Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.
Spoilers: None, really. Though I do reference Batgirl: Year
Summary: Babs' smiles don't make Dick feel very Robin-y.
Ratings Note: Sexual content which some readers might
find to be pollinated.
Author's Note: I could've sworn Betty was the one who
gave me this idea, but she denies it. This means I can
blame Petra, though, so *that's* all right.
Acknowledgments: To Betty for audiencing and forcing
me to be nice. To Petra for reassuring the neurotic
Sometimes Babs gets this little smile on her face -- her eyes
are mostly closed, and she's not really looking at him, or
seemingly anything, even if she's also gathering books
together to go back on shelves, or typing, or buffing a
smudge off the finish of her bike --
It was Bruce's idea that she should have the bike, and it's
terrible that he wishes it hadn't been, it's *bad* to be that
kind of greedy, and sometimes it's even worse that he
knows Bruce *understands* --
Sometimes Babs gets this smile, and it's beautiful, but it's a
different kind of beautiful than all of her other kinds. It's
just so *private*, and it makes Dick start to sweat even if
he hasn't been doing *anything*, makes his knees want to
shake and makes it hard to breathe.
He's pretty sure it shouldn't work that way -- he *knows*
those smiles are as much about him, and how she *does*
like him, *really*, than they are about anything else, but
So, the trick is to try not to see the smiles when they're
If he can --
Well, the smiles don't make him feel very Robin-y.
Neither does riding on the back of Babs' bike, but --
Well, the assassins were shooting at the Prime Minister,
and Dick had had him on *his* bike, and the only escape
route was over train tracks which really weren't empty
*enough*, and the jump was too far.
For the bike and *nearly* for the Prime Minister, and Dick
had kind of had to roll them mid-air and *kick* the poor
guy into some handy compost just to make sure they both
*did* land well.
He wasn't very appreciative -- which Dick can understand,
but still -- and the bike is in a million pieces -- some of
which are probably still *stuck* to the train -- and Bruce
isn't going to be happy.
And that -- well, it makes him *queasy*, and not even the
way Babs' mouth had fallen open like that, the way she'd
actually *clapped*, even if it was only once, the way she
had *looked* --
Well, actually it was wonderful, because -- well, *because*,
but it was wonderful in the way that makes riding on the
back of her bike much, much worse.
Before she put her helmet on, Dick had seen *that* smile.
He doesn't feel very Robin-y at all.
It's better that time with the Penguin and the puffins he'd
gotten to swallow bags of diamonds, even though Babs
does most of the punching and kicking.
Bruce seems to like it, sometimes, when Dick crouches on
an exposed beam or maybe lets himself hang by heels --
so long as he'd checked his perimeter *thoroughly* first.
It's a different kind of being Robin to just -- hang out and
poke fun at the bad guys while Bruce --
Oh, she's nothing like Bruce, and sometimes Dick feels
really guilty for thinking this, but thank *goodness*.
She *dances* through the puffins and puffin-mess and the
She *smiles* and she dances --
She smiles and she dances and it lasts forever and it's over
in a heartbeat, and it's all Dick can do to remember to point
and laugh really effectively as the bad guys all go over like
nine-pins, as she catches the Penguin's shaking fist in a
loop of jump-line --
As she yanks, just right, so that *he* goes down and she
can just --
-- keep --
"Oh," he says, out loud when he just can't *not*, anymore,
and when she looks up at him, her eyes are shining and her
mouth is curled up just enough to change a smirk to a
smile, and her fists are on her cocked hips and if Dick isn't
careful he's going to fall head-first into puffin poop.
And it will be worth it.
But all that happens is that she sends her *other* line out
just like -- *that*, until it's a perfect and secure coil around
the beam Dick's hanging from, and he can slide right down.
His boots are awful in seconds.
Hers look spotless.
And the smile on her face changes just a little, and she
looks down and away --
And she calls the police, which is good, because the
Commissioner *always* seems to pick up when Dick is
feeling *just* like this, and the tone of his voice always
sounds like "I *know*," even though he can't, not really,
and Dick would dress up in Babs' uniform every day for a
week if it meant he absolutely, positively wouldn't have to
deal with that ever again.
The puffins are in really bad shape, though.
It's even better than *that* the time with Poison Ivy,
Well, okay, it's not *good* that the vines catch Babs by the
ankles and the wrists, and Ivy says some really *mean*
things about Babs' hair color and fashion sense which are
still mean even though they're kind of very silly, too, and,
on top of everything, it leaves him to face Ivy *and* the
vines all by himself.
