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Different World

Chapter Text

The paper was crumpled in his hands. The 16 years old Richard John “Dick” Grayson refused to believe what his eyes had seen. He wanted to just throw it into the trash can already, but the paper seemed to be stuck onto his sweaty palms. Not until he heard the soft knocks on his door did he forcefully get rid of the paper; and into the trash can under his desk, it went.

 

“Y-yeah?” the young boy answered with a nervous voice.

“Master Bruce wishes to see you in his study, Master Dick,” came Alfred's voice from behind the door.

“I-I'll be there in five.”

“And bring the result, if you don't mind. I believe it came in the mail earlier today.”

 

A cold sweat rolled down Dick’s temple as Alfred uttered the words he least wanted to hear. His gaze darted back to the trash can. He kneeled beside it and his hand had started to reach into it, only for the lid to open all by itself. What came out of it was beyond Dick's imagination. It was some kind of dark shadow, threatening to smother the boy and suffocate him to death.

 

Dick fell onto his butts, and the last thing he saw was the sign on what seemed to be the 'forehead’ of the shadow.

 

------

 

Dick came to his senses; albeit the blurred vision, he could tell that he was not in the safety of his own mattress back in his apartment. No, he was lying on a muddy ground; still wearing his Nightwing suit, and his Escrima Sticks were seen near his head. He tried to sit up, but a painful groan escaped his mouth instead. It took him another couple of minutes to successfully sit, his head leaning back onto the wall behind him.

 

Now that his vision had gotten better, he scanned his surroundings and found that he was in an abandoned alley. Remains of broken roof tiles were found just near where he had been lying down earlier. Dick tried to remember what had happened before he lost consciousness.

 

He was chasing down a lead. Terrors in Blüdhaven had been rising again when police found evidence of a string of murder. At least three corpses—all women—were found in three different locations throughout the week. As Agent Grayson, Dick managed to gather some valuable information about the case. But working with the police department had some limitations; boundaries he could not cross. These limitations drove Dick to investigate the case further as his other persona: Nightwing.

 

As more memories of what happened prior to his fall proceeded to stream into his head, Dick began to remember that he had almost caught who he suspected was the man behind this serial murder. He also remembered that just right before he leapt onto the rooftop of the other building—the one which wall he was leaning onto now—his legs gave out and it ruined his momentum. Dick remember his vision had already blackened before his body made contact with the ground. Judging from the broken roof tiles, it seemed that he had hit the smaller roof of the window above his head. He was almost certain that he had broken a rib or two from the fall, and he took a mental note to get himself checked later.

 

A static sound could be heard from his receiver, followed by a male’s voice.

 

Nightwing, report.

 

Dick didn’t answer right away. Instead, he heaved a heavy breath and that alone hurt his chest. The voice spoke to him again.

 

Nightwing, I said—,

“Heard you the first time,” Dick interjected, hissing when he was reminded that the man he was chasing had managed to land a punch on his face. The corner of his lips was cut, but the blood had mostly dried. Just why was he being so sloppy this time? He knew the answer, but still—

Then why the hell didn’t you answer me?

“I am now.”

 

Dick ignored the sigh from the other end.

 

So, the report?

“I’m not obliged to report to you. What are you doing on this line, anyway?”

I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. Where are you right now?

 

Dick looked to his left and right. The alley was dark, yet the Night Vision feature of his mask enabled him to see clearly.

 

“Seems like a row of abandoned warehouses. Can’t remember yet where in Blüdhaven these warehouses could be.”

Are you alright?

“Why’d you ask?”

For God’s sake, Dick! Your computer alerted a distress signal! Of course I asked if you’re alright!

“My computer? What are you doing with my computer?”

 

The other person sounded hesitant before he answered, “I’m in your apartment now. Bruce—

 

But Dick didn’t let him finish. He groaned as he pushed himself to stand up, hand still leaning on the wall for support.

 

“God damn it, Tim!”

 

And with that, he ran back home with all the strength he had, not forgetting to grab his weapon beforehand.

 

------

 

Tim Drake was still tinkering with Dick's computer when he heard noises from the window. He wasn't wearing his Robin suit at the moment, yet he rose from the chair and anticipated whatever was trying to come in. But of course it was just his oldest adoptive brother who came in through the window, battered and bruised.

 

“Dick!”

 

The current Robin ran to Dick's aid and supported him, carefully leading him toward the couch. With a hiss, Dick sat down.

 

“What happened?”

“I'm okay,” Dick answered.

“You don't look okay to me.”

“You still hacking my computer? Do me a favor and check my target's location. I managed to put a tracker on him earlier.”

“I'm not hacking your computer!”

 

Dick merely raised one eyebrow and that had silenced the younger boy.

 

“Come on, Tim. And then I'll let you treat my wounds.”

“Okay, fine.”

 

While Tim walked back to the computer, Dick slowly and carefully took his gauntlets off and unzipped his suit. He pulled out his arms one by one from the sleeves, but he only stripped half-way and let the upper part of his blue and black suit rest on his waist.

 

Dick touched his right side, the part where it hurt the most. He glanced down at the skin and sure enough, it had gotten purplish. If he had to be honest, he wasn't particularly hurting to the point it became unbearable. No, he had gotten used to pains. It was the other kind of pain which decreased his performance quite drastically earlier; the pain that made his skin even more sensitive, feverish, and touch-starved.

 

Tim's voice distracted him, “Found him, but the location is odd. Looks like your target realized that you put a tracker on him. The signal reads here—”

 

Realizing that Dick was panting heavily now, Tim quickly approached him.

 

“Hey, now. You said you're okay. Clearly you're not!”

 

Despite his current condition, it was a wonder how the older man could still reply with a joke, even when his little brother was eyeing him worriedly.

 

“Great deduction, Detective.”

 

The hard squeeze on his hand told Tim that Dick was in great pain, though. He squeezed back and moved to sit beside Dick, removing his domino mask. Only then did he see Dick's blue eyes glazed with what seemed to be hot tears.

 

“Did you take your meds?” Tim asked with a gentle voice.

“I think I did.”

“You think?”

“I might have forgotten. It's inside the top drawer near the bed.”

“You'll need to let go of my hand, then…”

“I'm sorry. I just…”

“Don't be. Stay put while I get it.”

 

It wasn't long until Tim was beside Dick again, his medication in one hand and a glass of water in the other. He watched in silence as his big brother swallowed around three to four pills at once and downed his drink just as quickly, as if he was thirsty as hell. When he was done, he leaned his head back onto the couch as Tim helped put the empty glass onto the table.

 

“Has it always been in high doses?”

“I need it to be high,” Dick's eyes were closing as he said this.

“Why?”

“You know why, Tim.”

“I do and I'll keep asking. Why are you doing this? Why are you not letting us, your family and friends, help you? Why are you insisting to work alone? Why are you pushing Bruce—”

“We're not having this conversation.”

“Why the hell not? Dick, Bruce is worried about you! I am worried about you!”

“Curse one more time and I'll have to make you go back to Gotham by force.”

“In this condition? I doubt you can.”

“Tim…”

“I'm staying. I don't care if you like it or not, I'm staying here to watch over you until you recover from….from this.”

 

Putting an arm over his shut eyes, Dick sighed.

 

“Do as you wish, then.”

 

------

 

The explosion wasn’t as destructive as the ones he usually ignited. Red Hood had merely wanted to cause a distraction. And it appeared that the thugs caught his bait, leaving the mob bosses unguarded for the time being; at least until backups came. In the short moment he had bought, Batman’s former sidekick readied his rifle and aimed for his target. Among the bosses, only one he needed to kill. Through the scope, he saw the men gathered in the late night meeting were still in panic from the sound of the explosion. One man who stood near his target was seen to be making a phone call, which Red Hood assumed calling for backup guards.

 

But Red Hood wasn’t going to delay his mission any second longer. Once the target was locked, he pulled the trigger and the next thing he knew, his target fell to the floor with a hole on his forehead. Red Hood retreated then, he had no need for witnessing the chaos he had caused. His mission was all done. It was time he called it a night.

 

It was only when Red Hood reached his truck did he notice that his mobile phone was vibrating. He ignored it and instead proceeded to store his equipment. He was ready to drive away when this time, his phone rang. He put it on the holder attached to the dashboard, swiping a finger to pick up the call and pressing the loudspeaker icon afterward. As the truck started moving, he heard Tim’s annoyed voice.

 

What’s with people not answering me the first time I expect them to?

“Unlike you, some people are busy. Or they just probably hate you.”

Gee, thanks.

“If that’s all you’ve gotta say, I’m hanging up.”

We have a Dick situation.

“You mean you and everyone else living in that mansion.”

 

Tim let out a tired sigh before he said that he was serious and he wanted Red Hood to cooperate.

 

Come on, Jason. It’s not every day he needs our help, you know.

“And what makes you certain that he actually wants us to help him?”

You should’ve seen the state he’s in.

“Pretty sure I don’t need to.”

 

The current Robin cursed. But Jason didn’t say anything. He focused on the road ahead of him instead. And then Tim spoke again.

 

I...I’m not sure what to say to Bruce.

“Just tell him as how things really are. You can’t lie to him anyway.”

Yeah, but…

“It’s unlike you to be hesitant to do something right. Say, do you happen to be in Blüdhaven right now?”

So you think it’s the right thing to do? To tell Bruce the truth? And yes, I'm here with him now.

 

Then Jason hung up the phone call without even saying anything else. He was sure the younger Robin would be pissed at him for doing so, but he could care less. As soon as the call was rudely cut off, a pop-up message came in from none other than Tim himself. It contained only one sticker of an animated middle finger.

 

Jason snickered seeing the message. But he didn’t reply to it. Although later, he did inform Alfred that he would take a detour.

 

------

 

Bruce had just returned from patrol with Batgirl and was writing his report on the main computer when Alfred’s voice interrupted him.

 

“It appears that Master Tim has contacted Master Jason regarding Master Dick’s….well-being. Although from the sound of it, Master Dick doesn’t seem particularly well at the moment. As to why Master Tim doesn’t report to you first, I think you may have to ask him yourself.”

 

There was a pause before the man in bat suit replied, “Thank you, Alfred.”

 

Alfred nodded in acknowledgement before he added, “Also, Master Jason left a message. It seems that he has some business somewhere and will not be returning until tomorrow.”

 

“Well, I just hope he’s not up to no good.”

“I will believe in him if I were you,” Alfred replied as he put a cup of black coffee on Bruce’s desk, “Very well then. I’ll take my leave. Good night, Sir.”

“Good night, Alfred.”

 

Bruce waited until his loyal butler left the Batcave before he pressed a few buttons on the keyboard, which enabled him to contact his youngest protégé. Not a minute later, Tim’s voice answered him through the speakers.

 

He’s sleeping. Not long after he took his meds. He’s gotten a few injuries from the mission he’s taken, but they all don’t seem too serious. He’ll be okay.

“Does he know I’m the one who sent you?” Bruce asked in response to Tim’s report.

......I might have slipped your name, but he didn’t mention anything about it. Not that he stayed conscious long enough to question my uninformed visit, though.

“You said it isn’t serious.”

It’s not about his injuries. He acted like…like he was going into heat.

 

That was odd, and Bruce raised an eyebrow upon hearing Tim’s last words. But he remembered the boy couldn’t see him, so he continued.

 

“How many weeks until his next heat?”

Should be three to four weeks, but……

 

At Tim’s silence, Bruce’s fingers stopped typing as well. The current Robin might be hesitating about what he was going to say, or perhaps he was worrying that it might affect him in some ways. This might be why he didn’t contact Bruce first. In the end, Bruce allowed him to continue.

 

I was only waiting for him in his apartment when I heard some noises coming from his computer. It was some kind of alert system. At first I thought it was a distress signal and he might be facing troubles somewhere, hence why I decided to contact him. But now… … I think the alert system was entirely for something else.

“And what do you think that might be?”

Well, I think he built this system himself. It looks similar to a reminder, actually. I think it’s for his heat cycle. Bruce, I don’t think this is good. Any Omega should be aware of when and how long their heat would come and last. But it seems like Dick doesn’t—can’t keep track on his. And he took high doses……

“Did you check if he changed his medication or not?”

Yes, and no, he didn’t. It’s still the same kind provided by you and Alfred. Should be safe for him, right?

“It should. But I’ll have Alfred check it out tomorrow. Thank you, Tim. Stay with him for now.”

Sure thing.

 

Tim hung up first.

 

Throughout this entire exchange, Bruce had even forgotten to take his cowl off. Once he did, he leaned back onto his chair, staring at the cowl in his hands above his lap. He looked exhausted, even more so than he usually did after each patrol. Maybe Tim’s report did affect him. After all, it was related to his first adoptive son. The first Robin, who parted ways with him some years ago in order to prove himself.

 

Dick hadn’t really needed to. Bruce always believed Dick was perfect as he was, no matter how much the latter thought otherwise. Yet, he still left. And it wasn’t the last time Batman lost a Robin.

Chapter Text

PAST

 

Dick watched in silence as Bruce read the examination result he had received from Gotham General Hospital in the afternoon. He couldn’t read his guardian’s facial expression. And it made his heart beat faster in anticipation. Dick didn’t even dare taking a seat across from Bruce, preferring to stand just like the wise butler beside him.

