Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. If you haven't read the newest issue of Robin then I suggest you go do so. As far as the direction they seem to be taking with Cass, no comment. R/R.
He repeatedly turns the piece of paper over in his hand, a subconscious tic that shows he's either deep in thought or nervous about something. In this case, it is both. Such is often the way of the detective, chasing down the tough solutions and being apprehensive once they're found out. He ponders this as he rotates the slip of paper once more, as if the words would magically turn into something else when he stares at it again. He knows they won't.
His mind drifts back to his first night back in Gotham, back from an exile that, in his mind, lasted for far too long. On that night, he had decided to revel in his independence and order his own dinner rather than eat whatever Alfred might've left in the fridge. The Chinese food was good even though it wasn't as good as real Chinese food from China, which he's had before. But that decision, like a lot of others in his life, had unforeseen consequences. He just had to be curious about that fortune cookie. He had to be.
He stares at the writing one more time to be positive about what it says. A choice you make soon could save a friend's life. He wonders if he's suddenly wandered into some horribly cliché detective movie, the kind that only someone such as him would watch. It would suit his life. He knows it would. The message from the fortune cookie was as ominous as the letter he had received, the letter that had drawn him back home, back to a city he swore he'd never return to. He had told Bruce once that Gotham was full of too many ghosts. He knows now that it wasn't the city, it was him. But he figures that he was in his rebel stage at the time he told Bruce that, the kind of stage every kid goes through when they're his age. He figures that he needed to have that time, needed to sow some wild oats and live life outside his box. He figures he needed to grieve and to break away from everything so he could find out just who in this mad, mad world he really is. It is only now, however, that he fully realizes that he should've held on to some things instead of pushing them away.
He tried to dismiss the fortune when he first read it. But he is a detective and when his gut tells him something then he listens. His gut is what brought him back to Gotham, his gut and his heart. His gut told him that they should've tried harder to find her. His gut told him that something bad was bound to happen while they were away. His heart still tells him that he needs her even though his head still can't really admit it. He always knew his head was going to kill him some day.
They were more than just friends though, weren't they? He mulls it over now, just as he's been doing since he received the letter. They are family still, held together by a bond that is unbreakable. Bruce thought it best that the family take a vacation. Bruce and Dick and Tim: the boys club. They were a trinity of sorts. Bruce the Father, Dick the Son, and Tim the Spirit. He thinks too much. It's a compulsion he has, an almost frenzied need to be analytical about everything. He knows his head will get him killed one day. So in this grand design, where was Cassandra Cain? He hasn't figured that out quite yet. He knows though that she is family even though she was not included in the family vacation. He never liked that and still regrets not raising more of a fuss about it.
She was more than family to him though, wasn't she? He hasn't figured out that mystery yet. Right now, he's just trying to find out if she's still alive. There will be time for confessions, for admissions of wrong on his part, after that mystery has been solved. He does know though that he has wronged her, has been a bad brother to her and an even worse friend. He knows that when he finds her alive, he will hug her and kiss her and tell her all these things, confess all these sins and then right them. He will tell her that he loves her, that perhaps he has always loved her. He will tell her that the year he spent in Budapest helped him understand things, helped him move away from the past and towards the future. But he has to wonder, for curiosity is his nature, whether or not it will be enough. Will she forgive him or will she hate him for leaving her behind? Will she even be alive at all to hear his grand confession? He knows that he has to try to find her no matter the outcome. The world has taken a lot of things from him but never his hope, never his determination.
"I'll make the right choice this time, Cass," whispers Tim Drake as he folds the slip of paper into a pocket on his belt, the same pocket where he keeps the letter that brought him home, the letter that speaks of her being in dire trouble. He cannot fail her even though he fears he already has. He will not stop looking and searching until he sees her alive, until he feels her arms around him and feels the softness of her hair against his cheek. He cannot stop until he discovers the truth, no matter how afraid he might be of what it will be.
"Nobody dies," whispers Tim Drake, "Not on my watch. Not again." The grappling line is fired and he soon swings through the streets of Gotham, seeking forgiveness for the sister he wronged and the girl he loved but never confessed to.