The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the Robins were happily chirping. Well, the Robins outside were happily chirping. The Robins past and present were sitting at the dining room table glaring at one another over their breakfast. The thing is, no one knows what started the whole feud. I don’t even know, and I’m the narrator. Dick claimed it was because Jason and Damian had pranked him by leaving itching powder in his bed. Tim claimed that someone had run off with his laptop, and replaced his toxic red bull coffee mix with decaf tea (Tim get some sleep). Jason claimed that Tim, Dick, and Damian had ratted him out to Bruce about the current mob boss he had ‘accidentally’ killed. Damian claimed that Dick kept hugging him without his consent and that Tim and Jason had replaced his vegetarian breakfast sausages with real ones at yesterday morning's breakfast. Needless to say, everyone was tensely staring daggers at each other, no one breathing a word.
And now that we have set the scene, Bruce walks in. This will be good, get your popcorn.
Bruce sits down at the head of the table, looking far too exhausted for 10 in the morning, but after taking a few sips of his coffee, we see Bruce start to take notice of the tension around the table.
Place your bets. Will the man confront his children and not act like an emotionally constipated asshole? My bets on no.
“What happened?” Darn, I lost. Oh well, let us savor this moment of Bruce being a good father before DC recognizes that something is different. The angry boys all start shouting at once, and if you look carefully enough, you can see a vein starting to pop on Bruce’s forehead, and his eye starting to twitch.
“QUIET!” That certainly stopped the noise. The boys all stared at their father, by blood or by adoption, with eyes comically wide. Bruce took a sharp inhale and held it, slowly releasing it, as if slowly exhaling would lower his blood pressure. “Now.” Another deep breath, and another, and another. And Bruce spoke. “What seems to be the problem?” Again more yelling. This time though, fists were thrown as Damian lunged over the table to tackle Tim. Tim jumped up and ran out of the room, Damian going after him. Dick got up, yelling at them to stop before ‘more blood was spilled!’ and Jason got up to stop Dick from stopping Damian from pummeling Tim or Tim pummeling Damian.
This, my fellow fanfiction nerds, is family drama in its purest form. (And I thought my family was bad). We now watch, as Bruce admits defeat. Hands holding his head as he sighs, and sighs even harder when Alfred pats his back in comfort.
“Master Bruce, I have an idea, if I may be so bold.” Ohhh. I am curious. What does the wise butler have to say for his poor son? “What about family therapy?”
Family? Therapy?! With the Wayne's?!?!
This is an automated message brought to you by family trauma: Please excuse the narrator as she dies of laughter.
Ok. I’m back. I didn’t die, but it was close. Apparently, I was not the only one that experienced a near-death experience, Bruce is looking up at his father with a hollowed, worn-out look. “I’m not sure that it would work Alfred. I’m not even sure I could find someone who would agree without selling us out to the press. Maybe we could-” A loud shatter cut off the poor man. A blood-curdling scream and several strings of cursing followed.
“You know Master Bruce, Miss Lance does family therapy, and she already knows about this family's nighttime activities.”
Ohhh. Will the worn-out father change his mind? More shattering followed the butler words. “I think that may be the best idea I’ve ever heard Alfred.”
Alert the media! The Wayne family is getting therapy!
Cue the celebratory confetti and balloons.
“WHAT?” Well, that could have gone better.
“Well, that could have gone better.” Huh. Great minds think alike Bruce!
“Did I hear you right Bruce? We are getting family therapy.” All the Batbros shiver at the words as if they might bring a bad omen.
But squeal!! The Batbros are getting along! Oh, my heart! It can’t take such cuteness!
Come on Bruce! Stand by your decision! “Yes. We are. Deal with it. Our first appointment is tomorrow with Dinah Lance. To ensure that you will all be there, she agreed to meet us here.” good Job Bruce, but Jason is sneaking away. “And Jason?” Jason slowly turned around. “Your drinks were drugged. In about 20 seconds you will all be passed out on the floor to make sure none of you run off.”
HAHAHA! Yes! My Batbros are getting therapy!
*Sniff*I’m sorry. I’m just so proud of Bruce.*Sniff*
We now watch as the Wayne siblings promptly pass out one after the other onto the floor of Bruce’s bedroom. Alfred and Bruce drag the boys to their respective rooms and bid each other good night.
