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The Wicked Witch & the Fiery West

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“There is a scientific reasoning behind this!”

Richard arched an elegant dark eyebrow at his boyfriend’s shrill statement, but kept his silence to cast his attention back to the town, err, village below them from the mountaintop they awoke on. 

Yes, there was a scientific reason, it seems that they have time traveled back to some medieval time period, but the time traveling doesn’t explain why Wally had spontaneously combust into flames during a panic attack (luckily his fire didn’t burn his speed suit off; there is no answer for that) and suddenly, Richard can levitate and…well, he hasn’t made it any further than that.

The Batman protégé glanced around himself once more, and yup, they were still surrounded by trees, rocks, and dirt, the air was cool, but smelled heavily of sap; the complete opposite of the desert location he and his team were in during a mission against some new villain, who was hell bent on fixing the errors of the future.

“Dick,” Wally sounded a little hysterical.  “If you don’t say anything, I’m going to set this whole mountain on fire!”

“We’re not in Kansas anymore, Wally,” Richard drawled and watched green eyes narrow into slits at his joke.  “What?” he questioned innocently.

“You know what?  Brood in your Batman silence, I’ll talk enough for the both of us,” Wally grumbled.  “But before I block you out, we’re not in any danger, right?  You don’t have your weird bat sense tingling for threats?”

“No, nothing here but you, me, and the trees,” Richard reassured the speedster.  He had to really think about keeping himself grounded when he came out of his crouch, because the last time, Wally almost hadn’t been quick enough to grab him to keep him from floating off the mountain side.  He still felt Wally grip at his cape when he had stepped back away from peering down at the village below them, “We should head down there, it looks normal enough…for a village back in time.”

“We don’t look normal,” Wally gestured down to the both of them; he was still in stealth mode, so at least he wasn’t sticking out in his normal bright yellow suit, and his boyfriend was still in his Robin uniform.

“This is could be somewhat normal,” Richard gestured to his cape, but other than that from what he remembered from history books and historical TV dramas, the majority of people from this time period wore linens, higherups wore silks and leather, and guards wore leather and metal plating.

They didn’t have any currency, not that Richard even knew what it was here anyway and Wally was clueless as well. 

Great, so they were stranded, confused as fuck with their additional powers, and broke; Richard was certainly feeling the dis.  He looked over to Wally, who was pacing, and he glanced down at the fire that was slowly creeping over his boots, “Hey, Walls, before you burn down the woods, do you have the energy to run to the village and grab some disguises for us?”

“Dude, we don’t have any money,” Wally frowned at his boyfriend and shrank a little at his pointed stare that still came off a little threatening besides the domino mask that Richard still wore.  “Wouldn’t Batman frown down at thieving?”

“Batman isn’t here right now, nor are any of our teammates, so this a bit of an emergency to camouflage ourselves with the villagers so we don’t get taken in for looking different,” Richard huffed.  “You know the people in this time period are bored and will literally make an excuse to execute people.”

“You have a point,” Wally agreed, still feeling a little guilty at the thought of robbing some innocent people, but he’d panic over it later.  He said he’d be back soon before dashing off, leaving a cloud of dust where he once was.

Richard waved the dusty air away from him and sat down on a smoothed down rock with a quiet huff.  He tried to pull up the holo-computer up on his suit, but it was all just static garble and Richard waved it away, annoyance was steadily building up and he startled a bit when blue wisps solidified into a crackling electric blue from his fingertips.

Before he could dwell on it a second longer, Wally returned, holding two lumpy rucksacks, he dropped one next to Richard and Wally sat down next to his boyfriend with a small huff and unlaced the bag’s top.

“Thanks,” Richard murmured, grabbing his bag and did the same.  He pulled out a deep navy blue, hooded cloak that had a silver threaded hem, and the cloak was wrapped around a surprisingly soft shirt that was vertically striped deep blue and black, dark trousers, and calf-high black boots.  He immediately started to undress, he pulled off his domino mask, rolled it up, and placed it in his utility belt, he unclasped his cape next and folded that up before placing it on top of the rock he had been sitting on, and slid off his boots, and unzipped his Robin uniform too before folding that up as well.

Richard pulled on the new clothes, and then clicked his utility belt back on, and then sat to stuff his pantlegs into his boots when Wally dropped back down next to him, still wearing his black under shirt that was now layered under a deep maroon, tanned leather jacket that had a soft fur collar, deep brown pants that were tucked into calf-high leather boots, which also had fur surrounding the top of the shaft of the boots.

“Here,” Wally had a smaller pouch.  “I don’t believe in magic, so luck falls in that category, but I overheard that this lady said that these were a lucky charm and maybe this will help,” he explained as he carefully pulled out a silver chain and looped it over Richard’s head, he saw the younger grab the circular pendant with a star in the center.  “I don’t think she was part a demonic cult,” Wally sheepishly murmured and pulled out one last silver necklace that was more a choker and had a single, glittering purple gem in the center, he carefully clasped that around Richard’s neck and a rush of heat flared up his cheeks when stunning blue eyes gazed into his knowingly.

“You just have a thing for me in chokers, dude, just admit it,” Richard teased and fixed his cloak clasp, the silver chain looped over a brass button, keeping the cloth secure over his shoulders.  He glanced up again and gave Wally an amused look, “Your hair is on fire.”

Wally quickly pat it out, grumbling to himself and stepped away from his boyfriend.  He looked over the shorter and was proud of himself, because Richard looked good and would certainly blend in better with the crowd, as he, himself, would as well.  He grabbed his suit and popped open his snack compartment; he still had some snacks left and offered Richard a granola bar, who shook his head, “Sure, babe?  Could be some time before we can get food again,” Wally had already jammed half of his into his mouth.

“You’ll need it more than me,” Richard replied, and his stomach was in knots currently.  He didn’t know what to do, he couldn’t sense M’gann and his communicator was just static; he didn’t know how to contact the team or Batman.

He suddenly felt like a scared little kid again after losing his parents, despite that being 7 years ago. 

“Dick?” Wally called, nudging him lightly and didn’t miss the way Richard flinched.  “Hey, we’ll get through this okay?  We always do, no matter what we’re against, no matter how shitty the odds are; we get through it.”

“Yea,” Richard shakily agreed, exhaling slowly and calmed himself down; the odd surging spark within him that seemed to react to his anxiety wasn’t helping either.  He felt Wally gently grab his hand, the touch of Wally’s warm and slightly calloused hand grabbing onto his own shaking one helped soothed him a little, and he tried to convey the gratefulness on his face.

“You got everything?” Wally asked, sliding his goggles on.

“Yes,” Richard nodded; his suit could be replaced, but he wanted to keep his utility belt that was slung around his hips, because if anything were to go wrong, he could at least use it as a last line of defense.

Wally nodded to himself, and he had everything he needed, emergency snacks, goggles, and most importantly: one Richard Grayson.  He beckoned his boyfriend to come to him and was grateful that Richard wasn’t bulking up yet, as Richard was working his way up to become an independent superhero, which was a secret that only Wally knew, as somehow Batman was oblivious to his protégé’s independent feelings.

“Good?” Richard asked, he was situated on Wally’s back and saw the speedster nod.  “Did you see anywhere in the village that could help us?”

“I was hoping your super detective skills could help with that,” Wally admitted sheepishly.  “I was mostly hurrying to get us stuff, versus actually looking around, sorry.”

Richard shrugged off Wally’s apology, “You got us disguises, I can look for something to help us get the hell out of this place; teamwork makes the dream work.”

“Ugh, I’m taking you out more so you stop watching those cringy 80s TV shows with M’gann,” Wally groaned and heard Richard laugh.  He held Richard tight as he darted down the mountainside, feeling Richard’s fingers dig a little sharply into his shoulders, the greenery around them blurred and soon he slowed down as they reached the threshold of where woods met the wide dirt path.

Richard slid off Wally’s back and ruffled at his hair and his bangs drooped back to their normal position.  He glanced up at Wally, “We’ll search for an hour and meet back up at the front gate.”

“Okay,” Wally nodded and followed after him.

It was weird being surrounded people back from the past, they got a few curious looks, but for the most part, everyone kept their stares in front of them, or the goods they were trading or buying.

Wally glanced back in front of him and deflated a bit when he couldn’t find Richard, “Damn, ninja,” he muttered and sulking forward; he honestly didn’t have a clue where to start.  He highly doubted that anyone had any metal scrap that could have resembled the machine that blew up in front of him and Richard; he really hoped that his boyfriend found a lead first.

Richard didn’t really know what to make of this merchant, he had a wide tent, a blanket thrown over the dirt, he had pottery bowls that were unpainted in one area, animal skins in another pile, and books in another neat stack.

One book in particular seemed to pull at him; it was a deep brown, leather skinned book, the pages were brittle edged, and the spine had a single marking carved into it, a sigil that had three spirals and vaguely shaped itself in a triangle.    

