Sea and Sky:

Strange Visitor

by 'rith

Archive: Ask first, please.
Notations: m/m relationship, nothing explicit. No sex for the slash fans and enough implied for the gen fans to avoid on principle. I'm satisfied. ;)
Fandom: Modern comicsverse. S&S series. The previous parts can be found at
Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics. What I have done with them is mine.

(Some days later: Blüdhaven.)

Outside his door stood a man covered in a large trenchcoat and an old-fashioned broad-brimmed hat that hid his face in the dim light of the hallway. By instinct Dick analyzed what he saw {{height, stance, breadth of shoulder}} and recognized his visitor anyway. "Oh! Come in."

"Thank you, Dick."

"So is there something going on, or, um...."

Clark Kent removed his hat and his blue eyes twinkled. "Nothing's wrong--I just thought I'd drop by and say hello. Or is this a bad time?"

"Not at all. I'm just surprised, that's all. Nice to see you when the world's not ending." Grinning, Dick took the hat and coat and hung them up--a lot more neatly than he treated his *own* clothing, of course. "Want some coffee? I've got a pot on already. I always make too much, and Garth doesn't drink it...."

"Sounds good. So, uh, he's not here...?"

"He should be back any sec." Dick turned and quirked an amused eyebrow. "This visit wouldn't be you checking up on me, would it?"

Clark blushed a little. " know, I heard, and it was such a surprise." His face took on a vaguely alarmed look. "Not that I mean to imply, um--"

Dick laughed. "'Not that there's anything *wrong* with that!' No, I understand." He poured the coffee, chuckling. "I've been getting that a lot lately. Must've been a slow day for the League if my love life was such a hot topic."

"You have to admit it's a change." Clark followed his host back into the living room. "I certainly had no idea."

"No reason you would have. My other, uh, relationship was pretty quiet."

Clark's face reflected a mixture of curiosity and determination not to ask, and Dick laughed again. "C'mon, your 'interview' face should be better than that...."

The other man gave up the struggle and smiled ruefully. "You're not an interview subject, you're Dick Grayson who I've known since you went to live with Bruce, and my curiosity is probably both inappropriate and inevitable."

"Oh, sure. And it really doesn't matter now if you know he was Jericho."

"Ah." Clark's eyes filled with sympathy. "I'm sorry. I know how hard all of the Titans took his death. From what I understand there wasn't anything you could have done...."

"If you don't mind...I'd rather not talk about it." Dick smiled, but it was shadowed. "Old ghosts, long laid to rest." He looked up at the sound of a key in the lock. "Oh, good, now you can cross-examine us both." He winked and went to the door while Clark looked politely out the window as they greeted each other. Super-senses didn't mean he *had* to listen.

"Garth, I want you to meet Clark Kent."

"Mr. Kent, yes, I've read your novel 'Under a Yellow Sun.' I enjoyed it a great deal." Garth shook his hand, smiling.

"So *you're* the one." An old joke, but they all laughed anyway. "I've known Dick for a long time, through Bruce."

"Oh? Of course, through interviews and the like...." Behind Garth's back Dick raised an eyebrow, and Clark gave an almost-imperceptible nod.

Dick snickered. "You're teasing. Garth, Clark isn't just a reporter...he's also a member of the Justice League."

It only took a second. "Superman."

"Well, I might have been J'onn in disguise...but yes."

"I'm honored you chose to share your identity with me, sir."

"You're a lot more polite than Dick ever was. He liked to tug on my cape. Impudent brat." Clark winked.

"He still is." Garth laughed, delighted. "You'll have to tell me all the 'When Robin was Bad' stories. We only got the good reports from him."

"Hey, now!" Dick interrupted. "No teaming up to pick on me."

Garth's glance at his lover was full of affection. "I have no doubt you can hold your own."

"You watch out, 'Aqualad,' I could share some stories too," Dick threatened gleefully, and Garth put up his hands in surrender.

"Not that; never that. You see," he said dryly to Clark, "what I have to put up with."

Clark smiled. "Somehow I don't think you mind too terribly much."

"Not a bit." The happiness that nearly shone from him made the simple words much more than that. Then, before it became too embarrassing to them all, "Would you excuse me a moment? I'm thirsty and Dick insists on brewing that vile bean...."

Dick snorted. "Don't pick on my caffeine addiction and I won't mock that herbal crap you drink."

Garth rolled his eyes, smiled at Clark, and went into the kitchen.

Clark regarded Dick for a moment. "You look so happy. It's been a long time...."

"Yeah. Look, I know maybe you were worried about me or something but--"

"But I'm not," Clark interrupted gently. "I've known you long enough to respect the fact that you can make your own decisions, your own choices. And to be completely candid...I'm more concerned about Bruce."

Dick froze. "Oh?"

"He's been avoiding JLA pages since the...announcement and if he were anyone else I'd say he was hiding in Gotham."

"No, that's probably a good word." Dick sighed. "I can't... I can't really go into it. Things are a little rough between us right now but I'm hoping it'll get better soon."

Clark looked puzzled. "I wouldn't have thought.... I mean, Bruce doesn't tolerate prejudice of any kind that I've seen, so...."

Dick's voice was strained. "It's not that. Please don't make me explain."

"...all right. But do you think he'd mind if I paid him a visit as well?"

"Wouldn't hurt to try. You've always been a good influence on him." Dick shrugged. "I hope you can get through--what is it?"

Clark's face had gone still, listening intently. "Emergency. I need--"

"Back window to the alley. Go."

Superman nodded and said, "I'll talk to you soon--" and then a red-and-blue blur rushed past Dick to the back window, and out.

A moment later Garth came back in, a cup of steaming chai in his hands. "I heard the wind. Something came up?"

"Apparently. 'This is a job for Superman,' and all."

"So, did we pass inspection?"

"I think so." Dick grinned. "But, oh, what a line you gave me. "Hold my own"? I'd rather hold yours."

"Dick!" His laughter became a gasp. "At least let me put the cup down first--"