She waits for him at the cafe sitting adjacent to the corner. It's almost 5 and she knows for a fact that class is over, but work is never over for him. He prioritizes everything over his life because that's who he is. He's not just Dick Grayson, he's Nightwing.
There are couples overflowing the cozy cafe. It seems to be a popular joint for all the students at Gotham University. She first came here with Bette and Artemis when they were showing Artemis around school hangouts. It's her go to place in between patrol and school and home. They say home is where the heart is but Barbara's heart is divided between so many places she doesn't know where her home truly is.
Maybe it's at Wayne Manor with Bruce, Alfred, and Tim. Maybe it's at her dad's apartment in the heart of Gotham. Maybe it's at the cave with the rest of the team.
Inside she knows where her home is. But she's simply afraid to confirm it; she's not the type of girl who swoons over guys but this Dick Grayson has her swinging hoops around Gotham. It pains her to admit that she's irresponsibly in love with him. She knows Dick; he enjoys the freedom he has and he maximizes it to the fullest. He's known around campus for being blindingly attractive and Barbara recognizes it every day and night.
She's sitting at the corner table with her theoretical physics textbook and a cup of herbal tea. Learning about Schrodinger will just have to suffice instead of a nice romantic date with somebody special. The cafe is adorned with hearts and red decor in commemoration for Valentine's Day and inside she wants it all to burn.
Her phone vibrates in her backpack and she picks it up.
"Miss Gordon, you will be joining us for dinner tonight, yes?" Alfred asks after the shared pleasantries.
"Um, not so sure about that Alfred," she doesn't really want to see Dick, not especially after he stood her up today. It's his grade going down the drain after this missed tutoring session.
"Oh, do you already have plans with a certain someone?" he questions but it's impossible to lie to Alfred.
"No, not really..." she says, trying to make an excuse but fails.
"Good. I shall see you tonight at 7," Alfred orders and then hangs up. What has she gotten herself into?
Sitting at this place is not helping her and if she's having dinner at the manor then she at least needs to finish her homework before going on patrol with Robin tonight. She packs up and heads to the library. Walking around campus, she decides to take a short cut through the campus center where she sees Dick, having lunch with a small brunette. A small brunette wearing Dick's jacket, at that!
Barbara gapes from across the room but it's fortunate that she's facing the girl sitting across Dick and not Dick himself. The girl and Barbara make eye contact and she feels her face blush. She speeds away from the building, wanting nothing but to beat him to a pulp. It was not okay to stand her up for a lunch date with some bimbo, and expect her to be alright with him. The nerve of that Dick Grayson.
She paces to the library and settles herself down. Of course, she's Batgirl and these insipid bouts of jealousy aren't supposed to have any effect but it's unstoppable. She groans and covers her face with her palms. It's so frustrating and all she wants is to go on patrol but that is highly unlikely as its broad daylight.
She opens the book and pulls out her notebook. If nothing, she can please herself by not failing the exam that Dick will most likely fail. On top of that, she can't wait to go on patrol tonight with Robin and beat some little shits up. This motivates her and she busies herself with physics that she forgets about the 7 new text messages from Dick.
At the Wayne Manor, Alfred is setting up the table while Tim is practicing with Bruce downstairs in the gym. Dick seems to be lost in traffic and so Barbara takes this chance to help Alfred. Sometimes he gets lost in the hassle that goes on in the house.
"How was your day Alfred?" she asks, taking the tray from Alfred and placing it on the table.
"Splendid Miss Gordon. And yours?" he replies, eyeing her.
"Could have been better," she mumbles more to herself than to Alfred. This seems to the opportune moment for Dick to arrive and he enters the house storming. He walks up to Barbara and steals her away into the study by pulling her hand.
"We need to talk, Barbara," he says sternly as he closes the door behind him.
"About what?" she answers coolly, rubbing her wrist.
"About how you left me hanging dry at the cafe today. I thought we were going to meet up. And you ignored my texts," he says hotly. He is more than just frustrated. Inside, Barbara is more attracted than usual to him right now. His eyes are slanted and his eyebrows furred with his mouth in a frown. She wants nothing more than to just kiss him but that would be completely inappropriate.
"Sorry, I didn't want to disturb your date," she emphasizes on the word 'date' and she sees it hit home in his eyes. They go wide and she hates it because she can see herself drowning in them.
"What? Are you joking? What date?" he seems to think that this idea is preposterous but little does he know.
"Don't lie Dick, we all know you don't give a crap about anything other than what you want," she brushes him over and reaches to open the door behind him. She doesn't need his hot and cold attitude right now, and what she needs is a long patrol with a bunch of little shits that she can beat to a pulp.
He grabs her and presses her up against the door with his hands holding her arms. He looks long and hard at her and she feels her insides start to melt. This can't be happening right now. His gaze travels down to her lips which look absolutely delicious to him and he leans down to kiss him. His arms trace down to her hips where they settle. The kiss is filled with passion and the frustration. She's fed up with everything but his mouth on hers is just what she needs to get her blood to boil. Her hands find the hair at the nape of neck and she grabs it with necessary roughness.
