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What Brothers Do

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    Dick’s big sister is the prettiest girl in the whole wide world.

    He should know, he went all over the world with Mama and Dat before he lived with Vati. He’s seen lots of pretty girls, and none of them are prettier than Faye. She’s even prettier than Wonder Woman , and Auntie Diana is very, very pretty. But Faye is still prettier.

    She’s got long curly black hair that turns red when she spends a lot of time in the sun, and she lets him pick the ribbons for her pigtails every day. She likes to wear swishy skirts like Mama did; her favorite is the black one with the rainbow flowers that Dick got for her on her birthday. When Dick asks her to paint his nails, he always picks Liberty Teal since it’s the one that’s closest to the color of her eyes. And she always lets him snuggle up to her side when she reads — and she reads a lot.

    So Faye is the prettiest girl ever, and it’s his job to protect her. That’s what Damian and Tim tell him, anyways. Damian says that no one is good enough for their sister, so they have “defend her honor from the ruffians trying to paw at her.” Tim says that he has to watch who Faye talks to and tell them about it since she gets mad at them when they do it. Dick doesn’t want her to get mad at him too, but Tim says that she won’t “because he’s tiny and cute and impossible to hate.”

    Dick takes his job very seriously. When Roy said he liked Faye, Dick told him that they couldn’t be friends anymore. They were enemies for a whole week before Garth made them be friends again. Roy says he doesn’t like her anymore, but Dick isn’t sure he believes him. How could anyone not like her?

    Donna also has a crush on Faye, but Dick can’t do anything about it. She’s a lot stronger than him and she’s his best friend. He can’t be mad at his best friend. Besides, Dick thinks she would make a good wife for Faye. If they got married, Faye would be an Amazon and that would be super cool. They could go on quests together like in the stories Faye reads to him.

    Kyle , though. Kyle is a different story. Tim and Damian hadn’t thought much about Roy and Donna’s crushes on Faye. But when Dick told them about how the new Green Lantern kept staring at her during a Lantern-Bat training mission, Damian’s eyes had narrowed like an angry cat and Tim had made that “hmmm” sound that Dick knows means someone is going to have a very bad day. Dick told them how Faye had blushed when Kyle made a construct to help her get to the top of a building, and how she twirled her hair around her finger when she talked to him, too. This made his brothers decide that Kyle Rayner was a capital “P” Problem that needed to be dealt with.

    Tim and Damian “dealing with” Kyle ended up in a four way screaming match between Faye, his brothers, and Vati. Kyle had tattled to Uncle Hal about Damian and Tim threatening him, and Uncle Hal had told Vati all about it. That led to Vati yelling at Damian and Tim about “respecting your sister’s privacy” and “the women in your life are allowed to make choices you don’t like.” Faye heard all the yelling, then did some yelling of her own, and now Damian and Tim are staying with their teams until Faye stops tripping them on patrol.

    This leaves Dick in his current predicament. Faye had invited Kyle over to hang out to make up for what Tim and Damian did, and now the enemy is in his house. Vati had told him to leave Faye alone while she had her friend over, but how could he? Her honor was at stake, and as her brother it was his duty to defend her. Who knows what kinda things Kyle will do to her if he doesn’t stop him?

    Damian hadn’t told him exactly what they’re defending Faye from , but he’s sure it’s bad. Why else would they go to all this trouble?

    Kyle and Faye are in one of the TV rooms. Vati may want to give Faye her privacy, but he’s still her dad, so the door has to stay open. This makes it super easy for Dick to spy on them. All he has to do is sit on one side of the door frame where he can’t be seen and he can hear everything going on inside. It’s honestly pretty boring. They’re watching a movie, something with cars and lots of explosions. They’re making fun of how ridiculous it is.

    Faye laughs what Dick secretly calls her piglet laugh, snorting and giggling like a loon. She stops suddenly, and Dick hears someone move on the couch as the movie is paused.

