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Picking up what people have left behind.
Batman [Pauper!AU]: Runs In The Family (Bruce, Dick, Jason, Selina cameo) 
27th-Apr-2009 10:10 pm
Pauper-AU strikes back, for charity! Written for scheherezhad as her tart for sweetcharityvox. \o\ It's almost like cheating!

Runs In The Family

Fandom: Batman (Pauper!AU)
Characters: Bruce, Dick, Jason
Rating: PG13
Summary: Life, if Bruce had not been rich, goes like this for Dick: a small apartment, joy, dreams, and friends sharing spring breaks.

Notes: Standalone sequel to the earlier part of the AU

4907 words and a lot of Bats Trying To Be Normal (TM).

During the first of his spring breaks spent with Bruce, Dick takes a tour around Gotham and learns how to be comfortable with himself again. There's school homework to be done, which he does (Bruce thinks it's all a bit of a joke, but only because Bruce has the unnatural evolutionary advantage of having a computer for a brain), and then there's the community centre's gym, which he haunts. Every swing off the bars becomes less a reminder of pain and more a celebration of joy. The vacation gives out into a warm, warm summer, full of sun and sweat.

During his 6th such spring break, Dick walks in on Bruce pressing a woman down into their couch, the one they use to watch late-night Saturday movies on, and manages – barely – not to make a horrified and undignified noise of terror. Bruce hears him anyway and peels upwards off of the lady, who still has just enough clothes on that Dick thinks he won't have to wash his eyes out with Listerine.

'Uh,' is the most he can say to Bruce. His feet seem to have taken root in the corridor. Dick wants to move, but he's transfixed, watching the woman as she sort of slides her way into an upright position. She's dressed all in black, but not in Bruce's kind of black. Bruce's kind of black is a black made for efficient stain concealment and non-bleeding of colours in the wash. Her kind of black is the sort that sneaks up behind you in a bar and takes you hostage in the kind of hotel room where the minibar is free-flow and there are mirrors on the ceiling.

'I –' Dick manages, when his mouth decides to cooperate again, '- I think I'm going to go out and have a coffee or maybe go find Jason or maybe just pretend I didn't just see any of that.'

He needs, but doesn't really want, Bruce to say something that will make this better; something like "we're all human and have biological impulses," or, "Shut your jaw, Dick, it's impolite," but if Bruce says the word "dick" right now Dick thinks he will scream; oh my god, just something, anything but

'Richard,' Bruce intones, severe. Dick doesn't take it to heart. It's better than hearing Bruce's honest embarrassment. He'd be severe too, in Bruce's situation. That, or dead from mortification. 'Please.'

Okay. Okay. Manners. Bruce is big on manners. 'Hi,' Dick says slowly to the lady, not at all pained and definitely not because looking at her means not looking at Bruce's pants. 'I'm Dick. And, um, you are -?'

'She's Miss Selina Kyle,' Bruce murmurs. 'We met –'

'At the community centre, darling,' Miss Selina Kyle purrs at Dick. Oh, awkward. Dick watches her slip her bolero jacket back up over one shoulder. She did not just wink at him. She didn't. 'Counselling, you see.'

'That's nice,' Dick smiles, as brightly as he can without breaking his face. 'What's your... problem?'

'Dick -'

Miss Selina Kyle doesn't look at all fazed. 'Oh, I'm a klepto, dear,' she says dismissively, sashaying towards Bruce. She reaches out and tugs on Bruce's miraculously re-done tie, winding it around the curve of her fingers and the arch of her painted nails. 'I have this thing where I steal men's hearts.' A flash of pearly white teeth and a flutter of mascara and eye shadow. Bruce clears his throat.

Dick decides that screaming is becoming an increasingly attractive option. 'Jason!' he says, with the brightness of a truly desperate man. 'I'm going to go hang out with him! Right now! For the next two hours! Be back at ten, okay?'

'Okay,' Bruce mutters.

'Okay!' Dick beams, and slams the door so hard behind him that Mrs Reily looks at him funny as he runs down the stairs.

