"Robin, dude. My powers are gone. What kind of use can I be to Young Justice without super powers?" Kon stared morosely into his glass, teenage pathos oozing off of him in thick angsty waves. "I can't even lift a salt shaker!"
"Kon. Seriously. Use your hand," Robin advised him, refilling Kon's drink.
"What?" Kon sounded oddly offended by that particular piece of advice.
"Use your hand to lift the salt shaker."
"Oh." Kon sniffed, the bubbles from his root beer tickling his nose. "But you're missing the point, man. We're Young Justice. We're super heroes, with super powers. And I don't have super powers anymore!"
"Okay, two things Kon," Robin began, giving Kon his very best 'grow up' look. "One, your powers will come back. Two? I don't have any super powers, and I lead this team. Capisce?"
"Nightwing used to say it. Does it work?"
"Um, yeah. No." Kon gulped down the last of his root beer and stood up, knocking the barstool into the counter. "You really think my powers will come back?"
"Eh. Fifty-fifty." Robin wobbled his hand to indicate the uncertainty inherent in making any kind of prediction.
"What?" Robin blinked innocently behind his mask. Much of the effect was lost, especially considering the grin that threatened to split his face in two.
Kon frowned, pouting. Robin rolled his eyes and sighed. "Look. Have you tried? Using your powers, I mean."
"Of course!" Kon replied. "I'm trying right now-"
The salt shaker teetered and fell off the counter, shattering when it hit the floor.
"Did you-?" Robin asked, excited in spite of himself.
"Hey guys! I found fruit loops!" Bart blurred into the room and jumped onto the counter, holding up a bright red box.
Robin had almost gotten used to Bart appearing out of nowhere, the key word being almost. He breathed deeply, closing his eyes for a second. "Bart, keep your feet off the counter."
"They're kind of stale, and there was, like, a lot of dust on them, but they taste pretty okay, do you want some?" Bart swung his feet over the edge and drummed them against the counter. The tempo was akin to kettle drums, rattling the cabinet doors on their hinges. He looked at the salt shaker. "Oh hey, did I do that? I'm sorry, I can-" the spill blinked out of existence "-clean it up."
Kon sighed. Robin frowned.
"Did I do something wrong?" Bart disappeared for a second. "I got you milkshakes." He held out condensation-frosted glasses.
"Um. Thanks Bart," Robin said, grabbing the strawberry one before Kon could get it.
Kon sighed again (theatrically). "Yeah. Thanks Bart."
"What's that?" Bart asked, darting toward Kon. He tilted his head, staring at the air above Kon's shoulder with intense interest. "It's shiiiiiny."
"...What are you talking about?" Robin looked, but there was seriously nothing but air.
"How about some personal space, man?" Kon twisted away, glancing over his shoulder to see what Bart was talking about. Bart took a step forward, following Kon, and tripped over his feet, stumbling into Robin.
"Aw. The shiny's gone." Bart pouted, bouncing back to his feet.
"There was nothing there," Robin insisted, even as he glared suspiciously at the back wall. He thought he might have seen a trail of smoke or steam rising up behind Kon, but maybe it was just a trick of the light.
"There totally was. It was, like...shiny. And stringy." Bart paused and looked at Kon thoughtfully. "It...sparkled."
"How old are those fruit loops?" Kon asked. He picked up the box and looked at the best-before date. "Oh man. Rob, can you get food poisoning from cereal?"
Bart swayed, growing pale and a little green, apparently just from the suggestion.
"I don't feel so good," he whispered, bringing a hand to his mouth. Bart staggered, then tripped again, falling to his knees.
"How do we not have a number for Max Mercury?" Robin asked...well, he asked the room in general. No one was paying attention to him.
Bart curled up tighter under the blankets they'd found scattered around the hotel. Robin could see the top of his head and a couple of fingers. The rest was just a formless mass of shaking fabric.
"Why is he still sick? He should be better," Cassie's only slightly panicked question barely covered up Bart's pained moan.
"I don't know," Robin replied, dialing Oracle's number. She'd respond if she wasn't busy. The phone rang through, so yeah, she must be busy. Robin yanked his hand away from his hair, because he was starting to pull it out.
"Damn it." Robin tried Nightwing's number, because, hey, there had been a speedster on the Teen Titans.
"Hey Robin, what's up?"
Thank freaking god. Robin calmed down, and presented the situation in a calm, cool, and collected manner. "Impulse ate bad fruit loops and he's sick and he's not getting better yet! Why isn't he getting better yet, Nightwing?" Robin demanded, just like Batman taught him.
Kon looked up from trying to pour water down Bart's throat. He was getting the sheets really wet, and Robin wasn't sure if Bart actually drank any of it. "Does he know what's wrong with Bart?"
Robin stuck a finger in his ear to block out Cassie and Kon. Suzie was just watching, but her smoke was spinning in tiny tornadoes, darting off into the corners and skimming nervously along the floor.
"Whoa, calm down. What kind of sick?"
"Fruit loops. Food poisoning. He ate fifteen year old fruit loops," Robin explained into the phone, raising his voice to show that he was serious.
"...Seriously?" Nightwing sounded like he was about to start laughing, which was stupid because it wasn't funny.
"Yes, seriously! He's been sick for an hour! His arm broke and it healed in thirty minutes! What's wrong with him?" Robin was keeping calm, because it was a fucking emergency and you keep fucking calm in an emergency.
"I don't know. I'm going to call Wally and we'll be right there, okay?" Nightwing was definitely trying to be reassuring. Unfortunately, it was not working, as Robin was not reassured.
"He's hot, but he's shivering," Kon added helpfully, poking Bart through the blankets. Bart whined and wiggled away.
"Nightwing, he's got a fever." Robin was not panicking. He was so not panicking.
"Robin, I've got to go, so I can call Wally."
"Okay, great, what are you waiting for? Go!" Robin snapped the phone shut and turned to Cassie. "Can you get, like, aspirin? And-and cough syrup?"
"He's not coughing," Kon pointed out.
"My stomach hurts." The pile of blankets shook violently. A bucket of-okay, that was seriously gross. Robin closed his eyes and counted to ten.
"Pepto-Bismol?" Robins suggested weakly, "And you can empty the bucket."
"Um. No," Cassie said, backing away, her sneakers floating about an inch off the shag carpet. "As leader of Young Justice, I think it's your responsibility to empty the puke bucket. I'll get stuff from the drug store." With that, Cassie flew out the window, ruffling the curtains with the speed of her departure.
