Cassie had never meant to eavesdrop on Tim and Kon. But Kon had only been back for a few weeks, and she knew now, with a visceral awareness that she'd never had before, just what it was like to live without him.
And she didn't want to ever do it again.
So even when he wasn't with her, she kept track of him. Kept tabs on his whereabouts. Obsessively stalked his every move, like she was in training to become a member of the Batclan.
It wasn't a particularly healthy coping mechanism, but it was coping, and she figured that that was the important part.
In the past few weeks, Cassie had watched Kon having a tearful reunion with more than one of their friends. It shouldn't have come as any surprise that eventually those reunions would happen with all of the Titans, past and present.
But somehow, she'd never expected Tim to give into his feelings with Kon more than he did when Kon came back. Covered in blood, sweat and tears as he limped out of that bright shining light, Kon was the most beautiful sight she'd ever seen, and she'd been so shocked – so happy, but still shocked by the vision of her dream come true – that Tim had gotten to him first. Tim, sloughing off the stoic mantel of Robin for the first time since Kon left, had run towards him, and thrown his arms around Kon in a tight, hard hug that Kon must have actually felt through the tatters of his shirt and his fading aura, as he smiled and whispered, "I'm so glad you're okay."
That was more emotion than she'd ever seen a Bat show. Until now.
Now, Tim looked… Cassie didn't know. There were so many different emotions showing on his face, and she couldn't even name all of them. So she listened, knowing it was wrong, but unable to stop. She hadn't been the same while Kon was gone, but Tim, Tim had just…all-but-disappeared. Noting but Robin had been left.
And she wanted to know why. Why had Tim left her, too?
Maybe by listening to them, she'd find out. So thinking, Cassie molded herself to the wall, and carefully peeked around the corner at the not-so-hidden tableau between her boyfriend and his best friend.
"Tim, you… What's going on with you?" Kon asked, clearly frustrated. When he'd come back, his hair had desperately needed to be cut, and he hadn't had it done yet. But looking at him, one could tell that he'd run his hands through it quite a bit. "You've been acting…weird."
Tim's laugh was hollow, as if he was choking on broken glass. "You…you died, Kon." And even from ten yards away, Cassie could hear the flinch in his voice as he said it. "I think I have the right to act a little…weird."
"Yeah, but…" Kon swallowed, cheeks pink and eyes sad. "I remember the way your eyes looked when I got back. You weren't hiding anything then. Now…you're hiding everything." He reached out with one hand and turned Tim to face him. "You never used to hide from me, man." His other hand reached up and slipped Robin's mask from his face.
Tim tensed in Kon's grip and Cassie thought she saw a shimmer of tears in his newly-revealed eyes. "I…I'm just so glad to have you back, Kon," he said, and while that was so true it could be obvious to a blind man, it was also just another diversion, Robin-style. "I…I missed you…"
"Yeah, me too, man," Kon said, and his voice was thick with emotion, and so soft, just like it was when he talked to her late at night, sharing secrets in the dark. Cassie wondered if it was the same tone he took when sharing secrets with Tim, the ones she only found out second. "But…I mean, if you're glad to have me back, then why are you avoiding me?"
And Cassie's breath caught in her throat at the realization that Kon's words were true. Tim should have been the first person Kon talked to once he was back – first person other than her – but Tim, or even Robin, had been noticeably absent of late.
Tim swallowed, eyes flicking towards Kon and away again, and he continued talking as if he'd never stopped. "I missed you so much, and I didn't know if you'd… I've lost so many people, and none of them have come back." His eyes squeezed shut on the pain. "No matter how much I–" He cut himself off, wrenching out of Kon's suddenly lax grip.
The way Tim looked, so sad and hurt and yearning and full of crushed hopes and shattered dreams… Cassie thought she recognized that feeling…from the inside. She'd missed Kon so much that it felt like a part of her had died.
Maybe of a part of Tim had.
"But I did come back," Kon said softly. Robin was suddenly moving back towards him, and Cassie realized that Kon was using his TTK to bring Tim closer to him. Kon tried to hug Tim, but Tim wasn't letting himself be hugged. Tim ended up sort of huddled next to Kon, on his right, with Kon's arm half-circling his waist.
