A/N: This is an old one from over on Tumblr that I apparently never cross posted over here. Hope you enjoy!
It all started out because Cass brought a girl home.
More precisely, Cass brought Wendy Harris home, and Bruce went mildly ballistic.
Even more precisely, Cass brought Wendy Harris to a Wayne Foundation Charity Gala, and Bruce spent the night glaring in a disapproving manner and muttering to Babs about background checks on his cell phone every now and then, which irritated Babs greatly because, firstly, she was at the gala too, Bruce just talk to her like a regular person, and, secondly, if Bruce thought that Babs would trust Proxy with her servers but not her protégé, he was clearly and heavily mistaken.
"He's just," Steph was very drunk that night, swaying slightly from side to side as she stood next to Jason, who was in denial about how drunk he was. "He's just being so overprotective." She giggled.
"He always is," Jason said, sagging against the wall. "Y'know he ran background checks on the people I used to have crushes on in middle school?"
Steph started laughing again. "Bruce." She paused, looking at Jason. "When I was dating Tim, y'know, there was so much disapproval. And I thought it was because it was me? But then apparently he heard that I was flirting with Detective Pretty Face—"
"Everyone knew you were flirting with Detective Pretty Face, Brown, you practically were screaming it from the rooftops," Jason interrupted, being a rude drunk. Steph made a face at him.
"But anyways. He apparently. Intimidated him. Bruce. Intimidated Nick. And then Nick was like, 'is Batman your dad?' Which is like, ew, no, I have enough dad issues without that well-meaning train wreck being my dad instead of just a… a…." Steph paused, searching for a word. "Dubiously present mentor-y figure?" She tried. "Eh. Whatever. But yeah. He went all overprotective for me. Instead of at me. Which was weird."
Jason grinned. "Aww, you're one of his nestlings now! Adorable."
Steph made a face. "Shut up, it's just because I'm not dating one of his real kids that he's cool with me now."
"Nah, he loves you," Jason claimed, staggering slightly as he tried to walk towards Steph. "I mean, he definitely thinks your cooler than I am, he'd probably go protective over you instead of me."
Steph turned to him, blue eyes narrow. "No way. You're like, his third favorite. Maybe tied for it."
"Ah, c'mon. If we were dating, he'd definitely give me the shovel talk. I'm the bad Robin, remember? "
"Please. He'd be like, so pissed that I was dating you that they'd never find me again. I'm like, totally the bad Robin here."
The two of them had ended up far too close to each other, noses barely an inch apart.
Steph's eyes went wide, as she pulled back slightly so she had room to gesture with her hands. "Wait, wait! That's it!"
"What's it?" Jason said, trying to move out of the way of Steph's wildly moving limbs.
"We should. Pretend to date," Steph's eyes were wide and sparkling as she grinned from ear to ear. "Just imagine it."
Jason paused, mind going to a faraway place. "He might actually pop a vein," he said, voice slightly hushed in awe.
"He might faint," Steph said excitedly. "Just… imagine it, Jason."
"You've already said that," Jason felt the need to point out.
Steph waved her hand in the air, brushing aside his distraction. "He'd be so mad! It would be beautiful!"
Jason leaned back and thought about it. It had been a while since he had tried to raise Bruce's blood pressure.
"Why the hell not?" He said, grinning at Steph. "Let's do it."
"Awesome!" Steph nearly fell over, she was giggling so hard. "This is going to rock."
Jason Todd woke up with a massive hangover and thirteen text messages from Stephanie Brown.
Jason and Steph had been spending a lot more time together since Jason had returned to the family and started living with Bruce again. Steph spent a surprising amount of time at the Manor in both her capacity as Cass's best friend and as Batgirl. The two of them had hit it off surprisingly well, bonding over shitty action movies and their experiences with Bruce's fuck ups.
Jason still was pretty sure he won, with Bruce slitting his throat, but he had to admit multiple instances of being locked out of the Batcave, fired, and told to abandon heroism is still a fairly compelling argument.
