title: Ice Cream
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Dick/Garth, past Dick/Bruce, Titans, batfamily
rating: Mature
warnings: mentions of underaged sexual behavior, bad writing
summary: Another take on a Nightwing/Tempest relationship, and how it came to be.
notes: couldn't think of a title that made me happy then i heard the sarah maclaughlin song 'ice cream' and decided it was the perfect song for the boyz. continuity: borrowed from here and there, put it together and made my own little world.

"Are dolphins happy?"

"Hmm?"

"Are dolphins happy?" more slowly.

"You ask very strange questions at two in the morning. Go to sleep."

"I saw a picture of dolphins jumping in the water at sunset today, and I thought, 'they look really happy, what a great life' but then I thought, maybe it's like bird song, you know, where it's really beautiful and inspiring but to the bird it's a way to 'mark' their territory. So I started to wonder if dolphins were really happy, and then I thought, 'Well, Garth probably knows.' So?"

"You're insane. Go to sleep."

"Garth?"

Sighing, I turn to look at him, my eyes bleary from exertion, feeling pleasantly dirty all over and just happy for the peace and quiet. He does ask the strangest questions though. "I suppose, generally speaking, most of the dolphins I know are content. Their lives are not all play, of course, with the constant threat of habitat destruction and the hunting..."

"Yeah, yeah, we landlubbers suck rocks. But generally, they are happy?"

He is always so flippant. It is a large part of his charm. And it is very annoying. But, sadly, in a charming way. "Yes, generally, they are happy."

"Good." He snuggles close to me and my eyes close of their own volition. I kept thinking when we had first come together, 'I can now die happy.' I will never die happy, now, because how could heaven be better than this? It can only be this forever, and then where would the anticipation be?

"Sleep now."

He yawns, his warm breath on my neck.

"I need to get a snack. It's been a tough week." He has been working every day in one uniform, every night in another, barely stopping long enough to keep the two straight. Someday, he is going to go to work with his gauntlets and boots on over his 'blues' or out on patrol with his cop shirt tucked into his kevlar pants. Actually, I have a fantasy about his cop shirt on over his kevlar pants...

He kissed my temple before slipping out of bed, and I get a beautiful eyeful of his naked back as he walks to the door. He is never self-conscious, but then, why would he be?

I bury my face in the sheets, which are sweaty and damp, as we usually start in the pool or the tub or the shower or the jacuzzi... Naturally, I have a thing for water sports.

It's hard to believe in times like these that he will come back. That he won't stand in front of the fridge wondering what happened to all his lunch meat, smack his hand to his forehead and say 'Dear God! What the hell have I been thinking? Garth?!?' He always does, though. And last week... last week he swore to me that he would always be by my side for however long I would allow him to be. As if I were in charge. As if I would ever be able to live without him in my life. He swore it, like a vow, right after a whole night of particularly mind-numbing sex, but then, I've noticed that that is usually the only time he is serious.

I snuggle into the sheets, and let my mind play back over the road we traveled, that brought us to this point, knowing I won't sleep until I have him back in my arms again.





When we were young, I used to look up to him as an idol, as the very model of what a person should be. I wanted very badly to be an integral part of his life. I wanted him, too, but I was too afraid to really desire him. What I wanted was so much more than sex; I wanted him to respect me as I respected him. That naturally lead to wanting him to want me as I wanted him, but it seemed almost... sacrilegious to lust after someone I loved so much. Even if I was too young to know what love was.

Our growing up was hard. Each of us, Teen Titans we called ourselves, but we didn't come together to save the world, not really. We came together to save each other, though I didn't understand that at the time either.

It was several years after we had all parted before I realized how much he did respect me, had respected and loved me all along. I didn't realize that our little hallway conversations were usually full of small details about himself he never told anyone else. Didn't realize that I was usually the only one who ever wondered if Robbie needed to unwind, or let off steam, or rant or whatever. Didn't know that the reason I thought he didn't respect me as I wanted him to was simply because I didn't respect myself as he and so many others did.

