It starts when they're infiltrating the base of a suspected arms dealer. They're supposed to be well in between the guard patrols, but Conner hears the guards coming and goes “oh shit oh shit” and Tim picks the nearest lock and drags him into the janitor's closet just before they round the corner.
It's a tight fit, especially because Conner is not small. Conner leans back against the shelves and knocks a toilet paper roll off with his elbow.
“Be still,” Tim whispers, and they both freeze. After a moment Conner's eyes adjust to the small amount of light filtering in through the gap under the door and he sees Tim's changed from his whiteout lenses to clear, probably special ones with Bat Night Vision (TM) or something.
And maybe it's the adrenaline – they're both breathing a little hard – or the confinement or something else, but Tim's arm brushes against Conner's stomach and Conner's fingers touch Tim's hip and then their eyes meet and lock and Conner's breath suddenly goes shallow and Tim stills and there's a moment where they're leaning closer before Tim tenses and shifts away. He doesn't jerk or anything, manages to make it look casual, but he's still pulling away. “See if they're gone,” he says, and Conner automatically obeys his Robin, x-raying through the walls.
“All clear,” he says, and they can't get out of there fast enough after that, spilling out in the hallway and heading for their destination with an unusually tense silence between them.
Tim's not gay.
But for a moment there he'd sworn he really wanted Conner. Wanted to kiss him. Wanted to touch him. Wanted to – and here Tim gets stuck because he only has vague and largely instinctive notions about what gay sex entails. But he's pretty sure Conner is probably massively attractive when having sex, and the fact that just the thought of Conner pushing him up against a wall and grinding into him gets him so hot he can't think probably means that he's a little gay.
And he knows a little bit about the Kinsey scale and that in theory most people fall somewhere in the middle. But that study was questionable in its reliability, and anyway he's not sure where that leaves him.
He still thinks Steph is smoking hot. Maybe hotter now that Babs has trained her so well. Tim isn't going to try dating her again but he can still appreciate her. Not that she'll ever catch him looking.
Mostly he just feels confused.
Bruce has a whole shelf of psychology books; a good half are abnormal psych books, some more specific than others. The other half, though, are foundational because Bruce thinks he can't understand the abnormal until he understands the normal, and there are some other miscellaneous books, too. In particular, Tim remembers one on sexuality that he's really hoping will be enlightening.
He doesn't go for it until he knows Bruce will be out. He really doesn't want to explain why he's reading that book in particular. Not to Bruce.
He forgets that Dick is almost as observant as Bruce.
“So, little brother, this is what you were skulking in here to get.” Tim only manages to not jump out of his skin out of long practice and freezes with his hand on the book. And he should have known better than to act like he was up to something. It probably would have set off Bruce's radar, but it definitely set off Dick's.
Granted, Dick's probably the bottom of his list of family members it would be horrifying to caught looking by, but that still doesn't mean he wanted it to happen.
“Please don't ask any questions,” he says, and maybe there's something in his voice that lets Dick know that he's serious because Dick just claps him on the back.
“All right. But you know you can always ask me questions, right?”
Tim nods a little, and then makes off with the book before he can be caught by – horrors- Steph or Damian.
Conner's not gay.
Momentary attraction to Tim aside, he's not gay. Even he knows that adrenaline can be confused with attraction. He'd had a very awkward conversation about that with Clark, and how sometimes dating your teammates was a bad idea for that reason.
Clark never mentioned having any attraction to other men in the heat of the moment, though.
But Conner's not gay. He can't be. He loves women.
He sets out to prove this by flying pretty much straight to Hawaii after the mission's over. He finds his favorite beach for watching babes and sprawls out in the sand, feeling unusually exhausted.
There's a girl walking by, similar enough to Tana that she catches his eye, different enough that he doesn't feel depressed. Her ass might be even better than Tana's, actually, and he sits up a little on his elbows to watch her go by.
He's not popping a boner or anything but there's a pleasant tingling happening that reassures him that he still likes tits and asses. And there are lots of guys around and he's not feeling a thing for them. Some of them are pretty good looking in an objective way, like a piece of art, or maybe a piece of Ma's pie.
