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Fic: Purple Arrow Chapter 19

Title: Purple Arrow
Author: Brokaw22
Rating: T
Summary: Roy encounters a 15-year-old Lian from a different Earth.
Spoiler Alert for Cry for Justice 7
Thanks to Kathy for the beta work.

Previous Chapter: Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen

There’s agonizing pain lancing through his entire being, which probably means he’s alive. Roy honestly doesn’t know how to feel about that. He was so ready to just let go, give up, and let that be the end of it. He’s not really sure how or why he was saved -- or by whom, for that matter -- but at this point, Roy isn’t entirely sure if he’s thankful or not. At the moment, the only thing he can register is pain and fatigue. He guesses he’ll figure it out after the burning and throbbing sensations subside enough for him to think, or the nice warm soothing hand on his forehead gives him the good drugs -- whichever comes first.

“I’m afraid you’re already receiving the ‘good drugs’, sir.”

Roy blinks repeatedly, despite how much that hurts. He attempts to see past the too bright light coming in from the open curtains, which he guesses means he’s in one of the manor’s guest rooms. He can make out a fuzzy image of someone, he assumes to be Alfred, standing nearby. “Didn’t know I said that out loud.”

“You’ve been mumbling stuff in your sleep for a couple of days now, which, while funny, was also a bit of a relief, since you’ve been out for almost a week and a half.” Roy twists his head to the side as much as he can to catch a glimpse of the speaker, mostly so he can reassure himself that Dick really is awake and alive.

Roy winces at the spike of pain the motion causes him, but ignores it in favor of giving Dick a thorough once over. He looks a hell of a lot better than the last time that Roy saw him, but given that the guy was pale, bleeding, and had a tube shoved down his throat, Roy knows that it’s kind of a meaningless comparison. “How long have you been awake and how are ya doin’, buddy?”

Dick laughs, despite the minor jolt of pain it obviously causes him. “I’ve been awake for a few days. Alfred hasn’t let me out of his sight for even a minute, but I’m still doing better than you. After all, I wasn’t poisoned, and you had some other complications, or so I’ve been told.”

Before Roy can ask about said complications, Alfred clears his throat to get their attention. “I understand that you two are quite good friends, but was worrying everyone for matching scars really necessary?”

Roy glances down at his gauze covered chest and then turns his gaze back towards Dick, whose shirt does nothing to hide the bandage still covering his own chest wound. “Apparently, Harley has a fixation.” It’s then that Roy realizes that there are certain people missing. “Where is everyone? Are they okay? What happened with Harley?”

Dick nods and gives him a reassuring smile. “Bruce and Tim are training with Lian outside and Damian is sulking in the library. As for Harley, she and her Checkered Dolls are being held in an undisclosed location by the JL until we can find some way to send all of them back to their own world.”

From the gleam in Dick’s eyes, as well as the way that he says it, Roy can tell that there’s a distinct reason for Damian’s foul mood, beyond his normal behavioral issues. “And Damian is sulking because?”

Dick chuckles, looking rather pleased at the whole situation. “Lian made him eat the mat pretty hard earlier. Apparently, her Tim taught her some pretty interesting stuff that Damian just wasn’t ready for. The fact that even Bruce cracked a half smile left him fuming and the rest of them decided to take to the outdoors.”

Roy nods as he tries to sit up, but Alfred immediately stops him. After a pointed glare, Roy gives up and lets the man prop him up on some pillows. “So, I take it Lian and Damian are getting along about as well as Tim and Damian do?”

Dick nods with a bit of sadness in his eyes, but…well, it’s not as though Roy expected any differently. After all, Damian is a special brand of difficult. “Tim and Lian are getting along great, though. I’m not entirely sure if it’s because they’re so much alike or if they just get the same sort of enjoyment out of pranking Damian. However, I know that the pranks didn’t really start until it was clear that you were going to make it, so maybe it was more of a distraction from the waiting than anything else. Anyhow, those two are really good for each other. I don’t think I’ve seen either of them laugh and smile so much. It’s almost like having the old Tim back.”

