Chapter 1: Commentfic: Tinsel Shimmers and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
Commentfic: Tinsel Shimmers and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
"What, I'm just supposed to fucking stand there---?"
"No, Rose. But---"
"The goggles said something was coming at me! Something big! And I couldn't sense it, so---"
"So you swung first and looked second. It was tinsel, Rose. The Fauxtians were doing a ritual tinsel dance." Tim sighs, and doesn't pinch the bridge of his nose. Rose is staring at him, swords in hand, from within a circle of shredded robots and strewn tinsel, and he'd told Dick the tinsel dance was a criminally bad idea. "If they'd been real aliens, they would most certainly be wiped out."
Rose is still staring; then her swords fall and she starts laughing, and laughing some more, head thrown back. "Oh, my God. A Tinsel dance? A tinsel dance? Where the hell did you get a tinsel dance, Robin?"
Tim looks sideways at Dick, who shrugs, still leaning against the wall. "Sorry, kiddo. I thought it was festive."
Chapter 2: Odd and Even Robins
"What was that?"
"That?" Jason turns a cartwheel along the parapet. "That was a picture-perfect example of an ass-kicking."
"I meant, before the ass-kicking." Dick folds his arms. He wants to smile along with Jason's grin, to high-five him and slap his back. But those aren't freckles on his nose, they're spatters of blood, and Dick would rather not deal with Bruce if he doesn't bring Jason back in one piece. "The bit where you didn't even look before you leaped, as it were."
Jason spreads his legs a little wider, folding his arms to match Dick's, scowling as . "I looked, long enough to see the size of that thug compared to the lady."
"Did you even check to see if he had backup?" It's like lecturing Beast Boy or Terra, complete with the pout and the frown. Dick doesn't sigh, and takes another breath---
--which huffs out in surprise when Jason grins again, turning his head a little, looking sideways. Dick pictures him without his mask, glancing through his long eyelashes. "Nah, I knew I had backup."
Dick can't help smiling at that. Jason smirks, and yells loud enough to echo off the buildings as he jumps, and Dick gives up on the scolding and laughs as he follows.
Chapter 3: Teen Titans, Flight. Tim, Kon, Cassie, Bart.
Tim hears laughter above him and looks up. Kon and Cassie are flying in a circle above the Tower, swooping and rising and laughing as they toss Bart between them. Bart shrieks with excitement, sailing hands-out across the invisible ring, and Cassie cautches his hands and whirls in midair and tosses him to Kon, who catches his ankles and spins and tosses him back to Cassie.
Tim anchors a jumpline just in case, then looks up again. Cassie swoops to catch Bart in her arms and he hugs her briefly before she tosses him upwards to Kon, who pushes Bart up onto his back as Cassie spirals inwards. Tim considers signaling them, but they're impressive to watch as they spin around each other, enjoying the air. Cassie ducks away from Kon's hands at the last moment, laughing high and wild, and the chase is on; watching them loop about, Tim wonders if Bart could supplement Kon with his speed.
Around then Bart spots him, and leans over to wave, and promptly falls off Kon's back. Turning to look Kon collides with Cassie, limbs tangling, and while they sorts themselves out Bart falls dangerously far from them.
Tim watches, and runs, and jumps. He doesn't judge it quite correctly; Bart smacks into him rather than landing in the curve of his arm. Ignoring the breathless shock, Tim tightens his arm, probably unnecessarily since Bart's already wrapped around him, but it does feel reassuring, and he allows himself a slightly tighter hold than he really needs as their arc carries them back to the Tower roof.
Aim for the rubber mats, a roll to lose momentum, and Bart letting go of him; when Tim gets to his feet Bart beams at him. "That was absolutely awesome!"
Tim shrugs. Behind him two whoosh-thumps mean Kon and Cassie landing together, and they tacklehug-- both Bart and him. "You're ok!" "You're amazing!" And pin them to the mats as they keep hugging them. "You're awesome!" "Damn, Rob!"
Tim twists his face out of Kon's armpit and pushes himself up enough to look at the heap of them. After a moment, he shrugged again, which gets him three big grins, and makes him smile back.
Chapter 4: Working Title: "Audition". Young Justice Boys.
The kid fluffs out the red towel tied around his neck, crouches on his branch, and looks down over his skinny knees at Robin with an indignant pout. "SuperBatMan, of course!"
Robin makes a small, frustrated, dangerous noise. Bart and Kon look at each other. Rob's been pissy all day, and the kid is little, but... a cranky (ok, extra-cranky) Robin is a scary thing. Kon's just about to open his mouth and say he'll get the kid when Bart, of course, beats him to it. "I'll get him down, Rob--"
"No." Robin folds his arms, tapping one finger on his chin. It's disturbingly like the sort of gesture a guy'd expect to see from Batman, or Lex Luthor. "I think our friend here can get down on his own."
