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The Mood for a Dance

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Ollie's vanished again. No note, either, and while that's no surprise, it still comes like a punch to the gut. Roy deals with it the way he always does—pacing aimlessly through the manor, itchy under his skin, until he realizes that if he stays there for another minute, he’s gonna start breaking shit.

Not that Roy’s ungrateful or anything—he knows exactly how lucky he is—but it’s unnatural how suffocating that place gets when he's there alone. It boggles his mind, because Ollie’s place expansively huge in that conspicuous consumption kind of way. Roy can remember arriving for the first time, staring up in awed disbelief; it was the biggest, fanciest house he'd ever seen, and he was going to get to live there. With his hero, no less. The awe lasted about as long as it took for Ollie to pull his first vanishing act.

After years of staying at Ollie’s, Roy’s still not used to being stuck there alone. He doubts he’ll ever be.

Lately Roy’s been crashing at the Teen Titans clubhouse—probably often enough that his welcome is starting to wear thin. He’s only an honorary Titan, after all. Still, way back when Roy got the metaphorical membership card and the not-so-metaphorical emergency communicator, Dick had insisted on keying Roy’s handprint into the security system. Roy's pretty sure it was nothing more than a formality—something to symbolize how Roy wasn't some random guy who tagged along on missions sometimes. Dick’s all about gestures like that.

It doesn’t matter if it was a formality, though, because Roy’s gonna keep freeloading until they change the locks.

When the doors whoosh open, the lights are already on. There are a few comforting signs of lived-in messiness scattered around the clubhouse: crumpled pop cans, cushions askew, a half-eaten bag of Doritos on the sofa. Roy relaxes—people are around, or will be soon.

He pulls off his quiver, settling it down against the wall, and heads for the couch; the Doritos are calling to him. He’d decided long ago that honorary Titans are probably entitled to the clubhouse’s communal snack food.

Unfortunately, he only manages to stuff a handful in his mouth before a red-and-yellow blur speeds by, knocking him off balance and snatching the bag right out of his hand.

"Flasher?" Roy yelps, just barely catching himself from falling, but Wally's already gone, chips and all.

Weird. Roy stares after him for a minute, then offhandedly sucks artificial cheese dust off of his thumb.

A loud, metallic clatter rises from the kitchen. Roy glances over warily. Loud noises aren't exactly unusual with the Titans, but that's where Wally'd been running from. Then there's more clattering noises, a bit of banging, and then, a piercing, ringing shriek of “Zeus’s whiskers!"

Someone with a decent sense of self-preservation would probably take that as a danger sign. Keep Out, Angry Amazon Within Reach Of Sharp Knives.

Roy shrugs to himself. To the kitchen it is.

When he peeks around the doorframe, he’s actually impressed by the disaster greeting him. Haphazardly stacked towers of used measuring cups. Goopy yellow yolk dripping down the counter onto the floor. A bag of flour tipped over onto its side, big white clumps tumbled out onto the oven and a light dusting on the floor. An intimidating amount of spoons and mysterious baking utensils scattered all over the countertops. By the sink, there’s a pile of broken eggshells and Garth, who's bent over and letting the faucet stream run over his head. In the center of the maelstrom is Donna, covered in ingredients and batter. She's stomping around, stirring up the spilled flour with her feet, while she ineffectually wipes at the egg on the counter. She's still cursing under her breath, a furious stream that Roy can only catch bits and pieces of—Hera this and Hades that, and a few more colorful words that Roy wasn't aware Donna knew. And then, Donna stops scrubbing, and flings the sponge down on the counter. Roy decides that investigating was, in fact, a bad idea, and that staying within Donna's range could be detrimental to his health. But before he can flee, Garth spots him, purple eyes gloomy from under the damp curls, and Roy turns his aborted escape into a casual lean against the doorframe. Always better to stay near the exit, just in case. "Hi, Speedy," Garth says glumly, tilting his head under the tap.

"Hey, Gill-head. Wonder Babe," Roy says mildly. "I see you're watering your Atlantean."

"Not now, Roy," Donna snaps. She’s wiping egg off her hands with jerky, almost vicious movements. Roy definitely doesn’t envy those eggs.

He peers around her. "What're you making?"

"What? Oh," Donna says, distracted. "Cupcakes."

"They're going to be delicious and Dick is not allowed to have any," Garth recites. He ducks out from under the faucet, shaking out his wet hair like a dog.

Donna purses her lips. She pushes past Garth, who scuttles meekly out of her way, to shove her hands in the sink. Her shoulders are abnormally high and tense, and even her hair, swinging whiplike from her ponytail, seems upset.

Roy frowns. “What did Birdboy do this time?"

"Oh, nothing," Donna says darkly, scrubbing her hands with a fury both terrifying and inspiring. “Apparently there’s no one who could possibly understand his problems. All that responsibility, being Robin, us mere sidekicks could only imagine! He’s far too important to tell his friends what's upsetting him."

She growls and yanks off the tap so violently that Roy's surprised it doesn't break in her grip.

"Ah," Roy says.

"Donna made a rule. If you're too important to talk to your friends, you're too important for cupcakes," Garth says.

"Noted."

Donna inhales deeply, holds her breath for a second, and then exhales, closing her eyes. Roy can almost see her internally count to ten. Then she turns, and goes over to take the last egg from the carton. She has it out for half a second, and then there's the sound of a sick crunch. Through Donna's clenched fist, raw egg begins to drip, slick and slow, down to join the other yolky puddles on the counter. Roy, Donna, and Garth stare at Donna's hand. Donna slowly uncurls her fingers, revealing the decimated shell that is all that is left of the eggs, and there is a moment of stunned silence. And then Donna emits a terrifying, wordless noise of rage and frustration, surging back across the kitchen to the sink.

