Warning for Character Death
"Dad!" Tim shouted. He made a break for the door only to barrel into a hard chest, strong arms wrapping around him.
"There's nothing you can do Tim." Bruce muttered into his hair as he hugged Tim tight.
Feeling Tim's desperate need to follow the doctors and nurses shouting orders at each other; Bruce picked him up and carried him back to Jason't bed where he was quickly snatched by the other boy, being taken into his arms like a favourite teddy bear.
It was then that Tim noticed that tears were streaming down his face.
"It's going to be all right Tim." He heard a voice say, but Tim was so focused on the doctors and nurses that he couldn't tell where it was coming from. It was as if his sense of time had slowed to a halt; nothing mattered apart from what was going on a few rooms down in the intensive care unit.
His heart felt like it was ready to burst out of his chest, it was beating so loudly; Tim couldn't imagine a world without his father in it.
He hadn't been able to imagine a world without his mother either.
"Jason you need to hold him, I'm going to go and get a sedative from the car."
Tim faintly realised he was shaking, though, it didn't feel like him; he was having some sort of outer body experience, like this was all happening to some other Tim in some other life, that he was just dreaming and his parents were home safe in their bed and they were going to wake him up in the morning and then Mrs Mack would be up and helping them with making breakfast and everything would be good — everything would be normal.
But this wasn't some dream turned nightmare, this was as real as reality could be, and he hated every minute of it. Tim no longer had a perception of time. One moment Bruce was hightailing it out of the room, the next he was back with a syringe. Then suddenly he was sitting net to the bed, a large corse hand running through Tim's hair, soothing words falling from his mouth.
Jason's arms tightened round him.
The syringe lay empty on the bedside table.
And Tim knew no more.
Jack Drake made it through his code blue, the doctors and nurses were able to re-inflate his collapsed lung, but the pneumonia he had caught was just getting worse, he was deteriorating and the numerous courses of antibiotics hadn't done anything to help.
Jack Drake was dying, there was nothing anyone could do about it.
And someone had to break that news to his son.
Bruce was weary of his trip to room 416. Jack Drake had been a long term business partner and friend, it was disconcerting, to say the least, to see him in such a condition. (He couldn't imagine what it was like for Tim to see his father slowly fade away.) Bruce didn't even know if his friend was going to be awake.
But when he did finally rustled up the courage to enter the small, but private, hospital room Bruce found Jack awake, alert and harshly breathing. Every inhale looked painful as the lightening quick rise and fall of his chest caused a wince on the man's face.
A wince that turned into a half smile at Bruce's entrance.
"Bruce," Jack's voice was quite and gravelly "I hear I have you to thank for my safe return to the States."
Bruce smiled sadly back at him, remembering the cover story they had come up with,
"I merely raised the alarm when I was worried that you hadn't returned in time, I hear our boys in blue worked with the military and our embassy in Cuba, along with officials there to get you back on US soil. Call it a joint effort."
Jack started to laugh, which soon turned into a cough and Bruce handed the glass of water on his bedside table to try to ease the fit as well as a tissue to catch the mucus he coughed up.
"You were always a funny one Bruce. Sorry if I'm not very talkative; it only hurts when I breathe."
"Of course Jack, save your strength. I just came to see how you are and to see if there was anything I could do."
Jack looked distraught. His eyes glassing over with unshed tears and his face contouring into a look of regret.
"My son, Timothy. He's all I have Bruce, you have to promise me you'll look after him, after I'm — after."
Bruce nodded, the words catching in his throat for a moment. "Of course Jack. I'll make sure he has everything he needs, he'll be well looked after."
"G'd. G'd. Tha's g'd." Jack drawled.
Bruce smiled and grasped Jack's hand as the man slowly drifted off to sleep, he needed to get back to the boys, Tim needed to know that his dad made it though.
He didn't want to wake up, Tim didn't quite know why, but waking up made butterflies flutter in his stomach. He was quite enjoying his dream world of endlessly swing from one skyscraper to the next, where windows were made of chocolate and clouds were delicious fluffy candy floss. His dreams were weird. Geeze.
But the though of waking up made him sick to his stomach, made it rain, and made the buildings collapse under an invisible weight. Something was pulling him back into the land of consciousness, somewhere he don't want to go, but somewhere he needed to be.
The lights in the room were bright, almost blinding, the white everything didn't help.
Tim woke with a start, sitting up sharply, searching the room frantically. Bruce was sitting in the chair next to the bed as though he'd only been out for five minutes, but it was dark outside and there were empty dinner trays waiting to be collected on the table to the side of the room.
