When Red Robin finally opened his eyes, his first instinct was to squeeze them shut again. As the darkness around him vanished, the dizzy numbness was replaced by a severe headache and a violent pain coming from his chest.
Moving on their own, his hands tried to reach for the hurting area but soon enough they were hold back.
The masked boy, not completely awake yet, blinked down on himself and was more than confused to find himself tied up. His hands were bound behind his back and his chest and feet were attached to the chair with a large rope. Well, at least the people who had captured him had been nice enough to actually give him a chair to sit on and didn't just threw him on the floor.
It only took him a few seconds to come back to his senses and as soon as the memory of where he was and why he was here hit him, he was calm again.
Carefully, unsure of how badly he was actually injured, he rose his head and looked around the room.
He was more than surprised and just as frightened to find the floor of the shady storehouse covered in blood. His eyes widened in horror as he found the bodies of his kidnappers to be piled up in the corner of the room.
“ What...?”, he whispered to himself, trying really hard to figure out what had happened. All of a sudden he feel cold hands touching him from behind and he screamed out in fear.
Hearing the familiar voice of his friend and lover, also known as the Red Hood, left Tim more than confused. “Sh! Tim, Shh! It's okay! I am here, you're save! Wait, okay, stop pulling so I can cut you free.”
It wasn't until now that Tim realized he was tearing on the rope that held his hands together, following his natural instinct to escape the unsafe scenery.
He forced himself to calm down and relaxed his muscles. Only a few beats later he could move his hands freely again.
He wanted to help Jason with loosening the ties but as he bent down to free his feet from the legs of the chair he hissed out in pain. He instantly pressed his hands against his arching chest and was just mildly surprised to feel the hot, red liquid staining his glove.
Jason took a worried glance at the injury while he cut open the other ropes. “Fuck, Timbo, this looks bad!”, he said in a rush as he picked the shorter male from the chair and carried him away from the blood-covered room.
In front of the storehouse, Jason sat Tim down carefully before he reached for his phone. “I'm calling Dick. In this state I surely can't use my bike to get you to the manor. We need Alfred to patch you up as soon as possible!”, he explained, slightly out of breath, while he had already started dialing their older brother's number.
Tim simply nodded and even that was hard to do. He tried to push himself up but his legs seemed unable to carry him for just one second. His head still felt like it was trying to explode and the deep cut in his chest burned like the unholy flames of hell.
It took Jason less than a minute to briefly tell Dick about what has happened. He commanded him to pick them up before he ended the call without bothering to wait for the other one's answer.
The Batmobile seemed impossibly out of place on the dusty road. Covered in a cloud of dirt, as Dick slammed on the brakes, it looked like a bad omen coming upon them, but instead of misfortune his arrival promised help to the injured boy.
Tim tried to pull himself up on Jason's arm and walk over to the car by himself but he didn't even manage to stand up straight before he got down on his knees again. Only thanks to Jason's quick reflexes he was able to catch the bruised up vigilante before he fell face first into the dry earth.
“ Shit...”, Tim hissed and wrapped his arms a little tighter around his chest.
Dick had already jumped out of the car and was with him now, helping Jason to carry Tim to the car without moving him all too much.
They placed him on the backseat and Tim was more than glad he was allowed to lie down instead of having to sit upright for the whole way home.
The pain in his chest made it hard to breath and he started to feel dizzy again.
“ He's losing too much blood!”, he heard Jason yell at Dick but his lover's voice sounded damped and low, like it reached Tim's ear through a lot of water or thick pillows.
He tried his best to not lose his consciousness again, fought to keep his eyes open, but he didn't even hear Dick's answer anymore before he was out cold again.
When Tim woke up the next time, he found himself to be in a way more pleasurable place. The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was his light-flooded room. The windows were open wide and the early morning's sunlight playfully tickled his nose.
