Disclaimer: Theses characters do not belong to me. However this story does. Don’t sue. :)
Archiving: Just ask.
Feedback: yes please.
Characters: Arsenal/Nightwing, Troia
Summary: Roy and Donna discuss his feelings about Dick.
Rating: PG-13 (language); Slash
1. This is a work of slash fiction, if that makes you uncomfortable then please don’t read it.
2. I want to thank Dannell-for inspiring this; Noel-you know why; but mostly I want to thank Smitty. This story would never have come about, if not for her. She’s a great beta and a great friend. Go worship the Smittywing :)
Dick almost got killed tonight. But for the good graces of Donna’s gods and the speed of Wally West, Dick would be a name on a tombstone. And I mean a tombstone. A great giant piece of granite standing out of the ground with his name engraved upon it. They don’t do that much these days. It’s not like it is on TV. The stone doesn’t even stick up anymore. Only slabs of stone in the ground. A slate with a name. Not that it matters. Bruce would have gotten him a stone, stuck it next to Jason’s. There would have been a Nightwing costume in a glass box next to the Robin one in the cave. Though he wouldn’t have been a ‘good soldier’. Bruce would have thought of something different. Dick’s his own man now, he’s no one’s soldier.
It wasn’t anybody’s fault. The kids were doing just fine on point and the rest of us were playing our parts. But the bad guys were just a little smarter than we thought. They actually had IQs. And Dick was fine now. Not a scratch or anything. But it was damn close.
It was one of those times where you wanted to grab whoever was next to you and hug them as hard as you could. That’s how close it was. Which explains why I’m at a bar. Dick almost died and I didn’t hug anybody. They lavished all this attention on Dick when we got back to the base. Propped him up on the couch, got him ice cream, treated him like a king. Donna hugged him, Toni kissed his cheek (the little flirt), and the rest of the guys clapped him on the back. I didn’t touch him. I couldn’t. He’d know.
And the last thing I wanted Dick Grayson to know was how I felt. I’m *sure* he would have been extremely comfortable with the idea that Roy Harper cared about him beyond our shaky friendship. And I'm a complete idiot. So I didn’t touch him. I stayed slightly outside of our friendly circle of relief. Stayed right where I always did, behind a wall of bad jokes and no feelings. Right where I was comfortable. And once Lian was asleep and I’d secured a promise from Toni to watch her, I’d made my way to a nearby bar.
I wasn’t going to drown my sorrows; I was just going to fuzz them up a bit. I don’t do drunk, not unless it’s real bad or I’m with a huge group of friends. Feels too much like the drugs I guess. Too away from feelings, too far from my inhibitions. And I need my inhibitions. I don’t want anyone to guess. Besides getting plastered was the best way to let everyone know I swing both ways when it comes to a certain gymnastic wonder.
I was working on a Guinness, the first and maybe only one for the night. I was having fun playing darts and intentionally missing a few. Not really minding the female attention it got me. The door opened and the pleasant warm feeling in my stomach evaporated. The raven-haired beauty scanned the room and her sparkling blue eyes landed right on me. She smiled and crossed the room. She didn’t say anything, just took a sip of my Guinness and threw a dart straight into the target. The pleasant female attention ran for other corners of the room and other attractive men. Donna Troy had that effect on girls.
“Rough night?” she drawled with a gleam in her eye. I felt fear join the newborn dread in my stomach.
“Not really,” I tried to shrug and lie my way out of it. Donna had come after me, and away from her warm bed. She must actually have an inkling about how serious this was.
Donna sat down on the stool next to me, her knee brushing my thigh as I stayed standing and aimed. She considered my answer as she picked through the pretzel mix in the bowl in front of her. She settled on a crunchy brown wafer and another swig. “Good beer.”
I looked back at her. Donna was trying to bait me I figured. It didn’t take a genius to see the dark liquid and foam and know it wasn’t just a beer.
