title: Sea & Sky: Quitting
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Dick/Garth, Bruce
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Garth and Bruce discuss Dick's continued employment at the BPD.
notes: this takes place circa Nightwing #76
*stabs current NW continuity* ok, I'm fairly vocal about my distaste for what Devin is doing to this book. but, by pretending that Dick and Garth are a happy couple in current continuity, i'm at least able to exorcise some of my anger into fic. this could be good or bad, but it is what it is.
many, many thanks to 'rith, for all her patient assistance, reading, and the implantation of plotbunnies directly into my cerebral coretex... i'm supposed to say thanks for that, right mistress? ^_~
Sea & Sky is the brainchild of the amazing and wonderful 'rith and Dannell Lites. it's a phenomenal tour de force, and my offerings don't really do it justice, so. go check it out!!

Garth stretched out on the sidewalk in front of their house. It was a rare sort of day in Bludhaven, the kind that he could actually enjoy. The sun was bright, the air was clear and crisp, and no one had tried to mug him yet today. It had been a good day for a run in the park.

The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Dick had been running with him. He loved to watch Dick run. He loved to run next to Dick, and feel the heat pouring out his body in his sweat, the intoxicating smell that was essentially Dick.

Garth smiled, his whole body loosening as he thought about his lover. He grabbed the mail quickly and went inside, aching for a shower. He needed the water right now, and he needed an excuse to run his hands over his body so he could relax fully.

He checked the place over tersely as he made his way to the shower, a precaution that Dick had finally ingrained into him. Twenty minutes and a nice, cool shower later, he made his way to the kitchen, Dick's gray towel wrapped around his waist.

There was something a little off, but he chalked it up to jangled post-orgasmic nerves until he heard the small rustle, far below the register of normal human hearing.

He scowled. "If you called before breaking into our house, you wouldn't be running the risk that I would treat you as an interloper."

Batman grunted. "I'll keep that in mind." His tone implied that the amount of thought that he was going to give the matter would possibly take long enough for him to blink. "I need to speak with Nightwing."

Garth bit the inside of his cheek to keep from retorting too quickly. He measured out the rice, dumping it into a strainer to rinse off before putting it in the rice maker. "Dick's at work right now."

Batman made a small noise that spoke of derision. "He started his shift at 8. I tried his comm line and his cell. Do you know where he is?"

Garth poured the water into the rice maker, and counted to fifty before he responded to Bruce's wild implication. "He's on a twelve hour shift. All the officers are. The shortage in the BPD is creating havoc with scheduling so they are doing four twelve-hour shift a week, to facilitate the cycling of resources."

"What?" Bruce's incredulity and horror was so great, he couldn't keep it all out of his voice.

Garth turned to face Batman for the first time, crossing his arms over his chest casually below his pecs as he relaxed against the counter. "What part did you not understand?"

Batman narrowed his eyes.

Garth tilted his head to the side lazily and waited for Bruce to respond.

Batman exhaled violently through his teeth. "Why is he still doing this? He's cleaned out the force. His mission there is done."

"For the most part," Garth replied conversationally.

"Excuse me?"

Garth shrugged. "Most of the force is cleaned out, but there is still corruption there. Not to mention city hall."

Batman resisted the urge to growl. "What does he expect? Does he think he can save everyone in this city?"

Garth affected confusion. "Isn't that what you are trying to do in Gotham?"

Batman sneered. "You wouldn't understand."

"No?" Garth narrowed his eyes.

Batman half turned away from Garth, as if he were dismissing him. "I should talk to Barbara about this. Maybe she can make him see reason."

Garth snorted. "I'm sure that Barbara would agree with you about Dick no longer being a part of the police force. After all, it's not like she has any personal connection that would make her respect what Dick is doing." Garth kept his tone light and conversational, but only because he didn't want to get too involved in a conflict with Bruce while he was in a towel.

Batman fumed. "If you loved him, you wouldn't support him in this... this foolishness!"

Garth had to physically restrain every muscle in his body. "If you loved him, you would understand that this is not foolishness! It's who he wants to be!"

Batman actually snorted derisively. "He does more good as Nightwing than he ever could as a cop. And it's too dangerous."

"Dangerous?" Garth shook his head in wonder. "He was raised by trapeze artists, trained by you, spent his youth leading a group of super-powered heroes... This is arguably the safest thing he's ever done with his life."

