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Fic: Purple Arrow Chapter 2

Title: Purple Arrow
Author: Brokaw22
Rating: T
Characters: Roy Harper, Lian Harper (various Bats in later chapters)
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 

Next Chapter: Chapter 3

She steps through the portal, and promptly lands on her ass--on a rooftop in a city that obviously isn't the one that she was in a minute ago. She really wasn't expecting that one. Sure, she hadn't really tried to dodge that weird green spiral coming towards her, but in her defense, the last thing that she thought it was going to do was teleport her somewhere where…where her father is apparently still alive. Her chest constricts and she's trying to remember the breathing exercises Uncle Tim taught her, but it's too much. The guy steps closer to her, obviously weary of the chick with purple arrows. She scrambles to her feet, and pulls out one of her arrows. She doesn't know if he caught her minor freak out, but she covers with a, "Hi ya, dad."

 

The conversation that ensues isn't one that Uncle Tim would approve of. He doesn't like it when she gives more information than is strictly necessary, but she is an Arrow…not a Bat, after all, so she can get away with it. The guy, who she isn't going to refer to as dad--because he's not--and at some point she's going to stop wanting to cry every time he uses the term 'baby girl, sweetie, or kiddo,' tells her that he'll take her to Gotham. And she's happy about that because she really doesn't want to fumble around a different Earth looking for a bunch of Bats, but she can't imagine being stuck in a car with him for who only knows how long. She's already broken down in front of this man once, and she really doesn't want to do it again.

 

It doesn't matter what he said. She was raised by Bats, and she is expected to be better--not to mention the fact that she thought she was over her dad's death. Who knew that it would only take one glance at a different Roy Harper to get her to act like the teary teenager that she usually isn't. Lian jumps off the roof after her encounter with the one-armed Roy she just met--and she desperately wants to ask how the hell that happened. But despite what Aunt Barbara says, she does actually know what the word tact means. So, when she gets down to ground level, Lian gives herself a few moments in the alley to just have a freak out. She needs to find some way to deal with the fact that while that man may look, sound, and hell…smell like her father, he isn't. She does one of her favorite meditations and then heads for…the hell if she knows what she's heading for.

 

Lian takes a moment to review what the man had said. She's trying to keep her mind on her mission, which would be civilian clothes and then meet her not-dad, but her mind seems to want to focus on that hug. It was just like when she was little and hugged her dad. The strength of it was the same as it was when she had spent a week away at summer camp, and…and she can't let herself think about that. She needs to move…needs to find a place to get civilian clothes in this strange world, and maybe she should have just left with her not-dad, despite how difficult that would have been. And it would probably help her cause if her mind could stop using that phrasing to refer to him. His name is Roy. She can handle calling him Roy in her own head…even if she can't do it out loud yet.

 

Lian takes a calming breath and then moves out of the alley. She figures that all cities have pretty much the same setup, or at least that's what she's going with right now. So, she heads toward the most likely place to find a shopping mall. If she loses the mask, undoes her pony tail, hides her more obvious weapons, and removes some of her amour she can pass as a regular teenage girl trying to look slightly creepy. Tim had designed the suit that way on purpose, and she's never been more grateful for that than right now.

 

She stashes her stuff on a roof inside a vent, and then makes her way to a nearby store. Lian gets in and gets what she needs, with some girl with far too much make-up on commenting on her boots. The girl is asking more questions than Lian feels is strictly necessary to make a simple purchase, but she knows how to play nice. She tells the girl that her uncle got them for her as a present and she has no idea where he got them. It's not really a lie, not that she's ever had any problem telling those. The girl seems to accept the answer and hands Lian the bag far too slowly for Lian's taste. She's back on the roof and dressed in plain jeans and a blue t-shirt with nothing on it. She never did like being a walking billboard. Besides, Uncle Tim makes it very clear that nondescript is almost always better.

 

She finds the coffee shop where the guy…Roy…she needs to start referring to him as Roy…had told her to meet him at. She's early…she's always early, so she orders herself a hot chocolate and waits. She doesn't like coffee…never has. The fact that it has more to do with the way it reminds her of her father means absolutely nothing. Roy walks in after she has finished half of her hot chocolate. He orders his coffee--the same exact way her father would have--and sits down across from her. He takes a sip and clearly enjoys it. She bites the inside of her cheek to keep from showing how much that hurts. "Well, I called Dick to let him know I'd be stopping by with someone I wanted him to meet. I didn't think trying to explain this over the phone would end well."

 

She nods once and reminds herself that she was raised by her very own set of Bats. She can get through this. She knows she can. "So, are we ready to go then?"

