This was a birthday present for Rush, who was probably too tiny to read it.

(love, love is a verb
love is a doing word
fearless on my breath
teardrop on the fire
of a confession
fearless on my breath

It happens on a Friday.

A low-hanging autumn fog is spread thickly over Gotham, an appropriate backdrop to the shivering leaves encrusted in shades of red and orange. The streets are damp from the morning's sleet, glistening black and oily in the pale light, and Gotham Academy's brick walls are darkened from rain.

Artemis sits alone in the east quad, her navy blazer unbuttoned, her crimson scarf wrapped tightly around her neck. There are runs in her black stockings and her brown loafers are scuffed, and her hair is loosely tied in a bun, and she can't wait to just go home and sleep.

There are bruises under her sleeves, pressed into her skin by the crowd of Cobra Venom smugglers she and the Team had fended off the night before. The scarf hides the marks on her neck from the chokehold one of them had put her in.

She eats uninterestedly from the plastic container of phở her mother had packed her, pushing her hair out of her eyes. Normally she isn't by herself, but Barbara has a Computer Club meeting and Bette is busy studying for her European History exam. Not that Artemis doesn't love libraries or anything, but she'd rather not be stuck in one of them with Bette.

She hears a rustling behind her and turns sharply, narrowing her eyes at a bush a few feet away. Grayson slinking around again, no doubt. He'd been having an even greater tendency toward that than usual lately. When she sees no movement again for a few moments, she shrugs and shifts back around, planning on returning to her noodles.

Instead, she is met with Dick Grayson's face, maybe an inch from hers, grinning mirthfully as he crouches in front of her. She shrieks, jerking back, and drops the container. It falls on its side into a puddle, spilling noodles out into the mud.

Dick, rather than having pity on her, breaks into his trademark cackle, pointing an amused finger at her stunned face. She collects herself quickly and immediately shoves at him; he manages to avoid falling on his butt into the water, nimbly drawing himself back to his feet before she can make him lose his balance.

"Very funny, jerkoff," she snaps, leaning over to attempt to salvage her lunch.

"Looks like the container's the only survivor," Dick snickers. "It showed great courage in the historic battle of Artemis Crock Always Falling for That."

"You'll be falling fifty stories by the time I'm done with you," Artemis snarls, pinching the corner of the container between two fingers and gingerly dropping it back into her paper bag. She finally lets her eyes dart murderously back to Dick, who is attempting to conceal his laughter behind his fist. "It's sogratifying to know that you get a kick out of making me starve."

"Poor thing," Dick whines back, putting a sympathetic hand over his heart. "My heart goes out to you, Miss Crock. Really, it does. Only—"

"Only you're a lying little shi—"

"Hey, there are kids around!" Dick interjects, sending a pointed look to several beefy football players a few yards away by the oak tree. "Mind your manners, young lady."

Artemis opens her mouth to let another cutting remark whip off her tongue, but shoves it down when she notices that her scarf has slipped down during the commotion, providing an all-too good glimpse at the bruises on her throat. She quickly tugs it up, but the action doesn't escape Dick's eye.

He frowns at her, his azure gaze compelling. She can see a few strands of black hair twisting out from the normally well-groomed mass. He isn't quite the shrimpy little freshman she had met two years ago, having acquired a good amount of muscle mass and grown several inches. He is a junior now, and she is a senior. His cheekbones are hewn into him now, and he no longer looks so gawky and gaunt; he stands with a straight back and his sinewy limbs do not dangle.

"Did something happen?" he asks calmly, but there is genuine concern moving through his eyes that unnerves her. It's unusual for her to see Dick Grayson's expression be anything but one of utter mischief.

"I, uh…" she starts to stammer, not knowing why she isn't just telling him it's nothing. "I… fell off my bike."

Dick blinks at her before laughing, shaking his head.

"I guess your bike had fingers," he chuckles, and Artemis looks away.

"It's a newer model," she mumbles.

Dick shrugs before sitting beside her, and she scoots over to accommodate him. He flips open the clasps on his tin Batman lunchbox and produces an apple, handing it to her.

"One for the lady," he says when she takes it, whipping out another for himself, "and one for me."

Artemis bites into it apathetically, her eyes wandering. The weather is nothing short of dreary, but the colors of the trees paint its edges a shade of crimson. She can smell incoming rain.

"Ah, you don't have to tell me," Dick breaks in, crossing his legs.