I know I was the only one who knew that he and Bruce were lovers, way back then. We were 17, and by Pallais, looking back it is a sheer miracle we survived. Him most of all. Even if Roy was the one who nearly killed himself with drugs before admitting he needed help, Robbie was the one waiting up by his side the whole time he went through rapid detox. Beating himself up for not knowing sooner. Still finishing all his homework on time, perfectly. Still being our leader, the Bat's partner, the perfect teen. It's a wonder he didn't jump off a building and 'forget' his jumpline.

We had been out, an emergency, just after Roy had left the hospital with Oliver Queen, which had also made Robbie mad since he blamed Roy's guardian almost as much as he blamed himself. We were all exhausted, and short tempered, and not really in the mood for post-adventure socializing. But still, I asked Robbie if he'd like a swim. He relaxes by exerting himself beyond human limits. Something that used to worry me. Now, I thank the lucky stars...

Afterwards, we were sitting by the pool, and he actually let me massage out some of the kinks in his back. He turned to me suddenly and asked, "Do you love Tula?"

"Of course. What a strange question."

"I mean, are you in love?"

"Ah. You mean, romantically?"

"Yeah! You two seem so close, so great..."

"We are. We are only friends. I don't see her that way."

"Oh."

"What's wrong?"

He chewed on his lip and held himself close. "I don't think I believe in love anymore."

"Robbie?" It worried me seeing him like this, so tense and worried and hopeless. "Why would you say that?"

He looked away, and I saw such pain...

"I've been sleeping with Bruce."

I was so naive back then. I actually had no idea what he meant until he explained. "Why would you sleep with Bruce? Nightmares?" I actually thought his experience with Roy might have sparked something.

He ghosted a smile. "Well, at times, that has been a bonus, yes. Then there is the sex. That would be the main reason we sleep together."

I was totally shocked. I physically hurt. But the pain on his face...

"Is it... you are... you chose..." I couldn't even frame the question at the time.

He sighed, and suddenly unburdened himself. I still remember every word, every nuance of that night.

"I used to be so sure. I knew what love was, knew what I wanted, knew what I needed. And you know me, I go after what I need. A year and a half ago... I just went after it. Was totally floored when he took me up on it. I mean that literally, we were in the Batcave, he just leaped on me, we were on the floor... and that's probably more than you needed to know." His blush has always been beautiful. "I knew it would be difficult. Being gay, well, I'd be that even if it wasn't Bruce, but still... it's not easy when we're supposed to be horny teenagers lusting after every curve. Hiding. And being with Bruce is illegal, so we can't let anyone, not anyone, know. More hiding. And Alfred doesn't approve, heartily disapproves, so even in the house, we have to be discrete, to not throw it back in his face. More hiding. As if being Robin or Dick Grayson or whoever the hell I am isn't hiding enough."

He was really working himself up, and it occurred to me when he couldn't look me in the eye, couldn't keep his voice steady, that this was the first time he'd said these things aloud.

"I love Bruce. I do. But it is so hard, so hard. He... he loves me, but it is so hard for him to give up anything, any part of himself. And I understand that, understand him but it... it's getting to the point where it seems futile and I.. I don't know... I haven't got a fucking clue what I'm supposed to do." Swearing. When Robbie swears, it's bad. Always has been, always will be. "How can I live without him? How can I go on like this? How can I break up with him? How can I stay with him? We're headed for a brick wall at full speed and... and... he doesn't even fucking see it!" He's almost in tears now, and I'm panicking because I don't know what to do.

He turned to look at me for the first time, and his perfect blue eyes met my dubiously shaded eyes. "It's going to end badly Garth. And then I'll be alone."

Oh, Pallais, if only I'd the words then! I've thought of his voice just then many times in the ensuing years, and wished I'd said something, but I hadn't. Or, I probably said something, but it wasn't enough. Not nearly.

And it did end badly. And afterwards he was alone. For a time, he was in New York with us, but the Titans were coming to an end. Everyone said that it was about time Robbie got away from Bruce, and that he just a heartless jerk anyway. They didn't know what he had lost so they didn't know how hurtful they were being. It didn't surprise me that he left. But I didn't expect him to just fall off the face of the Earth for four years. No one did, and no one knew where he was. We got notes from time to time, postcards and the like, usually sent to Wally since he had the permanent address so that the post office could deliver messages to him.

