Hey guys! Here's Chapter two! I'm sorry if characterization is off... I'm not too familiar with either character. I only know of Robin through YJ and Oracle through Batgirl. Hope you guys enjoy! I really would love to receive any reviews or feedback you guys could give! Thanks to all those who already have reviewed! I really appreciated them!

Gotham City, 10:00 pm

The sounds of the evening traffic filtered into her apartment, a mix of horns and engines combining to form a noisy, but strangely soothing, blend. Miscellaneous other sounds seeped in as well; a gunshot here, a bird's cry there; an argument here, a train roaring by there; whistling here, whistling there... The night air was filled with the sounds of a city that never sleeps.

Deep in the heart of the city, the Gotham City Clock-Tower gave evidence that, it too, would not sleep. From the smooth ticking of the main clock to the hum of electricity coursing through its walls, the Clock Tower was teeming with the sounds of energy; the sounds of life.

All of these sounds were lost on the solitary figure sitting before a vast computer array.

One slim hand reached up to brush an errant lock of fiery red hair out of her eyes. She tucked it behind her ear annoyed as she adjusted the silver-framed glasses resting on her face with one slender finger.

Barbara Gordon was not happy.

"What do I want?" She screamed into her comm.-link. "What do I WANT? I want you to show some FUCKING consideration for once in your life!"

She slammed a clenched fist onto her wheelchair's armrest.

"Don't tell me you're trying you jerk! How dare you even try to say that!"

Her eyes widened.

"How dare I? HOW DARE I? What gives YOU the right to even TRY to criticize me after all you've done? What makes you think that I..."

She winced.

"OH NO, DON'T YOU TELL ME TO SHUT UP! Why do I what? C'mon boy blunder, why do I what?"

Her eyes widened again.

"What do you mean you can't do this now? You can and you WILL! Can't stand it? CAN'T STAND IT? Well you're not the ONLY one who can't buster!"

Her eyes narrowed in frustration.

"No we are NOT going to do this later! You are going to LISTEN to me now or I'll..."

"No we are not doing this later, goddamnit... WHAT?!? No... who the hell do YOU think you are? WHAT? WHY YOU..."

She winced a little as he screamed into her ear and disconnected the link. She removed the com-link from her ear and stared at it in disbelief.

"Why that little... He cut me off... HE CUT ME OFF!"

She threw the earpiece across the room.

"Goddamnit! Where the hell does he get off doing that to me!"

The earpiece landed with a satisfying crash.

"No matter what I do," she said as she angrily pulled out the drawer at her desk, " He never wants to LISTEN to me!"

She dug around for a while before finding her spare earpiece. She hastily placed it in position.

"How does he expect me to go on like this? Why can't he understand what I need?" She muttered angrily. "I wish that, just once, he would..."

She narrowed her eyes as she saw a red light flash on her computer. Angrily, she stabbed at a button beside it.

"What?" She barked.

"Whoa there," a pleasant masculine voice spoke into her ear. "You better switch to decaf, dude!"

She gave an angry sigh. "Make it QUICK Lantern! I'm NOT in the mood."

"Well!" He scoffed in mock indignation. "If you're gonna be THAT way, maybe I won't..."

"I don't have time for your usual games Lantern! Either ask something important or LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!"

She could feel her anger seething inside her.

"Whoa... look, are you ok?" She could hear the concern in his voice. She chose to ignore it.

"WHAT DO YOU WANT ALREADY?"

"Okay, okay! I'm kinda fighting Dr. Chemical Disaster right now, and I wanted to know the chemical composition of certain eleme..."

"LOOK IT UP IN THE GODDAMN ENCYCLOPEDIA YOU IDIOT!" She angrily severed the link.

She sat and frowned at her computer screen.

"I guess I shouldn't have done that..." she mumbled. She briefly considered putting Lantern on the line again, but she figured that he wouldn't be too appreciative at that moment. "I guess I can apologize later..."

She looked out the window.

"Well, it's Dick's fault!" She said. "If only he would listen..."