“Guinness,” I corrected and threw the dart. She fished into my back pocket and pulled out my wallet. She waved the bartender over and ordered herself, paying from my wallet. Even though she could miraculously pull her own out when ID was needed. She flashed me a grin and I knew this night wasn’t going to go well.
“Want to talk about it?” She asked, shoving my wallet into the wrong back pocket. She sipped my drink as she waited for her own.
“Not really.” I replied, reaching out to pluck her newly arrived Guinness off the wood. She stared at me and I felt a twinge of guilt. She’d come down here knowing I was upset and I wasn’t giving an inch. But I had my priorities. And one of them was making sure I was the only one aware of my unrequited... crush.
“Roy...” it was that tone that almost made me tell her the truth. The voice of Donna the comforter, mother hen to us wayward teenage sidekicks. The Donna before Raven, Terry, and my drug habit. The Donna that made me feel like I was fifteen and Ollie hadn’t dumped me yet for Dinah. The Donna that knew everything I never said.
“Yeah?” I said a bit gruffly. I didn’t want to talk about this. Not in a bar playing darts, not in her room at the base. Not ever.
“I know.” I took a long swallow before letting myself deal with that. Before Wally was forced to bring her back as the card board cut-out Donna I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear her say that. We never talked about my feelings for Dick but I was sure she knew. Donna knew everything. But she wasn’t the same person; she was still stretching herself out, trying to fill in all the blanks that Wally had unintentionally left her with. She tried to fill out a few with myself but lord knows that hadn’t gone well.
“How?” Be non-committal Roy. Admit it without ever having to admit it.
“Well you’re not obvious, Roy.” She smiled and popped a pretzel into my mouth. “But I saw the look on your face when we thought... when we were waiting for Wally to come back with him. And then you were so... distant at the base. All humor, no feelings. It didn’t take me long to figure it out.” She chewed on a pretzel.
“Is that why you’re here? Have a heart to heart and make me feel better?” I chewed on another pretzel that she’d pushed into my mouth.
“Kind of,” she shrugged and sipped from my drink again. “I was just worried about you. You don’t have to talk about it. Hera knows I haven’t been a great listener lately. But it might make you feel better to have someone to talk about it with. You wouldn’t have to be pining away on your own.”
Pining. Nice word that. Makes me sound forlorn and romance novel-ish. Not exactly the aura of sex god I was going for. “I’m not pining.”
“You’re brooding,” she pointed out waving a pretzel stick at me. “And you’ve always mocked people who brood. So it’s obviously serious. Besides, I think this has been going on for quite a while.”
Since puberty maybe? “Point to Donna,” I conceded. “What do you want me to say. I’m in love with Dick. He has no idea and I’d really like it to stay that way.”
“Don’t get snippy Roy.” She said and her hand snaked out and grabbed another bowl of mix to replace our empty one. “You know I’m not going to say anything to him. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.”
I looked at her, cocking one eyebrow skeptically. Then I chuckled. “Say something? Are you out of your mind, wonder chick?”
“Dick’s not a homophobe, Roy.” She dug around in the bowl and produced a small white wafer.
“I didn’t say he was!” I plucked a brown wafer out of the bowl and munched on it. “But just because he has no problem with people who have those feelings doesn’t mean he’d respond well to a friend feeling that way about him.”
“You don’t know how he’ll respond.” She pointed out, sipping her drink again. “He might take it better than you think.” She stood up, grabbed a blue dart and aimed carefully.
“You mean he might not run screaming for the hills?” I asked sourly. I was barely ready to admit this to Donna and she wanted me to tell Dick? Hah!
“I mean,” she threw the dart. “He might be receptive.” The dart landed in the left side of the target.
“What makes you say that?” I grabbed the red dart and threw it without looking. Bulls-eye everytime, baby.
“Intuition.” She threw her dart and got it slightly closer to mine. Still favoring the left though.
“I’ll trust your intuition in battle anytime babe.” I smiled and threw another dart. Again bulls-eye though the dart was angled more because I threw it in under the target as opposed to right on. “But with something like this? I’d rather keep it to myself.”
