So apparently it didn't take me a decade to get a new chapter in? But I started this story at like 10:40pm and finished it by 2:40am, and it's only 1877 words so I don't know if finishing this can be claimed an accomplishment after so long of not being able to finish anything at all (I have 94 unfinished/in progress stories. Yes I'm keeping count) But enjoy nevertheless~
This is the Sad Little Timmy one for any that may have forgotten the table of contents.
"Robin?" Bruce asked, voice soft in his confusion.
"GO AWAY!" Tim screeched, shrill and broken. Then he hunched further in on himself, one hand flying up to his face and clutching at his hanging bangs that had been dampened in the earlier rain.
How long had Tim been up here? Bruce'd been trying to find the boy for a half hour, but he'd been out of contact with Tim for longer than that.
Instead of going away, Bruce slowly approached the shaking boy, sitting down beside him softly, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing, Bruce!" Tim shouted, anger dimming down as his shaking became more vicious. His body deflated, his silent cries earning audibility.
"This doesn't look like nothing, Tim." Bruce prodded gently, eyes raking over the small boy as he tried to discern what was wrong.
"What's it matter to you?" Tim snapped, glaring Bruce's way without ever turning his head to actually face the man, "You're not my father. It's not your problem."
"No, but I am your partner."
"So? It doesn't matter either way." Tim's unmasked eyes glared at the empty horizon off to his left.
"Tim, if something's wrong..." Bruce didn't want to say what he was thinking, didn't want to make Tim feel as if this were a topic of convenience and not emotion, "I can't have it weighing down your mind while on the job. It could get someone hurt." He opted to say, keeping his voice steady and kind.
Tim's body stopped shaking, his chest still pulling in air with uneven palpitations, his lips still quivering and hands tightening to the building's edge.
"Tim?" Bruce said, lightly grabbing Tim's distant cheek and turning the boy's head slowly until Tim looked him in the eye, "What's wrong?"
And that's when Tim broke down completely. His sobs echoed into the distance, gasping breaths shivering as he inhaled and exhaled. Tears streamed down his cheeks in burning rivers. His small cries of anguish played painfully at Bruce's heart.
Tim tried to catch his breath, tried to get out the words Bruce was patiently waiting for, but he couldn't. All that came from his throat were pitiful shouts that portrayed his internal pain.
It was so hard to breathe around the lump in his enclosed throat. So hard to think with his dizzying mind. His eyes stung, tears still rapidly pooling and pouring out unsteadily.
He felt weak, trembling with the force of his own sobbing breaths. He hadn't wanted Bruce to find him like this. Hadn't wanted to break down in the first place.
But now that he'd started, he couldn't stop. Horrible, quiet whimpers mixed into his straining cries. He bit his lip, hoping that the physical pain might snap him out of the emotional.
But all he did was cry harder.
His frame racked sporadically. The choked vibrations in his chest leaked out into the air, reaching his ears and making him cringe at how woeful they were.
His stomach twisted painfully, jaw clenching as he screwed his eyes shut. He wanted to block out the thoughts making him feel this way. He wanted to lean into Bruce's side and have the man hold onto him, stabilize him.
He wanted the world to go away and leave him alone. He was better at dealing with this when he was alone! If Bruce had never showed up, his anguish never would've become this unbearable. He would've been able to keep silent until the thoughts went away by themself.
But instead all he could do now was listen to the tauntings of his dark mind, wailing as the truth whipped away the lies he'd built to comfort himself.
Tim let go of the ledge, leaning backwards and staring at the sky as another miserable wave of sobs loosened his lips. He bent forward again, wrapping his arms around himself as he shivered. Mournful whimpers of an aching soul still built up in his chest and rolled over his lips as he tried to regain control of his body.
He felt cold. His burning tears losing their heat after seeping into his cheeks. He pressed his lips tightly together, his cries slowly dying down even as his body still trembled. He kept his eyes downcast and to the left.
Finally, Bruce allowed himself to speak, "That's not nothing."
The desire to cry hit Tim like a tidal wave, but he refused to let it drown him this time, shakily breathing out, he attempted to cast his eyes Bruce's way, quickly looking back away, "It's nothing, Bruce." Tim said anyway, shame curdling his heart, "Just... I'll get over it. It's not important."
"Tim," Bruce's voice was firm, demanding attention, but gentle, making Tim relax a little, "You're not okay."
Tim tensed his shoulders, closing his eyes to try and hold up the falling walls of stability within his mind, "I'm fine." He whispered brokenly, a violent shiver electrifying his nerves.
"No." Bruce stated worriedly, "No, you're not Tim." His breaths sounded loud in his own ears, "What's wrong?" He asked, wishing Tim would just spare him a glance. "Can you please look at me, Tim?" He pleaded tenderly.