 

Alfred hadn’t said anything either. The atmosphere was so tensed, Dick wished he could just flee from the room.

 

After what seemed like forever, Bruce put the paper on his desk. He knew that Dick had crumpled it, but he decided not to comment on it.

 

“So, you’re an Omega.”

 

Hearing that coming from Bruce himself made it seem all too real. The cat was out of the bag now. Dick Grayson had presented as an Omega; the lowest rank of the hierarchy. No more denying it.

 

With a low voice, Dick replied, “Yes…”

 

“I admit I’m quite surprised. You’ve been showing traits that belong to an Alpha all these years. True, you’re a Robin who follows my lead. But I have a feeling that one day, you’ll be a leader of something. You’ll become something that so far, only Alphas could achieve,” said Bruce again without missing a beat, staring at his adoptive son the whole time.

“...Do you...do you hate me then?”

“Why would you think that?”

“Because it turns out I’m…” Dick swallowed, he couldn’t even utter the word he had loathed so much in a mere short time, “... not an Alpha.”

 

At that moment, Alfred stepped forward and put an arm around Dick’s shoulder.

 

“Master Bruce, I think it’s about time Master Dick returns to his room. He must be tired.”

 

However, Dick removed the butler’s arm not so gently and just ran out of Bruce’s study without saying anything.

 

“Master Dick!”

“Let him be, Alfred. I’ll deal with him later.”

“And I do hope you’re not going to be too hard on him. This is a sensitive issue for him. I could see in his eyes how disappointed he was when he found out about his secondary gender.”

“...He’ll be fine, Alfred. I believe in him.”

 

Alfred left the room and at this moment, Bruce pondered at what Dick asked him just a few minutes ago.

 

Do you hate me?

 

“No. I don’t hate you, Dick. This is who you are. I could never hate you for being who you are. But what about you?”

 

Do you hate yourself?

 

------

 

Later that night, Bruce found Dick sitting on a tree branch just across his balcony. His back was leaning on the trunk, while one of his legs dangling. Bruce looked up at him.

 

“Care to join me down here or do I need to climb up there?”

 

At first, Dick didn’t respond. But then, he jumped down and landed gracefully on his feet. They both walked a bit toward a stone bench that happened to have been built near the tree and sat there.

 

“Did all the pondering help?” Bruce opened a conversation.

“...I don’t know.”

“What, then? You were just collecting mosquito bites up there?” Without so much of a warning, Bruce reached for Dick’s arm and examined it, “I see you got quite a few here.”

“Stop it…” The boy didn’t pull his arm back, though. Instead, he allowed the older man to rub soothingly on the reddened skin.

 

Bruce watched Dick folding his knees up before he rested his chin on top of them.

 

“Both my parents were Betas. I really thought…… if I wouldn't present as an Alpha, at the very least I would present as a Beta like them. We’d never had an Omega in Haly’s Circus, either. It wasn’t really a place for weaklings, anyway.”

 

Bruce listened.

 

“That’s why I…”

 

Dick couldn’t finish his sentence.

 

“Do you consider yourself a weakling? Even before today?”

 

The first Robin seemed hesitant to answer, but then he shook his head.

 

“Because you’re not a weakling, Dick. You never are. This whole thing about secondary genders, what they label you, it doesn’t make you one either. You can’t choose to present yourself neither as an Alpha nor Beta, and then fate destined you to be one of the rarest kind. Do you not think it’s a gift instead?”

“A gift…? Me being an Omega is a gift? How could you say that?”

 

Dick didn’t raise his voice, but it was clear how upset he was hearing Bruce’s words.

 

“You may not understand your purpose now, but—”

“My purpose? My sole purpose is to fight crime with you! To save Gotham from evil, such that took my parents away from me! Being an Omega will only hinder my purpose!”

“But will you let it?” Asked Bruce calmly. To which, Dick could only answer with silence.

 

Bruce reached for the boy’s head and let it rest on his shoulder. He didn’t see it, but from the movement, he could guess that Dick was rubbing on his eyes. And then a sniffle was heard.

 

“I’m scared…” Dick whispered in a tiny voice, “Scared of what I’ve become; of how my role would change my life from now on.”

“You’re not wrong to feel that way. But remember, Dick. You’re not alone either.”

“What if...what if one day I could be a danger to you from being…me?”

“You are not a danger to me. And never will be.”

“No! You don’t understand! Bruce, what if the bad guys took me and used me against you? Have you ever thought of that?”

“Then that would be a problem to solve in the future, not in the present. Dick, I just told you that you’re not alone, didn’t I? You and I, both of us, we will face it together. Because we’re partners.”

“Even with you as an Alpha, totally opposite of me?”

“Especially because of that.”

 

Dick lowered his head and stared at his feet. He couldn’t quite comprehend what Bruce meant by that. But for now, it would do. As far as he knew, Bruce hadn’t shown any disappointment or rejection regarding him being an Omega. And that was good enough for him.

 

------

 

The following week, Bruce accepted Alfred's suggestion to revamp Wayne Manor's west wing. Their intention was for that part of the mansion to accommodate everything Dick would need should his first heat arrive.

 

Dick noticed this change and albeit still trying to accept the reality, he had also begun to learn about his Omega nature. He had read a lot of books about it and as informative and helpful though as they were, Dick still dreaded his first heat.

 

Questions filled his head, yet the one he doubted would have an answer was: Who would accompany him?

 

Whenever that question popped up in his head at random times, Dick always dismissed it. He had never thought of himself being with someone in…...an intimate way. But then he started picking up scents too.

 

Alfred's was quite distinct, given him being a Beta. A lot of his schoolmates were Alphas and their musky scents nearly made him gagged sometimes. Although thankfully, the number of Betas in the private high school he attended was higher. Omegas were present too, but most of them were females.

 

Now, Bruce's scent was different. It was strong and just screamed dominance like how most Alphas were, but there was a hint of gentle freshness in it; which Dick believed only he was able to pick up. Not even Alfred could confirm to have smelled that from Bruce.

 

And another question had arisen: Why was Bruce different?

 

------

 

Two years had passed and Dick still hadn't experienced his first heat. He was 18 years old now, which was the lowest range of age for an Omega to experience their first heat.

 

Dick had gotten nervous and unfocused more often than not lately, even during patrols. It didn't help that Batman started benching Robin too.

 

“You said we're partners! Is this what partners do? Leaving the other behind while he takes care of things himself?”

 

Bruce found Dick yelling at him in the Batcave as soon as he got out of Batmobile. He had been patrolling alone that night, which upset the first Robin beyond belief.

 

“This is not what I expected as soon as I got home, Robin.” Batman said, crossing his arms over his armor clad chest.

“Don't you dare call me that. Do you see me wearing the Robin suit? No, because this is who I really am. An Omega unworthy of being your Robin!”

 

Dick had run back to the elevator and left the Batcave even before Batman could prevent him from running.

 

Batman and Robin had fought before. But this was the first time the fight occurred because of something unrelated to their ideals or crime-fighting. Batman wondered if there would be more fights like this.

 

------

 

Dick could feel it coming. He was just up and about during a snowy morning, craving for Alfred's homemade apple pies when the first wave hit him.

 

His breathing soon became irregular as he kneeled on the corridor, a hand clutching at his pajama top. He felt hot, but how could he? It was in the middle of winter and the temperature had dropped very low; the lake outside had actually frozen.

 

Dick tried to stand up, and it was when he felt it. His legs were shaking and so he fell to the floor again. What was worse than that was, he felt himself leaking down there.

 

“Al-Alfred…….” He called out the butler's name, but he didn't think the man could hear him.

 

He whimpered again, fingers clawing at his clad thigh. He needed to touch; needed to be touched.

 

“Master Dick!”

 

Dick's face was already wet with tears when he looked up to see the butler running toward him.

 

“Alfred….” He reached his hand out to Alfred.

“You're going to be alright, Master Dick. Please hold on to me.”

 

And then Alfred picked him up, one arm behind Dick's back and the other under his thighs.

 

“I'm really scared, Alfred….”

“No need to be scared, Master Dick. We've prepared everything for this day.”

 

At that moment, Dick tensed in Alfred's hold. It was the scent he had gotten himself familiar with. The owner of that scent was nowhere in sight, but Dick could already smell him.

 

The next thing they knew, Bruce appeared in front of them, looking unusually agitated. His gaze landed on Dick and his irises dilated at the sight.

 

“Dick….” The name escaped Bruce's lips as no more than just a whisper.

“Master Bruce, I strongly advise you to return to your room. Now.”

“No!” It was Dick who screamed. He rid himself of Alfred's hold, wobbling when his feet touched the floor but Alfred caught him at the right moment.

“Master Dick.”

“I need him…..”

“Master Dick, you're not in your right mind.”

 

Bruce was still rooted to his spot. It was only thanks to his strong self-control that he was able to prevent himself from taking Dick forcefully from Alfred's hold and claiming him right where they were. The Alpha in him was threatening to break free every time it heard the Omega's helpless sobs.

 

“Go and take him away now, Alfred. Before I……”

 

Bruce let his words hung, but he saw Alfred nod at him and then half-dragged Dick to his designated chamber. The cries from the teen got louder and he kept calling out to his name, yet Bruce stood still. He was fighting his own demon.

 

------

 

It was a wonder how Dick could survive the first week of his heat, without a mate. Alfred regularly checked upon him, making sure that the teen always stayed hydrated, well-fed, and sane.

 

Patrolling had become a harder task now that Robin was unavailable and Batman got himself so distracted by the thing his sidekick was going through. In the end, the man contacted Wonder Woman and requested for her help. Diana agreed to assist him, having been informed about Robin’s current situation. Diana herself was an Alpha; she understood what Bruce might be feeling right now.

 

“I’ll deal with Penguin,” said Diana one night during her visit to Wayne Manor to discuss about Cobblepot’s latest shenanigans.

“All right…” Bruce replied after a while, “Then, I’ll—”

“You stay here with him. Robin needs you.”

“No can do. He—”

“Bruce.”

 

Bruce looked up, only to receive a glare from Diana. Wonder Woman sure could be scary sometimes.

 

“Listen to me, Bruce,” Diana spoke again, “He’s bond-less. This is his first heat and he’s going through it alone. A week has passed and yet he hasn’t reached his peak still. This is going to damage him in the long run if you decide not to do anything.”

“But what can I do?!”

“You know the answer already.”

“Jesus Christ! He’s just a child, Diana!”

 

Alfred, who had been present in the urgent meeting and listening to the two superheroes, finally decided to speak up as well.

 

“With all due respect, Sir. Master Dick is no longer a child. He has come of age and is no less of a man than you are. I would even say that he has all the rights to choose whom his partner would be, had he already known that his first heat might arrive. But unfortunately, he’s currently unable to do so.”

“And just because of that, we have the rights to choose one for him?” Bruce asked in disbelief, not expecting that even Alfred would suggest the idea.

“We don’t, but this is the least we can do if we do not wish to see him suffer any longer.”

 

Bruce balled his hand into a fist. He really didn’t want to resort to this method, given how he had helped raising Dick under his wings. But then again, Dick had grown into a wonderful young man, leaving behind all his child traits; no doubt he would become even more than that the older he gotーwhich confirmed Alfred’s statement; Dick was no less of a man than Bruce was. If the whole thing about secondary genders could be dismissed, Bruce even thought that he and Dick were now almost equal.

 

“Are you afraid, Bruce?” Diana asked softly, “Are you afraid of the consequence it will bring?”

“...He will hate me for this.”

“He might, and he might not. I know it’s a gamble, but aren’t we all risk takers?”

 

A sigh escaped from Bruce’s lips. Then he rose from his chair.

 

“Alfred, make sure he’s prepared. Whatever the outcome is, I’ll take full responsibilities.”

 

The butler nodded and excused himself. Bruce then turned to Diana, who had risen from her chair as well.

 

“I guess I’m no longer needed here either. I’ll take my leave and do my job. Don’t worry about Gotham for the time being. You just focus on your duty now.”

 

Diana patted Bruce on the shoulder as she walked past him. After grabbing her coat from the hanger, she left the meeting room, but not without saying goodbye to Bruce first.

 

“I’ll hear from you again.”

“Be safe, Diana.”

 

She smiled reassuringly and then left.

 

Bruce was standing alone in the middle of the room now. Truth be told, he wasn’t entirely sure that this was the right option. But both Alfred and Diana had made their points, and he alone didn’t want Dick to suffer more than he already was. With heavy steps, Bruce finally made his way to the west wing of the mansion.

 

It didn’t take long before he arrived in front of Dick’s soundproof chamber. His scent was even stronger here. Bruce had taken suppressants regularly since Dick’s heat started. Still, the strong sweet scent omitted from inside the chamber proved to be almost too hard to handle.

 

The door before him suddenly opened, revealing Alfred.

 

“Master Bruce, he’s just waking up.”

“Let me in.”

 

For a moment, Alfred seemed reluctant to let Bruce into the chamber. In a mere of seconds, Bruce’s demeanor had changed soon after the door was opened. This must be the doing of Dick’s scent.

 

“Alfred.”

“Yes, of course, Sir.”

 

With a nod, Alfred made way for Bruce to enter the chamber. The old man watched in silence as Bruce walked toward the king-sized bed, adorned with so many pillows that served as a nest. Different kind of adult toys were scattered about, but Bruce tried to ignore them; focusing solely on the teen waking up on the bed before him. He could see traces of tears on the first Robin’s cheeks.