But -- he *can* handle it, and he does, and he gets to use
the batarangs *and* the new little magnesium "marbles,"
too, and even though he can't ever feel really *okay* about
kicking women in the face -- even the evil ones -- it makes
Babs almost *whoop*, and the way she's straining against
the vines --
He may have even gotten a *clap* for that one, if, you
know, Babs could've managed it.
And suddenly Bruce is in his head, pointing out that he
absolutely *could've* gotten Babs down first, and absolutely
*should've*, and Bruce is going to be *mad*.
Just -- *dang*!
But -- but.
It'll be hours before he *has* to go back to the Cave, and
once Babs' wrists are free, she frees her ankles herself and
uses a little somersault *Dick* had taught her, and then
she walks (*dances*) over and kicks Ivy in the face.
She says a few mean things, too, but it's allowed.
And she doesn't have *that* smile on her face when she
looks at him, but she's got Dick's second favorite one in the
world, all wide and bright like she'd maybe be giggling if
Ivy was unconscious, instead of just tied up and grumbling
under a pile of dying evil plants.
It's the one that looks so -- so *kissable* that Dick has
trouble feeling his *feet*, but it's not private at all, so he
can still move, still --
And she'd *let* him, once, and maybe, maybe, she'll do it
again, and --
The popping noise isn't like a gun or anything, but it still
makes them jump, and for a minute even *that's* perfect,
because of the way her back fits so right against his own,
and how the shadows let him *see* her pull up into a
Dick almost *wants* it turn out that Ivy has a bunch of
henchmen who'd just shown up late, because then they
And well, Bruce says it's wrong to *ever* wish for things
like that, and he's absolutely right, but -- still!
It turns out to just be one of his 'marbles,' a rare dud, and
Dick has just enough time to laugh a little in embarrassed
relief before one of Ivy's really *big* -- and apparently
normal -- plants goes up in flames like a -- like some kind
of big, green road flare, and it's not that that's a
Except that it is, because they're way too close to the real
and *good* forest that doesn't deserve to burn at *all*.
He looks at Babs, and Babs looks at *him*, and Dick knows
that neither of them have enough flame-retardant in their
portable fire extinguishers to do *anything* with this.
"Uh oh --"
"I know! But -- wait, BG -- we have our capes!"
And they do, and it's -- it's really distracting when Babs just
whips hers right *off* like that, like she's home alone or
something, it's --
It's *really* distracting, even though it's kind of silly. Babs is
way more covered up than Dick's *ever* been out here,
even though her uniform *is* skin-tight, and -- and Dick
whips off his own cape and helps.
They wind up climbing all over the *thing*, and it's crazy
and a little disturbing when the plant starts to make little
pained noises, and Ivy is *really* mad now, but, in the end,
they get the fire out.
Babs face is smudged except for under her eyes and nose
and *right* around her mouth, and Dick knows he looks
even worse -- he'd singed all the hair off his *arms* --
And then he *knows* it, because he never really realized
anyone could be beautiful and perfect and amazing when
they *sneezed* before, but of course Babs can.
And then she starts giggling, and usually he can only just
watch when she does *that*, but for some reason it's a
little better now -- he's laughing, too, and the police pull up
to find them just like that --
Smoky and giggling and leaning together, a *little*.
And a little more than that when they can't stop giggling
even when they're back in the *Cave*.
Dick can't remember why he wasn't ready to come back --
the ceilings are so high that every sound Babs *makes* is
just huge and bouncing and wonderful, even when she's
just choking on all the smoke they inhaled.
"We -- we need *oxygen*," Dick says, when he can stop
whooping for long enough, and that's the funniest --
It's the best, and Babs actually trips a little as she dances
over, wild and reeling, to where Bruce keeps the tanks.
Bruce is -- well, Dick isn't sure. He's probably doing
something at Wayne Enterprises. He can't possibly be
having as much fun as Dick is right now, and that's really
"Babs -- Babs, I think Batman might not be laughing right
She blinks at him, and her lashes are sticking together with
these pearly and shiny and perfect tears, and then her face
pulls down into a frown that's going to break his heart if it
doesn't make him ruin his shorts, first. Oh --
That's the funniest thing *ever*.
"Oh -- oh, *no* -- I mean -- he has such a funny *face*."
Dick nods and laughs so hard -- he *does*! -- that he falls
off the balance beam --
He doesn't know when he'd gotten up there, and that's
funny, *too*, except nowhere near as funny as the way
Babs' mouth falls open --
Except that it's not funny so much as wonderful.
