Sea and Sky:
Olympic Trials: Fish or Fowl
As Garth is so fond of telling Dick, you can do other things in water than swim. Some of them are Olympic sports, even. Since Dick's mind hardly ever gets out of the gutter, he immediately thinks of a few things he'd like to see Ian Thorpe and Pieter van den Hoogenband do to each other. Garth, of course, means diving, water polo and synchronised swimming.
"Really, Dick," he says, exasperated.
Somewhat surprisingly, Garth has no objections to either the water polo or the synchronised swimming. Both are recognised pastimes in Atlantis, though the latter is usually arranged through a discreet escort service. He smiles a little uncertainly when Dick tells him polo is usually played from horse-back. As if he thinks Nightwing is making fun of Aqualad. Dick has to start up the laptop and google for "polo horse" to present Garth with picture evidence and wipe the uncertainty off his face.
That over and done with, Dick asks Garth what he thinks about diving. Inexplicably, Garth blushes and mumbles something which sounds like "Ulrkaknp". It turns out that Ulrika Knape won Olympic gold in the high dive in 1972. She was seventeen, Swedish and the reason Atlantis started watching television. Every teenage girl wanted to be Ulrika, every teenage boy wanted to be her boyfriend. It's possible, Garth amends, that some teenage boys wanted to be Ulrika too. That's the measure of her perfection.
Hard for Dick to imagine anything more perfect than Garth sliding into the water in one of his famous shallow pool dives. The water just swallows him up. No splash, no sound.. He'd get tens for his entry every time.
"You would make a great diver," Garth says. Dick looks quickly at him, but no, he isn't joking.
"The trapeze is...different," Dick says with a lopsided shrug.
The trapeze is all about speed and courage and the catch. You fly or you free-fall; you never touch ground. Oddly disconcerting to think about rotating and twisting with a surface, even water, rushing up to meet you.
"Maybe," Garth replies, quirking an eyebrow. "But some play on horse-back and others in the pool and the game is still the same, isn't it?"
Dick thinks about it, nods. Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly, yeah, but there are flying fish in the South Sea and emperor penguins diving in Antarctica. Ella is only half right. What's really interesting in this world happens in the interfaces, where water meets air, where sea meets sky.