To be Batman is a job that should have been impossible. A job that should have required more than what any one man is able to give. Somehow Bruce had managed to do that and keep the company running well enough to use it to fund practically every programme helping keep Gotham safe.
Dick thinks Bruce was about three people. The vigilante, the businessman and the father.
When Bruce dies Dick and Tim are forced to divvy up his responsibilities. Who else is going to do it? Cass is in Hong Kong and Jason hates Bruce far too fully to contemplate becoming any aspect of him. Steph and Barbara are staying in the business but they never really belonged to Bruce. Not like Dick and Tim did.
Damian is a whole separate issue.
So that leaves Dick and Tim to slice Bruce into pieces small enough for the two of them to swallow. Dick takes on the mantle of Batman. Obviously. It’s the heaviest burden to bear and Dick’s the oldest. He’s been doing this the longest. Tim takes on the mantle of the businessman. He’s always been the smartest. Dick knows that he’ll be the best fit for tricking a boardroom full of sharks into pretending they're something benevolent.
After they finish tearing off fistfuls of their father's legacy, Tim looks at Dick with something exhausted in his eyes. Something that makes him look like he's given up. “I can’t be your Robin, can I?” he asks.
Dick knows that Tim must already know the answer. Dick also knows that his little brother deserves the closure of hearing it out loud.
“No” Dick confirms, refusing to look at Tim. The air of the room, already saturated with grief, grows heavier with a new type of loss. “You’re my little brother." Dick says haltingly. "I couldn’t be him, not for you.” He hopes that Tim can understand what he means, even though he knows the words aren’t quite right.
Tim nods and Dick feels the bittersweet lifting of some of the burden from his shoulders. Neither of them talk about how to split the final third of Bruce's responsibilities, the ones he'd taken on as a father. That's a legacy the two of them let slip into a grave unspoken.
In fairness, that particular role of Bruce’s wasn’t essential to fill. It’s not like he’d even been that good at it.
Dick doesn’t think any more on it for a while, not until the first time he sees Damian wearing the Robin costume and looking so much more nervous than Dick had expected.
“Are you okay?” he asks, fighting the urge to shift under the weight of the suit. It doesn’t fit quite right yet but he’s sure it will suit him better with time.
Damian's eyes narrow. “Yes.” he responds far too quickly.
Dick hesitates for a moment, trying to remember what he wanted to hear when he filled the same role as the boy stood in front of him. He tries to remember what Bruce had said, wearing the same suit Dick does now, and looked at a nine year old kid ready to twist his childhood into a crusade.
“You don’t have to be flawless." Dick starts, thinking of how imperfection is a luxury Damian has been unable to afford in the past. "You can make mistakes and you can do things wrong and I promise that it won’t change anything.” He leans down so that he’s on Damian's level, praying that he used to be similar enough to the boy in front of him for these to be the right things to say. “I’ll be right here to fix things if anything happens.”
Damian huffs. “As if I would ever display such amateur behaviour.” But Dick thinks he might look slightly less tense than he did a moment ago.
Dick isn’t meant to have to act as a father. That wasn’t the deal. He’s meant to become Batman, to handle this part of Bruce so that the world can keep on spinning. He wasn’t meant to have to become Bruce. He wasn’t meant to have to give more than what he has.
But Dick has always been good at taking on a little more than he should be able to handle. So he touches Damian’s shoulder and uses all his best words and hopes that maybe this will be enough.