But even so, thirteen messages was quite a few.
so how serious were you about the whole fake dating thing
bc i think we could actually get some great reactions out of bruce
but we don't have to if you don't want!
but it might be fun
he'd be so pissed
also i think i ended up wearing your jacket? or maybe it's tim's
what size do you wear?
if you don't answer fast enough i'm keeping it its comfy
but yeah. dating.
could be fun?
you're totally still asleep oops sorry
Jason paused, fingers hovering above the keyboard. Should they do it?
Then he had an epiphany. It would be a lot of fun, and the worst case scenario was that no one believed them and laughed.
Fuck it. Let's do this.
The first step was, of course, telling people.
Steph, making the executive decision that she couldn't actually lie to Cass in person, chose to inform her best friend about her life choices over the phone.
"So, I'm kind of dating Jason now?" She said, tentatively looking at him as she spoke to Cass. Jason was sitting on her bed, flipping through one of her college textbooks which had been left sitting on the comforter.
"Really?" Cass said. There was a pause. "Finally."
Steph grinned, relieved that her best friend hadn't apparently smelled the bullshit.
Then she realized what Cass had said. "Wait, what?"
Steph and Jason were trying to let the rumor mill run its course instead of making it blatantly obvious what they were doing. They hung out with hackers and detectives; people would notice any inconsistencies.
Jason threw in a couple of pet names into their normal texts while Steph aggressively shared his workout photos on Facebook and wrote suggestive comments on them, which Jason usually responded to with a smirking emoji.
Despite all this, it took Tim about a week to put it all together.
Steph had just passed out after a long night's patrol when her phone's emergency tone began blaring, forcing her to jerk up, nearly falling out of bed in the process. She groped around, managing to find it where she'd left it, and answer it, despite the fact that her eyes were still closed.
"What? What is it? Who's broken out? Who's hurt?"
"You're dating Jason?" Tim's voice was so loud that Steph winced and pulled her head away from her phone.
"Now, I know I must be dreaming," Steph's voice was deadly even to her own ears. "Because I know you didn't just call me over the Emergency Only line to criticize my dating choices."
"It's true? You're dating him?"
Steph's blood boiled. How dare he act like that?
"I am hanging up now." Steph snarled, not even having to pretend, she was so simply mad at Tim. "And if you do anything to Jason to try to scare him away, you won't even have time to threaten him before I beat you to death with a shovel."
She hung up and threw her phone across the room, before falling back into the sweet embrace of her pillows.
When she woke up, she couldn't remember if she was angry for Tim for trying to control who she was dating or for indicating that Jason wasn't a good choice for her to date.
Steph made the conscious choice to bring Jason home to her mother after Cyrstal had come home with a "NO SECRETS IN THE HOUSE" sign that she'd found at Wal-Mart.
Even though it was probably just a joke, Steph decided she'd rather play it safe than sorry, and brought Jason over to be introduced.
"Let me get that, Ms. Brown," Jason said, reaching over and taking Crystal's tea-cup from her. Apparently Jason had always had the capacity to be well-mannered and polite thank to Alfred, he just usually chose not to. The result was, of course, a completely charmed Crystal Brown.
"He's so sweet!" Crystal said, beaming at her daughter. "And he absolutely adores you! The look in his eyes when he looks at you…"
Steph made a mental note to compliment Jason on his acting skills. "He's a big softie, really," she confided in her mother, just loud enough for Jason to hear.
Cass texted Jason, telling him that he and Steph should join her and Wendy on a double date sometime, which Jason immediately accepted because that's totally what siblings who both have significant others do, right?
That, and get out the embarrassing photo albums.
Jason bribed Alfred for appropriate pictures of Cass with terrible haircuts.
Cass decided that the four of them were going to go to a ridiculously fancy restaurant, complete with paparazzi standing outside and a snooty French waiter whose accent was so thick that Jason needed a bigger ruler to measure it.
It went surprisingly well, all things considered. Steph played with his hair at the table, and they held hands. Jason purposefully brushed his shoulders against Steph's whenever possible, and Steph laughed extra hard at all of his terrible jokes.
Cass grinned at Jason when Steph went off to the bathroom. "She's… good for you," Cass offered, smiling. "You're happier. Less angry."
