"Hey, look at that, I think the truck's crashing!" Bart swerves sharply.
Tim digs his fingers into Bart's slick-suited shoulders. "There's no time--"
"C'mon, Robin, look! Who knows what that green gunk is! It'll only take a minute!" Bart sets Tim down on cracked asphalt, safely far away from the overturned tanker spilling acid-green sludge onto the highway. Tim reaches, but Bart blurs away from beneath his hand, lifts the driver out of the cab, then zips back to Tim again. "Gimme a tarp?" he asks, hair crackling above the same round-eyed expression that usually gets him the last slice of pizza.
"One minute," Tim says dryly, but hands the tarp over nonetheless. Bart grins and takes off, spinning an orange tornado around the spill.
Tim folds his arms beneath his cape and breathes steadily, glad to be upwind and cultivating patience. Bart does seem to be making progress, as the green sludge recedes; though the stuff's bubbling as it eats the paint off the outside of the tanker it hasn't yet obliterated the symbol for 'caustic," and "flammable"'is only half erased.
Before Tim has time to read more Bart's finished; the spill's off the pavement and back in the tanker, but it's also all over Bart from his chest down, giving off fumes and looking distinctly unsafe. "Kid Flash!" Tim shouts, stepping forward; Bart looks down at himself, eyes wide, and blurs, gold to green to pink.
When Bart reappears, he's not wearing anything but his gloves and cowl. "Hey, it worked!" Bart's grin is as bright as if he doesn't notice he's, well, naked. And Tim's not noticing either, never mind that Bart is, while speedster-slender, not unattractively so, and he seems to have more muscles than he had yesterday when they were swimming, and, well, Tim is not looking. Even though Bart's suit and boots have collapsed into a smoking heap of orange and green, and Tim's cheeks are throbbing with heat and his mouth's going dry.
"Here." Tim unfastens his cape to drape it round Bart's shoulders. "Um. We'll need to get going soon---"
"Oh." Bart frowns, now, looking down at himself again. "I don't think I can run like this, I'll, ah--"
Chafe? "Blister your feet?" Tim supplies helpfully, and does not blush. Robin doesn't blush.
"Maybe chafe, too." Bart mutters, blushing red enough for both of them, and pulls Tim's cape tighter. Tim doesn't think of how sleek he looks out of his suit. It's completely inappropriate to think about how good Bart looks wrapped in Tim's cape. Let alone to waste time figuring out how his appearance can be so different just because of the absence of an already skintight suit.
So, instead of watching Bart fiddling nakedly with his cape, Tim goes to check on the driver. The man's lying on his side, baseball cap clutched in one bruised but unbroken hand. He has no alcohol or other intoxicants on his breath, just a faint whiff of cigarettes and potato chips, and when Tim take his pulse, steady and even, he opens lucid hazel eyes. "Thank you!" he gasps before Tim can get him quieted down, reaching for Robin's hand.
Gratitude is better than a freakout, but it still makes Tim feel a little strange. In a non-traumatic way, but his daily quota for not-awful strangeness has already been more than filled by Bart wandering around naked behind him. "Lie still," Tim advises in the reassuring variant on his command voice, and pulls out his mylar emergency blanket; the driver obediently nods and shuts his eyes while Tim covers him. "Help will be here soon."
Now to make that happen. The truck's cab is overturned, so Tim approaches carefully, but he doesn't detect any gas leaks or fires. "How is he?" Bart asks, stepping gingerly over while Tim rummages for the CB.
"Fine, thanks to you," Tim says, because it's true, and because saying so makes Bart's grin ridiculously wide and really happy. "We need to call the State Police."
"Of which state?" Bart replies. Great. "Where are we? Hey, this cape is pretty warm! No wonder you like it. Pretty light for Kevlar, too. Did you know Kevlar was invented--"
"Bart." The truck's radio is, of course, broken, and they're in the middle of nowhere, nowhere being a two-lane highway through a gently rolling field of brownish grass. Tim sighs, does not say, "I thought you knew," and considers the problem. They must be at least halfway back to Gotham; how long till Batman notices he's late? How far do they need to walk for a road sign? How far can Bart walk barefoot?
