The sun is just barely shining through the peek in her curtains when Steph hears the tell-tale buzzing sound coming from her phone on her bedside table. She groans and rolls over, pulling her pillow over her face. Whoever it is, they can fucking wait.
The phone buzzes again and again and then buzzes right off the beside table and onto the soft carpet with a thump. Steph takes a deep breath and decides resolutely to ignore it.
A chime rings out, letting her know that she has a message.
"I hate everything," Steph says, although it comes out mostly in mumbled, incoherent sounds into the pillow. She sits up, chucking her pillow to the side and reaching down, fingers scraping around the edges of her phone, thumb finding the well-worn edge and flipping it open. She wonders, not for the first time, how much it would cost her pride to start dropping hints around B that she'd like a new phone.
She blinks blearily, peering at the screen.
One Message from Marceline, the flashing screen declares.
"Stupid Bat ninja girlfriend," Steph says, thumbing the message open.
I've lost Taco.
Steph blinks at the screen. Isn't it a little early for tacos? Well. Breakfast tacos. Those are pretty good but hardly the superior breakfast food no matter how much Jason likes to insist otherwise, but.
Steph's brain screeches to a halt. Jason. Jason's dog. Oh, fuck.
Steph leaps out of bed, already halfway into hopping into a pair of sparkly purple leggings before her phone starts to ring again.
This is so not good.
"Okay, run me through this again. What happened?"
Cass runs a hand through her closely-cropped hair, looking wide-eyed and frantic and far less composed than Steph is used to seeing her. "I was taking her for her morning walk but I heard a noise, some girl was getting mugged a few alleyways over so I went to check it out and told Taco to stay but by the time the girl was helped and I turned around -- "
"I should just call them," Cass says, already digging out her phone. "I should just call them and tell the truth."
"No," Steph yelps, reaching out a hand to stop Cass. "No because if you call them, they'll come home and they'll blow their mission and Tim will get that annoying, tight-lipped look on his face and he'll be quietly annoying about it forever because you know how he feels about failure and no one wants to put up with that shit, all right?"
"Steph," Cass says, with perhaps not as much patience as she meant to have, "I lost their dog."
"So?" Steph says. "C'mon, how far could she have gone? She's a homebody dog. I bet you anything she's either sitting outside Tim and Jason's apartment building or she's at that park they always take her to. We check both places and then we reconsider, all right?"
"Okay," Cass says, "okay. Yes. Let's do that."
Steph reaches out, grabbing Cass's hand and intertwining their fingers. "Deep breaths, Marceline. Not the end of the world."
Cass shakes her head, huffing a laugh. "Shut up, Bubblegum."
She's not at Tim and Jason's apartment. They checked outside the building, they checked inside the building, they even broke into Tim and Jason's apartment because well, sometimes you just never know.
A dog that can let herself into her own home. C'mon, Steph's heard weirder things when you're talking about a dog whose owner was raised from the dead.
But the apartment, no dice.
Which is right about when the panic leaves Cass's eyes and is replaced by an attitude and approach that is none of Steph's sweet, tea-loving terrible-at-cooking girlfriend and is all Black Bat or, as Steph likes to refer to it, Scary Mission Cass.
Steph takes a minute to bemoan the time sensitivity of the mission at hand because man, Scary Mission Cass is hot.
Ah, but for the kitchen sex in someone else's kitchen that could have been.
What happens next -- well, what happens next is actually pretty typical. Steph's not really sure how she didn't see it coming, even as it was happening and she'd be embarrassed a little, she would, except when it comes to Cass, she's long since learned to just sort of shrug and go with it.
Taco is at the park.
Not only is Taco at the park, Taco is in exactly the same place where Jason always takes her, by the long stretch of pine trees that line the north side of the park. She's lying down, leash trailing out to her side and chewing on a pine cone like eating it in a million different pieces will reveal the mysteries of life.
Fucking dogs, honestly.
This does not, however, keep Cass from leaping on top of her like the over-trained vigilante that she is.
"Cass you didn't -- you didn't have to -- she wasn't going anywhere."
"Doesn't hurt to be safe," Cass says, voice muffled by Taco's fur.
One of these days, Steph is going to sit down and think about her life and how she wound up willingly surrounding herself with paranoid, attack-happy Wayne kids.
Steph shakes her head, leaning down to snake a hand around the loop in Taco's leash. "All right, Taco Dog and her tiny ninja friend, let's get this show on the road before we attract anymore interested bystanders," Steph says, eyeing the family across the way that's blatantly staring at the three of them, an early morning effort in recreational rubber-necking.
"Cass," Steph wheedles. "Get off the dog. I think she's just wigged about being in new environments, so why don't we just take her back to the guys' place and hang out there until they get home tonight? We can eat all of their food, it'll be great."
Cass doesn't move.
"You can drink Jason's tea."
And there it is.
"I'm pretty sure you said something about food," Cass says from the doorway. Steph does not start nor does she turn around, looking guilty, because she absolutely is not guilty at all whatsoever.
"Going through the guys' sex drawer does not count as looking for food."
Steph smirks, twirling a pair of handcuffs around her index finger. "Puh-lease, does it count as going through it when they left it out on the bedside table?"
Cass shakes her head, grimacing. "Let's give my brothers some privacy, thanks."
Steph looks at the handcuffs askance. "You think these are really strong enough to hold Jason down?"
"What makes you think they're for Jason?"
Steph snorts. "Have you met Tim?"
Cass scrunches up her nose which yeah, okay, that's fair. Brothers. "Food?" she says hopefully.
"Yeah, okay," Steph says, dropping the handcuffs onto the bedside table with a thunk. "And for the record, I was looking for band-aids, you scraped your forehead on a tree trunk in your mad dash to tame the dog that wasn't going anywhere."
Cass reaches a hand up, swiping at the scrape impatiently. "I didn't even notice. Probably not that bad."
Steph sighs, loudly and dramatically. "You always say that."
Cass rolls her eyes, making for the bathroom door. "Fine, fine, I'll dig out a band-aid if you go figure out the food."
"Aye aye, cap'n," Steph chirps, already making her way into the kitchen. She throws open the refrigerator door, eyeing the contents. Eggs, milk and yep, pancake and waffle mix and a couple of bars of dark chocolate in the cupboard. Now that's what momma's talking about.
"How do you feel about chocolate chip waffles?" Steph yells out, thinking that Cass is still in the other room before she starts as her girlfriend comes up behind her.
Two arms snake around Steph's torso, Cass's head hooking her head comfortably over Steph's shoulder and Steph smiles, softly and reflexively, feels warm all over as she leans back into it. "Band-aid?"
Cass points to her forehead dutifully.
"Gave her a treat, now she's snoring on the couch."
Steph hums. "Well."
"Well," Cass says teasingly. "Did you think I didn't notice?"
Steph huffs. "Of course you did. You always notice." Steph swings the refrigerator door shut and turns in Cass's arms, walking the other girl backwards into the kitchen counter. Cass's hands shift, fingers dancing along the waistband of Steph's leggings before dipping below, pushing them down and Steph's breath hitches, body gone warm and flush, before Cass kisses her, soft but sure, like she knows exactly where she's going with this but she doesn't feel any need to rush it.
Steph digs her fingers into the soft skin of Cass's hips, grounds herself, holds on for dear life because it's like jumping off a rooftop, like falling from the top of a roller coaster each time, every time, and her brain's gone all fuzzy, her entire world narrowing to a single point, her and Cass and one singular thought:
Kitchen sex. Bingo.