“I can’t believe you did this.”
Kon walks away then. Tim thinks that’s a bad sign and follows after.
“You know why I did it! I’ve explained it to you countless times now—”
“It doesn’t matter!” Kon turns to look at him, and Tim wishes he hadn’t. He looks different, his brows are furrowed, and his lips, smooth and pale, are shut tight into a thin line as if there’s nothing else to say.
Kon breathes through his nose, looks away, a hand on his hip and the other on his forehead, he shakes his head, takes a deep breath and turns to Tim once more. “It doesn’t matter,” he says it in a calmer tone. “You went behind my back, put yourself in danger—”
“I can take care of myself, Conner.”
Kon laughs, smiles a sarcastic smile and says, “Oh you’re so fucking selfish!”
“Excuse me?” Tim asks, taking a step forward, his eyebrows knit together, his lips parted. He’s trying to come up with something else to say as the shock of being insulted by Kon gets to him.
“Selfish! You are selfish! Need me to draw it for you?”
There is a moment of silence between them in which Kon seems to regret his words, and Tim stares at him, breathing hard and deep, knowing his boyfriend is right but unable to say sorry.
“I did what I did to help us, to help our team. And it worked! If that makes me selfish…fine, I don’t care, but you’re being a big, freakin’ jerk and I’m—”
“I’m the jerk? I’m the jerk? You were the one who lied—-you know…” Kon clenches his teeth, his hands balled into fists as he searches for the words.
“This is what makes me mad. All this lying. You did it as if I was some fucking stranger who couldn’t be trusted! You were over there working with that lunatic and I was here, thinking everything was okay and that you were on a business trip to help Bruce! For fuck’s sake, look how stupid that sounds—-and I believed it because I was sure you wouldn’t lie to me.”
Tim swallows his pride.
It’s bitter and awful.
“I’m sorry,” he says.
“Sorry about what?” Kon raises an eyebrow, and starts counting on his fingers. “Working with Luthor, lying, then lying about lying, or sorry because you’re not sorry at all?”
Tim stares at the four fingers Kon’s holding up, unsure of what to do.
“I would never work with Bruce behind your back. And even if I did, it would be ten thousand times better than what you did. That man hates me but at least he’s not the psychotic asshole Lex is.”
“Bruce didn’t know—-“
“I don’t care! I’m not Bruce! I’m your boyfriend, and supposedly, your best friend!”
“Kon,” Tim tries to touch him, touch his arm, but Kon just moves away. “Try to understand that—”
“No! You, more than anyone, knows how I feel about Luthor, knows what he did—-how could you not tell me? I really can’t wrap my head around this, Tim! What else do you hide from me?”
“Nothing!” he’s quick to answer, trepidation deep in his gut, taking over him. The thought of betraying Kon’s trust is excruciating, even though it’s not the first time he does it, the first time he lies through his teeth and tries to get away with it.
The irony is that he’s telling the truth here.
Apart from working with Luthor, Tim has not lied to Kon, not even about the problems in his dysfunctional family. Bruce warns him constantly, gives him hints about keeping things to himself and how much better and safer that is. Of course Bruce never ceases to be a hypocrite, being very clear about exceptions and that he is, without a doubt, one. Tim understands this is generated out of fear that Kon will go mad again, and do a lot more than just breaking his arm.
The thought makes him sick, and he finally feels it, the guilt washing over him, making him sweat. He becomes aware of everything; Kon’s breathing, and the way he looks at Tim, accusing him. The living room and how small it seems to be, the beige walls and the wooden floor hurting his eyes, the black piano near the fish tank turning into nothing but a splotch, the smell of cleaning products he uses on the floor making him nauseous, and the way he stands, his body heavier than normal.
“Yeah, well…How can I be sure of that now?” Kon asks, breaking the silence. He shakes his head, opens his mouth as if he’s about to say something else, but chooses to walk away.
“Where are you going?” Tim asks, following Kon to the door, and closing it the second he opens it.
“Tim…” he warns.
“You’re just going to walk away?”
“Get out of the way.”
“Because of a stupid fight?”
