Outside Of Each Other

by Lara Wilson

It was a long-standing saying that gossip spread nowhere faster than in the cape community, so the news reached Roy within twelve hours of the act.

Wally wasn't at all surprised at the cursing in three languages coming over the cell phone, and immediately tugged it away from his ear until Roy's yelling dwindled to "...that bastard."

"Yeah."

"Where is he?"

"Probably home by now." Anything else the speedster might have said was cut off by dead- air, and he sighed and pocketed his phone.

Bastard was right.

*****

The two of them had been living in New York City for over a year and neither had tried to contact the other. Roy had purposefully distanced himself from Dick and the hero life, until the offer to join the League had come. He knew some could turn down that offer, but not him. A year away from active heroics had taught him the lesson that he needed it in his life. His worry for Lian, his desire to be a good father, would always exist, regardless of what he did, but her encouragement of him had been the catalyst for his acceptance.

She wanted him to be a hero.

And he needed to be one in her eyes if not anyone else's.

Even though he'd started the Outsiders, recruited its members, and taken them into the seedy underbelly of the business, Grace and Dick had been right. He was meant for something more. He was meant for the world saving.

He was good at it.

And, yet he'd feared rubbing it in Dick's nose, so he'd never attempted to see him. Being one of the few who knew of their faked deaths, he'd followed the exploits and possible crimes of the Outsiders, sometimes wanting so badly to call Dick and talk strategy with him, but something had always stayed his hand. He'd missed him for many reasons, but never tried to make contact.

They'd lived in the same city for over a year and might as well have been worlds apart.

It only took one thing, though, to have the former Speedy so enraged to say 'screw it' and head across the river.

*****

"Master Harper?"

In the hour long drive to Gotham, Roy had managed to bring his anger under control enough that he wasn't outwardly seething. "Hello, Alfred. Is he in?"

"Master Bruce is in the study." Alfred's face betrayed nothing as he stepped aside and Roy passed him, striding quickly down the hall.

"I know the way," he flung over his shoulder, which he then squared before opening the door to a room larger than his whole apartment. The sight of Bruce Wayne sitting behind the desk shuffling through papers enraged him and he stormed across the room, mildly gratified to see the surprise in those usually hooded eyes. "You bastard!"

Batman's eyes went cold and his lips tight as he leaned slightly back in his chair.

"All he's ever wanted was your approval," Roy continued to rant. "All he ever wanted was to be good enough for you. And what do you do? You take his team from him and kick him off!" By the time he was done, his hands were flat on the desk and he was leaning forward, nostrils flaring, face red with anger.

"He ceded the team to me."

That surprised him, but it didn't stop him. "He built the Outsiders into what it is. I don't care if he gave you control, it's his team. His people. Not yours, even if he did name it after your original team."

"You left the team, Harper. This is none of your concern."

"When you hurt my best friend, it's my concern."

"While that is admirable, Dick understands why I made my decision."

"I doubt it. You never have understood him. He's a leader."

Bruce nodded and rose to his feet. "Yes, but not of the kind of team the Outsiders have become. He told me this when he offered me leadership."

"I really doubt he meant for you to kick him off."

"Harper, if you think I don't understand my son, you're wrong. I know what he needs. When was he at his best?"

The term 'son' threw Roy out of some of his anger and he straightened up, a frown on his face. "With the Titans, always with the Titans."

"More so when he led the Titans, until you removed him from the team."

Roy flushed and dropped his eyes. "Yeah, well, he was messed up and that was a mistake. We got past that."

"It was the right decision at the time."

The thought that Batman believed he'd done something right that had ended up hurting Dick was perturbing, but Roy pushed past that. "Dick can't lead the current Titans. That's Tim's team."

"I agree."

Roy frowned even deeper and looked up to meet Bruce's eyes. "Then...what?"

Bruce opened a folder on his desk and removed a piece of paper. "This is where he belongs."

Taking the ivory colored paper, Roy stared down at it in incomprehension. "But..."

"I have taken myself off the active roster and nominated him in my place."

"Does he know?" The anger drained from him, leaving only confusion. The man standing so confidently across from him only ever confused him.

"Not yet."

"Why did you do this?"

"Because he's a hero and belongs in the light...just like you." It was simple answer that spoke volumes.

"He needs to hear that from you," Roy said softly.

"He knows."

"He still needs to hear it."

Slowly Bruce nodded.

*****

Roy spent a half hour in the coffee shop across the street from Dick's apartment, not about to intrude on the meeting between Batman and his eldest son. When he saw Bruce emerge and leave in his car, he dropped some money on the table and headed across to Dick's apartment building. He was nervous.

Over a year since they'd seen each other and they hadn't parted as badly as they had many times in the past, but he was nervous.

There was no excuse for them to be living in the same city and ignoring each other.

Taking a deep breath, Roy knocked on the door and gave Dick a hesitant smile when he opened it.

Dick answered the hesitant smile with one of his own. "What...?" Then he shook his head and gestured for the other man to enter. "You yelled at Bruce."

"You got all that from my presence here?"

"Two minutes after he left? Yeah." Closing the door behind them, Dick turned and found himself in Roy's arms. "Uh..."

"Shut up, Dick."

When Roy called him 'Dick' he was being really serious.

Roy took another deep breath. "Why have we been ignoring each other for a year?"

"We're idiots?"

They grinned. "Yeah, that's true, but now we're on the same team again. We're bound to run into each other."

As Roy's arms slid around Dick's back, Dick lifted his hands to Roy's shoulders. "Speedy and Robin all over again?"

"Just a bit more grown up."

"But, still idiots," Dick laughed.

Roy kissed him and then said, "Yeah."

End

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