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Roy finally caught sight of Dick heading towards the bus. He’d gotten caught up in Gotham on a drug raid, and was nearly late. Well, he was exactly on time instead of early, but Roy was sitting on a cramped school bus and was surrounded by a flock of seven-year-olds, a harried teacher, and other anxious parents, so waiting any longer for Dick without going a little crazy was going to be difficult.

Somehow Lian had gotten them both to agree to be chaperones on her class fieldtrip to the zoo, and through the grace of fate both he and Dick had been able to get the free time together to go. But then Dick had gotten called to Gotham the night before, and Roy had hated the crestfallen look on Lian’s face when she woke up this morning and he had to tell her Dick might not be back in time.

But he’d called Roy to tell him to hold up the bus for a couple minutes, and now here he was, circles under his eyes and a scrape on his cheek, but he’d made it.

Thank God. Roy hadn’t been looking forward to watching a group of rug rats by himself, even if one of them was his little girl.

Dick climbed aboard the bus, nodded to Lian’s teacher, who gave him a strained smile, and sat down next to Lian, pushing Roy further against the window. Lian climbed into Dick’s lap and squealed, “Uncle Dick, you made it!”

“Of course I made it. I wasn’t going to miss seeing the lions and elephants.” Dick looked over at Roy with tired eyes, and Roy just had to lean over Lian’s head and kiss him hello. The man deserved that and so much more.

Roy pulled away when he heard the mother across the aisle suck in a breath. He opened his eyes to find her and Lian’s teacher staring. “What?” He’d mentioned Dick to both women before, the teacher at a parent-teacher conference and the mom at a PTA meeting. “You both know I have a boyfriend.”

The mother looked a little green. “She called him uncle. I didn’t think being gay allowed incest.” Lian’s teacher made a face.

Roy was confused until he realized what she meant. “No! We’re not related.” Did they look anything alike? “Dick’s known Lian her whole life. He’s been my best friend for forever. ‘Uncle’ is just a pet term, you know? From before he and I finally got our shi—act together.” He glanced over at Dick, who looked like he was trying not to laugh.

Lian’s teacher smiled slightly. “I see.” She looked down at her clipboard. “I need to finish taking attendance.” She moved along, and Roy got another look at the woman across the aisle. Kiley’s mom? He thought so. Kiley had chosen a seat elsewhere. Roy would have, too.

As if he’d date his brother. There was enough wrong with him than to add that to it all.

But maybe they should work on Lian getting a new nickname for Dick, before she developed some sort of complex. With him and Dick raising her, she was going to need all the help she could get in that department.

Roy looked down at his little girl, who looked confused. She asked him, “What did I do wrong?”

“Nothing, kiddo. Some people just interpret things incorrectly.”

She scrunched up her face. “Like when people think Grandpa Ollie is your real dad?”

Roy hadn’t been aware that that was possible, but he just nodded. “Yeah. Kind of like that.” All of a sudden he was extremely conscious of the family woven around him to compensate for his lack of a natural one, and how grateful he was that he had it.

“Hey.” He looked over into Dick’s tired blue eyes. “Think of what you do have.” It was still weird after all these years that Dick could read his thoughts so easily. But then again, Dick had the same thing, a loving family that wasn’t about blood.

He smiled, and so did Dick, and he didn’t stop until Lian squirmed in Dick’s lap and asked, “What’s going on?”

Roy smiled slightly. “Nothing. Just thinking.”

“About what?”

“How much I love you.”

Lian frowned. “Oh.”

“That’s it? ‘Oh’?”


Roy sighed. “I’m already old news.”

Dick chuckled. “I guess you’re stuck with just me.”

“Well, damn, I guess that will have to do.”

“I’m sure you’ll manage.”

Roy leaned over to kiss Dick again, at the very least to shut him up, and he felt the bus start up to take them all to the zoo. He pulled away and Lian crawled over into his lap, and he wrapped his arms around her and squeezed. She made an ‘oomph’ sound, but didn’t push him away.

He looked beyond Dick again, over to Kiley’s mother. This time she didn’t look green. Well, at least not from nausea.

Envy, perhaps.

Roy would be jealous, too, if it wasn’t him.