 

“Bruce…”

 

It was weird to hear Dick’s voice again after so long. Alfred had previously wrapped a blanket around Dick’s body, although Bruce suspected that he wore very little close to nothing underneath.

 

Dick extended a hand out to him, which Bruce took but not without a moment of hesitation. Alfred took it as his cue as he excused himself from the chamber and closed the door for privacy's sake. Whatever was going to happen inside was no longer his concern.

Chapter Text

When Dick awoke the following morning, it was only partially because of the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and French toast coming from the kitchen. His nose also caught a hint of spiciness that he wasn’t particularly fond of. Not truly unpleasant, but enough to make him wonder why there was such scent in his room.

 

Dick fluttered his eyes open, slowly sitting up as he lifted one hand to ruffle his bed hair. His peripheral vision caught sight of a human figure sitting on his couch, legs crossed. He turned his head to that person.

 

“Jason? What are you doing here?” He asked, mildly confused.

“Yeah? I wonder about that too,” Jason replied nonchalantly before he added, “Your security system sucks.”

“No, it doesn’t. You could go in only because Tim has tampered with it first,” said Dick as he got off the bed, “Gosh, Jason. You stink.”

“I could say the same to you. You off suppressant or something?”

 

Dick wasn’t answering to that question, but he muttered, “I don’t understand how Tim found your scent comforting.”

 

“I never said that!” Tim suddenly appeared on the door, “Jason, what are you doing here?”

“You didn’t ask him to come here, Tim?” Asked Dick, turning to his youngest brother.

“No. Why would I? Especially after he rudely hung up on me last night.”

“Well, I would happily leave. But Replacement made it sound like you’re in really deep shit, so here I am.”

“I told you to stop calling me that!” Tim yelled.

“It’s not that I’m not pleased about this little reunion; but Tim, who else did you inform?”

 

Dick’s stare wasn’t judging. Still, it made Tim feel like he had been caught with a hand inside a cookie jar.

 

“Just him,” Tim finally answered, jerking his head toward Jason, “....and Alfred. And…...Bruce?”

“Basically everyone.” Jason concluded.

 

Dick didn’t say anything when Tim mentioned Bruce, but Jason noticed he flinched a bit hearing the name.

 

“......Breakfast better be ready, Tim,” was the only thing Dick said before he headed to the bathroom.

 

------

 

With breakfast served, all three of them were now gathered around the table. Dick’s black hair was still slightly damp from the shower he took earlier, and he had a small towel hanging around his neck. Tim was sitting beside him, and his presence alone was enough to block Jason’s scent. Being a Beta, the third Robin was like a lifesaver to them when they all had to gather in one room like this.

 

Jason broke the silence by sipping his coffee unnecessarily loudly, which earned a displeased look from Tim.

 

“Some of us are trying to enjoy a peaceful morning, you know,” commented Tim, pushing forward Dick’s portion toward him.

“That’s Jason for you,” Dick said in response, accepting the plate, “Thanks, Tim.”

 

Jason only rolled his eyes, put his cup back, and stared at Dick.

 

“So, what is this Dick situation your precious little brother told me about last night?”

 

Dick turned his gaze to Tim with a raised eyebrow.

 

“I can explain!” Tim said quickly, glaring at Jason.

“There’s no such thing,” answered Dick, “Is this why you guys came here? Because both of you think I’m in some kind of trouble or something? FYI, I am doing fine and have everything under control.”

“Says someone with bruises all over his body and face.”

“Injuries are normal for people like us, Jason.”

“Really? I just killed a man last night. Do you see me injured even one bit?”

 

At that time, Tim decided to speak.

 

“Come on, both of you! We’re not here to debate!”

“So pray tell why you are here then, Tim,” said Dick again.

 

Tim opened his mouth but closed it again. Meanwhile, Jason had risen from his chair and brought his cup of coffee along with him. He was about to leave the dining room when he heard Tim’s timid voice.

 

“Bruce sent me here to check up on you.”

 

Without turning his back, Jason already knew that Dick wasn’t happy to hear that. Then he heard Dick push his chair back and speak to him.

 

“Jason, could you please take Tim home with you?”

“No no no! Wait, Dick. Listen to me! Don’t you want to know where the tracker that you put on your target ended up?”

 

At the mention of his target, Dick calmed down. He sat back down, noticing that even Jason changed his mind about leaving the room. The young man only leaned on the nearby wall, though.

 

“Where?” Dick asked.

“...Gotham Harbor.”

“What? What is it doing there?”

“I assume after you lost him, he fled to Gotham. Look, you haven’t even told me what exactly happened last night.”

“But that doesn’t make sense. All the victims were found here in Blüdhaven. No link to Gotham whatsoever.”

“What victims? Dick, what case are you actually working on right now?”

 

Dick went silent. He didn’t want Tim and Jason to be involved. But one look at Jason, he knew even Red Hood was curious about it. He sighed.

 

“I guess I could tell you a little about it. Come with me.”

 

Dick walked ahead, with Tim and Jason tailing behind him back to his bedroom. When they arrived there, Dick approached his computer and brought up a file. On the screen, there were pictures of the dead victims, along with the locations of each crime scene.

 

“Your typical serial murder case. Looks boring at first glance. But I found a connection between all these victims,” explained Dick.

“They’re all women?” Suggested Tim.

 

Dick shook his head, “Close. But there’s something else.”

 

Then Jason spoke up, “They’re all Omegas. That’s why you wanted to take this case. Am I right?”

 

“Wait, what? Really?” Tim asked, turning to Dick for confirmation.

“Just as Jason said,” confirmed Dick.

“Wow… Well, what can I do to help?”

“Nothing,” Dick was quick to answer, “Gotham needs you. You should go back, Tim.”

“Gotham has Batman.”

“And Batman needs Robin. Come on, Tim. Don’t argue with me.”

“I’m not trying to argue with you. I just want to help you.”

 

Dick placed a hand on his forehead, “You know what? I’m just gonna call Alfred.”

 

He grabbed his phone and unlocked it, but his movement was paused when he saw a text sent by one of his cop friends. He cursed under his breath after he read the content.

 

“What’s wrong?” Surprisingly, it was Jason who asked.

“...Another victim.”

“Shit,” cursed Tim, “Where?”

“Gotham City.”

 

Neither of them spoke a word.

 

------

 

Every now and then, Alfred would receive updates from Dick. About his work, life, his medication; simply anything that would keep connecting Dick with his previous life in Gotham. He had left the city for good, yes, but it didn't mean that Dick was cold-hearted enough to cut ties with his adoptive family.

 

Even during the whole Jason's resurrection incident, Dick had been there as Nightwing to assist Batman. Alfred remembered after it was all over and Batman managed to rescue Red Hood from the explosion, Nightwing hadn't returned with him to the Batcave. Instead, the butler later got a text from Dick, saying only: My work here is done, Alfred. I'm going back home.

 

Clearly, Gotham was no longer home to Dick Grayson. Alfred respected that. And what little connection he could have with the young hero slash vigilante, he would make sure he didn't forget passing it on to Bruce. Just like this afternoon when after a while, Alfred got another update from Dick.

 

The content of the text message was short, but it made the butler wonder why Dick made that choice now. Instead of questioning the meaning behind Dick's text, though, Alfred decided to let Bruce know.

 

------

 

Tim was settled on the passenger seat on Jason's truck. He then leaned over the window to talk to Dick.

 

“I'll have you know that I agreed to return to Gotham with Jason only because you've promised me that.”

“And I intend to keep that promise,” replied Dick.

“Good,” Tim nodded, “Well, see you later?”

 

Dick smiled, “Yeah. See you later.”

 

Jason drove off, not bothering to wave a goodbye. Tim noticed that and he scowled.

 

“You could've at least said something before we left.”

“What for? We'll see him around.”

 

A huff was all Jason got as a response and neither of them spoke afterward. But the silence was short-lived. As soon as the truck left the parking lot of Dick's apartment block, Tim resumed his talking.

 

“Do you think Dick still dislikes you for being his replacement?”

“As far as I can remember, you are the replacement.”

“Oh, Jason. I know you can be better than this. Besides, don't you get tired calling me that?”

 

Jason shrugged.

 

“You know. At least I know Dick has a soft spot for me.”

“That's just because you're a Beta.”

“Exactly!” Tim exclaimed, “An Alpha like you would only make him feel threatened.”

 

This time, Jason scoffed, “I bet he doesn't want to hear that from you. His Omega pride would be wounded.”

 

“And I bet that already happened back when Bruce adopted you and made you a Robin.”

“You think he dislikes me for that reason? Because I'm an Alpha and Bruce made me a Robin?”

“Isn't that obvious?”

“The way I see it, it’s more like he’s hating himself.”

 

What Jason said made Tim become quiet.

 

“...And you think you and him are super close. Well, think again.” Added Jason.

 

Tim crossed his arms over his chest. He didn't want to admit that what Jason said made sense. But he also hated the idea that he and Dick weren't as close as he thought they were. One thing he noticed, though, it wasn't often that he and Jason could hold a conversation this long.

 

------

 

It was almost evening when Dick arrived in Gotham, at last. Tim had nearly tackled Dick at the entrance of Wayne Manor soon after Alfred opened the door for him.

 

“You kept me waiting!” Tim exclaimed.

“Sorry, Tim. Had some things to take care of first,” answered Dick before he turned to the butler, “Alfred, I know it’s so sudden and I don’t mean to impose, but don’t worry; I probably won’t stay long.”

“You’re welcome to stay here as long as you like, Master Dick,” Alfred said in response.

 

Dick was quiet for a second before he said, “Can’t say the same about the owner of this place, though.”

 

“Master Bruce welcomes you to stay here,” Alfred emphasized.

 

The former Robin was taken aback, but then he nodded and offered the older man a smile that didn’t reach his eyes.

 

“Yeah. I guess we’ll see about that.”

 

Alfred smiled and then he reached for Dick’s suitcase.

 

“Oh no no no! It’s okay, Alfred.”

“If you say so, Sir.”

“So, uhm. Is my old room still intact? Or do I even still have one here?”

“Of course, you do,” replied Alfred with a raised eyebrow.

 

Tim suddenly butted in, “I’ll walk him to his room! C’mon, Dick.”

 

Without waiting for an answer, Tim had grabbed Dick by the wrist and dragged him upstairs. When they were no longer within Alfred’s hearing range, Dick spoke again.

 

“Is Jason not with you?”

 

Tim, who was walking ahead of him, suddenly halted and turned around to face Dick. One of his eyebrows was raised.

 

“Why would he? You know he doesn’t live here.”

“So, after he dropped you off here, he just left again?”

“That, he did,” confirmed Tim, “And...here we are!”

 

Both of them arrived in front of Dick’s old room. Tim opened the door for him, allowing Dick to enter first. At once glance, everything seemed intact. It was as if almost nobody had ever entered the room again after Dick left Gotham years ago. Although of course Dick knew that Alfred should have tidied it up earlier.

 

Dick let go of his suitcase and stepped forward to the middle of the room. He heard Tim’s voice behind him.

 

“Okay, then. I’ll leave you be.”

“Alright,” was all Dick said in response.

 

Being in this room again after so long brought all memories of Dick living in Wayne Manor to the surface. He remembered in the early days after Bruce adopted him, he didn’t outright like the place. He walked to the glass door that led to the balcony and opened it. The wind immediately blew inside. He remembered he used to sneak away through this balcony, thinking that Bruce would never find out. He was wrong, though. Bruce always knew.

 

Then, Dick moved to the bed. His hand caressed the soft duvet, before he lowered himself to sit. The mattress dipped at his weight. Dick remembered how he had lain for five days straight in this very bed after his first heat. An IV pole standing beside his bed, as his younger self was undergoing IV therapy. Two full weeks of intense heat did that to you. He was very weak when Alfred came to the chamber on the last day to retrieve both him and Bruce. His lean figure was cradled very carefully within Bruce’s embrace.

 

Dick gritted his teeth at the memory. He hated remembering those days. He hated not being able to remember certain things that happened, due to being under the influence of his Omega taking over himself. He hated taking advantage of Bruce.

 

He realized things changed between them after his first heat and how they both had spent it together. He felt just how distant Bruce had become. He experienced it firsthand how the Dynamic Duo had gradually fallen apart since then. Eventually, Dick had had enough. He decided to leave Gotham, wanting to get away and just probably start a new life. But his heart did break when Bruce agreed to let him leave without so much as objecting whatsoever.

 

Needless to say, just about half a year after Dick’s departure, he heard rumors about Bruce Wayne adopting another orphan. And said orphan was an Alpha. Dick should have known better; a man like Bruce would want an Alpha for his heir. Dick was none of that. He had thought he could just move on and focus on his own vigilante career in Blüdhaven. But then Jason Todd happened. The boy had shown up before him out of the blue, saving his butt when he was cornered by some thugs, and then casually and quite smugly introduced himself as Robin, Batman’s new sidekick.

 

It was like being hit by a solid brick right in the face.

 

Someone knocked on his door, which was left opened when Tim left earlier. Dick had his back facing the door.

 

“Come in,” said Dick.

 

But Dick didn’t hear any footsteps entering his bedroom. Instead, he heard a voice talking to him.

 

“Are you sure you want me to?”

