Trust, Hope and Excel
Summary: Tim's plan of coming out to Bruce involves a spreadsheet, a memorized speech and a hastily made card born of photoshop and roughly two hours of sleep.
"In conclusion: I'm the same person and I hope you can accept me for who I am."
Tim clicked open a new tab. It was a digital card for a baby shower with a rainbow and the words 'It's a gay!' photoshopped on top of it.
Bruce said nothing. Tim's hands were sweaty.
"... So." Tim shifted his weight. "What do you say?"
Bruce kept looking at the shittily photoshopped card. Tim already regretted making it.
He should have taken Jason's advice, come out to Bruce via email and hid in one of his brother's safehouses until somebody that wasn't him could gauge Bruce's reaction. It sounded way less dramatic in his mind than Dick had made it sound.
Tim started weighing his options of living a short but significantly less stressful life in the slums of Gotham when Bruce pushed himself to his feet, walked up to Tim and put a heavy hand on his shoulder.
He squeezed, once. "I'm proud of you, son."
Tim looked at the hand resting on his shoulder. Bruce pulled it back. The rainbow colors on the computer screen hurt his eyes.
"... That's it?"
"You have no questions."
"None that I know of."
"You're just... fine with it?"
"Don't you want me to be."
"Yes!" Tim threw his hands in the air. "Of course. I just. Kind of expected a little more... more."
Bruce raised his eyebrow. It was his that-was-not-a-proper-sentence-and-you-know-it eyebrow. In terms of intensity Tim would rate it just below his the-next-person-to-make-a-vine-reference-in-this-house-is-grounded eyebrow.
"That would be rather hypocritical of me."
"I said that would be–"
"No, yes, I got that." Tim closed the tab so that the rainbow would stop distracting him. Excel took its place. "You're gay?"
He got another eyebrow for an answer. He shuddered at the reminder of The Incident involving less clothing and more cat fur than he was comfortable with.
(Bruce and Tim both pretended it hadn't happened. Selina didn't mention it, but smirked too widely and pounced too pointedly whenever Tim saw her.)
"Right. You're... queer?"
"Doesn't your generation consider that word a slur."
"Don't change the subject."
Bruce huffed out a breath of air that was short and largely silent – his equivalent of heaving a deep sigh. "I've had, in the past, physical and emotional relations with people who did not consider themselves women."
Tim couldn't decide whether that sentence had not enough details or way too many. "Okay! Okay. Nevermind." He paused. "So you would have been fine with this – with me – from the start?"
"All of this was for nothing?!"
"I wouldn't say for nothing."
"I've been talking for twenty minutes!"
"Why didn't you stop me?"
"You've clearly put a lot of effort into this."
"The spreadsheet is over a hundred items long."
"I didn't want it to go to waste."
"It. As in my spreadsheet."
"It's a very well done spreadsheet." Bruce made a motion as though to put his hand back on Tim's shoulder. He changed his mind and let it hang at his side awkwardly. "I'm proud of you."
"... For coming out to you, or for my spreadsheet."
"Yes. Well done."
Tim heaved a sigh and flopped down onto the couch. Noises from the kitchen suggested that Alfred was ransacking the dozens of kitchen cupboards and drawers. He was either reorganizing his system or planning to make something extravagant that required an obscene amount of utensils.
It was probably the latter. Alfred had a sixth sense of sniffing out significant moments of bonding happening under his roof and rewarded them like one might a well-behaving pack of dogs.
(Tim didn't mind the comparison. He gladly bowed to some Pavlov-esque conditioning as long as the positive reinforcement involved Alfred's cooking.)
"Does this mean we can go as Batman and Robin to the next pride?"
"They wouldn't know it's actually us."
"You could swap your cape for a rainbow flag."
"Why do you think this makes me more likely to agree."
"Can we go as Bruce and Tim?"
"Are you going to wear a rainbow cape?"
"I'll stop while I'm still ahead."
"It's too late for that."
Tim started to hum some cheesy pop song under his breath. Bruce didn't tell him to stop. Warmth poured into Tim's gut in a cosy puddle – he hadn't felt this good since the Riddler'd had a slip of tongue during his latest scheme and answered his own riddle.
"Could I convince you with another spreadsheet?"
"You can try."
"I'll make it even longer than this one."
Tim narrowed his eyes. "Was that a challenge?"
"It sounded like a challenge."
"It really wasn't."
"I accept. If I win, you gotta wear the cape."
Bruce sighed. "I didn't agree to that."
Tim had already jotted down four items on the new sheet. The latest one said 'Setting an example of courage and being true to oneself for the marginalized queer youth of Gotham.'
He paused, hovering over Excel's conditional formatting options. "Should I color-code the chart in rainbow colors?"
Tim picked the brightest and most obnoxious color-palette he could find. The result was blinding and absolutely perfect.
"... You're doing it right now," Bruce said.
"Yup." Tim drew out the word and made the 'p' pop.
"Tell me you won't spend all day on it."
"How long do you think I worked on the last one?"
Bruce paused, considering. "I don't want to know."
Tim gave a shrug. He finished typing #16: 'Strike fear into your enemies.' He paused, wondering whether it needed clarification. He added 'through aposematic coloration' and opened the picture of a colorful poisonous frog in a new tab. Perfect.
"Send it to me once you're done."
Tim's fingers paused mid-sentence. He looked up. "You want me to send it to you?"
"The first one, too."
"You want me to send you my spreadsheets."
Bruce didn't answer.
Tim shrugged. "Sure." He supposed he'd needed to pick up the habit from somewhere.
He hesitated, then finished typing his sentence. He deleted and rewrote it thrice before putting it at the very top of the list.
Tim hadn't been living with Bruce for long. It was easy to forget when Wayne manor felt like home more than the house he'd grown up in. Bruce accepted a part of him that would have likely gotten him kicked out of the house by his birth parents.
Tim reread the sentence at the very top, colored the row in the brightest red he could find and saved the document before he could change his mind.
'It would make me happy.'
A/N: Turns out, binge-reading all of Unpretty's DC fics puts you in a batfam sort of mood. I warmly recommend... pretty much all of their stuff. They're such a good writer.
Beta'd by To Mockingbird and flyingcat! Thanks much! :D
Please take the time to let me know what you think!