OKAY HI HELLO. This is the sequel to Amidst Misery everyone was looking for. BUT MIGHT I SUGGEST VISITING MY TUMBLR: RYSSABETH . TUMBLR . COM. BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THIS WAS. And where more Jason/Tim plus other fandom stories are located, as well as fic recs and other things.
Tim feels his stomach rolling around and shivers. He feels an urge for heroin that he really doesn't want ("You can get addicted in just one dose—") and he knows that he's going to vomit. And he knows Jason is going to see it because Jason is watching him like a hawk.
Tim gabs for the small trashcan near Jason's bed and vomits, everything he's eaten since he was discharged from the hospital: the hospital food, the cookies from Alfred. Tim thinks his pride is probably in there too.
"Ugh. Jason. Thanks, I…" He vomits again, tears springing behind his eyelids. He can't stay at the manor. Can't even bear to see it. Think about it.
Tim knows that the only reason Tim is here is because Jason is making sure he doesn't finish the job.
Tim likes to stare out the window. It's as close as he has gotten to the outside since he got here. He's not even allowed to open a window. That is probably because Tim had tried to make a break for the door on the evening of the first day. Jason had tackled the notion of escape right out of him, that is certain.
"You want something to eat?" Jason asks. Tim looks away from the window near the TV to look at Jason from his place on the couch.
"No." Tim catches himself and sighs. Jason is being helpful. There is no need for him to be unnecessarily rude. Frankly, it's inexcusable. And selfish. "I mean. No. Thanks."
Jason sighs himself and goes back into the kitchen. Tim can hear him banging around in the kitchen, probably looking for something for Tim to eat anyway. Jason is. Jason is good like that. He's a little like Alfred, actually (and yes, Tim knows that sounds ghastly). He comes out of the kitchen, holding a paper plate with what looks like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on it.
Tim sort of just stares at it, thinking about raising a brow. He really isn't hungry. His stomach is still boiling from his detoxing.
"Well?" Jason raises an eyebrow, and Tim breathes another sigh through his nose. But he takes the sandwich. This is a kindness Tim isn't used to from Jason.
Tim begins to eat.
"Huh." Tim swallows. "Low fat peanut butter." He blinks.
"Tastes like shit, so I figured it'd be healthy enough for you to eat." Tim licks his teeth under his lips and cannot help but smile. It's small and it tugs a little uncomfortably at his lips, but hey, it's a smile, which is more than Tim ever thought he would be able to manage again.
"Thank you, Jason."
Tim is now allowed outdoors. With Jason as supervisor.
Which is fine. Tim doesn't mind. At least he can go outside. He didn't realize that he actually missed Gotham's smoggy air and crowded streets. But he did.
Tim is scanning a store window when Jason says, "Do you want to go out with me sometime?"
Tim takes in a breath that he is sure Jason doesn't notice. "I thought I was already out with you?" He can't mean what it sounds like he means. This is Jason Todd, and Jason Todd doesn't ask people out, much less the boy he's watching for charity.
"Not what I meant, dumbass." That is definitely the Jason that Tim knows, but the knot in his chest sticks. "I know you miss being… Robin." Tim feels himself flinch and tries to smooth his expression out so Jason doesn't notice, but he probably already did. "So, you could come out doing the hero thing with me. Or something. I've been falling behind anyway."
Tim snorts and he doesn't snort that often. "I don't kill people, Jason."
Jason bites his bottom lip, Tim can see it in the window. "I won't kill anyone if you decide you want to go." Tim lifts an eyebrow. He is under no illusion that Jason would refrain from killing if he didn't go, so if he does go, Jason might start reforming. (And Tim tells himself that's the reason he wants to go.) "I swear! I swear on Alfred's cooking."
Well. Tim can't say no to that. "Alright. I'll go out crimefighting with you. No. Killing."
"I promise. I'll be a good boy."
Tim tries to hide his laughter, but he knows it fails. Because Jason is grinning at him.
Tim shoves at the dirty mirror in Jason's bedroom because he cannot stand the sight of himself. He can save everyone in Gotham and none of it will matter. None of it will matter because Tim couldn't save the people that he cared the most about. He was a failure as a hero. He didn't even deserve the title. Jason does a better job than he does—
Tim shoves again, hissing, and it crashes to the floor.
He grabs a shard and squeezes, feeling the pain tingle around his arm and he rakes the glass across his wrist. (I bleed, and am human. I lived and my metahuman friends died. How is this fair? How is this right?)
Jason bursts into the bedroom and jabs at Tim's pressure points on his arms, the shard of mirror slipping form his grip. He pulls Tim into his arms and Tim clings, tightly, sobs shaking his shoulders.
He hopes Jason doesn't mind the blood on his clothes.
