A/N: Result of a prompt: "Surprise DC Goodness." In continuity with Family Affairs, with vague spoilers for the conclusion of that story, though reading that is by no means necessary. Draws on Young Justice, Teen Titans and Batman canon. All reviews, including constructive criticism, welcome and appreciated. I own nothing. Enjoy.
"When Dick said an apocalypse wouldn't stop them this time," Robin frowned, looking from the ragtag band of costumed people milling around to Alfred standing on the steps up to the Manor flipping through a little black book, Batgirl hovering protectively at his side, "I never thought they would actually decide to get married during one."
"Tell me about it." Greta's hand squeezed his as she shook her head. "Part of me thinks it's romantic, but ..."
Robin turned his head, only marginally surprised to see her chewing her lip. They had all waited for this wedding so long they were afraid to jinx it, especially after it had been postponed three times, but the fact remained that circumstances kind of sucked. Hard. "Not exactly romantic when we're not sure if they'll survive long enough for a honeymoon, is it, beautiful?" Or if we'll survive long enough to see them off. Damn it.
She just narrowed her eyes. "Romeo and Juliet blew, Tim."
Robin blinked. "Huh?" Oh, that sounded smart. Smooth.
"Having to watch two people pine after each other forever just to wind up dead hours after they're married was bad enough when it was fiction. As much as I'm happy they're finally doing this, knowing they might be dead by sunrise--that we might all be dead--just ... when people talk about story book romances, I'm pretty sure this isn't what they have in mind."
Robin scowled. "No arguments here. I'm trying to look on the bright side, though." She raised an eyebrow at him, her whole face lit up with a disbelieving look that would've promised a flick to the forehead any other, less grave situation. "At least this way the wedding won't be a media circus. We can say they eloped."
She furrowed her brow for a moment, then nodded. "At the Tower, behind the security screens. If any paparazzi try to sneak in, we'd have an excuse to zap them." He raised an eyebrow at her. "Just a little bit. Not enough to have smoke coming out their ears."
"Sounds good to me." Robin saw a flash of red out of the corner of his eye, and turned just in time to see Arsenal heading their way, children in tow. He was wearing his shades, no doubt trying to hide just how awful he looked.
"Hey, Mini-Me, Powerpuff," Roy called, voice full of a false cheer that Tim wouldn't have recognized as fake if Dick hadn't taught him how. "I found your number one fan here hiding in the bathroom. Didn't want her to miss the ceremony." His voice lilted up as he said the last word, and Robin knew, despite everything, he was just as excited about what was about to happen as the rest of them. As Roy readjusted his one-armed grip on a sleeping Lian, Traya broke into a huge grin and tore away from his hand, flinging herself at them. "Huh. Not ran into too many ladies that actually want to runaway from me. Must be losing my touch." Robin just smirked at him as Greta shook her head. "Right, right. Shutting up now. Oh," his expression darkened, and Robin felt Greta stiffen even as he squared his own shoulders, "just so you know, Ollie and his team finally made it to Keystone. We move out as scheduled. Gotta give it to Robbie. Hell of a way to kill time." Robin would've responded--he had plenty to say--but just then Traya plowed into them with a "Hi, guys!" and wrapped her arms around them both as best she could.
"Hey, sweetie," Greta said, grinning as she and Robin knelt to meet her. Her grin thinned a bit, eyes narrowing in what Robin knew to be concern. He'd certainly gotten that look enough times after getting battered on patrol. "You okay? You were in there an awfully long time."
Robin just smiled at the latest orphan to find her way into the care of Bruce Wayne, and forced himself not to laugh at their own absurdity. Ofcourse she wasn't okay. The world was trying to end, and she knew it just as well as the rest of them. The real question is, are you going to be able to pretend you are until this is over? But it doesn't have nearly the same optimistic ring.
Traya bounced on her feet, and Robin savored the warm feeling that welled up in his chest at the way the ten-year-old devoured the two of them with her eyes; nervous tension melting out of her and the fear in her eyes receding. At least they still made her feel safe, even if the world was going to hell just outside. "I'm okay now. I was a little queasy, but I didn't get sick. Mr Harper helped. This is all so ... so ..." Her expression crumbled, and Robin had to use all his willpower not to wretch at the desperation in her eyes. Greta started to reach for her, but she quickly calmed, staring at them in confusion. "Why are they getting married now? I mean,right now? This isn't how a wedding is supposed to be at all, and everyone here knows it." Behind her, Roy smiled sadly. "Everyone's so scared," she whispered.
For a moment, Robin couldn't find words. How do you tell a ten year old now isprecisely the right time because everyone's so scared, when you've spent years teaching her not to act out of fear? As usual, Greta swooped in to save him.
