title: In My Life
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Dick/OMC, Bruce, Alfred, Barbara, Titans
rating: Teen/Mature
warnings: sex, flamboyancy
summary: Dickie tells his life story, focusing on when he was a young twink in love....
notes: a small irish/english dictionary: (please keep in mind, i only took irish for a year in college, and what i learned is that it is a very hard language...)
gleoite = lovely, delightful. pronounced glee-cha with a hard 'g' to begin it. i think...
mo chroí = my heart. pronounced mow kree
finally, a big big BIG thanks to rith. this fic has been a pain in my ass (no pun) for too long. without her to read and comment and egg me on and poke me with sharp hot things i probably wouldn't have ever gotten it to the show-it-off stage. so, *smooch* for rithy! yea rithy!

My story. Well, usually, people start my story in a circus tent, me watching my parents fall to their deaths and all the stuff that led up to that.

But that's really depressing. And this is a love story! So, we'll skip the childhood trauma and get right to the teen drama.

So, I'm 17, and I'm totally bursting at the seams, ya know? I was Robin, sidekicking my little heart out, and leading the Titans, and I was Dick Grayson, model student, and I was having all the usual troubles of being 17. I was clashing with Bruce every other second, I was balancing school and the important stuff. I was finding my own way in the world and all that good noise.

I was as horny as hell and thinking that I would never get laid. And of course, I was gay and trying to figure out where that fit in and stuff.

It's not that I ever thought Bruce and Alfred would, ya know, hate me for it or something. I just thought, that's not something I really want to deal with. And it seemed really unfair cuz it wasn't like the other kids were trying to figure out how to tell their 'rents that they were straight. Fucking unfair, I thought.

I had no clue how my friends would react. Well, I already knew that Babs would be ok with it since I had told her when I first figured it out. Back when I was only 13, and lusting majorly after Superman, I told her. She's been my best friend, really, ever since. The only person I could always be completely honest with. But I didn't know how my other friends would react.

Wally, I figured, would freak. Like, totally freak. Like, I couldn't deal with the thought of him knowing. He'd made comments, ya know, the stupid stuff kids say like, that's totally gay, when they mean that something sucks. Damn, that shouldn't cut as much as it does cuz it's stupid, but there ya go.

Roy. God alone knew how Roy would react. Except that he would give me a hard time because he always does. Joke about taking it up the ass. I knew he would. I just didn't know how serious he would be about it.

Donna and Garth, I wasn't really worried about them. I guessed that since they were from alien enough cultures that they wouldn't be troubled by it. I mean, I kinda worried about Garth, but since he was outcast boy from day one, I figured he would never ostracize anyone. Plus, I always thought he was a little gay himself.

And freaking hell, Donna grew up on an island with only women, she had to be ok with it!

So I was your everyday, typical, gay teenage boy with a secret identity. Bursting at the seams.

So my big plan was, and this was it, I had researched gay bars in Gotham, and I figured one night after being with the Titans, so that Bruce wouldn't be expecting me, I would go to one. Ya know, check it out, hang with the other queers, check out the sights so to speak.

And get laid. My plan was to get laid.

But plans don't always go as you expect them to, even when they go exactly as you planned them.

I had planned this and backed out so many times, that I had finally settled on one night. One Thursday night, I would go to this place called Truman's. It seemed like an innocent enough name for a place, and it was in a good neighborhood. And that Thursday was Titans movie night, so I would hang with my friends, have a good time, relax, leave early and go finally.

I had even told Babs, so then I knew that I had to go through with it, cuz otherwise she would give me hell the next day.

That movie night was not the best. In fact, we all had a huge fight. Garth wasn't there, and Donna and Roy were going through one of their 'I can't stand you!' phases, and Wally was being really clingy. He's changed a lot since we were kids, but back then he was clingy.

And I was tense, cuz that was the night, ya know?

And Wally said something, said fag, actually, but not to me, ya know? He was talking about some kid at school or some guy on tv, and I blew up at him, and Roy yelled at me for yelling at Wally, and Donna yelled at Roy, and Wally talked so fast no one could tell who he was yelling at....

Yeah, I left early, but I wasn't relaxed. I wasn't in the mood for fun. I wasn't in the mood for sex, and I felt like I had no friends in the world and no one would ever love me ever and I was gonna die a loveless virgin....

I was 17. Don't forget that.

That was the night, though. Man, that was the night...

So, I'm sitting at the bar feeling sorry for myself, and basically ignoring the universe around me. And I was in my 'no one's around to tell me not to dress like this so I'm dressing like I wanna' jeans that were tight and cut so they just barely covered the top of my ass when I was standing, and this really nifty tank that had the Superman logo on it.

And, eventually, I realized that the guy who had come to sit next to me at the bar was staring at me. At my ass, actually.

Now, I sorta noticed him when he came to sit down. But, despite my desperate longing to shed this virginity that was clinging to me like an albatross, I wasn't cruising. I just noticed.

He was noticeable.

But now I was noticing him because he was openly staring at my ass

He was... well, gorgeous. Someone I would have dreams about and then have to change and rinse out the sheets the next morning. And he was into me! I mean, here he is, looking at my ass like it was a Thanksgiving turkey and he hadn't eaten anything since Mardi Gras!

And, natch, I didn't have the slightest fucking clue what to say to him.

He had really great hair. Reddish-gold, styled to look wet, with soft waves that looked like they might be big curls in the morning before he had time to style and after he had been sweating all night.... I wanted to see what his hair would look like in the morning.

Still didn't have a fucking clue what to say.

Then he met my eye.

He has a devastating way of looking at you in the eye.

He totally took my breath away. Totally. So, no chance of coming up with a superb pick up line then! He's like, unbearably gorgeous, with these amazing green eyes, pouty lips begging to be kissed, broad shoulders, slim waist, he was cut, ya know? And his arms.... Sigh!!! I'll never forget the first time I really looked him over, I won't.

"My name is Phil. What's your name, gleoite?" He wasn't from Gotham, hell, he wasn't from the U.S. And I was still speechless and feeling stupid.

And embarrassed. But only after I spoke. "Dick."

He shifted over, not even blinking or stopping to make the usual joke about my name.

"Your eyes are as deep and as powerful as the ocean. I want to paint my skies with that blue." O-okay. I mean, yeah, cheesy as all hell, but ya kinda had to be there, ya know? I mean, it was, like, so fab, I could barely stand it!

"Ah... thanks. Are you Irish?" Yeah, that's what I said, cuz I'm Mr. Smooth. Uh huh.

He grinned the devil's smile and leaned closer, putting his arm on the back of my stool. Sigh! "Can you tell?"

At this point, I was totally in his spell. That's when the big brute with the chain hanging from his pants like some fucking frat house reject came up to the bar.

"Heya, sweetie, wanna come back to my place and test out my sheets?" He was totally drunk and completely ignoring Phil and drooling all over me. Ick!

"Back off, freak." I pushed him off, leaning into Phil a little. Sigh! Man, did he have a great chest! Still does...

"C'mon sweetie! I can rock your world!" And then he started to paw me, I mean, really! Ick squared!

That's when I realized that Phil was steaming. "Excuse us, but I think the young man has made his intentions clear to you."

"Ooh, are you his keeper? C'mon, what's he for a night, $100? I got that, just gimme a sec here..."

Oh my God! I thought I was gonna spew! And Phil... he was all squinty eyed, and red-faced.

And he hit the guy right in the face! I mean it, for real, just punched the guy cold!

It was really sweet, and romantic. And totally ineffectual.

The guy reeled for a sec, then spun back and backhanded Phil hard. Blood spurted out of his nose and everything.

Well, there's secret identity, and there's letting your potential boyfriend get beat up right in front of you. Sheeyah.

So, I did a little of that freaky-cool ninja action. Just a little. Got him off our backs. And onto his own. People around us cheered and everything.

But poor Philly! Not only did he not make an impact on the loser, but the twink he was trying to pick up knocked the fucker out cold! I felt for the guy. A lot.

"Hey, thanks, man. That was really keen, standing up for me and all." I gave him me sweet look. He melted a little.

"Yeah, lot of good it did. You didn't need my help at all, did you?" He smiled the most adorable quirky smile. Sigh!!

"Well...." I blushed. "Not as such. But it was sweet. Here, let me look at your nose."

So I got some cocktail napkins and tended to his nose. And he put his hands on my waist which totally killed me!

"Uh, you'll be fine, I think, it's not broken..." I was so blushing and stammering!

"Thanks. Looks like I got your shirt bloody. Sorry bout that. Wanna come back to mine and get that sorted?" His perfect green eyes were shining on me.

