Back And Forth

Tim didn't understand Kon and Bart. And that was…troubling.

To be fair, no matter how good of friends they all were, and no matter how well he knew them, and no matter how close they were, there were still some things he would most likely never understand about his friends. Such as Kon's propensity for eating pineapple on his pizza, something he must have picked up living in Hawaii. Bart's ability to not only eat, but also enjoy pretty much any fried food – including Gar's tofu and every Tamaranian dish that Kory made. Kon's hobby of drawing – in crayon. Bart's habit of playing half a dozen video games at the same time. Etcetera, etcetera, so on and so forth.

There were many things about Kon and Bart that Tim never had understood and might never understand. But until now, those things had never included what Kon and Bart were saying. English was English, no matter Kon's outdated slang or Bart's 30th Century swear words.

Ever since Kon had come back from his sojourn to the future to help out the Legion of Superheroes, he and Bart had been hanging out a lot, and talking to each other in Interlac. It wasn't that either of them was actively avoiding Tim, but he was feeling…well…kind of left out. They shared something he couldn't partake in. While Tim was fluent in four languages, with enough knowledge to fake it in at least as many more, Interlac wouldn't even be invented for over seven hundred years.

That didn't mean that he was just going to give up trying to figure Kon and Bart out. Computerized translation programs were invented for just such situations.

It took almost two months for Oracle's translation program to decode enough of the Interlac language in order for Tim to start learning it. It took only two weeks before Tim was adept enough in the language that he felt he could start eavesdropping on his friends and pick up the gist of what they were saying.

Well, it wasn't really eavesdropping, per se. Whenever all three of them ended up in the same room together, Kon and Bart would go on talking as if they weren't bothered by Tim's presence. Just because they didn't think he could understand them.

Well, he could now. And Kon and Bart's unawareness of that fact was going to play right into his plan.

The first time Tim listened in on Kon and Bart, all he could pick up was that they were arguing over Nightwing. Apparently they were divided on some issue concerning his clothing choices.

Tim had often wondered what it was about Dick that his first try at any uniform pretty much sucked. But he still had no idea what Kon and Bart were talking about.

Another week's worth of studying Interlac at night, thanks to some uneventful patrols and a light load of homework, and Tim felt that his second try at recon would go better. He was right. Not only did he understand more of their words, but the content of their conversation proved more fruitful. They appeared to be comparing notes about the relative merits of the people they knew.

Tim focused on translating their talk, trying to drown out the little voice that kept coming up with his responses to the questions.

"So, who's the smartest person you know?" Kon asked, swigging down a large gulp of his root beer, and then letting out a restrained belch.

"Other than Brainy, you mean?" Bart asked, downing half a pack of Double Stuf Oreos.

Kon shook his head. "Wouldn't be fair. He's…they all have twelve…"

Tim's knowledge of the members of the Legion of Superheroes filled in the blanks. Brainiac 5 was Coluan, and all Coluans had twelfth-level intellects, which was twice that of Earth natives.

Bart nodded, then said something that Tim couldn't interpret. Kon laughed, and agreed with him, and in the reflection of his computer screen, Tim could see them both look his way. He decided then that they both agreed he was…

The smartest person they knew? Tim felt his face heat at the unintended compliment, and he almost missed what was said next.

"What about the…person?" Bart asked, waggling his eyebrows playfully. Tim frowned, sensing that the word he'd missed was exceedingly important. He filed it away for later translation, cursing the fact that his laptop didn't have enough room for the language encryption program.

Kon, however unintentionally, filled in the gap for him. His grin was almost a leer as he said, "Well, you know who I think the best looking guy is…"

"Yeah, yourself," Bart quipped with a grin.

Punching Bart in the shoulder, Kon took another swallow of his root beer. "Seriously, man. We're on this again? You know he'd never go for it."

Tim found his interest piqued. Kon and Bart appeared to be discussing the attractiveness of one of their male friends. He could have made a wrongful deduction, but…

"We don't know that," Bart objected petulantly. "Just because he's had…doesn't mean he wouldn't…"

Tim's mind worked overtime, and came up with: Just because he's had girlfriends, doesn't mean he wouldn't want a boyfriend. But which of them wanted to date this mystery guy?

Kon snorted, and shifted on the couch to face Bart. "A…is the operative word there, Bart. One guy. Not two."

Apparently, both. Tim found himself more than slightly stunned, and his cover of typing at his laptop was almost blown as his faux clicking of the keys slowed down.