Dick waits until he's safely out of the vicinity of their apartment block before he whips his phone out of his pocket and jabs frantically on the buttons of the stupid Sony Ericsson (his iPhone's in the repair shop, courtesy of one particularly bad fall from his skateboard). It's hard to type on the damn thing, so the message he sends Jason is truncated funny:


Jason texts him back two minutes later (CALM DOWN BIRDBRAIN, CAPSLOCK IS FOR GIRLS), but agrees to meet him at the diner, so Dick zips down and orders himself a giant, giant sundae. It's a quarter gone by the time Jason arrives, slouching in through the door with his skateboard tucked under one arm. 'What's up?'

'You know what I thought was really sort of great about being an orphan?' Dick asks, rhetorically.

'No,' Jason says, non-committal, sliding his skateboard under the table and snagging a second spoon. The sundae is attacked.

'The knowledge that I'd never be able to walk in on my parents having sex,' Dick says, and Jason spits out a mouthful of half-chewed banana. Dick's grateful he has good reflexes.

'What? ' Jason demands, scrabbling for a napkin. 'You saw Wayne doing it?'

'Almost!' Dick says, the hysteria of reliving the situation rising again. 'I mean, it's never happened before, so it's not like he hangs something on the doorknob or whatever. But that's not the point – they were on the couch, Jay, like, the couch, the very public, very shared couch that I will now never be able to sit on again.'

Jason sticks his spoon into his mouth and grins around it. 'Was she hot?'

'I hate you so much,' Dick tells him.

'What? Valid question, boy wonder. Was she?'

'I wasn't exactly paying attention!' Jason raises his eyebrows in what Dick considers a very cynical fashion. 'All right, all right,' he relents. 'She was pretty hot. Her name's Selina Kyle –'
'Selina Kyle?' Jason echoes. 'Oh, I know her, she's that crazy cat lady who lives on 59th. Man,' he shakes his head, impressed. 'Wayne sure knows how to pick 'em. She's got a trail of guys behind her like a 11-car pileup.'

Dick thinks he must look pretty horrified. 'Are you serious?'

'Rich guys, mostly,' Jason shrugs. 'Likes to wine them and dine them, but after a while I guess she gets bored of them buying her diamonds, you know? She's one hell of a lady.' He waggles his fingers. 'Quick hands. I learned a thing or two from her –'

Now Dick knows he looks horrified. Jason throws his napkin into his face. 'Like how to pick locks, Grayson, get your mind out of the gutter.'

'She really is a klepto?'

'Best of her kind,' Jason nods. 'She's done a few hours of community service, but only for the small stuff. If she's ever done a big gig it must've been out of town.' He pauses. 'Can you stop looking like you've been poleaxed anytime soon? You leave your mouth open like that and someone's going to take it as an invitation.'

Dick snaps his jaw shut. 'I,' he says, shifting in his seat. 'I think maybe Bruce deserves... a bit better.'

Jason's eyes go hard. 'What, like someone with a Ph.D instead of a petty crook? Yeah, I suppose she doesn't qualify for your white-picket-fence universe.'

His tone makes Dick start. He looks up across at Jason, and realises what he's said. 'No!' he shakes his head, 'Jay, no. It's not –'

'You meant exactly what you said, Boy Wonder,' Jason tells him, putting up a hand. 'But that's because you're one of the good guys. Black and white and not much grey. Forget it. Now shut up and eat your sundae before it melts.'

Dick obediently picks up his spoon. The rest of ice-cream doesn't last very long: Jason takes the chocolate and Dick makes good with vanilla, and as a little olive branch he doesn't say anything when Jason abuses the free-flow system to take three cups of coffee with too much sugar each time. The tension eases its way out of the air in its own good time.

'Hey,' Dick says eventually, kicking Jason's leg under the table. 'You're not doing anything these two weeks, right?'

'Don't even have school to flake anymore,' Jason says, languorous.

'I think I've got an idea.'

Dick gets home at 10:10, which usually would get him in a bit of trouble with Bruce's concept of punctuality. He figures that this time around the ten minutes worth of unforgivable tardiness can be shelved away as an attempt to be delicate, and proceeds to be really loud as he opens up their front door. 'I'm home!' he shouts while next to the shoe rack, just in case. He doesn't see any pumps or heels or anything around. It's good enough a sign for him to progress, cautiously, into the living room.

