Fandom: DCU | Batman
Summary: Dick and Damian have a little talk about romance.
Word Count: 1,185
A/N: This fic is set in the Singularity RP continuity; panfandom shenanigans in SPAACE. What you need to know to understand: Dick is circa No Man’s Land and Damian circa Batman & Robin. Written for Kiki!
“Did you forget who you’re talking with, Grayson?”
Credit went to Hypatia for the fact the wearable delivered the deadpan tone of Robin despite the fact he’s on patrol eight zones away. Wait, hold on the ‘deadpan’ part - there was a note of derision in his tone and, yes, he caught the dismissive lilt at the end! Two points that said he’d hit a point of opinion and, by extension, interest — and all of that broadcast clearly through his wearable.
“Don’t tell me you’re playing the ‘young’ card on me,” he scoffed into the encrypted audio feed. They’d set it up an hour ago as a means to check on their patrols, but he’d been using it to learn what he could about Damian as they worked. What had started with commentary on batarang techniques had devolved into the more mundane, average Joe kind of thing. Example: The current theme of crushes. “Ten’s not too young to have your first crush. There’s got to be someone that you’ve noticed.”
By the “tch” that came through, his statement had missed the mark completely, as expected. ‘Too young’ and Damian did not go in the same sentence. He’d seen displays of maturity from him that rivalled teenagers, but he’s not convinced that this maturity exempted him from something as common as a crush. Dick rolled his eyes and leaned further over the building ledge, monitoring the flow of traffic in and out of the nearest zone one teleporter.
“Or not,” he offered with a shrug. The smart thing to do was drop it on the chance he’d offended him, but he didn’t know much about Damian Wayne, aside from the fact that he’ll be a central figure in his future — years down the line from the Blackgate fiasco he’ll get to return home to. Doing the smart thing, then, meant missing a chance to get some glimpse under emotional shutters that rival Bruce Wayne.
Good thing he liked to go with instinct over deep thought.
“No one’s immune.” He chuckled at the very idea. Sure, the possibility existed, but not in the experience sphere he inhabited. ‘Chemistry’ described his relationships better, but he was driving towards a more wholesome point here. “Everyone gets twitterpated at some point.”
“Twitterpated. Like in Bambi.”
The long pause was broken only by a repeat of the “tch” sound, followed by a rather elevated tone when Damian spoke next. “I regard myself as beyond something as foolish as being twitterpated,” he said. “It is inappropriate for someone in my position. I have received training to suppress such inane urges.”
Dick laughed without intending to, shaking his head on his end. “Are you kidding me? The Robin role is all about awkward romance!” The statement truncated in a grin, because he had more than his fair share of history in that vein. Anyone going through puberty faced the challenge and donning the domino mask served to complicate it, going on his and Tim’s track records. “You can’t call yourself a real Robin until you’ve crushed on at least one hot villainess.”
“A waste of time.” Damian was getting irritated by the conversation and it telegraphed in the strain of his tone, but he didn’t kill the audio. A sign of his patience? Maybe.
“A valuable experience,” he countered. “Teaches you to resist their wiles.”
“There’s nothing to resist, Grayson.” Again he used the surname, as though Damian reached for familiarity and held himself at arm’s length. Definitely Bruce’s son.
“You’ll be whistling a different tune in a few years.”
“I will not whistle anything I do not decide to whistle.” No mistaking the conviction in his voice. Damian didn’t like the idea of having no choice? Interesting when it came from a Robin that insisted he was trained and destined for the cowl.
“Funny.” He punctuated it with a chuckle to drill the meaning home. I said the same thing, but I’ve picked up a tune or two despite that.” More like a small symphony’s worth, when he took a moment to assess his rocky road through romance.
A pause. “You do not have a crush,” Damian said flatly. He detected a note of disbelief. Maybe he’d hit on a point contrary to what he thought of him.
Dick grinned. “Sure do.”
Another pause. “This station’s Starfire is too young.”
An observation that hit right on the mark, though that mark lay close to a few tender nerves connected to his heart. “She’s not my Kory,” he confirmed. And what he had shared with Kory once upon a Titan had been different. Attraction and chemistry both, but he’d lacked the true depth of emotion that she wanted and needed. That put them at odds - forever fond, but flawed. “She’s also not who I meant.”
“You mean to say it’s that Wanda you flirt with?” A measure of disdain and disgust caught between a juvenile cooties reaction and the more mature disapproval that Damian’s tone telegraphed. Apparently there was a set of standards to be matched and she didn’t according to him. He bet that would change if he knew Wanda better, but it wasn’t a point to push.
“What I have — had with Wanda wasn’t the same.” Dick carefully used the past tense, because they’d given it a shot, but he hadn’t kept his head in that game until the knockout in overtime. By that time, it was too late. He’d friendzoned himself, no doubt about it, by having his head too far up the cowl.
“Good.” Stiffly, the single word carried a dozen others. An assessment that he did better without her, perhaps. Dick wouldn’t argue the point, but he wouldn’t agree with it either. There’s no denying their chemistry, but there’s a time and place for everything. Apparently being stranded on a space station wasn’t their time or place.
“I’ll give you two hints,” he offered. “First, she’s not here. Second—”
“Don’t.” Damian tended to reject too much assistance, so he wasn’t surprised at the statement, nor did he protest it. The one hint had to be enough, depending on how much he’d been studied in the past.
Dick stretched and turned from his surveillance, satisfied that the crime rate remained ridiculously low out in the middle of space. They had spikes of activity and plenty of network threats, but Sacrosanct went for Blüdhaven Light for the most part.
“She doesn’t count,” Damian decided, the audio breaking into his assessment. “You’ve been involved previously.” Bingo. He knew about Babs and their history, enough to connect the dots and paint a picture worth referring to.
“That doesn’t mean I can’t have a crush on her,” Dick said. “Trust me on this. I’ve had one on her my whole life and that’s not about to change.” The fact he’d been dumped here after a passionate revival attempt only reinforced that and, just maybe, that was why he’d messed up with Wanda. Part of him would always be Babs’ and there was nothing to be done about it.
“Tch. You’re hopeless, Grayson.”
“Only a hopeless romantic, Robin.”