She walked over to the target and pulled the darts gently out. She came back over and took a swig from my drink. “How long have you felt this way about him?”
“Far too long,” I replied, sneaking her drink over in front of me.
“Since we first met, or sometime after?” She pulled a hair tie out of her jeans pocket and pulled her long black hair into a ponytail.
“It took a few years.” I answered, tugging lightly on her ponytail. Playful affection distracting my hands instead of a pretzel search. “Only a little before Kory.”
She nodded thoughtfully. “Things were getting bad then, weren’t they?”
“They’d been bad for a while.” I replied, thinking about Ollie and all of our problems. I picked up one of the darts and twirled it in my hand.
“This made it worse?” Her fingers danced through my hair.
“Not really,” I managed a smile. “The drugs made it worse. Getting off of them made my crush on him seem like no big deal. It’s still no big deal. Just something that I try not to focus on. Not that you make it easy, babe.”
She smiled at me, her eyes wistful. “I try.” She shrugged her shoulders. “So what is it about him you like the most, or liked first? His ass, his smile, his eyes?”
“Not that any of that matters,” I grumbled at her. “It’s not about his body.” Great though it may be. I settled into my stool and ordered another drink. Donna wanted to talk about this so I might as well get comfortable. “Dick’s not like any guy in my life okay?”
“How so?” she tugged my arm, and I picked up our drinks and followed her back to a table in the corner.
“Well he’s responsible for starters,” I offered up. I pulled out a chair for her, she sat and then so did I. “And he isn’t arrogant, or impulsive. He’s mature.”
“And he hasn’t left you.” She filled in the blank, her hand searching mine out on top of the table.
“There’s that.” I allowed, sipping the drink to keep from thinking about it overly much.
“So your resentment of him, way back when?” Her blue eyes searched my green ones.
“Half actual resentment, half bad reaction to unexpected feelings.” I answered truthfully.
“You just hated the fact that you looked up to him, didn’t you?” She grinned and squeezed my hand.
I shrugged, feeling a grin myself. “More like I was pissed that he was perfect and I was only mortal. I mean we’re the two non-powereds on the team and he’s a god. Not exactly fair.”
“Couple that with a few unwanted feelings and you’ve got an emotional crisis waiting to happen.” Her well-manicured fingers were tracing the lines of my palm.
“I had a couple of emotional crises waiting to happen.” I sipped thoughtfully. It didn’t feel so bad, talking about this. Not with Donna. She wasn’t uncomfortable with it, and she wasn’t judgmental. And she was right; it was nice not being the only one who knew.
“How come you never said anything?” She asked, her other hand tugging a little at her ponytailed hair.
“To you?” I asked and she nodded. “I don’t know. Never talked about anything, why should this have been different?”
“Why should what have been different?” A voice I had not expected at all asked from behind me.
“Dick!” Donna’s eyes went wide. Well this night just bottomed out into living hell.
“Hey,” I turned in my chair and saw Dick standing behind me, his hands stuffed in his pockets. Donna nearly flew out of her seat to get to Dick and I stood up.
“What are you doing here?” Donna asked, gently pushing Dick to sit down on the chair between ours.
Dick sat and took the drink that Donna offered him. My drink. I sighed and grabbed a pretzel from the bowl in the center. “I noticed you both were gone so I thought I’d hunt you down.” He sipped my Guinness.
I glanced from him over to her. They were smiling at each other, drinking, their hands slowly reaching out to the bowl in the center of the table. I needed a drink. I stood up and tried to smile. “It looks like we’re getting low on the Guinness. I’ll go get the next round.”
Dick’s eyes flicked to the dwindling drink in his hand and then over to Donna’s as she swallowed the last bit. He glanced back at me with a smirk and an eyebrow arched. “I’ll buy.” He stood up. “We’ll be right back,” He informed our lovely moocher.
We headed to the bar and he murmured, “She still stealing your drinks?”
