“I can’t believe you’re doing this.”
Tim doesn’t care. He doesn’t even flinch. Not even when Dick takes a step forward, still in his uniform, still in Nightwing’s skin, and he’s so beautiful it hurts, but Tim keeps moving, keeps packing, avoids looking at his brother.
A glance at his watch, he’s late, and his heart is not helping, all this beating out of rhythm is no good to him at all. Dick grabs his arm then, and his heart gives three rapid beats, leaves him out of breath for a few seconds and he needs to cough.
He feels strange all over, feels out of place and out of skin, feels warm and cold and everything in between. He feels like anyone but himself, and yet he’s Tim Drake, not Tim Wayne, and he’s leaving.
“Talk to me.”
“Dick, let go.”
He closes his eyes; he doesn’t want to fight. A deep breath, count to three, he pulls himself free and warns Dick with that look of his, the one he thinks is scary.
“You don’t fool me, Tim.”
“Then you know why.”
“I love you too, you know.”
“No,” and here he stops, his body tense and his brows furrowed, he turns around and faces the brother, the big, perfect brother, the one he’s in love with, and he says, “You love being adored. That’s different.”
Wounded, Dick takes a step back, but it’s such a small reaction nobody gives a damn, and Tim goes back to packing, makes sure his favorite shirts are in there.
“That’s not true, that’s——how can you even say that?”
“It’s in your blood,” and if Tim would just face him again, he’d see the way Dick’s eyes judge him, and the hurt in the lines and wrinkles and scars and he would maybe take it back, but he refuses to face Dick again, so he stares at the black polo shirt, the one Jason loves to throw across the room every time they get together, and pays attention only to Dick’s uneven breathing.
“In my blood?!” the first Robin asks, raising his voice.
“You’re a star, you like the attention, you grew up that way. I don’t blame you. I really don’t. I’d like the attention too, if I were in your place. Because it is nice to know you’re loved and adored, to know that people would do anything for you.”
He wants to keep going, to keep talking, but he stops once he feels Dick’s nails digging in his skin, and it takes him a second to realize he’s being held by the arms, and that Dick’s face is an inch away from his and he’s angry, he’s angry and hurt and it’s tangible, and Tim, oh Tim, all he can think about is hurting him more because it’s not fair. It’s not fair that he’s never good enough, that he’s so little and miserable that Dick feels he’s got the right to take everything away from him. Every damn thing. It’s not fair that he never gives back. It’s not fair that people think it’s okay to step on his heart over and over and over again and then come back as if nothing happened.
It’s not fair.
“You really think that?” Dick asks, and Tim can’t stop staring at his lips, can’t stop staring, can’t stop shaking.
“Yes,” he says, full of conviction.
“I love you,” it’s a statement, Tim knows, but it doesn’t change anything.
“Not the way I want.”
“You’re my brother! My little brother…”
It’s a punch, his eyes sting, he keeps himself from crying. He bites the inside of his cheek, holds back an insult. He’s not a brother, he’s not a son. His parents are dead, he’s been in love since he was a little boy and he can’t handle misery anymore.
“I know. Let me go.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Nothing, Dick, I just want to go.”
“I’m not letting you go to him, you can’t do this!”
“I can do whatever I want, let me go.”
“He’s going to destroy you. Can’t you see it? He’s tried to kill you twice, Tim! He tried to take you away from me-“
“Don’t! Don’t even start…Damian tried to kill me once and you made him your Robin. Your logic is flawed, now let me go!”
When he obeys, Tim does his best to ignore the pain in his arms and picks a pair of jeans from the floor, folds it and puts it in the bag.
“I thought about it.”
“You. You and me, I thought about it.”
Tim is suddenly dizzy, his legs are not his anymore, and his head feels heavy.
“If you thought about it, why didn’t you say something?” he asks, trying to remain calm, trying to stand tall.
“Because, Tim, when I thought about it, you were still a 15 year-old boy and I, a grown ass man. Because you were just getting started and I didn’t want to ruin you. Because you were the little kid who used follow me around back when I first began as Nightwing and took pictures of me and got into trouble with the boys who always tried so hard to make your life miserable.