Morning rises and we can see that everyone but our four boys are awake. Dinah is downstairs in the living room with Bruce, idly chatting. We all know though that they are 100% gossiping because did you see what Hal was wearing?! As the clock strikes nine though, Bruce pulls out a device and the TV changes to the cameras that are placed in every boy's room.
Now we can see Bruce press another button and special made metal drops overall exits from the room. After ensuring that the exits were all blocked, Bruce presses another button, and gallons of cold water drop onto each boy.
On the screens show us each boy as they shoot up into defensive mode, looking for their attacker. After realizing where they are at and remembering the previous night's event, they all made their way out into the hall. There we see the boys group together and make their way down the stairs.
Bruce thought of everything. The only way to get to the kitchen or any other way out of the Manor would involve walking past the living room (conveniently where Dinah and Bruce were. Smart Bruce) and past Alfred.
Now I must give credit to the boys. They did try to sneak past Bruce and Dinah. And one of them might have succeeded, but no one escapes the watchful eye of Alfred the Great and Powerful.
“Ahem.” Look at them freeze! You would think they were caught murdering someone! Annnnd there goes the raised eyebrow. Wow. No way they are escaping now.
“Boys. Take a seat.” The smile that graced Bruce’s face was legendary.
I can smell the fear practically radiating off of the siblings as they turn around. They walk to the awaiting seats as though they are walking to their deaths, not to therapy.
After our boys were all tensely seated, Dinah began. “Well. You have no idea how happy I was that you all decided to get family therapy.” Jason snorted. “Well Jason, since you are so eager, why don’t we start with you. Is there anything that has been bugging you lately?” I can see Jason’s face drop, eyes widening in horror at being called on first.
“I got nothin’” Sure you don’t Jason. Is that snorting I hear? Who didn’t learn from Jason's mistake? Oh. Tim. You poor soul. Dinah turned her gaze to Tim now.
“Timothy? Anything you want to say?”
“Don’t call me Timothy.” Wow. Someone is grumpy.
But before poor Dinah could counter, World War 3 broke out. And for the remaining hour, Dinah and Bruce watched in horror and a bit of awe, as all four boys bickered and fought each other.
The hour was long and drawn out, I wasn’t even sure if the fighting would stop. Dinah Lance though is a saint. When it seemed that nothing would stop the bickering, Dinah stood up, and the fighting stopped. Faces red and veins popping, with the effort our boys put into fighting with each other.
Though now that it was quiet, Bruce turned to Dinah and gave her a flustered look. “See what I mean.”
Warning: This chapter gets angsty.
Jason reveals some things that have been on his mind recently that aren't taken to well.
I love the batboys, but they are stubborn when they put their minds to something. Unfortunately for our boys, their father is also very stubborn. So when the next family therapy appointment, Bruce tricked them (knocked them out) into staying the night. Another therapy day arrived.
They made their way downstairs, again prevented from escaping, and made their way over to the chairs. No one dared look at each other. Why are they so stubborn?!
Let us attempt a change real quick before we get back to our regularly scheduled Family Drama.
Please make the Batfamily less stubborn. Everyone would appreciate this.
Fanboys and Fangirls everywhere.
And now back to seeing if Dinah is up to attempting to make the family talk to each other.
“I learned a lot from our last session.” Wait. Dinah learned something amidst the chaos? “You all love to antagonize each other. So this time, we are going to be trying something different.” Is that a gun?! “This is a squirt gun. Another thing I learned about this family is that you are very competitive. So, Alfred?” We see Alfred wheel a giant whiteboard out into the living room. It has all the family's names on it in graph form. A space for tally marks clearly left blank underneath. But wow. Was so much space for tally marks necessary.
Wait, I hear yelling! Oh and there goes the squirt gun and a stream of water is blasted onto Dick, Jason, Tim, and Damian. Ok. So maybe that much space is necessary. Bruce snickers and gets a spray. Then another for voicing his protests. However, Bruce’s face is now resembling something close to the face my dogs give me when they get splashed with water for barking. Oh, this is going to be good.