She tiredly put a hand over her eyes.

"But you could've been a little more considerate of his feelings..." she muttered. "But what about MY feelings? Don't I matter?" She sighed. "But that's no excuse for... he could've been on a case... but he was the one who shouted at me... but you shouted at him first..."

Her eyes squeezed shut as her voice rose. "But he didn't want to..."

She clenched her fist. "But I..."

She pounded the table. "But he..."

She shook her head. "But how could he even..."

Her brow furrowed. "But why did I..."

"GOD!" She screamed as she buried her face in her hands. She leaned forward and placed her elbows on the table. She felt a heaviness grow in her stomach as her heart pounded. She felt the pulsing in her ears grow stronger, her breathing grow ragged, and her eyes grow wet. She felt an ache in her heart that would not go away. She suddenly felt very lonely.

"God..." she whispered in the darkness. "I can't stand this. I can't do this anymore..."

She felt a tear slide slowly down her cheek.

"What... what do I do?" she whispered as her sobs threatened to overcome her.

Finally, mercifully, sleep wrapped her in its gentle embrace.

SOON:

She was dreaming. She knew it. She just couldn't seem to wake up.

She was lying in her couch catching yet another repeat of a Star Trek episode she had seen ten times already. She was watching Captain Kirk slime his way into some woman's pants when the doorbell rang. She stood up, unfurled her long, supple legs, and walked towards the front door. She reached out and opened it.

Time slowed down.

The door slowly swung open, as if immersed in water. She saw a grinning face.

The Joker.

She heard a sharp sound. She saw the Joker's smile grow. She smelled the sulfur of the gunpowder. She tasted the blood that flowed from her mouth. She felt the bullet pierce her skin; ripping through muscle and bone; snapping the fragile cord running through her spine.

She fell.

The Joker stepped toward her.

"Barbara," he said in an all too familiar voice. She squinted. That wasn't the Joker's voice...

"Barbara," he said again as he leered down at her. "You are a useless wreck. How can you expect me to actually love you?"

The Joker slowly raised a hand to his face. With one swift motion, he tore his face off to reveal another beneath it.

Her eyes widened in horror.

"Dick?" she gasped.

Dick/Joker bent down and cupped her chin.

"No one can ever love you... Cripple."

She screamed.

He laughed.

She sat up with a start and screamed again. Her chest heaving, she looked around her.

"I'm... I'm..."

With a sigh, she realized that she was in her apartment. She wiped her eyes with one delicate hand.

"A dream... Only a dream..."

She sat silently looking down at her useless, blanket covered legs.

"A... dream..." she whispered as she felt her eyes start to fill with tears. "Oh... Dick..."

She slammed her hand on the table and was surprised to feel something crunch.

"What the..."

She looked down and saw her hand resting on a crumpled sheet of paper wrapped around a beautiful bouquet of red roses. She smiled as she smelled the sweet scent of the flowers. With gentle care, she lifted the flowers and cradled it to her chest.

"Aww... Dick."

She turned in her chair and looked around until she found the object of her search.

A figure wrapped in a voluminous grey blanket lay huddled on her couch. She smiled as she watched him sleep. She unfastened the locks on her wheelchair and approached the sleeping individual. She debated switching on the lights over the couch, but decided to wake him in a much nicer way.

"Dick..." she said softly as she approached.

He snorted.

"Dick..."

He snorted again.

She wheeled herself over until she was looming over his sleeping form. He was sleeping facing away from her, his raven black hair messed up and unruly. She ran a hand through his hair, messing it up even more. He shifted.

"You're forgiven," she whispered as she leaned over to kiss his surprisingly smooth cheek.

"Just five more minutes mom..." he moaned in his young, masculine voice. His... very... young... voice...

Her eyes flew open as she pulled back in surprise.

"Wha..."

With a flick of her finger, she pressed the light switch on her wheelchair.

She was staring straight into the baby blue eyes of Tim Drake.

"ROBIN!" She screamed

"AAAHHH!!!" He screamed back.

She wheeled away angrily to hide the redness creeping up her cheeks.

