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Fic: Purple Arrow Chapter 9

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 Chapter Eight

Next Chapter: Chapter Ten

Roy knows that Dick isn't going to be pleased with the decision that he's made, but there's not much he can do about that now--especially since he's already walking down the cave steps. He's really hoping that the previous fight has worn Dick out enough that he doesn't even want to enter the cave, because Roy is pretty sure that none of them can handle another fight. He has no idea why Tim defended Lian throughout that entire argument, but he's fairly certain that it has a lot more to do with his relationship with Dick than anything Lian may or may not have said to him while they were still on patrol. It doesn't really matter, anyway; because when he gets into the cave, Dick's nowhere to be found, and Tim's standing on the mats--clearly waiting for Lian--looking more relaxed than Roy's ever seen him. At least, that is, until he spots Roy.


“Hey.” He's not really sure how else to start this conversation. All Roy knows is that he didn't come down here this early in the morning to stand in silence with the second youngest Bat.


Tim nods at him. “Is there something I can help you with, Red Arrow?”


Roy wants to wince at the kid's reaction. He's standing here in a gray shirt and blue gym shorts...not exactly Red Arrow's normal attire. They've known each other long enough that Roy is well aware that Tim only uses that professional tone in a circumstance like this, when he's already defensive. If there's one thing Roy knows about Robins, it's how territorial and defensive they can be. Roy holds up his hands in the air. “Whoa, it's okay. I'm not here to start another fight about you training her.”


Tim raises an eyebrow at him, but doesn't look slightly relieved or any less ready for a fight. “Then why are you here?”


Roy sighs to himself. He's always known that none of the Bats ever make things easy, but he often wonders why it's always this hard. “I want to help you train her.”


Tim stares at him skeptically. “Oh really?” At Roy's nod, Tim continues. “And why is that?”


Roy doesn't really know what to say. It's not like he thought this out...not to this former Robin's standards, anyway. He just knows that he has to do this. “I don't want Dick to be right, but I can't deny that his thinking is sound. After all, we don't know this girl, but I can't just sit here while you train this girl and not help. Not to mention that you're a Bat, which means that just because you know how to use a bow, doesn't mean you know what it's like to love the bow. I can tell you from experience that training with someone who simply knows the weapon well and someone who loves and needs the weapon in question is incredibly different.”


Tim nods at him. “I know what you mean.” When he catches Roy's raised eyebrow, Tim continues. “It's the same way with my bo staff.”


Roy's about to say something, but he's interrupted when Lian calls out, “What's up?” They both turn at the sound of her voice, and Roy has to bite his tongue to keep from laughing. It shouldn't be a surprise that's she's wearing a set of Tim's workout clothes, nor should it surprise him that they fit her so well. He's pretty sure Tim is always going to be on the thin side.


It's almost painful for him to see how playful these two are with each other. He wonders if his Lian would have ever grown to be this carefree with Tim had she lived longer. Roy doesn't think he'd ever be able to imagine it, but as he watches Lian try to smack Tim with her ponytail, he can't help but consider it. Roy keeps the laugh to himself as Tim dodges, and reminds himself that he really doesn't want to know what being on the receiving end of her ponytail whip is like.


He's really glad that Tim does most of the talking, because he really didn't contemplate what she would think about all of this. He doesn't want her to get the impression that he doesn't think that she's capable of wielding a bow correctly, because that's not what this is about, at all. Roy just knows the difference between people who grew up stringing a bow with an arrow and people who treat it as just another weapon to master. He fully believes that this girl deserves to know what it's like to practice with the former, which is just one more point on his suddenly long list of reasons for why he decided to help Tim train her in the first place.


He goes to set up the targets for them, and pointedly ignores Tim and Lian on the other side of the cave. Roy doesn't really want to see any more similarities between the two of them just yet. He's still trying to deal with the fact that she's apparently enough like Tim to convince him to let her patrol after everything that happened. Roy is still trying to figure that one out. Tim is supposed to be the emotionless, logical, rational Robin, so Roy isn't really sure what she could have said or done to change his mind so easily. After all, Roy is fairly certain that Tim's original plan wasn't to allow her to continue her patrol; but, then again, Roy is pretty sure that the only person who really knows what Tim's planning at any given moment is Tim.