Bruce is there, at their dining table, looking very washed up and very neat. He's got a hand wrapped around a mug of coffee, which he takes a sip from before saying, very slowly, 'I think we should talk.'

'Bruce,' Dick says, strangled, 'I'm eighteen.'

It takes Bruce half a second to get what Dick's saying; Dick chalks up the expressions he sees on Bruce's face in that time as some of the most interesting he's ever seen on the man, ever. Then he just looks annoyed. 'Not that kind of a talk.'

'Thank god,' Dick announces, slinging off his backpack and slouching into the chair opposite Bruce. 'So I can just come out and say it, right? I'm super really ultra happy for you. You're one heck of a lonely guy sometimes, Bruce, and while it's nice that we sit around together during my spring break so that you can kick my ass a hundred times at Monopoly, I think maybe it's time you – I mean, I want to be here and all, but I think – There's –'

Bruce's lips look suspiciously pressed together, as though he's trying not to laugh.

'Bruce,' Dick restarts, with great gravity, 'I am eighteen, and I worked my butt off at the gym last summer and winter to make sure that the neighbourhood's small kids didn't end up as playdough-shaped splotches on the ground, so – Can I take the money I earned from that and go off on a bit of a roadtrip?'

'A bit of a roadtrip,' Bruce repeats, stringing out the five words that Dick tried so hard to compress into the quickest-said-sentence ever. 'A roadtrip,' again, like Dick'd asked to, what, fly off to the Amazon or something. 'I'm assuming you're not intending to go alone.'

'I was thinking of going with Jason,' Dick says, lightly.

Bruce snorts. 'No.'

Dick wishes he didn't see that coming, but he did, so he's ready for this one. He's got it all prepared. 'Why not?' he asks, lamely. 'You'd have the apartment to yourself for like, eight whole days. Privacy. This is me, trying to save you the pain of –'

'This is not about Selina and I,' Bruce cuts in. 'As much as I appreciate your approval –'

'Approval?' Dick splutters, but Bruce isn't listening.

'- that's not the reason why I'm saying no.'

Dick crosses his arms. 'Let me guess,' he asks. 'This is going to be one of those conversations we have in which you're convinced that me hanging out with Jason will bring about the end of the world. Yes?'

'Todd's a hooligan,' Bruce says, and the worst part is is that he says it like he really believes it. Bruce is the kind of guy who has conviction poured into the marrow of his bones; he's not angry, he's not even raising his voice, he's just stating it. Like it's a fact.

Dick grits his teeth. 'Bruce –'

'He doesn't attend school on anything even approximating a regular basis. His life seems to centre around his skateboard and when the next free meal he can get off of you will be. He smokes. He drinks. He uses this apartment as though it's a soup kitchen. No, Dick.'

'It's my money,' Dick says, quietly, eyes fixed on the far wall.

Bruce puts his mug down on the table. The sound it makes when it contacts the table is quiet, but deafening. 'Excuse me?'

'It's not your money,' Dick reiterates, looking up. 'It's mine. I'm asking you because I respect you and because I want to let you know what the hell I do with my life, Bruce, not because I want your judgements on how good my friends are.'

'Richard Grayson,' Bruce says, first-name last-name and all the differences that they share between them rearing up, ugly and undeniable.

'What, Bruce?' Dick raises his voice, angry. 'It's okay for you to go help out 14 hours a week sitting in on everything from AA sessions to the neighbourhood watch, but it's not okay for me to have a friend who doesn't have a problem with the fact that he's not as lucky as you or me? I mean, what – because you're not in position to pity him or look after him, that's it?' Dick growls. 'Fuck, does Jason have to be some self-abhorring wreck at the community centre before you give him any credit?'

He's out of breath by the end of the spiel, and out of courage. Dick stands there, half an inch away from shaking, and stares at Bruce. The room's so quiet he can hear the ticking of their wall clock, counting down the seconds before something breaks.

'Sit down, Dick,' Bruce says at last.

Dick sets his jaw.

'Don't move too much money out of your account,' Bruce continues, picking up his coffee as he pushes himself away from the table. Dick feels dizzy with relief, and triumph. Bruce goes towards his study. 'And Dick?' he says, stopping at the study door.

