New York City
Dawn can tell something is wrong the second she opens the door.
As much as she and Donna and Hank like to joke about what a hot mess Dick is when it comes to getting enough sleep and eating meals that aren’t cereal and black coffee, they all know that he’s really anything but. Dick Grayson is a well-oiled machine; no one who has operated under Bruce Wayne for their entire adolescence can be anything but. And part of that machine is maintaining the “Dickie” Grayson persona: Artfully tousled hair, blinding white smile, shirt buttoned just a little too low every time Dick leaves the manor during daylight. All part of Wayne’s airtight strategy to keep even the barest inkling of Batman-related suspicions off the both of them.
But right now, Dick is standing in his civvies on the landing outside her apartment, and he looks…terrible. Lank hair, ill-fitting sweats, the deep under-eye bags and scattering of thin scars visible on his face because he hasn’t bothered putting on his usual concealer. In one hand, he’s holding a tattered duffel that looks like it’s at least a decade old, stuffed to the brim; in the other, he’s got the armored black briefcase that Dawn recognizes as the Batman-patented combined costume-case slash computer. “Hey,” he greets her, with absolutely none of the quippy cheer that usually sets him at such odds to Batman. Alarm bells go off in Dawn’s head.
“Hey.” Dawn glances back over her shoulder, to the sounds of Twin Peaks drifting from the living room. “Hank is here.”
Dick nearly flinches back, and that’s when Dawn knows something is really wrong. “Oh. Sorry. I’ll just—”
“No, don’t be ridiculous.” Dawn snags Dick’s wrist before he can vanish in a puff of smoke. “Come in. It’s cold out.”
Hank looks up from the couch as Dawn guides Dick through the living room. Dawn can see the jab form on Hank’s lips, but it never makes it out. Instead, Hank’s brow furrows as his gaze rakes over Dick. “Hey, Grayson,” he says, more cautious than Dawn has heard him in a long time. “You doing alright?”
Dick opens his mouth, closes it again, nods, and disappears into Dawn’s room without a word. Hank’s brows shoot up as he looks to Dawn. “What’s gotten into him?”
Dawn crosses the room to stand by the couch so she can look into her room. Dick is sitting on the edge of her bed, his bag and briefcase at his feet, staring out of the window like there’s nobody home. Dawn swallows. “Hank,” she murmurs. “I think there’s something really wrong.”
Hank glances towards the room, clears his throat, and gets up to turn the TV off. “Right. I’ll just leave you two alone, then.”
“Hank, wait.” Dawn reaches for Hank’s hand. She feels his gaze settle on her, heavy and questioning. Neither of the relationships she has with Dick or Hank have been officially classed as anything beyond friendship, and this…thing…between her and Hank is scarily new. They’ve been partners for a long time, but this—this is an entirely new level of trust that feels dangerous under its guise of casual, its excuses of adrenaline highs and alcohol-soaked giddiness and just needing a way to let off some steam after a mission that went particularly balls-up. But despite how she and Hank—and how she and Dick—skirt around any mention of commitment, Dawn knows, instinctively, that neither of them will let her down. And she knows that she can’t bear to lose either of them.
Dawn looks up to meet Hank’s intent eyes. “He needs us, Hank,” she whispers, so that Dick, with his Bat-trained senses that seem beyond human some days, won’t hear. “Both of us. Or I think he’s going to run.”
Hank looks stunned by the implication in her words, but maybe not as stunned as he should be. “Dawn,” he begins, then huffs out a breath. “You know I can’t do anything for him.”
And the thing is, no matter what she feels for Hank, this—Dick sitting in her bedroom too out of it to have even turned the lights on, looking like he’s one stiff wind away from vanishing—is something that she would never ask of him…except that she knows he feels the same way he does. On all fronts: About what’s between them, and about…
“You know that’s not true, Hank.”
Hank’s lips twist. He looks back towards the bedroom. The two of them have known Dick for years, and ever since he first dropped into the middle of the first mission they made the mistake of following to Gotham, a mouthy teenager with a chip on his shoulder, Hank has never stopped complaining about him—him, and the omnipresent shadow that’s never far behind him, whose draconian moral code Dick regurgitates like it’s his job. But Dawn has seen the respect that shines in Hank’s eyes when Dick tracks down a target with nothing but a thread of a lead and two hours of coding, and she’s seen the way he pulls the kid out of the way of bullets and explosions, no matter how much Dick snarks at him that he can take care of himself. Hank is a crass, unpolished gem of a person, sharp-edged and glittering, and he is drawn to beauty and grace and intelligence and all the things he does not believe he has, all the things he can hold reverently in his rough, calloused hands. Dawn thinks it is why he loves her. She thinks it’s why he loves Dick, too.
At last, Hank exhales, a decision settling on his shoulders. Dawn thinks it has something to do with the silhouette of Dick’s slumped shoulders in the moonlight. “You’re really okay with this, Dawnie?”
Dawn smiles and squeezes Hank’s hand. “You know there’s nothing I don’t want to share with you, Hank.”
