Chapter 5: How to Screw up a tình yêu Story
Okay, I many people (mainly Barbara) have called me an idiot before. And sometimes, I have to agree with them. I'll admit that I've done some really stupid stuff before. I've set off a stink bomb in the girl's bathroom. I put glue on a bully's sneakers after PE. And most recently, I snuck a red and black paint bomb in Houston's locker. So, after all those ridiculous (but incredibly brilliant) pranks, letting my secret slip to Batgirl has to hàng đầu, đầu trang them all.
Yep. I'm just that stupid. I, Dick Grayson, am an idiot. I đã đưa ý kiến it—and I can't take it back now.
Robin threw a cú đấm at Kid Flash's head. The speedster dodged and appeared behind him. The two were on the sparring floor of the Cave. Aqualad, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis were watching the two battle. Kid Flash kicked Robin in the back, sending him stumbling forward. Robin regained his balance and smiled. He held his hand out and flicked his fingers back in a taunting gesture. It was a signature 'Batman' move.
Kid Flash grinned. He sped phía trước, chuyển tiếp confidently.
Robin took a ready stance and waited. When Kid Flash was only one inch away from him, Robin swept to the side and kicked the back of Kid's ankle, lifting it into the air, and sending him flying to the ground. He skidded and groaned.
"Fail, Kid Flash," the computer announced.
Robin smiled and brushed his hands off. "Tell me about it," he said.
Kid Flash moaned. Superboy offered him a hand and pulled him to his feet. "Weird how you've been in such a good mood since our last mission," he muttered grumpily.
Artemis walked up tiếp theo to him. "Don't be jealous just because your best friend has kissed a girl and bạn haven't," she teased.
"I have too kissed a girl!" Kid Flash exclaimed.
Artemis scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, right." She walked away and Kid Flash followed, fully intent on proving her wrong.
Robin pulled his cape back on, having taken it off for the sparring. He checked his watch and grinned: 2:15. He was supposed to meet Batgirl in Gotham at 2:45. "I gotta go!" Robin said, running down the Cave.
Aqualad smiled slightly as he watched him go.
"I don't think I've ever seen him so happy," Miss Martian sighed.
Superboy cocked his head to the side. "I can't tell the difference," he đã đưa ý kiến bluntly.
Robin swung onto the hàng đầu, đầu trang of Wayne Enterprise Tower. He looked around, but Batgirl was nowhere to be seen. The sky wasn't terribly bright in the winter sky. The air was comfortably warm.
A dark figure hung upside down from the ceiling, their blue eyes watching Robin's every move. Silently, like a ninja, the figure dropped onto the floor. Then, they leapt at the Boy Wonder.
"Whoa!" Robin turned at the last moment and caught Batgirl bởi the arm. "I know you're happy to see me, but a simple 'Hello' would suffice," he said, smiling.
Batgirl returned his smile and he let go of her arm. "Does the ninja thing come with the whole 'trained bởi Batman' thing?"
"Nah," Robin waved his hand casually, "it's natural."
"Like your charm?"
"Mm hmm," Batgirl đã đưa ý kiến sarcastically. "Well," she took out a grapple, "are we just gonna stand here all ngày hoặc are we gonna do something?"
Robin grinned. "Race bạn to the park!" He swung off the building as swiftly as a bird.
Batgirl hopped off after him. "You're on!"
"So," Robin swung from the hàng đầu, đầu trang of the monkey bars and hung upside down, "how've bạn been?"
Batgirl smiled up at him. They were on the jungle gym. The main section where Batgirl was standing was connected to the monkey bars. "I'd be better if I wasn't being shut out of every single one of your missions," she said, cocking her head to the side.
"I doubt that." Robin let go and hung from his legs. He rubbed his aching shoulder. "You're not sore hoặc bruised every day."
"Sure I am," Batgirl scoffed. "Who do bạn think takes care of all the baddies while you're off playing Young Justice?"
"Ouch," Robin đã đưa ý kiến sarcastically, "that hurt thêm than my shoulder." Batgirl shoved his other shoulder playfully, swinging him back a forth a little. They stared at each other for a long moment.