'Yeah, Bruce?' Dick replies, his voice quavering.

'Do not,' Bruce says, 'say the word "fuck" in my presence again.'

The study door clicks shut against Dick's silent fist-pumps.

Bruce naturally bombards him with a silent stream of non-direct information over the next two days. Dick wakes up every morning to the smell of leftover breakfast (Bruce leaves for work so early that, on vacation, Dick doesn't bother to get up to eat with him most days) and maps of Gotham and the surrounding areas pinned to their fridge door. Jason, duffle-bag in hand, comes over to help him finalise plans, commenting the whole time about how the apartment's a lot better off without brooding shadows watching him from the corridor.

'Bruce doesn't –' Dick qualifies himself. 'Bruce is just really paranoid sometimes.'

'Yeah, whatever,' Jason snorts, before helping himself to all of Bruce's ridiculous high-fibre/protein/everything cereal and raiding all the milk. 'Look at this and tell me he isn't creepy.' He yanks off the day's latest contribution from Encyclopaedia Wayne: backpacker hostel rates and car rental services neatly stapled together and left just next to the weekly roster of whose turn it is to clean the bathroom.

'He just wants us to be safe,' Dick waves it off.

'Yeah, that or he wants to have numbers he can call to make sure I don't stab you and abandon your body in Bludhaven,' Jason smiles.

Dick throws the core of the apple he's eating at Jason's head.

Jason smiles.

'Oh, no,' Dick shakes his head, moving away from the edge of the table. 'Jason, no. If he comes back to find – oh, this is war,' he declares, wiping the milk that Jason throws over him off his face.

'Bring it on, prep-boy,' Jason taunts, and Dick nails him in the centre of the forehead with a handful of bran.

'How about we hop on the Amtrak and get the hell out of here to Jersey where we can camp somewhere where Bruce will never find us?' Dick asks two hours and four dishrags later. He's discovered that orange juice does not come out of carpeting very easily.

'Sounds like a plan,' Jason agrees, eyeing the remains of two cups and a cereal bowl that now sit, broken and dejected, in the trash.

Dick packs like the wind, stopping only to grab his ATM card and a few changes of clothing and some of the maps and to take the trash out so that the damage is at least somewhat better disguised and -

'Now or next year, Grayson?' Jason shouts from downstairs.

'I'm coming!' Dick yells back, scribbling on a piece of notepaper we'll be all right Bruce, HAVE FUN WITH MS KYLE!! – D.

One and a half days later, they're under an open sky and Jason's saying, 'I liked the train ride down.'

'Yeah?' Dick asks, staring up at a bunch of constellations that he can't really tell apart. The Big Dipper keeps morphing into something that looks like Orion's Belt.

'Yeah,' Jason says. 'You know why?'

'Nope,' Dick says, shifting in his sleeping bag.

'Because the train had a fucking toilet,' Jason says. 'That flushed. And it had heating, Grayson. My feet didn't freeze to death at any point when we were on that train, in civilisation. Plus, food. Food that didn't come out of a can.'

'This is the great outdoors, Jay,' Dick chides him, inching up in the bag to look at his friend. 'Have you ever seen a sky this open in Gotham?'

'No,' Jason replies, digging into the pockets of his hoodie and fishing a crumpled package out. 'And I was perfectly happy with that.'

'Are those cigarettes?' Dick squints in the gloom. Their fire is technically alive, since it's giving out some heat and some light, but they're city kids at heart, so. 'They are – Jay!'

'Didja really think that I wouldn't have hidden one on me?' Jason asks between the stick he's got in his mouth. He fumbles for a lighter, and sticks his hands out of his own sleeping back long enough to light up. 'Fuck, it's cold,' he swears, hands diving back down.

'I can't believe you,' Dick mutters, slumping backwards.

'And I can't believe you,' Jason shoots back. 'You're supposed to be the genius – how is getting turned into an icicle stranded in the middle of nowhere "fun"?'

'This sucks,' Dick summarises, succinctly.

'I'm glad you noticed,' Jason says, sarcastic.

'If we survive tonight, we're out of here,' Dick says.

'Damn straight we're out of here,' Jason mutters, risking his hands so that he can reach up to shake ash off his cigarette. 'And this time, I do the leading, boy scout.'

