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NOT THE ONLY ONE

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Bubbling champagne, silk dresses, and crisp suits, a Bruce Wayne gala is nothing short of perfect, even if it was for a bunch of heroes.  And while he stood by his mentor, talking to business acquaintances as he saw from the corner of his eye, his even saw some of his former teammates mingling with the few civilian guests.

Kori was truly a one of a kind woman. She was already chatting up a large group of men who were all vying for her attention, and possibly more. Happily mingling and laughing at their jokes, she was bight and cheerful. Truly the life of the party. There was Garfield, who had already been talking an earful to a socialite who was just happy to get the attention of the young hero. Victor was talking to a league member about something in regards to a new security system for new Titans.  But there was someone missing

“Earth to Dick.” A wave of a hand in front of his face before he blinked and turned to look at the accusing hand, only to be greeted by the lopsided grin of Roy Harper. “There you are pretty boy!”

“Shut up.” He said with a laugh before he took a small sip of the champagne. His eyes still scanning for the missing guest.

“Ah, someone is distracted, what do you think Artemis? Should I shake him or something?” A teasing voice from behind as the speedster walked towards the little group. “What wanna ask Kori for a dance? You should, she looks great in that dre-OW ARTEMIS, I’m making a point!”

“You didn’t have to be a dog about it.”

“You know I only have eyes for you.”

“You both are disgusting.” Roy said with a groan as he pinched the bridge of his nose at the loving dovey couple.

“Disgusting.” He repeated, his brows now furrowing at the sight of not seeing her. When he had seen her name on the list of RSVP, he was shocked. How long had it been since they last spoke? Hell, how many years had it bee since he last saw her? She had chosen to live a life outside of active heroism a while ago. She had said she wanted to try out civilian life, wanted to live a bit normally. A life she never thought she’d never have but now could.

“Okay, boy wonder, what are you looking for? or whom?”Artemis’ voice was soft as she looked at the leader of their team.

 

 

And just like magic, she appeared. Coming through the doors with a timid expression, she walked as if she was just floating, and she may as well have been. Her face on full view for everyone to see with her hair tied up. When did she stop cutting her hair? When did she ever pull her hair back, if it wasn’t her cloak, it was her hair that hid her face. Cheeks flushed with rouge and her lips a light pink, she looked so normal.

“Is that?” A whistle through Roy’s teeth as he cocked his head to the side and looked at the beauty that came through the doors. “Civilian life has been good to Raven.” She was underdressed compared to others. Clad in a white button down and a pair of tan pants, she didn’t look like the rest of the guests here. Simply dressed, barely noticeable. But she still looked stunning. 


A soft smile appeared on Richard’s lips as he shoved his friend and looked endearingly at the woman as she stopped in the middle of the room, head turning nervously as she began looking for someone. Fingers playing nervously together, as her brows furrowed. Crowds were never something she was good with. That was his reasoning as he began walking towards her, he was her teammate once, he knew how to help her out. And he was almost there, he could greet her, catch up with her, maybe even ask her for a dance. But there was someone faster, someone who walked right past him and greeted her with a bright smile as he took both of her hands and pressed them to his lips.

Tim? The former boy wonder thought as he now slowed his pace, his ears more alert to try and pick up what was going on. He knew that they had met, but to be that close? It didn’t sit well with him. Not with her, not with Raven. Not with someone he shared a bond with. Not with someone that had been his confidant for so many years. Not with someone that left an emptiness after she left.  He had kept in contact with her actively, more than the other members because of that reason. She had a way in his head, She understood him, and to see her become close to another Robin, his brother—it brought an uncomfortable feeling.

“Timothy.” He heard her voice reprimand but there was no mistaking the warmth behind the tone. The softness in her gaze as she finally took back her hands and then felt a familiar aura. Peaking behind the new Robin, she saw him.

Eyes widening, she stood up straight and took a step back from Tim who had a confused expression.

