title: Incidentals: Dating Game
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Angel, Dick/Tim
rating: Teen
warnings: romance, sexual situations
summary: Tim and Angel talk about love.
notes: Chicago gave me fabulous, spontaneous fic on IM, and fool that i am, i lost it. >_< so this is me reconstructing it (so the parts about Tim and Dick's first date are really from Chi...) while also incorporating some other things. also, i got some fb from Angyl recently asking for just this... funny how things happen, eh? ^_^

The popping sound had become infrequent. Tim only noticed that after he poured the hot water over the powdered hot chocolate mix, so he had no idea how long it had been so. He quickly dashed over to shut off the microwave, and pulled out a large bowl for the popcorn, hoping that it wouldn't be burnt.

There were a few black edges, but overall, very edible. Tim was pleased.

He hadn't taken a night off in over three weeks. They still hadn't found a suitable replacement for Leslie, and now he was the only doctor in the house who Bruce trusted. Tim was learning how much Leslie had kept secret from them; Bruce was in at least every night, and in Tim's expert opinion, he was long overdue for a real hospitalization. Wouldn't Terry love that?

Tim swallowed his bitterness as he stirred the hot chocolate. Dick had finally put his foot down and demanded that Tim not go near the clinic for at least 24 hours, and had arranged for Angel to watch over Tim for the time that Dick couldn't be there himself. It was galling to have a seventeen year old babysitting him, but it was only what he deserved. He did hope that Leslie was enjoying her retirement, but she could have given him more notice.

And he got to spend the night with Angel, babysittee or not. He hadn't had the chance to do that in ages. He halfway thought that Babs was still angry with him for helping Angel train to hit the rooftops, but mostly it was just scheduling. A seventeen year old had a lot more on her mind than a twelve year old, and god almighty, how the time did just slip away...

"Woolgathering?" Angel stood in the doorway, cheekily grinning at him.

Tim rolled his eyes and put the spoons in the sink, ignoring the remaining clumps of undissolved powder. "You need to be more patient with the elderly, love. We do tend to get off-track."

Angel snorted. "I'll be comfortable in my rocking chair at the old folks' home long before you ever stop moving, Timmy."

Tim shook his head, as if he was dismissing her, but inside he was glowing. He had missed his little girl, even if she wasn't his and she wasn't little anymore.

"So, what do we have for tonight?" She picked up the bowl of mostly unburned popcorn and walked to the living room, watching him from over her shoulder.

"I got a couple of movies, and of course, there's the stack of dvds I haven't had a chance to see yet... Really, whatever you want. I'm just going to enjoy putting my feet up for a night."

"And you turned your pager off? And your cell phone? And your palm?" She narrowed her eyes and watched him the way Bruce had taught her to in an interrogation.

Tim sighed. "Yes, darling, I've unjacked myself from the Matrix. Honest to goodness."

Angel rolled her eyes, laughing. "You are so old-school, Timmy."

He laughed at himself, because nothing could make you feel as young or as old as hanging out with a teenager. "Yeah, I guess I am. So, what do you want to see?"

Angel shrugged in a characteristically teenagerish way.

"I don't know. What do you want to see?"

Tim rolled his eyes, knocking her gently on the back of the head. "Don't play games with me, girlie. You want to watch a movie, or do you just want to talk?"

He had apparently said the magic word, although she certainly wouldn't say so. She sat down on the couch, leaving room for him but still staying close, and shrugged. "Sure, we can talk, I guess. How are things at the clinic?"

Tim grinned, shaking his head. He considered just getting on her case and making her come clean with him, but it didn't seem important to push. He sighed. "Well, my schedule has become hectic. I guess I didn't realize how much Leslie was shouldering herself. I'm going to have to hire someone to help out, but I'm not sure where to start. There's the obvious security issue."

Angel nodded. She had a habit of looking people in the eye when she talked to them, and appearing, at least to be totally enraptured with what was being said. She had excellent conversational skills that Tim could only assume came from either Dick's parents or Babs' parents. It was certainly not something she learned watching her parents, or extended family. He almost kicked himself when his first thought was that she was going to have to work hard to learn how to get information from sources. Participating in conversation well was subtly different from directing a conversation.

