Kon has been dreading today's team strategy meeting all week. A half hour before the meeting starts, he's still procrastinating, doing every chore around the farm he can think of. It's cowardly, but at this point, Kon doesn't give a fuck. He's okay with being a coward if it means he can avoid Tim for just a little longer.
Besides, Teen Titan meetings suck under normal circumstances; Kon's skipped enough that Cassie's stopped bothering with her pointed comments that the meetings are mandatory. Now she just threatens to kick him off the team.
Kon believes her. The look in her eyes was less "you're a member of this team and it's time for you to act like one," and more "next time you skip, I'm going to fucking eviscerate you."
It's just that now, considering the whole situation with Tim...yeah. Not only is it going to be a useless, boring waste of time, it's going to be awkward and uncomfortable and Kon is going to have to avoid Tim's eyes and it's going to make Kon feel guilty and terrible and all in all Kon would rather be mucking out the stables.
And after Cassie finds out he skipped, Kon can hide in the Fortress of Solitude.
Trouble with superpowers is, most things don’t really take enough time for effective procrastination. Kon starts running out of chores. Once he finishes weeding the garden, washing the truck, and changing the oil in the tractors, he tries cleaning the oven as a last resort. It works for a while, because super strength is apparently no match for oven grime. Who knew.
That’s how Martha finds him, trapped with his torso in the oven and coated up to his elbows in grease. Kon pretends not to notice her standing there, hoping she’ll just go away and leave him to it. Hey, she’s always trying to get him to help out more around the house, so maybe she’ll--
"Conner Kent," Ma says, disappointment practically emanating off her in waves. "You know it's rude to keep your friends waiting."
Kon lets go of the crocheted pink scrubbie, ducking his head. "Yeah, but--"
"No buts, Conner. You have a responsibility to your teammates, and it's not fair to them to ignore it." She removes one hand from her hips and holds it out to Kon. Shamefaced, he lets her pull him to his feet.
"Besides," she adds, patting a bit of dust off of his shirt, "rattling around the house like that, you’re make me nervous just lookin' at you."
After that, Kon has no choice but to get out of her hair.
He still puts off leaving as long as possible, mostly by screwing around. After Kon wastes a few minutes by flying in aimless circles, Krypto hurtles up to him, panting and barking and giving him a big old doggy grin. Kon takes the opportunity to play fetch. He'd been neglecting the poor guy lately.
After a couple dozen rounds, he figures he really should go to the meeting. He'd have to face Tim sooner or later. Not to mention, he'd skipped the last meeting, so Cassie's "I will end you" face is still fresh in his mind. If he skips this week, she's probably going to get revenge on him, Greek mythology style. Tie him to a cliff so an eagle pecks out his liver every day for all eternity.
It's not fair that he has such scary friends.
Kon's still trying to shake the mental image of Cassie cackling over his liver-lite body when he finally tumbles into the Tower. And of course the meeting’s already started; it screeches to a halt when Kon flies in, everyone’s heads automatically jerking toward the doors. Rose even glances up from examining her nails. Cassie looks like she’s about to set Kon on fire. With her eyes.
The only person who doesn’t even flinch is Tim, and that’s...somehow way worse than Cassie glowering. Kon tears his eyes away from him to look at the other expectant faces.
“Uh,” Kon says. “Hi.”
Wow, who would have known Cassie could amp up the death glare up to eleven.
Kon ducks his head and slinks over to his seat. All he has to do is look down at the table and zone out and wait for the meeting to be over.
Except for how before five minutes are even up, he's sneaking glances at Tim. Kinda like an injured dog trying to chew at his own wounds. It’s just that Tim looks like death. He's staring down, listless and unmoving, at his own hands. His cowl is pulled back, and for once Kon wishes it wasn't; the perpetual bags under Tim's eyes are darker and more pronounced. He hasn't so much as shifted in his seat this whole time.
Yeah, Kon is officially the second-biggest tool in the known universe. (First is still Booster Gold. Natch.)
Maybe if he tunes back in, he can forget about what an asshole he is for, like, five minutes. If he tries really hard, it's possible even Cassie's lecture on property damage might just hold his attention for a moment or two.