Hank grins. Together, they walk into the bedroom.
Dick looks up when they enter, but it’s like he doesn’t see them: His eyes are dark and far away. “Hey,” he starts. “Sorry to bother you guys, but I—I just needed somewhere to crash, if that’s okay. Just for tonight.”
Dawn and Hank glance at each other. “Dick,” Dawn says. “What happened?”
Dick shudders. “Nothing,” he says. “It’s fine. I’m fine. Can I stay here tonight?”
“Grayson,” Hank says, seriously. “What’s wrong with the manor?”
There’s a long moment in which Dick is silent, fingers clenching on his knees. At last, he says, devoid of all emotion, “Bruce kicked me out.”
Dawn’s eyes widen. “ What? ” Hank barks, and Dick flinches. “What do you mean? What happened?”
Dick swallows, hard. “We’ve been fighting. These past few years, it’s just been… And then Two Face happened.”
Dawn and Hank glance at each other. The week that Dick went missing was intolerable. Seeing him in the hospital after Batman finally rescued him from Two Face’s lair, riddled with bullet holes and face half-swollen, broke something in Dawn that she didn’t think would ever be fixed. She remembers how Batman was even worse than usual that week, how the streets of Gotham ran with the blood of anyone who got in his way.
Dick squeezes his eyes shut. “Anyway.”
Dawn strides forward and sits on the bed beside Dick. She grabs his hand, holding tight even when he tries to shy away. “Dick,” she says. “Look at me, please.”
Dick opens his eyes. Dawn’s chest twists: His gaze is dark and bruised, squinty with exhaustion, and doesn’t quite fully meet hers. “It’s not your fault, Dick,” Dawn says. “He’ll come around, okay? Talk to him in the morning.”
Dick shakes his head. “No,” he says. “I think it’s really over this time, Dawn.”
“I promise I’ll just be the night,” Dick cuts her off. “I gotta—I gotta take off tomorrow, anyway.”
“Back to Gotham?” Hank asks, cautious.
Dick swallows. “No,” he says. “No. Not Gotham.”
Dawn sighs. This is exactly what she was afraid of. “Dick. What have we said about running away?”
Dick can’t look at her. “I’m not running away, Dawn. I just—I need some space.”
Dawn takes Dick’s face in her hands and waits until his eyes meet hers. “No running,” she tells him, stern; then she leans in and presses a soft kiss to his mouth.
Dawn has always loved the way Dick Grayson kisses: Deft and skilled, unafraid to let her take the lead, unafraid to take it himself. He reacts instinctively, leaning into her, a sweet sigh escaping through his nose—until he jerks away a second later, eyes suddenly wide. His gaze swings around. “Hank—”
Hank just shakes his head and sits on the bed on Dick’s other side. He reaches up and swipes a calloused thumb along the elegant line of Dick’s jaw, so patrician it’s as if Rembrandt himself painted it, and watches greedily as Dick’s Adam’s apple bobs down the slender line of his neck. “You okay with this, Grayson?”
Dick’s eyes widen. He nods, quickly. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, yes, absolutely—”
Hank swoops in and shuts Dick up, claiming Dick’s mouth with his own. Dick reacts differently to Hank than he does to Dawn: He practically melts right into the claiming grip of Hank’s hands coming up to clutch at his hips, a soft groan muffled in his throat. Pride and pleasure flare through Dawn’s stomach as she watches them.
Dawn stands and sheds her cardigan, then shucks off her Wonder Woman shirt and her skintight leggings. Once she’s down to her undergarments, she turns to find both Dick and Hank watching her. She climbs onto the bed and lays back against the pillows, settling in until she’s comfortable.
Hank tugs Dick back around and recaptures his mouth, Dick’s eyes fluttering shut again against the devouring kiss. As soon as Dick goes loose under his hands, Hank is stripping him of his shoes and jacket, then his Gotham Knights hoodie, his mudstained joggers, his white t-shirt and underwear. Dick is caramel-colored in the moonlight, his scars thick and silver, like broken Japanese pottery that’s been repaired with precious metals to become even more beautiful than when it was whole. He shivers as Hank runs his hands over his shoulders, the smooth planes of his chest, his slender waist.
Hank breaks the kiss to Dick’s whining protest and turns him bodily around again, maneuvering him like a doll. Dawn holds out her arms and crooks a mischievous smile. “C’mere, Robin.”
Dick shivers and obliges, making his way up the bed on his hands and knees and falling into her arms. He kisses her the way Dawn imagines Odysseus must have kissed Penelope after forty years lost at sea, pouring his entire soul into it. Dawn moans, heat flaring in her belly, and curls an arm around his neck. When he pulls away, she runs her fingers through his thick, soft hair and pushes it away from his face. “Are we agreed, Grayson?”
He blinks heavily-lidded eyes at her. “Hmm?”
She leans in to nip at his lip. “No running.”
