Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Since it's almost Halloween and I just finished Robin/Batgirl: Fresh Blood, I thought that every Halloween should come complete with Tim and Cass. Enjoy and R/R.
The wind howls through the dark city streets. This city, Bludhaven, is different from Gotham. It's new and dangerous. The sights and sounds are different and it feels like I'm out of touch with everything. There's no Bruce, no Barbara, no Alfred. It doesn't feel very much like home. I never had a home before Gotham. I never had a family either unless you count my father and I don't really try to. But with Bruce and the others, I had a family. Now here in Bludhaven, all I have is a job. A job and one person, a person who is both my friend and my duty. Bruce told me to watch over Tim. Bruce hates it when I fail. I'm trying my best.
Tonight is Halloween. I never really understood this holiday. I guess it's silly for someone who wears a costume all the time. The idea of pretending to be someone else for a night is pretty silly to someone who does it all the time. And in my case, well, I don't really have anyone else to be besides who I am in the costume. All the others have identities. They have birth certificates saying they're Bruce Wayne or Barbara Gordon or Tim Drake. They have social security numbers that say that too. Uncle . . . Sam? I think that's right. Uncle Sam has files on them. So it's easy for them to take off the mask and be themselves. Not so easy for me. Uncle Sam doesn't have a file on me and the only real identity I have is Batgirl. Sometimes I like it that way, sometimes I don't.
I gave Tim the night off. He whined about it but I intimated . . .? No, that's not right. I . . . what's the word? I threatened to knock out his lights if he didn't do what I told him to. He needs some time off. He's frustrated a lot. I guess I would be too. No, not frustrated. I hate words sometimes. They're never very accurate. Tim's . . . sad. I would be too if someone I loved died. But I've never really had that so I can't say from experience. But I would be depressed if I had someone and they died, I know I would. I'd feel what Tim feels. But no one should have to feel that way and definitely not Tim. He's too kind for that. That's why I told him to take the night off. He hasn't acted like himself lately. It's my job to take care of him, Bruce said so. So I gave him Halloween night off.
As I swing towards his place, I almost . . . reject . . . no, regret giving him the night off. I've heard Babs and Dick and sometimes even Bruce talk about Halloween night. It's the worst for people like us. And like I said, this city is different from Gotham. Criminals here have no fear in them unless Tim or I put it in them. I did a good job of that tonight. At least, I hope I did.
I crouch on a ledge and slide open his window. No one sees; no one ever sees me unless I want them to. And right now, the only person I want to see me is Tim. I could keep patrolling but I want to make sure he's okay. He needs to be okay again. I quietly creep through the window. His apartment is okay, a little bit better than mine. It doesn't really matter much to me though. I'm not used to having a lot of . . . amnesties . . . amities . . . a lot of stuff in the place where I live. I sigh and pull off my cowl, absently setting it on the kitchen table as I unhook my cape and drape it over a chair. I should've brought some other clothes. I'll get some when I go back to my place. I stop at the door to his bedroom and listen. There's the sound of someone turning over. He's asleep, good. I quietly open the door and creep inside. He rolls over again, restless and jumpy. I read his body, read his furrowed brows and restless turning. His body is tense and his face looks full of fear and pain. Another nightmare. Maybe it's the holiday that does it. Halloween, the night when ghosts come out.
"Ssssh, Tim," I whisper as I put a gentle hand on his forehead. I hate seeing him in pain. He used to smile and joke and laugh. Now all he does is hurt. I don't want him to hurt anymore. I'm supposed to take care of him because I'm his friend. I don't want to fail him. I stroke his forehead a little, trying to get him to calm down. In . . . hindsight . . . that probably wasn't smart. Tim suddenly, in panic, grabs my wrist and jerks me towards him. Instinct takes over. I break his grip and apply one of my own, jerking him up to a sitting position and wrenching his arm behind his back. It only takes seconds, I don't even think.
"I'm sorry," I tell him as I ease my grip.
"Cass?" mumbles Tim sleepily as he blinks his eyes, "What time is it?" I let him go and frown. I didn't mean to try and hurt him.
"It was accident," I tell him, "You grabbed my arm so I countered. Sorry."
"It's okay," says Tim, working his shoulder to make sure it's still working, "I . . . I didn't mean to try to hurt you."
"Not your fault," I assure him, "You . . . you were having a bad dream." No more needs to be said. I see that he doesn't want to talk about it.
"It's two in the morning," states Tim as he looks at the clock, "Done with patrol?"
