what is going on...
"So you can choose chum. Either school. This is Gotham Academy, the "best" one but it really has that reputation because…money. And then that's the one Dick and…Dick went to. He liked it very much, the facilities are not as nice, but the teachers are passionate."
Bruce doesn’t mention Jason, even though Tim is pretty sure Jason too, went to that school. But he knows it’s a delicate subject, so he does not mention it.
"Where did he go ? Why wasn't he in Gotham Academy ?"
"He couldn't get along with people."
"…Dick ? Our Dick ? Not getting along with people ?"
Tim was properly shocked.
"He can get mad very fast, you know ? Remember when you beat him at Smash Bros ?
"Oh yeah…He broke the controller. I just thought it was an occasional thing ! He really likes smash bros"
"It's not that occasional. He can get very angry very fast. And the kids in Gotham Academy weren't very nice to him, so he got angry often. It was also not long after his parents…”
"Oh. I get it…Well, I want to go where Dick went !"
Bruce’s heart tighten at the mere idea to see you again.
Was he ready to face you, after ignoring you for two years ? After Jason stopped being your student, the boy still went to see you, as you really changed his life. He wanted to be a teacher, too, so he often came and observe...Which meant you saw a lot of Bruce too.
And Bruce felt like he owed you an explanation. About how Jason...But he couldn’t. He couldn’t face you. He just couldn’t.
Something in him made him sure that if he would talk to you, he’d break down. He’d tell you everything. Everything.
And he just couldn’t do that.
Tim hated school. For the past two years, he got away from not going by falsifying a paper where he forged his parents’ signature saying he was now homeschooled. The truth was, his parents never really paid attention to what he was doing, and since he hated school...
He might as well not go, and do other things of his days. Like discovering who the Batman was !
And he did, he did found out ! Shortly after that, and after stubbornly going to Wayne Manor days after days so Bruce would train him, he lost his parents ...And got adopted by the Batman himself.
It was strange, because Bruce paid a lot of attention to what he was doing. Actually, he was borderline overprotective sometimes...Of course, Tim knew it was because of the Robin-he-wasn’t-allowed-to-talk-about.
Jason Todd. The brother that he’ll never know. Only Dick, talked to him about that (after Jason’s death, Dick came back to the Manor to support Bruce, and enrolled in a high school downtown, where he was a senior). Bruce never mentioned him, but Tim saw him spend hours standing in front of Jason’s old suit, and staring at it...
But that was another story. That nonetheless explained why Bruce was being particularly protective of him (like, he still held his hand when they were walking in the streets and stuffs like that, even though Tim was 9 now !).
In any way, Tim still hated school, and it’s full of “don’t wanna” and dreading the boring hours he’d spend in class learning things he already knew, that he dragged his feet across the corridor to go to his first class.
Dick told him about the teacher, apparently he had him in third grade. Great. A third grade teacher teaching fifth grader. Wow. He would learn sooooo much.
This was the first time in his life Tim actually liked school. Sure, you were teaching a lot of things he already knew but the methods you were using, with games and fun things so they’d remember better, was amazing !
It didn’t feel like school, yet as the end of the day drew near, Tim realized he actually learned a lot of things ! WOW ! And for the first time in his life, Tim couldn’t wait for the next day.
You too, couldn’t wait for the next day, as it was going to be the first teacher/student conference, and you’d see your forbidden crush, Bruce Wayne.
“So, are you going to take miss (Y/L/N) on a date ?”
Bruce and Tim were in one of the car, driving back home, when Tim just jumped right into it.
“Pleaaase, all this chit chat you guys had was unbearable. You talked so much about nothing.”
“We were talking about your latest test, chum.”
“Right. For the first two seconds. Then you made up excuses to keep talking.”
“Well, you sure have a great imagination. Miss (Y/L/N) said so herself.”
“Oh really dad, we’re really going to go that way ? You’re going to deny it ?”
“Tim, we were just talking about you. That’s it. Just like any parents and teachers.”
Obviously, the boy wasn’t convinced. However, he dropped the subject, too surprised by the fact his father’s face was slowly turning bright red.
“This is my new sister Cass !”
Tim says enthusiastically, smiling widely at you.
“She’s older than me, but she um...isn’t from this country, so never went really to school so that’s why she’s in your class and I’m in sixth grade ! She’s very nice ! She’s coming here because I’m here too ! She wanted to be where I was ! She’s my sister !”