Better listen, Dinah is talking again. “As you can see, you talk when it’s not your turn, you get sprayed. The person with the most tallies at the end gets benched from patrol for three days. Understood.” Dang. Her raised eyebrow could rival Alfred's. The boys learned their lesson and simply nodded. “Good. Let’s begin. I would like to start with Jason and Tim. I have heard several concerns that you two don’t consider each other brothers. Jason, you get two minutes to talk. Then it is Tim’s turn.”
AN: I know that this is probably NOT how normal family therapy goes, but nothing in the Batfamily universe is normal. I picture it as Dinah having to take extremes to get them to cooperate.
Let’s go, Jason! What? This boy has far too many problems to leave them ignored. “Let me make one thing clear. Tim is NOT my brother. He is simply my replacement. He is nothing more than the annoying boy next door that took a dead boy's place. The boy is nothing more than an annoyance that hasn’t figured out that he isn’t wanted.” Wow. That was not what I was expecting. But look closely. Jason’s eyes are starting to glow green. Lazarus green. And Tim. Oh, my poor child. He looks simply dejected. Like someone has ripped out his heart and torn it to shreds then shoved it back into his chest. I wish I could go and comfort him, but alas, I am simply the narrator. Not an actual character. Jason kept talking, it was like trying to stop a drip but only making it worse. Everything that had bugged Jason for the last two years since he came back from the dead, is making its way to the surface. Even Dinah looks worried.
And Tim. Well. He just keeps looking worse and worse. In everyone's shock at Jason’s words, no one noticed that the boy was slowly moving away from Dick, who he was sitting next to. Tears are gathering in his eyes but no one is noticing. SOMEONE NOTICE!! UGH! Finally, the two minutes are over.
Jason’s chest is heaving, trying to catch his breath. Everyone has focused on Jason again, but Jason doesn't seem to notice until something falls. Or someone. Tim had scooted so far away from the family, that he forgot the couch he was sitting on with Dick, didn’t have arms. Tim landed on the ground, uncoordinated and looking scared. But why is Tim scared? He is around his family. Something isn’t right here. Tim’s chest is also heaving but Tim’s breathing is getting louder and louder, and - oh. He’s hyperventilating. Looking around, we see that no one is moving to comfort the boy.
This. *Bang.* Is. *Bang.* Me. *Bang.* Banging. *Bang.* My. *Bang.* Head. *Bang.* Against. *Bang.* The. *Bang.* Wall. *Bang.* At. *Bang.* This. *Bang.* Family's. *Bang.* STUPIDITY! *Bang.* UGH!
Tim's eyes are starting to glass over and the grips of the past have him in an icy hold. One look at Jason, and the boy is scrambling back. “P-Please. I-I’m so-so-sorry.” And the boy kept
panicking. Everything ranging from Jason attacking him, to Damian beating him up, to begging his parents to come back. Bruce snapped out of his trance first as someone had slapped him. I didn’t slap him. I can’t. I wish I could’ve.
Anyway. Bruce moves forward, but Tim moves back. Finally, Tim hits the wall and does nothing but shake and move his hands in front of his face to protect himself from a hit he thinks is coming. To Tim’s blatant surprise, which is obvious on his terrified face, never comes. Bruce moves his hands to grab Tim’s hands but gets a face full of sharp teenage boy nails instead. Nothing is stopping my scared Timmy. Bruce snaps at Dick who snaps out of his trance and comes to help. Together the two wrestle a screaming, thrashing Tim into a locked position. Tim is sitting on the floor with Dick behind him. Dicks legs wrapped around Tim's to make sure that they don’t keep thrashing and breaking something. His arms and being held in place by Dick and Bruce’s arms. Neither man realized just how strong Tim actually was. Fools.
Tim’s screaming is so loud. It is even hurting your narrator's ears with how loud it is, and I’m not even in the room. Finally, Tim calms down enough, but the sobbing is still there, but he is no longer begging to be spared or for someone to come back. In fact, he leans into the touch like it is the best thing ever.
Digging into Bruce’s mind, we can see all his thoughts, jumping around and moving a million miles an hour. Switching his persona from Brucie to Bruce, to Batman to Dad. Dad wins over, but just barely. And we can see that Dad Bruce catalogs everything he knows about his son and why he might be acting this way. But Dad Bruce realizes that he knows very little about the boy that is still screaming and sobbing. I will give Bruce some credit though. He did try to get to know the boy, but Tim had always kept his life something of a mystery. Never talked about his parents, any interests, his opinions, heck, Bruce just realized that he didn’t even realize that he didn’t know his boy’s favorite color or animal.