"My dad said that Jules was interested in medicine," Angel offered, thoughtful. "But, it will be a while before she can actually practice... And I think she's more interested in metabiology and extrahuman physiology. Which makes sense I guess. Remember when she was eleven, and she had appendicitis, and she nearly died because no one knew what was wrong or where the hell her appendix might be?"

Tim did remember that, too well. It seemed funny now, as a story to tell, but Garth and Donna had gone nearly mental, watching their daughter get sicker and sicker, and not be able to do anything to help. Afterward, they allowed, finally, STAR Labs to do extensive scans and tests on her, for future reference. He hadn't heard that she was interested in medicine, but it certainly made sense.

"Yeah, I'm not sure that will help." He picked up a handful of popcorn and shoved half of it in his mouth. When he was able to speak again, he turned things back around. "But I don't want to think about this now. It's my day off, right? So what's on your mind these days?" He watched her without seeming to watch her, like he was undercover, hitting the streets for info. Or like he was asking an anorexic teen about her eating habits.

She shrugged, noncommittal, but he didn't press just yet. She wanted to talk to him, she just wanted to do it on her terms. He was fine with that. "I don't know. Nothing big. Why don't you tell me a story? Tell me about your first date with my dad."

"Honey," Tim grinned, "you already know about that."

"Yeah, but I want more details. He asked you out..."

"He called me. I did the asking."

"Ok." Her eyes twinkled. "Anyway... What was it like? Were you nervous? Did you kiss?" He swallowed some more popcorn, and thought about each word before he spoke. "It was... it was wonderful. I was very nervous, but your father was... spectacular. And we did kiss."

"Did you have sex?"


"When did you have sex with him for the first time? Were you a virgin then? What's the right age to have sex?"

Tim put down the bowl of popcorn before he dropped it. "Wait... wait... back up here. Where is all of this coming from?"

She shrugged, looking unhappily at the cushions of the couch. "I dunno. There's this girl at school... I guess she's my friend, but really she's just this self-centered little bitch. She always has to make everything all about her, and everything is this huge drama. She made this big fuss because she thought she was pregnant. It was like... such a non-issue. She didn't even take a pregnancy test for, like, a week or something, and then she got her period. And she and her slut friends were being all condescending to me, like, I couldn't understand how scary it was because I'm just this timid, sheltered little virgin, and I have no idea how real people deal with real life. The bitch."

"Angel, darling, you know that it doesn't mean..."

She threw her hands up in the air. Tim almost smirked; she was so like Dick sometimes! "Everyone in my school is so immature! All they want to do is drink and do drugs and have sex... And they all think they are so cool because they sneak into Gotham clubs and shit. I mean, I don't even have anything in common with these kids. Half of them, their parents are so messed up, just trying to fit in and be rich, and they are so totally screwed over, and the other half have never once experienced any true pain in their lives, so they have to manufacture it so they can keep up. It's just so fucking... juvenile."

"Well," Tim conceded gently, "they are just teenagers. It's not really their fault that you are so much more mature. You've just experienced more in your life."

"So?" She shrugged angrily. "Like they can't even have enough self-respect to, you know, think about their actions even a little? Anyway, if I'm the mature one, why am I the one that gets mocked because I'm not freaking out about venereal diseases or getting pregnant every other week? I hate them; high school is such a waste."

Tim thought back to his own high school years, and all the different schools he got sent to because of all the twists and turns in his family's life. "There's no denying that high school is just a stopping point before you get to bigger and better things, but think about it. Would you really want now to be the best time in your life? That would mean that the rest of your life would just be a pale imitation of when you were a teen. That would suck."

"I guess," she sighed, not looking at him.

He considered. "Is this really about your friends at school, or is there something else?" She definitely didn't want to look at him now, and her ears were starting to flush. "Have you met someone?"

She turned bright red all at once.

He bit his lip to keep from grinning down at her. "Oh, babe, don't worry about it. You can tell me anything; you know that."