"Good, 'cause I'm not gonna," Artemis replies, taking another bite of the apple for emphasis.

The two of them lapse into silence for a while, and it isn't awkward in the slightest; Artemis is accustomed to the quiet that sometimes comes with Dick, a quiet she never has to fill with anything. Thunder rumbles, far away, and a crowd of giggling girls go running past, already attempting to avoid the oncoming storm.

"Love is like the wild rose-briar, friendship like the holly-tree," Dick recites suddenly. " The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly?"

Artemis turns to him with a quirked eyebrow. "What?"

He blinks as though startled and glances up at her with a somewhat surprised expression, as though he'd forgotten she was there.

"Oh – Emily Brontë," he explains breezily. "Gotta recite it for English next period. Just practicing."

Artemis furrows her brows. "Right."

The bell rings, shrill and gleaming, and Dick immediately stands. He proffers his hand and she takes it, hoisting herself up. Ordinarily, she would have refused, but her muscles are so taut from exertion that she'll honestly take all the help she can get.

"Well, the stage awaits," Dick declares with a flourish, slinging his leather satchel back over his shoulder. Artemis smiles wanly and turns to go, but his hand darts out and clasps her wrist.

She lifts her head and raises her eyebrow at him. He looks, momentarily, flustered, but the expression only lasts a second.

"If you've got room in that busy schedule of yours for the peasants," he says nonchalantly, "could you pencil me in for a meeting here after school?"

"Uh…" Artemis gently pulls her wrist away, not quite understanding why her cheeks feel warmer. "Sure. I'll find a spot for you."

He beams winningly at her and waves before dashing off. Artemis, without even pausing to wonder what he could possibly want other than to possibly ambush her, turns and strides away to her next class, falling into step with the crowd.

"I'm going to tell you a secret," Dick says with a triumphant glint in his eye.

Artemis stares at him. It's drizzling now, and the campus is quiet and largely empty save for the track team running occasionally by. The rain is going to hit soon.

She and Dick are facing each other in the quad, and the wind is tousling her hair, and she grits her teeth to hold back a shiver, folding her arms for warmth.

"What an honor," she replies sarcastically, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. "Let me guess. Is it that you're an alien?"

Dick pretends to grimace, clutching his heart as though wounded.

"Please!" he guffaws. "As if I'd impart such detailed intel to you. Nah, it's much simpler than that."

Artemis watches him expectantly, knowing that the silence is for dramatic purposes. She tries to wrestle some patience into herself, hating the satisfied grin on his face as he waits for the suspense to build, but she knows better than to press him.

He takes two steps forward, slowly, stopping a few inches in front of her. Their eyes are level, and Artemis remembers when she'd needed to practically lean down to have a conversation with him. She feels warmth rush to her face at the sudden closeness, unable to hold back the askance glare from her face. He seems to relish it.

Finally, he opens that infuriating little mouth of his, his dark eyebrows arching.

"Artemis Crock," he murmurs, "I think I might be in love with you."

Feelings have never been Artemis' forte. When faced with them, she usually resolves the issue by punching the offending emotion in the face and storming away to eat beef jerky and violently chew said feelings away. She has never enjoyed talking about them, and she has never enjoyed hearing about them. Her usual tactics seem to be failing her in the plausibility department, because the last thing she wants to do is punch Dick Grayson's face (she'd hurt herself on those cheekbones, and she needs her knuckles to be in top condition), and there doesn't seem to be any beef jerky in the immediate area. Therefore, she has to resort to gawking stiffly at him with her mouth agape and her eyes protuberant and her cheeks hopelessly, mortifyingly red.

"Therefore," Dick continues as if announcing the weather report, "I'd like to request permission to kiss you."

Artemis lets out an indignant and entirely undignified spluttering noise, leaning away from him in consternation. He is smiling lazily up at her, his dark lashes low over his eyes, looking quite pleased with himself.

Artemis doesn't know why her brain's first response is to let him. She doesn't know what it is about his cheeks or his eyelashes or his lips or his general countenance that makes her want to acquiesce to his gentlemanly request. Leave it to Dick Grayson to make kissing her sound like an invitation to some well-to-do charity ball (many of which she has attended at his behest).

"I truly think it would behoove you," he says, and then snaps his fingers. "Two points to me for word usage. Brainy is the new sexy."

