The rhythmic sounds of Bruce’s typing echoed softly as Dick descended the stairs to the cave. Gotham must be fairly quiet for Bruce to still be writing reports instead of suiting up. Really, there wasn’t any reason for Nightwing to visit tonight, except…
Dick peered around, searching for the newest addition to their little family. Well, technically he wasn’t “family,” but he’s the new Robin, so that makes him Batfamily. It’s practically the same thing.
Ah, Dick smiles, There we are.
Tucked away at one of the side tables, Timothy Drake was studiously pouring over test tubes, spectroscopic printouts, and a few open books scattered across the table top. Brow furrowed in concentration, he didn’t seem to have noticed the Cave’s new arrival, and Dick took the opportunity to observe the Batman’s latest protégé.
Small was the first word that came to mind. Had Jason been that small when he started? Dick knew Tim was smaller than he’d been at thirteen. The boy’s heels weren’t even touching the floor! The name “Tiny Tim” came to mind, a name Dick vowed to bring up come Christmas. And he would still be with them come Christmas.
Because Dick remembered that look of determination. That set in his shoulders. The eyes that tried to learn everything they could. That same focus that Dick had, that Jason had, that Tim now had. The determination of a Robin trying to keep up with a Bat. And he would need it more than either of his predecessors. He didn’t have Dick’s acrobatic agility, didn’t have Jason’s brash strength. He was just Tim.
Just tiny Tim.
Granted, the kid had his brains. It was one thing to know a teenager figured out their secret, but that he’d known since he was nine was just…astounding didn’t begin to cover it. He was going to be an entirely different breed of Robin.
Striding towards the Boy Wonder in the making, Dick called a cheerful, “Hey, Timmy!”
Head snapping around, a look of surprise ghosted across Tim’s face before a large grin broke through. “Hi, Dick. And, it’s just Tim, remember?”
Coming up beside him, Dick gave him an amused smile. “Well, just Tim, you look like a Timmy to me, and I’m afraid once judgment has been passed, it’s virtually impossible to change. There’s triplicate forms and everything.”
“And where would I find these forms?”
“They’re around here somewhere. Probably next to Alfred’s vacation request forms. Now, what’s Bruce got you working on?”
Turning back towards the papers, Tim waved a hand over the entire table. “I’m looking at various poisons and their chemical analysis, figuring out the indicators to identify them in the bloodstream.”
Tim’s hand halted in midair as Dick draped himself over tensing muscles, resting his chin on a head frozen in shock. Settling his arms across Tim’s collarbone, Dick began to nonchalantly glance over the various piles of readouts.
“I-uh-Dick? What are you, uh, doing?”
“Hmm? Oh, just looking at what B has you going over.”
“Yeah, but,” Tim paused, “I mean, what is this?” He gestured his hand to the arms encircling him.
Dick pulled back to look down at him, the twinkle in his eye matching the grin tugging at his lips. “What? Can’t I hug my new little brother?”
“I-uh, brother?” Tim’s confusion was just adorable. Thirteen-year-olds shouldn’t be this adorable.
“Of course!” Dick squeezed his arms as he nuzzled the side of Tim’s head. “And as your older brother, I reserve the right to cuddle you whenever I want.”
“But this isn’t cuddling!”
Dick pulled back more this time, grinning in amusement down at his captive’s flustered face. Tim seemed to regret his outburst if the way he was looking at everything except Dick was any indication.
“Oh? So what do you define as cuddling, Timmy?”
Still not looking at him, Tim mumbled, “Isn’t cuddling two people lying down together?”
Chuckling, Dick pulled the boy’s seat out, ignoring his squawk of protest and tutted, “There’s much you need to learn about the fine art of cuddling. C’mon, up we go.”
“What-no! I have to finish going through these results and then-“
Whatever else Tim had to do was cut off as Dick’s arms looped around his chest, lifting him back and out of his chair which clattered noisily onto its side. Hands tugged fruitlessly at the limbs banded across his chest, holding him so his feet dangled uselessly a good foot from the floor.
“Dick! Let go! I have work to do! The heavy metals-”
“Will still be there when you get back. Work can wait for a bit.”
“At least put me down!”
Giving his parcel a little squeeze, Dick laughed. “Nope, if I do that you’re just going to run off, and then where will I get my cuddles?”
“Bruce!” Tim yelled out, eyes latching on to the form of his mentor, pausing his struggles to wait for an intervention.
But Bruce didn’t seem to have heard him, hands never faltering as they continued their methodical typing.
Bouncing Tim up a little further in his arms for a better grip, Dick playfully replied, “Nah, Bruce gives terrible cuddles when he’s not in the mood, which only happens about once a year. He’s not due for about five more months.”
Giving a rather defeated huff, Tim slumped, crossing his arms on top of Dick’s hold, and gazed moodily down at the floor.
Dick nudged the back of his head with his nose. “C’mon, cheer up, little brother. We’ll get blankets and pillows and a movie. It’ll be great! And Alfred was making cookies when I got here.”
At this, Tim perked up a bit. “Alfred’s making cookies?”
“Triple chocolate chip. They should be warm and gooey by the time we get everything set up.”
“Well…I suppose I could take a bit of a break…”
Dick laughed again, pressing a kiss into black hair as he started up the stairs. “That’s the spirit.”