Continuity: Comics!verse AU, based on post-Crisis continuity.
Rating: Very M.
Characters/Pairings: Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon; Dick/Barbara, sort of, if you squint at it out of the corner of your eye.
Word Count: 1140
Summary: Dick bitches about Bruce; Babs listens.
Warnings: Nothing much at all, this chapter. Some swearing. In future chapters, blood, violence, death, and icky things out the ying-yang; AU!Timmy is not your friend. No spoilers for anything more recent than the 1980s.
Disclaimer: Most of the characters and locations in this story are © DC Entertainment Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment. All content is fictional and for entertainment purposes only, not for profit.
Notes: This is a really short one. I was going to combine it with what is now going to be the next chapter, but decided there was enough here to be sort of worth it. Also, oh hey, my AU is showing.
Posted to robin_fans, we_love_dick, mrsarcastic_tim, batfic.
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“...And that was it, he fired me, just like that. No warning, no discussion, just, 'Get out of my cave. And leave the Robin costume.'”
Dick was sprawled on his back on the bed in Barbara Gordon's apartment, scowling at the ceiling, one hand tucked behind his head and the other gesturing animatedly as he spoke. Barbara sat on the other side of the bed, arms wrapped around her knees, biting her lip sympathetically as she listened. Outside Barbara's window Saturday was sunny, cheerful, and unseasonably warm, a sharp contrast to Dick's stormy mood.
“And that's the part that really pisses me off,” Dick continued, seething. “Robin is mine, not his. It was never his. He had no right! But try telling Bruce that. No, he just does whatever the hell he wants!” Dick let his head flop to the side, turning his exasperated glare on Barbara. “You know, in theory, we're supposed to be partners. That's what he told me, anyway.” He snorted. “...So much for partners. I'm only his partner when it's convenient for him, but whenever he bloody well feels like it suddenly it's, 'Rraaahh, I'm the God-damn Batman, my word is law!!'” Wild gesturing at the ceiling here. “You know what that's like. I mean, you were supposed to be in Metropolis for that library science conference for another day or two, right? But he just calls you up and expects you to drop everything and come running.” He scowled. “Of course, you did drop everything and come running....”
“Hey,” Barbara said in a warning tone, eyes narrowing slightly. She let out a breath and let the sharpness drop from her voice. “...Look, Dick... you were injured, and Ivy was loose. Bruce needed backup, so I came. A library science conference is just not as important as getting Poison Ivy back in her nice padded cell again.”
Dick was making a face that could be described as nothing so much as pouting, but after a moment he huffed a sigh and asked, “Any news on Ivy?”
Barbara pressed her lips together, shaking her head. “Nothing. Seems she's gone to ground. ...Don't worry, though. We'll find her.”
“You'd better,” Dick warned sourly. “Bruce doesn't accept failure. If you're not careful, he'll fire you, too.”
Barbara sighed. “Dick... look, I sympathize with you, I really do. That was a shitty thing he did. But what we do, the impacts and consequences... it's bigger than me and you and him. I need to be able to work with him. So... I'm not going to pick a side.”
Which actually means you're choosing his, Dick thought, but he knew that was unfair. So what he said was, “I'm not asking you to.” He blew a stray lock of hair out of his eyes. “I just– it was completely out of the blue. I wish I'd had some warning– did you know?”
“No. I didn't know he was going to fire you. I knew he was angry, but... when isn't he, right?” The corner of Barbara's mouth twitched a little, a fleeting half smile. “...You know... this isn't the first time he's fired you. He'll come around. He was probably more concerned about your safety than anything. Maybe if you talked to him...?”
“If he's concerned about me he should learn to say so like a normal human being instead of just freaking out all the time! And no, no, I'm not going to talk to him, I am not fixing this for him. Why should I have to be the one to play nice?”
Barbara resisted the temptation to roll her eyes. They are so unlike each other in almost every way. Why did they have to pick 'stubborn as a mule' as the one thing to have in common?
“Anyway, even if he changes his mind I'm not sure I want to work with him anymore. I am so sick of his crap, Babs!”
Silence reigned for a few moments. Barbara chewed on her lip. “...How are things at the manor?” she asked.
Dick sighed. “I need to get out of there,” he said. “We've been avoiding each other. It's easy to do, I mean, the house is huge and his schedule is predictable. But it can't go on forever... and it's really not fair for Alfred to be stuck in the middle like that. I need to move out.”
“And go where?”
Another sigh. “Not sure. The Titans told me I'm welcome to stay in the Tower, of course, but... I'm taking some time off from the team while I figure all this out, and I'd feel weird staying there when I'm not on the active duty roster. And then, Kory's offered to let me stay at her apartment....” He shrugged
Barbara arched a sardonic eyebrow at him. “Your ex wants you to stay with her? ...You sure that's a good idea?”
Dick frowned a little. “She's one of my best friends, Babs. Best friend trumps ex. Kory and I are fine.”
“Uh-huh.” Barbara's tone was flatly skeptical.
Dick's frown became speculative, and he turned to look at Barbara; she glanced away. Dick's lip twitched. “Yeah, 'uh-huh'. FYI, the breakup was totally congenial. I think we only got together in the first place because we were such good friends and we loved each other, and we felt we owed it to ourselves to try. I figure we're better off as friends. ...And, Kory agrees!” he added before Barbara could say anything.
Barbara put her hands up in surrender. “Okay, okay. If you say so.”
There was a moment of silence, then Barbara cleared her throat. “Well anyway, if it comes down to it... you're welcome to my couch whenever you like, for as long as you like.”
Dick grinned at her. “Oh, your dad would love that!”
“It's not Dad's decision, and he doesn't need to know about it,” Barbara returned coolly.
Dick's smile softened. “...Thanks, Babs. I appreciate it.”
Barbara smiled softly back. “Of course.” Barbara dropped her eyes and they fell into a companionable silence, Dick waggling his feet idly and Barbara picking at a frayed edge on her quilt. “So...” she said quietly after a couple of minutes, “...what are you going to do?”
Dick chewed at the inside of his lip. “I don't know,” he admitted. “I don't know what to do. I'm not sure if I want to keep doing this, you know, going out at night and punching bad guys, but... I'm not sure I could really do anything else. So... I don't know.” He sighed. “...I don't know.”
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