Blossoming of a Friendship

Part Nine

5th April 2009

The door to the West household opened and Wally stumbled inside, his arms heavy with grocery bags.

"Mom! I'm home," he called as he made his way to the kitchen at an agonisingly slow rate. He would've used his speed had he not been fearful of the bags breaking and their contents spilling to the floor. "Mom?"

There was no reply. Initially he'd assumed that his mother had simply not heard him; perhaps she was busy upstairs or too enthralled by her latest sitcom to notice his arrival. After depositing the bags on the kitchen counter, he made a quick round through the has to confirm that yes, he was alone. There was no note stuck to the fridge and no indication that they planned on leaving, but Wally wasn't too worried. He would know if something was wrong. Probably.

When he entered the kitchen again, he picked up one of the bags and began placing the items in their correct places, following the motions that had been long-since ingrained into his memory. He opened the fridge, put the butter in its space, and froze, realisation heavy on his mind. He hung his head forwards and groaned.

"Urgh, I forgot the—"

"Milk?"

Wally jumped violently and spun around, his eyes wide with fear. "Dude, you almost gave me a freaking heart attack!"

Robin grinned from the counter. He was sitting by the other bags and dressed in casual clothes. His jeans were much thinner than anything Wally owned and the drawstrings of his hoodie were uneven. His usual sunglasses were perched on his nose; his ever present attempt at hiding his identity. His entrance to the kitchen gone undetected, as expected, and Wally thought that he really should get used to being scared by the younger. He managed to move with eerily silent and swift motions, which made Wally, with all his clumsiness, somewhat jealous.

"Nice to see you too," Robin replied, and Wally liked to think that he rolled his eyes.

"I'm glad you're okay," Wally said, closing the fridge door and leaning against it. "Batman wouldn't let me see you. I asked, though. A lot. I think he got a little annoyed. Does he—"

"He doesn't blame you," interrupted Robin. "Neither do I."

"Oh. Okay. That's good."

An uncomfortable silence hung between them but neither moved to break it. Wally went back to putting the groceries away and wondering whether Robin was responsible for his parents' spontaneous disappearance. Maybe he'd wanted to talk to Wally alone without the risk of civilians overhearing their conversation.

"So," he started once he closed the last cupboard, "what happened?"

"What do you mean?"

"With the explosion. No one's really told me much; I haven't been on duty since then. I healed pretty fast but Flash said I have to sit out for a while. I don't know if that's a good thing or a punishment."

"Maybe both." Robin hopped down from the counter and took a few steps towards the redhead. "You remember the Ivy attack, right? At the Wayne ball? Well, apparently she told a few of her villain-buddies about our—how did she put it? Blossoming friendship. And, yeah. I think Joker knew I'd go in. We're not really sure, though."

Wally frowned. "But why did he get me? He's the Bat's enemy, not mine."

Robin's shoulders rose in a small shrug. "Change of scenery? Honestly, I've read all the reports and your guess is as good as mine. I've got a couple of theories, though."

"Well, that's good enough for me." He walked towards the door to the kitchen and stood by it, motioning for the other to go through. "You remember the way to my room?"

Wally's room was as chaotic as ever but he didn't move to clean it. With his speed, it could be spotless within seconds, but he knew that Robin didn't mind the mess. They were comfortable enough in each other's presence for it not to be necessary. Robin spent a moment eyeing the new addition to Wally's poster collection. It was a minimalist piece consisting of red, green, and yellow with his own silhouette and R logo artfully crafted around the colours.

Once settled on Wally's bed—Wally on his stomach with his chin propped atop his fist and Robin sat cross-legged beside him—Robin expanded on his earlier statement. "My first guess is that Joker didn't know about me at all and just wanted to cause some trouble. He tracked Flash through you and you through Adam. I know if he was alone. Maybe someone kidnapped Adam and Joker took over from there, or maybe the two events are completely unrelated."

"I guess that would make sense," Wally commented. "Sewers set for demolition must be like a siren's call for psychos. I could'a just been in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"Or," said Robin, "he could've known. Which brings me back to what I said earlier. Maybe he wanted to expand his list of enemies or something, and decided to start with easy prey. You said you were captured when something tripped you at full-speed, right?" Wally nodded. "That could've been anyone but what if Joker knew about us? Maybe he thought that by catching you, he'd attract my attention, and then Batman's, and then the Justice League's."

Wally sighed and closed his eyes, letting his head drop to the covers. He then rolled onto over and stretched his arms above his head as he arched his back off the mattress. "I dunno. It all seems a little far-fetched. He's been interrogated, right?"

Robin nodded and said, "Yeah, but I'm still working on decrypting those files."

"Oh. I guess all that matters is that we're okay." He paused and cracked an eye open. "We are okay, right?"

