Sea and Sky XV:

Emergence

by 'rith

(with additions by Dannell)

Archive: Ask first, please.
Warnings: M/M slash. If this concept disturbs you, read no further.
Fandom: Modern comicsverse. Fifteenth in the "Sea and Sky" series, the previous parts of which can be found at http://www.offpanel.net/kerithwyn/.
Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics. What I have done with them is mine.



He'd run for the Tower as fast as he could, cursing traffic, the distance, his own lack of powers that might have gotten him there sooner. His bike was great but just wasn't *fast* enough for the anticipation he felt, the sense of *beginning* he wanted to share.

{{Bruce was wrong he'll be there he'll be}}

Though if Garth had already left, Dick supposed he couldn't blame him. He'd been so patient, so forgiving, and then *this*--

No. He wasn't going to allow those thoughts. Not now when things could finally be right, he could finally give Garth the kind of attention their relationship deserved. He had too much to make up for and only wanted the chance to begin again. No distractions, this time. And no more fear.

He waited impatiently for the automated transport to cross the water to Titans' Island, stowed his 'cycle, took the stairs three at a time and practically flew to the main observation room. Cyborg was there, monitoring news from a dozen sources at once. "Hey, 'Wingster, didn't expect to see you here this early. Everything all right?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah." Tried to keep his voice casual. "Vic, is Tempest here?"

"Sure. He's down at the pool. You want me to page him?"

"Nah, thanks, I'll head down." And did, missing Vic's small grin and thoughtful "hmmm."

More stairs to the pool. They kept it full of fresh water, free of chemicals ("Chlorine," Garth had said once, voice full of disgust, "itches."), but it still was a pretty lousy thing that Garth had only that small area when he needed it. Not that he'd ever complained about it, of course not. And his magic was strong enough to let him sleep for a night without water, Dick had found that out weeks ago. Still....

There. Garth was sitting at the bottom of the pool, studying something in his hands. Out of deference to human social custom he was wearing a borrowed bathing suit. Dick knocked on the tiles and when Garth looked up, motioned for him to come up. He moved back a little, giving Garth room to get out, not wanting to stand too close because, God, if he got too close he'd give into the desire of his hands to reach out and *touch.*

He figured they probably had at least one or two things to talk about, first. Dammit.

Garth pulled himself up, one hand holding a small--datapad? He saw Dick's questioning look and answered it. "Atlantean. We're good at waterproofing things, you can imagine. I'm actually hoping to introduce that as commodity we can export--" He stopped. "Dick?"

"Yeah. Um. Hi." He wanted to yell, run, jump up and down, something from the tension. He settled on, "Can we go somewhere? Talk? I mean, really talk."

Garth nodded slowly, probably fearing the worst because that's all Dick had shown him recently. No more. He couldn't stand the idea that Garth should believe that one second longer. "Just not here. I don't-- I want--" Just *say* it and to hell with privacy. "I love you. I want to start over. This time I--"

But Garth had taken his arm and was moving them both toward the private quarters wing, probably a good idea since Dick was about to start babbling and there was no telling who *else* might want to use the pool. Especially since talk would hopefully please God lead to--

Dick clamped down on his thoughts before his hormones went completely out of control. Talk. First. And then.

Tempest's quarters were closer, on the lowest level nearest the underwater entry, of course. Simple, neat, unlike his own chaotic mess of an apartment. Once inside Garth let him go--reluctantly?--and just waited.

Dick had never had that kind of patience. "I wasn't sure you'd be here. When you left-- You were right, I had to deal with things, but I didn't know if you'd wait. Again. I've been so stupid about everything."

Garth interrupted before he could launch into a self-loathing diatribe. His voice was tinged with astonishment. "After all that-- did you think I would just give up? Never."

Such certainty. "I know. I knew that. I just got scared, that's all."

But Garth was nodding slowly, and he sounded rueful. "To be honest...a part of me was afraid you wouldn't come back either. After all this time...."

