Sea and Sky IX:

Oracle Interlude 2

by 'rith

Archive: Ask first, please.
Warnings: M/M slash implication. If this concept disturbs you, read no further.
Fandom: Modern comicsverse. Ninth 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.



(Part 1: Oracle)


My monitor beeps and I hear his voice.

"Babs, I need some information--"

Hi, Dick, how are you? Oh, I'm fine. Yourself?

*sigh* These Batboys. Always in a hurry. I click on the video.

"Sure thing, Former Boy Wonder. In a second. How's the job going? How's your roomie?"

"He's back at Titans' Tower. I'm looking to track down...."

Whoa, partner. "Hold on one second. What do you mean, 'back at the Tower'? Did you guys have a fight? What's--"

"Barbara--"

You want info, so do I. "Spill, Dick."

He blows out a frustrated breath. "We're all adults here. We're friends. We had fun. End of story. Now, can you--"

The hell...? "It's over, just like that? Wham, bam, thank you, that's it? Doesn't sound like you at all."

He laughs, a short humorless sound. For a second I hear Bruce. It's creepy. "Really? Last time, the thing with Helena, you said it was *exactly* like me, always thinking with my--"

"Oh, come on. This was different. I saw something between you guys, I thought you'd try to hold onto it."

"You thought wrong."

"I didn't." I'm glaring at him now, eyes narrowed. "I *know* what I saw. Dick, you're being stupid, I've *seen* how he looks at you. You'd see it too, if you weren't so busy denying it."

"It's not that, it's--Babs, give me a break, willya?"

"No way. All right, so if you know how he feels, what's your excuse?"

"We're friends, I thought it was better if we stayed friends and not tried to turn it into something else. I've got a hellhole of a city to watch out for, and I can't afford--"

Oh, for the love of-- "Not *that* again. You're not Bruce! You don't have to hide like he does. For God's sake, Dick, I've seen you in love--with Kory, remember? Remember how happy you were? Why would you *ever* want to throw that away?!"

Dick's face is closed, reflecting nothing. "What if it's not--that. Not like that."

I'm totally appalled. I can't believe I'm hearing this. "So how are you supposed to know, if you don't try? Flawed logic, Grayson. Koriand'r may've thrown herself into your lap but you're actually going to have to *try* with him. He's not that easy."

A flicker of anger. "Don't--"

"All right, maybe that was out of line. I like Kory well enough. But come on, Dick. That was pretty much love at first sight, right? You didn't have to fight for her."

"I went through a lot, to be able to love her!"

"I know you did. I know, Dick. The Batman never did so you thought Robin shouldn't either. Everyone was glad when you figured out what utter *crap* that was."

"Babs!"

"I've talked to Donna and the others. They saw how hard you struggled with it. Kory was good for you, she really was. She helped you stay--kept you from becoming like Bruce. He's strong and brilliant and *lonely,* Dick."

"This isn't about him."

"Bullshit!" I glare at him fiercely. "Everything is about the damn Bat, his obsessions and what he's done to us--" I have to stop and take a deep breath. "But you're not him. You already know that. That's not the problem. So I have to ask: What are you afraid of, anyway?"

The connection goes dead. He hung up on *me.* It's childish, but I let out a short shriek of frustration and throw the headset across the room. What the hell is *wrong* with him?!

Maybe I can find out from the other end.



(Part 2, some hours later: Tempest)


It's a routine call, the Titans consulting the Oracle for information, until at the end the electronic mask says, "I'd like to speak with Tempest alone, please."

The others look at me questioningly but file out, and when they're gone the mask dissolves and resolves into Barbara Gordon's face.

"Garth--"

I see it on her face. "You've spoken to him."

"Uh-huh. What *happened?!* What's going on?"

The intensity of her concern is more than I can stand. I feel my fists clench, unbidden. "I--can't. I can't say."

Her swearing blisters my ears. "Goddammit, I knew he was being an idiot, I tried to *tell* him--oh, God, Garth, I'm so sorry, he's a fool."

I don't want to say-- "After you called last time, when you said to love him--that was when I realized, that I did."

Her eyes are full of frustrated tears. "I know, I do understand, I--"

"I know."

"Why is he *doing* this? He wouldn't tell me what was wrong, I can't figure it out...."

Fear. Just and only that. Nothing I can do anything about. I feel as powerless as "Aqualad" used to be.

Thankfully, she interrupts my thoughts. "Can you come here, to Gotham? So we can really talk?"

"I shouldn't intrude...."

"Of course not, it's not intruding, I just thought you might want--"

"A friend. Someone who loves him, as well."

Her eyes are steady. "Yes."

It's a kind offer, more than generous. And tempting. I haven't been able to share this with anyone, even if I'd wanted to; because, of course, no one knows about what happened between Dick and I except the young Robin and the Oracle.

But she and I know each other only in passing, and in light of her feelings for him...it would be awkward and perhaps even cruel to speak of Dick as a lover to her. So.

"Thank you, Barbara. That's very kind. But I'll be fine."

The way she looks at me says she isn't fooled for a moment. "Yeah. I know all about 'fine.' I say that a lot, too. Okay. Just remember I'm willing to listen, anytime."

I manage to nod and even smile and she smiles back, tightly. "Oracle out."

And then I go about being "fine" for another day.



{end}