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Fic: Purple Arrow Chapter 7

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.

Previous Chapters: Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six 

Next Chapter: Chapter Eight

 

Roy and Dick settle in the cave after their hot chocolate and sequential long conversation over what to do next. Neither one of them have any idea what they intend to do, but Roy can tell that Dick really just wants to find a way to send Lian home before anything truly disastrous can happen. Normally Roy would agree with him, but for some reason, he just isn't feeling the same way this time. He wants to say something to Dick about how it really is their responsibility to make sure that Lian doesn't go down a path that they, or even more importantly, she can't handle; but before he gets the chance, there are footsteps behind him.

 

Roy and Dick turn at the same time to see Lian and Tim wandering in. They both look thoroughly exhausted after their long night, but Roy isn't exactly sure why. He turns to Dick's computer to see what time it is, and discovers it's 3:45 AM. Roy isn't sure what it means that Tim took so long to bring her back, but he can't imagine that it took him very long to find Lian. Especially with the tracer that he put on her, but he can't honestly believe that Tim actually let her finish patrol--unless she didn't tell him what happened and just claimed that Roy couldn't deal--which he thinks is a pretty believable story. He's about to ask what took them so long, but before he even gets a chance, Dick is pushing past him to loom over Tim. “And just where the hell have you been? We've been waiting for you for two hours.”

 

Tim completely ignores Dick and turns to Lian instead. “You should go get changed. I'll expect you down in the cave early tomorrow. We're going to work on some of the katas that Bruce taught me early on. I want to figure out exactly how much your Tim taught you, starting there.”

 

Roy watches Lian bite her bottom lip uncertainly as she nods in Tim's direction before staring at Dick, and quickly heading in the direction of the showers. Roy thinks that it's rather clear that she isn't used to seeing Dick and Tim squabble, and well, he hopes that she's used to long periods of the silent treatment. Unless this turns into a loud disagreement, in which case he might have to step in before someone ends up with a broken face. But he doesn't think that it'll come to that...or at least he hopes that it won't.

 

After Lian is clearly out of earshot, Tim turns back to Dick, who continues to give Tim one of his better bat glares. “What?”

 

Dick is clearly seething a little at Tim's nonchalant response to Dick's obvious anger. “Are you seriously going to train her?”

 

Tim shrugs casually. “Sure, why not?”

 

Dick looks like he really wants to hit something...or someone. “Maybe you aren't aware of this, little brother, but she almost maimed a guy tonight.”

 

Tim nods, and when he speaks, he sounds like he's talking to a small child. “Yes, I'm well aware of it. She knows that it was wrong, and she spent the rest of patrol with me following every order.”

 

Dick looks absolutely outraged at this new piece of information. “You did WHAT? How could you let her continue to patrol after what she did? Are you out of your frickin' mind?”

 

Tim barely even blinks at Dick's now raised voice. “She gave a compelling reason for why she had to continue with patrol, and I kept a close eye on her.”

 

Dick balks at that. “Compelling? What the hell, Tim? What could she have possibly said that could have made you think that that was a good idea?”

 

Tim folds his arms over his chest, and Roy often wonders how the kid can be so damn emotionless all of the time. It's such a strange contrast to Dick, who wears his emotions on his sleeve. Even if Dick wasn't yelling, every single part of his body just oozes irritation, anger, and concern. It's a little surreal watching the two of them fight. “Look, Dick, it's not like there isn't a single one of us who hasn't slipped at one point or another, so she got a little rough with a criminal. I take that as just one more reason that we should work with her and help her train more before we send her back. Besides, who are you to bench someone for getting a little more vicious with the criminals. When you're the one who made Damian, of all people, Robin.”

 

Roy's a little surprised that Tim mentions that at all. He can understand that it might still be a sore spot for Tim, but he's made Red Robin into his own, and has been working under that identity long enough that it seemed as though Tim was completely over being Robin. In fact, Tim's voice is absolutely no harsher than it would be discussing the weather or something, so if he is still having problems dealing with being replaced, Roy finds it impressive how level he keeps his tone. Roy turns his attention back to Dick, who looks as though he really wants to argue with Tim more, but before he can, Tim cuts in. “Let's face it. I let her continue with patrol, and you aren't happy with that, but there's nothing you can do about that now. Also, I'm going to work with her while she's here, so you might as well just accept that now, Dick.”

 

Dick blinks a few times at Tim's finality over it. “What the hell has gotten into you? I thought that you'd be the one person on my side on this one. We don't even know this girl. We have no obligation to her, and we have enough problems on our hands while Bruce and Damian are off world. Hell, for all we know, she came here on purpose in search of a world where her dad isn't dead, so that way she could have a happy family again.”

