Cassie had taken great pains to let the guys know that she was having a sleepover. Robin could swear she’d asked Cissie whether she thought two large pizzas would be enough or if they should get a third at least five times in his hearing. He knew Bart had been brushed aside with the excuse ‘Sorry, Bart, I’m trying to figure out what movies I should rent.’ And she’d made the fatal error of telling Kon he wasn’t allowed anywhere near her Mom’s place for the duration.
So when Bart and Kon cornered him after the meeting had been dismissed he already knew what they were going to say.
“The answer,” he said, “is no.”
“No?” Bart said. “But you don’t even know --”
“I don’t care how fun it’s going to be, or what kind of pizza toppings they’ve chosen,” said Robin. “And I care even less about the prospects of witnessing girls pillow fighting in frilly bed-things. We are not crashing Cassie’s sleepover, and that is final.”
Bart and Kon looked at him.
“For shame,” said Kon.
“Seriously, Robin,” said Bart. “You need to grow up some.”
“Pillow fighting in their bed things?” Kon echoed. “Dude. No all we wanted to do was invite you to our sleepover.”
“Your sleepover?” Robin asked wondering if he’d misjudged them.
“It’s going to be really cool,” said Bart. “Just us.”
“Cooler than Cassie’s,” Kon said smugly. “No parents and or guardians.”
“None?” Robin said wondering how on earth Kon and Bart had managed to swing that.
“You’re going to come, right?” Bart said eagerly. “I mean we can eat 5 pizzas on our own, but it would be better if we didn’t.”
“Tell him about the movie, Bart,” Kon said smug.
“Right! They came from Deepest Space! Rolly’s brother’s at college and he lent it to Rolly who lent it to me and --”
“Bart,” said Robin. “That movie’s rated R18 --”
“Isn’t it great?” Kon said. “When else are we gonna get to see it?”
“Gee, I dunno,” Robin said, swatting Kon’s hand off his shoulder. “Maybe when we’re oh. Eighteen?”
“What’s the point of that?” Bart wondered, and Kon agreed.
“C’mon, Robin. We see more disturbing things anytime Slobo makes us look at his holidays snaps.”
“Maybe,” said Robin unwilling to admit that Kon had a point. “But that’s not the issue. The issue is that I--”
“Am an anti-social batfreak who would rather hang from rooftops in Gotham than spend time with his friends.”
“--have stuff to do,” Robin said, glaring at Kon. “Real life stuff. So I can’t --”
He should have known it was a mistake. Bart’s bottom lip wibbled and Kon glared.
“So what you’re saying is that we don’t matter -- that you don’t care --”
“Of course not, Kon. That was an unfortunate choice of words, but I --”
“Listen to yourself, dude. You’re acting like missing Bart’s birthday is no big deal --”
“Bart’s birthday?” Robin said immediately.
Bart opened his eyes wide and said nothing.
“It is not,” Robin said. “You’re making that up.” It couldn’t be Bart’s birthday, could it? He was notoriously bad at keeping secrets -- but how long had Robin known Bart anyway?
“I seriously can’t believe you,” Kon said. “Look, first you ditch us, then you’re calling us liars?”
Robin glared at him. “Bart,” he said. “If it’s your birthday, how old are you turning?”
Bart blinked. “Uh --”
Thought so. Robin was just about to leave when Bart stopped him.
“Negative nine-hundred and eighty-seven? I’m not really sure.”
“Negative nine-hundred and eighty-seven?” Robin repeated.
“Give or take a few years,” Bart shrugged and Kon shrugged.
“He is from the future -- hey, where are you going?”
“Home,” said Robin.
“But dude, you can’t --”
“I’m going to need my overnight things,” said Robin. “And a birthday present.”
Sharp intake of breath. He didn’t need to turn around to know that both Bart and Kon were grinning like maniacs.
“You can pick me up from the Gotham town square at nine,” Robin said. “I’ll be --”
“The guy in the mask?”
“No, no, I got it -- a darkened alley. Right Robin?”
“... right.” Sometimes being a bat sucked.
Nine really didn’t leave him much time to get his things together or to pick out a birthday present, but his Dad was so glad to see Tim out and being social that he bought the excuse and even gave Tim an advance on his pocket money. Tim would have felt worse about that if he hadn’t actually been shopping for Bart.
Even then Bart was two minutes late.
“Darkened alley, darkened -- Robin! Didn’t see you there.”
“Sorry, I scared you.”
“I wasn’t sure you’d come. Kon said --” Bart paused as Robin adjusted his overnight bag in preparation for being dragged off at light speed. “What’s that -- is it ... ?”
“For you,” Tim said, handing over the shopping bag. “I’m sorry I didn’t have time to wra--” He bit his lip as the scraps of shopping bag floated to the ground.
“I can’t believe this! How did you know I wanted Sharks with Lasers versus Velocilraptors from Space, the ultimate showdown part three?” Bart hugged the computer game.
“Just a hunch,” said Robin, hoping that no one would wonder why the all concealing shadows were squeeing.
“Robin, this is really, really, really -- bad,” Bart stopped gleeing to stare at him in dismay. “I --”
“It’s not really your birthday,” said Robin. “I know.”
“Sometimes people do things for stupid, inexplicable reasons,” Robin said. “This is one of those times. Now if we don’t hurry, Kon’s going to start the movie without us.”
“Don’t worry,” Bart said cheerfully, getting ready for the run. “When I left he and the AI were still arguing over his choice of music.”
Robin who had been expecting they’d be going to head quarters, paused. “AI,” he said, wondering just what he’d become party to. “You don’t mean we’re --”
But Bart was off, and Robin with him.
“Wow,” said Secret. “I don’t think we’ve ever got this far through a movie without anyone making vomit noises before.”
“I know,” said Cissie. “Isn’t it great without the guys?” She nudged the pizza box over to Cassie. “More pizza?”
Cassie was sulking in her frilliest night things. “I know,” she said. “Prank calls. Susie, give me the phone.” She cheered up as she dialled. “This is going to be great. Hi. I’m conducting a survey. Is your refrigerator runn -- oh. Hi. He is? Right. The fortress of solitude? Oh. Thanks. Goodnight.” She replaced the phone. “I hate boys.”