“Pique your interest, lad?” the merchant called, startling Richard.

Richard looked away from the book that he was now holding, to look over at the man, he had curly black hair, eyes a deep, stormy blue, he had light facial hair, but he didn’t look old, maybe in his mid-thirties.  He nodded hesitantly, “Yes, it’s…well worn.”

“I’ve had that book for a long time,” the man smiled wistfully.  “It was a gift from a friend, he gave it to me to learn from it, as he had once done, before sorcery had been banned.  I’ve learned all I need to know; I hope that it could be of use to someone kind.”

Richard’s eyebrows rose, “I’m sorry, did you say sorcery?”

“Yes, has it not spread to your homeland that sorcery is now a free practice?  So long as it is not for malicious intent,” the man replied.  “It was a final wish of the last king,” his voice grew soft. 

“Uh, I guess not,” Richard replied and saw that the man was now giving him a curious stare.  “I don’t have a home here, I um, have a place up on the mountain.  Not much news gets there.”

The man nodded understandingly, “This is my first time in a long while of being around other people.”

“How long has the ban been lifted?” Richard asked him curiously.

“50 years in the new spring,” the man replied and saw Richard’s eyes widen.  “News of it still travels, but the king was well known and will be continued to exist throughout history.  His story is what I love to tell, he was a prideful prat,” his smile was cheeky.  “But I am sorry, today I am only selling wares.”

The man barely looked to be in his 30s, but Richard figured this man could have been a child when the king passed away, but the given fondness the man spoke of the king, it…was intimate, the kind of intimate fondness he would have spoken of Wally.  Richard looked back down at the book, thumb lightly skimming the worn, yet soft cover, “Are you able to hold items until payment?”

“Something tells me that this is quite urgent,” the man had an understanding look in his blue eyes.  “I believe I can make well without the price I would originally ask.  All I simply ask is for a name?  If you can share.”

“Richard,” he responded and offered his hand to the older man and felt a spark when their hands clasped; it wasn’t a touch of unease that Richard had met someone evil, it was the exact opposite.  Suddenly, he felt like he was peering through the veil and saw a young man, same eyes and hair, beardless, and instead of a bland gray tunic, he wore a royal blue tunic with a red neckerchief tied around his neck.

“It’s nice to meet you, I am Merlin,” the now named man smiled kindly.  “I do hope you take care of that book; I am sure it will help you with what you’re seeking.”

“Thank you,” Richard breathed, still seeing the young warlock he had read about in fairytales.  He was met with another warm smile and when their hands pulled apart, Richard suddenly found himself staring at nothing, the shop that had once been in front of him was now nowhere in sight, the only proof of it being there was the worn book that he clutched close to him.

He turned away and saw Wally hurrying towards him, “Did you find something?” he asked the speedster.

Wally was shaking his head, “Dude, I’ve been looking for you for over an hour!  You weren’t at the gate and I freaked out because I thought you got taken or something!” he exclaimed and tried to lower his voice as some people a few yards away were looking over to them and a lone patrolling guard was looking over.

“I’m fine, I’m sorry, I hadn’t realized that it had been over an hour,” Richard apologized to him and saw that Wally didn’t quite believe him.  “I, uh…met someone and they gave me this book; they said it might help.”

Wally tilted his head curiously when Richard showed him the book, but it looked normal to him and leaned over Richard’s shoulder when his boyfriend opened it.  Wally couldn’t make anything out of the gibberish that was written on the practically ancient paper that was yellowed at the edges, “Um…Dick, this isn’t in English.”

Richard frowned at him, he could read it just fine, the print was worn, but still legible, “What do you mean?  I can see it just fine.  Don’t tell me that you’ve lost your ability to read, dude.  I was hoping that you and I could trade off in this book to cut down time.”

Wally leafed through the pages, but all he saw were weird symbols and he shook his head, “Sorry, Dickie, I don’t have the sight like you, I guess,” he frowned.  “Is that, like, a new super power of yours?”

“Guess so,” Richard concluded with a small sigh; he really wasn’t looking forward to it, but superheroes stranded back in time could not be choosers.

Wally nudged him gently, “I know what can turn that scowl into a smile,” he sing-songed lightly, beaming brightly with amusement.

“Oh?” Richard hummed, eyes flickering over the pages in front of him before a medium sized coin bag was dropped on top of what he was reading.  He then shot his attention up at his boyfriend, “Wally, what did you do?”

“Not to sound like a jerk…but these people aren’t the smartest when it comes to gambling,” Wally shrugged innocently at the flat look that Richard was giving him.  “Hey, it was either this, or sleeping out in the woods and being cold and hungry.”

“So, you found somewhere we can stay?” Richard asked him, passing back the bag of coins before snapping the book closed.

“Yea…maybe we can even save up to get our own plot of land,” Wally replied and saw Richard frown at him.  “What?”

“Wally, we can’t stay here, either we’ll find a way back, or someone from our time will come and get us,” Richard stated firmly; he felt the surge of something course through him again.

“It doesn’t hurt to be prepared, because I doubt that book will have the answers,” Wally muttered.  “I also highly doubt our team even knows where we are, because if you don’t remember, the machine that was being built exploded.”

Richard frowned unhappily, but gave Wally a determined look, “I will find a way back to our time.”

“I don’t doubt you for a second,” Wally swore and lightly coiled his index finger around the long silver chain with the pentagram charm.  “You do your detective boy wonder thing and I’ll provide for us.”

Warmth rushed up Richard’s cheeks at the almost sultry tone and he ducked his head and felt the necklace bump back against his chest when Wally had let go and stepped back out of his space.

“Let’s go, the inn I found is this way,” Wally nodded his head in the direction they should be going.

Richard gripped the book tightly in his hands and followed Wally in stride; he hoped that he could do this.

~~~

One week went by.

Two weeks later, Wally had thankfully not brought up if Richard had made any progress.

Three weeks later, Richard really wondered how large this book actually was, because he was sure he could finish an inch and half thick book in a day.

A month and a half later, Wally had found them a section of land and already a well put together cabin that needed a little fixing up, but it was theirs now, nonetheless.

By the third month, Richard realized that he had magic, only finding out because Wally had sneezed and accidentally set fire to their dining table and Richard shouted the words he learned earlier that summoned water and with a wave of his hands, the dining table was saved, but their floor was soaked and they had to open their shutters and the front and back door to air their cabin out.

“Magic, huh?” Wally commented in disbelief as he clung to Richard to keep his boyfriend from levitating away in shock.  He slightly believed now, only because his boyfriend was so amazing and it was pretty cool to watch Richard make mini summons of animals that were made of blue sparks.

When six months had rolled by, Richard and Wally had their schedule perfected.  They’d do their daily chores, Wally would tend to their crops, Richard would typically be reading in his spell book, practicing those spells, they would spar to keep their moves up, have a light lunch, go exploring for a bit, have dinner, go out during the night and come back to their cabin after watching over the village and stopped any crooks.

They didn’t use their new abilities, Wally could basically light up the night with his fire powers and Richard usually felt exhausted after using magic for too long, but he was getting better endurance, so they just stuck with their speed and stealth.

When they went into town to pick up a few trade goods, they would hear the talk of their latest patrol, they were calling Wally the blur, which Richard had to stifle his laugh as his boyfriend sulked at his lame name, but Richard didn’t mind what they were calling him, they called him the Nightwing, because the villagers thought his cloak were dark wings and that’s all they could usually see.

“Man, you always get the cool names,” Wally whined when they had come back to their cabin.  He was packing away oats into storage barrels as Richard got them some dried fruit to snack on.  He came back and found Richard sprawled across the floor couch, as normal couches weren’t a thing yet, so they made basically a floor futon to lie out on and a couple beanbag chairs that were stuffed with cotton.  Wally slid off his boots and removed his jacket, Richard had also kicked off his boots and hung his cloak up and Wally crawled onto the cushy mat and draped his upper half across Richard’s back, hugging him and snuggling his face into his boyfriend’s side.

Richard hummed happily at the warmth Wally emitted, as it was getting a little colder out and they only had a small fireplace in the living and dining area, the upstairs was only a loft that held their bed and a few chests for clothes and hygienic soaps and oils and mint leaves.  There wasn’t much warmth up there, even though they had thick pelt blanket; Richard still got cold and usually woke up tangled around Wally if his boyfriend ended up taking him to bed, as Richard usually practiced his magic until he passed out.

Wally could feel Richard wiggle slightly and he hugged tighter, “Nap with me,” he murmured.  “You’re going to strain your brain if you keep reading that book every waking moment.”

“Then we’ll never get home,” Richard replied.  He didn’t like Wally’s silence, “This isn’t home, Wally,” he whispered and heard Wally sigh.

“It could be though,” Wally shrugged.  “I mean, it sucks not having video games, or having any of my family’s cooking, and I kind of miss bantering with Artemis, and not having to travel at least six miles to go shower in a waterfall, but…it’s not so bad here.”

“I miss our team,” Richard mumbled.  “I miss Bruce and Alfred…God, I hope they’re okay.”

“Hey,” Wally soothed him, moving to kiss Richard’s cheek.  “I’m sure they’re fine, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bruce has almost completed at building a time machine; he can be pretty scary when your safety is involved.”

Richard huffed out a soft laugh and rolled under Wally, so that his boyfriend was leaning over him, “I did tell you the time that Bruce put a whole gala dinner on lockdown because I managed to get myself trapped in the pantry?  He thought I had been kidnapped because he couldn’t find me.”

“No,” Wally laughed.  “Geez, how old were you?”

“I was 9, this was maybe a few months in of Bruce adopting me,” Richard replied and he felt his chest lighten a little at the memory.  He felt his face warm again when Wally kissed his cheek and settled down as Wally gently stroked his cheek, “What about the one when I brought the chandelier down?” 

“You menace,” Wally laughed. “Tell me!”

The evening was spent telling childhood stories, snacking on dried fruit, and making out; the spell book long forgotten for the time being, not that Richard could actually complain.

