He doesn't know how to give Dick what he needs. He wants to. He wants to be able to give him everything he could ever desire, but he can't. Tim's not the touchy-feely type-never has been. He's been trying to be so for Dick, but it never seems to be enough. He's not an open person. Tim knows that he's not, and quite frankly, he's not even sure that it's something that he's capable of, but he keeps trying. However, it just seems to make Dick more uncomfortable and even sadder when he fails. He can't keep doing this-can't keep putting himself through difficult times, only to have Dick look at him with such disappointment.
Besides, Dick has Damian now, so it's not like he really needs Tim anymore-and maybe that's the problem. He can get what he wants from Damian, and he doesn't want it from Tim anymore. He has a new little lost boy who needs Dick in a way that Tim never really did, so Dick puts all of his efforts into Damian. This is how it should be, after all. Dick's done a wonderful job with Damian so far. He isn't actively trying to kill Tim anymore, and things seem to be running smoothly for the two of them, so maybe it's better that Dick doesn't waste his time with Tim anymore.
And, if that causes Tim pain, then he'll just have to learn to work through it, just like he always does. Dick doesn't need to know how much it feels like a betrayal to see him interact with Damian the way that he used to with Tim. And, quite frankly, Tim's pretty sure that Dick doesn't even know that he's doing it. Certainly, there's no reason for Tim to be upset over something that Dick isn't even consciously aware of, and besides, Damian deserves to have someone who cares about him, right? So, Tim is left with nothing and no one, again, in his life. It's hardly the first time, and he can certainly find something new to occupy his time. It can be an exercise in how to deal with all of the emotions that he thought he put behind him from his childhood.
Surely, Tim can find something other than Dick Grayson-other than Robin-to keep him happy, to make him forget the loneliness and pain. He doesn't know what yet, but he's sure that he can find something. After all, it's not as though he doesn't have friends-even if he's sure that they're all too busy with their own lives to deal with Tim's neediness. And, when did that happen? When did Tim allow himself to become needy in such a way? He would never have allowed this if he knew how it was all going to end. He knows that he needs to set some time aside later to figure out when, exactly, he went from an efficient fighter to a needy brother. But then, maybe brother isn't the right word anymore. He knows what he told Dick, that he knew that he would come because they're brothers and that's what brothers do, but the truth is, they haven't acted like brothers in a long time.
Tim shakes his head as if to clear it. He's sitting on one of the medical tables, stitching up his thigh. The others are all in bed. It's not as though he's incapable of suturing his own leg, after all, he's done it before. He just wishes he could focus more on the task. But it's something he's used to, and he pushes the needle through his skin almost thoughtlessly. He's about halfway done with the stitches when he hears Damian coming down the steps. It's true that Dick has done great things with Damian. After all, in addition to no longer trying to kill Tim, the two of them are actually capable of being in the same room with each other without breaking into a fight. They even insult each other less, which is why Tim doesn't say anything when Damian stops in front of him.
Tim had been the last one to come in after patrol, so he just assumes that Damian is doing his own strange nightly check of the place. It makes sense, given who he is and who he isn't. Tim expects Damian to just scoff at the wound on his leg and then leave again, so, when Damian starts to speak, Tim tries not to tug too hard on the needle. "I...your..." Tim's never heard this kid stutter and it's almost starting to worry him. "Are you okay?"
Tim's head whips up so fast that he feels slightly light headed, before he stills all over and nearly drops the needle. They might not be trying to kill each other anymore, but the two of them are far from asking how each other are, and certainly not over something as small as the gash on Tim's leg. "Um, Damian, don't take this the wrong way or anything, but are you on something?" Tim's not sure how exactly he's going to restrain Damian if he is, but he'll figure something out. They have protocols for this sort of thing for a reason.
Damian actually shudders a little before answering. "That witch that we fought tonight. She hit me with some sort of spell."
Tim's eyes widen. "Did you tell Dick? What kind of spell? What did it do to you? Has anyone contacted Zatanna?"
Damian holds up a hand to stop Tim's onslaught of questions, and then rubs his head. "Yes, yes, we followed all of the necessary protocols, and, while Grayson knows that I was hit with a spell, he isn't aware of the full affects of it. Zatanna said it was more of a mischief spell, and would wear off eventually."
Tim's sure that was supposed to make him feel better, in some sort of way, but it doesn't. "Mischief spell? What does that mean? And what exactly are the full effects that Dick doesn't know about?"
Damian looks as though he really wants to shuffle his feet, but instead he just stands tall. "I can feel your emotions. I know that you're upset and hurt. I could feel them all the way upstairs."
Tim takes a deep breath and tries to calm himself. Surely, he can deal with this. After all, he still spends a lot of weekends with Raven. "Okay, and you didn't tell Dick about this, because?"
Damian glances down at the ground sheepishly for a moment. "I liked it at first. It was nice knowing how Grayson and Pennyworth really feel about me, but then you came home, and you were so...so sad, and I know it has something to do with me."
Tim raises an eyebrow suspiciously at that. He's not sure if that's true, or if Damian is just fishing here, because even Raven isn't always good enough to tell what someone is upset about. "It's nothing, Damian. I'm just tired and sore." Tim goes back to finishing his sutures.
Damian huffs out a breath. "I can feel your doubt and I know that you're lying."
Tim sighs to himself. There's a reason he tries to limit his interaction with empaths. "What if I promise you that the emotions that you were reading off of me earlier had nothing to do with anything you've done directly?"
Damian stares at him strangely for a second before he sits down next to Tim. "Okay, I believe you, but what were they about then? You were...I can't really describe the amount of pain that I felt from you."
Tim finishes his sutures and places a gauze bandage over the wound to keep the stitches from snagging on his shorts. "It's nothing you need to worry about. Now, we should probably both get to bed."
Tim makes his way to the stairs, but he's halted by Damian's voice. "You hate me."
It isn't a question, but Tim shakes his head anyway. "No, I don't."
Damian folds his arms over his chest. "Fine, well, you still don't trust me."
Tim sighs to himself. He wasn't lying when he said that they should get to bed. He's exhausted and this conversation isn't helping any. "I don't trust anyone, Damian."
Damian raises an eyebrow at him skeptically. "Not even Grayson?"
The pain that runs through Tim is like an internal wince-all over. He's sure that Damian can feel it by the expression on his face. It looks as though someone has just stabbed him, except Damian never looks that hurt or that miserable when someone attacks him. "I think you already know that answer to that one, Damian."
Damian seems sad and confused by Tim's response. "But why? He loves you more than me."
Tim laughs but there's no humor in it, and he's pretty sure that he just saw Damian shudder in pain again. "We both know that's not true. Now, come on, I need sleep and I think I've been through enough tonight, don't you?"
Damian looks as though he wants to argue, but for once he just follows Tim up the stairs. "I wish this hadn't happened. I don't like feeling what you do."
Tim can't actually suppress the sound that wants to come out of his throat, and all he knows is that it's somewhere between a whine and a sob. "Hey, Damian, here's a secret for you. I don't like it either."
The End (for now)