Jason shifted, uncomfortable. "And I guess I'm bad for her?"
Cass shook her head immediately. "No. You… you ground her. You make her laugh. You remind her that she's… good."
"She knows she's good," Jason said dismissively, desperately fiddling with his water glass.
"Worth something," Cass corrected herself. "You make her feel good about herself."
Jason squinted at her. "I think you're love sick and delusional," he accused, and Cass laughed at him.
"Don't mess this up," Cass advised him cheerfully, before proceeding to wave down the waiter so that she could pay the check.
"Hey, honey-biscuits, watch your back!" Steph chirped at Jason, knocking down a mobster who had managed to get behind him.
She could feel Jason's eyes on her as she threw an electric-goop-rang at another one, electrocuting him and then trapping him in the gelatinous substance.
"Snuggle puss!" He called out, and Steph had to fight to keep her face relatively straight. "We've got incoming!"
"Do I want to know?" Dick demanded, landing lightly next to Jason.
"Just buttercup here not remembering to keep an eye on his blindspot," Steph said, batting her eyelashes.
"And schmookums not watching the perimeter," Jason said, nudging her in the ribs.
Dick stared at them, realization dawning on his face. "Oh my god, you two are actually dating. It wasn't just Tim's 3 AM paranoia, this is actually happening."
Steph and Jason looked at each other. "Yes?" Steph offered tentatively.
"That's great!" Dick grinned at them both. "I'm happy for you two! Does B know yet?"
They both shrugged.
"I don't think so," Babs said over their communicators, reminding everybody that she was always listening. "Be careful, you two. You've got something good there, don't ruin it."
Steph and Jason shared slightly panicked looks before they had to go deal with a robbery across the street.
"You're dating Brown ?" Damian nearly choked on his cereal.
Jason frowned at him. "Yes?"
Damian's eyes narrowed into slits, and Jason suddenly felt the need to reach into the knife drawer and finger the large butcher knife just to be sure.
"Tt. You two deserve each other," Damian glowered, and there was no mistake about it—the youngest Wayne sibling was sulking. "Incompetent, foolish—"
Jason suddenly sat up straight, realizing that his birthday had come early this year. "Wait, a minute, are you jealous?" He couldn't stop the grin from starting to spread over his face.
"Of course not!" Damian said, flushing.
"You are," Jason was in awe. "Baby bird's got a crush! Oh, this is precious, this is too sweet for words."
"You're ridiculous," Damian huffed, but his ears were still bright red.
"Oh God you call her Fatgirl—you've been engaging in the most basic playground, pigtail tugging behavior possible, how did I not notice this!" Jason ducked as the bowl of cereal went flying towards him. He grabbed his phone and dialed.
"Don't you dare—" Damian tried to grab the phone, but Jason held him at bay with one hand, holding off the squirming ten year old.
"Steph! You won't believe what just happened, this is the best—ow! He bit me!"
"I hear you're dating Jason now," Bruce said calmly to Steph as he drove her back to the cave. Steph tensed up—she'd rolled her ankle, which was the only reason she'd agreed to go back with Bruce. She should have realized it would be a trap.
"Yeah," she said, ending up sounding more defensive than she intended. "That's right."
"I'm happy for you two," he said, and if Steph had been drinking anything or eating anything, she probably would have required a Heimlich maneuver. As it was, she was pretty much choking on air.
She managed to hold in her What?, but only barely.
Out of all the possible scenarios she and Jason had managed to come up with, this was not one of them. She's just have to hope that he'd properly intimidate Jason soon otherwise…
Otherwise what? Would they have to fake a breakup? Tell the truth? Deal with everybody's disappointed looks and general mutterings of "thought you were better than that?" Or would everybody just laugh it off?
Steph ran for it the moment the car pulled into the Cave, wincing the whole way because of her ankle.
She ran right into Jason's arms. "Whoa, aren't you supposed to not be putting any weight on your foot?"
"Ankle," She corrected him automatically.
"Fuck, Brown, why are you walking?" He bent down, and before Steph could blink he had picked her up.