~~~

By the eighth month, Richard sat up straight out of a dead sleep, the soft fur pelt blanket pooled around his waist and he was scrambling to grab his spell book that was on the wooden floor next to the couch futon; he and Wally were now sleeping downstairs by the fire place as it was now winter.

“Babe?” Wally grumbled, he sleepily sat up and blinked his bleary eyes as he couldn’t find Richard just yet; it was dark except for the low light of the fire that needed more wood, as it was basically embers at this point.

“Wally, I figured it out!” Richard exclaimed, voice cracking a bit from almost shouting.  He frantically flipped through the pages of his spell book; the spell he had been reading over could help with the traveling part, it was a rift spell, but it was useless without another part of a spell to be combined with it; he knew he could find another spell that could help.

“It’s super late, Dick, show me in the morning,” Wally yawned, he had still gotten up to fetch a few logs from the corner and carefully stacked them in the fire so it wouldn’t choke out the embers.  He sleepily hauled Richard back to bed, he was glad that trained ninja had only been weakly fighting back, as his boyfriend could have easily knocked him on his ass if he really didn’t want to move.

“Aren’t you happy?” Richard asked him, he felt Wally’s arms wrap around him.  “We can finally go home!”

Wally hummed groggily, he placed his chin on top of Richard’s head, “So excited,” he agreed tiredly.  “My super attractive boyfriend isn’t all just looks; he’s got a super brain and magic powers too.”

“Wally,” Richard sulked a little, “I should—”

“Sleep, because it’s dead late out and it’s cold and you just need to let me cuddle you,” Wally interrupted.  “It’ll still be there in the morning, babe.  You really need to rest though, you studied and trained until your nose bled like a waterfall, which was horrifying by the way, so thanks for that.”

Richard wanted to argue and get studying now, but Wally knew how to calm him down it only required fingers tracing random shapes onto the skin of his back and Wally kicking up his body temperature a little for Richard to become basically boneless.

“Show me in the morning,” Wally hummed once more when he felt the fight drain out of Richard’s once taut form.  He kissed the top of his boyfriend’s head and made sure the blanket was tucked around the shorter boy and then drifted back off when he knew that Richard had fallen back asleep too.

That following morning was a bleak sky, sun hidden behind gray-white clouds, with a very light snowfall.  Wally hummed as he glanced out the window before going back to making breakfast for him and Richard, who was still snoozing away in the center of the futon, back towards the fire and breathing softly.

Wally sure did miss waffles and actual flavored coffee, but he managed to eat his fill on sausage and eggs and tea, and occasionally, Richard would make pancakes from scratch, because Alfred had taught him, the vanilla was replaced with berries, depending on what they found or managed to grow, but since it was winter, they were plain.

He had cracked the window open to draft out the smell of food, it smelled nice now, but it wouldn’t continue to fifteen minutes from now.  Wally scraped their eggs and cooked ham onto plates and placed them on the dining table before going to wrestle Dick from the blankets.

“Wakey, wakey, boy wonder,” Wally murmured against Richard’s ear and listened to his boyfriend sleepily mumble at him.  “Breakfast is done and I believe that you wanted to show and or tell me about something that you were convinced that couldn’t wait, as you woke up in the middle of the night.”

Richard hummed sleepily, already about to doze back off, as he was warm in Wally’s embrace and he and Wally had stacked the floor futons from their bed and the one downstairs, so it was extra squishy and warm.

“Dickie, I don’t want to be the bad guy and steal the blankets from you,” Wally warned and heard Richard groan at him.  “C’mon, eat something, show me what you had your fit about, then we can just chill, because it looks colder than Batman’s stare outside.”

Richard finally sat up with a huff, Wally was actually pulling him up, but his boyfriend wisely didn’t say anything.  He rubbed at his eyes, “You’re gonna hate me, but I want to shower and you’re the only one with fire powers here…”

“Good thing you know how to summon water,” Wally reminded him.  He wouldn’t have suggested it if Richard hadn’t mastered to get the water into the large, barrel tub they had recently got before the winter started.

“Hm, you’re right, a hot bath sounds a lot better,” Richard agreed, while stretching his arms over his head.  He moved to sit on the even ground before doing his morning stretches before letting Wally haul him up and they went to go sit and eat breakfast.

“So, the thing you wanted to tell me?” Wally prompted him again after Richard had taken a few bites of his eggs.

Richard’s eyes lit up, well, literally, they had a purple-ish/blue sheen to them when the magic in Richard flared up, “I may have figured out half of a spell to help us!”

Wally couldn’t help but smile too, “I remember you saying that you might have found a way to get us back to the future.”

“Ugh, you’re so lame,” Richard groaned.  “The first thing we’re doing is not watching that movie.”

“What!” Wally squawked, “It’s a good movie!”

“Firstly, it was cool the first couple times, not the 500th time.  You also unironically enjoy Adam Sandler movies, your opinion is blocked, dude,” Richard reminded him.  “I’ll have to read about it though, I doubt I can snap my fingers and a portal will open or something.”

“How do you know?  You could be that strong,” Wally smiled at him and heard his boyfriend scoff at him.  “I’m serious!”

“I’m going to apologize in advance that I can’t rip a hole in time and space with a thought,” Richard stated.  “But I won’t apologize that I know at least 15 curses to shut your mouth if you start distracting me from trying to get the spell to work.”

“Noted,” Wally commented.  “I’m guessing you’re gonna get started on this after you bathe?”

“I’ll help clean up first,” Richard promised.  “I’ll handle the dishes, if you heat up the water.”

“Sure thing,” Wally smiled.

They both finished up breakfast and Wally did as promised and also made sure to heat up Richard’s bath water before stating that he was going to the greenhouse that he had rigged up when winter hadn’t taken a full hold of them and the artificial sun came from one of Richard’s spells, so at least their fruits and vegetables were doing well so far.

Once their crops were tended, Wally headed back inside and immediately felt fire hot heat rush up to his cheeks and without a doubt, he knew his hair would be bright as the lit end of a candle stick. 

Damn Richard and his stupidly handsome face and coquettish grin, damn him for being all wet in that stupid tub that had more than enough room for the both of them, damn him for still wearing that necklace and choker, and damn himself for getting a perfectly spacious cabin that could fit all their needs in one room.

“Water’s getting cold,” Richard murmured, lazing back against the back of the tub, finger wrapping around the silver chain of his necklace.  “It’d be a real shame if we couldn’t figure out a way to heat it up.”