I practically leaped into his lap!!

So...... yeah. I went back to his. And took my shirt off. And we ended up kissing and junk. Then he took his shirt off. And we went to his bedroom.

I'm gonna take a sec here to describe his place. Cuz this would be the worst possible time to do that!

He's lived in the same ratty place the whole time he's been in this country. Someone from his college set him up with a place and he's always been too lazy to find a new place. He says the rent is good, and he likes the people, so why bother? But really, he's just too lazy.

And his place is really big. I mean, really big. It's ratty on the outside, but really big. And, it's a sty. So don't believe those rumors about gay men being neatfreaks! Yeah, his place is messier than mine was, I mean, I'm the only one whoever cleans, which is totally freaky! I mean, I guess Alfred rubbed off on me a little after all, ya know?

And I found out that Phil was an artist. How fab is that??!? He has all this stuff up everywhere. It's awesome. And get this... he works as a comic book artist! Can you believe it!

I was so in love, right then and there.

I mean, even before the sex.


'Kay, so, we're making out on the bed, and he's so cut, and muscular, he was totally driving me wild! And he was experienced too, which was great, cuz I was all ambition and no know how, ya know?

And he took my pants off, and was licking me everywhere, and I was totally freaking out, I mean, I didn't know what I wanted but it was driving me crazy.

Then he took his pants off, and I knew exactly what I wanted. Hoo-yeah!

He was hesitant at first. I still blush to think of it, I must have been totally the eager lil chicken, and he was so totally the guy trying to hold it together getting driven crazy by the eager lil chicken....

It was... I mean... gosh! It was so fucking perfect! It was in those moments, we were, like, joined, and it was fabulous! I mean, I know I sound like a gushing schoolgirl, but it was my first time and it was with the love of my life. I mean, gosh!

And, like, as soon as we were done the first time, I wanted to do it again. He was so sweet, and kind, really, which is a funny thing to think about a first time, but considering that I might have gone home with anyone in that bar that night, the fact that I was with him and that he was so kind was a real blessing. God, I am just so blest to have him...

And I'm sure I said something gushy and silly. I mean, I had just lost my virginity. How could I be all cool and stuff?

We did it six times that night! My man is a beast, I'm telling ya....

I stayed with him the whole night. In the morning, he held me and kissed me.... We talked and stuff. We had nearly nothing in common. I loved the sound of his voice. I told him that.

"I've fallen in love with the sound of your voice."

He kissed me so hard, I nearly fainted.

Then I remembered it was Friday, and I had been out all night.


So, like, I was, natch, in so much trouble. And that was the start of it. My life, really. My life with Phil.

From that point on, Bruce and I... well, we fought a lot. I mean, I understand it. I understood it at the time, too. I was disobeying him. I was staying out all hours. I wasn't keeping tabs with him.

I was in love.

So, here's how it worked. School every morning, and straight to Phil's from there. We'd make love, and talk, and hold each other naked and stuff, and then I would go home. Around nineish. And Batman and Robin would do their thing. And then we'd get back to the cave and fight for an hour or so. He would punish me, or try to. I would do homework and stuff in my free periods. I let my grades slip. I told lies all the time,

And then I goofed big time. I told Bruce I was studying with Babs, to cover for my time with Phil. But Bruce checked on me.

Babs, fortunately, twigged onto what was what before she slipped up, and she covered for me. But then, I had to deal with Babs.

She was waiting for me after school the next day.

"Babs! What are ya doing here?" I totally wasn't expecting a thing.

"According to Bruce, we have a study date."

Dum dum du-um!

"Uh.... what did you tell him?" I was sweating real bullets.

"I told him you desperately needed help with calculus and I was doing my best to help out." She was staring me down harder than if I had just tried to knock over the Fourth National.

"Thanks, Babs. You don't know what that means to me!"

"I've got a pretty good idea, boy wonder. Which means you have some explaining to do."

I gulped down hard and swallowed my pill. So, we were driving in Babs' car, and I was telling her all about Phil. How that night I went to the club and I met that guy, and how I kept seeing him. How I was in love.

And how did she respond?

"How old is this Phil?"

Well, I tried to avoid it, but I couldn't. He was 25.

Babs fixed me with this cold, hard stare.

After thinking and driving for a while, she finally spoke. "I'll help you out, on two conditions. First off, I understand why you don't want to come out to Bruce now, but you have to do it as soon as you can. As soon as you are living on your own and aren't totally dependent on him. You need to be honest with him, Dickie, because frankly, until you are, you are asking me to lie to Bruce. To Batman. And that's a helluva a lot to ask."

"Like I don't know!"

"Yeah, well that's my point. You have to tell him."

"And the second condition?"

"I have to meet this Phil. If I'm covering so you can get laid, I have to make sure this guy is worthy of you. Someone has to be looking out for you, kiddo."

She ruffled my hair, then. I hate it when she does that. She still does that.

So, I had to call Phil, and ask him to meet me and Babs in this cafe so she could meet him.

It was just surreal, really. I mean, Phil and I really hadn't been out much at that point. I mean, in public. But we'd been together for nearly two months. It was late February and I was just jumping in my seat. I was ecstatic, I mean, I thought I would be nervous and scared but I was overjoyed. I was out in public with the man that I loved and I didn't care, I just wanted to be with him, everywhere and in every way.

That was when I first realized that I didn't really care if people knew I was gay. I was happy to be gay, it meant that I could be with Phil.

I was just crazy in love with this beautiful, slovenly artist who dressed like a spokesmodel for Abercrombie and Fitch. And I wanted the whole world to know, everyone. I wasn't frightened at all.

Hell, anyone gave me trouble, I'd just kick their ass anyway.

So, we're sitting there, and Babs and Phil are discussing neo-modern classicalism, or some such crap, and all that good stuff, and me, I'm bouncing and brushing my hand against Phil's until finally he just takes my hand in his.

I was glowing so bright, they could see me from outer space.

Babs started asking us how we met, what kind of stuff we did, relationship stuff.

Eventually, all the coffee got to me, and even though I didn't want to, I had to leave Phil alone with Babs so that I could relieve the pressure on my bladder. Some guy in the bathroom kinda looked at me weird, and I just gave him the biggest grin. I was so freakin' happy to be gay!

When I got back to the table, Phil and Babs were laughing about something, but they wouldn't tell me what. It wasn't much later that Phil looked at me with those shining green eyes and asked me if I was going home with him or not?

Babs cleared her throat, and grinned at us. "Uh, sorry boyz, but I gotta take Dickie home, otherwise, his warden's gonna kill me. Tomorrow."

Phil grinned at me. "I guess I pass inspection, gleoite. Tomorrow, then?" And I leaned over and kissed him in front of everyone.

Cuz if it bothered them, well, then, fuck them anyway.

On the way back to the school, cuz that's where my car was, she was grinning at me. "Quite a show you put on back there, boy wonder. You ruffled a few feathers, ya know."

"Fuck them. So, what didja think of my Philly?"

"Nice. Nice body. Not what I was expecting when you said he was a comic book artist."

"I'll have to get you his book sometime. It's really good. He's really into superheroes and stuff."

"Well, that's good. Considering."

"So, what did you really think? You approve?"


"Why? I mean, you didn't seem so sure before... what did you guys talk about when I was in the loo?"

"You and your brit slang... Spending too much time with your boy. I asked him what he was doing with a 17 year old, couldn't he find someone his own age? And he said that he could, but why would he when he had this hot 17 year old? And I asked him what he thought was going to happen, did he think that you guys were gonna get married and live happily ever after?"

She paused, and turned to look at me. "You really are lucky, Grayson. Really. You know what he said? He said that he fully expected that someday you would meet someone else, and move on. After all, you were too young to settle down. But that it didn't matter, because if you loved him back or not, he was going to spend the rest of his life devoted to you with all his heart and soul. And my GOD! The way he said it! Christ Grayson, I don't know, if you hurt him, I may have to kick your ass..."

"He said that? Really?"

She turned to me, her green eyes dancing. I was near tears. I couldn't believe it. She smiled this total Barbara Gordon smile. "Yeah. He really said that."

"That is like, the definition of cool!"

"Yeah. It is. Bastard. Why can't I meet guys like that?"

I giggled. "Cuz guys like that are gay, silly!"


So, then, Babs was on our side, and sometimes, we went out with her, like to dinner or the movies. It was so much fun, we even double dated a couple of times. Babs said we were the acid test, cuz she didn't have time for any insecure wankers that would be all weird about hanging with a coupla queers.

