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No Bats In The Belfry (A Gotham High School AU)

Chapter Text

Conner looked out over the classroom full of strange new faces staring up at him and put on his best "changing schools in sophomore year is fun, really" smile. A pretty blonde girl with red star-shaped earrings smiled back and Conner's smile became a little more sincere.

"This is Conner Kent," the teacher, Mr. Smith, told the class. "He's just transferred here from Metropolis. Why don't you tell us a little about yourself, Conner?"

Crap, he should've know that was coming. He should've prepared a statement. "Well, uh, I like football," he offered. The blonde girl was still smiling at him. He winked at her. "And girls." She blushed, but kept smiling. Score!

"Excellent," Mr. Smith said. "Come out to practice this afternoon and we'll see if we can find you a spot on the J.V. team."

"Really? That's be great!" Conner said. "I thought it might be too late."

"We've had a few transfers leaving," Mr. Smith told him. The teacher looked over the class and his eyes settled on a small, black-haired boy who was typing something on a laptop. "Tim Drake." The boy looked up, startled. "Would you please show Conner around today?"

"Sure," Tim said, not looking all that thrilled about the idea. "No problem."

Conner felt irrationally annoyed at Tim's indifference. Whatever, 'Tim'. I'd rather have the blonde guide me.

Turned out that Tim was friends with the blonde, whose name was Cassie. They were on the cheer team together, along with Cassie's older sister, Donna and Tim's older brother, Dick.

"You guys are all cheerleaders?" Conner asked, when they joined the elder siblings at lunch.

"Yeah," Tim said defensively. He gave Conner a look that clearly asked, "You got a problem with that?

Dick clapped a hand on his brother's shoulder. "National champions, three years running," he said. "Football team's got a lot of catching up to do."

"We're doin' it this year." A red-haired guy with a tribal tattoo on one bicep set his lunch tray down on the table and slid in next to Donna. "Roy Harper," he said to Conner. "New kid?"

"J.V.'s new hope," Dick told him.

"The Tornado's our new hope, for all the teams," Roy said. "New coach this year," he explained to Conner.

"The Tornado?"

"'Red Tornado', back when he was a pro," Roy said. "He's all grey now, though, so we just call him Tornado."

Conner's eyes widened. "He's that John Smith?!"

"Hell, yeah," Roy grinned. "What position do you play, new guy?"

"Quarterback, at my old school. My name's Conner." He stuck out his hand and Roy shook it.

"Welcome to Gotham Heights High," Roy said. "The J.V. Titans can use a good quarterback, so I hope you're good."

"Oh, I'm good," Conner grinned. "I'm really good." He winked at Cassie, who snickered and rolled her eyes. Tim, next to her, just rolled his eyes.

Dick and Roy got into a discussion about the new coach, which quickly devolved into a friendly argument over strategy.

"How come you don't play on the team?" Conner asked Dick.

"Because they don't let you do flips and shit on the field," Roy said dryly.

"Pretty much," Dick agreed amicably. He stood up on his chair and then did a quick downward twist and suddenly he was balanced on the back of the chair doing a handstand. He grinned at Conner and lifted one hand to wave, which left him doing a one-handed handstand.

"Mister Grayson," the cafeteria monitor said wearily.

Dick pushed up with his hand, twisted in the air and slid neatly back into a seating position. "Sorry, Mrs. Cooke," he said.

"Circus freak," Roy explained. Dick jabbed him with his elbow.

"Wait, I thought you guys were brothers," Conner said to Tim. "How come he's Grayson and you're Drake?"

"We're adopted," Tim said. "There's four of us, actually; Dick, Jason, Cass and me."

"And Damian," Dick reminded Tim.

"Right, but Damian's Bruce's bio-kid," Tim said. "Also he's ten, so he's not at this school."

"Big family," Conner observed. "I just have a little brother, Chris. He's six."

A gorgeous, curvy, biracial girl with golden brown skin, bright green eyes and golden brown hair in a curly hairdo that made her look nearly six feet tall, joined them at the table, pulling up a chair next to Dick.

"Whoa," Conner said, not realizing he'd spoken aloud.

"I know," Roy said to him. "But she's not interested in anyone but Dick."

Indeed, she had an arm around Dick's shoulders already. "Who's the new guy?" she asked cheerfully, not appearing offended by the comments.

"Conner Kent," Dick introduced them. "This is my girlfriend, Kory Anders."