"You did, but…" Tim…he didn't break down, not exactly, but he was letting the tears fall, and his feelings show, and maybe it was a Bat-like break down. It hurt to watch, to listen to, to feel from across the room, but at the same time Cassie could only be glad that Tim was finally letting at least one of his self-inflicted emotional wounds heal. "But you're here, and I'm so glad, but I don't have you, not really, and I want–" He choked himself off, eyes flying wide open in a panic as he wrenched himself away from Kon's arms, only to huddle in a miserable mass in the middle of the hallway.
And Cassie could feel realization dawn over her own eyes, like a pair of gray-colored glasses, making her see things – everything – in a new light.
Kon wasn't the brightest crayon in the Teen Titans box – that was Robin, or possibly Cyborg, if one made allowances for his computerized brain – but he was a genius when it came to people, and he knew Tim better than anyone else, so it didn't take more than a few heartbeats for him to get it. Cassie could see awareness light in his eyes even as tears clouded her own. Who she was crying for, she couldn't tell. Maybe all of them, battered, broken, scarred survivors that they were.
Kon shook his head slowly, clearly befuddled. "I…Tim, I…" He swallowed, hard, giving Tim a helpless look. "I never knew. If I had, I…" He trailed off, either unable to find the words, or unwilling to say them aloud.
Robin's eyes were sad and his voice was bleak as he said, "You love Cassie, Kon." And she'd never heard Tim sound so sure, so miserable, and so…not angry, just…like he wanted what he thought he could never have.
He did, didn't he? He wanted Kon, and…
"Yes, but I…" Kon floundered for the words, and Cassie knew it wasn't because he didn't know the right ones. They'd just change everything. Even more.
…and Kon wanted Tim, Cassie suddenly realized.
And Cassie was so afraid that if she let them slip away from each other that none of them would ever be happy again, and that future they'd seen would come true. When Kon had first told her he loved her… She'd been almost unable to believe him. She'd had a crush on him for so long, a crush that finally mutated into a strong friendship and an even stronger attraction. She'd given up hope that he'd ever see her in the same light, and when he did…
Kon was everything she'd ever wanted, even after she'd matured enough to realize that there was more to love than a pretty face and romantic words. He was gorgeous and famous, but he was also smart and kind, not weirded out by her super powers – hell, he had them all, just minus the lasso and Greek myths – and he was Kon. He was her friend, from way back in their Young Justice days when she'd still been wearing Donna's old wig and those damn bike shorts, and he'd had that silly-looking facial hair and those kinky-looking leather straps on his thighs.
They had something indefinable that no one outside of the team had, which she knew in her heart, but was impossible to explain.
No one outside of the team, and it hit Cassie, with a sudden, visceral awareness, why she wasn't angry, or even upset, about Tim loving Kon. Because…it was right. Kon had always been caught between the two of them; Tim as his best friend, Cassie as his girlfriend. Drawn to both of them, for different things, but stemming from the same feelings. The same…love. He'd just never let it become anything more with Tim out of respect for her. But if they hadn't been together when Kon figured out how much he loved Tim…
Tim probably would have stepped aside for her. He was so…self-sacrificing. And she had already lost too much, she wasn't going to let him let go. They'd all sacrificed too much. They all deserved to be happy, no matter how weird the solution.
And Cassie thought that, if given half a chance…she could feel the same way about Tim as Kon did. Before that moment, Cassie had never given any thought to sharing Kon, with anyone. But would it really be so bad to share him with someone who loved him as much as she did? With Tim, one of her best friends, who'd lost so much and so many, and held onto everything and everyone left with the same fierceness she did? Someone who, even though he'd avoided everyone when Kon was gone, had still kept an eye out for her, letting her know that there was still hope for Kon's return in his own inscrutable Robin ways.
No. It wouldn't be bad. But it still wouldn't be easy. That was okay; nothing worthwhile in her life ever had been. So Cassie stepped around the corner and spoke up. "But he loves you, too."
They both swung around to face her and the expressions on their faces would have been comical, if not for the fact that they were both so clearly afraid. Of her, of themselves…of their feelings for each other.
But mostly the latter.
"And I've missed you, too," she said, and something inside her softened as she watched Tim flinch. "Both of you."
Tim turned confused, scared eyes on her, even as he backed way like a frightened bird faced with a cat. "What?"