Jason promptly hauls them back to Gotham the moment that they thaw long enough to stamp the remains of their long-deceased failure of a fire to bits. He ignores every one of Dick's "where are we going?" questions, which stop only when Jason presents their new campsite.

'You're joking,' Dick says, staring at the abandoned building. There's graffiti all over the walls, and they're a good few blocks away from anything even approximating a 7-11 or Circle K, and it's starting to get dark. 'What the hell is this place?'

Jason spreads his arms out and bows, gleeful with his dramatics. 'Welcome to Arkham,' he says, making a sweeping motion at the gutted remains of the old place.

'Arkham? ' Dick splutters, 'as in Arkham Asylum Arkham?'

'The one and only,' Jason grins, wide and sharp. 'This is where it was first set up, long before our dear little city got crazy enough to need the new facilities they've got down south. No giant gates, no alarm bells, now it's just old wards and leaky pipes. No one's come in to redevelop, not that I'm wondering why. You like?'

'You mad?' Dick shoots back, but Jason's already trooping across the threshold and dragging an old crate over.

'You still have the firestarters, right?' he asks Dick, who hands them over. Next thing Dick knows, they're holed up in one of the ground floor rooms, huddled around a blazing inferno of old newspapers and bits of old plank that Jason ripped out of the boarded up windows. The sun begins to set behind the rise of Gotham Towers.

'So,' Jason says, kicking bits of plaster out of the way and spreading out their sleeping bags. 'You up for ghost stories?'

'Hah,' Dick snorts. 'Why wouldn't I be?'

'Ever hear of the Joker?' Jason challenges.

'Ever hear of the Penguin?' Dick shoots right back.

'Fuck,' Jason swears, almost into Dick's shoulder, when he hears something shift a few rooms down from them. It's two in the morning and their sleeping bags are a lot closer to each other now than they were three hours ago.

'This was your idea!' Dick hisses back, afraid to raise his voice.

'Think of the street cred,' Jason whispers in reply. 'No one else I know has the balls to do this!'

'Because none of your other friends are stupid enough to listen to your stupid ideas. Oh man, I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight.'

The moment the sun is up enough for them to see by, they high tail it out of the old Arkham building and down to the first place that sells coffee.

'Put as many shots into that espresso as you can,' Jason tells the barista, eyes bruised all over. 'And then put in a few more.'

When they're high enough on caffeine to not run the risk of falling asleep standing up, they head down to the park and sit under the shade of trees in the bright, bright light. Dick watches a few cyclists zip past them, and considers. 'Hm,' he says, elbowing Jason in the side. 'How about it?'

'What?' Jason asks, eyeing the cyclists as they prop their bikes up against a tree to go make a stop at the water coolers next to the public toilet. 'Biking?'

'Yeah,' Dick says.

Jason heaves himself up. 'I say we go get –'

'We are renting them, Jason!'

Bicycles legitimately acquired, they plan a route using Bruce's finally-useful maps, and manage to escape near-brushes with death only 8 times before they're out of the central city zone. They crash out at 3 in the afternoon at the bay side, sleeping off exhaustion on the benches with only Jason's ability to keep an eye open to save them, but meet no nefarious robbers or terminally insane villains. They're up again by 8, just as the lights are beginning to come on everywhere. From across the port, a ship's sonorous siren sings.

'Ready to go?' Dick asks, hauling their bikes upright.

'If you are,' Jason says, and they kick off with a race down the line of jetties, laughing crazily into the open air and heading each other off at every turn. The bay curves in an elegant line through some of the worst parts of the city, which they avoid by detouring through a host of sleepy residential areas. It's not safe in Gotham, but nothing is ever dangerous enough for the young – it ticks past to one in the morning before they round off into Central Park, riding over neatly trimmed carpet grass and getting tyre marks everywhere.

They take a breather at a playground on the edge of the park, Jason draped on the swings and sniggering at Dick whoops at each new height reached. 'You're going to kill yourself doing that,' he tells Dick when the gymnast almost flies out of his seat, to which Dick tells him, 'This is nothing,' and heads to the fitness corner to get on the parallel bars.