When he did return, it was right in the middle of a fight, as I might have expected. For a moment, it was strange to see someone I used to know wearing clothes I'd never seen and looking different. I'd missed Robin terribly in those four years, and to see Robbie wearing the black kevlar suit with the blue 'wing' emblem was like knowing Robin was gone for good. But I only had about 45 seconds to regret that loss before the hormones kicked in and the sight of that perfect body in the skintight black leather-looking suit more than made up for it. And the way he moved! So fast, even I could barely keep up, nearly flying, like some terrible angel bringing justice in a hail of spit blood and broken teeth.

He had come home, and now he was Nightwing. It didn't take long for things to approximate what used to be normal. The Titans weren't back together as much as our old circle of friends was spending time together again.

And still I was the only one who saw any deeper significance to the fact that though he had returned home, he had actually returned to Bludhaven, not Gotham. He explained that the 'Haven was the small town outside of Gotham where Haley's Circus had performed when his parents were killed. Also, there was a great need there. He made quite a joke of the fact that it was the smaller, dirtier, less nice, Gotham-lite. Perfect for him, he laughed. But we could all see that it was not an address he had acquired, but a quest. What brought him to that dingy town, I'll never know to my satisfaction. But now it is my home too...

I followed him home after an evening of 'Titans Together' which had bled into the morning. He was looking for a house to 'set up shop.' He wanted a friend to go with, and I was more than eager to volunteer. We went to a half-dozen places until we came across a house that was on the harbor, and was huge. It was perfect for a number of reasons: access to the water for his boat, close enough to the city for it to be convenient for his night forays, with plenty of privacy. It also had an indoor pool and jacuzzi, as well as a huge bathroom facility off the master bedroom. When he made a lighthearted joke about it being perfect for me to spend the night as he was signing the check, my blood boiled.

It wasn't much longer after that that I took him up on his offer. I wanted to know what had happened over the past four years and he wanted to tell someone. He told me about the pain of finding his own way, how for months that stretched across the first year, every day he had to fight to keep from calling Bruce and begging him to come 'rescue me!' as he joked, not kidding at all. The restlessness as he went from place to place, learning all he could, trying not to be like Bruce, finding himself becoming so like Bruce he could see the Bat in the mirror, trying so hard to find his own way when he ultimately had to recognize that his own way would resemble Bruce's way tremendously. There was more there, about his homecoming. He seemed... lost. Like he knew Bruce would take him back and he didn't know why he hadn't just snuck into Bruce's bedroom window, slipped under the sheets, and accepted it.

He was proud of the new direction he had taken, the new city, the new quest. But he was lonely, horribly lonely... Perhaps that was why he allowed me to insinuate myself so easily into his life.

I told him about my own journey, the discovery of my magic, my birthright, my troubles with Arthur. My resolution. My role as 'Ambassador,' not that with Arthur as King there was much to do diplomatically, except diffuse the bombs he hurled with such ease. He held my hands, stroking the fingers and following the lines with his fingertips, such wonder in his eyes. "Real magic!" he said, excited. I was lost.

I'm not entirely sure how it came that I started to live with him. A late night which lead to my sleeping over lead to a pattern of late nights leading to my sleeping over which lead to the room near the pool being converted into my room. We were not lovers when I first moved in, we weren't dating officially. We flirted constantly, with light touches and teasing and surreptitiously watching each other beneath eyelashes. It was heady joy, full of promise I was almost afraid to test.

Until the day... Robbie has lots of surveillance equipment, naturally, so no one can sneak up on us. Not even the Bat. The day Bruce came to visit the first time, Robbie was asleep, and I was just going for a swim. The proximity detectors let me know someone was approaching, and when I saw who it was, my stomach clenched.