I love Babs.

Of course, that didn't make things peachy with Bruce. Not by a long, long shot.

Nothing, it seemed, would make things right with Bruce. We were fighting over everything. Stuff we should have fought over, like where I was all the time and junk, and stupid stuff like me listening to music in the cave. I mean, we were just at each other's throats all the time.

Then, stuff just got more and more serious.

Batman and Robin were just not functioning together. We would go out together, and then separate, and I would do my thing solo, and he would do his thing, and we would keep in contact via radio through Alfred. We couldn't even talk to each other, we had to have a buffer!

It was getting worse and worse, and it was already bad.

I was starting to get really hard to live with. I resented that I was in the closet, even though that was my choice. I wanted to be free, and let everyone know about Phil, but I was afraid, and I resented Bruce for that, even though it wasn't his fault. So, I started dressing weird, I mean, not weird, but weird to them, all the time.

We would fight, about anything and everything, and it would end with me dashing off and leaving, too steamed to talk to anyone.

I would go straight to Phil.

Phil would hold me, and kiss away my tears, and tell me he loved me, in Irish. He would make things better.

He would try.

I got lazy. One day, I was rushing through the house after spending the afternoon watching Phil draw. Modeling for him, too, which was so erotic. It had been one of those days, I had left my book bag at home, so school was miserable, traffic into the city was a disaster, and I had forgotten that I had a dentist appointment, so I knew that Bruce and Alfred would be all over me wanting to know where I had been all day.

And they were, waiting for me in the living room.

Bruce was white-faced, which I knew was a bad sign. "Sit down, Dick." His voice was like granite.

"I'm not even going to ask where you have been. I'm tired of the lies. Besides, I have a good idea. We've trusted you with a lot of responsibility, young man. You have a lot of freedom, with your own car and keeping your own schedule. But time and again lately, you have abused that trust and proven to be unworthy of the responsibility."

"But...!" The look in his eyes told me that I shouldn't bother. Alfred gave me that warm look that has always meant you are so in for it young man and I can't and don't even want to interfere, but I'll be there for you when it is over.

"You've missed your dentist appointment. The smallest infraction, of late. You are never home after school, and you never tell us where you really are. You've made it impossible to talk to you, or reason with you. And I've given you space, because I know that you are growing up and that I couldn't do much anyway. But now something very serious has come up, and we have to talk."

He took a deep breath, and pulled my book bag out from behind him. "These fell out of your book bag this morning." And in his hand was my box of condoms.


"Bruce. Look, I.... You know, really, this isn't any of your business, I mean, it's my choice..."

"So, you aren't even going to try to pretend that these aren't yours, or that you haven't been using them?" Damn. I hadn't even thought to.... "Good. But, look, Dick, you are a very mature young man and much more in command of yourself than the average person your age, but the truth is, you are only 17, and this.... This is more than you think that it is. I mean... You may think that you know what you are doing, but you can't possibly."

"Oh, so that's it? I'm too young, there's no way I could understand? Thanks a lot Bruce. There's a lot of kids my age doing this you know, and a lot of them aren't even using those, I mean, you could have at least noticed that I'm being careful."

"Careful or not, that doesn't mean anything. You can't think of your body as a... a... a plaything. I mean, you have a mission. Unless something has changed, you were dedicated to the fight. You can't afford the lapses of focus this entails."

"Because I'm Robin, I can't have a sex life? That's stupid!"

Bruce paled a little. "Dick, I'm sorry, I'm not trying to sound like an ogre, I just mean that your training is still underway. You started physical training a lot earlier than I did, but it's at this time when your body is changing the most that you need the most focus. You can't afford to take chances, not if you are going to be fighting opponents like the Joker."

I was losing it. "You mean... just because you didn't have sex when you were my age, I can't. Bruce, my focus hasn't altered. And you haven't even asked who I'm with. You don't even care if I'm love or just whoring myself. All the same to you and the mission...."

"Dick. You are 17. What do you know about love?"

"Fuck you, Bruce. You're 31. What do you know about love?"

Bruce narrowed his eyes. "I know that love doesn't require me to lie to my family."

Well, what could I say to that?

"You think you love this girl, and that's great, but we haven't even met her. And you've made this huge decision to have sex, and think it's great that you are being so careful, but have you really thought through everything? Nothing is 100%. What if you get her pregnant? Are you ready to be a father?"

The blood left my face, left my whole body. Everything at once leaped up at me. Everything about being in the closet. And I just. Couldn't.

"Look Bruce. If my boyfriend gets me pregnant, trust me, you'll be the first to know. I'll tell you right before I tell the medical journals. And since you obviously know jack shit about me, you'll have to forgive me if I ignore you completely."

And I stormed out.

Bratty, I know. I'd say I was 17, but I'm like that a lot, actually...

Went straight to Phil, of course.

I was leaning in his doorframe when he opened it. He had this quirky, curious expression on his face. "A bit late for a visit, isn't it?"

"Can I come in?" I tried to say something witty, but I couldn't. I was barely keeping my self from bursting into tears.

"Of course. You are always welcome here." He lead me inside, and I couldn't keep it up. I was in tears before he had closed the door. He just picked me up and carried me to the couch. He held me in his lap and I cried on his shoulder. I felt like my heart was going to burst. My world was over. He rocked me gently and caressed my neck and shoulder.

"Gleoite, just tell me what is so horrible."

"He knows, babe, he. He. He found condoms in my bag, and we. We. We fought and I blurted it out that. That. That I was gay. So now he knows. He knows."


"And!!! And he knows! What else is there?"

"Well, my darlin'. How did he react?"

I was sniffling. "I... don't really know. I kinda stormed out."

"My fiery beauty. Take your time, mo chroí. But give him a chance. Let him react. You never know. It might be fine."

"How did your parents react when you told them?"

"They offered to pay for my passage to America. As long as it was a one-way ticket."

"Ouch. That's harsh."

"Yeah. But that was them. This is about your family. Give it time."

"Can... I stay here with you tonight?"

"Dickie. You can stay with me every night, for all time, if you want."

That night, held me close to him, kissing me gently over every part of my body. Gently taking my clothes off, and kissing every inch of flesh. Turning me over and over so that he could kiss me, long deep kisses that made me feel like we were the only two people in the universe.

Kissing my ass softly, using his tongue until I was pushing back and forth into the bed.

Then slowly taking his clothes off, and letting me grip him and touch him.

We held each other and kissed until we were both aching for release.

He entered me, and I felt whole again. There was nothing missing, nothing wrong in the world. I was totally at peace and happy.

It only lasts a few minutes, but it's worth it.

I skipped school the next day and spent it with Phil, laughing and such. We went to the movies, and made jokes about how ugly the actresses were and how much sexual tension there was between the male leads. That's how fucking wonderful he is. I knew that everything would be ok, because of him. Because I was with him.

I was in good spirits when I decided to go home.

And I was ready for the confrontation, as ready as I could be.

Where was I, and no lying this time.

I was with my lover. Which is where I am all the time when I'm not training or saving the city.

And who is this... man?

Phil. He's a comic book artist, from Ireland.

How old is... Phil?


And... where did you meet him?

At a bar. A gay bar.

What were you... do you have any idea how dangerous it is?

What? Being gay? Having sex with a man? Picking some random guy up at a bar, letting him take me home, letting him put his hands down my pants, letting him suck my...

Shut up!

You asked.

You are not allowed out of this house without my permission. You are to go to school, and come straight home. No phone calls, no internet, nothing.

What am I being punished for, Bruce? For being gay, for having sex, for being in love?

For lying. For going to a bar when underaged. For all the things that you know you've done wrong....

And do you think that it will work? That you can just tell me what to do and I'll do it? What makes you think that I just won't go to Phil's after school? That I won't just go there someday and not come back, ever? What makes you think you have any authority to make me do anything?

You don't live in this house, you don't fly as Robin. It's your choice. But young man, you are still my responsibility, and I'm not going to let you throw your life away on some... man.

I'm still your responsibility for exactly 19 days, Bruce. Then, I'll be 18. And I won't be anyone's responsibility but my own. And I'll do whatever, and whomever, I want.

Yeah. 19 days and counting. The worst 19 days of my life.

I don't really want to talk about that, though.

I'll talk about Phil, instead. It's our story, anyway.

I spent all my time with him that I could, and when I couldn't be with him, because of Bruce, I called him, and when I couldn't call him from home anymore, I called him from school.

He was so sweet, just making me laugh and making me blush, telling me all kinds of sweet things and telling me about his new comic project and how the lead character looked a lot like me, and how he missed me and loved me, and all that.