“Cass” looks at you curiously, a bit of shyness in her eyes too, and when you raise a hand to shake hers, she flinches back.
It doesn’t take you long to recognize all the signs of a child that was beaten by her parents, and a rush of anger climbs inside you.
Tim, after he introduced his sister, rushes to his own class, and you’re left with Cass as the rest of your students come in.
She goes from one foot to the other, unsure of what she’s supposed to do in this first day of school, and it’s obvious...it really is, her first day of school.
And already, you think of a plan to make her feel welcome. To make her feel like it’s ok if she doesn’t get everything right away, or if she isn’t at the same level than others.
You quickly realizes she does not speak much, most likely because she wasn’t really taught to. It breaks your heart, and you do everything in your power to adapt your class for her. To give her that extra support.
And in that case, isn’t about having a favorite or not, it’s about being there for kids who need it. It’s your entire life’s work up until now.
Cass incarnates exactly why you became a teacher.
“You. Like her.”
Cass says simply, touching her father’s chest, and then pointing at you, who’s currently helping a few kids finishing last minutes decoration for the school play.
Bruce turns to you, looking longingly at you as you smile to the kids, and help Tim put his hat on properly (he was playing President Lincoln..). Of course, just as he was looking at you, you had to take care of his kids.
His feelings for you were always stronger, when he saw you with one of his children. You’ve always been such a great teacher, caring so much for them.
Of course, you cared about all your students. More often than not, you went out of your way to make sure a kid had enough food, or was treated properly. Went out of your way to go after children who stopped coming to class, dragging them back in.
How could he not like you ?
He turns to Cass now. His only daughter. His sweet, sweet daughter. How could he lie to her ? It is impossible.
And so, for the first time since, years ago at a certain baseball game, he realized he had a crush on you (that might’ve turned into something more now), he says aloud :
“Yes. Yes, I do.”
Cass smiles sadly, because she understands he’ll never act upon his feelings for multiple reasons. And she understands her precious “Miss (Y/N/L)” won’t either...
It’s interesting, how your relationship evolved, in almost ten years. From when Dick first became your student, to when Cass left your class for the last time.
Nowadays, you actually became friends, mainly because Bruce became one of the board member of your Charity.
You had to admit this was going beyond a simple teacher/parent relationship (as if it hadn’t been that way for years). But...but you’d never cross a certain line
Neither of you would admit your feelings. You’d simply stare at each others from a far, and look away when the other turned their head toward you.
You started to call each others by your first names, but it just made sense.
You were friends now. Nothing more. Even if Cass wasn’t your student anymore, neither were any of his other kids...Things could still not go further.
That’s simply how things were.
He did not want to drag you in his life, and felt like it was inappropriate to date his kids’ teacher (even if technically you weren’t anymore, you were still “Miss (Y/N/L)” to all of them). And the media would crush you...
As for you, in your head, those kids, even if the oldest one was going on his twenties, were still your students. And you had a strong ethic..
“I don’t see why I have to go to this...public school, father”
At the word “public”, Damian shivered slightly and Bruce couldn’t help but roll his eyes. Oh, how he wished his boy wouldn’t have inherited his dramatic side...
"Your brothers and sister loved this school."
"Don't call them that please, they're not my-"
"You're my son. They're my children too. You're their brother. End of story."
There’s a short silence, where Damian scoffs. He breaks his stubborn silence, realizing his father wasn’t going to budge, and adds :
“Yes well like I said, they weren’t use to a high standard of living. Mother hired the best private tutors and such. If they’re satisfied with mediocrity then good for them.”
“Well, here’s another reason to go to this school. Detach yourself from this type of life, isn’t that what you want to do ? Plus I think it would do you nicely to be a little more humble.”
“Humble ? My life is anything but humble !”
“Except for the fact that now, you’re going to a normal public school in a not so nice neighborhood in Gotham”
At those words, Damian’s eyes widen. Did his father just...make a joke ? Oh the smirk on his face was undeniable, he just mocked him !
“Bruce ! Ah, and you must be Damian ?”
You say, as you see the both of them. Damian scoffs, and you take the conclusion that yes, it must be him.
Bruce talked to you on the phone about his youngest son, who recently came into his life after...A lot of complications. He didn’t really tell you what happened, but you understood he dated a woman long ago and she had a son, and hid him from him. Which outraged you. But also was none of your business...