“I didn’t know you guys were close.” He pushed the jovial tone as he put an arm around Tim’s shoulder and before giving a glance to his brother and then back down to empath. “Hey Rae.”

“Richard.” A small nod of her head, he felt himself smile a bit bigger as he looked down at the smaller female.

“Oh? Hey! Yeah,”A sheepish laugh left the younger boy’s lips as he maneuvered his way out of his mentor’s grip and took a step towards her. Standing beside her as he ran a hand through his now messy dark locks. “Well, Rachel, here has been very helpful with a few cases of mine.”

“Rachel?”

“More inconspicuous than Raven.” She said softly before she looked away, and stared at the floor as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. Why wasn’t she looking at him? Did she not know how much it pained him when they stopped their correspondence? How nerve wracking it was when she just stopped their correspondence. When the letters were returned unopened. When he called her and her phone number was disconnected. Did she understand who worried he was over her?  He knew that she just didn’t want to be bothered anymore and she was more than capable of handling herself.

But she had cut off the rest of the world, and he couldn’t find her. He knew that she wanted to have a civilian life, but to think that she would cut them off. He has asked Victor or Kori and even Garfield if they had heard from her, but it was all static. He had spent a year on and off her case until he simply concluded that she didn’t want to be found and he should respect that.

But apparently Tim found her? That didn’t sit well with him.

“What so, are you two dating or not?” A voice from behind, and Richard was honestly tempted to duck tape Roy to a wall. As he joined the group, and he knew that once his former teammates saw her, they would be all over her and he wouldn’t get a moment for himself.

“Uh-“A nervous laugh as Tim looked at Raven with a soft expression who was still looking at the floor before he rubbed the back his neck and gave them a cheeky grin.  “I’m trying? But she’s uh, she’s something else.”

“You mean half demon?” Roy quipped with a small smirk.

“More like he tracked me down in New York and asked me to help him with a few cases regarding magic that Zatanna couldn’t figure out. And we may have went out a few times to get information and, one may call them a date because we shared a few kisses.”

“They were dates, Rachel. We also did more than kiss.” A teasing smile as he leaned in and nudged the empath who had flushed a light pink before elbowing him in the stomach.

“Wait, you’ve been in New York this entire time? How come you didn’t call us?”Wally asked, while nervously looking at his best friend who had a civil smile on his lips, but with one hand clenched, knew that something else was going on.

“No, just recently. Once I left the Titans, I travelled a bit, exploring the world, learning about history in places it took place in. And around a year and a half ago, I went back to Azarath. I’ve only been back on earth for a maybe half a year now and—” Now this was worrying, she rarely returned home, saying that Earth, was the home she created for herself. “That’s why I stopped talking to you for so long. Not exactly five star reception there.”

“Oh? How was it? Did you go there to train or something or-“

“Artemis.” Richard took note of the protective tone behind Tim’s voice, something that he used to do for her. He also noted how he shifted his position to be more in line with her. And he could also see how he put a hand on the small of her back.

This was an ugly feeling that he was feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“It’s fine, Tim. Uhmn, No. My mother had passed away. There were things that needed to be arranged. Azarath funeral customs take far longer than ones that are here on Earth. And, well emotionally it wasn’t good for me. So I stayed behind for a bit. Took a bit longer than anticipated to get better. ”   

“Rae, you should have told us.” Richard said now taking a step towards her, concern in his eyes. He remembered the few times he was allowed to see her be vulnerable. He even heard stories about her mother when they shared their mornings together. Her mother was the reminder that she was still human, that she had the potential to be good. The one that inspired her to take the first step and leave the comfort of her home and come to Earth. If anything, she was the only family Raven had left and he knew what it was like to lose a parent, to lose a mother.

“You were busy, with the League, the Titans, your new team. The whole hero workup. I didn’t want to bother you.”

“You know that wouldn't have bothered me. And even if it wasn’t me, what about the others?”

