Note: This was inspired by this: http:/psychotchi. /art/ the-silence-withers-257879173? (without spaces)

XYZXYZ

It's been a long day, and nothing has gone right. He's sitting on the edge of a fountain in the middle of the park. His forearms are lying heavily on his thighs, with his wrists hanging limply between his legs. There's rain pouring down on him, and Tim finds himself wondering why and how he's even here. He doesn't remember making the decision to come here after patrol. Tim stares down at the rain-soaked ground. His mask is off, although he doesn't remember removing it. He's so tired, and the mere thought of moving makes his entire body hurt. It's too late/early for anyone to be out in this part of the city, and even if it wasn't, the storm is certainly keeping most people in. Tim knows that he should probably put his cowl back on and head home, but he just can't make himself move.

There's something almost peaceful about sitting here in the dark with nothing but the sound of the water splashing off the stone around him, the rain trickling into the fountain behind him, and the wind sweeping though the trees, and his steadily dripping hair. Tim can almost feel the stress bleeding out of him, and he welcomes this small minute reprieve from his extremely hectic day, but he knows that he needs to start moving again, and soon. He doesn't want to, though. He'd rather just stay here, even though his rain-drenched costume is becoming increasingly unpleasant the longer he sits here. It doesn't bother him, however, and he's actually enjoying watching the trails of water run down and off his suit.

His eyes are falling shut, and he can feel himself drifting off. Tim doesn't know why he's having such a hard time staying awake...staying focused, but he finds that he doesn't particular mind it, either. It's been so long since he's had a good night's sleep, and Tim welcomes the blissful quiet of unconsciousness. In the back of his mind, Tim is aware that he should be fighting this feeling. He knows that he should be picking himself up and dragging himself home, but he feels too heavy-like there's a great weight upon him, and he can't move. His head hurts and he knows that it'll all just go away if he just sleeps.

He's slumped over, slowly slipping into the wonderful nothingness when he feels a hand on his shoulder, shaking him awake. "Come on, little brother. Look at me. Tim...Timmy...come on."

Tim tries to lift his heavy-lidded eyes...tries to comply with Dick's request, but he can't. He tilts his head back as much as he can, but it's too difficult to focus on Dick's water smeared face. "Uh, Dick?" The words come out in a slurred whisper.

Dick's shining a penlight in Tim's eyes, which makes Tim flinch away from him. "Shh, it's me. I'm here, little brother. You're going to be okay."

He can feel Dick's hand on his neck, checking his pulse, but Tim doesn't know why. His head lolls to the side, and Dick uses his hand to hold Tim's head up in a straight position. "Hey, don't go to sleep on me, okay? You got hit with one of Ivy's special concoctions. B is taking care of her, but you need to listen to me. You'll be fine, but you can't go to sleep. Stay awake for me, Timmy. Can you do that?"

Tim tries to nod, but his head just falls forward. Dick uses both of his hands to hold Tim's head steady, and forces Tim to look him in the eyes. "Yeah, I can do that." He's still slurring, but Tim's pretty sure that his message gets across-that is if the relief he sees in Dick's eyes is anything to go by.

Tim doesn't remember getting doused with anything, but then again, he doesn't remember much of anything, right now. He tries to focus on the black and blue of Dick's uniform, but his vision keeps swimming, and he doesn't think that he's going to be able to stay awake. He can feel Dick slide a needle under his skin, but the small pinprick doesn't really register as anything more than a minor annoyance. Dick still has one hand on the side of Tim's face, holding his head up for him, and he uses it to shake Tim a little when he notices Tim drifting again. "Hey, come on, you promised that you could stay awake for me."

Tim slurs out a 'sorry' before staring down at the blue finger stripes on Dick's hand again, and watches as Dick fumbles with another syringe one-handedly. "Head hurts."

"I know, buddy, and I'm going to give you something for that, and then take you home. All you have to do is stay awake for me." Dick chooses that moment to stab him in the neck with the syringe, which makes Tim's eyes narrow.

Tim doesn't understand why Dick sounds so worried, if it's really that simple. He wants to ask Dick about it, but before he can, Dick moves the hand on his face and Tim's head slumps forward again. Tim grunts, but before he can do more than that Dick gathers him into his arms and starts carrying him toward...somewhere. "Where are we going?"

Dick hoists him further up in his arm and tries to sooth him. "Shh, we're going home. It's gonna be fine. Just remember to stay awake."

Tim wants to ask why staying awake is so important, but then his stomach lurches, and he has to use all of his control not to vomit on Dick. "Home sounds good."

Dick nods as he places Tim down in the passenger seat of the Batmobile, before getting in on the driver's side. "Yeah, it does, doesn't it, Timmy? Come on, keep talking to me. You're sounding better already."

Tim doesn't think that that's true, but he welcomes the opportunity to ask Dick questions, even if it takes him a few tries before he can finally form all of the words. "Why is it so important that I stay awake?"

Dick glances over at him as though that question is truly worrisome. "Tim, don't you remember?"

Tim tries to shake his head, but it hurts too much and makes his vision blur. "No."

Dick sighs and places a hand on Tim's shoulder. "Well, don't worry about it. We'll discuss it once you're feeling better, okay? For now, just keeping talking to me."

Tim attempts to do as Dick asks, but it's a struggle. He wants nothing more than to rest, but every time he looks as though he's going to doze off Dick shakes him awake. When they get to the cave, Dick carries him over to one of the med tables where Alfred is already waiting for them. Alfred and Dick keep talking in low hushed tones and Tim can't understand them. He knows he should be able to. After all, they're standing right in front of him, but he can't. When his eyes slide shut both of them jerk him awake. He wants to glare at them, but he knows it's for his own good...even if he doesn't know why.

After Dick and Alfred dry him off a little and get his gloves and tunic off of him, Alfred starts an IV of...something-Tim doesn't know what. He should...they did just tell him what it is, but he's having problems focusing again. Dick is beside him holding Tim's bare hand in Dick's gauntlet-clad one. The blue stripes look so vivid against his pale skin that Tim finds himself staring at them again. It's as though it's the only thing that he can focus on. Dick squeezes his hand when he notices Tim's gaze hasn't left their clasped hands. "You still with us, buddy?"

Tim shakes his head. "So tired."

Dick brushes Tim's still wet hair out of his face. "I know, but you only have to stay awake until the IV bag is empty. You can do that, right?"

Tim shakes his head again. "I don't think so."

Dick smiles at him slightly. "Sure, you can. I'll stay right here, and make sure that you do."

Tim tries to grin back, but he doesn't feel very confident right now. He just wants to sleep so bad. "Why can't I just rest?"

Dick's squeezes his hand again and sighs. "Tim, you're the one who figured out that this stuff puts people to sleep permanently. Hell, you helped synthesize an antidote. You really don't remember any of this, do you?"

Tim shakes his head once again. "No."

Dick sighs again as he brushes more of Tim's hair off of his forehead. "Well, it's okay. Just stay with me, little brother, and you'll be alright."

Tim nods and the corner of his mouth twitches into a smile when he feels Dick press a kiss to his temple. "If you say so, Dick."

The End