They are visiting Dick and Alfred.
Saying it didn't go well would be an understatement.
Jason has left the living room for one minute, just one. But he has left Tim with Damian, alone, for one minute. And Damian just cannot contain his dislike of Tim for one minute.
"So is Todd your coping mechanism for the clone? If he is, both of you would be considered replacements, yes? Pity though, using someone for that—"
Tim swipes Damian's legs out from under him and leaps on top of him. Damian clocks him in the mouth, splitting his lip, so Tim hits every pressure point he can remember in his rage. He holds Damian down and has his hand poised to rip out the younger boy's throat with his bare hand. And yet Damian still looks so smug.
Jason comes back in and the look on his face sends shame creeping up Tim's neck. Jason feels bad for Tim, he can see it, and yet it is Tim who looks as if he is going to kill his little brother (or whatever they are to one another). A question opens itself on Jason's face.
"He said… he said something about Conner, and I…" Well. That's not entirely a lie. What had gotten Tim was that Damian had implied that he was using Jason. Tim would never do that. Not ever. That's awful and wrong.
(But. But what if he is?)
Dick and Alfred come in just behind him and Tim feels even more disgusted with himself. Damian starts to move a little and Alfred helps him up, gentle and loving, as always, guiding him to the bathroom to clean up his face.
"It is alright, Master Timothy. Restraint is the sign of strength." Alfred says as he begins his work. Tim can hear Jason yelling, but he cannot make out the words.
Tim's shoulders slump forward. Alfred is just being his nice and wonderful self. There is no excuse for what he had almost done to Damian.
When Alfred is done, he guides Tim back toward the living room and Jason's chest is heaving. He grabs Tim's elbow (but strangely, the grip is gentle) and tugs him toward the door.
But not before spitting "Fuck you. Fuck both of you," over his shoulder.
Tim wonders if Dick sleeps well at night.
This is a little stupid. And Tim has never pegged himself as quite this forward when it came to these sorts of things, but he might as well see if this works out the way he desperately hopes it will.
"Do you want your bed back?" Tim leans against the doorframe of the bedroom. "I can take the—"
But Jason cuts him off. "Fuck no."
Tim takes a deep breath. "…do you want to share the bed then?" Jason makes an odd gurgling sound at the back of his throat and Tim blushes because perhaps that was a stupid question, a really stupid question. But when Jason looks back at him, after his eyes flicker around the room, Tim raises an eyebrow and smiles. Tim doesn't want Jason to see him embarrassed.
"…sure. Whatever." Jason's voice is a little shaky, and Tim takes that as a good sign. Tim crawls into bed and Jason slides in next to him, his chest pressing against Tim's back. Tim breathes out slowly and lets sleep come easy.
He has never shared a bed with anyone before. It's comfortable and nice. (And Jason smells like Heaven—cigarettes and leather.) He feels Jason sort of pet him on the head.
(For once, Tim does not have nightmares.)
They are kissing. They are kissing and it is glorious. And Tim isn't quite sure how they ended up like this. They had been watching TV (and Jason doesn't seem to mind Tim staying here even though he hasn't tried to hurt himself in days). But Jason had just. Had just leaned over and kissed him.
Tim had more or less melted into it.
It takes exactly a minute and forty-five seconds to make it to the bedroom.
(Tim is only moderately embarrassed by how loud he was once in there.)
Tim has started holding Jason's hand. He hasn't complained about it, so Tim takes that as encouragement. (Tim thinks that perhaps he has fallen quite hard for Jason.)
Tim likes to go where Jason goes and he likes to cook food for him. Because Jason always looks so happy when he does these things that Tim cannot help but be happy too. He thinks, in fact, that this is the happiest he has been in a long while.
But he is incredibly guilty. Because he has just pulled himself out of a nightmare and Jason is holding him while he waits out the tremors (and the tears) but it isn't fair to him. Jason deserves better than this, he does.
"It's okay," Jason says, hugging him tightly. "It's okay Babybird. I've got you. I love you, it's okay."
Tim freezes. Jason freezes.
"I. I said I love you. Moron." Jason sounds like he's afraid. Afraid of what, Tim has no idea, but it's something.
Tim smiles. Tim smiles and it shows teeth (and now Tim is going to stop thinking that Jason deserves better, because Jason picked him).
"I love you too."
Jason's face could light up every shadowy place in Gotham right then.
Tim wants to move in. But. He isn't sure how to ask about that so.
"Do you want me to get my own place?"
Jason looks up from the newspaper he's reading (Tim had been surprised that Jason had even read the newspaper). "Fuck no," he says. "Where'd you get that idea?"
Tim shrugs sheepishly. "I didn't. Just wanted to know if you'd be willing to let me move some clothes over here."