Wally sure didn’t waste anytime taking his clothes off.

~~~

They had cleaned up their cabin and Wally cleaned out the fireplace as Richard folded their blankets and put them away in their storage chests; it was a little heartbreaking for the both of them, as they had lived just a little over a year here, but at the same time, they were excited to test the spell and hopefully get back to their time.

“Do you have to use like magic rocks or something to make this work?” Wally asked randomly when he and Richard were lounging out in the grass; winter was over, it was the peak of spring and luckily, it was a dry day for them to escape their cabin fever when they weren’t using the single other activity that required both of them as a distraction.

“Not rocks, but chalk may work and I have to be somewhere where the magic is strongest, which I feel is in the woods, there’s a giant lake that radiates it, you’d have to be dense not to feel it,” Richard said as he was writing down the two spells that he could combine on parchment paper; he certainly wouldn’t miss feather and ink as a writing tool. 

The wording had to be adjusted of course, or things would get messy, and Richard just seemed to know by instinct what would work and what he needed to make it work; he wasn’t going to question it and of course, sent Merlin thanks in his thoughts.

“Chalk,” Wally repeated incredulously, but didn’t question it.  “I’ll be back.”

Richard wrinkled his nose as a cloud of dust was now in the place where the speedster had just been standing.  He reviewed his work one last time, his fingers tingled with the urge to just start, but he would wait for Wally to come back.

Barely a minute later, Wally returned with a small bag, “Found some!” he cheered and smiled when Richard squished his face to pull him into a kiss.

“My hero,” Richard mused when he pulled back.  He startled a bit when Wally swept him up into his arms, “It’s the lake just after the waterfall,” he said as he wrapped his arms around Wally’s neck to hold on.

“Cool, hold tight, babe,” Wally warned before darting off.

Richard had to close his eyes and this allowed his sixth sense for magic to flare up and he exhaled softly and slowly; he felt at peace the closer they got to the lake and could feel them rush through the trees that were enchanted by age.

Wally slowed until he was basically in a jog and stood at the inland lake that was startingly massive, large tree roots spilled over and into the water and the area was pulsed with power, but Wally didn’t think he could feel it as Richard did.  He settled his boyfriend back on his feet before taking a few steps back to give Richard room to work.

Richard opened the chalk bag and pulled out a short piece that would maybe last for one tree to scribble the sigils on, but there was plenty, “Did you rob a whole town of their chalk?”

“Uhh…it was a…church,” Wally sheepishly admitted and heard Richard tsk at him.  “Either church chalk or no chalk.”

“Fair enough,” Richard sniggered and carefully started to mark the closest trees to the lake and oddly enough, there was a giant smooth rock in the ground that he carefully etched a large circle, complete with whorls, and other druid-like symbols.

Wally watched him carefully, “You’re not going to like summon a demon, are you?”

“No, I haven’t gotten that far yet,” Richard mused.  “World domination isn’t on my list quite yet, but don’t worry, I’ll warn you beforehand.”

“Aww, babe, thank you,” Wally cooed sarcastically and quieted down so that his boyfriend could concentrate on what he was doing.  He still hated that he couldn’t understand what was in the spell book and Richard had tried to explain it to him, but it was all gibberish still, but it was stupidly hot watching him practice his spell casting.

Richard rubbed his hands together and exhaled slowly; he had the spell memorized and knelt down into the grass before the rock slab in the ground, “I don’t know what this will do, but stay behind me,” he said and waited until Wally was out of his sight.  He rolled his shoulders and closed his eyes, doing one last breathing exercise before lifting his hands and kept them splayed out in front of him, his magic was already sparking at his fingertips and the warmth of it ran through him.

Wally watched, mystified, as Richard spoke in a language foreign to him and saw the lake had started to glow a bright teal color, as the sigils that Richard had drawn started to glow of the shade of blue that were the same of his eyes that then outlined in the purple hue that glossed over his eyes and the visible veins in his boyfriend’s hands.

The wind kicked up almost violently and Wally almost reached out to grab his boyfriend, but held back in case he accidentally broke the spell or did something that would hurt the both of them.  He had squint as the glow from the lake almost became too strong and he shielded his eyes with one hand, grimacing a bit when he couldn’t see Richard in front of him anymore and slightly panicked, but he caught sight of familiar dark black hair and he relaxed.

Suddenly, the light of the lake and the sigils went out and the wind died down and Wally frowned, about to open his mouth and asked what happened, but then the lake shot bright white and hovering in the center of the lake was a large spherical…thing, portal, maybe?  It had the color of Richard’s magic in tendrils, slowly circling it, the lake was still glowing white and Wally was in awe at the sight; it was nothing he had seen before, and while his brain was still trying to fight with logic over magic, he knew that Richard had to be stronger than Fate or Zatanna.

“What the fuck, Richard?” Wally gapped and heard Richard laugh weakly.  He had to catch his boyfriend before he faceplanted on the rock and Wally huddled Richard close when they both were starting to levitate.

Richard’s eyes flickered tiredly open to gaze up at Wally, who was looking down at him, saying something, but he couldn’t process what was being said; he felt his body lifting and the white light of the portal became blinding again.

His eyes shut again, but darkness overtook him this time.

 

Chapter Text

Coming back to wakefulness was certainly hard, especially when you had to fake that you actually weren’t awake so it wouldn’t alert the people who had taken you, or at least Richard thought he had been taken.

If he was, wow, were these people generous about the soft bed and thick blanket that were provided to him.  Richard heard soft humming, a light touch combing through his hair, and familiar warm pressing up against his side, which had him internally relaxing because he knew this person.

“Wally,” he murmured, voice hoarse.  He tilted his head up with no resistance when Wally was gently coaxing him to look up and he looked up into relieved green eyes, “W’a happened?” Richard sleepily asked.

“You passed out,” Wally told him, “scared the hell out of me and the team…and new team when we suddenly were in Mount Justice.  I might have inflicted some damage, because the newbies thought we were infiltrators…and they tried to grab you.”

Richard frowned, “New team?” his words were clearer this time and surrounding awareness was coming back to him stronger; he knew this place, as it was his bedroom back in the Manor. 

How the hell had they ended up here? 

“Bats was of course called,” Wally said, seeing the confusion on his face.  “Snitches, the whole lot of them,” he huffed with an eyeroll. 

“And he just let us back here without being interrogated?” Richard was in disbelief at that.  He sat up slowly with the help of his boyfriend and the dizziness slowly faded to that he could actually look around without getting any vertigo, “Is he here?”

“Yea, probably watching us,” Wally muttered.  “But he ran blood tests on us regardless, even when M’gann read our minds.  I doubt he still trusts us, even though both of those tests came out positive that we’re really us.”

“Probably thinks we’re clones,” Richard sighed and rested his weight against Wally, who wasted no time to cuddle him back.  He glanced at his bedroom door that was a few inches open and frowned when he saw a shadow dart by, “Anyone else here?”

Wally rubbed at his cheek in a nervous habit, “Yea…about that.”

“Did I mess up?” Richard asked him worriedly, sitting back up again.  “Did I send us too far back or?”

“No, babe, you did it perfectly, we’re back in the time period that we left…it’s been a year since we were teleported,” Wally informed him carefully and saw the shock on Richard’s face.  “Some stuff has changed—”

A knock interrupted Wally and the two faced the door and the door pushed open, revealing a cool, collected Bruce Wayne, wearing his poker face that he usually displayed when he was dealing with strangers and new investors.

It was a face that Richard saw, but never once had Bruce ever closed himself off from him and Richard felt a harsh sting to be on the receiving end of that look, hell, even the Batman glare would have been better, because at least then it meant that Bruce knew him.

“Bruce,” Richard breathed, too nervous to rush at his mentor, his guardian, his father, who he had missed horribly.  He was still too sore and exhausted to defend himself if Bruce actually tried to deflect him and that was something Richard didn’t want to experience.

The man stepped forward, closer, gaze still wary, “Do you know where you are?”

“Home in Gotham,” Richard frowned at the question, “which I’m surprised that you even put me in my room, I figured you’d have us detained in the Batcave.”

“I wouldn’t do that to you,” Bruce argued and he relaxed when he saw how Richard looked at him with such an amused, yet doubtful look on his face.  “Perhaps you’re not Cadmus clones…”

“Why would you even think that to begin with?” Richard asked him.

“West came back with fire powers on top of his super speed and suddenly you have magic, not to mention that the whole League went looking for the both of you for months after the destruction in Kansas,” Bruce stated.  The grief briefly overtook his face before schooling it away, “You both had vanished off the face of the planet…we could only assume…” Bruce trailed off grimly, jaw clenching.

Richard’s heart hurt to see Bruce like this, even if Wally only saw the collected expression, Richard saw the grief and sorrow in Bruce’s posture, the way his hands were clenched, jaw tight as well; he carefully slid over Wally to climb off the bed and he took only a few steps forward before Bruce had him tight in his arms.  Richard clung to Bruce’s rumpled business shirt, “I missed you,” he whispered softly and felt Bruce squeeze him tight before just holding him in a gentle hug.

Wally had averted his gaze; it felt too personal for him to see, even if his reunion with his family had been the same when Bruce cleared them of being actually them, while Wally had been visiting his family, Richard had been laid out unconscious for almost four days.

He was just happy that Bruce could hold his son he thought he had lost on a mission.

“Alfred will want to make your favorite tonight, if you feel as if can keep something down,” Bruce said, clearing his throat a little and pulled back, but kept a hand on Richard’s shoulder. 

“I’ve missed his cooking,” Richard said, eagerness in his tone.  “We were sent back in time and I’ve lived mostly on eggs, fruit, and ham.”

“I made some pretty good lambchops though,” Wally defended his cooking and saw Richard smile warmly at him.

“You did,” Richard promised him.  “But even you know that no one can top Alfred’s cooking skills.”

“Yea, you’re right,” Wally agreed, although, a bit sourly, and he knew he’d still totally stay for dinner if asked.

Bruce tensed briefly and saw Richard look up at him with worry, “I forgot I had to make a business call, you can expect Leslie to be here to look over you.  Get some rest, chum, I’ll call you down for dinner,” he stated and nodded once at Wally before leaving, this time the door was shut completely.

“What was that about?” Wally asked when Richard was still looking at the door.

“I don’t know, but I will find out,” Richard’s eyes narrowed; Bruce was hiding something.