Instinctively, Roy begins to back away, trying not to make any sudden movements, not looking away from Donna savagely washing her hands. As if sensing fear, Donna stands up straight and whirls around to face Roy, fire blazing in her eyes. "And where in Hades is Wally with those eggs?!"

"I don't know, but why don't I go look," Roy says hastily, and flees.

*

If Wally has any sense at all, he’s taken advantage of the Speed Force and hidden far, far away. Roy’s not even gonna bother trying to find him. He feels kinda guilty for abandoning Garth, but Roy's got bigger fish to fry.

On the way up to Dick's room, Roy considers what he'll do if Dick's door is locked, but as it turns out the door is slightly ajar. It throws Roy off a little bit, gives him a little pause. Is it some kind of emotionally manipulative, calculated Bat-decision? A passive-aggressive sign that says "I'm not upset, don't talk to me?" Roy stares for a long moment, then shrugs, and toes the door further open.

Dick’s across the room, handbalancing on the footboard of his bed. No mere handstand, of course, that’d be far too simple for Mr. I-Grew-Up-In-The-Circus. Instead, he’s pulling a gravity-defying trick that reminds Roy of something he saw a pole dancer do once; his legs are out in a split, torso arched to the side so the line of his legs is almost parallel with his arms.

It’s about what Roy expected to find; Dick prefers to be upside down when he's upset. Roy’s tempted to ask if it actually helps, and if so, does Dick give lessons.

There's no way Roy could ever do it with this much grace, though. Dick's not even breaking a sweat.

He can tell the exact moment when Dick notices his presence; Dick holds himself differently when he knows he's got an audience. Roy has a moment to admire this display of Dick’s obscene flexibility before Dick straightens, kicking his legs up into a more ordinary handstand. He holds it for a moment, the line of his body perfectly straight. Then he launches himself off the bed and into a completely unnecessary, beautifully executed backflip. Dick sticks the landing, effortlessly as always. No shock there; Dick's never flubbed a thing in his life. Then he turns sharply to face Roy, holding himself poised and expectant like an Olympic gymnast.

Obligingly, Roy gives him a round of applause, slow and sarcastic.

"Nice one, Boy Show-off. Good thing you've got a sturdy bedframe."

"It's specially made," Dick says. Roy squints at him, not actually sure if he's joking or not. "What's up, Speedy?"

"Not too much," Roy says. "Garth tells me Donna made a new Titans rule because of you."

Dick tenses up, shoulders going up around his ears. "Roy..."

"Just wondering what got you all turned around, Birdboy," Roy says easily. "I mean, you don’t have to tell me. I could probably guess."

Dick rolls his eyes and flips back into a handstand, this time firmly on the ground. That seems like progress or permission to Roy. He steps inside, closing the door behind him.

“Seriously. Did Condiment King interrupt a date? Insult your costume, maybe? I wouldn't worry about it—it’s not like he’s got room to talk.”

Dick scoffs, but a tiny smile is playing around the edge of his mouth.

Victory.

Roy grins back, sauntering across the room until Dick’s pointed toes are right in front of his face. He curls his hands around Dick’s ankles, right below the edge of the pixie boots. His skin there is soft, hairless; in the back of his mind, Roy wonders if Bruce makes Dick shave, or if he decided to on his own.

“So, not Condiment King, then?” Roy asks. He pauses for a moment, tapping his fingers against Dick’s ankles, pretending to consider. “Aliens take the Robin-cycle for a joyride and forget to bring it back?"

"I'm starting to think you're not even trying," Dick says.

Roy gasps in mock-hurt, jiggling Dick's legs a bit. "I'm terribly offended, Robbie. I'm using my detective skills to the best of my ability, here. What about—tooth fairy gone rogue? Stolen your molars?"

“You shouldn’t joke about tooth fairies. That’s serious stuff."

"Your straight face is terrible, Shortpants."

"Take that back!"

"Never," Roy says.

Dick kicks out playfully. Roy, still holding onto Dick’s ankles, falters back to avoid a pixie boot to the nose, and in the process completely loses his balance. Floundering, he clutches at Dick's legs a little harder to try and stay upright, but it’s a no go; they fall into a heap on top of each other, giggling like little kids.

It’s Dick who manages to extricate himself first out of their tangled pile of limbs. He rolls off of Roy to sit back against the wall, bringing his knees up to his chin and curling his arms around them. Roy sobers up, following suit.

He bumps their shoulders together companionably and stays there, accidentally-on-purpose keeping his shoulder pressed to Dick's. Dick likes that kind of comfort, the warmth of another person’s body seeping into his.

Dick glances over, mouth quirking into a sheepish, troubled smile. "I was kind of a jerk to Donna," he admits.

"Yeah. Garth's not real happy with you, either."

Dick winces.

"Sorry. Not helping."

"No, I kinda brought it on myself," Dick says softly. He sighs, settling his arms on the top of his knees, hiding his face.

Roy watches him for a minute before nudging him gently.

“Hey. Wanna tell me what's wrong?"

"I—" Dick shoots him a wary look out of the corner of his eye. "You have to promise not to laugh."

The corner of Roy's mouth quirks a little. “I don’t like to make promises I can't keep, Robbie."

"Ugh," Dick says, laughing a little. "You're terrible. Why am I friends with you again?"

