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Hole in the Wall

"What's that from?"

"What?"

"That."

Dick looked over to where Roy was staring. "Nothing."

"Bullshit." It was a hole in the plasterboard of the wall next to the door, not quite shoulder high and about the side of a baseball. "'Looks like someone threw a punch."

The two of them were sitting on the couch up in Dick's room, 28 Days Later was playing for the seventh hundredth time, they each had a contraband beer Alfred had pretended not to see and Roy was staying over because both Bruce and Ollie were away on JLA business and so couldn't say no.

Roy elbowed Dick in the ribs. "You get pissed about something?"

There was a slight hesitation. "Bruce did."

He turned his head to really look at Dick. "You're shitting me. He never loses control."

"Almost never. That may have been the only time since I've known him, come to think of it." He didn't seem upset about it. Thoughtful maybe, but not upset.

"So…what happened?" This had to be good—the Bat flipping out enough to punch out a wall? Damn.

Dick just shrugged. "I pissed him off, he was about to hit me but deflected to the wall instead." No big deal. Un-huh. Right. And since when was hitting Dick an option?

"And…?"

"And nothing. He walked away, counted to ten thousand or something, came back and we had a calm discussion about it. It hasn't happened again and I doubt if it ever will."

Dick took a swallow of the beer. Well, actually it was ale and primo stuff at that. Maybe they could each get another bottle if Alfred was in a particularly generous mood.

"And…?" Roy was still staring at him.

"And what, Harper? I just told you."

"What did you do that got him so mad?"

Dick shrugged. "Nothing."

"Grayson, spill. This is me you're talking to here. I guarantee there's nothing you could have ever done which I probably didn't do when I was like seven and a half. This is you, Mister Perfect we're talking about."

"I'm not perfect." Dick hated when Roy made comments like that; like he was so wonderful and Roy was crap.

"Whatever. So what do you do, forget to brush your teeth? Get an A- instead of an A?"

"I told him to go fuck himself."

Interesting and out of character for Dick. He almost never swore unless he was seriously pissed off himself. "And why did you do this, I mean, knowing who you were dealing with?"

"Because…" Dick stopped himself. "C'mon, Roy. What difference does it make?"

"Curiosity, dude, curiosity. You're holding out on me here, Richard. Now, the truth." This was so not like Dick. First of all he would never knowingly do anything to make Bruce angry and secondly he would never keep a secret from Roy when he'd been asked a direct question about something. He just didn't have it in him to keep things from his friends.

Cripes, what was he thinking? Of course Dick kept secrets. He probably had more secrets than anyone on the planet.

Dick got up, paced a little between the couch and the window, finally settling his butt on the edge of the desk. He took a breath and started. "I was like fourteen and told him I wanted a week off to go skiing but he wanted me to work on a case. I refused and he pretty much saw red. I refused to back down, he got pretty bent about it. The argument lasted about three days and he finally came in here to tell me to cut the crap, that I'm a professional and it wasn't about what I wanted, there were bigger issues and I should suck it up. I said I was fourteen and even professionals get time off. He said 'Not if they work for me, they don't.' I told him to get fucked and he…" Dick gestured toward the wall. "Then he was so upset about almost hitting me that he never got it fixed as a reminder to himself."

Roy was dealing with the mental picture of Batman so angry that he almost punched Robin with enough force to put his fist through a wall. There was a scene he wouldn't want to personally play out, thank you very much. Christ.

"So, did you go skiing?"

"Yeah—with you, remember?"

"…That trip out to Park City?" The one where Robin was so uptight he couldn't sleep or eat the whole time? That was a fun time.

"Yeah." Dick half sat and half threw himself back on the couch.

They pretended to watch the film for a while.

"So, did he ever try it again?"

"No. And I get a week to ski every winter."

Roy nodded. Good. "'Another beer?"

"Sounds good."

9/9/06