title: Outside the Lines: Questions
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Metamorpho, Grace, Roy
rating: Teen
warnings: some foul language
summary: Roy fields some questions, and Dick overhears.
notes: this takes place at some unspecified time after Outsiders #2. i'm trying to avoid being overly jossed here, so i'll keep it somewhat vague as to where and when. but after the action in Outsiders #2 is done, and before the next big thing. also, this is a follow-up to Outside the Lines 1: Propositions, and the second in a possible series.

"Metamorpho."

The voice alone was enough to stop them. Grace could not help stopping alongside of Metamorpho; it was not the sort of voice that one walked away from, even if it was coming from Roy.

The archer walked calmly to join them, his gait and demeanor determined and yet not hurried. Grace looked at Metamorpho, wondering if this might be a personal matter. She remained rooted to the spot when she saw the quiver of uncertainty chase over Metamorpho's silly putty face. She had seen enough bar fights to know who was the chump in the crowd, and she had enough of a protective streak to stick by the guy who was going to get clobbered.

Plus, she didn't mind an excuse to spend time with Roy.

"Arsenal?" Metamorpho waited until the other man was within conversation distance, but there was too much of a question in his voice for Grace's tastes. She would have preferred it if her teammates were less servile.

"Small point." Roy was getting straight to it, his hands clasped loosely behind his back. Grace admired his poise. Roy Harper had all the angles covered. He was suave, flirtatious, professional... Grace bit her lip and kept her eyes fixed on his face. She wasn't about to ogle her colleague right there where he could see her. "Comments like 'pretty boy' are disrespectful. Just remember... Nightwing has been saving lives and the world for longer than you'd think; you should be learning from his example, not giving him attitude."

Metamorpho blinked, momentarily stunned. He looked on the verge of an apology, but Grace wasn't having it.

"Excuse me? Disrespectful? Are you out of your mind? What the hell, Harper?" She put her hands on her hips and jutted her shoulder out so that she was in between Roy and Metamorpho, a move that was lost on neither of them.

Roy cleared his throat, turning his attention more directly to Grace. "Nightwing is our team leader. We can't have any kind of unity if we are tearing each other down from the inside, and that starts with our leader."

"You are on crack. Damn it, Harper, don't you know better than that shit?" Grace was fairly growling, but Roy wasn't backing down, and Metamorpho was trying to melt into the floor.

Things were getting out of hand.

"I'm just trying to think in the best interests of the team. Do you think that everything is just going to work out all peaches and candy just because? This isn't you against the world anymore, Grace. We have to work as a team to be a team. And that starts from the top down. We have to have respect for our leader, or else we are all sunk." Roy was proud of himself, and he was fairly sure that Dick would be proud of him, too. He had been very authoritative and inspiring.

Or so he had thought, for nearly twelve seconds.

"Our leader? I didn't sign up cuz of some batboy in spandex charmed me with his cunning smirk. I signed on because of you. Far as I'm concerned, there's one too many leaders on this team, and the pretty boy can take a hike." Grace sneered, looking Roy up and down as she did. She couldn't help getting a charge out of butting heads with him; he had the sort of energy that made a person think that fighting was foreplay. Hell, with Harper, everything was foreplay...

Metamorpho cleared his throat, but he didn't get a chance to say anything before Roy shot back.

"Hey, you should be glad that Nightwing deigned to join this ragtag group. We need someone with his leadership, experience, and expertise!" Roy took the extra half step forward to really get into her face.

Metamorpho took a step back, and eyed the door longingly.

"Oh, yeah," Grace rolled her eyes, "Find the bad guy. Hit the monkeys. Follow me. That's brilliant strategy, that is. Thank god we have his guidance, or else we'd've been totally lost. Why the fuck aren't you leading this team you formed and you organized and you planned?"

"I'm not a leader," Roy snapped, his hands now in fists at his sides. "If we're going to be the power that we want to be, we need someone with vision, who can see the big picture, and pull all of our sorry asses out of the fire!"

"And that can't be you... why? I've known you for a long time now, and I don't know any reason why you aren't the man in charge here. What is it with you two? What kinda history do you have to think that he's so damn much better than you?" Grace threw her hands up in disgust, seemingly unable any longer to control them. "We don't need him, his attitude, or you thinking you are somehow inferior!"

"I need him!" Even Roy seemed startled by how loud he had said that, and they all just stood, shell-shocked, absorbing it. "I need him with me in this Grace. End of story."

Grace was left with nothing to say. There was undisguised emotion in Roy's face that she didn't want to see. She didn't need to be reminded that there was a lot about Roy that she knew nothing about, a lot that apparently this Nightwing, whoever the hell he was, did know. There were parts of Roy that she couldn't touch, that needed this other man.

She didn't like what she was seeing at all.

Metamorpho piped in quietly. "I'll watch it in the future, boss. Sorry."

Roy nodded tightly. "Respect one another. That's all I'm asking for."

He walked away in a hurry, leaving a stunned Grace flatfooted. Metamorpho slunk away quietly, careful to not draw her attention.

She wondered if Nightwing needed Roy as much as Roy needed Nightwing.








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