“Yep.” I sighed.
“That’s our Donna.” Dick pulled out his wallet as we reached the bar.
“I liked her better when she was Kyle’s Donna.” I muttered.
“You did not.” Dick admonished. “Three Guinness’s please.”
“She called it beer.” I turned around and leaned against the bar as the bartender wandered off to fill our order. I looked across the room at Donna as she picked at the bowl of mix in front of her.
“Beer?” Dick turned to me, his eyebrow arched. I nodded in confirmation. “Sacrilege.” Dick shook his head.
The mugs were set down in front of us and Dick handed the man his money. I picked up mine as Dick grabbed his and Donna’s. “Well she never did have any taste in alcohol.”
Dick chuckled, “What was that pink thing she always used to get?”
“Cosmo-something or other.” I said as we approached the table. “I’m not quite sure.”
“Cosmopolitan.” Donna smiled at Dick as he set her drink down in front of her.
“Okay.” We replied in unison with a we-really-couldn’t-care-less tone.
She rolled her eyes and sipped her drink. “So you’re feeling up to going home, Dick?” She asked, her eyebrows pinching together with worry. I turned my focus, well my *obvious* attention, to him as well. I mean the guy nearly bites it a few hours ago and now, in typical bat fashion, he’s at a bar like nothing ever happened.
“I’m fine,” Dick shrugged off Donna’s concern. “No worries.” He sipped his drink and smiled at the taste. Donna shot me a look and I wanted to die. It was the ‘he’s so perfect for you, he even likes the same drink’ look that I’ve seen her give a few of the girls. Donna my friend I can handle, Donna my ‘girl-friend’ I can not. I was afraid she was going to ask me to go the bathroom with her or something so we could discuss Dick’s butt. Which I was so not prepared to do.
“You sure?” I asked quickly, trying to discourage any bathroom bonding.
Dick nodded, a slight smile on his lips. “You guys worry too much.”
“Well you have a habit of not worrying enough. We worry for you.” Donna nodded sagely, her hand reaching out and swiping my drink again. I looked at her and her eyes twinkled in merriment.
“I worry.” Dick contested. “I worry all the time. I worry too much. I worry more than either of you ever have.” He looked unimpressed with Donna’s little speech and he did have a point. I used to say that Dick was pulled tighter than any of my bow strings. but leading the Titans comes with lot of worries. I know. And he, at least, never lost that air of Bat cool.
“You worry about people and missions.” Donna sifted through the bowl and put a cheese piece in my palm. “But you never worry about yourself. So we worry about you. It’s as simple as that.”
Neither Dick nor I were willing to contradict that. Dick seemed reckless at times and we all did get worried for him. Simple fact of life. Dick was sure of himself, in that way that most people never can be. He can jump from the top skyscrapers and never worry that he’ll survive the fall.
“That’s what friends are for.” Dick said finally. He took a large drink from his Guinness and set the mug down. “They worry about you. They care.” His eyes met mine and held them. Discomfort tingled through my nerves suddenly. How much had he heard? He finally pulled his eyes away from mine and glanced about the bar. His gaze halted on the dartboard. A challenging smirk tugged at his mouth. “How about a game of darts?”
“Sure,” I easily rose to the challenge. It was darts. I’d destroy him in five minutes, easy.
“I’m gonna go to the ladies room.” Donna announced, passing her Guinness to Dick. “I’ll meet you guys over there.”
We nodded and headed over to the board. I gathered up the darts while Dick set our drinks down on the wood. I threw the first dart, easily hitting the straight on middle. I smirked at him in challenge. Dick’s face was completely serious and nearly devoid of emotion as he picked up the dart and aimed carefully, one of his eyes closed for better alignment. “You're going to have to make a decision,” he informed me.
“About?” I sipped my drink and watched him throw.
“You know what about,” He said, his voice lacking any emotion. The dart hit its target.
Fear swept into my stomach and I kept my eyes on the dart. “I don't.”