 

Dick stiffened. He recognized the voice. How could he not? But what bothered him more was: Why could he not smell his scent earlier?

 

Dick stood up and turned on his heels, facing his guest.

 

“Bruce…”

 

Bruce was still in one of his very expensive suits, looking as pristine as ever. His hair was combed back, not a single strand stood out. He nodded to acknowledge Dick saying his name, but he didn’t take a step inside. Instead, Dick approached him, albeit reluctantly.

 

“It’s been a while,” Bruce finally said when Dick was within arm-length.

“Yeah….yeah, it has.”

 

They didn’t say anything after that. The silence was painfully awkward. Dick noticed Bruce’s right hand move, as if he wanted to reach out to him. But the hand fell to his side again.

 

“How long has it been, though?” Bruce suddenly asked, “Since Red Hood, isn’t it?”

 

Dick merely hummed in response, unsure of what better reaction he could come up with.

 

“Alfred said you’re staying.”

“I am.”

“Good…”

 

Then, Bruce stepped away from the door.

 

“I’ll see you at dinner?”

“Alright.”

 

Bruce turned to leave, and Dick was staring at the wooden floor. He didn’t expect a pair of nicely polished shoes would appear in his line of sight, followed by a hug. Bruce smelled so nice, he always did. Dick couldn’t help but return the hug, absorbing Bruce’s body warmth.

 

“Welcome home,” whispered Bruce in his ear, voice laced with emotion.

 

Dick wasn’t sure how to respond. But in the end, he muttered the first thing that came to his mind.

 

“I’m home.”

Chapter Text

“You’ve gotta admit, tonight's dinner was awkward,” Robin started as soon as the Batmobile zoomed about to the city.

 

Behind the steering wheel, Batman stayed quiet.

 

“What with Ms. Kyle’s unexpected visit and Dick leaving just right after she showed up,” the sidekick continued, “Tell me. Did you even invite her?”

 

Robin got a shake of head from Batman as a response.

 

“Figured. But she made herself at home nonetheless. Dick was not impressed.”

 

Robin had mentioned Dick twice now, and Batman just couldn’t stay silent anymore.

 

“Robin, what’s your point?” He finally asked.

“Oh, nothing. I’m just having a conversation with you.”

“Well then, you’d better stop that and get to work.”

 

Batman parked the vehicle in a dark alley. As soon as the door was opened, Robin got off. He gave Batman a salute before he ran ahead, disappearing into the night. Batman stood beside the Batmobile as he looked up toward the sky. The moon was shining brightly tonight. There was no sighting of the Bat-Signal on the night sky, which was good. Still, it didn’t stop Batman and Robin to patrol around the city every night. With the same determination to protect the innocents, Batman caught up with Robin.

 

------

 

Meanwhile, on the rooftop of a tall building, Nightwing stood at the edge overlooking the city. He couldn’t say he missed the view; a similar view he had seen a lot. But there were some differences between Gotham and Blüdhaven. Neither one was better than the other, though.

 

“Hey, handsome.”

 

A voice called out to him and Nightwing turned around. He smiled when he saw Batgirl standing before him with a hand on her hip. Batgirl took a step forward and he did the same. Nightwing was more than prepared when Batgirl threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck.

 

“I’ve missed you so much!” Batgirl beamed.

“Me too.”

 

They parted and Batgirl motioned for the two of them to sit on the ground.

 

“Dick, you have no idea how much I’ve dreamed about you coming back. This is permanent, right?”

“Well, about that….I can’t say for sure.”

 

Behind her mask, Nightwing knew Batgirl must look crestfallen; but she quickly regained her composure.

 

“Anyway, you’re here now and that’s all that matters. So, why did you call me to meet you up here? After so long, I’ve expected a proper date, you know!”

 

Nightwing laughed, “Sorry to disappoint, but I really need your help, Babs.”

 

“Aww, Dick. You know I will always help you. You don’t have to ask.”

 

For a moment, the smile on Nightwing’s face faltered. He lifted his hand and cupped Batgirl’s face.

 

“Barbara, you’re so kind. Did anyone ever tell you that?”

“I’m only kind with you. You’re my favorite person, after all. But seriously, are you okay?”

 

Nightwing averted his gaze away.

 

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“Can we save this for later? I have something to show you.”

 

Batgirl was taken aback, but she nodded. Then Nightwing turned up his Holographic Computer and accessed the file he wanted to show to the girl beside him. It was a picture of a dead woman, seemingly in the middle of her own apartment.

 

“Her body was found this morning by her landlord.”

“Where is this?”

“A rundown apartment near Gotham Harbor.”

“Wait. I’ve actually heard about this. It was on the news. But what does this victim have to do with you?”

“She was the fourth victim of the serial murder case I’m investigating in Blüdhaven.”

“How can you be so sure that her death is related to your case? After all, she was found here in Gotham.”

“Well, Tim located the suspect and he’s now in this city.”

“Tim knows about this?”

 

Nightwing nodded. Batgirl examined the picture more and Nightwing could almost hear the gears working inside her head.

 

“How can I help you?” She asked after a while.

“The usual.”

“Alright. But why me? You’re almost as good at hacking as me.”

“I’ve got the fieldwork waiting for me. Gotham Harbor is my starting point. When can I expect you to relay me the info?”

“24 hours should be enough.”

“Okay. I’ll give you a call for our next meeting.”

“Are you leaving already?”

“No, I’m still waiting for one other person to join us.”

 

Batgirl pouted.

 

“And here I thought this is a special case only for you and me.”

 

Nightwing laughed again before he patted Batgirl on the shoulder.

 

“How about I take you to a date after this is all over?”

 

Batgirl smirked in return, “Now you’re speaking my language.”

 

They bumped their fists in an agreement, just right before another person’s voice interrupted them.

 

“You’d better not make me a third wheel in this so-called date of yours, Grayson.”

“Hello to you too, Jason.”

 

At the sight of Red Hood revealing himself from the darkness, Batgirl’s eyes widened.

 

“Really? We’re working with him?”

“Yes, we are.”

“I have to ask, though. You refused Robin’s help this morning, so why asked mine now?”

“Because it’s your influence that I need, Jason. Not Robin’s skills.”

“My influence,” Red Hood repeated, “Elaborate.”

 

Nightwing glanced at Batgirl who seemed just as curious as Red Hood was. He cleared his throat before he spoke again.

 

“You know people—certain people whom I believe will have answers regarding my target.”

“And you need my help to reach to these people? Acting like a middle-man?” Red Hood asked.

“Something like that.”

“What if I refuse?”

“Then it will take longer for me to dig for more information and….you'll probably miss the fun.”

 

Red Hood took a step forward toward Nightwing and Batgirl who were now standing.

 

“Grayson, be honest. You don't actually think this case is fun. You don't actually need my help. So why am I here now?”

 

Nightwing squared his shoulders before he answered, “Gotham is no longer my playground, Jason. I don't even know if it ever was. What else should I say to satisfy your ego?”

 

Red Hood took one step closer until he was almost nose-to-nose with Nightwing. Beside them, Batgirl was looking frantic.

 

“Guys…”

“I haven't heard you asking.”

 

As tough as Nightwing tried to be, Batgirl noticed his gloved hands were shaking. Red Hood might be slightly shorter than Nightwing, but he was now exuding his Alpha aura whether he realized it or not. Batgirl herself was struggling to block the strong and dominant scent coming from Red Hood. For precautions, Batgirl had taken suppressant before she went to meet up with Nightwing, but she couldn't be sure if the latter had done the same.

 

When Nightwing finally opened his mouth to speak again, his voice came out almost inaudible. His head lowered against his will, an Omega's answer to an Alpha's demand..

 

“Will you lend me a hand, please?”

“Jason, back off!” Batgirl shouted, pushing Red Hood away as she moved in front of Nightwing as if to protect him.

 

Red Hood seemed baffled at the scene that just unfolded before him. His hand reached up to take his hood off. Clutching it tightly, he stammered, “I….I wasn't—I didn't mean to—”

 

“We know,” Batgirl cut him off, “But please, leave.”

“What….what about him?”

“He'll be okay. Now, Jason. Go!”

 

Red Hood stepped backward and turned on his heels. As he walked away, Batgirl half-shouted to his departing figure.

 

“We'll keep you in touch!”

 

No reply from Red Hood, but Batgirl knew he heard her. She then turned to a devastated Nightwing and put her hands on his shoulders.

 

“Dick. Dick, are you there? Answer me.”

 

Nightwing looked Batgirl straight in the eyes but he didn't say anything.

 

“Take a deep breath. Follow me.”

 

Nightwing did as he was told and soon, his breathing was even again. He noticed Batgirl had been holding his hands the whole time she was calming him down. He let go of her hands, though.

 

“Damn it!”

“Dick, it was a minor mishap. I'm sure Jason didn't mean to threaten you like that.”

“I know! It's….I don't know what's happening to me, Babs! This body….it's like I'm losing control.”

“Sshh, it's alright. It's alright, Dick. I get that. I'm an Omega too, remember?”

 

Nightwing turned around and started walking away.

 

“I gotta go.”

“But, Dick!”

“I'll be fine, Babs. Don't worry about me.”

 

Before Batgirl could respond to that, Nightwing was already gone.

 

------

 

Tonight's patrol went smoothly. There was no significant misbehavior from the criminals, which was good but odd at the same time. Not that Bruce had any complaints; he could use some night off once in a while. The Batmobile entered the tunnel that led to the Batcave and beside him, Tim was restless.

 

“You gotta pee or something?” Bruce asked.

“Eh, no. Just remember I still have unfinished homework.”

 

Bruce snorted, “I shouldn't have asked you to come along.”

 

“That's okay. A little distraction is all that I needed. But I'm still going to ask you if I could skip writing the report tonight. Pretty please?”

 

They had already arrived before Bruce could give Tim an answer. But as soon as they got out of the vehicle, Bruce spoke again.

 

“Robin, you're dismissed.”

“Yay! Good night, Bruce!”

 

The teen didn't wait for a reply. Bruce could only stare at his running figure; his lips turned upward forming a smile. He noticed Alfred was nowhere in sight. Striding toward the main computer, Bruce took his cowl off. He put it on top of the spacious desk as he sat down facing the giant screen. He was just about to start writing down his report when his eyes caught a movement from one of the CCTV feeds.

 

Nightwing was seen trespassing the front gate and he seemed to be heading straight to his balcony. It brought back a distant memory. Bruce still remembered very clearly how young Dick used to sneak out. He would return after hours and he seemed to believe that nobody found out. Which was wrong, of course. But Bruce never said a thing.

 

Bruce's eyes were still following Dick's image in the feed when he noticed something seemed off. Dick was staggering.

 

Did he take a beating?

 

The next thing he knew, Bruce was already stripping out of his suit and headed upstairs. The report was left at the back of his mind right now.

 

------

 

Dick fell onto the wooden floor of his balcony. He felt weak on the knees, but he had no idea why. One thing he knew was he felt anxious. He forced himself to stand and slide open the glass door.

 

Once inside, Dick removed his domino mask and stripped. He grabbed the closest clothing he could find—a sleeveless navy blue top and a pair of black boxers—and put them on.

 

Dick sat himself down on the bed afterward. Hands propping his face as he tried so hard to dismiss the image of Jason from his head. He never found Jason threatening, but apparently the Omega in him didn't agree.

 

He straightened up and saw his hands trembling. He needed his meds. He needed something to calm his nerves. Dick looked up at the desk beside his bed. He had unpacked earlier and he remembered putting his medication on that desk. But he found nothing except a digital clock, a notebook, and his phone charger.

 

Not believing his eyes, Dick kneeled in front of the desk and opened the drawers one by one. Nothing. Was he just imagining things? Did he actually forget to bring his medication along?

 

Dick was getting more anxious. He paced back and forth in the middle of his room, biting his fingernails. He needed any form of comfort desperately and he needed it now.

 

After a while, he cursed and let his Omega instincts overtake him. He opened the closet, taking out all blankets stored inside. He carried those blankets in his arms and dumped them on his bed. Dick also grabbed the extra pillows from the couch.

 

He started arranging the pillows so they would surround him, like a makeshift barrier. Layers of blankets were placed in the middle. He climbed in and settled in the nest he created. Only then did he start calming down. He made a mental note to ask Alfred about his medication. Tonight, he would just sleep it off and prayed that when he woke up, he would feel better.

 

------

 

Bruce ascended the staircase but halted midway when all of a sudden, his nose picked up a scent of an Omega in distress. The first and last time he caught a similar scent was from years ago; the night before Dick told him about his decision to move out of Wayne Manor and leave Gotham entirely.

 

His feet felt like they were nailed to the steps, refusing to move. But the Alpha in him was screaming to come to the Omega's aid. Bruce was torn about what he should do. It was Tim's voice that brought him back to reality.

 

“Goodness…..is it Dick?”

 

Bruce saw Tim's head poking through the gap of his door, the teen's eyes wandering to the direction of Dick's bedroom.

 

“Is he alright….?” Tim asked as he exited his room.

 

Before Tim could move further, Bruce had already grabbed his shoulder and turned him around.

 

“Go back to your room, Tim.”

“But I think Dick is not alright. Tell me I'm not the only one who smells it.”

“He'll be alright. And do as I said.”