"Hello, Kory," Conner said. "I'm not drooling, am I?" he asked Roy in a low voice.

"Not yet," Roy assured him.

"Welcome to Gotham Heights, Conner," Kory smiled. "Everyone's really nice here. I was new last year." She kissed Dick softly. "Sorry, the Amnesty International meeting ran late."

"I'm just glad to see you," Dick assured her.

Kory had an accent that Conner couldn't place, so he asked where she was from.

"Chicago," she grinned. It turned out that she had been born in Chicago, but her parents were hippie missionaries and she'd spent her childhood travelling around war zones and famine-struck areas all over the world. She'd come to Gotham to stay with her aunt in order to have a normal high school experience for her college applications.

"That sounds like a fascinating life," Conner said.

"Unique, at least," she laughed. "It's been difficult adapting to 'civilization'. Sometimes I feel like I'm from another planet altogether!"

"A hot planet," Roy said.

Dick smacked him on the back of the head. "Behave!"

Kory shook her head at Donna. "Boys!"

"I apologize," Donna said to Kory. "I've tried to train him, but he's impossible to tame."

Roy growled and pounced on Donna, snarling and licking her neck. She shrieked and laughed, pushing him off her.

The bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. The older kids headed off to their afternoon classes and Conner was back with Tim and Cassie. Tim looked over Conner's schedule and marked his classrooms on a school map.

"So," Conner said to Cassie, hoping that his reaction to Kory hadn't screwed things up. "You busy after school?"

"We have practice," Tim informed him.

Conner resisted rolling his eyes and saying, I wasn't asking *you*. No need to make enemies on the first day. "Yeah, that's right. Think I'm going to check out football practice."

Cassie shot Tim a look that Conner probably wasn't supposed to see. "I have a ton of homework and it's family dinner night tonight, but if you want to hang out this weekend, I could show you around a bit."

"Sure, yeah, that'd be great!" Conner exchanged numbers with Cassie while Tim hovered impatiently.

Cassie went off to her art history class and Conner finally gave into his frustration. "What's your problem with me?" he asked Tim.

Tim shrugged, a neutral expression on his face. "I don't have a problem with you."

"Is it Cassie? You and she have a thing?" Conner demanded.

"I don't have a problem with you," Tim insisted. His blue-eyed glare and clenched jaw sent Conner a different message.

"Fine. Whatever." Conner pulled the school map from Tim's hand. "You don't have to babysit me any more. I can find my way around."

"Good for you," Tim said tightly, then spun on his heel and strode off to class.

* * *

Chapter Text

"New guy seems pretty cool," Dick said that night at dinner.

"I guess," Tim said, slicing his pork chop with more vigor than really necessary. Bruce was out of town on business, but the butler, Alfred, was more than capable of keeping the family's flock of teenagers (and one ten-year-old) well-fed.

"New guy? What new guy?" Steph asked. Cass's best friend wasn't officially part of the family, but her mom worked long hours, so Steph was over at Wayne Manor most nights anyway.

"Kid from Metropolis. Pretty cute, too." Dick winked at Steph.

"Aw, man, I missed a new hottie? I am never getting lunch detention again," Steph sighed.

"You said... before," Cass smirked.

"I mean it this time!" Steph protested.

Cassandra had grown up with a deaf mother, on the run from an abusive father. She'd spent very little time in school and so her first and primary language was ASL. Her mother’s tutoring in other subjects had been excellent, but Cass was still a bit uncertain with spoken English. Bruce had consulted a psychologist after Cass's mother's death and the psychologist had told him not to worry, that she'd find her words in her own time. Bruce had arranged for the whole family to take an intensive course in ASL to help Cass feel less isolated and ease the transition.

Jason was the most fluent of them all, which was actually not too surprising, since his best friend, Rose Wilson, had a mute brother and was also fluent in ASL. The two of them delighted in carrying on horribly obscene conversations during classes. This had gotten them a month's detention once when a new substitute caught them in the act.

Jason didn't generally have these discussions where Cass could see, at least. He had that much respect for his sister. He loved to do it in front of Tim, though. Fortunately, Jason and Tim had very few classes together.

Sometimes Tim worried that Cass would get lost in the family's chatter. Dick and Jason bantered constantly and Damian always tried to get a word in. Steph talked enough for three people. He'd asked Cass about it once, if she'd felt lost. She'd shaken her head. "No. It feels... good. Full. Do you?"

