It's been a bad night's patrol, and Tim can tell because the first thing Dick does when he gets in, before he takes a shower or even peels off his domino, is to go immediately to the picture of Jason on the wall.

He does nothing sentimental, doesn't whisper at it or cry, just straightens it up and wipes some imaginary dust off the top of the frame, before nodding and walking off to hit the showers. Tim doubts that Dick even saw him and Damian standing there. He silences that little voice in him that says "he wishes you were Jason," and ushers a protesting Damian into the kitchen to make cocoa.

When Dick comes back he's clean and warm-smelling. The absence of the domino around his eyes draws attention to how tired he looks, but his smile still reaches up to his eyes when his littlest brother grumpily presents him with a hot mug of cocoa.

"Thanks, Little D. You're up kinda late, aren't you?"

"We were waiting for you to return, Grayson," Damian tells him, like it's his fault, but that's just how he is. Dick smiles at him again, with a ring of cocoa around his lips from where he'd practically inhaled the hot drink. "Hey, it's cold out," he defends himself when Damian gives him a look. "I'm back now, Dami, so why don't you go to bed?" He ruffles the youngest brother's hair, laughing at the scowl it evokes. "Go on, bed time."

Damian moodily retreats out of the kitchen, and is stopped by Tim. "What do you want, Drake?"

"Did you give him a hug?" Tim whispers, already knowing the answer. Damian raises his eyebrows.

"I gave him cocoa. I have to do both? Why can't you hug him?"

"I can," Tim sighs, but that's not the point. "It means more to him coming from you."

"I don't follow your logic, Drake."

"No," Tim snaps, tired of him already. "You wouldn't. Bed, Damian." Ignoring the steady stream of muttered curses, Tim propels him down the corridor until he gets shaken off, and then returns to the kitchen, watching Dick carefully until he looks up.

"Are you okay, Dick?"

"Fine," he says easily, like it means nothing, and usually that's true.

"What happened?" Tim tries again. "Run into anyone?"

There it is, Dick's smile slips for just a second. "Yeah. You know who."

Silently, Tim moves to hug him. He doesn't understand Jason Todd, and he's fairly sure that he doesn't know the whole story, but he'll be damned if his big brother is going to keep coming back from these patrols with such sad eyes.

Dick chuckles softly into Tim's neck. "Thanks, little brother. I get cocoa from Dami and a hug from you, are you two running interference on me?" He laughs, but stops when Tim pulls away and doesn't smile back. "Oh."

"We're worried about you."


"I'm worried about you. I'm not sure Damian really knows what's going on. Has- has Jason talked to anyone yet? Properly?" Dick shakes his head.

"Not really. It's complicated, Timmy. You don't need to worry about me, okay? I have cocoa, and two adorable little brothers who worry too much. I'm peachy." He carries on before Tim can rebuke this. "You should get some sleep too, Timmy."

"Only if you do," Tim says, and counts it as a small victory when Dick nods, blinking back tired eyes.

"I'll be up in a minute. I should write a quick report, won't have time in the morning." Small victories.

"Okay, fine. Don't fall asleep at your computer." Dick nods and shuffles off, yawning into his cocoa.

Tim stands there for a few seconds before going too, passing Jason's picture on the wall as he trudges upstairs. Alfred always dusts it more carefully than the other photos, Bruce and Dick will both straighten it when they pass, and even Damian nods at it with a grudging respect when he thinks no-one's looking. It's only Tim who walks straight past, wondering why Jason doesn't come home when there is a place for him here that Tim clearly can't fill, no matter how hard he tries.