Author: IanPhilippe PM
Dick is not sure why he's so irritated at Wally for just one innocent comment... and he has a hard time figuring it out. Dick Grayson/Wally WestRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Richard G./Nightwing & Wally W./Kid Flash - Words: 5,393 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 67 - Follows: 14 - Published: 03-15-12 - id: 7926643
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I own nothing.
The first part of this fic is based on a picture a friend sent me – it's a short comic, basically the same as what happens at the beginning of this story while they watch the TV, Dick onscreen and the team commenting on it. If anyone knows who the original artist is, leave me a comment or a note so I can credit properly.
In hindsight, Dick wouldn't have been able to tell what had pissed him off so much about that stupid little comment. It wasn't like he hadn't heard (or seen or experienced) worse. But somehow, it got to him, and he couldn't figure out why.
They'd been watching TV at Mount Justice, in what the girls started calling the 'club room' – they were supposed to get a mission some time that night, so they were basically just wasting time. Kaldur was asleep, the TV having the usual sedating effect on him; M'gann was giving more attention to Conner by her side than to the TV and Wally was pointing out extremely funny (for him) and slightly retarded (for anyone else) things about the news reporters. Artemis was pretending to watch the news without hearing Wally, but an occasional twitch of her eyebrow let on that she wasn't as deaf to Wally's jokes as she would've liked to be… and Dick was doing his best trying to figure out what the mission would be according to what was on the news.
That was when he saw his own face, Dick Grayson's real, unmasked face, on the TV – some reporters had caught up with him in front of his school two days ago, just after it unfortunately became public that he'd given the scholarship he'd won through having best grades to some girl who couldn't afford going to that school anymore. He'd wanted it to remain a secret, but somehow, the reporters got to that girl first and she blabbed it out, apparently thinking she needed to express her gratitude on a national TV.
So Dick was caught watching himself perform his best 'charming' act for the annoying reporters and answering demented questions. He didn't even think it was that much of a deal, he hadn't needed the scholarship anyway, being Bruce Wayne's adoptive son, but for some obscure reason, the TV people apparently thought that it was some kind of a selfless deed from a spoiled rich kid that deserved attention.
"He looks… familiar," Conner said with the usual scowl on his face showing that he was thinking of something, and Dick froze, wishing the stupid interview would be over soon.
"I think he's kind of cute," M'gann giggled in response, and Dick wasn't sure whether to be horrified or flattered (he settled for a mixture of both and wondered whether he should call it horriflattered of flattrified).
Artemis merely glared… and Wally shrugged:
"A guy like that has GOT to be a dick."
The archer nodded readily and Dick stared at his best friend with a frown. A dick?
He didn't know why he felt hurt at that, and he wanted to say something and figure it out, maybe joke and let it go away, but then Batman called and they were given a mission, and Dick didn't really have the time to think about it anymore.
"Aw man, I'm BEAT," Wally groaned and plopped down on the couch, holding his wrist that got sprained during their mission. Dick didn't say anything – the adrenaline of a fight gone well had seeped out of his system some time ago and all he could think about now when he looked at Wally was that comment from earlier.
He sat down on the coffee table in front of the speedster, who held out his hurt hand as Dick opened the first aid kit and found an elastic bandage.
He'd hoped that fighting would clear the hurt away from his mind, but it had not gone away at all, it was festering like a badly treated wound at the back of Dick's mind and he considered calling Artemis to do Wally's bandages, but she'd been in a foul mood because she'd had to fight her sister again, and stalked off to her room cursing under her breath the moment they'd landed at Mount Justice.
Conner and M'gann cleared off impossibly fast as well and Kaldur went to talk to his mentor… so the mission of getting Wally's hand fixed was on Dick.
Wally hissed when Dick tightened the bandage, and kept on hissing through the process, until finally, he huffed:
"Y'know, you could be a bit gentler. It hurts, dude."
"Can't help it. After all I'm a dick," he snapped in response before he could control his mouth, and he felt Wally's stunned silence practically slap him in the face. Dick fastened the bandage and carefully kept his eyes down as he closed the first aid kit again and stood up to clear off before Wally could say anything.