“Roy...” The warning was apparent in his tone. Shit. He knew. He had to know. There was nothing else it could be.
“What do you want me to say?” I asked struggling to keep my newborn misery out of my voice. I sounded cold, hard, even to myself. I threw my next dart and the aim... wasn’t quite what it should have been. It hit the middle, but it wasn’t dead on.
Dick took aim again, neither of us looking at each other. “Anything you feel like saying.”
Anything I felt like saying. What the hell was I supposed to want to tell him? That he was an asshole? Or better yet, “Fuck off.”
Dick’s eyes flicked over to me, the annoyance on his face clear. “Not good enough.”
“Okay...” I glared at him in aggravation. I grabbed the dart of the bar and threw it, trying to distract myself from the fact that my stomach just bottomed out. It hit the target. No surprises there. “Then what is good enough?”
“Roy,” Dick’s voice was soft and gentle, like he was trying to coax a child out from under a bed, or convince a wounded animal that everything was going to be fine. I wasn’t happy with either connotation. “I want to talk about this. You don't open yourself up to the Titans because of this. You ran away from your friends tonight because of this. I. Want. To. Talk. About. This.”
“Fine,” I clenched my fists but still didn’t look at him. “Let's talk.”
We stood in silence, both waiting for the other to make a move. Finally Dick threw his last dart, took a swig of Guinness and turned to face me. “You have feelings for me,” he announced. “How long? How intense? Are you planning on doing anything about them?”
“Do I look like I'm planning on doing anything about them?” I replied snottily to his interrogation, attitude covering fear.
“Not particularly, no.” Dick admitted, with a patient sigh. I smiled as if to say ‘exactly’. “Why not?” He prodded.
“What do you mean why not?” I gaped at him. “You know why not!”
“I do?” He looked mildly surprised.
“Yes, Dick you do.” I replied in exasperation. Dick arched his eyebrows, still looking unaware. “Damnit,” I nearly yelled but restrained myself. I didn’t want the whole place listening in on this. “What would I possibly do? Confess my...” I stopped, unwillingly to say the word. “Confess to you? *Apparently* I don't need to. What else would I do?”
“Make a move,” he suggested. I sat in shocked silence as Dick leaned over me and snagged some pretzel mix from the nearest bowl.
Finally I was able to get out a “huh?”
“Make a move,” he repeated as he started picking out cheese pieces.
“Make a move?” I asked with obvious surprise and, I think, appropriate wariness.
Dick picked out the last cheese piece and then dumped the rest of the mix into my hands. “Would I have brought this up otherwise?”
I sifted through the pieces of mix to avoid looking at Dick. “What happened to all that 'you need to talk about this, it's hurting your relationships' spiel.” I countered, not ready to believe him.
“It is hurting your relationships.” Dick offered up, popping a cheese piece into his mouth. “You're distant with most of us, being a pain in the ass to Donna, and generally making my life hell because I'm waiting. For you. To. Make. A. Fucking. Move.”
“And what move should I be making?” My voice went quiet, unsure, even a bit childlike. Shit I sounded vulnerable and I couldn’t do anything about it.
Dick shrugged as he munched. “You could kiss me. Or ask me to invite you back to my place to actually talk about -us-.” He tilted his head thoughtfully and then continued on. “I wouldn't recommend the 'L' word yet. You’re notoriously skittish about that. But y'know, just about anything would do at this point.”
“Oh,” I managed.
He rolled his eyes. “Don't tell me you haven't thought about what you'd do if I returned your feelings.”
“Do you?” I couldn’t stop myself from asking. “Return them I mean?”
Dick sighed deeply. He stayed very still for a moment before he spoke. “Yes.”
“I never thought....” I shook my head and tried again. “I mean you're just so straight.”
“Hello Pot. This is Kettle. You're calling me black?” He grinned at me, his blue eyes sparkling.
I threw Dick a sidelong glance. “You have a terrible sense of humor.”