"Why do bạn keep your identity a secret from the team?" Batgirl asked.
Robin sighed. He swung down from the monkey bars and faced her. "I knew this câu hỏi was gonna come up sooner hoặc later," he said. "Batman doesn't want me to reveal my secret identity in case they're ever forced to give it up somehow."
"You really think they'd ever give bạn up like that?" Batgirl asked.
"No," Robin said. He looked up at the nearly setting sun. "Not willingly, at least. I've dealt with mind control/manipulation before. There are ways to force information out of someone, even if they've got will of steel."
Batgirl stared at him. "Still," she insisted, "don't bạn think it'd build better trust if the team knew who bạn are?"
"Kid Flash knows my secret identity," Robin chuckled.
Batgirl straightened. "He does?" she asked. Robin nodded. "That explains why bạn two are so close."
"Yep." Robin grabbed onto a bar above him and did a few pull-ups. "KF's my best friend." He released himself from the bar and cracked his neck. "While we're on the subject of secret identities," he said, "how come bạn haven't told me yours?"
Batgirl scoffed. "I'll tell bạn mine when bạn tell me yours," she said.
Robin grinned. "Fair enough, Barbara." He paled as he realized what he said.
Batgirl stared at him. "What was that?" she asked carefully.
"What was what?" Robin asked.
"You called me Barbara," Batgirl said.
"Really?" Robin said. "Oh hey, look at the time. I gotta go." He fired off a grapple line and swung to the hàng đầu, đầu trang of an apartment building. He looked back to see if Batgirl had followed him, turned back to his front, and jumped back in surprise when Batgirl was standing right in front of him.
Batgirl scoffed. She pulled off her cái chụp, cái nắp, nắp động cơ to reveal her beautiful face. "You know who I am," she said.
"Well, if I didn't before, I definitely do now," Robin said, attempting for some humor.
Batgirl remained as serious as before. "You've known who I am this whole time," she realized. She folded her arms and stared him down. Robin groaned internally. She was giving him that 'angry babysitter' look that Barbara gave Dick whenever she was mad at him.
"Maybe," Robin đã đưa ý kiến bashfully. He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "Come on, I'm the partner to the greatest detective in the world. bạn expect me not to have figured it out? And plus…your hair color is really recognizable."
Batgirl raised a single eyebrow. "I can't believe this!" she đã đưa ý kiến angrily. "You've known this whole time and bạn didn't let me know. How could bạn keep this from me?"
"Forget it, Robin," Batgirl đã đưa ý kiến firmly. She walked to the edge of the building and fired off a grapple. "Forget about this."
She swung off the building and Robin watched her go. After she was gone, he turned to the chimney and kicked it with all his might.
Dick sighed as he sunk down into his bed. It'd been three days since Robin had revealed his secret to Batgirl. She'd been avoiding him since and had, apparently, stayed off the streets. She hadn't been seen since.
A buzz caught Dick's attention. He took his phone out of his pocket and furrowed his brow. He picked it up. "Hey, Babs," he said, "what's up?"
"Hey, Dick," Barbara said. "I'm not really doing anything right now. Are you?"
"Uh, no, not really." Dick felt confused that Barbara would be talking to him. He figured that she'd still be upset about Robin. But then, he remembered that she didn't know his secret identity. Sometimes, it was hard to distinguish his two lives. "Why?" he asked.
"I was wondering if bạn wanted to come over to my house today," Barbara said.
"Right now?" Dick asked apprehensively.
Barbara scoffed. "No, dummy," she said. "Today as in a week ago. Yes, right now."
He sighed. "…I don't know, Barbara."
"Come on, Dick. We haven't hung out in ages," Barbara persuaded. He could practically hear her cún yêu, con chó con dog face from the other end of the line. "Please?"
Dick sighed again. "Fine," he đã đưa ý kiến finally. "I'll be there in ten."
"Don't be late."
Dick rolled his eyes, smiling, and rolled out of his bed. He grabbed his green áo khoác and ran out of the mansion.
Dick and Barbara sat at her phòng bếp, nhà bếp table. Papers were strewn about randomly on the bàn and the two were bent over, each of them nghề viết văn something. "So," Dick said, "remind me why bạn asked me to come hang over and do homework?"
