The thing of it is, is that it hasn’t crossed Dick’s mind since he’d said what he’d said to the doctor, at eighteen. And then he gets home from his new bartending gig to find Roy holding Lian in his arms, rocking her back and forth and singing her to sleep.
“She'awéé' ałts'ísí t'áadoo nichaaí, t'áadoo nichaaí…” Dick has heard Roy slip into his native often enough to recognise the words for baby and don’t cry by now. Roy doesn’t have the voice for lullabies, never has, but it’s the way that he makes it suitable, softens that growl into a purr. And Lian’s a few days away from turning seven, too old for this, but it’s the way that Roy ignores the fact and holds her like she’s new again.
Dick’s thinking about it. Can’t stop thinking about it. He has Damian, but Damian is his. (Well, Bruce’s— alright, mostly his.) And he has Lian— kind of, by a long stretch— but Lian is Roy’s. What if, he thinks (and it’s a slippery slope from there), what if there was someone who was theirs, the both of them, together?
He can. (Absently, a hand, lifting, light on his stomach.) He’d been clear about leaving that option open, back then, just in case he met someone and wanted to.
He’s met someone. And wants to.
He drops his head against the doorway to Lian’s bedroom, giving Roy a small smile when Roy looks up. Roy smiles back, doesn’t stop singing. The sluggish fluttering of her eyelids tell Dick she’s caught between sleep and waking now, almost there.
He’s still thinking about it.
There’s a lot to consider, logistically, like the risk of the kind of unbearable dysphoria he hasn’t felt in a while, or how much harder it would be, this far into his transition. But it’s not impossible, he’d been told it’s not impossible, and it’s been done before, he’s read about it. He can.
The idea of it is a soft, warm glow somewhere inside of him, overwhelming all the practical concerns his mind is trained to go over first. Theirs— what a thought. Roy still refuses to so much as talk about marriage, even after five years of living together and close to two decades of being in love besides that, but this is another way to become a proper family.
A proper family— what a thought.
Maybe it’s an orphan thing, his hang-up with that idea. Maybe it’s a Dick Grayson thing. He’s never going to voice that part of it, of course— doesn’t want to risk insulting Roy, who’d more than likely insist that they are a family already— but now he’s thinking about it harder, thinking about how and when and if ever he’s going to bring it up.
“When you stare at me and smile like that,” Roy says, voice quiet so as not to wake Lian, who’s fast asleep now, “I’m never sure whether I ought to be flattered or creeped out.”
Dick pulls himself out of his reverie. “Such a charmer.” And then he tucks away the sarcasm and drops his eyes to Lian, back to Roy again. “…You’re kind of irresistible like this, you know?”
Roy flashes him a crooked smile, says, “Make up your mind, Dickie, do you want me to be your rebellious phase, or do you want me to have your babies?” He bends to put Lian to bed, lifting a thin blanket over her, pressing a kiss to her forehead.
“I’m thinking about it,” Dick confesses.
“What, me having babies? I’m all about being open-minded and all, but that is one weird fantasy, Pretty Bird.”
“Ugh.” Dick makes a face, resists the urge to throw a pillow at him for laughing. And then there’s easy silence for a moment— Roy busy turning on Lian’s nightlight and readying her clothes for school the next day. Dick enters the room, closes the door behind himself, helps to get her books and satchel ready. “Do you think about it?” He ventures.
Roy makes a contemplative sound. “I mean, it’s a nice idea, isn’t it.” He finishes hanging the clothes up by the little dressing table. “It’s work, but if you can handle it, it’s worth it.”
Oh, no. Encouragement. Dick gives him a small smile. “And you wouldn’t be doing it alone, your second time around.”
“It’s a nice idea,” Roy repeats. “But, I don’t know.”
Dick’s heart sinks. He hides it, pretending to be busy putting books away. “But, what?”
“Nothing, it’s all just hypothetical.”
Dick turns and meets his eyes. “No, come on, what?”
“It’s just…” Roy hesitates, sighs. “I mean, I guess it’s different when it’s like Sin or Damian. But intentionally having another kid— it’d be kind of irresponsible, don’t you think? To bring another innocent life into our world? It’s dangerous. Just look at Lian.” He shakes his head. “She’s got – functionally – six parents and a million aunts and uncles. All veterans in the game. And she’s— Dick, my six-year-old is not supposed to be having recurring night terrors about getting kidnapped and almost— almost—”
He doesn’t finish, doesn’t need to. “You’re right.” Quiet. Dick turns to Lian’s peaceful, sleeping form, worry creasing his brow. “You’re right, I wasn’t thinking.” Sadness washes over him in spite of it, and he steps closer, brushes the stray hair away from her forehead. One and one and one and a half equal thirty thousand pipe dreams… he indulges them for a moment— would they meet another girl, a boy? What about a name? John. Jack. Jack Harper. Chubby hands and sun-kissed skin. Red hair? Not likely, it’s a recessive trait. Green eyes, then. Some part of Roy.
Roy would be so surprised at how gentle Bruce can be around little children. Bruce would be a grandfather— maybe then he’d be more indulgent toward himself. Give it up? No, that’s too much to hope for. Donna should be godmother, Roy would want the same thing. Wally would pester them so hard to name a redhead after him.
It is. A nice idea.
Maybe in another life, Dick thinks. And it’s silly to mourn a hope shot down before it could even fly, isn’t it.
“Why’re you asking, anyway?” Roy continues, still unaware, with a curious tilt of the head. “It’s not like you and I could—”
He stops. Turns to Dick, eyes wide.
“…Dick? Why were you asking?”
“Nothing.” Dick laughs it off. “I’m exhausted, come to bed.”