[identity profile] finkpishnets.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ivoryandgoldd
makeshift
young justice | dick/roy | pg-13 | ~2,200
post-series. he knows he liked it better when dick was around.

a/n: for [livejournal.com profile] echraide.

@ AO3



It’s Jade that stops him reaching for his bow the first time he notices someone perched on the roof opposite, a quick shake of her head and quirked eyebrow that suggests she still thinks he’s an idiot after all these years, and he can’t fault her when he takes a closer look and realizes it’s Dick.

“You should take him some coffee,” Jade says, barely a hint of sarcasm in her voice, and Roy wonders again if she’s come out of all this as unscathed as she’s pretending. He doesn’t have a right to ask her anymore, even living under the same roof and raising a daughter together, but that doesn’t mean she’ll ever stop being the woman he fell in love with. The woman who kept on saving him.

“No,” he says, eventually, closing the blinds. “He can knock if he needs something.”

Jade rolls her eyes but doesn’t push, and when she turns on the TV and waits for him to settle next to her it’s almost normal.



+



Dick’s there every night for a week.



+



“Jade’s sent me to tell you to cease and desist. It was that or she fired a handy rocket launcher at you. She has three in her closet.”

Dick keeps staring straight ahead and only blinks when Roy lets out a sigh and settles in next to him. He’s in his Nightwing gear, the mask secure over his eyes, but even with all that Roy can see the exhaustion seeping through him, the curve of muscles that have been worked too hard and bruises that are taking too long to heal. Roy knows Batman’s trained Dick to look after himself better than this, but the last few years have been a bitch on all of them and he’s not kidding himself that it couldn’t be so much worse.

“How’s Lian?” Dick asks, eventually, and Roy bites back the smile that always threatens to break out at the thought of his baby girl.

“Good,” he says. “She threw her jar of food at the kitchen wall yesterday and shattered the damn thing. Mushed carrots everywhere. She’s definitely inherited her mother’s taste for violence.”

Dick lets out a breath that’s almost a laugh, and Roy feels like breaking something himself.

“It’s not your fault,” he says instead, watching the way Dick’s hands shake as he curls his fingers in on themselves. “You didn’t send him in there.”

“No,” Dick says, “but that doesn’t make it better.”

Roy can’t think of anything to say to that so he keeps his mouth shut.



+



On the nights Artemis comes by, Dick’s nowhere to be seen.

Artemis is made up of shadows and edges these days, her smile only reaching her eyes when Lian’s in her arms, babbling at her aunt about the great philosophies of life under the guise of gibberish. She keeps up a good front - the Crock family way - but Roy’s known her for too long to be fooled by anything except the bone-deep grief she keeps locked inside her own head.

Jade watches her, and when she turns away her eyes are sadder than Roy’s ever seen them.

“How’s the team?” he asks one night, handing her a chipped mug and thinking fondly of the beer he no longer allows himself to keep in the apartment. He wouldn’t want to give her a reason to fall into the same mistakes as him, but he’s never been good at any of this, though maybe being a clone gives him an endless supply of excuses in that department.

“Okay,” she says, staring into her tea like it contains the secrets of the universe. “The rookies work well together. Jaime and Bart are already a force to be reckoned with, and Conner’s helping Barbara with Cassie’s training. She’s coming along great when she’s not staring at Rob-- at Tim.”

Roy gulps at his own tea, letting it scald his tongue and pretending he didn’t hear the crack in her voice, until she looks up.

“Have you seen him?”

He considers lying, wonders if maybe it wouldn’t be better, but there’ve been enough lies in his life already and he won’t be a hypocrite to the broken woman that’s family these days.

“Yes,” he says, and she lets out a breath he hadn’t realized she was holding.

“Good,” she says, sinking back into couch, “that means he’s still around.”

“He blames himself,” Roy tells her, because in for a penny, in for a pound.

Artemis smiles and it’s jagged and heartbroken and the most honest thing Roy’s seen from her in months as she says: “Don’t we all?”



+



After a month of Dick watching over them, Roy looks up from cooking dinner to find Jade holding his Red Arrow uniform, crumpled from where it’s been abandoned in his closet with a slight stain on the shoulder that he’s ninety percent sure is courtesy of Lian.

“I’m out of the game, remember?” he says, slicing a pepper and dropping it into the pan. “We both are.”

“I know,” Jade says, and she looks serious in a way she’s slowly stopped having to be. “But he isn’t, and all the time he’s sitting over there is time he’s not out saving pensioners and puppies or whatever it is you people do.”

Roy knows she’s right, of course she is, and he’s been thinking about it too, he’s just not been sure whether this answer is selfless or selfish as all hell.

He wonders if that’s why Jade’s taken the decision out of his hands.



+



He thinks it might take a few nights for Dick to catch on, but he’s less than an hour into chasing up a gang of dock-based drug runners when a familiar batarang pins the largest guy to the wall.

The Batkids have always been fast learners, but Roy lets the rest of his punches fall a little more gleefully anyway.



+



“She blames herself too, you know,” Roy says one night when they’re both exhausted and aching with four arrests under their belts and twice as many blossoming bruises to prove it.

Dick squeezes his eyes shut and then surprises the hell out of Roy when he says “I’ll talk to her.”



+



The next time Artemis comes over her shoulders seem a little less weighed down, her smiles a little easier, and when she wraps tight fingers around his arm and mouths thank you, he wonders what exactly Dick said to her.

He shakes her off with a roll of the eyes and lets Jade bitch him out for leaving his wet towels on the bathroom floor as Lian giggles happily in the corner, and for the first time in his relatively short life, he’s content.



+



“Why me?” he asks, the city unusually quiet around them.

