title: Incidentals: Hypocricy
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Dick/Tim, Cass/Steph
rating: Teen
warnings: sexual situations
summary: Cass and Steph take a new step.
notes: this takes place after incidentals: proposal (you got engaged?!?). that would make timmy, cass, and steph... scratches head damn, in their mid-to-late twenties?
third in a series of fics featuring cass in incidentals (and the one that started the triology...) again, my cass is a bit au, since i don't feel i get her voice down right.

Stephanie Brown stood in the corner of the darkened room, watching the man that she had only kidded herself that she had gotten over dancing lewdly with the man of his dreams.

Sighing, she downed another cosmopolitan, and turned her eyes to the window. She should be having fun. It was a great party, with loud, fantastic music, and tons of gorgeous, nice people. Like Donna Troy on the other side of the room, holding court while Garth's arm looped gracefully around her waist. The two of them were so beautiful together, like the fairy tale husband and wife. There was Superboy over by the bar, trying to impress some girls. And Dinah was there, laughing at the bar with Oliver.

Bruce Wayne was hiding in another corner, but given that Tim Drake, former Robin, was marrying Dick Grayson, former Robin and current Nightwing, Steph decided that it was in her best interests not to think about Bruce Wayne too long or too hard.

Babs was here too, acting like the hostess of the party and having a great time.

Everyone was having a great time.

Steph snagged a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, and sighed again.

Eight months ago, she had met Tim's dad at a Wal-Mart. She didn't even know that Tim's dad knew what a Wal-Mart was. He had given her Tim's new number, and sworn that Tim would love to see her again.

Tim sure did seem happy to see her again, as he blushed and told her about his upcoming wedding.

And the part that really got her, the part that made her want to scream, is that she knew, she always knew, that there was someone else. There was always something holding Tim back, even after she knew his ID and everything.

No, there was someone else. Steph had thought that maybe it was an ex, or one of the Young Justice girls, but no.

It was him.

Steph hadn't said anything to his face, but she could tell from the hint of sadness that her anger and shock had translated into disapproval for him.

Well, fuck him. He was going to live happily ever after with Dick Grayson. Lucky him. She would pay good money to get Dick naked, and he had him for the rest of their lives.

So fuck him if he thought she was unhappy, he didn't have to invite her to his wedding. She'd been shocked when she got the invite anyway.

Fuck him and his cute face and tight abs...

Annoyed, Steph downed another glass and scowled in the low light.

She nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt the tap at her shoulder. Turning, and plastering on the same fake smile she used in court when she was trying to sidle up with the jury, she nearly fell on her ass when she saw who it was.

Cassandra. Her hair had grown out, falling in long, sweeping trails of blue-black silk to nearly her waist. Her dress came in two parts, the top not quite reaching the bottom, and it was tight enough to give a fair impression of the body underneath.

Cassandra looked hot.

Steph smiled instantly, and threw her arms around the other girl. "Cass! Omigod, it's been so long! How have you been? What are you up to?"

Cass smiled shyly, which looked oddly sexy. "Same. Got a job, an apartment. Boring job, but still. Different."

Steph smiled, nodding. Her hands were still on Cass's shoulders. "I know. I mean, I'm not... anymore, but..."

"You work for the DA."

Steph started, grinning. "Yeah! How did you know that?"

Cass tipped her head to the side for a second. "Do filing for GCPD."

"Oh." Steph couldn't stop smiling. "Good party, huh?"

"Yes." Cass looked out to the dance floor, to see Tim and Dick holding each other tight as they moved with the music. "They're perfect. You ok?"

"Me?" Steph was startled, her head spinning from too much alcohol as she tried to appear unaffected. "Why wouldn't I be?"

Cass shrugged. "You loved him."

Steph tried to smile, but shrugged instead. "Yeah. Well, that was a long time ago."

Cass watched her with a question in her eyes that Steph couldn't answer.

Steph turned away from the dance floor, and looked Cass in the eye.

"Wanna get out of here?"

It was easy to become friends with Cass again. They had always shared... something. A bond, perhaps, from sharing so much in common. Even if Cass' past was so much more intense than Steph's, there was still something between the two.

Cass always smiled easier when Steph was around, and Cass even made jokes to Steph. Quiet, wickedly sarcastic jokes told in sotto voice with a wry touch of humor that made Steph feel privileged for the first time in her life.