Tim blinked and rubbed his eyes as he sat up, more than relieved to notice the pain in his chest was as good as gone. He wasn't dumb enough to think that the absence of pain wasn't caused by some kind of medication but he also knew that he would be alright soon. He would heal. And until then he didn't mind if some painkillers made his life easier.
“ Good morning, sleeping beauty.”, Jason grinned, leaning in the door frame. Tim turned around and as soon as he was facing him he recalled why he in fact wasn't okay with what his boyfriend had done.
He shot up, straightened his back and glanced over to the taller male. “Jason!”
“ Um... yeah...?”, the taller man replied, obviously confused by the more than uncommon greeting.
Tim pressed the heels of his hands on his eyes and groaned in frustration. “Jason, you ruined it! You ruined it all!
Jason winced and stared at Tim before he slowly lower his eyebrows. “What?”
“ This was all part of the plan, Jason! I was there by choice !”, Tim exclaimed and he could see in Jason's eyes that his partner had lost him. “Eh?”
Tim rolled his eyes and let his fingers run through his hair. “Listen, Jay, this was all part of Bruce's plan. This was not solely about the small organization we were chasing. Those guys were supposed to lead us to the head of the whole system! But now they're all dead and those who are in control will be twice as cautious from now on! Bruce is gonna be so pissed...”, he groaned and let his head fall back.
“ How was I supposed to k-”, Jason started angrily but interrupted himself in the middle of the sentence. “Wait, Bruce made you do this?!”
Tim shook his head and sighed wearily. “No, Jason. I volunteered. Bruce asked who was poised to do it and I happily agreed on helping out.”
Jason stared at him, absolutely speechless for several seconds. “You were nearly beaten to death, Tim.”, he remarked unbelievingly. “There is no way that this was part of your stupid plan!”
“ I have to admit, things got a little out of hand... But still, there was no need to blow those guys out just like that!”, Tim argued as he swung his legs out of the bed. “I'm gonna go and talk to Bruce. We need a new strategy...”
“ Don't say that and look at me like it was my fault!”, Jason growled. “First, I didn't know a thing about your fucking plan and second, what should I have done? Let you be killed by some money-grubbing assholes?”
“ You should have trusted me, Jason! I am not a child anymore, I can take care of my own business and I certainly don't need you to save me!”
As soon as the harsh words had escaped Tim's mouth, cut through the air like cold blades, he immediately regretted them as he saw the change in Jason's eyes.
“ You don't need me? Alright...”, he said slowly, not breaking eye contact with Tim. The shorter boy could barely stand it but he didn't dare to look away either, sure of what it would do to Jason.
“ That's not what I said and nowhere close to what I meant!”, Tim tried to defend himself, taking a step towards his boyfriend, but Jason backed off.
“ No, it's okay, I get it.”, he replied coldly. He had been out of the door already but he turned back once more to look at Tim. “Go back to bed, Baby-bird. You need to rest.”
And with that he was gone.
Tim looked at the empty spot Jason had left behind and suddenly his room felt way too quiet. He didn't want to disregard Jason's advice but he clearly couldn't get back to bed just like that. Instead he got dressed and made his way downstairs, looking for Dick or Bruce.
He was in the hallway, heading to the kitchen, as wrought up voices reached his ear. Even though he could barely understand what they were saying, he was almost sure they belonged to Dick and Jason. And that he had heard his name.
Breathing flatly to cause as few noises as possible, Tim sneaked after them as they made their way down to the cave.
“ How could you let him do that?”, Jason hissed, a little more aggressive than appropriated. “I thought you liked acting out the caring big brother! Then tell me, how in fucking hell could you let Bruce use him as goddamn bait?!”
Dick tried his best to stay calm but Tim could hear the tension in his voice. “This choice was not up to me, Little Wing, and you know that. It was Tim's and I trusted him when he said he could handle it. And I am sure he would have found a way out of it by himself...”, Dick sighed but when he looked at the threatening glare Jason was sending him, he quickly looked away.