 

He laughs and takes another sip of his coffee. "Yeah, just about, but there really is no need to be in such a hurry. We can stop and get you some more stuff before we leave. Who knows how long you'll be stuck here? This finding the right Earth thing can take awhile."

 

She hums to herself, because…well, she knew that, but she's not really sure how long she can stand being in a world where her father isn't dead. "I think I'd be more comfortable shopping in Gotham."

 

Roy raises his eyebrow at her for a moment. "Oh, I guess you would be. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that you were raised as a Gotham girl."

 

She swallows hard at that, because she knows exactly what her father would have to say about that. She wants to bite her lip, clench her fists, and just scream--but she won't. She was trained to control her emotional, physical, and facial reactions. She can certainly be professional right now, except the guy seems to get even weirder when she's like that. Lian is starting to think that maybe showing facial expressions and just being the 15-year-old girl she really isn't allowed to be back home is okay right now, but she doesn't want to make this any harder for him. But maybe that's a lie…maybe she doesn't want to make it any harder for herself, because right now, as much as she wants to get back to her Grandpa Bruce, Uncle Tim, and Aunt Barbara, she also really wants to see how else this world is different from her own.

 

She brushes her hair out of her face and tucks it behind her ear. She forgot to tie her hair back, and now she's paying for it. Roy laughs at something, she's not really sure what, and then downs the rest of his drink, which she's pretty sure was almost completely full. She's not really sure how he managed to do that without burning his entire mouth, throat, and esophagus, and she's pretty sure she doesn't want to know. "Well, come on, kiddo. Let's get you to Gotham."

 

She stands quietly and grabs the shopping bag, which now has her costume in it--she can only imagine what Uncle Tim would have to say about that one--and follows Roy out to his car. She silently congratulates herself on the fact that she can now refer to him as Roy inside her head and only want to vomit a little bit. He opens the passenger side door for her, and if he was anyone else…looked like anyone else, she'd glare at him and tell him about where he could stick his chivalry, but she remembers how her father used to do the same thing and call her princess in such an endearing tone. She gets into the car and mutters a small thank you. He grins at her, and that hurts too. She remembers when her father used to grin at her like that.

 

Roy gets into the car and just starts driving. The two of them are silent for awhile, and she thinks she has a fairly good idea why he's being quiet, but she doesn't know for certain. He had said that she looks just like his daughter, so at least she isn't the only one being faced with someone who brings back such painful memories--although she's fairly certain he's worse for her. After all, he looks exactly the same as her father did before he died, sans the robotic arm. "How'd that happen?" She gestures to the arm in question, and well…maybe her Aunt Barbara was right about that whole lack of tact thing.

 

He gulps audibly, and she's pretty sure that he's now a few shades whiter. She's about to tell him that he doesn't have to tell her, when he starts speaking. "When I lost Lian…well, she wasn't the only thing I lost…just the only thing that mattered…" She could tell that he was trying very hard to form words after that, but it just wasn't coming.

 

"It's okay." She places a hand over his right one. "I…I shouldn't have asked. Aunt Barbara is always telling me how I'm like my father with the whole lack of a filter thing. Usually that makes me grin, but sometimes it can…"

 

"Get you into a lot of trouble? Oh, trust me, I know."

 

She laughs, because she does actually remember her father saying something similar once. The two of them return to their silence until they reach Gotham, and it's confirmed that all Gothams look pretty much the same. Some people might call it dreary, but she can't help but feel at home.

 

Roy checks them into a hotel and explains that while they had to come to Gotham in civilian garb to keep Batman happy they are expected at the cave in costume come nightfall. Lian takes the opportunity to get her costume out of the shopping bag and clean it. She's in the process of cleaning one of her boots, with the rest of the costume scattered around the room in various states of clean, dirty, and drying when she hears Roy whistle. "When I first saw you I thought your suit looked like some weird version of mine, but now that I see it in pieces I can tell it's far more complicated than mine. I mean, it looks like it fits together as one very complicated jigsaw puzzle."

 

She grins at him. "It pretty much does. Uncle Tim jokes that it's as much for my protection as it is for my 'protection'."

 

Roy laughs good and hard for a moment. "I'm not really sure I want to think about your suit as a giant chastity belt, but I feel certain that your father would approve. And I'm considering telling the Bats that they should probably get this Tim to design some of the younger heroes' costumes, but he might make them so complicated that they can't get into them."

 

Lian chuckles softly to herself as she moves onto another piece of her suit. "This is actually the third design. The first two took me nearly 30 minutes to get into."