Working on archery with Lian is a little odd at first. It's obvious that neither one of them is entirely sure how this is supposed to work. He's busy trying to avoid all the thoughts of what his daughter would have been like with a bow once she was this Lian's age, and he's pretty sure that she's thinking of her dad. At least, Roy can't really imagine how she isn't doing so. It takes him far longer than he wants to admit to finally just put aside everything that he's thinking and just focus on the arrow's trajectory as it flies toward the target. He's surprised to find how well she takes direction--especially from him. Roy wasn't exactly expecting her to be hostile, but the fact that Lian just adjusts her stance without asking him why it's necessary is something he doesn't expect to ever get used to.


After they break for water, Roy watches as she goes over to the practice weapons. He doesn't think that he's seen her this happy or excited since she got here, and that makes him slightly worried. Roy almost wants to ask Tim if he thinks that it's a good idea to spar with her with weapons after what she did on patrol, but he knows better than to question a Bat about training. Roy silently watches the spar. He's fascinated by how controlled both of them are with every movement. It's clear that they're both enjoying this, as well as testing each other and learning from each other. Watching how relaxed and happy they both are is making Roy itch with the need to teach Lian all of the defensive things that she can do with a bow. Sometimes there's just nothing as satisfying as seeing a guy crumble after jabbing the bow into his gut and smashing it across his face.


Roy's thoughts are interrupted, however, when Lian lets out a loud, “Yes!” and Roy can't help but laugh. He knows what it's like to want nothing more than to get just one hit in before the end of the spar, and from the expression Lian is wearing, it's clear that this was one of those moments for her. It's probably ten times better that the spar was against Tim, because no one makes getting a hit in as difficult as a member of the Batfamily.


After Tim sends her to go shower, Roy comes over and lays a hand on his shoulder. “You're good for each other, you know that?”


Tim raises an eyebrow at him. “Um...what?”


Roy laughs at Tim's obvious confusion. “You help her feel like she belongs and allow her to be the 15-year-old girl that I'd bet she rarely gets to be back home, and she helps you to relax. It's nice to see you being playful with a sparring partner again. I mean, I can't remember the last time I've seen you like this. Every time I've seen you spar with Dick or Damian, it's like you're fighting for your life.”


Tim glances down at the ground and blushes brightly. “I...I don't know. It's just like helping one of the girls back when we were in Young Justice. I don't really see the big deal. She clearly has extensive training, but there's still so much more that we could all teach her. I just feel like it's wrong to send her back to a place that has killed so many heroes without teaching her everything that we can.”


Roy nods in understanding. “Believe it or not, that's why I'm down here. Dick may be right...she may be pulling the wool over our eyes, and we may be letting her because of who she is and who she isn't, but I can't, in good conscience, send her home without at least trying.”


Tim opens his mouth to respond, but before he gets a chance, they're both interrupted. “So, that's why you're doing this...both of you?” They both turn to see Dick glaring at them from the cave steps. “Am I the only one who cares about protecting the people we love?”


Tim sighs. “Are we really going to do this again? I'm training her, and Roy's helping. Why can't you just deal with that?”


Dick looks truly frustrated with the conversation and it's just started. Roy can't see this ending well. He's almost starting to wonder if Dick purposely waits for Lian to go shower before he starts these type of fights with Tim or if it's just coincidence. “Tim, I just don't want her learning everything about us just so she can be better at running around maiming people. I'm just trying to protect our family.”


Tim scoffs at that, and from the expression on his face, Roy can tell that Dick's not going to like what Tim has to say next. “If you're so concerned with trying to protect us, Dick, then why don't you keep Damian on a tighter leash. How many times has that kid tried to kill me? Hell, the only reason Bruce took Damian with him on the off-world mission they're on is because the kid cut holes into my glider...again.”


Dick moves closer to Tim, so that he can wrap an arm around his shoulders. “Look, it's just Damian's version of sibling rivalry.”


Roy doesn't have anything to say to that, and he's fairly certain that the best course of action here is to quietly make his exit. Unfortunately, he can't just leave Lian here. After all, no Arrow is safe when two Bats are fighting, and getting caught in those cross-hairs is far worse than being confronted by any assassin. Tim shrugs off Dick's arm, and spins away from him. “I don't get what your problem is, and quite frankly, I don't care. I'm training her...end of story. You can either get over whatever made-up issue you have and help me or you can stay out of my way, but you can't stop me. And before you even start about it not being a made-up issue, you took on an assassin-trained Robin, who was trying to kill us all, Dick.”


Dick folds his arms over his chest, and glares at Tim. “You know what I don't get, Tim? I don't get what your big problem with Damian is. After all, you were trained by an assassin, too, and Damian is working through years of conditioning, thanks to Talia.”