"I love your mouth, Babs!"
"I -- I *know* --" And then Babs is laughing again, except
that she's shaking her head, too, and it actually kind of
looks a little *weird*.
And perfect and glorious and --
And it's really hard to stand *up*, but he still manages for
long enough to get *close* to her again, smoky and
damp-eyed and beautiful, so *beautiful* --
"Robin, we -- I think we -- oh goodness. We're *drugged*,"
she says, and it's apparently loud enough to make the bats
scream, but the way Dick's ears are ringing just makes him
shiver all *over*.
Just -- he thinks he's maybe moaning, and that's funny --
that's -- it's not as funny as it is anything else. And when
he falls to his knees, Babs giggles and kind of hiccups and
*looks* at him.
It seems to last for a really long time, but Dick can't think
of anywhere he'd rather be. Babs' mouth is just a little
open, and she's breathing so hard that her -- her breasts
are really --
"Robin, I... I can't seem to..."
He wants to tell her he knows, but his mouth doesn't feel
right, or normal, and he paws at it a little --
And he doesn't, because Babs is touching it for him, and
the smoke-smell is so strong that Dick's eyes are tearing
And Babs sways on her feet.
He thinks -- he thinks maybe he caught her with his body.
It would explain why they're staring at each other with her
on top of him. He hopes he did, because his hands feel too
weirdly big and clumsy --
"Is this -- is this funny, Babs?"
Babs bites her lips, and blinks at him, and touches her own
She moves on him, shifting like something invisible has her
*partially* tied up, pushing down on Dick, pushing him
*into* the floor, or maybe it's swallowing him, and then
she touches her own mouth, and Dick watches, and it's
"It's just -- it's just that I love you, Babs, and I -- I don't
Babs nods, and kisses him.
Babs kisses him, and he can't close his eyes.
Babs kisses him, and he kisses Babs, and her knee is
making his thigh ring and --
Her knee is digging into his thigh, and it hurts so much he
can't think --
Dick groans into the kiss, and Babs makes a different
sound, and he can't really understand it, so he groans
again to see if she'll make it again.
Dick groans again and when Babs moves her thigh it feels
so awful he jerks and comes in his shorts --
"B -- *Babs* --"
And nothing is ringing, and the bats don't scream, and that's
when he remembers that they're still kissing, and this time
Babs' hands are in his hair.
He doesn't know when they got under the balance beam.
He doesn't know when she started -- when she --
It doesn't feel like dancing, at all, unless it's the kind the
kids at school try to get away with in the shadowy corners
of the gymnasium, but Babs has never been a kid, so Dick
doesn't know what he's talking about.
It's just --
"*Robin* -- *oh* --"
It's not his name. Not enough. Not --
"We shouldn't. You're. We."
"Oh please, oh *please* --"
"It's not --"
"We don't have to, I just, I just."
"I feel so -- good --"
He doesn't know when he fell asleep. He's -- he's not really
awake, and he's not really better, and his throat feels like
he'd swallowed Gar while he was in hedgehog form or
something, and the suit is riding up over Babs' belly, which
is a million times paler than her face and no one should --
Babs is sleeping, and Dick covers it, and he knows he
should do. Something.
He rests his head on the place that had been naked, and
doesn't know if he feels like Robin or not.
He goes back to sleep.
When he wakes up, this time, he doesn't even know --
He knows even *less*, because he's so worn out and sore
and confused that it doesn't seem like he should be awake
And then the shadows make a lot more sense, and he sees
Bruce -- Batman.
But not before he notices that the Babs' uniform is pulled
down a little low on her right hip, and he hadn't even --
He covers it as best he can -- Babs is *heavy* when she
sleeps, and the uniform is tight, and he --
"I. I think. There were drugs," he says, to the skin he can't
get covered again.
Even Babs' snores are beautiful -- *Batman*.
He stumbles to his feet, and falls down, and stumbles up
again, and -- and this time Bruce catches his shoulder.
He can't see -- he can't *ever* see what's really on Bruce's
face when the cowl is on, and the thin, flat line of his
"Where did the drugs come from, Robin?"
"I -- I think." He remembers Babs laughing, and a fire, and
Babs tied up and frowning, and his heel connecting with
Ivy's cheek, and it's all jumbled up and not quite right, but.
"I think it was... Ivy?"
He knows Bruce *thinks* those little grunting sounds he
makes sometimes are answers, but they're really, really --
"We just -- we needed to get cleaned up, and we were
coughing, and then we... I don't... um."
Bruce squeezes his shoulder. "You're steady?"
