The first time Dick Grayson met Wally West, he and Batman had followed the Riddler to Keystone City to stop him from stealing…
Diamonds? Money? Did it matter? Not really, because Dick was eleven, the first child protégé in the superhero business, and there was some crazy fast kid running around, weaving through the Riddler's goons and taking them down with the Flash before anyone could blink.
There wasn't any time to get acquainted because as soon as the bad guys were tied down, Batman whisked him back to Gotham for business, so Dick didn't know that it was actually Wally West that he had met until a month later when he got Bruce to agree to letting them meet each other as civilians.
The first thing Wally wanted to do was go ice skating at Martha Wayne Park.
So Dick stood still on the frozen pond as other families skated past, listening to Wally chatter on.
"It's all about balance," Wally said, doing a circle around Dick. "And don't let your feet go inward, you're just asking to get your ankles broken."
He held out a hand to Dick, smiling. He's nervous, despite his bravado, because Dick can see the twitching in his eyebrows, the fear of rejection in is eyes.
So he doesn't tell Wally that he already knows to skate. He doesn't tell him that every winter, no matter what city or side of the country they were in, he and his parents would strap on some worn-out leather skates and he and his father would race each other for hours around the ice and his mother would teach him to twirl and skate backwards and do jumps without falling.
He doesn't tell Wally that three weeks after they died, Bruce rented out and entire ice rink. It was just Dick, Bruce, and Alfred for an entire day, and somewhere at the end of it, Dick finally smiled something that felt broken but good.
He doesn't tell Wally these things because they aren't friends yet and it wouldn't mean anything real. So he takes Wally's hand and lets Wally pull him around the pond like his parents did, like Bruce does on Sundays when they find the time.
And he figures that if this works out, there will be a day where Dick doesn't have to not tell him.
Dick is twelve and hyper, but Kaldur wants him to stay still for this.
But it's hard to stand still when he wants run and sprint along the beach until he's tired, so he fidgets a little too much and his posture is off so frequently that Kaldur constantly has to fix it.
"Raise your right hand higher for warrior pose," Kaldur tells him and he adjusts accordingly.
He's quiet and still for all of five seconds.
"Warrior pose is boring. Tree post!" He shifts to one foot, the other tucked behind his knee, hands clasped together towards the sky.
Kaldur sighs, something he's been doing frequently as of late. He just wanted Robin to calm down.
"Your foot needs to be placed on the side of your leg." Kaldur helps him find his place. "Or you can do the advanced form."
Kaldur steps in front of Dick, mimicking his stance, only with his bent foot resting higher on his thigh.
They stood staring at each other, until the thought of pretending to be trees alone on this deserted beach was too much to bear for Dick and he fell backwards, giggling.
Kaldur sighs again, but Dick can hear the smile that forms it.
They both fall asleep on the beach, and when Dick whines about the sunburn, Kaldur finds him some medicine and only teases him to the point of pouting.
It comes out of nowhere, when they're on a mission to protect a princes who parents were offed by an uncle.
"You're tiny," Superboy says with a blank expression on his face. Well, actually it would look kind of angry to someone other than Robin, but he knows the technically-younger boy is just confused about something but probably won't say it bluntly without some prodding.
But he's not going to let the comment slide.
"I'm not that short."
"Actually, Rob," came Wally's thoughts over M'gann's link. "You are."
"Let me count the ways…."
"You're the last to know when it rains, the first to drown in a flood, you need a booster seat when you go to a restaurant…"
"Wally, if you find yourself one night covered in honey and surrounded by fire ants, do NOT be surprised."
"I said he was TINY, not short." Superboy interrupted. He looks frustrated now, so Robin gives him his full attention before the Teen of Steel loses it. "You're tiny. Really tiny. Like Princess Zophia tiny."
"…Are you saying Rob looks like a girl? Cuz if so, dude, I though I was the only one."
Superboy growled, then suddenly grabbed Robin's waist, lifting him until Robin was dangling in the air above Superboy.