"Too much time, too much-- I went down to the 'Cave. We talked. Sort of. All these years I wanted so much I shouldn't have and I didn't know that he, he--"

Garth said quietly, "I know. But it wasn't mine to tell you. And I admit... I was terrified at the thought that had you known, you truly would have what you wanted."

"But I don't-- It wouldn't even have been *possible.* And there isn't any point to it any more. He won't, uh, interfere again. And I won't..." Dick sighed. "I'll always...care about him but I can't let that get in the way of everything *else* in my life. Like-- like my relationship with you. I hadn't even realized how much I'd let my-- what I feel about him run my life...."

He was so bound up in the shame of it that he didn't see Garth move toward him until the other man lay one hand lightly on his shoulder.

"The word you're searching for," Garth said gently, "and trying so very hard to avoid, is love. You love Bruce. It isn't a crime."

"Oh, yes it is!" The words erupted from him like a flood. "Stupidity is the very worst crime anyone can ever commit! It's always punishable by death. You live and learn or you don't live long. And being in love with the Batman is just about the stupidest thing imaginable!" Savagely, Dick brought his hands up in front of his face forming a square frame. "Picture it!" he demanded, "a kid sidekick like me, besotted with a man who doesn't even exist. A man who's lost his capacity to *feel,* whose passion is buried so deep that *no one* will ever find it until it spills out of his hands with the blood of his enemies. And worse yet one like the Batman who's spent his life punishing the world, trying desperately to beat it into a shape that he can understand so that it'll make sense. Do you know what he told me once? 'This city is all I have,' he said. 'It's all of *me* there is. I never left myself anything else.'

"I left him alone, Garth," Dick mourned. "All alone...and in the *dark.*"

Garth reached out to lift Dick's chin, the compassion in his eyes almost too much to bear. "Bruce will find his own way into the light. You can't do it for him, Dick. You know that. And he has Alfred and Tim and Barbara to help him. He's not alone. One day he'll reach out for someone."

"You're right. I know you're right."

"But right now," Garth said deliberately, "you'll forgive me, but I'm very tired of hearing about Bruce."

Dick grimaced. "Yeah. I'm sorry. This isn't...what I wanted to say, how I wanted to start."

Garth smiled, eyes lighting. "So we begin again, with this. I love you." He reached out, drawing Dick close, and their mouths met and clung, tasting, relearning each other.

They pulled back to stare at each other, both a little breathless.

"Garth. How long has it been since we--"

"Six weeks, three days, five hours. And ten minutes." He paused. "Not that I was counting."

"Oh." Dick gave him a sly look. "Silly to wait longer, then."

"Very." Garth's eyes on him, so intent, just waiting for a word.

He leaned close and breathed it into Garth's ear. "I feel *much* better now."

Garth's hands slid around him, familiar and new at the same time, and he laughed low in his throat. "Yes, you do."

Dick grinned. "Wanna feel me?" And then more seriously, wanting Garth to know it, "I missed you--"

"I missed--this."

"Garth!" The movement of his lover's hands startled laughter from him. And then rising heat--

"Oh, and here."

Dick gasped.

"And--"

"Ohhh. I get the idea."

Garth pulled back just far enough to look in his eyes. Dick wanted to fall into that purple and never find a way out. "Mm. No. You're far too coherent. Can I--"

"Yes."

Garth blinked. "I didn't ask yet."

It was an effort to talk instead of just melting right there. "Don't care. Yes. To anything. *Everything.*"

There was a long pause, and for a second Dick thought--he didn't know what he thought, and then Garth started touching him again. "So...this is all right? And this? And--"

Dick heard himself actually *whimper,* and didn't care.

But that sound had an immediate effect. He was swept up, carried along, halfway to the bedroom before he started laughing again in delight. That strength...and the promise of hands on his body, and tongue, and--

He stopped laughing and just tried to keep breathing past a surge of desire so powerful he could only hang on while Garth brought them into the room, closing and locking the door behind in case any of their teammates decided to visit unexpectedly. No cameras here, none of course in their private quarters--

{{bad brain. Shut up, brain}}

--and Garth's mouth on his again. Teasing wet warm oh, God, that *taste.* Salt sea and he was shaking suddenly with how much he wanted this. Needed this. Not just the sex. Wanted *Garth.*

Loved him.