I feel guilty now, and know I should not have behaved as I did. But things were so new, just beginning, and when I flung open the door, dripping wet, hair mused, looking boneless, carelessly holding a smallish towel to my waist, sleepily explaining that Robbie was in bed but if he was needed he could be waked, as if I were intimately aware of Robbie's sleeping patterns and could therefore proclaim that he was still wakable at this point after whatever we'd done, I felt no guilt.

Bruce is a good man. I know this. I respect him. I know he has had too much pain in his life. I know he does not deserve more. But I could not regret it at the time, seeing his face disintegrate, knowing for certain in that moment that he had come to beg Robbie to take him back, to fall on his knees before his beloved and do everything in his prodigious power to sweep him off his feet and bring him home, if not to Wayne Manor precisely, at least to his heart.

Because although Bruce is a good man who deserves no more pain in his life, he also does not deserve Robbie. I would never, could never say this aloud, but it was wrong to take up with him so young. That past relationship, with all it's heartache and tragedy, would necessarily cast a shadow, if they were to try to return to that place. Better, for both, that they become friends, set the past aside and start fresh and clean. Besides, my lighthearted Robin needs to fly free, with someone who would occasionally bring him back in the day, where robins belong. Not to remain forever in the shadow of a darkened alley at night, stalking and hiding. It was better.

Wasn't it?

I told Robbie almost immediately. We have almost established this as a pattern. I do something shady or wrong, completely without caring at the time, only to confess moments later. When he woke up, I told him, almost in graphic detail, but without providing him my motives. He was amused, but not at all mad. He didn't understand what I had done.

The line between friendship and lover grayed, over the weeks. Light touches became light kisses became deep kisses became heavy touches became a need for more and then we shared a bed. Even still, we were slow in our progression. We touched fully clothed on the couch and retired to separate chambers, we retired to the same chamber fully clothed,we took off our clothes, we started touching again, we pleasured each other, we made love.

He came into me.

It was perfect.

Then, we were lovers, and need and heat and desire became nearly daily, despite his 24 hour job and my duties. Every free moment, we touched and held. It was stolen time, I was sure.

Then there was movie night at the new Titan's HQ. I wasn't at all sure what to expect, so I treated it as any other movie night, expecting nothing from my lover. We hadn't told anyone about our relationship, and I wasn't sure that he was 'out', as people on the surface say, and I felt sure we would just pretend nothing was going on. I picked a largish chair off to the side, as was my wont in the old days, and waited and watched. When Robbie came back from the kitchen, with the bowl of popcorn, he sat next to me, even though the chair wasn't really large enough for two. That garnered a few surprised looks. He fed me popcorn, teasing me by pulling his fingers in and out of my mouth before releasing. Wally shifted uncomfortably. When the movie was a quarter way through, he leaned close to me, and whispered in my ear "Remember how Roy and Donna used to make out during these movie nights?" and before I could respond to his tease his tongue was making its way around my ear. Donna was giggling softly and Roy was just staring. When his hand snaked up my thigh, I stood up to get a drink. He followed me into the kitchen. It was a beautiful night. And we have beautiful friends - none of them were even surprised, much less upset.

Things moved so wonderfully that I began to be sure the end was sneaking up on me. Eventually, he would remember his true love. Eventually, he would tire of me. Eventually, he would want more than... this. Then he told me we had been invited to Thanksgiving dinner at Wayne Manor.

I was terrified, and really didn't want to go. A holiday centering around the roasted carcass of a dead bird really wasn't my type of holiday. I begged him to go alone and bring my apologies. He wouldn't let it go. I went with. And was shocked. By all the powers that be, I'll never forget the shock of that day. Walking into the dinning hall when dinner was served to find the not-so-traditional Thanksgiving vegetarian lasagna, with a side of eggplant parmesan. We were practically late, so I didn't have to bother with pre-dinner pleasantries, but there were a lot of people really important to Robbie there. Bruce and Alfred, who Robbie eventually wrestled to a chair at the table, if for only a half a minute. Barbara and her father, who did, I think, an admirable job of pretending he didn't know the exact nature of the company he was in. Tim. Dr. Leslie Thompkins. The whole family. And me.

