SINGLE AND READY TO MINGLE—CASSANDRA WAYNE AND FRIEND ON THE RED CARPET
The tabloid sat on the kitchen table, where it had been thrown unceremoniously by a laughing Jason, sitting in the dead center.
“She had her hand on your ass in that photo,” Jason had managed between snickers, propping up his head on his elbows.
Tim was perusing a different copy of the same tabloid, squinting and frowning as he read, occasionally shaking his head and muttering to himself.
Cass’s phone rang, blasting out the familiar chords of Creedance Clearwater Revival.
“Did you see the paper?” Steph sounded annoyed over the phone, and Cass could hear the background noise of the bus underneath her voice.
“Yes.” Cass sighed, accepting the toast that Alfred offered her and taking a bite that was slightly more forceful than necessary.
“Freaking lesbophobia—wait, is it still lesbophobia when I’m bisexual, I get confused about that…”
“Right, sorry, rambling. I’m just so freaking annoyed, do you think Babs would let us egg the headquarters?”
“Ah, damn. Well, we’ll have to think of something more obvious than public groping that brings me to near-death-by-Bruce.”
“Nah, they’ll probably find two random dudes that we talk to and decide we’re on a double date.”
“Rings!” Jason yelled. “Big, fancy, glitzy rings!”
“Engagement rings to men,” Steph said flatly. “Speaking of which, tell Jason that the paper also decided he’s in love with Roy Harper, they’re engaged, and he’s moving to Star City to start a family. And that Oliver Queen apparently isn’t happy, according to Mia.”
“Fuck,” was Jason’s sufficient reply.
“Oh, and look, the press aren’t sure if Tim is dating Tam or the “mysterious farm boy” that he was spotted with!”
“Why does it need to be only one of them?” Tim said, flipping the page of his tabloid without even looking up.
“Bless,” Steph said absently when Cass relayed this to her. “Anyways, we’ll think of something. Gotta go to class now. Love you!”
“Love you,” Cass said fondly, watching as Dick and Jason’s argument about cheating versus polygamy devolved into wrestling on the kitchen floor.
“Hi I’m Stephanie Brown and I’m Cassandra Cain’s girlfriend,” Steph greeted a reporter at the next red carpet event. As she was holding hands with Cass.
GOTHAM’S MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELORETTE AND FRIEND ATTEND MTV MUSIC AWARDS
“Their willing blindness is amazing,” Dick said in awe, rubbing the back of his neck. “How do you do it?”
“Be a girl who isn’t interested in boys,” Cass replied darkly, stabbing at the tabloid with a batarang, ripping the headline.
Steph pressed a kiss to Cass’s cheek. “Don’t worry about it,” she said fondly, draping her arm over Cass’s shoulder.
“It’s annoying,” Cass grumbled, but she leaned into Steph anyway, burying her face in Steph’s mess of hair. Steph massaged her bicep, rubbing the tension out of Cass’s body.
“So Dick, are you dating Kory, Wally, Roy, or Babs this week?” Steph asked conversationally as she continued to lean against Cass.
“Actually, I think I’m dating Garth. That’s a nice change!”
BATGIRL BODYGUARD FOR WAYNE DAUGHTER?
“Are you kidding me?” Steph stared at the Gothem Gazette, jaw hanging open. “They can figure out that I used to be Robin, and put the pieces together that I’m now Batgirl, but they can’t figure out I’m dating Cass?”
“Shouldn’t you be more concerned about the fact that your secret identity’s been blown out of the water?” Tim asked, tilting his head, expression concerned.
“What secret identity? My dad put my name on every news station in the country, people have been IDing me as Batgirl since I put on the mask.”
“You didn’t say anything about that!” Tim stared at her.
“Tim, my dad is literally one of my arch-nemeses. A secret identity hasn’t been viable for me in years.” Steph shrugged, unconcerned. “It doesn’t matter, as long as no one does the math and figures out the Wayne family secret.”
“They won’t, not with Batman Inc. on the record,” Dick said, although he looked slightly perturbed himself. “Bruce is having a fit, by the way.”
“About my identity being on the front page, or about Jason’s miraculous ability to impregnate Donna Troy by simply dancing with her at the charity ball?” Steph said, flipping to the page in question and pointing to the article.
“Fuck,” Jason said.
“Do you hear that sound?” Cass said, lifting a hand to her ear.
Steph nodded emphatically. “That’s the sound of Wonder Woman sharpening her sword.”
