"Hey! Give it back!" Cass laughed as she did a flip over the couch in her apartment, the universal remote clutched firmly in her grasp. Tim lunged after her, but drew up short with a wince. "Not fair!" Cass grinned.
"Is not! I'm not allowed to…" she rolled her eyes and mouthed the rest of his complaint along with him…it had become rather redundant over the past three days… "do any physical activity for two more days!" He made a face at her antics. She rolled her eyes again, but tossed him the remote. After all, the last few days had been tough…for both of them.
Once they had reached the cave that night, Alfred had quickly set to work on Tim's medical needs. Batman had really wanted to chastise them, but for some unknown reason…though she suspected it had to do with Alfred warning him beforehand…not to mention Tim's unconscious status…he had refrained…for a while. While they had been fighting each other and the water and everything else in the factory, he had defeated Joker (with Nightwing's help, of course), returned him to Arkham, discovered that all the "zombies" had awoken about the time the old cannery had gone up in flames. And, just like Tim, they had all fallen unconscious…again. But reviving them had been only a matter of time and stimulants…not a big deal.
Still, once Tim was fully cognizant again they were both banned from their nighttime activities for three weeks, given extra training sessions and workouts, and basically threatened within an inch of their lives should they ever pull such a stunt again. Though their names were never mentioned, Cass could see the thoughts of Stephanie and Jason running through his mind as he meted out their punishments, so she didn't feel too rebellious about all the restrictions. She knew they had had a very narrow escape…and a little bit of time off could be nice….well, it could…for someone who, unlike her, had a life outside of work.
"Hey, do you have any more popcorn?" Then again…she smiled. She could learn to like having a "life outside of work". Tim had an extra restriction placed on him…his unconscious state and time under the influence of the Joker had left him with a killer migraine. And if one thought Batman was tough when it came to punishment and enforcing edicts, it was nothing compared to Alfred. Tim was under strict orders not to do any strenuous activity for a week. While it was true that he seemed fine, action did seem to exacerbate his headache…meaning Cass could pull stunts like stealing the remote without fear of retribution.
"What? Cass! This is a movie night! You can't have movies without popcorn!" She shrugged casually, hiding her amusement at his dismay.
"I had popcorn. You ate it all." He blinked at her, stumped.
"But…but…you only had one bag!" She laughed, and held out her hand. He looked at it as if it were a foreign object.
"C'mon, c'mon…pay up!" He raised an eyebrow.
"Pay? For what?"
"Pizza." He rolled his eyes. Of course. Ever since he'd come over that first night she seemed to associate pizza with movies…pizza. Not popcorn. Not candy. Pizza. He pulled out some cash and threw it at her in mock irritation. She simply grinned and picked up the scattered bills, heading towards the kitchen, and the phone within it, to place the order.
Tim watched her surreptitiously. Neither of them had spoken of that night. It seemed that she was more than willing to put it behind her. But he had been there! He knew what he had done…what thoughts had been running through one part of his mind even as the other part struggled against them. He had tried to kill her! A far cry from the thoughts he had been thinking back when…well, that was…that…that had just been Dick putting ideas in his head. Right?
"You like olives?" His musings were interrupted by Cass, phone in hand, staring at him inquiringly. He gave a kind of weak smile, cursing, not for the first time, the fact that Cass could know all his thoughts if she wanted to.
"Um, no. Not really. Uhh, pepperoni. Onions. Cheese."
"Ok." She turned away, apparently oblivious to his discomfort. He slouched back on the couch, frustrated. Within a few minutes she returned, carrying a bucket of ice, two glasses, and a two-liter of soda.
"You need any help with…"
"Nope." Ok, so much for that idea. She set them on the table and plopped down on the couch next to him. "Pizza'll be about thirty minutes." He nodded, feeling awkward all of the sudden. Cass reached over to the stack of movies, pulling a few out. "Ok…here, you pick the first one." He took them from her, glancing down.
"Um…Princess Bride? Ever After? Sleeping Beauty?" He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Um…well, I guess I just never figured you for a 'chick flick' type of girl…I mean…well, these are all fairy tales!" She smiled wryly.