She sighed again, the weary sound of youth trying so hard to grow old. "I... I did meet this guy. It's nothing, though. I mean, I think he might be gay. But he's really great. He's so smart, and he thinks about all sorts of issues, and he reads everything he can get his hands on. And, well, he grew up with two mothers, so, you know, he understands stuff. And he's funny."

Tim reached out to rub her shoulder. "Sounds great. But what makes you think he's gay?"

"Oh, I don't know..." She fiddled with her fingers while she looked away. "He's just... he would be very stereotypical. And, like, his mothers aren't, well, stereotypical at all, but they aren't really that... girly. It's just him. He liked to decorate, and make crafts, and shop. That sort of thing."

"Where did you meet him?" Tim was being extra gentle, making sure that she knew that he was just taking an interest, and not that he was pumping her for information.

"At that GSA Children First thing. He... he... well, it's Jackson Montoya-Hernandez. He's really special. He's so passionate about civil rights and responsible citizenship. He volunteers, like, thirty hours a week. He even works in a halfway house, helping kids with homework and stuff, because he says his moms saved him from a life like that. He's great." She was glowing softly, with stars in her eyes and an obvious smile playing across her face.

"He's 19." Tim paled. "I know that's not that much older than you, but it can be a critical difference in age. Have you been on any dates?"

"I don't know!" She wailed. "We went to this art show once, and this other time, we went to this coffee house, but I don't know if he's just being polite or if he really is interested. And anyway, he's probably gay. I don't know."

Tim couldn't stand to see the miserable look on her face. He pulled her in for a hug, and he rubbed his hands over her back. He could remember when she had gotten so excited because she was being allowed to watch late night cartoons for the first time. He could remember when she was little, and they took her out to the Wayne stables to go riding for the first time, and she cried because she felt the horses were too big for those little stalls. He could remember when she would fall asleep in his lap while they waited up for her dad. Hell, he could remember rubbing Babs' feet when she was still gestating.

She wouldn't cry. Not anymore; now, she wanted to be logical and strong. And she wouldn't let this keep her down, either. She wasn't the type to hold onto anger or pain. All the more reason for Tim to offer her comfort.

"So, you want to know about my first date with your dad?"

"Yeah," she smiled at him. "I... I want to know about being in love."

Tim nodded, his eyes softening. He put his arm around her shoulder, and tucked her head under his chin. He thought back, and was a little surprised at the clarity of his memory. He could even remember the emotions that had nearly choked him.

"Well, actually, at first, I thought it was going to be this huge disaster."

Tim sat in the driver's seat, staring straight ahead. This was ridiculous, he knew, but knowing was only half the battle. He noticed that his hands were embarrassingly sweaty as he flexed them over the steering wheel, his eyes unblinkingly unfocused on something next to the garbage cans across the street.

Dick had called him, but he had done the asking. Did that mean that he was taking Dick out, or was Dick still taking him out? Did it matter? It might, when it came time to pay the bill at the restaurant. Tim hoped it didn't, though. He was supposed to be saving up, now that he was in med school. He was supposed to be paying his own way. His father had made it clear that he didn't have enough money to support Tim entirely. But what was the etiquette? Sure, Tim had misspent eons in his youth, poring over the... mechanics, he supposed, of it all, but he had never bothered to look up the procedures.

He didn't even want to look at the flowers in the passenger seat. What a stupid thing to do! Dick wasn't a woman... how was he going to react to flowers?! It was just stupid...

Was Tim supposed to hold doors open for Dick? Was he supposed to hold Dick's chair for him? What was he going to do if they really did go dancing?

Would Dick kiss him goodnight?

Tim closed his eyes, and started to count. When he got to thirty-seven, he opened them again.

Dick had called him. That meant... something? Right? It had been damn, damn stupid to just... spill everything like he had in the park, but it had felt so liberating, like the weight of the world being lifted off his shoulders. He hadn't expected Dick to call to ask him out. What if it was just a pity date? Poor, lovesick Timmy, better take him out so he can be let down easy...

Tim swallowed the bleak despair, shaking his head as he did. No, he didn't know why Dick had called him and asked him out... after a fashion. Maybe it was pity. Maybe it was something else. That would depend on how the evening went, and the way things were going so far, Tim would be lucky if Dick ever spoke to him again.