    “Hey, don’t be shy. I like your laugh.” Kyle says softly.

    “You’re just trying to be nice.”

    “No I do, really! It’s cute, like a rabbit.”

    “What?” Faye laughs.

    “Yeah! Rabbits make this little chuffing-snorting sound when they’re happy. It’s cute. Like you.”

    “Oh...”

    Kyle clears his throat. “ Uhm, we should get back to the movie.”

    “Yeah! Yeah, the movie.”

    Dick hears more shuffling, and then the movie starts again.

    “Is this okay?” Faye asks.

    “Perfect. You’re perfect.”

    Faye giggles a little, and Dick peeks his head around the door to get a look at what’s going on. Faye is curled up into Kyle’s side, resting her head on his chest. Kyle has an arm draped around her shoulders and is gently rubbing his thumb over her arm. They’re both blushing.

    Dick feels something ugly and mean boil in his chest as he hides behind the door again. Who does Kyle think he is, snuggling with Faye? Dick is her snuggle buddy, thank you very much. He’s the one who brings the fluffy green blanket she likes and tucks it down around them so they don’t get cold. He’s the one who she reads to with her smooth, even voice. He’s the one who  gives her all the hugs because Vati and their brothers aren’t very huggy at all.

    Dick doesn’t like this, not one bit.

    He wants to barge in there and tell Kyle to leave, but he can’t do that. If he does, Faye will get mad at him like she did with Tim and Damian. Dick would literally die if Faye was mad at him, let alone if she screamed like she did at their brothers. And he can’t “take care of” Kyle like Damian and Tim tried to, either. He’s not very scary for one, and Kyle has proven to be a tattle-tale.

    Stupid Kyle and his stupid flippy hair and his stupid dimples.

    What Dick needs is a plan. A foolproof plan to get Faye away from Kyle without making her mad. He could bring down one of the chandeliers again? No, the last time he did that he’d gotten a cut on his arm and Vati and Alfred had been very upset with him. If he gets hurt trying to save Faye, he won’t be able to go on patrol with her and who would protect her then? Vati certainly doesn’t see an issue with Kyle.

    He can’t lie either. Anything big enough to get Faye away from Kyle would be found out quick enough. Dick feels tears come to his eyes, he’s so frustrated. 

    Wait a minute.

    Instead of suppressing the tears he encourages them to come freely, thinking up all the sad things he can. But not too sad, otherwise he’ll actually be upset and won’t be able to follow through. He pinches his cheeks to make it look like he’s been crying longer, and peers his head around the door.

    “Faye?” He sniffles. His nose is already clogging up with snot, it really helps sell the act. Faye looks over at him and immediately gets up and pauses the movie when she sees the tears on his face.

    “Dickie, what’s wrong?” She says, kneeling in front of him. Her face is full of concern, her brow has that little wrinkle it always gets when she’s worried. Dick feels a little bad for lying to her.

    “I miss Dami and Timmy.” He doesn’t feel bad enough to not utilize the power of guilt, though.

    “I’m sorry our fight hurt you. Nobody meant to do that.”

    “I know, It’s okay.” He sniffles again and tries to make his eyes big, “I’m just lonely, s’all.”

    “Oh baby, why don’t you watch the movie with me and Kyle? We can keep you company, right?” She turns to look at Kyle, who looks distinctly uncomfortable with the situation.

    Good.

    “Sure, yeah, of course. Little guy can hang with us no problem.” This isn’t what Dick wanted, but he can work with it. After all, if Dick is here to cuddle with, Faye won’t need to cuddle Kyle.

    “Are you sure?”

    Faye presses a kiss to his forehead, “Of course. You can come hang out with me anytime, you know that.” 

    She ushers Dick over to the couch and they get settled, and makes sure to sit between Faye and Kyle. He snuggles into her side as the movie starts up again. He hides a smile by pressing his face into her side.

    Dick 1, Kyle 0.