Tim’s lurching his way into the kitchen towards the coffee pot, as is usual, when he notices someone trying to gain his attention. Fuzzily, he pours his first cup (from this particular pot) and drains it with an efficiency that can only otherwise be found when he’s in peak condition and needs to be able to beat a villain in a very specific and small-time frame.
Once his brain begins feeling a little less like a collection of small, angry thunderclouds, he makes a “Huh?” sound that he hopes conveys both his extreme displeasure at having to communicate this early and his absolute confusion over whatever has been occurring in the nearby vicinity.
Damian scoffs haughtily at him, and Tim pours himself a second mug resignedly.
“I said, Drake -”
Tim hums in a way he hopes means ‘Oh God, no, please no’ and is deeply suspicious Damian hears as ‘Please continue to abuse me verbally for an hour straight.’
“You are in a triad relationship, are you not?”
Somewhere else, there is the sound of somebody coughing up coffee. Tim glances down at his mug, but his coffee remains in his cup, where it should be, so his sleep-addled brain discards the sound of a spit take like nothing occurred.
Tim squints at Damian, trying to see the catch in the question. “Uh, yeah?”
Damian nods. “Then, explain who wears the trousers in your relationship. It is imperative information.”
Tim tries to think about it around a yawn. “Trousers? On a good day, no one.”
He does a double take when he realises his mug is empty again, and circles back round to the coffee pot with a scowl.
“No!” Damian snaps, and Tim could swear he was losing it at the same time. Laughter was coming from somewhere, but Damian wasn’t moving his lips at all. Tim sighs to himself as he fills his mug again for the third? Fourth? Time. When his brother had the bloody time to teach himself ventriloquism he had no clue. He barely juggled running W.E and the rest of ‘The Life’.
“Who -” Damian starts again, and the words come from his own mouth this time, not anyplace else, so Tim’s only fairly certain that Damian’s practising ventriloquism. “Who has what between their legs?”
Tim blinks again. Takes it? Takes what? “What?” is what his mouth manages to produce. “Between their legs? Me, usually?”
There he goes again! He realises, narrowing his eyes. Damian is grimacing and flushing, but there is distinct and loud laughter coming from the direction of the table to his right. Ugh, Tim realises as he takes another sip, if Damian does this on patrol to get Tim sent back because he can’t keep track of where people are, he’s going to kick the kid’s ass.
“Do not treat me like an idiot, Drake!” The kid seethes, and Tim is so confused right now. “Who is the female in the relationship! I need to settle a bet, and you giving utterly moronic answers is nothing but irritating and demeaning!”
Tim sighs. Why do people talk to him in the morning?
“Damian,” he answers as patiently as he can. “We are all male.”
Damian screams frustratedly, and stomps out, still doing his ventriloquist practise, and if it was half an hour later in the day, Tim would call him out on that too, but there’s a can of Monster somewhere on his desk he remembers opening last night that calls to him, so he begins stumbling his way back to his room, mind already switching over to the stocks news – he’s tempted to pull the merger that’s supposed to be happening next month, there’s weird reports coming in about human rights violations he’s getting checked out, maybe he should take a look himself –
An arm swings round his shoulders, and he freezes.
Oh. Oh, no, that can only be Dick or Jason, and he really doesn’t have the patience for either –
The arm chuckles in his ear and he wants to cry. It’s Dick, and suddenly Damian’s sudden talent for ventriloquism makes so much more sense.
He feels a little foolish, now.
“Didn’t know you had found yourself a triad, little brother,” Dick says in a tone way too cheerful to be appropriate for this time in the morning. “Not like you to hide secrets from us.”
Tim is hoping rather desperately that his brain will wake up enough to not give out any secrets right now.
“Hmm?” he manages. “Oh. It’s – complicated.”
Dick hums interestedly. “Why don’t you come sit down.”
He’s channelled into a room that contains Jason and – he squints at the legs of another figure and hopes it’s Cass.
“Is this an intervention?” He asks plaintively. “I just woke up. I’ve slept. I just ate.”
Please, he thinks fervently, let this not be an intervention. He hasn’t had one in ages though, so perhaps he’s due one?
Dick snorts in his ear. “You aren’t due an intervention because you’ve apparently had somebody to clean up your act for, brother.”
He sees Jason’s head shoot up, and Cass’s legs disappear with her head suddenly coming into view.
Balls. He doesn’t – he really doesn’t want this.
“So!” Dick chirps at him, pushing him into a seat. “Tell us all about them! Who are we beating up?”
Tim darts a glance to the window. He’s only on the second floor, he could probably get to a bike if he jumped, be outside Gotham in ten minutes if he pushed it, and from there, he can call Kon or Bart, be gone in a, hah, flash –
But. He kind of wants to tell his family, wants to show them this part of him, wants them to understand.
