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*Gotham Heights, Steph's room, where she and Tim are getting a well deserved time out from the team and all the craziness that's been going on lately*

Steph: *sprawled on her bed and has been writing and erasing furiously for the last couple of hours, occasionaly asking Tim's advice. Finally, she stops writing and sits up* Ok, I think I'm done. Here, tell me what you think. *hands him the a piece of paper with the following on it:

((snipped the letter))

Steph: *once he's stopped reading, asks nervously* So, do I sound like a stupid crybaby, or does it sound semi-professional?

Tim: *sets himself behind Steph and rubs her shoulders* No, you don't sound like a crybaby, more like a whiney teenager. Just kidding. Yes, it's well written. I can't cosign on it or anything, though, I was pretty much missing the whole time you two had your differences, and I hope Dick takes it just as a helpful warning, rather than a request to get rid of him. I'm just so stumped as to why he acted so insubordinate. The Blades I remember was a good kid. Respected my authority, even as a wacko.

Steph: Ohh, that feels good, thanks. *snatches back her letter, sticks her tongue out at him* Very funny. S'ok, I don't want you to cosign it. You're right, you weren't there, it had nothing to do with you, it was my leadership Blades was constantly dissing. I just wanted you to check it over. And no, I don't want Dick to get rid of Blades, I tried to make it clear that he may just have a problem with me. *sighs* I don't know why he gave me such a hard time either. I wish I did understand it, but I don't. *mutters* Although I have my theories...

Tim: Oh yeah? And those theories are?

Steph: *looks a little uncomfortable* Weeeellll, I don't know if I should tell you. Since I was so mad at him, I admit, they aren't terribly nice theories. Nor are they really based in fact... just stuff I've been thinking.

Tim: Well if you think you're too mad at him to tell ME about it, maybe it really isn't a good idea you send that to Dick yet either, until you're sure you're being objective.

Steph: *looks thoughtful for a second* Ok, you're right. But I think I'm over my initial anger and I am being objective now. I still think warning Dick is the right thing to do. But fine, I will tell YOU what I was thinking *smiles*. Well, at first I kinda wondered if he was just a mite chauvanistic. Y'know, didn't like having a girl in charge. But then I started noticing things like he really, really wanted you to be leader again, despite your repeated refusals, and he seemed to want to blame me for Force's death, when it wasn't any one person's fault, and he just seemed to be so upset with like, my very existence... So... all that got me thinking that maybe well, maybe he resents me 'cause he's... *says the words in a bit of a rush* got a thing for you.

Tim: *shocked expression quickly crosses his face, then laughs deep from the belly; once recovered* Oh, that's a good one Steph. I always knew the girls were disappointed I hide my butt behind a cape, never thought the guys were too. *grins* Jealous?

Steph: *starts laughing herself* No, I'm not jealous. *grins maliciously* Should I be? I mean, if I'm right, I can't really blame him, you are pretty darn hot. *laughs again* Gee, you're lucky I'm not the jealous type then, first Katie, now Blades, seems like I've got lots of competition.

Tim: How do you think? You keep scaring them off. *grins*

Steph: *pushes him over* Scaring them off?! I do not! *stops being indignant and smiles* Hey, why am I fighting that, that's a good thing. *frowns suddenly* Or is it?

Tim: *getting up from being pushed over* That's really for you to decide, Steph. You're the leader, and if your crew won't listen to you, then yeah, it's good to be rid of them when there's no other option. Not like you're missing Blades or Knight are you?

Steph: *sighs* No, I'm not missing either one of them, that's for certain. Its hard enough to lead this crew without having to fight those two every step of the way. But then, they weren't around when you went nutso and I had to take charge, so I guess they didn't really have any reason to believe that I can do this job. *starts to look a little dispirited* Face it, I don't have the rep that you do. Probably never will. I have to work harder to earn the respect that you get so naturally, but that's just something I have to deal with.

