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Take Me Back To The Start

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When Dick wakes up in the morning, Wally isn’t there.

He stretches out leisurely, his arm reaching across the bedsheet in search of a body that isn’t there. Dick frowns through his sleepy daze, lifting his head and blinking open tired eyes to see empty space next to him.

Hm.

Sitting up slowly, he gazes around the room. No clothes on the floor, the door ajar – no sign of Wally at all. The sinking feeling in his chest starts to settle into a heavy lump in his gut as he curls his knees against his chest, burying his hands in his hair. He really shouldn’t have gotten his hopes up. It’s not like Wally to just up and leave without saying good-bye, but then again, does he really know Wally anymore?

It’s not like they’d set any rules or discussed future plans. They hadn’t really discussed anything since getting back to his apartment last night. They didn’t really find the time.

~

“New place then?”

Dick smiled as he unlocked the door. “Needed a little more space.”

“Did Bruce buy this building too?” Wally chuckled, leaning against the door frame.

“I didn’t actually ask for this one. He just… did it.”

Wally shook his head, a stupid grin plastered on his face. “Some things never change.”

Dick lead the way into the apartment, tossing his jacket on the rack to their right, Wally following suit. “You expected change from Bruce Wayne?”

“I learned a long time ago to never expect anything from Bruce Wayne.”

Dick grinned, flopping down onto the soft, worn leather of his couch. Wally – in proper Wally fashion – made his way into the kitchen. He rifled through cupboards, clearly disappointed in his lack of findings, then opened the fridge. Dick sent him a sheepish smile as Wally turned to him, gesturing exaggeratedly to the empty space within.

“Dude. You’re thirty-two. How are you a grown-ass man and you’re still incapable of feeding yourself?”

“…Alfred?”

“Jesus…” Wally huffed and swung the door shut, crossing the room to settle on the couch next to Dick. “Some things really don’t change.”

Dick laughed and poked Wally in the side with his toe. “You sure haven’t.”

“Oh?” Wally grabbed Dick’s ankle before he could pull away, raising a challenging eyebrow. “How so?”

“Still a glutton.”

“Speedster.”

“Same thing.”

Wally’s eyes narrowed, a glint of mischief flashing through them before he yanked on Dick’s trapped ankle and pulled him flat on his back. Dick yelped in surprise, hair disheveled from static cling, as Wally shifted on the cushions to hover over him.

~

Dick shakes his head, clearing the memory from his mind. Don’t think about that now. It happened. It’s in the past.

The past was about six hours ago, but it was still the past.

He slips an old pair of sweatpants on, stepping out of the bedroom and padding into an empty apartment. Empty living room, empty kitchen. Dick swallows hard, making his way through as if he isn’t disappointed. As if he hadn’t been hoping Wally would be sitting at the island. Waiting for him.

He doesn’t know why he thought Wally would stay. They’d found each other in a bar by chance. This wasn’t a date. It was a hook up. Casual.

Simple.

Wasn’t it simple?

Dick sighs, switching on his coffee machine and waiting for it to brew. Too much shit in his head to deal with before coffee, that’s for sure. As he watches the dark liquid drip into the pot, he leans against the counter with a sigh.

Alright, so they have a history. They’d dated. But Dick has stayed friends with every one of his exes, it’s one of his few natural talents. Zatanna, Roy, Kori… they all stayed in touch. He has to with Kori, they have Mar’i together, but they still love each other. That’s never gone away.

But somehow, he and Wally haven’t seen each other in eight years.

A lot can change in eight years.

~

“Anything different about me?” He asked softly, planting his hands on either side of Dick’s head.

Dick pondered it for a moment, gaze flickering over Wally’s face. Eight years had done good things for his old best friend. Wally still looked as good as he did when they were younger, but his jaw was sharper – a little more square. His hair had gone more of a copper tone than the bright fiery orange it used to be, and the laugh lines around his eyes were more prominent. His green eyes were darker too, a deep emerald that Dick could see himself getting lost in if given the time.

Wally was different, but in very subtle ways. His cockiness was confident without the bravado – like he finally understood how attractive he really was. His movements weren’t awkward or gangly. There wasn’t anything gangly about him anymore. Even at twenty-two, Wally hadn’t fully grown into himself – now, at thirty-two, he definitely had.

“Not really.” Dick murmurs, eyes falling to those oh-so-familiar lips a few inches above him. “You’re still… you.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Wally leaned in a bit, watching every change of Dick’s expression for discomfort – like he used to.

“Is that a good thing?”

Dick bit down on his lower lip, wondering if that still effected Wally the way it used to.

“I think so.”

When Dick finally closed the gap between them, Wally met him halfway.

~

Dick jumps a little when the coffee machine beeps, not realizing how caught up in his thoughts he’d gotten.

It’d been nice – really nice – to catch up again after all this time. To learn about each other all over again and fill in those missing pieces of their lives. How they’d managed to slip past each other for eight years, Dick would never know. He supposes that marriage and kids and world-ending events sort of get in the way of that kind of thing. But seeing as they both still know Roy, Dick wonders how valid that argument really is.

Maybe they just didn’t know how to find each other again after drifting apart like they had.

It’s not an easy thing to do when you’d been with someone every day for so many years, only to suddenly realize that you weren’t the same people anymore. Things had changed, and you didn’t see it coming. You didn’t fit anymore.

We fit together well enough last night. So, what does that mean?

Dick rubs the sleep out of his eyes, leaning heavily against the edge of the counter. That doesn’t matter anymore. Wally’s gone. Wally left, without saying goodbye. None of that matters anymore if Dick isn’t going to see him ever again.