But... he stopped himself. He couldn't think like this. It had taken a lot... a lot... to make the decision to tell Dick. He had spent weeks agonizing over it, and then weeks agonizing while he tried to carry through with it. He honestly believed it was the most important decision he had ever made in his life, including both taking up the cape and putting it back down again. He had potentially thrown away the most valuable friendship in his life... but he had potentially gained the most treasured, cherished love of his life.

There must be something of the Bat in him, he thought, grinning as he picked up the damned flowers, etiquette or no. There must be something in everything Dick had taught him over the years, because it was knowing that everything he had ever hoped or dreamed for was riding on his performance in the next few hours that really got his ass in motion.

You can take the boy out of the Batcave, but you can't take the Batcave out of the boy.

He strolled into Dick's building as if he walked up those stairs every day, and from the way that the residents smiled at him or greeted him, anyone could be forgiven for thinking that he did. He reminded himself that this was still Dick, still his buddy, his friend, and sometimes his mentor. No, wait, mentor was a bad word, mentor wouldn't lead him where he wanted to go... Sometimes his guide? His elder? Tim scowled. This line of thought was getting him nowhere.

The point was, this was still Dick. This was still Dick's apartment building, not enemy territory, and he and Dick were still just he and Dick. That wouldn't change.

He nearly choked as he knocked on Dick's door, wondering if anything ever could change between them.

And then Dick opened the door, and damn it, if he didn't get a chance to take a breath, he was going to asphyxiate.

Tim had seen Dick in his dating attire before. He had seen Dick dressed for clubs. He had seen Dick before, and after, an out and out booty call. This time, though, Dick was wearing his black silk pants to go out with him. He was wearing that ribbed, silk sweater with the v-neck that just sort of draped over his shoulders for a date with Tim. And when he smiled in sultry invitation, he was smiling just for Tim.

Tim held out the flowers awkwardly.

Dick took them, his fingers running over Tim's as he did. "For me? Thanks. Come on in; I still have to get some socks and shoes on."

Following, Tim kept his eyes on Dick's muscular, fluid shoulders, to avoid looking at his ass, although, as it turned out, that wasn't much help. Tim's sweaty palms were back in full force, and he knew that he would blush under the slightest strain.

How embarrassing.

"Can I get you something to drink?" Dick dumped the contents of a plastic cup from the Kwiq-E-Mart, rinsed it out half-heartedly, and stuck the flowers in it. He fluffed them just a little, so they didn't all sag to one side, and then he put the cup in the middle of the island. He looked expectantly at Tim.

Blinking, Tim reminded himself that questions often required responses. Shrugging, he sighed. "Ah, no, well, maybe some water..."

Dick nodded, his lips twitching involuntarily. Tim wanted to melt into the floorboards. To be Clayface for just thirty seconds...

"Ok. Why don't you go sit down on the couch, and I'll bring it out." He winked and nodded at Tim, as if they were both in on some joke, which only served to make Tim feel even more lost.

He wandered into the living room area, his head feeling light and disproportionately large. He was screwing this up. He wanted to knock himself upside the head. He was acting like a fourteen year old, out on his first date. How stupid! Like he needed to emphasize the age difference! Dick wasn't interested in some childish 'courtship'... He wanted a relationship with a partner, someone he could rely on!

Tim felt very, very weak. It had all been a huge mistake. He was going to trade a lifetime of friendship and camaraderie with the person he loved best in the world for one night of holding hands, if that. He dug his nails into his palms and bit the inside of his lip. If this was all he got, then damn it! He was going to enjoy it! He would look across the table at Dick, and he wouldn't have to hide his emotions, and he could just be with Dick. And if he didn't screw up too damn badly, then they could still be friends later, and after a while, the tension and the strangeness would fade away, and they would still be friends.


Tim blinked up at Dick, and then registered. He reached up and took the water glass from Dick, quickly swallowing three long gulps.

Dick looked amused, and he sat down next to Tim. Right next to Tim. Very close, as a matter of fact. They were sitting very close together. Their knees were touching.

Dick put his arm on the back of the couch, leaning closer to Tim. "So, how was traffic?"