Tim: Well, I think I have a small, at least temporary solution for that one. You know, your mom's taking the whole Spoiler thing really well, but my dad still doesn't know. Of course. *rubs his forehead and eyes with the palms of his hands and groans* Nothing I tell my dad's going to be good enough to explain me disappearing for 3 and a half months. I think I'm going to be REAL grounded, and maybe I should take a break from the team for a while.

Steph: *automatic look of panic crosses her face at the mention of him taking a break from the team, but it fades as she puts her arms around him* Well, if you think you should... but, maybe its time to tell your dad that you're Robin? I know its not going to smooth everything over, but I also know you hate lying to him all the time. And besides, if you leave the team AND you're grounded, we'll never get to see each other, unless I sneak over and knock on your window for a change. *smiles*

Tim: *sputtering* Tell my dad! Are you nuts? *calms* hey, I'm sorry, that wasn't nice to say. *slumps onto her bed* Somehow I think it's gone too far for me to ever tell him now. *smiles a bit* You know, I never said you COULDN'T come over and knock on my window.

Steph: *bites her lip as she bites back a comment* Fine, whatever, it was just a suggestion. *looks at him for a moment* Well, what are you going to tell him then? *finally smiles a bit herself* Don't worry handsome, I'll come knock on your window even if you get exiled to Siberia.

Tim: I really don't know. Nothing I tell him is going to be good for me. *sighs, falls back on her bed and covers his face with his hands* mufflemufflemuffle *pulls hands away* oops. You have any suggestions? Besides telling him about my tights and mask?

Steph: *sitting on the edge of her bed, elbows on knees, hands cupping her chin* Well you could... no, that's dumb... Or... no, that's illegal... Why don't you try... nah, he'll never buy that... *throws her hands up in frustration* I don't know Tim, I can't think of anything good. How do you tell a parent you've disappeared for 3 months without saying you ran away or you were kidnapped or you were... saving the frickin' world! *sighs and cradles her head in her hands again* Do you mind explaining why you are so dead set against telling him you're Robin? The main reason you never told him before is gone and your being a hero is as plausible an excuse as anything else we can come up with. Plus it has the added bonus of being the truth. *stares at him with an expression which he can easily read as her daring him to call her nuts again*

Tim: *Sighs* I don't know. Maybe I will tell him.*pulls her close* This sucks.

Steph: *lets herself be pulled close* I know. But I've been wracking my already overtaxed brains since we got home and I still don't know what you can tell your dad. Why don't you ask Dick what he thinks too?

Tim: That's the smartest thing I've heard in three months. I'll call Dick in the morning.

Steph: Good, I'm sure he can help. *looks thoughtful for a moment, then refocuses on Tim* So, do we need to talk about anything else or is that enough shop talk? *winds her arms around his neck*

Tim: *kisses her for a short while* Well, *sigh* as much as I want to skip the shop talk and just be with you for a while, I don't think it's fair 'til I finish. I know that no matter what I do tell my dad, I'm going to be grounded for, well, forever. And with the way everyone seems to look to me too much even though you're the boss, I think it's time for me to step back. I'm quitting the team, at least for now. *looks really worried* But I don't want to quit you.

Steph: *is silent for a moment* Well, as much as I hate to say it, yeah, you're right, you do need to leave the team. But, lets call it a leave of absence rather than quitting, 'k? *smiles* They can't help but to look to you Tim. Hec, I still look to you. You did teach me almost everything I know about this business. Its easy to listen to you, you are the best leader we've had. *sighs, reaches out and touches his cheek* But I never thought you were quitting me. I didn't even think that was an issue. No matter how long you're gone, or what happens with your dad, I'll still be there for you, got it? *smiles again* I love you, you doof.

Tim: *smiles, a weight has been visibly lifted* I love you too. God, it feels so good hearing you say that. *brushes a blonde curl from her face* And you're a great leader. Better than I have been for the past year, honest. I know that'll be obvious once you're out of my shadow. I don't know about the leave of absence though; I've actually been thinking of hanging up the cape all-together.

