Someone always noticed.
Timothy Drake -- Tim to his friends, if he had had any -- was always that someone.
People would look at him and see -- What? A deeply lonely thirteen year old, yet untouched by puberty? Maybe, he’s just a kid with a camera. Forgettable. Part of the background. Nowhere near important, no matter how much money his parents made.
Tim Drake was someone. Even he was the only one who knew who that someone was.
Tim had a simple mission, one he couldn’t share with anyone. For years now, he had kept track of Batman. And Robin. And recently, he had noticed that something had changed between them, something had shifted, permanently. (Changed, again. Shifted, again.)
This left him unsettled.
Now, the evidence pointed to several different explanations. Some were more satisfying than others.
But Tim was no fool. He made no assumptions. Instead, he observed. Recorded.
He tried to, anyway. No matter how many times he upgraded his cameras, invested in higher-grade, longer range lenses, they all failed him. When once he could expect to snag good - no, better than good, professional quality photographs of the Dynamic Duo in action, all he had now were moodily lit images of the Gotham City skyline, in the wind, in the rain, in the smoke, in the fog. (Sometimes, even, when it was clear.)
They could be a part of an artist’s portfolio. They were useless.
Tim had witnessed the new Robin in action (and yes, even after all this time, he was still the new Robin) and he was different. Faster. Stronger. Even if Tim’s equipment hadn’t failed him, he didn’t know if he would have been able to capture the Boy Wonder in action, and not some yellow-red-green blur.
Tim played around with the reasons why Robin was different. Magic, science, exercise? Tim was pretty sure Robin hadn’t always been like this.
He was positive, actually.
There were bodies. More of them. Most of them belonged to nobodies. No one would mourn for them. They were bad men coming to bad ends. Police reports that would get lost in the shuffle, in the face of the overwhelming indifference that most cold cases faced, in Gotham.
Cases that stayed cold.
(Tim kept his ear on the ground. He heard the rumblings below.)
One night, he encountered Robin. Well, yeah, okay. He had followed Robin, over the rooftops, and then found a good place to hide, looked down to the alleyway. Not to be observed, but to observe.
(Of course he did. He had to, didn’t he?)
And he had seen (caught) Robin crouched over... A body. And there was blood, darkening in the air, smeared around his mouth. Tim made a (tiny) noise, and Robin’s head snapped upwards, his sharp eyes trained right where Tim had been, a second before.
Tim crouched lower in his hiding place, his heart hammering hard in his chest.
If he catches me...
Robin wasn’t supposed to be the scary one.
(Tim wanted to turn a blind eye. He couldn’t. Not quite.)
The messageboards hummed with activity, busy with speculation and wild guesses. Robinfan01 tried to control the flow, freezing threads and calming the others down.
It was stressful, to say the least.
He knew, had checked, that Bruce Wayne’s daytime activities had completely ceased. The man seemed to come alive only when the sun went down. His adopted son, Jason Todd (Jason Wayne? Jason Todd-Wayne?) had disappeared completely for a while. The rumors were muddled on that point -- there was a mysterious trip to Africa, followed by a long, protracted illness. No flowers were sent to Gotham General, the boy was treated at home. Later, he had been withdrawn from his school.
There was no explanation forthcoming. There was simply no explanation at all.
The Waynes had withdrawn into themselves.
In New York, Dick Grayson seemed unaware of these changes. Tim toyed with the idea of going to see Dick, to confront him. He imagined knocking on Dick’s door (Tim had his address memorized) and watching as Dick’s face (maskless, Tim imagined him maskless) shift and change from surprise to shock when Tim gravely informed him about the goings-on in Gotham.
He would start off by saying, "Look, you don’t know me, but... I’ve known you for most of my life. "
( ... But that’s not what I’m here about.)
This was a scenario Tim had thought a lot about.
But he knew that he wasn’t quite ready to take that step.
Again, there were were several possible explanations. After a brief struggle with the more rational part of himself, Tim began to read up on the occult.
With a special emphasis on vampirism, effects thereof.