Tim had smiled and answered, "I like to listen." And sometimes he drifted into his own thoughts, letting the chatter wash over him.

"Tim doesn't like the new hottie? Why?" Steph asked.

And sometimes he missed important pieces of the conversation when he did that.

"That's not what I said," Dick protested.

"It's totally what you said," Jason agreed. "What's it, Timbo? He after your girl?"

"Cassie and I are just friends," Tim protested.

"It's possible, you know," Dick said. "For guys to have girls that are just friends."

"Wait, aren't you friends with Rose?" Steph asked Jason.

"Sure," Jason said. "Friends and fu-" Dick kicked him under the table and looked meaningfully at Damian. "Fun buddies," Jason finished.

"I know the word 'fuck'," Damian grumbled.

"But I have to protect Timbo's virgin ears," Jason winked at Damian.

"Don't call me that," Tim sighed.

"What, a virgin? Is there news you want to share with us, Timbo?" Jason asked.

"What's wrong with the new guy?" Steph asked again.

"Nothing's wrong with him!" Tim said.

"So why don't you like him?" Steph pushed.

"Did you know his mom's Lois Lane?" Tim asked.

"Wait. Isn't that the hot reporter chick - " This time it was Steph jabbing an elbow into Jason's ribs. Jay sighed and rolled his eyes. "Attractive journalist whose poster you have featured in your bedroom decorating scheme?" He looked at Steph and raised his eyebrows. She gave him a sweet smile and patted his leg.

"The Pulitzer Prize winner, yes," Tim said. "And his dad's Clark Kent.”

“Did you research him?" Jason asked.

"I just follow his mother's blog!" Tim protested. "I follow a lot of journalism blogs." He was planning on a career in photojournalism.

"Still. Creepy," Jason said.

"It's not creepy, Jay," Dick said. "Tim, you can't expect him to be just like his parents."

“I don’t! I just thought he’d be more interesting than just a dumb jock,” Tim said.

“Says the cheerleader,” Jason muttered.

“You’ve only known him for a day,” Dick said. “Did you ask him if he’s interested in joining the newspaper staff?”

“Not yet,” Tim admitted.

“See, there’s so much you don’t know about him,” Dick said. “He’s got to be more than just a ‘dumb jock.’ Plus it was his first day; he had to be nervous and probably didn’t present himself as well as he would have liked.”

“I’m sure he’s a lovely boy. Why not invite him over for milk and cookies?” Jason suggested.

“Don’t help, Jay,” Dick sighed.

“I’ll give him another shot, okay?” Tim said. “Can we please move on?”

“All right,” Dick said. “Damian can tell us why he got detention today.”

“The teacher is an imbecile!” Damian said, waving his steak knife as he spoke. “She refuses to acknowledge the cruelties done to the native populations of the Americas by the Spanish invaders!”

Alfred entered the room with a fresh bowl of potatoes and carefully plucked Damian’s knife from the boy’s hand before he could accidentally injure one of his siblings. “That may well be true, Master Damian,” he said calmly. “However, I’m not certain your classmates needed to hear detailed and graphic descriptions of the atrocities committed by Columbus.”

Damian folded his arms across his chest. “I only told the truth.”

“You told off the teacher? High five, little D!” Jason held up a hand to his little brother and Damian smacked it, smirking.

“And I am certain that there is never a reason to call a woman a ‘harlot’,” Alfred said sternly, giving both Jason and Damian disapproving looks. Both boys looked abashed. “No matter what you may think of her personally.”

“Damian!” Steph exclaimed. “No! Bad!”

“He’s not a puppy,” Jason said.

“Neither is he a well-behaved young gentleman,” Alfred said.

“I’ll speak to him, Alfie,” Dick said.

“That would be appreciated,” Alfred said. He took an empty potato bowl from the table and headed back toward the kitchen.

“Yeah, that’s appreciated, Dad,” Jason said.

“I am only just outside the door, Master Jason, and your voice carries quite well,” Alfred called from the hallway.

Jason sank down in his chair, ears turning pink.

* * *

Chapter Text

The third floor west girls’ bathroom was the unofficial smoking area for Gotham Heights High. The hallway had been roped off since spring because the old classrooms were being converted to new, high-tech science learning facilities thanks to a grant from Wayne Enterprises.

Jason Todd and Rose Wilson could be found there during most lunch hours. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they ran a poker game, but today was Wednesday, so they were smoking cigarettes, eating cafeteria pizza and arguing about movies.