 

Tim didn't look happy that Bruce just practically told him to stay out of whatever was happening, but he went back to his room nonetheless. Bruce stayed in the hallway until his youngest ward entered his bedroom like he told him to before he turned on his heels and headed to Dick's.

 

He stood just outside the door and knocked softly. No answer. He tried again but still got nothing in response. He knew Dick was inside because he could sense the latter's presence from behind the door. Bruce looked down at the doorknob, contemplating. He twisted it and the door opened for him.

 

“Dick?” Bruce called, entering the room in caution.

 

The lamp was turned off; the state of the room was practically a mess. Lit by the moonlight, Bruce even noticed Dick’s blue and black suit along with his domino mask were carelessly scattered on the floor. The glass door was ajar and for a second, Bruce thought of a possibility of someone else breaking into Dick’s room. However, he breathed a sigh of relief when he spotted Dick sleeping in his very cluttered bed. If not because of his sharp eyes, Bruce wouldn't have noticed that there was someone in the middle of that artificial nest.

 

Standing beside Dick's bed, Bruce could now see that the sleeping man before him wasn't actually having a deep and peaceful slumber. Dick's forehead was creased as if he was worrying about something in his sleep.

 

Hesitating, Bruce sat down on the edge of Dick's bed. His eyes slowly took in the sight of Dick's facial feature. There was no sign of exhaustion or a beating, but Bruce could feel a sense of discomfort from him.

 

Bruce felt an unwanted desire to hold Dick. But he quickly said no to his inner thoughts.

 

Dick moved. It startled the older man although Bruce didn't budge from his position. The last thing he wanted was for Dick to wake up and find him in his room without permission. But Dick was still sleeping.

 

Minutes passed and Bruce was still not leaving. Dick was still restless too; tossing and turning in his sleep. Bruce sighed. He wished he could find any other option to make Dick feel better but it seemed only his scent could do that.

 

Reaching up to the flank of his neck, Bruce removed the patch that previously concealed his scent gland. His other hand searched for Dick's beneath the blanket and once he found it, he intertwined their fingers. He willed his scent to engulf the sleeping man and sure enough, the crease on Dick's forehead slowly faded.

 

Time seemed to stop. With Dick now sleeping soundly and Bruce holding his hand, it was like this fleeting moment between them could last forever.

 

Bruce's chest tightened. He couldn't give a name to the feeling he had for Dick. He knew, though, that he cared about him so much.

 

But does Dick feel the same?

 

Bruce was too occupied by his own thoughts that he failed to notice a pair of eyes witnessing his private moment with Dick.

 

Having been trained for years to silence his footsteps, Tim retreated to his room.

Chapter Text

Dick heard Alfred close the door after Bruce took his hand. They were alone now in the chamber that was specifically designed for him. When Bruce sat on the bed facing him with their hands still holding, Dick finally spoke again, his voice came out hoarse.

 

“Where were you all this time? When I needed you the most.”

“Dick, I'm not the one you need.”

“You don't know that!”

“You're my son…”

“I don't care!”

 

Dick pulled his hand back from Bruce's grip, burying his face in his raised up knees. His shoulders were shaking as he started sobbing. The movement caused the blanket that wrapped around him to slip, revealing a small part of his bare skin.

 

“I'm sorry,” Dick choked, “I never want you to see me like this.”

 

Reluctantly, Bruce scooted closer to Dick and pulled him into his embrace.

 

“It was your Omega speaking, Dick. It's alright.”

“But I hate it. I hate being in the dark while my deepest desire consumes and takes over me.”

“It will pass.”

“When?” Dick looked up at Bruce, cheeks wet with tears, “It doesn't seem to end. This is not like what I've read in those books. Why am I experiencing it differently, Bruce?”

“I assure you, Dick. It will pass. Sooner or later. You just need to—”

 

Bruce froze as he witnessed how the pupils in Dick's eyes constricted.

 

“Dick… Dick, stay with me.”

 

The young man in question caught him off guard as he started climbing into Bruce's lap, eyes turning darker with lust.

 

“I want you, Alpha…”

 

Before Bruce could say anything, Dick had already claimed his lips. Bruce didn't respond to the kiss; his hands went down to Dick's hips to still him after the younger man started grinding against him. Then Dick pulled back, only to shower his neck with kisses.

 

“Alpha smells so good…”

“Dick!”

 

Bruce yanked the lean body apart from him, panting heavily. Dick looked startled and hurt. He never liked seeing such look on his dearest son.

 

“Dick, it doesn't have to be like this. We can—”

 

Bruce struggled to find words but then he looked down at his lap. The fragrance came from Dick's slick was all over the place and it engulfed him in no time. Bruce closed his eyes, concentrating his mind to block the scent. But it was as if a much stronger wave surged inside him, setting his very core ablaze.

 

Between his attempts, Bruce felt Dick move away from him. When he opened his eyes again, he saw a very naked Dick lying on his back before him. His legs were spread wide, slick gushing out of his hole.

 

The erotic display broke down the invisible barrier Bruce had created and the next thing he knew, he was already lapping up the nectar-like liquid right off its source. Dick gasped loudly, fingers clutching the bed sheet in a tight grip. His back arched beautifully as Bruce continued to devour him.

 

Moans filled the soundproof chamber. Dick was a mess. With Bruce between his legs, his body shuddered in pleasure. One of his hands let go of the sheet and reached for Bruce's hair. His breath hitched when Bruce's tongue went deeper into him, the tip brushing a bundle of nerves inside him. Dick groaned.

 

“So...close, Alpha…”

 

Bruce didn't stop. If anything, he only moved faster. He was like a greedy man, not letting any drop of Dick's slick go to waste. Then a moment later, Dick screamed. His whole body spasmed as he rode the waves of his orgasm. His scent merged with the air, getting sweeter every second.

 

Bruce went rigid. His brain felt like there was a thick fog inside his head, preventing him from thinking rationally. When the older man finally sat up, lust had clouded his eyes. Bruce was no longer himself. Spent, Dick lifted both of his arms up toward him, as if welcoming him. Bruce gave in, locking his mouth with Dick's as he embraced him.

 

“Mine,” Bruce whispered in between kisses, “Mine!”

 

Then, Bruce bit Dick's neck, right where his scent gland was.

 

------

 

Dick awoke with a loud gasp. He was covered in cold sweats and his breathing was irregular. His eyes were wide as he stared at the ceiling. For a second, he felt disoriented. Then his mind gradually remembered that he was in his old room in Wayne Manor. He was back in Gotham.

 

Dick untangled himself from the many layers of blanket, but then he sensed the uncomfortable wetness on his lower half. His body was immediately alerted and he sat upright, tossing the last blanket away. He looked down in fear, followed by a sigh of relief when he found that his heat hadn’t come yet.

 

However, his crotch was uncomfortably soaked from his earlier orgasm. Dick blamed the dream he just had. It felt too real and he knew why. He was dreaming of his first heat years ago. Except...Bruce didn’t bite him that time. Or did he…?

 

His hand flew to his neck involuntarily. If Bruce had bitten him, he would’ve left a mark; a bond mark. But he and Bruce were never bonded, therefore that part of this dream might as well just be a mere dream.

 

Dick shook his head to clear his mind. He got off the bed, a few pillows falling to the floor from the movement. He bent to pick them up and that was when his eyes caught sight of something on his desk. He stepped closer to the desk beside his bed and grabbed the small bottle he was looking for last night. He was really sure he couldn’t find it at all; so why was it here now?

 

Turning around, Dick scanned his room. There was no sign of someone breaking and entering. The glass door was shut, although he didn’t remember closing it last night. Then he spotted his blue and black suit was neatly hung on the wall across from him. Somebody must have entered his room while he slept. Could it be Alfred? The old man could sense when he was in discomfort. His medication now magically placed on his desk must have been Alfred’s doing too. But to be sure, Dick made a mental note to ask him in person later. For now, a cold shower was much needed than anything else.

 

------

 

“You are unusually early today, Master Bruce.”

“Good morning, Alfred.”

“Good morning, indeed.” Alfred replied, serving a cup of coffee in front of Bruce as the other man sat down on his chair.

“Has Tim woken up yet?”

“I believe he’s preparing for school right now.”

 

Bruce nodded, sipping his coffee. He picked up the newspaper Alfred had prepared for him. He was about to start reading it when he suddenly spoke, “What is it, Alfred? You look like you have something urgent to tell me.”

 

“I don’t know if this is urgent, but I think this is important, Sir,” replied Alfred.

 

Bruce lowered the newspaper so he could see his butler’s face.

 

“Do tell me.”

“I have done what you tasked me the other night, Sir. About Master Dick’s medication.”

 

The newspaper was now abandoned as Bruce paid Alfred his full attention.

 

“How is it going?”

“I’ll have you know that I had to steal one pill from his possession yesterday. And I have looked into it with help from Dr. Thompkins. It seems that one way or another, the ingredients have been altered.”

“Was it authorized?”

“I fear not. And if I may ask, is Master Dick consuming these pills in a large dose?”

“According to Tim, yes. Did that affect him somehow?”

“Heat suppressant is not meant to be taken in a large dose, Sir. Master Dick should be aware of that. And judging from the lab result, these pills may cause addiction.”

“What’s the worst that can happen?”

“Unpredictable heat cycle if it’s common medication. You know, the cheaper kind and quite affordable. But we’ve been providing him with top quality one. Established by the pharmaceutical which is funded by Wayne Enterprise for the past years; the Mevius Corp..”

 

Bruce went silent. He knew about Mevius Corp., of course. There had never been any problem related to it before. So why now?

 

“... Thank you, Alfred. It’s a valuable information.”

“I can do some research about it later.”

“Not necessary. You’ve been very helpful, but I’ll take it from here.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Oh, Alfred. Don’t tell him yet.”

 

Alfred nodded. At the same time, Tim appeared at the dining room’s entrance.

 

“Morning, everyone!”

 

Both Bruce and Alfred greeted the teen back. Tim quickly sat on the chair closest to Bruce, putting his school bag on the empty chair beside him.

 

“Where’s Dick?” Tim asked, looking around.

 

As if summoned by Tim’s question, Dick showed up.

 

“I’m here. What’s up, Tim?”

“Nothing. I thought you left already.”

 

Dick proceeded to sit across from Tim, avoiding to look in Bruce’s direction even when he muttered his morning greetings. Alfred moved to pour him coffee. Dick said thanks quietly, but then he suddenly looked up at the man beside him.

 

“Oh, Alfred. Did you…?”

“Yes, Master Dick?”

 

Dick had a second thought and then shook his head.

 

“Never mind. I’ll ask you later. It’s not important.”

“I’ll be here when you need me, Sir.”

“Thank you, Alfred.”

 

Alfred left. Dick was staring at the old man’s back as he reached blindly for sugar when his fingers nearly knocked over the small container.

 

“Oops, my bad.”

 

Dick steadied the container at the same time Bruce did. Bruce’s fingers brushed his and they lingered there. It only last for a split second, though, because Dick had immediately pulled his hand back. He sipped his coffee while looking elsewhere, clearly aware of how Tim had been watching him. Meanwhile, Bruce acted like nothing happened and resumed eating his breakfast.

 

The next minutes were spent in silence. Until eventually, Dick pushed his chair back.

 

“I’m done. Thank you for the meal.”

 

Dick proceeded to leave the dining room but somehow Bruce was already standing close to him.

 

“Dick, can we talk?”

“Not now. I gotta go.”

 

Bruce grabbed Dick’s elbow when he saw the younger man turn to leave, “Perhaps later?”

 

Dick looked down at the hand that had prevented him from leaving, then up to see Bruce’s face. He couldn’t read Bruce’s expression.

 

“Get a room, you two.” Tim remarked from the table.

 

Bruce let go of Dick’s elbow then. He didn’t fail to notice how uneasy Dick had looked when he heard Tim. But he gave his answer to Bruce anyway.

 

“I’ll find you later...for this talk.”

“Okay.”

 

Before he knew it, Dick had left. Bruce then turned to face his youngest ward.

 

“What was that about, Tim?”

“Oh! I’m going to be late!”

 

Tim grabbed his school bag and ran past Bruce, but not without giving the man a quick hug first. Bruce could only sigh and shake his head.

 

“Have a nice day!”

“You too!” Shouted Tim.

 

------

 

The female Omega was bound to a chair. Her face was wet with tears as she kept pleading to be released.

 

“Please… I won't tell anyone. Please, just let me go.”

 

Then, a man stepped forward toward her. His smile was plastered so wide on his handsome face. He rounded the bound woman until he stood behind her, and bent down to whisper in her ear.

 

“You should be grateful. You've been chosen by us.”

“I don't want this. I was just doing my job. I thought you guys called me here for my service!”

“Yes, we did.”

“Then why am I tied like this? Look, I have a co-worker who's into this thing. I can switch with her if you let me go.”

 

The man laughed.

 

“And what makes you think we want your invaluable and tainted body?”

 

The woman sobbed, “Isn't it...isn't it why I'm here? I'm a prostitute, for fuck's sake.”

 

“You are, indeed. An Omega prostituting herself. All just for the damn sexual satisfaction. Because your kind just can't control your damn hormones. You all walk around freely seducing Alphas. Just how much lower can you go in this world, Omega?”

“Wha-what the fuck are you talking about?” The woman looked afraid.

 

Instead of giving her an answer, the man retreated and spoke to his subordinate.