However, he wasn't so lucky. Wally caught him with his healthy hand, his fingers bony and cool on Dick's wrist, and Dick swallowed:
"Let me go."
"That's what this is all about? Why you didn't aid me back there?" Wally asked quietly, his voice strained and just a bit irritated, and Dick scowled. If there was anyone who had the right to be irritated, it was HIM, and not Wally, because it totally wasn't Dick's fault that Wally got his wrist sprained. Dick did what he could, and if he'd helped out Conner instead of Wally on that mission, it was because Conner needed it more, not because he'd be offended or something… he wasn't a stupid brat, after all. He WASN'T, no matter how petulant and pointlessly angry he felt at the moment.
"If you want to blame it on someone, blame yourself," Dick grunted and tried to pull away from Wally's hand, but the grip tightened and Dick glared at him properly – he didn't want to fight Wally, especially not when the speedster was injured, but something in Dick was bubbling up, something nasty and dark and poisonous, and he knew that if Wally didn't let go in the next second, Dick WOULD hit him.
"Let. Me. Go," he repeated darkly, and something in his voice must've gone a bit Batman-y, because Wally obeyed – but stood up as well, which gave him an unfair advantage to stare down at Dick.
"Seriously, dude? You're so ticked off about a stupid joke I made? That's not like you," Wally frowned and Dick glared back.
"What do you know about what's like me anymore?" he hissed, the old, anonymous hurt over Wally spending more time with Artemis lately resurfacing and mixing into the new, offended irritation. Dick hadn't even known it bothered him so much, or he'd hidden it even from himself successfully, but now it burned in his eyes and at the back of his throat and all he wanted was to yell all of it at Wally and let the speedster deal with it now, because it was ALL his fault.
Wally merely blinked, and Dick wanted him to yell too, or laugh at him or get angry or have any kind of a reaction except that blank stare.
"Why don't you go after your girlfriend, she seemed to be in need of a talk more than some dick," he spat at Wally and stalked off, unable to deal with this crap anymore.
Only it wasn't so easy to walk out on a speedster. The older boy was at his side before Dick even reached the doorway, blocking his path and frowning:
"If you don't want me to think of you as a dick, you're going about it wrong," Wally grumbled and Dick frowned as darkly as he could.
"Get out of my way."
"No!" Wally exclaimed and caught Dick's shoulder again, holding him in place. Something welled up in Dick again and he slapped Wally's hand away roughly.
"Don't push me."
"Dude! You're my best friend, I want to know what the fuck is wrong with you!"
"Go cry to Artemis and leave me alone!" Dick yelled at him and pushed at his chest to get him out of the way. Wally must've been shocked enough to not pursue him again, because Dick was truly left with enough space to stalk to the zeta tubes and get back to Gotham.
He didn't sleep much that night, and the darkness brought neither peace nor answers.
"Master Dick, you have a visitor," Alfred announced and Dick looked up from his books with a frown.
"Tell Wally I'm not here."
"He asked me to tell you that he checked with Master Bruce beforehand. In his exact words, 'tell Dick that I called Batman to know if he's here so he better stop pretending he's not, because that call cost me at least five years of my life'."
Dick felt the need to snap back at that, but it didn't have the same effect if Wally was not there to hear it, and being rude at Alfred, even it if was meant for another person, did not seem like an option.
With a sigh, Dick rubbed the bridge of his nose in a tired gesture.
"Let him up then."
He only had a few seconds before Wally raced up the stairs, and it wasn't really enough to think of anything to say.
Wally didn't give him the chance anyway.
"Are you still sulking?" the speedster entered with a snicker, then raised an eyebrow: "Apparently you are."
"That's not really a good way to apologize," Dick retorted snidely – just seeing Wally again stirred the same ugly something in him that had overtaken his actions yesterday. Dick didn't know how to cope with it at all; he and Wally did fight before, but it was usually just a matter of minutes, stupid little arguments that were more teasing than anything else. This felt different, more serious, and Dick really couldn't explain it, but… he couldn't just wave it off either.
"Excuse me?" Wally huffed and sat down on Dick's bed, staring at the younger boy at his desk. "If someone needs to apologize, it's not me."
