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Fic: Purple Arrow Chapter 3

Title: Purple Arrow
Author: Brokaw22
Rating: T
Characters: Roy Harper, Lian Harper, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake
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.  Next Chapter:

Previous Chapters: Chapter One Chapter Two 

Next Chapter: Chapter Four

Roy can feel her eyes on him the entire way to the cave, and he knows it's more than just her following him. He isn't sure what she's seeing, but his neck is itching and he wants to tell her to knock it off, but he can't. Roy knows she probably can't help it…just like he knows he needs to start actually coping at any moment. He gave himself some slack for their first conversation, because he's pretty sure even the Bats would be thrown by something like that, but now? There's no excuse for his inability to just get through this now. Roy really wants to find a heavy object to brain himself with, because there is no reason for his stunning lack of composure.

 

It was bad enough that just seeing her fighting to keep her hair out of her face at the coffee shop made him down the rest of his coffee in one swig just so he wouldn’t break down right there, but he's not even looking at her…can't even tell how far back she is, and he's still having trouble focusing. It's a damn good thing that the route to the cave is almost as familiar as going home for him, because he's pretty sure that's the only thing that keeps him from missing and having to double back more than once.

 

The two of them reach their destination in one piece, and it isn't the first time that Roy has been extremely grateful for muscle memory, but he's not even tired, so he doesn't really have any excuses right now. Dick is there to greet them, and well…that's good, too, he supposes. "Who's your new associate?"

 

Roy glares at him. They got Bruce back and Dick is back in the Nightwing suit--wearing it right now, in fact--so there's really no reason for that attitude. Or maybe Roy is just glaring because the moment Dick used the word associate his brain supplied him with far too many images of things that can never happen because he needs to send this Lian home. "She's not my associate. She's…" And Roy isn't really sure how to finish that sentence, and he's really glad (possibly more than he should be) that he doesn't have to, because she finishes it for him.

 

She takes off her mask, and removes her pony tail holder before shaking out her hair. "Hi, I'm Lian Harper…clearly, from a different Earth." She says it matter-of-factly as she holds out her hand, and Roy isn't really sure why he thought she'd say it any other way. He keeps having to remind himself that she was raised by Bats, because when he doesn't, she does things like that, and he really doesn't need his brain to break anymore than it already has.

 

Dick, for his part, just looks wide-eyed, as if he has no idea what to do with this new information. Roy wants to say something to make it better, but he's pretty sure that isn't even possible. After a few moments, Dick takes her hand. "Hi, I'm Nightwing."

 

"Dick Grayson…I know. My Uncle Tim talks about you a lot…when it isn't too painful."

 

Dick raises an eyebrow. "Too painful."

 

Lian's brow furrows at that for a second. "Oh, right, I forgot. He didn't tell you anything. In my world, you and Roy are dead, along with a whole slew of other people. Grandpa Bruce raised me after my father's death. Aunt Barbara keeps trying to get me interested in the technical side of our life, but I don't think that's ever going to happen, and Uncle Tim trains me. We patrol together as much as possible." She says it so easily…like that's something she tells people every day.

 

Dick's jaw doesn't drop, but Roy can tell that it wants to. "So, um…I guess you're hoping we can send you back, huh?"

 

Lian gives him a really small smile and shrugs, and Roy's pretty sure that she just made that gesture to make Dick feel more comfortable, which is an odd thing to watch. He really wants to have a talk with her about picking up her Uncle Tim's bad habits, but that really isn't his place. "I was really hoping I could look around your cave first."

 

Dick grins at her. "You want to compare it to yours, don't you?"

 

She nods enthusiastically. "So, do you mind? I mean, I know Uncle Tim would have a fit if some strange girl from another world wanted to start poking around our cave."

 

There's a small snort of laughter behind Dick. "I can certainly understand that way of thinking."

 

Lian's eyes light up, so clearly this world's Tim sounds the same as hers, but Roy is still amazed at how much it hurts to see a Lian Harper that excited about seeing…well, hearing Tim. Not because he's a Bat, but because his Lian was just never that close to this Tim. Tim steps out from behind Dick, and Lian is moving before he's even all the way into the light. "Oh man, you look just like my Tim, albeit in a different costume." She's circling him, and seems to be very interested in his cape. "Do you mind?" She gestures to the cape in question, and Tim just nods at her. She touches the cape like she's inspecting what it's made out of. "This seems to be exactly the same as his though." She seems to catch herself and steps away from him. "Sorry," she mutters.

 

Tim breathes out a laugh. "It's okay. Do you want me to show you around?"

 

She gives him that enthusiastic nod again, and Roy's heart aches again, because that nod is all Arrow. "Would you please?"

 

Tim gestures for her to follow, and walks away. After a few moments, when Dick's sure that the two of them are far enough away not to hear, he takes off his mask and turns to Roy. "So, how are you dealing with this?"