I asked him if I could move in with him when I turned 18.

You will always have a place with me, but won't it be awfully far to go to school every morning?

Silly boy, I said, I won't go to school after I'm 18.

But, gleoite, aren't you awfully close to being finished? And how will you go to college if you don't finish high school?

Well, I won't go.

But, mo chroí, what will you do with your life if you don't go to school?

Why, I'll fuck you, lover. How's that sound?

Well, I did listen to him, though. I promised I would finish high school, but that as soon as it was over, I was leaving.

Bruce was pretty surprised that I was still in the house after I turned 18, but he didn't say anything. Well, we weren't talking at that point, so it would have been really hard to say anything.

Robin was still going out, but not as often, and always solo, and only talking to Alfred.

Three weeks after I turned 18, I had a run-in with the Joker. I went into the fight even though I had a cold and had been told to stay home, because Bruce was all alone and it was obviously a trap.

I took a bullet to the shoulder.

Bruce flipped out.

I wasn't that bad. But, because I couldn't go to school, when I was awake, I asked for the phone.

"Phone, sir?"

"Yeah, Alfred, I need to call Phil."

Alfred squirmed. "Young master..." He watched me carefully. "Yes, sir. Just give me a moment."

I was buzzing entirely. I told Phil that I was home sick, and he sang to me in Irish. Then, we had phone sex.


Bruce wasn't pleased that I was talking to Phil, but Alfred gave him what for, before he even got into my room.

"Master Bruce, please. Do you want to lose him? Forever? Irreparably? He risked his life to save you, even though the two of you haven't spoken in months! It doesn't matter if you approve of him, he is Master Dick's lover, and when Master Dick is unwell, he wishes to speak to someone who will make him feel better. And that, sir, is all there is to it."

Bruce only looked in the door. He never said a word. He never came in. He only looked, leaning in as if he wanted to look without being seen. As if I wouldn't see him.

Well, I got better and I finished school. And the day I finished my last final, I moved to Phil's.

And that was that.

Well, obviously, that wasn't that. But that was that for then.

It hurt like hell to fight with Bruce like that, he had always been such an important person to me. I mean, he was kinda my dad, and everything I had done in my life to that point had been done for him, in a way. For him, or inspired by him, or because of him. But moving out was something that I had to do, because otherwise, I was going to kill him.

At first, it was heaven. No school, no responsibilities, nothing but being with Phil 24/7. Bliss!

He took me to art galleries, and other culture stuff, I got a whole new wardrobe, with nothing but the niftiest of clothes, we went out a lot, which was so much fun.

It was a good life, with a good man, who made me feel so.... Well, he made me feel like I felt when my parents were alive and we lived in the trailer and spent all our time working on our act high above the ground.

I missed feeling like that. I loved feeling like that.

But. Well. It wasn't perfect. Not completely.

I would lie in bed at night, in my lover's arms, looking out the window by the bed, watching the streetlights and the car lights. Shadows passed over the room, and flickers of light that would occasionally brighten a patch for a blink of the eye. The warm weight of Phil's arm, the heat of his chest pressed against my back, his breath on my neck, lulled and soothed me.

Out in the city, there were women being raped. Muggers attacked runaway teens. Lost souls fell into cracks never to be seen again. Sex was sold by scared children to perverse predators that were all too likely to take more than was being given. Families were torn apart by gangs.

I could help. But I wasn't. I was in bed with my lover instead.

I don't think of myself as a guilty person, I mean, I don't think that I'm responsible for my parent's death, I mean, I could have done more than I did and maybe then they'd be alive, but I've never thought that was why I did this.

I do this because I can. And someone has to.

Then, I wasn't. And it was eating me alive.

And so, eventually, I couldn't bear it anymore. I couldn't be Robin, because that's what Bruce said, but I could do something.

So, after Phil would fall asleep, I would slip out into the night, dressed all in black, smudging my face with grease, and I would do what I could. Only in our neighborhood, because I didn't want Phil to wake up and discover me gone, so I wouldn't stay out late, but I was doing something.

Harassing the pushers, offering help to anyone who needed it, breaking up the gangs in the area piece by piece.

People in the area started talking about how their 'hood was cleaning up, but it was just talk.

I wasn't doing nearly enough.

And I wasn't doing a good job of hiding it from Phil. He knew something was up. He knew I was going somewhere and he didn't know where.

I kept thinking of what Babs had told me.

He said that he fully expected that someday you would meet someone else, and move on. After all, you were too young to settle down. But that it didn't matter, because if you loved him back or not, he was going to spend the rest of his life devoted to you with all his heart and soul.

It was killing me, to hurt him, and it was killing me, not being able to do more, and it was killing me, not seeing Bruce.

I was dying a slow death, every day, a little piece of me withering away. But what could I do?

I could have gone back to Bruce and asked him to forgive me, but every time I thought of doing that, I would just get mad. Forgive me for what? I knew there was more to it, but it felt like I had been punished for being gay, for being in love.

For not being him, which I could never be and wasn't even going to pretend to try.

I learned to hate that summer, and I didn't even know what or who I was supposed to hate.

Myself, I guess.

Phil had this sad glint in his eyes whenever he pulled me to him, whispering softly in my hair as he nuzzled me. He encouraged me to get a job, to go to school, something to give me direction.

I knew what I needed for direction. A jumpline, a few batarangs, a radio line to the cave, and a pile of badasses who would suddenly wish they had given working retail more thought.

See, I knew that Batman had the city covered when it came to the Joker and that junk, I mean, he'd be better off with someone to watch his back, but he was a monolith. He could do it himself.

It was the little things that he wasn't so good at, the people who needed saving. The villains he had covered, it was the victims that he had trouble with.

I mean, I could go into a whole big psychological thing about stunted childhood and unacknowledged victimization that caused him to lash out, but it's boring. He wasn't good at taking care of people who needed more than intimidation. That was what I was there for.

And I wasn't there for it anymore. And, that was my fault. Me and my stupid pride and childishness. Yes, even then I could see how childish I had been. I just didn't know what to do about it.

My Phil would draw me little picture to make me smile, every morning he would leave a little homemade comic on the kitchen table for me, most of them were slightly smutty. He teased me, and we bickered. Actually, it was amazing how easily and well we fit together, even living together.

Except for that defeated look in his beautiful green eyes.

Now, this next bit, I can't relate directly, cuz I wasn't there, but it's awesome, and both Bruce and Phil told me about it, so I can relate it pretty reliably.

See, Phil knew I was miserable, underneath my bliss, and he wanted to help. He knew I was missing something, and that at least part of that something was family. So, one day, he went to go see Bruce in his office.

Phil went, and saw Bruce's secretary's secretary. She had him wait in this waiting room with really depressing fake plants and really tinny elevator music for, like, an hour. And then Margaret, Bruce's secretary, came and brought him to a meeting room. I guess he had told them that he was a friend of mine. So, he waited for another long stretch of time, killing the wait by drawing on the dry erase board. Then, Bruce came in.

Bruce was scowling, and Phil was shaking in his Doc's. Bruce can be pretty intimidating when he's scowling. I guess Phil was actually meeting the Bat.

"Can I help you?"

"I certainly hope so, sir, I wanted to talk to you about your son."

Bruce glared more forcefully. "And?"

"He misses you."

"He knows my phone number and address."

"It's possible that, for some strange reason, he might feel unwelcome." Phil can glare pretty well, too, after all, he is a red-headed Irishman.

"What exactly are you doing... consorting with a child, anyway?"

"If you still think he is a child, perhaps that could be the beginning of the trouble you have with him."

"What makes you think you can tell me anything about my son, you self-righteous little cradle robber?"

Phil just sighed, and turned to the window. "At night, he goes out, I don't know where. He is such a little sprite... like a faery child, if you will forgive the pun. I have no way to keep him enclosed. I don't want to. But I worry. There are a lot of bad people in the world, and Dickie can hold his own against most of them, but... He is lost, sir, and scared, and he... deserves better. Can you tell me that you don't still love him? If that's the case, then I'll go and hopefully never see you again. But, it's breaking his heart to be separated from you, and that's breaking my heart. You should hear the way he speaks of you. Even when he's saying how cold or unreasonable you can be, you would still hear how much he loves you. He's grateful to you, sir, for saving him. After his parents were killed, you were the only thing that made him human again. He loves you. He needs you. More than he needs me, if it came to that, but I think that if it came to that, he'd be better off with me." Phil turned to look Bruce in the eye. "I would never make him choose."