"What the hell are you doing here?" She screamed at him.

Tim sat up and wiped his cheek in disgust.

"I was sleepy... And I needed to talk..." He paused. "Hey, are you angry?"

She closed her eyes and took two deep breaths. She turned and faced him. She smiled. "No... not at you anyway."

She looked around expectantly. "Where's Dick?"

"Dick?" Tim scratched his head as he threw off the blanket. "Umm... I dunno, I came here on my own."

Barbara's smile faded. "Oh. I see."

He stood up and walked over to her. "I could call him if you like."

She forced herself to smile again. "No... It's... Ok..."

He peered down at her face. "You can't fool me. Your smile doesn't reach your eyes."

She sighed and turned on the Gordon charm to full blast.

"There. Looks better?"

He smirked at her. "Nope!"

"Twerp." She grinned at him.

"Nerd!" He patted her head.

She gave a small laugh and lifted the bouquet of flowers to her face. She took a deep breath, inhaling the soothing smell, and smiled at him.

"Well, at least ONE Boy Wonder was considerate enough to bring me flowers."

She was surprised by the sudden reddening of Tim's cheeks. "Well... Uh..." He said as he reached up and rubbed his neck. "Ummm... actually, they're for..." His smile faded as he peeled off his green gloves. "Nah..." He looked up at her. "You can keep them... I suppose I have no more use for them..."

She cocked her head and stared at him. "They're for someone else, aren't they?"

His face reddened even more as he peeled of his green mask.

"Ummm..."

She smiled in spite of herself. "They are! Tim... You have a date!"

"Uhh..." he detached his gold and black cape.

"C'mon Boy Wonder! Who is it?" She felt almost giddy now. "Is it Spoiler?"

"No..." He mumbled. "That's... Over now..."

"Hmmm..." She watched as Robin leader of the super-group Young Justice, partner of the world's greatest detective, shifted his weight and scuffed the floor with his toe. She found it cute.

"It's Arrowette, isn't it. You've got a crush on Arrowette!"

"No..." He stared at the mark his foot left.

"No?" Barbara cocked her head. As far as she knew, Robin didn't have many female acquaintances...

"Wonder Girl?"

"No..."

"Secret?"

"No..."

"Ariana?"

"No..."

"Then... Batg-"

"Do you have any pizza?!?" He asked suddenly. "I'm hungry!"

She stared at him.

"Batgirl? Cassandra?" Her eyes widened. "They're for Cassandra?"

He raised his eyes and looked at her sadly.

"Please? Any food?"

She stared at him.

"Um... ok, I'll get you some food. I have no pizza though. I do have some carrot sticks..."

"That will be fine." He said glumly. She arched her eyebrow. He hates carrots...

"Okay Tim. Have a seat. I'll be right back."

She watched him silently sit down at her dining table and bury his face in his hands. Something was definitely bothering The Boy Wonder tonight...

"Well Babs, at least it will distract you for a bit." She muttered to herself as she wheeled herself to the kitchen.

She came back minutes later, bearing with her a rather large plate of orange carrot sticks arranged artistically around a small bowl of mayonnaise.

"This should cheer you up, Boy Wonder!" She said enthusiastically as she placed the tray before him.

"Thanks," he muttered as he reached out and dipped a stick.

She sighed and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Wanna talk about i-" She began.

"You okay?" he interrupted.

"Wha-" she said, surprised.

"Lantern's been telling anyone who'll listen that you're being a bi-" he quickly bit his lip.

"He IS?" She fumed. "Why that little..."

"I aced my math test today!" he said quickly.

She stopped in mid-rant.

"Well, that's good Tim. We studied hard for tha-"

"Yeah... I have a science test tomorrow."

"Oh, well, if you need help with tha-"

"And a computer science test too!"

"Yeah? Well, you should have no problem with tha-"

"I used up all my allowance buying those."

She looked down at the flowers. "Well, they're certainly pretty, but-"

"Why were you angry?"

She stopped cold and stared at him. "Um... I can't really say, Tim. It's priva-"

"Do you think I'm attractive?"