Jason smiles. (It's so beautiful it makes Tim's heart thump hard against his ribs.) "Hell yeah. I'll even help you."
Tim rolls his eyes. "Gee, you're such a gentleman."
"You bet your ass I am."
They are relaxing. Not fighting crime, not working on looking for crime. Just relaxing on the roof, looking at the night sky, even though the stars are almost invisible thanks to the lights everywhere in Gotham, it's still rather lovely.
And Tim isn't even wondering what Dick and Damian are doing, which is good.
"Tim?" That voice makes Tim shake, starting on the inside and working its way out. Tim and Jason turn.
Tim feels the squeak pop from his throat before he can stop it. Jason looks terrified and in pain. Tim wants to reach for him, but he can't move. Because. Because Conner is right there. Right there, hovering just above the building. Right there.
Before Tim can even blink, Jason leaps off the edge of the building.
"Jason!" His voice shrieks. No. This. He as to go after him—but Conner. Kon. His Superboy.
(No. Stop. Never his.)
Kon lands on the roof and stands there. Awkwardly. This whole thing is awkward. Tim doesn't know what to say and he sure isn't saying anything.
"I almost overdosed myself on heroin." Tim says. He needs to get this talk out of the way. He has to go after Jason. His heart is running away from him, somewhere in Gotham's streets.
"I almost killed myself because I couldn't live without you. Without you and Bart and my Dad and Steph and Bruce. I couldn't do it. It hurt and. So. I tried to die." Conner looks so guilty. It's not what he wanted but. Well. If this will speed this up.
"Tim, man, I'm sorry."
"It's." Tim pauses. "It's actually. It's actually okay, Kon. It's okay because. I'm not dead." He feels himself smile. "Did you know I've been staying with Jason?"
"I could have guessed."
"I did not guess that." Hurt. Hurt on his features. But it doesn't make Tim ache like Jason's hurt did. He needs to run. "I. I came back to tell you. I'm alive. You know. I." He stops. Smiles. It's small. "Jason Todd, huh? The one that beat the shit out of you?"
"The very same. He." Tim moves forward, closing the distance between them. "He helped me. Gave me a reason to. Not be dead. Made me healthy food. It was. Sweet. Nice. I don't know."
"I guess dying sort of messes up romantic chances, doesn't it?"
"I." Tim touches Kon's arm, squeezes. "Come visit me. Come visit me in a couple days. But I have to go. I have to go right now. If I wait too much longer, I'll miss Jason and I won't do that. I." Tim feels his eyes water. "I've missed you, you know."
"I missed you too. Every minute of every day."
Tim hugs Conner. Hugs him tight, hugs him close, hugs him like goodbye. "I'll see you later. Call me. Oh. And. Go see Cassie. She will want to talk to you." Kon smiles again. It is sad.
"I. Okay." And Tim runs. Runs and jumps and he bends his knees when he lands, absorbing the shock (but it still rattles his teeth). His feet move, move as fast as Tim can get them to go, because he needs to be where Jason is (and he will be at his favorite bar, or prowling Crime Alley, though the bar will probably come first).
Tim can't believe he just blew off Kon like that. Kon, who had come to see him. But. It needed to happen sometime. Now was as good a time as any. He's free. Tim feels a weird laughter bubble up in his chest. He's free. He's free. Kon's death isn't haunting him, the what could've been isn't haunting him. Because the moment that squeak of shock left his throat, Tim knew.
Tim knew that Jason is his, will always be.
(Jason is what he never knew he wanted, but now cannot live without.)
He yanks the door of the Cavalier open, inhaling cigarette smoke and alcohol smell that je had caught on Jason many a time before. And, yes, there he is, getting up to, presumably, go out crime hunting (he's never as drunk as he acts at a bar).
Jason sees him and almost winces. But Tim rushes at him, almost knocking him down.
"I love you," he says. The smoke is stinging his eyes but Tim doesn't care. Just squeezes tighter. He feels Jason's arm loop around him.
"Where's the superkid?"
"Uhm. I. He's gone. I came after you. Isn't this the part in the movie where you kiss be because I chose you?"
He feels Jason laugh and smells the liquor on his breath.
"God. You. You came after me." He sounds bewildered and so happy and Tim almost breaks because he'd made Jason worry about that.
"Of course I did. Of course I did."
"I love you," Jason murmurs into his hair. "I'm so glad you stayed in my apartment."
"I'm so glad you saved my life." Tim replies. "So. Kiss now, right?"
"Pff, fucking pushy, Babybird." But Tim had been right, because Jason kisses him. He can't bring himself to mind about the alcohol.
Bar patrons whistle enthusiastically.
"I'm going to take you home with me, Tim," Jason whispers. "Our home."
Tim grins, biting once on Jason's lower lip. "Our home."