Sea and Sky:

The Storm

by Chicago

'rith will forward feedback

Donna stood at the sliding glass door, watching. The storm was rattling even this sturdy house, and rain lashed sharply against the glass, driven by fierce gusts.

A hand rested gently on her shoulder and Roy sidled up behind her, his hold on her comfortable and familiar. "He's still out there?"

Donna nodded. The driving rain and the splashed glass made it hard to make out the dim outline, but he was standing there.

"Should I--" Roy began, but Donna shook her head.

"I know you need to go soon. Lian needs you more now than anyone else does."

"Yeah," Roy agreed, an odd note to his voice. "I just don't like the idea of leaving with him still --"

"I'll be here," Donna stated firmly. She leaned her head back against Roy's chest, accepted the way his hand rubbed over her arms to comfort.

"I miss him," Roy said quietly. He wouldn't cry, hadn't cried, but she could hear how much he was hurting.

"I know. I don't think I've accepted it yet."

"Yeah," Roy murmured. His hand stilled for a moment to squeeze her arm, and then he moved away. "I should go."

"Drive carefully," Donna admonished. "We don't need--"

"I know," he cut her off. There was enough grief already without adding more. "I will.

She listened as he gathered his things, wrapped himself in his rain slicker and headed out. There was a slam of the door as the wind pulled it open and a sudden chill gust, and then it was quiet again and he was gone.

Donna wrapped her arms around herself against the chill and loss. Still she didn't turn from the glass door. It was easier to look out, to watch Garth, than it was to let her eyes travel around the room, left exactly as it had been the night before, before...

She closed her eyes and immediately regretted it.

There hadn't been much left to identify, but the authorities had called Titans Tower, and she'd been on watch and she only wished she could've denied it was him.

Then there were all the complications. The authorities had found Nightwing's body. Not Dick Grayson. She'd been on line with Oracle for hours, making sure his identity remained secret.

Fortunately-- Hera, she hated herself for thinking it - fortunately his face had been too battered for anyone to recognize the Wayne heir-apparent. It did leave the difficulty of notifying the people Dick Grayson loved.

Bruce. Garth.

Neither one of them had been available to take the call, neither had an inkling that Donna was at the morgue identifying Nightwing's remains until it was done.

Batman broke in later to confirm it.

Garth took Donna at her word.

Nightwing's body would be interred with those of other heroes, real identity unknown. She had no idea what protocols were in place to handle the disappearance of Dick Grayson.

Garth was still standing in the rain. She couldn't bear to leave him alone. She started when she heard the front door slam open again, turning with senses on high alert.

Had Roy forgotten something? Sent someone else to join her vigil? "Hello?" she called, as the door closed the howl of the wind outside again.

There was no answer, no sound, and then there was Bruce, bedraggled, drenched, but remote, his face a hard mask.

She looked at him numbly, not sure what to say. His voice sounded raw when he spoke. "Garth?"

She hesitated. She knew there were complications between Dick and Bruce, knew how dangerous Bruce could be, but... She gestured toward the sliding door, toward the outside, toward the rain whipped figure who had not moved in so long. She could see his eyes narrow, pick out the grey against grey figure in the distance. Then he strode forward, brushing past her almost without noticing, opening the sliding door and slipping outside. The wind and rain howled in until he closed the door behind him.

Donna stared, adrenaline pumping, not sure what was going to happen, not sure she could do anything to stop it.

Bruce stalked up to Garth with slow determination, his jacket flapping open and his head bare to the elements. She wasn't sure which of them she was more worried for.

Then Bruce reached out and touched Garth's shoulder, causing the younger man to turn...

It was as if the strings that had held them both upright were suddenly cut. They fell together, half catching each other and half carrying one another to the ground, where they knelt together, clinging to one another.

Donna closed her eyes and turned away.

Outside, the storm raged on.