"My dashing good looks."

"Must be," Dick says, smiling and looking away. "Okay, this is gonna make me sound like a little kid, I don't even know why I was mad. It was just..."

Dick sighs. "Last night was prom. Was supposed to be prom, anyway. But Batman called Robin out, so...I missed the whole thing."

He sighs again, nestling his face deeper into the crook of his arms.

Roy snorts. He tries to disguise it by rubbing his hand over his mouth, but laughter bubbles up through his chest, irrepressible, and he winds up guffawing through his fingers.

Dick whirls around and glares, looking hilariously betrayed. "Oh my god, shut up! You promised you wouldn't laugh!"

"No I didn't," Roy manages though his cackling. "I didn't, and I'm really glad—oof!"

He glares, affronted, at Dick, who's smirking back, clutching the pillow he'd just used to whack Roy upside the head.

"Hey! What are you, twelve? Gimme that—"

Roy lunges for it and Dick scoots back, giggling, taunting him with the offending pillow out of reach. He thwarts Roy’s attempt to climb over his body, kicking out at Roy’s legs in an attempt to use gravity against him. Roy’s ready for it, though, and uses the momentum from the trick to roll them over so Dick’s on top. Immediately pressing his advantage, Roy jabs him in the ribs, making him shriek with laughter and struggle to block Roy's hands.

"Tickling is cheating, you're such a jerk—"

"What's that?" Roy says innocently, digging his fingers into Dick's side. Dick squawks, still giggling, and lurches away from Roy's prodding fingers. Instead of grabbing for him, Roy lets him roll off, settling back against the floor, a little short of breath. He’s really got to quit smoking.

They lay side by side, looking up at the ceiling, while Dick’s giggles die out and the two of them get their breathing back to normal. Roy’s grinning at nothing; he can’t quite seem to stop.

He's missed this. This warm camaraderie, easy as breathing. He can’t remember the last time they’d horsed around like kids. Dick’s always been a little too serious, but lately it’s like the jokes Dick used to make have all dried up, leaving him tense and somber all the time.

Roy licks his lips, considering, and then rolls onto his side, facing Dick. He waits until Dick’s eyes flick over to meet his own.

"You didn't miss much, you know," Roy says.

"Hm?"

"Prom," Roy clarifies. "Bunch of sweaty kids in nice clothes, standing around to bad music.” And maybe if you're lucky someone spiked the punch, but he doesn’t say that part.

Dancing, Roy," Dick says, with a smile that doesn’t quite reach his eyes. "Dancing to bad music."

Dick looks away again, letting his eyes slip shut. For a long moment, Roy watches him. Dick’s not doing anything interesting—lying still and breathing. But there’s something about Dick’s chest rising and falling that almost hurts to watch, like Roy's own chest is filling up to bursting. The fading light paints Dick’s skin gold, casting quiet little shadows where it can’t quite reach.

Roy hops up.

"C'mon."

"What?"

"C'mon, get up, c'mon," Roy says, jittery with impatience. He grabs Dick's hand, pulling him up to his feet.

Dick’s clearly baffled, but he lets Roy move him without protest. Avoiding Dick’s eyes, Roy takes Dick’s smaller hands in his own, tangling their fingers for a brief moment before moving them up to rest on Roy's shoulders. Dick watches him, eyes going wide.

Roy bites his lower lip, then slowly, tentatively settles his own hands on Dick's waist. His hands feel huge, foreign in a way that they haven’t felt since he was thirteen and gangly. There's a new, impossible awareness of Dick's body, and how far away it is from Roy's, and every point of contact between the two of them.

He tries to calm down, to ignore the butterflies. This is fine. This is nothing. This is just more screwing around.

Dick’s eyes are flickering back and forth over Roy’s face, like if he searches hard enough he’ll somehow figure him out.

Roy swallows. Looks down at their feet. This is starting to feel like a bad idea—not like shooting a trick arrow at Batman bad, but like running out onto a busy street without checking for cars bad. There’s no way he can back out now, not without making this into a big thing. Calling attention to it, acknowledging it, that’d be way worse.

He bites his lip and starts to shift from foot to foot, lightly pulling Dick with him as he goes.

"What are you doing," Dick breathes.

"Dancing," Roy says.

For a terrifying moment, Dick doesn’t move, and Roy’s mind floods frantically with excuses. No worries, Shortpants, it’s just a joke. You know me, everything’s a joke. After that, he can laugh. Run away. Never mention it again. Dick won’t push. Everything can go back to normal.

But the split second after Roy decides to pull back, Dick goes with it, ducking his head and smiling. Falling into a gentle sway with Roy, helping him find a rhythm to a nonexistent song.

Roy lets out a long, shaky breath. In response, Dick's hands squeeze his shoulders lightly.

Then they're moving each other. It’s not really dancing, but it’s close enough. Turning slow little circles, swaying together like they’re feeling the same inexorable pull.

Roy’s struck again with the closeness. It’s exhilarating and daunting, making his breath catch, his heart pound. The whole thing feels surreal, a dreamy reflection swirling in a soap bubble. He tries to commit it to memory. The way Dick's eyelashes look, resting long and dark on his cheek. The sound of their breathing, loud enough to fill the room. The feeling of him in Roy’s arms.

“You’re not a very good dancer,” Roy murmurs. His voice shakes.

Dick laughs, breathy; Roy can feel it coming in warm puffs against his neck. A tiny voice in Roy’s brain is shouting “no comeback! no comeback!” like it’s something significant, some kind of victory. Maybe it is.