They had started by going out for coffee after Tim and Dick's reception, and soon they were meeting for lunch nearly every day, and spending weekends together watching movies or having dinner together...

For the first time in a long while, Steph felt like something was going right for her. Ever since Tim had dumped her, she had felt like there was something missing. Like Tim had carved out a chunk of her chest and taken it with him when he left, and she was floundering, trying to relearn how to breathe.

Cass listened to her grouse about her relationship with the former boy wonder, and then quietly told Steph that he and Dick were very happy, letting Steph know with a half-careless shrug that some things just are what they are.

That almost made Steph feel better.

Cass' apartment was Steph's new sanctuary. Steph didn't even feel like she was visiting when she was at Cass' after only a few weeks. For the most part, Cass used it as a salle for training, which became Steph's new workout regimen.

She was in the best shape she had been in for a while.

It was sparsely furnished in a modern Asian style, with only a single shelf of mementos to 'clutter' up the space.

The first time she had really looked over Cass' mementos was the turning point in their new relationship. There was a paperweight with a watchtower in it, a reminder of Babs and her constant surveillance. There was a small black book with the ying-yang symbol on the cover, which was from Batman. It was an address book, and he had given it to her as a reminder that it was ok to have people in her life. She had never used it, but she liked it all the same. There was a puzzle, the kind with the metal rings that were interlocked in an inscrutable manner, and you had to free it. That was from Tim, the first present he had ever gotten her. There was a figurine of a bird, done in painted black glass, with a tiny tear-shaped blood mark on its breast. That was from Dick, and it held a special meaning for Cass, who would only speak of it in the softest of voices.

Steph wished that she had gotten to know Dick a little better. Considering how many people she cared about who were crazy about the man, she figured he had to be pretty remarkable.

Then there was the bear. A small, floppy brown bear whose eyes had popped out and who looked a little run over.

When Steph had asked her about that, Cass had choked up.

Taking the bear in her hands and cradling it, she sat on her futon, staring down at the bear with baleful eyes.

The story came out slowly and painfully.

Her first love had given it to her. He was a boy Cass had met on the streets, a runaway who had been selling himself for drug money. He had been a faith healer, or so his father had believed, and he had traveled all over the south healing people and going to revivals. His hands were fine and boney, but stronger than they looked, and he had watery eyes that were never fully open.

Steph asked if he really was a faith healer, and Cass had shrugged and said that he could heal her with his hands.

His father had molested him, and when he was fourteen, he had run away from his father to make a life for himself on the streets of Gotham.

His name had been Daniel, and he had loved her.

Batman had been opposed to the relationship, but Dick and Babs told him to back off. Cass had first moved out of Babs' tower to live with him in a shitty rat-infested hole in lower Gotham. He was a faith healer who had lost all faith and had trouble with drugs and his sexual orientation, and she was an assassin who was working as a hero.

They had been happy.

Steph hadn't wanted to ask what had happened.

It had taken Cass forever to tell Steph that much, each word ripping her throat as it was formed. She stared down at the bear for what felt like hours before she said, simply, "Cain killed him. Gave me his head in a box."

Steph couldn't help it, she reached over and took Cass into her arms and just held her, rocking her back and forth, not even able to make comforting noises.

Eventually, Cass was able to say that Shiva had killed Cain, as a messed up sort of retribution thing she had felt she owed Cass. But it still hurt, so much so that Cass hadn't been sure she would still be able to fight.

She met Steph's eyes when she said that she knew that she would never love another man.

Steph didn't bother to argue with her, since she knew, in a pale way, what Cass meant.

They had stayed up all night, talking about things neither of them ever talked about. Steph talked about the child she had given up, and how she had fallen so madly in love with Tim when she was pregnant, and how she had wished that the baby had been his and not that Dean creep's, and how she had started to look up her child once but had chickened out. She still didn't even know if she had had a girl or a boy, and there were some days that she hated herself for being too weak to raise her own child or have any part in her own child's life. Even though she knew the child was better off, she still hated herself.

She had never told anyone, not even Tim, how much that was eating her up inside.

When morning came, they got breakfast together at the local pancake place, and even though she hadn't gotten any sleep, Steph felt like she was more prepared for work than she had ever been since starting.