 

“Give her a shot. We'll see if this time we've caught a suitable lab rat. And if she doesn't live up to our expectations, finish her.”

“Yes, Sir.”

 

The subordinate picked up a syringe that she had been preparing before and brought it to the woman.

 

“What's that?” Asked the woman in fear, face becoming pale.

“Don't worry. You'll feel good.” The subordinate answered.

 

Despite her smile, the subordinate didn't look convincing at all. The bound woman struggled on her chair but the rope limited her movement.

 

“Just let me go! I promise I'll never tell a soul! Please!”

“Well, too late for that.”

 

Smiling, the subordinate then pressed the needle into the bound woman's scent gland. The captured Omega screamed in pain; and her screaming just got louder and louder as the unknown substance ran through her veins.

 

------

 

Dick checked his watch for the sixth time. The person he had been waiting for should be arriving soon. Leaning back, Dick glanced around the cozy looking café he had chosen for the meeting. He had visited this café a few times with Barbara in the past. Not much had changed and Dick felt somewhat nostalgic.

 

Someone entered the café and Dick shifted his gaze to the door. Jason was scowling as he walked to his table.

 

“Must it be here?” Asked Jason, sitting across from Dick.

“It's cozy here. It helps putting me in a calm mood.”

“Not really a place for the stuff we'll be discussing about, though.”

 

Dick shrugged, “Wanna order something?”

 

“No.”

“Fine,” Dick muttered.

“So what's it?”

“I need to be sure that you're willing to help me solve this case first.”

 

Jason gritted his teeth, “I wouldn't be here if I'm not!”

 

Dick smiled, but the smile quickly disappeared.

 

“Thank you. Now, I wanna ask you. Do you have any idea who's behind this?”

“Could be anyone. Everybody loves killing in this city.”

“Yeah, I don't think that's true. But Jason, killing Omegas...that's a first.”

“None of the crime bosses I know would do such thing, if you ask me. Omegas or not, they'll get rid of anyone if they need to.”

“Which means we got a new guy?”

 

Jason stared at Dick. After a short pause, he replied, “I'll ask around. But don't get your hopes up. These people are not really the type who will spill the beans without some proper bribes.”

 

“I know I can count on you, Jason.”

“Are we done here?”

“What's the rush?”

“Nothing. Just have some business with some brat.”

 

Dick snickered, “Tim? What's the thing between you and him actually?”

 

Jason rolled his eyes, “None. I just…”

 

Dick waited for his younger brother to finish his sentence, but Jason let his words hung.

 

“Anyway,” Jason cleared his throat, “I'm...sorry about last night.”

 

Dick's expression softened. He noticed how Jason's body language had turned stiff and awkward, but he knew the younger man meant his apology.

 

“It's okay, Jason. It's me who shouldn't have overreacted.”

 

Jason narrowed his eyes, “What's gotten into you actually? Not that I care, but if what the brat said was correct, your heat shouldn't be arriving soon. So what's with the reduced performance?”

 

“Trust me, even I'm still trying to figure it out.”

“Is it because you're a guy? Male Omegas experience stuff differently, I heard.”

“Now, let's not discriminate us. Male or female, Omegas are already having it hard.”

“I don't discriminate anyone. Male Omegas are rare and they do have some differences compared to female Omegas. That's a fact.”

 

Dick sighed, “I know. I guess I just...don't like that people treat you based on your secondary gender. That's stupid, really.”

 

“So you want an equality? Well, good luck with that. Things like equality has gone extinct ever since the first Alpha was born into this world a millennium ago. Wherever you go, Alphas stay on top of the pyramid. You can't deny how this hierarchy system works.”

 

Dick scoffed, “How inconvenient.”

 

Jason stood up, leaning forward to Dick so only his older brother could hear what he said next.

 

“We live in a different world, man. Accept it.”

 

Then Jason walked away, leaving Dick alone with his self-pity.

Chapter Text

Tim stared at the transparent door in front of him, and then up at the store sign.

 

“Why did you bring me to a drugstore?” He asked, shifting his gaze to Jason beside him.

“I need your recommendation,” Jason murmured, but he knew Tim would catch his answer.

“On what?”

“Let’s just get in first.”

 

Jason pushed the door open, letting Tim enter the store ahead of him. As he followed and the door swung closed behind him, he watched as the teen turn around and threw him a questioning look.

 

“Scent patch. Top quality,” Jason said before Tim could ask him about what he was looking for.

 

Tim narrowed his eyes, but he didn’t comment. Instead, he led Jason to a specific isle, as if he owned the drugstore.

 

“Been here often?”

“Not really. I just know where to look. Hm, how about this one?”

 

Tim picked up a box and handed it to Jason.

 

“Has Bruce tried this one before?”

“Not that I know of. I think he prefers the expensive kind.”

“Well then, give me that instead. Money is not the problem.”

“Sure,” Tim shrugged as he took the box from Jason’s hand and put it back on the shelf. He rummaged a few times more with Jason waiting beside him.

“Found it yet?”

“Here.”

 

Jason read the description after accepting another box from Tim.

 

“Manufactured by Mevius Corp.. Sounds familiar.”

“Wayne Enterprises has been funding it for years. In fact, Bruce is one of the shareholders,” Tim explained.

“It should work, right? Given how expensive it is.”

“Never heard Bruce complain about it before.”

“I’m buying it.”

“But why?”

“What do you mean ‘why’?”

“Why are you buying it? You’re not the type to wear a scent patch.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t need it.”

 

Jason turned to purchase the item when Tim’s question made him stop.

 

“Have you… found an Omega to… be bonded with?”

“What? No! I hate Omegas.”

“Including Dick?”

“Dick is… an exception. Maybe.”

 

Tim looked relieved. Although Jason wasn’t sure if it was because he found that Jason was not seeing any Omega or because he didn’t hate Dick. Either way, Jason was not in the mood to discuss it further. He walked to the cashier, Tim in tow.

 

The girl behind the counter asked Jason a few questions; mainly about his eligibility to purchase the item. During the process though, Tim had somehow wandered toward the products on display. When Jason appeared behind him after finishing the purchase, he saw Tim holding a bottle of heat suppressant.

 

“Thinking to buy it for Dick?”

“No.”

“No?” Jason repeated.

“This thing is also manufactured by Mevius Corp., and yes, Dick has been consuming it for years. Bruce and Alfred had been providing him. I know because he asked me to get it for him the other night. This is exactly the same brand.”

 

Jason crossed his arms over his chest, “But…?”

 

Tim put the bottle back. Then unexpectedly, he dragged Jason outside. He was not stopping until they reached Jason’s motorbike.

 

“I can’t risk speaking any further about this here. Mevius Corp.’s medications are not available in your typical drugstores. If this one can sell them, then that means it is one of their branch stores.”

 

For a few seconds, Jason stared at the teen’s face. Then, he grabbed one of his helmets and handed it to Tim.

 

“Hop on. We’re going back to Wayne Manor.”

 

Without question, Tim did as he was told. He deliberately put his arms around Jason’s torso, but the latter didn’t comment on it. If anything, Jason only picked up the speed until Tim had no choice but to hold him tighter.

 

------

 

Dick was just about to mount his motorbike when he saw a commotion across the road. He put his helmet back and crossed the road. When he got near, he heard one of the gathering men shout.

 

“She’s an Omega! She’s an Omega in heat!”

 

Dick was alerted and he shortened the distance, half-running. The other man was grabbing the woman’s arm.

 

“Let go of me!” The woman screamed, panting heavily and almost falling to the pavement again.

“Hey!” Dick shouted, “Hey, back off!”

 

Standing between the woman and the men, Dick tried to shield her. These men were Alphas; Dick could tell from how agitated they had become because of the female Omega.

 

“Now, who are you?” Asked the previously shouting Alpha.

“Doesn’t matter who I am, but I need you guys to stay away from her.”

“She’s the one who goes outside while in heat, seducing us!”

 

Distracted by the whimpers coming from woman, Dick didn’t see it coming when one of the Alphas lunged forward to him. He was attempting to shove Dick out of his sight, but Dick quickly caught his arm and flipped him. The Alpha groaned in pain, while the others stared at him with wide eyes. Dick figured now that these men weren’t actually bad guys. They were just influenced by the Omega’s scent and acting solely by instinct.

 

“Please, leave. Before I call the authorities.” Dick warned.

 

They glanced at each other. One of them gritted his teeth in annoyance before he bent down to help the fallen Alpha stand again and then they all left. Dick turned around to face the woman. She was sweating all over her body and clinging to Dick’s arms desperately. Before Dick could speak, someone exited the café and ran toward them. She was the waitress who had taken Dick’s order earlier that day.

 

“Mister…?”

“Grayson.”

“Mr. Grayson, we have an emergency bunker in our building. Let’s bring this woman there.”

 

Dick eyed the waitress as she hauled the whimpering woman. As if sensing his stare, the waitress spoke again.

 

“I’m sorry. We were all watching what happened from inside the café. I’m sorry we didn’t act sooner.”

“It’s okay,” replied Dick, easily lifting the Omega off her feet and carried her carefully, “Show me the way.”

 

The waitress nodded and led Dick to the emergency bunker. Dick wasn’t surprised; most public places had emergency bunkers in their buildings for Omegas who suddenly went into heat when they were outside. This café was one of those.

 

Ignoring the other patrons’ curious gazes, Dick kept following the waitress to the basement. They arrived in front of a steel door and the waitress punched in the code before the door opened for them. The waitress entered first, Dick following behind her and he felt the woman cling to him tighter.

 

“Lay her down,” said the waitress, motioning to the mattress.

 

Putting the Omega on the mattress gently, Dick then pulled back.

 

“Mr. Grayson, she’ll be okay for a while here. Is she by any chance your acquaintance?”

“No.”

“Okay… We’ll try to contact her family after she… calms down. For now, I think we should leave her alone.”

 

Dick nodded. He watched as the waitress closed the steel door and locked it by entering a code again. This emergency bunker looked very similar to the one he had back in Blüdhaven. It was not uncommon that some buildings would provide high security for the Omegas’ safety. With that in mind, Dick believed that the woman would indeed be okay just like the waitress said.

 

“I can’t stay long,” Dick said suddenly, startling the waitress, “but if anything happens, please give me a call.”

 

Perplexed, the waitress accepted a name card that Dick had offered to her. He left before she could say anything in response.

 

------

 

Alfred was mildly surprised when he opened the front door, only to reveal Tim and Jason.

 

“Master Jason, you’ve been visiting a lot lately,” the butler said, allowing them to come in.

“Only twice,” Jason replied, wincing when Tim brushed past him.

“Come to my room.”

“Now, what are the both of you up to? I hope it’s not something mischievous,” Alfred commented as Jason followed Tim.

 

Tim laughed, “Of course not, Alfred. How old do you think we are?”

 

It was a rhetorical question and Alfred decided not to pry. When they arrived in front of Tim’s bedroom, Jason peeked downstairs over the railing and saw that the old man was nowhere in sight.

 

“Come in,” Tim said to him, holding the door open.

 

Jason complied, stepping inside and hearing the teen close the door behind him again. Tim tossed his backpack to the bed and sat on it.

 

“Just sit wherever.”

 

Jason pulled Tim’s chair and took a seat, facing his little brother. He crossed his arms over his chest.

 

“Spill,” he said to Tim.

“I think Dick’s in trouble.”

 

Jason raised an eyebrow.

 

“How does this have anything to do with Dick? I thought you were going to tell me something about the M Corp..”

“Well, he is consuming heat suppressant manufactured by this corporation, which is funded by WE, and from what I’ve seen the other night, it doesn’t make him better.”

“You said Bruce is a consumer of their products, too. So why does it only affect Dick and not Bruce?”

“Good question.”

 

Tim stood up and began pacing back and forth in the middle of the room.

 

“Why is it only Dick indeed?” Tim repeated the question and then suddenly turned to look Jason in the eyes.

“What?”

“I’m going to tell you something but I need you to keep this information to yourself.”

 

Jason rolled his eyes, but he nodded.

 

“So, this morning… I heard Alfred talking to Bruce. It’s about Dick’s medication.”

“Go on.”

“Alfred admitted to Bruce he took Dick’s pill without permission and had it checked. He also mentioned Dr. Thompkins. Anyway, the lab result said the pill might have been tampered with. And I think the correct question should be: Why does it only affect Omegas?.”

“Is it dangerous?”

“It’s still unknown, I guess. Alfred did mention something about addiction, but I think there’s more to it.”

“You think Mevius Corp. is behind this,” Jason stated.

 

Tim nodded.

 

“I’m going to investigate it.”

“Should you? Timmy, this has nothing to do with you.”

“Dick is our brother! Our family! If he’s in danger, I’ll help him! And so will you!”

“Okay, now you make it sound like I’m a jerk here. But I know Dick and he must not want you to get involved.”

“Why?”

“Because it will put you in danger too!”

“If it’s threatening Omegas, then there’s no reason for me to be worried.”

 

Jason scoffed, “You don’t know that.”

 

“True. That’s why I’m going to find out.”

 

Jason knew that there was no stopping Tim. He laughed in his mind. If only he knew that Dick had personally asked for Jason’s assistance instead of his, Tim might be beyond mad. But Jason was not going to tell Tim that. He was not going to break Dick’s trust. Besides, if not involving Tim in this case put the teen in a safe place, then that was all the better. There was no need for Batman to lose yet another Robin.