"You're tiny, like Zophia. Anyone can just pick you up and take you away." Superboy still looks frustrated, but Robin can see the worry underneath it.
"…I would say this was adorable, but the earlier honey comment makes it suspicious."
"Wally!" Now M'gann was joining in. "Stop interrupting!"
Robin was blushing by now, but he knew he had to say something.
"Dude, we've been over this before. Strength isn't everything."
"I know!" He's angry that he can't make himself clear, so he focuses on the words again. "You're smart too. But you're not the smartest. And you're not the fastest. You don't always have the advantage you need."
He goes quiet again, because he doesn't know the words.
Robin watches Superboy and Superboy watches Robin.
Then Dick smiles and says, "Dude, I'm not tiny. I am concentrated awesome."
Superboy's expression flickers. It settles on annoyed but there's a smirk somewhere on his face with laughter just beyond it.
Wally's back on, done with the cutesy shit. "Yeah, so don't worry, Supey. Rob's still got us to defend his honor."
Somewhere, he can hear Artemis laughing in the trees.
"Hey, Freckles. Let's put Tiny in a dress when we get back."
"You guys suck."
He's in the middle of Calculus when there's a horrible rumbling at the front of the school.
Heads turn and faces press up against the windows. Then girls start swooning.
Dick is on the opposite side of the room from the windows, but he doesn't bother getting up. He's running a list of people through his head that could cause that reaction.
By the time he's narrowed it down to three people, there's a messenger at the door asking for him to come down to Student Resources.
Roy is chatting up the receptionist while he fills out a piece of paper. Judging by the way Roy is laying it on thick, Dick assumes that he's here without Bruce's knowledge.
"Hey, short tank." Roy is all smiles and wraps his arm around Dick's shoulders. "Everything's taken care of so that I can get you out of here." He leads Dick out quickly to where he parked his motorcycle.
But Dick is angry and he tries to being snarky first. "Win that in a poker game, did you?"
It's a 2010 Benelli Tre 1130K Amazonas, and Robin is severely unimpressed with it.
But Roy grins and laughs. "Yup. Need to fix the engine though. I'll be able to do it in a few weeks if all goes well." He tosses a helmet to Dick and straddles his bike.
Dick wants to say no, but he's already wrapping his arms around Roy's waist and then they're speeding down the streets and merging onto the highway towards Metropolis.
On the outskirts of the city, they walk into a mini-mart and start piling purchases into Dick's bag. The fifteen different types of candy and five large bags of chips go in and they decide that Dick will hold the plastic bag of soda and water between him and Roy.
Well, Roy decides it. Dick just gives off the aura equivalent of a blizzard.
Back on the bike, Roy changes direction and heads towards the coast. Dick is still giving him the cold shoulder.
The beach they arrive at has a giant white screen blocking the horizon. The sun's setting behind them and Roy curses.
"Dammit, forgot a blanket. Come on, I'll be surprised if there isn't some store around here that doesn't sell beach towels."
Dick puts his bags on the ground and doesn't move.
Dick whipped his head up to look Roy in the eye and snapped, "What's the point of all this? Why are you being so nice? We haven't heard from you since Dr. Roquette and that was months ago!"
Roy stared at Dick for a minute, then spoke carefully. "I quit being a sidekick, Dick."
"Yeah, I get that already."
"But I'm assuming Ollie didn't mention that I also quit living with him and left to go live on my own." Roy stared at Dick longer, watching him scowl and look away. "But I know you're smart enough to know otherwise."
"You didn't even tell us where you were going."
"Didn't see the point at the time. I was angry, Dick. I still am, sometimes. I was on my own, and the first thing I did was buy a crappy apartment in the nicer side of Hub City." Roy snorted. "Not that 'nice' actually means anything in that city."
"I already know that. Me and Wally tracked you."
Roy rolled his eyes. "Figures."
They stare at everything but each other before Roy speaks again.