“It’s a classic!” Jason insisted. He ran a hand through the shock of white hair that grew from a scar on his scalp. Most of the scars from the bomb that had nearly killed him a few years ago weren’t obvious to the casual observer, but the bit of white hair stood out. Occasionally he’d dye it bright colors, usually just before an event where the Wayne kids would be photographed by the press. He preferred blood red, but had also gone with blue and green and once Steph had talked him into purple. Bruce always frowned at the color, but never said a word against it.

“Please!” Rose snorted. “It’s a male power fantasy. This guy lets everyone believe he’s murdered while he’s running around learning all these different ways to kill people, then shows up in a mask and bam! he’s kicking the asses of the best guys in the business? It takes more than two or three years to learn all that!” A genetic quirk gave Rose white-blonde hair despite her Cambodian heritage. She refused to dye it under any circumstances. She wore an eyepatch due to a child “accident”. Jason had met her family and especially her older brother, Grant, and had his suspicions about the “accidental” nature of that injury, but Rose didn’t talk about it and Jason didn’t push her on the subject.

“He was kidnapped by pirates! That’s a hell of a motivator,” Jason protested.

Rose tapped her cigarette on the edge of the Zesti can they were using as an ashtray. “And all that ‘woe is me, my beloved is dead and I have nothing to live for’ crap. Bullshit. If my man died, I’d be sad, sure, but I’d keep living. You could replace Buttercup with a life-size doll and the movie would barely change.”

“You have no appreciation for good movies,” Jason grumbled.

“I have plenty of appreciation for good movies,” Rose said.

The door creaked open and a freshman goth girl with blue pigtails slunk in.

“What’d’ya want?” Rose asked.

“Uh, I’m looking for a boost. I got three midterms, a soccer game and a cello recital this week. Heard this was the place to see about something to keep me going,” she said.

Jason took a drag from his cigarette. “You got cash?”

She scooted over to where he was sitting and handed him a folded wad of cash. He counted out fifty dollars, nodded, reached into his jacket and selected a paper-wrapped packet. He handed it to her. “Thanks,” she said, and scurried out the door.

Five minutes later she returned, shoving the door open and stomping into the bathroom. “This is a Sundollars card!”

Jason nodded. “Yep.”

Rose snickered.

“That’s not what I wanted!” she protested.

“You think I’m going to sell you something illegal?” Jason asked. “Something that’ll get you hooked and screw up your life? Fuck that. Stick to triple espressos. Give you a good buzz while keeping it legal.”

“Just say no,” Rose added. The girl glared at them and stormed out of the bathroom. “Except to pot,” Rose said to Jason.

“Just now and then,” Jason said.

“And E,” Rose added.

“Moderation in all things. Look, I’m trying to save the youth of this school.”

“You’re practically a superhero,” Rose said. She stubbed out her cigarette and dropped it in the Zesti can.

* * *

Tim couldn’t avoid Conner forever, so after fourth period, he sucked it up and approached the other boy. “Hey,” he said, as they came out of the class they shared.

“Hi,” Conner said warily.

“I’m sorry. About yesterday. I think we got off on the wrong foot. Can we start over?” Tim asked.

“Yeah, okay,” Conner said. He stuck out a hand. “Hi, I’m Conner Kent.”

Tim shifted the strap of his camera bag and shook Conner’s hand. “Tim Drake. Gotham veteran, so let me know if you have any questions.”

“Yeah, I got one,” Conner said. “Does it always rain here, or have I just been lucky so far?”

Tim smiled. “The sun peeks out on occasion. Once I even got a photo.”

Conner pointed at Tim’s camera bag. “You on yearbook or something?”

“Newspaper,” Tim said. “I’m going to be a photojournalist.”

The clomp of Docs and a whiff of cigarette smoke was all the warning Tim got before Jason and Rose came up beside them. “Tim’s a big fan of your mom. Big, big fan. Got a poster and everything.”

Jason,” Tim said warningly.

“Uh, that’s great,” Conner said, looking at Jason, then at Tim, then back at Jason. “Who are you?”

Jason stuck out his right hand. “I’m Tim’s big brother. The cool one. You’re the new kid, Conner, right?”

“New Kid Conner, that’s me,” Conner sighed. He shook Jason’s hand.

“Rose Wilson,” Rose said. She slung an arm around Tim’s shoulder.