And there it was, the small sad smile on her lips that made his heart ache. It was the smile that said, and ruin their day?  “Victor just got into the League and I knew he was busy with that. Kori was busy leading the Titans and Garfield? Well, he was already upset that I left the Titans, I don’t think he would have liked me leaving this dimension. It was also last minute, death doesn’t really have an set date.”

And then there was an awkward silence as they stood there, her reasoning was sound. Everyone’s life was moving on, her team had things to do, as she did. She had always been quiet, but to think that they were all to busy to see that she was suffering from a loss. That they should have been more proactive in trying to find her, to find out why she just stopped talking to them. Instead of assuming it was just Raven wanting her space.

“So, New York?”Roy coughed as he looked between the leader and the empath and then at the new Robin. He shouldn’t have interfered and to leave now? Well he already made the mess.

“Ah, yes. Well I was in New York for a gallery opening of one of my favorite photographers,”

“Wolfgang Tillmans.” Both Tim and Richard contributed before they both gave each other a glance. So, they both knew. Awkwardly looking away, he wondered how Timothy knew, it wasn’t like Raven had a profile page with all her likes and dislikes.

“And that’s how Tim found me. It was surprising because I only mentioned him once to Timothy at a picnic or something and I don’t know how, but he found me.”

“I mean it wasn’t like I went almost every day to that opening trying to see if I could find you-“Now there it was again, the flirty tone as he leaned into Raven with a small smile, which was now reflected on her own lips.

“And I went on the last week. Yes, I know. I was there.” She teased back as her shoulder eased, and the tension soon left the little circle. It wasn’t like Richard didn’t notice that the hand that once rested on the small of her back was now over her shoulders. It wasn’t like he didn’t notice the way her hand rested on top of the one draping over her shoulder.

“So when Tim said that he was trying,” Wally wondered if he had to speed Dick out of here or not. He knew that there was always something deeper than friendship between him and the woman before him, but to this extent? To see him so tense and yet forcing himself to smile. He didn’t like the look.

“It’s new.” She replied quietly, looking at Richard directly. As if to tell him that this was something that she wanted, that no matter what happened between them or didn’t happen, that this was her life now.

“It was new like three months ago, now it’s just her not labeling it.”

“Well for Raven, that’s new.” Richard defended her, if it was new, if there was no labels, this feeling inside this chest, this negative emotion that he was feeling, he didn’t have to feel as guilty about it. He didn’t have to think that-“So, are you here as his date?”

“If she stays, she will be.” Tim said with almost a puppy pout on his lips as he looked at her. “Come on, you know you want to see them, they miss you. Especially Kori,I think she may kill me if she doesn’t get at least one hug from you. It’s been what? Two weeks?”

“You saw Kori recently?” Wally asked nervously with a questioning gaze as his eyes shifted quickly from Raven to Richard. This was news to him. Which meant that it was news to him. Of course the Titans were their own team but to think that they didn’t inform Richard of Ravens appearance. The tense shoulders, the little grimace in the corner of his lips, it bothered him.

“Yeah, uhmn. Well you see I had to drop off something for Tim and he had asked me to come over to the Tower. And there she was outside with the rest of the team. There were plenty of hugs. Tim here insists that he didn’t plan it but-” another playful nudge that made him laugh and squeeze her shoulder once

“I simply said it was a nice day to be out. Who would have thought they’d agree.” There it was a softness, a fondness, something that used to be between him and Raven. Now he was on the outside looking in and he felt a bitter taste rise up his throat.

“And Victor?” Please don’t let him be the last one. he thought quietly. Sure there was Wally and Donna, but she was his friend, she was his teammate. She had gone inside his mind, he had gone to hell for her.  But he felt in the pit of his stomach that he was, he knew that he was. He had been so busy with work, with being Dick Grayson, with being Nightwing, he barely even had time for the friends that always surrounded him.