Afterwards, I was catching my breath on one of the balconies, when someone came out after me. I was expecting Robbie, so I didn't even turn. The deep, growling baritone shocked me to my core. One might have been confused and thought Bruce Wayne had joined me on the balcony. Batman did.

"I trust you enjoyed dinner?"

"I did, thank you. It was uncommonly good of you to accommodate me so. Many thanks." Ever the diplomat.

His eyes were mere slivers. "Dick's friends are as important to me as he is. Naturally I'm supremely interested in the happiness of someone who holds Dick's happiness in his hands."

Ah, garnering the interest of the Bat. Never a good thing. "Richard's happiness is his own. I'm blest to be allowed to share it." I'm not the insecure child I was. The man I am may have insecurity, but they are not the child's fears. And I will not relent this joy, not if it is within my power to hold it. Not even to him.

He let out a burst of breath. "Since we are bordering on being blunt, let me express myself clearly. I'm not happy about the situation in Bludhaven. I'm not happy that he's there alone, and I'm not happy with his choice of day profession, and I'm not happy that you are with him. But there is nothing I can do about it, nor would I try. But don't doubt this: If you hurt him, in any way, I'll exact payment in kind from you in any and every way that I can." Blessed Gods, how is it there is crime in Gotham at all, with the Bat there?

I steeled myself, and then what came out of my mouth I will never be able to trace. "Rest assured, if ever I do hurt him, you'll likely be the first to know. After all, I would need instruction with that particular chore, and as the master of his pain, I should turn to you for lessons."

I was being possessive, without any reason to believe I had a call to do so. I was throwing down the gauntlet with someone who is well versed in picking it up and beating the person who threw it down to a bloody pulp. In bed, with my nose pressed up against the spot in the pillow the sweat from his thick hair had made, I can't regret it, not any of it.

Of course I told Robbie later. Of course I didn't expect him to forgive me. Of course I was shocked when he raised a gentle hand to my face, brushing his fingertips against my cheek, and said in all sincerity "You shouldn't compete with Bruce, Garth. He lost, a long time ago. It's poor sportsmanship." The he kissed me, and apparently I was forgiven. Thank the heavens.

And so we progressed, building patterns of our daily lives together, finding new depths to heat and need and love.

Last week, with the sweat from his brow still dripping onto me, after what may well go down in the history books as the best sex ever, he framed my face with his hands, and swore to me that as long as I wanted him, he would be a by my side. By Pallais. And now he is in our kitchen, eating a snack, and he will be coming back to our bed.

I doze, lightly.





I'm starting to get a chill, I've been standing in front of the fridge for so long. We have nothing to eat. Of course, ever since I promised Garth there would be no meat in our house, all I ever crave late at night is the nicely cooked flesh of a dead animal.

I didn't promise I would become a vegetarian, because, after all, meat is tasty, but I did concede the meat in the house since it actually offends him to a certain degree. This is, after all, his fridge as much as it is mine.

Finally, I spot a Wedgewood bowl that could only have come from Alfred. Paydirt! He brought a bowl of uncooked cookie dough, his special recipe of chocolate chip, the last time he visited. Perfect. I pull out a spoon, and head over to the computer to check my messages, and tidy up a bit.

After sex, I either fall asleep immediately, or I need to eat, and my mind is always too restless to focus. Or, I keep going until I feel like my balls will fall off. I need to sleep, and eat. I can't afford an all-night marathon session. So, I try to keep my mind off of sex. But the cookie dough makes me horny, only because the only way this could taste better is if it were smeared all across Garth's chest, and his back, and his...

How did I get this lucky?

There was a time in my life when I believed that there was no such thing as love. Honestly, I thought it was a huge lie people had been propagating for centuries to make the tedium of life bearable, so that everyone wouldn't just commit suicide at 15 when they figured out it wasn't going to get better.