Silence filled the room as she looked at him. Almost every time she had seen Tim Drake as Robin, he exuded a confidence that almost rivaled Batman's. Now, as she looked at him, he just looked like a scared little boy. He looked much younger than his 16 years.

"Tim..." She reached out and palmed his cheek. "Look at me."

He looked up and met her eyes. She was conscious of the profound sadness that filled those blue pools.

"Tim... what's this about?"

"Do you think I'm attractive?" he insisted.

She blinked.

"Of course I do Tim. Many people do-"

"Then why doesn't anyone loves me?!" He shouted suddenly.

She pulled back in surprise.

"Of course people like you Tim! I do, your parents do, Dick does, Batman does... although he doesn't show it..."

"NO! How come nobody LOVES me?!"

She blinked. He was close to tears.

"What are you talking about Tim? Ariana, loved you... Spoiler did too!"

"No!" He screamed again. "They didn't love me."

He bitterly rubbed his eyes. "They just used me! Ariana used me to get better grades! Spoiler used me to get close to Batman!"

"Tim!" She was surprised at his vehemence. She gripped his shoulders. "TIM! What is going on?"

"What should I do, Babs?" He said with tears in his eyes. "How can I make people like me?"

"I don't understand Tim!"

"Cassandra..." he whispered.

"What?"

"How can I get... how can I get Cassandra to like me?" He whispered.

She placed her palm gently against his cheek.

"You really like her, don't you?"

He nodded slowly.

"Well, that's GREAT Tim?" She said exuberantly, hoping he'd share the feeling.

"No it's not, he said sadly.

"Why not?"

"Because she'll NEVER LIKE ME!"

He glared petulantly at her.

She sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose. This was getting them nowhere.

"Men," she said softly. It was time to shift gears.

"So," she said as she reached over to pick up a carrot stick. "Tell me about her. When did you start to... you know, like her?"

She smiled as she watched the defiance melt away from his youthful features.

"Oh just... just a short while ago," he said with a small smile.

She smiled back at him. "Really? What made you like her?"

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again, there was a touch of worry lingering beneath the surface.

"You won't tell anyone, will you Babs?" He pleaded.

"Of course not Tim!" She smiled coyly. "Well, maybe I'll tell Cass..."

"NO!!!" He panicked. "You can't! Baaaabs!"

"Calm down, Tim, before you give yourself a heart attack!" She gently laid a hand on his arm. "Don't worry. My lips are sealed."

He shot her a sidelong glance. He broke into a small smile. "Okay. I trust you."

She smiled as she leaned back in her wheelchair. "So? You were saying, Boy Wonder?"

He leaned forward and folded his hands before him.

"I... I dunno where to start..." His eyes glazed over as he raised his head to look at her. "It was some time ago... maybe a few weeks..."

He shook his head as his eyes cleared.

"You know," he said. "When I first met Cassandra, I was more than a little scared of her. You remember that day, don't you?"

Barbara nodded. It was right in the middle of that long year when Gotham was designated as a "No Man's Land" because of the earthquake.

"Yes... um... that was the day when Batman and I first allowed her to be batgirl."

"That's right. When I saw her, I thought that you guys were crazy!"

Barbara arched her eyebrow at him. "Really?"

"I mean... you guys just got this kid of the streets. She looked... dangerous. Almost psychotic. She had these eyes... so empty... so..."

"I know what you mean, Tim."

"Yeah... but then she put on her mask and leapt out the window."

He sighed as he leaned back in his chair.

"Y'know Barb, I have met some of the most eloquent people in the world. You, Superman, Wonder Woman... but none of them struck me the way she did."

His eyes glazed over.

"She was... is... graceful. Watching her move is like watching a... a river... a swan... a..."

She was amused to see his face color again.

"So many people say so many words which do not mean a single thing. All she has to do is... is move. All she has to do is move... and I feel like the sun has come out on a cloudy day. Do you know what I mean?

Her mind lingered on an image of Dick Grayson's Cheshire cat grin.