So, he shrugs a little, again, and frowns. “Knock it off, Dick.”
Dick starts guiltily, and the oppressive Alpha pheromones recede, and Tim can breathe again without feeling something in his chest snarling at his brother.
“Yeah, yeah, you’re a crazy Alpha Dick, growl, growl,” Jason snorts. “Leave off the poor Beta.”
It’s Tim’s turn to squint at Jason now. “I’m not – I’m not a Beta?”
Jason blinks. “What – what did you just say?”
Tim scrubs a hand over his face. “I’m an Alpha. Red Robin is a Beta, I take maskers, it’s procedure in case someone scents me at the company. I thought -” he gestures helplessly at Cass, who is snorting helplessly in the corner. “I thought you knew!”
Jason puts his head in his hands and groans. “How did you not rip my throat out when I – shit. Shit.” He groans. “Holy hell, Timmers, I can’t -” he chokes out a little laugh and falls silent.
“Hey, well, at least we know the disguise works,” Dick says into the now-quiet room, gleeful enough that they all know they’ll be hearing about this for weeks, at the very least. “Stop going off topic, Timmy. C’mon, spill the beans!”
Cass, bless her, she is his favourite member of this family, Tim swears, slips down onto the carpet, and takes one of his hands in hers. “Not angry.” She tells him, and something in Tim unclenches a little. “Never angry at you.”
Tim swipes at his eyes – he’s not crying, shut up – and manages to laugh a little, so she smiles, and tugs him down onto the floor beside her. Tim goes willingly, lets her pillow his head on her thighs, and takes in the familiar scent of family-Alpha-bubble-gum that he knows so well. It is her way of telling him that she will look after him if everything else goes south, and he appreciates that, knows that she knows he would do the same for her.
“So,” he says to the ceiling, “We kind of just fell into it. It’s always been us three, been Kon and Bart and I and it all just -” he waves a lazy hand in the air that Cass catches and gently pushes back down to his side. “Yeah. I mean, we’re happy. We make it work. It’s – good. It’s really good.”
He feels a little defensive towards the end, knows that it probably comes across plenty clear in his tone from the way Cass runs a hand through his hair.
“You’re all Alphas’.” Dick comments, and despite himself, Tim winces.
Jason evidently thumps their eldest brother, judging by the resounding yelp Dick gives out, and snorts at Tim. “That’s okay, dumbass. We aren’t disgusted or something. Mind you, a Super and one of the Speedsters is gonna put B’s pants in a twist, but he’ll be alright about it. We’re more than alright about it. I gotta ask though -” and Tim swears he can hear the smirk Jason’s undoubtably wearing right now, “Who bottoms? Like, that’s gotta be hot as hell -”
Jason yelps as he’s cut off by Dick throwing himself at him, a blur of motion cutting across Tim’s peripheral and he laughs helplessly into Cass’s stomach who giggles back.
Before he knows it, he’s buried under four-hundred straight pounds of Alpha as Jason and Dick topple on top of them, and groans in disgust as Dick sets to ruffling his hair to remind him how much of an absolute, well, dick he is. Cass wrestles with Jason playfully, and Tim yelps as an elbow comes uncomfortably close to his nose. Family is nice to have, he supposes, as he knees Dick in the stomach in the desperate effort to get air in his lungs.
“Jason?” he calls out once he’s managed to free himself a little. “We take turns taking each other apart, it’s the best fucking thing -” his breath goes out in a whoomph as Cass lands squarely on his stomach, “Bart vibrates -” he manages to gasp, grappling with Cass as she tries to cover his mouth, “Kon has – Christ!” he exclaims, tipping her into the path of Jason’s flailing arm, “TTK – that’s all I’m saying, I swear -” and laughs as they begin tussling anew.
Later, when they are all laid out on the carpet, sweaty and panting, breath illuminated in the morning light, Dick will ask, “You’re happy?” and Tim will say, “Yes.”
In this moment, Dick will say, “Then that’s good enough for me,” a little more forcefully than Tim thinks is necessary, but he’s facedown in the carpet so the sun won’t shine in his eyes, so he doesn’t mind it much.
Jason will try to ruffle his hair again, and Tim will try to bat him away with a muffled groan.
In this moment, Cass will roll onto her side and see Bruce, standing in the doorway looking more than a little lost, body saying oh, and uncertainty and fear of the unknown and a sliver of anger and Cass will narrow her eyes and pray that she never sees disgust, because Tim deserves better than that.
Tim will smile into the carpet, the scent of family filling his senses, and will not see the man he sacrificed so much for turn away.
(Dick, quietly, will be glad that another Robin does not have to see his father turn his back on him.)