Disclaimer: They're still not mine. More's the pity. I hope you enjoyed reading it!
It was times like these, Dick thought, when Wayne Manor was at its best - when the talk and laughter of guests filled the big, empty mansion and spilled onto the grounds. On this sunny June afternoon several hundred people had gathered for Damian's wedding, himself and Donna included.
Unlike most of those guests, however, he and Donna had access to the rest of the house, including the rooms set aside for the bride's preparation. He gave Donna's hand a reassuring squeeze, waiting until she smiled before knocking on the door.
His knock was answered with an irascible, "How many times do I have to tell you? You don't get to see her until she walks down the aisle."
The door opened, and Dick grinned at a flummoxed Roy Harper. "Exactly none, since I'm not the groom."
Roy snorted. "If you weren't old enough to be her father, I'd wish you were." Then his eyes widened. "Donna?"
"Hi, Roy." Donna sounded hesitant. "I know it's been a while -"
Whatever she was going to say was cut off on an exhale when Roy threw his arms around her. While they were distracted, Dick allowed himself a satisfied smile. It wasn't often he could give friends a moment of happiness, and he intended to enjoy it while it lasted.
"You look great." Donna sounded enthusiastic, and Dick forced himself not to notice the slight scarring along Roy's jaw that indicated he'd had cosmetic surgery. Donna wouldn't see it, and there was no reason to dampen their happiness.
"And you're even more beautiful than I remember," Roy said. "'Course, you have a reason. Dick there just won the genetic lottery."
"Healthy living," Dick said when Donna glanced at him.
"Yeah, jumping off roofs is so healthy," Roy said, then turned back to Donna. "But enough of him. You wanna see Lian? Maybe you can talk her out of this."
Dick lingered in the hallway while Roy led Donna inside, barely grinning when he heard a squeal that hadn't changed much since Lian was two. Roy's offhanded comment about winning the genetic lottery had reminded Dick of all the people he knew and cared for who didn't know the truth about his aging. In fact, a large number of those people were gathered today to watch the joining of the Bat clan and the Arrow clan.
He'd never do anything so gauche as to tell them here and now - today belonged to Damian and Lian. But it was a good time to think about those connections, those ties, and who he felt could handle the burden of his truth.
The door opened again and Roy joined him. "Testosterone not wanted in there. My grandson excepted."
"Teddy's only four. He can't have that much testosterone."
"He's still a Harper - he's got plenty. And maybe a little from the Wayne side, too."
"So the reunion's going well?"
"Well enough we may have to delay the ceremony." Roy perked up. "Hey, I should go tell them now, so they won't worry."
Dick caught the other man's arm to stop him from doing just that. "Donna won't let them delay it too long. You know that."
"I can hope. How'd you manage to get her to come, anyway? I thought she'd retired and gone home?"
"I was working on a case and needed her help." And Dick realized how little he was willing to share just now. At least with Roy. The thought hurt. Roy had been his friend almost as long as Donna had, but something - perhaps Apollo's sense of truth? - told him that Roy wouldn't be honestly happy at his good fortune.
Who else wouldn't be? Or, more importantly, who would be? Who would - could - he share his life with now?
Roy waited, but when Dick didn't volunteer anything more about his 'case,' the other man clapped him on the shoulder. "Whatever it was about, I'm glad you convinced her to come. One bright spot in the day."
The door opened again, and Donna emerged, smiling even as she dabbed tears from her eyes. "As soon as they get Lian's makeup fixed, she'll be ready."
"Then we should find seats," Dick said.
"Save a dance for me," Roy told Donna, and she nodded.
When Roy had rejoined his daughter, Donna slid her arm through Dick's. "You were right."
"It happens." Dick led her toward the stairs. "On occasion."
"More often than that." Donna paused at the top of the stairs. "Are you all right? You seem … distracted."
"Just thinking. We'll talk later, okay?"
"I'll hold you to that."
Who he could tell about his new status occupied Dick's mind throughout the ceremony and the aftermath of bouquet and garter throwing, first food and drink as a married couple, and toasts from the wedding party. Then the couple's first dance began, and Dick escorted Donna onto the dance floor.
"All right, what's bothering you?" Donna's question was accompanied by a dig of her fingernails into the back of his hand.
"Ow. What was that for?"
"To get your attention. And don't say I had it, because I asked you twice before and you didn't hear me."
Dick flexed his hand and guided her into a twirl to buy himself a few seconds to collect his thoughts.
"I'm thinking about my new … status," he said when she was close in his arms again. "Who can I tell? Who do I want to tell? And what do I want to do with it?"
"Why wouldn't you tell people? Like Tim and Damian?"
"I have to tell them." A grin quirked his mouth. "Having a permanent seat on the board of directors just took on a whole new meaning. Damian will hate it. So will his grandfather."
"Not yet." Dick frowned when the response came quickly, traced it back to its source in his gut. "I need a plan before I tell him."
"It sounds weird that you want a plan for telling your friends. They love you. They'll be happy for you."
"Mostly," Dick repeated. "But not completely. You heard Roy's comment earlier, about winning the genetic lottery. Some of them will be jealous, too, and I have to be ready for the fallout from that."
Donna opened her mouth, presumably to object, then closed it and danced in silence, her expression thoughtful. The music ended, and she made no move to leave the dance floor. "You're right," she said as the band struck up the next song. "I hate to admit it, but you're right."
Dick guided her into the next dance. "It's the opposite of you withdrawing so you wouldn't have to watch people die. Some people won't want to age while I - while we - don't."