Kon and Suzie nodded in agreement, as far away from the bucket as they could get while still being in the same room. Actually, Suzie was halfway inside the wall, so Robin's not sure that counted, and they should really plaster some of those cracks, you know?
"Fine. You two get to find Bart another bucket," Robin ordered, slowly approaching the bucket. He had his gloves on. How bad could it possibly get? he thought warily.
The smell was horrible. Bart must have been using the blankets as a ventilation mask or something, because holy crap, that was repulsive. Robin tilted his head back, held his breath, grabbed the bucket, and thought of England.
"Gross," Kon said.
"Nasty," Secret agreed.
"New bucket!" Robin ordered them, then paled. "Oh god, how many boxes did he eat?" The porch door stuck, and Robin shoved the bucket against it until it opened, then took a deep breath of fresh sweet air. It smelled a little bit like skunk, but it was vastly preferable to bucket smell.
"Hey, Robin? We're here," Nightwing called from the front door.
Robin dumped the bucket and grabbed the hose. "Bart's on the couch. Fix him," he shouted through the open door. He could hear Wally and Nightwing talking while he twisted the knob on the faucet, destroying about a dozen spider webs in the process.
Nightwing wandered out the door, yawning. "Wally's gonna slow him down so he doesn't get dehydrated. Where is everyone?" Nightwing, despite the fact that it was ten in the morning after a patrol night, looked fantastic.
Robin had technicolor puke in a bucket. Life was really unfair sometimes. "Kon and Secret are finding another bucket. Cassie went to get aspirin and stuff."
"Oh." Nightwing stretched out, rolling his shoulders in a way that would leave most people screaming in agony. "Bart's gonna be okay. Wally said that food poisoning tends to hit them hard because of their enhanced metabolisms."
"Yeah." Robin realized that he may have panicked, ever so slightly, over Bart being sick.
"So, you doing okay?" Nightwing smirked. Stupid, pretty Dick.
"Yeah. I guess we're okay." Robin dodged away from Nightwing's hand, accidentally on purpose spraying him with the hose. "It's been kind of boring, but a lot like a vacation, too." Robin turned the water off and tipped the bucket upside down, draining it.
"Is Superboy...wait, what's that? It's...sparkly." Nightwing turned, staring at the porch window, absently pulling at his wet costume.
"You, too? You didn't eat the fruit loops, did you?" Robin followed Nightwing's gaze. "It's a window. They're usually pretty shiny...did you eat the fruit loops?" Robin asked. He was pretty sure that he threw the box away. It wasn't on the counter, was it?
"What? No. It's not the window. There's this sparkly line thing. It's moving."
"Is it a spider web? Because there are a lot of those."
Nightwing reached out toward the invisible sparkly thing and the window cracked into three pieces.
"Huh." Nightwing stepped back. "I can't see it anymore."
"Someone must be developing a new power," Robin said, opening the porch door and ushering Nightwing inside.
Nightwing raised an eyebrow. It made his mask look crooked, something Robin took a lot of petty pleasure in. "That happen a lot?"
"Secret figured out that she can pop popcorn by waving her hand through it, yesterday."
Robin saw something twinkle from the corner of his eye, but when he turned to look, there was nothing there.
"It tasted dusty, but it was pretty cool to watch," he answered absently, glancing at the flicker of light coming from the other direction. It was just sunlight shining off the bucket.
"I feel slow," Bart murmured, his eyes wide and dazed. "S'weird."
Wally sighed as he leaned back. "You won't have super speed for the next couple of days." He glanced at Nightwing before continuing. "I have to get back. Do you need a ride?"
"Want me to stay, Robin?" Nightwing asked, trying ruffle his hair.
Robin dodged and shook his head. "We should be good." He set the clean bucket down beside Bart. "Can you let Batman know I won't be able to patrol tonight?"
"Okay." Nightwing shrugged, his costume rippling and twisting at the hip, something vaguely shiny shifting under the spandex. He scratched at the misbehaving fabric and it looked normal again. "If you need anything else, just call." He nodded. "Wally—" They disappeared before he finished speaking, the front door swinging frantically in their wake.
Bart squirmed out of the blankets as soon as they left, shoving them into a crumpled pile at his feet. "It's too warm," he complained, "and I'm thirsty." He looked at Robin pleadingly, lips mere millimetres away from a pout.
Robin nodded absently, watching a blurry line twist slowly across the room. It wavered like hot air over asphalt, shimmering in the dim light.
Kon and Suzie tumbled back into the room, Kon holding a bucket triumphantly, Suzie floating behind him. "We found one!"
"There were four of those in the foyer. What took you so long?" Robin asked, pouring Bart a glass of water.
"The Flash seemed like he was in a bad mood." Suzie morphed her arm into Wally's face. He snarled silently, gnashing his teeth.
"We didn't want to interrupt," Kon chimed in. "And is Nightwing really your brother?"
Robin mimed zipping his lips shut, and handed the water to Bart.
"What? Come on Rob, we aren't going to be able to guess your identity if you have a brother," Kon objected.
"Fine. No, we aren't related. But being trained by Batman gives you an automatic, life long bond with all his other students," Robin explained, sitting on the edge of the couch. Bart was now slow enough that he was certain of his ability to dodge.
"Really?" Secret asked, swirling around the couch to float next to Bart. She ran her fingers through his hair, quite literally.
"Totally. Also, I think Nightwing always wanted siblings. Like, scads of them." Bart handed Robin the empty glass and crawled onto his lap, dragging a blanket with him. "Bart, I can't put the glass away if you're lying on me."
"Don't care," Bart mumbled, "my head hurts." He looked up at Robin hopefully.
"Cassie should be back soon," Robin replied, hooking a toe around the bucket and dragging it a bit closer, just in case. "Kon, can you put this in the sink?" Robin handed Kon the glass.
"What? I'm not doing your dishes-"
"Puke. Bucket." Robin used a bit too much emphasis on the word puke, but he thought it was probably justified. Bart shifted, and Robin wrapped his arm around his waist to keep him from falling. Bart sighed and wiggled closer, grabbing one of the blankets and scrunching it into a makeshift pillow.
"Fine." Kon took the glass, heading toward the kitchen.
The screen door creaked loudly. "I got the stuff. Is Bart okay?" Cassie slammed the door, forcing a rusty shriek out of the old metal.
"Yeah. The Flash slowed him down so he wouldn't get dehydrated and stuff," Kon explained, returning from the kitchen.
"How long did you two eavesdrop?" Robin asked, raising an eyebrow. He'd been talking to Nightwing when that had come up.