Oh, Bruce. You have a lot to learn. The rest of the therapy session is spent with Alfred lecturing Jason, who apparently knows more about Tim than Bruce does. Tim is still locked in Dick’s arms sobbing his eyes out and choking on his sobs. His apologies pick up again and the results look like Tim was dosed with Fear gas.
Dinah left with her notepad, noticeably more full than at the start of the session. She nods to Alfred who is scolding and comforting his second grandson while Damian sits there not taking an interest. She squats down next to Bruce, their conversation is so quiet that even I can’t hear it. But Bruce nods and continues to try and comfort his child.
Well, maybe next week will be better.
Tim finally calmed down enough but retreated upstairs to his room before anyone could stop him. After that day, Tim stayed in his room with no one entering or coming to talk to him.
And the family wondered why they needed therapy. I have more open conversations with my dogs.
Alfred had tried to come to talk to the boy at first, but gave up and let the boy stay in his room. I, however, was able to watch Tim. Since, you know, being the narrator overlord that sees all. The poor child stayed in his room at all times. He only took the food that was left outside his room, ate a few bites, and flushed the rest down the toilet. The words that Jason said had really affected the teen.
Jason did walk past the teen's room and would stop to talk to the boy, but he never built up enough courage to talk to the boy that he denounced as a brother.
The third therapy session came, but this time it was Tim’s fourth. Bruce had secretly called Dinah to come and talk to the boy and see if she could help him. According to Dinah though, Tim just sat and stared at the wall, not even acknowledging that Dinah was there. But on the third family session, Tim stayed as far away from the others as possible. The only reason that Tim actually joined them downstairs, was because Bruce bribed the boy with letting him go to Titans Tower after the hour-long session.
And so, picture this. The living room in Wayne Manor. One big couch against the back wall, a fireplace on the wall opposite of the back wall. Two big chairs with a table in between them had their backs against the entrance to the Manor. And another couch was by the wall, but not quite against it with just enough space for someone to get by and into the Dining room. The room is elegantly decorated, with a dark, elegant, richly colored blue. The stained glass windows shined beautiful pictures onto the blue walls when the rare Gotham sun shined in. A gigantic metal chandelier hung from the 20-foot ceilings. As a child, Dick would frequently hang and swing from the chandelier. Paintings that are sometimes as old as 100 plus years, adorned the walls. And right now, the only thing in the room that doesn't look like it belongs, is the whiteboard, loaded with more tally marks even though the session started only 5 minutes ago.
Tim was away from the rest of the people, it pained Dinah to see him so cut off. But the teen sat in one of the chairs, waiting for the hour to end so he could grab his overnight bag and call for Kon to grab him and whisk him away. The tension is so thick that you can practically feel it. It was clear that Tim wanted to be anywhere other than there, and Dinah tried to bring him back into the loop. ”Tim.” The boy didn’t even lookup. “Tim. Can you hear me?” The thirteen-year-old sheepishly looked up.
“Yes?” Timmy. My poor boy. His voice was raspy and weak from lack of use.
“Do you want to talk about anything? I know I said some things when you and I met that you agreed to some things that I mentioned. Do you want to maybe try talking about them?” The boy in question shook his head no. “Well, what if I come over and you can tell me, and then maybe I can say it? Would that work?” Tim thought it over and then nodded. Dinah smiled a small, sweet, motherly smile and went and sat down next to the small teen.
To be honest, it was quite fun observing the rest of the family. How they nervously watched Tim curl in on himself, trying to hide away from the people he thought of as family but they didn’t return the favor. Tim whispered into Dinah’s ear and Dinah turned and told the others what he said.
Looking over at the two, we can see Dinah focusing on Jason. He visually squirms at the look. “Jay, Tim would like me to tell you that he is deeply sorry for replacing you. He wanted me to tell you the reason why he became Ro-”
“IhadtosaveBruce” Wait, wait, wait. Tim is talking! Oh, I’m so proud! Everyone turned and looked at Tim who had spoken up and then shrunk back down. But at least he had talked.