On second thought, he probably has more feelings for Ma's pie.
It's okay to appreciate a dude's ass. Tim's got a pretty nice one. It doesn't make Conner gay, it just means that he works with extremely attractive teammates. Anyone would notice. Granted, he thinks Bart is attractive without being attracted to him.
Maybe it was red kryptonite – no, that would mean he always thought Tim was hot and just didn't realize it and this was a one-off thing. Right? And he isn't feeling urges to do anything else he wouldn't usually. Although Conner likes to think he's pretty uninhibited to begin with.
He's perfectly happy to sit here thinking about breasts and firm legs and women who can throw him through walls like his teammates instead of Tim and broad shoulders and slim hips. The way Tim gets when they're in the middle of a fight like he's right at home, calm and collected. The way he looks when he's working out in the gym, damp and almost disheveled, and muscles flexing. Or when Conner manages to coax him outside for a little sun and he actually gets to see Tim in natural daylight for once, and they spread out blankets Kory found and Tim stretches out on his stomach and dozes and Conner pretty much has the perfect view of him.
That last one only happened once but Conner apparently has a photographic memory of it and dammit, now he's thinking about Tim again. And he's hard.
Conner's starting to wonder if he might be a little gay.
The book proves to be completely unenlightening. Maybe he needs some more personal information. He's spotted his target on the roof of a nearby building.
“Can I talk to you?” Tim asks.
Kate's face registers some surprise. Which makes sense since they don't really talk. And the handful of times they have it's mostly “Thanks for helping me out with those dealers” or “Mind checking the cut on my back? Is it going to need stitches?”
“Sure,” she says after a moment, inching over just slightly in a gesture that's probably meant to be welcoming.
Tim perches next to her on the edge of the roof and takes a deep breath. “So I think I find myself attracted to Superboy.”
He's pretty sure Kate's arching an eyebrow at him under her mask. “You think?”
“Well, I'm a little...confused. I'm not gay. So it's...weird.”
“Tell you what I think, sexuality is not as rigid as most people make it out to be. It could change over time, and most people rest on a continuum. You and Superboy are close friends, right? You trust him – you probably don't trust many people. You work together closely. He's an attractive person. And from what I know, a good guy, who has a good personality.” Kate shrugs a little. “I know it's a lot to deal with – believe me, I know – but it's not something you can analyze like it's a case or something.”
It was pretty much the opposite of what the book said.
Distraction didn't work. Conner decides to take a little break from the Titans; maybe out of sight is out of mind? Not a long break, he'll miss his friends. Just long enough for him to lose interest in whatever this is. Plus it's the height of planting season and Ma needs his help, which makes for a convenient excuse.
“Would you like to play cards after dinner?” Ma asks, as he's setting the table.
“Actually, Rob's been teaching me to play chess. If that'd be all right.”
Ma pauses in her stirring. “Conner... if you miss your friends, why don't you go to San Francisco this weekend?”
“What?” Conner asks, confused.
“Sweetie, you mention Red Robin every other sentence.”
Tim likes to lift weights when he's trying to think about something. Dick knows this, too, and when he catches Tim starting to waver because he's been going so long, he finally pries the weight out of Tim's hand, puts it away, and then turns to Tim with his arms crossed. “Spill.”
“I think Superboy's avoiding me. We kind of...had this moment.”
“You're attracted to Superboy,” Dick says, slowly.
“Maybe? I mean...I don't like men.”
“Of course you don't like men.” Dick gives him this look. It's not at all a Bruce look, but it's still very discerning. Oddly, it makes Tim feel better. “You like your best friend. Stop trying to figure out how the trick works, you'll just ruin the magic of it.”
Dick's one of those people who loves everyone, whether or not it's returned, and enjoys it, but he sort of has a point.
“What the hell is going on with you two?” Bart asks Conner, sounding exasperated.
“Nothing's going on,” Conner answers, but unfortunately he doesn't have Tim's poker face and Bart just looks suspicious at his response.
