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An Old Lullaby

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Damian didn’t know what was going on. He didn’t know where he was or what time it was or what day it was. He knew his name and how old he was but that was about it.

Everything was black.

It reminded Damian of the labyrinth in the bowels of the League — a secret place that was never lit with flames. Light was forbidden there. Damian had been tossed down into the labyrinth when he was four and instructed to find his way out of the maze without a light. If he failed, then he would die alone in the dark. He had succeeded, of course, as he always did, and defeated every enemy he fought in that pitch-black place, thus becoming adept at fighting in both the light and the dark.

But this dark felt different from the labyrinth.

It felt oppressive and scary and slightly confusing.

It didn’t smell like sand and dust, but like antiseptic and Father’s cologne. . . An odd mix. Did that mean Father was here somewhere?

Damian opened his eyes and blinked, confused. It was still black but less black than before. The ceiling above him was white and ugly. So, he definitely wasn’t in the labyrinth then. . .

He blinked a few more times, trying to figure out where he was. He couldn’t really move his head so he twitched his fingers, seeing what he would touch would tell him. His left hand touched soft, crisp fabric and his right hand met the calloused fingers of his father.

Damian tried to speak before realizing he couldn’t.

There was a tube in his throat.

Oh. Med bay.

Damian crinkled his nose and made a bit of an effort to wiggle his fingers at his father, hoping to get his attention. It worked, as Father appeared in his vision a moment later, blue-grey eyes shining with worry and fear. His big hand settled on Damian’s cheek and he began to speak; Damian only caught fragments of what he said.

“Damian. . hear. . . me?”

Damian lifted his hand off the bed with more effort than he anticipated to pull at the breathing tube, but Father grabbed his wrist and easily pulled him away, shaking his head.

“No, no. . . help. . . breathe. . .” Father leaned over Damian then and pressed a button, still frowning, and Damian wanted Grayson. Was he calling for Grayson? Or Pennyworth? Pennyworth would shut the heart monitors off. They were annoying him. It was too loud.

But Grayson and Pennyworth didn’t come. There were only strange voices and many footsteps, shoes squeaking on a floor that Damian didn’t recognize. He frowned, confused, realizing that he wasn’t in the med bay.

He tried to pull away from Father’s grip, but Father just hushed him, laying a hand in his hair.

“Safe. . .'ospital. . .”

Oh. He was in the hospital. So, he must be hurt or sick. And as Damian Wayne, not as Robin. But why couldn’t he remember what had happened? And shouldn’t everything hurt more? Damian was so confused.

Then there was a stranger leaning over him, an ugly pock-marked man, and Damian wanted to scream. He heard the heart monitor alarm to alert the staff of his increased heart rate before the man’s face disappeared, replaced by Father.

Baba.

Baba.

Father was speaking in Arabic now. Just to him. That was nice. Damian wished he would do that more.

“Safe. . .” Father said, though his voice and face were getting more muddled and farther away, “medicine. . .sleep. . . here. . .”

Damian closed his eyes and allowed Father’s voice to sweep over him as he lost consciousness; the last thing he heard was his father’s voice telling him he was safe and loved, over and over again.

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