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Title: It Smoldered
Part: 6/8
Author: Aravis Tarkheena
Pairing: Tim/Tam
Warnings: Not sure yet. Nothing crazy.
Disclaimer: Not mine, everyone's legal
Chapter Length: 1,500w
Author's Notes: Written for the Women Love Fest. I picked Tam. ~<3 You get a ~1k chapter each day for the next week. Also for my Ducati table for dcu_freeforall. Prompt: 6 sleet
Summary: Tam finds a clue. Tim needs a clue. Bath mats are destroyed, but Prince William remains happy throughout.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

Part Six

“Didn't those melt the last time around?” Tam asked as Tim pulled on another pair of gloves. “I seem to recall seeing them as a mushy pile on my bathroom floor...”

The gloves Tim had pulled from his brief case looked thicker than the ones he was already wearing. These looked a lot like the gloves he used for his uniform. Tam couldn't blame him for wanting to double up, but she couldn't see how it would do much good.

Tim shook his head as he reached of for one of the least melted canisters. Tam winced and fought down the urge to shut her eyes. She did not need to see Tim's fingers get melted like a Popsicle.

“It took some time before it ate through the uniform,” Tim said, tilting his head to the shelving unit. “It's taking at least several days for it to eat through these canisters.”

Tim was right, of course. The canisters with the older dates were the ones that had the most damage.

“The labels indicate it will be at least a week before the substance will eat completely through the containers. It should only take a few hours for me to get this to our lab,” Tim said. “I should be safe for that period of time.”

Tim turned, moving towards the lab benches to search though the storage areas underneath. It took him a few seconds, but he eventually came up with a couple of the same canisters that were on the shelves. Tim tucked three of them into his brief case.

Tim looked around for a few moments more, before coming up with a few labels. Slapping one on one of the canisters, Tim wrote a date on the label with an indelible marker with large, blocky numbers. It looked identical to the containers in the cabinet.

Holding up the canister for Tam to see, Tim walked back over to the shelf. He put his empty canister on the shelf with that day's samples. Then he pulled a bag that was made of the same material as the one he had put his melted uniform in when he had stopped by Tam's apartment the night before. Dropping one of the canisters in the bag, he tucked the whole thing back in his brief case.

“I certainly hope that brief case is lead lined or something,” Tam said with a grimace.

Tim gave her a sidelong look that Tam had learned meant he was amused.

“Hiro made it,” Tim said. “I'm not sure what it's made of, but it's been through three explosions, one fire and most of Damian's adolescence.”

“Wow, Damian hasn't managed to destroy it, yet?” Tam asked. “It must be indestructible.”

“We should make his tights out of that...” Oracle put in dryly. “Maybe he won't go through them so fast.”

Tim did smile to himself, as Tam fought down the urge to laugh.

“So won't they notice when that canister doesn't start to melt?” Tam asked when she sobered.

“They'll notice,” Tim agreed. “However, I'm not so invested in them not finding out a sample was stolen. If anything, it might make them panic. Then they might get sloppy enough for us to track them down.”

“Tim's just trying to muddy the waters,” Oracle explained to Tam. “If it takes them longer to figure out it's been stolen, the suspect pool will be wide enough they might not even suspect the two of you.”

“Hopefully,” Tim said, “I'm just hoping that they don't pick up and move shop when they find out their lab has been compromised. Next time, we might not get so lucky.”

“Hey!” Tam said defensively. “It was my keen detective instincts that got us here. Not luck!”

“Of course it was,” Tim agreed. “Your detective skills are on par with the great Sherlock Holmes, Tam.”

“And your burglary skills are on par with the great A.J. Raffles,” Tam teased back.

“Art for Justice's sake, Bunny?” Tim asked with a smile.

“Call me that again, Watson, and marshmallow in your hair will be the least of your worries,” Tam told Tim sweetly.

A soft electronic sound echoed in Tam's ear. It took a few seconds for Tam to realize it was the sound of Oracle laughing.

“I think I like you Ms. Fox,” Oracle said to her.

“The feeling is entirely mutual,” Tam assured her.

Tim was pointedly ignoring them both as he went through the rest of the cabinets in the lab. There was a faint flush to his cheeks as he worked on his inventory.

“Aren't you supposed to be keeping an eye on that lawyer, O?” Tim asked her pointedly.

“He's still very much occupied by a furious wife. She has a few questions about some hotel charges on his credit card statement.”

“Ooooh,” Tam cooed. “You're mean. I like it.”

“I eat marshmallows for breakfast,” Oracle said to Tam confidingly.

Tim rolled his eyes as he started on the filing cabinets off to the side of the room. He began photographing sheets of paper as he extracted them from the file folders. Skimming the papers as he worked, Tim's eyes moved quickly over the pages.

Oracle was clearly trying to distract Tam with banter and stories of Tim's childhood indiscretions. She was obviously trying to keep Tam from being overcome with nervousness. While perhaps she should have been insulted that Oracle didn't think Tam could keep her cool, Tam was grateful for Oracle's efforts. Tam didn't have to focus on keeping herself calm anymore. She didn't have to think about anything past the amusing story of Tim's awkward teenaged years Oracle had chosen to tell her.

Tim must have realized it too, because he only made passing efforts to get Oracle off of embarrassing subjects like the short pants Tim used to wear.

The two of them were still bantering good naturedly, when Tim cut them both off.