Dick watches Jason watch him go through the movements. The swings come jerkily at first, his body slightly confused at its sudden shift away from Bruce's iron-clad sleep schedule, but Dick's muscles remember each motion well enough. Jason's absolutely silent throughout, which is also weird: Dick's used to kids chattering, or Bruce spotting him with a few quiet words. Jay just lets him move, lets him think about what he's doing. The ghosts of his parents seem easier to touch every time Dick makes his arms move faster, every time he completes a difficult stand or turn or twist. It boils down to his heart, beating wild and then steady in his chest. Higher. Better. Harder. Faster.

Dick dismounts, going through air like he's finally flying again.

Jay doesn't say a word to him about that, either, just smiles, and cocks his head back to the bikes.

Dick's palms are wet, just like the edges of his eyes, but he dries them both off, and they ride off again into the night.

Eventually they get tired enough to want to stop. There's enough cash between them to afford a less-than-crap place for the night, so they dump the bikes with confused and sleepy receptionist before staggering up to a twin room. Dick showers first, during which time Jason disappears, only to come back just as Dick steps out with a pack of beers and a smug look on his face.

'Man,' Dick says, laughing.

'Where's the lecture on morals and under-aged drinking?' Jason asks. Dick throws his towel into Jason's face.

Jason soon discovers that Dick is a very, very easy drunk. 'You're on your second can,' he tells Dick, waving a hand in front of his friend's face. 'Can! '

Dick grins, sloppily. 'I'm not drunk,' he objects. 'Just... tipsy.' He reaches out to put his empty (second!) can (can!) on their shared nightstand, and almost topples right over onto the floor. Jason sighs, grabs him by the arm, and hauls him back into place.

'Drink this, you ass,' he instructs, breaking open a bottle of mineral water from the mini-bar and shoving it into Dick's hands. 'Sober up before you go all pukey on me.'

'Sober up?' Dick says quizzically, staring at the cap of the bottle.

'Think of what Wayne would say,' Jason says, wryly, and Dick suddenly looks a lot more determined. They put on a movie, something terrible but hilarious like Rush Hour. Dick gets himself together to the sound of Jason shooting down everything on screen ("that's so stupid I don't have words, can we change the fucking channel already?"), and is comfortable and happy enough to actually not care when the pack of cigarettes makes its inevitable return.

Jason lights up, leans back, and exhales long and hard. 'You know, not a bad week,' he says, kneeing Dick a little as his eyes slide shut. They're on Jason's bed, squeezed together since it's strange to talk at each other from three feet apart. Dick makes some noise of agreement, and kicks Jason in return.

The room is dark as the city is outside. When Jason pulls the cigarette from his lips, he turns to find Dick looking at him with calm, calm blue eyes. Jason blinks back, sedate, and holds the stick up in an offer. 'Want to try it?' he asks.

'What does it do for you?' Dick asks, not moving his head from where it rests on the headboard.

'It's a bit of a rush,' Jason shrugs a shoulder. 'A bit of a bad habit.'

'Okay,' Dick says, endlessly serene.

'Okay?' Jason asks, eyebrows slightly raised.

'Okay,' Dick says again.

Jason sucks down a fresh drag, and leans forward until Dick's lips touch his, and stays there until they part, and the air goes thick between them with smoke.

He pulls back after that, takes another deep lungful, and closes his eyes. 'Okay?' he asks, not moving. He feels Dick shift a little, turn a little, go still a little.

Quiet, and then Dick says, 'Okay.'

Jason's lips curve into a beautiful line.

Two days later, Jason goes off and Dick goes back. He unlocks the door to the apartment, and finds Bruce sitting at the table, normal as everything is between the two of them there in their concrete home in Gotham's sky.

He drops his duffle onto the floor, stretches, and goes to make himself a drink before taking his seat. He squints at Bruce. Bruce looks at him. Bruce says, 'You look happy.' The words are so simple, which is odd for a man who thinks in philosophies learned at the lap of public libraries and whose mind works always with qualifiers, generalisations, specifics and pragmatic truths.

Dick turns his head, and looks at Bruce's eyes, the easing of tightness there in the age-old blue that's been carved out by hard work and efficient loneliness. 'So do you,' he replies, sipping at his drink.