“ He couldn't walk, Dick! He couldn't even stand up, bloody hell!”, Jason growled. “Don't act like it was all under his control. Or under Batman's!”
Dick sighed in defeat. “No, of course it wasn't... and I am more that glad you were there to help him. But, Jason, Tim knew the risk. He has enough experience and he is capable of making his own decisions. What do you want me to do? I cannot forbid him to do his job and we both know it's just as likely that he gets hurt while he is on patrol as it is when he's going on a mission.”
Jason paused for a beat, staring at the first Robin. “So, if he would have died it would've kinda sucked but hey, don't whine that's the occupational hazard , or what?!”
Dick pinched the bridge of his nose, sighing wearily. “Do you intentionally misunderstand everything I am saying, Little Wing?”
“ Stop this Little Wing-Bullshit, Richard, I am serious!”, Jason growled and threateningly stepped towards Dick but the slightly shorter boy didn't even think of backing away.
“ Oh, you're drawing the 'Richard'-Card now? Jason, really, I love Tim just as much as you. In another kind of way, yes, but not any less. Don't act like I wouldn't give a shit about whether he lives or dies. Whenever Tim is injured I am just as worried as you are but you might not realize there is literally nothing I can do! Doing what we do is a part of Tim, just like it is a part of me or you. He won't quit just like that and I am neither willing to hold him back nor am I in the position to do so! Not even Bruce is! If Tim should come to the decision he doesn't want to live this kind of life anymore, then I will happily help him as much as I can to leave it all behind. But to me it doesn't look like he wants to quit and as long as that's the case, the only thing we can do is to protect him as much as we are able to and have faith!”
Jason didn't know how to react on Dick's speech and therefore he stayed quiet. Weakly he covered his eyes with his hands and rubbed his face and if he didn't know better, Dick would swear he could see his little brother was shaking.
He sighed, his anger was blown away within seconds, and he placed his hand on Jason's shoulder. “I know you're scared...No one wants to lose the person they love... But as long as he has you to watch over him, Tim will be fine.”
When his older brother pulled Jason into a hug, the taller male didn't fight back but he didn't exactly hug back either. He didn't even bother to wrap his arms around Dick. The only thing he did was to nuzzle his face against his brother's shoulder.
They were talking too quietly now for Tim to understand them but suddenly Jay turned towards the stairs and he ducked away to hide in the shadows just in time in order to not be seen. “However, I um... gotta go now. There is something I have to take care of and I think Tim doesn't want me around right now anyway.”
“ He always wants you here. But he should rest anyway. Will you come back tonight?”, Dick asked and got a lazy shrug in reply.
“ Hard to say. I'll try”, Jason said before heading to the stairs.
Tim luckily had enough time to move into a dark spot beneath the steps before Jason passed by. He exhaled in relief about not being found, closed his eyes for a beat but when he opened them again his view was blocked by a tall man with blue eyes and a bright smile.
“ Yikes, Tim, that's a horrible hiding place.”, Dick chuckled as he helped his younger brother up on his feet again. A blushed crept onto Tim's cheeks and he avoided to look in Dick's eyes.
“ How did you notice me? Usually I am very good at sneaking!”, he laughed awkwardly and Dick joined in.
“ Usually, yeah but, Tim, really-” he shook his head before he imitated Tim's relieved exhalation which seemed, now that Tim heard it, way too noisy for someone who didn't want to be found.
Tim laughed nervously and his cheeks were bright red now. “Yeah... Sorry, I didn't mean to eavesdrop but-”
“ No, I get that”, Dick interrupted him with the warm smile on his lips that Tim had loved from the first time he had seen it. “But Jay is right about one thing. You do need rest!”
Tim sighed but he didn't fight back when Dick gently lead him back to the stairs. “I'll stay with you so you won't get bored. How do animated movies and popcorn sound to you?”
Tim grinned lightly at his brother.”With you? Heavenly.”