Dick scowled, and felt a little naked suddenly without his glasses or his mask. He'd never had that problem with Wally before, but now, he felt vulnerable, exposed.
"Oh? What exactly should I apologize for? You calling me a dick or you hurting yourself and then blaming it on me while I bandaged it for you?"
"How about you acting like a perfect example of a dick?"
"Don't you have a date or something?" Dick growled, because he really, really didn't feel like having this discussion with Wally now, since it apparently wasn't leading anywhere.
"Just so you know, me and Artemis, we're not dating."
"Certainly didn't seem that way from your numerous comments about her boobs," Dick snorted. It was getting a little irritating, really… Wally was behaving like a dog in heat and it was a bit sad to watch. Sad and very, very annoying.
The speedster blinked, again that surprised expression as if he didn't know what Dick was talking about, and Dick felt like hitting him over the head with something.
Unfortunately his desk was too far away.
"Did you want something?" Dick asked bitingly after a few seconds of tense silence, and Wally was just about to reply, judging from his open mouth (or maybe he was just gaping, Dick thought snidely) – but Dick's comm. beeped on the table and interrupted.
It was another mission, and Dick stood up with a frown at his… friend.
"If you don't have anything to say, I'm going to do something useful with my time. You should go home."
"I can handle myself," Wally frowned back, and Dick smirked at the bandage on Wally's wrist:
"Really? Didn't seem like that yesterday."
Oh he knew he was being hurtful on purpose… but somehow it felt good, and Dick wasn't going to think about it too much for now, even if he did pretend to not hear Wally's muttered 'dick.'
They walked to the zeta tube in a stretched, irritated silence.
Wally ended up getting hurt again, and this time, the various bruises, scratches and electrocutions weren't Dick's fault at all.
Not that he'd admit that the wrist was a tiny little bit his fault. It wasn't. Just… this time, it was even LESS Dick's fault.
Not that it mattered much – the villains got away and Batman yelled at Kaldur quite spectacularly, something about how he should be capable of managing his team after three goddamn years.
Kaldur turned to Dick after that.
"I don't know what your problem with Wally is, but you two should resolve it soon," he said, and Dick scowled at him:
"I don't have a problem with him."
"You apparently do. Make it work," Kaldur shrugged.
"You're not my dad or my guardian to tell me who to be friends with," Dick huffed arrogantly, and he was vaguely aware of how childish he'd just sounded, but… he didn't take kindly to people telling him what to do or whom to talk to, and right now, he didn't really feel like talking to Wally at all. And in his opinion, Kaldur had no right to demand otherwise.
Apparently, Kaldur had a different opinion altogether:
"Exactly. I'm your team leader, and as such I request you do not put our missions in jeopardy because of personal disagreements."
Dick took a deep breath at that. WHAT? Why was everyone blaming him?
"It wasn't my fault! I didn't even look at him!"
"Exactly," Kaldur repeated, "and you need to cooperate. That's my final word: solve your problems, or I'm not taking either of you to the next mission," Kaldur warned and stalked off, and Dick was left huffing on his own. That was SO unfair. It wasn't his fault at all, and now even Kaldur turned his back on him. Not take him to the next mission? HA. Like they had a chance without him. Good luck hacking into all those surveillance systems and security codes.
He threw himself down on the couch and stared at the blank screen of the TV. Tsche… so he was a dick. Whatever. At least he was useful and not getting hurt all the time and-
"Can I talk to you for a second?"
Dick turned his head to glare at Artemis.
"Yeah. Now the second's gone. Bye."
She snorted and sighed, and Dick wondered what the fuck she wanted from him. Maybe put in a good word for her boyfriend dearest.
"You know, Robin… Wally-"
"So he sent you," Dick sneered bitterly – didn't West have the balls to face him on his own? Did he have to hide under his girlfriend's proverbial skirts now?
"He didn't," Artemis frowned, "and will you shut up and listen?"
"I'm not good at shutting up. But I can try listening if it's good," Dick grumbled, and she smirked:
"It's good, I promise. So… you see… Wally's worried."
"About his inability to keep out of danger's way?"
"That was cruel, Robin," she frowned and sighed again, running her hand over her face. Dick looked at her – what was she trying to say? Okay so he was being a bit nasty on purpose. But West had started it.