She spoke to Kon, but for Tim as she said, "He wasn't the same with you gone. There wasn't anything left except for Robin. And as much as I missed you, I missed having a friend to miss you with more." Because sharing grief made it hurt less, but Tim…refused to let himself feel the hurt, let alone share it with anyone. And Robin didn't feel anything.
And now she knew why no one but Tim missed Kon as much she had. It made so much sense, she couldn't understand why she hadn't seen it before.
Tim visibly swallowed, and turned tear-laden eyes away from her. "I'm…sorry. I shouldn't have…"
"You shouldn't have hidden your feelings," Cassie interrupted. "From either of us. Nothing good can come from that." Her breath hitched as she remembered instances over the past four years; every time she and Kon would take their relationship one step forward, it would be forcibly shoved back one hundred.
If Tim had been there, by their sides… Maybe they could have pushed back.
"Nothing has," Cassie stated, tears pricking at her eyes.
"What do you want me to do?" Tim asked, voice low. Low and sad and hurting, and Cassie knew that if she asked – if she demanded; that's how he'd see it – for Tim to leave her boyfriend alone, he'd do it. And Kon would accept it. And neither of them would be happy, and they'd grow to hate her, just as she grew to hate them for putting her in that position of making them choose.
But where was it written that they had to choose? Or, at least that they only had that one choice. "What do you want to do?" Cassie countered.
Pained blue eyes flicked up to lock with hers for an endless moment, before lowering once more. "It isn't my choice, and I won't ask Kon–"
"It's all our choices," Cassie interrupted. She looked at Kon, who flushed as he returned her steady gaze, even as it was clear he wanted to look to Tim. Her eyes broke away to stare at Tim. "And you shouldn't ask," she agreed, then, before his face could fall, finished, "for anything you aren't willing to give."
Tim visibly started, and Kon looked shocked. Their eyes flicked back and forth, meeting every other glance, and it was painfully obvious to her that both Tim and Kon thought they must have misheard her. It wasn't something that anyone of them would joke about.
"Cassie, I…" Kon said, at a loss.
"You want us both," Cassie finished for him. "Right?" At his nod, she turned briskly to Tim. "Are you willing to share? Share Kon with me," she explicated, when Tim seemed frozen with indecision.
Tim swallowed hard, and nodded slightly, eyes focused on Kon, before he turned back to her. And, because he was such a nice guy that he bordered on selfless – more like self-sacrificing – he tried to give her one last out. "But you don't have to…"
"Yes, I do," Cassie said, because she did. Maybe there was another solution to their little love triangle, but she really didn't think so. Obviously Robin, the World's Second Greatest Detective, didn't either, or he would have offered it.
There wasn't anything she could, but hope. Hope that this would turn out okay.
Her mother would never understand. Superpowers given to her by Zeus, who turned out to be her father, and her whole superhero career being predestined… All of that Helena Sandsmark had handled okay, if not with her usual polished aplomb.
But her daughter dating both Superboy and Robin? No way.
And the degree to which Cassie did not care was really indescribably vast. She was so tired of trying to do the right thing and sacrificing her happiness for it. They weren't living a fairy tale, but there was no reason they couldn't have a happy ending.
With that in mind, Cassie reached out and wrapped her arms around them both, one half-hug for each of them. She glared at Kon pointedly, until he got the idea and hesitantly hugged Tim. Tim, at least, needed no more encouragement; he sort of sagged in their dual grip and just let himself be hugged, which meant even more coming from Robin than if he had hugged them back.
It was…nice. Really nice. Cassie thought that she could get used to it. Which was a good thing, because Kon appeared to really like it, and Tim was practically wallowing (well, for him) in the group hug they had going, soaking up the contact like he was starving for it. Which, well, he probably was.
"You realize this is going to be weird, right? All three of us…together?" Tim finally roused himself from his reverie to ask. Cassie didn't know if he hesitated on that last word because he still couldn't make himself believe or because he didn't know if he and her would ever be anything more to each other than Kon's 'other person.'
Cassie didn't know, either, but she'd be willing to find out.
"Dude, everything about our lives is weird," Kon joked feebly, squeezing the both of them tighter. "At least this way we'll get a chance to be happy before things get fucked up. Again."
"We won't let them get fucked up," Cassie swore, and then pressed a kiss to Kon's lips, before turning to do the same to Tim.
They could do anything…as long as they were together.