There’s someone on the other side of the door. They don’t knock or enter, but they are being loud, clumsy, which is unusual for anyone in this household. But Damian can feel who it is.
Damian sighs. “Don’t just stand there, Timothy.”
Tim stumbles in. He’s been drinking with Jason, for the second time in his life. And like the first time, he’s only tipsy - unlike Jason, whom Damian strongly suspects is close to passing out on his bed. Close, but not quite there yet. He’s still waiting for Bruce.
Just like Damian has been waiting for Tim.
He hadn’t been expecting him, but he’d been waiting, like always.
When Tim’s close to the bed, where Damian is sitting up, his book in his lap, Tim trips over nothing and lands half-sprawled by Damian’s feet.
“How much did you drink?”
“Only a couple of glasses,” Tim says defensively.
“Lightweight,” Damian tuts.
“Not a lightweight!” Tim insists, as he pulls himself up onto the bed. “Just tired.”
Damian tries to find the will to turn Tim away, as Tim has done to him so many times, but instead he pulls the older boy closer.
It must be easier for Tim. After all, he’s the one that doesn’t want this.
No matter how right it feels.
Tim is curled up against Damian, his head resting on the other’s chest, and he falls asleep whispering, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Damian, I’m so sorry...”
Damian doesn’t need apologies.
He’s already forgiven Tim.
In some early hour of the morning, Tim will wake up and slip out of Damian’s bed and his room, while Damian pretends he’s still asleep and not already missing his warmth.
And later it’ll be like it never happened. Tim will just keep avoiding Damian as much as possible, leaving Damian with only the memory of holding his soulbonded in his arms - and Tim felt so small lying there; Damian had outgrown him years ago, but this is different. He was too thin, too frail.
This is taking a toll on both of them, but Tim refuses to see it. Every time, he leaves Damian only with a memory to hold close.