"Yeah," she whispered. "I do."

"The minute I saw her swim through the air... I... uh..."

"You got a crush on her."

He turned away in embarrassment.

"Yeah... but I couldn't do anything about it. At the time, I was still involved with Spoiler. And I was still deathly scared of her."

"For awhile though, when I'd meet up with Batman, I'd see her."

He turned to look out of the window.

"Batman would call me to meet him at a certain time and place. Sometimes, I'd go there early, just so I could watch her swing in. I'd stand there, waiting, and they would just drop in. And..."

She smiled fondly as he cleared his throat.

"Well, I'd see her and I'd feel my knees go weak."

He smiled a little.

"I would always feel like such a fool. I always meant to try to get to know her... but the minute I see her, I would freeze. Then Batman would start talking and..."

His smile faded as he stood up and walked to the window.

"Then, one night..." His voice trailed off.

She rolled herself over and put a hand on his arm.

"One night... I was supposed to meet them in an alleyway downtown. I got there just as they finished beating up some muggers. I was about to approach them when Batman started yelling at her. And... well, you know how scary Bruce can be."

She squeezed his arm in understanding.

"She didn't take it so well. She took off. I just stood there in the shadows..."

He coughed.

"Bruce saw me of course, and he told me to... well, to leave him alone for the night. We never got around to talking." His voice took on a bitter edge.

She silently cursed Bruce for alienating his two young protégé's

"What happened then?" she asked gently.

"Well," a corner of his mouth twitched. "I... I bought her some flowers."

He looked down at her sadly.

"I followed her back to her cave. Then I went out to that all night flower shop on fifth. I got her one of those tulip thingees. I went back to her cave, disabled the security, and looked for her. She wasn't too hard to find."

He angrily wiped the corner of his eye.

"She was crying, Babs! CRYING! HER!"

She took his hand in hers.

"I walked in and found her sprawled on the floor. I... I didn't know what to do!"

He sank down to the floor.

"It hurt to see her like that. When I touched her shoulder, she looked up at me. She looked up at me with these eyes that just... well... they weren't empty anymore."

He looked up at her.

"They were filled with so much pain... it felt like... like my own heart was being wrenched out of my chest. I hated seeing her that way."

He wiped at his eye again.

"I wanted so badly to take away her pain."

He gave a small smile.

"So I gave her the tulip and talked to her about Bruce; about how he is to all of us."

Barbara smiled down at him.

"That must have made her feel a lot better, Tim."

She was surprised by the anguish that crept into his eyes.

"I... I don't know Babs. She just turned away and... and started working out. She... ignored me for the rest of the night."

He screwed his eyes tight and tried to hold back the tears.

"I came there almost every night after that. I brought flowers, books, food... anything to try to make her more comfortable. Anything to try to make her notice me."

His eyes flew open and they bored into hers.

"All that time... she wouldn't speak to me. She wouldn't even try! She... she just kept on ignoring me! As if she didn't like me! I felt so..."

Barbara put a consoling hand on his shoulder as he started to sob.

"Tim... you know Cass has a problem speaking. Maybe she likes you to, but was scared to open up to yo-"

"NO!" He screamed as he pushed her hand away. "No, Babs! She doesn't like me! NO ONE LIKES ME!"

She watched him walk over to the table and place his hands on the flat surface.

"Why would she anyway?" He whispered. "I'm just a geek."

"Tim... don't say tha-"

"But that's what I am!" He whirled angrily. "Everyone thinks I'm just a walking computer. Everyone thinks I'm just a kid. Nothing compared to DICK!"

Barbara blinked in surprise.

"What? What does Dick have to do with this?"

He sighed as he tried to compose himself.

"I came by her cave tonight." He sat down in his chair. "When she saw me, she got this look on her face... a... panicked look. Then she just stood up and walked out."

He rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"I asked her where she was going. She just said one word."

He looked up at her.

"Dick."

She gasped. But she just argued with...