Bruce told me he couldn't maintain his glare at this point, but that Phil never flinched or looked away. That impressed Bruce.

Phil left his card, with our address and phone number, and left.

He had invited Bruce to come visit.

Is it any wonder why I'm totally lost in love with this guy??!?!?

So, I'm at home, clueless, not knowing any of that, and a couple of days later, we get a knock at the door. I'm not expecting anyone, so I figure it must be our landlady, since our plumbing had been acting up again...

I go to the door, ready for battling. "Look, it's about time, our sink has been backed up for..."

That's when I realize that it's Bruce. I couldn't speak, or move. I thought I was in trouble.

"Uh. Hello, Dick. Um, I, your landlady met me at the door and let me in."

"So much for security." I folded my arms over my chest, and leaned against the door as if I were comfortable.

Bruce did not look comfortable. "Uh. So. This. This is your... home. Now." Bruce was peeking over my shoulder, looking for all the world like a little boy lost.

"Yeah. Come on in, if you like." And I stepped aside so he could come in.

Which he did, and he only hesitated for a minute. "It's... a lot bigger than I expected. Nice. Messy..."

"Yeah. I was just about to vacuum."

Bruce just gave me this look, like he's gonna start laughing out loud, except he's the Batman and he doesn't do that, no matter how much he wants to.


"Someone has to... So, not to be rude, but what are you doing here?"

"I... I wanted to.... I have... Here." He handed me a package, no bigger than his palm.

I just looked at it, so he held it out farther. I figured, ya know, sometimes, you have to go half way.

Opening it, I found out it was a jewelry box. Looking up, he just smiled at me. I opened it up, and just gaped.

"But... but, Bruce!"

"I know you don't have much use for cuff links," Bruce eyed my low-hanging jeans and the clingy crop shirt with the Green Lantern logo on it. "But... my father didn't get a chance to pass them on to me, obviously. And... I almost missed the chance to pass them on to you."

I stared at the cuff links. They were heavy gold, each with a large ruby just off center. Bruce's great great great grandfather had seen them at the jeweler's in his hometown in the 'old country' and left, vowing that he would be able to afford them someday. After 25 years in America, he sent someone back to get them. They've been passed down the Wayne family ever since then.

They're pretty fucking ugly.

"Bruce... I... I'm sorry about all the lies, and stuff. But, you know that I'm gay."

"I know, Dick."

"That's not going to change."

"I know."

"And this is how I dress."

He cleared his throat. "Yes. It's your choice."

"And I love Phil."

He just stared at me.

"That's never going to change."

"You don't know..."

"Yes, I do. Bruce, you have to accept him. He's a part of me now."

Bruce leveled me with his glare. After enough time had passed so that he knew I wasn't going to back down, he sighed. "I... I will try."

"I love him, Bruce."

"I... Yes."

"He loves me."

"... Yes."

"He's my family, Bruce."

He just lowered his gaze.

"It's important that you understand that, Bruce, because I want us all to be family together."

Bruce smiled at me. He doesn't smile much. It's a nice smile, really.

"Mo chroí, I couldn't get your ice cream at the store but I got the Zesti.... Oh, sorry, didn't mean to interrupt."

Phil was carrying three bags of groceries and looking between us apprehensively. I grinned, and grabbed one of the bags. "No worries, love. I'd like you to meet my father, Bruce Wayne. Bruce, this is my lover, Philip Joyce. My celtic rose..."

They gamely shook hands as if they had never met. Bruce agreed to stay for dinner. After a spell, he and Phil were busy discussing investment strategies, and I was snoozing on the couch.

He had accepted us.

Just one last detail, and I wasn't quite sure how to deal with that.

See, now, things were pretty good, except Phil still had that defeated look in his eyes.

I had to do something about that.

So, one day I was at the Manor. And I needed to talk to Bruce, but I was totally putting it off. So, I went to the kitchen to see Alfred.

"Master Dick." He smiled at me as he put the roast in the oven. "Are you staying for dinner?"

"Uh... Probably not, I just needed to talk to Bruce. Thanks, Alfred."

"No need, young sir. And I believe that Master Bruce is in his study."

"Yeah, I think he is."

"Well. What are you waiting for, young sir?" He gave me that perfectly Alfred look, like I was being so transparent but he was gonna pretend I wasn't so that I could have the chance to tell him what was going on.

"Um, I guess I just needed some time. To, uh, work up my courage."

"You need to talk to him about Mr. Joyce, I presume."

I grinned, cuz I do whenever Alfred calls Philly 'Mr. Joyce'.

"Yeah. I... just, well, it's important, so I don't wanna mess it up."

"Give him some credit, Master Dick. He is not as unreasonable as he has seemed. Admittedly, he had some trouble initially, but you must know that he loves you."

I smiled, a small smile. "I know that, Alfred. It's just..." I sighed. And then I thought of something that I hadn't thought of until then. "Hey, Alfred? Are we ok?"

"Of course, Master Dick. Why would you think otherwise?" He examined me closely as he began to prepare the salad.

"Welllll... I lied to you too. And, I dunno, you're kinda like a dad-slash-grandfather to me, so, it was probably a big shock to you too when I came out..."

"Master Dick. I've known for quite some time that you were gay. I wasn't the least bit surprised when you 'came out' in your usual flamboyant style. Master Bruce simply needed the time to adjust that I had already had at that point."

My eyes must have been as large as dinner plates. "You knew???? How?"

He grinned that Alfred grin. "Very few heterosexual adolescent males spend as much time as you did reworking their wardrobes to accentuate their rear assets, young sir."

I blushed like crazy, and laughed. "I guess so. Huh. And I thought I was so clever!"

He smiled at me with his eyes. "Young sir, don't put this off. I imagine that I know what you need to discuss with him. I imagine that he knows this is coming, too."

I looked up at him, my most puppy dog like look shining bright. "You really think so? Do... Do you think that will make it better, or worse?"

"I think, young sir, that there is only one way to know that." And he pointed me in the direction of Bruce's study.

Gulping hard, I entered the lion's den. So to speak.

He was just going through his email, which was always totally backed up. He looked up, glad for the break.

Well, for now he was...

"What brings you this way, chum?"

Funny how Bruce had reverted to calling me that.

"Oh. Just, ya know. Stuff. Training."

He grinned at me. "I thought that you got plenty cardio work at home, but..."

I just made a face at him. "Philly's got a deadline this week, so he's being his big brown bear-self. But big brown bear-him is cute, and fun to de-stress." Bruce winced, and looked back to his email. "Uh, Bruce? I... There's something I wanted to talk to you about."

Bruce opened up his body language, making himself available.

I took a deep breath, and plunged in. "You know, don't you, that I've been going out? At night?"

He seemed to soften, somehow. "Yes. You've been doing a good job, too."

I blushed. "Uh, thanks. Um, I need to ask you something... well, I mean, I... You said that if I wasn't living here, I couldn't be Robin, does that mean you... disapprove?"

He looked at the desk. "No, I don't disapprove. I... There are a lot of things right now with you that I have to learn to just accept. Because, as much as I hate to admit it, you aren't a child anymore. When your son moves out to live with his older male lover, it's time to just sit back and accept. I would like to tell you that you couldn't go out. But I can't. So, I won't. I'm just going to say... I'm here, you know, to help. Or whatever. Just... don't be alone. Get a radio, make it possible for someone to help you."

I was beaming. "That's all I want, Bruce. Really."

"Good." He seemed satisfied. Really, it was the best conversation we'd had in years.

One more thing, though...

"Bruce, I need... I wanted to know... I, I'm sorry, but I can't lie to Phil. I just can't."

"I don't expect you to."

"Even a lie of omission."

Bruce tensed, almost imperceptibly, but I knew him. "I know."

"That means..."

"Dick." He stood, came around the desk and put his hand on my shoulder. "I know. It's your choice, it's your secret as much as it is mine. I wouldn't, couldn't, stand in your way. If you feel he is trustworthy, then it's your decision. I only hope..." He looked away, and I could feel his tension. "I just hope that he really is worthy of you."

I watched him for a moment, and it hit me.

"Bruce? Have you ever told anyone?" My eyes were practically tearing just at the thought.

He smiled, a tight, unhappy smile. "I... yes. But it will go better for you. He really loves you."

I grinned so hard, my face hurt. "I know. He has a really nifty ways of letting me know, and, apparently, everyone else, too."

Bruce squeezed my shoulder. "Good luck, chum."

Good luck, indeed!

When Phil's deadline was out of the way, and he was a lot more relaxed, boy howdy and yummy more relaxed!, I took him to the Manor one day, telling him I needed to show him something.