Maybe in another eight years time. Maybe they’ll run into each other again and have another night of desperate nostalgia.

Dick wills away the hope that wells up in his chest at the thought.

He takes a mug out of the cupboard, about to pour out the steaming liquid, when he hears the front door open with a click. Suddenly wide awake, Dick whirls on the spot, muscles tensed and ready for conflict – only to see a tall, redheaded figure creeping into the dimly lit front hall.

Wally.

Wait – what?

“Wally?” Dick asks softly, his throat still dry and scratchy from sleep. He’s not sure if that’s why his voice breaks.

Wally spins on his heel, revealing a brown paper bag and a coffee tray with two cups in hand. The brilliant smile on Wally’s face when he sees him knocks the breath out of Dick’s lungs. “Oh hey, you’re up!”

Dick blinks in surprise, staring at the items as Wally gets closer, carrying them over to the island and setting them down next to his coffee mug. “Uh. Yeah.”

“I figured I’d go get breakfast, since we’ve already established that you’re useless when it comes to food. I wasn’t sure if you still take your coffee the same but there was a Starbucks and I still remember your old order, so I just took a chance and-” Wally seems to notice the mildly shocked expression that must be on Dick’s face, pausing to stare at him for a moment. “You okay?”

Dick shakes his head to clear it for the second time that morning, still a little thrown from the emotional whiplash of Wally coming back. He’d been gearing for a day of trying to forget Wally. Forgetting his touch, his voice, his… everything. And now Wally’s standing in front of him again, breakfast in hand, having woken up early to fetch it for them because for once, Dick is unprepared.

“Uh, yeah. I’m good.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.” Dick plucks the paper cup with his name on it out of the tray and takes a sip, the corner of his mouth twitching upwards when he tastes the coffee order he’s been using for the better part of a decade. “Thanks for breakfast.”

Wally frowns, glancing down at the mug on the counter, then back up at up Dick, who’s desperately trying to avoid his gaze. It doesn’t take long for him to put two and two together.

“You didn’t… you didn’t think that I-”

“No, of course not-”

“I swear, I’ve only been gone five minutes.”

“Wally, it’s fine-”

Dick doesn’t get a chance to finish his sentence before finding himself pressed against the edge of the counter, coffee cup snatched out of his hands – which is good, because he uses both to catch himself on the cool marble surface as Wally invades his space. His breath hitches in his chest as Wally traps him between both arms – much like he’d done the night before – gaze stern as he stares into Dick’s eyes.

“You didn’t think I’d let you go again, did you?”

Dick almost swallows his own tongue when his heart decides to leap into his throat at those words. He can feel his cheeks warming at the close proximity. His heart is pounding, pulse racing. He feels like a giddy teenager again, and Dick wonders if that’s just the way that Wally makes him feel. How he’s always made him feel.

Wally doesn’t give him the chance to answer, nudging his nose gently against Dick’s in a soft gesture that he hasn’t felt in a very long time. “I just found you again… You’re not getting rid of me that easily.”

It takes a gargantuan effort to find his voice, and when he does, it’s sarcastic. “I mean, technically you’re the one who left, so really who’s to blame here-”

The smile that spreads across Wally’s face is even more brilliant than the last, and if given the chance that alone would have shut Dick up, but it doesn’t because Wally is kissing him now and he tastes like coffee and vaguely of powdered sugar and Dick is absolutely melting into it. Wally’s hands come up to cup his jaw, thumbs rubbing gently over the short stubble on his cheeks, and the touch has Dick grasping at Wally’s baggy t-shirt like his life depends on it.

He’s being pressed hard into the countertop and he really doesn’t care because Wally’s mouth is on his, warm and familiar and so, so Wally and regardless of anything they did last night, it still takes his breath away. It’s like vertigo and déjà vu all at once, the feeling of Wally’s body against his. It’s so familiar, yet still so different – bigger, stronger, but still everything that makes him Wally. Every touch is new, but practiced, as if they’ve done all this before – because they had. Years of friendship, of a relationship, of a complicated and intertwining history that ended so long ago, but picked right up again where it left off. They’ve both changed, obviously, yet somehow still know each other well enough to drive themselves crazy.

Dick’s hands drop lower, resting on Wally’s hips, and would have wandered further if he didn’t feel a recognizable fabric hugging his waistline. His fingers dip into the band, snapping gently at the elastic as he breaks the kiss with a smile.

“Did you steal my sweatpants?”

Wally grins against his lips, both of their eyes staying closed as they lean their foreheads together. “Didn’t have any of my own here. And I figured we were still the same size.”

“That’s a bold assumption, thinking you can just steal my clothes like that.”

“What can I say? I’m hopeful.”

Dick opens his eyes at that, watching Wally look up and meet them with his own. Despite the laugh lines carved permanently in the corners, those eyes haven’t changed one bit. They still shine the same way they did after their very first kiss, still glint in joy and swim with worry the same way they had when they were seventeen and stupidly in love.

If there’s anything that Wally West has always been, it’s hopeful.

And if there’s anything in particular that made Dick fall in love with him all those years ago, it was that optimism.

Maybe that optimism is contagious. Or maybe that desperate nostalgia is clouding his judgement. But for the first time in a while, Dick feels comfortable. He feels wanted.

He feels right.

In Wally’s arms, warm and fuzzy and just a little lightheaded, Dick feels like this could be right again. If they give it a shot.

Dick thinks maybe they could.

 “So, what’s for breakfast?”