“Of course it’s stupid to you.”
“I said I was sorry, what else do you want me to do?”
“I want you to move.”
“I’m not moving until you listen to me.”
“Oh, you’re funny. So when you’re mad, you get to be an ass and stop talking to me until you decide you had enough of it, but when I’m mad at you, I have to talk and forgive you like it’s no big deal?”
Tim closes his eyes, sighs, opens them again and says, “I never leave when I’m mad at you.”
“I don’t wanna stay here right now, can you please respect that?”
“You’re not going after him.”
Kon tilts his head a bit to the left. “You know, that hadn’t crossed my mind, but maybe it’s a good idea. No, you know what, here’s a better one: I’ll promise not to go because I know how much you trust me, and the second you turn your back, I’ll pay Lex a visit. Oh, and I won’t tell you, so you’ll have to find out about it by accident five months later. Sounds good?”
Tim doesn’t answer. He stares at Kon for a moment, noticing how small he is compared to him, and how ridiculous he looks, all formal and tidy in his suit and tie, while Kon is wearing a shirt and jeans and feeling betrayed. He steps back, and the situation is heavy and horrible, but not awkward. He wants to say something, but nothing comes out, the words all stuck on his throat. He walks away, headed towards the bedroom, and leaves Kon standing there, free to do whatever he wants.
It’s only after he has changed out of his clothes, put on sweatpants and got on the bed that Kon shows up. He stands by the door frame, arms crossed, and Tim avoids looking at him, grabs a book on the bedside table and starts to read, pretending he’s not wired on Kon’s every move. He doesn’t know what made him come back so quickly.
Maybe Kon caught up on Tim’s heart and the way it changed its beating once he tried to leave.
“You don’t get to do this. You don’t get to lie to me and then be mad that I’m angry about it,” he says. “It’s not fair.”
Tim flips a page on his book, and says without looking up, “I wanted to stop fighting, you didn’t.”
“See what you do?” Kon asks, uncrossing his arms and pointing at Tim, walking over to him and sitting on the bed. “You don’t get how much it upset me. You keep acting like you did nothing wrong and you want me to let it go.”
They stay quiet for a moment. Tim pretends he’s reading, Kon stares at the floor. The light is much too bright for his taste, but he’s too lazy to get up and switch it off.
“I felt like such an idiot, Tim. I’m still feeling like an idiot…”
“Nobody knew,” Tim says, setting the book aside. “I know that doesn’t make it better, but nobody knew. You, Bruce, Dick, the Titans…nobody knew. I just wanted to do it and get it over with without causing trouble. He had the information we needed, I got it and it was over.”
Kon shakes his head, and Tim grabs his hand, squeezes it as he says, “If I’d told you, you would have wanted to come with me.”
“Yeah! Yeah, I would have, and with good reason.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I wouldn’t let him do that again, Tim, control me like that. You have to stop trying to protect me from him.”
“I can’t help it! I can’t help any of it, all right? I can’t go back in time and tell you. I can’t do anything else besides being sorry. I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t care about your feelings, I just don’t want to waste our weekend fighting. We never get to spend time like this.”
When Kon doesn’t answer, Tim inches closer, squeezes his hand one more time and dares a kiss on his shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
Another kiss, this one up on Kon’s neck, his pulse on Tim’s lips. “I’m sorry,” he says again.
Maybe it’s the sincerity of the soft kisses, but Kon turns to him, holding Tim’s hand and looking at him, examining his face, “Okay,” he says, as simple as that. “Okay,” he says, one more time to make sure everything is really okay, and then he kisses him, his tongue on Tim’s as he pulls him closer, almost enough to make him sit on his lap. His fingers take hold of the boy’s hair, and he never lets go of Tim’s hand.
Moments later, when Kon has taken off his clothes and left only his boxers, they fall asleep like that, peacefully, and Tim grabs Kon’s arm and urges his boyfriend to hold him, which he does, half asleep and mumbling something Tim doesn’t really understand, but he smiles, happy with the knowledge that for once in his life, a fight doesn’t mean the end to everything.