 

Roy isn't really sure how to answer that, because he doesn't think he's dealing at all. "Who? Me? I'm dealing just fine. Yeah, no problems here, and I certainly don't feel like my head's going to explode at any moment."

 

Dick laughs at him for a moment before clasping a hand on his shoulder. "I'd be worried if you didn't think your head was going to explode. I mean, she looks just like her, Roy."

 

"I…I know…"

 

"Man, how are you dealing with that? I mean, I'm freaking here, and she isn't even my daughter."

 

"She's not mine either." Roy figures if he just keeps saying it, eventually the pain will go away, because she's not his daughter, but he really wouldn't mind it if she was. He wants to see her fight, and shoot an arrow, and…okay, he could live without seeing her geometry homework or whatever else she's doing right now, but…but he can't think about that, because she has to go home. Roy's reasonably sure that if he keeps reminding himself that she has a home, and a family, and people who are missing her like crazy, then this won't be so hard for him, but so far all evidence points to the fact that it actually makes it harder. It'd be so easy to just make her stay here if there weren't people waiting for her on whatever Earth she came from.

 

Roy wants to bash his head against a wall, because he's fairly certain that this whole experience isn't actually supposed to drive him crazy. And he wants to laugh hysterically at that, because he's not sure that he was ever actually sane. Roy has to stop thinking after that because he hears laughter, and he's about two seconds away from committing himself before he realizes that it's Dick's laughter, and that he's laughing at something that's going on behind Roy.

 

When Roy turns, he wants to laugh too--or cry--because Tim and Lian are sparring, and she even moves like an Arrow/Bat hybrid. It'd be interesting to watch if it wasn't so damn alarming. Tim pins her, but not for long. She's very good, but Roy can tell that Tim is just testing her to see what she knows, and find out exactly how extensive her training is back home. Lian dances around him for a moment, and playfully pulls his cowl off. Tim snorts out a laugh, and hits her in the ribs--probably too lightly to be felt through her armor. She laughs and spins away. Tim pulls a move that Roy knows he just recently learned from Bruce, because he was here working with Dick when Bruce was teaching him. The move catches Lian completely off guard, and that pretty much confirms for Roy that Bruce has very little to do with her training.

 

The spar ends quickly enough. After all, Tim still has to patrol later tonight, and while all of the Bats can and have done that while extremely sore, there's no reason for any of them to put themselves through unnecessary pain. Lian stays on the mats to stretch while Tim goes over to the computer. He stretches a little before sitting down. Dick walks over toward Tim, and Roy takes that as his cue to go learn more about her. "So, exactly what type of state is your Bruce in?" Roy hadn't actually meant to lead with that question, but well…Harpers are known for a certain level of tactlessness for a reason.

 

"Huh?" She looks up at him from her place on the ground. "What do you mean?"

 

Roy sits down on the mats as well. He doesn't like feeling like he's talking down to her, and it doesn't actually matter that this is probably something that he would have done with his Lian. It's even more irrelevant that just sitting down on the ground with her makes him feel better, and at any given moment his brain can just shut up about all of that. "Well, I noticed that your stance is more like Tim's than anyone else's. You also fight like him. So far, I haven't even seen an ounce of Bruce's fighting style in you, which leads me to assume that he's unable to train you."

 

She bites her lip, and he's pretty sure that she's telling herself that she shouldn't be telling him any of this, and maybe that's true, but he doesn't actually care. After a moment of indecision, she starts speaking. "I don't know what type of villains you have here, but in my world, one of the worst people you can face is Harley Quinn. She's truly sadistic, and has a gift for delivering pain in unique and horrible ways. I'd rather go up against her pathetic excuse of a boyfriend--Joker--any day. He's like a crazily dressed lackey. I'm not really sure what's up with that guy, but he's like a lovesick puppy. But, I'm not really sure how anyone could love such an evil, crazy bitch. Anyway, one night when I was still young, Harley captured Grandpa Bruce, and tortured him. It took Uncle Tim almost a week to find him. That was one of the worst weeks of my life, and when Uncle Tim finally found Grandpa Bruce…well, Grandpa Bruce was in pretty bad shape. There are a lot of things that she did which I'm not allowed to know about, but one of things I do know is that she took a crowbar to his elbows and knees." Lian closes her eyes and takes a deep breath before continuing. "So, needless to say, he isn't really capable of teaching me the physical stuff, but he's great for all the mentally taxing things."

 

Roy thinks that it's okay for him to be a little horrified by that, because he can't imagine Harley Quinn being anything more than a nuisance, but on the other hand, he really can't imagine The Joker being nothing more than a lackey, so he guesses it's all kind of the same in the end. "Your world seems to be very…gruesome."

 

She shrugs at him. "I guess. I mean, it's not like I have anything to compare it to."

 

Roy hums to himself for a moment. "I feel I should just warn you, just in case you're here for an extended amount of time. If you ever run into them here, Joker is the one you need to be wary of, and Harley--while still a threat--isn't anywhere near as bad as him."

 

She blinks at him a few times. "Really? I don't think I can imagine Joker being anything more than a good warm up."

