Sea and Sky:

Red Tide

by Greenygal

Disclaimer: Well, they aren't mine. Really they belong to DC, although they probably wouldn't do this to them. This particular take on the characters belongs to 'Rith, who, um, *encouraged* me to post this. Thanks, hon.

Notes: This didn't happen. Totally AU. The image just wouldn't leave me alone...



Dick was whistling, faintly and off-key, as he entered his apartment. All sorts of people had tried to kill him, and he had bruises in places he tried not to think about, but he'd laid the groundwork for shutting down a major drug operation. Definitely a good night.

He paused in the living room, blinking at the light *he* hadn't left on in the kitchen, and grinned broadly. Even better than he'd thought: Garth was back.

"Honey, I'm home," he called, walking into the kitchen.

Garth rose from the table, smiling crookedly. "I heard. You whistle appallingly." Dick felt his heart speed up a little; Garth had shed his costume for black jeans and a dark red T-shirt and looked unfairly wonderful.

Then the smile vanished and Garth took a step toward him, face suddenly dark. "You're bleeding."

Dick blinked and looked down at his aching arm. Yeah, he could just see red through the costume. "Nothing major," he shrugged. "Just a cut." He grinned at Garth. "Wanna kiss it better?"

Unmoving, Garth gave him an odd, tight smile. "Not...yet."

Dick eyed his lover, a little surprised. He hadn't necessarily expected Garth to take him up on it, but Garth had been gone over a week, and Dick had now been back for a whole two minutes; usually at this point he would have been kissed *somewhere*, unless Garth was already occupied--apparently not--or was more concerned about Dick's health, in which case he would have been set upon with bandages and disinfectant. "Something up?" he ventured. Not the smoothest opening gambit, granted, but it'd been a long night and the direct approach seemed like the easiest.

"You could say that, yes." Something dark under the simple words, and faint alarm bells began going off in Dick's head.

"Did something go wrong with the job you were on for Atlan?" Fatigue momentarily forgotten, Dick tried to catalogue possibilities; Garth seemed physically fine, and if they were in immediate danger from some sort of mystic bad guys--Atlan's message had been vague, probably deliberately--Garth would have said so immediately. But not all dangers were immediate....

"The mission was a success; the threat was ended." A flicker of weary distaste; whatever Garth had had to do out there, he hadn't liked it much. But it was gone almost immediately, shifting into something cooler and harder to read. "But there were some...unintended consequences."

Dick started to move across the kitchen, whether to offer support or shake answers out of his lover he wasn't quite sure. But Garth...*looked* at him, a look he'd never seen before, and Dick's feet halted almost of their own volition. For a moment, the world seemed to recede, and all he could see were Garth's bright, bright eyes, trapping him as effectively as steel restraints....

But then Garth made a faint noise, and broke the look. "I'm sorry," he said softly, staring down at his hands. "I'm...still adjusting. It may take a while."

Under any other circumstances Dick would have demanded to know what he was talking about, but just then it was all he could do to remember to breathe. Words, much less questions, were totally beyond him for the moment.

Garth kept talking anyway, though. "It might be over before then, though. Atlan's looking for a cure--it won't be easy, but he has access to a lot of unusual sources, and he thinks he can find something." There was a brief pause before he admitted, still not meeting Dick's eyes: "But it might not be any time soon, either. I'll need to...make plans."

He started to pace the small kitchen, hands weaving in graceful patterns as he talked...too graceful. Garth was long years past his initial clumsiness on the surface, but there was always the faintest edge of extra care in his movements, a reminder that his deepest reflexes hadn't been learned in open air. Now he was moving with as much unthinking ease as any of the Bat-Clan...and something more. Dick watched, wide-eyed, and still couldn't quite manage to open his mouth.

"My position at the UN will be a little difficult, of course, but I think it's manageable. Come early, leave's not as though I've never worked into the night before, after all." His smile was rueful, a brief flash of his normal self. "Of course," he went on, "Atlantis might have some reservations itself, so I'm having to keep it quiet. It's mainly a surface problem, but it turns out there's more undersea history than you'd think, and it's gotten nasty in the past...." He was still for a moment. "I can see why. All these new responses--new desires--it's like nothing I could have imagined...."

"Garth." Dick got the word out past the constriction in his throat. "What's going on?"

Garth raised his eyes up to meet Dick's gaze once more. They had lost their paralyzing force--or rather, Dick suspected, Garth just wasn't choosing to use it right now--but there was still something new and wild there. "Well," he said softly, "it seems our nightlife has just gotten even more interesting." He smiled, slow and wide, baring very long, very sharp teeth--and the look in his eyes now was something Dick knew very well indeed.

No warning: just a sudden blur of motion, far faster than even an Atlantean should be able to move, and suddenly Dick was pinned to the cheap carpet, Garth on top of him, holding his arms in an incredibly strong grip. "And," Garth murmured, fangs descending slowly toward Dick's neck, "our sex life has too."



In case you're wondering: this was inspired when I found that a quote 'Rith had tried to track down for Sea and Sky, "pass through the bitter waters to reach the sweet," appeared in _Dracula_. After that, well, I just *had* to. Forgive me. :)