Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

School Days are the Unhappiest

School Days are the Unhappiest

by Mara

Summary: School sucks even if you’re *not* a superhero, but if you’re a Teen Titan, it rises to new levels of suckitude. Good thing Tim’s around to make Kon feel better.

CONTINUITY: You’re kidding, right?

NOTES: This story was written for Zeelee, because she made a wish. The title
comes from a quote by HL Mencken: “School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in
the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks,
new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense and common

* * * * *

Tim blinked as Kon flung himself backward melodramatically onto Tim’s bed at
Titans Tower, upsetting a pile of papers and books, which made an attempt to
cascade onto the floor.

Tim grabbed the pile before it could escape, shifting it all to the relative
safety of his desk. “Something wrong?”

“Everything. Everything is wrong.” Kon threw an arm across his eyes and groaned.

“Well, Darkseid isn’t invading the Earth, so I’d say we’re one up right there.”

Kon lifted up his arm far enough to glare. “Aren’t *you* a ray of sunshine

“Well, you *did* say–”

“Don’t be so literal.”

Tim leaned against the headboard. “Then be more specific.”

“Urg.” Kon toed off his sneakers and swung his legs against the side of the bed.
“It’s Smallville.”

Tim waited.

“It’s school!” Kon scrambled further onto the bed so he could sit up. “I can’t
stand it. It’s awful.”

“What’s awful? And don’t say everything.”

“It starts so *early* for one thing. And half the time I’m short on sleep
because I’m off, you know, saving the world or helping little old ladies across
the street, but I still have to be on time.”

Tim nodded his sympathy. “My dad used to wonder why I had my alarm clock set so

Kon looked away, his face reddening. “Right. Alarm.”

Tim crossed his arms and waited some more.

“The Kents, uh, they’ve started taking the cost of alarm clocks out of my


The words came out in a rush. “Because I keep frying them with my heat vision.”

“Oh.” Tim manfully swallowed his laughter.

“It was an accident,” Kon wailed. “All five times.”

“Five times. Right. Maybe Bart, Cassie, or I could call and wake you up if you
let us know what time.”

“Might be a good idea,” Kon mumbled. “But school is still dumb. It’s all
pointless stuff I’m not going to need. I don’t know why Superman is so insistent
I have to do this. Just ’cause he did…”

Tim leaned on his knees and considered his despondent friend. “I think it has to
do with socialization.”

Kon blinked.

“Or to put it another way, learning how to play well with others. Superman and
the others worry that we won’t know how to talk to or work with anyone who isn’t
part of the cape and tights crowd.”

Kon blinked again. “Oh. Why don’t they just say that?”

“I don’t know that it’s a conscious decision for them. Well, it probably is for
Batman, but he doesn’t think he needs to explain it to me.” The last came out
with a little more bitterness than he’d intended and Kon rested a hand on his

“You okay, man?”

Tim almost squirmed, uncomfortable under the scrutiny of the person who
understood him best. “Yeah. Anyway, we’re not talking about me.”

Kon didn’t look entirely convinced, scooting over to lean against the wall so
his legs lay across Tim’s feet. Tim ignored that, asking, “So, what else about

“People keep talking about college and stuff and what am I supposed to say? ‘I
was planning to skip college and see if maybe the Outsiders would take me
instead.’ Kinda kills the whole secret identity thing.”

“I can see how it would.”

“And if they’re not talking about college, then they’re talking about drinking
or something.” He smacked his head against the wall behind him and Tim was
thankful the walls were reinforced. “Even if I had time, I don’t think I can
*get* drunk!”

Tim couldn’t completely suppress his grin, but fortunately Kon wasn’t looking.
He was making good points, though. “It’s hard to listen to people who have no
idea of the darkness that’s out there.”

“Yeah. I mean, I know I’m not the most serious guy in the universe…but it’s
hard to sit around and talk about football all the time, you know?”


“How do you do it?”

Tim blinked at him. “I never talk about football.”

“No, I mean, keep the secret identity and act like a normal teenager and do your
homework before you go on patrol.”

“I don’t know,” Tim said slowly. “I just do.” He shrugged.

Kon looked at him, but obviously decided to leave that alone. Then he remembered
his own woes and banged his head against the wall again. “And I just can’t seem
to get everything done. There’s always some paper I have to write at the last
minute or homework or reading. I try, but it’s just too hard to care about
Hamlet’s decisiveness when there’s…” At a loss for words, he waved at the
Tower around them.