Because, at 15, I had been sure that I knew who I was going to love for the rest of my life. And by 17, I was sure that not only would my one-and-only leave me alone and lonely, but that no one would ever love me. I remember pacing after him, my shoulder bandaged up still from the Joker's bullet, arguing throughout the house. Later, when it became clear that God himself wouldn't change Bruce's mind, I was in the kitchen with Alfred, trying desperately not to cry. He just sat there, with his hand on my shoulder. He said comforting things, and basically let me know that the reason he had been against this all along was because he was afraid of this exact thing, of Bruce's protective nature clashing with my thrill-seeking nature at a time when the power differential between us would prove to be catastrophic. And I had thought before that he was a prude.

I traveled over the Earth for four years. I went to schools, I learned from masters and teachers of a dozen skills, I observed, I absorbed cultures and languages, I helped people, I got in the way, I made a couple of mistakes, I became someone.

When I came home, there were so many things going on. Coming to the 'Haven was perfect. God help me, I love this dirty little bitch of a town. I can't explain it so anyone will understand but this town and I are a perfect match. It is low, and dirty, and base, and every form of wretch thrives here. The people who 'planned' this hell-hole were on acid, the way the highways spiral and fold back onto each other. The people here, the six who aren't criminals, are blue collar, salt of the earth types, who despite the proximity to Gotham, don't give a rat's ass about 'society.' I love it here.

I love my house, as big and as cavernous as a house can be without having even the slightest pretension. Huge space to practice in, all the facilities and niceties of Wayne Manor or the Tower, with none of the tradition.

I love Garth. God, I love Garth. He is so great. He is the best friend a guy could have. Patient, kind, compassionate, sweet, noble, understanding.

Hot.

Garth is so beautiful. I always thought so, but when we were younger, I thought that Bruce was all I would ever need to be happy, so I admired Garth aesthetically without ever analyzing the feeling. But Garth now is striking. I noticed it the first time I saw him after coming back, even though technically we were in the middle of a fight at the time. Garth had grown into manhood gorgeously. Magically!

Garth is just plain sexy. Gorgeous. Garth makes straight men question their sexuality. He makes me drool. To see Garth is to want him, but you don't need to see him to want him. Garth is what sex looks like when you put it on two feet and make it walk around all day. They had to ask Garth leave Atlantis, he was burning all the water off!

Damn. I was trying to avoid a marathon tonight.

Kissing Garth is a lot like being happy, only more so. Touching him is a gift. Being inside of him...

That time in the kitchen. Christ. He was cutting vegetables for dinner, and I watched, amazed. He was cutting our vegetables, in our kitchen, for our dinner, which we would eat, together, in our house, where we make love, nightly. It was overwhelming for a moment.

Then I walked over to him, pulled at his hand, 'til he put down the knife, and kissed him. The kiss grew, and we were full of such need, we started pulling clothes off. We ended up on the butcher block table, him riding me, my hands running up and down the perfect smooth lines of his thighs up to his waist and stomach. His muscles are so strong and lean, his round ass clenching my cock, holding it in a tight embrace as he bounced up and down on me. It was too much. I needed more.

I looked up, his body so beautiful, his cock, and I remembered how I used to suck myself off to relieve pressure before a 'night on the town.'

I leveraged a bit, muttered something about grab the table legs, gripped his hips so tight I left bruises, even in his strong flesh. Suddenly, my hips were above my head, I was resting on my shoulders, Garth was over the edge of the table, too shocked to protest, his hands on the legs of the table, his legs wrapped around me impossibly tightly, his cock bobbing angrily right in front of my mouth.

I let my tongue out of the heat of my mouth to play with the tip of his cock, and he let out a strangled cry of something between joy and torment. I couldn't really thrust at this angle, and he certainly wasn't able to do much of anything, but every muscle, every muscle, was clenched tightly, and I could wriggle. And suck. After a minute of play/torture, I took a deep breath and pulled as much of his cock as I could manage into my mouth. It took very little time for both of us to explode, split apart, and spew our insides out.

He gracefully and bonelessly flipped to the floor. I laid out breathless on the table.

We have great sex.

That shouldn't be so important, and I know that people think it sounds shallow when I say that, but I have always been a very physical person. I'm smart, I have a good sense of humor, I have studied and tried to understand people. But always, underlying, is the boy who grew up in the air, learning to fly when I was learning to walk.

