Pairing: Cassandra Cain/Tim Drake (Batgirl/Robin)
Manifesto: I blame my love for this ship 100% on the anon author (she's since left fandom entirely) I'll be linking below. Back in the halcyon days of 2000, I kind of completely by accident ended up in a fantastic group of internet friends who managed to write a bunch of highly entertaining, fluffy, Bat-Family fanfic. It was based around our appreciation of the Barbara Gordon/Dick Grayson pairing (I ran an archive) and the various silly characters who were planetary bodies in their solar system. At the time, all the non-core Bat books were being written by one author (Chuck Dixon, and barring the Batgirl title, but it was OBVIOUS the writers compared notes), so there was a lot of interaction and involvement between the characters. Robin (Tim Drake) ended up in everyone's book, Dick (Nightwing) and Alfred happily skipped through Robin's book, Dick was a regular in Birds of Prey (where Babs and Dinah hung out), and Cassandra (the new Batgirl) showed up EVERYWHERE. It was a fantastic time period in those comics for readers who adored the family dynamic and who wanted to see these characters bounce in and out of each other's lives... like they would if they were real people.
Back then, Cassandra Cain was fresh out of the packaging. The writers were establishing her origin and her character. Everyone, including the Bat Clan, was learning about her from book to book. This was well helped by the fact that most of her origin was a clean slate. A girl raised with movement and violence as her language, not words, Cass made a HUGE choice at the age of 10 and broke with her father (who'd raised her to be the perfect assassin.) She then spent the next indeterminate amount of time on the streets, surviving the best she could. She had a lot to learn, and being taken in by the Bat Clan seemed to be something really positive for her, and incredibly positive for them. Unintentionally, she gave Babs and Dick and Bruce and Alfred and Leslie (and even Dinah) a fresh perspective. She was part of the new generation.
The other half of that 'new generation' was Tim Drake. Oh, Tim. I absolutely adored Tim during this time period. He was the third Robin in succession, and one who knew the legacy and appreciated it. To me, Tim is what Bruce Wayne could have been, given a modicum of emotional stability. Lonely, brilliant kid who figured out the Bat secret on his own, and then worked his ass off to try and be worthy of the mantle. He's a practical, down-to-earth kid, who struggles with being the least athletically gifted in a group of people at the absolute top of their physical (and mental) game. He's an incredibly giving guy, and likely the most emotionally honest of the entire Bat Clan. Which is hugely surprising as he spent a lot of his early childhood shunted off by his parents, then in a limbo while his father recovered from severe injuries. While Tim's origin isn't nearly as tragic as the rest of the Clan's, it's pretty bleak. But he remained open (to those he cares about), sweet, funny, and giving.
The idea of them as a romantic pairing... well. I will openly admit that a lot of the impetus came from a natural desire (on our parts... remember the friends I mentioned earlier?) to want to pair everyone up. Tim and Cass were Of An Age, and canonically amusing as hell (he was totally scared of her, and she was puzzled by him.) As such, in the stories they ended up kind of falling into a friendship that involved a lot of Tim feeling really lost and flustered and Cass doing pretty much whatever Cass wanted to do. They became this highly entertaining set of partners; both highly competent, but with weird quirks all their own. For me, the fic persuaded me to fall in love with the pairing and seek out back up in canon. There wasn't a whole lot, just a few issues where they teamed up and were hysterically funny and devastatingly sad too. (If people are interested in specific issue recommendations, please PM me, and I'll dig through my stacks of comics for details.)
In my head, they kind of fell in love, and have pretty much been there ever since.
Now, I don't really know anything about Tim and Cass's current canon (I kind of fell away before Cass went back to being an assassin and Tim wasn't Robin anymore), and a lot of my love for these two and how they could have been and could still be is better exemplified in fic. So, I'll get to the recc'ing. (Note, two of my absolute favorite stories can be found in the cass/tim tag.)
Cass/Tim fanfic archive here!
ETA: I also want to give a big thanks to the authors that wrote these stories. Especially bk11 for being so awesome. Also, there's definitely a Babara Gordon/Richard Grayson tilt to most of the stories.
Fic Rec #1: Three Sidekicks, Two Cakes, and a Single Candle
Rating/Warning(s): PG. SILLINESS.
Why This Must Be Read: Because this is a really nice view of both Tim and Cass as people, with a really sweet underlying vibe.
Fic Rec #2 To Catch A Bird
Why This Must Be Read: A lovely little one-shot that has Tim and Cass on a kinda first date. Something that really draws me to this couple is how sweet they tend to be together.. which is really antithetical to their badass alter-egos, but strangely right. They really are a couple of kids who've seen and done too much, and who manage to be really innocent at the same time.
Fic Rec #3: There's No Ship Like Partnership
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13, references to drug sales and/or use, gang violence.
Why This Must Be Read: A rollicking little adventure where Tim and Cass go undercover to help flush out a Two-Face-run drug ring. This really shows them as building a partnership with a little bit of sweet thrown into the salty.
Fic Rec #4: Don't Feed The Plants
Rating/Warning(s): PG, SILLINESS.
Why This Must Be Read: This is complete, 100% crack in the absolute best of ways. To me, half the fun of any of the Bat Clan books was when they went off the rails and down the hill. Robin canonically went up against parasitic Children of the Corn who turned into a wrestler monster. Potato clocks and evil plants really aren't that far of a stretch. Also, it has Tim being a dork and Cass being blunt. BEST THING EVER.
Fic Rec #5: The Balance of Male and Female
Why This Must Be Read: This is an absolutely lovely look at Cassandra and the areas of her life that she's trying to figure out. It's got some straight-up girl talk and her on the verge of taking a step with Tim, and it does it in a realistic (for her) and really sweet way.
Fic Rec #6: Spilled Blüd
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13 for adult themes.
Why This Must Be Read: Probably one of my favorite and the absolute best story to address the changes in Tim's life after his father's death and everything that lead up to it. This isn't a happy story, but it's one that has Tim and Cass doing their best to support each other in terrible circumstances and becoming stronger for it.
Fic Rec #7: The Interesting Narrative of Cassandra Cain, a Batgirl, as Told by Herself
Rating/Warning(s): R, sex, angst, and confusion ahead!
Why This Must Be Read: Because BK does a fantastic job of taking an already confused situation (the Tim/Stephanie breakup) and throwing in the extra complication of Cassandra Cain. Cass, for all that she's incredibly able-bodied, is very much disabled by her lack of interactive communication. This story really explores that, using the Tim/Cass relationship as a backdrop and canvas. It's a great view of the confusion Cass has towards interpersonal relationships and how incredibly difficult it is for her to make herself heard and understood.
Fic Rec #8: Untitled
Why This Must Be Read: A short little bit of a thing, this is a really neat and experimental way to illustrate Cass's language problem... without it being an actual problem. Also, it's ADORABLE.
Fic Rec #9: In The Blood
Link: In The Blood
Rating/Warning(s): Hard R, violence, themes.
Why This Must Be Read: And we go out with a bang. This story... It's dark. It's a dark, painful AU wherein Tim uses his detective skills with rather hard and startling results. I love this story and it's Tim/Cass element because it really gives depth and breadth to Tim's backstory, all the while weaving Cass into his life in a very natural and determined way. This isn't an easy story, but it's very, very good, and one worth reading.