"A vest is inadequate protection, given the areas he patrols. He jeopardizes his identity by being involved in and out of the mask with the same people. And he carries a weapon."

Garth bit his tongue to keep from snarling. "It's required. He's never used it. He knows how to use it. And he doesn't need your approval."

Batman chuckled, a sickening sound. "It isn't a question of necessity."

Garth swore loudly in Atlantean in his head, counting to thirty before speaking. "It is a question of being more than some shadow haunting the dark corners of the city. It is a question about being a part of what he lives to protect. It is a question of who Dick Grayson is. You couldn't understand, because you live inside that cowl, but Dick cannot be satisfied only saving people when the sun is down. He wants to be a servant of the people; would you tell Jim Gordon that his job was a waste of time, that he wasn't able to do half as much good as you could?"

There was a fire in Garth's eyes, and a tension in the muscles of his face, that gave Batman pause. He was reminded that this young man was not simply an appendage to Dick's life, but a very powerful individual in his own right.

He considered his words, and spoke carefully.

"It puts him in the line of fire, all the time. He is expecting too much of himself. Surely, you can see that? Surely that worries you."

Garth could hear the lack of question in Bruce's voice, but the undercurrent of concern calmed him. "I worry about him all the time, as I am sure he worries about me, but I have known him for as long as I have known anyone, and I trust him." Garth paused, his eyes slipping down, as he really considered it. Frankly, it wasn't something he really liked to think about. "I trust him enough to let him make his own choices, and I love him for the choices he has made."

Batman shook his head, his lips twisted in disgust. "I can't understand how you can be so cavalier about his life being on the line."

Garth shrugged, his shoulders rolling easier through the motion. "It's what he needs, Bruce. If you interfere, you'll only push him away. Can you understand that?"

Batman's cape drew around him, closing him off as he turned away, covering Bruce completely.

Garth closed his eyes for a second. He didn't want to hurt Bruce, as much as he might not like having the man in his life. Bruce had as much a right to be in Dick's life as he did, arguably even more, and it served no good end for them to be at odds with one another. It was up to Garth to be the better man, because whatever Bruce was going through now, it would only make things worse for Dick if they were fighting.

He was about to say something conciliatory when he realized that Bruce was gone.

Garth frowned. That was a highly annoying trait.

Dick dragged himself home. Every muscle in his body ached. It had been a long day on the streets, and there was something going on with his 'brother' cops, too; the amount of tension in the locker rooms had gone through the roof tonight.

He tried to think about it, or anything, but he was too damn tired, and anyway, everyone was probably just reacting to the stress of being overworked.

Dick was just glad that he wasn't Amy; her promotion meant that she was now dealing with ten times the trouble, ten times the paperwork, and a hundred times the pressure.

Plus, if he were Amy, he wouldn't be coming home to Garth.

Dick sighed happily as he unlocked the door to their home. He carefully slipped his shoes off on the doormat, and hung his coat up on the hook. Beyond that, he hoped that Garth would understand.

"How are you feeling?" Garth was waiting in the threshold of the doorway, wearing nothing but an apron, and holding a plate of fresh - from - the - oven chocolate chip cookies.

Dick drooled. "Tell me I'm not seeing things... Is that from Alfred's recipe?"

Garth winked at him playfully. "Naturally. I know how to please my man."

Dick put his hand on Garth like a man dying of thirst touching the cool exterior of a glass before taking the first saving sip. "That is true on so many levels I can't even begin to say."

Garth held the plate up so that he could properly greet Dick. When they finally separated for air, Garth grabbed Dick's shirt, and pulled him in the direction of the bedroom. "Now, it's important to keep that uniform clean. So, strip, and you can eat the cookies off my flesh, as long as you promise not to get any crumbs in the bed."

Dick shook his head in wonder, following the trail of cookie scent. "What have I done to rate this treatment, or should I just leave well enough alone?"

Garth smiled at him over his shoulder. "Oh, nothing much.... Just you being you. I love you, you know."

Dick smiled, pausing from unbuttoning his shirt long enough to give Garth a long, deep kiss. "I know. And I'm so lucky."

Garth pushed Dick's shirt out of the way, and held him close. "Both of us, Dick. Both of us."