“I saw him a couple of weeks ago. We caught up over dinner.” She noticed his hurt expression before she gave him a small knowing smile. “You were out on a mission in Beijing with Batman.” She tried tucking a piece of her hair behind her ear only to remember shortly that her hair was up. Slowly lowering her hand, before she let out a sigh. “Timing just sucks, I suppose.”

He wanted to ask why she didn’t come back? Why did she not leave a message? When did Tim find her? Why did she agree to help him and not ask how he was doing?

“Wait, what did you mean by if she stays? Isn’t she here for the gala?”Roy coughed as he motioned outside of the circle of this group.

“Well, this was more of a stop. I thought I planned on staying but but there was a lead and I just told Tim that I would come by to say hi.”

“Here I thought you retired from the hero business.”

“It’s personal.” And that was the worst thing she could have said. Yes, they all had secrets. But this was a wall that he didn’t know was between them. No matter how much time had passed, she should know how much he cared, how much he still cared.

“Raven!” A squeal as a fury of red flew towards them and hugged the girl as tight as she could, lifting her in the air. Laughter ringing as now the entire party’s attention was now turned to look at them.

Tim ran a hand through his hair as he laughed at the shocked expression of his date (not his date, Richard corrected in his head.) “Careful! You’re gonna make her sick.”

“Did I hear that correctly? You are not staying?” A pout on the alien’s lips as she looked down at her best friend.

“I’m sorry, Kori. Got a personal thing to handle.”

“You shouldn’t have to do it alone, Raven. You are in a room full of heroes! We can help!”

“It’s not something I need my powers for, so I don’t think taking a bunch of superheroes will be smart.” A small smile as she blew at the strands of her hair that was falling down her face.

“What could be so personal that you gotta leave, lil sis?” Victor’s voice boomed as he hugged both of the female heroes into a tight group hug, a laugh as some other Titans began gathering around. “We are practically family, no scratch that. We are family. Better than the Breakfast Club!”

“God, you sound old.” Garfield said with a laugh as hands behind his head as he walked inside the little group. “Hey Rae! Oh? Not wearing black, again?”

“Part of growing up, Gar.” She said with a softness as she greeted her old teammate through the arms of Kori and Victor. “Range of color expands.”

“Mmn, I still like red and green.” He said before noting the more serious trio on the other side. There was a stark difference between the Titans and The Team. The Titans were more about bringing in new supers, some of the original members staying behind to create a new family for supers who felt alone. But it was always about honing one’s skills, creating a new home, becoming used to being a super. While the Team, more responsibilities, a more serious role as protectors of the universe for they were all mostly in training to join the League.

A phone ring was what separated the group hug. Raven pulling away and pulling her phone before stepping away from the laughing group, a hand clasped around her ear as her expression changed. “This is Rachel.”She greeted before taking steps towards the open door of where the balcony was.

 

“Is this where the party is?” Megan said with a soft smile as she joined the group. Conner following right behind her with Jaime.

“I suppose so? It’s more like a reunion than anything.”

“Was that Raven I saw? How long has it been?”  Conner asked with a furrow of his brows before Wally let out a nervous laugh and waved his hands in front his face.

“Well that’s not important! It’s the fact that’s she’s here.”

Tim who had been looking at the open door where Raven had escaped through, turned his attention to the heroine. “Yeah.”

“Do you know what she’s doing here?” Jamie asked before he grabbed a few appetizers from a walking waiter and shoved it in his mouth.

“No. She hasn’t told me yet.” 

And while, Richard should feel concerned, worried, on top of his curiosity, he also felt relief. So, maybe he wasn’t out of the loop completely. But then again, the way Tim quickly avoided the question, he wondered if that was a small white lie to protect Raven. He would have done the same for her.

“What’s that in your hand?” Megan asked with a small smile as she walked to Tim and took out pried the USB from his hand. Clipped on was a small keychain with a bird at the end. Dangling it out with a small smirk on her lips. “Are they naughty pictures?”