"Sure, Sherlock," Artemis hears herself say. Her brain is still skittering around in limbo somewhere, not sure what to do. She's on autopilot. "And mathlete is the new jock."

"So you agree?" He lifts his eyebrows smugly.

"Sarcasm, Grayson," she bites back. Her voice sounds distant. "I thought you'd know how to identify that by now."

"Why, with you, that's practically normalcy," he quips. "How am I supposed to distinguish?"

"Dick, are you…" Her mind and her mouth are one now, and she feels a little dizzy. Her voice shakes. "Are you… serious?"

He raises his hand solemnly.

"As the plague," he replies, his voice comically heavy.

"I…" she chokes out. "I don't… I don't know."

"I wouldn't know either, if I were you," Dick agrees mysteriously, sounding on the edge of a laughing fit. The amused tone of his voice is like a slap to the face to Artemis.

"Excuse me?" she hisses. Her bones are starting to twist. Dick seems to notice her rapid change in demeanor, looking uncharacteristically confused.

"I said… I wouldn't—"

"Save it, Dick," Artemis snaps, shoving past him. "I'm sure this is some kind of great joke that I'm not getting."

"Wait, what?" Dick cries out, leaping after her. She whirls around to face him, and he balks, his eyes wide and stunned and reproachful.

"Joke's on me, as usual," she growls. "You really deserve a laugh track."

She leaves him, then, her limbs shaking as she strides away toward the bus stop. Her breathing is shallow and pained and she doesn't know exactly what just happened, but Dick Grayson is playing a trick on her, that's all – that's all, she repeats to herself as she pushes the image of his guilt-ridden blue gaze out of her head; that's all.

She had kissed Dick Grayson once, at Bette Kane's Christmas party last year. It had been a swift little peck on the lips and he had tasted of peppermint, and she never knew why she'd done it, but he had seemed to be silently asking her to do it all night, nonchalantly guiding her toward the mistletoe before being inevitably interrupted by an enthusiastic mathlete friend babbling about the quality of the eggnog. His hand had reached up and his fingers had brushed barely her cheek, fleet with realization, but she had quickly drawn away and snickered as though it was some great joke and it had taken him a full five seconds to laugh along with her.

His cheeks had been flushed all night, though. He had given her a ride home and they had sat side-by-side in the back of his limo, and Alfred had been playing Mahler, and Dick had put his hand atop hers, and just as she had turned to look over at him with a softened expression, the car had stopped in front of her apartment complex, and it was snowing.

A year ago, Batman had commissioned a fireplace for the Cave. Its installation had been met with wild applause (okay, maybe that had just been Wally), and it had gotten them all through the winter. Even though the Cave did possess a state-of-the-art heating system, the presence of the fireplace was an inexplicable comfort. Even M'gann and Kaldur grew to appreciate it, albeit from a distance. In the summer, Robin and Wally used it to play indoor soccer. (Artemis had learned not to ask. So should you.)

The remnants of the night's fire are flickering in it now, and the Cave is silent, and Artemis, wrapped in a black cardigan that had once been Jade's, can't sleep.

Batman says they have an early mission tomorrow. She really should be preparing for it, resting, doing all she can to avoid dozing off in the bioship again, inconveniently awakened by Wally's belches. She should at least be in the training room, keeping her sore self in shape – she had tried, and every punching bag had morphed inexplicably into Dick Grayson, and her right hook had grown infuriatingly weak at the imaginary sight.

She presses her palms against her eyes, gritting her teeth, eventually running her fingers up her forehead and back through her hair. She hasn't taken it out of the bun, and it looks even looser now, but she can't be bothered to care.

Nine hours would ordinarily have been a decently sized recovery time in the wake of total disaster, but Dick's confession had numbed her, and now it's midnight and she still cannot shake it words. She doesn't know which is worse: that it's probably a joke, or that she would mind if it were. Miraculously – horrifyingly – the thought that Dick Grayson might be in love with her does nothing to repulse her. It twists her stomach into knots and turns her tongue to lead and warms her cheeks to the point of burning, and her ribs clench up when she considers it, but it is a giddy twisting and warmth and clenching, and that's enough to make her want to jump out a window.

She has known Dick Grayson for two years. She has cried in front of him. She has laughed to the point of wheezing. She has invited him over for dinner, and she has introduced him to her mother, and she has been to Wayne Manor on several occasions to hang out with him, and she has treasured him, and she has admired him, and he is her closest friend outside of the Team. And she has kissed him. And she has wanted to do it again, and again, and again.