 

Roy nods. "Trust me; sadistic freak doesn't being to cover it for him."

 

Before she gets a chance to respond, Tim walks over to where they're sitting on the mats and interrupts them. "Well, this whole finding a way to send you home thing is going to be complicated, not that I'm surprised by this, but I do still have to patrol tonight."

 

Roy is reasonably sure that Tim was about to say something after that, but Lian cuts in before he gets a chance. "Okay, I know how my Tim would play this, and I'm really hoping that you aren't going to force me to stay in the cave alone all night, bored out of my mind."

 

Tim stares at her for a moment. "Well, you wouldn't necessarily be alone. I'm sure Alfred wouldn't mind keeping you company."

 

She raises an eyebrow at him, and Roy knows Tim just registered that as one of his own expressions on this girl's face. "Your Alfred is still alive, too?"

 

Tim nods once. "Yeah, I take it yours isn't."

 

She shakes her head. "No, he died of lung cancer a couple years ago."

 

Tim raises an eyebrow at her, and Roy isn't really sure what expression is on his own face, but he knows that confusion and shock are probably warring for top gun. "Your Alfred was a smoker?" Roy feels at least slightly better that apparently Tim was surprised by that revelation as well.

 

Lian nods at him. "Yeah, he used to say that with Bruce, it was either drive him to drink or drive him to smoke, and he didn't think that his liver could take the liquor, so he chose to smoke. Um, doesn't yours?"

 

Dick bursts out into laughter from somewhere behind Tim. "Yeah, right, Alfred smoking…not at all likely, and surely not after Jason."

 

The three guys laugh together, because just the image of Alfred smoking is enough to make even Bruce crack a smile--maybe. Lian clears her throat to get their attention. "So, anyway, instead of spending the night bored out of my mind in the cave, could I go out on patrol with you?"

 

Roy can see the indecision on both Tim's and Dick's faces, but Lian's pouting again, so he's pretty sure that she's going to get what she wants. Roy is hoping that they let her go. At least then, he could get away from her for a while, maybe talk to Alfred, and find some way to deal. He knows that Alfred is good at making difficult times seem less complicated than they are. Plus, there's no reason he can't get a world-famous Alfred cookie while he's here.

 

When Roy sees Dick and Tim turn to each other for one of their silent conversations, he wants to pout, too, because now he really wants a cookie and time away from the really bright, really scary Arrow/Bat hybrid. And he probably shouldn't think about her in such a way, but it doesn't make his heart clench the way the name Lian does, and it doesn't matter that he's working on that because the whole world seems to be against him dealing. He believes that even more so when Dick and Tim decide that it would just be a great idea to have Roy patrol and Lian go with him, because even though Gotham isn't his home, he knows it well enough. Roy really wants to be petulant here and mention how upset Batman would be about this, but Batman and Robin are off world at the moment…and that's just Roy's luck.

 

He kind of wants to say something even more petulant here about how a one-armed man shouldn't be expected to go on patrol in a city that isn't even his own, but it took Roy months to get people to stop checking on him every five seconds, so he's not about to give that up simply because he's having problems coping. "Yeah, that sounds great." Roy hears his own voice say before he can come up with a proper excuse like, 'I'm tired and have a headache.'

 

Dick and Tim nod at him before Dick puts his mask back on and Tim pulls his cowl back up. Lian smiles at him brightly before she puts her mask back on and ties up her hair again. Roy is really considering just smashing his head against one of the cave walls until everything goes dark. Certainly he wouldn't be forced to cope anytime soon after something like that, and it's not like such an act would prove his insanity anymore than anything else he's done today. Roy forces himself not to sigh as he goes to do his normal weapons check before getting ready to leave. He may not be able to get out of this patrol, but the least he can do is be fully prepared to take out his frustrations on any stupid Gothamites that make the bad decision to be out doing something wrong tonight.

 

Roy is a little grateful, however, that he gets to take out one of the Bats' sweet bikes. It's not enough to make up for what he has to deal with for the next several hours, but it certainly helps. Lian gets on behind him, and wraps her arms around him tight, and for some stupid reason it makes him miss being able to hug his little girl. Roy revs the bike and speeds out of the cave. Normally he would worry about scaring anyone who was with him with his driving, but he feels fairly certain that she's used to this. After all, there's no transportation device that this Tim prefers over his bike. Roy wants to ask if she likes the bike too. He wants to know what her favorite color is, and if she gets good grades, and who her best friends are, and…he can live without knowing anything about boys, but he wants to ask her so many questions, but he can't. He can't get attached to this girl, because she's going home…where she belongs…with a bunch of Bats, and no Alfred. It doesn't matter how sad he thinks that is, or how lonely he thinks it must be, because…it's where she belongs, even if he doesn't really think that it's right, or fair, or good. That world is where she belongs, and she will get back there, even if it kills him.

 

The end (for now)

 

Comments

brokaw22
Jun. 13th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!