She glanced up again, and there was a slight blush again, and Dick really, really hoped this was not going to be some sappy heart-to-heart about how Artemis loved Wally and how Dick should be nicer to him or something, because Dick was sure he'd throw up right there.
"You see… me and Wally… we're not really dating."
Dick raised an eyebrow with a snort:
"Did he put you up to this? Go tell him I don't care, he's free to date whomever he wants."
And he didn't care. He had no REASON to care, really, not like he was Wally West's keeper or something. Dick was JUST his friend. Once a best friend, maybe, but they were older now, and Wally was free to do whatever the fuck he wanted. Right?
Artemis merely groaned in response, covering her eyes with her hand again.
"Robin… you're the stupidest, most hard-headed jerk I know, you know?"
Dick frowned at that.
"Now THAT sounds like something he'd say," he snorted cynically, sure that Artemis wouldn't know how to take that comment, but he didn't care. "Just… go away, okay?"
The archer scowled and scooted closer on the couch, staring intently at Dick:
"Not until you at least pretend to listen, you idiot. We're not dating," she repeated, her voice low as she looked around to make sure nobody was listening. That intrigued Dick enough to stop sulkin- NO, being rightfully irritated – for a moment, and really look at her.
"I know," she waved her hand impatiently, and sighed, "I… asked him. To pretend. I… damn, this is embarrassing… if you tell anyone, I'm shooting you, Robin… I like someone else," she blushed a deep, scarlet red that made her face practically glow, and Dick couldn't help but raise an eyebrow.
"You like someone else… so you date Wally…?"
"Yeah," she muttered, staring down at her hands folded in her lap. "We… both like someone else. Not each other. I wanted to make h- that person jealous. And it seems the only jealous one here is you, so… go talk to him?"
Dick stood up at that, frowning:
"I'm not jealous. And I don't care whom he likes. None of my business," he grunted before walking off with fists clenched at his sides. So Wally liked someone else. Who? Dick couldn't help but feel hurt again. Until recently he'd considered Wally his best friend. Wally knew his true identity, more than Dick let anyone else except Bruce know. It felt empty without Wally in his life, but he'd tried to be understanding, okay, Wally wanted to date some girl, okay… but finding out that it was just a charade and Wally really liked someone else, that the speedster lied even to Dick… that was a low blow and it was suddenly a bit hard to breathe, because it felt like Wally was walking away and Dick felt a little desperate.
But if Wally wanted it this way, that was his decision. Dick wasn't going to crawl to him and beg for attention or truth or explanation or anything. And if Wally thought that sending Artemis to explain instead of him would help, he'd been WRONG.
Dick had just stepped out of the zeta tube in Gotham, when he heard someone behind him, or more like sensed someone's presence. His first instinct was to tense and prepare for a fight, but then he recognized the voice when the person spoke:
"So I hear Artemis talked to you."
A frown settled immediately on Dick's face – in the course of the past few days it became a natural reaction to Wally's presence, apparently.
"You could've just sent a letter, no need to send a whole girlfriend, even if she's a fake one," Dick's tone was biting, and he found strange delight in seeing Wally wince.
"So… she told you."
"Yeah. Not like it changes anything."
Wally's eyebrows flew up at that:
"No," Dick shook his head and shrugged. "You're free to like whomever the fuck you want to," he finished and wondered why it sounded (and tasted) so bitter coming out of his mouth. It was true… Wally was free to do whatever, date whomever, like or hate on his own free will… and lie to anyone. Even Dick.
"That's… I… I don't get it," Wally spoke softly, and Dick took a step back when Wally made an attempt to approach.
"You don't get a fuckload of things, apparently," he hissed at his ex-best friend who was so quick to move and so slow to think, and Dick was pissed-off to enormous levels again and he didn't know why Wally had that effect on him, but he just wanted to… do something. Hurt Wally, make him go away, or turn back time and go back to how they used to be before Wally had decided he needed a fucking girl to tail him at every move. "But you know what? I don't get some things either. Like why the fuck couldn't you just tell me!"