Because you became my little brother, and suddenly, I couldn’t think about you anymore. I felt like a pervert, and I was. You were 15, and making all these excuses to always be my side, finding ways to touch me, thinking I wouldn’t notice it, but I did because I felt the same.”
Tim sits on the edge of the bed, next to bag and the pile of clothes. He observes the room that once belonged to Dick. He dares a glance at Dick, who’s standing by the door, being a hero, the blue on his suit and the blue of his eyes, the red of his blood on the cut on his arm, and Tim looks down at his feet, he’s dressed so politely, so pretty and petty, his white shirt and dark cardigan, and the jeans he hates, the clothes of a nice boy who is going away with this guy, and this guy he carries a gun and cigarettes in his pocket and sometimes he smells of beer and death and sweat and dried blood, sometimes he smells of lavender soap, sometimes he smells of aftershave, sometimes he smells of cologne, the same cologne that impregnated all of Tim’s clothes, the same cologne that he once hated but now makes him hard, and it’s so different from Dick’s, so different, it’s almost funny, like a joke, a bad bad bad joke, because Dick smells of something sweet and safe and yet Tim considers him to be the dangerous one. One drop of love from that man, one genuine drop of love from that man and he’s down on his knees.
Let it bleed.
Let it fucking bleed.
“You just want me to stay.”
“I want you to stay because I can’t be away from you.”
“You barely see me anymore.”
“If you go to Jason, I’ll never see you again.”
“Why is that?”
“You won’t let me find you.”
“Would you look for me?”
“If I need to answer that then you better go.”
“Why is it so different this time? When I went away last year, you barely noticed.”
“Last year Bruce happened to be sort of dead. I was freaking out. I was left with his son and the responsibility of being Batman.”
“So you casted me aside.”
“I didn’t—what’s that on your wrist?”
But Dick is already on his knees, in front of him, taking his wrist and inspecting it.
“Handcuff mark?” he asks, but doesn’t expect an answer. He keeps examining it, the red mark circling the boy’s wrist. “You got captured or something?” and he looks up to meet Tim’s eyes, but he’s blushing, even though Tim’s doing his best to hide it, and then Dick sees the mark on his neck, the yellowing bruise there, and he gets it and lets go.
He gets it.
“Oh God…Oh shit, you’re—please, tell me this is not what I’m thinking, please—-You’re sleeping with him?!? He’s…he’s handcuffing you, he’s…giving you hickies and—-Tim!”
Said boy seems to have gotten out of his shame, he now stares at Dick’s face, shrugs. “What?”
“What?! You…Tim…he was…Jason? I’m…I’m gonna be sick, I’m gonna…”
“Do you see? You don’t love me, you love being adored.”
“Shut up! Just shut up, okay? You think this is…he’s leaving marks all over you, how do you want me to react? How exactly am I supposed to react?
“That’s up to you. Who I choose to sleep with, that’s up to me.”
Tim tries to stand up, but Dick holds him down, his hands on Tim’s thighs and he feels sick and tired, and he can’t stop picturing Tim being handcuffed and fucked and he can’t stop thinking and thinking and thinking, but Tim doesn’t seem to care, doesn’t seem to be here in this world.
“Dick, you’re testing me. I don’t want to fight you.”
“No, no, you can’t…you can’t be doing this to me, you can’t—-I thought you—”
“Leave the drama to the circus, just let—”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Let. Me. Go.”
“I’m better than him. Stay with me. Please.”
The boy wants to say no, to deny him this, but Dick is kissing his right thigh, tiny kisses that tickle and sends chills all over his spine, and he tries to move, but Dick gets on top of him, kisses his jaw, it’s a drastic change, kisses his jaw and his cheek and when he gets to the lips, when he kisses him, it’s hard to stop, it’s hard to breathe and to focus, and Tim finds himself moaning under Dick’s kiss, finds himself wanting more, but they pull apart, Dick rests his forehead on Tim’s, looks into his eyes.
“I love you. I’m sorry. I love you. Don’t go, stay here.”
“I need to finish packing. Please, leave me alone.”
Dick looks at him, eyes wide and disbelief on his lips. He stands up, looks at Tim one more time and walks away.
But before opening the door, he says, “I’m not a liar.”
Tim pretends he doesn’t hear it.