“Donna can defend her own honor,” Jason said, flopping on the couch and draping his arm over his eyes.
“Better run anyway, Jay Bird.”
“I hate you both, you are menaces to society, and I can’t believe I helped you to get together.”
“Aww, don’t be like that Jay, you know you love us,” Steph pouted.
“Menaces. To. Society.”
Cass shrugged and sat on him, making him ooph slightly. “Movie night?” She asked Steph, grinning mischievously.
“Get off me you asshole, you fucking asshole, why do I put up with you?” Jason said, trying to shove her off, without success.
“Sure, I’ll get the popcorn!” Steph went to the kitchen.
“Get off me, Cass!”
“That’s not please. Or polite.”
“Stop being rude to my girlfriend, Todd!”
“Fuck you too, Brown!’
“Only in your dreams, Hood!”
SINGLE AND FABULOUS—WAYNE AND BROWN HIT UP THE CLUB SCENE
“Half of me wants there to be photos for the comic value, half of me hopes they have no photographic evidence because I think Bruce might actually kill me, code be damned.” Steph peered over Cass’s shoulder to look at the newest addition.
“Didn’t you two kiss on the dance floor in front of witnesses?” Damian blinked at them, bewildered.
“Yes.” Cass said, examining the article in question, highlighting all of the informational errors and false conclusions with a highlighter. Half of the page was bright yellow.
“How do you do it?” Damian demanded. “I can’t be within a foot of anyone my age at events without the media declaring us a couple.”
“They’re just in denial,” Steph replied, rolling her eyes. “This is ridiculous.”
“You’ve noticed?” Cass asked, showing Steph the tabloid. “Slander and lies!”
“Oh God they really used the phrase “really close friends.” I think I’m going to die laughing.”
“Latest headline spread to reputable newspapers, not just the tabloids.” Bruce looked slightly amused as he showed them a copy of the Star City Journal .
A THREAT ON THE WAYNE FAMILY?
BATGIRL RARELY SEEN LEAVING THE SIDE
OF WAYNE FAMILY HEIRESS CASSANDRA WAYNE
“Cass, I’m going to propose to you, tomorrow, in front of the paparazzi. I can’t take it anymore.”
“Stephanie, no.” How Cass managed to say with a straight face was beyond her, but she managed it. “Don’t.”
Steph sighed, burying her face in her arms. “Can we come out on national television then? Or a newspaper? Lois Lane owes me a favor.”
“Do not call in your favor with Lois Lane to avoid this small annoyance,” Bruce said, crossing his arms.
“Small annoyance? This is actually one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen! I’m half convinced it’s a practical joke on Babs’s part!”
“It’s not,” Barbara said dryly from the screen on the computer from which she had been monitoring the conversation.
“Thanks for the reassurance,” Steph said. “Cass, any ideas?”
“Leak a sex tape?” Cass said with exaggerated innocence, watching Bruce’s face turn interesting colors.
Steph glared at her. “Are you trying to get me killed?” She hissed, quickly checking Bruce’s position again.
“Kidding,” Cass reassured Bruce.
“I don’t want to be here for this,” Bruce muttered, rubbing his forehead. “I did not sign up for this. No one told me parenting was like this.”
“Now you know how I feel, Master Bruce,” Alfred said, shooting him a pointed look as he walked by.
“I could hack CNN,” Barbara offered. “Fake an article and post some photos…”
“No,” Bruce said, hands over his eyes. “No hacking national news sites, no sex tapes, no proposals, none of those. Enjoy your privacy, stop worrying about this…”
Cass sighed and rested her head on Steph’s shoulder. “Platonic,” she grumbled, like it was a dirty word. Steph wrapped her arms around her in a hug.
“Ms. Wayne, Ms. Wayne!” A reporter, trailed by a camera woman, approached Cass. “What do you have to say about the rumors that Stephanie Brown is actually Batgirl, serving as your body guard?”
Cass looked right at the camera, eyes widening slightly as she recognized the network. “Is this live?”
“Yes?” The reporter was confused.
Cass grabbed Steph, spun on her heel, dipped Steph down, and kissed her with a flourish. Live. On national television.
“That,” Cass said, emerging from the kiss looking unruffled and polished as ever, while Steph’s hair was mussed and her lipstick slightly smudged and she also looked slightly dazed and was smiling goofily, “Is what I have to say.”
She then took Steph’s hand and marched into the gala, smirking.