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Fic: Purple Arrow Chapter 8

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 Chapter Seven

Next Chapter: Chapter Nine

 

Lian isn't expecting that everything will be hugs and kisses when she walks into the cave with Tim--after all, she did mess up in a major way--but she also isn't expecting to be sent to the shower. She knows Dick and Tim are about to suddenly start fighting. She hurries in order to get back as quickly as possible, because she knows that this is her fault, and she can't let anyone else take the brunt of what she knows she deserves. It isn't surprising for her to hear that Dick is upset with Tim for allowing her to continue with patrol--she still doesn't even know why he did, even though she can't really feel bad about that--but Lian is startled to hear Dick's theory on why she's there. She wants to tell him that it's not true--that she had no idea that she was going to be transported here when the spiraling green light touched her--but she doesn't see a point in speaking up. There's no reason for Dick to believe her.

 

That thought hurts...hurts so much more than Lian thought it would. She doesn't know why it bothers her so much. It's not as though these people are her family, but a large part of her wants them to like her...wants them to trust her. She doesn't know why for sure, but she thinks it might have something to do with how similar they all are to the others on her own world. She doesn't miss how much Roy seems to really want everything that Dick's saying to be lies, but she can't reassure him, no matter how much she may want to. Lian knows it's better for everyone if she just doesn't say anything right now. It's a delicate matter. She would know that even if she couldn't see the way that Roy keeps edging closer to the other two.

 

Lian has no idea why Tim is bothering to defend her, but she can't deny that she feels a tinge of relief when he does. However, she still doesn't like watching the two of them argue, and she likes it even less when the heated debate turns physical. Lian never saw her Uncle Tim and Uncle Dick fight. It doesn't matter that she knows that they must have. It still makes her insides knot and her stomach turn. She thinks that she can understand Dick's motives--it isn't as though he knows her, and maybe she wasn't planning to try and convince Roy to come back with her from the start, but she'd be lying if she said it wasn't something that she hopes for now. Still, none of that makes what Lian tells Dick a lie. She is more than willing to put away her suit for the duration of her stay in this world if it means she doesn't have to watch Dick's elbow fly towards Tim's face again.

 

Nevertheless, Lian can't say that she isn't moderately happy when Tim tells her that it isn't necessary. She still doesn't understand what Tim's reason is for wanting to train her. She can't imagine that it simply has to do with teaching her a better way of fighting. After all, Lian has her own Tim for that. The entire time she stands there watching the fight, all she can do is wonder what the underlying problem is between the two of them. Lian doesn't want to get involved--doesn't think that she has the right to get involved, but clearly something is wrong, and it isn't just her presence here. She has no idea who this Damian character is, or why he got to be Robin, but it doesn't sounds like he deserves the title. At least, not from what little information she's gathering from Tim and Dick. Although, Lian doesn't think that she has any right to decide who gets what suit on any earth; not after all of the mistakes that she's made since arriving in this complicated and overly hero-populated earth.

 

When the three of them leave the cave to head to bed, Lian just stands there. She doesn't want to intrude. This may not be her earth, but she's pretty sure that the knowledge that the cave and the manor are entirely two separate places and few people are allowed to venture into both is universal. She isn't surprised, however, when she hears soft footfalls coming down the stairs. Lian still doesn't think that she's ready to face this Alfred, but she knew she couldn't avoid it forever. When he finally reaches the last stair, Lian can't help but catalog all the ways that he reminds her of her own Alfed. This one looks younger, of course, due to the lack of smoking, but other than that, he's exactly the same as her Alfred, and she misses the old man so much it hurts.

 

When he speaks, his voice isn't as raspy, but it still holds the same level of warmth that her Alfred's voice always did, and she has to bite her lip to keep from crying. “I don't know much about your world, Miss, but I presume you don't sleep in the cave.”

 

Lian shakes her head, and tries to ignore the tears welling in her eyes. “I...I don't think it's a good idea for me to be in the manor.”

 

Alfed moves closer to her. “Nonsense, you need your rest, and I won't have you sleeping down here. The others might pick up such bad habits, and they have enough of those already. Now I have already prepared a bed for you. You wouldn't want my hard work to go to waste, now would you, Miss?”