Roy chuckles and ignores both the physical pain, as well as the mental pain of seeing Dick looking so melancholy as he stares off into space. Alfred hands Roy a bottle of water and helps him drink from it. Roy will always be eternally grateful for the man. After he swallows as much of the water as he possibly can, Roy gives Alfred an appreciative nod, and then turns back towards Dick. “So, how is that whole getting Lian home thing going?” He almost doesn’t want to ask. After all, no matter how painful it is to have her here, Roy knows that it will be equally agonizing to send her home, and not just for him. Still, there are people probably going insane with worry, much the same way that he would be if the roles were reversed.

Dick, for his part, just shrugs. “Bruce is on it, but so far there hasn’t been much luck. I’m honestly worried about what will happen once she returns. It’s been a while since Bruce has been this relaxed and having someone to train that doesn’t constantly argue with him has him acting a lot like the Bruce from my childhood, you know? Not to mention, the effect she has on Tim. Heck, even Damian seems to be in a better mood around her, current sulking aside.”

Roy nods in understanding. Apparently, a week and a half was enough time for everyone to get over their fear and suspicion, though Roy is fairly certain that a lot of that has to do with both his and Dick’s conditions improving as much as the whole Harley situation. Still, he knows none of this is going to be easy on any of them when the time inevitably comes. His thoughts on the matter are completely derailed, however, when their conversation is interrupted by an excited squeak. “You’re awake!”

His head immediately swivels to take in the blinding smile on Lian’s face before she rushes over and hugs him. The jolt of pain that courses through his chest isn’t entirely physical, but Roy ignores it all the same as he drapes his robotic arm around her, unable to move the other one, due to the IV. “Hey, kiddo, how’s it going?”

He can feel wetness on his chest from her tears, but he doesn’t mention it as she pulls away from him. Her smile is still as wide as before, so he guesses they’re just tears of relief. “Good…it’s good. How are you feeling?”

Roy can’t help but ruffle her hair a little, even if it does still cause a small twinge in his heart. “I’m okay.”

She stares at him skeptically for a long moment as he does his best to make sure that the majority of his pain doesn’t seep through his visage. After another minute or two she seems to take him at his word before turning to Alfred. “So, how long until these two are allowed to start training me again?”

Alfred glares down at both of them, seemingly thinking it over, as well as conveying that there will be no arguments about whatever decision he comes to. “If Master Dick takes it easy, the way he’s supposed to,” Alfred frowns pointedly at him, “without supervision and constantly testing his limits, then I would give it a couple days at the most before he is able to do some light training with you. As for Master Roy, I don’t feel comfortable allowing him to move too much just yet.”

Dick groans as he shifts restlessly in the chair next to Roy’s bed. “Aw, come on, Alfie. I’m fine.”

Roy rolls his eyes at Dick’s antics as Alfred begins to inform him of exactly how not-so-fine he actually is. Roy almost wants to interrupt and ask for a more specific time frame on his forced bed rest, despite the fact that the last thing he feels like doing right now is moving, given how much pain he’s currently feeling. After all, it’s not as if he’s in any rush to find out exactly how much pain he’ll feel once the pain meds stop. If there’s one thing Roy knows for certain, it’s that the pain meds will stop long before he’s off bed rest. Just the thought of it makes him want to return to blissful unconsciousness, even if Alfred’s current threats of feeding Dick nothing but bland bran cereal if he so much as even thinks of doing a single flip before Alfred deems him ready makes Roy want to laugh.

The thought immediately dies when he feels a gentle hand squeezing his own, and glances over to see Lian just staring at the exchange between Dick and Alfred with tears glistening in her eyes, seemingly unaware of the physical contact that she’s initiated. It’s then that he realizes that she probably hasn’t witnessed Alfred’s and Dick’s normal bickering in a long time, if ever. Roy tugs gently on her hand in order to redirect her attention. “So, what has Tim and Mr. Grim and Grumpy been teaching you?”