Barbara shrugged. "I thought bạn might take it as a compliment that I asked."
Dick looked up and leaned on his elbow. "I'm supposed to be complimented that bạn wanted me to help bạn with homework?"
Barbara continued working. "Yep," she đã đưa ý kiến simply. Dick rolled his eyes and wrote something down on his paper. He glanced up at Barbara's hand that rested on the table. He was so tempted to grab it, but resisted. He watched the way a loose strand of hair fell in front of her face. She brushed it behind her ear and continued writing.
"You look nice today, Babs," Dick said.
She looked up. "Thanks," Barbara đã đưa ý kiến apprehensively. Her eyes were slightly narrowed as though she were suspicious.
Dick nodded and finished his math problem. He extended his foot from under the bàn and touched hers. Much to his pleasure, she didn't pull away. Dick pushed the completed math homework phía trước, chuyển tiếp and leaned back in his chair. He kicked his feet up and sighed. "That," he said, "was too easy. Why did bạn need help with it?"
"I didn't," Barbara responded calmly. "I just knew that you'd do it for me if I asked nicely."
Dick scoffed. "You didn't ask," he đã đưa ý kiến pointedly. "You invited me over to hang out and tricked me into helping bạn with your homework."
Barbara shrugged. "I don't see much of a difference." She reached across the bàn and pushed his feet off. "You still did what I wanted." She set her pencil down and leaned on her elbow.
Dick smiled. "Oh, bạn and your manipulativeness," he said.
Barbara rolled her eyes. "I'm terribly underwhelmed with your 'making up words' thing," she said.
Dick grinned and laughed. "You should be," he said. "That's the point."
"Rather than being whelmed," Barbara said. She got up and walked over to the phòng bếp, nhà bếp cabinet. Dick followed her and sat down on the counter. Barbara reached up and pulled down a plastic cup. She filled it up at the sink and stood tiếp theo to where Dick sat on the counter. He swung his legs and smiled.
"You look nice."
"You've đã đưa ý kiến that already." Barbara took a drink of her water.
Dick stared at her. "What did I get bạn for your birthday?" he asked absentmindedly.
Barbara looked up at him. "You got me…" she thought for a moment, "a book that I wanted."
"Right," Dick said, nodding. He suddenly cocked his head. "When's your birthday again?"
Barbara shoved him in the shoulder. "You're such a jerk," she said.
"Oh, really?" Dick challenged. "So, a jerk would do something like this?" He grabbed her bracelet from off her wrist and ran out of the kitchen.
"Dick!" Barbara rolled her eyes. She ran out of the phòng bếp, nhà bếp and looked around the living room. Dick leaned down from where he hung upside down on the doorway and suddenly placed a chuỗi hạt, chuỗi hạt cườm around her neck. Barbara jumped in surprise as Dick leapt down.
"Why wear that old thing," he tossed her bracelet back to her, "when bạn could wear this?"
Barbara looked down at the necklace. It was a vàng chain with a red bird, a robin, in flight as the charm. "Dick, it's beautiful," she said. She hugged him tightly. "Thank you."
Dick smiled when they separated. "It's nothing," he đã đưa ý kiến modestly. "It's the least I could do for my yêu thích girl."
Barbara smiled, ignoring the soft màu hồng, hồng that tinted her cheeks. "Where'd bạn get this?" she asked, looking down at the charm.
"Peter from the mall hoa xe đẩy, giỏ hàng hooked me up at his mom's jewelry store," Dick explained.
"I gotta remember to thank him," Barbara said. She looked down at the charm thoughtfully.
"I hope this makes up for the lame book," Dick joked. "And just know that this doesn't count as a giáng sinh present. I'm still getting bạn something for that."
Barbara smiled softly. "You go out of your way for me sometimes, Grayson," she said.
"It's my job, Gordon."
The two teens smiled at each other. "You look nice today," Dick đã đưa ý kiến for the third time. Barbara simply smiled at him. She leaned phía trước, chuyển tiếp ever so slightly.
They jumped at the sound of Jim Gordon's voice.