 

Lian is shaking her head and following him long before she even registers the movement. Although, it's not a surprise. He is an Alfred, and all Alfreds always win--usually with what seems like little to no effort. As Alfred leads her through the manor, Lian can't help but notice all the little differences...like the large vase she broke when she was nine that is apparently still intact here. It makes her homesick, and a little out of sorts. Alfred seems to notice her sudden uneasiness, but doesn't say anything about it as he continues to lead her to the room she'll be staying in. The room is large and just like the guest rooms in the manor back home. It's odd to be staying in one, as opposed to her own room, and it almost makes her want to find the room in this manor that corresponds with her bedroom just to see how different it is from hers back home. It's a silly desire, and she doesn't think that it'll help her cope with this strange world, but the desire is still there all the same.

 

When Alfred leaves her, he wishes her goodnight in a tone that she hasn't heard in so long that she almost starts to tear up again. She thought she was over her own Alfred's death, but apparently, just like her father's death, it's still a festering wound just waiting for someone to throw some salt into it. Lian doesn't know if she can handle seeing any more people from this world who she's already lost in her own. It all just gets harder and harder, and she really just wants to go back home now...except that she still wants to train with this Tim, and learn everything that she can from the people here, because, even though it hurts, she knows that this is a once in a lifetime chance. She's not about to give it up for something so pathetic as her own emotional distress.

 

Lian sleeps fitfully, but that's nothing new to her. She's just happy that she's gotten better at keeping quiet. She always feels bad when she wakes Grandpa Bruce or Uncle Tim, and after everything that's happened, she really doesn't want to wake anyone here. Lian doesn't think that she could handle waking this Roy, and making him comfort a girl who isn't his daughter over something as trivial as nightmares. She doesn't think it would be as terrible if it was Tim, but she still doesn't like disturbing people. When she wakes up for good, Lian isn't sure if she should be relieved or anxious that she only has a few minutes to get ready before meeting Tim down in the cave. She hopes that it's just going to be the two of them in there, because she doesn't think that she could take any more tension right now.

 

When she enters the cave, Lian has to bite her tongue to keep from releasing the sigh of relief building up inside of her when she sees that Tim is standing on the mats waiting for her, and no one else is around. She thinks that maybe they'll be able to get through a training session with little to no drama, and the prospect makes her smile wider than she has in a long time. Tim raises an eyebrow at her when he sees her. “Do you normally train in jeans?”

 

Lian looks down at herself and blushes slightly. “Don't know if you've noticed, but I only have one outfit--unless you'd rather I train in my suit, 'cause I'm totally okay with that. Also, do you know how annoying it is to be a girl and only have one outfit? I'm not usually all that 'girly,' but it's more obnoxious than I thought it was going to be.”

 

Tim laughs his little whisper of a laugh, and then shakes his head. “Can't say I know what that's like, but I could lend you a pair of sweats, if you want.”

 

Lian smiles, and then nods. “Yeah, that'd probably be best. The last thing I need to is ruin the only pair of pants I own.”

 

Tim walks over to the changing area, and comes back with his extra pair of sweat pants. He tosses them to Lian, who catches them easily. “Do you want a shirt too?” At Lian's nod, he tosses the one he had behind his back. “It's probably a good idea for Alfred to take you shopping later today. We wouldn't want you to have to suffer through only having one outfit.” Tim snickers at her, and Lian can't help it. She has to laugh at him. She can tell that he's just being snarky to make her feel better, but it's working, and it's nice not having to deal with anything right now.

 

“You just don't understand. You're a boy. You don't get to dress up whenever you want to.” She pitches her voice into something far more dramatic than anything she would ever actually use, and tosses her hair over her shoulder before grinning ever wider.

 

“You might be surprised. I mean, I look damn good in a pair of fuck-me pumps, if I do say so myself.” Tim's eyes are brimming bright with the laugh that he isn't actually letting out, but his voice is completely deadpan.