“I'm known for my sense of humor.” Dick countered, jutting his chest out with pride.
“You're known for bad puns and *absolutely* bad jokes.” I informed him and then took a swig.
“You're known for the bad jokes.” Dick pointed out.
“Mine are inappropriate.” I clarified the corners of my mouth beginning to stretch into a smirk. “Yours just suck.”
“Shut up,” he muttered darkly. Which only proved me right. I popped a handful of mix into my mouth. “So you never even thought about it... Not once?” He didn’t sound hurt, just curious.
“No.” My voice dipped softly again. “I never let myself...” I shook my head. Try it again. “It was hard enough knowing how I felt. Trying to look for signs that you might... feel that same way... not worth the pain.” The last part came out unbidden.
“Yeah.” I sipped my Guinness, trying to get my courage up.
“So what are you going to do now?” He took a sip from his mug.
“I was considering drinking a lot.” I answered honestly, taking another deep gulp.
Dick looked confused. “Why?”
“I get gutsy when I'm drunk.” I said, and then drained the last of the Guinness. “ And I'll need a lot of courage to...” I paused and took a deep breath to gather my nerve.
“To?” Dick prompted, leaning forward ever so slightly. Into my personal space.
“C'mon.” I grabbed Dick’s arm and dragged him across the room and out the door. I pulled him into a nearby alley. I glanced around, making sure we were alone. I swallowed nervously and looked at Dick.
Dick looked back at me, obviously unwilling to make the first move. “I got it this far, Roy. Make a move.”
I chuckled nervously. “You're a broken record Robbie.”
Dick smirked and replied, “It's a training technique. Drill it into your head and you might obey. Make a move Roy.”
My stomach was all butterflies, my nerves jumping. I reached my hand out tentatively and slid it gently up Dick’s neck, my fingers tingling. My hands tangled in his thick black hair and I pulled him closer to me. I closed my eyes and kissed him softly on the lips. My heart jumped, my stomach danced. My head went light and I knew that this was it. This was what I wanted.
Dick responded in kind. I pulled my lips slightly away from his. "Make a move Dick," I said huskily.
Dick growled low in his throat and pulled my lips back to his own, kissing me hard, and then coaxed his tongue between my lips. Fire dancing against fire. We stood in the alleyway for a few minutes. Dick's tongue made a slow exploration of my mouth while my hands became more acquainted with his neck and hair, fingering and brushing lightly against his cool skin.
There was a cough from the front of the alleyway. Dick slowly pulled his mouth from mine, not at all willingly, and called out "What do you want Donna?" I blinked and tried to focus my attention on Donna but I wasn’t succeeding very well.
Donna, hands on hips, grinned at us. "Nothing," She said innocently.
"Then go away." Dick turned his face back to mine, which I totally endorsed.
"I was just thinking that maybe you two should take this someplace private.” She continued on, succeeding easily in earning my intense irritation. “Not the tower of course, there are other people there. But I know this guy. He has an apartment of his own. And since he travels around on a very nice, high-powered motorcycle, it wouldn’t take so long to get there. And I know from experience that motorcycles rides are good for lust."
I glared at the dark-haired Amazon. "Is that your way of saying 'get a room?'"
Donna's grin widened. "You know me so well Harper."
Dick pulled away from me and I sighed in quiet frustration. I had made a move, wasn’t I going to get any breaks? "She's right. We should... go someplace private."
"You certainly should." Donna offered, enjoying this far too much.
I ran his fingers through his hair. "Well I can't really. I mean I was planning on being back...” I glanced down at my watch and cringed slightly. “An hour ago. Toni's not exactly a trustworthy baby-sitter." I sighed, my stomach churning.
"I'll be more than happy to watch Lian for you," Donna said as she held put the two men's jackets, which she'd been hiding behind herself.
Dick looked at me, his hands tickling my hips. "What do you think?"
I swallowed nervously, half of my focus going immediately to the wandering hand. "I think... I think we have a lot of talking to do."
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