When it came down to it, Eddie knew he probably never had a chance in hell with Rose. Oh, it wasn't that he was too young (well, maybe) or that he was too inexperienced (true) or that he was just too damn [i]nice[/i] to really hold Rose's attention (although he probably was). Really, it was just that he wasn't part of the Batfamily. He wasn't Nightwing, and he definitely wasn't Robin. Eddie wasn't one to mope, though. One of these days, she was bound to notice him, and then he would spring it! He would go all out with the flowers and the champagne and taking her out and all those other things you do for an ex-killer and current masked superhero that you have been crushing on for months.
But first he had to get her to actually admit she liked him. Which was a daunting prospect because she was still [i]Rose[/i]. And aside from being an ex-assassin and a little bit crazy and probably able to kill him with her left pinky, being Rose meant she was the girl Eddie liked. And Eddie, despite having put on a foot and a half and thirty pounds of muscle since he was a nerdy little kid, never really grew out of the whole "stumbling-over-his-feet-around-pretty-girls" thing. So he had to find a way to get her to like him that bypassed the fact that he turned into a complete idiot any time he tried.
If he were Robin, he'd never have this problem. Of course, if he were Robin he'd have to spend lots of time with Batman, so there's always a trade-off.
Eddie wondered sometimes what Robin had that he didn't. Aside from boyish good looks, and that whole brooding thing, and confidence, and great tactical skills and... maybe it wasn't such a mystery. Robin was just a boy wonder, so it was no surprise that Rose would show up in his bed, naked and with handcuffs. There were days when Robin was so cool, Eddie wouldn't mind showing up in his bed, naked and with handcuffs. Not that he [i]would[/i], of course, but he wouldn't mind it.
Maybe Robin was the solution. He could give Eddie tips on being Bat-ish and confident and stuff like that. It couldn't hurt to try. The most he would do would glare through though creepy, blank eyeholes. Probably.
Which was why Eddie was knocking on Robin's door, glancing up and down the sterile hallway, scared half out of his skin that someone would walk by and comment on his suspicious behavior. Even his tail twitched from the tension. There was dead silence from the other side of the door, and Eddie wondered if maybe he were interrupting something important, like a call from Batman or something. Maybe Robin was doing delicate experiments on Poison Ivy's toxins and one wrong move could lay him out of a month or have him kissing everything in sight. Or maybe--
"Eddie, do you need something?" Robin asked from behind him.
Swallowing a yelp, Eddie spun around; tail lashing and nearly catching Robin on the hip. As always, Robin didn't even move a muscle, aside from the twitch of one eyebrow up. "Oh, Robin, hi. Uhm. I wanted to talk to you. About stuff." That had all sounded so much better in his head. Eddie leaned back on the doorframe as Robin moved past him to open the door (heedless of how he was melting the steel ever so slightly). "Yeah, stuff," he mumbled, following Robin into the room.
He stood, shifting his weight from side to side as he waited for his ostensible boss to finish turning on the lights and computers and Batman only knew what else. When Robin finished, he sat on his bed and leaned forward to look at Eddie with that sort of serious concentration he always gave puzzles. "Is there trouble?" It should have looked ridiculous: a boy in black and red spandex, a foot shorter than Eddie and shorter still because he was sitting on a bed, and still Robin managed to look serious and full of concern. "You know I'll try to solve any problem that affects the team."
Eddie glanced down at his feet, not sure how to phrase him problem. Hs traitorous mouth had no such problems, bypassing his brain entirely to blurt "How do you stay so [i]cool[/i]?" Eddie sort of wished the ground would open up and swallow him. On the bright side, he was already bright red, so the blush would never be visible.
"What?" Robin's head tipped back so he could look at Eddie more clearly. His brows were furrowed in an expression that was very near to incredulous. "What do you mean?"
"Don't be so-- you know. You're always so confident, and people look up to you. Girls like you." Eddie must have imagined that flinch. Eddie wouldn't mind girls kissing him. Or climbing into his bed naked with handcuffs.
Robin dropped his head into his hand, breathing very slowly, very calmly. "Eddie, what is this about, really?" His patience might have been fraying a little. Just a little. It was the truth, he had to know it. You know when people like you and girls want to have sex with you. Maybe Robin just hadn't gotten to the stage where girls threw their panties at him or something.
"I want to learn how to be like you," Eddie insisted. How hard was it to understand? Robin was cool and smart and a leader even without having powers and Eddie was... Eddie. A loser with or without powers, who couldn't even ask the girl he liked on a date. Because reformed assassins would totally go on dates. "I want some bat-tips."
Robin made a low sound that might have been cough and might have been a snort of laughter. It sounded like laughter, but Bats didn't laugh, right? "You want to be," he paused and looked back up at his teammate. "You don't want to be like me, Eddie. I'm good at fighting, but I've just worked with Batman a lot. The rest of it is--." He waved a hand as though to dismiss it. "It's not important. You don't want to work with Batman to learn how to do all of the stuff I can do, because you're not suited for it. Do you really want to sit through five hours of a JLA meeting? You can barely stay awake for the ten-minute briefings we do. I'm confident because I'm comfortable in what I can do. You can do plenty of things I can't, and you should be confident in those."
Eddie's lower lip pushed out. He wasn't pouting, nope. "Like what?"
"Like tell jokes. Like be someone people are comfortable around. I look completely human and people are more likely to want to spend time with you." Running a hand through his hair and mussing it slightly, Robin hopped off the bed and paced towards his computer table. "You're fun. Maybe you're a little bit less than strategic sometimes, but you know when your teammates will need a helping hand, even when it's not tactically sound." He ticked off each point on a finger.
Eddie tried to think of a retort. Robin was still cooler than he was! And Rose still liked Robin better. Which was not something he was planning on mentioning out loud. Ever.
"Oh, and Rose likes you, so you should just buy her flowers or something."
Robin's lips twitched up in what, for him, was a grin. It was more like an involuntary muscle spasm or something, but close enough for Eddie. "Get out of here. I need to call Batman and get some work done."
Eddie's tail flicked at Robin in a gesture that could have meant any one of a number of things, but probably meant something like "go to hell, you magnificent bastard." Seeing as how Robin was studiously ignoring him in favor of some Bat-files, Eddie grumbled "I'm going to glue bat-ears to your toothbrush," half-heartedly and stalked off.
Rose was in the entertainment room, watching some show about the history of sex and sharpening her sword. She glanced up when Eddie hopped over the back of the couch to settle himself next to her, and smiled at him a little. "I could have gutted you in mid-air, you know."
"You didn't," Eddie pointed out, "because you love me."
She turned back to her tv show. "Yeah, that's the only answer."