 

“... … infiltrate Mevius Corp.,” Tim said, interrupting Jason’s train of thought.

 

It caught the older guy’s attention. Jason suddenly stood up, eye-to-eye with Tim.

 

“No.” He said firmly.

“I wasn’t asking for permission.”

“I said, no.”

“Jason, you’re not Batman! You don’t get to choose what’s good or bad for me!”

 

Tim wasn’t usually short-tempered like this. Hell, even Jason was more composed than he was now. But it was about Dick and Tim just knew that he had to do something. The teen sat himself on the bed again.

 

“Look, if it makes you feel better, I guess you can help by searching more about Mevius Corp.. For now, at least.” Jason bargained.

“I already did at school actually.”

“And?”

“They held a gala to celebrate the first release of their products. It was ten years ago. Bruce was invited as an honorable guest and he brought Dick as his plus-one.”

“Ten years ago? Dick was still a Robin then.”

“Yes.”

“Proceed.”

“From what I found, the M Corp had a different CEO then. But two years ago, that position was assigned to his only heir.”

“Give me a name.”

“Sanders Jonah Edenbrook.”

 

Jason nodded. Then, he walked to the door and left. Tim looked dumbfounded at his sudden departure. Running to the door, Tim found that Jason was already descending the staircase.

 

“I’m not finished!”

“Keep searching. I’ll call you later.”

 

Sighing, Tim went back inside.

 

------

 

Dick pressed a button and the elevator closed, bringing him to the top floor of Wayne Enterprises building. He had promised Bruce in the morning that he would find the older man for a talk. He thought this was as good a time as any. Before long, he had arrived at his destination floor. He stepped out of the elevator and approached the secretary’s desk. The woman was taking a phone call when Dick halted in front of her. She held up a hand as a sign for Dick to wait. Once she finished the phone call, she looked at Dick with a smile.

 

“Can I help you, Sir?”

“Please tell Mr. Wayne his son is here.”

“I’m sorry, Sir. But Mr. Wayne is in a meeting right now.”

“Will it take long?”

 

The secretary checked her wristwatch, “Well, I think Mr. Edenbrook has been inside for about half an hour. The meeting might end soon.”

 

“I’ll wait.”

 

Dick sat on the couch before the secretary told him to. His mind was too occupied now. When the woman mentioned the name, it rang a bell but he couldn’t yet remember where he had heard that name before. He fished out his mobile phone, unlocked it, and started looking up the name. But before he could read the results, the door to Bruce’s office was opened from the inside and a bespectacled man donned in two-piece suit came out. Dick looked up and his eyes met the man’s. For a second, Dick felt a sense of familiarity toward him. He instinctively stood up from the couch when the man walked approaching him.

 

“Richard. You’re Richard Grayson, aren’t you?” Asked the man.

 

Dick never expected that the man knew him, let alone would address him with his real name. Confusion might be written on his forehead because the man then laughed and apologized.

 

“I guess you must have forgotten,” he added, “I’m Sanders. Sanders Edenbrook. We met at the gala that my father held ten years ago. Remember me?”

 

Dick remembered now. This man was the college student who found him sneaking out to the balcony when he got bored at the aforementioned gala. Dick smiled at Sanders.

 

“You lent me your handheld game console back then. Who brought such thing to a gala, anyway?”

 

Sanders returned the smile.

 

“I just figured that some philanthropist would bring their kids along and they might become bored. I was right, wasn’t I?”

 

They both laughed.

 

“You’ve changed. I almost didn’t recognize you,” said Dick again.

“So have you. You’ve grown, Richard. Into a handsome mature man, nonetheless. Mr. Wayne must be so proud. And he’s lucky to have such a perfect Alpha heir like you.”

 

Dick flinched a bit. Nobody outside the Bat Family knew that he had actually presented as an Omega when he was sixteen. And when he and Sanders met at the gala ten years ago, it was months before he discovered the truth about his secondary gender. He remembered how nearly everyone at the gala came up to Bruce and him and said the same thing that Sanders did. He also remembered how his heart had swollen with pride at the thought of himself presenting as an Alpha and making his adoptive father proud of him. How naïve he had been.

 

Dick cleared his throat. If Sanders noticed his short pause, he didn’t mention it.

 

“Please, just call me Dick. We didn’t get to keep in touch after that night, and I had completely forgotten to tell you that everyone calls me Dick.”

“Dick, huh? That sounds simpler indeed. So Dick, are you here to meet Mr. Wayne?”

“Yes, actually. But I see he was in an important meeting with you.”

“Oh, not that important. I just stopped by to say hello.”

 

The secretary interrupted their conversation, “Excuse me, Sir. But Mr. Wayne is ready for you now.”

 

Sanders smiled again.

 

“I guess that’s my cue. Oh, how about you and I have dinner tonight? I’d love to catch up with you.”

“That… sounds nice, but…”

“It’s okay if you can’t.”

“Maybe next time?”

“Sure! You know where to find me.”

 

Sanders took out his name card and handed it to Dick, which the latter accepted with a smile.

 

“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you again after so long, Dick.”

“Likewise.”

 

The older man nodded at Dick before he turned to leave. Dick waited until he got into the elevator and saw Sanders waving at him before the elevator door closed. Then, he entered Bruce’s office, not forgetting to knock beforehand.

 

Inside, Bruce was already waiting for him. He stood facing the glass wall but turned around when he heard Dick close the door again.

 

“Dick, what brought you here?”

“You said you wanted to talk.”

“Oh. Yes, I did. But I thought you’re busy. It can wait.”

“So you want me to leave now?”

“No. Stay.”

 

If it was anyone else, Dick would not like it that he was practically ordered to stay, instead of being asked to. But it was Bruce and the man just had that dominating effect on people, especially on him; that dominating effect that—Dick being an Omega—just felt like he would obey what Bruce would want him to do but not with anyone else.

 

Dick walked toward him as Bruce sat down on the L-shaped couch that had been placed against the left side wall of the spacious office.

 

“Sit down,” said Bruce when Dick just chose to stand.

 

Dick began to think that maybe it was a bad idea to meet Bruce and have a talk with him sooner than he planned to. But now Bruce was eyeing him in such a way that Dick just couldn’t say no. Reluctantly, he stepped closer and then lowered himself down to the empty space beside the older man. They weren’t actually sitting that close to each other, but Bruce could sense the uneasiness coming from Dick.

 

“Dick, relax. It’s just me.”

 

Easy for Bruce to say. If it wasn’t because of the dream he had this morning, Dick wouldn’t be feeling so self-conscious right now.

 

“You want a drink or something?”

“No, I’m fine.” Dick responded too quickly, “How about you get to the point instead?”

 

Bruce raised an eyebrow and Dick caught a hint of a smile appearing on the corner of the other man’s lips.

 

“Are you in a hurry?” Bruce asked, the smile managed to find its way on his face, but it didn’t reach his eyes.

“Not really. But I came here thinking that you have something important to talk about. Apparently, I was wrong.”

“Catching up with a family member doesn’t sound important to you?”

“That’s not what I me—”

“Dick. You left so early when we had our first dinner together after a long while. And you did that again during breakfast this morning. What is going on?”

 

Dick didn’t expect that Bruce would bring that up and as a matter of fact, he wasn’t prepared for that so he didn’t know how to answer. Getting only silence from Dick, Bruce decided to speak again.

 

“It’s my fault that we have become so distant like this. If only I… reached out to you more often, it would probably—”

“What are you talking about?” Dick uttered the question, but his head was hanging low, “I chose to leave, didn’t I?”

“Because I let you.”

“Doesn’t matter. It was my choice and even if you hadn’t let me, I’d still have left anyway. Can we not talk about this? If you want to catch up, like you said earlier, I’ll tell you. But I have a feeling you already know. From Alfred. From Tim.”

 

Dick ended his sentence with a scoff.

 

“Dick, it was necessary. I need to keep an eye on you.”

“You don’t trust me. You don’t trust my capability to live my own life. Without you.”

 

The last words stung, but Bruce didn’t show it on his face.

 

“Is that what you want?”

 

Realizing what he had said, Dick’s eyes widened and then he shook his head.

 

“I guess I just want you to trust me more,” he said, still not looking at Bruce.

“But I do, Dick.”

“Really? Because it seems to me that you don’t.”

“I care about you. It’s my way of showing that to you.”

“I really don’t need an extra pair of eyes to babysit me, Bruce. For God’s sake, I’m not Robin anymore.”

“I apologize if I made you feel that way. But I’m only doing what I think is necessary.”

“Well, just stop.”

 

Bruce didn’t say anything. Dick grew more annoyed by each second that ticked by.

 

“Are we done here?”

“No. I’m not finished with you. There’s still something I need to ask you.”

“Ask away. Before I change my mind.”

“What are you hiding from me, Dick?”

 

The question really came out of nowhere and Dick wasn’t sure what Bruce was talking about.

 

“I beg your pardon?”

“Tim told me about an alert system that you’ve built in your computer.”

“Of course he did.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s none of your business, Bruce.”

“Dick, I need to know. Are you sick or something? The medication I provide you, has it done something to your body?”

“Bruce, I really don’t need to tell you about this. You have no right to know.”

“Even after what we’ve been through?”

 

That hit the nerve and Dick suddenly stood up. But Bruce followed him just as quickly and grabbed his elbow even before Dick could say “I’m leaving.”.

 

“Please, don’t touch me.”

“Is my suspicion right all this time? About that whole week changing everything between us?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dick tried to jerk away, but Bruce’s grasp on him was so firm that he just couldn’t get away from the older man.

“Yes, you do. That’s why you’ve been avoiding eye-contact with me.”

 

Dick stopped struggling. Then slowly, he turned his head to finally look Bruce in the eyes. He looked resolved and his gaze was penetrating and challenging, but he didn’t say a word. They stared at each other in silence and Dick wondered how long it would last. Bruce was the first to avert his gaze down. Dick saw how the older man was now eyeing his lips and before Dick could pull away, Bruce was already kissing him.

 

Dick gasped and a quick signal was immediately sent to his brain that this was not supposed to happen and he really should pull away. However, his body betrayed him. His other hand that was free found its way rather too quickly around Bruce’s neck, as he responded to the kiss.

 

Bruce let go of Dick’s elbow only to put his palm on the younger man’s hip, squeezing it gently. Dick moaned at the sensation and involuntarily opened his mouth as Bruce’s hot tongue caressed his bottom lip. Despite that, he still tried to push Bruce away although his effort met zero result since his unknown longing for the man got the best of him.

 

When Bruce maneuvered him back to the couch, Dick complied. Their tongues were still engaging inside each other’s mouths as Dick was pushed down, Bruce climbing on top of him.

 

“Bruce…” Dick panted when Bruce broke the kiss and moved on to the juncture of his neck that was covered by a scent patch.

 

The patch was previously hidden by Dick’s jacket collar but now it was on display and Bruce didn’t like how it suppressed Dick’s natural Omega scent. Baring his teeth, Bruce peeled off the patch, nearly grazing the sensitive skin. He spat the patch from his lips to the floor and without warning, started sucking on Dick’s scent gland. Dick jolted and gripped Bruce’s biceps.

 

B, stop…”

 

Bruce did stop. Dick saw how the man hovering above him looked in horror as realization hit him.

 

“Dick… I’m…”

“What are we doing?” The question was uttered as a whisper, Dick not trusting himself to speak any louder.

 

Bruce closed his eyes, his expression clearly said: Just what have I done?!

 

“I really shouldn’t have met you alone,” Dick muttered again.

“Dick, I’m really sorr—”

 

But Dick moved up and captured his lips again before Bruce could finish his apology. He sensed hesitation from the older man and was ready to be upset because after all, this was so wrong; Bruce was his father and all. But then Bruce made his resolve and kissed his son back, abandoning all the morality he had left. The world and society be damned.

Chapter Text

Day 11

 

Alfred didn’t expect to find Bruce sitting on one of the chairs in the kitchen, seemingly deep in thought while holding a cup of coffee. Judging from the lack of steam, it seemed that Bruce had been there for quite a while without even sipping his coffee.

 

“Master Bruce, good morning.”

 

Bruce looked surprised hearing Alfred’s greetings. When he turned his head around, the old man saw how tired his master seemed to be.

 

“I didn’t expect you to be here. If you need coffee, you could’ve waited until I bring it to you to the chamber.”

“I just… need some time away,” Bruce replied, looking at his reflection in the black liquid.

“From Master Dick?”

“From this situation.”

“How is he?”

“He’s…” Bruce sighed, “I tied him to the bed, Alfred. I had to.”

 

If Alfred looked surprised at Bruce’s confession, he didn’t show it. Instead, he stepped closer to the man and put a comforting hand on Bruce’s shoulder.

 

“It is quite alright, Sir.”

 

Bruce shook his head, “No. I’m hurting him. He needs me and yet, I left him there alone.”

 

“But as you said, you had to.”

 

For a moment, Bruce didn’t say anything. Alfred decided to let him be and start making breakfast.

 

Bruce started talking again.

 

“... … He was begging for it, Alfred.”

 

Alfred paused the task he was doing and turned around. He had a feeling he knew what Bruce was talking about but he waited for the man to elaborate.

 

“He was begging for my knot and I…” Bruce gulped, “... I’m so ashamed to admit that I almost gave in.”