In Roy’s arms, Dick shifts, tensing slightly. Roy looks down, questioning, ready to back off, but Dick’s not pulling away. Instead, he slides his hands slowly down to Roy’s chest, searching Roy’s face the whole time. Wildly, Roy wonders if Dick can feel his heartbeat, if he’ll somehow know what Roy's thinking, if he'll pull away. But then Dick's moving again, slowly, tentatively resting his head on Roy's shoulder.

Roy’s breath hitches. He can practically feel himself turning to mush, elation and disbelief coiling in his chest. Maybe he should be embarrassed, getting jelly-kneed over something as goopy as this. But that would mean admitting it’s happening, that this dance is more than just a joke, and yeah. Fuck that. He’s just gonna let it happen, without looking at it too closely.

Cautiously, he leans his own head down, turning his face into Dick’s hair. It’s soft against his cheek, but tickles his nose a little. He can smell citrus from Dick's shampoo. Dick doesn't move away, and Roy makes himself relax, and slowly settles a little more fully against him.

“Feels funny doing this without music,” Dick mumbles into Roy’s chest.

"You want music?" Roy says. He scrolls through his mental jukebox for a moment before inspiration strikes. He grins.

"You can dance, you can ji-ive—" he sings under his breath. Dick's shoulders start to shake with laughter before the line's out. It's quiet, not the raucous giggles of earlier, but just as infectious. Roy's stuck trying to sing ABBA through bubbling laughter.

But with Dick settled in, close and warm and distracting, the laughter dies quickly. Roy's finding it hard to concentrate on singing. He starts forgetting the lyrics about a verse in, and keeps losing his place in the song, repeating a line or two. Eventually he trails off, sending them back into spiraling silence.

The quiet makes Roy nervous—more nervous—so he looks down to make a joke, something pathetic and dorky to make Dick smile. At the same moment, Dick looks up through his eyelashes, and the words die on Roy’s tongue. Dick’s lips part. Roy can’t tear his eyes away.

Slowly, feeling almost like he's moving underwater, Roy leans down, crossing the last few inches between them, and brushes his lips against Dick's, soft as a question. With his heart thundering double-time in his ears, hands trembling like an old man's on Dick's waist, the moment before Dick responds stretches out for a panicky year—what if he’s wrong what if Dick doesn't want this what if Roy fucks everything up like he always does—and then, wonderously, Dick's mouth opens under his, and Roy stops thinking.

Keeping one hand resting on Dick’s waist, Roy slides his other up Dick's back to Dick's hair. It’s just long enough to grip, to tangle his fingers in; when he scrapes his blunt nails against Dick’s scalp, Dick makes pleased noises into Roy's mouth and squirms a little closer.

Roy sighs back into the kiss, letting the hand on Dick’s waist trail down to his bare leg, letting his fingers curl around Dick's thigh, just below the curve of his ass. He’d wanted to touch Dick’s legs like this since practically the first time they met. Robin and his flips, his splits, all those fucking high kicks—Roy’s mouth had gone dry. He’d never thought he’d ever get the chance.

When Roy strokes at the smooth skin of Dick’s thigh with his thumb, Dick shivers and pushes closer until they're flushed. Pressed together like this, Roy can feel just how much heat Dick’s giving off, even through his uniform. The warmth of Dick’s body, the feeling of Dick squirming against him—it's making Roy dizzy, making blood rush to his cock.

Then, with an impatient, needy noise, Dick clutches Roy’s face and deepens the kiss. He’s as bossy and demanding with kissing as he is with everything else, effortlessly taking charge. He makes the kiss wetter, harder, so intense that it feels like he’s somehow trying to climb inside of Roy.

Roy’s hands clench. Fuck, he needs to have Dick closer. He grips Dick’s thigh, hitching his leg up so he can settle between Dick’s legs. Dick goes with it, eagerly hooking his leg around Roy’s waist and drawing him in.

He’s so distracted by how incredibly hot that was that he’s caught completely off guard when Dick starts climbing him like a fucking tree, wrapping his legs around Roy’s hips and clenching his thighs like a cinch.

Roy yelps and grabs at Dick's ass to try and regain his balance.

It doesn’t work.

The unexpected weight sends him toppling over, losing his third battle with gravity that evening. He hits the floor hard, landing flat on his back with Dick still on top of him. It knocks all the remaining air out of his chest.

Roy gasps. "Warn a guy—" he croaks.

But Dick's cutting him off, covering his mouth with eager kisses; Roy tries to talk, but Dick impatiently nips his lower lip and Roy forgets about protesting. He’d rather be kissing than complaining any day.

When Roy gets with the program, Dick starts kissing him in earnest, long and sweet instead of short and distracting, Roy slips his tongue into Dick’s mouth. It makes Dick squirm on top of him, pleased; his ass pushes back against Roy’s hands. Roy realizes that somehow, impossibly, he'd forgotten where he'd put his hands.

Groaning with newfound fervor, Roy goes for the grope of the goddamn century, cupping Dick’s ass and squeezing tight. It makes Dick squeak, which is hilarious, but then he's bucking back into Roy’s hands and it's the hottest fucking thing Roy’s ever seen. Dick’s writhing like he loves Roy grabbing his ass, like he wants even more.

Roy's so turned on he thinks he might die.

Pulling out of the kiss, Dick presses their foreheads together and pants for breath. Roy tries to catch his own, and finds that he can’t. From this close, Dick’s eyes are clear, bright, unbelievably blue. It makes Roy think of absurd, flowery descriptions, something ripped right out of a romance novel.