Suzie billowed in an invisible breeze. "A while?"
"Not long," Kon said innocently. He was crap at innocent. It was so totally obvious that he'd never had to lie to his parents about his superhero career.
"Well, that's good. Do you still need this stuff?" Cassie asked, holding up the Drive-Thru-Drugs bag.
Bart rolled over, managing to jab Robin with his elbows at least three times in the process. "Want!" He reached out toward the bag, then groaned and staggered to his feet. "One second," Bart said, heading toward the bathroom.
"Is he okay?" Suzie asked Robin. Her aura fluttered nervously.
Robin got up to follow, then paused as the door to the hall creaked open before Bart touched it. "Uh. Probably?" he said uncertainly. "It's kinda weird when he's not fast."
"Okay." Cassie shrugged. "Want to change the couch to a bed? I brought movies."
"What movies?" Kon asked, already moving the coffee table out of the way. He grabbed the blankets and dragged them off the couch, dumping them to the side and stripping out the wet ones.
"Fantasia 2000; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; American Psycho; and Chocolat." She dropped the bags beside the couch and helped Kon pull the bed out. The springs started squealing as soon as she lent her strength to the task, like they were begging for mercy or possibly death. They really needed a new sofa bed.
Robin started layering the dry blankets on top of the foam mattress. "Can we watch American Psycho first? My dad wouldn't let me watch it."
The bottom blanket smoothed itself out, starting in the far corner and working its way down.
"Did you do that?" Suzie asked, whispering in his ear, tiny bursts of cool air brushing across his neck. She watched in wide-eyed surprise as one of the pillows fluffed itself.
"No," Robin denied, kind of freaked out. A little intrigued, but mostly freaked out.
"Are you sure we should even be watching it?" Kon asked Robin. "I mean, I saw it in theaters, and I really don't think... Okay, long story short? We probably shouldn't be watching it with Bart. I'm not sure he knows about the birds and the bees and, like, stuff, and explaining it with American Psycho as an example will probably screw him up for life."
"Good point," Robin agreed, remembering the movie trailers. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?" The blanket rippled, like something was tugging at its edges to straighten it out.
"Yeah, sure." Kon headed toward the kitchen, a faint shimmer warping the air behind him.
Cassie turned on the TV and hooked up the new DVD player Robin had brought last week (it wasn't like he was using his allowance for anything else). "Is American Psycho bad? I asked the clerk and he said it was a really good movie."
"I'm pretty sure it's rated NC-17." Robin squinted at the kitchen door. It looked like the light was curving around something invisible. Reflecting off something?
Cassie shrugged. "Oh. Anyway, I asked my mom, and she's okay with me staying overnight. Are the rest of you going to do the same?"
"I told my dad I'm sleeping over with some friends," Robin said, "and Kon and Suzie don't have anywhere else to be, right?"
Suzie nodded, floating toward the hallway. "Bart's been gone for a while. Do you think he's okay?" Her smoke curled and lifted, pushed up from below by something almost solid, but not quite.
"I'll go check on him," Robin volunteered. He started toward the door, then stopped and grabbed the Pepto-Bismol from the Walgreen's bag. Bart might need it.
The closest bathroom was located in the first guest room off the main hall. Bart was on his knees, using the toilet seat as a make-shift pillow and taking slow deep breaths like his life depended on it. When he saw Robin, he let out a miserable moan that ended in a sigh.
"You alright, Bart?" Robin asked, kneeling beside him. He ran his hand down Bart's back, mostly because he saw someone do it on TV once. It felt a little like petting a cat or something, but Bart seemed to like it, relaxing slightly and pushing back against Robin's hand. "I've got Pepto-Bismol. It should make you feel better."
Bart yawned. "I've never been sick before. It's really gross," he confided.
Robin shook the bottle and broke the safety seal. "I don't think anyone likes it." He poured exactly two tablespoons (30 mL) into the little cup and handed it to Bart. "Cassie brought back movies, and I think we're having a sleepover or something. But if you want to go home I can call Max Mercury for you, as soon as I find his number."
"I think we're starting with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
"I want to stay. Can we have popcorn?" Bart sipped tentatively at the thick pink medicine. He looked thoughtful for a second, and then drank the rest down. "That tastes fantastic, can I have more?" Bart licked the inside of the plastic cup, chasing tiny pink bubbles around its bottom.
"...In a while?" Robin replied, reading the fine print. It actually said Bart could have more if he really wanted to, but Robin figured that it would be better to wait. "You feeling better?"
"Yeah." Bart gripped the toilet seat for a long second and then leaned against the tub. The reinforced fabric of his costume rasped against Robin's gloves. He gave Robin the plastic cup back. "Can you help me up?" Bart asked pitifully.
Robin set the cup on the edge of the sink and offered Bart his hands. Bart pulled himself up slowly, and how weird was it that Bart did anything slowly? Robin wedged himself under Bart's arm, wrapping his hand around Bart's waist to steady him. "Ready?"
Bart managed to wedge his head into the curve of Robin's neck, which meant that he felt Bart's nod more than he saw it. Robin shoved the Pepto-Bismol into his utility belt, and stepped backward, guiding Bart toward the living room.
"This really bites," Bart muttered into Robin's neck. His breath sort of wuffled against Robin's neck. It tickled. Bart's arms tensed up and he rocked forward suddenly, leaning against Robin.
"Shit," Robin swore, looking around for a bucket.
"M'good," Bart slurred, "I tripped."
"It won't last forever," Robin said, much relieved by the lack of puke, smoothing down Bart's hair. It clung to his hand, soft and smooth between his fingers.
"Promise?" Bart asked, bumping into the living room door before Robin could straighten him out.
"Promise," Robin replied, sitting on the edge of the sofa bed. Bart followed him, pushing Robin down against the mattress and using him as a pillow. Robin edged closer to the centre, into Kon's spot, so that Bart wouldn't fall off the edge.
One of the piled blankets at the foot of the bed rose into the air and draped itself across both of them, a phantom force tucking the edges under their legs like an overly enthusiastic nanny. Robin raised an eyebrow and looked around for Secret.
Kon crawled over the back of the couch, tumbling onto the bed beside them. "Hey Bart, how're you feeling?"
Bart mumbled something indistinct against Robin's collarbone. His breath was hot and wet against Robin's skin. Wuffly. Robin blushed, faintly.
"Okay... Robin, how's Bart feeling?" Kon asked, absent-mindedly tugging the blanket up around Bart's shoulders. He ran a careless hand over Bart's hair, smoothing down the fly-away strands.