"Bruce," he started, afraid. "My dad?"
"He made it through Tim," Bruce clutched his hand tightly, stroking it with his thumb, "but we need to prepare for the worst. The doctors aren't giving him a lot of time."
Tears ran down Tim's face. His dad's dying. Oh God, his dad's dying and all he can do is watch.
He started sobbing uncontrollably as Bruce smothered him in a hug.
"Hey Sport. 'M not doing too great, am I?" His dad coughed. Harsh and wet, his chest rattling as he wheezed a deep breath back in.
He looked like death, pale faced and thinner than Tim had ever seen him. The skin of his face was drawn over his bones like cling film.
It made Tim sick with worry and the realisation that they didn't have much time left.
"You — You're going to be just fine. You're awake now. That means you're gonna get better right?"
His father's smile was sad. It was as though he could tell that his body wasn't fighting back. That the infection, caused from the poison weakening his immune system, was taking over and there was nothing his body could do to stop it.
There was nothing anyone could do to stop it.
"Yeah kid. I'm gonna be just fine." He weakly reached for Tim's hand knowing Tim could tell he was lying. Tim bypassed the hand and went straight for a hug, holding on as though his life depended on it.
"I love you dad." Tim whispered, the words catching in his throat. If he only had a little time left with his dad then he may as well make it count.
"I love you too Timothy, so much more than you could ever imagine."
Tim spent the next three days camped out in his dad's hospital room. All the nurses knew what was going on, knew the inevitable was coming and just left him too it; bringing up two meals at meal times, extra blankets and pillows. But largely they just left the two to their privacy.
No one talked about the boy who was about to become an orphan, a quick exchange of glances as they passed the room told a thousand words. The picture of the boy, too small for his age, world be forever ingrained on their minds as Jack Drake slowly deteriorated.
No one dared tell the little Timothy to leave. Usually there was someone with him, even Bruce Wayne had been seen a couple of times, which was good. The boy needed support, love and comfort. Especially when his father was awake less and less, and when he was awake he didn't have the strength to talk.
So Timothy did.
He talked about his time when Jack last went abroad. The expansive Wayne Manor grounds, a boy named Jason and one named Dick. Really? What had the poor soul done to receive a nickname like Dick in this day and age?
Jack just smiled, nodded and hummed. At every point he could he would tell his son just how much he loved him and the boy would never fail to return the gesture. Just in case.
"I'm sorry you never got to meet him properly Dad, Alfred's amazing. You would love him." Tim smiled, he had almost finished recounting his whole life for his dad. It was nice, reminiscing about old times, telling each other how much they loved each other.
"Not as much as I love you buddy." His dad's voice was barely a whisper, but it was still there. His dad was still there.
"Love you more."
His dad smiled weakly, tears started forming in his eyes, rolling down his cheeks.
"I'm so sorry Timothy."
Tim's heart skipped a beat. He wasn't ready for this (he would never be ready for this), he could feel tears start prickling behind his own eyes.
"Dad, you have nothing to be sorry for." It came out as a sob more than a formed sentence, but Tim didn't care as he almost flung himself over his dad to be as close to him as possible.
"But I do. I'm sorry that I'll never get to see you graduate, never get to see you leave for college, get you degree. Fall in love." He coughed. "I'm sorry I'll never get to be the best grandpa in the world."
He breathed in deeply, wheezing as he struggled through his speech. "I'm so sorry we weren't there for you more. We missed… I missed so much of your life Timmy… I — I'm just so sorry I wasn't a better dad."
"No. Daddy! No no no no nonono.
"You were the best dad I could ever have had."
"I love you son." It was almost inaudible, but even against the monotone beep of the heart rate monitor Tim heard it would and clear. His breath was knocked out of him in shock and he suddenly lost his ability to cry. Everything passed in a blur, he couldn't figure out who was who or what was going on. There was nothing but silence. And the beep.
The beep that told him that his father was dead, the beep that changed his life forever.
At some point someone dragged Tim away from his father, he didn't know if it had been seconds or hours, but he did remember kicking and screaming. Begging them to let him go. To put him down. To please not take his father from him.
But the man wrapped him in a hug and a blanket; soothing him with melodic words that his brain just wouldn't process.
And now he just couldn't stop crying.
It wasn't fair.
"I love you too dad."
Hey guys, I'm so sorry for the huge break in my writing, I can't completely promise that I'll be updating things regularly, but they'll be more often.
Thank-you so much for persevering with me, I can't tell you how much that means to me.