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Fic: Purple Arrow Chapter 10

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 Chapter Nine

Next Chapter: Chapter Eleven

She's in the shower enjoying the hot water and the way that it's loosening up her muscles after such a fun workout, when Lian realizes something. She honestly can't wait until her next training session with both Tim and Roy. She almost feels guilty for wanting it so badly, since they're both taking time out of their busy schedules to work with her, but Lian can't really feel all that remorseful about it, because it genuinely was the most fun that she's had in a long while. She frankly can't believe how much she enjoyed her training session with both of them. She almost can't conceive why she ever thought that it was going to invoke bad connotations. It's understandable that working on the archery was awkward at first, but she's still surprised at how soon the awkwardness melted away, leaving nothing but easiness and a smile on both of their faces.

Lian is still smiling when she emerges from the shower, humming to herself. The smile remains even after she's dressed in her only pair of jeans and the one shirt that she has--which she really needs to rectify before anything else happens. Lian is thinking about her favorite shops to visit, and she's wondering if they'll be the same in this world. She walks back into the cave proper, and stops. Her smile vanishes immediately when she sees Dick standing there, with Roy staring vacantly at some spot to her left. She can tell that something awful transpired while she was in the shower...she just doesn't know what. As she glances around the cave, the first thing that Lian notices is that Tim is nowhere to be found, and when she asks where he is, the answer that she gets in return doesn't make any of her uneasiness go away, but she can tell that Roy is trying, so she lets him push her towards the stairs.

Whens she gets to the kitchen, Alfred is there--almost as though he was waiting for her. Lian has never been able to figure out how her own Alfred was always right where someone needed him--when he or she needed to talk to with him--but it doesn't surprise her even a little bit that this Alfred seems to have the same trait. Lian sits down at the kitchen table, and sighs heavily. “Alfred, do you think that it'd be better if I left? I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find Superman...I mean, if your Superman is alive...mine is, but it doesn't take a genius to see how different our worlds are. Anyway, I'm sure Superman could contact someone to get me back home, right? I don't have to stay here. I think that maybe it'd be best for everyone. I mean, I wouldn't be a constant reminder to Roy of what he's lost. Tim and Dick would go back to actually getting along, I think. After all, it's not like I really know what happened down there this time, but it's clear that something happened, and well...it's not like I can't handle myself. Maybe...”

Lian stops talking the moment that she feels a warm hand on her shoulder. She turns toward Alfred, and then quickly returns her attention to her hands in her lap. “Oh, I'm rambling, aren't I?” She glances back at him, and when she sees Alfred's raised eyebrow, Lian continues. “It's just that whenever I would ramble on like that, my Alfred would always lay his hand on my shoulder, and it would stop me immediately. I just assumed the gesture means the same here, right?”

Alfred nods slightly to her. “If I may, miss?” She gestures for him to continue. “I don't believe your leaving would improve any of these circumstances. Master Roy will undoubtedly believe that he failed you in someway, and I'm afraid that the situation between Master Dick and Master Tim has been brewing for sometime. Unfortunately, their relationship was strained, to say the least, long before you came to us. The boys have been doing an admirable job of avoiding their many issues, but I'm afraid their inevitable falling out was always going to happen. I'm sorry that you seem to be caught in the middle of it, but know this. You are not the cause of any misfortunes in this house.”

Lian gives him the tiniest of smiles. “Thank you, Alfred. I just feel like none of this would be happening if I hadn't been dropped here like a forgotten bag of luggage.”

Alfred stares at her seriously for a moment. “I assure you, miss, no one in this family has ever forgotten their luggage. I can only hope that the same goes for your family back home.”

Lian laughs at that, and grins a little brighter. “Thanks again, Alfred. Um, would you mind if I hugged you?”

Alfred's eyes soften for a moment, and he opens his arms slightly. “I wouldn't mind at all.”

Lian launches herself into his arms, and only manages not to knock him over by sheer force of will. “You're the best, Alfie. In fact, I think that the only person who can't beat you is another version of yourself.”

Alfred smiles for a moment. “I see even you have become accustomed to using that particular nickname.”

“Huh?” Lian pulls back from the hug, clearly confused before realization dawns on her. “Oh, um, I used to call my Alfred Alfie all the time. You don't mind, do you?”

Alfred stands up a little straighter. “Certainly not, miss. Now, I think it's time for me to start making something to eat for you. I'm sure those boys didn't insist on breakfast before training.”

Lian laughs again, and is on her way out the door when she remembers something. “Hey Alfred, if you're not busy later could we go shopping? I'm kind of sick of only having one outfit.”

“I took the liberty of doing just that this morning. There are some outfits in your closet, which I think will be to your liking, but if you wish for something different, we can leave after you've eaten.”

Lian can't help the grin that breaks out on her face at that, because, of course, Alfred already bought her clothes. What on earth had she been thinking? “Thank you, Alfred. I think I'm going to go try them on now.”

“Very well, miss.”