“Something's going on. There's all kinds of weird vibes when you two are together. And then you barely talk to each other. You've never been awkward with each other.”
“I think I'm in love with Tim,” Conner blurts out.
Bart's mouth falls open a little. “But you like girls.”
Conner sighs. He's had this conversation with himself already. He'd rather avoid having it with Bart, but he probably deserves to know. “I like girls. And apparently I like Tim.”
Bart processes a lot faster than normal people, so he blinks for a second and then he's tackling Conner. “Oh wow this is so great can I be best man at the wedding?”
“Whoa, Bart, slow down.” If Conner had a nickel for every time someone had uttered those words to Bart... “You are way, way ahead of things. Assuming Tim even wants to go out, it doesn't mean we'll end up married.”
Bart tilts his head, looking like a confused puppy. “But you guys are like chocolate and peanut butter. You're obviously perfect for each other.”
Peanut butter and chocolate is one of Bart's favorite foods ever (although it's like saying Tim's grapple is one of his favorite gadgets). “So, what, you've always thought we liked each other?”
“Well, except for the straight thing. I mean, you both clearly like girls, so I thought you were heterosexual life partners or something. Which is totally okay, too. “
Conner doesn't have a clue what Bart's talking about. “Okay, then. Now I just have to...do. Something.”
Tim taught Conner how to disarm his security system and open his window from the outside (there's a trick brick), so he flies in Tim's window just as he's taking off the Red Robin suit.
“Ack!” he exclaims, as he gets an eyeful of Tim's naked backside.
Conner is definitely Tim-sexual.
“What the hell are you doing?” Tim yelps, getting his boxers on so fast Conner would almost swear he has super speed, and oh my, he's bright red.
“Um,” Conner says.
Tim pulls on a long-sleeved tee and loose fitting pants before he turns around to face Conner. “I'm pretty sure there was a “knock first” when I told you how to let yourself in.”
“Then what's the point of letting myself in?” Conner asks, and then remembers why he came. “I, uh,” he starts. But words have never been his strong suit, exactly, and he finally just grabs Tim and kisses him. And it feels so, so good, and Tim makes this quiet, whimpery sound that goes straight to Conner's groin and he's kissing Conner back.
Conner is definitely, completely, very Tim-sexual.
Conner starts kissing down Tim's neck, which makes him shiver in a way that's really, really hot.
“What the hell,” Tim finally says. “I thought you were dating...what's her face. Girls.”
Conner chuckles, low, because if it's so good Tim can't even think, he must be on the right track. “I broke up with what's her face. And I thought I was dating girls. But apparently I'm going to take a break from that to screw you into the bed.” Conner catches Tim's lips again. “Unless you object.”
“Umm. Well, I can't really say no to you, it's kind of like kicking Krypto,” Tim says, faking indifference.
Conner mouths at a spot of skin that's making Tim tremble in his arms. “And how long have you been thinking about it?” He pauses. “How many books did you read about this?”
“Just one on this particular subject.”
Conner laughs, because of course Tim read a book on gay sex. “I don't think we can actually learn about this from books. I think we need some hands on experience.” He squeezes Tim's butt.
“I beg to differ,” Tim says. “I learned plenty. Don't you think we should...go on a date first or something? This is all kind of...”
“Insane?” Conner suggests.
“I was going to say sudden. What if we just...lose interest?”
Conner shakes his head. “Tim, have you ever stopped being attracted to someone? Because I don't think it works like that. Pandora's box is open and stuff doesn't go back into it.”
“Bad things came out of Pandora's Box.” Tim sounds a little miffed.
“Fine. No one let out anything bad but I don't have a better metaphor right now so shut up and go with it. Unless you want me to call it Pandora's Other Box of fabulous gayness.”
Tim kisses him to shut him up. Which Conner has a feeling might be happening a lot now, especially in private.
He doesn't get Tim into bed, which he secretly thinks might be for the best since they're both still freaking out just a little, but they do spend the next twenty minutes making out on Tim's bed before they're interrupted by an emergency.
But Conner's still not gay.