Bruce and Alfred were out, Wayne Enterprises had some charity luncheon bullshit or whatever. Thank GOD I didn't have to go to those anymore!

Phil was confused, but happy. I had been staying in at home every night since I had talked to Bruce.

When I got to the trick clock, I took a deep breath, and pulled the lever. He gave me this really funny look. "Gleoite, what is this? A secret passageway? These old houses are so neat!"

I tried to giggle as I lead him down the stairs. Into the blackness, into the truth...

When we got to the bottom, it was all there. The batcomputer, the training salle, the batmobile, Bruce's gallery of bat-related stuff, the batsuit and robin suit....

It was all laid out for him.

He looked around, blinking and almost scared looking. "Gleoite? Where... where are we? Some... some sort of... museum? Or.. play area? Does... Bruce have some sort of... hobby?"

I tried to grin. "I suppose you could call it that. If you had a death wish. This is the batcave."

He looked at me, his emerald eyes shaking.

"Bruce is Batman, love."

"But... Batman is just urban legend." His voice was weak, and lost. He was casting about, flailing, looking around as if someone had just dropped a rock on the glass bottom of his whole universe, and he wasn't sure yet if it was broken.

"That's what he wants you to think." I couldn't suppress the wry grin. "And, love? I... I'm Robin. Er, I was. After my parents were killed, Bruce took me in. But I was full of anger, I wanted revenge. I found all this because of my need for vengeance. He was hesitant, but he taught me. To channel my rage, to become a true vessel for justice."

He was looking away from me. My voice had become just a whisper, the walls of stone echoing my hushed tones.

"I was Robin. I was a vigilante."

"But... Gleoite... You are too..."

I raised an eyebrow.


"You know that I can handle myself in a fight." He nodded, almost regretfully. "You know that I can bend in almost every direction." He grinned, and nodded. I smiled too. "This is who I have always been, darling. I never lied to you. I know that I haven't told everything, but I am who I am. The mask is only for convenience, I'm not duplicitous."

He sighed, a noise that stabbed me right in my heart.

"I don't know what you want me to say, mo chroí. I don't know how I'm supposed to react..."

"Phil." I wanted to cry. "I still love you, just the same. Do you?"

He looked all around, until he could only look at me. Then he took my face into his hands and kissed me until my legs wrapped around his waist involuntarily. He's a good kisser.

"Dickie. Nothing could ever change how I feel about you. But you have to give me time. This is a lot to process."

"That's what I do when I go out at night. I 'fight crime' in the 'hood."

His eyes got as wide as saucers. "You... people have been talking, but I thought..."

"I don't want to push you, babe, but I need to do this. Not as Robin anymore, but I need to. I need to do what I can. This is my direction, my purpose. I need to know that you can live with that."

He held me trembling against himself, his strong beautiful arms surrounding me. "I can live with you, mo chroí, no worries there."

We kissed for what felt like a lifetime. He dropped me down and I just grinned up at him. He was shaking. He looked around... "This will take time, gleoite. This is... so much."

"I need you, Phil, but I need this, too. If you want, you could help me. Design a suit and all..."

He got this speculative look in his eyes. "I like designing costumes for new heroes..."

I grinned. "Yeah! Just like that!"

"Only, when the hero gets all beat up and comes home broken, it will be you." His voice sounded so sad.

I wanted to cry. "I... can't promise nothing will ever happen to me, babe, but I couldn't promise that anyway. I can promise that I will be careful, and never alone. And I can promise you that I will love you. And that I will be helping people that wouldn't have anyone else to help them."

He looked helpless.

"Do you know what it feels like to lose everything, and have no one to help you?"

He looked me right in the eye, his green eyes blazing. "I can't know that, gleoite." He sounded like he was so sorry that he hadn't lost his own parents, like that was keeping him from me and he wished it wasn't.

"This is who I am, Phil. This is the man you fell in love with."

He sighed, as if resigned, and smiled at me. "I do love you, you know."

I smiled up at him. And then my grin got wicked.

"There are advantages, you know. You haven't lived until you've greased yourself up with motor oil and had sex on the hood of the batmobile."

He turned 40 shades of red. "Um... oooh, but we will get in trouble..."

"There's plenty of time before Bruce and Alfred get back..." I used my deep, sexy, come-hither voice, patent pending.

His eyes gleamed like a cat's, and he pounced on me. Next thing I knew, my back was up against the windshield and I was rapidly losing clothing. No matter, so was he, the soft hairs that covered his pale flesh bringing my skin to life, caressing me and tantalizing me...

His mouth was hot and sticky wherever he landed it, his hands pushing me over the edge. My back slicked the hood of the 'mobile with sweat, and I undulated with the rhythm. When the first slap of oil hit my flesh, I was a million miles away...

It was gritty and slimy, and felt so so so so good. I wanted to wallow in it. I licked his neck like it was covered in chocolate. Our bodies pushed together, slipping and sliding against one another sweetly, our rocking fine-tuned over our time together...

When he pushed into me, I wasn't expecting it. It was so thrilling, being taken away without warning. My back was arched up, I was making noise like a cheap porno, I was totally in the moment, in the groove, in the zone...

I was tantric. First time ever! I was so fucking proud of myself. I let my hands wander and roam, I took myself in my hands, I pushed and pulled and bit and nibbled...

He growled. My Irish tiger. What's the word for tiger in Irish, I had to ask him...

The tiny beep from the computer which announces that someone is entering the property woke me up hours later. I could barely stand or walk, but I moved quickly, shoving a sleepy and happy Phil into his clothes and wiping up the extra grease and what not as quickly as I could.

When Bruce came down, he just cocked an eyebrow at us. "Looks like you both took it well."

He was getting to be so good at just accepting things!

So, then, life was good. We were designing my new costume and identity, Bruce was being helpful, Alfred was sending us food and cleaning supplies that I took full advantage of, and we were writing whole new sections to the gay kama sutra every night.

We reworked the apartment a little, with the help of Bruce, for security and night work.

When we were all done with the new id, we invited Babs over for dinner and a final approval.

Phil had let her in as I was finishing up the dinner (I had become so domestic!). She was just grinning at Phil.

"Sorry I'm late, I was working with Dinah again and lost track of the time!" She brushed her hair out of her face in that nervous fashion of hers.

"Oh, fine, just throw us over for your new friend, see if we care..." I acted all put out.

She ruffled my hair. I hate that! "Well, sorry Dickie, but ya know, she does have a great rack..."

"Babs!" I was so scandalized!

"What, like you're the only one who can do it?" She tried to look innocent. As if!

I love Babs.

"So, do I have to wait to see, or can I see it now?"

Phil and I looked at each other. I slipped into the secret closet (hee!) to change.

When I got out, Babs and Phil were on the couch laughing. They never tell me what they are laughing about...

Babs just gasped when she saw me. "Dickie! Oh. My. God!"

I smiled, and turned for her.

"Oh, Wow!!! That's... I mean... Keen! You look SO awesome!"

Phil was giving me this look. This, I wanna peel the kevlar off of your perfect body and lick the sweat off of your balls look. God, I just love that look!

"So, you like it?"

"Yes! So what's the id? Blackbird?"

I laughed a little. Looking at my gauntlets, I caught my reflection in the glass from one of Phil's artworks. I really like my suit. It fits me, my personality. No cape to hold me back from the acrobatics, just simple black with convenient gauntlets to hold my equipment and a swath of deep blue v-ing across my chest and back for effect. "No, Nightwing. Though, we did think of Blackbird. But we wanted more of a break from the Robin thing. But, still remembering my roots."

Babs just nodded, like you do when something is just right. "Nightwing. I like that. Really, I do. Oh, man, how are you holding yourself back?!" She looked at Phil, disbelieving. "I mean, your boyfriend is so hot."

"Yes, he is." I love the way Phil's accent gets when he gets that look in his eyes.

"I... better change back before my boyfriend assaults me on the living room floor in front of you..."

"Oh, I don't mind, do you?" She looked at Phil, who still only had eyes for me. "No, I don't think he does..."

"In your dreams, Girl Wonder."

So, you can see, life was pretty much settled.

I didn't even realize that I hadn't seen my Titans friends in months until I got the call that Roy was in the hospital.

I felt like a total heel. I had been so preoccupied with my own shit that I hadn't kept up with my friends at all. I had no idea that Roy had been using, much less anything else that was going on with any of them.