~~~

Richard found what Bruce was hiding.

Rather, who he was hiding.

“Name’s Jason Todd,” the boy introduced himself when Richard approached him down in the Batcave.  He had a cocky smirk on his face, hands on his hips as he looked at Richard, he wasn’t wearing a domino mask with his Robin suit that practically was a mirror of his own, except the inner lining of the cape was a deep red versus the yellow that Richard’s was.

Jason Todd.

The new Robin. 

His replacement.

And God, did that sting worse antiseptic on a wound or any of Ivy’s acid poisons.

“So,” his replacement continued, “you’re the Dick Grayson.  Goldie Boy Wonder, Batman told me all about you.”

Richard had to bite the inside of his cheek until he tasted blood to hold back any sharp words that he wanted to say; he couldn’t hurt this kid’s feelings, he was obviously younger than he was, maybe a few years, even though he was about Richard’s height, just a hair taller, which also pissed him off.

Jason cocked his head at the former Robin’s silence, “Weird, I thought you were chatty.”

“I am, but not with people who parade with arrogance,” Richard lashed out, eyes narrowing; God, he felt like such a child with this…this petty jealously.  He only let the sight of the other boy fuel the rage in him, let it fuel the hurt and betrayal.

What was Batman supposed to do?  Just grieve him until he died?

The darkest part of his brain said that Bruce should have; not sending out flyers to take a vacant spot, not taking the fond name his mother called him and sang songs to him about and giving it to snot nosed brats, not…not replacing Richard as if he were nothing other than a sidekick to Batman.

He exhaled shakily and the cold of the Batcave couldn’t even chill the anger that was burning bright in him; he saw the lights flicker above him and Jason did too, he saw blue-green eyes glance above him, a frown on his young face.

Jason looked back at Richard, the cocky posture deflated, “B talked about you all the time…made himself sick with wanting to find you, ya’know…” he informed the older boy.  “He was in denial most the time, even when he found me.  I had to hack the archives of his computer to learn what happened to you.  It was six months after the League had given up on you and the Flash’s protégé, that was when I came in.  He and I hunted the world for you, even when the rest of the Justice League told him that it was fruitless, hell, even Flash gave up after a while.  He told B that if he loved you, he’d let you go peacefully, because you wouldn’t want him to run himself into the ground.”

Richard thought he saw jealousy in Jason’s eyes, “Six months isn’t a long time and that wouldn’t have run him into the ground, Bruce has been through worse,” he said curtly, hands balling up by his sides. 

“Yea, but it’s a long time living in your shadow,” Jason huffed, crossing his arms.  “You were presumed dead and it was like he expected me to live up to what you were.”

“What I am,” Richard corrected, a low growl in his tone.  “I’m not dead.”

“Yea, but you’re not Robin anymore either,” Jason reminded him sharply.  He met Richard’s glare head on, but he silently admit the eerie purple hue that made Richard’s eyes glow unnerved him somewhat.

The statement made Richard’s stomach twist up and suddenly, Alfred cooking his favorite food didn’t sound so pleasant anymore.  He gritted his teeth, but refused to act out, afraid of what he would do as his magic restraint was practically nothing; he couldn’t ground himself by gripping onto the necklace that Wally had given to him, as it was still neatly placed on top of his clothes that Alfred had carefully washed.

“I’m not here to have a pissing contest with you,” Jason finally said after a long while of bitter silence.  “I just wanted to meet you…not make you feel threatened by me,” he said softly.  “It sucked…trying to be like you, to make Bruce happy, when all he saw in me was his partner he let down.”

“I’ll be honest with you, it’s going to take me some time to get over this…replacement ordeal,” Richard confessed, he didn’t miss the flinch Jason expressed, “but it’s not fair to hold my anger against you.  You were only trying to make things right, I know Bruce, I’ve seen his grief, it’s not pretty, so you being here to keep him on the rails was a good thing,” he continued.  He gave Jason a timid smile, “I should be thanking you for keeping Bruce in one piece though.”

“Yea, no problem, even if he is a sulky bastard,” Jason muttered, cheeks warming at the genuine smile that Richard gave him.  He still felt himself lock up when Richard came closer to him and looked down at the golden tanned hand that was offered to him, he clasped it in his own, looking into Richard’s eyes and saw acceptance there and he relaxed.

“Sorry for being such a dickhead,” Richard apologized and heard Jason chuckle.  “Yea, use my nickname against me, everyone else does,” he sighed.  “You have high expectations though, the title of Robin isn’t to be treated lightly, you’ve gotta work hard and respect it.”

“I will,” Jason swore, eyes serious; he tightened his grip on Richard’s hand and felt the older teen squeeze back.

“I hope to see you on the field then, Jaybird,” Richard mused; the tension draining out of him at the adorable flush that covered Jason’s face.  "But mostly importantly, don't think that you have to live up to what I did as Robin, there's nothing to compete or surpass.  Don't run yourself ragged, because you think that Bruce expects it, he won't be cruel like that, just take care of yourself.  If you're ever having a moment of doubt, you can talk to me."

They parted ways, Richard headed back upstairs to go lie down for a bit; the sting still lingered even after that talk and promise to be there for the new Robin, but he really couldn’t fault Jason, he was just a kid and while it did hurt, Richard was going to become his own independent hero, he had planned it for a while, he just wished it was something he could have talked to Bruce about, other than Bruce thinking that he was dead and that another needed to step up to the Robin mantel.

That talk was for another day, Richard was still exhausted from ripping a hole through space and time to get him and Wally home.  Four days of sleep felt like nothing, he honestly felt like he could sleep for at least another solid week before even attempting to think about being out on the active field again of patrolling, hell, even walking more than a mile seemed like a chore now.

He made it back to his bedroom and flopped onto his bed, doing his breathing exercises until he felt drowsy.  The selfish part of him wished that Wally hadn’t left after Richard had showered, he wanted his boyfriend to lie down with him, toy with his hair, and talk about anything and everything that would help distract him.

Admittedly, there was a slight co-dependency issue that they were going to have to deal with, as they went from spending every waking and sleeping moment together to being allowed to be separate from each other, and Richard for one, felt restless not having Wally at his side.

Sleep was pressing, but the need to see Wally was stronger.

He rolled off his bed and undressed from the fresh joggers he put on and substituted those for a pair of dark gray skinny jeans that had been neatly stored away in his dresser and to his surprise, they were a little loose; he had already been slim before.  He pulled on a deep purple hoodie and then slid on his necklace and choker before lifting his window open and crept out the side.

The city of Gotham wasn’t too far of a walk for him and maybe the walk would help clear his head; he did feel bad about not staying in for dinner, especially since hadn’t even visited Alfred yet.

He squished the guilt down; he needed to get a Zeta Tube, as Wally said that he was going to go visit their friends and catch up with them, and while it stung that his boyfriend wanted to go see their friends without him, Richard knew that Wally didn’t mean it in a rude way, he was just excited to see everyone again.

Plus, hogging Wally wasn’t fair to the rest of the team, so Richard would just have to suck it up and learn how to share again.

About fifteen minutes later, he reached a Zeta Tube in the abandoned telephone booth that was a few blocks away from his school.

Richard froze up, “Holy shit, I didn’t even finish my junior year,” he said lowly; he wondered how Bruce covered it up, did he tell his school that he died?  Did Babs know the truth?  Were there memorials for him and Wally in some graveyard in their hometowns? 

He shook the internal panic away; he couldn’t get worked up now and he forced himself to go into the telephone booth and relaxed when the familiar robotic voice stated his hero number and name.

“Override, B01, change to Nightwing,” Richard stated and heard the robotic voice confirm before the beam washed over him and transported him to Mount Justice.  He stepped out of the tunnel and saw to his relief that the main area hadn’t changed much and he heard faint voices coming from where the kitchen was.

Richard stepped into the kitchen area and found most of his teammates there all in casual clothes and some new kid, who had dark reddish-brown hair and pale green eyes, something about him just spoke speedster by the number of cookies he was shoveling down.

“Rob!” Wally rushed over to him in under a heartbeat to block him from the prying eyes of the others who were now looking over to them.  “You forgot your sunglasses,” he said quietly, not that it mattered because Super Boy could hear him.

Richard shrugged, “I’m sure they’ll figure it out sooner or later.”

“Won’t Batman, like, I don’t know, flay you alive for this?” Wally asked him worriedly.  He was still holding Richard close to shield him when M’gann floated over to them; he had basically tucked his boyfriend’s face against him to hide him.

“If he doesn’t get pissed that I snuck out first,” Richard replied and tugged himself free and heard M’gann gasp.

Artemis’ eyes widened, “Oh, my God.

