"Have... you seen Dad around?" Lian asks from the bed. Her brow's knit with the pain that isn't completely gone, and one leg is encased in a cast. She raises her head when Dick looks over, smiling the same damn smile as her father always did back when he got injured in the Titans.
Roy hasn't been around at all that Dick knows of, not counting the phone call he'd made when Oracle told him Lian had been injured on patrol. "Not recently, kiddo. Hasn't he been in here?"
"No," Lian says, and she sounds worried. She's smoothing the sheets over her legs, pulling them tight and working out the shadows while new ripples form with the movements of her arms. "Would it be okay if -- can you find out where he is?"
Dick smiles down at her and bites back his own worry. "Sure, I can do that," he says, and doesn't let his hands so much as twist until he's left the room.
Alfred is waiting outside. "She'll be all right, Master Dick," he says, before Dick even has to ask. "Children heal quickly."
"That I remember pretty well," Dick says, shaking his head at his younger self. "Just don't let her catch you calling her a child. She's a lot like Roy in a lot of ways, and that's one of them."
Alfred raises both eyebrows. "I wouldn't dream of it," he says, dryly, so that Dick actually laughs as he walks away to put on his costume.
He calls Babs on his way out of the Cave. The night is cold and the sky is dark orange, lit up by the lights of Gotham below. When Babs picks up she sounds groggy, like she's been asleep -- but then again, Babs isn't Oracle full-time anymore. Tim's probably taking the night shift right now. "Something the matter, Nightwing?"
Dick rubs at his greying hair. "Robin got hurt during patrol tonight."
"Bound to happen sooner or later," Babs says. "I'm sorry to hear that, but is that all?"
"Have you seen Arsenal?" Dick asks.
There's a moment of pause. "I think you were right to call me," Babs says.
Dick's been living with Roy for not too long now, though they've been on and off for years. It happened, as far as Dick can tell, when Lian first became Robin.
Roy tracked Dick down somewhere in the middle of Bludhaven and proceeded to knock him off a fire escape and yell his ear off. "What the hell were you thinking? You let my daughter near Batman?"
"It's not like she's never met him before," Dick said, calmly.
"Not in the context of training! Not since she's been training with Milagro and Jaime! She's going to be /Robin/, and you of all people should know what that does to people!" Roy punched at Dick, punched a wall, dropped his bow the the ground and scrubbed his face with his hands. "Fuck. This is -- fuck. Batman."
"Please don't," Dick said. Roy didn't laugh.
Eventually Roy had run out of ways to rephrase the same thing, and he sagged against the nearest building and let Dick manhandle him back to the cheap room Dick had been renting since his last place was destroyed. Dick had been looking for a new place, but not with much gusto. Bludhaven was getting a bit too intense for his advancing age, and with younger heroes on the job, retirement from the city was looking better and better. The place he was in now was tiny and sparsely furnished, to an extent that even Roy commented upon it as he walked in.
"Haven't even broken out the glitter glue yet, Grayson, I'm impressed," is what he said. Dick had punched him, gently, and Roy got him in a headlock, and that was how Dick knew things were gonna be okay.
"Bruce has gotten mellow in his old age, anyway," Dick added. "He's not nearly as tough as he used to be."
"Yeah, but this is Bats we're talking about," Roy said.
Dick conceded that Roy had a point.
There was more sitting in silence. There was beer. There was, at some point, sex. Later that night, Roy said something offhand about how it would be better if Dick were around to help Lian through her training, and at another point he said something offhand about the commute to Bludhaven. Dick curled around Roy on the tiny box-spring mattress and came to a few conclusions.
When he said he was going to move in with Roy, he was expecting some sort of resistance. But Roy just looked at him for a moment and shrugged.
"That could work," he'd said.
Lian wasn't surprised at all when Dick turned up, and she didn't seem to mind him or feel threatened by him. Roy was himself, but they didn't get into more fights than usual, and they never escalated beyond the usual throwing each other around. It was nice to be in Gotham again, the company was great, and Dick was getting laid much more consistently, so maybe it was fair for him to be on the lookout for the catch. It was too easy to slip in comfortably, and maybe that explains why Dick still isn't sure it's okay for him to fit in this well.
Dick's been through several apartment buildings and down at least five alleys before he catches up with Roy. His knee's getting sore, running without warming up, but Babs keeps updating the location every so often, and Dick has to change course to keep up. Roy is almost certainly in worst shape. When Dick finds him on a rooftop, he's unsurprised to find a second man there.
"--but I swear to god I never touched Robin in my life," the man says, flinching away from Roy's fist. He falls backward completely when Dick lands behind Roy and crosses his arms.
"What the hell, Arsenal?" he asks.
Roy doesn't look back. Doesn't even glance. "One of these scumbags went after my daughter. I'm gonna track him down and make sure that fucker can't touch anyone again!"
"And I'm telling him it wasn't me!" the man adds.
Dick rests a hand on Roy's shoulder, tight enough to be a warning as well as a comfort. "She's okay, Arsenal. But what's more important right now -- seeing your daughter or worrying her while you track down the one guy who might have landed a punch while she beat him silly?" He keeps his hand still; after a moment, Roy relaxes very slightly, looks back at him.
"You sure she's okay?"
With an inward sigh of relief, Dick nods. "Leg's probably broken, but she's awake and lucid. She'll be fine."
Roy doesn't get a chance to respond -- the man he was threatening, stands up fast, whirls around and kicks Roy's legs out from under him. "It'll be worse next time!" he snarls, and kicks Roy again before he can get up. Dick gets in and punches the man, in the jaw and then the gut. He's gonna bring him down, but then Roy gives a shout and Dick looks up to see him falling off the roof.
He hesitates, and the other man picks himself up and takes off running. Dick crosses the rooftop after him but then stops. Roy's still dangling off the side of the roof. Lian's in the Cave with a broken leg. This guy will still be around in the morning, and he's not important enough to catch immediately if Dick didn't recognise him. If he's gonna convince Roy to get his priorities in order, he's gonna have to do it, too.
Roy takes his offered hand with a grunt and a wince, and heaves himself back up onto the rooftop. "You let him get away," he says, when he's caught his breath.
"This is Gotham. Batwoman's probably already got him cornered," Dick says.
"I hate this." Roy kicks at the ground, then picks his bow up from where he'd leaned it against a pipe. "What the hell am I supposed to do?"
Roy hates a problem he can't shoot at. Dick can relate. "Let's go back," he says. "Lian will want to see you."
"Kid's lucky she's got you," Roy says, and leans against Dick for a moment longer than usual. Fatigue, maybe. Or affection. He's saying "and so am I" with the kind of language he's best with.
"Someone's gotta keep her dad in line," Dick replies. He'll be that person for this family he's part of. And maybe that's why he fits so well.