"I'm home!" Jim walked into the living room and smiled at the pair. "Hi there, Dick," Jim said. He shook hands with Dick and put his arm around Barbara. "What's going on here?"
Barbara blushed and looked away.
"I was just helping Barbara with some homework," Dick explained calmly. He winked at Barbara without her father seeing.
"And we're done now, so I think we're just gonna go up to my room," Barbara said. She grabbed Dick's hand and dragged him towards the staircase. "Bye, Dad!"
Dick turned while Barbara pulled him along. "Bye, Mr. Gordon!" he said, waving.
Jim smiled as his daughter pulled Dick up the stairs. He shook his head. "When are those two kids gonna get together?"
Barbara pulled Dick into her room and slammed the door shut.
"Okay." Dick pushed some hair from his face and smiled. "This seems all too familiar." Barbara plopped down on her giường and lied down. He sat down tiếp theo to her. "Where's the fire, Babs?" he joked. "Or are bạn really eager to get away from your dad?"
Barbara sighed. She brushed some red hair from her face. "Dad's just been a little annoying lately," she said, rolling her eyes.
Dick leaned down on his elbow and furrowed his brow. "What do bạn mean?" he asked.
"Well," Barbara said, "I've been a little busy lately—"
"Doing what?" Dick interrupted.
Barbara hesitated. He fought back a knowing smirk. He always took pride in knowing things Barbara didn't. "Some extra credit stuff for school," she đã đưa ý kiến slowly.
Babs always was a terrible liar,Dick thought with amusement in his head.
"I've been trying to take care of my responsibilities," Barbara said, "but my dad keeps trying to butt into my life."
"He cares about you, Barbara," Dick said. "Don't push him away."
"I'm not pushing him away," Barbara persisted.
"You're just rejecting his attempts to try and spend thêm time with you."
She glared at him for a moment.
He grinned at her. "Pinned ya," he mocked. Barbara rolled her eyes and Dick lied down tiếp theo to her. "You need to appreciate what bạn got while bạn got it. I know that."
Barbara's gaze softened. "I know bạn know," she said. She stroked the back of Dick's hand with her finger. "I'm sorry."
"Pointless apology accepted," Dick said, smiling. He folded his hands behind his head and looked up at the ceiling. Barbara continued to stare at the side of his face. "I'm too tough to be worrying about family issues."
"You amaze me," she muttered, rolling her eyes.
"Well, I amquite amazing," Dick joked. "I don't blame you."
Barbara rolled her eyes. "Get over yourself, Boy Genius," she groaned, rolling over.
Dick grinned and rolled over to look at her back. He rubbed her shoulder and pulled some hair behind her ear. "Barbara," he đã đưa ý kiến in a fake sleepy voice, "Barbara, wake up." He tickled her side and playfully blew her face.
Barbara giggled and rolled onto her back. "Dick!" she said. "Stop it!" She swatted his hand away and giggled when he nuzzled his face into her neck. "Get off me!" Barbara pushed him firmly on the shoulder, to no avail. Dick laughed and placed his hand on Barbara's other side. He gazed down at her. Barbara brushed some black hair from his face. "You need a haircut," she said.
Dick snickered. "You need a breath mint," he retorted.
Barbara feigned hurt. "You're a jerk," she đã đưa ý kiến halfheartedly.
"Love you, too, Babs." Dick grinned.
Barbara's tim, trái tim fluttered. She smiled softly and gently touched his cheek. Dick leaned into her hand and closed his eyes.
Dick and Barbara jumped apart, the former scrambling off so fast that he fell off the bed. "Ow!" Dick cried out when he hit his head on Barbara's desk.
Jim Gordon attempted to hold back his laughter when he walked in. "Barbara, I got a call and I need to head down to the station," Jim said.
Barbara's cheeks were bright red. She'd bolted upright after Dick fell off the bed. She brushed some hair behind her ear. "Okay, dad," she said. "Are bạn leaving now?"
"Yeah," Jim said. He walked phía trước, chuyển tiếp and kissed his daughter on the forehead. "I'll see bạn later."
"Bye," Barbara said. She watched her father grab the door handle. "I tình yêu you."