"He's feeling sick," Robin replied, watching Kon suspiciously. Suzie wasn't in the room. He could hear her making popcorn in the kitchen. "Hey Kon-"
Cassie set a tray of drinks on the coffee table. "I brought ginger ale for Bart," she said cheerfully. She offered the plastic cup with the Flash's logo on it to Bart, and then to Robin when Bart didn't respond. "If he wants it?"
"Can you grab the end table and put it over here?" Robin asked, holding onto the condensation-slicked cup with both hands to prevent it from slipping.
Cassie hooked her foot around the table and dragged it close enough that Robin could put Bart's cup on it
"Can I have a straw?" Bart asked hopefully, lifting his head just enough to speak. "I don't like pop without a straw."
Cassie rolled her eyes and headed back to the kitchen. "Yeah, yeah. Kon, come help us with the snacks," she ordered.
Robin busied himself with rubbing Bart's back and looking particularly noble. Bart whimpered pitifully in what was probably pretend pain, but Robin stroked Bart's hair just in case (soft!). Cassie smiled at them, her eyes just a little too narrow for sincerity, but amused enough that—
"I said, 'Kon, get off your lazy ass and help us with the snacks.' Suzie and I aren't here to serve you." Cassie was more entertained than angry, which was good. Last week—well, Kon probably learned his lesson.
"Fine," Kon sighed, getting off the couch with the air of a man heading to execution. Totally learned his lesson.
Bart's hair ruffled itself, tousled by an invisible hand. There was the faintest line of light trailing away, but it disappeared before Robin could trace it to its source.
Robin hummed thoughtfully.
The orchestral score faded away, and the screen went black. Robin shifted, trying to regain feeling in his arm. Bart sighed and snuggled closer.
"Want to watch another movie?" Kon asked, yawning behind his hand. He stretched out, cracking his back and arching off the sheets like a...like...Robin suddenly wished that he had his camera handy.
Cassie was asleep, hugging a pillow and curled up in the corner of the sofa bed, one arm flung out into space over the back of the sofa. Suzie was a formless cloud, hovering just above their legs like a hazy blanket.
"The only one left is American Psycho," Robin said. He poked Bart gently, testing how soundly asleep he was. Bart glared at him blearily. He looked a lot better, or at the very least less sick. "Can you move off my arm?" he requested.
Bart shook his head. "'M'comfy. And warm." He closed his eyes and settled more firmly on Robin's chest, his jaw digging into Robin's shoulder at the perfect angle to cut off circulation in his arm.
"My arm's asleep," Robin complained. Bart didn't respond. Robin wrapped his free arm around Bart's waist and pulled, dragging Bart into the crack between him and Kon.
Bart groaned. Robin and Kon both froze. Bart glared indiscriminately and tugged the blankets up to his neck. Robin and Kon sighed in relief, barf avoided.
"So. You hungry?" Kon asked after a few seconds of watching Bart wiggle into place, managing to elbow both of them multiple times in the process. Bart was bony.
"Do we have food?" Robin stretched his arm, shaking out the pins and needles.
The shadows in the corners rolled forward, and Robin jolted off the couch, scrambling for his utility belt. Kon jumped over the back, putting himself between the shadow and couch.
Secret formed herself from the blanketing beige smoke, roaring through Kon, taking the shape of something with way too many arms and far too many heads.
"Yes, you have food."
Robin squeaked, then coughed to cover it. "—Batman?"
Secret fell back, dissipating into an embarrassed haze. "Sorry!" she whispered, her voice coming from everywhere at once.
"Um." Kon stepped back, running into the couch and stopping awkwardly.
Cassie peeked out from behind the couch, blinking. "Where did you come from?"
Bart levered himself over the top of the couch and waved. "Hi," he yawned and laid back down.
"Nightwing indicated that you had no food," Batman scowled affectionately. Robin relaxed, settling back on the couch. "That is unacceptable." He held up a large box wrapped in dark grey insulation. There was a large black bat logo on the front.
Robin hesitated before asking, tentatively, "You brought us pizza?"
"Yes." Batman held up a second bag. "Also, vegetables with dip." His scowl turned threatening. "You will eat your vegetables before you eat the pizza."
"Okay." Robin was vaguely aware of the rest of Young Justice staring at him. "Thank you."
"You are welcome." Batman dropped both bags onto the coffee table, ignoring how Kon cringed as he walked by. "I expect you back by tomorrow night. If Impulse doesn't get better, call." He directed his gaze toward Bart, apparently breaking him down to atomic components with his eyes. His scowl was concerned. "You have given him plenty of water?"
"Yes." Robin rolled his eyes. You'd think Batman hadn't forced him (well, not exactly forced) into EMT training under a false name.
Batman gave a noncommittal grunt. "If you need anything, call." The door creaked shut behind him.
The stunned silence was broken by Kon gasping for air. "How did he even get in?"
Robin shrugged and unzipped the pizza bag. A type-written note fell out: Vegetables first.
Robin sighed and opened the other bag. "Probably through a window or something."
"Wow," Bart said slowly, his voice a bit fuzzy but otherwise alert. "Was he actually worried about me?"
"Duh," Robin said. He peeled the lid off the chilled vegetables and grabbed a piece of broccoli, dunking it in the container labeled ranch. "Why wouldn't he be?"
"Because the Flash really wasn't." Bart crawled up beside Robin and picked out a piece of celery, eating it plain.
Robin felt a tiny bit of guilt at that and wrapped his arm around Bart in a hug. Bart twisted and collapsed into Robin's lap, rolling onto his back. "Bart?" Robin asked uncertainly.
Bart snatched another piece of celery, giving Robin his sad face. Robin rubbed Bart's belly before he could stop himself. But, hey, no more sad face.
Cassie leaned across Bart's legs and grabbed a handful of carrots. "Is Batman your dad, Rob?"
Robin snorted. "Um, no."
"Weird. He acts like he's your dad." Cassie frowned thoughtfully. "I mean, I've never had a dad, but Batman just acted like one of the dads on TV."
"Yeah," Kon agreed.
"Like Bill Cosby," Suzie added.
Robin blinked, imagining Bruce in an acrylic-blend striped sweater. It did not compute. "Well, I mean, he can be really nice. And he's seriously a good guy. Like, sometimes? When no one is escaped from Arkham? He goes and delivers food to people who can't get out."
The other four teens looked dubious.
"Like, really?" Cassie said.
"Yeah, really." Robin decided that he'd eaten enough vegetables and opened the insulated bag. There were four plain pizza boxes inside. When he pulled them out, he realized that they had bats stenciled on their tops.
