A/N: Thank's for the reviews :D! That really made my day! I won't include Tim/Dami then.
This chapter is more family oriented than it is JayDick (which there will be a lot of in the next chapter).
Here's the ages (again):
don't forget to review! :)
Jason couldn't believe Dick had done that. In front of the demon spawn, no less! He gritted his teeth and stiffly walked into Timmy's room, trying to ignore the haunting sound of Dick's laugh from downstairs.
He wasn't sure what to think of Dick, currently. The guy was obviously still mentally recovering from his time on the streets, seeing as how he desperately tried to maintain the image that nothing had happened. His façade would crumble eventually, though, and then Jason would make sure he was there to pick up the pieces. But all the same...he'd worked himself to exhaustion out there on his own, and that was unforgivable.
Guess we've all made a few mistakes. He opened the black-wood door into Tim's room.
The kid's room was clean, almost too clean, to the point that it creeped him out. It looked like a freaking hotel room, the way the textbooks were lined up neatly on the bookshelf, along with rows upon rows of old classics. The desk was spotless, and the bedsheets were made so neatly that he could probably balance a penny on it. Tim stood in the middle of the room, having changed from his school uniform into jeans and a t-shirt, his back to his visitor.
He turned when Jason walked into the room. "What did you do."
"Why do people always think I did something?" Jason smirked and sat down on the bed, crinkling the sheets. Tim winced.
"I just know." Tim said. "Otherwise Dick would've gotten me."
Well, he couldn't argue with that. "Just to make it clear, I didn't do anything. What are you even doing?"
"Reading." Tim announced, but Jason could tell he was lying. Interrogate later.
"Whatever. Come on. We need to talk to Dick before B explodes from waiting." He grabbed his brother by the arm and dragged him out of the room and downstairs. Dick grinned back at him as they approached the table, and Damian pulled Tim's chair closer to him while glaring at the two middle brothers.
"Hey, Tim." Dick smiled softly at his brother. Worry clouded his features as he took in the youngest Robin's appearance.
"Hey." Tim replied dully. Jason frowned. Out of all of the brothers, Dick was Tim's favorite, his confidant. So why was he being so formal and closed off? He took the time to look at his brother closer. Pale. Dark circles under his eyes. Shifting a lot.
He was confused at the observations since Tim usually accepted looking nothing but his best, but Dick took it in stride. "I missed you a lot. You doing okay?" Three pairs of eyes were glued to the youngest critically for his response.
"I'm fine." Tim said, not meeting anyone's eyes. He stared hard down at the table, fidgeting with the sleeve of his shirt. "You?"
"Better than I was." Dick admitted, letting the lie slide. "Like the outfit?" He grinned.
"Yeah." Tim didn't look up from the table.
"Oh, for god's sake!" Damian exclaimed, facing Tim. "What is wrong?"
"Nothing's-" Tim stopped at the look on Dick's face and bit his lip. "It's just-you didn't..." He stopped again, trying to figure out how to put down his thoughts.
"He didn't what?" Jason snarled, a hint of protectiveness in his voice.
"He didn't apologize!" Came the depressed reply, and they all faced a surprised Dick for a reaction. "Okay? You didn't apologize. I get that you had an argument with Bruce and left him, but when you just vanished...it didn't feel like you were leaving just Bruce. You're the only one besides him who's ever given a shit about me in this 'family', and then you were just...gone. You didn't try at all to contact me, or let me know you were okay!
"And now you're back!" He continued ranting, hands trembling and eyes watering. "And I love you Dick, you're the only one who's ever treated me like a brother. And I'm so happy you're home, I am. But you don't know how fucking hellish this last week and a half has been for me. So maybe I'm not okay, but at least I can admit it! You just try to act like nothing happened!"
Silence cut through them like a cold, sharp knife. Tim never swore, ever. Not even the time he was shot, or when Jason 'accidentally' spilled paint all of his new shirt. They stared at the young boy, utterly nonplussed. Jason glanced over at Damian, who was quietly seething in his chair but looking somewhat concerned.
"I'm sorry." Dick stood up and walked around the table to Tim, pulling the kid to his feet and hugging him tightly. "I'm so, so sorry. I missed you Tim. But it-it just hurt so bad. You all reminded me of him so much...I just couldn't handle it. I was weak. I'm sorry."
Tim returned the hug tenfold, pressing his face into his older brother's chest and fisting the back of his shirt. He didn't accept Dick's apology, but he didn't outright deny it either. The first Robin glared from the spot at Jason and Damian accusingly, as if to say I thought you said you were taking care of him.
Jason honestly didn't know that the kid was that good of an actor. But then again, maybe it wasn't the acting so long as the avoiding. It's not like they were all social people; how could they know something was wrong with the baby bird if they never even saw him?
The words 'you're the only one besides him who's ever given a shit about me' rang through his mind. Yeah, it hurt. More than a little. Jason cared about him, even if it was hard to tell, and Damian definitely did too if the way he watched over the kid during patrol was anything to go by. Just because they hadn't done anything about Bruce not letting Tim out as Robin didn't mean they didn't care about him. Those thoughts only enforced his idea of making them all a family again.
Dick could probably see it in both of their faces, because the glare softened. He used the arm not wrapped around Timmy to usher them over. Jason complied, joining the hug, but Damian stared at them all stiffly before looking the other direction.
"For fuck's sake-" Jason growled, grabbing Damian by the arm and dragging him into the hug. Dick smiled, tearing up a little before closing his eyes.
"I'm sorry, guys." He murmured. "I'm sorry I left you. I wasn't-"
"Thinking?" Jason interrupted. "Yeah. We know. We'll get over it." They kept hugging.
