Title: The Academics of Blue Author: A.j. (Aj2245@yahoo.com) Rating: PG Archiving: Take it. It'll be up at www.the-family- archives.com/themedresponse eventually. Summary: Robin and Batgirl bond. Spoilers: Current Robin/Batman canon. At least Robin 103 and concurrent Bruce Wayne: Murderer issues.

Notes: This is fluff to the nth degree. Nothing happens here. Honestly. I originally wrote this in response to a challenge issued on one of my lists. It was to write a drabble with the phrase "Take me to bed," in its body. It was supposed to be erotic or racy or something. Problem is, I'm physically and psychologically incapable of writing anything shorter than 300 words and I suck at racy. Like with a piece of PVC pipe. Watch me watch you not being surprised. Anyway, I wrote most of this instead and it just sorta. expanded. As for the Batgirl/Robin dynamic, well. Let's just say I'd dig it the MOST if those two started bonding in canon.

Dedications: 'rith. See? Toldja.

Feedback and criticism welcome.

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The Academics of Blue by A.j.

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"Robin?"

"Yeah?"

"Why you sad tonight?"

Tim Drake sighed and stared just a bit harder through his binocs. It had been a long, hard week. For some reason or another, Dana'd been having problems with the local school district. Admittedly, having your family lose all its money, pull you out of your second school in a year, and moving to a new, less easily-break-outable apartment would generally be considered the lowest of lows. But, being Tim, he was special. On top of all that happy skippiness, his mentor was currently accused of murder, his generally close associates were knee-deep in trying to clear said mentor, and, to top it all off, Stephi was pissed at him.

There were days when it really didn't pay to be Tim Drake.

"Oh... just stuff."

Across the roof, nestled deep in the shadow of a roof exit, Cassandra Cain studied her companion. Oracle had been the one to send them on this little mission. The girl had been somewhat surprised. As a general rule, she and Robin didn't work together all that often. They'd saved that little girl awhile ago, emerging tentative friends, but since, there hadn't been much of an opportunity to do much else than casually wave at each other coming and going through the clocktower window.

As such, Cass really didn't know her current partner all that well. He seemed nice enough. He'd even snuck her a few Choco-Nut Wonders back when Babs had been on her health kick. Still, even with her lack of experience in such matters, the boy seemed rather tense. Sad. Distant. And his body language, her own native one, screamed dejection.

That just wasn't right.

"You sure?" Careful to move quietly, she sidled in his general direction. They'd been sent to keep watch over a certain warehouse and report in on the movement patterns of the people below. No one had moved in at least twenty or so minutes and it'd been all she could do not to smack her partner over the head to get him to relax.

Tim just sighed and readjusted the dial to get a closer view at the door.

Cass hated being ignored.

"You SURE?"

Tim jumped, his already taught nerves snapped. Instinct took over and the only thing that saved Batgirl from a leveling punch to the face was fifteen plus years of training.

"Gah! Don't DO that!"

"You ignore me!"

"I'm brooding! There's precedence!"

"Is dumb to brooding!"

"I'm sad!"

"Why!"

"Because Spoiler's grounded and mad at me because I wouldn't stick my hand down her shirt- Oh, god, I said that out loud, didn't I?"

Cass nodded sympathetically and patted his back while he tried to stop blushing. "Why you no stick hand down shirt? Is fun."

If possible, Tim turned an even brighter shade of red. "Uh... It's complicated."

"No want to?"

"Er..."

"Not right mood?"

"Um..."

"Not ready?"

"."

Once again, Cass's eyes caught everything Tim wasn't saying. "That okay. What she say?"

Tim sighed and slumped down on the edge of the roof. Nothing was moving down at the warehouse and he really *did* need to get this off his chest. "You mean besides, 'Take me to bed, or lose me forever!'?"

"You think you lose her forever because you no take her to bed?"

"No." He kicked his feet back against the wall. Cass took the seat next to him and somehow pried the binoculars out of his hand. He let them go willingly and by the time he was ready to talk again, she was tossing them from palm to palm. Strangely, this conversation wasn't as embarrassing as he might have thought. If he'd ever thought about discussing his love life with Batgirl. On a roof. During a stake out. While Stephi was pissed at him. "I just think she's gonna be mad for awhile, and I don't really need to deal with that right now."

Cass nodded sagely and spun the binocular strap around her index finger.