"Cool," Kon said, and the other three nodded their agreement. The pizza box lid flipped up, pushed by an invisible force, but no one seemed to notice except Robin.
"Hey, my favorite kind!"
"I like pineapple."
"Hey, Kon," Robin said slowly. The thing glittered, sharp lines gleaming in the morning sun.
Kon stirred, yawning and batting at the gleaming…tentacle. Yes, it was definitely a tentacle. It swayed back, undulating away from Kon's hand.
"What's that?" Bart asked, propping himself up on his elbow to get a better view. "It's sparkly. Pretty." He vibrated with suppressed energy, obviously recovered from whatever the Flash had done. He wasn't nearly as pale as he'd been last night, either, Robin noted with approval.
Cassie stroked the edge of the narrow tube. It shivered and darted away. "I think it's like, a tentacle or something," she said. Another tentacle rose from under the blankets, straightening out slowly, faint cracking noises accompanying its movements. Some kind of internal crystalline structure refracted the morning sunlight, sending rainbows dancing across the walls.
"Is it Kon's?" Suzie asked. She brushed her hand along the outer shell of the tentacle. It cast rainbows through her smoke, and she giggled. "It's so pretty!"
Robin smiled and poked Kon. "Yes. It's very pretty." He reached for his utility belt, determined to record Kon's new power for science, and so he could show Nightwing later.
Kon yawned and stretched out. His hand went through Suzie's chest. She squeaked and pulled away in a cloud of surprised smoke. "Wha'd ja want?" Kon groaned, more tentacles twisting out of the blankets, wrapping around each other and creaking gently as they pulled tight. It sounded like the tentacle equivalent of cracking knuckles. Sunlight sparkled through them, refracting wildly.
"Whoa…" Bart whispered, pointing. The back wall was covered in irregular rainbows, dancing gently across the white paint.
The tentacles spread, and Kon stretched out, taking up about 90% of the couch-bed. He looked like a glittering anemone, swaying gently in an invisible current.
Kon's eyes slowly drifted open. He blinked once, then noticed the tentacles. "Oh my God!" he squawked, scrambling away and pressing up against the back of the couch.
His tentacles flailed in panic, knocking Robin off the edge of the bed. He managed to snap a few pictures of Kon's terrified face before he hit the ground, so Robin counted it as a net win.
"Oh my God. Oh my God!"
Robin cracked up, unable to contain the hilarity. "Kon, they're yours."
Cassie laughed so hard that she started wheezing and Suzie lost control over her form, spilling into a giggling mist.
Kon looked down. "They're…coming out of my stomach? Why are they coming out of my stomach?" He calmed down quickly once he realized that the tentacles weren't attacking him.
Robin sat up, wiping at his eyes so he could see, and sure enough, the twitching nest of tentacles was rooted over Kon's undeniably perfect abs. They weren't forming out of his flesh or anything. Instead it looked like the sparkling rainbow tentacles—Robin snorted—were wrapped around Kon's waist and up his chest. "Where else would they sprout from?" Robin asked, and winced because he just thought of several places that he'd like to unthink. Or maybe think about more. It was a tough call.
Kon waggled his eyebrows, fully recovered from the shock of having grown tentacles overnight. "You know what they say about tentacles?"
"That they're found on many members of the cephalopod family?" Suzie asked eagerly, swirling back into her favorite shape.
"Uh. No," Kon replied, looking at her and then at Bart.
Robin glared at him, trying to convey the no sex jokes rule through body language alone.
"That they're very flexible?" Bart asked, flipping through a book. The pages blurred and rattled then Bart tossed it to the side. "Oh! Is it that they feature heavily in Japanese—"
"No!" Kon and Robin yelled in unison.
"—cuisine?" Bart finished. "Really? I thought for sure that was it."
"I mean, yes. That's it exactly. Tentacles taste great," Kon babbled in relief.
Robin muffled his laughter with his hand.
Cassie slapped Kon across the back of his head. "You are such a twit sometimes."
"You want us to eat your tentacles?" Suzie sounded disturbed. She eyed the waving appendages warily.
"Dear god no," Kon replied, "I don't even know what I meant."
"Nothing important, I'm sure," Robin said, then changed the topic. "So? Can you control them?"
"Just think of the possibilities," Cassie said, totally straight-faced, and Robin had to bite down on the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing again.
Kon blushed and closed his eyes. The tentacles slowly stopped flailing, and relaxed across the couch, like Kon had thirty or forty arms to stretch out instead of just the regular two. Which sort of sucked, because Kon was a couch hog even in the best of times.
Robin reached out carefully, and touched the tip of one. He needed to test if Kon could feel them. That was the only reason he was touching the oddly soft tentacles. It felt like skin, but skin over rock. It was like touching Superman.
The tentacle twitched under his fingers and Kon frowned, lines creasing his forehead. Cassie jerked back guiltily and Robin realized that she had reached out to feel as well. Robin waited a second, then stroked the tentacle lightly.
"Please tell me someone is touching my tentacles," Kon begged, opening his eyes and looking at the ceiling.
"Yep, Robin is!" Bart cheered, like Kon just won an award or something.
"Cassie was, too," Suzie chimed in eagerly. "You could feel them?"
"Yes. Definite yes." Kon opened his mouth and closed it, then tried again. "It feels like you're touching my back. Or my shoulder." He glanced over at Robin. "It's really sensitive."
Robin carefully suppressed the ideas. "So. Um. Your powers are back!" he said, with more fake exuberance than he usually used in a month, because he really needed Kon to not question what he was thinking right then.
"Back in the form of tentacles," Kon said thoughtfully, luckily distracted. One tentacle twirled, the crystalline structures inside grinding against each other. The glittering appendage lengthened, then swelled, thick and bulbous with a thin base.
Cassie blushed bright red. Robin's teeth clicked as he hastily closed his mouth. Kon winked at them and Robin considered faking a call from Batman to get out of there. It was ten in the morning on a Saturday, but crime never slept, right?
"Wow, those are going to be really useful," Bart exclaimed. "Like, if you need to grab something on the other side of the room, or change light bulbs."
Kon smiled brightly and a tentacle wavered slowly, rising from the couch and reaching toward Bart. The rest of the tentacles on that side twitched, straining in the same direction.
"Whoa!" Robin said, suddenly alarmed. "What are you doing with that tentacle?"
Kon looked at him with ill-contained glee and ruffled Bart's hair with the glittery tentacle. "Noogies!"
