Dick doesn't know what he's supposed to do. All of his instincts are telling him to run after Tim, but he knows it won't do any good. Bombarding Tim so soon after something so emotionally revealing will only arouse Tim's anger, and he doesn't want to hurt Tim anymore than he already has. Dick doesn't know how things have become so bad between them, or how Tim could ever believe those things about himself, but he knows he has to do something about it preferably before Tim is able to shut out everyone and everything even further than he already has. However, Dick has no idea how he's even supposed to go about doing that.
Dick's thoughts are interrupted by a very distinctive clearing of the throat. "Master Richard, I am aware that you are distraught, but I assure you that pacing along the back of the leather sofa will be no more enlightening than pacing on the floor."
Dick sheepishly jumps down from his perch. "Sorry, Alfred, I just don't know how to fix this."
"Might I suggest dusting, sir? It's far kinder to the furnishings and gives one plenty of time to dwell."
Dick doesn't bother arguing that there isn't a single surface in the manor that Alfred hasn't already attended to, and instead merely takes the offered cloth from Alfred's white glove-clad hand and begins wiping down various objects. He knows that Alfred has his reasons for setting him to this task, even if it's to just get Dick to release his energy in a more constructive way. He doubts that he'll garner any ideas about his situation with Tim, but the dusting does give Dick something to do.
It isn't long before Dick is hanging from the chandelier in the main hall, halfheartedly running the cloth Alfred gave him over it in attempt to keep busy, which means it also isn't long before Alfred waltzes in with a disapproving glare. "Perhaps it would be best for you to go search for Master Timothy, young sir. It has been several hours since his departure."
Dick flips off of the chandelier to the banister, slides down it until he's closer to the ground, and then leaps off of the banister and down to the floor to land in front of Alfred. "Well, if you feel it's for the best, Alfie."
Alfred gives Dick one of his long suffering expressions before shaking his head slightly. "I can assure you it is for the betterment of all, Master Dick."
Dick doesn't miss the way Alfred practically ushers him out of the manor, but he can't really blame the older gentleman. After all, even Dick knows when he's being obnoxious in his avoidance of the real problem. He hops on his motorcycle and heads straight toward Tim's apartment. The traffic is rather light this time of day, and Dick is honestly starting to think he should have taken the long route to Tim's place to give himself more time to prepare. However, when he arrives at Tim's apartment only to find the place completely empty, Dick reconsiders his stance on giving Tim space.
It takes Dick longer than he would like to admit to remember that Tim had mentioned something about a board meeting, but he had honestly thought that was just an excuse to escape, so Dick makes his way to Wayne Tower, still not entirely sure of what he intends to do or say once he gets there. It turns out it doesn't really matter, though, because Tim's not there either, and he hasn't been in all day, nor did he call to say he wouldn't be in. Dick would be worried if he didn't know that Tim probably ran to the Titans in his hour of need. He doesn't want to interrupt Tim's time with his friends - especially while Dick is still at a loss of how to repair the damage that's been done - and he can't risk making things worse, which is how Dick ends up at last place he ever expected to be.
Dick's in the middle of one of the worst areas of Gotham, standing on a doorstep, wondering just how it is that he's become this hopeless. He didn't honestly think he would be coming here, of all places, for anything even remotely close to this; but desperate times call for desperate measures. There isn't anyone who knows more about feeling abandoned by their family, and things have been going well between them lately, so hopefully this won't end as the disaster Dick's expecting it to. He takes a calming breath before knocking on the door, hoping that using a door like a normal person will win him points, instead earning him a gun pointed at his face.
There's the sound of feet shuffling across bare floorboards, and then the sound of multiple locks being undone before the door opens barely a crack and familiar teal colored eyes stare at him in the most unimpressed way. "Why am I not surprised to see you here, goldie?"
Dick sighs heavily. "Well, since I'm surprised to be here, Jason, I don't know."
Jason scoffs and pointedly doesn't open the door any wider. "Right, like you don't know that baby bird is sleeping on my couch right now."
Dick's eyes widen and he has to almost physically stop himself from pushing past Jason. "Wait, Tim is here? Why is Tim here?"
"You really didn't know he was here?" Jason seems genuinely shock and confused by this, but it only lasts a moment before he's back to his usually suspicious self. "Then what the hell are you doing here?"
Dick glances around the surrounding area uncomfortably. He would rather not have this conversation on a doorstep in the middle of Gotham. "Do you mind if I come in and we talk?"
Jason glances over his shoulder for a moment. "Actually, I do. If you didn't know that Tiny Tim was here, then I bet there's a damn good reason for that, so again, what the hell are doing here?"
Dick tries not to wince at the clear accusation in Jason's voice, but he can't help all of the questions that are probably written all over his face. He just can't figure out when things got to be this way. He wants to know when and why Tim started going to Jason, of all people, in his time of need, but most importantly Dick wants to know why he didn't know about this before. Dick sucks in a calming breath, and tries to keep his voice low. "Look, I…I came to you for help. No one knows more about feeling like an outcast in this family, and I figured you could give me pointers on how to get Tim to see that he's not insignificant."
Jason laughs…an actual, honest, full hearted laugh, and Dick can't help but feel like it's not a good thing. "Of course he's insignificant, Dickie-bird. We all are, especially in B's eyes. If you're here to find a way to convince replacement that that's not true…well, let's just say you're gonna need to find one talented magic user for that spell."