In any case, he talked to you about Damian. He had been raised in very high society, and warned you a little about him. But oh, you did not believe a child needed warnings. No matter what, you’d find a way to properly teach that boy. A method that would suit him. Like you did for all of your students (and man did you already had some tough cookies in your classes).
Damian looked at his father, and then at you, and how you smiled at each others stupidly. And frowned. You left to ask something to the principal, and Damian turned to his father, saying :
“Mm. Are you sure you put me in this school to teach me how to be humble, or did you just want to see that teacher again ?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, boy.”
But Damian was not stupid, he could clearly see how his father’s eyes were lingering behind you, and how you smiled at him.
It made him sick.
You held Damian back at the end of a class, to talk about his latest test.
He had made no mistake, and punctuated the entire thing with personal comments such as : “a baby would know this” and other “I could answer this one in Japanese” (and proceeding to write his entire answer in kanjis) etc etc...Which made you think that obviously, that kid did not want to be here.
And most definitely could jump further into his studies, if he thought this class was much too easy. You had the occasion to see his tests and his attention in class, and it was clear the “high society” from which he came from educated him very very well.
With an unimpressed look, Damian picked his stuffs up and went to your desk. You showed him his test, and said :
“It has come to my attentions, thanks to your very...Smooth comments, that this class is probably not up to your level. I was thinking maybe we could see to have you skip a grade or two. Would that be something you want ?”
He shrugs, still not looking very concern, and you sigh. In three months in your class, Damian hadn’t opened up at all. He was most definitely one tough cookie to crack...You sigh, and say :
“I’ll talk to your father about it.”
“Useless, he won’t accept.”
“Really ? Why ?”
“He thinks I need to learn how to be humble.”
“Ah. And what do you think ?”
“Why would I hide how good I am at things ?”
“Ah but Damian, being humble isn’t about hiding that you’re good, but accepting and knowing there’s always room for improvement.”
You say with a smile, and it...does something to him.
It’s not that your words have a particular impact on him, he heard Alfred or his “siblings” telling this kind of things hundred of times.
But there’s something in your face that makes him flinch. Moves something inside him. It’s like...It’s like you genuinely care.
Damian never really saw anyone looking at him with this expression. Clearly wanting to breach the gap, to make a jump and truly want the best for him.
Of course, his father really tried to bond with him, but they still didn’t get each others at all. And with his siblings ? Tt, he had no siblings. With the others, he always tried to be better (without always succeeding), and it frustrated them. With reasons.
So he never saw that particular smile, that particular expression. A genuine and hopeful smile. Someone not judging him in the least, and ready to give him a chance, even after he spend the last three months being horrible to them...
Damian couldn’t understand why you were looking at him like that. Why you had so much hope for him, why you didn’t give up already, why...Why ?
Why were you smiling at him, while he made all the effort in the world to make you understand he did not want to be here ?
He couldn’t understand. He hated not understanding.
And it made him...sick ?
Why did it make him sick again ? After a few more months of school, he couldn’t remember the reason.
Classes were...Pleasant to him, when you were teaching them. He found himself wanting to listen. Wanting to participate. Wanting to talk.
You had a way of approaching subjects that made everything fun, that made everyone wanting to learn more.
Why did he dislike you so much at first ? Probably because he wasn’t used to someone genuinely caring about his well-being ? He had been surrounded by fakes and people trying to kill him since his birth, it was difficult to believe there were some good people on Earth.
Bruce, just like how he noticed Cass’ speech improve after a few months in your class, noticed his son opening up more and more.
He was still quite introverted, and sometimes acted like a brat...but he was also just a ten years old boy. He couldn’t be perfect.
There was no doubt in Bruce’s mind that the way Damian slowly changed his mind and changed for the better, came in big part thanks to your class. It also, of course, came from the fact he had amazing children who weren’t about to let Damian get away with treating them as if they weren’t part of the family.
Instead of getting mad at him though, they just involved him more in their lives, wether he wanted to or not (something they most definitely picked up from your class, where you always made sure everyone was included, and had a “non judgement zone” installed). And slowly but surely, he got used to it.
He got used to say they were his brothers and sister. That they were a family. He got used to bicker over siblings stuffs, but not to hate them anymore just because they existed.
He was raised to be like that. Individualist, and taught to crush anyone he deemed a threat. For him, the children his father adopted were a great threat, they could steal his legacy...But slowly, he realized all he had been taught was rotten.
It took time, of course. And patience.