Surprisingly, Damian spoke. “What were you saying, Drake? Speak.” A feral hiss emerged from Damian as he was sprayed and a tally mark added. A quick glance at the whiteboard showed that Damian was (unsurprisingly) in the lead with 48 points in the last 10 minutes.
Back over at Tim, we can see him take a deep breath and restarted what he was saying. Errors and stuttering be damned. “I had to save Bruce. You have to understand something Jason. I know you don’t think of me as a brother.” Tim’s voice choked at the admittance. “B-but I always was jealous of you. I figured out Batman and Robin’s identity when I was seven. My p-parents took me to see the circus when I was 3. I met a boy acrobat who gave me my first hug and promised to do a flip for me.” Tim’s smile was whimsical and carefree and relaxing at the memory of his first hug. “But…they died. My parents, who I had seen for the first time in 6 months when they took me to the circus left the next day, left me with the nanny I had since I was five, and left for 14 months.” Tim paused looking exhausted at having revealed all of this.
“You don’t have to continue, Tim.” Thank you Dinah for giving him a way out.
But stubborn Tim simply shook his head and continued. “I snuck out at night starting when I was six years old and took photos. I figured out who Batman and Robin were. Then you became Robin Jason. I used to see the parties your family would have. A birthday party I could only dream of, Christmas parties when I spent my Christmas microwaving leftovers that the Housekeeper left two weeks earlier. For years I dreamed of being a part of your family. You hugged each other and loved each other. It was something that intrigued me and shocked me. You were MY Robin. The one that I have the most pictures of and dreamed of being my friend. But I was the little nerd that was 9 and in 8th grade. You were two years older than me but in the same grade, but couldn’t care less about me. When you d-died, Bruce became so violent and started to not care if he lived or died. I tried to get Dick to become Robin again but he refused. I didn’t want to be Robin. I swear. Bruce hated me, and Dick was only nice because he felt bad for not getting close to you.” Tim started to cry. “I didn’t want to be Robin, I promise. Please you have to believe me. I’ll leave if you want me to. Bruce didn’t want me, no one wanted me.” Tim broke down sobbing. Agony clear on his face.
The house remained silent. I was surprised at how quiet the house got. Tim continued to cry but suddenly stopped when Jason got up and stood in front of Tim. Dinah gave him a look but he waved her off with a reassurance that No he would not do anything stupid.
Dinah may be sure, but I for one, am not sure that Jason would not do anything stupid. After all, the boy did tell the teen that has looked up to him for years that he was an annoyance. Tim started to play with his sleeves, something that he has done since he was a child when he couldn’t get his hands on anything sharp for immediate relief.
The scars were still there, but as it is I, being the narrator and Tim are the only ones aware of the scars. Well, and now Jason.
Jason grabbed Tim’s sleeves and when he did, he saw the scars. Eyes grew wide in horror at recognizing what they were from. “Oh, Timmy. You have to know that I meant none of that. I was so mad and once felt that way, but not anymore. I am so sorry. More than you can ever realize. I know that you might not ever forgive me, but I do want you to know that you are my little brother. And for the thing that I just figured out, come talk to me. I don’t want you to be hurting any more than your parents and others and even I have hurt you in the past.” Awe! I knew that Jason didn’t mean it. I’m so proud of my boy for being able to talk about his feelings.
Maybe now, things will get better.
Who am I kidding? This family just overcame one obstacle, Lord only knows how many more there are to overcome.
Tim took off out of the house the moment the therapy session was over.
Big shocker right? The poor kid just spilled his guts and origins to the people he calls family. If that were me, I would have hightailed it out of there too.
Jason looked guilty. Still. Even though he did apologize, and admitted that he was wrong, I’m secretly proud of him for not blaming what he said fully on the Lazarus pit. But admitting that he had said terrible things, he now regretted them.
The family disperses to their normal post-therapy activities. Whether that is downing a carton of ice cream (Dick), reorganizing something (Jason), or beating the stuffing out of a dummy person and then beheading it (Damian).
But what do we have here? It looks like Bruce stayed behind to talk with Dinah about something. Call me crazy, but from the looks of the two comparing calendars and adding events, the family is getting one on one therapy.
Because that will be received better than the announcement of family therapy.
Tim returned from his weekend with the Titans, looking refreshed and better than he was when he left. Apparently, Steph had gone and visited too, meaning that Tim returned happy after having seen his best friends and girlfriend.