Bruce's smile is not always written on his face. 'School starts for you after this weekend.'

'Yep,' Dick nods. 'Goodbye spring break once more.' He feels Bruce nudge something with his foot, and ducks his head under the table to see what. 'Hah!' Dick laughs, popping back up again, their Monopoly set in his hands. 'I'm going to kick your ass this time, Bruce.'

'Let me remind of: two glasses, Dick, and a cereal bowl. Do not pass Go,' Bruce says. 'Do not collect your allowance for next week.'

'Your sense of humour always freaks me out, you know that?'

'I hear humour is a function of happiness.'

'Yeah, well. Still freaky. Roll the dice, Bruce.'



'May I give you a piece of advice?'

'Jesus, Bruce, don't spoil this now.'

'It's not about Todd.'

'Oh.' Pause. 'Okay.'

'I'm getting the couch cleaned next week.'

'Oh.' Pause. 'Okay.'

Tinynote: Pauper!AU always tries to live on, and I have a filter specially for any drafty bits that come up; leave a comment if you want on it!
27th-Apr-2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
You know what? I like this poor!AU ten times better than comics canon with its ridiculous gloomy manor living. I feel like this Bruce deserves to be Batman even more, but also that he doesn't need to be because he's so awesome already. Yes, I like that this is BRUCE, in all his awesomeness and crankiness. I don't know, this feels a lot more real. They're just so much more in touch with Gotham City, not just when they're on cases and fighting and such. Do you know what I mean? And I may have whistled out loud when Selina appeared. This is so much win.

And their roadtrip. Oh man, their roadtrip. I am getting my usual Gotham hard-on love-on intensely thanks to this.
And that last passage was too damn brilliant. The happy. It made me happy, too. And the last two lines are PRICELESS.

27th-Apr-2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
Man, I feel so guilty writing this for scheherezhad, because when I write giftfic I always get the impression that I'm meant to be doing more hardcore suffering and less gleeful "HEE HEE HEE THIS STORY IS WRITING ITSELF", but pauper!AU takes my brains and runs with them. Runs a marathon. \o\ 8D

I'm glad you like it! ♥ It's great, great fun to translate Bruce's manias and psychoses into something less expensive and something more down to earth, plus it's like. NATURAL HABITAT FOR DICK, which brings out great joy in everything. :D :D :D :D
27th-Apr-2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there's a great flow and playfulness to this, enough with the doom-laden madness anyway... And your icon is snorf-inducing.

I would really not mind seeing a sort of 'Arrested Development'-type (tonally) show about these guys, you know?
27th-Apr-2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
I love all my Dick icons. :D

\o\ I unfortunately have never seen Arrested Development, but I take arrested development as part of the Bats' family genetics. 8D 8D
27th-Apr-2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
Yay, new bat!fic from you! It doesn't have Terry, but I'll take what I can get. :P

My first love is Bruce, so this one had to work harder to hold my attention than some of your other pieces, but I still really like it. It's a wonderfully fleshed out world, and you can see how it *could* work ... even though it also seems to be a different Gotham, one that doesn't have quite so much craziness in it and doesn't *need* a Batman so much ... One has to wonder if that's a chicken-and-egg thing or not, really.

Have I mentioned I love Bruce's dry humor in this? Love love love it! :) And I also sort of like Jason, though I have to wonder if there's anything between Jason and Bruce other than mutual antipathy ... in this world, probably not?

The only downside of this AU? No Alfred. But the rest is very very cool--and I almost wish the canon-Bruce and Dick could go to this world sometimes for a well-deserved break....
28th-Apr-2009 01:39 am (UTC)
♥ One day Terry will hit me upside the head again, and the Lead and Counting arcs will actually go somewhere, but in the meantime I apologise and must feed you silly things like this. :D

There's actually a HUGE chunk of (not)crazy Bruce planned for this arc, and that helps turn Gotham into something closer to what the comics canon has it, but y'right - a lot of the crazy in this one doesn't exist, because Bruce is no longer so crazy. There's no more iron to rub against the filament of his MAD PARANOIA. :D :D But there'll be other things! \o\

Alfred's an uncle, hiding out somewhere in spaces that haven't been written yet. :D Yet!