And then Dick pushes up on his arms to hover a little above Roy, biting his lip and looking down. He’s got this expression on his face like he’s amazed, like he’s seeing Roy for the first time. Roy’s frozen under the weight of it.

Dick breathes, "You feel so good," and Roy stares up at him for a second helplessly. His chest tightens, and he has to swallow over the lump in his throat.

But he recovers, covering up his floundering by sliding his hand under Dick’s tunic and putting on a wicked smile. The slide of Dick's skin, hot and smooth, is a welcome distraction. And Dick was right, anyway. Touching him feels like a dream.

Hell, Roy’s pretty sure he’s had this dream.

Under Roy's hand, Dick shivers. His lips, red and swollen from the kiss, fall open.

Roy surges up to kiss him again. He’s trying to push his hands even further up Dick’s shirt, to get his hands on as much of Dick as possible. The kiss, the contact, it’s overwhelming. Somehow Roy’d forgotten how good kissing Dick had felt in the short moments since they’d stopped.

Dick worms his hands between their torsos, trying to pull off his shirt without breaking the kiss. He’s failing spectacularly, losing contact so the kisses stop and start with each attempt to struggle out of the shirt.

Roy laughs into Dick’s mouth. He tries to help, sliding Dick’s shirt up; all he manages is getting it bunched up under Dick’s armpits.

Growling in frustration, Dick sits back on his heels and yanks his tunic and undershirt over his head all in one go. Roy catches a glimpse of the long, golden stretch of Dick’s torso—fuck, they need to do this again if only so Roy can look his fill—before Dick's diving back down for another kiss.

Having his hands spread out on Dick’s bare skin is making all coherent thoughts fly out Roy’s ears. He smoothes his hands up Dick’s back, marveling. And then the touch has Dick simultaneously trying to arch into Roy's hands while still staying pressed to Roy as much as possible. The resulting writhing makes Roy go a little wild.

They're moving together, mindless humping, arrhythmic moving, and then Dick starts mumbling into Roy’s mouth. "Can we—I want—” but he keeps interrupting himself, pressing wet, smacking kisses to Roy’s lips. Instead of pulling back to let Dick finish, Roy keeps chasing Dick’s mouth to try and restart them.

“Get this—off—"

Dick pulls back again just far enough to tug at Roy's shirt impatiently. After a moment's hesitation, Roy bats Dick’s hands away and squirms out of the shirt himself, avoiding Dick’s eyes as he does; Dick’s seen him shirtless before, but he’d never been kissing Roy when he did. It’s not like Roy has anything to be ashamed of, but he doesn’t look anything like Dick—

But it’s fine, because the instant Roy’s shirt is out of the way, Dick’s crashing back down into the kiss, hard enough that Roy grunts in surprise. Dick’s kissing him so eagerly, running his hands so reverently up and down Roy’s chest, flitting up to his shoulders and back, that Roy can almost believe that he’s as desperate for this as Roy is.

It helps that now Roy can feel Dick’s hard cock against his own. He rolls his hips up, deliberately now, and friction makes his eyes roll back in his head. It’s so good, so good, but nowhere near enough.

Dick shudders. "Roy," he gasps. "I want you so bad, I want—”

He cuts himself off, bearing down. Roy gulps. His hands snap to Dick’s hips, shifting them for better angle to align them. Pressed together, Roy’s big hands spanning Dick’s haunches, he pulls Dick down and thrusts up.

Dick makes a tiny choked-off noise against Roy's mouth. Roy grins, and moves his hands back to Dick's ass. Just like the first time, Dick squirms back against his hands. When Roy squeezes, he whimpers.

Clumsily, still trying to keep their hips in rhythm, Roy leans up and mouths at Dick's jaw, kissing down his throat. Bites a little bit, gently. Dick tilts his head back to give him better access, shuddering and gasping as he does. Roy presses wet, open-mouthed kisses, scraping a little with his teeth, and grins when Dick clutches at Roy's biceps for an anchor. His nails dig in, these sharp little pricks that feel more hot than painful.

Still bracing himself tightly on Roy's arms, Dick shifts purposefully until he’s straddling Roy's hips. He clenches his hands and rocks down even harder, making Roy gasp, thrusting up wildly.

He yanks Dick back down into a kiss as they rock together wildly. It’s not very effective; they're both panting too hard to keep the kiss from breaking. But it makes it sloppy, which is somehow even better, both their lips sore and puffy and slick with spit. And then there’s Dick making these needy little whines into Roy's mouth every time their cocks rub together, even through the layers of fabric, and the noises are heating Roy up all over, making him flush all the way down to his chest.

Roy,” Dick gasps, “Roy, Roy, Roy—”

He cuts himself off with high-pitched keening, arching his back as his red mouth falls open. Roy stares at him, wide-eyed, because fuck, fuck, Dick’s about to come, and arousal shakes through Roy’s body like a bombshell. Dick goes tense, crying out one last time before shuddering all over and slumping against him.

“Fuck,” Roy chokes.

It takes Dick a minute, but he pushes himself up off Roy's chest and looks down at him with a smirk that makes Roy's cock twitch. “Language, Speedy.”

And then Dick shoves his thigh between Roy’s, purposeful. Roy gasps, and Dick murmurs, “c’mon,” and that’s all it takes to make Roy putty in his hands, grinding against that long thigh.

Dick smiles down, looking like he’s proud of Roy for figuring out he could rub off on Dick’s leg, but before Roy can say anything, Dick's leaning down for a kiss.