Jim stopped in his tracks. He smiled. "I tình yêu you, too, Barbara." He closed the door behind him.
Dick awkwardly climbed back onto Barbara's bed. He slid slowly tiếp theo to her. "Sorry about that," he said.
Barbara shook her head. "It's fine," she said. "My dad…"
"You đã đưa ý kiến bạn tình yêu him," Dick said, sounding thêm like a six năm old than anything. Barbara shoved him in the shoulder. "I'm proud of you." He put his arm around her.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." Barbara set her head in his shoulder. She sighed. "You smell," she mumbled into his shirt.
Dick laughed. "I was working out earlier," he said.
Barbara straightened to look him in the eye. She looked skeptical. "You?" she asked. "Working out? You're joking, right?"
Dick rolled his eyes. "Really, Barbara, is it that hard to believe that I work out?" He flexed his left arm. "Check out these guns!"
Barbara scoffed and squeezed his bicep. "Feels thêm like a twig to me," she said.
Dick chuckled. "Admit it, Babs, I whelm you," he đã đưa ý kiến slyly.
"Get traught, Grayson."
The two grinned at each other.
Robin swung off of a lamppost. He shot off a grapple and landed on a gargoyle. He looked down over the city and smiled. It was satisfyingly quiet. It was unusual, but calming. Robin looked up when a noise off to the right alerted him of someone else's presence. For a person with untrained ears, it would've gone unnoticed.
Robin pretended he didn't hear anything. There was a light rustle of what sounded like a cape. The wind whistled quietly. Robin tightened his grip on the gargoyle's head. A dark figure jumped at Robin, hands positioned for his head. Robin caught Batgirl's hand at the last moment before she could grab his domino mask. "Sorry to disappoint you, Batgirl," Robin said, "but I just can't."
Batgirl pulled her arms from his grasp. She glared at him. Something about the glare strongly reminded him of the way Artemis looked at Wally. Then, something clicked. Robin gasped.
"Fine," Batgirl said. Robin tried to reach for her, but she jumped. "I'll leave bạn alone."
Dick groaned as he fell back on his bed. There was a knock on the door. "Dick?" Bruce walked in looking concerned. "Are bạn okay?"
Dick sat up. "I'm not sure," he said.
Bruce sat down on his giường tiếp theo to him. "What's wrong?" he asked.
Dick raised an eyebrow at him. It was rare for Bruce to be fatherly, so Dick wasn't sure how to be sonly. "It's…Barbara," he đã đưa ý kiến with difficulty.
"Oh," Bruce said. He'd never been very good with girl issues. He smiled, though. "Barbara…"
"I know, I know," Dick said. "It's stupid."
"Not at all," Bruce said. "Barbara's a nice girl and if bạn like her—"
"That's the thing!" Dick said. "I don't know if I like her!"
Bruce raised an eyebrow. "You don't know?"
"No." Dick sighed. "I'm confused."
Bruce smiled down at his adoptive son. "You know, when bạn two were younger," he said, "Jim and I used to joke about bạn two growing up and falling in love. Now, I never thought it'd actually happen, but…"
Dick stared at him. "Whoa!" he said, waving his hands around. "Who đã đưa ý kiến anything about love?"
Bruce held his hands up innocently. "No one," he said, "I just meant that it's okay for bạn to like Barbara. bạn don't have to be confused. bạn just gotta listen to your heart."
Dick chuckled. "Awfully cliché, Bruce," he mused.
"I learned from the best, kiddo." Bruce stood and ruffled Dick's hair. "Goodnight, Dick." Bruce closed the door behind him.
Dick looked down at the floor. A picture from on his bedside bàn caught his eye and he looked up. Dick smiled as he reached for the picture. He and Barbara were at the park, Dick hanging upside down on the monkey bars while Barbara stood tiếp theo to him. She had her arms folded and her weight on one leg. Dick's hair hung wildly and his smile was a mile wild. "Awfully cliché," Dick sighed. He set the picture back down and pulled up his giường covers. Smiling one last time at the picture, Dick closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Barbara opened her locker. A small square of folded up paper fell out of it and onto the floor. Barbara bent down, picked it up, and unfolded it.