The rest of the tentacles snapped out, working in teams of three or four to mess up everyone's hair while Kon giggled like a total twit.
"Stop it!" Robin said, grasping one of the flailing appendages. It was so smooth. He squeezed it experimentally, finding that it had a certain degree of give. Less like rock than very firm rubber, Robin decided.
Kon cleared his throat.
"We have… work to do," Robin said, deeply distracted by the things he was definitely not thinking. It took him a moment to realize that everyone was looking at him, waiting for some kind of clarification.
Robin panicked. It's the only way he could explain what came out of his mouth next. "Kon needs to practice with his tentacles."
Kon beamed, showing off each and every one of his broad white teeth. They were perfect, too. "Practice what?"
"Lifting stuff?" Robin said, secretly thinking very different thoughts.
"Lift me! Lift me!" Bart volunteered. The air hummed as he fidgeted, his movements creating sound waves.
The tentacles reached out, coiling around Bart's arms and legs, and lifted him gently off the ground. Kon laughed giddily. "I am so back!"
"How's your fine motor control?" Robin cut him off, doing his best not to stare. Of course, this meant that he gazed intently at Cassie's chest for about thirty seconds before shaking himself and looking at Kon's oddly phallic rainbow tentacles again. Robin sighed.
It was going to be a long day.
"Hey Nightwing," Robin said, landing beside him on the rooftop. "Guess what?" He couldn't keep the glee from his voice if he tried, so he didn't bother trying.
Nightwing lowered his binoculars. "…What?" he asked warily, leaning away from Robin, obviously confused by his good mood.
Robin beamed at him, and pulled his camera from his belt. "Superboy grew tentacles!" He held the camera up, showing Nightwing his favorite picture, the one of Kon screaming in fear as he batted ineffectually at his tentacles. He'd already made backup copies on his hard drive, and e-mailed copies to everyone.
Nightwing studied the photo for a second, then slapped Robin on the back, nearly knocking him into the dark alley beneath them. "Congratulations! None of my teammates ever sprouted tentacles, you lucky bastard." Nightwing paused, frowning thoughtfully. "I mean, except for Beast Boy. And that was pretty weird."
It took Robin a moment. A long, faintly horrified moment. "You… Octopus? Wait—I mean, not—I haven't…I mean, I wouldn't! It's not like that!"
"Aw, man, I'm sorry, R." Nightwing looked genuinely contrite, which was weird. "I thought you'd—"
"We haven't," Robin said sadly. He shook himself. "And we shouldn't. We're a team. It would be wrong."
"Teen Titans never had that policy," Nightwing mused. "It worked out okay for us."
Robin decided to let that statement stand, no matter how incredibly wrong it was. "Yeah. I guess it doesn't matter. Wonder Girl was about two steps from jumping him. If Impulse and Secret hadn't been there, I swear she would have done him on the couch." Robin realized a few moments after he finished speaking that his voice was less amused than it was jealous. Drat.
Nightwing slung an arm around Robin's shoulders and scanned through the pictures on his camera. "That's the great thing about tentacles, Robin. You could have jumped right in—why do you have a folder with three thousand photos of Superboy on your camera?"
"There aren't three thousand on there."
"Two thousand nine hundred and eighty four, then. Wait, my folder only has five hundred?" Nightwing pouted. "Why only five hundred? Don't you love me anymore?"
"Wait." Robin grabbed the camera back and opened a second folder. "I have more. It's just that I usually get pictures of you with other people. Groupshots/Nightwing has another thousand."
"And how many does Superboy have in your groupshots folder?"
"…Some." Robin didn't mention that these are only the costumed photos. The other ones are on his computer.
"Face it kid, you want a piece of that," Nightwing said, nodding sagely.
Robin rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically. "What, you think I'm stupid or something? I know that. It's just a bad idea. It'll upset the team dynamics, and it might force me to give Impulse some form of sex ed. It's not worth it."
"Robin!" Nightwing gasped in shock. "I can't believe you'd say that! These tentacles appeared out of nowhere. What if they disappear? Huh? How would you feel then?"
"The same as I feel right now, I imagine, since I'm never going to have tentacle sex with Superboy." Robin wondered why he'd ever thought that telling Nightwing about the tentacles was a good idea.
"Good to hear," Oracle's voice buzzed in his ear. Robin caught himself before he fell off the edge, but it was a close thing.
"But my comm isn't on!" he protested, before glaring at Nightwing with sudden realization. "Yours was? And you didn't tell me?"
Nightwing smiled, a little sheepishly. "We were talking when you came. I guess I forgot to turn it off in all the excitement over the tentacles."
"You suck," Robin said, grabbing the binoculars from where Nightwing had left them.
Nightwing stretched out on the narrow ledge. "Forgive me?"
Robin nodded, suitability distracted. "Hold that pose?" He grabbed his camera and snapped a photo.
"Maybe. You might need to cover for me with Batman at an undecided future date for full forgiveness, though." Robin sat down and looked through the binoculars, focusing on the lit window across the street.
"Send me a copy of that picture?" Barbara asked, waving at him through the glass. The pom-poms trimming the edge of her bathrobe swayed gently. "And send Superboy over, if you don't want him."
"Yes, and no. You'll break him."
"That boy could use an older woman's touch," Barbara said.
"Cradle robber," Robin told her, smiling in spite of himself. "You were watching her?" he asked Nightwing, handing the binoculars back to him.
"Yeah, we're doing some role play. I'm the devastatingly sexy burglar who breaks in to her apartment after having fallen in love with her while casing the joint. She's the hard-ass cop who beats me up and handcuffs me to the bathroom vanity, holding me captive and using me for sex," Nightwing said, bringing the binoculars back up.
"Casing the joint. I still have to get through her security."
"You never will, Nightwing. You may as well give up. Batman can't get through my security." Barbara didn't sound happy with him. "If you come to the door and knock, I'll make you hot chocolate," she offered.
"No way. I'm going to be handcuffed to your vanity and used for sex whether you like it or not," Nightwing replied.
"Can I have hot chocolate?" Robin asked. "I'm cold. And hungry. Are there little marshmallows? I love those."
"I do have little marshmallows. All you have to do is knock on my door." She paused for a second. "Nightwing, you know I don't have any handcuffs, right?"
"Don't worry, I brought my own," Nightwing replied. "Seriously though, I think I see a gap. I'll be in before you know it."
"That's what you said yesterday," Barbara said. Their communicators buzzed, signaling that she had disconnected.
"Well, I'm going to get hot chocolate." Robin squinted at Barbara's apartment. "Have you tried her roof?"