"I came back to . . . make sure you were okay," I explain. It's only part of the reason though. I came back mostly because I like being around Tim. I don't have friends in this city. I like spending time with Tim because it helps ease that loneliness.
"I don't need you to check up on me," reminds Tim.
"I know," I tell him, "I just . . . I was concerned." Once again, I hate words. There's so much more I want to tell him. But I can't make the words come out and I can't make him see like I could if the situation was rehearsed . . . I mean reversed.
"I never really cared about this holiday," confesses Tim, "Now? I think I hate it now. Too many . . . ghosts." I nod sympathetically. God knows I have some demons haunting me. I understand about living with ghosts. I know all too well what it's like.
"Why'd you bench me tonight?" asks Tim as he turns to me. I stare at him and catch what he means. Sleep is torture for him. At least behind the mask and out on the streets he can do something to drive away the demons. But doing nothing is torture for him and I sentenced him to it tonight.
"I didn't . . . I was afraid that you'd be reckless," I try to explain, "And you're always so . . . frustrated. I just wanted to help."
"I understand," he replies. He smiles a little and it helps me think I'm not so stupid for not seeing the whole situation in the first place. I hate it sometimes that I see so much. It hurts to be able to do it.
"I miss Steph," says Tim suddenly. I catch his eyes watering as he says her name. I haven't heard him say it since . . . since Steph left. I haven't said it except once and that was by accident. I still don't know how I should feel about her being dead.
"I see her in my nightmares," continues Tim, "Her and Dad. They . . . they tell me it's my fault and every day I try not to believe them but in the end . . . I do believe it a little more than before." He can't say anymore. He doesn't have to. I know what he can't say.
"It wasn't your fault," I assure him as I place a hand on his shoulder, "Please believe me." I want him to know more. I want to explain to him that sometimes I see the man I killed in my dreams. And some nights, I wake up in a cold sweat and swear to God that my hands are still sticky from his blood. But that's my crime, something that I did, and I should live with it. Tim's never committed any crime; he shouldn't have to feel this.
"I want to," explains Tim as he turns to me, "I want to but I can't because I know that if I wasn't Robin then they wouldn't have died."
"You don't know," I try to explain, "You don't know for sure and you shouldn't . . . you shouldn't . . . shouldn't hit yourself so much because when you do it hurts. It hurts you and it . . . Tim, it hurts me too." I hate my brain for not telling my mouth to work right. I can tell he knows that now I'm the frustrated one.
"I shouldn't beat myself up," corrects Tim. He shifts a little closer to me and touches my cheek. I blush automatically. He hasn't touched a girl like this since . . . Steph. I know, I can tell. But I can also tell he likes this and, honestly, I do too.
"I can't . . . I can't explain," I tell him, "You just . . . you shouldn't do it anymore." My eyes are a little watery. It's weird being able to cry, being able to flinch, being able to be a little weak. It's . . . nice sometimes.
"I know," says Tim as he wipes away a tear from my eye, "I'm sorry. I didn't know it hurt you." I see it in him. He would never want to hurt me. Not just because I'm his partner, not just because I'm his friend. I see what's really there and he doesn't have to explain. Sometimes I wonder if he can see that I feel the same thing. Maybe he will when he's ready. Maybe then I'll help him see that I love him.
"This holiday . . . it's no good," I tell him.
"Actually," replies Tim, "I kinda don't think it's so bad now." He leans over and kisses my cheek. My face turns red and I wonder if he can already see my feelings for him.
"Why's that?" I ask.
"Living with ghosts is hard," explains Tim, "You know that. But it's harder when you live with them alone. You should know that too." I nod and smile.
"Do you mind if I stay here?" I ask.
"No problem," replies Tim with a little smile, "You want me to help you with some reading tomorrow?"
"I'd like that," I reply with a smile as I get up to leave the room, "Will you be okay?"
"As long as you're here, sure," replies Tim with a smile. I love seeing him smile. I love watching him continue to find the bright side even after all that's happened. Bruce teaches me a lot of things but Tim helps teach me that there's always a brighter side.
"Sweet dreams, Tim," I tell him.
"You too, Cass," he replies. I close the door and settle onto his couch. It's Halloween night, the night for ghosts and ghouls. It's a holiday where you can dress up as someone you're not and go out to get lots of candy. But this Halloween, it was something else for me and Tim. Tonight was the night that masks came off. Tonight was a night for us to be Tim and Cass instead of Robin and Batgirl. And tonight was the night that both of us helped each other live with our ghosts. Maybe I'm starting to understand this holiday a little bit more.