He needs her to understand that she is one the most important people in his life. Without Barbara, he would a mess of a person. She makes him want to be a better person, a better role model for Tim, a better son for Bruce, a better leader for the Team, a better student, and maybe even a better partner for her. He can't have her upset at him; it seems absurd because he needs Barbara.
He hesitantly traces her bottom lip with his tongue and by this point, she has given up on her frustration and given in to her feelings. Their tongues meet and dance like the waves traveling along the sea, bursting with love for each other.
A knock on the door startles them and they instantly break apart, yet gaze at each other.
"Master Dick? Miss Gordon? Shall I have dinner delivered here or are you planning to eat with the rest of us?" Alfred asks from behind the door. Dick and Barbara look at each other and Barbara smiles shyly and Dick can't help but place a small kiss on her tinted lips as he pulls her body close to his.
"We're coming in a second Al," he says to Alfred. They pull apart and take a moment to catch their breath.
She turns around facing the door, still in shock that they kissed. Her hand reaches to touch her lip unconsciously and she shakes herself out of this loveshock state she's in. She can't face Alfred or Bruce or anyone like this! More so, she has to focus. He can't distract her with mindblowing kisses. She needs to be rational about this. She clears her throat and turns around to face Dick.
"This never happened," she says in a clear cool voice.
"We'll see about that," he answers cheekily and places a small peck on her cheek as he walks past her to open the door and head towards the dining room before Alfred really yells at them. Now, Alfred's anger is another story.
Barbara instantly turns around and paces to the dining room where Bruce and Tim are freshly showered and ready for dinner. Tim looks up at her and smiles a hello as she sits down in front of him. Bruce sits at the head, like usual.
Dick sits next to Tim and cries out for food, "Alfred! They don't feed us at college!". He begins to take servings of everything on his plate.
"Master Dick, please don't stuff yourself like last time. You'll make yourself sick again," Alfred reprimands him. As that as the invitation, they all help themselves to the delicious food and Bruce begins the conversation.
"Dick, you need to send a team to the international conference in NYC," Bruce says immediately getting down to business. With that, the atmosphere changes from playful to serious and they aren't simply having dinner but a business meeting.
"None of that at the table, Master Bruce," Alfred eyes him and helps himself to another serving of the mashed potatoes. Bruce sighs and looks down. No one goes against Alfred at dinner.
"How was your day Babs?" Dick asks her, smiling widely.
"It could have been better," she answers simply.
"And why is that?" Bruce asks, suddenly taking an interest in the conversation.
"I was stood up," she replies looking straight at Dick.
"Maybe if you had bothered to check your phone, you would know why."
"Maybe I wasn't in the mood for excuses."
"Enough!" Alfred says, ending the hostile mood at the dinner. Sometimes, it takes more than just one patient all wise man to deal with this family.
"Sorry," Dick and Barbara say simultaneously.
"I had a nice day," Tim says looking at Alfred with a happy smile.
"Please Master Tim, do tell us about your day," Alfred gives Tim a warm smile. Meanwhile Dick and Barbara finish their dinner quietly, not wanting to anger Alfred again.
As dinner is over, Bruce helps Alfred clear the table and Barbara leaves the manor to head back to the dorm.
"Babs!" she hears from behind her. There's few people who call her that and she knows who this one specifically is. She groans inwardly and turns around.
"What Dick?" she asks.
"Listen, I'm sorry about before but I was busy," he apologizes with a sheepish smile.
"Yeah, I know. You were on a date," she replies sharply.
"What?" he answers baffled. How can she possibly think that? After that kiss?
"Word gets around quick Grayson."
"That was my partner for a comp sci project. It wasn't a date Babs!" he pleads. In her heart, she feels remorse for judging him but with his reputation, it was called for.
"Babs..." he whispers as he hold her hand and pulls her close. He holds her close as he places a piece of hair behind her ear. He looks at her and when he does, he could truly look at her. He sees the hurt in her eyes and he sees the confusion. He feels that he is partly to blame and it hurts him. Never in a hundred years does he want to hurt her.
"I'm sorry if I hurt you, but didn't that kiss mean anything to you?" he asks, pleading with his eyes.
"Dick, it meant too much. We shouldn't be in this, not with being Nightwing and Batgirl," she says, looking down towards their feet. He holds her head up and says yes, they can do it. If anything, Nightwing and Batgirl should only help them since they've been through so much together.
"Don't be afraid," he smiles down at her, "don't you go after challenges?" he asks with a smirk.
"You know what? You're right. Who am I to back down from a challenge?" she smiles back. She leans up and kiss him hard, with more softness and less aggression than the previous kiss. He grabs her close and puts his hands down in the back pockets of her jeans. She leans into him and they feel complete. This is how it should have been from the start. Why they wasted any time getting here baffled them both but it's all worth it because they're with each other and that's all that matters.