Her smile returns almost instantly, so Roy figures he’s done at least one thing right so far. “Well, there’s been some flexibility training, but it’s pretty much been decided that there’s no one better to help with that than that guy.” She points a thumb in Dick’s direction, who is currently suffering through Alfred’s thorough examination of his still healing wound, most likely Alfred is taking an exaggerated amount of time to do so due to Dick’s back talking earlier. “Alas, that’ll have to wait until Alfred allows it.”

Alfred nods in approval as he redresses Dick’s wound. “Quite right, miss.” Alfred gives them both one last pointed glare before gathering up the used bandages and taking his leave.

Dick breathes a sigh of relief as he stands and stretches. Lian huffs out a breath of annoyance at him much the same way Alfred would have as Dick sticks his tongue out at her. She laughs as she shakes her head, and Roy can’t help but smile watching these two get along. “So, who wants to catch me up on whatever else I’ve missed?”

Neither one of them gets a chance to respond before their attention is drawn to the doorway where they can hear a rather mischievous laugh coming from the hall. Roy would be concerned if it wasn’t for the fact that Lian is snickering and Dick is rolling his eyes. The next thing he knows, Tim dashes into the room holding up a strange looking contraption. His eyes are bright and practically sparkling as he smirks. Roy knows from previous experiences with various Robins and former Robins that if one of them is wearing that expression either something really awesome is about to happen or something really dangerous, given that it’s this particular former Robin, Roy is betting it’s both.

Before Roy can asks what’s going on, Lian runs over to Tim and practically bounces with anticipation as she takes the strange contraption from him. “Did it work? Tell me it worked!”

Tim breathes out a laugh as he nods his head vigorously. “Your camera and balloon placement were great and the batarang slingshots worked perfectly. Connecting all of them to a central one I could control was a great diversion. He was so distracted dodging batarangs he never saw the water balloon coming. Wanna see?”

At her enthusiastic nod, Tim pulls out his phone and hands it to her. Lian immediately rushes over to the side of Roy’s bed and gestures for Dick to move in closer. Tim grins as well as he moves to stand next to Dick. Roy’s only mildly surprised when he sees Dick drape an arm over Tim’s shoulders, and Tim doesn’t even bat an eye at it. “Come on you guys, you have got to see this!” Lian gestures for everyone to crowd in a little closer to get a better view of the phone screen.

Roy waits patiently for Lian to get settled, and then the moment she hits play he watches as Damian suddenly drops the book he was reading to dodge a single batarang, and then after two seconds of just standing at the ready the boy starts constantly moving, flipping, jumping, and dodging innumerable amounts of the weapons. He’s got a scowl plastered on his face, and yet Roy can tell that he seems to be enjoying this little sneak attack. At least that is until he lands in front of the fireplace and a massive purple water balloon splatters all over him, leaving the boy drenched and fuming.

When the video ends, Lian and Tim give each other an excited high five, the resounding smack echoes around the room and leaves Roy’s head pounding, but they’re both laughing as hard as he’s has ever seen them, so he ignores the pain and laughs too. It’s nice to see these two getting along so well, even if it is only to torment Damian.

Dick can’t hide the grin on his face either as he gives Tim a playful push. After a few moments, though, Dick is valiantly trying to change his expression to a sterner one, when he turns to seemingly reprimand the two of them. “What exactly was in that balloon? Because I know you two, and it certainly wasn’t just water.”

Lian and Tim glance at each other for a second before breaking into even more boisterous laughter. Tim nudges Lian with one arm as he holds his side with the other. “It was your plan. You tell them.”

Lian shakes her head, still laughing full heartedly. “You’re the one who made and set up the batarang slingshots. You tell them.”

Dick stares at them for a good minute before tapping his foot impatiently. “One of you just tell me!” Roy can tell that Dick is only really pressing them for information so he can figure out how much damage control he’s going to have to do later.

