x.o.x

Tim Drake really liked being a sidekick. Honestly.

Sure… he missed the Robin gig that he had been forced out of (not holding a grudge or anything, because, that would be immature)… but there was something (more… thrilling…was that the word? Yes, we'll go with that…) about playing on the "wrong" side. Even just temporarily. Playing sidekick to Catwoman had its perks.

x.o.x

There were nights, even for the people on the "wrong side", to meet up with Dick on neutral ground.

It had been one of those nights on the shadowy rooftop of 2nd Avenue Deli, as Tim tucked his customized bullwhip out of sight, popped his neck, and gave a friendly wave to the crouched, caped figure by the ledge down the way. "So where is the brat prince? Spying on us and grinding his kiddy teeth?" Tim snickered disdainfully at the mental image of Damian, pushing up his infrared goggles and examining his surroundings.

Dick stood up to face him, pushing off the Batman cowl, and said gravely, "Damian is… incapacitated."

"What did it take? Rhino sedatives?"

"Please don't." The troubled look was not… reassuring. "There's a bigger reason I called you here. I need your help… tracking him down."

Tim's eyebrows rose high to almost disappear under his hood.

"This," he then added with a semi-amused, semi-horrified look, "I've got to hear."

Dick groaned. "Look. This is serious, Tim. You just need to know that he was adversely affected by an aphoristic compound that stimulates dopamine reactions in—"

"No…" Tim's face screwed up. Oh hell. "No, Dick, please not the old sex pollen cliché…"

"Believe me, anything else… gassing, electrocution… would have been better than dealing with this."

"Do I even want to know how he managed to escape your watchful eye?"

After a drawn out pause Dick explained uncertainly, "…He needed to use the bathroom." One of Tim's eyebrows lowered as the other rose higher with doubt on the other man who ruffled his hair aggravated. "I know, I know! Bad caretaker! I'm kicking myself right now. In his confusion, Damian must have rationalized that he needed to clear his head and climbed out. He's without his tracker and no belt. Tim, I think a part of him is scared about what is happening to him. When we got into the Bunker, before I ran tests, he was covered in sweat and trying to…" Dick hesitated, "grind on my—"

With a shudder, Tim held up a hand. Please no more…

"So, what are telling me right now… is that we have a mini assassin hocked up on sex pollen running free in Gotham City?"

"Pretty much." Dick nodded calm — even though his face read just the opposite reaction.

Tim resisted the sudden urge to smack his palm against his face. He just wanted to go home.

"…To the weirder cases, I would usually say handle them yourself but… fine." He sighed, defeated. "What's the plan?"

"Lure him. The… pollen is supposed to attract him to the people who make him feel strongly."

"What… like bait?" Tim's blue eyes bugged out as he yelled frantically, "WAIT. NO. I'M THE BAIT?"

"No." Dick's own eyes darkened with humiliation. "We both are."

x.o.x

When they split up, Dick had shouted something over his shoulder about getting in contact if Tim had been the one to catch him before him… but with what? They had long gave up on communicators for each other, and some way or another, they found means to meet up on these nights on the neutral ground.

Two hours had past since and the air temperature was dropping to freezing especially up on rooftops. Thankful for the thick insulating cloth on the insides of the catsuit, Tim decided to take a short break to regain a normal rhythm in his breathing. Jumping to and from was exhausting given all the jewelry heists he had committed in this single night alone… and then Dick's problem became his freakin' problem…

"Interesting…"

Turning slightly to the new voice from behind him, Tim cagily examined out of the corner of his eyes as a maskless and beltess Damian (but in full uniform) took a step forward on the gravel-like ground. Feel strongly… were those Dick's words? What was that supposed to insinuate…?

Crap.

"How did you manage to get up here, Damian?"

Unfazed, unblinking, Damian presented the grappling hook in his right hand, letting it slip nonchalantly from his fingers as he continued walking up to Tim.

"Did you make modifications to your costume?"

"I… might have…" Tim replied to the question, slowly.

"Retractable claws now?"

"… …yes."