After Tim returned, he locked himself back into his room, only to emerge for dinner for the first time in almost a week and a half. But to everyone's surprise, including mine, he willingly sat next to Jason. It was that night that Bruce made the announcement about individual therapy. As I said, it went over about as well as the announcement of family therapy. However, Bruce was not swayed by the yelling but used it to his advantage. He used the yelling and the anger with each other and problems that they have had with each other and themselves, as proof of why they needed the therapy in the first place.
Since it was Sunday, starting the next day, they would each be getting individual hour-long therapy appointments. No if, and, or buts.
It was a very quiet rest of dinner.
Now we turn to post-dinner time. Bruce had benched them all from patrol on Sunday nights because of their early morning therapy. So we now turn to Tim, who is locked away in his room again. But he was crying. Now, it was very much known to Tim that he had depression and he had just assumed that it was obvious and that everyone knew. But right now, Tim felt like his whole world was ending. Like someone was scooping out all emotions and feelings from his head, leaving a numb, hurting boy. Nothing could change the way that Tim felt, speaking from personal experience. And the reason for the bad thoughts now was individual therapy. Tim didn’t want to try something that he knew wasn’t going to work. The knowledge that he would only end up wasting Dinah’s time and Bruce’s money, made the thoughts worse.
Don’t worry Tim, things do and will get better I promise. But for now, you have to answer the door when your brother knocks in about three, two, one.
Bang bang. Answer the door, Tim. Please.
And as if the boy had heard me, he got up and answered the door. Of course, he only opened it enough to peek out and see that the offending person, interrupting Tim’s private time with his thoughts, was Jason.
“Timmy? Can I come in?” Let him in, Tim!
“Uhm, n-not right now.”
“Tim, please. I want to talk to you. I’ll be fas-wait , are you crying? What’s wrong?”
Shoot, shoot, shoot, Tim is panicking again. The boy backs up away from the door and Jason runs in. And now Jason is helping Tim through his third panic attack in two weeks.
As the panic attack came to an end, Tim fell asleep in Jason’s arms, exhausted from the tears and his mind running a million miles an hour.
Now let's let the boys get their rest. Lord knows they need it.
Tim woke up in Jason's arms, the older boy asleep. Even though Tim had not exactly been the most comfortable with Jason, he seemed relaxed, content even. And believe it or not, Tim went back to sleep, content with being in his brother Jason’s arms. But before Tim could re enter the realm of sleep, Jason woke up and stopped the younger from falling back asleep.
“Timmy, I know you are awake. Please talk to me bud. I-I’m scared. You're my little bro-”
“Stop. I’m not your brother. I know that now.”
Tim can’t see it, but we can, Jason’s face shows a million and one emotions before a sad sound escapes from the back of his throat and a wounded look settles on Jason’s face. Tim looks up in shock, unsure if the person in front of him is actually Jason.
And Tim definitely wasn’t expecting thick, emotional sobs to leave the older boy. “Tim..y-you have NO i-ide-idea how S-Sorry-Sorry I am. I wo-won’t make excuse-excuses and say woe i-is me. I-I was m-mad at Bru-Bruce still and took it o-out on you. I-I-I understand i-if you will never fo-forgive me. But I do w-want to be your b-brother. Even if I have to re-re-re earn all your t-trust.” And Jason once again broke down into sobs.
Tim was shocked if the look on his face was evidence enough. All this time he thought that Jason simply hated him. But it was his old feud with Bruce that sparked the anger. “Jason… I honestly don’t know what to say. I just thought that you hated me. Of course, you're my brother. I would have kept considering you my brother even if you didn’t want to mind. If only because it makes me feel happy to think that I am not alone.”
Jason gripped Tim in a hug and Tim gripped him back. After a few minutes of brotherly love, Jason asked one more question. “What was going on last night? D-Did I do something wrong?”
It was obvious that Tim did not want to say, but said anyway. “It was a bad day. I thought that it was obvious and that no one cared.” Jason looked hurt again at Tim’s words.
“No babybird. I came to check on you because I was worried. Do you want to tell me what kind of mental stuff?”
