Note: You don't have to, but it'd probably be a good idea to read the New 52 Teen Titans first.
'Building Up to Nowhere'
Prologue: Sixteen Again
by Song Six
He promised himself that this time around he wouldn't make the same mistake. This was the world giving him a second chance to do what he should have done the first time. Life was never that forgiving, and usually not so giving either. If he wastes time thinking about this too much only to scare himself out of it he knew he'd regret never doing anything forever. Forever is a long time too. There were too many times where he tried to deny himself exactly what he wanted when they were always right there in front him. He was always following under the belief that if you discipline yourself from indulging from what was pleasurable, what felt nice, what made him feel happy he could avoid the inevitable suffering that comes from all that was good. There was always a price to pay for everything in life, but what he forgot along the road was there were things that were worth it.
Steph was always worth it.
He was just too blind to see that until she finally rejected him instead of the other way around. He's always been a pretty lucky S.O.B., as Steph always said, to have a girl like her want a guy like him. He wasn't really a loser, or much of a nerd; however, he's never been the most socially acceptable guy around. It wasn't even the fact he had this big brain full of non-stop knowledge, or that he had a double life as a hero. He's just never been much of a people person. He's not exactly shy, or quiet. He just never find much necessity into making friends with people he didn't need to. Now, Tim wasn't a loner either, no way! He had friends; they just chose to come to him, so he never had to do anything. He was lucky that way too. Dick was always a given, since he never wanted Tim to turn out the same way Jason had. There was also Bernard whom designated himself Tim's right hand man from the get go. Of course, Bart had also been literally the friendliness guy in the world and demanded his friendship, making him one of his best friends. Last but most definitely never ever least, there's Conner.
Having all these people care about him with no strings attached was always a blessing he took for granted, and he knew it. He took Stephanie for granted, and he should have realized what he had as soon as he learned the truth about her death. He also should have realized sooner she was only doing what she thought had been the right thing for him, because she cared about him. He was so engulfed with finding Bruce he was blinded by what he could have been cherishing right there and then. It was as though he forgot how it felt for a moment how it felt believing Stephanie was dead. He forgot how much it hurt, all the times he cried, all the loneliness he felt. It was because of his father's death, her death that he was always trying to keep a grasp on everything and everyone he cared about only to forget about all of it in fear of losing another. He even forgot about who might possibly the most important person in his life, and for that he will never forgive himself. When they were gone, he gave up. He didn't even bother to try to dig himself out and move on. There was no moving on without them. Yet, because he was so engrossed with trying to keep a hold on Bruce, he forgot.
Maybe it was because when Conner was gone it destroyed him. He forgot who he was, and he forgot how to be happy. He spent waking up each day feeling miserable for so long that the person who missed Conner became the person he was. So when he actually came back from the dead, Tim didn't remember he'd been missing him the whole time. However, what brought him back to life and out of his funk was the moment Conner told him that he still believed in him. That he honestly thought Tim was right, and could find Bruce. It was something he'd been needing from someone, what he didn't know until that moment it was Conner's support he'd been searching for the whole time. Now thanks to Conner, he remembered how to live, and he wasn't going to let anything get past him again, especially not Stephanie.
Even if she insists it's not the right time. Even if she doesn't believe it'll work anymore. Even if she got stupid enough to believe him when he said they had changed too much. No matter what, he wasn't going to give up on Steph. She had to be the one. She didn't always get him, but she always cared about him, and that's all he's ever needed. She's always fought him when she knew he was wrong, and when he needed her to. She did what she felt would help him according to Bruce, all the while knowing he would get angry. Stephanie never gave up on him all the times he rejected her, so he's not going to stop coming for her either. There was nothing that could stand in his way.
Although, what he did not expect was waking up alone in a penthouse in New York. He also didn't know how his hair became so short, how the years bags beneath his eyes disappeared, how his costume developed…wings?
He most definitely did not expect to wake up sixteen again.