Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.
Spoilers: Up through the "Fresh Blood" storyline.
Summary: You smile back at him, and, because you're
getting better at this, you remember to only do it with
Ratings Note: Mostly harmless.
Author's Note: I wanted to write something. Betty
suggested it was time for another of my (failed)
attempts at Bruce/Cass.
He asks, "why?" and parts of you which are both inside and
impossible to define in ways you've become accustomed to
settle and even.
Like the ground beneath you. You square your shoulders in
the way you know reassures him that you are you -- and
listening -- and consider.
You like it when he asks you things, because there are
always so many true things to say.
You like it because you get to puzzle out which true thing is
the right one, as opposed to just true.
If Steph were here the way the stone wants you to believe
she is, she would roll her eyes and call you names and
smile at you with her shoulders and her hands and her
You both know she isn't. You know which is the correct true
You say, "It's a good place to find us. Now."
He shifts behind you, slow and unsure and slow, and you
know that if you were to reach to touch him, you'd feel
silk, or wool. Something Tim would say isn't real.
He is very good about dressing correctly. Tim is better,
"There are other places," he says, after a moment, and it's
not a question.
Not -- you're not sure, and you turn to look at him. Most
people think you do this in order to hear them better, and
you haven't bothered to explain that it's just to let them
know that you *can't*.
It doesn't matter -- they always get louder when you do,
Right now, he's saying that you should be back in Bludhaven,
and that he is worried that you don't understand this, and
that he's sure that you do, and that he wishes for things he
can't have, and that he doesn't mind that you know all of
these things he's saying, and that he is amused.
You smile back at him, and, because you're getting better
at this, you remember to only do it with your face.
He says, 'too much,' with the way his chin lifts and his legs
go rigid behind his soft pants, and you are not surprised.
Steph wouldn't be, either.
Out loud, he says "report," and after another moment he
says it with the rest of himself, too. That's when you
"Small and medium things only. No one..." You're not sure
how to express this, so you guess. "No one for you."
Everything about him is asking you for confirmation, it's
just that it's doing it with a smile he's trying to hide
between his shoulderblades.
Sometimes you think about touching him there, hard and
sharp with the palm of your hand. (And maybe you would
curl your fingertips in, letting him feel the scratch of them
and know you were holding on, that you wouldn't let go.)
And then you'd show him your own back, and run until he
caught you and touched your own smile and caught it in
You know he wouldn't, though, so you don't. You say,
"yes," and wait.
This -- you should've expected it. It's the other job you
have, and it's the one you're no good at. You look at the
ground, and then you lay the backs of your hands flat
against it, and show him your empty palms.
Out of the corners of your eyes, he is fear and anger and
disappointment and sadness and, eventually, certainty.
"You're here for him."
"It's... I'm trying. To find him."
It's a question, though not enough of one for your
tastes. There are only a few true things to say, and you
don't have to wait long before the tension in his knees tells
you which is the correct one. "Tim thinks Steph is here.
Tim will be... different."
He's getting better, too, though you don't think that's the
right word for it. It's quiet.
You don't like the quiet very much at all, but you wait for as
long as you can before you reach out, because you know
that's what he wants.
With your hand on his leg, he tells you that you didn't wait
long enough, that you're too loud, that you didn't wait long
enough, that there are things he can't give you, that he
He makes the sound again, and steps away from your hand,
slowly and carefully and finally.
You stare at the ground.
"You're sure this... place will make a difference."
And that's... it's a question, too, but it's another bad one,
and he's being so quiet that you can't tell if he knows that
or not. Dick would think he did.
You haven't seen Dick in a very long time, though, so you
look at him, and you wait and *wait* for the quiet to pass,
but he might as well *be* Tim.
You frown and show him your empty palms again, shoving
them at him.
"Ah. You hope it will."
Of course you do.
"There's.. nothing else?"
"Not for me."
He nods, and then, almost all at once -- there's a hesitation
in his legs -- he's Batman, again. Batman drops the rose on
the ground -- the grave -- and stares at you from behind
the cowl which only isn't there for people who aren't them.
After a moment, he nods, and even though you aren't sure
what he heard you say, you are settled again. It doesn't
You are Batgirl.
You have work to do.
Batman leaves you with the quiet.
You wait, and you hope, and you make a picture of Steph
with the rose.
She stabs herself half on purpose with the thorns. She
curses and calls Batman names. Your hands reach out, and
make the rose dance in front of her face until her mouth
calls you names, instead, and her eyes are telling you...
Her eyes are telling you you're wonderful.
Your hands put the rose in her hair.
This is the picture you keep with you while you wait.
It's just a picture, but it doesn't lie as much as the stone.
You think it's a trap -- perhaps the best one you can make,
now -- and you have a memory of Tim explaining the word
'honeypot' to you in clear, distinct words that almost all
made sense in a way which clashed perfectly with the laugh
in his eyes.
Tim is very good at using other people's wounds against
You know if your trap works, he will congratulate you, and
that his eyes will laugh no matter how many mean words
he says out loud.
You make your picture as big and bright as you can.