 

That gets her another laugh, and she likes it. It's been so long since she's gotten to see people really laugh…not the controlled version of laughter that Uncle Tim, Grandpa Bruce, and Aunt Barbara do. It's like the three of them forget how to just let their bodies do what they want and give a whole-hearted laugh; but from what she's read, it's pretty obvious that it's been that way for the three of them since Uncle Dick and her dad died, along with the others.

 

When night comes, she's fully dressed and waiting for Roy on the roof. When he finally gets his butt up there, he places a hand on her shoulder, and that's not nearly as familiar seeming as the hug, but it still makes her skin itch all the same. "I bet you're in a hurry to get home, right?"

 

Lian thinks that his voice sounds odd. It's clearly sad, but there's something else, too. She's not really sure what to do with it, so she plays it off. Uncle Tim always tells her how good she is at that. She gives him a big grin before readying her grapple gun. "I think I'm more anxious to see what this bat cave looks like. I'm totally in the mood to compare it to the one back home."

 

Roy looks like he's giving her a full body scan before he smiles back at her. "It figures that the only thing that could out do the bat cave is another bat cave."

 

Lian really just wants to jump off the roof already. She hates waiting, and wants to be moving. The faster they get to the cave, the better she'll feel. She knows the cave will most likely be completely different from the one back home, but she has a feeling that if just being in a Gotham could make her feel more relaxed, then being in a bat cave has to be better than that. She brandishes her grappling gun at him. "Okay, okay, are we ready to go?"

 

Roy smiles at her as he shakes his head. "Are you always this impatient?"

 

She nods her head, because yeah, pretty much. "Tim is always trying to get me to work on that. I swear that sometimes he has me do surveillance on completely empty buildings just to get me used to being bored out of my mind."

 

Roy laughs again, and listening to that laugh is great…and yet heartbreaking all at the same time. Her dad used to laugh like that. She may not actually remember his laugh all that well, but she feels almost certain that it was like this…just so open and free. She hasn't heard anything like it in so long. He's at the edge of the roof before she even notices that he's moved. "Well, are you coming?" He's off the roof before she can even respond, and she knows that if she was back home right now she'd be getting a lecture in her ear about paying attention--but to be fair, she doesn't get lectures like that very often anymore, and she's pretty sure Aunt Barbara would understand and maybe give her some slack on this one.

 

After all, it's not every day that you get thrown into a different world where your dad is still alive--and she has to stop herself from calling him her dad, because he's not. And it doesn't matter that she really wouldn't mind staying in this world for a while just to learn more about him. She wants to get to know everything she can about him. She wants to know what kind of cereal he eats, and if he likes strawberry jam on his toast like she does, and so many other things, but she can't. She can't bring herself to ask him any of that, and she knows…just knows she can't stay long enough to find out on her own because…because she had a dad, but he's dead, and this Roy had a daughter…but she's dead, too. But Lian knows that she needs to get back to her world, too, despite how cold and lonely that world may be, because…because she still has family there…just not real family.

 

She knows it's not fair to refer to Grandpa Bruce, Uncle Tim, and Aunt Barbara as anything else but real family, because they did raise her, and they have kept her safe, and they gave her a chance to be a hero…a chance to meet a guy who isn't her father, but very well could be. None of that changes the fact that none of them are blood and none of them are her dad, and it really doesn't matter to her right now that this Roy Harper isn't her dad either, because he even moves the same, despite having a robotic arm. Lian may know that it's childish and useless, but that doesn't stop her from wanting to pretend that she belongs here…pretend that this is her real world and that the place that she came from was just a trial run or something. She wants to just take this Roy back with her and call it a day, but she knows that isn't even remotely possible.

 

Unfortunately, Lian has never been as good at blocking out certain wants, thoughts, and desires the way that Uncle Tim is, and that thought stings just a bit more than it should because…well, because she knows that Tim has done his best to be what Lian needs, do what she needs, and to give her what she needs to stay alive--the costume is an excellent example of that--but Uncle Tim can't and never will be her father, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, it's not like her Uncle Tim has ever tried to be anything more than just her uncle, and it doesn't matter that this Roy may never be her father either because…because he's already treated her the same way her father did in so many ways. He's already shown her that he has all of the potential to be exactly what she's missing in her life, and she knows that all she has to do to get what she wants is to make him see it that way, too. She wants her dad, and she knows that isn't possible, but she's pretty sure she can manage to get someone damn close to him, and really, at this point, that's all she needs.

 

The end (for now)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
Jun. 13th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
Absolutely LOVE this second chapter!!!
brokaw22
Jun. 13th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )