» Chapter 50

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---- From chapter 41 ----

T: hmmm
T: I want to paint
T: cmere and take ur shirt off

----

Dinner had ended just over an hour ago, the rattle of the dishwasher falling silent as Alfred washed the fine China and silverware by hand before retiring for the night. They had never quite made it upstairs to change into nightclothes, instead halting in the living room to play cards. No one wanted to play Uno with Tim or blackjack with Dick, so they'd defaulted to poker, which none of them were very good at. Except for Roy, who was secretly very good at it.

Over the hour they had slowly dressed down, Dickie had removed various parts of his suit, his blazer laid over the back of the couch and his tie around his neck, sleeves folded up to show his forearms. Tim had undone his vest so that it fell open around his sides, revealing a dark red button-up with the first few buttons undone. He had rolled his slacks up to just below his knees, and his sleeves to above his ankles. He looked vaguely like the son of a rich diplomat after being strangled on a desert island post-shipwreck in a 2000 Adventure/Romance movie.

Eventually, they had made a game of it, the loser of a round removing an article of clothing until they were freed of confining ties, jackets, and left in button-ups and slacks.

Dressing for dinner wasn't something they did every evening, and Wally and Roy were close enough friends that their presence didn't warrant a lavish affair, but once a month routine demanded they put on their suits and headed down the stairs to the dimmed dining room. Jason would never admit it, but he actually enjoyed the ritual of dressing for dinner; unlike galas where appearance took presidency over comfort and entertainment, where they all had a carefully constructed part to play, dinner was a private family affair. It gave Dickie a chance to wear his newest suit and Jason a chance to freely admire Tim in his large rotation of vests without having to peer over the shoulders of snobbish socialites vying for his attention.

"I fold," Wally shook his head, laying his cards down flat on the table.

To his left, Barabara threw a few more of the loose coins they'd been playing with into the pot. Amongst the links and dirty coins sat Dick's expensive watch, a piece of paper allegedly containing the password to Roy's Instagram account, Bruce's favourite pen, which Jason nicked out of his office a few weeks ago, and a few crinkled hundred dollar bills.

"I raise," she said.

Jason looked at his cards, four of a kind. Next to him, Tim had managed to cheat his way into a straight flush, and who knew what Barabara had. Cass and Bruce had left for a short patrol right after dinner and were due back in another hour. Once Cass- who didn't know half the rules but managed to win every other game- was back, it was over for them all.

"I'm all in," he said, shoving his own stack of nickels and dimes towards the center of the table. On the couch, Konner coughed into his fist. He wasn't allowed to play with them, since he always used his x-ray vision to cheat and then told Tim what everyone else had, but he enjoyed loitering nearby making judgmental noises every few turns.

At his right, with his head resting on Jason's thigh and his cards open for everyone that side of the table to see, Tim was carefully adding spoonfuls of sugar straight into a pot of coffee resting on the ground, because he was a selfish asshole who didn't care if other people liked their coffee with or without a lethal dose of C12H22O11. Spoonful after spoonful. One. Two. Three. Four.

"Tim," Dick called gently.

Tim hummed noncommittally, carefully trying to balance another spoonful of sugar on the concave silverware without spilling any on the carpet and without sitting up to do it properly.

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