Every muscle in Tim's body tensed up as Damian's sinewy, thirteen-year-old arms slung loosely around his neck but he did not shove him away at first. Tim was… frankly, too terrified to move. "Are those ears?" Damian questioned hoarsely, bringing his green gauntlet up to fiddle with the crude leathery ear attachment on the hood. As his ministrations went on, one of Damian's arms reslung itself this time around Tim's skintight lower back, tightening its hold until their chests met soundly.

"Uh… ohhh-kay…"

Wait… gauntlet… yes, didn't Damian's gauntlets have a distress button on the inside lip to signal for emergencies? Dick, you idiot… you effing better be in the nearby area… Tim carefully maneuvered his hand to crawl into the one settled precariously low on his hip and felt for the small ridge of the Kevlar material, punching it repeatedly. DISTRESS. DISTRESS. DISTRESS.

"Do you purr?"

The strange and blank inquiry brought Tim back to harsh certainty of the situation.

"…Huh?"

That hand resting against Damian's found itself twisted around. An agonized hiss escaped Tim's lips.

"Purr for me, Drake~"

Tim struggled again tentatively, this time feeling sharp spikes of that agony run down his right wrist pinned behind him.

Dear god… he was going to snap it like a twig… crazy, drugged son of a bitch.

"I. told. you. to. purr," the boy commanded softly but firmly. Damian's other hand clinging to Tim's hip began tracing warm and lazy circles.

Aargh… stopstopstop

Frustrated, Tim puffed out his cheeks and blew air between his teeth. Okay. Okay. For the record, this was so uncomfortable. And somewhat provocative. Wait. Scratch that last bit. That last bit didn't exist. Okay. He rolled his tongue slightly inside his mouth and began vibrating it behind his teeth. Damian's wider-set, lust-consumed eyes fluttered shut slowly and his grip loosened on Tim's wrist. Tim took the opportunity to free himself from Damian's grasp but not enough to avoid another gawky embrace from the boy as Damian nuzzled his perspiring, fever-warm face into the crook of Tim's neck.

"D-Drake…" came a loud moan from beneath his chin and Tim made a helpless noise. Not… turned on. Nope.

I hate everything.

Something clanged noisily and what looked like a cable wire appeared. Dick swooshed into view, holstering his own grappling hook into his belt. "Robin!" he yelled. As if pulled into a dreamy trance, Damian backed away, face relaxing, and from a very relieved Tim. The boy spun around at Dick who raced over to them.

"…Daddy~" He leered slightly.

"Sorry about this kiddo…" Dick frowned down at his partner, tilting Damian's head to the side and pushing his finger roughly into one of his pressure points. When Damian's knees buckled, the older man carefully lifted and cradled him over his shoulder.

"Thanks for the signal. You doing okay, Tim?"

"I need to… bleach my brain of everything that just happened tonight." The teenager managed to choke out, mortified, and rubbed his face with his hands. "He made me purr." At that, he received an eerily knowing look from Dick. Tim protested, "It was that or have my wrist break!"

At same look still in place, he muttered angrily at the older man, "…You suck."

"You've been a big help tonight. I won't forget it." Dick added thoughtfully, patting Damian's back, "You know… you don't have to be this kind of person, Tim."

"Right…" Tim adjusted his goggles into their proper place. "Because you gave me much of a choice."

"If you are Catwoman's lackey because you are jealous of a little kid getting the Robin title that was yours before… then you are into this all for the wrong reasons."

"You are boiling it down to the wrong points." Tim countered Dick's disappointment with a smile on his features, unwrapping his braided bullwhip, "I'm happy. Happier than I've ever been as Robin. "

Dick jerked his chin. "…I think you need to return what is in your satchel."

"Oh… these?" Tim's laugh rang out clear and satisfied as one of his gloved hands fished out a long string of grayish-silver pearls. He mused with another pleased smile, dangling them up for fleeting inspection, "I think …they'll look better on my mentor than on a mannequin."

"Do you have any idea who you sound like…—"

"—It was nice talking to you, big bro. We'll have to catch up sometime." A familiar metal-ish ball rolled lovingly between Tim's hands.

An exploding bang. A sheet of screening smoke. And he was… gone.

x.o.x

Tim Drake liked being a sidekick.

It was nothing personal.

x.o.x