Warnings: Aftermath of Sexual Assault
Summary: Written for kiragecko's headcanon, in which Tim goes to Jason after being assaulted. I wrote it with the vague mind-control aspect of the current Teen Titans in mind, but it could work in the preboot world as well.
Tim doesn't know which one of his teammates told Dick. All he knows is that he can't be here when his older brother arrives.
He can barely face the girls as it is. They're all worried about him, and it makes Timothy sick.
He's not exactly afraid that Dick will hate him, but Tim can't stand the idea of being pitied by his hero either. So Tim does what Tim does best when he attracts attention—he runs away.
Technically, he flies, but it's the principle of the thing.
Tim returns to Gotham because he has no place else to go, but Tim can't go to the Manor. Dick wouldn't tell anyone, but everyone knows that Babs and Bruce spy on Dick in the most loving-if-morally-dubious fashion. Everyone except Dick.
So Tim wanders until it begins to rain, and then—because even Tim has the good sense to get out of the rain—he tentatively wanders toward Crime Alley. Jason squats in one of the more decrepit buildings on occasion despite Tim's safe-house being less than a block away.
He can't think of a safer place to sleep than in the reinforced coat closet that served as a makeshift armory when the Red Hood was in residence.
He is and isn't expecting Jason to be there when Tim arrives.
"Shower," Jason decrees without looking up from the stove. "Sweats are on the sink, and the towels are clean."
Jason spies on them all.
The nice thing is that it's a full set of sweats instead of whatever Jason last slept in—grey pants, faded t-shirt, dark red hoodie. It's all too big on him, but it's clean, dry, and smells kind of like cheap detergent. Tim rolls up the legs enough to keep himself from tripping, but lets the sleeves hang over his hands.
Tim looks at himself hard in the cracked bathroom mirror. He feels a little cracked himself, so it's not like the distorted surface is lying to him. He flips the hood up over his damp hair, and lets himself out of the bathroom.
Jason is sprawled on one end of the broken down couch with his feet up on the coffee table as he reads a well-worn paperback with the evening news for background noise. Nestled amongst the other books stacked haphazardly on the low table are a thermos and a sleeve of crackers.
Jason doesn't glance up, so after a moment of hovering, Tim perches on the edge of the couch. He doesn't leave a whole cushion between them, but he doesn't assume the spot next to Jason proper either. He sinks a little into the crack between cushions, but that's okay—the cracks of the system have been good to Tim Drake over the years.
"I came over to sleep in the coat closet," Tim admits, because it sounds ridiculous out loud—even to him. His voice sounds almost completely normal, however, which Tim marvels at a little bit as Jason just turns a page.
"Okay," Jason repeats. "Take the food with you."
"Okay?" Tim echoes.
Jason rolls his eyes, but finally sets the book down to look directly at the teenager. "Tim, if you want to sit on grimy carpeting from the '70s surrounded by heavy artillery for the next twelve hours, I will tell Batman himself to fuck off."
Tim knows that. That's why Tim's here instead of the manor or the tower or even his apartment.
Tim licks his lips nervously, not quite meeting Jason's gaze. "And after twelve hours?"
"Well, then I'm going to have to pull you out and feed you," Jason shrugs easily. "There's a diner down on Memorial that serves breakfast 24/7, and a steak house on the other side of the city with a special so good that it brings a tear to my eye. Your pick."
Tim reaches out for the crackers automatically. They taste rather predictably like paste, but the thermos is tomato soup because if there's one thing Jason Todd just gets … it's comfort food and retribution. "Okay."
Jason hums agreeably and goes back to his book, leaving one arm thrown out across the back of the sofa in invitation. Tim eyes it warily as he sips at the soup. It's more for something to do than because he feels hungry. Food and Tim haven't been on good terms since … but this is okay.
It's just hot soup and dry crackers. Jason won't be offended if he pukes it up later.
When the thermos is empty, Tim gets up to put it back in the kitchen and helps himself to the bottled water in the fridge. Jason hasn't moved, and that invitation has both appeal and anxiety attached to it.
Tim wants to hide in the dark where no one can see him, and he wants answers that no one will give him. He wants a hug, and he doesn't want to be touched.
Tim can't get warm.
So he compromises, sitting with his back to Jason and tentatively pulling the arm around his chest by the older man's sleeve. When Jason doesn't rescind the offer, Tim curls around the limb, resting his chin against his drawn up knees.
"I don't know if it counts," he murmurs, feeling Jason's arm tighten around him. It has to count—Jason wouldn't be this nice if Tim isn't the victim … if it's Tim's fault, Jason wouldn't flinch from letting the younger vigilante know. "I was … I was pretty far under. I didn't know; they had to tell me." Tim swallows. He doesn't have the memories; it's the secondhand knowledge that makes him sick.
It didn't really happen—not to him.
Except it did. He knows it now. The others know it.
"I never would have known," Tim whispers, "so I don't know if it counts."
Is his reaction even remotely justified? Is he making a big deal out of nothing?
His butt slides back on the sofa a few inches as Jason reels him in to the older man's side, and Tim doesn't pull away even as he argues against himself. "It was weeks ago," Tim reprimands himself, because it's better than acceptance. With everything that's happened, the weeks may as well be years; so much has changed. "It shouldn't matter anymore. I don't remember anything. It's stupid."
Jason sighs. "It's not stupid, pretender," he breathes out slowly, resting his chin on top of Tim's hooded head. "It counts."