“Bad thoughts, painful thoughts, I feel like my heart is breaking and that everything is just a waste. That no one would care what would happen. They hurt but I have become used to them. Sometimes they just become more hurtful than normal. What triggered it last night was the therapy. Well, the individual therapy. I’ve tried it before and nothing worked. They told my parents that they thought I was depressed and my parents stopped letting me go. The thoughts only got worse no matter how much I tried the techniques they gave me during the few meetings I got. I just figured I was not good at therapy, that it just wouldn’t work for me. And today, all the therapy session will do is waste Dinah’s time and Bruce’s money. It makes me feel bad which leads to more bad thoughts. It never stops.”
Tim started to grip his hair, tugging to ground himself. Jason grabbed his hands with a gentleness that I have never seen with the Wayne’s. “Ok. First things first. One: Always come find me. I have had my fair share of bad mental days too. Two: Therapy is a work in progress. How about this. I do it and you do it? OK?” Tim nodded after a moment to process. “And third: Dinah volunteered to do this, apparently she had dreamed of getting us therapy for years. And last but not least, fourth: Bruce has more money than he knows what to do with. Case and point, the number of cars sitting in the garage that he has never driven. Do not worry about the cost of therapy. I know that if we asked for something, Bruce would get it for us in a heartbeat. I never want you to worry yourself, thinking that you are not worth the help. And if anyone tells you otherwise, I'll beat them senseless. No one hurts my little brother.”
The brothers hugged each other, happy to have one another.
Downstairs, Bruce watched Jason and Tim become closer than any of his kids have ever been. It made him so happy to know that the therapy was working. In the past, he never would have envisioned his two polar opposite sons coming together and becoming closer than he could have ever imagined.
That day's therapy went surprisingly well, even Dinah was shocked by their openness.
Maybe there is hope for my Bat Boys still.
This week, we see Bruce being the last one downstairs to family therapy. Of course, he was running and frantically screaming to Dinah about the boys having escaped and he didn’t know where they went. That was before Dinah and Alfred leveled him a look and he bothered to look around the room and see that the boys were, in fact, already sitting down and waiting for the day's session. But unlike last week's therapy, Tim and Jason were sitting on one couch and Dick and Damian on another. Dick and Damian had always been close, especially while Bruce was lost in the time stream. No one knew this, but Dick considered Damian more of his son than a brother, but since Bruce was alive and well, Dick had resorted to just being Damian’s older brother.
Believe it or not, it was now their fifth therapy appointment and Dinah was more than happy with how everything was turning out. I had heard her telling Bruce how happy she was with their progress, and that she anticipated only needing monthly appointments within a few more appointments.
And now we go back to the present, wherein Bruce’s shock he sits down automatically, his jaw hanging open in shock. Frankly, I am finding it hilarious, and I’m not the only one. All the Batboys are laughing their asses off. Tim was leaning on his big brother (BROTHERS) and he was laughing so hard.
And now that Bruce had recovered from his shock, and the boys had mainly stopped laughing, Dinah started their weekly session. And this time, it went surprisingly well. This week, though, Dinah focused a bit more on Dick.
Damian had made it crystal clear during their individual therapy appointment with Dinah, that he was open to the therapy, he knew that he had unresolved issues, but there was no way that he was opening up around his family.
Dick, though, he had secretly dreamed of getting them family therapy for years, he just went along with the bursts of outrage so his brothers didn’t know. Because of course, Dick would try to fit in with his siblings. He always felt like an outcast anyway.
Dick was in all honesty looking a bit green around the gills and nervous at the mention of his name. We all know that the Batboys had lots of unresolved trauma. But out of all of the boys, Dick probably had the most. He just never told anyone. He never told anyone that behind the smiles and cheer is a boy that is falling apart from years of hurt. That it all started after three months in Juvenile detention when the orphanages were full after witnessing his parent's death. That he was beaten countless times within an inch of his life if he was caught by a villain. The mental pain in knowing that he hurt Bruce every time he got hurt. Or that after he was fired as Robin and kicked out at 16, he made his way to Jump City and formed his own team. No one knew about the 6 months, 23 days, and 8 minutes give or take a few seconds that he was stuck as Slade's unwillingness apprentice. The only reason that he stayed his apprentice was the threat of his team's lives hanging over his head. And that when he returned they were all worried and scared of him.