Lian holds up a hand, and takes a moment to get herself under control before snorting out, “Perfume…I believe it was called Midnight Romance to be exact.”

Dick’s eyes widen for a moment before he starts laughing too. “How in the world did you two get a hold of that much perfume?” Roy would really like to know the answer to that as well.

Lian merely shrugs and points at Tim. “Don’t look at me. That was all him.”

Tim just smirks and snickers. “You’d be surprised what you can hide in the batarang budget.”

The next thing Roy knows there’s the sound of stomping feet racing toward them, but long before the owner of said feet ever gets anywhere near them an overpowering scent burns both his nostrils and his eyes. Suddenly, all four of them are choking and their eyes are watering. When Damian finally enters the room, red faced, and still drenched and reeking of the floral aroma of the perfume, Roy is pretty sure he’s getting his revenge just by standing in the doorway. The four of them are still hacking and coughing when Damian turns an icy cold glare on both Lian and Tim. “You will both pay for this dearly.”

Tim covers half of his face with his shirt and runs to open the window. “I think we already are.”

Damian moves as if to attack, but Dick intercepts him. Roy’s not sure how he can even breathe in such a close proximity to the smell, let alone look so imposing with tears glistening in his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, you can have your revenge later. Right now you need to go wash off and burn those clothes.”

Dick ushers him out of the room before slamming the door shut in some vain attempt to protect them from the smell. “Do you two have any idea how you’re going to air out the library, because I’m pretty sure Alfred is going to have a fit the next time he walks in there.”

Tim is practically leaning halfway out of the window taking in gulps of fresh air and trying to dry his eyes when he waves his hand dismissively at Dick. “Don’t worry; operation de-smell-ify the library is already underway. Phase two will have to wait until I don’t feel so lightheaded and nauseous, but it should be done before Alfred has any reason to enter the library.”

Dick shakes his head at both of them, and then turns to Roy, giant grin still in place despite the continued assault on their senses, caused by the lingering stench. “Do you see what I mean?”

Roy nods as he does his best not to cough up a lung or rip open his still healing chest. It isn’t as if he didn’t believe Dick earlier, but this certainly confirms everything that he was saying. Lian and Tim really are good for each other, even if they are both the bane of Damian’s existence right now. Roy doesn’t honestly remember seeing Tim this relaxed and carefree in recent memory and it’s nice to hear Lian laugh without restraint. He really wants to ask what exactly happened while he was unconscious to change things so drastically, but he thinks he can guess.

After all, with both Dick and Roy out of commission, he can easily imagine that Lian and Tim probably started spending an exorbitant amount of time around each other as a distraction, and no one is better at getting a Bat out of their brooding session than an Arrow. He just wonders exactly how long it took both of them to realize that using training as a distraction was only going to get them so far before they both moved onto tormenting Damian for fun. “Yeah, I can definitely see what you mean. You think these two might have too much time on their hands or something?”

Dick hums in mock thought as he strokes his chin. “Perhaps they both just need something to do.” His eyes gleam with mischief as he gives the other two a once over.

Roy knows that tone and from the matching expressions on the other two’s faces, he guesses they know what it means as well. Someone is about to be assigned something less than thrilling to keep them occupied. Tim immediately starts inching towards the door, but Lian is only a step or two behind him. “You know, now that you mention it, I think Purple Arrow here could use some more bo staff training.”

Lian nods earnestly. “Yeah, definitely.” And then she pauses and glares at Tim. “Hey, wait, no I don’t. I’m great with a bo staff.”

Tim merely shrugs. “You’re good…I don’t think I’d say great. I mean, you did drop it last training session.”

Lian huffs out an annoyed breath as her glare intensifies and she folds her arms over her chest. “Only because you leveraged it out of my hands with your own staff.”

Tim smirks as he takes a large step away from her. “A drop is a drop no matter how it happened.” He immediately rips open the door and takes off running.