“Told you we’d laugh about this one day,” Richard smirked at her and the blonde practically glared at him.

“How the hell did your annoying, twerpy ass hide yourself like that in plain sight?!” Artemis growled.

“Because I’m a professional,” Richard responded, leaning against Wally, who in turn placed a hand on his side.  “I wish we had been closer in school, but you were already a junior when you started.”

“Still two years though,” Artemis replied, “two freakin’ years with you being the annoying smart freshmen and then sophomore.”

“That’s me,” Richard winked. 

“You’re Dick Grayson?” M’gann asked curiously.  “You were so cute on TV when your dad had those fancy dinners!”

Richard hummed at her, “They’re really boring though and rich people are super annoying and touchy,” he shuddered. 

Conner tilted his head at the shorter, “So, your dad is fine that you fight crime?”

“No,” Richard frowned, “he hates it,” and that wasn’t a lie, Bruce did dislike having him out on the field more than necessary, but eventually had grown used to it…he must have if it meant that Jason was in the picture now.

“Hm, he probably hates Batman because he thought he lost you and the fact that there’s a new Robin who took over,” Conner informed him and felt a little bad at the sharp glare that the former Robin gave him.  “Sorry…”

“I talked to the new Robin,” Richard replied and felt Wally’s arm tighten around him.  “I’m guessing you knew too, then?”

“Yea…” Wally confessed.  “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything, but you just had woken up and I didn’t want to stress you out.  He was actually there when we came back to Mount Justice…kid has a mean punch.”

“He hurt you?!” Richard demanded.

“To be fair, we thought the mountain had been infiltrated, especially when Wally was shooting fire from his hands,” Artemis replied.  She came over to them, “No more angst-ing, come here,” she opened her arms and practically yanked Richard into a bone crushing hug.  “I missed you and I’m sorry for shooting shock arrows at you, but you were making things float and explode.”

“You shot me?” Richard blinked and pulled back from the hug slightly.

“Didn’t matter, Kid Mouth ended up catching the arrows anyway,” Artemis replied and saw Wally’s cocky grin.

“I always will when he’s involved,” Wally stated, puffing his chest out proudly.

“Wow, so youre Nightwing?” the youngest of the group spoke up finally, coming up to Richard and Artemis, moving to sit on the kitchen counter and shoved another cookie into his mouth.

“I never told you my name,” Richard frowned at him.

“Oh, sorry, uh, I’m from the future, but you’re Nightwing in my time too,” the kid said.  “I’m Impulse, but you can call me Bart outside of boring superhero stuff,” he beamed.

Of course, more time traveling, Richard stifled an annoyed groan at that.

“He’s a speedster too,” Wally said to his boyfriend.  “Fast kid too…” he didn’t seem so happy to be now 3rd best of the Flash mantel, but he wasn’t going to forsake this kid, it was just a relief to him that even in the future, the Flash would continue.

Richard would talk to him later about it, he glanced around his team and new addition before frowning, “Where’s Kaldur?” he asked them, it was odd not to find him here, especially if he and Wally were back, because without a doubt, he’d be restless in his search to kind them, if he believed that they hadn’t died.

At that, his team averted their gaze and Richard looked at Wally, “What happened to him?” his tone was almost ice; if Batman had taken Kaldur off the team because of this, Richard was going to freak the fuck out, because Bruce knew the consequences of being a hero, there wasn’t always a good ending.

“He…left the team and joined Black Manta, we are unable to locate him,” M’gann murmured sorrowfully, eyes watering.

Conner scowled, “When we did find him, he attacked us and escaped.”

Richard frowned and shared a look with Wally, because their leader leaving did not make any sense, even if it was due to guilt.  To leave the rest of them like that?  That didn’t sound like Kaldur at all.

He would find the answer it and confront his former team leader when he found him.

Before anything else could be said, Richard heard the Zeta Tube and grimaced, as he had a feeling that it was going to be Bruce after him and sure enough, he could pick up angry Batman foot steps coming towards the kitchen.

Everyone sort of froze up at the sheer coldness that Batman was emitting, gaze locked on Richard and the frown on his face basically became a sneer when he saw that his protégé wasn’t wearing his domino mask or sunglasses.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Batman seethed.

Richard didn’t even flinch at the tone, but he did feel his boyfriend’s arms tighten around him in worry.  He leveled a cool gaze at Batman, “Reconciling with my teammates and meeting new ones,” he nodded over to Bart, “speaking of which, why didn’t you bring Robin?”

That caught Batman off guard for a moment and he leered at the rest of the team, “You knew that was strict confidential information,” his tone got colder and his gaze cut back to Richard when heard him scoff.

“They didn’t say anything and don’t worry, he didn’t find me, I tracked him down,” Richard explained.  “Sort of stupid to hide the new kid, did you think that I was going to freak out or something?”

“Or something,” Batman glared, “you ran out, you’re still recovering, and you’ve showed your identity.  You’re not in the right set of mind,” he listed off.  He glared back over the team again, “None of you will speak about who he is to anyone, do you understand?”

“We’re not going to go rush to the Wayne Manor and go confront his dad that his son is still alive,” Artemis rolled her eyes.  “Though, I’m surprised that you’re still around, Bruce Wayne has some influential power and keeping his kid a secret?  Well, I’ll be shocked if Batman hasn’t disappeared and keep his kid locked away.”

“Disappear me? Maybe not, but locking his son away?  Yes,” Batman’s voice still hadn’t lost its cold sharpness.  “You’re to return with me,” Batman ordered Richard and saw the way Richard’s eyes glowed, “Richard,” he growled.

Wally nudged him lightly, “C’mon, dude, you act up, then you know that you and I won’t be able to patrol together anymore.”

Richard almost blushed that it sounded like a childish punishment and he stepped away from Wally, “Come over later when I escape him and go home,” he stated and could feel Batman’s glare on the back of his head.

“Sure…I’ll try,” Wally shuffled a couple steps back, not missing the glare that Batman had shifted onto him when he said that.

Richard rolled his eyes when Batman had practically yanked him to his side, cape overlapping him and a strong hand on his shoulder was forcefully leading him back to the Zeta Tubes. 

Batman didn’t speak until they were back in the Batcave and he saw Jason lingering worriedly by the computer where he had left him earlier when he had gone to Mount Justice.  He saw Leslie by the examination table and he steered Richard over to where the doctor was, “I apologize for the delay.”

“It’s nothing to be sorry for, Bruce,” Leslie waved him off.  She smiled kindly to Richard, “I’ve missed you kid,” she mused and hugged him quickly before having him sit down on the examination table.

“You too, but why are you here?” Richard asked her as he sat down.

“Richard,” Bruce snapped as he removed his cowl, stormy gray blue eyes were now free to glare at his son, who didn’t even look apologetic, he simply gave Bruce an unimpressed look before looking back to Leslie.

“Just a checkup while you’re conscious,” Leslie explained.  “Your vitals were a little low and you were lacking vitamins when you and Wally came back.”

“Yea, we mostly ate protein when we were teleported back in time,” Richard sighed.  “We did start a greenhouse, but crops were a little hard to grow towards the last few months that we were there.”

“So, did you guys live in the woods?” Jason pipped up, moving closer to the three.

“Jason, you should go upstairs,” Bruce ordered and saw Jason deflate a little at the command.

Richard frowned, “Bruce, stop trying to hide him like he’s some secret, I don’t hate him and I don’t hate you for finding a new Robin, okay?  He’s my brother and I won’t neglect him because my feelings were hurt.  I’m also going to teach him that having feelings is okay, because my God, most of our petty fights could have been avoided if you would just talk,” he snapped. 

Bruce grumbled at that, but didn’t retort.

Jason looked at Richard like he was the reason why there were stars in the sky.

“But to answer you question, Jay, no, Wally and I got some land, had a cabin and pretty much lived as normally as possible, we watched over the neighboring town and practiced our new powers, but…mine are still stupidly complicated,” Richard said and flinched a bit when Leslie had swabbed his inner arm and drew his blood.  He felt his magic crackle at his fingertips and he took a calming breath; it seemed to act out stronger when he was hurt or if there was a threat.

“Could you show me sometime?” Jason asked him a little hesitantly and relaxed when Richard smiled at him.

“Yea, you can watch me train with my magic and I’ll also show you the ropes of being Boy Wonder,” Richard winked and felt himself warm up happily when Jason’s eyes practically sparkled.  He almost jumped when he suddenly had the younger pulling him into a hug after Leslie had stuck a band aid on him, but he wrapped him arms around Jason, hugging him tight; he could sense something within the new Robin, somewhat similar to what he and Bruce also felt and his magic practically hummed as a protective feeling washed over him and Richard tucked his brother close.

There was still tension coming from Bruce, but at least his dad wasn’t looking as hostile and stressed as he had, there was a softness in his eyes now as he looked over his sons and quietly left to let them bond and for Leslie to finish her tests.