Except that the second he starts trying to focus again, Cassie glances over at Tim, quizzical. Kon accidentally follows her gaze, which--big mistake. Apparently glancing out of the corner of his eye didn’t fully convey how completely sickly Tim looks right now. Kon slumps lower in his seat.
"So, Red Robin--thoughts?" Cassie asks. "Anything to add?"
Rose snorts, sliding her legs down from where they were crossed on the table. "Yeah, Red Robin, you've been awful quiet today. Don't tell me you're finally trusting Wonder Priss to lead her team without a babysitter?"
Cassie frowns. "It's not my t--"
Tim cuts her off. "I think it's a good plan, Wonder Girl," he says.
"That’s gotta be a first."
"What, Rose, are you trying to start a fight?" Kon snaps.
"Kon--" Cassie starts.
"Oh, please. I just thought we should mark it down for the history books. For the first time in his life, ex-Boy Wonder doesn't have anything negative to say."
Kon sits up straight. "Why don't you back off--"
"No," Tim interrupts. The table goes dead silent.
Tim slowly, deliberately pushes himself to his feet. "You know what? You're right, Rose." He glances back at Kon for just a split second, poison in his glare palpable. Kon flinches. And then, like it never happened, Tim's looking back at Rose, his face set and blank once more.
"Congratulations. You got what you wanted," Tim spits, before yanking up his cowl and stalking out the door.
Silence spills out over the room like an oil slick.
For a few moments, nobody moves, nobody seems to breathe. And then Kara stage whispers "What just happened," across the table to M'gann. It sparks a flurry of movement and whispers spreading across the room, including Rose’s huffy little “okay, Jesus. Drama queen.”
Cassie looks over at Kon, bafflement plain on her face. A heady wave of guilt chokes him for the dozenth time that day. He glances downward, avoiding her eyes.
"I'm gonna go talk to him," he mumbles to the floor. He flies out, ducking his head so he doesn’t have to acknowledge the blatant stares of everyone in the room.
"Going to talk to him" turns out to mean "staring morosely at Tim's door for a solid ten minutes." He keeps raising his fist to knock, or opening his mouth to say something, and completely chickening out. Any more of this and he’s gonna have to change his codename to Superweenie.
Just as he talks himself out of knocking for the third time, the door slides open, the suddenness of the motion making Kon jerk back involuntarily. Tim’s standing there, sans cape and cowl, looking incredibly displeased. Kon opens his mouth to make an excuse. Can't find one. Winds up just staring.
Tim stares back at him, blank and motionless, for what seems like an eternity. An eternity in which Kon fails miserably at anything other than gaping like a fish.
After this insurmountably awkward uncountable length of time, Tim's lips tighten. Wordlessly, he steps aside. Kon swallows, shifting from foot to foot for a moment. It takes him a second to gather up enough courage to speak.
"Uh," Kon says. He kicks himself mentally. Great use of words there, Kon. Really great.
"In or out," Tim says, face unreadable.
"Right," Kon says weakly. "Uh, in. I guess."
He has this bizarre urge to glance at Tim's face to check and make sure that was the correct answer. Instead, he ducks his head to avoid looking at Tim's face and shuffles in.
They wind up sitting side-by-side on the bed. Kon stares at the floor.
It's hard when you simultaneously have no idea how to deal with silence, and no idea what to say. Tim's not helping. Kon thinks he might be embarrassed over his little outburst earlier, but there’s really no way to tell, what with the way they’re both refusing to look at each other.
Kon's not sure if an apology would be even welcome, now. If it were, he wouldn't know how to start.
They sit. Kon fidgets. Tim stares at the wall.
Wow, they suck at this.
Kon opens his mouth to say, "So, what now," but suddenly, something pings in his brain. Superhearing. He catches the tail end of his name, shouted halfway across the country. Kon freezes, tuning in to it, cocking his head like a dog hearing the call of its master.
When Kon can hear it clearly, the familiar voice intimately in his ear makes his breath catch, makes his pulse race. Tim turns to frown at him, wordlessly demanding an explanation.
"Jason," Kon moans, half in response to Tim, half to Jason’s laughing drawl. Tim’s eyes widen. Kon reaches for him. The second before he takes Tim’s face in his hands, he sees Tim’s whole body shift into eager compliance, and then he’s melting into Kon's (Jason's) touch.