Roy's starting to wonder if Dick's trying to get Tim to hit him, because even tactless-Roy can see that bringing that up isn't helping anyone's cause right now. Tim growls at him. “You want to know what my problem with him is, Dick? My problem is, he's tried to kill me multiple times, and that doesn't seem to phase you one bit. I'm just supposed to put aside every negative emotion I have in relation to that kid because he has Bruce's DNA. You chose him to be Robin, and what? The fact that we're some definition of brothers is suppose to matter? Come on, Dick, that's not logical.”


Dick stares at him sadly for a moment. “I don't know what to tell you, Timmy. He's not going away, so you're just going to have to learn to live with him.”


Tim shakes his head at that. “No, I really don't, Dick.”


Roy has no idea what Tim means by that, and from the look of it, neither does Dick. They both stare at him for a moment, neither one of them catching his drift. After a few moments, Dick speaks up again. “What do you mean, Tim?”


Tim gives him the most defiant look that Roy's ever seen on this particular Robin. “I don't have to learn to live with him, Dick. I don't have to stay here.”


Dick's eyes widen, and he glances at Roy with an extremely pathetic 'help me' expression. Roy doesn't have any idea what to say to either of them, and just shrugs at Dick. Roy wants nothing else than to grab Lian and get the hell out of here, because even Arrows aren't equipped to deal with this type of argument. Dick tries to place a hand on Tim's shoulder again, but Tim backs away from him, and turns to Roy. “Tell Purple Arrow that I'll be in touch. I still have plenty to teach her.”


Roy doesn't even get a chance to ask Tim what the hell he means by that before the kid is on his bike and out of the cave. Both Roy and Dick just stand there dumbfounded until Lian emerges from her shower, and finds them still standing in the same spot. She swiftly glances around the cave. “Where's Tim, and what did I miss?”


Roy doesn't give Dick a chance to respond. He's already driven one person out of the cave, and Roy isn't about to let him do the same with another. “Nothing, honey, he had to go out for a bit. I don't know when he'll be back, but he said that he still has plenty to teach you, so don't worry. I think it's time for you to go upstairs and get something to eat anyway.”


Lian looks between the two of them, and bites her lip uncertainly. “Are you sure? Maybe I should just stay down here in case...”


She doesn't get to finish her sentence before Roy has an arm wrapped around her shoulders. “No, no, you know Alfred would be extremely upset with us if he knew that we kept you down here this long without feeding you. You go ahead, and we'll meet you up there. I've just gotta have a chat with Dickie-bird first.” Roy hopes that the nickname will lure her into a false sense of security. He has no idea if it works or not, but, with a minor push towards the stairs, she leaves them alone in the cave.


The moment he's sure that she's gone, Roy rounds on Dick. “I don't know how, but you're going to find Tim, and you're going to fix this. I can't believe you just made him leave.”


Roy has plenty more to say, but he pauses when he sees Dick hold up his hands to stop him. “I'm not the one who went behind my back, and...”


Roy's eyebrows furrow in confusion. “Tim didn't go behind your back.”


Dick glares at him. “I wasn't talking about Tim.”


Roy's eyebrows fly up into his hair line at that. “Wait, what? Me? You're talking about me now? I didn't go behind your back.” At Dick's 'oh really' expression, Roy continues. “Okay, I didn't tell you that I was going to help train her, but that's because you seemed to be so against it. And I can't just not help her, Dick. Look, I'm sorry. I know this seems like you against the world here, but you have no proof that everything that you think about her is accurate, and Tim and I can't just send her back without trying to improve her skills...not when so many of us have died in her world. I thought you of all people would understand that.”


Dick glances down at the ground for a moment. “I do understand it, Roy, but I can't trust someone who so easily influences Tim.”


Roy honestly has to bite his tongue to keep from laughing at that. “Wait, that's what this is all about? She 'easily influenced' Tim, and now you're freaking out? Maybe she just gave a good argument, Dick.”


“Or maybe she's an evil, soul sucking...”


Dick didn't even get a chance to finish his rant before Roy broke out into gut-wrenching laughter. “Oh man, you think that she's evil because she convinced Tim to let her continue to patrol. Wow, I guess I should be happy that I never had such an overprotective big brother. Man, maybe he just likes her.”


Dick shakes his head at him. “That is not what this is about.”


Roy's still smiling like an idiot, but most of the laughter has subsided. “Yeah, whatever, you say, bird brain. I'm going to go upstairs and get a sandwich or something. You should go find the second littlest bird, and talk it out with him. I'm sure he'll tell you all about how he doesn't need the big bad Nightwing's protection.” Roy doesn't pay any attention to Dick's squawk of indignation as he walks up the stairs and out of the cave.


The End (for now)