Robin grinned and moved to join Wally as he spread himself out beside him. "Course we are. You're my best friend, right? What's a friendship without a few explosions?"

"I think I might use that as my new motto for life," Wally said through his laughter. Robin joined him with childish chuckles of his own. "So, have I missed any gossip in the super-world?"

"I wouldn't know. I got benched too and Batman isn't much of a gossip."

"You just shattered all my dreams," Wally replied in mock-surprise. "But seriously, you too? Man, I'm so—"

"Don't apologise," Robin said quietly. "It was my fault, not yours."

Wally stared at him for a moment, unable to decipher the tone he had used. With a small shrug, he continued, "So the hero community know we're friends and stuff?"

Robin gave a soft laugh under his breath. "Neither of us are subtle and it's not like we were hiding anything to start with."

"True," Wally agreed as he turned onto his side. "But I don't even know your name."

Robin mirrored his actions. With a slight hesitation, he raised his hand to his glasses and pulled them away from his face. His pupils contracted as they adjusted to the light and Wally found himself confirming that Robin hadn't lied to him when he'd asked about his eyes all those months ago. He stayed silent as Robin folded the glasses and placed them on the beside table. He returned Wally's gaze steadily, the barest hint of a smile playing about his lips.

"Dick Grayson. Nice to meet'cha."

Wally could help but snigger, which earned him a whack to the head.

"It's short for Richard, asshole."

"Sorry," Wally said, steadying his breaths. He pushed himself up from the bed and sat with his legs folded beneath him. Yet again, Dick followed his lead so they ended up in mirrored positions, their knees touching slightly. "Wally West," he said, holding out a hand.

"I know that," Dick replied, but took the hand anyway. "Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mister West."

"The pleasure is all mine, Mister Grayson."

They dissolved into a fit of giggles afterwards.

ᴥᴥᴥ

Epilogue

9th June 2023

Nightwing's movements were punctuated by muted footsteps and the occasional graceful leap. Maneuvering about rooftops was second nature to him; he no longer feared falling. There were few people around Blüdhaven at this time of night—or, well, morning—which made it the perfect playground for superheroes.

He ran hard and fast with no particular destination in mind. It was a warm night and his hair clung to his forehead, damp with sweat. Some of it dangled into his eyes and reminded him that he really needed a haircut. The air was rancid with pollution and humidity but he'd grown used to it over the years. He was on home-ground; it gave him the advantage.

His duties as Nightwing, both to his city and to his family, had ended hours ago. His uneventful nightly patrol left him with a sizzling energy but limited outputs with which to rid himself of it. Luckily, though, his friends were as insane as he was and one redhead in particular always agreed to Nightwing's plans, regardless of the hour.

"Marco!"

Nightwing laughed loudly, the sound echoing about the air. "Polo!"

It was a modified and somewhat silly game; they were essentially playing a game meant for water but on land, and with more speed and acrobatics.

A red blur zipped past Nightwing on the streets below and halted just before it collided with a wall. Flash had his head turned upwards, trying to peer around the cloth over his eyes. "You're on the roofs, aren't you? Man, that's not fair!"

"Says the guy with the superpowers," Nightwing quipped, leaping from his crouched position on the ledge. He quickly dodged Wally's attempt to tag him. Even through years of training, speed hadn't yet equated to grace or agility for the speedster. "Missed me."

Wally grinned and then pounced at Nightwing, who didn't bother avoiding the attack. They fell to the ground heavily, their combined weight winding the younger of the two. Flash tore his blindfold off with a laugh and sat on Nightwing's chest. "Got'cha."

"Dude, get your heavy ass off me."

"Make me."

Which he did. Nightwing flipped their positions and did a curious motion which somehow left Wally sprawled out on the ground whilst he ascended smoothly to his feet, a victorious smirk curving his lips.

Wally groaned. "I forgot you could do that."

Another laugh sounded and Dick held a hand out to the other. "Come on. Pizza's on me tonight."

"Oh, Dick," Wally said as he took the hand, his voice sickeningly high. "You do know how to capture my heart."

"You're a massive dork."

"I learned from the best."

They walked through the abandoned alleyways, banter bouncing easily between them. The night had progressed so far that the sun was beginning to rise, but neither man cared. They would talk well into the morning and only part at the very last moment. Adulthood had brought new responsibilities for each of them, none of which seemed to agree with their strong friendship. Wally had the Justice League; Dick had his brothers and his city. Time was limited and would not stop for either of them, regardless of how much they prayed it to. They made it work, though. They always would. After all, this was not the end.


A/N- Except it is. Surprise!

So, this thing is over because this seemed like a nice place to end it. Fear not! I have my next multi-chapter fic planned and partially written. For now, though, I hope you enjoyed this.