“And I heard a voice from above cry out ‘don’t let go’ and that’s when I saw him,” Bernard sighed and zoomed in on his phone. His eyes softened dramatically and it took every bit of Superboy’s - sorry Conner Kent’s restraint not to snatch it. The kid clearly did theater.
“Who’d you see again,” Tim teased.
“I heard Robin was a girl,” Tim punctuated his sentence by popping open a Zesti. Kon glanced at his Robin. The real Robin. Tim’s refusal to be impressed only irked Bernard further.
Kon suppressed showing his delight.
If it had been a few weeks earlier the Robin would have been a girl cause it would have been Stephanie Brown saving Bernard. And if it was Tim’s now ex-girlfriend (right Tim can’t possibly still be dating the girl that took his job) Kon wouldn’t be having this conversation. Wouldn’t be in Gotham, honestly, and he definitely wouldn’t meeting Tim’s high school friend, Bernard Dowd.
Bernard turned the phone to face them. “Does this look like a girl to you,” he accused instead of asked. Tim raised a practiced eyebrow before leaning forward to inspect the photo. It was almost comedic the expression. It was definitely not the face of the hardened detective Kon was used to seeing.
Tim pushed his bottom lip out and hummed, “could be a girl.” Conner laughed and Tim shot him a private smirk.
“He was not a girl,” Bernard exclaimed, “Robin is a boy, a man even.” Kon covered his mouth to stop himself from laughing even more. “Ugh, only a man could have biceps like that.”
“I don’t know,” Kon interjected, “he looks kind punny.” Kon caught Tim’s leg with his TTK before it could hit him.
Bernard rolled his eyes, “Are you blind? The kid is ripped and I’m happy to also report, he definitely likes me.” Tim choked on his soda.
“You heard me.” If Kon could get goosebumps he wouldn’t get them right now.
Tim cleared his throat before speaking, “What makes you think he likes you?” Kon focused on Tim’s cheeks. Was he blushing? Wait. Was Tim actually into Bernard? Is that why Kon is here? To scope out Tim’s new boyfriend like a good best friend. Kon’s stomach lurched. Was Tim even into guys? Bernard clearly was but was Tim?
Kon looked back at Bernard. Took him in. Bernard was blonde, taller than Tim but shorter than Kon, handsome if delicate features with a strong jaw was your thing. It kinda was Kon’s thing. But he also kinda looked like Spoiler, if Spoiler was a dude. Kon ran his tongue along his front teeth at the revelation.
“Cause he was all over me.”
Tim scoffed, “all over you?”
“Yes,” Bernard defended, “all over me. Didn’t let go till the cops came.”
“Maybe he was just doing his job and making sure, you, a citizen of Gotham, was safe.”
Bernard flipped over his phone and folded his arms, “What are you jealous Timmy?” Tim’s eyes widened as his flush deepened. Kon couldn’t help but glance between them.
It’s strange seeing Tim Drake interacting with his friends. It’s strange seeing Tim Drake, not Alvin Draper or whatever, being teased. It’s even stranger being Conner Kent with Tim Drake, who is clearly flustered. Flustered in a way Robin doesn’t get. Kon pushed up his fake glasses as his eyes tinged hot.
Kon kinda liked seeing this side of Tim. The cool demeanor down in exchange for something some real. More normal.
“Now why would I be jealous of you nearly plummeting to your death,” Tim asked pointedly.
“Because you have a total hard-on for Robin.”
Except it wasn’t normal.
Kon could feel the awkwardness radiating off Tim. He shifted uncomfortably in his jeans. So maybe Tim did like dudes and maybe Bernard knew? Maybe Bernard knew and Tim didn’t? Kon thought about how Tim became Robin and yeah, he definitely had a hard-on for Robin. But was it Robin or the mantle?
And how would Conner Kent react? Kon still wasn’t sure about a lot of things Conner Kent. But, Conner Kent would definitely not know that Tim and Robin were one and the same. So he had to play it cool.
And by playing it cool, Kon meant drinking his soda and let Tim speak.
Turns out Conner Kent is kinda a passive guy.
“As if,” Tim stuttered. “You’re delusional Bernard.”
“Oh please, I am not delusional!” Bernard lifted up his phone and continued on before Tim could interject, “Conner, I know we just met and you’re probably straighter than God’s arrow or whatever they say in Kentucky-”
“Kansas,” Conner corrected.
“Whatever.” Bernard clicked his tongue as he scrolled through his phone. “The point is even a straight guy like you has to admit that Robin is pretty cute, right?”
Bernard held up the blurry photo of Robin in the distance. Tim fidgeted next to Kon, leaning into also get a good look. Tim Drake was warmer than Kon imagined.
It was clearly Robin in the photo. Knew that profile like he knew the S on his chest. He was talking to a police officer. His hands were gesturing to the collapsed bridge, his brow furrowed and serious. Robin was standing tall, confident, and sure of whatever the hell he was saying. How Bernard snuck a pic was baffling but Kon guesses that’s what happens when you take a break from vigilantism to please your dad. Kon’s mouth twisted something strange as he stared. It was Kon’s teammate in that picture. His leader. His best friend. His Robin.
Conner turned to look at Tim beside him. His mouth was pressed into a thin line, and his cheeks were red and blotchy. His hair an awkward length.
Suddenly, it was hard to breathe. Kon is sure he never really looked at Tim like this before.
It feels like he’s making a list of all the things he’s never done with Tim.