"It's just everything's so weird right now, you know? My family's not doing real well right now, and school's not cooperating." Sighing deeply, he stared out towards the dominating presence of Wayne Towers. "And then there's all this to deal with."

"Batman did not do it."

"I know."

"Family will get better."

"Maybe."

Cass poked him with an elbow, hard enough to exert a little wheeze. "Spoiler will get ungrounded and get head out of butt."

Tim rubbed his rib and chuckled a bit. Cass seemed so certain. And it was a rather odd thing to have happen. And Stephi probably wouldn't be TOO mad. "Maybe, Batgirl. Maybe."

"Maybe nothing." Cass folded the strap in a fairly complex manner, pulling her fingers away to reveal a fairly detailed outline of what looked like a rose. An admittedly lopsided, black rose, but the resemblance was there. She waggled it a bit and the binocs magically settled into a pseudo-stem. "All stuff like rose. Got lots of layers. Some got thorns, some don't. Petals make lots of circles. Every bad thing leads to a good one. Like how I spend lots of time alone. Oracle find me and make me part of this. Make me Batgirl."

She poked him in the nose. "Is good in everything, Robin. Just look."

There really wasn't much he could say to that. He merely nodded and accepted his mangled binocs back. He looked at it a bit closer and realization dawned that she'd somehow knotted the whole thing together in under a minute.

"Wow. This is really good."

Cass beamed at him under her cowl. "I learn from book! Oracle say is macaroni."

"Macramé?" He tested the tensile strength of the nylon cord. None of the knots budged. "I'm really impressed."

"Needed to do something besides patrol when Nightwing come over to see Oracle."

"Elevator in his building still broken?"

"He no want her to see how long since anyone clean his apartment."

Tim grinned. Some things, no matter the circumstances, be they economic, social, or scholastic, never changed. Feeling quite a bit better for no particular reason, the young man shifted into a more comfortable position on the concrete lining the building's roof. Life could be worse. He could have Cole's job.

"Anything at all, kid-wonders?" The slightly harried voice of one Barbara Gordon suddenly twittered through their earpieces.

"It's deader than a vegan restaurant during a beef convention." Babs snickered.

"Well, do yourselves a favor then and knock off early once Billy-boy down there takes off. I just need confirmation that he's heading home. There should be a radio car or two waiting for him when he gets there." Tim nodded, aware that the woman couldn't see a thing he was doing. Barbara sounded really tired. Lord knows she'd been working night and day for almost two months now. Just another unappreciated effort in the battle for Bruce Wayne's soul. There was a time when he wasn't this cynical. Really. "Good night kids. I'll be up for awhile, otherwise just key in the data. I've got the computers set up for an automatic anonymous tip."

"Bye! Home later."

"Have a good one, Oracle lady."

The following double beep let them know she'd set the system to standbye. In unison, they stared down at the seemingly deserted warehouse. Two minutes into a comfortable silence, the man they'd been waiting for slipped out the side door and into a beat-up Buick.

"That was anti-climactic." Tim could barely make out Cass's nod in the dark.

"Call Oracle back?"

"Just typed in the info." He waved his fingers at her, indicating the glove keypad. "You heading back to the 'tower?"

The responding sigh was more than heartfelt. It was a sigh that saw nothing but shat-upon-ness in the near future. Tim was rather familiar with that sigh.

"Oracle on a health kick again?"

Batgirl shook her head mournfully before flipping her legs over her shoulders and landing in a neat crouch four feet behind the wall they'd been sitting on. "No go shopping. Only thing in kitchen is coffee and exploded sugar chickens from Easter."

"You even burned through the old sugar toasties?"

"Nightwing no share."

"He sucks like that." The both took a moment to reflect on that. Each separately coming to the conclusion that a certain super-hero was in need of a very solid wedgie.

Quite a bit of snickering followed.

"Hey, you wanna go get something? I'm not supposed to be home for another, um," he quickly checked the watch built into his glove. Useful things these. ".hour and a half. Wow, it is early."

Batgirl nodded cheerfully. "Where?"

"O'Shaugnessey's? I swiped ten bucks from the emergency stash before we came over. I was supposed to be at an old friend's house for dinner." He shrugged at what he was sure was a pointed glare. That cowl really did hinder facial expressions like nothing else. "Best I could do. Anyway, the one over on tenth gives me free shakes when I buzz the play area."

"Race you!"

***

A.j.