He'd never given Wally any reason for mistrust, did he? Of course, he joked around a lot, but he'd never do anything to compromise Wally's confidence in him and… it hurt, it ached with crazy, searing insistence inside of Dick's chest to think that Wally didn't trust him anymore.
Wally was frowning and walking closer, apparently pissed-off too, or just frustrated and exasperated as he threw up his hands in a gesture of helplessness:
"I couldn't! You were too young! You're still too young! And-"
"Don't you dare fucking bullshit me about my age, West! If I'm old enough to fight evil alongside Batman, I'm old enough to hear YOUR crap from you too!"
"That's another reason why I didn't tell you! You spend all your free time with Batman-"
"So now it's not just mine, but HIS fault too?"
"No, it's still YOUR fault mostly, 'Dick'!"
Dick took a deep, hissing breath at that, then frowned darkly:
"You know what? Fuck off! If all you can do is blame me for what YOU do-"
"What I do? What I DO? What did I do so horrible that all you do lately is yell at me? Is it because of that? Did you already know? Oh god, of course you knew, you're so fucking smart all the time, you knew and you hate me…" Wally's fingers raked through his hair, his face even paler than usual in the neon lights of a Gotham evening, and there was sheer desperation in his eyes as they jumped around, not stopping on Dick at all.
Dick felt something in him move, from anger to helpless desperation as well, because he didn't fucking know what to say anymore, and even if Wally thought he was 'fucking smart', right now he felt like the dumbest idiot in the world, because the best fucking thing in his world (except maybe Bruce) was ending in front of his eyes, hurtling into some abyss and Dick did not know how to stop it.
It felt very much like seeing his parents fall all over again.
"I didn't know anything," he admitted, eerily quiet, as he looked at Wally. "I still don't know anything… and you fucking lied to me," Dick's voice increased in intensity as he scowled again, pointing accusingly at the speedster and not really thinking about what he was yelling anymore, "you LIED to me, you told me you dated Artemis and now she said you liked someone else all along and you didn't even tell me? I'm your fucking best friend, man, or I thought I was, and you should've just told me because you were spending so much goddamn time with her and now I learn it wasn't even because you LIKED her?"
Wally merely gaped at him and his hands slowly fell from his hair. Dick breathed heavily, staring back at Wally for a few seconds before he snapped again:
"SAY something, goddammit! You just pull away from me like that and go to your fake girlfriend, and who the fuck can you like that you couldn't tell me? M'gann? Zatanna? Was it because you thought I liked Zatanna, because that was more than two years ago and I was just a kid and you're free to date whomever you want, just don't lie to me again, because it fucking hurts-"
He didn't see Wally move – he was too fast for that. However, Dick DID notice where Wally moved, because it was into Dick's personal space and Wally's hand was on his face, on his cheek, and Wally's mouth was covering his and Dick's eyes widened at that. What the fuck… he didn't know how to react, so he reacted in the only way he did know.
"Ow," Wally hissed as he broke away to protect his ankle, "dude, you KICKED me," he pointed out blankly and his face was red just like Artemis' had been before, and Dick could only stare and let his mind process what had just happened.
"Well, you KISSED me, I think I have dibs on shock here. Or on being flattrified."
Dick just shook his head at that, touching his lips absentmindedly as he glanced at Wally again.
"Why did you do that?"
Wally sighed, ruffling his hair again – it was beginning to look like a bird's nest, and something in Dick's chest squeezed at that phrase, because he was horrified enough, but he was definitely more flattered and his heart was hammering in his chest and his mind was trying to not skip to any conclusions, but… the anger from before was gone, replaced by confusion and by something Dick didn't know… but it was less violent and more… warm.
"I think that's kinda… obvious," Wally muttered, and Dick snorted:
"Like you dating Artemis?"
Wally groaned and crouched down, his head in his hands.
"You're never gonna let me forget that, are you…"
"Depends on your answer. So. Why?"
Wally groaned again, and for a few seconds, the silence stretched between them like another dimension, filling with expectation and confusion from Dick's side and frustration and embarrassment from Wally's.
"I… like you," Wally muttered in the end, and Dick's heart – and world – stopped as he stared at his best friend, crouching on a dirty road of Gotham and looking absolutely desperate and having a light bruise on his jaw from that battle earlier and Dick wondered if he was in some alternate dimension due to some villainous plan again.