Chest tightening, Tim very slowly turned his head, apprehensively raising his eyes to meet Bruce's. He'd been expecting a harsh glare, or scowl, or general look of contempt but all he found on Bruce's face was... sadness. Tim's chest eased up a little, his breaths coming a little more naturally, even as his body still shook every few seconds.
"Now, why don't you want to tell me what's wrong?"
"It's..." Tim found it hard to speak under the kind gaze being directed at him. He didn't want to lie to Bruce, but he didn't know how to put his feelings into words, "It's just..." He looked away again, "My parents." He answered meekly, voice a feeble tremor.
Bruce tensed, anxiety hitting him like a kick from Bane, "What about them?"
"They..." Burning tears invaded Tim's vision again, "They're never around and... And when they are, they never... They never really... It's like they don't care about me." He explained reluctantly, barely whispering.
Bruce's expression fell with his heart. He couldn't understand how any parent could treat their child like that. How they could go about living as if their child wasn't even a part of their life. How they could just not care enough about their child to ensure they were at least happy.
"They never really tell me that they love me. They go away for weeks or months on end. It's like I don't exist to them. And I don't know why it hurts, but it does." Tim choked out, curling in on himself. "I mean... Maybe it wouldn't even be that bad if they just said they hated me, that way I wouldn't have to fight my own mind trying to decide whether they do or don't."
Bruce swallowed, his lips going dry. He wanted to say something. Needed to say something. Anything before the silence could become an uncomfortable barrier between him and Tim.
"Do you love them?" Bruce asked, Tim snapping his tear stained face over at the question, waterlogged eyes wide.
"I... I don't know." Tim's shoulders dropped, his eyes falling down once more, "I think I do. I know I'd hate it if anything bad were to happen to them. But the way I see it, love can only go both ways. If they don't love me, how can I say I love them?"
Bruce bit his cheek, "I'm sure that they care about you, Tim. Maybe they just don't know how to show it."
Tim closed his eyes gently, "Maybe." He doubted.
"And even if they don't, you know you'll always have other people around in place of them."
Tim felt a smile tug on his lips, "I know." He murmured, "It still hurts though."
Bruce tentatively placed his hand on Tim's shoulder, the boy sparing him a sudden glance, "One day, it won't." He assured.
Tim smiled, weakly but genuinely, "Yeah." He looked up to the dark city, focal point combing across the high buildings, "One day." He agreed.
Tim's body was still cold and trembling. He could still feel tears welling over the membrane of his eyes. He still just wanted to wrap himself up in the safety that he'd learnt Bruce's arms held.
But he didn't try to. He wasn't like Dick, or even Jason. He didn't live with Bruce, he wasn't the man's son, even if he'd prefer to be. He was just the man's partner on the field. Maybe, technically, they were friends. But Tim still felt like outright trying to get a hug from Bruce would just be... infelicitous.
So instead, Tim revelled simply in the fact that Bruce was still beside him. That he hadn't stood up and left the minute he'd heard what he wanted. It was... strange, actually. Tim wasn't really used to being treated like he had emotions. His dad, maybe sometimes would ask how he was but he never seemed interested in the answer. And Tim's mother? She treated him like a piece of clay if even that at times, trying to mould him to her liking before ultimately giving up on him completely for a few more weeks.
It was nice to feel cared for.
"Would you like to stay at the manor tonight?" Bruce asked after a while.
Tim's face tightened, lips parting in surprise at the question, "I, uh... Are you sure?" He asked, looking up into Bruce's eyes.
"I, yeah. I'd love to." Tim replied, joy lightning his heart.
Anything aside from the cold of his own empty home.
"You'll need to put your mask back on before we leave the rooftop." Bruce reminded, looking over to the discarded mask Tim must've thrown down earlier.
Tim turned back to look at the green domino mask, smiling at the sight of it. He stood, body protesting in vain at having to move. He carefully picked the small mask up, applying it back to his face and grinning at the familiar feeling.
Bruce stood almost silently, only his cape betraying him as it swooshed against the ground. He didn't say anything, just stepped onto the building's edge and looked over his shoulder, a beckon for his partner to follow.
Tim puffed his chest out a little, feeling a bit stronger than earlier, and he moved up beside his partner. Bruce glanced down at him, before diving off the edge. Tim didn't hesitate to follow suit.
A warm feeling dulled the sadness in his neglected heart, bringing out a shining sense of happiness as he flew like the bird who's namesake he possessed.
When I was simply a reader and not a writer on this website, I thought people who asked for reviews were a little pushy. But seriously, please review? It feels nice to come onto this website and find that someone has actually taken the time to give a little comment.
Until next time~