"Yeah, sweetie, you're right," Greta said, voice barely above a whisper. Roy could hear, obviously, because his eyebrows shot over the rim of his glasses as his mouth pulled down into a frown. "But the truth is, there are almost no exact, perfect moments in life, and you can't sit around waiting for them. You've got to take the best you can get. Even if it's kind of scary."
"They could put this off because of what's going on," Robin continued, as though they had planned this, "but they're not. They're stronger than that, and braver, and this is their way of showing the universe that whatever it decides to throw at them, it won't be tearing them apart any time soon. And given the amount of crap it's throwing at us right now, I think it's a reminder we all need." And they might not get another chance. But he didn't say that, because Traya was smart enough to know it and young enough not to need her face rubbed in it. Robin saw Roy smiling approvingly at them, and nodded barely in response.
"Do you understand?" Greta asked after a moment. "I know this is complicated." She smirked. "But if love were as simple as fairy tales...well, it'd probably be a lot more boring, to tell you the truth."
Traya screwed up her face slightly in concentration, and finally nodded. "Yeah. I think I get it. It still shouldn't have been like this, though." Her face brightened. "When you get back," the tone of her voice made it clear getting back was an order, and from the way Greta's hand tensed in his she knew it too, "we're having a big party for them."
Roy actually laughed, which was never a good sign, really. "Only if I get to help plan it."
Greta widened her eyes in mock horror and did something to make her golden bangs shake that Robin found both hilarious and strangely mesmerizing. "I ... I think I'm going to have monitor duty that day. In space."
Traya blinked. "But you don't even know when it'll be."
Roy snickered, but they were saved from having to explain why by Raven floating out of the costume vault, smiling softly. Robin still thought she looked half-shocked to be standing there, and he couldn't blame her. Not very many people got a chance to go from demonic-possessed-wedding-crasher-in-chief to Maid of Honor. From somewhere up above, a green bat flew down with a screech and landed on her shoulder. Traya only jumped a little at the noise, and Robin and Greta traded a smile. She had come a long way in twenty-four months.
"It's time," Raven intoned, before turning to look at Gar with a raised eyebrow. "I think Dick would prefer all his groomsmen actually be men for the next few minutes. Besides, there's only one person down here who can pull of pretending to be a bat."
Gar laughed as he jumped off her shoulder and shifted back into his human form. "Admit it. You just want me to be more cuddly."
Raven promptly thumped the back of his head. "Idiot." Everyone knew better than to comment on her grin, or the way one of her arms snaked around Gar's waist. Roy's eyebrows had just grown back from the last time he'd been brave enough to get mouthy.
"Well," the archer in question muttered, a genuine grin breaking out on his face for the first time since this whole disaster had started, "since we are on a tight schedule, I guess I better start waking up the ring bearer." Gently, he began to bounce Lian in his arms as he walked towards Alfred and the stairway to the manor. "Hey, princess. Wake up. Showtime."
Lian blinked up at him and yawned as he carried her off. "Bnuh? Cookies?" Robin chuckled. Even in a crisis Lian never let her priorities slip too much.
"Wait a second," Greta said suddenly, turning towards Robin with raised eyebrows. "If she's going to be the ring-bearer, doesn't she actually need the rings?"
Robin blinked, then felt kind of stupid as he palmed the release on one of his belt compartments and felt a velvet case slide into his hand. "So she does." He turned to Traya. "Hey, sweetheart, can you run this over there?"
"Sure thing," she nodded, swiping the case out of his outstretched hand and bounding across the cave floor after Arsenal. "Hey, Mr Harper!"
"Tim," Greta breathed in his ear, pointing towards the stairs, "look."
He turned his head, only mildly surprised to see that Nightwing had materialized in front of Alfred, looking towards the costume vault expectantly and wearing one of the biggest, dopiest grins Tim had ever seen from someone not coming down off Smilex exposure. Even the bandage wrapped around his head couldn't detract from the tangible joy coming off him. This is really happening. Wow. It was far easier to think about the surreally of the situation than the fact that as soon as the ceremony was over Dick would be going into battle with what was probably a mild concussion.
The costume vault doors hissed open again, but before Robin or Greta could turn to look, Kory had already zipped through the air and landed in front of Alfred, whose eyes had gone misty sometime in the last forty-five seconds.
It would have been cliche to say Robin had never seen her looking more beautiful--and a flat out lie, too. She had changed into the sleeveless purple bodysuit she kept in the cave for emergencies, so she wasn't covered in dirt and grime anymore, but most of her long, red hair was still matted down with mud and more than a little blood, and her split lip looked more swollen than the last time he had seen it, even if the cuts and scrapes on her arms and neck looked far better.