"Right again. I'm not liking this trend." Then she laughed. "We should start a support group."
"Sure, why not? I mean, there are several of us - you, me, Clark, and Diana come to mind, and there are others. We're going to face these issues, and having people who understand is a good thing. The Amazons don't, not really. They've been too removed from the world too long. The rest of us, we're involved in the world, and we know each other. We share … memories? Experiences? Just having someone to call and say, hey, this hurts, who'll say, I understand." Donna let out a breath. "I'm not making much sense, am I?"
"You want people to talk to … not immortals, necessarily, not if what Apollo said about Elysium is true. But long-lived people."
"Yes, that's it exactly."
"It's something to think about," Dick agreed as the song ended. This time he escorted Donna off the dance floor. "But maybe not just now. I think Roy's ready to claim his dance."
"You know he's going to ask a ton of questions."
"And monopolize you the rest of the evening, if you let him."
"I won't. There are other people I want to talk to."
"Then enjoy yourself."
"You don't mind?"
Dick shook his head. "I'd planned to patrol tonight - before I knew you'd be coming with me. I can do that, and you can find me when you're all talked out."
Dick perched atop Von Gruenwald Tower, only half paying attention to the streets below. After forty-odd years of Bat-work, patrols were mostly a formality. They served to reinforce the fear in the hearts of criminals and, though Bruce would've hated the thought, the legend of Gotham's cloaked protector.
He freely admitted, at least to himself, that tonight's patrol, while Damian and Lian celebrated the love that only they fully understood, was born from an ingrained superstition. Dick had seen too many happy events interrupted by violence, and tonight's festivities would not join that roster. Not if he could help it.
He'd also admit, more reluctantly, that tonight's patrol served another purpose. It allowed Donna time to catch up with friends without guilt while simultaneously giving him time to think.
"And here I expected you to be stopping a bank robbery or foiling a jewel heist."
Dick looked up as Donna descended to land beside him. "Foiling? People still use words like that?"
"Foil is a good word, and it deserves better than to be stuck behind aluminum."
"What about fencing?"
"It can stay with fencing," Donna allowed. "That's got a long and noble history, too. Aluminum's just … well, the only thing going for it is that it's fun to say. So - no active cases?"
"Nothing major at the moment. We're in a lull between the Infantino mob and whoever's coming next. No more homegrown gangs, though. They know better."
"Boring night, then."
"You were wrong, you know," Dick said as Donna settled beside him.
"You're not looking for a support group. You're looking for a family. Just like I am."
"I suppose I am," Donna said eventually. "Like the Titans were. Or even your Gotham family, though a little less dysfunction would be good."
"No promises. Every family's dysfunctional in its own way."
"That's not all you've been thinking about, is it?"
Dick chuckled. "You know me too well. No, I've been thinking about his gift."
"Whose - Damian's? I thought you said you deeded him the manor?"
"Not Damian's. Apollo's. He offered me one gift."
Donna frowned. "You know the old saying, beware Greeks bearing gifts? It didn't originate with the Trojan War. It originated with our gods."
"I remember Midas."
"Just be careful what you ask for, okay? Careful in your choice, careful in your words. It's Apollo, and he's less capricious than most, but -"
"Donna." Dick cut her off before she could lecture. "I have an idea, and I want your thoughts on it."
"Oh. Okay, sure."
Dick took a breath, let it out slowly, part of him hoping to hear a cry for help. This was what he'd been thinking about - not the idea itself, but how to broach the subject with Donna. But she wouldn't pry, now that he'd asked for her input, and that meant that he couldn't get defensive and refuse to talk when she did. He was good at deflecting questions, but not as good at ignoring honest interest.
"Definitely know each other too well," he muttered. To her inquiring glance, he said, "We've been talking about family, and not being alone. What if I used the gift to make sure neither of us ever would be?"
Donna raised an eyebrow at him. "Joining us at the hip like Siamese twins would make it awfully hard to fight the bad guys. It would also make sex a lot more interesting."
"That was an image I didn't need. I mentioned Midas a minute ago, but I'm really thinking of a different story. You remember the couple that shared their food with Zeus?"
"Baucis and Philemon. A poor couple who shared their meager meal with Zeus and Hermes, after the wealthier citizens of the town had turned the gods away. Zeus destroyed the city, and offered Baucis and Philemon a gift as reward."
"I didn't remember their names, but I do remember what they chose. They wanted nothing more than that neither one should die before the other."
"And you're thinking of that for us?"
"We've been each other's lifeline and confidante so many times. When you died, a large part of me died with you." Dick turned to her, cupped her cheek in his gloved hand. "Call me selfish, but I don't want to go through that again. And you said that you didn't want to watch me age and die."
Donna nodded, and Dick let his hand fall away. "You don't have to decide right now, of course."
"It's an easy decision, Dick. Yes."
"Yes?" He hadn't expected agreement so quickly.
"Yes." Donna smiled at him. "Because whatever nuances we choose, I do love you."
Dick kissed her gently, then glanced eastward. "Cape Carmine's the easternmost point in the city. Or nicest easternmost point, and it's not long until sunrise."
Donna laughed. "So eager."
"Paranoid. Not without reason."
"Do you think he'll answer? Here, I mean? It's not an active holy site for him."
"I think he will." Dick stood and sighted the anchor for his first jump. "And if he doesn't, I know a great all-night diner. We'll go have breakfast."
"I wasn't thinking naked, but you know, if you want to …" Dick grinned at her and dove off the roof, firing his jumpline as he did. Donna's laugh followed him, and however long his life might be now, he had someone to share it with.