 

Lian laughs at him for a moment before speaking again. “So, do you do a lot of undercover work, or is that just something you like to do in your free time?” She's snickering, and breathing through her nose...trying not to laugh too hard.

 

Tim doesn't hold his laughter back this time, and it's not nearly as controlled as all of the other laughs she heard before this one. It's a good sound that makes her smile even brighter. It's easy just standing here laughing and mocking each other, and she wonders if this would even be possible with the other two. Her grin grows in intensity at the fact that she actually got him to laugh. Lian doesn't know about this Tim, but she always feels such pride when she can get her Uncle Tim to laugh. “Nah, just undercover.” Tim flutters a hand near his face, and strikes a dramatic female pose. “I'm just not pretty enough to be out in the daytime.” His voice is falsely high, and he's smiling like he just won something.

 

Lian can't take it after that. She falls to the floor, clutching her middle, and laughing harder than she can remember ever doing before. After a few minutes of just lying on the cave floor trying to catch her breath Tim comes over and offers her his hand. “Okay, I think it's time for you to go change, and for us to start working.”

 

Lian takes his hand, and lets him pull her to her feet. “Oh, come on, you had fun.”

 

Tim smiles again, and pushes her in the direction of the changing area. “You can prove nothing.”

 

Lian giggles the whole way to the changing area. Her face is flushed and probably as red as the shirt Tim lent her. She feels like she's already gone two rounds with someone, and she loves it. She's not surprised that Tim's clothes fit her, and she can't wait to find out what he's going to teach her. When Lian emerges from the changing area, her good mood plummets a little when she sees Roy standing on the mats with Tim. She doesn't want another fight, and she really just wants to train, but she stops herself from saying anything and keeps her sigh to herself. Roy smiles at her when she moves closer to the mats, and Tim still looks just as relaxed as before, so maybe there won't be a fight, after all.

 

“What's up?” She's not really sure she wants the answer, but Lian knows it's better to just get it over with. She ties up her hair to give herself a little more time to look anywhere but at Roy's face.

 

Tim moves out of the way of her vicious ponytail whip once she's finished, and Lian bites her lip to keep from laughing again. “Roy wants to help you with your archery.”

 

Lian is really torn between just saying thanks and telling him that she doesn't need his help, and she's not really sure why. She knows that there's always room for improvement--Grandpa Bruce has certainly drilled that into her head--but she doesn't want something she enjoys as much as archery to become uncomfortable, or worse start having a bad connotation to it. Lian glances from one to the other. Tim apparently thinks that this is a good thing, and a step in the right direction, and Roy seems just as unsure and apprehensive as she is. Lian nods and gives a small shy smile of reassurance to Roy. “That's good.” She looks directly into Roy's eyes, meeting his gaze for a few moments before she repeats herself. “That's really good.”

 

He seems to relax a little at her words, and Lian can't help but feel like she did at least one thing right. She knows that it isn't technically her job to put everyone else at ease, but it makes her feel better--feel useful--so she's willing to at least try. Tim claps his hands together to get their attention. “Okay, well, while Roy sets up the targets, why don't you show me what katas your Bruce and Tim have taught you?”

 

Lian moves from one kata into another fluidly, just as she was taught. She stops thinking about everything around her, and focuses fully on her movements. This is normal...this is simple...this is something she can do in her sleep. Lian has always enjoyed her physical training, mainly because she doesn't have to think about it. Instead, she can just move, and let her body do what it wants. It's one of the few times she gets to move freely, and it's something that she's always enjoyed. When she finishes Tim nods, and then starts showing her some new ones. He clearly knows far more than she does, and Lian soaks up the lessons the same way she always has, no matter the teacher. The fact that her current teacher happens to have few differences from her normal one means nothing, because, while there are small differences, they're enough alike that she still just has to watch and learn, and let him move her when she isn't exactly in the right position. It's something she got used to when she was still a child, and it's not any different now.