Kon has never really paid attention to how Tim’s eyes weren’t exactly blue. How they seemed to be speckled with bits of silver. Seemed to round in a way that Kon could never associate with Batman. Only with Tim. Kon never really thought about how soft Tim's hair looked. How he kinda hoped Tim would keep growing it cause it suited Tim’s face. How if he wanted to he could run his fingers through it and watch it fall back into place. Kon never thought about how strong Tim’s biceps were. How strong his entire body was. How Tim had built that body through sheer determination.
Kon never thought about how plush Tim’s mouth looked. How even when Tim pressed his lips together so tightly Kon was sure they were about to turn white, he still felt a need to touch them.
“Yeah,” Kon sighed and Tim’s shoulders tensed. “Robin is pretty cute.” Tim’s eyebrows pinched together before falling apart. Kon watched as Tim released the air he was holding and the pink tinge of color returned to his lips. His eyes began to dart, no doubt overthinking the entire interaction.
Kon never really realized how much he liked watching Tim smile. How the left side of his mouth would quirk first before spreading to the rest of his face.
Superboy and Robin never kissed, Kon thought to himself, but maybe Conner Kent and Tim Drake should.
“See Tim,” Bernard answered, “even Conner thinks Robin is a good looking guy.”
Tim blinked and ripped his eyes away from Kon. “I never said he wasn’t good looking! I said you're delusional for thinking he likes you cause he didn’t let you die.”
Bernard huffed and stood up, “Next time I’m gonna ask for his number.”
Tim lifted his hands in a motion clearly meant to convey What the fuck? “And a costumed vigilante is just gonna give it to you.”
“Don’t underestimate my charm, Drake,” Bernard said stuffing his phone into his backpack.
“Don’t overestimate it, Dowd.” Kon always thought it was weird when teenage boys call each other by their last names.
“Conner,” Bernard started politely with an outstretched his hand, “it was a pleasure to meet you.” Kon took his hand and made sure not to squeeze too hard.
“And Tim,” Bernard paused for dramatic effect, “by this time next week I’ll be dating the Boy Wonder.” Tim let his hands hit the table and shook his head.
“Ya know what Bernard? Fine. Good luck. Just don’t put yourself in danger for a date.”
“Timmy,” Bernard drawled, “haven’t I taught you anything. Love is all about risk.” In true theater kid fashion, Bernard turned and walked off on that line. Kon was only a little impressed at the drama of it all.
Tim nudged him and Kon turned his body to properly face him. “I’m sorry,” Tim said.
“For all of that,” Tim admitted. “If I would have known that’s what Bernard wanted to chat about I would have told him to wait for school tomorrow.”
Kon leveled his smile and pushed at Tim’s shoulder. “Dude, don’t worry. We all gotta deal with weird secret identity stuff.”
“Speaking of which.” Tim’s playful tone rang in Kon’s ears. He reached up to grip the edge of Kon’s glasses. “Has Conner Kent always worn glasses like this or are they new?” Kon stopped himself from taking Tim’s hand. Tim pulled off the glasses to get a better look at them.
Tim hummed and peered back up at Kon through his eyelashes. Had they always been that long? Guess Kon couldn’t be sure since normally Tim was wearing a mask.
“They suit you,” Tim smiled a little tiny smile. Kon swallowed and focused past Tim’s face.
“Ya know what I said before,” Kon began not really sure of where he was headed. Tim tilted his head and Kon knew what he was about to say was true. “About Robin being cute.”
“Oh jeez. Don’t worry about that,” Tim fanned his hands as he spoke, “like you were just playing along I kno-”
“I meant it.” Kon heard Tim’s heart rate hitch. Heard how it matched his own. Tim’s eyes flickered down to the glasses and Kon bit the inside of his mouth. Too much. Too much too soon. Didn’t Tim just break up with his girlfriend? How long ago was that? Is it kosher to hit on your best friend? Were they even broken up?
Is this how Conner Kent flirts cause it seems like a really dumb idea. Superboy would never.
“Well,” Tim almost whispered, “maybe I should answer the follow-up question.”
Kon was lost. “Follow up?”
“Yeah,” Tim chuckled awkwardly as he stared out across the park. “You can’t just ask about one superhero. That’s not a balanced research pool.”
Conner’s not sure what’s Tim meant. The cryptic language of the Bat had clearly come into play. Tim and Robin begin to mesh a bit more. “Who am I supposed to ask about?”
Tim huffed and Kon could hear his teeth clank. His eyes narrowed out across the landscape as he lifted his hand to tuck a loose hair behind his ear. “You should ask me,” Kon noted the tremble in Tim’s voice, “if I think Superboy is cute.”
Oh. OH. His hands snapped to Tim’s wrist. The one holding his glasses and Tim’s gaze followed instantly.
“Yes,” Kon said without any real thought. Tim looked up at him and waited with raised eyebrows. Kon took a breath. Glanced again at Tim’s biceps and asked, “Do you think Superboy is cute?”
Tim pushed his body to invade Kon’s space as he answered a soft, “Yes, I do.”
And damn was Kon happy with Conner Kent. Conner Kent was someone he could get used to.
Cause Conner Kent got to do things Superboy didn’t. Conner Kent was kissing Tim Drake. He pulled him by the wrist and cupped his face and pressed his lips to the lips of Timothy Jackson Drake.
Too bad for Bernard, Kon thought to himself as Tim’s mouth parted.
There was absolutely no way chance in hell that Bernard was going to get a chance to date, Robin.
Conner Kent would make sure of that.