Bruce didn't really understand that. I shouldn't compare anyone to Bruce, but it's inevitable. He was my first everything. Bruce is very compartmentalized. He saw the part of our relationship where we had sex separately from the part where we loved each other separate from the part where we were partners in fighting crime separate from the people we pretended to be in public. I didn't see any boundaries. When we made love, I was expressing everything I felt for him. He was having sex. Afterwards, I sat at the breakfast table the next morning just glowing with my love and affection and desire for him. He was kicking himself, thinking he was a child molester. Alfred was right, the timing was all wrong. All, all wrong. But it happened, and now it is over, and we are friends.

We could have been more, he wanted more. I was afraid to move back to Gotham, not at all sure I could refuse him. He came here, to start fresh, I think, but Garth met him at the door. Practically naked, giving the impression that he and I were lovers. We wouldn't be lovers for about 12 days, but it was all the same. I was happy, in my town, in my house, with my friend, with my hope. I didn't know how to fit Bruce into my life, couldn't go back to being an appendage to his. It was better that way.

And Garth and I have great sex.

We don't even need to have sex for it to be great. There was the 'Coming out party,' where Roy had dragged us out to a club, ostensibly because he knew the band from way back, but it was a bi-bar, and it was a way for our friends to give their 'blessing' over our union. The band was great, it had been months since I'd had more than a glass of wine to drink, and it was so good to be out with Garth, in every way. I was feeling so good, that I didn't fully notice when Garth started grinding me on the dance floor. Oh, I noticed all right, but I didn't attach any significance. We moved with the music, his hand on my ass pulling me as close to him as we could be. It was bliss. With time, our erections were reaching for each other through the fabric, and what we were doing started to take on the form of something we do in bed, not in public. So I whispered in his ear, "Time to go home?" but he responded "Now."

It sends chills down my spine remembering the tone and timber of his voice, that one word, in his lilt with his need.

We kept moving, groaning and grinding, pulling each other so close we almost became one body, and gathering attention to ourselves, with a few daring souls dancing close enough to us to brush against us. It was scandalous, fucking in public like that, our closest friends near by, possibly watching. It was great. It was the perfect way for me to show the world how much I loved this man.

When we came there was a small spattering of applause from the people right near us, a few comments on form and technique (apparently, it isn't just my opinion that we have great sex, it's a fact), and a few offers. I didn't see anything but the love in his eyes. And if no one could see the evidence of his climax through the leather of his pants, but mine was obvious through the denim, well, so what? Garth has a few possessive tendencies, and I tend to like to be possessed. He practically beamed all the way home, his arm around my waist along with his shirt, a half-hearted attempt to cover up his mark on me. I love him.

And I gave him my vow. I'm not sure if he recognized it as such, but it was. We had made love in the pool, in the shower, in the bedroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom again. His endurance is unbelievable, inspiring. We did every form of sex, and intimacy. For brief flashes throughout the evening, the universe revealed itself to me. I was so in love, it hurt, and the relief of release has never, ever been sweeter. I have loved and lost in life. Made stupid mistakes that, thankfully, I haven't had to pay for with more than my wounded pride. I have traveled the earth, but not as a monk. I leaned over my lover, falling into the deep and breathtaking depth of his gorgeous lavender eyes. And I swore that for as long as he let me, I'd be by his side.

His breathing deepened. He tried to lose my gaze but couldn't . Then he kissed me deep and long, pulling me close as we fell asleep together, our sweat and semen binding us in the night. He may have felt that was a cop-out, that we should have talked or something stupid like that after such a promise. His response was perfect, just what I wanted.

I love Garth.

Thanksgiving was... I love my family. They were all still there, waiting for me when I came home. Even better, with Tim as a new addition. I was taken completely by surprise when I saw the table. As much as I missed Alfred's signature turkey, I couldn't have been happier to see a lasagna. I told Alfred as much later, in the kitchen, when Garth was apparently putting Bruce in his place on the balcony. He just said, "Young master, this has always been a home for you and yours. Always. And it always shall be."

Great, great family.