Tim took another sip of water before answering, making sure that his voice was clear. "It was fine. Good."

A sharp, jolting tingle electrified him, and he nearly fell off the couch. Tim stared at Dick, who was looking... something back at him. Tim took a deep breath, and he leaned back. He found that when he expected it, Dick's thumb moving over the back of his neck was actually very pleasant.

"Tim, are you ok?"

Tim took a deep breath, and finished off his water, trying to drink and smile at the same time.

Dick put his hand on Tim's thigh. Tim felt seared by the contact, inexplicably leaning into it a little, needed to scorch the flesh from his bones. "Tim, relax, ok?" He began to massage the muscles across Tim's neck, while gently applying pressure to Tim's thigh. "This isn't such a big deal. It's just us, going out to dinner. Right?"

Tim's heart thudded painfully in his chest. Damn, damn, damn! He had screwed it up, he'd screwed everything up! What if Dick had never intended on asking him out in the first place? What if it had all just been a misunderstanding? And now it was slipping away from him, his one chance at ever being really happy, and there was nothing he could do because Dick had already decided to stop wasting his time with this childish loser, and who the hell could blame him? After all, Dick looked like Dick, and he had Dick's wonderful personality, and his charm, and his wit, and who didn't want to the be guy sitting on Dick's couch, being touched by Dick and massaged by Dick, but Tim was such a grade A loser of the nth degree, he had brought freakin' flowers and was too tied up in knots to even speak, for crying out loud!

"Hey!" Dick said, his brow furrowing. "I said to relax, not to tense up! Come on, we've done this a million times... Just me and my Tim. No reason for stress."

Tim blinked. He may have stopped breathing. Dick was smiling at him, and his smile was so sincere and sexy and Tim could feel his heart beating now, not pounding or going a mile a minute, just beating, and he could breathe again. "Your... your Tim?"

Now Dick's smile was dazzling, and Tim knew this smile. This was the one where all of Dick's charm just bled out of every pore, and the recipient was meant to melt into a puddle. Tim knew the smile by heart, from years of watching it work on other people. He doubted that Dick even knew what he was doing; Dick was just too honest to use tricks like that.

Tim did not melt for Dick. But he couldn't help it; he did fall in love with Dick all over again.

He relaxed against Dick's loose grip on him and smiled in return. "You're right, I'm sorry. Just first date nerves, I guess. So how was your day?"

After that, it was like everything was the same, but new. They talked, Tim teased Dick, Dick teased back, only now, Dick was touching him, and looking at him, really looking at him.

Tim hoped like hell that Dick gave him a goodnight kiss.

Tim turned his cheek to brush against the top of Angel's head. She held his hand in both of hers, hugging his arm to her body. Her hair had the same softness and thickness of Dick's hair, and it made his belly feel warm.

"That's so romantic," Angel sighed. "Was it everything you had dreamed of?"

Tim traced patterns over knuckles as he thought. "I... I had imagined so many different things... It was a million times better, just because it was real. I could never have imagined how wonderful it would be."

"Was your first time together the same way?"

"Angel!" Tim shuddered, almost pulling away involuntarily. His gut reaction was to evade, feeling very strongly, and uselessly, that sex and Angel should have nothing to do with one another.

"Aw, Timmy... C'mon, I've been listening to you two go at it since I was a kid."


"Remember the time I scolded you for hurting my dad?" She looked up at him, her brilliant deep blue eyes sparkling. "C'mon, he gave me the first part of the birds and the bees and birds and birds and the bees and the bees lecture." She winked at him, smirking just like her dad did. "Mom gave me the second part. So now it's your turn. I want to know... I want to know about the emotional stuff. Did it change things? What was it like? Was it different because it was my dad?"

Tim sputtered. He owed her an answer, he knew, just because she had implicitly included him in her list of parents. But he really didn't know what to say. He remembered everything about it, of course. He remembered time after time of fumbling encounters, in which he was too embarrassed and Dick was still adjusting to the shift in their relationship. He remembered being ashamed of his body, and trying to keep Dick from seeing him naked. And Dick's... rather unconventional declaration of naked weekend to combat both their shyness.