She drops her forehead against her knees, inhaling through her nose for composure. Out of nowhere, she feels a sudden weight on the rug beside her. She doesn't flinch or jump, doesn't even break her breath.

"Hi," she murmurs.

"Howdy," Robin replies cheerfully. "Can't sleep?"

She snorts.

"No, I'm actually asleep right now, in case you couldn't tell," she scoffs, grinning to herself. Robin lets out a histrionic gasp.

"Come back to reality, Arty," he pleads, grasping her upper arm. "Please."

She permits herself laugh, finally raising her head and smiling wearily at the boy next to her. His eyes are hidden behind his sunglasses, but she can sense the dramatic desperation in them regardless. She has learned to read Robin even through the mask, to brush aside the concealing dimness and read him like a book. He beams at the sight of her face, releasing her arm and lightly nudging her.

"That's the experienced extractor I know," he jokes, leaning back on his palms. "Nice bonfire you've got here."

"It's a controlled burn," Artemis says airily. One of the flame-eaten logs crumbles into sparking ash. Robin snickers.

"Well, if this superhero thing doesn't work out, you can pursue an exciting career as a park ranger," he jibes.

"This superhero thing will work out, thank you very much." She elbows him. "Your support is touching, Boy Wonder; really. Even at this late hour."

His smirk fades into a smile with a tenderness that she hasn't quite seen before, and the faint orange light flutters against his cheeks with feeble caution.

"Insomnia isn't an Artemis-exclusive condition," he mutters, seeming proud of it.

"What's keeping you up, bird brain?" she asks jokingly, not expecting an answer. His smile doesn't falter.

"A girl," he answers plainly.

Artemis' eyebrows go involuntarily up.

"I'm pretty sure crime-fighting doesn't have a gender," she says, trying to keep up the air of snarky jocularity that usually buzzes around them. When he doesn't respond, she sighs. "Who is she?"

"Oh, just your average goddess among mortals," Robin replies lightly. Artemis lets out a spurt of laughter.

"Jeez, never took you for a cornball," she teases him. "Careful not to give her diabetes, sweet stuff."

"How about we put your detective skills to the test, my dear afriend?" Robin suggests, and Artemis feels a small surge of nostalgia at the old nickname. He still hasn't turned to look at her, his eyes focused on the embers.

"Uh… okay," Artemis agrees skeptically. "Not like I have anything better to do."

Dick shifts beside her pensively, wrapping his arms around his knees and linking his fingers.

"Clue one, Miss Drew," he says slowly. "She is an expert in the art of getting traught."

Artemis froze. Oh, no.

"Uh…" she croaks, but he doesn't seem to hear her.

"Clue two." He raises two spindly fingers. "She solves most problems by kicking them."

"Uh," Artemis says.

"Clue three…" He finally turns to face her, his form shifting quietly over the rug. Artemis doesn't even move, her breath hitching. "She is, in the parlance of our times, quite the knockout."

"That's, like, the parlance of the fifties." Here she goes again, speaking without planning. Any and all coherency is rattling around in the back of her skull again, utterly useless.

"Not to mince words," Robin tells her quietly, "but I might possibly be in love with you, 'Mis."

"…Oh?" Artemis squeaks.

He beams. "Mystery solved. Ace detective badge for you!"

"Rob, listen…" she starts to say, but he is leaning delicately forward, and her voice trails off into silence. Her eyelids lower, and her heartbeat slows, and she feels sleepy and awake and taut like a wire pulled at both ends, and when Robin's lips touch hers with such caution that she feels fragile, she closes her eyes and sighs.

She doesn't know what possesses her, but she raises her hand and hooks it around the back of his head and pulls him closer, opening her mouth against his, breathing without rhythm; he puts both of his palms awkwardly on her hips and she twists her torso slightly to meet him. His hands move up to her waist, and his fingers press reverently against her, and she never would have guessed that Robin – he of swinging through the darkness as though he owned it, he who giggles at the misfortune of others and delights in all things sneaky and sarcastic – would taste so nice, his chapped lips moving against hers in a rhythm she follows with ease.

The last of the fire goes out. His hands are warm. This is good, she thinks. This is—

Suddenly, Dick Grayson flashes into her mind, blurting out poetry and declaring his love in the drizzle, and she breaks away, breathless. Robin looks bewildered, nearly pitching forward in his attempts to keep their lips together, and Artemis swallows, trying to even her breathing.

