Tim always tended to perch in high places and lurk in the shadows anyway, so really, Kon figured, they could all be excused for not noticing for several hours that Tim had developed a few new... things since last weekend. Like a tail. And pointy ears.
Bart was the first one to notice, having sped into a room and surprised Tim before he could settle his cape over his tail. And though Bart was a lot less impulsive now, he was still, well, Bart. The rest of the team heard about it within two and a half minutes. Most of them didn't believe him, of course, but it was still intriguing enough to pull them away from whatever they'd been doing.
The team gathered around and stared.
Tim had a tail. A black-furred, cat-like tail. It twitched and moved, just like a real cat tail. Kon squinted at it and tried to figure out how Tim could sit with that.
Crossing his arms, Tim glared at them. "Yes, I have a tail. It's temporary. Can we move on, now?"
"Wait, it's temporary? How do you end up with a temporary tail?" Cassie asked, playing absently with her lasso.
"We apprehended a sorceror last week. Clearly, he wasn't too happy about it. He cursed me. It'll wear off at the next full moon." Now that Kon looked closer, he could see that Tim's ears had become seriously pointy, and his teeth seemed a little sharper. And, hmmm.
"Dude, did you get shorter?" Kon demanded, grinning.
Tim's tail lashed. "As I said, it's temporary. You don't need to concern yourself with it. Now, I'm sure there are useful things we could all be doing."
"I think it's cool. Can I pet your tail?" Bart asked, darting forward to run his hand along it.
"No." Tim twitched his tail back under his cape.
"Can you pick up stuff with it?" It was really pretty cool, Kon thought.
Tim's ears twitched violently. "I'm not a monkey, Kon."
"You need any advice about dealing with being furry, just ask me. Years of experience," Gar said, transforming into a bright green leopard.
"I'm not furry, either." Tim's 'annoyed' voice had become much growlier than it used to be.
"But your tail is." Narrowing his eyes, Kon asked, "So are you furry anywhere else?"
"..." Tim seemed to be attempting to decide between killing Kon immediately or waiting till later.
"kzzzzkt This is Cyborg. We've got a situation developing at Alcatraz, people."
Kon wasn't sure, but he thought he might have heard Tim mutter, "Oh, thank god."
The one useful thing about this whole cat... disaster, was that Tim's hearing and sense of smell had improved a hundredfold. So he wasn't surprised when Catwoman slipped over the edge of the rooftop where he'd been sitting brooding-- not brooding, dammit. Running surveillance.
"Catwoman," he said neutrally. He wasn't entirely sure how comfortable he was with this change in their professional relationship-- he was supposed to be capturing her, not having conversations with her.
"Robin. Or should I say... Catboy?" she asked, smiling mischievously.
"What do you want?" Tim asked, crossing his arms and scowling.
She pouted. "You're no fun anymore." Sighing, she said, "Fine. I just had a little question for you, and it might sound weird, but it's something that I've been... extremely curious about."
Tim looked at her.
"Has he been... any different, since you became a bit more feline?"
"What do you mean?" Tim asked, his eyes narrowing.
"Has he been... oh, say, chasing you across rooftops? Following you around?" She bit her lip. "Flirting with you?"
"No!" Tim said, mildly horrified.
"I see. Hmmm. Well, I guess that answers that question."
Against his will, Tim asked, "What question?"
"I've always sort of wondered, with him... whether it's me, or if he just really likes cats."
"I..." Tim trailed off, blinking.
"See you around, Catboy!" Smirking, Catwoman waved goodbye and vaulted over the edge of the building.
Tim pinched the bridge of his nose. He definitely missed the old days.
Bart sped into the TV room, balancing a bucket of popcorn and three bottles of soda in one arm, and a huge plate of chocolate chip cookies in the other. "'kay, I've got snacks."
Kon grinned, brandishing a pile of DVD's. "And I've got the movies!"
"We're set! Wait, where's Tim?" Bart asked, frowning.
"I dunno. I told him it was bad ninja movie night, and he just shrugged and said he had other stuff to do." Kon scowled and slumped onto the sofa.
"Dude! It's our movie night! It's tradition!" Bart shook his head and sped off into the Tower. There was no way that Tim could ditch them for movie night. It just wasn't right.
Fifty-seven seconds later, he found Tim perched in a tree in Starfire's garden. Bart picked his way carefully around the flowers-- he'd heard rumors of what her alien flowers could do to people-- and climbed up the tree, settling on the branch next to Tim. "Whatcha doing?"
"Nothing." Tim's voice was neutral, but his tail was lashing back and forth. Bart kept a weather eye on it-- he'd found that Tim's moods were much more predictable if you paid attention to what his tail was saying.
"It's movie night. You can't ditch movie night, Tim. It's tradition." Bart was very proud of the fact that he wasn't pouting or whining. ... Well, not much, anyway.
"I've got a lot of things on my mind, okay, Bart? You guys have fun without me."
"You never spend any time with us anymore." Bart was well aware at this point that he was both pouting and whining. Opening his eyes wide and using his smallest voice, he added, "I miss you. Kon misses you. Please, Tim?"
Tim's ears and tail drooped. "I just... it's difficult. I have all these instincts and it's difficult to control them." Bart held his breath so that he wouldn't start laughing at the memory of Tim chasing Cassie's lasso like a... well, like a cat with a string. "I have to be so careful at home so my dad won't notice anything. And Batman, well. I think he'd be perfectly happy about the advantages of my being this way, if it weren't for the fact that it's making me 'impulsive and sloppy.'" Tim growled under his breath and dug his fingernails-- claws, really-- into the bark of the tree.
"Tim... You can talk to us about this stuff. You can always talk to us." Kon floated down out of the night sky. Standing on air in front of them, he smiled ruefully and scrubbed his hand over his hair. "It's what being best friends is about. You, me, Bart--"
"The three musketeers. I remember." Tim ducked his head. "I can't believe you guys put up with me."
Bart playfully pushed against him with his shoulder. "We're gluttons for punishment."
Later, curled up on the couch between Kon and Bart, Tim had to admit that he did feel a lot better.
It wasn't even bugging him-- not really-- that apparently, if he was happy enough...
"Dude! Are you purring?"