“Who has no concept of personal space,” Tim said, pushing Rose’s arm away.

“Timmy’s a little scared of girls,” Jason said. He put his own arm around Rose’s waist.

“Jason’s got a fear of emotional intimacy and overcompensates with sex,” Tim snapped at his brother. Rose snickered.

Conner threw up his hands. “I’ll leave you to your sibling rivalry. I gotta meet up with someone.” He took off down the hallway as fast as he could without actually breaking into a run.

Rose scratched behind her ear and leaned against Jason. “I don’t know if I like scaring away the pretty ones before lunch.”

Jason scowled. “He’s not that attractive.”

“You skipped Biology to smoke again, didn’t you,” Tim said, changing the subject.

Jason shrugged. “Review session. I know all that stuff.”

“You’re going to get caught,” Tim said. “And cancer,” he added.

“It is so sweet how you boys look out for each other,” Rose purred.

Tim and Jason both grunted in disapproval at the same time, then glared at each other.

“I’ve got a cheer meeting to get to,” Tim said. “Try not to set anything on fire today, ‘kay?” he told Jason.

“Please, that was last semester,” Jason said. “And it was a totally legit Bundsen burner accident.”

“Whatever,” Tim said. He adjusted his camera bag strap and headed down the hallway.

“He’s pretty cute for a virgin,” Rose said, watching Tim walk away.

“Don’t,” Jason said.

“I’m just sayin’,” Rose said.

“Yeah, don’t even go there,” Jason said.

“Not as cute as Dick,” Rose mused.

“I’m gonna puke,” Jason muttered.

Rose grinned and kissed his cheek. “Feeling too sick to head off campus for lunch?”

“Eh, I can probably manage burgers,” Jason said. “Red Robin?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Rose said.

* * * * * * * * * *

Chapter Text

Tim only had three problems left on his calculus homework when Dick knocked on the door.  His brother didn’t wait for a response, just pushed the door open. “Everyone’s here for movie night, Timmy.  Come down and join us.”

Damian poked his head through the opening but didn’t come into the room.  “Your girlfriend brought a date,” he said.

Tim sighed.  “Cassie’s not my girlfriend,” he said for the hundredth time.  He put bookmarks in his textbook and his notebook and stacked them neatly on his desk before going to join his family and friends.

Gotham Heights High School was technically a public school, a fact that liberal and politically-inclined parents liked to boast of when the opportunity arose.  They weren’t hiding their kids away in exclusive schools like Brentwood, oh no. Their kids mingled with the common folk.  Of course, parents’ donations to GHHS ensured that the facilities, teachers and staff were well-funded and significantly higher quality than the inner city Gotham schools, which were part of the same district, but had only state-issued funding to draw upon.

Tim had attended private school when he was younger, until he was old enough to insist he wanted to go to the same schools as his hero and best friend, Dick.  Gotham’s private schools actually had a fair number of low-income students, thanks to aggressive recruiting and well-funded scholarship programs.  Gotham Heights only had those kids whose homes landed in the school district by pure accidents of zoning (some members of the City Council regularly proposed measures to fix these accidents, but had so far been unsuccessful, largely due to Bruce Wayne’s opposition) and a few kids whose parents fudged their residency.

The students of Gotham Heights HS, in other words, mostly came from very wealthy families.  But the Waynes still had the best movie room.

A gigantic, hi-def screen covered one wall.  The best speakers available (though not yet on the retail market) fit snuggly in their custom-built nooks on the walls.  Curved acoustic design by an MIT professor gave the walls and ceiling a wavy, aquatic appearance.

The overstuffed leather recliners were full of teenagers. Steph and Cass were showing Roy’s sister, Mia, pictures that their friend Barbara had emailed from college. (Tim recognized Barbara’s roommate, Dinah, and their friends, Ted and Michael.)  Kory said something to Donna that made the second girl laugh. Damian’s little red-haired friend, Colin, stared at them wide-eyed while Damian whispered in his friend’s ear. Tim didn’t know what he was saying, but he supposed it didn’t take much to shock a kid raised by nuns. Kory caught the boys watching and gave Colin a wink. The boy’s cheeks flushed as red as his hair.

Cassie had brought Conner along and they were talking to Bart Allen, a hyperenergetic boy with wild, poofy brown hair.
“Tim!” Bart waved frantically, as if there were some way Tim might miss him. “You made it!”