She growls as she gives chase. “I’ll show you a drop. Get back here!”

Their voices carry down the hallway, but dissipate once they make it to the stairs. Roy can’t help but laugh at their antics. Dick sits back down in his previously abandoned chair and turns towards Roy. “It’s crazy, isn’t it?”

Roy chuckles as he shakes his head. “What’s crazy is that you fell for it.”

Dick’s eyebrow rises in confusion. “Fell for what, exactly?”

Roy smiles evilly. It isn’t often that he gets to shove something like this in Dick’s face. “Tim only mentioned her bo staff skills to escape whatever nasty task you were about to give them, knowing that her indignation would spark enough bickering to distract you and give them both a chance to get away. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re down in the cave coming up with their next big prank right now.”

Dick groans as he smacks himself in the face. “Yeah, I guess I should have seen that coming, but I’m still getting used to a Tim who laughs, and smiles, and doesn’t completely resent every decision I make.”

Roy nods in understanding. “So, how is that going, by the way? I mean, your conversation kind of got interrupted with the whole Harley stabbing incident.”

Dick shrugs as he reclines further in his chair. “I don’t know. I want to say things are going well, but I can’t tell if things are really okay between us or not. I mean, we did get to hash out a few things before all hell broke loose, but not as much as I would have liked. However, I’m reluctant to bring it up now that he’s doing better, you know?”

Roy hums in agreement. It’s not as though there hasn’t been a wealth of shit that he’s been staying the hell away from in his own life for a while now in some vain attempt to keep everything at status quo. “Well, as long as you plan to bring it up later and actually talk everything out with him, I don’t see the big deal in letting it go right now, but I’m warning you, man, don’t let things deteriorate so you’re back where you started. And for what it’s worth, I think things are genuinely better between you.”

Dick raises an eyebrow, clearly skeptical, but also hopeful. “Yeah, and why’s that?”

Roy rolls his eyes. He thinks it should be obvious, given what he just witnessed, but he understands why it wouldn’t be for someone like Dick, who doesn’t think twice about giving or receiving physical contact. “He purposefully got close enough to you that you were able to place your arm around his shoulders and he didn’t even seem to notice or care when you did. When’s the last time that that’s been the case?”

Dick eyes widen in realization before his face breaks out into a brilliant smile. “You’re right. Maybe things are better than I thought.”

Roy grins as well before a yawn escapes, practically out of nowhere. He suddenly feels exhausted for seemingly no apparent reason. “Yeah, but I meant what I said. If you think you guys still have stuff to work through, don’t put it off for too long. I mean, that’s kind of how you guys got to that point in the first place.”

Dick nods as he squeezes Roy’s flesh arm. “I hear ya, man, and now I’m thinking I should let you get some rest. Alfred did say that the pain meds would make you drowsy for a while, and with all of the excitement from the other two, I’m not surprised that your eyes are drooping as we speak.”

Roy sighs as he makes himself more comfortable on the bed. “Yeah, and dare I say it, I actually wish I was on a higher dosage.”

Dick brow furrows in concern, but Roy doesn’t get a chance to derail his worry. “Well, I could talk to Alfred about it, but I know he didn’t want to give you too much, given past experiences.”

Roy waves away his concern and yawns again. “Nah, don’t worry about it. It’s not that bad, and I’m sure rest will help. Besides, you better take it easy yourself, lest Alfred tie you to that chair or something.”

Dick chuckles as he makes his way towards the door. “Man, it’s good to have you back.”

Roy takes a second to think about it, and then he nods. “Yeah, it’s good to be back.” It the first time in a long time that he’s thought anything remotely close to such, and it’s a little startling to realize how long he’s just been chugging along, going through the motions, and pretending to be okay. Roy still smiles as he adjusts one of the pillows behind his head. Maybe it’s just the pain meds talking, but right now he doesn’t feel so bad.

The End (for now)