Language All Their Own


He had no idea what his father had been thinking. Possible he hadn't – Joey didn't know what had happened to the souls of Azarath after his soul had finally been released from its bondage

It made him sick to his stomach to think his own freedom might have come at the cost of his father's sanity. Joey could not countenance the thought that he might have sentenced him to such torture. There wasn't anything he could do for his father, though – neither he nor Rose knew how to reach him – but the new Batgirl…

Joey couldn't believe that things had changed so much that Dick would take Rose under his wing, but not do a thing for his own sister after Batman had thrown her away as tainted goods.

Cass had been under the sway of the serum. Her actions were not her fault. But after being refused by Batman, she didn't even believe it herself anymore. Didn't believe she deserved help.

She wanted it, however, and that was how Joey found her lurking around outside the Tower. She'd been sleeping in Kory's garden, and looked more than a little tattered around the edges. It took Joey a week to convince her to come inside. When she did, she wouldn't leave his room.

"They wouldn't…understand. But you do," she told him, eyes red, but not teary. She'd cried herself out the night before, in his arms.

Joey didn't mind. It was odd having a roommate, but Cass was…different. In a good way. Cass didn't know sign language, but she could understand him anyway. She'd said her father had taught her to fight by reading body language.

She was a fantastic fighter, but Joey was the first to tell her that she was a good conversationalist. Blushing, she said, "I only learned to talk a year ago."

Joey shook his head: Doesn't matter.

"Not to you," Cass agreed, with the implicit argument that it mattered to everyone else.

It was surreal for Joey, to have someone talk to him without him even needing to 'speak.' The other Titans, his Titans, knew sign language, but Kory had been the only one fluent in it, for obvious reasons.

It was almost like being able to talk again.

Of course, Joey nearly 'talked' himself blue in the face trying to convince Cass to let him let the others know she was there. They could talk for hours about books they'd liked and movies they hadn't, art, fighting styles, their favorite foods…but anytime the conversation strayed to her revealing herself to the other Titans, Cass clammed up. She seemed content to stay in his room most of the day, reading books Joey took her from the Tower library, and brooding. The decision was taken out of her hands once Rose showed up one night and revealed that she'd known almost from the beginning.

"I'm getting tired of you avoiding me, Bat-Brat," she teased, hands on her hips. "Robin sulks too much to give me a good spar."

Cass must have read something more into Rose's words – or else she just really wanted to fight – because she said, "I can still kick your ass."

Rose smirked. "I've learn some new moves."

Joey got elected to be the 'lookout' in the gym so no one would find out Cass was there. He observed as the two young women moved together, and saw how Cass could fight, her body saying things that he could understand. Only him, however; not even Rose could see her as clearly.

Joey didn't mind keeping her hidden – he actually kind of enjoyed having such a wonderful secret – but Cass needed people. She was just sort of drifting through her life; she needed to start living it.

And Joey knew Robin had missed her fiercely. Of course, Cass wouldn't believe that when Robin had found out about the mind-control, he hadn't blamed her for almost killing him. "I should have known," he'd said, and it was clear he blamed himself for not helping her sooner.

It had taken Joey a bit to realize his Titans didn't blame him for the same thing. Though when the new Flash visited, the one who used to be Impulse, he did act a bit wary around him. Until Joey apologized, and then he relaxed; Bart appeared to be more forgiving than Wally ever had been.

Joey thought perhaps offering an apology for her actions would make Cass feel better. But: "Sorry isn't good enough," Cass had told him, and wouldn't listen when Joey told her that she didn't even need to apologize, for anyone but herself.

For months, Cass wouldn't talk to anyone but the Wilson children. Ironic, considering it was their father that had caused her world to tumble around her ears. Then again, he'd done it to all of them.

But one day Joey noticed that Cass had started to build a life for herself. She came in one morning with Robin, to breakfast in the Towers' kitchen. The explanations lasted so long that breakfast became brunch, but in the end, despite Wonder Girl's uneasy acquiescence, she became a Titan.

As a Titan, she technically got her own room – at one point, Dick and Kory had shared a room, and apparently Gar and Raven had for a time, as well – but for some reason, she still wanted to stay in Joey's room.

He walked in that evening to find her sitting on his bed, wearing one of his shirts, as she often did to sleep in. She looked at him, half-hesitant, half-hopeful, and placed one hand over her heart, middle and third fingers folded over. "I feel the same way," she said.

Joey's shock must have shown in his body, but also his acceptance, because she rose with a smile on her face, and kissed him, not seeming to mind when it took him a moment to gather his wits enough to kiss her back.

Apparently, she'd seen the feelings in him long before he himself had realized they were there.

Love was something anyone could find, if they tried hard enough, but for Joseph Wilson and Cassandra Cain, they made it a language all their own.


THE END