"Put me down!" She protested, blushing slightly as she felt the contours of his muscles hiding beneath the thick swear he was wearing.
"When we get to your room, sure," he said.
"I can walk!" She protested.
"Not if you want to patrol in the next week you can't," Jason retorted, smirking at her, knowing he'd won the argument.
Steph groaned and leaned her head back. "Fuck you Todd, you're too smug for your own good."
"That's my middle name," he said, grinning.
"You know you didn't actually need to carry me, right?" Steph asked as he managed to get to kick open the door to Steph's room.
"I happen to like carrying damsels in distress," he said loftily.
"I'm going to kick your ass for that later," she informed him, narrowing her eyes.
"I know," he said, grinning at her. "Worth it."
She flopped down onto her bed, pushing herself towards her pillows. "Bruce talked to me on the car-ride back," she said, as Jason sat next to her. She liked this; this casual contact. "You won, then?" He grinned, self-deprecatingly.
"No. We both lost." She told him what Bruce said, and his jaw dropped.
"Did Bruce just…"
"He gave us his blessing," Steph said. "This is a whole new layer of bullshit."
Jason threw his hands up in the air. "The one time we want Bruce to be pissed, he goes and is happy. What the fuck?"
"He's a contrary sonuvabitch," Steph grouched. Jason groaned, falling over backwards. "Ouch!" He'd landed on her ankle.
"Shit!" Jason got up. "We should probably wrap that, shouldn't we?"
"I've got tape in the bedside table," Steph hissed, poking her ankle. It had started to swell—it might have been twisted instead of just rolled.
"Gotcha," Jason said, reaching over. He got off the bed, and then gestured for Steph to swing her legs over the side so he could reach.
His hands were gentle as he carefully began to wrap her ankle. He looked up at her, pushing the white streak of his hair out of his face. "So what now? Do we come clean?"
Steph tried to swallow, but she couldn't. "I…" She looked at Jason, unsure of how to explain. "I don't want to."
"Well, I guess we can always fake a breakup if you don't want to deal with the hassle," Jason said, still not getting it. Steph wondered how he could be so oblivious to how red her cheeks were, to how fast her heart was racing—couldn't he feel her pulse, since his hand was still on her leg?
"I don't want to do that either," she said, leaning forward.
"Then what—" Jason trailed off as Steph grabbed his collar and pulled him up into a kiss.
She pulled away after only a moment, panicking that she'd ruined everything, that he'd hate her now, or even worse, that he'd laugh at her.
He stared at her, eyes wide. Then he grinned slowly. "Well, why didn't you just say so?" He kissed her, carefully cradling the back of her head in his hands.
"You know Todd," Steph said when they parted, breathing heavily. "You didn't have to go to all this trouble just to make out with me."
"Oh fuck you, Brown, that was totally your idea," he said, but then he stopped talking with a yelp, since Steph had started on his neck.
"We'll continue this later," he said, quickly becoming distracted by the complicated clasps of her costume.
Steph laughed against his skin, grinning to herself as she felt his breath hitch at that. "Oh, I bet we will." She pulled him onto the bed.
"So… Jason and I are really dating now?"
Cass looked at Steph blankly. "You already were."
"Uh, we were kind of faking before?"
"No you weren't," Cass looked back to her book.
"Well, we didn't know that we weren't."
Cass let out a long-suffering sigh. "Why?"
"We were trying to piss off Bruce." Cass lowered her book so that she could raise an eyebrow at Steph. "Look, we were drunk when we thought it up, in our defense."
"Were sober when you tried it though," Cass noted.
"That's beside the point!"
"Completely the point." Cass shook her head, clearly trying to hide her smile. "I'm happy for you. Don't break him. He's a fragile flower."
"I resent that implication!" Jason shouted from the kitchen.
"You're a delicate, bruisable tulip!" Steph yelled.
"Fuck you Brown!"
"Fuck you Todd!"
Cass raised an eyebrow again. "Well. Glad you figured it out."
"You're such a terrible best friend," Steph groaned.
"Yep." Cass stuck out her tongue.