There's an alternate ending to this that Winter Blake wrote over here: s/8933594/1/Absolution
Tim wakes up with an excruciating pain shooting through his shoulder, which makes sense, given his night. What doesn't make sense is the fact that's he's in the cave. He knows Alfred's handiwork anywhere, but Tim doesn't understand why Dick didn't just take him home. After all, his apartment was definitely closer than the cave, and surely, Dick knows how to care for such a simple injury. It's not as though he needed Alfred to wrap and ice the shoulder, and Tim's sure he has a sling or two back at his apartment. He shakes his head as he gets off of the medical bed he was lying on, and then searches for his suit. Tim's not surprised that Dick and/or Alfred removed it. It's standard procedure, no matter the injury, and it's not as though he doesn't have others back home, but Tim really doesn't like leaving more work for Alfred, even though Alfred insists that he doesn't mind.
He doesn't get a lot of time to search before Alfred appears at the foot of the stairs, holding a serving tray with a fresh pot of what smells like Tim's favorite tea. "Master Timothy, I would appreciate it if you remained in bed and didn't strain your injured arm anymore than you already have."
Tim knows better than to argue with Alfred and quickly gets back in the bed with a sheepish expression. "Sorry, Alfred. I was just looking for my suit."
Alfred places the tray down, hands him a cup of the tea, and sniffs the air indignantly. "I've taken the liberty of washing and mending your suit, sir, but I doubt you'll need it until that shoulder heals completely."
Tim stares into his tea, avoiding eye contact with the elder man. "You didn't have to do that, Alfred. I'm perfectly capable of washing and mending my own suit."
"It was no bother, young master, and there's no reason for you to put undue stress on that arm."
Tim huffs out a breath and still refuses to meet Alfred's gaze. He hates being the cause of more work for the man. "It's fine, really. I just overdid it last night. I'll head home as soon as I'm done with…"
Alfred doesn't even let him finish, before cutting in with a dry remark. "Certainly, you intend to stay until you're fully healed."
Tim knows an order when he hears one, and this is no different. Normally, he would insist that he's fine and that there's no reason for anyone to worry, but Tim rarely tries to argue with Alfred, so he simply nods. "Of course, but you really don't have to fuss over me. It's really not that bad."
Alfred looks affronted by the very idea. "Nonsense, young sir. I shall take care of you just as I would any other member of this family. Now, might I suggest you relocate to your room upstairs? It's quite drafty in the cave this time of year."
Tim sighs, knowing that he's already lost this battle. "Alright, and thanks for the tea, Alfred."
Alfred gives him the tiniest of smiles before lifting the tray once more and following him up the stairs. "You're most welcome, Master Timothy. Rest well, and I'll bring you something to eat soon."
Tim merely nods as he makes his way silently to his old room. He really isn't looking forward to staying at the manor while his arm heals for a multitude of reasons. While he loves Alfred and appreciates the elder man immensely, being in close proximity to Damian is one of the least appealing thoughts Tim has had all day. He could do without the boy's constant sneers and continual mocking of everything Tim does or says. Not to mention, he doesn't really want to see the disappointment in Dick's and Bruce's eyes at the fact that he injured himself once again. He already knows that he's not good enough; he really doesn't need any of them to confirm it for him.
Tim sits down on his bed in his old room, wondering how long he'll be stuck here. He's not sure how long he stays just staring into space before the quiet is broken by Dick flinging his door open and flopping down onto the bed beside him. He immediately wraps Tim into a hug, carefully avoiding his injured arm, and Tim assumes that means that Damian is either busy or not home right now. "How are you feeling, little brother?"
Tim shrugs, and tries not to wince at the pain that shoots through his arm. "I'm fine, Dick."
Dick merely holds him more tightly and clings to him like some sort of animal. "You had me worried, and I'm sorry I didn't notice your arm was bothering you. I definitely should have seen that something was up when you were focusing so heavily on your kicks, but I thought you were just working on incorporating them more, and that still doesn't negate the fact that you should have told me that you were injured."
Tim huffs out a breath. He thought that they had gone over this already, but he guesses Dick is just trying to be nice to him before Bruce comes in to lecture him on how stupid he was to allow himself to get hurt. "I know, and I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
Dick just stares at him for a long moment, still holding onto him. "I guess I should let you rest, huh?"
Tim isn't sure what the right answer is. His first thought is to tell Dick 'no, he's fine and doesn't need rest'. His next thought is to tell him 'yes, he's tired and could use the sleep', knowing that Dick will let him go, if he admits to needing something, and his third thought is to simply wait until Dick gets tired of hugging him or Damian comes home. Tim doesn't have a chance to make a decision, before Damian comes bursting into his room.