"Robin—" she stutters. "Listen—look, there's someone… there's…" She gulps, wrenching her eyes away from his blank expression. "I haven't quite – figured things out yet with… this other…"

She leaves it at that, chewing her lip, turning back away from him and forcing her eyes to stay on the blackened coals in the hearth.

It's a long time before Robin speaks again.

"My mom said to me once," he murmurs, and Artemis jerks up, because she's never heard him speak of his parents, "that love is… a doing word. It's not just something you feel, it's something youdo. It's something you breathe. Feeling it is great, but it's never enough." He breathes in slowly and exhales. "I think I'm ready to ascend to the 'doing' stage."

Artemis doesn't say anything.

"He's a lucky guy," Robin tells her, and he sounds honest, even a little relieved. "Whoever he is."

"Rob, I'm sorry…" she starts to say, but he cuts her off.

"Hey, it's okay," he whispers. "We'll laugh about this someday."

Every muscle in her body feels as if it's just been assaulted by a cattle prod, and Artemis sits up straight and her head whips around and her heart leaps up into the back of her throat, but Robin is gone.

"No," she chokes out to the darkness. "No way. No way. No w…"

She manages to vaguely calm herself, scrambling to her feet, looking wildly around for Robin even though she knows she won't find him.

"Dick?" she calls without thinking.

Somewhere, in a distant hallway: fleeting, echoing laughter.

"It's just a flesh wound," Robin mumbles through reddened teeth, stumbling along the wall and slumping down to the floor, wheezing. Artemis slams her bedroom window shut and immediately rushes to his side, pushing her hair out of her face. Her heart is about to leap into her throat, she's sure of it—Robin's suit is ripped up and dirty, and his cheeks are white, and there are bruises around his neck, but he's still smirking at her, like he's having fun.

"I seriously don't know how you can mix up 'my place' and 'the hospital,'" Artemis hisses, gently peeling away his domino mask. His blue eyes sleepily catch hers, such a stark contrast to the rivulet of red twisting out of his mouth. "Oh my God, Dick, what happened?"

"Standard patrol," Robin—Dick, sixteen years old and still insane—mutters back, smiling weakly. "Ran into Jokey. Got ugly. But—"

"Shh, don't talk," Artemis tells him quietly, pressing her fingers to his pulse. The beat is erratic. "Dick.God. You're in bad shape; why'd you come here?"

"Just in case this is—y'know, the finale, or whatever…" Dick starts to whisper. "I thought I should probably—"

"Okay, shut up, I'll get you to the hospital on my bike," Artemis interjects viciously, carefully slinging one of his skinny arms over her shoulders and hoisting him up, carrying him out of the apartment and down the stairs to her motorcycle, parked out back. She doesn't bother giving him a helmet and doesn't put hers on, either, clinging to his arms with one hand and the handlebars in the other.

"Hold on tight, Boy Wonder," she tells him as she revs up before rocketing off down the streets.

"I'll never let go," Dick croaks jokingly, and Artemis, if her eyes were not stinging and damp and her heart not afraid, would punch him.

She hasn't seen him in three weeks, not since she had kissed him, and Dick has also been mysteriously (conveniently) absent from school – not absent enough to miss mathletes practice, but she has barely witnessed him outside of those passing moments as she heads to the bus – and it's given her time to think about things.

A doing word. Maybe liking, appreciating, admiring, loving Robin—Dick—who knew?—was something that she had just been doing all along, gradually, inexorably, without even noticing. She remembers standing in front of the Team with her stomach churning as she had told them about her family, about the shadows corroding the edges of her existence, and she remembers that she had never been more scared in her life, but she remembers, above all, Robin: standing sure and true at the back of the room and telling her that he had known all along.

"You're not your family," he had told her. "You're one of us."

She remembers watching the Reds nearly drown him; she remembers his stillness, she remembers her shaking limbs as she had curled up in the ruined ventilation shaft and whimpered into her knees; she remembers his advice, his adamancy – get traught, or get dead. She remembers his choking and spluttering and the water splashing out from his lungs as she had kneeled beside him, and she remembers not being able to breathe until she saw him breathe, and she remembers wanting to pick him up and hold him against her chest and keep him there and never release him, because he had always been her friend; he had always trusted her; he had been the first person to tell her that her family was an insignificant part of her character, and she had never wanted to be closer to anything, anyone, in her life.