♥ ♥!
27th-Apr-2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
oh, man! I love this AU!! :D More please!! Mooooore! ;)
28th-Apr-2009 01:41 am (UTC)
♥ There will be more! \o\ With hope! Thanks for reading this far. :D :D
(Deleted comment)
28th-Apr-2009 01:42 am (UTC)
*g* Writing Dick freaking out was really fun. I'm glad you liked it!
27th-Apr-2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
I really like this story! It's a great AU and I love what you've done with the characters!

The boys flipping out in Old Arkham made me laugh.

Great job!

28th-Apr-2009 01:42 am (UTC)
*g* Thank you! :D :D
27th-Apr-2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
This, and the previous pauper-au fic, This Insubstantial Pageant Faded, are beautiful little diamond-shards that make my day. You fit canon in so well, but without the heavy handedness that so often goes along with AUs. Thank you for this gorgeous little arc.

Oh! I recced it at my reccing comm, read_this_katie

These beauties sparkle in the Gotham low light.

28th-Apr-2009 01:43 am (UTC)
!! ♥ THANK YOU so much for the rec, ee! *BEAMS* ♥ ♥ I'm glad you liked it!
28th-Apr-2009 02:09 am (UTC)
No thank YOU for writing it! Hopefully there will be more!!! :D
28th-Apr-2009 04:37 am (UTC)
Ok, so Selina and Bruce are like my first, childhood, forever OTPs, so this made me unutterably happy.

And now I'm shipping Dick/Jason.

I loved all of this.
28th-Apr-2009 10:01 am (UTC)
Dear God this was awesome. So awesome I don't really have words. But I'll try. Bruce breaks my heart by being so wonderful, still himself, just more a *person* instead of a mission. Dick is Dick, I really don't think he's changed, except he's had about a metric tonne of angst surgically removed. Jason is an actual human being that I *like*. I'd read 50,000 words of this *so* happily.

Please, please add me to the filter, if you will!
28th-Apr-2009 08:38 pm (UTC) - Oh K. You are like marshmallowy hot chocolate to my soul.
(for full effect, imagine dickie's mug is full of aforesaid chocolate and just off-icon is his laptop with YOUR FIC on it WHICH HE IS READING AFTER A VERY HARD DAY.)

ok I read through the first few lines going "I'm sure I read this before" and then realised I discussed this with you after you sent me the CAPSLOCK SUMMARY OF CRACK.

Ohhhhh the playground scene. My heart, it burns.


Oh my god, shotgun. Oh, the beautiful smile. You are killing me with this K, just so you know...it was just lovely and as thrilling as I needed it to be.

And the ending: :OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO *iz ded* That did NOT go the way I expected it to go. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I loved it. It was a joy to read and a huge relief from all the stupid, STUPID drama that's going on with Batcanon right now. I mean I love Neil but I would have rather read your AU than his strange little funeral thing...his isn't any more far-fetched, and yours is just...everything I need most from the Bats but am scared I will never get again.

And also, I started reading this in an awful, awful mood, and you cheered me right up. Thanks to you I can go to bed without feeling like I need a time machine just to keep existing.

Edited at 2009-04-28 08:40 pm (UTC)
28th-Apr-2009 08:47 pm (UTC) - Re: Oh K. You are like marshmallowy hot chocolate to my soul.
30th-Apr-2009 04:11 am (UTC) - Re: Oh K. You are like marshmallowy hot chocolate to my soul.
I edited them for TLDR; my full flailings are in your inbox :D
(Deleted comment)
3rd-May-2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
*g* ♥ Thank you! :D :D This AU was very, very fun to write. \o\
15th-Sep-2009 10:32 am (UTC)
I grinned and laughed and smiled throughout this entire fic. I haven't read something so believable and happy and goddamn it, I love this. Your Dick Grayson reminds me why I liked him as Robin, and it feels good that there's an author out there that can write Jason as sane. XD
19th-Nov-2009 01:10 am (UTC)
I just read this and the previous story in this universe. I find it fascinating that the Bats, written as 'ordinary people', can be so, well, interesting. It highlights the fact, for me, that most comic books are so much larger-than-life.

I would very much like to be added to your filter for more drafty bits, if you have a chance. Thank you!
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