Lian is halfway up the stairs when it occurs to her that she has yet to learn anything about these people beyond what they've told her, and she knows for a fact that her Uncle Tim and Grandpa Bruce would both be severely disappointed in her if they knew that. She stops for a moment and thinks about what the worst case scenario of her next decision is, and well...it's not like Dick trusts her anyway, and she's pretty sure that Roy will just give her a lecture about respecting other people's privacy...a lecture which is easily thwarted by the fact that she was raised by Bats. Lian has no idea what Tim will think or say, but she's fairly certain that he's the one who will most likely understand her need to do this. At least, she hopes so.

Lian silently creeps down the hallway, stopping at the room that corresponds with her Uncle Tim's room back home, and slips inside to look around. She's not surprised that it's not all that different from her Uncle Tim's room. In fact, the only real difference is the fact that there are a lot more pictures of Dick and no pictures of her. Everything else seems to be exactly the same. It would be creepy if she hadn't already expected as much. Lian continues looking around for a few moments before she moves on. There's not much of interest in the next couple of rooms, which isn't surprising. The set up of which rooms are used and which ones aren't is basically the same as the Manor she calls home.

When she gets to the room with circus posters, Lian knows exactly who's room it is, and she seriously considers just passing it up and moving on. But she knows that if she wants to learn more about Dick, this is the best way to do it. After all, he's probably never going to trust her enough to answer her questions, and she feels weird asking Roy about him. As she slides into the room, she ignores the shiver of eeriness that goes through her. She doesn't like going into this particular room back home, because of how ominous it feels.

It's not completely the same here. After all, it's clear that this room is at least slightly lived in. Lian is well aware that Dick doesn't still live in the manor. He's only here for as long as Bruce is off-world, and his room reflects that, but it's not like its counterpart on her world. That room is a untouchable monument to the Dick Grayson who died there, and every time one of her family members even has to go past it their eyes glaze over with the ghost of their past. Lian honestly believes that it's the worst for her Uncle Tim. Every time he even so much as glances in the direction of that room he breaks a little, and it takes a long time before she gets her Uncle Tim back, and he always looks a little more haunted every time.

Lian wonders how long it's been since this Tim and Dick have just hung out. It was obvious to her the moment that she saw them interact that it's been a while since Dick has been here for anything other than work, but how long exactly, she has no way of knowing. She wants to tell them to stop it--to just put everything aside, because Lian has seen what not having Dick around has done to her Tim, and she doesn't want that to happen here. Her Tim often looks so lost, and it's always clear that the only one who can help him is a big brother whom he'll never get to see again. She doesn't want this family to know what that's like--to have to watch the people they love fall apart a little more each time the missing person is even so much as mentioned, and it's truly despairing to see it happening here while both parties are still alive. Lian wants to shake them both, but she doesn't think it'd do any good. They need each other, and eventually they're going to have to realize it and tell each other such. Lian just hopes that happens before it's too late.

She leaves the room, and heads back to the one she's staying in. Lian won't call it her own room, because it's not. Her room has blue walls with purple accents, and is in a completely different Manor outside of a completely different Gotham on entirely different earth. Lian opens her closet, and looks at the clothes, and nearly burst into laughter--or tears--she can't tell. It's not as though she didn't believe Alfred when he said that she would like the clothes, but it's a little unsettling that she happens to own that particular shirt, those shoes, that skirt, those two dresses, and three pairs of the exact same jeans back in her own world. It's even odder that the garments are hung in the exact same place here as they are in her closet back home. Lian shakes her head, and decides to focus on the stuff that she doesn't have back home. There are some really nice red heels that she would never have even thought of wearing back home. She considers using her time here to branch out, and try new styles.

After Lian makes her way through the closet, she sits on the bed, and just breathes. Before she made it back to this room she seriously considered checking out Bruce's room to see how different it is from her Grandpa Bruce's, but that would be too weird--even for her, so instead she just sits and thinks about what she's learned about the other two. Lian is in the middle of trying to come up with the best way to get Dick and Tim to spend more time together without fighting, when there's a knock at her door. She gets up to answer it instead of just calling to the person to come in, because she always hates it when Uncle Tim or Grandpa Bruce does that, and pauses when she sees Roy at the door.

He smiles at her as though he's trying to calm a skittish animal, and it makes her want to laugh, but she bites her tongue instead. “Um, Alfred wanted me to come and get you. He said that it's time to eat, and he wanted to know what you thought of the outfits he bought you.”

Lian blushes slightly. “I like them...some of them were a little different from my usual style, but I don't see any reason not to try something new.”

He smiles at her a little easier now, and they both make their way down to the kitchen. “Well, that's good.”

The two of them eat in silence, while Lian tries the best way to broach the subject she's been dancing around since Roy showed up at her door. She doesn't want to put him on edge, especially since he seems so relaxed right now, but she can't avoid it forever. Finally, after what feels like forever, Lian sets down her fork, and looks him straight in the eye. “Is Tim coming back?”

Roy glances up at her, but doesn't say anything for a few seconds. “What makes you think Tim isn't coming back?” He finally asks her.

Lian rolls her eyes at him. “Come on, dad. I'm not an idiot I know something happened.”