"It's always DICK! It's always 'Dick is this, Dick is that'... everyone thinks Dick was the better Robin! They go to him when they need a hero. They go to me when they need a hacker. How stupid is that!"

He buried his head in his face.

"Tim, no one says Dick is the better Rob-"

"Yeah, but they THINK IT!"

She watched him sadly as sobs coursed through his small frame.

"I love Dick as a brother , Babs." He said softly. "But I'll never be as cool as him. I'm short! I'm scrawny!"

He looked up at her, his eyes slick with tears.

"What should I do Babs? How can I change myself? How can I make myself cooler? How can I..." He wiped his eyes. "How can I make it so that Cassandra will like me?"

Silence filled the air as he buried his face again.

"Tim..." She said as she rolled toward him. "Timothy... look at me."

He did not move.

"Timothy Drake." She said again, more firmly.

He looked up.

"Tim... look at me." She pointed down at her useless legs. "How cool do you think I am with these things?"

"Aw Babs," he said. "You're cool! No one cares about your legs! You're... cool!"

"And Dick. When he had that stupid pony-tail, did you think that was cool?"

"Well.. yeah, I guess..."

"And Superman! When he had that long hair, did you think he was cool?"

"Umm... yeah. He's Superman!"

"Exactly, Tim."

She gently placed her arms around his shoulders.

"Now, imagine yourself with a long ponytail and useless legs. Do you think you would be cool?"

He stared at her.

"No..." he said uncertainly.

"Then you wouldn't be cool Tim. Dick, Superman, and countless others make do with... with things that wouldn't seem very attractive. Height, muscles, boobs, zits, fat.... These things don't make a person attractive or unattractive."

She cupped his chin.

"Do you know what does?"

"..."

"C'mon Tim. You know..."

"..."

He looked away.

"It's... It's what's inside, isn't it Babs?"

She smiled.

"Yes."

She winced as her dream earlier invaded her thoughts.

"Tim... we can't let what is on the outside affect what is on the inside."

Her smile faltered as she remembered the argument she had earlier that night.

"Tim... when we dwell too much on our physical attributes, it can hide the true beauty we carry inside."

Dick must be fuming by now...

"Tim... you have a wonderful mind and a good soul. You are a noble person. There is nothing cooler than that."

She suddenly felt very tired.

"When your doubts start to... overcome you, you become selfish. You will lash out. Don't let them. Just... just remember who you are and you'll be fine."

If only she could follow her own advice.

"You and Cassandra are two different individuals. You are both attractive in your own way. If you want her to like you as you like her... believe in yourself. Believe in your goodness; your nobility. It will shine through whatever doubts you have. Your faith in yourself will make you the most attractive young man in the world. Be yourself with Cass. Open up. You'll figure it out."

She fell silent as Tim studied her intently.

"You... you understand, don't you Tim?" She warily covered her eyes.

Silence filled the air once again.

"Oh... Dick..." she whispered.

Slowly, gently, Tim grasped her hand in his and kissed her cheek.

"Don't worry Babs. You'll be ok. Whatever is bothering you... it will pass." He said with a confident smile.

She smiled back.

"See Boy Wonder, you are a good person."

"I learned from the best!" He said as he palmed her cheek. "Thanks Babs. You made me feel a lot better. I'll think on what you said."

She gave him an encouraging grin.

"You'll be fine, Tim."

He smiled again, stood up, and walked over to the couch. She watched as he fastened his cape, his gloves, and his mask in their proper places. He strode over to the window, with a fond smile directed her way.

"Bye Babs!" he said as he launched himself into the night.

Barbara Gordon sat in the middle of her empty apartment and felt suddenly alone. The cold of the night assaulted her, seeping in through the layers of clothes she wore. She looked down at her legs and sighed. She rolled over to the phone and stared at the picture of a smiling Dick Grayson. Her breath came in cloudy puffs, made visible by the harsh winter weather.

"Time to take your own advice, Barbara Gordon."

Locking her chin in determination, she reached out to pick up the phone.

She gasped as the phone rang beneath her startled hand.


NEXT: Batgirl and Robin!!!