I enter through the window. Tim has left it unlocked--I guess he expected me to come. The place is completely dark…not that I'm surprised. "Tim, where are you?"
He turns on the bedside lamp and it's obvious that's he's upset…not that I blame him. I wasn't there for what happened, but I know how hard it had to be to watch. "It's okay," I speak as I edge closer to him.
Tim nods. "Yeah, it is." His tone is soft and if I couldn't see his eyes, I'd think it was the truth; but his eyes tell me it's never okay.
"Tim, I'm here now." It's all I can manage to say as I sit on his bed with him, but I know it doesn't help.
Tim's mouth opens and, "I know, Dick," comes out; but I see what he really means in his eyes. Those two blue pools say what his mouth won't…what he'll never allow it to say, 'but you weren't there when I needed you.'
"I'm sorry." There was going to be more to that statement, but my voice gives out before I could come up with something.
"It's fine, Dick. Let it go." Again his eyes tell me 'you're always sorry.'
I gather him into a hug and hold him close to me; despite the fact that I know Tim despises physical contact. Right now, though, I need the comfort more than he needs the space. He sags in my arms and just lets me embrace him. He knows I need touch the same way he needs distance. Tim doesn't say anything--and I'm not sure if that's good or bad--but he's letting my grip tighten, so I'll take what I can get.
He moves in my arms, and for a moment, I think he's trying to get away. But he stops, and I realize he was just trying to get comfortable. Tim's the overly logical one of the two of us, which means that he did the math and decided it was better for me to just have my little hug session than to pull away. I want to be thankful, but I'm fairly certain I came here to comfort him…not to have this go the other way around--but it's been so long since I've just been able to hug someone and not feel despair. Besides, Tim's got enough of that for the both of us right now.
"Um…Dick." Tim whispers; and I realize that I've kind of had him in a choke hold for some time. I loosen my grip, and he readjusts himself so I'm not blocking his airway. "Want to tell me what's wrong?" He looks up at me and…God, when did this turn into 'Timmy fixes the broken Nightwing'?
"Your eyes…" I cut myself off before I can finish that sentence and watch one of two things happen. Either I would have gotten to see Tim get angry--like really angry--or I could have watched Timmy go blank. I'm not sure which one's worse, but I'm pretty sure it's blank Timmy...he just turns so cold so quickly…it's almost frightening.
"My what?" He raises an eyebrow at me and I know I'm not getting out of this conversation--not with detective Timmy on my case. He'll push until I finally give and just tell him, and given he's so preoccupied with trying to figure out what I had meant, he hasn't even noticed enough to extricate himself from the hug…or maybe he has, and he's just being kind; but either way, I probably should just fess up.
I sigh…more to myself than to him and begin to explain. "Your eyes…they…you weren't blank."
"And?" Tim looks truly confused, and it'd be funny if it wasn't for the fact that I feel like my brain is splitting down the middle.
"And I could see what you were really thinking." I internally wince as I wait for the fallout. Tim doesn't like it when I see more than I'm supposed to.
And there it is…Tim blanks…his face goes completely emotionless. "I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know what you think you saw, but you were simply imagining it."
I instinctively tighten my hold on him. "Okay, Timmy…whatever you say." I want to argue, but I also don't want to give up on the hug just yet. Tim lets me hug him so rarely that I want to hold on for as long as I can get away with it. "Let's talk about what happened tonight…okay?"
Tim shrugs. "What's to talk about? I couldn't stop that jumper from jumping. I couldn't come up with anything that he didn't have a response to…maybe he had the right idea…you know, for him."
I shudder at that and I know that Tim felt it, but he just assumes I'm cold…at least I hope he thinks I'm cold. "I don't think that's the right choice for anyone."
Tim gives me a pointed look…like he just figured out why I came over here. "I didn't mean that how you're implying I did."
I nod to him. "I know." And I want to believe it. I really do, but the fact of the matter is that I rushed over here when I found out about what had happened, because merely the thought that that jumper could have been Tim--hell, at one point would have been Tim--scared me enough to make sure he was really okay, which he clearly isn't.
The thing is, Tim is quite similar to that jumper tonight…more than I really want to think about. He always has a combative response to everything. He can argue any point so well that sometimes it scares me to think about where he would have ended up had he not become Robin. I'd never say it out loud, but Tim has the intelligence and the drive that, had he fallen in with the wrong crowd, he could have easily become a villain…a nearly unstoppable villain. In fact, I'm sure he worries about that sometimes even now…especially now…what with the training and all.
Tim coughs gently and glances up at me. "I think you can let go of me now. I'm not jumping off any buildings…at least not until tomorrow night."
I have to laugh because it's just such a Tim statement. "Yeah, I can let go of you, but I don't want to."
Tim raises an eyebrow at me again. "Um, not to say you aren't normally all hug happy, but what's with the extra long embrace here?"
I shrug while I'm still holding him. "I need it, okay?"
"Why?" He looks like a child…a seriously curious and not so dangerous child…good thing I know better, unlike most of the people he tangles with at night.
I reach one hand up to ruffle his hair…the kid keeps it far too neat. "It's been a while since I've gotten my 'hug Timmy' quota."
He smirks at me and I know he's about to say something that I'm either going to smile at or smack him upside the head for…it's hard to tell which. "Yeah, well it's been sometime since I've gotten my 'kick Dick's ass at a videogame' quota, so what are you going to do about that?"
I still can't decide whether I want to smile at that or smack him in the head, so I settle for both. "Okay, but first we have to get some pizza, because I'm starving."
Tim rolls his eyes at me, but I can tell it's more for show than actual annoyance. "You're always hungry."
Finally I let him out of the hug so we can walk into the living room. "What's your point, Boy Wonder?"
Tim avoids my kick to the back of his leg and laughs. "Nothing, just that you act more like a speedster than a Bat sometimes."
I pick up the remote off of the coffee table and throw it at him…Tim catches it without even looking, just like I expected him to. "Yeah, well don't let THE Bat hear you say that. The last thing I need is him on my case again."
Tim jumps over the back of the couch as he turns on the TV and starts to get the game ready. "Yeah, yeah, go order the pizza, and no banana peppers this time."
I stare at the back of his head after I grab the phone. "Aw, come on, I'll only do half."
Tim glares at me over his shoulder. "No way, they use the type in the jar and they smell. Not to mention they get the pizza all soggy because apparently none of the cooks know how to drain said peppers."
I roll my eyes at him--because now, he's just being silly. He's completely accurate about the flaws of getting banana peppers on the pizza, of course, but he's still being silly. "Fine, fine, you win."
Tim smirks at me as he waits for the title screen to come up. "I always do, big brother, I always do."
"Not always." I mutter from the kitchen as I wait for someone at the pizza shop to pick up the phone.
"What was that?" Tim looks at me from over his shoulder again.
I mentally shake my head. "Nothing, I was just thinking about getting pineapple instead." Tim nods at me to let me know that's an acceptable choice; and right when I'm about to throw something at the back of his head just because I'm tired of listening to an endless ringing in my ear, someone picks up. "Hi, I want a large pizza with banana peppers." Tim can pick them off and deal with the soggy crust.