 

When they finish Tim tells her to go practice with Roy while he gets out some practice weapons. This practically makes her gleam, because, not only does she get to work on her archery with someone who's first love is archery, but she also gets to work with other weapons. Her Uncle Tim usually saves that as a reward or when they both just need to have some fun. Lian is still slightly apprehensive about working with Roy, but she figures it can't possibly hurt any more than anything else thus far, so she takes a deep breath before heading over to where Roy has set up the targets. He turns to her and smiles a little. “I doubt you'll need any pointers or anything, but, well, there's a difference between working on archery with someone who happens to know about it, and working with someone who enjoys it as much as I do.”

 

Lian nods, but doesn't say anything...mostly because she figured as much. The two of them stand a few feet apart. He watches silently as she strings her bow, and gets ready to fire. Lian has never felt this uneasy while holding a bow in her entire life, and it puts her completely off her game. He moves to adjust her stance, but she holds up a hand to stop. “Just give me a second. This is a little weird for me.”

 

He stares at her for a moment with an expression that makes him look just as awkward as she feels. She feels bad for making him stop, but she's not some amateur, and she can surely find the proper stance if she can just get her head in the game. Lian rolls her shoulders, shakes out her hands--one at a time--and then cracks her neck, and that's when it hits her. This is game...or at least it can be. She doesn't have to be as tense as she is. He's just another guy, and she's just doing what she always does...what she knows best. Lian grins to herself, and then strings her bow again. After a handful of shots Roy smiles at her a little brighter, and then offers her just a few pointers...clearly unsure if he should. She adjusts herself the way he tells her to, and well, it's not as though she ever thought she was perfect, but Lian is still extremely surprised to find how much easier this is when she takes his suggestions.

 

After a few more shots, all perfect and taking far less strain than she's used to Roy picks up his bow too, and the two of them stand in companionable silence as they practice. After a short time, Lian notices her face is hurting from smiling so much. She's enjoying this far more than she ever thought she would. It's a little odd. She's always enjoyed working with her Uncle Tim, and that includes working on her archery with him, but it's never been like this before. This is just so soothing and simple, and Lian is almost shocked to find how at ease she is right now. She's almost as calm and as laid-back as she ever gets, and she feels guilty for it--like she's somehow cheating on her other family. The thought makes her pause for a moment, because she isn't exactly sure when she started thinking of these people as her second family, and Lian's a little worried about the fallout of that decision. She wants to go back home...hell, needs to, but she wants to stay here too, and it seems a little ridiculous to her that it took such a short time for her to become so attached to everyone here...including Dick...no matter how he feels toward her.

 

Once Lian and Roy decide to stop, Tim makes her drink an entire bottle of water before he lets her even look at the practice weapons, and she sulks slightly about that, but not a lot seeing as how that's really no different from her own Tim. As it turns out, Lian is actually far thirstier than she thought, and she ends up drinking two whole bottles of water, which both Tim and Roy seem pleased about, before moving back to the mats with Tim. She's not really sure why either one of them are pleased with her water intake, but she can only assume that it's because they have to argue with certain other people to get them to drink the recommended amount of fluids. Lian doesn't see any reason to tell them that she learned her lesson a long time ago...probably right after that time that her Uncle Tim sat on her and forced a bottle of water down her gullet.

 

Tim allows her to choose whatever weapon she wants, and grabs a practice bo staff, which makes her chuckle to herself. She's starting to get used to the fact that this Tim is so much like her own. Lian doesn't know if all Tims tend to prefer bo staffs or if it's just the ones she knows, but it makes everything just a little easier to deal with. He raises an eyebrow when she chooses the shurikens, but doesn't say anything, and Lian feels like it should be obvious. After all, every archer she's ever known has always preferred long range weapons, and she knows her father always had a thing for katanas, and the extension of reach it gave him, but she has always preferred weapons that she could make fly. Lian raises her own eyebrow at Tim, and his face immediately breaks into a meager smile. “Sometimes I forget how much you've picked up from your own Tim, and then I see one of my own expressions on your face, and it's a little odd. Also, I assume you practice with shurikens with your Tim a lot.”

 

Lian grins as well. “I take it you like them, too, then?”

 

Tim nods. “One of my favorites. I like how different they are from the batarangs.”

 

Lian smile brightens at that. “Me too.”