Friendship with Cassandra was definitely good for her.

It had been a hard few months. A triple homicide, and the evidence consisted of a confession that wouldn't hold up in court, a crime scene that was a mess before the cops ever got there, conflicting eyewitness accounts, and some nearly circumstantial physical evidence. Steph had been breaking her back to prepare for the trial, and she was working twenty-hour days during the trial.

The day the verdict came in, Steph felt like she had been walking on a tightrope for months, and she was getting close to the platform, but she was losing her balance.

Then the verdict came in. Guilty, and the judge sentenced him to death.

Suddenly, the world shifted.

Her colleagues were too busy congratulating her to notice how sick she looked. With those few words, all the evidence she had spent months building up, all the arguments she had presented to the jury, all the cross-examinations where she had torn apart the defense, it all evaporated, and Steph was left only with doubt.

What if they didn't have the right man? What if he really was innocent?

What if she had just sentenced an innocent man to death?

She went straight to Cass' apartment.

She didn't have to say anything to Cass. The other woman just let her in, and opened up a bottle of sake for her.

Cass always had a refrigerator full of sake. It had never been said, but Steph could feel it in the lines of glue that Cass had used to put herself back together with, that there had been a time when Cass had drank too much. She preferred to drink a particular brand of sake that was intended to be kept cold, and it was crisp and almost airy feeling. Anyone else would, when they had decided that they were in danger of having a drinking problem, remove temptation whenever possible. But Cass had, instead, inundated herself with the possibility of failure, to challenge herself to succeed.

Steph gulped the bottle half-empty, willing some of her closest friend's strength to find her.

Cass watched her without judgment, without pity, until the bottle was empty. Her bottomless eyes tracked Steph as she paced through the apartment, measuring.

Steph couldn't stop moving, her nerves jangled. It wouldn't do any good to debate the merits and demerits of capitol punishment; a debate would only consist of words, and a man would die because of what she'd done. Granted, there were appeals that would be filed, but still...

Steph saw the black glass bird in the corner of her eye. The tiny drop of blood on its breast glittered.

She understood, even if she didn't know, why Dick had given Cass that figurine, and why it meant so much to Cass.

Her eye traveled to the worn-out bear, and the echo of the color and shadow of Cass' grief bounced off her bones, chilling her.

"We need to go out." Cass' voice startled Steph, too lost in her thoughts to remember that she wasn't alone.

"Out?" She felt slow. "That... yeah, maybe that's what we need. Dust ourselves off a bit."

Cass smiled, her eyes glittering and ever so slightly narrowed. "Wild fun."

Steph smiled back. It almost occurred to her that she would likely agree to almost anything that Cass suggested. "All right."

It wasn't that much later that they left the third bar that night, their arms locked together as they swayed together. Cass' eyes were bright, and Steph was giggling like a maniac. The streets were lush with life at this hour, as people swarmed from one club to the next. There were cafes and bars open, and music from a half dozen bands and dj's could be heard on the street, mixed with the rhythm of traffic and crowds.

Cass pulled hard on Steph's arm, and pointed out their next target. It was called Molten Lava, and it had strobe lights and pulsing music, and a line that extended half a block loaded with college aged kids, all dressed to get laid.

"You... are kidding, right?" Steph eyes the place dubiously. Anyplace that advertised their mud wrestling Saturdays couldn't be that great.

Cass grinned, and pulled Steph along.

They went straight up to the bouncer, who was ready to send them to the back of the line, until he got a good eyeful of them. Steph was decked out in her blue halter-top, complemented nicely with her favorite skin-tight blue jeans, ripped artfully in a few key places. Her hair was pulled into a tail, since she always looked too eighties when she tried to 'do' her hair, but she had used enough gel to give it that slick look. For once, she had actually put on makeup, accentuating her pouty lips and round eyes. Cass was wearing a black top that was so tight, the lines of her lacey bra were visible. The shoulders were ripped, giving it a look that suggested that all anyone had to do was give a good tug, and she would be topless. Her black jeans looked painted on, and her hair fell wildly over her bare shoulders.

The bouncer grinned, and let them in without taking any money.

A few expensive and badly mixed drinks later, and they made their way out onto the packed dance floor. They danced together, and no matter how many men tried to worm their way in between the pair, they were inseparable. They laughed and danced and flirted and basically acted like they were as young as the boys trying to impress them.

Steph was having too much fun to even question Cass as she pulled Steph to the side bar, until they were almost at the check-in line.

"Are you insane?! I'm not entering a wet t-shirt contest!" Steph felt her cheeks burn with more than alcohol and exertion.

Cass raised one eyebrow, taunting her, as she grinned. They were suddenly in the front of the line, and Steph found herself signing a waiver, fortunately remember to use one of her old fake id's, and picking out a t-shirt with the Molten Lava logo on the front.

Steph, Cass, and twelve other girls went to the back to change, slipping their shoes, shirts, and bras off. Steph kept her head down, shucking her top off quickly, as she tried to calm herself down.

A wet t-shirt contest! She hadn't done anything this stupid and demeaning when she was a teenager! Why was she doing it now?

Turning her face minutely, she saw the reason, pulling her long hair out from the too small shirt. Suppressing a sigh, Steph decided to pretend that she was drunker than she was, and just enjoy it.

The stage show seemed like a nightmare fused with a fantasy. It was dark, and the crowd appeared to be a looming flood of lusting flesh. The music and lights pulsed, setting the pace of her heartbeat.

And then there was the hosing.

Each girl took her turn under the hose as a sweaty, leering fat man in a too-small t-shirt made sure that she was soaked. Cassandra arched her back and flung her hair around, letting it all get wet.

Watching her, Steph felt her mouth go completely dry.

Then it was her turn, and she just shut her eyes tight and hoped that it would all be over soon.

She was next to Cass on the stage. Cass looked naked. Her skin showed through the clingy wet cotton, her breasts looking as if they would almost poke through, her dark nipples visible and erect.

Stephanie stared at Cass' nipples, and raised her arms above her head to dance.

It felt like the time passed in snapshots, as if the flashing strobe was taking pictures that her mind was flipping through casually.

Cass flipping her hair around, like black ribbons. Cass striking a sexy pose, her hands on her own body. Cass leaning forward, inviting. Cass turning to her, putting her hands out to touch. Cass pulling her shirt over her head. Cass touching Steph's breasts boldly, smirking. Cass kissing Steph. Cass unzipping her pants, showing the lurching crowd her thong. Showing Steph everything as she slipped her thong down, wiggling her ass to the crowd.

Steph had no idea what she was doing, only that she was hot, very very hot, and that she wanted to disappear, and take Cass with her.

In a strange sort of way, there was a small part of her mind that was being logical throughout. Standing outside of herself, one small corner of her mind remained detached, watching her with a cold disdain. It reminded her of Jess Larson, from her law school class. Jess had been fiery, with blazing chocolate brown eyes that Steph had never been able to resist. It had seemed like Jess was so full of so much passion, she might some day explode. In some remote fashion, Steph had known almost instantly that she was attracted to Jess, but nothing needed to come of it, and so it remained in the back of her mind, dormant.

In the same remote fashion, Steph knew that she had always been attracted to Cass, and that attraction had become something more in the past few months. From a distance, she watched as her own hands reached out and touched Cass, as she returned her kiss, as she slid her hand down Cass' stomach as she lowered her thong...

Cass won the wet t-shirt contest, with Steph as an honorable mention. Cass stood, topless, next to the slimy mc as he gave her the check and made some lewd comments. Steph marveled at how proud Cass could look, no shirt, no bra, her pants undone, her body soaking wet... and yet Cass still managed to look like she was beyond the crowd, like she was untouched.

Steph folded her arms over her chest, wishing that her shirt wasn't transparent, that she had a bulky sweater and that it wasn't so damn hot, admiring Cass.

Backstage, she shoved her bra into her pocket, stuffing it roughly down, as she pulled her halter top on over her head. Once that was in place, she pulled the wet t-shirt off, flinging it away almost disgustedly.

Cass just grinned at her, shaking her head. She made no attempt to get dressed.

"Are you crazy?" Steph stepped closer, only so that she could talk to Cass privately. "What were you doing up there?!"

Cass shrugged, her breasts jiggling a little as her shoulder bounced down. "Winning."

Steph closed her eyes, took a breath, and tried again. "You do realize that you were basically naked in front of hundreds of frat boys, don't you? Why would you do that?"

Cass smiled, the tiniest hint of a blush coloring her cheeks, her eyes dropping. "Wasn't for them."