 

The moment the words leave Dick's mouth, Roy feels ill. He hadn't even thought of that, and really, leave it to the Bats to come up with all of the horrible possibilities that any situation could hold. Roy wants to say that it's probably not true...that she'd have to be a damn good actress to look so stunned and hurt when she popped out of that portal and saw him. He wants to jump to her defense, but it's not like he has any proof that Dick's wrong. Well, other than his interactions with the girl. Roy can't imagine traveling the multiverse just to find another Lian, because he knows it would just be too damn painful. Hell, just seeing this Lian makes him want to break down and cry on a regular basis. Visiting worlds where she never existed, never met him, only knew Cheshire, was a completely normal happy child, ended up being exactly who he always envisioned his daughter being, or any other crazy scenario would just drive him out of his mind. He certainly can't imagine a 15-year-old putting herself through all of that by choice.

 

Tim shrugs, but doesn't seem to be having the problem that Roy is with actually believing Dick's scenario to be true. “Maybe that's so. Maybe she is just manipulating all of us, but even if that's true, don't we have the right to try and show her a better way? Isn't it kind of our duty as Bats to give her other options? Wouldn't it be rather hypocritical of us, especially you, Dick, to just cast her aside when we've literally let former assassins into our little family?”

 

If Roy felt like dealing with an even more enraged Dick, he'd cheer Tim on right now, because the kid is making a rather good case here, and well...he's certainly doing a better job than Roy did of convincing Dick that the maiming needs to stop, even if that means training her themselves. He's not sure how the hell this former Robin got the back bone to go toe to toe with both of his former mentors, but Roy has to admit that he's always kind of admired the kid for it. Dick opens his mouth to respond, but stops abruptly. He's staring at something past Tim's shoulder. At the exact same time Tim and Roy turn to see Lian standing there looking like she wants to cry.

 

Roy's mouth goes dry at her expression; and his first immediate thought is to run to her, and make it better, but he knows that he can't. It doesn't matter that seeing a girl who looks so much like his daughter kicks all of his parental responses into overdrive, and he wants nothing more than to punch his best friend in the face for hurting a girl who isn't his daughter, but, in a way, is close enough. Roy can't move, no matter how much he may want to, because despite how much he wants to believe Dick is wrong, the possibility still remains that he isn't, and that makes comforting the girl, who could very well be a great actress and a horribly convincing liar a big no-no.

 

Luckily for Roy he doesn't have to do anything of the sort, because Tim decides to take matters into his own hands. Roy thinks it might be just to spite Dick, but the kid doesn't look like someone acting out of of resentment. No, Tim looks as though he's doing this for himself. “I really wouldn't listen to anything Dick has to say if I was you. He has a tendency to speak without thinking, and well, I've known him for years--have rarely given him a reason not to trust me--and yet, I still have to ask...hell, beg for his trust when I just want him to believe me on one simple matter.”

 

Roy's not sure what the hell has gotten into Tim that he's suddenly so snippy, but Lian smiles shyly, and gives a curt nod, so he can't really feel all that bad that Tim just keeps taking shots at Dick with that blank tone of his. Dick, however, doesn't seem to be so enthusiastic about Tim's sudden harshness towards him, which is understandable. “It wasn't a simple matter, Tim.”

 

Tim turns back to glare at Dick. “Maybe so, but you've gotta admit that you have a tendency to be an ass.”

 

Dick glares right back, and even Roy is starting to feel uncomfortable. He isn't sure where this fight is going, but he kind of just wants to grab Lian and head the hell out of here. He thought that Tim was over most of his Damian issues--not that the two of them are by any means friendly, but they definitely aren't trying to kill each other every five seconds--but it seems that, as all Bats do, Tim was just repressing, and now that he's spent some time with this Lian, and can see the symmetry between the two of them, his little facade is cracking, and well...it isn't as though Roy can't relate.

 

Dick steps closer to Tim, and Roy isn't sure if he's going to be able to stop this fight from turning physical or not. “I thought that you dealt with all of this, Tim, but I guess I should have known that it was just more of your denial and repression.”

 

Roy's actually kind of impressed that Tim doesn't throw a punch right there, because...really, it's not like Dick has a lot of room to talk here. Especially, if the entire reason that Dick has suddenly become so paranoid has more to do with his attempts to live up to Bruce's standards than anything else. Although, it's possible that taking care of Gotham while Batman and Robin are out of town is just taking it's toll on Dick. Tim, for his part, just turns away from him. “Lian, where did you leave your suit?”

 

She cocks an eyebrow at Tim; clearly confused on why he's asking, and obviously wondering how the hell this conversation is going to defuse the fight brewing between Dick and Tim. “Um, over there.” She points to a crumpled pile of discarded body armor on the other side of the cave. “Why do you ask?”

 

“I wanted to check it over, and see if I could modify anything for you..”

 

Roy steps closer the moment Dick's hand lands on Tim's shoulder. When Dick spins Tim around, Roy's expecting a fist to come crashing into Tim's face, but Dick seems to be restraining himself. “What the hell? Are you going to outfit her with even more weapons, so that way we have a miniature Jason Todd on our hands?”