“Can we train now?” Jason asked when Leslie had finished her work on Richard.

“Dinner first,” Bruce called over from the Batcomputer.  “Dick’s results should be done by then and Leslie will have the final call.”

Jason pouted at that and sulked a little more when Richard ruffled his hair.

“Chill, Little Wing, I’m sure you don’t want me wiping the floor with you just yet,” Richard teased and saw a cocky grin slide on Jason’s youthful face.

“Betcha wrong!” Jason crowed, pulling Richard up and towards the stairs where they led up to the Manor before letting him go to race him up the stairs.

Bruce felt a small grin slip onto his face when he heard the soft echo of Richard’s eerie cackle that floated through the cave and he caught Leslie’s amused look and he hastily cleared his throat, “When can I get those results?”

“I’ll email them to you,” Leslie promised.  “Have a good night, Bruce.”

“You as well,” Bruce said as he led her to the stairs to let her out at the front door of his home.

When they passed the dining room, Bruce could hear Jason talking a mile a minute, Richard’s occasional comment, and much his to his utter dismay, Wally West’s familiar snickering was heard.

Bruce didn’t know what was more nerve-wracking, his son having new magical powers, or that he was going to have to deal with a much clinger speedster than Barry Allen, but seeing the joy on his oldest son’s face wasn’t so horrible.

The worries for his eldest son were still going to bother him well into the next few months, despite sitting across from him, listening to Richard and Wally’s excited stories of the past and Jason’s ooh-ing and funny snide marks.

“Tea, sir?” Alfred murmured.

“Please,” Bruce replied and let himself relax, happy to hear his tiny family getting along.

Chapter Text

Fuck!” Richard shouted as he was practically blasted backwards from the amount of energy that shot from his hands.  He was flat on his back in the training room in the Batcave, the smell of melting plastic wasn’t pleasant and without a doubt, they’d be replacing some wrestling mats.

“You okay, Blue?” Jason asked as he stood over Richard.  He saw the annoyed look his brother shot him and Jason stepped away, raising his hands in a non-threatening gesture and waited until he had pulled himself back up by levitating.

Richard looked down at his hands that were sparking crazily, blue and purple swirling together; the magic was thick and his body ached from how much he was using his abilities and training physically with Jason.  He flipped backwards when Jason came at him, fists swinging, and lunged at Jason when the younger tried to sweep his legs out from under him.

Jason grunted when he was tackled down, trying to roll Richard off him to flip their positions and he sighed in defeat when he was pinned down, “You’re like a freaking vice,” he grumbled.

Richard got up and hauled Jason up, “Nice try to take advantage of the situation when I wasn’t paying attention to you,” he praised. 

“Doesn’t matter, you still beat me,” Jason sulked.  He moved to go sit on the balance beam off to the side and kicked his legs lazily back and forth, “Can you lift stuff yet?” he asked.

Richard didn’t even have to think about it, he heard Jason’s surprised shout and without looking back, he knew his brother would be floating a few inches off the balance beam; he didn’t push it as he was afraid that he would accidentally drop Jason.

Jason felt himself get gently sat back down on the balance beam and gave his brother a surprised grin, “Dude, that’s so cool!”

“I need to practice with weights to test what I can really do,” Richard replied.  He breathed in deeply before slowly breathing out, feeling almost like elastic snapback with his magic and heard Jason suck in sharply between his teeth.

“You’re bleeding, bro,” Jason stated hurrying over with a towel that Richard thanked him for.  “Does that happen a lot?”

“Yea,” Richard grumbled, “surprised I hadn’t died back when Wally and I had been teleported back in time, my nose would bleed almost all day,” he continued, pinching the bridge of his nose and kept his head tilted back as he held the towel under his nose.

“Do you need anything?” Jason asked after a couple of minutes.

“No,” Richard replied and heard Jason laugh at him from the nasally response.  He pulled the towel away and grimaced at the damage of the towel’s state; he had confidence that Alfred could easily remove bloodstains, but it was probably just better to pitch the towel, since they had an abundance of them to begin with.

“I’m going to train a little longer,” Jason said when he watched Richard move to throw the towel away.  He saw his brother nod at that, “Are you going to do solo stuff, or?”

“I’m going to go visit Wally, he wanted me to help him work with his powers,” Richard responded, taking a new towel and wiped the sweat from his face and neck before tossing it into the laundry as well.  “I’ll probably be back tonight, but if not, I can help you tomorrow with hand-to-hand; I have to brush up a little, I’ve been slacking off.”

Jason told him that he’d see him later and went back to the training mat to practice his flips and kicks.

Once upstairs in his room, Richard quickly showered, brushed his teeth, dried his hair and styled it a little, he put his training clothes into the dirty laundry before dressing casually again, merely pulling on black skinny jeans, a deep blue shirt and layered it with brandless cream and red varsity jacket, he pulled on his plain black high-top vans, and last but not least, and the most important items, his long chain necklace; he forewent the choker this time, and his spell book that he could shrink down to the size of a mini bible, which he tucked into the inside pocket of his jacket.

He grabbed his phone and wallet before leaving his bedroom and headed back downstairs to the Cave and told Jason he’d see him later and not to strain himself if he had patrol that night with Bruce; Richard wasn’t going, because he and Wally had been benched from patrol and any missions with the team.

He Zeta-ed over and just caught the tail end of Wally’s fire sending Conner across the room and winced when the part Kryptonian was smashed into a wall across the training area.

Bart whistled lowly and applauded Wally, who was panting a bit from exhaustion, the bright glow that overtook his his eyes, retreated back until his eyes were their normal emerald green shade, the somewhat sparkly light of his freckles also went back to their natural hue.

Wally stood a little straighter when he saw Richard crossing over to him and Wally felt the steam that was rolling off him earlier pick up and he heard his boyfriend laugh at him teasingly, “Oh, zip it,” he grumbled, but still quickly pulled Richard into a hug.  He could feel the shorter practically become limp in his arms, “Bad day?” he murmured and felt Richard hesitantly shake his head.  “We can go outside,” Wally coaxed him and felt Richard pull away back first, linking fingers in acceptance.

Richard heard Conner grunt in annoyance and he glanced over to see his teammate being helped up by M’gann and Artemis, “You laid him out, dude,” he mused.  “Never thought I’d see that day, no offence.”

“To be completely honest?  Same,” Wally chuckled.  He yelled a cheerful apology to Super Boy, who just flipped him the bird and Wally gasped, clutching a fist over his heart, “Who corrupted him?”

“Red Arrow,” the team deadpanned.

“Of course, he would the one,” Wally rolled his eyes.  “Speak of which, where is Roy?  I haven’t seen him since Dickie and I came back.”   

“He and Zatanna went to go find Kaldur,” M’gann answered them when she had drifted over at Wally’s question.  “Roy said he’d a find a way to help save her father if she helped him track down Kaldur.”

The two boys frowned at that information and Richard squeezed lightly at Wally’s hand and looked up at him and saw Wally shake his head at him, and Richard huffed in annoyance at the denial.

“It’s too dangerous for you and you still don’t have your powers completely under control,” Wally reminded him and groaned at him when those deep blues were aimed to kill with cuteness.  “I already miss your domino mask, at least then I had some strength,” he grumbled.

“I’ve been practicing though!” Richard exclaimed, tugging on Wally’s arm lightly like he was pouty child.

“Okay, Shining Twins, want to share with the class?” Artemis asked, hands on her hips as she gave them both a stern stare down.

Conner was angrily dusting off his shirt and leveled Wally with a glare, “Start talking, or I won’t hold back this time,” he threatened.

“Supey, I totally know that you weren’t holding back, but whatever helps you sleep better at night,” Wally shrugged at him he saw Bart loop closer to listen to the conversation.  “But Dick wants to use his tracking magic to help too,” he saw Richard stand up straighter in his peripheral, “but, the last time he did a strong spell, he was out of it for a week.”

“It was four days, not a week!” Richard argued.  “I’ve been practicing at home for three weeks now!  Bruce says that I’m improving and when I go and see Robin, he and I spar and I practice with my spells in combat!  Wally, I could totally take you on right now and that’s just fact!”

Wally wasn’t one to turn away a challenge, “Fine,” he grinned, “prove to me that you can take me down when I can now beat Conner!” he shouted triumphantly as he sped over to the training area.

The super human merely scoffed at the proud statement.

Richard jogged after him, a wide grin on his face at the chance to really test his skills; he felt Bart breeze by and could feel the others close behind and soon they were in the training room that had been moved over to a giant room, which was new to him and Wally, but they both liked it as it was more roomy than the other one.

He slid off his jacket and thanked Artemis when she offered to hold it for him, Richard felt his spell book follow after him, it hovered off to the side, just within reach and he saw the confusion on Wally’s face, “It’s spellbound to me, I didn’t realize that it was actually enchanted until it stopped one of Robin’s attacks; he plays dirty…”

“So, should I still hold back so I don’t torch your wordy book?” Wally asked his boyfriend and saw Richard shake his head.  “No?  Not at all?  Babe, I could accidentally hurt you.”