Roy can't kiss back, too busy gasping and practically fucking humping Dick’s thigh. Dick’s murmuring encouragement to him like they’re in training; the sound of Roy’s heartbeat in his ears almost drowns it out. He's clutching at Dick and his eyes are rolling back in his head, and then he’s coming so hard that his vision goes fuzzy.

A second later, Dick goes limp on top of him and they collapse in a sweaty heap, bare chests sticking together. Roy lets his eyes slip shut, and tries to remember how to breathe.

When Roy’s brain starts working again, it skips the afterglow and heads straight to panic mode. His guilty fantasies about sex with Dick never stretched to the moments afterward, when everything stops being easy and scripted. Roy’s had his share of mornings after, sure, but never with someone he—never when the stakes were this high.

Dick’s draped over him like a hot, sweaty afghan, tracing idle lines across Roy’s chest with his fingertips. Roy’s got so many questions he can’t ask, so many things he shouldn’t blurt out. He doesn’t know what to say that won’t make it weird and fuck everything up, but if he doesn’t say something soon it’ll be weird too, and then he’ll run the risk of blurting out something he won’t be able to take back.

Roy clears his throat.

“So. How was that for prom?” Roy says. “You even got an afterparty.”

Laughing a little, Dick rubs his cheek against Roy’s chest. “Something tells me prom’s not normally like that.

“Sure it is. You got your slow dance and your quick fuck, it’s all there.”

On top of him, Dick tenses. He pushes up on his forearms to hover over Roy. He’s frowning. Shit. Shit shit shit.

“And that was all this was?”

Roy stares at him, because—that was suspicion in Dick’s voice. Either he knows the answer, or this is a test. No, this is definitely a test. There’s only one right answer here and Roy has no idea what it is, because there’s no way it’s the truth. He was too obvious. He must have been. It’s all over: Dick finally figured out how Roy felt, and all it took to get it through his skull was a dry humping session. At least Roy got an orgasm out of it before he completely lost his best friend because of this pathetic crush and now Roy’s gonna say the wrong thing and fuck everything up—

Dick’s lips tighten into a thin, white line. He pushes up off of Roy completely, sending a wave of cold over Roy at the loss of Dick’s body heat.

Roy stares after him, helpless.

Dick crosses his arms and turns away. “I should have known,” he says coldly.

That hurts. Maybe it should. Dick’s always telling him not to leave himself open for attack, that letting your guard down is asking to get floored.

“Maybe you should have,” Roy says.

Dick doesn’t turn around. Doesn’t move.

Roy swallows and picks himself up off the ground. The wet spot on the front of his tights makes them stick to his crotch, cold and humiliating. He grabs for his shirt. It’s somehow gotten tangled up with Dick’s; the sight sends a pang through Roy so hard that it hurts to breathe.

“Why are you still here?” Dick says.

Roy doesn’t even put his shirt back on, just ducks his head and gets the hell out.

*

Maybe the universe is finally taking pity on Roy, because he doesn’t run into the other Titans on his way out. It’s a bad idea to ride a motorcycle when your head’s as screwed up as Roy’s is right now, but hey. If Roy ever used his good sense, he wouldn’t have landed himself in this clusterfuck in the first place.

Travelling is a blur. He pulls a quickchange into civvies into an alley behind a CVS and shoves his dirty uniform back into his bike’s secret compartment. The clerk inside doesn’t even blink when he shoves a bottle of NyQuil and a 5-hour energy shot onto the counter; when Roy asks, she gives him directions to a nearby motel, and then he’s off again.

The room he gets is dingy and musty-smelling and still immeasurably better than Ollie’s place. As soon as he unlocks the door and drops the bags, he stumbles into the shower. He turns it as hot as it’ll go and scrubs himself until his skin is raw and red.

He never thought Dick would be angry. Over-earnest, sure. Painfully sincere when he said he loved Roy but not like that. He’d thought Dick just wouldn’t understand how bad it’d fuck them up. But Dick was so upset. Like he’d been tricked. Lied to.

And then Roy presses his face against the tile and tries to breathe through the realization that he had lied to Dick. And Roy’d never even thought about how that would hurt him.

He hides in the shower for long enough that the pipes splutter and the water heater isn’t even managing lukewarm anymore. Then he stays even longer.

Eventually he stumbles out, not bothering with a towel. Every move he makes is exhausting, his leaden limbs resisting every command. He collapses on the bed, wet and naked, and fumbles for the bottle of NyQuil. He gulps down a couple swigs without bothering to measure. It’s nasty, thick and cloying. He has to force himself to swallow.

He curls up on top of the covers, burying his head in the crook of his arm. The drugs will kick in soon and he can just…deal with this another day.

It takes a while, but eventually the drugs knock him out into a stupor that feels less like sleep and more like drowning, but he doesn’t dream. It's good enough.

*

It's morning when a shrill, insistent wailing slices through heavy haze of sleep, sending Roy fumbling blearily for the source.

"Fuck, fuck, shut the fuck up, you piece of shit," he mumbles, groping through the pile of clothes on top of the bed.

His hand closes around the communicator.

Realization makes him sit bolt upright, ice flooding through his veins as he finally recognizes the sound of the Titans emergency code.

He thanks whatever deity is listening that he bought the caffeine shots last night so he won't have to fight running on adrenaline alone. And then he curses, because he doesn't have spare uniform pants—fuck it, he has jeans, that'll do.