Steph: *her smile fades, she is visibly shocked by his last words* You.. you wanna hang up the cape? But...why?

Tim: I talked with Dick about this a couple years back. I never planned to make this my long-term plan, a lifelong career. I became Robin because Batman had to have a Robin, and went in deciding that someday it would be time to move on, let a new Robin into the mask and cape, and put the superheroing behind me. And well, without a Batman I think it's gotten to the time for me to step away from it. Maybe someday Dick will become Batman, and he'll take a new Robin, but I doubt it'll be me. *smiles, more to himself than anything* Never know, maybe hell'll freeze over and Dick'll let Jason have the job.

Steph: *just sitting there, still looking slightly shocked* Wow. I don't think I realized that. I mean, I know its not something we can do forever, I just didn't realize you were thinking of chucking the whole deal already. *pauses* Do you really think you'll be able to? Give it all up I mean? *takes his hand, lacing her fingers with his* I know this last year has been rough for you, but don't you think you'd miss it a little bit? I've seen the look on your face when we swing from roofs and when we take down the bad guy. That sort of thing ain't easy to leave behind.

Tim: *squeezes her hand and smiles* No, it won't be easy. And I'm not going to ask you to do it with me. *smile fades* And I know there were a lot of bad this last year, but I'd already made this decision a year before all of this ever happened. I've always known my time as Robin would come to an end. The longer I keep waiting, the harder it's going to be. I'm not going to become a careerless adult hero with nothing to their lives but other superheroes and violence. Robin's a job, and well, I guess the job's over. No Batman, no Robin. I will miss it, especially kicking tail with you *smiles again* but I think I'll be happy too.

Steph: Oh, I know you're not asking me to give it up too. *grins* You already tried and it didn't work. But no more Batman and Robin. That just seems so... wrong. *shakes head* But don't get me wrong, you've got to do what's right for you, and you've obviously been thinking about it alot, so that's cool. I'm not gonna try to convince you one way or another, I'm just here to make sure you've thought of everything. *grin fades* Umm, but you won't mind having a superhero in your life even if you're not one, will you? *looks hopefully at him*

Tim: Heck no! I mean, I'll worry about you, but as long as I can still take you I won't feel threatened or anything. *grins* No, I love you no matter who you want to be, cool? Heck, maybe YOU can be the new Robin. *bites the corner of his lower lip* And I THINK I've covered everything. I'm going to call Dick before telling my dad....whatever I tell him.

Steph: *blinks at him for a second, then flops backwards on her bed* Ok, I think I've had enough crazy ideas for one night. ME, be Robin? I didn't think that was an equal opportunity employment position. *stares at the ceiling* And it'd be so very weird... *looks over at him* Oh, you were joking, right?

Tim: No joke. I think it's perfect. I think YOU'RE perfect for the job. I wouldn't want to see the cape on anyone else, and you wouldn't have to lie to mom about stopping the Spoiler gig.

Steph: *looks back at the ceiling* No joke... *sits up again* I... don't know what to say. That's a hell of an honour, but I don't know if I could. I mean, its totally giving up my own identity, but it also means I've got like, total endorsement by the all powerful Bat-family *grins*. But obviously, before I even truly entertain the idea, I'd have to talk to Dick about it too. *stops for a moment, looks down at herself* And I'd have to order a new costume... *looks back at Tim and smiles*

Tim: *Taking that as a "yesquite obviously too* *smiles* What? Mine won't fit? Actually, I have a couple design ideas and improvements if you want any help. But that, and each of our calls to Dick, can wait til morning. *somewhat shifty and nervous, quieter* So, can I stay here tonight, or should I go crash at the cave?

Steph: Mom's on the nightshift this week, so you can stay here. I love it when she works nights... *smiles, trying to alleviate his nervousness*

Tim: If it means I get more time with you, I like your mom working nights too. *smiles and kisses her*