 

Tim forcefully pushes Dick's hand off of his shoulder. “No, I was going to make sure that she's well protected, so that she doesn't end up dead. If that's okay with you? I still don't get what the problem is here. She slipped up, a criminal got a little more damaged than we prefer, she's well aware that it was a mistake and can't happen again; so drop it.”
 

Dick's hands are both balled into tight fists, and Roy isn't sure how much longer this altercation can last before there's blood, but he doesn't actually have anything to say to diffuse this. After all, Roy's well aware that telling his best friend that he's rooting for his little brother on this one just because Roy, himself, honestly can't deal with Dick's suspicions being right isn't actually helpful. “I just don't get it. Why are you willing to get into it with me over someone you don't even know? Is it because she reminds you so much of our Lian? Because, I get that...I do, but you're the logical one, Tim. Tell me, where the hell is the logic in letting her run around this Gotham maiming people when she could be here for any number of horrible reasons?”

 

Tim folds his arms over his chest, and just stares at Dick blankly. “I don't know. Where's the logic in letting a kid who was raised by assassins be Robin just because he has Bruce's DNA and would probably kill people without someone there to stop him. I mean, it's kinda the same principle, isn't it, Dick? I'm willing to keep an eye on her, and make sure that she doesn't lose control again. So, really, what's your problem with this situation, Dick? Is it that you can't deal with watching a girl who's so much like our Lian fight, and you're really just projecting here?”

 

Dick doesn't respond verbally, instead he fakes a punch, and goes down to sweep Tim's legs out from underneath him. Tim back flips away, and looks like he really wants a weapon right now...knowing Tim he's probably searching for his Bo staff, and Roy is almost tempted to give it to him just because if any of that is true, Dick is probably going to receive a solid hit from Roy after all of this. They spent two hours sitting around drinking cocoa and talking, and not once did Dick mention how he was feeling about this whole situation. Not that Roy is all that surprised; after all, every Bat does this in some capacity.

 

Tim spins away from Dick's next barrage of hits, and tries to keep out of Dick's striking range, but once again the acrobat is far better at getting into Tim's space than Tim is at getting out of Dick's. Dick goes for a kick to the head, which Roy is pretty sure would have left Tim in a daze for a bit, if not knocked out, had it connected. Dick grunts in frustration as Tim dodges more blows. “Maybe, just maybe, I'm just trying to protect my family.”

 

Dick manages to get in a solid kick to Tim's side. “Yeah, you're doing a great job of showing that.” Tim spits out through clenched teeth.

 

Before Tim has time to recover, Dick goes for another sweep, and this time Tim hits the floor with a loud thud, and Dick is following that with an elbow, but before it connects, there's a high pitch and extremely loud scream from Lian. Dick pauses mid strike. Tim, however, doesn't even hesitate to take the chance to flip back to his feet...landing a few feet away. “STOP IT! Stop it, both of you. It's okay. Tim doesn't have to train me, and I won't go out anymore. It's fine...just stop fighting....please.”

 

Lian never did tell Roy how old she was when her Roy and Dick died, but he's pretty sure that it had to have been when she was fairly young if she's never seen her Tim and Dick fight like this, because that blow would have left a spectacular bruise, but that's about it. Roy hadn't had any intention of breaking the two of them up until it became absolutely necessary. After so many years of dealing with different Bats, Roy's learned that sometimes it's just better to let them beat each other senseless and move on.

 

The other two just stare at her for a moment before Tim steps toward her. “I can almost guarantee you that this fight would have happened whether you were here or not. Dick's just using you as an excuse to be overbearing, and he doesn't get a say in whether I train you or not. After all, he's not Batman...at least, not anymore. I'll expect you down in the cave at the time that we discussed.” Tim doesn't give anyone in the cave time to respond before he walks away.

 

Dick glances over to Roy. His eyes are begging for backup here, and Roy almost hates himself for being unable to give it. “It's late. We should all get some sleep.” It's the first thing that Roy has said since Tim and Lian came back, and the hurt expression on Dick's face makes him wish that he'd just kept silent; but the curt nod and shy, small, almost invisible smile that he gets from Lian reminds him that the tension needed to be broken. He's not sure what's going to happen tomorrow--he isn't even sure if he wants to stay the night, but it's a long drive back to his small dingy apartment. Even if he felt like being alone right now--cut off from everything else (after all, he has no use for a TV and the only phone calls he gets anymore are work related), he doesn't think that he could bear to leave Lian with the still dueling brothers. Roy knows his plan for tomorrow. He just hopes that Dick can put aside whatever he's feeling right now and deal with the decision that Roy's already made.

 

The End (for now)

Comments

spastasmagoria
Oct. 3rd, 2010 07:22 am (UTC)
that'd be awesome. Lian meeting Jason. Do it. LOL
brokaw22
Oct. 3rd, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
I don't think any of the Bats would allow that, and Roy would certainly blow a gasket...that said there could definitely be something to the idea. But how would Jason Todd interact with a Lian Harper from a different world. Oh, sister of mine, you have the wheels turning.