"Then for who?" The distant part of her mind mocked her, asking her why she was behaving so desperately. Steph didn't bother to care. She had to clench her hands into fists to keep from touching Cass.

Cass smiled a little more, her eyes looking up through her lashes at Steph. With deliberate slowness, she leaned over and kissed Steph on the mouth, their lips briefly intermingling. Gauging Steph's reaction with bat-scrutiny, she evaluated for a moment before smiling. "Home?"

Steph wasn't thinking anymore. She didn't have to. She handed Cass her shirt, smiling.

Just as Cass slipped her shirt on, the slimy mc showed up, throwing his arms over both their shoulders. "Ladies, ladies, ladies! Rarely do I see such a fine display of feminine sexuality. It looks like you two are ready for a party! Howzabout you two foxes come back to my office, and the three of us can really put on a show?" He was practically drooling as he leered at them, his squeezing their sides as he pulled them closer.

Cass and Steph made eye contact for one disgustingly amused moment before Cass elbowed him in the throat. As he desperately tried to continue to breath, Steph grinned, "We'll do just fine on our own, thanks."

They started to leave, amiably walking side by side, when Steph abruptly pulled up short. "Hey, you forgot your bra!"

Cass seemed not to mind. "A souvenir."

Steph put her arm around Cass' waist, and they left.

The cab ride back to Cass' apartment felt like six eternities. Steph wasn't sure how close to sit, or what to do with her hands, or what to say. When they finally got there, Steph threw a few undetermined bills into the front seat, just so they could get away from there as quickly as they could.

Once they were in Cass' apartment, everything made perfect sense. Partially because Cass stripped bare almost before the door was closed. Naked and unconcerned, she led Steph to the futon. Just as Steph was about to touch, for the first time, really touch, Cass took her hands, stopping her.

Confused, Steph tried to figure out what she was supposed to say, wishing that she had had a few less drinks, or maybe that they had had a slightly shorter prologue to the finale.

Cass' expression was totally blank, which Steph understood to mean that she was serious. "Sure?"

Steph shook her head, trying to dislodge the sense of being out of place. "Yes."

"Really?" Cass' hard, dark eyes narrowed. "For life?"

That gave Steph pause. She stepped back, giving Cass her space. She understood, of course. Cass was not an outgoing person, to say the least. She was not the sort of person to take this type of endeavor on lightly.

So, Steph had to ask herself. Was she sure? Did she really want to commit herself to Cass, for potentially the rest of her life? Was she ready for that?

She met Cass' eyes, watching Cass watching her, peripherally aware of Cass' streaming, dark hair, her slight, strong body, her small, round breasts, as she searched Cass' eyes for the answer.

Steph pulled her halter off, unzipped her jeans, slipping out of them and her undies, before stepping closer to Cass, resting her hands on Cass' hips, resting her lips on Cass' mouth.

Actions were more important than words. Cass knew that better than anyone.

If Steph thought that it would be weird, being naked with another woman, if she thought that having sex with another woman would be strange, she certainly didn't act like it. With probing fingers and a hungry mouth, she and Cass explored each other, tasted each other, stretched and dazzled and fed and satiated and teased and quenched each other.

The room seemed to spin around them, as they tumbled on top of each other madly, falling off the futon and wrestling on the floor, climbing on each other and on the thick futon mattress, before falling off again.

When they were both too tired and content to even think about doing anything but wrapping around each other to go to sleep, Steph thought of something that made her smile.

Cass felt her grin, and brushed the hair away from both of their faces, asking with her eyes and with a twitch of her lips.

"I'm sorry, I was just thinking... you've made a hypocrite out of me."

Cass articulately raised an eyebrow in inquiry.

Steph laughed silently, rubbing her chin against Cass' shoulder. "It's just... when Tim first told me about his engagement, I was... upset. I told him... I told him that he had lied to me, because he had never said anything about being bi, or gay. And now... here I am, ready to spend the rest of my life with another woman."

Cass grinned. Kissing Steph goodnight, she sighed, "Good."

Tim cursed at his watch, trying to shame it into giving him some more time. As usual, he was late. And on the one night this week that Dick was going to be home early!

