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You are Trying My Patience

The entire Bat clan knew that Damian was not a patient person by nature; so did anyone else who had worked with him before. His patience during operations came from years of discipline and practice. But take him out of a crime-fighting situation, and all that discipline went out the window faster than Cassandra Cain with a plate of Alfred's cookies.

Even now, at the age of 15, Damian was still impatient and rash. Stephanie knew because she worked with him on almost a nightly basis, and he was never content with her being a few seconds slower than him when swinging between rooftops.

It explained why Stephanie was in her current state of shock. Damian had appeared at her college apartment and requested—sounding very charming to her roommate—her presence. When told that she was in the shower, he had waited. Stephanie cursed herself when she'd come out and told he was waiting. Knowing his attention span it was a mission or assignment and now he would be endlessly grouchy and snappy.

But when she'd gotten downstairs he'd been dressed regularly and told her that it wasn't a mission. Snap back to the present, where Stephanie was staring with her jaw slightly open.

Damian was stressed looking, to say the least; Stephanie could only imagine it was that he was sent to talk to her. "Walk with me, Brown," he requested. Seeing no other opportunity, she did so and followed him outside.

The streets of her neighborhood weren't exactly the safest place in Gotham, but neither of them were concerned with being attacked or followed. "How'd you get here, and what about your identity?" Stephanie asked.

"I used a motorcycle; your roommate believes I'm a friend," Damian answered quickly, almost snapping it at her. Something was eating at him, and it was making her curious. Finally, after a lengthy walk four blocks down, Damian opened his mouth to speak again. By this point Stephanie was astutely aware of him, trying to figure out what he was thinking. "There is a charity ball being held by my father this weekend for schools."

Stephanie blinked; he was coming to her about social things. "Yeah, I know about it. Tim was complaining about dealing with socialites again," she recalled.

"Good. I will pick you up then at six," Damian stated, as though that were it.

Stephanie blinked again.

"Hold on," Stephanie said, holding up a hand. "What are you implying here—"

"Tt. What do you think I'm implying?" Damian cut off gruffly. "I will pick you up at six so you can accompany me. Then I will take you home afterward."

"What—that is not how you ask a woman out!" Stephanie shouted at him. He hadn't even asked; he had just said what time he would pick her up. Surely his social skills weren't that terrible.

Damian glared and folded his arms. "Woman, you are trying my patience," he warned.

"Trying your patience? Do you know how rude that was? You live with Dick; hasn't he taught you anything about talking to women?" Stephanie asked. Damian met her eyes, his patience obviously wearing thin.

"I attempt not to learn what Grayson feebly attempts to teach me; otherwise I would be as touching as him," Damian countered. Stephanie had to admit he had a point there.

But she wasn't going to back down from this one. "Damian, that's the worst way to ask out a girl, ever. Why are you even asking me? I thought you hated me," she stated. His comments had only gotten sharper with time, and so had hers. If they weren't trading remarks, Bruce thought something was wrong.

"I do not hate you," Damian retorted. She noticed he left his feelings ambiguous. "You are also the only woman who will be there that will not be using me to get to Father."

Stephanie sighed; it was like him to think that way. She understood his desire to have someone as a haven from the socialites of Gotham; she'd never understood how Bruce or any of the others did it; Tim described it as having a Joker-induced migraine, and Dick was jealous of Tim's socialing abilities. She guessed that she might as well cut him a break. But first she was going to correct Damian's method.

"First you'll have to ask correctly," she offered.

Damian's only response was an irritated "Tt." He looked like he might start tapping his foot impatiently any moment now. "Fine. Tell me quickly."

Aware of his patience about to hit the wall, Stephanie tried to explain it as simply as possible. "Well first before you even ask you have to woo the girl—" she started, but she was cut off by him.

"I wanted to know how to ask correctly, not how to woo a girl, Brown. Hurry up," he ordered.

"Wooing is part of how you ask—" Stephanie started again, but she was cut off as Damian's patience ran out.

He reached forward, pulled her head lower, and met her lips with his own. Stephanie started to react but fell to his astonishingly good kiss and sank into it. Damian broke off, leaving Stephanie speechless; she touched her lips to feel if it had actually happened. Damian caught her attention again.

"I have wooed you," he declared. "I will pick you up at six." And then he turned around and left, leaving Stephanie flustered. She touched her lips again. Granted, he had wooed her. Even if he was only a demon brat who'd grown a little. Great; now she was impatient for the weekend to see what he would do next.

She shook her head clear. "No fifteen year old should kiss that good," she muttered, and headed back.