He had been confronted by Ollie, his sorta dad, and Dinah, his sorta dad's girlfriend (though, now that she and Babs had become friends...). Now, he was in the hospital for rehab. He was going through some quick rehab thing that was supposed to be really good because it would flush out his system and give him a really good chance of recovery. We were all there, Garth had come from Atlantis, and Donna from visiting Paradise Island, and Wally was there from Keystone City. I was the first one to get there, but I was the closest.

We hardly talked, just sat and waited. Bruce was there, too, helping out as only he could. I wouldn't leave, I felt so bad for Roy, and eventually they let us see him. He was really sick with withdrawal, so I just had to sit there and hold his head while he spewed and stuff, and just to be there, ya know?

Eventually, they let him go home, and we all went with him. Just to be sure. Cuz, ya know, Ollie wasn't the most reliable person in the world. I mean, yeah, we hadn't been there for him, but Ollie had been there, and still didn't know what was going on with Roy for too long.

So, we were kinda just hanging out, only it wasn't really hanging out, it was taking care of Roy. We were watching movies and talking about stuff. Wally was really excited about going to college, even though he was a little sad about not doing the superhero deal while he was there. But, he joked, at least he didn't have to be Kid Flash anymore!

Garth told us about how he was kinda just feeling the waters, now that Arthur was more involved with his real family. That made us all flinch. He was working on ways to stay on the surface more, he said, cuz he wanted to be more a part of this world.

Donna was going to be working in New York. She had gotten this really fantastic apprenticeship with a modeling firm as a photographer, and was already getting some work. Roy joked about hanging out with her so he could meet all the babes.

Everyone was shocked when I told them that I wasn't Robin anymore. I told them about Nightwing, and how that was better anyway. They were double shocked when I told them that I wasn't living in the Manor anymore.

"But..." Wally was just floored. "Are you going to Gotham State, then?"

"Nah. I've had enough school. I'm still too much of a circus brat, I mean, maybe I'm just too much of a brat, but I'm sick of it. Anyway, I've got too much going on with Nightwing, and I've been volunteering at this hospice, so I'm busy enough."

"Well," Donna joked, "Now that you aren't living at the Manor, your fashion sense has improved. I love your outfit!"

I blushed. I was wearing my absolute fav tight, torn jeans, with the coolest Wonder Woman tank. "Gee, I wonder why?"

She just grinned at me.

"Well," Wally didn't look as impressed by my outfit. Garth seemed to appreciate it, and Roy seemed amused. "Does that mean that you have a place of your own?"

"Well, yeah. I mean, I'm living with Phil, it's really his place, but yeah."

Everyone gave me this blank look.

"God, how long has it been since we've been together? Phil is my boyfriend. We've been together for months now."

"Your... what?!??" Wally looked like he just bit into a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper.

That's when I realized just how long it had been since I'd seen my friends.

"My... boyfriend." I felt like I was shrinking.

"You're a faggot? Since when?" He really looked like he had just bitten into a whole bushel of Guatemalan Insanity Peppers.

"Um, always, I guess."

"Fucking faggot liar..." Wally's face was redder than the Flash's costume.

"Hey, back off Wally! So what? What are you getting all worked up about?" I was so shocked that Roy was standing up for me. I mean, I knew he was a good friend and all, but considering what a crappy friend I had been to him lately...

"Yeah!" Donna was right there with Roy. "It's no big deal!"

"What do you mean, no big deal! It's a huge deal! He's been lying to us!" Wally looked like he was torn between wanting to tear something, or someone, apart and wanting to burst into tears.

"I haven't..." I had hardly any voice.

"Oh yeah? Then how come you didn't tell us before? Christ, when I think of all the times that we were working out and junk together... God! Were you looking at us, you perv?" God, he looked so scared!

"Oh, yeah, cuz you are so freakin' irresistible. Get over yourself West." Roy's deep sarcastic voice, patent pending, was in full force. "Look, it doesn't change anything. Hell, I'm just glad that we know now, that he told us. Think how it must have felt for him to not be able to tell us?"

"Wally, come on, what's really so bad about this? I've known homosexuals all my life, trust me, they aren't any different than heterosexuals." Donna is so reasonable and cool.

"But it does change everything. They aren't the same. You... you are going to hell, you know, Dick?" I felt like crying now.

"Wait a minute..." Garth was still off in the corner a bit, the rest of them facing each other. Me, I had sat down on the couch, watching, and trying not to cry. I had so not prepared for the whole coming out thing...

"Going to hell? What, are you in the fourth grade?! What kind of thing is that to say to your friend and teammate?!" Roy was on his feet now and turning red.


"Shut up, Harper, I should have known you would be ok with this. You obviously don't have much of a hold on the difference between right and wrong!"


"Fuck you, West, I know enough about right and wrong to know that it is wrong to be so shitty to a friend!"


Everyone stopped dead. Garth had never, ever raised his voice before. Not even in a battle. He wasn't dangerously quiet, but he was quiet.

Not then.

"I don't understand. What is going on here? You have a boyfriend, meaning, you are sexually involved with a male?"

Now, I was kinda scared. I just didn't think that Garth would freak about this, and after Wally's reaction... So I just nodded.

"But, I asked Wally if surface people had relations with people of the same gender and he said they didn't." He really sounded confused, and annoyed.

"It's just not as common, Garth. People who are homosexual or bisexual are in the minority in their population." Donna to the rescue, as always.

"And now that I know this, you are involved with someone?" I just nodded as I looked into his deep purple eyes. Garth's so hot. And he looked so cute with his dark curls going in every direction. "I knew I should have asked Roy! Fuck! Just my luck..."

Everyone just stared at Garth for a minute, and then Roy and Donna broke up laughing, although they did make some half-hearted attempts to hold it in. I was just dazed, like I couldn't quite get my mind around it. Garth... wanted me? That was such a strange concept!

Wally was just steaming. "Oh, great! I'm surrounded! And I suppose you two are equally perverse!" He just glared at Roy and Donna, giggling together. "Well, hey, if you guys wanna live like that, fine, go right ahead, but don't expect me to join in!" And then he stormed out, obviously distressed because he forgot to go at super-speed.

For a second, everyone just watched him leave.

"I'm... I'm really sorry, guys. I didn't mean to lie to you..." I was, like, totally tearing up.

In a flash, so to speak, they were all surrounding me.

"Forget about it, Dick." Roy one-armed me. "He's just a little too small town. It's not your problem."

Donna kissed my temple. "Give him time. He could come around, still. And if not, well, we're better off without him. We're supposed to defend the defenseless and stand up for justice. We can't do that and be prejudiced at the same time."

"We're still here for you, Dick." Garth squeezed my hand. "We always will be."

I have the coolest friends.

"Now, we do have to meet this Phil, though, you know." Roy had that typical Roy look in his eyes. "I mean, now that you are on your own and stuff, we need to check up on you and junk."

"Absolutely! Plus, we need to see this new place of yours! Make sure that it is Titans-ready and stuff." Donna giggled.

"We have to make sure he's up to standard." Garth sounded so solemn, and he had this look in his eyes, like, and if he's not, we have to see about getting you someone who is...

So, I took them to Gotham to meet Phil.

Roy and Donna parked, and I went up to prepare Phil.

Garth was impressed by our apartment. "It's really filthy."

"Yeah. Phil isn't good about cleaning up after himself. Hey, babe, I'm back, and I've brought..."

Before I could finish, he had bounded out of the bedroom, where he had apparently been napping, and pulled me into a huge mega kiss.

He sleeps naked, by the way.

Yeah, Garth was impressed.

"Wow. So you are Phil?" Phil suddenly noticed that we weren't alone in the apartment. Garth was totally cool, but I think people in Atlantis are less modest than we are.

Phil held me close to him and used me as a shield as I introduced him to Garth.

Then he went to get dressed double fast, and redder than I had ever seen him before.

I cleaned up the living room a bit. I am so friggin' domestic.

Then, Roy and Donna came up, bickering as always.

"I only looked cuz you pointed her out!"

"You didn't have to enjoy it so much!"

"Neither did you!"

I had to giggle. The two of them are so cute!

"You guys missed it. I met Phil, and he was naked!"

"Garth!" I was, like, so embarrassed!

Before I had to fall through the floor, Phil came out, fully clothed, and met everyone. We ordered pizza and put some movies in and chatted and stuff. Everyone was having a good time, but Garth looked a little low. I was gonna say something to him, but when Phil and I took the dishes in to clear up, I could hear them in the living room.

"What's wrong, gillhead? Do you need to hydrate? I bet Dickie and Phil will let you use their shower..." Roy really got a bang out of my nickname.

"Nah. It's just... They really are in love, aren't they?" His voice was so low and sad.