But the screeches of cars nearby sounded real enough, and Dick realized that he was gaping for some time now and that maybe… maybe he should somehow answer what Wally'd just said.
"I assume… not just like a friend…?" he asked, and it was stupid, because nobody would blush like Wally was blushing just from a friendly 'I like you man, like, a best buddy or something.' But he needed to hear it again, for some reason. Wanted to hear it again.
"No," Wally whined and stood up, rubbing his eyes. "And judging from the kick, it's not mutual so… that answers your question why I didn't tell you before."
Dick blinked, then frowned:
"Hey, you kinda jumped me there. I was mostly surprised."
Wally looked up, and the hope in his eyes shook Dick to the core.
"So… you don't… dislike me? It? Me?"
Dick shrugged, sticking his hands into his jeans pockets, because he suddenly didn't know what to do with them.
"I… no. I guess. So… you thought I'd hate you…?"
Wally shrugged right back, scratching the back of his head as he looked around.
"Well… yeah… kinda. Artemis and me, we just dated to see if we had a chance with the people we liked."
Then, Wally's grin turned wide as he looked at Dick, and Dick thought that he wouldn't mind being looked at like that for the rest of his life, like he was the only thing in the whole world that Wally could see.
"I guess it worked for me," Wally added with a chuckle, and Dick's mouth quirked into a small smirk as well.
"So you don't mind me being a dick after all?"
Wally groaned at that:
"I didn't really mean it like that, even though…" he snickered, "you are sometimes. But as long as you're MY dick-"
He stopped at that, and they looked at each other… then, they both burst out laughing, until they couldn't breathe. Dick wheezed with his giggles, trying to catch some air in his lungs, and he thought that it was nice to finally laugh with Wally again… and that he wouldn't mind being kissed from time to time if it meant he'd get Wally back, his best friend, his confidante, his lifeline that anchored Dick to a normal life, to a life of a human being instead of just a vigilante superhero.
"Man, you seriously need to work on your romancing skills," Dick sniggered and Wally pouted at that:
"Well I'm new to it."
He scratched the back of his head again, making his hair stand up a little bit more if that was even possible now, and he looked at Dick with insecurity that was so out of place on his face that Dick almost shivered again. He hadn't known Wally still had things to surprise him with, expressions Dick hadn't seen before, words Wally had never said so far… and Dick couldn't help but look forward to seeing and hearing all of it now, knowing Wally more than ever before.
"So… it means you're saying yes…?" Wally mumbled almost inaudibly, and Dick shrugged a little, his stomach doing those strange triple back-flips again.
"I'm not sure what you're asking."
"Um," Wally said, and it wasn't really a question, so he tried again, "will you… go out with me…?"
"Maybe," Dick shrugged, because it was all too fresh and too new and he felt himself blush as well when Wally asked that, but 'no' didn't seem the right answer at all, and 'yes' was a bit too embarrassing for now.
"Can I… kiss you?" Wally muttered incoherently and Dick almost didn't hear over the sound of his own heart thundering, but he nodded, slightly, and swallowed nervously.
"Without being kicked?" Wally joked, but Dick could see him rubbing his hands together, which meant he was nervous as hell usually, and his smile was tentative at best too.
"Depends on how good you are," Dick joked back, and his own palms sweated too and he shivered uncontrollably when Wally stepped to him, so damn tall. Dick felt like chuckling a little bit, more nervous than amused, when Wally's face came closer and Dick could feel his eyes glow in the evening lights, and his skin was warm and flushed and his lips were soft and slow and trembling when he kissed Dick, just a touch of lips that lingered and neither of them could really move, overwhelmed by their emotions. Dick still didn't know what to do with his hands, so he placed them on Wally's waist tentatively and he could feel his own shivers as well as Wally's, and the speedster touched his neck and Dick breathed out softly. Wally's lips moved a little and Dick's stomach did a somersault and he breathed in again, and it was all soap and skin, all Wally, and Dick thought that he could definitely get used to this, and that he was glad, so glad, that Wally liked him instead of some girl.