“I live here,” Tim smiled.  He sat down in the only available chair, next to Conner.

“Yes, but sometimes you study too much.  Or you might have gotten lost.  Once I got lost in this house for two days,” Bart told Conner.

“You should’ve told Alfred. He thought you were just staying over and I thought you’d gone home,” Tim said.

“I thought maybe I’d gone back in time,” Bart said. “There were all these old clothes and silver trays kept appearing with food. I can really rock a cravat.”

“There’s some older sections of the manor that haven’t been used for a long time,” Tim explained to Conner.  “The wiring’s been updated, but it’s got the original furnishings and there’s old clothes stored in the wardrobes.”

“Awesome,” Conner said. “You should throw a themed party. I’m quite dashing in a cravat myself.”  Bart offered up a fist and Conner bumped it with his own.

“Oh, that’d be fun,” Cassie said. “You think Mr. Wayne would let us wear those old clothes?”

Tim tried to picture sneakers-and-jeans Cassie in a long, frilly dress. It was an incongruous image. “Dunno,” he said. “Probably. If Alfred was okay with it.”

Conner shook his head. “Can’t believe you have a butler. Man, this place is something else.”

“You should see the caves underneath it,” Bart said. “We could totally build a secret headquarters down there.”

“They’re wet and full of bats,” Cassie pointed out. “Why would we use the caves when there’s tons of empty rooms in the house?”

“Duh,” Bart said. “Secret headquarters.”

“Right,” Cassie said. “My bad.”

“All the computer equipment would get damp,” Tim pointed out.

Bart waved a hand. “Get waterproof stuff, duh. C’mon, Tim, you’re supposed to be a genius.”

“If I ever need a secret headquarters, I’ll hire you as a consultant,” Tim said.  “What are we watching tonight?”

“Some soccer movie,” Bart said.

Shaolin Soccer,” Damian announced. “Those of you limited to reading the subtitles are unfortunately not getting the full experience, but the entertainment value should be sufficiently high enough to compensate.”

“Nah, the subtitles are the best part,” Dick grinned. He tossed a piece of of popcorn at Damian, who scowled and ducked. The popcorn caught in Colin’s hair and the boy brushed it away with a shy grin.

Conner blinked. “Your little brother knows Chinese?” he asked Tim.

Tim folded his arms across his chest. “His mother had him educated by exclusively by private tutors until he came to live with us.” None of the Gotham schools had offered Cantonese or Mandarin. Tim hadn’t felt the lack until Damian showed up speaking more languages than he did. “Damian traveled with her when she did business in Hong Kong.” Which was a completely unfair advantage. Tim’s parents had never taken him on trips with them.

Not that Tim considered the 10-year-old any kind of intellectual competition. He just regretted the missed educational opportunity. Besides, the little snot liked to hold it over his head whenever Damian knew something Tim didn’t.

“Are you ready for your midterms?” Tim asked Conner.

“I think so. Adjusting to a new school kinda sucks and football practice takes up a bunch of time, but I think I’ve got everything down. I’m a little shaky on chemistry, but that test should be pretty easy, right?” Conner blinked at the look on Tim’s face. “... right?”

No,,” Tim said. “Ms. Isley is one of the toughest teachers in the school. I can’t believe you fell for that!”

“I didn’t fall for anything!” Conner objected. “... what do you mean?”

“Just because she’s a gorgeous redhead, lots of teenagers think her class is going to be easy. So she plays into it, acts all friendly and sweet and smiles a lot, especially at the boys. And then her tests are absolutely killer,” Tim said.

“She... she can’t do that, can she?” Conner asked. “It’s gotta be against the rules!”

“No, she covers everything in class or in homework, and she’ll give you extra help if you want it and aren’t just trying to score some time alone with her,” Tim said. “She’s actually a really good science teacher. I’m looking forward to her AP Bio class next year. But if you pay more attention to her looks than what she’s saying, you kinda dig your own grave.”

Conner groaned. “I’m a dead man. I’m going to flunk and ruin my GPA and my mom is totally going to kill me.”

Tim couldn’t help feeling a slight feeling of smugness, which quickly twisted into a twinge of guilt. He sighed. “I could help you,” he offered.

“It’s Saturday night!” Conner said. “The test is Monday morning!

“Yeah, so,” Tim said. “Got any big plans for tomorrow?”

Conner glanced over at Cassie, then shook his head. “Nothing I can’t cancel,” he sighed.

* * *