Both of their eyes widen at her wording, and neither of them says anything for a long moment. After a time, he clears his throat. “I'm sure Tim will come back once he's had time to calm down.”

She stares down at her plate, and just pushes the rest of her food around. It's good, and taste just like all of her Alfred's cooking, which means it's perfect, but she's lost her appetite. “I'm sorry.” She mutters lamely to her plate.

He reaches over, and squeezes the hand she has just laying on the table. “It's okay. It was just a slip of the tongue. I know this whole situation has to be hard for you.”

She nods mutely, before she pushes away from the table. “Well, I think I'm going to go read or something. See you later, Roy.” She forces the last word out like a particularly painful piece of glass.

Lian returns to the room she's staying in, and curls up on the bed with a pillow wrapped in her arms. She presses her face into the pillow and just breathes heavily. Lian can't begin to imagine why she keeps messing up here. She's wondering if it has something to do with this place, because she's never had this amount of trouble controlling herself back home, and every time something like this happens she misses her home more and more.

Lian wants her Grandpa Bruce, Uncle Tim, and Aunt Barbara, because she knows for certain that if she ever had this type of trouble back home they'd be able to give her pointers, or at least tell her what to do. Right now, she doesn't have a clue. She feels like she's free falling, and, for once, Lian doesn't like it. She doesn't know if she's going to be able to catch onto something before she hits the ground, and the feeling is making her queasy. This isn't something that she's equipped to deal with. With every other problem that she's ever faced in her life, she's had either someone there to help her through it, or at least some sort of background knowledge on the topic at hand. This? This is completely new, and she doesn't know how to react. It's making it harder and harder for her to be around the others, which is just making her reconsider leaving.

She knows what Alfred said is true, and she knows that running away is rarely the right option, but she can't help but think that maybe Tim had the right idea. That maybe the best thing to do is to go find someone else to help her get back home. Sure, maybe Dick's and Tim's problem has been an ongoing one for awhile, but that doesn't mean that she needs to stay here, and keep making Roy's life harder.

After all, he didn't ask for some obnoxious 15-year-old to land in his lap, and destroy whatever measure of happiness he's managed to work into his life since his daughter died. Lian is up and reaching for the latch on her window before she can even think about it, but before she can get it all the way open there's someone behind her. She glances over her shoulder to find Dick standing in her doorway looking rather uncomfortable. Lian pulls her hand away from the latch like she's been burned, and is suddenly three feet away from the window. “Um, can I help you?” She highly doubts that Dick didn't notice what she was doing, but Lian has always believed in innocent until proven guilty.

Dick doesn't shuffle his feet, but he looks like he really wants to. “Um...I think we should talk.”

Lian nods, and sits down on the bed again. She's not sure if she's trying to put him at ease, by looking as unimposing as possible, or if she's just trying to make herself feel more comfortable. Either way, the moment she sits back against the headboard he seems to relax. “What do you want to talk about?” Lian isn't good enough to keep the wariness from her voice, and quite frankly she's too emotionally exhausted right now to care.

Dick sighs and starts pacing around the room. “I've been kind of hard on you lately, and I'm sorry. It just freaked me out a little that you seem to have gotten so close to Tim in such a short time. I mean, I've known that kid for a long time, and it still feels like he's a million miles away from me most days.”

Lian just nods again, not really sure what to say. “I...I think it's just easier for him to be around me, because we're closer in age, you know? It's like working with a big brother or something.”

Dick pauses in his pacing to stare at her for a moment. “Yeah, I guess. I...this is going to sound really weird, but I think I was just kind of jealous of you. It's been so long since Tim has treated me like anything more than a coworker, and...well...I guess I just kind of miss it, you know?”

Lian smiles at him shyly. “You miss your little brother.”

Dick stops pacing completely at that, and faces her. “Yeah, yeah, I do.”

“I understand. My Uncle Tim misses his big brother, too. The difference is my Uncle Tim can never get his big brother back.” Lian really hopes that this gets through to Dick, because she really doesn't want either of them to have to face the world without each other.

Dick looks like he's caught between wanting to hug her and hug himself. After a moment or two, he gives in, comes over, and wraps his arms around her. “Want to help me go find Timmy?”

Lian buries herself into the hug, because no one hugs like Dick Grayson--who hugs with his entire body--and it's been a long time since her Uncle Dick hugged her, but that doesn't mean she's forgotten what it's like. She just didn't realize how much she missed it until now. “Yeah, I'd love to.” She squeezes him tighter for a moment, before letting go. “Thank you, and I promise not to do anything you don't approve of.”

Dick smiles at her, and that's almost better than the hug. “Well, then get your gear Purple Arrow. We've got work to do.”

The End (for now)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
lilyoftheval5
Jun. 13th, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
It's beyond fantastic that you are writing more of this wonderful story.

Tim was completely right about Damian and I hope there will be some resolution there.
I also love reading about Lian and Tim (platonic) connection.
All in all, thank you!
brokaw22
Jun. 13th, 2011 05:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading. I'm glad that people are still reading this. Thanks for commenting.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )