by Te
August 7, 2005

Disclaimers: Not mine.

Spoilers: None. (hee hee, still funny)

Summary: "Happy birthday."

Ratings Note: Nothing explicit, but not for the kinder.

Author's Note: Sequel, of sorts, to Directives. Won't
make sense without it; might not make sense with it.

Acknowledgments: To Mary and Betty for encouragement
and such.


Spoiler is a shadow and a brightness beside him. The
money and materials for her new uniform had come
directly from those parts of his allowance Tim had diverted
away from the accounts Owl-Man was aware of, of course.

It's not that he doesn't fully expect Owl-Man to find and
trace the expenditures.

It's just that he'd like to avoid that for as long as possible.

He's almost certain this would be easier if he had been able
to convince Spoiler to cut her hair, dye it, or at least hide it,

He has to admit, he can understand the appeal. The
top-knot is quite striking from the matte black of her
otherwise full cowl.

Her hair is very bright.

"So, like, what's your deal, anyway?"

Tim raises an eyebrow behind his mask and waits for
Spoiler to notice it, as opposed to the weave and rush of
the tiny, tiny citizens far below their ledge. He keeps


Tim lowers his eyebrow again. "'Deal?'"

She waves a hand toward him, black-coated fingers
scraping along the kevlar over Tim's chest. "The *Robin*
thing. Aren't you supposed to be older or something?"

Ah. "It's a common misconception that there has only
been one Robin." A useful one, at times.

She prods him a little before curling the hand into a fist,
straightening it, curling it.

She's still getting used to the suit. She is very... attractive.

"So you're... second? Third?"


"Hunh," she says, and lifts herself up on her hands,
swinging back and forth between the -- relative -- safety
of the roof and a very fatal drop.

If Tim were to switch the lenses in his mask to night-vision,
he would be able to precisely note the flex of muscle in her
arms. He had clearly been correct in his first measure of her
as someone who had been starved. Properly fed, Spoiler is
quite full-bodied.

"So, what. They're dead?"


She snorts. "Sucks to be them. Or, well, sucked. I guess."



They sit in silence for nearly four minutes, before Tim
touches her arm and gestures to the east.

"What -- *oh*. Yeah? Finally?"

Tim nods and waits.

He's learned that it can be dangerous to watch the effects
of his bombing efforts -- certainly, it's hell on his vision --
but it's still rather gratifying to hear Spoiler whoop and
crow beside him.

She has a hand on his shoulder, and is kneeling on the
ledge. *One* knee down -- the other leg dangling over the

She has the balance for this, but it's clear that she has
never been trained by someone with anything resembling
Owl-Man's sense of humor. Tim wonders, not for the first
time, if he should be remedying this, in some way.

He doesn't want to.

"Man, I *saw* fireworks once -- my Dad used to sell 'em --
but... wow."

He'd added just a bit more plastique than was strictly
necessary, if he's honest with himself. "Happy birthday."

Her fingers tighten on his shoulder. "But you *told* me
you were blowing something up tonight."

Tim blinks behind the mask and leans back enough that he
can look up into her cowl. There's nothing there, of
course -- Spoiler is far too much of a closer in her fighting
style for Tim to *not* have designed the thing to be too
armored to show her expression -- but.

There are other ways.

Like the way she shoves at his shoulder lightly -- relatively,
he only has to catch himself with one hand -- and tosses
her top-knot, a little.

He's still somewhat confused, but she's looking at him, now,
so he raises an eyebrow.

"If it was supposed to be a *present* for me, it should've
been a *surprise*." Another toss of her hair. "Dumbass,"
she says, and uses her free hand to tug at Tim's hair,
mussing it.

"Interesting. You're... sure?"

She snorts and coils and curves away from him until she's
seated beside him again, one leg crossed over the other.
"Well, *yeah*."

Sometimes, when he dreams now, Spoiler is there. Crushing
him and smiling, kicking his father to death, licking her lips.
Other things.

"I mean, duh, it's a *present*."

"I don't like surprises. Personally."

She stills beside him, and it's something he's grown
somewhat accustomed to with her.

She isn't very practiced at deductive reasoning, but --

"Your Dad, right? And probably Owl-Man, I bet." She snorts,
as if the two were one and the same.

He grunts something like assent. She prefers it when he
responds, in some way, after all.

"Yeah, okay. I can see that, I guess. But..."


She stills again, but it's the different sort of stilling, this

Tim lets her toss him to the roof -- the alternative is
somewhat fraught -- before rolling to his feet.

It's... exhilarating to fight with someone like Spoiler. She
simultaneously demands that he be precisely as ruthless
with her as he can and that he *not* fight the way he
knows best.

After all, Robin is Owl-Man's right hand in Gotham -- and
everywhere else the man himself can't be at any given

A right hand needs precision, but also a *long* reach.

In Tim's experience, this has meant that hand-to-hand
fighting is strictly reserved for the more... exhibitionistic
aspects of Robin's duties -- sometimes even the most
loyal of underbosses requires a demonstration -- and, of
course, for when Owl-Man himself requires it of him.

Quick, after all, rarely ever makes this sort of thing
entertaining for the man.

It's at these times, when Spoiler is grunting and growling,
when she's doing her best to snap Tim's ribs behind his
armor with the steel augmentation to her boots, when
she's making those shocked, cheerful sounds which are
not -- quite -- laughter at the graze of his knuckles over
her armored cheek...

It's at these times when Tim almost wants to relax about
the certainty of Owl-Man discovering her existence. It
would be distasteful, of course -- it couldn't be anything
but -- but... still.

The man would surely appreciate her, in some way.

And appreciation would guarantee her survival.

He takes her down with a brief flurry of punches to breast,
sternum, and abdomen -- enough to make her bend -- and
a chop to the back of the neck.

She is on her hands and knees; she is choking and gasping
vicious curses which would, if the world made any sense
at all, be making the air bleed.

She is so very, very beautiful. More, when she looks up at

When she sees him. Knows him.

This, too, has become familiar:

She looks him up and down, as if she's trying to hide the
fact that she already knows what she's seeing in him.

She pushes up and back until she's *just* balanced -- if
shakily -- on her knees.

She cocks her head to the side.

Beneath the cowl, Tim knows she's sneering. Fondly.

"You want to fuck me right now."

"Of course." And if she didn't feel -- something like -- the
same drive she never would have initiated the spar.

Behind her cowl, this, too, will be there. Along with...
other things. He thinks she would call it 'father stuff.'

They have already discussed it, in their way, and so Tim
only offers his hand. Through his own gauntlet, hers is
only an impression of smoothness and solidity.

And once she stands --

There. Ah --

Her mouth is wide, soft and wet and *hot* against his own.
Her face is sweaty and her tongue, when she pushes it in,
tastes like her own blood.


He stills himself, musing idly on how this feels like a
*beginning*, in precisely the same way he'd used to
curl himself up and take the beatings Owl-Man had
offered for every failure in his training.

He can take this, even though fighting back had been
a positive thing -- all things considered -- with Owl-Man,
while fighting *here* would be...


He isn't sure.

She growls when she pulls away, at last, and she makes
the act of straightening her top-knot look like an act of
self-abuse --

"I'm going to have to masturbate so damned *much* when
I get home. *Dammit*."

So to speak.

"Heh, I... you, too, hunh?"

Tim places a rueful smirk firmly on his face and shrugs.

Spoiler lets him see her licking his lips once more before
she yanks the cowl back down. "So... what now?"

"It's your birthday."

She paces the roof for long moments, making it overly
small and somewhat irrelevant, before she comes back to

So close.

"Would it just, you know, get you more frustrated if we
did your patrol again tonight?"

Collections. Surveillance. Enforcement. Subtlety demands
that Spoiler only join him -- as opposed to watch him --
for those excursions which demand a distinct lack of
survivors, but...

"I mean, we don't have to or anything, I just --"

"Come with me."

"Yeah?" Her head is tilted just so. On her face, behind the
cowl, there is almost certainly the beginnings of a smile.

"Yes," he says, and runs for the edge of the roof.

And leaps.