He and Dick had shared a lot of things over the years, but Tim had never expected them to share lovers.
Of course, that had been several years and several dozen of Dick's exes ago. Back then, the list was short enough that Tim actually could have had expectations. Kory was intimidating in pretty much every way, he was more interested in Babs on a cerebral level, and Tim really wasn't interested in guys, so that left out Roy.
Helena, however…she was an entirely different matter. Tim knew she didn't conform to any standard; he'd just never known his own standards were not as rigid as he had originally supposed. But then, after everything that had happened that year, he'd both been at loose ends and too mentally and emotionally exhausted to keep his walls up.
After the gang wars had wracked Gotham, Tim had been left minus two ex-girlfriends and his father. With Dana in a facility in Bludhaven, it had only made sense for him to move there, regardless of his status as a newly-adopted Wayne. With Dick in New York with the Outsiders, Nightwing had left Huntress in charge of his city. And, apparently, in charge of Robin as well.
Helena was often sarcastic and did not suffer fools lightly or quietly. She was also a great teacher and a very caring individual. Or she could be.
And from the first moment Tim had shown up at her doorstep – because she'd rigged the window with paralytic darts, and anyway, he couldn't go out in costume during the day – Helena had treated him like an equal. She'd been crime-fighting a few years longer than him, but he'd been trained by Batman, Nightwing, and Lady Shiva.
It didn't hurt that Tim had finally gotten the growth spurt he'd begun to despair of ever having. Possibly he shouldn't have run up so many sleep debts during his years as Robin; maybe it wouldn't have been delayed so much.
Whatever it was, his years leading Young Justice, his years leading the Titans, his years as a superhero period, it appeared that Tim had finally been elevated above, at least in Helena's mind, the young superhero-in-training he'd been the first time he and Huntress had teamed up.
So they worked together, and even lived together part of the time, whenever Helena decided to bunk in his safehouse after patrol, as equals. Which meant that Helena felt free to snark at him, yell at him, joke with him, make fun of Batman to him, and complain about Oracle's intrusiveness to him. She also mothered Tim to within an inch of his life.
"Men," she'd snorted. "This is how women got cast in the role of the nurturing housewife – men can't take care of themselves worth shit."
Knowing that Bruce would starve if it weren't for Alfred, and that his mentor also didn't know how to work a washing machine, Tim found it hard to disagree. He did feel more than a little pride that what his mentor lacked in the ability to take care of himself, he didn't.
But Tim still found himself forced to get at least six hours sleep a night and eat at least one meal per day that consisted of actual food and not energy bars and vitamin fortified water. He also ended up having to cook most nights Helena came early to join him for patrol, because while Helena made fantastic Italian food, she relied on microwave frozen dinners for nearly everything else.
Somewhere along the way, during the months of fighting and working and occasionally living together, day in and day out, Helena had stopped doing those things because she despaired of Tim ever becoming a healthy human being without her help, and started doing them because she cared. She pushed him to get out of his stark apartment, and Tim found himself forced to endure smoky jazz bars and execrable actions movies at the dollar theater, and once, even a game of laser tag. She even listened to him talk about his worries regarding Dana's slow recovery.
Tim had though that he and Huntress would just work together, and perhaps form a sense of camaraderie. Helena was determined that they would be friends, even confidants, if not more. The way she teased him, taunted him with veiled innuendo and flirty looks, Tim wasn't sure what she wanted from him.
He wasn't sure what he wanted, either. However much Helena reminded him of a more mature, hardened, less bright but no less viscerally there version of Steph, Tim wouldn't let his heart run down that fool's path. He'd never heal if he constantly looked for reminders of the dead in the living.
And one day Tim realized that the dead stayed dead, but somewhere between mourning and yearning…he'd moved on with his life. The pain had stopped being a constant stabbing reminder of what he'd lost every minute of everyday, and had lessened. It was still there, a dull ache in his heart, but Tim could live with that, really live. And he realized, that even thought he wasn't happy, he was on his way to being content.
And Tim realized that he liked that Helena took care of him. It was nice. It was something he hadn't had in far too long. So in return – he refused to think of it as retaliation – Tim spent at least three hours a day teaching her moves he'd learned from Shiva. He also changed up her stretching warm-up routine, adding in some of Dick's moves.
Huntress had never been more sleek and deadly on the streets.
Tim refused to think about why his blood ran hot, and his cock hardened whenever he watched Helena bend one leg over her head. He wrote it off to hormones, adrenaline, and increased proximity between himself a women who considered a brief sports bra and threadbare bike shorts acceptable workout attire.
Tim didn't let himself dwell at all on the reasons that he started taking care of Helena in return, offering to bandage her injuries and rub liniment into her skin after bad patrols. But somewhere along the way, Tim started to enjoy running his hands over Helena's body when he showed her a new move, or when he taped her ribs or tended her wounds.
Helena obviously enjoyed it, too, because one night, she tumbled Tim into bed, and showed him completely different uses for those moves he'd taught her.
When he woke up the next morning, in her arms…Tim felt like he belonged there. Felt like he belonged with her, their naked bodies entwined under the covers, her dark curls spilling over his chest, one of her callused, yet surprisingly dainty hands over his heart. Maybe he'd lost a lot in his life, but Helena was definitely a gain, and he'd make sure to hold onto her for as long as possible.