Twenty minutes later, Roy's skidding up to the boardwalk, where Donna's coordinates lead him. He takes out his bow and quickly takes in his surroundings, appraising. The area's mostly evacuated. It looks like something big smashed its way through here; the souvenir shops are wrecked, and there's rubble littering the sidewalk. So now all Roy has to do is figure out where the trail leads—

Or he could hitch a ride with Donna, who just crash-landed in the snack stand. It splinters and sends debris flying; Roy yelps and ducks, shielding his face with one arm as he runs to her.

Donna sits up in the center of the wreckage, groaning and shoving the remnants of the menu sign off of her chest. Her hair is half out of its normally tidy ponytail, sticking to her forehead with sweat and a little blood. Whatever the Titans are up against got Donna but good; she’s also got a split lip and the beginnings of a black eye.

Roy grabs her hand and pulls her to her feet.

"Hey, Wonder Babe. Guess you wanted a snack pretty bad, huh?"

"Anything but shellfish," Donna groans.

Roy cocks his head, confused, but Donna just shakes her head grimly and turns him around, grabbing him under his arms and taking off.

From above, it's obvious what Donna meant. In the midst of rubble from destroyed tourist traps, there's a Godzilla-sized lobster bashing with enormous meaty claws at an equally huge crab. As they're flying up overhead, the lobster makes a wide sweep forward with its crusher claw, sending the crab reeling back into what used to be Roy's favorite chowder joint. He winces.

Behind the battle of the shellfish, Roy can see a wall of mottled pink starfish. They're not quite as colossal as the crustaceans, but still grossly overgrown; they’re standing, unmoving, as if watching—or guarding. Beyond the wall are two starfish, wrapped in a tight grip around something human-shaped and wriggling. Roy sees a smear of yellow through the starfishes' limbs—

"Kid Flash?!" Roy shouts.

"He's okay," Donna says into his ear. "For now. The starfish aren't attacking, just trying to keep us out."

Donna swoops down, dropping Roy on the roof of a shop that hasn’t been destroyed, out of the way of the hulking shelled monster catfight. She turns and starts to fly off.

"Hey, Wonder Girl!" Roy calls up to her. She turns back to him, hovering. "What's the plan?"

Donna gives him a dark look, as if Roy wanting a plan is some kind of personal insult. "We stall them until Garth gets back from Atlantis.”

"That's it? That's the plan?"

"You have a better one?!"

No, but he'd thought Dick would have. That thought sends a sharp pain through him that he pushes down ruthlessly, forcing a grin and nocking an arrow. "Stalling sounds good to me!"

Donna nods grimly and takes off again with a bloodcurdling battle cry. As she soars down towards the fight, a starfish hurtles itself up after her. Roy grimaces and shoots it down with a net arrow.

He scans the battle, assessing. Wally's struggling in the grip of the sea stars, but there's no way to shoot them off without risking shooting Wally, too. And there's no way he can get past the other guard starfish. Ditto for trying to run through the giant crustaceans trying to clobber each other is out. Donna's flying up above the lobster, weaving and dodging to stay clear of the enormous flailing claws, trying to get a grip on the lobster's antennae. She's failing, and—where the hell is Dick? He should be out here, visible, shouting orders in his pissy command voice. They should be working together, maybe to distract the crab and lobster or something, but instead Donna's flying helter-skelter and bashing things, Wally's stuck in a tangle of starfish, and Roy's standing around bootlessly trying to figure out how to be useful.

It's probably Roy's fault for fucking with Dick's head—

Focus, Roy says sharply to himself, and that's when he sees Dick darting through the flurry of shellfish limbs. He must be trying to get through to Wally. Donna's not watching Dick's back, not covering him—God, this battle is a disaster—but Dick's fine, of course he is, he's always fine, he's just got to pull a little fancy footing, that's all.

Come on, Roy. Breathe. Focus. Cover him.

Dick's stuck dancing around in the living cage of crab and lobster legs, but it looks like—yeah, that's an opening; if Roy times this right, he can get the lobster to rear back enough for Dick to get through to Wally. He squints, nocks an arrow, aims, and shoots.

But when the arrow whizzes past Dick to pin the lobster's tail fin to the boardwalk, Dick turns as if on reflex; his eyes meet Roy's and he freezes, deer in the headlights. Petrified by shame and self-loathing, Roy winds up caught too, and for the briefest of moments they’re stuck staring at each other.

That’s all it takes for one of the crab's flailing legs to smack Dick off his feet and send him flying.

And Roy's head somehow gets snagged on the moment, like his brain can't make sense of what his eyes are seeing, because he that can't be right, because, no, Dick didn't get hit, Dick couldn't have gotten hit, Dick doesn't get hit, and the shocked disbelief has Roy reeling.

And then Dick hits the ground, hard, and Roy wakes up.

"Robin!" he shouts, and he's leaping, scrambling, off the building, half tripping over himself in his desperate rush to get to Dick where he's crumpled on the ground, out of the way of the still-grappling monsters, but fuck, fuck, no, this isn't happening, he has to be okay, he's—

He's groaning, clutching his arm, but he's moving, Dick is moving, and he's breathing, fuck, thank God. Roy skids to Dick's side and drops to his knees next to him.

"Fuck, I thought—" Roy stops, reaching out to touch him like he wants to make sure Dick's real. "Are you okay?"

Dick scowls and bats Roy's hands away. "I'm fine. I don't need you to come and help me like you're, like you're my boyfriend or something—"

Roy recoils. He'd never thought Dick would be cruel about this. "Sue me for getting worried, you don't have to rub it in—"

"Wait," Dick says. "Wait, I—you—what?"