He almost cried out when Garth's mouth left his. "Dick, what's--"

He was babbling, his words weren't making sense and he knew it, but it was too much to contain. "N-nothing. I. I'm so sorry. Love you. I want you. It's been so long and you waited anyway, I don't deserve--"

"Robbie, don't. You're here now. I'm here. That's all that matters." Garth's tone changed, tinged with amusement and desire. "Do I need to seduce you *again?* Like the first time."

The words and memory gave him focus. "Ohhh, no. My turn." He leaned in for another kiss, trying to put everything into it. Love and apology and passion, a promise for the future and just sheer wonder at being here, like this, here and now and *together.*

At least some of that must have gotten through, because when he pulled back just a little for a breath Garth's own breathing had gone rough, and his voice shook. "Pallais' mercy, Richard..."

"....y-yeah. *Hurry.*"

He could have saved the words. Garth's hands were already lifting the T-shirt over his head, careful even in haste because Garth remembered whose it had been. Then his hands dropped down, busy on the button of Dick's jeans, sliding the zipper down slowly, teasing, his fingers dipping inside to caress. Dick's breath escaped him in a low rush of pleasure. "Haaaaaaaaa...!"

"That's a good sound, I like that sound...." Garth murmured, as he made quick work of the rest of Dick's clothes. Then--maddeningly--he stopped, his face filling with concern. "Dick, you're hurt! These bruises--"

"--Nothing. I don't even feel it." He could ache *tomorrow.* Stepping in close to divert more questions, he molded himself against Garth and grinned. "Hey, there. You're happy to see me."

"...Robbie," Garth said with a gasp, and kissed him again.

They were really past talking at that point; past anything, in fact, but getting their bodies in as close proximity as possible without either physical or (finally, thank God, Dick thought) emotional barriers. His hands closed over Garth's as they slid the borrowed swim trunks down, and then they were on the bed and moving against each other. Urgency won over finesse, hands and mouths touching everywhere they could reach. They were laughing, surging together, clutching and gasping and there, there--

"I love you," Garth said, catching his eyes, and that along with the feel of Garth's body against his was enough to send him over, and Garth right after.

For several minutes they just lay there, breathing heavily, feeling the aftershocks race through each other's skin. "...God," Dick muttered finally, catching his breath, "that wasn't exactly.... I mean, there's so much I wanted--"

"It was perfect," Garth smiled, "because now there will be time and patience enough for everything else."

Dick propped himself up and started to grin. "Right now?"

"Insatiable." Garth put a hand to the back of his neck and pulled him down for a kiss. When he let go, he was laughing again. "...I meant me, by the way. I missed you, Robbie. I want you."

"You've got me."

Garth's response to that was another kiss, very intense. "You really can't expect," he said, looking serious, "to say things like that and expect to leave here anytime soon...."

"Good. I don't want to." Dick draped himself over Garth again, sliding against him. Plaintively, he added, "What does it *take* for a guy to get himself ravaged around here?"

"...When you put it that way...." Without another word Garth got up, leaned over, and scooped Dick up in his arms.

"Um. This isn't exactly what I had in mind...."

Garth looked at him patiently. "I know what you have in mind. I know what *I* have in mind. And if I'm going to start at the top and work down...we'll start by getting rid of the road-dust in your hair."

"...oh."

In the shower Garth frowned over the bruises again, touching them gently but not demanding answers; Dick suspected he knew anyway, and realized it didn't need discussing. He leaned into Garth, enjoying the touch, letting his own hands wander.

"This is real," he said abruptly, startling himself, but Garth seemed to understand.

"Yes, Robbie."

"This is going to be good."

"Oh, yes."

"This is--"

"This is," Garth said, "the point where you stop thinking and let me love you." He paused, reconsidered. "This is the point where we begin to love each other."

"...yeah. God. That's perfect. I want that more than anything." He let his muscles relax, feeling Garth's arms around him, holding him up. "Now?"

"Now," Garth agreed, and kissed him.



{discreet fade-out and end ;) }