No. Maybe. "Maybe?"
And Bruce tugs him toward the balance beam until Dick can
get his hands on it, and then he lets go.
"B -- Batman?"
"We need to... Batgirl can't go home like this."
"She's -- still asleep," he says, and wonders if he still has
enough smudge on his face to hide the blush.
"I noticed," Bruce says, and -- it's actually better that he's
turned away. Dick thinks maybe it's easier to hear the laugh
in his voice than it would be if he had to look at more than
just the back of the cowl.
"Batman, I -- I'm so *sorry* --"
"Am I the one you should be apologizing to, Dick?"
Dick stares at the beam, and at his hands -- cleaner than
he remembers, just like his uniform is dirtier.
Bruce washes Babs' face really gently once they get her up
onto the gurney. The skin around her eyes looks a little raw,
and the tip of her nose is red, and Dick's hands shake with
wanting to be the one to do it and he doesn't --
He showers, and changes into a fresh uniform, even though
it's the last thing he wants to be wearing.
It's just that Babs isn't allowed to see Dick Grayson, and
going upstairs into the manor before she at least wakes up
a *little* would be impossible.
Bruce leaves them alone, though, and that's...
It really is worse, sometimes, when Bruce understands.
Babs wakes up coughing, eyes squeezed shut and half-
curled in on herself. Dick grabs for a towel and wishes for
one of Alfred's handkerchiefs, even though it's the kind of
cough *he* always feels guilty about using the
Babs takes the towel without opening her eyes, makes a
kind of honking noise, makes a noise like she's going to
throw up, and then a noise like she's waking up only a tiny
tiny fraction as confused as he did. He can't be sure, but --
He can be sure. "Um... Babs? Do you want... water?"
"I want... to scoop my brain out with a batarang. Give me a
batarang, please, Robin."
"I... really can't."
Babs doesn't say anything else for a really long time, and
her face is still buried in the towel, and it would be a really
bad time to pace or jump up on the gurney into a
handstand, so he doesn't do either.
The sniffing noise is muffled by the towel, but it's still really
loud and just -- alarming, and she isn't --
Babs doesn't *cry* -- "Babs, it's okay, I mean, it was, I.
Babs blows her nose.
"I'm -- really sorry?"
Maybe he can use the batarang on himself, because when
Babs does take the towel away from her face, she also
*looks* at him. Her eyes are bloodshot and her nose is
even redder and her expression makes Dick feel like
maybe he's still wearing the extremely sticky shorts, or
"Babs... I... will you ever forgive me?"
"I -- God. Robin. You -- *we* were drugged."
"I know, and Batman has *protocols* for this, and I
Babs' hand still smells smoky, even though the gauntlet's
been off for... he's not sure how long. And it smells other
things, too, and if he kisses her red nose she'll hit him really
hard and he'll really, really deserve it. She's not even
*touching* him, and he --
He really has to do *better*. "Babs --"
"Robin. I'm -- I'm really too tired for this. Can we just...?"
When she closes her eyes this time, she's not really
squeezing them shut. They're just closed, and there's a
smile on her face that's tired and small and soft-looking,
but it's --
It's *private*, and Dick thinks his feet must've gotten
nailed to the floor, even though he'd probably be in more
pain if that had happened.
"Robin, you're... I really care about you, and you're really,
really young, and I'm really, really tired --"
"And if you apologize again, I think I'll have to scream, and
then Batman will appear out of nowhere and gas me.
Which," she says, sliding off the gurney like an old woman,
staggering a little, and groaning. And Dick --
Well, he *has* to help, and he's not thinking about how
strong her arms are, and he's not thinking about the
freckles on her belly, and he's not thinking about anything
but getting her to her bike. He's -- he's *not*, because he's
Robin, and Robin wouldn't --
"I was saying. I was..." Babs yawns, and pulls on her
helmet, and flips up the visor.
Her eyelashes aren't as sticky-looking as before, which just
means that --
That she's beautiful, and that everything is a little hopeless,
"Babs, please --"
"I was *saying*," Babs says, and puts her hand on his
mouth, covering it up *completely* this time, and letting
Dick feel all those *calluses*, "that you're young, and it
would be really nice to get gassed unconscious right now,
but it'll be nicer to go home, and bathe, and next time we
just let everything burn, k?"
And Babs doesn't say anything before she starts pulling on
her gauntlets, but she's...
She's not looking at anything, either.
And the smile on her face makes it easy to watch the visor
go down, again, and makes it impossible to do anything
but watch her ride away.