Laughter is the Best Medicine
Issue #1 – Being More Timmy Than Usual
11:12 AM, to be precise.
It's sunny day in a nice part of San Francisco. Across the street from Kelly's Outdoor Café, there is a bank. And in the bank's parking lot are three boys who seem out of place wherever they go. One of them, by far the smallest of the three, has brown hair and a baggy t-shirt which reads NoFX: War on Errorism. He moves—a lot—but at the moment is focused on doing skateboard tricks across the parking lot's architecture, but occasionally he'll go to the other boys. He'll talk for a few moments, fidgeting like it hurts to stand still, then goes back to skating.
The tallest boy has black hair, cut close to his head. He wipes his glasses on the bottom of his flannel shirt then twirls them around his fingers like a small baton. He plays with them more than he wears them, but his vision seems unaffected. He almost seems to glide as he walks around the bench, occasionally glancing across the street, pausing like he's heard something a great distance away.
The third boy is about average height for a kid his age. He has black hair and a plain grey button-down shirt which makes him blend in with the crowd. He sits on the bench, hands clasped, not picking at them, just staring off into the distance. When spoken to, he smiles. When he senses the other two boys near, he'll speak. Occasionally, he might even crack a joke. But as soon as their backs turn, his smile falls. He seems like the most average, the most normal out of them. In a lot of ways, that makes him feel the most like an outsider.
His name is Tim.
"Conner," Bart called. "Come over here. I want to see if you can ollie over this speed bump."
"No way," Conner replied. "I'm not going to do another 540 assplant for your amusement."
One moment, Bart Allan was in the middle of the parking lot. Conner Kent blinked, and suddenly Bart was standing beside him, holding the skateboard, and grinning. "But it's sooo funny. I mean, maybe not to you, but it brings so much joy to our lives, right, Tim? There's just something about Superboy being super-ungraceful."
"I'm not supposed to be graceful. I'm supposed to fly faster than speeding bullet and stop trains, or something like that. Robins, now they're graceful. Why don't you ever bug Tim about skating?"
"Heeey, you're right! Tim, you've never been on the board before. What don't you hop on and give a shot? I bet you're a natural."
Tim shook his head.
"Come on," Bart said, appearing next to the bench. "I promise I won't laugh." A grin. "Not too hard, anyway." He pulled his fist back to give Tim a gentle punch in the shoulder.
But Tim caught it. Tim's eyes met his. "Don't."
"Geeze, it wasn't like I was going to deck you," Bart said, yanking his fist away. "I was just going to give you a love tap. You know, as a sign of fraternal affection. Like we're friends or something."
"Fine. Do you at least want to skate?"
"Why does it matter so much if I get on a piece of wood stapled to wheels?"
"You know, I don't know! Maybe because you're my friend, and sometimes friends like to do things together. Like introduce their friends to things they've never done before because it might be fun or at least an interesting experience." Bart clutched his skateboard under his arm and stomped a few steps away. "God!"
"Bart, calm down," Conner said.
"No way, not with the way Captain Moodswing the Boy Bipolar Disorder has been acting lately. All day he's done nothing but cut me down. Like when we were at the music store, and I said we should start a folk-punk band, and Tim was like, 'That's dumb.' Well, duh, that's the point. I was being facetious. All day, any time I try to lighten the mood, he's too busy sulking to smile."
"Bart, he just has a lot on his mind."
"I know! I realize that. And I'm trying to do my part and help him take his mind off it. But instead of letting me or politely saying, 'Thanks, Bart, but I'd really like to be left alone right now' he acts like a jerk! He won't let us be his friends because he's too busy treating us like punching bags and taking things out on us! It's no wonder he fixates over not becoming Batman so much. The guy obviously learned how to shut people out from the best too."
Bart sighed. "I'm going to go find Beast Boy. See you at the tower." And then he was gone, papers rustling where he had just been.
Conner looked at Tim who sat on the bench not moving. Not reacting at all to what Bart had just said. "I'm sure he didn't mean that," Conner said. "He's just overreacting."
Conner sat down beside him. "You have been difficult to put up with lately, though."
Across the street, a man walked down the sidewalk clutching a small boy's hand. The boy gave the man's sleeve a tug, and he stooped down to scoop the boy up. He held him close for a moment then placed the boy on his shoulders.
"Does it have to do with your dad, Tim?"
Tim looked at Conner's face. Conner really was concerned about him.
"Partly," Tim muttered.
"Whatever it is, you know you can always talk to me about it. You know my big secrets. I may as well know yours."
Just then, a pair of slender arms slid over Conner's shoulders. The wrists crossed over his chest, and they pulled him back against the bench. A soft face pressed against his, and then lips brushed his neck. "Hey, boys," Cassie said. "How are you guys?"
"Fine," Tim said.
"And how are you doing?" Conner asked. He wrapped his arms around Cassie's waist, and he pulled her onto his lap.
She laughed. "I can't complain." She patted him on the chest, and then Tim watched as their faces moved towards one another, their lips growing closer. It seemed to move in slow motion, an eternity spent with their mouths hovering over each other.
"I think I'm going to go," Tim muttered. He stood up from the bench.
"Wait! Hey! Where are you going?" Conner asked.
Tim shrugged. "I'll see you at the tower." Then he started walking down the street.
"So I take it he's still being…whatever he's being?" Cassie asked.
Conner nodded. "Yeah, and whatever he's being…he's being a lot of it."