But the fact no one was willing to give up on him made him feel things. For the first time in his life, he felt what that “love” thing was, and what being actually cared for felt like.
A mix of a healthy family environment (and an escape to kick ass at night, and release some frustration), and a good school environment, and slowly but surely, Damian really did improve.
Of course, the change came from him. He was the one wanting to change, wanting to be part of something...But he most definitely had great help along the way.
Everything culminated the day he had to do an expose for his class, and chose Tim as his subject.
Of course, Tim knew nothing about it. Damian had come to see him as his brother, and would often boast to his friends at school how great his siblings were...but he’d never tell them to their face.
Only you knew, how greatly he admired his big brother Tim. He talked a lot about how Tim was only 16 and already managing a lot of things at their father’s enterprise, and he couldn’t help but digress to brag about his other siblings too, who were all very successful.
And no one in his family would ever have known, if it wasn’t for you who called Bruce to tell him about this absolutely beautiful expose Damian did about his siblings...It made you almost tear up. Even more so when he talked about “the brother he never met”, Jason (who was alive at the time, and back in the family, but the public still thought he was dead...however Damian couldn’t help but talk and brag about him too, even if he had to use the past tense. He would realize only later, how insensitive it could be to have done that in front of you, who still hadn’t gotten over his death...).
You told everything to Bruce, and it almost sounded like you talked about your own son. It did all kind of things to Bruce’s heart. Nothing he said alout, though.
Damian was going to graduate from elementary school when it happened.
It was the first full blown charity ball you held for your “Jason Todd school foundation”, and...You had no illusion.
If people came to your little event it was because Bruce Wayne was here too.
It had been, nonetheless, a rather pleasant evening. You caught up with Dick, Tim and Cass (and was painfully reminded of Jason’s absence), and what they were doing currently. Tim and Cass were still in high school, and Dick had recently decided to join the police school. Didn’t surprise you much.
Yes. It was a rather pleasant evening.
Except for the fact your heart kept getting stabbed over and over again every time you saw Bruce with his date, a Russian model that was probably one of the most beautiful woman you ever saw.
How could you compete against that ? ...Not that you’d want to compete.
You do your best to avoid them all night long, even though you see him look for you, trying over and over again to come and talk to you.
You just can’t do it. You can’t look at him in the eyes while he has such a gorgeous woman at his arm. And so, not very discreetly, you avoid him like the plague, always finding a way to put people between you and him, or escaping to the ladies’ bathrooms.
Until she corners you.
You were fairly certain she noticed Bruce wanting to talk to you, and had gotten jealous that he therefor paid less attention to her. Oh but if only she knew you and Bruce were just friends...
She’s able to finally talk to you as he went to get some drinks, and before even saying hello or anything, she asks, with a clearly exaggeratted Russian accent (you heard her talk with a barely noticeable accent before) :
“You’re the one who throw all this right ? Good party. Are you alone tonight though ? I thought it was custom for people who organized this kind of things to be accompanied.”
She says, with an infuriating fake smile. And that’s the moment Bruce choses to come back, so you can’t even be snarky or anything. You don’t want Bruce to think anything bad about you, so you say :
“Well, I’m here for the children. So no, I didn’t bring a date. I was too busy trying to appeal to people to invest in our new educative programs.”
The Russian model looks you up and down and say, the condescendence clear in her voice :
“Oh, is that why you’re alone ?”
And here we go, yet another knife in the heart. Reminding you that beyond those impossible feelings you have for Bruce, you also take every hours of your day and use it towards your “educative cause”, virtually having no real social life. And wow. Outch. “Alone”. Touché.
You don’t see Bruce frowning at his “date”, and you awkwardly smile before slipping away, finding an excuse to do so.
“(Y/N) wait I wanted to...”
You hear him say something, but you already jumped in the middle of a bunch of people and joined their conversation, effectively blocking Bruce’s way to you.
You really, really didn’t want to talk to him, even more so if that woman was at his arm.
The night comes to an end, and you’re utterly satisfied of it.
You managed (thanks to Bruce mainly), to find founding for all your projects, and had a nice nights full of passionate talk about education and such.
You had the opportunity to hang out with ex-students of yours, that made great things of themselves. Not just Dick, Tim, Cass and Damian. It was kind of a given, they’d do great, mainly because of their father’s fortune (although those kids were geniuses). But kids from the worst neighborhood in Gotham that benefited from all your actions.