"She has it wired to hell and back. Go forth and drink chocolate, traitor. Disconnect a security camera if she turns her back." Nightwing shifted restlessly, tapping his fingers against the binoculars. "And honestly, Robin, think about taking advantage of those tentacles. Too much self-restraint isn't good for you."
It started to rain when Robin landed on the roof of the Gotham Museum, fine dust-like rain drops that made him damp rather than wet. The air vents steamed warm air, and Robin huddled against them to warm his hands. The hot chocolate had been delicious, but temporary, and he was cold again. He really needed to get the winter costumes out of storage.
He spied Catwoman in the distance, sprawled across the back of a gargoyle, her breath fogging out in little white clouds. Robin couldn't remember whose side she was on today, so he waved a hello. She waved back, so she was probably on Batman's side.
Robin decided to guard the air vents of the Gotham Museum anyway, at least until he could feel his fingers.
Catwoman twisted and crawled into the window below the gargoyle. Robin furrowed his brow, trying to remember what building hers was. He tapped his comm to activate it. "B? Catwoman just went into the fourth floor of the building three up from the Gotham Museum."
"No, the one with the gargoyles."
"It's a daycare," Batman growled.
Robin considered that, turning around to warm his back. "Should I go in after her?"
"Not unless you want to," Catwoman murmured, sliding out of the dark.
Robin jumped, "Damn it—"
"Language!" Batman scolded, Catwoman a second behind him.
"Um, yeah. She's here," Robin said, feeling a little silly. His comm buzzed, Batman turning his end off. "Hi Catwoman."
"Hello, Robin." She edged closer to the air vent. Robin narrowed his eyes. "I got that e-mail that's going around—the one you sent out this morning?"
Robin briefly wondered how she received it. He'd only sent the pictures to… Alright, almost everyone. But not Catwoman, he didn't have her e-mail. "…Yeah?"
"So." Catwoman leaned a little closer, the faint scent of leather rising through the cool air. Robin breathed it in, watching her out of the corner of his eye. A droplet of water slid down her sleek cat suit, trailing lovingly over her curves before disappearing into a thin seam in the leather. "Is Superboy still based out of Hawaii?"
He felt a twinge of disappointment. "Um. No," Robin said, pulling his gloves back on. "He's in, like, Albuquerque," he lied.
"Oh." Catwoman stretched, and the smell of leather got stronger, undercut by a hint of spice. "Give him this, next time you see him?" She pressed a piece of paper in his hand and a kiss to his cheek. Her lips were soft and a little sticky from her lipstick.
When Robin unfroze, she was long gone. He couldn't seem to stop smiling, though. He's got her phone number. And Kon's like, his best friend and totally gullible. He could—
Robin twitched and rubbed the lipstick off his cheek.
The lost, lonely cry came echoing out of the mist. "Rooooooooooooooooobin." It was closer now, the pitch wavering, Doppler Effect in action.
"Impulse?" he called, tucking Catwoman's phone number into his utility belt. Robin gave the pocket a fond pat and zipped it closed.
"Robin!" Impluse cried out happily. "I've been looking for you!"
"I noticed," Robin said. "What's up?" He wondered if Batman knew that Impulse was in Gotham. Robin was sort of supposed to keep him out until 'Impulse is no longer…impulsive,' as Batman had said, staring at the remnants of West Gotham Mall.
"Do you want to hang out?" Impulse asked eagerly. The air around him thrummed with a constant low level hum.
Robin's communicator turned on. "Get him out of the city," Batman ordered.
Robin shrugged. "Sure. Want to go to Metropolis and get cheese steak sandwiches?"
"If Superman asks, I knew nothing about your plans," Batman said flatly. "Try to avoid large scale destruction."
"Want to call Superboy and ask if he'll come?" Robin asked absently, touching the pocket with Catwoman's number again. It's been a while since they'd gone for Metropolis cheese steak sandwiches.
"He's busy with Wonder Girl." Impulse wrinkled his nose. "They were wrestling with his tentacles."
Robin went cold with jealousy. Of whom, he didn't really know, but holy crap, jealous. "Is that so?" he fumbled for a way to ask for details without actually asking.
"Un-huh." Impulse nodded enthusiastically. "And Superboy accidentally ripped her shirt off, because he doesn't have full control of his tentacles, and Wonder Girl made him take his off because it was only fair, and then Superboy's tentacles turned all weird-colored, and he hugged her with them, and I think Wonder Girl is going to teach him Greek wrestling, what do you think?"
Robin processed that and his stomach dropped to his knees. He didn't know why. It's not like he could sleep with either of them. He was committed to Young Justice not being like the orgy that Teen Titans had been. Very committed. Batman had given him a talk. "Huh, I don't know. But you know what?"
"What what what?" Impulse twitched.
"I think Metropolis is way funner than Greek wrestling. We should go get them and bring them along," Robin decided, "and we should bring Secret, too."
Robin smiled maliciously. If he couldn't have tentacles, no one got tentacles. Or boobies. Superboy wasn't getting any damn boobies before Robin did. "Let's go see them!" he encouraged Impulse.
He blinked and suddenly Cassie and Kon were grappling nakedly in front of him. A significant section of his brain shut down, murmuring boobies, and his hand twitched for his camera.
"Hi!" Impulse shouted, apparently not noticing anything out of the ordinary.
Cassie screamed and jumped away from Kon. The tentacles looked dark red, and glittered like garnets as they wrapped lovingly around her arms. And her legs. And her fingers, shoulders, back, waist, hair, toes—the portion of Robin's brain that had been committing the curves of Cassie's breasts to memory froze and moaned tentacles jealously.
"We're going to Metropolis for cheese steak sandwiches and you should come!" Impulse said merrily, not noticing that Cassie was topless. Robin wondered if Bart would notice if she was naked. Or if Kon was naked. Robin's concentration took another nosedive as he thought about nakedness.
"So you should get dressed," Robin said, feeling like he should add to the conversation somehow. "So we can, like, eat."
Kon blinked in stunned confusion.
Cassie squeaked and covered her chest, very belatedly. "We were—um—I mean—oh my god." She turned around and snatched her bra off the ground. It was blue with little flowers. Cute.
Robin pretended that he was looking away to give her privacy, but stared from the corner of his eye while silently blessing the white lenses in his mask.
"What?" Kon asked in confusion, finally catching up to the rest of the group once Cassie's boobs were covered up.
"We're going out to eat!" Robin said cheerfully. "…So you should get dressed," he said again.