"I quit being a sidekick, Dick. That doesn't mean I quit you guys."
Dick finally looks fully at Roy for the first time that day, actually listening. He wants to believe.
"Let me try again."
And he does.
"Come on," Roy smirks softly, in a teasing sort of way. His arm sneaks out to hook Dick around the neck again. "Let's go find something to sit on before Wally and Kaldur get here. They're showing classics from the Forties this week. I expect to have you cultured by the time I get you back to Daddy Bats."
The building's on fire and they can't find M'gann.
They also can't find Superboy or Artemis, but M'gann is afraid of fire. Dick remembers when she tried making fried rice for the first time and something had caught fire, causing the food to be thrown across the room and into the TV he and Artemis had been watching.
She had been nearly inconsolable, crying and shaking and sobbing. There were burn marks on her arm but she wouldn't let them touch her. Her uncle came to pick her up and she didn't come back for two days.
It didn't make any sense, Artemis had told him when she and the Martian Manhunter had left. She was fine with the lava pit at Dr. Fate's. Maybe it was because she got hurt?
He shifts an unconscious Kid Flash on his back and looks back at Kaldur. He looks sickly, staggering around. "How are you doing?"
"The last of the water has finally evaporated. I can't help you clear any more hallways," He looks pained as he says this. He sways violently. "I don't think we're going to make it."
"Yes we are, Kaldur," Robin says sternly. "We'll find the others and we'll get out of here. We will make it."
Kaldur looks into his face before turning and shouting out for the others.
"Guys! Answer us!"
There's a crash down the east hallway. Then out of the flames runs Superboy with an ash-coated Artemis on his back. He's twitching with nervous energy and he quickly glances around at the three of them.
"You haven't found M'gann?"
"Our link with her went down twenty minutes ago. We're assuming she can no longer concentrate on finding us." Robin refrains from saying that she's probably so shaken at this point that she can't help herself. "Can you use your hearing to find her?"
Superboy's looks like he's on the urge of panicking, but he closes his eyes trying to shift through the sounds. The roars of the fire, the crackling of wood, the grumbling of falling walls.
A girl's sobs.
They dodge past debris and fire pockets, and Superboy kicks down a door that causes a hidden M'gann to shriek.
She's wide eyed and crouching in the farthest corner away from the fire and the door.
There are burn marks all over her body.
"M'gann! Get over here now!" Robin orders and M'gann scrambles up and over and clasps onto him.
"No. Take Aqualad's hand. Stick close to him. Don't be scared, everything's going to be alright. I promise." Robin indicates to both Aqualad and Superboy. "Stick close to me. I'm getting us out of here."
They run down the hallways until they find the fire escape. Robin has to help kick away some burning debris with Superboy, burning his shins and feet, but they clear the way for Kaldur and M'gann and they run down the stairs to the first floor.
The entire lobby area the stairwell connects to is on fire.
He turns to the group he's leading and asks, "Trust me. We're getting out of here."
They run through the fire and by the time they're out of the building, Robin's skin feels baked and his lungs charred.
The fire department arrives five minutes later to the welcoming party of a very pissed off Robin.
"Where the fuck were you guys? I have four injured here, and I need water for the Atlantian, Kid Flash definitely has a concussion, the Artemis inhaled too much smoke, AND WOULD SOMEONE CALL THE GOD DAMN JUSTICE LEAGUE ALREADY?"
Robin doesn't stop yelling even after he's hoarse until everyone but Superboy is on sent on their way to the hospital. He threatens to have himself sent with them to make sure the medical team doesn't do anything stupid and uses Superboy as incentive and he doesn't let anyone with medical training touch him until he's sure everyone's taken care of and when Batman finally arrives to push him into a bed to let someone take a look at the burns Robin hadn't bothered to notice before.
He wakes up to see Superboy glowering down at him.
"Everyone's fine. Go back to sleep."
He does, and his dreams are bit more peaceful this time.