It would have been cliche, but totally true, to say that he had never seen her smile more radiant, or her green eyes glowing brighter, than they did as she stared at Dick, and he stared back with the same intensity. Between the two of them, the room might as well have been glowing. Robin squeezed Greta's hand as she pressed into his side and noticed Traya standing with Superboy and Kid Flash on the other side of the chamber watching with an expression bordering on awe, and hoped she understood now what they had been trying to tell her. Greta started to tear up as she watched, and he didn't bother trying to stem the flow from his own eyes, even when his girlfriend pulled herself away from him as Dick and Kory looked at them, exploding in a flash of golden light before morphing her vaporous form to wear a long, flowing ruffled dress with a smoky crown of roses on her forehead. Somehow, Kory's smile got even bigger, and Robin felt his own cheeks starting to ache as his lips pushed themselves further up. Raven smirked, nodding at the warder.
"Well," Secret whispered almost playfully as she re-solidified her hand and found his again, "she spent all that time looking at bridesmaids' dresses. If this is where she's getting married, one of us should be wearing the gown she picked for us." Robin wondered just how many times Greta had tried on the dress to be able to produce a perfect facsimile, but now was neither the time or place to ask. Dick hadn't put a lot of effort into picking out the groomsmen's clothes. His sole edict, months ago, had been "Wear pants," which hadn't made any sense until Robin remembered Roy and Gar would be in attendance.
Kory and Dick situated Lian, now carefully clutching the ring box, between themselves as Roy and Raven took their places, but something was still missing. Then Robin saw Dick grin at something behind Greta just as the hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he heard the carefully controlled breathing and swoosh of Kevlar against Kevlar that had to mean Bruce had finally arrived. "I love you, Greta," he whispered, turning his head to gaze into her now-glowing blue eyes.
"I love you too, Tim," she smiled back, and then it hit him exactly what they were doing, what was about to happen, and if she hadn't been holding him in her supernaturally strong grip, he might have toppled over then and there.
At five o'clock that morning, the skies had exploded and their world had begun to end. For fifteen hours the League, Society, Titans and Outsiders had struggled just to maintain a stalemate, until Kyle had fought his way into one of the mother-ships orbiting over Star City, and everything stopped. No one was sure what he did, but the explosion was tremendous enough to be seen all the way in China, and the invaders' communications had been so badly scrambled they had been forced to regroup. J'onn had been able to sense enough that he believed they would have at just under an hour to come up with a plan before the attacks began again.
No one had seen the Green Lantern since.
The plan was so exceedingly simple (and unspeakably desperate) that it had only taken fifteen minutes to devise, even if they had to wait until there were only ten minutes to go, because timing really was everything if they wanted to live. No one was really sure if there would be enough time for everyone to get ready, but of course Batman had made sure the team in his Cave, including all the Outsiders who could still stand and all but the two newest Titans, was prepared with plenty of time to spare. Robin had been foolish enough to think they would be stuck waiting around until said two newest Titans had called from Dakota City and requested reinforcements after half the local line of defense had collapsed from exhaustion. A confused several minutes later, Kory had volunteered to join them alongside some League reservists, and she and Dick had retreated into a dark crevasse to have a talk Robin doubted he would ever hear the full details of. Then they spoke to Alfred, and he was rummaging around in the infirmary murmuring about the best way to conduct a ceremony in fifteen minutes until he held a little black book with a cross on it. Shortly after Robin found himself in the (once again) burnt out husk of Wayne Manor digging in the safe under what was left of his bed for a small velvet box.
But now, with a full twenty-eight minutes left to go before they either saved the world or died trying, none of how they got here really seemed to matter. Dick and Kory were holding hands, and Alfred was just beginning to flip through his little book. Nightwing and Starfire were getting married, even if they would soon be splitting up on a last-chance mission one or both of them might not come back from. That took a special kind of courage, and watching them Robin realized it was contagious--already he could feel strength and resolve trickling back into muscles that had for the last several hours run on nothing but willpower and adrenaline. Greta's hand squeezed his tighter and all around him he saw friends and allies straighten and smile, resolve and hope shining even on masked faces. Traya squeezed in between he and Greta's legs as Kon and Bart appeared next to them as they moved towards the group on the steps, the half-Kryptonian's arm linked with Wonder Girl's. And when she smiled up them, Robin knew she felt it too. He took a deep breath, and just then even the stale, faintly guano-scented air felt right.
Twenty-seven minutes to go, and all was silent save the chirping of the bats as they took their places and Alfred began to speak. "Family, friends, we are gathered here today ..."