“I believe it was your Alpha reacting to his Omega’s pleads, Sir.”

“No, Alfred. I could feel it. I could feel the urge,” Bruce spoke, almost inaudible but it was enough for Alfred to hear him, “It was, it was coming from… me.”

 

Alfred didn’t respond right away. He had been thinking about it and he wondered if now was a good time to discuss it with Bruce. After another minute of silence, he decided to test the water.

 

“Master Bruce, how do you feel toward Master Dick?”

 

Clearly, Bruce hadn’t expected such a question. His eyebrows were furrowed and he looked genuinely confused.

 

“You know the answer, Alfred. He’s my son; I care about him. I love him as if he were my own flesh and blood.”

“I mean now, after you’ve spent some… alone time together with him. Did you feel like something has changed?”

 

Bruce blinked. Then it dawned on him; the memory from the first night he embraced his adoptive son intimately. He did feel something. Something that his genius mind couldn’t seem to fathom. But now that Alfred was asking him about it, it seemed like he was beginning to put the pieces together.

 

Alfred could see the answer from Bruce’s expression. He heaved a deep sigh before continuing, “It has been said to be a rare case, Sir. For an Alpha to find their true mate, and vice versa. So rare that nowadays people will just bond with their chosen ones. These bonds are mostly based on mutual attractions toward each other. Regardless of whether it’s their true mates or not.”

 

Knowing that Alfred still had more to say, Bruce stayed quiet and kept on listening.

 

“True mates, on the other hand, don’t necessarily involve… love. For example, an Omega who has already formed a bond with a Beta of their choice, can be taken by an Alpha if the Alpha is the Omega’s true mate. The Omega will follow the Alpha, despite their bond with the Beta.”

“That’s very inhuman and unfair to the pair,” Bruce commented.

“I agree. But thanks to the protests nearly two decades ago, people can now bond with their loved ones. And as time goes by, true mates—or soul bonds as they call it—have been eventually forgotten and become a myth.”

 

Bruce’s fingers tightened around the cup’s handle as he voiced out his thought, “You think… Dick and I are—”

 

“I’ve had my suspicions ever since Master Dick confided in me about how he found your scent different from the other Alphas he knows. He was… confused why only you whose scent he can bear with and even found comforting.”

 

For a moment, Bruce eyes were just focused on his cup of coffee as Alfred’s words were stuck in his mind.

 

“Just like how he is to me. Not even Selina can affect me in a way that Dick does,” Bruce murmured.

 

Alfred continued speaking.

 

“It is your scent that calms him down; that puts him in to ease. It is your scent that makes him feel as if he is safe as long as you are around. Master Bruce, please excuse my question, but for these past few days, how do you see him? Do you still see him as a son?”

 

It took a moment before Bruce shook his head as a reply. He looked upset at himself.

 

“I know this is too personal to ask, but did you bite him?”

“No. I wouldn’t dare.”

“But do you want to?”

 

Alfred maintained his calmness although it pained him to see the distress on the face of the man he had raised. Bruce pulled at his hair before suddenly, he slammed the table with his fists until his cold coffee spilled out of the cup.

 

“My god, yes! I do, Alfred! God knows how many times I held back the urge to bite him and I kept telling myself it was my Alpha’s influence but deep down, I did know that it was me who wanted it.”

“Master Bruce…”

“And I’ve stopped seeing him as a son after the first night. I felt something. I felt like I belong with him and I’m connected to him; body and soul. I’m… god, I’ve failed him as a father, Alfred.”

 

Alfred wanted to hug the man. Bruce was breaking apart. However, the wise butler knew that he wasn’t the right person for it. When an Alpha was broken, only their Omega could mend them.

 

“Alfred, am I… have I been doing the right thing after all?”

 

Alfred looked him in the eyes, it was almost as if he could see the pain that the Alpha was currently feeling; it was as if his emotions were in disarray and needed to be in line again.

 

“I’m afraid I can’t provide you an answer. But for now, at least I can suggest you return to the chamber. You may find your answer there.”

 

There was a hint of reluctance within Bruce’s eyes but the man stood up nonetheless. He looked at Alfred for a long time before he spoke.

 

“What would become of me without you, Alfred?”

 

Despite the situation, Alfred smiled.

 

“Master Bruce, it will be alright. You will make it alright. I have faith in you.”

“I could never thank you enough.”

“Don’t worry about that. Now, go. Don’t keep him waiting.”

 

Bruce nodded and then turned around. Alfred watched quietly as the man left.

 

------

 

Dick pulled at the restraints. Under other circumstances, he would be more than capable to set himself free. But right now, he was at the weakest point of his life. Not to mention that Bruce had left him in a state that would enrage him beyond belief. But instead of anger, he felt a sense of helplessness. Part of him understood that Bruce needed to get away from him even just for a minute, but the other part was… sad. It was almost like that day again, when he saw his parents die in front of him.

 

“Unh…” Dick sobbed, tears falling to his cheek involuntarily.

 

His body shook uncontrollably when he reached climax for the third time after Bruce left him in this state. He hated himself. He hated how he wished it was Bruce’s manhood inside him right now instead of a vibrator. He was too overwhelmed by his orgasm that he didn’t notice Bruce entering the chamber. He didn’t notice the man walking toward him and beginning to untie him. He didn’t notice Bruce turning off the vibrator and pulling it out of his overly sensitive hole.

 

When Dick came down from euphoria, he was already wrapped within Bruce’s embrace. The older man gently rubbed his arm to soothe him. And all the anger inside Dick was gone. He clung to Bruce as if his life depended on it.

 

“How could you do this to me?” Dick’s voice sounded really hoarse.

“I’m sorry…”

 

Bruce allowed Dick to bury his face in his neck, taking comfort of his scent. It wasn’t long before he felt Dick’s tears wetting his pajama and all Bruce could do was calming the other man down to sleep, without constantly blaming himself for everything that was changing between them.

 

------

 

Bruce felt something vibrate against his thigh, and just at the same time, Dick pushed him back a little. Still hovering above the younger man, Bruce watched as Dick fished out his mobile phone from his jeans pocket to check who was calling. An unknown number which Dick didn’t recognize flashed on the screen and his thumb halted midway from sliding the accept button.

 

“You’re not going to answer that?” Bruce asked, curious.

“Not sure if I should.”

“That could be important.”

 

Dick shifted his gaze away from the still vibrating phone and back to Bruce.

 

“What’s more important than this?” Was all he said before he claimed Bruce’s lips again.

 

Bruce smiled into the kiss and took Dick’s phone from his hand and put it on the table. Driven by impulses though they might be, Bruce swore to himself that he wasn’t going to regret this. Dick’s responses were good so far and Bruce admitted that it boosted his confidence; that maybe, they shared mutual feelings after all.

 

The phone went still for a few seconds, only to vibrate again. Against the glass surface, its vibration sounded louder that Dick had to push Bruce back again.

 

“Okay maybe you were right about it being important.”

“I always am,” replied Bruce, a cocky smile appearing on his handsome face.

 

Dick rolled his eyes as he finally picked up the call, “Grayson.”

 

Bruce could vaguely hear a woman’s voice from the speaker. She sounded urgent and her words were unintelligible. But whatever she was telling Dick, it made his expression changed from calm to worry. Instinctively, Bruce put a hand on Dick’s shoulder and squeezed it gently. Once Dick hung up, he looked down at his phone and when he spoke, he sounded as urgent as the woman had.

 

“I gotta go.”

 

Without waiting for a reply, Dick rose from the couch and smoothed his clothes.

 

“I could give you a ride. It’s faster.”

 

Dick gave Bruce a once-over. He came here riding his motorbike but the idea of spending more time with Bruce sounded more appealing at the moment.

 

“What about your job?”

“No need to worry. Let’s go.”

 

Dick nodded but then his eyes widened, “Wait. My scent patch. I didn’t bring a spare.”

 

“Dick, I’ve scented you enough. You practically smell like me now. No other Alphas will approach you.”

 

Bruce then walked ahead to the door, unaware of Dick sniffing at himself.

 

------

 

When they arrived at the café Dick had gone to this morning, the place was already demarcated by police line. Dick unfastened the seat-belt soon after Bruce pulled over.

 

“Stay inside. I spotted reporters. Don’t want you to attract their attention.”

 

Bruce wanted to argue but Dick might be right. The younger man got out of the car and Bruce saw him running inside. He was stopped by a police officer but Dick showed the officer his ID and after being convinced, he let Dick in.

 

While waiting, Bruce was reminded of what Alfred had told him and then he began searching about Mevius Corp. and its current CEO. He might have met the man in person earlier, but Sanders Edenbrook never actually mentioned about their products. He did invite Bruce to visit his company, though.

 

His attention was split when Bruce caught a movement from the café. He saw two men manhandling a gurney out of the café’s entrance and to the ambulance parked nearby. The body was covered by a white cloth from head to toe, which confirmed Bruce’s suspicions: somebody had been found dead. But who? And why was Dick so concerned about this?

 

Before long, Bruce saw Dick exit the café but he was talking to two women. The first woman, Bruce judged from her uniform, was the waitress. But the other was wearing everyday clothes. She might be a patron or something. Whoever she was, her face was wet with tears as she explained something to Dick.

 

After another five minutes or so, Dick finally knocked on his car door before opening it. Bruce waited until he was seated on the passenger’s seat and was ready to drive away, but Dick didn’t even touch the seat-belt. Confused, Bruce turned to him.

 

“What is it?”

“Just a sec.”

 

Dick was holding his phone the whole time. He was looking at the screen now and Bruce could see that he was thinking hard. But before Bruce could ask him a question, Dick was already showing the photo on the screen to him.

 

“Found this mark on the victim’s palm. Looks like it was drawn with a lipstick.”

 

Bruce examined the photo as Dick mumbled to himself.

 

“Number eight. What does this number mean? If it was to indicate the order of the murders, she should be the fifth. But I didn’t find any number from the previous four victims.”

“I know what it is,” Bruce said.

“You do?!”

 

Nodding, Bruce handed the phone back to Dick. Dick looked confused as he accepted the device but then Bruce rotated it so the phone now laid in landscape mode on Dick’s open palm. Dick squinted his eyes as he looked at the photo again. Then he gasped. Shifting his gaze to Bruce, Dick whispered, “Möbius strip.”

 

------

 

A woman in a lab coat half ran in the hallway before she arrived in front of a door. Knocking twice on it, she then heard someone answer.

 

“Come in.”

 

Gotten the permission she needed, the woman entered the office. The person who had answered to her was sitting on a chair that had been spun around, facing the window. Despite not being able to see her boss, she began talking.

 

“She didn’t make it, Sir.”

“Pity,” replied the man on the chair without sympathy whatsoever, “How long did she last?”

“Barely a day. I injected her with the substance this morning, as per your order, and released her not long after. She went into heat in the afternoon and was quickly taken to a nearby café. Our man said she was found dead inside the emergency bunker about two hours later.”

“So it must have dissipated by then.”

“Correct, Sir. There should be no trace of her having been drugged.”

 

For a while, the man said nothing. Then, he stated his new order.

 

“Capture another Omega and increase the dose.”

“Female again, Sir?”

“Let’s try with a male this time.”

“Understood.”

“You may leave.”

 

The woman turned on her heels but halted before she reached the door.

 

“Sir… a man helped her. There was a sighting of this man again after the police came to the scene.”

 

The woman waited until her boss gave a reply.

 

“Find this man.”

“Yes, Sir.”

 

After his subordinate left, the man spun around on his chair again. His gaze landed on a photo frame on his desk. It was a photo of him and an older man. They were both smiling in the photo.

 

“I will build a better world, Father. I will make you proud… and make that bitch suffer for leaving us.”

 

------

 

Barbara heard her doorbell ring. She almost wanted to ignore it, but the uninvited guest was persistent. A bit irritated, she headed to the front door and opened it, only to find Tim standing outside.

 

“Tim?”

“Hi, Barbara. I need your help.”

“Seems like everybody needs my help lately,” Barbara commented, allowing Tim to come in.

“What do you mean?”

“First Dick. Now you.”

“Dick asked for your help?”

“Yes. He didn’t tell you?”

“... No.”

 

Barbara had her back facing Tim, therefore she couldn’t see the teen’s expression turn sour.

 

“So, how can I help you? No fieldwork, I hope. As you can see, I’m working on something now.”

“Something for Dick?” Tim asked.

“Sort of.”

 

Tim watched her taking a seat in front of her computer again, while he settled on the single couch on the other side of the room. The teen decided to let his disappointment aside at the moment and focus on the task at hand.

 

“Can you help me find blueprints of Mevius Corp. building?”

 

Tim’s request made Barbara pause her work and spun around to face him.

 

“What are you up to this time, Robin?”

“Volunteer job.”

“Not for Batman, I bet.”

 

Tim didn’t comment, but Barbara had turned to her computer again.

 

“I don’t think Dick will be happy if I share this with you, but whatever he’s investigating right now is bigger than he thinks and he’ll need all the help he can get.”

“I’ve done my own research too if you’re up for bartering.”

 

Barbara made a thinking a face, “... Okay, you’ve piqued my curiosity.”

 

Tim stood up and made a beeline for her desk, extracting something from his pocket.

 

“It’s all in this flash drive,” he added, putting the item on the desk.