Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. This is probably one of my favorite couples in the Batman world. Hopefully, I get it right. R/R either way.
Bored. It wasn't something Cassandra Cain was used to feeling. Her life certainly wasn't a boring one even disregarding the fact that she was now a member of Gotham's bat-family. But as of this moment, perched on a rooftop and cloaked in its shadows while keenly studying the streets of Gotham City below, she was incredibly bored. It wasn't just the fact that there was no activity, at least that of the criminal kind, at the present moment. No, that would be easy to get rid of if it was all that was boring her. There were ways around a dead patrol and she had picked up many habits to occupy herself during the uneventful hours. What was increasingly boring about this patrol, however, was the fact that even though there was a warm body in the form of Robin perched next to her said Robin had been in a silent, sulking, and generally grumpy mood for the past hour. At first, Batgirl had simply ignored him. Now, however, the body signals he was giving off were driving her internal radar crazy.
"Talk," ordered Cassandra suddenly, her voice cutting the silence that had settled over the duo like a suffocating blanket for almost a straight hour. Robin said nothing in response. He didn't even make a motion that he had heard his partner. Tim knew this was probably a mistake. Batgirl wasn't exactly the most patient person when it came to dealing with people. Tim also knew that Cassandra had enough skill to earn a black belt in, at the very least, a hundred different martial arts styles. It didn't take a master detective, or an aspiring one in Robin's case, to deduce that the Boy Wonder had made a huge mistake.
"Talk!" ordered Cassandra, this time with more force. Tim inwardly cringed. He had been brooding through this patrol so far for a reason. True, in the grand scheme of things it wasn't a very good reason but there was a reason at least. He and his current significant other, one Stephanie Brown by name and also known to some as the Spoiler, were in the midst of a small spat. The tension had been building for days and had exploded right before Robin left to meet Batgirl for this oh so eventful patrol. Tim intended to sulk and brood about it until he could come to a sensible solution. What he did not intend, however, was to bring his personal problems to work. Cassandra, on the other hand, seemed to have a different opinion. Tim flicked his eyes in her direction once the venom in her voice became apparent. He could imagine she was starting to send him a death glare under her mask and would make good on the veiled threat if he didn't do some spilling of his guts very quickly.
"About?" asked Tim.
"What wrong," replied Cassandra obviously, "Problem?" It was a question she already knew the answer to. Of course there was a problem. Robin was usually a talker. Very rarely had he ever let the silence of a night patrol drag on for this long without saying at least a word. Cassandra thought it was cute in a way, cute that Tim was the type to make small talk or little, private jokes with her. It made her forget for a few small moments how much of an outsider she felt like sometimes. But tonight, Tim was not Tim and this was cause enough for Cassandra to be concerned.
"I don't wanna talk about it," said Tim plainly, "It's nothing."
"Is not," snorted Cassandra in a tone that said she didn't buy Tim's act for a second, "Is something. Talk."
"It's personal," explained Tim with a dejected sigh. Cassandra was his friend and a good friend at that but there were still things you just didn't want to talk about.
"You want be like Batman, fine," said Batgirl with a shrug. She smiled under her mask, knowing that would get him. If there was one thing Timothy Drake didn't want to be, it was Bruce Wayne. She could already see the irritation her insinuation had brought up in Tim's face.
"Steph and I had a fight," stated Tim. He was not going to whine about this. He was not going to be one of those neurotic saps moping and pining over his girlfriend. He was the Boy Wonder and Boy Wonders didn't whine.
"About?" asked Cassandra, concern slipping into her voice.
"Stupid stuff," said Tim with a sigh, "Apparently Steph and I don't communicate with one another very well." Cassandra nodded sympathetically. If there was one thing she knew that was confusing it was communication.
"Seem fine to me," said Cassandra, "You talk to me all time."
"It's different," explained Tim, "You're not my girlfriend." This made Cassandra's attention perk up. She was not in the habit of having romantic relationships, far from it in fact, but that didn't mean she wasn't curious as to how they worked.
"Explain," urged Cassandra, "What . . . different?" Tim arched an eyebrow and thought about it for a moment. It was vexing, irritating to say the least. It was a problem he couldn't solve. There was something different about talking to someone you loved as opposed to someone you were just friends with. But try as hard as he might, Tim couldn't figure out what exactly that something was.
"I can't explain it," admitted Tim.
"Famous Tim Drake no explain?" asked Cassandra with a little grin under her mask. Tim grinned a little too and shook his head.
"There's always something about talking to someone you're attracted to versus someone you're just friends with," explained Tim. He searched the city streets for some inspiration or perhaps a visual aid.
"See . . . something?" asked Cassandra, slipping back into crime-fighter mode.
"I'm just trying to find an example," explained Tim as he gestured to a couple walking down the street, "Watch them." Cassandra nodded and did so. She studied the couple for a little bit. It was your average first date or the way Cassandra pictured first dates were supposed to be. She watched the man and the woman talk, noticing the awkward pauses and mutual shyness between them. They were young and in love. It made her a little sad for a few moments before she turned back to Tim.