“I think I found the formula, O,” Tim said in a deep, serious voice. “I'm sending you over the photographs of of the pages now. Send them off to the Cave when you get them. I'm sure Alfred will be waiting for them.”

Then Tim and Oracle were all business. Tim worked quickly, taking photos of the relevant pages, and sending them off to wherever it was Oracle was holed up. Tam looked into the file folder. There were several documents filled with notes and numbers that looked like gibberish to her. The pictures of the substance were eerie however. It looked like sleet, melting on a cement sidewalk. Only the cement was melting with the sleet.

Tam was peering over Tim's shoulder as he worked when Oracle went silent on the other end of the communicator link.

“Something up, O?” Tim asked as he continued to work.

“Yeah, I think we've hit a complication,” Oracle's voice was grim.

Tam went cold over all when she heard that. Her lips went numb, but she managed to stammer out a question.

“The lawyer?” she asked, shakily.

“No,” Oracle said, “Vilta. She came in through the side door in the hallway that lab is situated in.”

Tim put the files back with a steady hand, and relocked the file cabinet.

“Are you sure she's headed here?” Tim asked.

“There's nothing else in that area, kiddo,” Oracle said.

“Anyway to slip out without her seeing us?”

“Negative,” Oracle replied. “She has clear sight lines all down the hallway. You're stuck.”

“Can't you set off a fire alarm or something?” Tam asked, trying hard to fight down the panic. “She'd have to leave the building then.”

“The alarm will immediately lock down all the labs because of the flammable substances inside. The two of you would be trapped in there. She'd find you either way,” Oracle explained.

“ETA?” Tim asked.

“Forty five seconds,” Oracle answered.

Tim looked at Tam, eyes serious and focused. He didn't seem at all afraid that calmed Tam somewhat.

“Hiding will be suspicious. There's not many places in here we wouldn't be immediately spotted if she came in. It would look very bad when she did,” Tim said to her in an even voice.

Tam nodded and swallowed hard.

“What do we do?” she asked, and her voice was a breathless whisper. She felt cold all over, even as her heart sped up in her chest. She had to swallow hard around a dry mouth.

Tim took Tam's sweaty hand in his, squeezing it comfortingly. He gave her a slight, reassuring smile.

“We're going to have to brazen it out,” Tim said. “I'll try to keep her attention off of you as best I can. Just stay quiet and look confident and stern.”

Tam tried a weak smile of her own as she squeezed his hand back.

“I'm good at brazen,” she assured Tim, trying hard to keep her voice steady.

“I know you are. You'll be great Tam,” Tim said, “you always are.”

Tim gave Tam's hand one long last squeeze before he dropped it, and turned to face the door. Tam heard the lock click open and she held her breath.

The nob of the door turned as Oracle's voice sounded in their ears.

“You've got incoming,” Oracle said as the door to the lab swung wide.

Part Seven - In which Tim is bitchy and Tam is awesome.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
Arrrrggggggg Evil cliffhanger is evil.

But now Tim is closer to avenging the Duc (and Damian). Wonderful part darling.
Sep. 16th, 2011 03:37 am (UTC)
At least you only had to wait one day!

I MAY or may not have started plotting an elaborate, completely self indulgent Tim/Day fic. There's time travel, motorcycles, love triangles, and ~forbidden makeouts~ It's everything I should NEVER write.

It tempts me, Darth. I suspect you're using our telepathic connection for evil.
Sep. 15th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
Woo, yay for chances at catching up!!

Loved both of the latest parts. You're nicely building the suspense here. And Tam remains a remarkable girl who stays cool under pressure...even if she has Oracle helping her out (and who can begrudge her that?!).

This is such a delightful read. I can't wait to see how Tim and Tam try to "brazen out" their way out of things! Great job!
Sep. 16th, 2011 03:39 am (UTC)
Tim does Brazen amazingly well. Tam decides to take matters into her own hands. <333

This was fun to write. A nice diversion. I started idly plotting another fic today since I still have a few more days on my self imposed moratorium on Castling.

I'm going camping tomorrow. Several days immersed in nature always sort of frees up my mind and gives me clarity on my projects. <3

Though, I suspect my journal won't survive the trip with any pages left to write in. :(
Sep. 16th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
Oooh, idle plotting is good. Also, have fun camping!! Hopefully you'll feel relaxed and ready to go after your commune with nature. :)

Also, I see you've finished the fic! I'm off to go read both parts now! Weeeee! :D
Sep. 19th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
The idle plotting bore fruit, though I'm not sure the fic will ever see the light of day. It's EXCEPTIONALLY self indulgent. Then again, my most self indulgent fics always end up being the most popular ones... :D

Camping was awesome. I had a ton of fun. Though I caught a slight cold so I'm feeling a little muzzy headed. Started work on Castling notes again today. julyssa_hime's been awesomely helping me out with some ideas. I keep meaning to PM them to you but I always seem to run out of time! D:

I'm glad this fic is all done. I have to go post it in a few coms now. D: It's been FOREVER since I posted to a community!
Sep. 20th, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
Ugh, totally understand the never being enough time thing, dear. PM me when you get time. No worries if it's not for a while, I understand. Sometimes it's as much work to get the ideas down as it is to actually write. Strange how that works, but it does.

FEEL BETTER! I'm so worried I'm going to be sick by the time I get through all my craziness. That's usually how that happens with me, and I'm NOT looking forward to it! :(
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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