“Give that back Meg. And No! It’s just some translations she was helping me with. I’m working that case with Z  and she couldn’t figure out some of the texts we found recently.—Now give that back!” He said as took it back and shoved it in his pants.

Richard had been watching from the side quietly before he slipped away and walked towards where Raven was. She was still on the phone and as he leaned against the doorway, watching the way she stood against the railing, no hand motion, just quietly listening.

Lifting her head, she caught his gaze and gave him a small smile, one he returned with a small wave of his hand. Motioning for her to continue her phone call.

“No, that’s not what I mean.” She said a bit more frustrated, he could tell from the small wrinkle between her brows, to the way her jaw tightened. Lifting her thumb, she bit at her nail, a bad habit. Her tell when she was getting nervous or worried. “I told you, that doesn’t sound like what Melvin would do.”

Melvin? Wasn’t she the oldest of the kids that Raven had taken in as honorary Titans. He was sure he read a report that they joined the Titans, part time. Mostly to get used to their own powers but from what he knew, they were also going to a boarding school nearby the Titan’s base. Why would she be taking a call about her?

A hand on her forehead, as she let out a sharp sigh before sliding it down to pinch the bridge of her nose. “I understand. Yes, I’ll talk to her. Thank you.” Ending the call, Richard noticed the black glow in her hand before she threw the energy ball out and through the courtyard to hit a tree. “A fucking witch hunt.” she hissed almost angrily through her teeth.

“What’s going on with Melly?”

“You’re still the only one that can call her that.” Breathing heavily, she gripped the marble railing as she stared out into the courtyard.

“It’s cause she likes me.” A cheeky grin as he strides across the balcony. He jumped to sit on top of the railing and looked down at the woman before him. She looked good, not just beautiful, but—good.

“Some kids at the school are accusing her of doing things to them. Stupid shit, I swear they just took it out of some letters during the Salem witch trials. They are accusing her of tripping them, calling her a witch. Stupid shit, but the parents are donors to the school. It doesn’t help that Timmy had gotten in trouble a while back by yelling a bit too loud. ”

“Is this the personal thing we can’t help you with? Cause it sounds like it’s something we can most definitely help you with especially since it concerns other Titans.” There was a softness in his voice as he looked down at her, head cocked to the side.

“The personal thing is still personal, but good try.” There was a lightness to her tone before she tilted her head back and stared up at the sky above them.

“C’mon Rae. Even with me?” He tried warmly before he tried to reach out and move a strand of her hair from her face.

Don’t.” A cold response, hand freezing before he lowered it back down to railing. Eyes closed, she slowly lifted off the ground before sitting beside him, legs crossed, she was a good distance away. Right. Tim. He thought quietly before he caught her gaze and felt his breath catch in his throat. “Don’t push it, Richard.”

“You could have told us about your mom, Rae.” He said now more on the defensive, she could have come to him. She could have told him that she was leaving. She could have, he was just a phone call away and he would have come with her. She should have known that. “You could have at least told me.” He said almost quietly, wondering if he was the only one that hoped that she took him seriously.

“The world deserves your help, not me.And I couldn’t possibly take Nightwing out of commission to help me with funeral plans.” A small voice as she shoved her hands into her pockets and let out another deep breath. “I’m looking for my grandparents. My mother’s side.”

“And they are here in Gotham?”

“No.” A quiet shuffle of her feet before she turned to look at him with a small frown. “But the one that recruited my mother is. A few members of the cult that took in my mother.They still practice.”

“—And you don’t want backup for that? You don’t want someone to go with you?” Richard saw the way her knuckles turned white as they clenched the railing tightly. “Rae. It can even be a small group. You don’t have to do this alone. You shouldn’t have to. ” 

“—Richard. I’m not going there as a hero. I’m not even there as a vigilante. I’m not going to hurt them. I just need information.” She said bit more frustrated. “I need to apologize to my grandparents. I need to tell them about their daughter, hell I don’t even know if they are still alive. But this isn’t something that I want anyone to be involved with. If this came out, it’ll look bad for the Titans, for you.”