Dick blinks again and swallows. His eyes dart down to her mouth, then back up again. At last, he nods, just the barest dip of his head. “No running,” he repeats, barely audible.
Dawn smiles and kisses him again, gentle this time. His fingers trace down her sides and hook onto her underwear, sliding them down and off. He curls his hands around her thighs. “Can I?”
Dawn’s lips curl. “You’re sweet, boy wonder,” she tells him; then she cups the back of his head in her hands and guides him down between her legs.
Dick’s mouth is as warmth as the rest of his body, and he uses it with as much skill. The slick pressure of his tongue has her biting back a moan, her fingers twisting in his hair, one hand fisting in the sheets. Pleasure, sharp and sweet, jolts up her spine. “Dick,” she sighs. She lets her head fall back, rocking her hips up into Dick’s mouth.
Dick makes a muffled noise against her. Dawn opens her eyes. Hank has shed his own clothes and is kneeling on the bed behind Dick, fingers coated in petroleum jelly and sliding down the small of Dick’s back. Dick jolts as Hank begins to stretch him. His grip tightens on her thighs, like he’s anchoring himself. Hank leans in and presses an open-mouthed kiss to the back of Dick’s neck. “First time, boy wonder?”
Dick, to his credit, never takes his mouth off her; he just nods, eyes fluttering as Hank steadily works his fingers from two to three. Dawn slides her hand from his hair to rub her palm between his tensed shoulders. “Shh,” she murmurs, breath hitching as Dick’s tongue slips into her. “Relax, Dick. Hank will take care of you.”
Dick clothes his eyes and tilts his jaw, and Dawn gasps as electricity lances through her at the change in pressure. “Dick—oh—” She rocks against him and moans as her stomach twists, tighter and tighter. “ Oh— ”
Dawn shatters under the insistent heat of Dick’s mouth. A moment later, she melts against the pillows as her body trembles through the aftershocks. Dick finally pulls away, mouth wet, eyes huge and dark in the moonlight. “Yes,” Dawn sighs, carding her fingers through his hair. Dick’s head drops and Dawn watches as he bites back a moan, rocking back onto Hank’s fingers. “How’s he doing, Hank?”
Hank licks his lips and withdraws his hand, wiping his fingers clean on the sweatpants he discarded at the edge of the bed. “So good, Dawn,” he says, voice rough. He takes Dick’s hips in his grip. “He’s doing so good.”
Dick’s back arches as Hank enters him, a shocked gasp falling from his swollen lips. His eyes roll back under his thick fringe of lashes. “Oh,” he gasps, choked. He’s so beautiful like this, Dawn thinks: Dark hair curling with sweat against his forehead, eyes-half lidded, pupils blown wide and mouth tilting open. More vulnerable than she’s ever seen him in that red and green armor that he hides everything behind. Dawn meets Hank’s gaze over Dick’s back and sees the raw desire there, the fierce protectiveness. She feels like, between them, they are trying to trap a star in their hands before it burns out.
Dawn wraps her arms around Dick’s shoulders as Hank presses the heel of his hand against the small of Dick’s back, coaxing Dick to bend for him. Dick presses his face into Dawn’s neck and whimpers as Hank begins to fuck him, slow and hard. “Hank,” Dick groans. “Please—I need—”
Hank speeds up, and Dick makes a noise of half-pain, half-pleasure as his thrusts stay just as brutal. “It’s okay,” Dawn says, pressing a kiss against his jaw. “Let go, Dick.”
Dick comes with a cry, his entire body shaking with the force of it. A moment later, his knees give out under him and he collapses onto the mattress. Hank drapes himself over Dick’s back and fucks him into the bed, chasing his own release. He comes a moment later, buried deep between Dick’s thighs.
The three of them lay sprawled together for the next few minutes, letting the heat of their skin cool in the air. After a moment, Hank gets up, drawing a whine from Dick, and disappears into the bathroom; he returns a moment later with a handful of dampened towels. They wipe each other down, hands gentle in the moonlight, and then fall under the covers together, Hank and Dick and Dawn.
Dick’s breathing evens out in minutes, and when Dawn turns her head toward him he’s fast asleep, face buried into her biggest pillow. Dawn meets Hank’s gaze over Dick’s bare brown shoulders and they share a smile. “Steady now,” Hank says, mouth curled in a grin.
“Steady on,” Dawn replies with a smile.
In the morning, the space between them will be cold, and Dick and his clothes and his Bat-costume-computer will be gone. Dawn will call him, and call him again, and call him a third time; and she’ll only get the grim sound of his voicemail, telling her to leave a message. Hank won’t speak for the rest of the day, rage in his eyes, and hurt even deeper beneath it. They won’t see Dick Grayson again until four years later, when he shows up at the door of their apartment in D.C. with a thirteen-year-old girl in tow.
But for now, for now. Dick is warm between them, and Dawn can believe she’s done the impossible and managed to tether Robin, the Boy Wonder, to the earth. She closes her eyes and lets the sound of the rain against the window lull her to sleep.