“I know it’s tough,” Tim said, “but some thing really are relevant. I mean,
Shakespeare’s grasp of human psychology–”

“Yeah, but you’re into that psychological stuff.” Kon stared up at the ceiling.
“I’m just the muscle. Dumb muscle.”

Tim leaned over far enough to smack Kon’s shoulder. “You know that’s a load of

“I do?”

Kon shifted his gaze from the ceiling and Tim caught his breath. “If you don’t
know it, then you should.” Tim switched to Robin’s tones, figuring that would
catch Kon’s attention. “Do you think your only value to the team is strength?”

“Yes.” It wasn’t much above a murmur, but it was enough.

“Do you think Cyborg would want you as a Titan if he thought you were just dumb
muscle? Do you think *I* would want you as a teammate?” Or anything else, he
didn’t say.

“No.” That was even softer, but lip-reading was easy when you were this close.
Although Tim wasn’t sure when they’d gotten this close and it hadn’t been his
intention to get distracted from their conversation by the fact that Kon was in
his bed and nobody would look for them–

“Mmph,” Tim said, losing track of his thoughts with Kon’s tongue in his mouth.

Without breaking contact, Kon crawled between Tim’s legs, deepening the kiss.

“Mmph,” Tim said again, somewhat more emphatically, putting a hand on Kon’s
chest and pushing.

Kon settled back until he was kneeling.

“*That’s* not why I want you on the team either,” Tim said, regulating his

Kon leaned his arms on Tim’s knees, a warm and solid presence. “Say I believe

“Believe me.”

“Say I believe you. How does that help? I still can’t handle school. No matter
what I do, I can’t catch up.”

Tim wished he had a better answer. “Well, you *are* here rather than finishing
your trig homework.”

Fiddling with the fabric of Tim’s pants, Kon looked down. “I don’t know, even
when I know I should be doing homework, it’s so hard to focus. I wait until the
last minute and then there’s not enough time.”

Tim frowned at the top of Kon’s head. “I think part of the problem is

Kon’s head shot up, eyes wide and mouth tight. His hands tightened painfully on
Tim’s knees. “I *said* I was dumb.”

“No, that’s not what I meant.” Tim shook his head. “There’s this theory about
kinds of intelligence. Like some people are really good at learning by reading.”

“Like you.”

“Others learn best by listening to lectures. Some people need more tactile,
hands-on learning, like experiments and real-life applications.”

“Oh.” Kon’s face relaxed and he loosened his death grip. “You mean, like how I
do really well in science and stuff where I get to take things apart?”

“Exactly like that. Book learning just isn’t your forte. Doesn’t make you dumb.
But schools aren’t set up to handle multiple intelligences.”


“This doesn’t mean you don’t have to try, though. Just because you’re better at
one kind of learning doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the others. Maybe you’ll
never be a great student, but I know you can get through school.”

“Yes, Mom.”



Tim opened his mouth to respond, but Kon was kissing him again before he got a
word out, pushing him against the wooden headboard with his whole body. Giving
up, Tim wrapped his legs around Kon, pulling him even closer. Somehow breathing
wasn’t that important at times like this, he thought, twitching as Kon pressed
down on him.

Kon pulled back, then attacked his neck. Tim gasped as a warm, wet tongue made
its way in a circle just above the collar of his t-shirt, but he took the
opportunity to run his hands up and down the planes of Kon’s back.

Nuzzling at the top of Kon’s head, Tim enjoyed the tickle of the short hairs,
then drew him back up for another breath-stealing kiss. “Whoa, slow down,” he
said between kisses. “We’ve got all night.”

Kon pushed up Tim’s shirt. “Yeah, but what if there’s an emergency? I’m not
taking any chances.” One hand slid up Tim’s chest, the other dipping under the
waistband of his pants.

“Ah.” Tim bit Kon’s shoulder to keep from yelling. “Very wise,” he managed
before giving up entirely on words.

* * * * *

“Do you know the worst part about school?” Kon murmured between small kisses
some sweaty time later.

“Mmm.” Tim struggled to bring his brain back to their previous conversation.
“What’s the worst part?”

“You’re not there,” Kon said, nuzzling against him.

Tim swallowed an unexpected lump in his throat. “Oh.”

“But I guess it’s only for a little while longer.” Yawning, Kon rested his head
on Tim’s chest, eyes slipping closed. “I can handle that.”

Tim stroked his hair. “We can handle anything,” he whispered.


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