When Deeds Speak, Words Are Nothing
Summary: Kon tries to talk Tim out of his funk. Then he tries something that works.
Tim needed to talk. Everyone – even Batman – agreed on that.
Tim, however, had sequestered himself in his room, and seemed bound and determined not to come out unless he was needed to dismantle some doomsday device. And when he wasn't in there, he wasn't really into talking.
And no one was doing anything about it. Not even Bart, who had swallowed the psychology section of the San Francisco Library whole and believed in his heart of hearts that all problems could be solved with open communication. What good was all this talk if none of it involved Tim?
It was that train of thought that brought Kon to Tim's door. Well, Robin's door, technically, since they were in Titans Tower, but Tim slept there, too. Even if he was becoming Robin more and more, ever since…
Well, ever since things in Gotham descended even deeper into Hell. For Tim, at least.
It was a risk to go talk to him. A really big, monumental, 'if this didn't work, Tim might just go back to hiding in the shadows and only Robin would be left' risk. But Kon couldn't not try to help Tim. Tim was his friend. His best friend. His…everything.
So before he could rethink himself into oblivion, Kon knocked tentatively on Tim's door. He waited for a count of thirty without hearing any answer from within other than a small rustling sound, sort of like the soft susurration of cloth. He hadn't been given permission to enter, but Tim hadn't told him to go away, either, and…
Kon had always had a habit of barging in where angels and metas feared to tread. Whether that was a good or bad habit remained to be seen.
The first thing Kon saw once he closed the door behind him and looked at the darkened room was Tim. Sitting in the middle of the bed, he looked nothing so much like the island no man was supposed to be. A small, Robin-dressed island, curled half in a fetal position, head hidden behind his arms, next to his heart.
Sometimes Kon wasn't sure how to feel about his super-vision. It let him see things ordinary people wouldn't, which was a mixed blessing. He could tell, even with Tim folded in on himself like he was, that Tim had been crying, and wasn't sure how to feel about that. It meant Tim was grieving, which was a good thing, but it also meant Tim was grieving, which meant he wasn't just sad, he was also really fucking upset, and not coping.
Kon didn't know how to help Tim. But he had to try.
Tim finally lifted his head, and just looked at Kon – or, more correctly, a little to left of him, as if he couldn't bear to let anyone see into his soul via his eyes – as if to say, "What are you doing here?" And he was Robin, so he was totally saying that, just with his body language. Tim used to make actual noises, something vaguely inquisitive without being especially interested.
Tim's father and his ex-girlfriend and his civilian friends and… They all used to be alive, too.
Kon settled carefully onto the bed beside Tim; hopefully, he was close enough to offer comfort, but far enough away to stay out of Tim's Bat-sized bubble of personal space. "The others are worried about you," Kon said in explanation to Tim's rigid back.
Tim shifted slightly, but still as tense as ever. He turned towards Kon, but was still looking away. "And you aren't." It was Tim asking, so it was totally a question, in spite of his voicing it as a statement.
"Not for the same reasons they are, dude," Kon replied, inching cautiously closer. Tim didn't move away, which caused him to give an internal cheer. Maybe, just maybe…
Tim's shoulders unhunched a bit, and his head tilted towards him, which Kon knew was Robin-speak for, "Go on, I'm curious; not that I'd ever say so."
"I…I'm worried about you, too," Kon said; he wanted Tim to know that first and foremost. The others weren't there, after all. "But the others…" He couldn't really think of a way to put it that wasn't blunt to the extreme, a shock of salty water over a raw, gaping wound. "Well, half of them are worried that you're going to kill yourself, and the other half are worried that you're never going to come out of your room," Kon finally decided to say.
The truth didn't look like it was doing anything but making Tim retreat even more into himself, curl up into an even more miserable ball of Batness. It certainly wasn't setting him free from his grief.
Speaking without thinking first had seemed to work better, so Kon just opened his mouth, silently praying to whichever deities looked out for half-Kryptonian clones that whatever he said would be the right thing. "I know you'd never kill yourself." If Tim had lost the Teen Titans, in addition to everybody else… Well, Batman was Batman, and Nightwing currently had his own problems to deal with. And Oracle, even if he/she/it possessed emotions, well, that didn't necessarily mean that he/she/it spent much time with Tim. "And as for hiding in your Timcave for the rest of forever… Well, I won't let you, man." Kon tried to sound resolute and determined, strong like Superman. He had a feeling that he'd fallen short and ended up sounding nothing more than self-righteous and stubborn.