He would just have to skip the bookstore. He could go tomorrow, and be none the worse off as a result. He would also skip the dry cleaning, the post office, and the grocery store. He just needed to grab a quick bite, drop by Kane Street to check on the Hernandez girl, and get home in time to order something for dinner. Maybe Thai...


Turning, he prayed quickly to ten different gods that whatever it was wouldn't slow him down, Tim, plastered a smile on and faced the voice. "Yeah?"

A grinning man in a restaurant uniform holding a bag of garbage took a step out of the alley to get closer to him. "It's me, Rick Le Grange! From Gotham U! Remember... we used to live in the same building!"

Tim nodded with a sinking sense of recognition. Rick Le Grange had been a college jock who'd skated through his classes while playing soccer. He had every intention of going to the Olympics, but as his intentions far outstripped his skills, he spent most of his time boasting.

After a year of living in that building, Tim had begged his father to help him out with the mortgage for a townhouse, partially so he could get away from Rick's whining.

"Rick. Great to see you. How's it going?" It certainly couldn't have been going as well as Rick had planned, given that he was working in a restaurant, and Tim certainly didn't care how it was going for Rock in any case, but he couldn't think of anything less involving that wasn't rude.

"Oh, man, great, you know, I've been promoted, so you know, career is going great. I'm the head bartender here. You want some lunch? I can get you anything you want. I'm the head bartender, in the day, so whatever you want, it's no problem. Hell, it's on me. C'mon! You look like you haven't eaten in months, man. Haven't had a chance to hit the gym in a while, have you, Tim?" Somehow, Rick made it sound like Tim was living on the streets because he hadn't been weightlifting recently. Tossing the trash aside carelessly, he lead Tim into the bar, not even waiting for a response.

Tim resigned himself. He did have to eat something anyway... "Maybe a quick sandwich, Rick, I'm kinda in a hurry."

"Great, great! Have a seat, lemme put that in, whaddya want, turkey? Ham? Beef? We got everything here, this is a real classy joint..."

While waiting for his sandwich, which had to have at least two meats, since Tim was looking so 'scrawny', and had to be made on one of their 'specialty' breads, so that Tim could see how classy the joint was, Rick grilled him about everything. Somehow, Rick was able to dismiss Tim's medical career as being a point of pity, since he was working for a free clinic.

It was just as Tim was taking his first bite of the sandwich when Rick noticed the ring.

"You got hitched! Dude, that's awesome! Now, I won't say anything about not being invited, I mean, I know yer kinda hurting, what with the charity job 'n' all, you probably wanted a small ceremony. So, who is she? Do I know her? What's she do?" Rick leaned over the bar, grinning like the twit he was, his eyes sparkling as if Tim was going to give up some juicy details that would make his day complete.

Smirking, Tim delivered. "Actually, he works as a detective for the Bludhaven PD, and it was a pretty small ceremony. You don't know him, he's a bit older than us. I met him through a mutual friend of the family."

Rick's eyes widened until Tim was a little afraid they might actually pop out of his head. "Oh! Oh. Oh... I didn't know you were... you know, I'm sorry... Well. Er, I gotta wipe down some tables. That'll be $7.50 for the sandwich. Great to see you, man..."

Tim was too happy to get rid of him to be offended.

He was just about to leave, having inhaled the rest of his lunch, when he saw a familiar face in the dining room portion of the restaurant, sitting all by herself.

He always had a little free time in his schedule for family.

Steph finished off her coke, gulping it down fast enough to nearly swallow the ice. "That went a lot better than I thought it would. Mom loved you!"

Cass grinned, resting her chin on her palm. "She's nice." She eyes Steph with a wry grin, her arm snaking out. With a deliberateness that meant she was waiting for Steph to object, she unbuttoned the top two buttons of Steph's sweater.

Blushing, Steph leaned forward a little to make it easier for Cass. "I know, I know, I looked dowdy, but... it was lunch with mom, to meet my lesbian lover. It was not the time to go sex kitten."

Cass gave that quick little twitch of her lips that meant that she was amused. "We got along."

"Yeah," Steph took Cass' hand, feeling a little giddy. The last major hurdle had been vaulted easily. She could now look forward to moving in with Cass without guilt. "I think she's just so happy that I'm not dating a supervillian, she barely even noticed that you have breasts. Of course, if she knew other things about you, she would most definitely not be happy, but then, she never needs to know that... Ok, I'm going to go to the washroom, and then we can head to Home Depot. We should be able to get all the tile we need, and have the bathroom done by tonight..."

