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Better than Best

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If someone had asked Wally what he was expecting to be doing the morning of Batman and Catwoman’s wedding, it wouldn’t have been sitting on Dick’s old bed in Wayne Manor, drinking a beer with his best friend. Not that they hadn’t done this before, but mainly because he would have expected Dick to be busy with other things today leading up to the wedding. When he had texted Dick to know that he was in town early, Dick had asked him to meet him at the Manor, and now here they were. Day drinking in the Manor with Dick who was looking a little worse for wear.

“For what it’s worth, you were my best man. Before. In the other timeline. When Linda and I got married.” Wally took a sip from his bottle. “Didn’t question it for a second.”

“Thanks, Wall. That means a lot.” It was obvious that Dick was upset, but he had been trying to not let it show too much. Despite what he had told Wally about his and Bruce’s conversation, it was obvious that he was troubled by Bruce’s decision to ask Clark to be his best man and not him. “It’s not the choice that hurts, really. It’s more that he didn’t talk to me about it.”

Wally stretched and resettled himself against the headboard beside Dick. “You can’t be that surprised by that.” Dick looked at him questioningly. “The not talking thing. The man isn’t known to be overly verbal. And it probably wasn’t easy for him to pick between you and Supes.”

“I guess.” He sighed and gave a small shrug. “Still stings.”

With the wedding in less than ten hours, Wally had to get Dick out of this funk. Even if he was able to push it aside, Bruce would still be able to tell if Dick was still upset and he wanted to help avoid that on his wedding day if possible. He nudged Dick’s foot with his own. “If you got married tomorrow, who would be your best man?”

“If I got married tomorrow I wouldn’t have one because I’d be running off to elope, because I don’t have a wedding planned.”

“Smart ass.” Wally laughed lightly. “Seriously though. Don’t worry about offending me, I know that the job has multiple suitable applicants.”

Dick started peeling the label on his beer bottle, fidgeting and looking anywhere other than Wally’s face. “Either you or Bruce. Or Babs if she wasn’t the bride.”

Nodding, Wally agreed with those choices and silently added Donna to the list as well. “See. It’s not a simple choice to make.” He poked Dick in the side to make him open his eyes. “And would you talk to Damian about it first?”

Dick jerked his head around to stare at Wally, his face full of surprise. “What? No.”

“It’s sort of the same thing and that’s what you’re forgetting. You’re Bruce’s Damian.”

“I’m pretty sure that Damian is Bruce’s Damian.”

“Fine. Damian is your Dick Grayson.” Dick’s face was the definition of confusion and Wally sighed and tried to think of a better way to explain himself, tapping his fingers against the bed to try and help him focus. “Okay, let’s try this again. Your fictitious wedding is eight years from now. Damian is 21.” Dick raised an eyebrow at him, but nodded. “Is he your best man now? Assuming that all of the other candidates are still available and your relationships are the same.”

“I… don’t know.” He sighed. “Probably not.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s different. He’s not my best friend. He’s my… something else. Something… more. The role doesn’t feel right.” Dicks tone was hesitant, like he was having a hard time verbalizing his rational.  Wally nodded encouragingly.

“He’s your kid.”

Shaking his head vigorously, Dick argued back. “He’s Bruce’s kid.”

“That doesn’t mean that he’s not your kid too.” He tapped their feet together again. “Look, I’m just trying to say that while you’ve always thought of Bruce as a partner or friend, that isn’t the only way that he sees you. You’re his son. In his head, you are still that little kid he took in a long time ago.”

“I was 16 when I came to live with him. Not much of a kid.”

Wally groaned and ran his hand through his hair, because of course this is when he runs into the never ending wall that is his speed force messed up life. “And this is when I hate this timeline mumbo jumbo screwing with me and everything around me. Because the way I remember it happening, you were eight. And I know that you can remember some of that timeline and it’s muddy and confusing, but that can mean that Bruce can be remembering things that way too.”

“Eight?” Dick’s voice dropped and he stared at his hands for a few seconds. “That can’t be right.”

Wally gives Dick a few minutes in silence to think about the implications of the other timeline. The less time he had with his parents. The more time that he had lived with Bruce. Everything that could possibly be different than how he remembered. He put his hand on Dick’s shoulder and Dick leaned into the touch, closing his eyes and multiple emotions flickering across his face as he adjusted to the new thoughts.

“How long have you known Bruce? In your brain?”

“Seven years.” The answer is automatic.

“Now how long does it feel like you’ve known him? From your heart this time.”

“Longer. A lot longer. I can remember going trick or treating with him as a kid, dressed as Luke Skywalker.” His eyes opened again, and they were a little wet when he looked at Wally. “Wow. This timeline thing is weird. That couldn’t have happened if I was 16 when I moved in here.”

“Welcome to my world.” Wally grimaced, knowing full well what the memories could do to a person. “I know you can have your kid be your best person at your wedding, but it makes sense that it’s Clark. To Bruce, in his heart, you are still that eight year old kid he took in even if his brain tells him otherwise.” Wally swallows the rest of his drink, clears his throat and holds Dick’s eyes, trying to will his point across. “It isn’t that he likes Clark better. It’s that he likes Clark different. Clark’s his best friend. You are his son. You said yourself that it’s something else. Something more. Bigger than the title of ‘best man’. Bruce loves you, more than Clark, even if you aren’t feeling that way right now.”

A few seconds of time passed and Wally was beginning to think that he had messed this up more than it already was when Dick nodded and some of the tension in him appeared to just melt away. Wally looked at Dick closer and thought he looked a little better even with the timeline curveball that had been thrown at him. He hoped that he had possibly made things better and not worse, but to be honest, he wasn’t never quite sure anymore. “Thanks Wally.” Putting his bottle on the nightstand, Dick readjusted the pillows and leaned against Wally, who put his arm around him. It was a familiar gesture between the two of them. A calm after a storm. Or at least after some turbulence. It wasn’t perfect and Wally wasn’t sure that he had said the right words, but something had shifted and he was going to take it as a win.

“No problem. I’m actually surprised that Alfred isn’t the best man, but I guess Superman makes more sense if it is an in-costume wedding. Penny-One doesn’t usually suit up.”

“I don’t know. Alfie can rock a domino better than the rest of us.” Dick laughed to himself a little, bringing a smile to Wally’s face. His mood was lighter at least. “This in costume wedding is weird, right? Selina says I have to wear a boutonniere as part of the wedding party but I’m not even sure how to attach that to my suit. It’s not like I can easily stick a pin into Kevlar.”

“Your problems are not normal people problems.”

“Says the guy at the centre of multiple timeline continuity issues.”

“Never said I was normal either.” Wally squeezed the half hug around Dick a little snugger. “You sure you’re cool, man? With everything?”

He felt Dick nod his head against him. “Yeah. Just need to give B a nice manly hug to make sure he knows it too and then I’ll be ready for the festivities to start. Should be an interesting day.”

“No arguments here about that.”