"Cinderella?" she countered, reminding him of the movie he'd brought over before. "Never figured you for a 'chick flick' type of guy." He gaped at her for a second. Why was it he constantly forgot her sense of humor? "Besides…I know fairy tales…I read them all!" He grinned at her proud, slightly challenging tone. She sure had read them all...and a stack of books piled on the nightstand next to her bed testified to that accomplishment.
"No, really, what about one of these?" he held up a few action movies he had brought with him and she reached over to examine them. She held one up, a look of disbelief on her face.
"C'mon! A guy with the 'powers' of a spider? What kind of people believe this stuff?"
"Er…well, it's a fictional movie, first of all, so no one 'believes' it…and secondly I am personally acquainted with, as are you, any number of people with stranger powers than that! Why, Beast Boy has the powers of all the animals, let alone just a spider!" She laughed and he rolled his eyes, realizing he'd been had…again. He groaned, and sat back, waving a careless hand in her direction. "Fine, you pick something." She looked through the collection and picked out an action comedy, sliding it into the DVD player.
"Should we wait for the pizza?" She glanced back at him, her hand hovering over the play button. He shrugged, closing his eyes…completely missing the mischievous look she threw at him. "Unless you wanted some…popcorn?" His eyes popped open.
"You said you didn't have any more!"
"I lied." He threw a pillow at her and she ducked, giggling, and threw it back. The scuffle didn't last long…Tim wasn't really supposed to exert himself and the pizza arrived…and soon they were settled back on the couch pizza, popcorn, drinks…and Alfred's homemade cookies spread out around them.
Cass started the movie and leaned back into the soft cushions. She wasn't willing to admit aloud the thoughts that had run through her head while Tim had been unconscious. She peeked out the side of her eye at him. He seemed…tense. She had noticed it all evening. And for once she wasn't sure what it was he was tense about. She hoped it wasn't her fault…maybe he just didn't like being cooped up instead of being Robin. Or maybe he was still having trouble with his dad….or something.
"Hey, pass the pizza, willya?" She complied, silently, still watching him covertly. As she passed him the box, their hands brushed and she was startled to feel a bit of heat stealing into her cheeks. What was more intriguing, though, was that a matching redness was creeping over Tim's face as well! She blinked. Was…was that…? It was! He was feeling tense and awkward for the same reasons she was…or so she thought.
Deciding to test her theory, she leaned back into the couch, relaxing from where she had straightened to reach the food. But this time she settled in a little closer to Tim, earning her a suspicious glance from his direction. Swallowing a smile she rearranged herself, as if the couch were lumpy, managing to squeeze a few more inches off the distance between them.
"Umm, everything ok?" She blinked back at him innocently.
"Of course. Why wouldn't it be?" He shrugged, still eyeing her warily. She stifled a sigh. Maybe she had read him wrong. But as the movie progressed, she noticed that he was taking his own turns shifting…moving closer to her too! As the movie came to a climax she decided it was as good a time as any to be daring. Drawing a steadying breath she slid her hand over towards his…stopping mere millimeters from his hand… not quite daring enough to take hold of it.
He glanced at her, and at their hands, and she noticed a twitch at the corner of his mouth. The little brat! He was laughing at her! Feeling not a little humiliated, and sure she had interpreted everything wrong, she started to pull her hand back, but found that it was stuck…in his hand! She blinked down at their intertwined fingers, surprised at the way such a simple gesture made her feel. She swallowed, suddenly nervous again.
"I…" she wasn't sure what she wanted to say, but surely she couldn't let this moment pass unnoticed!
"Shhh. It's just getting to the good part!" She stared at him for a second, dumbfounded, then smiled. She relaxed, leaning slightly against him. Tomorrow may bring strife again, but tonight….tonight was magic…just like a fairy tale. After all, who said there were no such things as "happily-ever-afters" in real life?
Yes... I know, I know! You all want to come after me with rotten produce, torches, and pitchforks. How could I finish the story without a kiss?Well, just remember what mama said, "you can't hurry love...you just have to wait!" So, be patient...it'll happen!
Thank you everyone who reviewed and read and (hopefully) enjoyed this story! You've all kept me going. Thanks!