 

Tim motions for her to start the spar, and Lian laughs. This doesn't feel any different from training back home, especially since this Tim blanks his face the same way, and clearly watches her feet for any obvious mistakes that should be corrected immediately. Apparently no Tim appreciates taking out their sparring partner in the first three seconds due to poor foot placement. Lian laughs to herself at the thought, because it's been awhile since she's gotten any lectures on that portion of sparring. After Tim's satisfied that this spar isn't going to be that big of a disappointment, he makes it impossible to tell where his eyes are focusing, and that fascinates her, because she thought that the ability to wear a mask without physically wearing one was a purely Uncle Tim trait. Even her Grandpa Bruce doesn't blank his eyes that well...usually, but she's pretty sure that he just doesn't bother doing so with her anymore.

 

Tim swings the bo staff around, and nearly knocks her off her feet, and Lian silently berates herself for not paying attention. She hadn't even noticed that he had gotten that close to her. She shakes her head as if to clear it, and then realizes that he only managed to get as close as he had, because Tim's deliberately using moves that she's never seen before. He's trying to figure out exactly how much her Tim hasn't shown her yet--or worse, and probably more likely, doesn't know, because her Bruce was taken out before he got a chance to teach Uncle Tim this stuff. Lian makes a mental note to remember everything that she learns here, so that she can show her Uncle Tim all of it when she gets back home. Lian flips away from him, and tosses three of her shurikens towards him in the middle of her arc. Tim knocks all of them away with his staff, but smiles his approval at her attempt.

 

Lian grips her last two shurikens in her hands, and waits for Tim's next move. He gestures for her to move first, and Lian licks her teeth. She's determined to get a hit in before this spar ends. She throws one of the shuriken, waits for Tim to knock it aside with his staff again, and then moves in lightning fast...just like she was taught, and starts hitting. Tim manages to block most of her hits with the staff and his feet, but she still has one shuriken left, and she's been clutching it since her last throw just waiting for the opportunity to use it. Lian doesn't have to wait long. Tim brings the staff up to block a punch to his face, she then forces him to move the foot closest to her with a kick, and then she throws the shuriken at his exposed foot still balancing him. Tim flips back with the bo staff tucked close to him for balance, and Lian barely manages it, but she gets a solid kick to his back. Tim doesn't even land before she lets out a loud yes, and pumps her fist in the air.

 

Roy lets out a laugh behind her, and Lian realizes that she didn't even know that he was still here. She doesn't know how long he's been watching, but the sound of his laughter makes her spin around. His face is red, and he looks really damn happy, and Lian has to smile too, because this is probably the best she's felt in--she doesn't know how long. She's about to say something, but before she can, Lian is knocked to the ground by a solid weight hitting her in the back, and then Tim has her pinned to the mats. “I didn't say the spar was over.”

 

Lian breathes out a laugh, and struggles to get up, but apparently Tim doesn't think she's learned her lesson yet. “I got a hit in that was good enough for me.”

 

Tim makes a disapproving noise above her. “The spar doesn't end just because you got a hit in.”

 

Lian breathes into the mat beneath her, and tries not to smile...and fails miserably. “Yeah, but you can't say that you weren't surprised that I did.”

 

Tim chuckles softly before standing and helping her up. “Maybe I was a little, or maybe I expected you to get a hit in.”

 

Lian shakes her head, and tucks the few locks that fall out of her ponytail behind her ear. “We both know you had no such expectation.”

 

Tim grins at her slightly before sending her off to go shower. She sticks her tongue out before heading off to go do as she's told. It's been awhile since she's gotten to be just as petulant as she wants, and she's living it up for as long as it lasts. She's spent so long living in a world that's so deadly serious, that even if this world is only marginally better, it's still a nice vacation.

 

The End (for now)

 

Comments

brokaw22
Jan. 22nd, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
Don't feel bad about forgetting about it. It has been about six months since I updated it last. I guess that's what happens when you're babysitting a two year old most of the time, and then have to get emergency surgery to remove your gull bladder. Anyway, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I hate Stephanie Brown, so I wouldn't count on seeing her in anything that I write.