"The pauses," explained Tim, "Neither of them are sure what to say or do. They're afraid of screwing up and it keeps them emotionally distant from one another. That's how it is when you're in love, there's always a wall somewhere." Cassandra nodded silently.
"You talk good with me," said Cassandra, "You not . . . attracted to me?" Tim blushed slightly. He couldn't deny that Cassandra was beautiful and a very attractive girl. But he had a girlfriend and that was the way the world worked.
"You're very pretty," explained Tim, haphazardly trying to come up with something that he hoped wouldn't hurt Cassandra's feelings, "and you're a very good friend. It's just that, well . . . you're not my girlfriend."
"I know," said Cassandra. Tim sighed, not sure whether or not he should tack something else onto his explanation.
"Pretend I am," said Cassandra suddenly. Tim arched an eyebrow and gave her a quizzical expression as she stepped back into a small alcove that was hidden from general view. She motioned for Tim to follow her, peeling her mask off as she did.
"Cass, what're you doing?" asked Tim.
"You talk good with me," explained Cassandra, "Pretend I Steph and talk." Tim grinned slightly, realizing what she was suggesting. But he was also nervous about this, nervous for more than one reason. It wasn't just saying words meant for someone he loved to someone who was just a friend. No, that wasn't the only reason that Robin felt apprehensive about Batgirl's little idea. There was something else there but he couldn't exactly figure out what.
"Well," began Tim, "I'd say. . .." He searched for the words, composing them carefully and slowly. He was a detective and, therefore, methodical about everything. He noticed Cassandra smile at his slight blush. She had a pretty smile.
"I'd say to her, 'Steph, I love you'," began Tim, moving a little closer to Cassandra. He told himself it was for added effect and not because he wanted to be closer to her. Cassandra, however, hoped it was for the exact opposite reason.
"I've always loved you," explained Tim, getting more into character for this little performance, "I know that we've had problems the past few days. But believe me when I say this, Steph, there's nothing that we can't talk about. You know that." He was closer now. He wasn't sure who he should be seeing the girl in front of him as though. Was she Stephanie Brown or Cassandra Cain? Was her hair blond like golden sunlight or dark like a murky shadow? And were her eyes, the eyes he found himself staring endlessly into, blue like a clear sky or a soft and warm shade of brown?
"You can always talk," murmured Cassandra shyly, "Always talk to me." She knew that her guard was slipping as he spoke these words to her, words that she had secretly longed to hear from his lips. She knew she was breaking and she didn't care.
"That's what I'd say," explained Tim as he closed the minute space between them, "I'd tell her she had beautiful eyes too." It was true. Tim found himself getting lost in the depths of her eyes.
"She should hear," replied Cassandra, blushing a little now, "She . . . would like that." She had no clue what to do at this stage. But somewhere inside her she felt like she knew what should happen next. Shouldn't the hero and the damsel kiss now? Wasn't that how it worked on T.V. and in those books Dinah was always reading?
"She might like this too," whispered Tim as he kissed her softly. His rational thought had gone out the window by now. All he could tell himself was that the girl in front of him was someone he loved. Her kiss was hesitant but affectionate. He was gentle with her and she returned in kind. But at some point, an alarm went off in the Boy Wonder's head. Reason started screaming and waving a large, red flag and he broke the kiss. Cassandra stepped back away from him, her cheeks now the color of a very ripe tomato. She turned her head slightly and found an excuse to very intently study the ledge they were standing on.
"Uhm, that wasn't supposed to happen," explained Tim, "I mean it was nice but you and I. . .."
"Kiss is just kiss," replied Cassandra, slipping her mask back on to conceal not only her identity but her blush as well. Tim saw it though and grinned. He had just kissed Cassandra Cain, one of the deadliest girls in the world. Except she wasn't just that to him. She was still a girl and every girl deserved to have someone show her love and affection. Every pretty girl deserved to be kissed at least once in her life.
"Cass?" asked Tim, "You don't. . .? I mean, do you. . .?"
"Kiss is just kiss," snapped Cassandra, a little more indignantly than she meant to. She tried to calm down and dismiss the horde of emotions their impromptu kiss had stirred up. She was embarrassed and slightly angry with Tim for breaking it off so quickly. But most of all, she was in love or at least something akin to it. But now wasn't the time for such things. It wouldn't be right.
"That. . .that was your first, wasn't it?" asked Tim with a smile. Cass said nothing. She merely indicated they should move on and did so, not waiting for him to catch up with her. Tim smiled. He didn't need a verbal confirmation from her, he could always read her signals. He smiled at the irony of it, that it wasn't the person he claimed to love that he could communicate with the best of all. When it came to Stephanie Brown, Tim Drake was clumsy and had a permanent foot in his mouth. But when it came to Cassandra Cain, Tim Drake had very little problem communicating his feelings.