You felt very proud, and shed many tears. More than once, you thought about Jason, and how you dedicated all this success to him. How you wished this would lead Gotham on a more peaceful path, and things like what happened to Jason would never happen again.
The wound of his loss was still fresh, and as the evening was coming to an end, and people leaving, you took a little break and went out on the balcony to take a breath of fresh air.
It was only ten minutes into your isolating time that he finally found you.
And you were beautiful, there, your elbows on the bannister, looking out at the night lights of Gotham City.
“Great night, huh ?”
You jump a bit in the air, surprised, and turn to him.
No Russian model around, coast clear ?
“Yeah. Yeah it was good. We have enough fundings to rebuild a hundred schools haha. Just with your donation, we could’ve achieved all our project. Thank you, Bruce.”
“Well, it’s for a good cause.”
“Still, many do not think or care about it.”
“You know I agree with you about the importance of good education..”
Yes. Yes you know. You’ve had many passionate conversations about the future of Gotham, and what you wished it would become.
Both of you had the same ideas and ideals. Both of you wanted to see Gotham thriving and peaceful. With happy inhabitants that wouldn’t be afraid anymore.
The Batman helped a lot, for sure, but it was to the people to do the rest. By making the environment everyone was growing in a better place.
And it started...With schools.
Yes. Bruce always agreed with your point of view, and was the first to believe in you.
“You did great, you know. None of this projects would exist without you.”
“I just...gave people ideas. Nothing too big.”
“Nothing too big ? (Y/N), you singlehandedly change Gotham’s entire educative field, making every schools better.”
“Well, I didn’t do it alone.”
You turn to him, and smile.
Sure, maybe you initiated a lot of things. Maybe it’s your own experience and such that molded the entire charity and such. But without Bruce Wayne ? And his wonderful kids ? You’re not sure you would’ve gone too far.
Dick is the one that gave you the self-confidence you needed by having to be strong to help him out, Jason was the one who pushed you to finally take a step forward, Tim and his novel ideas always made you want to improve, Cass and her will to fight and learn inspired you greatly in inventing new methods to help out kids with specific needs, and Damian showed you everyone could change for the better, no matter what.
Wether you liked it or not, the Waynes really had a huge impact on your life.
And as you turned to Bruce, somehow, you saw he was thinking something similar...In his eyes, you could see how grateful he was, and how much you changed and helped his kids.
Neither of you want to add anything. Everything goes through your eyes.
Thanksfullness. Gratefulness. Pride. Contentment.
It’s interesting, how for so many years, your fate and theirs was linked, in more ways than you could imagine.
To the point that now, Bruce couldn’t imagine a life without you, and vice versa.
You really were, great friends...
The word hurts, and you look away, unable to hold his gaze.
His calloused fingers brush your cheek, you you’re so surprised you turn back to him and...No. No he can’t. You can’t.
You know this look.
And if you’re being honest with yourself, you’ve known for a while.
Which is why you were frustrated with him bringing dates everywhere, him still being kind of a playboy (even though his kids gave him an excuse to tame it down). Frustrated with those feelings too because...
Because both of you knew you shared it.
Both of you knew...Probably since a long time.
Not that you nor him would ever act upon it, because then, it could change everything, and in a very bad way.
Plus, you can’t date a student’s parent. You have a very strict ethic.
And he can’t bring you into his world.
You both know.
But you’ll never do anything about it.
He kisses you.
He kisses you and it’s like those past twelve years of pining for him suddenly fly away. Like you’re 23 again, fresh out of college, about to teach your first class ever, and you see him. About your age. And he has a ward...A son.
You talk for a few minutes, you fight, you apologize, it clicks. And then he leaves, and for a year, you help his son grow. After that, you don’t see him for a while...Until he comes back, with another adoptive son.
Jason. And then Tim. Cassandra. Finally, now, Damian.
All those years walking a parallel line to his, acting as if his kids aren’t your favorite in your class (because “you don’t play favorite, that’d go against my entire work ethic !”). Acting as if you don’t make up a lot of parent/teachers conferences just to see him (because you didn’t really need that much...). Acting as if it didn’t hurt you the most when his kids moved on, and you stopped seeing them...and him.
He kisses you and it’s like you’re 23 again. Acting right away on your feelings. Not being afraid.
Afraid of what ?
He’s one of your student’s father. It’s not ethical. He’s also rich and handsome, so out of your league. And it’s unrationnal, you don’t see him that often.
Afraid of what ?