"Mis," he mumbles into her back, and she is brought back to the roar of the motorcycle and the sound of traffic. "Not to… rush you or anything, but… I think I might have some sort of… small, internal hemorrhage…"

"God, I'm going, I'm going!" she shrieks, speeding up and zooming past the scattered cars, ignoring their indignant honks. Dick is limp against her when she reaches the hospital, and she carries him in, stumbling into the emergency room with his blood on her shirt, and they take him away and put him on a stretcher and she clenches her hands together and sits down and does her absolute best not to cry.

Robin had given her a rose on Valentine's Day last year. He had presented it to her with a flourish and a bow and had said, "Milady, though your demeanor may be repulsive and your humor sub-par, you are a fine addition to my life and I'm quite happy to have you here."

She had taken it. It had been red. He had been grinning, and it had been raining, and her lips had twisted into a smirk that hid a smile.

"I'm quite happy to be here, cretin," she had riposted. "Now come on; help me with my geometry."

It had wilted quickly. She had never been very good at taking care of flowers. She had pressed the petals between the pages of Xuân Diệu and they are still there, dry and forgotten.

"Remind me," he says amusedly as he reclines in his hospital bed, "never to try to win against a crowbar."

"Shut up!" Artemis shrieks, whacking him lightly in the arm. He grimaces.

"I'm on my deathbed and she still abuses me," he laments to the ceiling. "Which deity did I screw over?"

"Don't joke," Artemis hisses, because he is not on his deathbed and she would never forgive him if he were, and she has said those words to him once before, but she can't remember when.

He turns his head faintly to look at her, and his eyes are so blue.

"I thought M'gann was gonna flood the place," he jokes weakly. "And Supey was holding this huge bouquet of dandelions that he picked from the side of the mountain, and Wally smuggled in some orange tic-tacs for me."

"What a miracle," Artemis mutters, throwing her hands in the air. "What a total blessing! Orange tic-tacs! You're saved!"

"I am, I am," he replies dramatically. "You know how we should celebrate?"

She narrows her eyes at him. "How?"

He smiles languidly, charmingly.

"Kiss me."

"Dick," Artemis says, "this isn't a game."

"Oh, I know." He nods sagely. "Love is no game. If it was, though, you'd never play nice."

"Not really my style," Artemis mutters, leaning back in the plastic white chair she's been sitting in for the past two or so days, awake or asleep. She looks him in the eye and feels like her insides are being pinched. "Why didn't you tell me who you were?"

"How long do I have to answer that question?" he asks jocularly.

"You could've told me," she snarls. "You knew all my secrets; why couldn't I know any of yours?"

"I was waiting for the right moment," he replies evenly.

"The right moment. The right—you're ridiculous," she scoffs, pinching the bridge of her nose. "You're a travesty."

"Tell me more," he says, batting his eyelashes at her.

"You're the most – infuriating little…" She hasn't realized that she's moving closer to him, leaning forward.

"Cretin?" he supplies softly, his eyes growing distant as he gazes up at her.

"Yeah," she murmurs. "Yeah, that."

She kisses him. It's different this time – more bare, more raw, so simple and truthful that it makes her ache. He had been a kid to her once, a snickering imp that she had never been able to explain her abundant concern for. But they are older now, and wiser, and smarter, and they are doing; he puts his hand behind her head and strokes her hair, and she can hear his heart monitor quickening infinitesimally.

She pulls away, her eyes stinging.

"Don't ever do any of this to me again," she tells him, her voice strained. "That's my only rule."

"Bossy, bossy," he teases her. "I'll make no such promises, Artemis."

Her shoulders loosen.

"I didn't think you would," she mutters, and she kisses him again – he tastes like peppermint for a moment, just a moment, and she remembers the snow and the wondering, the fluttering silences between them when they thought about it.

Dick takes her to prom. It's all a very traditional affair, and she pointedly pokes him with the pin when she affixes his corsage to his lapel, and they don't dance to anything, loitering on the upper deck of the yacht and looking at the stars and feeling unbruised, unfettered.

If this is a joke, she'd hate to hear severity.

"At least now we know which blooms most constantly," Dick says to her once.

There are a lot of things she doesn't know. But solving mysteries with Dick Grayson has always been half the fun.