“Who the hell cares about that sort of shit? You’re our friend.”

“You can’t convince me, Richard. You can’t. Tim can’t. I’m doing this by myself.”

“Why? Why do you always have to do everything by yourself?” He asked now angrily, jaw tight as he tried to push the ugly feeling of being grouped together with Tim. “First the end of the world, let’s not forget that. Or shall we go even more back when you were afraid when we watched that horror movie and tried to ignore the fear instead of confronting it. Or should we talk about your mom’s death and how instead of asking for some comfort, asking for a friend. You just left without a word. Why do you have to do this alone? Why are you pushing me away and not telling me anything?”

“Cause-“

“Because of what? And while we are on the topic of not telling me anything. What’s with you and Tim? Are you two together or not? Because it honestly fucking sucks when I think about it long and hard because when I asked you when you first went into your civilian life on a proper date. You said you didn’t want to date heroes. Even though you knew my feelings for you, and I knew the feelings you had for me.” Jumping off the railing, he walked away from her frustrated, a hand running through his black locks before he looked back at her.

“Despite the fact that we’ve been on the edge of something for I don’t know how many years. Despite the fact that we’ve already kissed and that we’ve spent nights together. Despite the fact that you knew me better than anyone and I knew you better than anyone. You still said no. Saying that you wanted normal. You wanted something simple and easy. You didn’t want to be someone that had to worry about your boyfriend going out there risking their life. I understood that. You didn’t want to be pulled back into the hero world because you worried over someone you loved. I respected that. But now, you’re with Tim? Whether it’s labeled or not, you’re together aren’t you? Isn’t he a hero, Rae? A Robin, nonetheless?”

She still sat on the railing, not even looking at him, arms wrapped around her body with her jaw tight. “It doesn’t matter. My relationship with Tim shouldn’t concern you.”

“It does! It does because it hurt, Rae. It hurt that you said no. It hurt when you vanished. It hurt when I saw the way he put his arm around you and how you smiled at him like you used to with me. It hurt when I saw the way he looked at you and the way you leaned into him. I feel replaced, Rae.”

No one can replace you, Richard.

“Well, it sure does feel that way. It feels that way especially since you didn’t just choose any hero, you chose another Robin. My brother.I deserve to know so tell- ”

“Because I don’t deserve you! Hell I don’t even deserve Tim!” She finally snapped her head up, eyes flaring with so many emotions he wondered how it was possible that the building was still up. A lot has changed over the years, hasn’t it? The scared look in her eyes, the way he saw her nails dig into her arms. “I can’t make you happy! I can’t make you happy the way you deserve. The way I know other girls can. Tim. God Tim. He was unexpected. He was just there when I didn’t ask him to be there. He was just a friend and then it became something more as we spent more time together. He stubbornly wormed his way in and maybe I’m being selfish but with Tim— ”

Don’t say it’s easier. You never even gave us a chance, Rae. You can’t say it’s easier with him when I never even got a chance.” He took a step towards her, his blue eyes searching for, hoping for the look he saw once before. The look when she had in her eyes when they were watching the sunrise together. The look in her eyes when she peaked over her book and poked him with her toes to grab his attention. The look in her eyes that made him want to give her another secret kiss.

“It’s not.” Voice wavering as she hovered above the air a few inches before landing on her feet, she quickly walked up to him and pressed a hand to his cheek. “He was just there at the right time. And we were never very lucky to begin with, Richard.” Her thumb slowly rubbing the skin of his cheek, drawing little circles like she used to.

“Rae.”He said as he pressed a hand against the one on his cheek, looking at her with a furrow of his brows. Please stay. Please stay with me.

