43) The Laughter Pt.1

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I'm so excited for the next couple of chapters!!

Dick couldn't hold back his smile as he held his new suit in his hands. The material was seamless and vibrant; just the way he imagined it. "Did you make this?" he asked Bruce.

Bruce, who was already in his Batman suit, eyed Alfred, who was approaching the two with glasses of water. "No, it was actually Alfred," he admitted as he was handed the cold, moist glass.

The corners of the butler's lips quirked upwards. "Ah, yes. I had also created Batman's first and original suit, as well."

Dick grinned at him. "Wow, you're good at everything!"

Alfred modestly inclined his head. "I do my best."

"He is a man of many hats," Bruce complimented. As he walked towards his chair in front of all his computers and gadgets, he said, "And he's been with me through thick and thin. Supported me since I was a child, when I first put on the cowl, and he's still helping to this day."

"Wow, Alfred! Not everyone can say that they were there when Batman and Robin became vigilantes!" Dick commented. His eyes sparkled as he beheld the suit. "Can I put it in on now? Please?"

Bruce's mouth formed a line. "Did you finish your homework?"

Dick held back an impatient groan. "Yes," he drawled.

The man began to think of another way to stall. "Maybe you should let that bruise on your knee heal before you do anything."

"No way," Dick replied. "It's just a bruise, Bruce. C'mon, you said I'm ready! Besides, I'll probably get other bruises in the future. So can I please just do it?"

Alfred gave Bruce a reassuring smile. "I believe you've trained him for long enough, Master Bruce. He'll be safe under your careful watch."

Bruce swallowed before answering, "okay. Go ahead and change, Robin."

Dick let out an excited squeal and ran to the changing room.

Alfred let out a soft laugh. "He's very eager," he noted.

"It might not last. I can't imagine a child enjoying fighting crime for long. Once Tony is put behind bars, the fire will probably die down, and he'll continue to live as a normal child," Bruce theorized as his fingers lightly drummed the desk in front of him, and his eyes looked over the computer screens.

"That's what you're hoping for, I presume?" Alfred questioned.

"Yes," Bruce truthfully said.

Alfred shifted slightly. "That's unlikely, sir. If you continue to be Batman, he will most likely continue to be Robin. After all, you are the greatest influence over him of all the people in his life."

The billionaire knew he was right. And although he knew Dick was ready, his chest tightened with fear at the thought of him getting hurt. He couldn't help but feel like a horrible guardian. To allow a child to fight on Gotham's streets...

Then again, he trusted himself to keep Dick safe more than Oswald or even Selina. And most certainly more than social services.

Though Bruce had to give Oswald credit. He didn't want to admit it, but maybe he misjudged the man. Maybe he wasn't as bad as he thought. And maybe he really did care for Dick. For what reasons, he didn't know. But then again, Oswald was still a sociopath, regardless of how he behaved around and towards Dick. And contrary to what Alfred had just said, Oswald's influence on Dick could rival Bruce's. Actually, the same went for Selina. He needed to watch out for that.

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