Rejection. Loneliness. Knowing exactly what you want but never doing anything to achieve it. Regrets. ...
12 years vanish, as he kisses you.
You’re 23 again, and...and...And you can’t do this !
He’s one of your student’s parent ! He’s THE Bruce Wayne !
The sudden bliss you felt as his lips met yours vanishes too, and it’s like a cold bucket of water dumped on your head as you realize...
You can’t do this.
Now, or 12 years ago, it’s the same situation.
You can’t do this.
And so you softly pushes him away...
It’s more difficult than you think, to say those words. He looks at you curiously, a fiery passion still lingering in his eyes.
You say, and the only thing you can do now, is run. Run as fast as you can.
“Fly you fools”, are the words that come to your mind. You have to leave, far, far away. And now, you have to stop talking to you.
Because this all thing is unethical.
You can’t date one of your student’s parent ! Even though none of them are your student anymore...
And Bruce Wayne is so out of your League ! Even though he’s the one who kissed you first...
And this could change everything, after all, he became your best friend, this could ruin everything ! Even though whenever you saw each others with someone else you felt like dying...
And he’ll surely reject you, you’re just you, a simple elementary teacher, and he’s him, THE bruce Wayne ! Even though he always looked at you as if you were much more than a “simple elementary school teacher”.
He asks. Why ? Why ? Why ? Why can’t you ?
Because of all the reasons you keep listing in your head. Student’s dad. Rejection. Out of league. Too much. Not enough. Regrets. Friendship.
He knows. Of course he does.
He knows you love him.
And deep down, amongst all the insecurities and fear...You know he loves you.
So, why ?
You can’t escape this. He knows. You know. You both knew for a while, without ever acting upon it. Why ?
As if a divine force was bringing you back to him, you get close to his body again, without even noticing yours moving.
Why not ?
When you think about it, all those years, it’s as if destiny lead you to each others. Bruce Wayne’s children should’ve never end up in a second rate school in a shitty neighborhood...And yet they all did.
An elementary school teacher really was supposed to have such a huge impact on “her” kids ? Well, you did.
Two parallel lines. Always going in the same direction, but never quite meeting.
Until a fateful accidental conjoncture.
Like a good night representing everything you believe in.
So, why ?
You repeat, but you don’t even believe it yourself.
You can’t remember the reasons anymore. Was it even ever wrong ?
He leaves you time, makes sure you want this. He takes a step back on the balcony, away from the remnant of people.
You follow after him.
Because you love him.
And he catches you in his arms...Why ?
Because he loves you.
12 years in the making.
Of obvious signs ignored...Why ?
You don’t even remember anymore. And it doesn’t matter.
Because he’s kissing you again.
Now that he’s sure. Now that you’re not running away for...reasons you can’t recall. Now that he’s sure. Now that you’re sure.
It seems silly, that you lost so many years...But then again, it’s only now that you’re finally ready.
Because as you both reflected on what you accomplished, and what the other’s place was in your life, you both came to a logic realization :
You were in love.
And so you kiss him back, and it’s like you’re 23 again.
“AH ! Finally !”
Tim exclaims, as he points to his father kissing his favorite teacher ever, Miss (Y/L/N)...No, (Y/N). And although he feels rather content that this is happening, he finds it disgusting.
“Oh geez they’re really going at it...”
Damian makes a face, because he also thinks the kiss is gross. However, in his heart, and not about to say it out loud just yet, he was very happy for his father. And for himself, really.
Cass, a smirk on her face, simply said :
But then Dick, throwing an arm around her shoulder, adds :
“Oh no little sister. No no no. Eight years old me shall forever remain known as the one that “called it” first ! Hahahaha.”
And indeed, it’s only, over twelve years ago now, when little Dick asked if you could be his dad’s girlfriend, that you allowed your feelings to truly burgeoned.
Because as long as his kids were ok with you two being an item, really, who cared about anything else ?
WELL !! Here we are. I hope you liked it. Thanks very much for reading, and see you soon with a new story :). Hoping this one wasn’t too bad...
As usual, feedbacks, or comments about what you think of the story in general (good or bad, by the way. But please don’t be just mean, if you did not like something try to say why ? We usually all know why we don’t like a thing, so please if you think of something negatively, try to explain why you did not like it so I can improve next time and not just feel like shit ? Saying something is “bad” and that is it is counterproductive, rude and not very nice...There’s always a way to say things :) ) and reblogs and all are very VERY welcomed.
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