“I need to go. My contact says they are doing a ritual in small town outside of Gotham. I can’t be late to the actual party I need to crash.” She whispered softly, before leaned in and kissed his cheek. “We should grab dinner. Catch up, for old time’s sake.”  Lowering her hand, she turned around to see Tim at the doorway, a soft smile on his lips. Richard on the other hand was surprised and quickly looked away from his younger brother.

“It’s almost midnight. You should start heading over. ” He said with a small smile, one that Richard noticed was a bit tighter than normal.

“Thank you.” Her expression softened as she walked towards the other Robin, taking his hand before leaning in to kiss his lips fully and pulling away with a smile. “I’ll make it up to you tonight. Your place?”

The soft look in his eyes as he moved a piece of her hair away and gave her a nod. “I’ll look forward to it. Now go. Find those wannabe witches and come home safely, Rach.” Stealing another kiss, a bit longer than the previous one.

“I told you, I just want to talk to them.”

“Mhmn, that’s what’s terrifying. You going out of your way to find someone just to talk? I’d rather take on five Gotham villains."That earned him a small shove and a soft laugh from her before she kissed his lips once more. "Go. Call me if you need any backup or even a ride, okay Rach?”

“Okay. I’ll see you later tonight, Tim.”

And then she was gone. As quickly as she came. The soft expression on his face now dissolving into one that was more serious, as he turned to face Dick who was still standing out there. Hand shoved into his pants, he walked to his brother with a frown before he clicked his tongue and ran a hand through his hair. Now a mess as he leaned against the railing where Raven once sat.

“Tim.”

She’s not yours.” He said cooly. “I know I should apologize for not telling you that I found her  five months ago. I know i should apologize for not telling you that I want to date her. But then I remembered that we are all adults here. And she’s not yours and I don’t need your permission to date someone that I like.”

“Tim.” A more serious tone as he stood up taller to look at his protege. “That’s not-“

“You’re upset. You have the right to be. God I don’t know how you even let her go. But you didn’t try hard enough. I did. Do you think that asking her out on a date was easy? Hell no. But unlike you, I didn’t accept the whole Heroes excuse. The normal excuse. Because I told her, if she wanted me to be normal, to take a civilian job, maybe just become a P.I. I would try. I also told her that normal was fucking overrated and that wouldn’t she rather want to live her life instead of pretending to live one.”

“You think that I didn’t try?”

“Clearly not and that’s why you’re mad. Because you thought because you two shared a bond that she couldn’t share another one with someone else. You’re mad because it’s me. But guess what, I’m not you. I don’t have that playboy persona like you do. I make a mess, but she sees that and I don’t hide anything from her like you do. I like her. I like Rachel a lot. I like the way she talks about obscure books. I like the way she always does the paper crosswords. I like the way she still uses her powers but only to make sure that her neighbors don’t have any nightmares. I like her because she doesn’t expect me to be you. She doesn’t want me to be you. Not even as Robin. She just wants me. And do you know how rare that is? That when I first came to her, she didn’t expect me to act like you. She listened, she helped, she saw me.”

They both loved her. They both loved her because she didn’t expect the world from them like their adopted father did. They both loved her because she smiled a certain way that brought a warm feeling in their chest. They both loved her because it was her.

“And if you have feelings for her, that’s fine. But don’t think they are greater than the ones I have for her. I don’t care if she has some feelings for you either, because I’ll make sure the ones she feels for me is greater. I don’t care if I have to fight for her because she’s worth it. And I want her to be happy. But you don’t get to say things about how she has to do something, has to be a hero or has to tell you everything because she doesn’t. She’s not yours. She’s not even mine. Right now, she’s trying to find herself. Trying to piece together her mother’s past. But I can wait for her. I can be by her side like she needs me to be. I don’t think that you’re a rival for her affections because I think, that what we have is special. You may have gone to hell for her, but that doesn’t mean you’re the only one that will.”