Garth's confession was sweet, just as his guilty confession that he'd allowed Bruce to think we were lovers when we weren't.

The next day, I went to see Bruce in his office.

He wasn't there when I got there, so I waited, looking out over the skyline, trying not to remember what a visit like this would have meant in my late teen years. Apparently, his secretary hadn't told him I was there, because he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me.

Well, good.

I thanked him for the Thanksgiving, told him how much it meant to me that everyone had gone out of their way to make me feel at home again.

He stiffly turned away and said that I had been at home.

I asked him if he forgave me, for not returning to him.

He took a moment to respond, and then said no.

Then he tried to laugh, but it was too late, I was standing in front of him.

He asked me why.

I asked why, what? Why Bludhaven, why Garth?

Why did you leave me?

Because you made me, Bruce. Because you said I had to.

I never... would never...

You did. You said I would never be Robin again, that I could never fight by your side again.

I didn't mean...

But you did. You didn't know what we were. You knew you you were. I was someone else. You thought you could tell me who to be, and I couldn't live like that.

I wanted us to be together, I wanted you to be safe!

I wanted to love you. You gave me no choice.

I... I wanted...

What you wanted isn't relevant. Can't you see that? It was supposed to be what we wanted!

So that's it. A mistake four years ago and it's over? Forever? Don't you love me?

God. I always believed that one day Bruce and I would stop hurting each other. The day I realized that would never happen was the day I realized it couldn't work between us.

Bruce, I love you, have always loved you, will always love you, was put on this earth to love you. But I'm selfish, I don't want to share, I can't share. I want my lover all to myself.

I never...!

Gotham, Bruce. I can't, won't compete with Gotham.

It was easier, if dishonest, to let him believe that, as he could never believe the truth. He would accept that I couldn't share him with his quest. He would not accept that I couldn't share my quest and my life with him.

And Garth...?

I love Garth, Bruce.

I know I spoke harshly here, but I couldn't help it. I couldn't let Bruce think Garth was the consolation prize of my life, even if it would have made him feel better.

Because you can't be with me.

Bastard, I didn't say.

Because he is fine, and wonderful, and good. And he takes care of me.

Because I'm a better person when I'm with him, I didn't say, because he gives me so much, I didn't say, because his magic captivates me, even before I knew he could cast spells, I didn't say.

Because he's better for me than you ever could be and I'll never be able to repay him for his love, I didn't say.

I had my hand on his face, and for a flash I could see falling in love with Bruce for the thousandth time. I saw a tiny quiver of pain in lilac eyes, and I pulled away before he could lean into the touch.

Can we be friends, Bruce?

We can be whatever you want, Dick, as long as you promise never to leave me again.

Never, Bruce.

I don't have to leave now. Now, I have what I need, right here.

Speaking of which, the bowl is empty, and I'm not tired. Well, what can you do?





He comes back into bed, and I'm surprised when he wakes me. I usually can't sleep without him near me, anymore. He curls to my body, kissing and touching gently. I turn to him, almost involuntarily.

"Sleepy?" I tease.

"Exhausted." As he pulls a nipple into his mouth.

"Ah..ah.. ah.. well, then, ah, it's good you are back in bed."

"Mmmm, yes, bed good." He pulls up and kisses me, with a deep passion that frightens me with it's intensity; I was warned about intensity when I first started to learn magic. The air around us crackles and fizzles with our energy and I wonder if he can feel it.

My Gypsy lover, I know he can.

"Let me love you, my heart's song." the faintest whisper right in my ear.

Ah, Donna pulled me aside once and warned me of the charms of this one, of his ways. How his blue eyes could get whatever they wanted, even if he was unconscious of it. I melted into the bed, and he ravished me.

By all the gods of heaven and earth...





Dawn breaks. I hate sunrise. Especially when I see it because I've been up all night. Although, if you have to be up all night, there really is no better way...

Garth sleeps peacefully on my chest, and even though I have to be awake and functioning in two hours, even though I've had no real rest for three days, even though I'm a little achy and badly in need of a shower...

This really is better than anything else I've ever known.








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