“You hold back and I’m dumping your ass,” Richard threatened.  “I’ve got this, Walls, trust me,” he pleaded lightly and still saw the confident glow leaving his speedster that was being replaced with conflict.

“Always do,” Wally responded before lighting back up and launching a fire blast straight at his boyfriend.

Just as Richard said earlier, the spell book opened and shot in front of Richard, the fire was absorbed into the book and Richard clapped his hands together and his magic rippled out from his hands, he waved them forward and blue-purple sparks struck at Wally, but the speedster quickly jumped away, moving too quick for the magic to touch him.

Wally spun around to dart at his boyfriend, fire dancing around his body, he started to run faster when he realized that he wasn’t getting to where he wanted to be and looked down and found himself floating a few inches off the ground, he saw the grin on Richard’s face and he then was flipped upside down and thrown backwards, spiraling in the open air, Wally was able to flip himself right side up again just before he hit the ground.

He landed in a crouch and took off again, this time he managed to get his hands on Richard, around to curl his arms around his boyfriend’s waist to drop him down, before he felt toned legs wrap around his waist and then he was being thrown down into the training ground and grunted in discomfort at the force of it, Richard sitting on top of him, hands covered in wispy dark blue-purple magic and his eyes glowed the same shade.

“Give?” Richard asked, a teasing grin on his face.

Wally had his hands gripping at Richard’s waist, going for the kill to tickle his sides, but he saw Richard’s index finger twitch and he found his hands slapping down to his sides, body completely immobilized.  He tried to squirm and then tried to will his fire to come forth, but it was all for naught; he was completely fizzled out and unable to move and he sulked at his boyfriend, “This is because you were trained by the Bat, I should have known better not to try to fight you up close.”

“Yup,” Richard beamed, getting up and fluttered his fingers and Wally was lifted and placed back on his feet.  “Admit it, my magic is whelming.”

So whelmed,” Wally deadpanned and heard his boyfriend’s cackle.  “Just because you won doesn’t mean that you’re able to go track Kaldur.  Besides, don’t you have to run this by Bats first?”

“…No,” Richard muttered, averting his gaze.

“Dick,” Artemis spoke up, “Kaldur is alive, we know that, but he’s…not the same right now.”

The mood suddenly darkened.

Bart took a few cautious steps back at the cold ripple that emitted from Richard and he nervously looked over at his older teammates, seeing that they were wary of the situation too, minus Wally, who was just giving their teammates an unhappy look.

“That can be fixed though!” Richard scowled.  He looked over his teammates and saw that they were giving him slightly guilty looks and even Bart looked away from Richard’s stern glare, “You guys gave up on him,” Richard stated and saw them flinch.  “Our team leader?  Who’d fight to get us back no matter what, you’d just let him go?”

“He left us,” M’gann reminded him, hurt shining in her eyes, “he didn’t even say anything, he left when Conner and I had left with the Bioship to recheck the area where you and Wally vanished, we were with Batman, Flash, Superman, Artemis, and Fate.  Aqua Man had told Kaldur to take a rest, he had been searching for you two relentlessly, and when Conner and I came back a couple days later, Kaldur wasn’t here.”

“He joined Black Manta, this was his decision and as much as we hate it, we have to accept it,” Artemis sighed.

Conner saw the hurt that Richard was trying to hide, but Wally was visibly saddened, “I was upset too, I thought that we failed him, because we couldn’t find you or Kid.”

“Then let me find him, if this was the reason why he left, then seeing us, he’ll have to come back,” Richard stated.  “If Wally and I can fix this, then let us!”

“He’ll think that M’gann is tricking him again, we tried that once,” Conner frowned at the memory; their former leader had been furious when he learned that he had been deceived and promptly had vanished and been unlocatable since then.     

“I want to find him too, Dickie,” Wally murmured, approaching his boyfriend, who was stood with tensed shoulders and his back ramrod straight.  He didn’t touch him when he stood next to him, “But I also trust Roy and Zatanna to find him, if they can get him back to us, then it’ll be less strain on you.”

Richard’s eyes were glowing again, “Why don’t you want to help go after him and save him?” he demanded.  “He’s our friend, he thinks we’re dead because of him!”

“Do you think that Kaldur would actually betray us?” Wally asked him, “Really, do you honestly think that team captain of the faith boat, would flat out just leave the team?”

“I don’t know, Wally, grief changes people and it’s usually never for the better,” Richard honestly tried not to sound so cold, but nonetheless, Wally still recoiled from his tone.  His heart was still hammering a little too fast in his chest from being angered and he could feel his magic wanting to lash out, he quickly collected his jacket, it was pulled from Artemis’ grip, and his spell book came over to him as well.

“Dick, don’t go, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you,” Wally pleaded and frowned when Richard wouldn’t even look at him as spoke.

“I’m not, I just need to clear my head,” Richard muttered, pulling his jacket on and tucking his book back into the inside pocket.  The imprint his magic looped on Wally was feeling sharp and prickly and Richard wanted nothing but to be far away from the speedster now; it hurt.

Despite the stinging, Richard still tugged lightly on Wally’s sleeve, “I’m not mad, just…come find me later, okay?  I’ll be outside,” he murmured and saw Wally nod at him and Richard let go, slipping away from his boyfriend to go outside.

The beach hadn’t changed, given it was only a little over a year since he had been there, but he found his favorite rock that overviewed the sand and the sea and he sighed quietly to himself; he sat down and crossed his legs, shut his eyes, clasped his hands together in his lap and just let himself breathe.

Distant humming met his ears and Richard’s eyes cracked open a little; the sun was setting by this point and he startled at that by quickly standing up, the humming, which he found out to be voices, abruptly stopped.

Wally caught him by the arm before he could drop from the blood rush, “You’re okay,” Wally soothed.  “We just got nervous because you weren’t answering us when we called for you and it’s getting late, you feel cold,” he was squeezing his boyfriend’s arm a little too tightly in concern, pressing up against Richard to warm him up.

“Sorry,” Richard apologized, flicking his gaze over to Jason, who donned the Robin uniform.  “B make you come and find me?”

Jason shrugged at him, “He worries, bro.  You know how he is.”

“Sorry,” Richard apologized again, he looked up at Wally, “I should probably go before Bats comes here personally.”

Wally nodded understandingly, “I’d offer to run you to your door, but I have a feeling your father has seen enough me,” he sulked and pouted more when Richard cooed at him.  “I’m serious, soon he’s going to completely banish me from the manor.”

“He likes you, you’re just overthinking it,” Richard promised him and heard Wally scoff.  “Back me up, Little Wing.”

“I mean, Dickie’s not wrong, but Batman doesn't like anyone,” Jason shrugged and saw the unamused look the older boy gave him.  “What?  Bats doesn’t hate him…he’s just tired of Barry wanting lunch dates to catch up on the know about Wally.”

“Hm, maybe that’s my cue to visit Uncle Barry tonight, I can take a lap of country side with him,” Wally rubbed at his chin thoughtfully.

“Good idea, besides, I promised B that I’d show him my control and maybe it’ll convince him that I can go on patrol sooner than he thought,” Richard stated. 

“It’s likely, he’s been watching your progress, and for a side note for you, he’s going to have Zatara come visit to give you a real test,” Jason smiled when Richard looked happy.

“Bet you can cream that wizard,” Wally winked and laughed when Richard rolled his eyes. 

“I bet I can now, since I convinced you that magic is a real thing,” Richard agreed and then he laughed when Wally had rolled his eyes at him.  He smiled softly at Wally and kissed his cheek, “Jay and I should go, before it gets too late and Batman holds back on the idea of letting me patrol with him in the future.”

“You’re out all night all the time though,” Wally reminded him smartly and grinned at Richard’s huff.  “I get what you mean, I’ll see you later, babe!”

Jason made fake gagging sounds and shielded his eyes when Wally dramatically pulled Richard back into a dip and snogged him, “This is why Batman wants you to divorce him!”

“He can’t do shit if I get a ring on that finger one day!” Wally shouted and whirled away before Richard could slap him on the arm.

Richard crossed his arms and merely watched the mini tornado of fire speed away from him and his younger brother, “Extra,” he muttered.

“Really?  He’s extra?” Jason asked him in disbelief.  “We were raised by the damn Batman.”

“Firstly, language, second of all, you got me there,” Richard mused.  “Speaking of being extra,” Richard clicked his fingers and a portal opened in front of them, he heard Jason’s surprised gasp. 

Jason peered into the portal and could see the Batcave, it was like looking in through a window, “You can now hack into the universe and teleport?”

“I hacked the universe,” Richard agreed smugly and jumped in with a cackle.

“So cool,” Jason grinned and cartwheeled after him.