Meet me in the garden at sunset. I have to talk to bạn about something. Oh, and look in your locker. Just something so bạn don't forget.
Barbara smiled down at the note. She looked into her locker and found a small red rose. She laughed softly. "Cliché, Grayson," she whispered, shaking her head. Barbara smelled the rose and shut her locker.
Barbara had gone to the manor after school. Alfred had kindly let her in and told her that Dick was taking a shower. She wandered into his room, not wanting to go into the garden until Dick was ready. She sat down on his giường and looked around. Barbara spotted the picture on his bedside bàn and smiled.
"Barbara!" Dick called from the bathroom down the hall.
She stood and walked to the door. "Dick?" she responded.
"Are bạn here already?"
Barbara snickered. "No, I'm in the garden already!" She could practically hear Dick roll his eyes. "I'm in your room!"
"Go wait in the garden! I'll be out in a minute!"
"Okay!" Barbara heard the bathroom door close. She was about to leave, when a familiar red color caught her eye. She approached Dick's dresser where a familiar looking tunic was hanging out of a drawer. Barbara grabbed the suit and pulled it out. The R symbol gleamed on the chest. She dropped the tunic.
Dick ran out into the garden, his hair still slightly wet from his shower. "Hey Barbara!" he said. Barbara was faced away from him as he ran to her. "I've gotta—"
Barbara turned around and revealed herself, holding Dick's red Robin tunic and his domino mask. "Robin."
Dick stopped in his tracks. He stared at Barbara, not knowing what to say. "Babs—"
"Did bạn think I'd never find out?" Barbara asked, hurt apparent in her voice. Dick flinched. "You've hid this secret from me for four years!"
"Barbara," Dick said. He walked phía trước, chuyển tiếp and tried to take her hand. She pulled it away.
"I can't believe you!" Barbara đã đưa ý kiến angrily. Then, realization flashed in her eyes. "Oh my god, I've kissed bạn twice!"
"I enjoyed them," Dick said, attempting to lighten the mood.
"Don't joke about this, Dick!" Barbara scolded. She ran her hand through her hair like she did when she was stressed. "I can't believe bạn didn't tell me!"
Dick narrowed his eyes slightly. "You didn't tell me about Batgirl," he đã đưa ý kiến pointedly.
"No, it's not," Dick đã đưa ý kiến firmly.
"I was going to tell you," Barbara said, folding her arms.
Dick laughed bitterly. "Oh, yeah? When?"
"When the time was right," Barbara said.
Dick rolled his eyes. "Right," he đã đưa ý kiến sarcastically.
Barbara glared. "Don't try and make me look bad," she said, placing her hands in her hips. "Why didn't bạn tell me?"
"Why?" Dick asked. "For the same reason I haven't told the Team!" Dick grabbed her hand and forced her to look him in the eye. "Babs, I don't want anything to happen to bạn because of me! I couldn't handle it if The chim cánh cụt hoặc someone tortured bạn to get my secret ID out of you!"
Barbara ripped her arm from his hold. "We're best friends, Dick," she said. "We're supposed to tell each other everything, remember?"
"You think I never wanted to tell you?" Dick demanded. "I've wanted to tell bạn since we were 10! bạn know how it is."
"You mean bạn don't trust me," Barbara said.
"You never trusted me with your secret!"
Dick shook his head. "No!" he swore. "I trust bạn with my life."
"Apparently not!" Barbara said. She threw the tunic and mask on the ground and shoved past Dick.
"Where are bạn going?" Dick asked, turning as she walked away.
"Home," Barbara said. Dick caught up to her and grabbed her wrist. Barbara whipped around and slapped him hard across the face. Dick, stunned and hurt, stared at her with wide eyes and a red cheek. Barbara bit back tears and stormed around the corner and down the street.
Dick watched her go. "Urgh!" he groaned. He kicked a cây thân cây and gripped at his foot.
Bruce frowned as he watched the shouting match in the garden.
Alfred walked bởi and heard Dick and Barbara's shouting. "So," he said, "the time has finally come, sir?"
"Yeah," Bruce said, staring down at Barbara, "the time has come."