The next few weeks proved interesting, and Tim shadowed Kon and Bart, listening intently for any information on this mystery guy they both wanted. He found out quite a few interesting things – including that despite having made out a lot, Kon and Bart hadn't had sex with each other yet. Surprisingly, it was Bart who didn't want to wait, and Kon who didn't think he and Bart should have sex without the unknown guy – but he was unable to translate the guy's name. Entering it phonetically into the encryption program he'd created specifically for deciphering Interlac didn't get him anywhere. Proper names were beyond twenty-first century translation software.

Tim told himself that he was being even more of a creepy stalker than usual, but couldn't make himself stop. Not even reminding himself that he had made a point in the past of staying out of his teammate's love lives for a reason could get him to stop. Finally, he made himself meditate for an entire afternoon until he ferreted out the source of his fixation on his friends.

He was surprised, but it wasn't exactly an unexpected answer: he wanted to know if he was the mystery guy Kon and Bart liked. Why he wanted to know, he didn't let himself think about.

Over the next few weeks of covert observation of his two teammates, Tim kept going back and forth between thinking that Kon and Bart were talking about him, and thinking that they couldn't possibly have been referring to him. Then he accidentally overhead them talking in Bart's room one night during his nightly patrol of the grounds, and learned that they absolutely, positively were talking about and referring to him as their prospective boyfriend.

Tim understood Kon and Bart a great deal more now than he had previously, but that didn't mean that he knew what to do about it. He thought about asking for advice, but from whom? Bruce was more of a mask than Brucie Wayne, playboy billionaire, and Batman had a rather dangerous relationship with the newly-reformed Catwoman. Dick had never been able to make things work with Barbara, and he refused to try and make things work with Kory. He couldn't talk to his father about this, though considering how much Dana liked Bernard, he could possibly have talked to her about his problem if it was only one guy in question.

Cass had never dated anyone, his relationship with Steph was…tenuous…after her pregnancy, and Cassie was still smarting over her break-up with Kon, so that exhausted the number of people he would have been willing to talk to.

It appeared that Tim would have to solve this problem on his own.

However, it wasn't until two weeks later, when Tim spied on the two of them one night during one of their planning sessions (for getting him to agree to a threesome, natch), that he actually made any headway on figuring out his own feelings on the matter.

Kon and Bart spent almost half an hour detailing what they thought were good reasons for a threesome, and debating on which ones might actually convince him. Tim was pleasantly surprised to discover that they both knew him rather well; while some of the reasons they put in the positive column weren't convincing, he agreed with the reasoning behind discarding almost all the ones that went in the negative column.

Tim did, actually, think that lots of sex with people he cared about was a pretty good reason. There was also the lack of pregnancy possibilities that went with it, which, considering what he'd gone through during Steph's pregnancy, he had to admit was a rather nice draw.

And he wouldn't have been spending so much time trying to figure out his own feelings about Kon and Bart, if he didn't actually want them.

It seemed his libido had decided for him, since his brain had decided to abstain from any higher thought. Well, at least he finally knew how he felt. Now all he had to do was reach a decision regarding what to do about those feelings.

The decision, however, was taken out of his hands – by Kon and Bart. The two of them had, apparently, reached a decision about what might sway Tim to their proposal, and had searched him out.

Before either of them could broach the subject beyond, "Hi, Tim!" he spoke up.

"Do you really think we could work?" Tim asked in Interlac, both hoping that his accent was right, and that Bart and Kon hadn't just been playing a joke on him. "All three of us, together?"

Kon's shocked look was only surpassed by his gape-mouthed expression. Bart's golden eyes widened to almost comic proportions, then a beat later he was grinning and glomping Tim like there was no tomorrow. Kon, having shaken off his stupor, was doing the same, albeit a more restrained version.

"We really really really do!" Bart said ecstatically as he hugged Tim tightly.

"Ditto," Kon seconded, and then swooped in to capture Tim's lips in a long, hot, wet kiss. He pulled back just as Tim was starting to gasp for air, only for Bart to swoop in and claim his lips seconds later. Once Bart was finished kissing him, Kon started again, and the two of them continued to trade Tim's mouth back and forth for long enough that Tim's internal clock sprang a sprocket.

Finally, Kon and Bart released his lips, though not the rest of him, and Tim was left reeling from the events of the past…however long. He was breathless from the kisses and touches, his knees were weak, and he was more than a little aroused. But while most of him was delirious with joy, the rest of him was unsure. "You seem so sure it will work between us," Tim said, still worried. He'd never been that sure about anything. They were his best friends, and even though it felt better than anything to be with them, there was no guarantee they'd be able to stay together.

But it would be great while it lasted.

"Dude, of course it will," Kon said, voicing all their thoughts. "We're too good of friends for it not to."

Bart nodded frantically in agreement. "We won't let it not work," he stated firmly.

And, well, Tim could have come with several arguments against their logic, but…he really didn't want to.

He wanted to get back to kissing the both of them.