And just when he thought everything was finally going to settle, Bruce came in.
Bruce felt a guilt so overwhelming that it physically pained him. For more reasons than one, of course, but the first and foremost being that he had failed as being a parent to Dick. The second Robin-turned-Nightwing was a very touchy-feely, very easygoing boy with a catchy smile and charming personality. Rather than Damian, who had been trained since a young age to be strong and sturdy and dependable, Dick was fluid and quick, relying more on his speed than actual force. And though he still would never be up to par with his older brothers when it came to muscle, he was more flexible, a better actor, and more creative when it came to problem-solving.
And, being Batman, Robin had become an extension of himself. They knew each other so well, they hardly spoke during patrols because they knew what they would do down to the second.
Then, they walked in on Jason trying to steal parts off the Batmobile and found their third Robin-who didn't, until quite later, realize that he was older than his predecessor. His movements compared to Dick were rugged and tough, suggesting a firm, unshakable aim and powerful blows. He moved quickly and effectively, but the movements were short-lived. In most fights, Jason would make the opponent move first to gain the upper hand.
Tim was, as Bruce had expected, the baby of the family. It was largely due to the fact that he was the only one of the four to have a relatively conventional childhood, and-though he was, in reality, not at all-came off as innocent to his brothers. When Jason became Red Hood, Tim used only a camera and his brain to piece together the identities of the vigilantes. He'd gone so far as to take up kickboxing, karate, and gymnastics before confronting Batman.
So when Tim's parents died, it was difficult to see the boy struggle for all of them. Extremely difficult, and it made Bruce swear to himself never to let one of his sons get hurt in such a way again.
The night Dick had left, they'd been going after files on a man who had sworn to Batman he would see Robin killed. Threats like those were made daily, and usually left no lingering worry, but this man...he was different. He was smarter, enough so that he didn't get caught. But patient enough not to get caught up in using too many weapons, since most of the time criminals just stocked up on whatever was cheap and didn't know how to use their weapons effectively. Usually stuck to throwing knives, aiming with a deadly and animalistic speed.
He'd said that he would make Robin suffer in every way he knew Bruce feared, and then move on to make sure each member of the Bat Clan watched. And then he'd stated clearly that he had nothing against Robin himself at all, even liked the kid. But that he had to make Batman pay for sending his brother to Arkham.
So when Bruce heard that his sons had failed in getting the files, he'd been left in a very unstable mindset. And the consequences were inevitable.
Looking out at his sons, all caught up in a hug with Dick pulling them all closer, Damian trying to escape, and Jason and Tim smothered between them...it made him happy. He still had a family, and they were safe. They would be safe-he'd never let anyone hurt them. Not now, not ever.
He was still in his Batman costume, and pulled the cowl over his head so they could talk to him properly.
They turned to face him and dispersed from the hug. Damian gave him a respectful nod, Jason glared at him. Dick smiled sadly but refused to meet his eyes, and Tim froze like a deer in headlights before moving to sit between Damian and Dick. It made Bruce's heart wrench, instantly regretting how hard he'd been on the boy.
"Father." Damian said, staring pointedly at the only empty chair left. "Sit down."
Bruce did so, feeling a wave of nostalgia as he noticed Dick wearing his old Robin costume.
"I'm not coming home." Dick started, and the rest of the table turned to him in shock. He waved off his older brothers' protests and shook his head. "I'll still have a room here, of course, this'll always be my home. Like with Dami and Jay. But...I'm nineteen. I need the space, the room to breathe."
"I..." Bruce sucked in a breath quietly. "Understand."
Dick smiled at him tragically. "I know, B. Besides, it's not like I'll move out on my own; I'll be close. Isn't that right, Jay?"
All eyes flew to Jason. Bruce raised an eyebrow at his son. "You're going to move in together?" He'd always known that Jason liked Dick-the first clue being the older boy's attempts at showing off whenever the younger was around, the last clue being when he 'accidentally' walked in on Dick in the shower-but he'd always figured that Dick evaded the advances. Did he...return Jason's feelings now?
He found himself surprisingly okay with that...they made a good couple.
"Uh..." Jason glanced around the table, wide-eyed and surprised, before coughing and steeling his expression. "Yeah. That's right."
"If that's what you've decided." Bruce said.
"It is." Dick nodded. Jason looked between them for a minute before standing up.
"Well," He said. "That's our cue to leave." He grabbed Tim by the arm and motioned to Damian, and the three boys left the room.
"Son-" Bruce began, ready to beg for forgiveness. He didn't have the chance; within seconds Dick was burrowed into his arms. For his age, he was slightly tall and muscled, but compared to his adoptive father he was still small and easily slid into the man's lap, arms wrapped in a hug. Bruce smiled before wrapping his arms around his son. "I missed you."
"Missed you too." Dick mumbled, face pressed into the Batman costume. Bruce wove his hands through his son's hair comfortingly.
"I'm sorry. I trust you with Tim. I trust you."
"I know." Dick replied. "I trust you too. But I need room to grow."
Silence. They basked in each other's company for a minute before separating. Dick stood back up, smiling calmly down at his father.
"Help me move in." He offered. Bruce looked up at him in surprise. "I mean, Dami's always busy training or working, Tim has school, and Jason's probably just going to make me do it myself anyway. Besides, we could both use the company."
Bruce smiled back, small but genuine, and nodded. He'd been so afraid of Dick's reaction to seeing him again after the fight...but they were okay. They'd be okay; he wouldn't lose his son. "That sounds great."
And for once, it did.