Donna spoke low and gently, "They are."

Curious and stuff, I went to the edge of the kitchen to see how things were. I would totally be bummed if Garth was miserable over me and Phil. Garth is just too sweet and too nice. And hot. He shouldn't be bummed. Donna had her arm around Garth's shoulder and Roy was sitting close next to him, his arm on the back of the couch behind Donna's arm.

Roy just laughed. "I swear, everyone falls for him! What is it about that guy? Nevermind. Look, there are plenty of fish in the sea, so to speak. It's not the end of the world."

"I know. It's just... I never worked up the courage to tell him. Now I feel like, maybe if I hadn't been such a coward..."

"Hey, don't think like that, man. You can't take back the past. Just gotta look forward. I've certainly been doing that a lot lately." Donna and Garth gave Roy a sympathetic look. "Just can't let a new opportunity pass you by is the lesson here, I guess."

I went back to doing to the dishes, and snogging my boyfriend. Everything was gonna be ok. I mean, Wally was still mad or whatever at me, but he would either get over it or not. Life was good.

When we got back to the living room, Roy, Donna, and Garth were nowhere to be seen. But, the guest bedroom was kinda noisy.

I sat in Phil's lap and started to suck on his earlobe. "Um... oooh, gleoite, that's good, but, uh, what are your friends doing?"

"Best not to think of it, lover."

"I think... mmmm... I think that Garth was kinda lusting after you."


"He's pretty hot."

"Yeah." Man, does his neck taste good...

"Do you regret it?"

"Regret... what?" It's hard to think when your boyfriend has his hand between your legs and you are feasting on his collarbone.

"If you hadn't met me, you might be with him. You are both heroes, and friends. I bet that you would be pretty good together." He whispered softly, like he was afraid of the words, as he kissed my jawbone.

"Maybe in another universe or two. But in this one, there's only you. Always you, forever you..."

So, we made use of our bedroom, and the guys and gal made use of the other room, and in the morning we were all exhausted, happy, and hungry. I made pancakes.

That's pretty much it, I mean, you know, that's the story. Oh, except for one last bit...


Well, it was nearly a whole year later, but one day, there was a knock at the door to our apartment.

I can't begin to tell you how surprised I was when I opened it and saw Wally!

So surprised, in fact, that I couldn't even speak.


"Uh, hey Dick." He just stood there looking awkward and uncomfortable. "Your, uh, neighbor let me in."

After a minute of just looking at each other, I decided to break the ice. "So... uh, what are you doing here?" Well, maybe sledgehammer the ice would be a better way of describing it, but c'mon!

"I... well. Uh, look, I'm sorry. About all those things that I said. I'm sorry." He really did look sheepish too.

"Ok. You're sorry. Now what?"

"Well... do you forgive me?"

"Wally... it's been a year! What are you doing here?"

He just shuffled his feet. At superspeed.

"Stop that. The landlady will make us pay for new carpet."

"Oops. Sorry. Look, Dick. I... I don't know why I said all those things, why I made such a big deal about it. Well, I do but... See... youweremyheroandicouldn'tquitedealwiththeideathatyouweregaycuzidon'tknowijust... I'msorryitwon'thappenagainIreallymissyouguysandthere'salotgoingonandImetthisgirl..."



"Slow down, I can't understand you!" I couldn't help laughing a little, Wally was so funny when he talked at superspeed.

"I met a girl. She's... well, swell. I think I may love her."


"I want you to meet her."

I raised my eyebrow. "Why?"

"Well.... Because. I dunno. Cuz, you're still my best friend, I guess. I know I'm probably not yours but..."

I sighed, cuz what else could I do? "Come on in, Wally, let's talk."

Phil was just stretching and pulling away from his drawing board. "Mo chroí, who was at the... Hello." Phil smiled at Wally. I thought Wally was gonna run screaming.

"Uh... Wow. Uh, you're... you're..."

God, like, a million things were flying through my head. What the fuck was Wally gonna say, was he gonna say how old Phil was (Roy was always doing that, the wanker), or some faggot comment, or what?

"You're Philip Joyce! Ohmygod, you're my favorite comic artist! I love your book, Ninja Squadron! It's so nifty! Ohmygod, this is your boyfriend! I should have known, man, Yokio looks a lot like you, Dick! Wow, that's awesome! Can I have your autograph!"

Yeah, so suffice it to say that Wally came around.

And that's it.

Jesse Quick and Toni Monetti sat gaping at their team leader, just finishing up his life's love story.

Jesse couldn't quite take it all in. She had been looking forward to this party for weeks, primarily because she would finally get some off-work time with the man that she had been fantasizing about for months. It was the first time that the Titans had done anything this purely social since they re-formed. Roy had suggested it, and everyone had been a little shocked that Nightwing had so eagerly agreed. Jesse and the other new Titans were really looking forward to seeing their fearless leader in a social setting. Maybe find out if he was really human or not. And Jesse had only just recently gotten him to reveal his secret identity to her! Things seemed to be going well, although she did think his way tight and way low leather pants and sparkling crop t-shirt with Titans Together! in rhinestones was a bit of an odd fashion choice. Then, his boyfriend had shown up.

That's when things stopped going well for Jesse Quick.

So, when she and Toni had expressed their shock at discovering that their fearless leader was gay, he had taken them aside to tell them all about it.

He was sitting there, one leg tucked under his bum, the other hugged to his chest, as he blushed and stammered and basically behaved like the sweet little twink she never would have guessed he was.

This was the guy who had fought Deathstroke, the Terminator, to a standstill?

"So, guys, that's it, then. I've been with Phil my whole life, really. It hasn't been easy for him, waiting at home while I've been fighting villains. I think that Alfred helped him to accept things and learn how to deal. They're really close now. He's the only reason I'm as reasonably sane as I am. I mean, he's my rock. When things are so bad, I can't deal with it, I just go to him and collapse. He's the sweetest, most wonderful, best guy ever, and I'm so lucky he's my boyfriend."

Jesse just sat there, unbelieving, as Dick Grayson blushed and ducked his head down.

"Oh. Wow. That is." Toni surged over the table to give him a big hug. "Wow! That is so neat! I'm so happy for you! Wow! Can we come visit you guys sometime?"

Dick laughed at Toni's enthusiasm. "Sure, anytime. Jesse? You ok?"

She tried to pull herself together. "Yeah. It's just... when I imagined what you were like in person, I never imagined... I mean..."

He blushed again. "I know. People think that I'm a little... but, after spending my nights doing what we do, I need to relax, ya know?"

"Oh." She still couldn't fathom it.

"We should go shopping! There's a Limbo Lounge right near me, we could have so much fun there!" Toni seemed to have no trouble with all of this, Jesse noted.

"I love that store!" Dick was just so... so gay! Jesse couldn't believe it. She really needed to adjust her gaydar, this was the third time...!

"I hope you aren't mad at me, Jesse. I mean, I hope you didn't think, ya know, I was flirting or anything anytime. I mean, I don't think of it anymore. I just assume everyone can tell I'm gay, like I've got a pink triangle tattooed to my forehead." He really did sound sorry, too, the bastard.

"No, don't be silly. I didn't know, but that's certainly not your fault. And now that we've really met, I can see why you would think that everyone would know... Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't mean...!"

He giggled. Nightwing giggled! "No worries! I love being gay!"

Just then, his boyfriend, looking hotter than hell in his black silk shirt and his tight black jeans. "'Scuse me, ladies, but I need him. It's time to dance!"

"Are they playing the 80's music, finally?" Dick grinned up at his lover.

Phil answered by pulling him up and away. Dick just waved goodbye to them.

They maneuvered on the dance floor past Donna, Garth, and Roy, who were sandwich grinding together. Jesse looked at them, seeing something that she now knew had been there for years but she only finally put her finger on. She had always felt there was some kind of strange dynamic to the friendship between those three, but she never would have guessed...

Toni was giggling as they watched the boyz dance.

"It's tragic, you know. They are so hot." Jesse couldn't help feeling a little cheated, even if she never really had a chance.

"Hm. Maybe. But, hey! Think of the aesthetic advantages! Aren't they just too hot together?"

Jesse shifted uncomfortably as Phil pulled Dick close to him, grabbing his ass and leaning down for a deep, passionate kiss. "Yeah. But they're just making me all hot and bothered and neither of them is going to do anything about it!"

Toni watched Jesse coyly from behind her lashes. "Well, we could always do something about that ourselves..."

Jesse turned to look at her blushing, suddenly bashful friend.

She had never so acutely been aware of the advantages of a secret identity before now.