Cassie yanked her shirt over her head and Kon's face crumpled up like he was going to cry. No boobies for you! Robin thought gleefully. He wondered if being pleased by that was wrong, then decided that it couldn't be. He was preventing both pre-marital oogling and teen sex. Large groups of Americans agreed with that sort of thing. Batman would approve, especially if Robin told him about the Catwoman thing.
Kon glared at Robin, his sky-blue eyes shimmering with repressed wrath (or possibly tears). Robin was briefly distracted by the way absurdly thick eyelashes framed Kon's eyes. Like a picture frame. His hand inched toward his camera.
"Did Cassie teach you lots about Greek wrestling?" Bart asked Kon innocently. Cassie made a muffled noise of complete embarrassment.
"Not enough," Kon muttered bitterly, fishing his t-shirt out from behind the couch with a vaguely orange tentacle. The deep red had faded toward yellow diamonds, and Robin wondered what other colors he could make Kon's tentacles turn if he tried.
"Oh." Bart tilted his head thoughtfully. "I guess that means you should practice more."
Kon grinned and glanced at Cassie. She flushed, but smirked back at him. "Yeah. He's not very good at it yet," she said. "He's going to need a lot of practice."
Kon gasped and clutched a hand to his chest. His still bare chest.
Robin frowned and scuffed his foot on the floor. He's going to need to put more effort into making sure that Kon doesn't get any sex.
"So, we taking the bike?" Kon asked casually. He tugged his t-shirt over his chest, sliding thin cotton over the chiseled perfection—Robin gave his hormones a stern talking to.
Bart gasped in sudden realization. "I have to find Suzie!" He disappeared.
"What the hell Robin?" Cassie yelled as soon as Bart left.
Robin looked away in studied disinterest. "What?" he said.
"You cockblock," Kon hissed and his eyes were a flinty blue. Like...oceans. Stormy oceans. Cassie smacked him on the shoulder, but didn't stop glaring at Robin.
"Dude. I had no idea," Robin lied.
Cassie snorted. "Sure you didn't."
"Seriously," Robin said. He smiled sincerely. "I just couldn't think of an explanation for Bart that didn't involve the birds and bees talk that I refuse to give him."
Cassie sighed. "Robin, you are such a dick." Light blue tentacles were playing with her hair, Robin noticed with irritation.
"I thought we were bros, man," Kon said.
"We are!" Robin insisted, a bit more adamantly than he strictly should have. If he couldn't have an orgy, then he damn well wanted bro status.
"That was very un-bro-like," Kon told him seriously. "I may have to remove you from my bro-list."
Robin only wanted to prevent his friends from having sex. Was that so wrong? "Hey, you'd probably regret it in the morning," he pointed out. He had to dodge Cassie's punch, and the piercing whistle of air flowing by his ear indicated that she hadn't held back much.
"Screw you, Robin," Cassie hissed.
"..What?" Robin asked in genuine confusion. "You'd probably regret it, too. Especially once Wonder Woman or Superman found out."
Cassie and Kon stopped glaring at Robin for a second, and gave each other assessing glances.
"I think it would be worth it," Cassie said, "I mean, what if the tentacles go away?"
Robin winced at the re-occurring Dick-logic. "Well, do you really want Young Justice to end up like Teen Titans?"
Kon grinned suddenly. "Dude, you're just jealous."
"Am not," Robin denied defensively.
Cassie's eyes sparkled with malice. "Oh?"
"…Yeah," Robin said. He wondered where the hell Bart was. They had cheese steaks to get. Seriously, where was that kid?
"Somebody's lying!" Kon sang cheerfully. He threw his arm around Robin's shoulder, and wrapped a few tentacles around his waist. "Really man, I know it's hard to resist this much hotness-especially when tentacles are on the line, but dude, being a total cockblock is not the way to my..." He frowned thoughtfully. "...bed?" he eventually guessed.
Robin opened his mouth to deny like a politician, but was cut off before he could even begin.
"Excuse me? Your hotness?" Cassie asked, "Did you not see the way he stared at my boobs?"
Robin shuffled back. Apparently, tentacles had aided Cassie in getting over her shyness.
"Did he stare at you before tentacles?" Kon shot back. "Because, hello! Who wouldn't want that?" His tentacles sparkled irately, turning a faintly greenish hue.
"Yay! Cheese steak sandwiches!" Bart interrupted at the perfect time, dragging Suzie along beside him. "Let's go!"
"Yes! Let's go!" Robin exclaimed with relief. "We need sandwiches! Lots and lots! Chop chop!"
Everyone was staring at him now, but it was better than the alternative of being Cassie and Kon's sex toy. He was the Team Leader. It would be wrong. A small-medium-okay, a large part of him questioned that opinion, but Robin remained resolute. It helped that Kon had put his shirt on, though.
Half-way through his sandwich, Robin realized a sudden truth. This epiphany was minor. It wasn't even earth-shattering. He chewed thoughtfully.
Superboy was posing for a group shot, cherry red tentacles managing to wrap around every last one of the twenty members of the Swedish basketball team, as Wonder Girl watched with interest, not jealousy.
Robin tossed another french fry in the air, watching Impulse leap up and nab it with his teeth. Secret giggled merrily, playing with the gratings in the sidewalk, surfing on the air that the subway churned up.
Robin contemplated the truth some more, taking another bite out of his sandwich.
"Hey Rob!" Superboy called, waving him over. "The ladies want a picture with all of us!"
The Swedish basketball team cooed at him.
Robin shrugged and wandered over. Secret and Wonder Girl were already there. Impulse appeared in the middle, right next to Superboy.
The camera flashed and Robin made his decision. He tossed his camera to the food cart owner. "I'd like a picture, too," he said. Robin had very few pictures of himself but he felt like recording the moment for posterity.
The food cart owner gave them a big thumbs-up, and shouted something in Greek. Young Justice beamed at the camera, surrounded by twenty blonde women, all of whom were way way taller than them. Robin grinned as the camera went off. Either a Swedish woman, or a tentacle had goosed him, and he was okay with that.
They weren't going to be sixteen forever, after all. And one day... One day they might be Teen Titans. Or less-Young Justice. Robin smacked his brain around and told it to stop ruining the epiphany. Either way, one day it wouldn't be weird and potentially abusive to think that Bart was adorable, or that Cassie was gorgeous, or that Kon was...amazing, or that Suzie was cuter than a dozen pictures of kittens.
Robin nodded firmly. One day, he would have his cakes, and eat them, too. He was groped again and Robin amended his statement. One day soon.