“You walked away too,” Dick says after a while, his head tipped back as he watches the night sky. “The only difference is you knew what you were looking for.”

“Maybe you just need a fresh start,” Roy says, and Dick’s smile is wistful when it comes.

“Do those really exist?”

Roy thinks about Jade and how she’s somehow become his best friend in the wake of all their wreckage, about his beautiful daughter still so untouched by the world, about finally getting the chance to build an identity of his own.

“I’m counting on it,” he says.



+



Dick stops showing up, and Roy spends two weeks pretending he hasn’t noticed.

Jade doesn’t call him on it, plays along without so much as a roll of her eyes, and it’s more proof than anything that she’s forgiven him.

They spend their nights mocking action movies and trying to persuade Lian to sleep, and it’s the sort of future he never pictured for either of them but he knows he’ll fight tooth and nail to keep.

It’s almost perfect, and he refuses to dwell on the one reason it’s not.



+



“Have you seen him?” Roy asks, and Artemis bites her lip, hesitating before she nods.

“Yes,” she says. “He’s in Gotham helping Batman. Some big stuff’s been going down.”

“He’s okay though?” Roy asks and hopes the edge in his voice isn’t discernible. From the way Artemis looks at him, his luck’s not holding up.

“He’s Dick,” she says, shrugging. “He’s surviving.”

After she’s gone, Jade looks at him steadily before saying “It’s okay to miss him,” not sticking around for a reply, and Roy finds himself staring at the rooftop opposite and wondering why he never notices the important moments in his life whilst they’re happening.



+



Roy’s never been the type to analyze his emotions, even before he found out that they were all the manufactured product of his intended identity, so he deals with this the way he deals with everything.

Seven guys in handcuffs and a set of bloody knuckles later, he’s still not sure what the hell’s happening.



+



He knows he’s on edge.

He knows he feels too tight in his own skin.

He knows he liked it better when Dick was around.

He just doesn’t know why all those things added together have him feeling like he’s caught in the eye of a storm.



+



It’s Artemis who sends him the address, and Roy stares at the text for twenty minutes before Jade kicks him out, declaring an intense need for an evening alone with the TV.

He’s fairly sure she’s just going to get out all her old weapons and wax nostalgic to Lian about her days assassinating people, but he prefers not to think about it.

It doesn’t take long to Zeta in, but Roy wastes an hour in a brightly lit diner drinking watery coffee and playing out imaginary conversations until the constant tap of the waitresses fake nails against the plastic countertop threatens to drive him crazy.

He’s not sure why Dick lives in a rundown one-bedroom in Blüdhaven of all places, but he finds it easily enough, managing not to grimace at the police tape cordoning off the building next door, and settling in to wait.



+



Dick finds him three hours later, rolling his eyes and cursing Artemis out under his breath, but he drops down next to him anyway.

Roy catalogues his injuries – a black eye that’s yellowing around the edges, the remains of a split lip, damage to his left shoulder, and what looks suspiciously like the ghost of a knife against his neck – and feels the tangle of threads in his chest start to loosen.

“Have you worked out what you’re looking for yet?” Roy asks, and doesn’t let himself think about why Dick’s answer is so important.

Dick’s smile isn’t a happy one.

“Maybe,” he says. “Maybe that’s the problem."



+



Dick takes him home (for all it can be called that) and pours him a glass of orange juice, the only thing in his refrigerator besides leftover noodles and beer, and geez, Roy doesn’t want to have to deal with that on top of everything else.

It must be painted across his face because Dick laughs, and it’s quiet but real.

“Don’t worry,” he says, “they’re not mine.”

Roy doesn’t ask what he means but his shoulders relax a few inches because Dick wouldn’t lie about that, not to him.

They stand around Dick’s kitchenette in awkward silence for a while, until Dick says, “What are you doing here, Roy?” and Roy hesitates, trying to find the right words and coming up blank, his head too full of half-formed sentiments that won’t pass his lips.

Dick’s studying him, his eyes tracing the lines of Roy’s face, and maybe his silence is answer enough because Dick nods and sets his glass down in the sink before stepping forward.

Roy’s sure he should be surprised when Dick kisses him.

He’s not.



+



“I missed you,” Roy says later, and the words come easily now the barrier between them has been torn down with calloused fingers and frantic mouths.

“You’re married,” Dick says suddenly, reaching for a shirt and protesting when Roy pins him to the bed with a startled grin.

Please,” he says, “Jade served me divorce papers the day she moved in. Aren’t you supposed to be a detective?”

Dick blinks, surprise palpable, and Roy tries not to laugh but he can’t help it, not when Dick’s still flushed beneath him, not when it’s all finally sliding into place in his own head.

He doesn’t want this to be another one of the moments he misses because he’s too busy looking somewhere else.

There are still too many ghosts haunting them, still the walking shells of friends that may need more than time to heal, still an endless list of catastrophes waiting around every corner, but--

“So,” he says, and he knows he sounds as breathless as he feels, “have you worked out what you’re looking for yet?

“I’m getting there,” Dick says, his eyes smiling for him. “How’s that fresh start working out for you?”

Roy thinks about Jade and Lian and Artemis and Dick and wonders if it’s luck that always has the most important people in his life finding him or if it’s something altogether more powerful.

“Yeah,” he says, and doesn’t think about tomorrow. “It’s working out great.”

Date: 2013-07-10 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] echraide.livejournal.com
OH MY GOD THANK YOU!!! THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER. akfdjadskl; kj <333333

i almost didn't want to read it at first bc i was all, "well, yeah, i just finished working for 18 hours but what if i'll need this another day???" but then of course i scoffed and read it anyway bc there is such a thing as rereading fics and have i said this is the best thing ever yet bc it is and you are a gift to the universe. * v *

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