Cass just nodded and smiled, watching her girlfriend go. She leaned back in her chair, relaxing. She had been really nervous about this lunch. She knew that Steph had been nervous, too, which only made things worse.

She'd never had to deal with a mother, before. She'd been afraid that her demeanor would have been interpreted by Mrs. Brown as cold, and that it would all be a disaster.

Cass had to fight the goofy grin on her face as she thought about when Steph's mom had left. She had hugged Cass, and told her to call her 'mom'.

She'd never had a mom before.

Cass was so lost in thought, she didn't even notice the approaching figure until he touched her shoulder.

She forgave herself a moment later, deciding that her radar hadn't picked him up because he was family.


"Cass! I didn't see you here... Did you eat alone?" Tim sat down next to her, in the seat Mrs. Brown had vacated, his blue eyes shining with concern.

Cass smiled. "No."

"Ah." Tim leaned back, not concerned with trying to pull answers out of Cass. "So, how are things going? It's been a while since I've seen you. Everything good?"


Tim almost started. He had never heard Cass speak so... confidently about her life, not since Daniel had been killed. "Well... good! You should come down to the 'haven for dinner sometime, when Dick and I aren't..."

"Oh, Cass, I almost forgot, we also need to pick up a new shower curtain, mine is all moldy. Tim!" Steph plunked down in her chair, more than a little surprised to see her ex at the table. "How random, to bump into you like this. So, how's married life treating you?"

Tim blinked. Twice. Both girls noticed. "Um... well, great. It's, uh, great... So, you and Cass had lunch together...?"

Steph smiled. "Yeah, I was introducing her to my mom."

"To... your mom??"

"Well, Cass and I sorta... reconnected at your wedding, and well," Steph and Cass joined hands rather indiscreetly over the table, "it seemed like a good idea to let Cass and mom get to know each other."

Tim stared at their joined hands. Then he let her words sink in. Then he stared at their hands some more. "Oh! Oh. Oh... So, how is your mom?"

"She's good, she's working as a paralegal now." Steph wanted to laugh out loud, but she decided neither of her companions would appreciated that, and neither of them were the type you pissed off lightly.

"Great. Well, I hate to chat and run, but I'm way behind..." Cass snorted, and Tim rolled his eyes. "I know, I know, what's new... But, um, yeah, you, uh, you both should come down for dinner some time. Er, soon. Yeah."

Cass stood up and squeezed Tim's elbow a little. "Ok."

"Ok." Tim shook Steph's hand, hoping his palms weren't sweaty. "Ok. Well then... Bye..."

Steph turned to Cass as Tim stumbled out of the restaurant. "Is it ok to laugh at him yet?"

Cass smiled indulgently. "Just chuckle."

"I think it's great."

"You would." Tim hugged the pillow to his chest a little tighter. It did no good to sulk if your husband was going to be so jovial about it.

"No, really. I mean, Daniel's been dead for a while now, and I thought that Cass would never get over it. I think this is great for her."

Tim rolled his eyes. "Well, sure, it's great for her, no one's disputing that."

Dick sat down next to his husband, biting the inside of his cheek. "All right. You are officially out of pouting time. What's bothering you about this?"

Tim sighed. If he had to explain it... "I don't know. It's just..."

"Is it because you think it's weird that Cass is sleeping with your ex?"

Tim threw the pillow up in the air. "She never said she was gay! Or bi! What the hell, Dick!?"

Dick watched him for a full thirty seconds. "You have got to be kidding me."

"She was my girlfriend. What happened? Was it me? Did I make her gay?"

Dick paused, hoping that maybe Tim would spontaneously become sane again. A minute later, Tim was still pleading with him forlornly with his eyes. Sighing, Dick got up, pulled his shirt off. "I wouldn't have thought that I would have to remind you that you are involved with someone of the same sex now, too." He unzipped his pants, and stood in the doorway to the bedroom, stretching just a little. "But, if you need to be reminded..." His hands trailed down his chest to disappear into his boxers.

Tim perked up a little. "But, I mean, that's different, I mean, I always loved you..."

"You realize you are being a hypocrite, right?"

"I don't care. Can we have sex now?"