Dick's eyes are wide behind the mask like he's at a loss for words for the first time in his life. Roy stares back, gaping. There’s a tiny spark of hope flickering under all the confusion and but I thoughts welling up in his chest.

And then Donna, still in the air with the behemoth lobster, yells, "Could use a little help here, boys!"

and the moment's gone.

They share a look. Roy offers Dick a hand up.

"You good to fight, Robin?"

Dick grins. "You know it, Speedy."

*

Turns out, they don't have to fight that long, because Garth shows up with Atlantean backup; they get the situation under control almost embarrassingly quickly. Good thing, too, because when everything's getting wrapped up—Aquaman apprehending his crustacean citizens—Dick sways on his feet and stumbles.

Roy catches him.

"You okay?" Roy murmurs.

"Yeah, I think—whooo," Dick says, leaning a little heavier on Roy. "I think maybe I should sit down."

"I could take you back to the clubhouse," Roy says. "You're not gonna fall off my bike if you ride pillion, are you?"

Dick laughs. "Not with the way you drive."

"Hey now," Roy says. He's about to make a witty comment about Dick's lead foot, but then Dick grimaces and clutches his side, and, yeah, Roy's more concerned with getting them out of there.

Before they leave, Donna lands in front of them. She pushes her hair out of her face. “I saw that he got hit in the battle,” she says to Roy, as if Dick’s not there. “Does he have a concussion?”

“Donna,” Dick says softly.

Donna resists looking at him for a few seconds, and then relents.

Even when they’re on the outs, Dick and Donna seem to communicate primarily using their eyebrows, instead of words like people who weren’t twins separated at birth. It’s always bizarre and kinda closed off to anyone that isn’t them.

Roy watches the exchange warily. He’s picked up a bit of brain twin eyebrow language over the years, and as near as he can tell, Dick’s apologizing, and Donna’s...still not happy with him. Either that or they’re gossiping about Roy’s outfit or something. He shifts from foot to foot, impatient.

Eventually, Donna shakes her head and smiles. Roy cocks his head, because as far as he can see, they didn’t actually sort anything out, but Dick’s smiling too, like he’s relieved.

Whatever. As long as they’ve made up, Roy’s not going to question it.

“I’ll meet you boys back at the clubhouse when we’re finished up here,” Donna says, finally looking at Roy again. “Make sure you clean his cuts before you dress them—”

“Come on, Donna, Roy’s not new to this or anything, I’m sure he can manage—”

Donna grins. “And don’t be too gentle with him when you do.”

With that, she takes off again, leaving Dick spluttering indignantly and Roy startled into laughter.

*

The clubhouse isn't too far a drive from the boardwalk. Dick clings to him the whole time. Roy’s absurdly grateful for his helmet, because he can feel a blush turning him red to the tips of his ears. He’s starting to get nervous again, jittery hope fluttering in his belly.

With Donna’s nagging in mind, Roy checks Dick for a concussion first; his pupils contract normally when Roy shines a flashlight into them, and Dick swears he doesn’t need a doctor, so they wind up in the bathroom with the first aid kit.

Dick hoists himself up onto the bathroom counter, leaning back casually against the wall and peeling off his gloves and mask.

Roy tosses his own mask and gloves on the counter. First order of business is cleaning up the cuts on Dick’s legs—as good as Dick’s legs look in the short shorts, they’re a hell of an impractical costume choice—so he opens the medicine cabinet, going for the iodine and cotton swabs, but Dick catches Roy's hand with his own.

"Wait," Dick says. "I...what did you mean out there?"

Roy pauses, heart stuttering. "You mean about the concussion, right?"

"You know what I meant."

Swallowing, Roy goes back to dabbing at the cut on Dick's leg, trying to collect his thoughts. Eventually, he starts, "When you said 'it's not like you're my...'" he trails off.

"Boyfriend," Dick supplies.

"Yeah," Roy says.

"Yeah," Dick says, smiling a little.

Roy ducks his head, going back to cleaning one of the cuts on Dick's leg. After a moment, he feels Dick’s cool hand on his face, tilting it up so Roy has to meet his eyes.

"I—the way you look at me," Dick says. Roy's astonished to note wonder in his voice. "I never noticed before."

Roy licks his lips. "Everyone looks at you like that."

Dick scoffs a little, but then he pauses. Bites his lip. "Roy—do you want to be—?"

"Do you?" Roy says, and winces, because that was way too fast, and he sounds like a tool even to his own ears. If he's wrong about this, the fallout is gonna be so much worse than yesterday—

"Yes," Dick says seriously.

"Oh," Roy says.

"Yeah."

Roy opens his mouth, realizes he was about to mindlessly repeat "yeah" again; he shuts it. Licking his lips, he steps slowly between Dick's legs. Dick's smiling as he brings his other hand up to Roy's shoulder.

He kisses Dick with his eyes half open, not quite daring to let them slip fully closed. Dick sighs against his mouth, lets them break contact, pressing their foreheads together.

"Just so we’re clear," Dick says, "that means 'yes,' right?"

Roy laughs. "Yeah," he says, kissing Dick again. "Yeah, I wanna be your valentine," kiss, "I want your class ring," kiss, "I'd take you to prom but we already did that—"

"Take me to prom again," Dick says, eyes dancing. He leans forward and kisses Roy lightly. When he pulls back, his smile is absurdly wide.

Roy’s own smile mirrors it. "Whenever you want," he promises, sliding his hands up under Dick's tunic, grinning even wider when Dick laughs.