"Grayson, there you are. I've been looking for you. I want to spar before..." Damian abruptly stops midsentence when he sees Tim. "What is he doing here?"
Tim wants to laugh, because, wasn't he just thinking that not too long ago? Dick releases Tim and suddenly gets to his feet. Tim doesn't mind. He's used to Dick choosing Damian over him by now. "Tim's staying at the Manor until his arm heals."
Damian glares and looks as though he's about to throw his arms up in the air. "Of course, the idiot gets himself injured and we have to deal with his pathetic, worthless, hide." Damian storms out of the room and Dick follows him out.
Tim doesn't react to Damian's harsh words. After all, he already thinks so much worse of himself, and it's not as though Damian is wrong to be upset. Tim failed and now he's being a burden on everyone else, and he hates that…hates it more than anything.
It's not long after Damian's outburst that Alfred appears with a bowl of soup. "You really didn't have to bring this up here, you know? I could have gone downstairs."
Alfred simply stares at him impassively. "It was no trouble at all, Master Timothy."
Tim doesn't really feel like eating, but since Alfred seems to be waiting for him to take the first bite, Tim dutifully eats. The soup is just as good as it always is when Alfred makes it, but he really isn't hungry, so Tim only manages to eat half of it. He can tell that Alfred is dissatisfied with him, and that makes his stomach roll. He lies back down, and buries himself under the covers as Alfred makes his way out of the room. Tim has a feeling that this is going to be one of his longest recovery periods, and it has hardly anything to do with the injury at all.
Tim's not sure when he managed to doze off, but by the time he's awake again, it's just getting dark outside. He's half tempted to sneak back to his apartment right now, and he briefly entertains the idea, but he knows it would displease Alfred. Tim hates it when he upsets the man, so he vows to stick it out no matter what. Unfortunately, that becomes exorbitantly difficult when Bruce comes into his room with an expression that clearly says he's not pleased. Clearly, he stopped in to see Tim before he headed down to the cave to change for patrol. "Dick told me what Damian said earlier, and I just wanted to make sure that you know he's…"
Bruce trails off for a moment, and Tim's gaze falls to his blanket covered feet. "I know." He doesn't have to be told that Damian's right. Tim knows…Tim has always known. He just doesn't like to think about it, and he likes it even less when the rest of them feel a need to reaffirm it.
"Dick also told me what happened last night." Tim tries not to tense at the words, but he knows he fails miserably. He doesn't want to talk about his mistakes anymore. He feels like he's done enough of that for a lifetime. Bruce awkwardly places his hand over Tim's foot, which is still under the blanket, and Tim startles at the contact. It feels almost comforting, but that doesn't make any sense. There's no reason for Bruce to comfort him, especially not now. His head shoots up, and if Bruce notices he doesn't say anything. Instead, he just continues on in this tone that sounds like he hasn't slept in years. "I don't want you to ever feel like you can't come to one of us, Tim. I know things have been difficult for you since Damian came into our lives, but that doesn't mean you don't still have a place here."
Tim wants to laugh bitterly, but he suppresses it and merely nods instead. He doesn't know why everyone feels the need to coddle him right now. It's just a minor injury. They don't need to lie to him. He knows better than to believe that he still has a place here. His place was Robin, and now that's been filled by Bruce's real son. He can't compete, and, honestly, Tim doesn't want to…not anymore. He's spent too many years trying to fit into a place that was never really his. Now, he just wants to be useful and do the few things that he's good at. Things like tracking down information, keeping an eye on the things the others are too busy to notice, and keeping up with all of the little projects and tedious paperwork at WE that Bruce just doesn't have the time for. He doesn't need more than that.
Bruce squeezes his foot for a second before releasing it. "Get some sleep. We'll talk more tomorrow." He heads for the door, and mutters a quiet, "Good night, son." before closing it silently behind him.
Tim doesn't know why Bruce said it. It's not as though he's a Wayne in anything more than name now. After all, it's just easier for him to work at WE if he has the Wayne name. Besides, it's not as though Bruce needs him as a son or really anything anymore. He's got the perfectly genetically engineered one, and Tim just continues to be another hardship for them all to bear. He doesn't understand their need to pretend otherwise. Tim sighs to himself as he reaches for his laptop. If he's going to be out of commission, then the least he can do is work on WE stuff. After all, it's really all that he's good for right now.