Cassandra shifted her heavy body, looking towards the foot of the bed where Stephanie had dumped a pile of miscellaneous items and was now holding them up one by one.
‘Water, because hydration is important. Ibuprofen, you should probably take two now and we’ll see if it helps bring the fever down. Some of that gross herbal tea that you like, uh… “camo-mile” er— whatever. Chocolate, because chocolate solves everything. Candles for atmosphere. Extra pillows, stuffed animals and blankets so we can be comfy and cuddle up in bed. And…’ she threw some red, starry pyjamas at Cass and smiled, ‘a breathable, silky change of clothes. Am I missing anything?’
‘Ballet?’ Cass suggested, her voice weak.
‘Oh yeah. I’ll pull that up on my laptop right now. You wanna go change and make your tea?’
Cass nodded and wandered into the kitchen as Stephanie fiddled with her laptop, humming and already tearing open the bar of chocolate.
The kettle whistled on the stove and Cass took it off the burner. She smiled, knowing that Stephanie— who did not drink tea and usually bought coffee while she was out— had managed to find a retro tea kettle in some obscure Gotham pawn shop. Just for tonight. And she had found it in purple. She placed a teabag in a large mug that simply had ‘FUCK’ written on it in cursive, admiring the curly letters for a moment before filling it with hot water.
While the tea was steeping, Cass retreated into the small bathroom and stripped off her batgirl suit. As she feebly stepped into the silky pyjama bottoms, she wondered why she had chosen to pull herself into Stephanie’s apartment window and collapse on her bedroom floor. Usually when she was sick, she locked herself away for days, alone, to wait it out. Hidden from others until she was able to prowl the Gotham skyline once more in her full strength. She didn’t like being vulnerable. And illness, with its exhaustion and fevers and sluggish movements, always made her feel vulnerable.
But somehow, Stephanie was different. Stephanie felt… safe. After Bruce, Barbara and Alfred, Stephanie was the only other member of the batfamily she had really gotten close with so far. And somehow, it had gotten to the point where Steph always seemed to guess what Cass was thinking without her having to say a word. Knew exactly what to do to make her feel better. It was as if they were connected in some deeper way… though they bickered and fought and each found the other to be utterly intolerable at times. It was a connection that made Cass smile. Made her heartbeat flutter every time she heard Stephanie’s ridiculous laugh. Helped her to feel calm whenever Stephanie was near… and sometimes Cassandra didn’t know how she should feel about that.
When she came back into the room, holding her mug of chamomile and honey tea, Stephanie grinned at her from the bed, the lit candles filling the room with a dim, sultry light.
‘Care to join me, madame?’ she said in a horrible French accent, sticking her leg out seductively from her fluffy, pink robe.
She was answered with a swift pillow to the face. Cass apologised as she fell to the floor laughing hysterically. Steph did not share her amusement, and dragged her into bed, grumbling about how she wasn’t “in the mood for broken noses tonight” and that, if she wasn’t careful, Cass was going to make her fever even worse.
Cass leaned into Steph’s warm body as Swan Lake began to play. As the dancers twirled across the stage, their powerful legs propelling them gracefully across the stage, Stephanie stroked Cassandra’s hair distractedly; one arm hugging her close the other reaching for chocolate every now and again. They weren’t even halfway through the ballet when Stephanie fell asleep, but Cass didn’t mind.
She didn’t remember much of that night, despite their best efforts the fever got worse and the ballerinas began to dance upside down and out the window… but she remembered Steph saying shit really softly as she started awake. And she laughed. Cassandra remembered a cool rag being placed on her forehead, and the smell of the night air drifting through a cracked window. She remembered Stephanie shutting off her computer with a sigh and damning Cass for going out on patrol tonight. And she remembered Stephanie tucking her into the bed, which had been transformed into a luxurious mountain of pillows, and snuggling up beside her.
‘Thank you, Stephanie,’ Cass whispered in a fevered dream.
‘Piss off,’ Stephanie responded, smiling in the darkness as sleep crept in and stole them both away.