Tim pulls out his communicator and tweaks it to a cell phone frequency. "I'd like to report an accident." The 911 call proves surprisingly quick, and so rote Tim's mind wanders to the next call he has to make, till he finds himself surprised when the operator chirps, "they'll be right there!" and hangs up . What will Batman say if Tim has to call for help over a situation this trivial, after Robin had insisted on staying at the Tower too late to be picked up in the Batplane? For that matter, what will he say about Bart's current outfit?
Tim considers the possibilities, and really does not feel like finding out.
We could really use Kon, right about now. Tim catches himself absently looking at Bart's calves and pulls his gaze up---
To Bart's delighted smile, and keeps it there by force of will when Bart points and the cape slithers off his shoulder. "We're saved!"
Tim looks, and smiles, and lets himself grin. "Guys?" Kon's voice floats down on the breeze, its tone changing with his distance within the word. "What hap-- Bart, where's your suit?"
Protocol gets cracked, once again. Tim glances at the driver still lying in the roadside grass, but he doesn't seem to have overheard, if he's even conscious. Kon lands as Bart points to the now mostly-green, fairly flat pile of smoking debris behind them. "I saw this tanker crash and the driver isn't hurt so I picked up the spill before it could wreck the highway but it got on me and--"
Kon grins. "You're naked, man." He looks, and Bart poses, and Tim rolls his eyes. "Dude, have you been working out?"
That line of discussion isn't going to get them anywhere Tim should let them go. "We need to find out what's in the tanker's contents," Tim says, and though Kon rolls his eyes he's paying attention to the situation again. "Superboy, can you use your TK to help me take samples?"
"Don't you have any Bat-tongs or something?" Kon puts his hands on his hips as he telekinetically scoops up a bit of the green sludge, wrinkling his nose as he molds the stuff into a ball, then a vial-shaped plug.
"This is more efficient." Tim has three polymer-lined vials left, which should be enough.
"You mean, this really reeks." Kon's grin belies his bitching as he plucks a squishy bit of Bart's demolished suit, and after he's tucked both samples into their vials he uses his TK to grab the caps out of Tim's hand and screws them shut. Tim shrugs, labels the samples, and puts them away in an evidence pocket.
The tarp on the truck is smoking a little, but it'll probably hold. Kon is squeezing Bart's bicep, and Bart is letting the cape steadily slip off his other shoulder as he grins at Kon, and Tim doesn't particularly think the highway police need to find Kon and Bart's little tableau, let alone the sidekick of a supposed urban legend, so he clears his throat.
They ignore him.
"Clock's ticking," Tim says.
Bart blinks. Kon shrugs, and gives Bart's arm another squeeze; instead of hitting Kon with something large and heavy Tim closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, so he doesn't see Kon reach for him. Fortunately, when Kon wraps an arm round his waist Tim keeps the startle from showing. "You mean Mr. Dark and Freaky'll pitch a fit if you're late," Kon retorts, because he has to, and Bart's already in his other arm. "Right." With that they're airborne.
Kon's arm is sturdy and strong, and their acceleration is pressing Tim against the solid muscle of his side, but Tim doesn't think about that, either. He glances over his shoulder, the wind ruffling through his hair, to see two police cars approaching, a HazMat truck just behind them, and no other traffic in sight. Good. "Thanks for the help," he tells Kon, leaning close to his ear because of the rushing air. "How did you find us?"
Like the rest of him, Kon's ear radiates warmth; when Kon turns his head Tim wrenches himself back enough that his mouth won't collide with Kon's ear, but it's still near enough that Kon's aura brushes his face like invisible skin. "I didn't feel like going back to Smallville right away, so I listened for your voices and followed them. Pretty cool, huh?"
Kon grins, but before Tim can do more than swallow hard against the lumps in his throat and... elsewhere, Bart shrieks, "Whee! Flying is so cool!"
Well, it is, blue sky streaming around them, clouds above and green and brown patchwork below. Kon's arms round their waists and his warmth like extra sunshine on the side of Tim's face don't detract from the ride, either. Tim shifts slightly in Kon's hold, for a more secure grip of course, and closes his eyes and feels himself fly.