"Course I can," The kid swings one leg over the branch, wobbling a bit, like he's gonna fall. Kon clenches his fingers; he's pretty sure he can catch the kid, but...
"Then why don't you?" Robin keeps tapping that finger.
"'M getting ready." The kid keeps swinging his foot.
From the corner of his eye, Kon can see Bart jittering.
"For what?" Robin looks almost... bored. At least he's not mad. Kon clenches his hands tighter. Bart's gonna take off any second--
"To fly!" And the kid jumps. Kon can hear Bart's crackle, but he can fly straight up and over, and he snags the kid by the back of the shirt. "Whee!" shouts the kid as Kon swings him around in a big circle, and he should really put him down, but people love it so much when he flies them around.... Kon can't help it, really, and he flies in another couple of loops, even though Robin's glaring at him like he can shoot Kryptonite beams through his mask.
Bart, meanwhile, is perched in the tree, right where the kid was, and he's laughing.
Three spins are enough. Kon puts the kid down, and the tiny jerk strikes a triumphant pose, hands up like he'd flown on his own. "See?"
Robin sighs. "What, exactly?"
"I can fly! I'm a superhero, a kid superhero! So I hafta join Young Justice!"
"We've already got a flying guy." Kon floats up behind the kid, looking at Robin, which means he catches it when the kid turns to look at him and Robin makes a face that's nearly quick enough and extravagant enough for Bart, grimacing and sticking out his tongue. Kon really wants to laugh, but he keeps his cool, even when the kid turns around again and Robin looks like he never even blinked. "Why don't you spend a few years training first, and get back to us?" Rob suggests.
"Sure?" asks the kid, pouting.
"Yes," Robin's using the voice that makes guys five times his size listen. The kid jumps, and nods, and runs away. "Make sure he gets home, Impulse," Robin says, and Bart's off after the kid.
Kon blinks. He really oughta say something, but he doesn't know what. And that's even before Rob smirks at him and holds up a hand. "We do have a flyer," he says, smile easing into something a little warmer.
That's a clue, at least. Kon grins, grabs Rob's hand, and pulls him up into the air.
Chapter 5: A snowman in NML; Dick and Bruce
It had been a good day. The snowman didn't have a carrot nose, carrots being far too precious as food these days, but a stick did just as well. He did have a battered hat, and even a stiffly frozen coat, which made the kids cheer when they found it, and they cheered even louder when Dick did cartwheels for them.
They liked the candy canes, too.
When he got back Dick felt cheerful enough to come in with a flip instead of climbing down. Bruce was waiting for him in the snowy outer area with folded arms, cowl off but still completely Batman, but Dick was too happy to let even his frowning disapproval flatten him. "Things are good out there today," he said, feeling almost energetic enough to go back out. "Secure, not too many fights, no deaths reported." Flipping over, Dick balanced on one hand.
"It was a waste of energy." The frown was really deep. Dick made himself grin a little wider, shifted to the other hand, and waited for it. It took awhile, but hey, he could stand on his hands all day. "You spent more time in the snow than necessary."
"I helped a bunch of kids build a snowman," Dick countered cheerfully, flipping back onto his hands, and that pile of crap shifted under the snow, so he jumped to the next. "It 'fostered goodwill'. And it was fun."
"You might have become hypothermic." The frown twitched a little. Dick bounced a little. "It might have been an ambush."
"Or someone's scouts might have seen me. Or, or or." Dick rolled the last 'r' and watched the frown twitch more, especially on the right side. "But it was fine. Now there's a bunch of kids who think just a little better of their resident heroes. And best of all, it was fun, which was good for me. So I should probably go get warmed up, huh?"
Dick turned, and got three steps, feeling the smile behind him like sunshine on the back of his neck.
That's right where the snowball hit him, too, and he laughed.
Chapter 6: Christmastime In Gotham; Batman and Robin
It was a cold winter in Gotham, early and cold. A week before Christmas and the city glittered with grimy frost, cheap tinsel, countless strands of little lights. Dick stood on a ledge and stared out at Gotham, still the same but somehow just a little brighter. Someone sang far below, their carol unidentifiable but their voice cheerful, and thousands of llghts blinked and twinkled. Dick folded his arms beneath his cape to keep from shivering and just looked.
"Robin." But when Bruce said it that way it was half "Dick," he was half Bruce. So Dick dared to say, "Just another minute, please. It's so pretty."
Bruce stepped up behind him. "You're shivering." The gauntlets were cold on Dick's shoulders, but the cape was warm, warm and enveloping, and Bruce was solid behind him, and Gotham shone below them.
They stood there like that for awhile, and Dick tried to think of something to say, until he really listened to Bruce breathe above him and realized he didn't need to say a word. So they stood and watched Gotham glitter at Christmastime.
Eventually, of course, they heard sirens, and Batman strode away in a swirl of cape, and Dick ran after him and threw himself off the roof. But the city still sparkled, even if grimly, as it rushed up to meet them.