He remembered the first time they tried, and all the distractions. He remembered overhearing a heated argument between Dick and Babs about Dick's 'behavior,' which culminated in Dick telling Babs that they were sleeping together, even though they had only fallen asleep on the couch together that one time. And the time that Wally buzzed into Dick's apartment unannounced while they were making out on the couch.

And then the night when it actually happened. Dick's kisses had never been hotter or sweeter. Their hands had lingered on each other's bodies, and they couldn't rip their clothes off fast enough. They punched a hole in one condom because they had both been trying to open it. The moment when Dick laid back against the pillows and spread his legs, demonstrating his flexibility. Oh, and the first push inside, Dick's eyes rolling back into his head, and the feeling of it, like flying.

Dick's subsequent and unexpected ejaculation, spilling between them, and Dick trying to pretend it didn't happen, begging Tim to just keep moving. And Tim couldn't help it, he just had to laugh, because the look on Dick's face was too priceless. And then Dick saying that he had just been wanting it so badly, for so long now...

They had been seeing each other for just over a month at that point.

Tim had known that Dick was a physical person, and that the sex was going to be very important to him, but neither had wanted to rush into something that would so fundamentally alter everything about their relationship. Even just thinking about it now, it made Tim's blood seethe and burn, to think of Dick wanting him...

And he had ravished Dick's body, and let Dick ravish him, and nothing in his life had ever felt that good.

"You're thinking about it, aren't you?" Angel poked him in the chest. "It must have been really good, then."

Tim turned bright red. "It... It... was it's own kind of perfect."

Angel sighed, leaning back against the couch. "I don't know. I don't know why I'm obsessing over this... He's probably gay, anyway. But I... I don't know. I want to know what it is like. I want to just get it over with. But I... I also want the fairy tale. Damn you two for making me believe in true love! Do you... do you regret not waiting?"

"Well," Tim sighed, picking up her hand, "even though your dad will probably lynch me for saying this, I can't honestly say that I regret it, no. Maybe it would have been different if there... if there wasn't such an age gap, and your dad wasn't..."

"So experienced?" Angel giggled nervously. "Don't worry, Timmy. I've overheard mom and Dinah saying... things. But I know better than to think anything of it."

Tim raised her hand to his lips, and he kissed her knuckles. "Good. Because your dad is a good man, who has only ever made the mistake of loving too well. But, yes, he was experienced, and I felt nervous enough about everything without adding first time jitters. But everyone has to make this choice for themselves, darling. Your friends aren't necessarily less good people because they've already lost their virginity, and you aren't naive or stupid for still being a virgin. I'm not going to feed you some dumb clichÈ like 'when the time is right, you won't have to ask,' because hormones can play a big role in things, but... if you follow your heart, and do what you know is right, even if things turn sour, you won't be able to look back and regret."

Angel nodded slowly, curling up against Tim again.

Sighing, Tim put his arms around her. "Ultimately, nothing anyone tells you is going to matter, not me, not your dad, not your mom, and not your friends. Everyone has their own experiences, bitter and good and happy and just ok. It's... not so earth shattering, you know? It happens to just about everyone. It's just one of those things."

"But it can be beautiful."

"And it can be terrible. Yes." He leaned down to kiss the back of her head. "It just is what it is."

Angel sighed mightily. "He's a really special guy, Timmy."

Tim smiled. "He damn well better be, because when your dad finds out..."

Her head shot up so fast, she nearly clocked him in the jaw. "You aren't going to tell him, are you?"

Tim's heart twisted inside his chest. "Honey, don't ask me to keep secrets... Obviously, I'm not going to blurt things out for no reason, but we're family. We can't have secrets amongst ourselves... There are already too few people we can trust, and too much pain we can cause each other if we aren't honest."

Angel bit her lip and muffled a sigh.

"If he asks me something, I'll answer. But you can trust him, you know."

"I know... I just don't want to let him down. He thinks so highly of me..." She cuddled Tim tighter, and sighed.

"He loves you, darling. Nothing will ever change that."

"I want him to be proud of me, and my choices."

Tim wasn't sure if he was supposed to hear that, so he just held her closer, and hoped that she would understand.