He could work with stubborn.
"You won't?" Tim asked, and the muddled mix of emotions in his voice worried Kon. Tim wasn't making a joke, like he might've if the situation was conducive to humor. He wasn't speaking with the same lackluster interest that had suffused his every other word that weekend. He wasn't angry, like he had been the other half of the time. He was…asking, almost begging for what Kon said to be true.
And that made Kon hurt inside, feel like there were millions of tiny Kryptonite shards scattered inside his body. Tim should know that Kon would be there for him, no matter what. And if he didn't…well, Kon would just have to fix that.
Decision made, Kon shifted to sit behind Tim, pulling the older boy into the circle of his arms. It wasn't really a hug; more of a half-embrace. Tim was stiff, and obviously stressed, and it felt like he might jump out of his arms at any moment, but Kon didn't want to have to use his TTK to keep Tim there; Tim needed to stay because he wanted to, not because Kon made him.
Long, excruciatingly slow minutes ticked by, and finally Tim started to relax. Or, rather, not relax, he just…un-stiffened. There shouldn't have been a difference between the two, but this was Robin, so there totally was.
"What can I do?" Kon whispered against Tim's ear, his breath ruffling the gel-spiked hair ever-so-slightly. "Tell me, and I'll do it, Tim."
He would, too. He'd give anything – his ability to age, his powers – if Tim would be okay.
Tim shifted slightly – towards Kon, not away, which made the ball of tension inside of his gut loosen to some extent – and murmured, "I…I don't know. I just…I feel–" He cut himself off and turned even further away from Kon. He was still there, being semi-hugged by him, but Kon had never felt farther away and more unable to reach Tim, not even when he was in Smallville.
All his superpowers came to naught when confronted by a friend whom he couldn't help.
"Tell me," Kon said coaxingly, and had a feeling it came out sounding more like a demand or an order than the plea it actually was. Especially when moments ticked by, and Tim remained stiffly silent.
Then Kon caught a whiff of salt scent on the air, and he could suddenly see the tears welling up once more in Tim's eyes.
"It…hurts," Tim sobbed softly, almost so softly that Kon wouldn't have been able to hear him if he wasn't Superboy. "Everything hurts. I can't even think without the memories hurting, and… I don't…I don't want to feel like that. I don't want to feel at all."
Kon was at a complete and utter loss. He didn't know what to do to make things better for Tim; nothing could make things right again. Time healed all wounds, but the healing hurt more than the initial injury. Almost without volition, Kon's arms reached out and enveloped Tim in a tight, hard hug. Tim's personal space bubble was sacrosanct. Considering that he always seemed willing to let Kon in, however, perhaps he wasn't the only one who thought their friendship was sacred.
There wasn't any place in his life that Tim didn't fit. Didn't belong. And so it didn't come as much of a surprise when Kon suddenly knew with crystal clarity exactly what he could do to make Tim feel better.
The fact that he'd enjoy it, too, was just icing on the proverbial cake.
Kon carefully twisted Tim around in his lap to face him, and then coaxed him closer. Tim tilted his face up, tear-laden eyes begging for release from his internal torment, before they closed, trying to block out the pain. Kon's own eyelids drifted shut, and he leaned into Tim, simply relishing the closeness for a long moment. Their lips met in a kiss that was almost soul-shattering, causing Kon to lose the thread of reality for a seemingly never-ending moment. A slow, sinking kiss that melted Tim's muscles underneath his hands, and made Kon wish for the moment to never end. The power behind the joining of their lips weakened him so much that if Tim had even trembled towards pushing him away, Kon could have felt it.
Tim did tremble, pulling Kon closer, even as his lips parted on a ragged breath. "Please don't stop," he whimpered near-soundlessly, tear-filled gaze focused on him once more.
Kon looked down at his friend-turned-lover, taking in Tim's flushed cheeks, wide, lust-glazed eyes, full, pouty lips…and the expression of needy desperation on his face. Tim obviously hadn't meant to say anything. But he had, and now Kon had to decide how to respond.
Saying nothing, Kon just pulled Tim closer, until there was barely a breath between them. He pressed a gentle kiss to Tim's lips, softer than the innocent, distressed fumblings of before, all the while keeping his gaze locked with Tim's, until the other boy's lashes fluttered closed over dilated blue eyes.
Maybe Tim didn't need to talk. Or maybe he did…but that didn't mean they needed to use words.
Words…could get in the way. Actions…might not be the right ones.
But love always guided you right.