Dick shakes his head and sighs. "This…this isn't about Bruce…not really, anyway."
Jason raises an eyebrow and folds his arms over his chest, clearly intrigued now. "Then what's it really about, Goldie?"
Dick doesn't even know how to describe everything that's going on. He doesn't even know if Jason knows about Damian's magical mishap, let alone the real reason that Tim apparently came to him tonight. Dick figures that, in this instance, less is more, given he's dealing with Jason, after all. "It's about me. It's about convincing him that I don't think he's insignificant…that I'm not going to reject him." The 'like everyone else does' dies on Dick's tongue. He doesn't know how close Jason and Tim are, but he doesn't want to give away too much about his little brother's insecurities, especially to someone like Jason, who will utilize that knowledge when he's feeling particularly volatile.
Jason's eyes widen slightly and he whistles a high to low tune. "Wow, how screwed up in the head is he if even the great Dick Grayson - you know, the guy he idolizes - can't convince him that he's loved and accepted? Oh, but wait, you're trying to convince him of a lie, which is probably why he's here in the first place."
Dick glares and seethes at Jason's insinuation. "It's not a lie, Jason."
Jason laughs again, and Dick gets the distinct impression that this time it's at his expense. "Of course, it's a lie, Dickie-bird. You've already rejected him once."
It feels like a slap to the face for Jason, of all people, to be bringing this particular subject up and using it in such a fashion. "If you're referring to me making Damian Robin…"
Jason scoffs at him, cutting him off. "Oh, fuck, really, you think that's what I'm talking about. Come on, we all know Robins are temporary. If the kid didn't figure that out - being he's the third and all - he kind of deserved any pain involved. Not to mention, he's worse at dealing than me, if he isn't over that yet. Nah, I'm talking about the fact that he fucking brought B back, and from what I've heard that wasn't an easy fucking task, and you still didn't believe him. Gotta say, Goldie, even I expected better from you."
Dick can't tell if Jason is just goading him into a fight, or if he really did fail so utterly in regards to Tim. He kind of figures he must have if Tim is here instead of at the manor where he belongs. Dick doesn't even know what to say or do about that. He didn't even know that Tim and Jason were on speaking terms…well, more-so than Jason and the rest of the family, let alone friendly enough to crash on Jason's couch. He's about to press Jason for more information about when he and Tim started to become closer and acting like brothers, but he's interrupted by a weak and groggy voice from behind Jason. "Hey, Jay, thanks for…well, everything, and sorry you had to find me like you did." Jason automatically turns toward the voice, allowing the door to open far enough that Dick can see into the apartment, and Tim's voice trails off as his eyes meet Dick's.
Dick is suddenly more uncomfortable than he was when he originally knocked on Jason's door, and he hadn't actually thought that that was possible. He clears his throat and tries to give Tim a reassuring smile. "Hey, Timmy."
Tim visibly curls in on himself and glances over to Jason. "What's he doing here?" The question isn't harsh or accusing, but Dick feels as though he's been stabbed, all the same.
"I don't know. He just showed up, baby bird. It's not like I called him." Dick can't see whatever facial expression Jason is giving Tim, but his voice sounds so damn soothing that it actually makes Dick ache.
He doesn't need Damian's new empathetic ability to know that Jason is helping Tim, no matter how much that wounds Dick - and it does. It's killing him that Tim is hurting and it's all his fault. He wants so badly to reach out to Tim and make this better, but even he can see that that's a terrible idea. Tim is so damn vulnerable right now, and that just makes this whole situation so much worse. Once upon a time, Tim wouldn't let anyone see him in these moments...even Dick had to fight to get his little brother to let him in. Now, it seems as though the task of putting their little brother back together is falling on Jason. Dick can't imagine how everything got to be so messed up between them, but he's glad Jason's there for Tim, even if it does seem so utterly wrong.
Dick glances between Jason and Tim, who seem to be having some silent conversation, and he can tell that his presence is neither needed nor wanted. He knows that just being here is making Tim overwrought, and he can see Jason trying to ease Tim with calming gestures. Dick doesn't want to make anything worse for Tim, so he swallows down the lump in his throat and gives the most sincere smile that he can muster, knowing that it probably looks more like a grimace than anything else. "Well, at least, I know you're in good hands, little brother." It nearly kills Dick to refer to Jason in such a way, but Tim visibly relaxes when he realizes that Dick isn't going to force him to return to the manor. So, Dick soldiers on through the searing pain in his heart. "I guess I'll get out of your hair now." Dick knows that he should just leave it there and go, but he can't stop himself from continuing, because there's just no way that he can just let that be the end of it. "Come and see me when you're ready. It doesn't have to be at the manor or anything. I…I just really want to talk, okay?" At Tim's nod, Dick smiles back. It's still the smallest smile he's ever used, but at least it's more real and more honest than the previous one.
Jason turns back to Dick, and he's not sure what Jason sees, but whatever it is makes Jason expression soften. "I'll make sure he calls when he's ready."
Dick nods almost listlessly. "Thanks." He knows his voice sounds hollow now, but he can't help it. Dick doesn't wait to hear the sound of the door shutting behind him before he turns to leave.
The End (for now)