He never told anyone what happened with Mirage and Tarantula. And he would die with those secrets.
He never told his family about the things that he went through before Jason came back to life and Damian came to live with them. When he was playing Batman, taking care of Tim’s training, running the Young Justice team and training them, all while being Nightwing in Bludhaven and being a rookie police officer on the Bludhaven Police Force. Bruce was in space on trial as Batman. And then there was the threat of the light. Where only him, Wally, Artemis, and Kaldur. But Kaldur was undercover. And Wally was retired. Artemis was also undercover and the team thought she was dead. He knew that the lies would break their hearts to know that Artemis was dead, but if they knew she was alive, then they wouldn’t have fought as hard and the light would have figured out there was a mole. And then, Wally had to help Bart and Barry. But Wally was hurt, badly. And when Wally was well enough for visitors in the medbay, well, it didn’t end well. Wally basically told Dick that he should have died with his parents. That they all would have been better off without him. I watched helplessly as one by one, everyone left Dick and stayed away. First Wally, then the rest of the team. And no matter how many times Kaldur and Artemis took their share of the blame, no one blamed them. Instead, all the blame was put on Dick. And he told no one about how much the isolation and blame hurt him. Eventually, the hurt made Dick’s personal life as well as his work and nightlife hell. In his personal life, the problems with his nightlife and team made him depressed to the point of not even bothering with simple, everyday activities. Such as eating, cleaning, or caring for wounds he would acquire as Nightwing. As for his work life, it was affected by both being Nightwing and his personal life. Eventually, others noticed that something was wrong and sent him to required therapy if he wished to stay a Bludhaven Police Officer. Much to my disappointment, Dick attended two therapy sessions before he quit the police force. And not having a constant source of income since he had no job, Dick just stopped eating. No one even noticed that something was wrong.
Bruce returned from space about two weeks after all of the Young Justice mess, with a chip on his shoulder and a disappointed glare. And once again Dick was left alone.
It was a few months later that Mirage happened and Kori and Roy, who were both already ticked about his lies to the Young Justice team, told him that they never wanted to be seen with him again.
Slowly Dick got better. He told one person, and one person only about what happened. And the only reason that this person knows about Dick’s problems, besides me since I know everything, is because Barbra Gordan and Dick Grayson have been friends since Dick was taken in by Bruce when he was seven years old. Babs finally went to her best friend and refused to leave until he told her what was wrong. And for a woman in a wheelchair, she didn’t let anyone push her around. Two months later, Dick was back up to a normal weight and dating his best friend.
From then on, things got better. But of course, everything also got worse. Tarantula happened and Babs left. Packed up her things, left her key, and dumped her boyfriend of two years. And Dick fell back into his rut. And he was still working on getting out of it.
So when Dinah turned her attention to the boy, Dick, froze.
“I-I don’t have anything. I promise Dinah. I’m as right as rain.” Really Dick? I’ve heard better lying from the six-year-olds I babysit. This time though, Dinah had learned from the whole Tim-and-Jason trauma. So she did the best thing she could think of.
She nodded and said ok. She had her ways of getting information from unwilling people. Whether that be Drug lords or stubborn 23-year-olds who couldn’t lie to save their lives.
And like the badass she is, Dinah found the magic words that broke down all of Dick’s walls. The carefully crafted façade that Dick had practiced in the mirror for so long, crumbled and broke. But he ran before anyone could stop him. And Dinah took off after him.
The two made it to Dick’s room and Dinah managed to slip in before the door shut. Once she was inside, Dinah locked the door, preventing anyone else from interrupting their impromptu one-on-one therapy session.
At that point I popped out of the room, deciding to give the two some privacy. I already knew about Dick’s past. When his life got low, I stayed and watched the boy struggle. I tried to help him and would have hugged him if I could. But being just the person that watches all, I am not able to give my struggling boy the hug he needed. But luckily, Dinah did. She hugged him and held him as he dropped his walls and every ounce of pain that the 23-year old held onto, left his body. But as I said, I left the two to their primate therapy.
And Dinah stayed for a lot longer than an hour, but everyone knows that Dick needed it.
How does the saying go? “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Well, Tim and Jason struggled but they progressed.
Now it is Dick’s turn to get better.
Shorter chapter. Sorry.
That night, Dick was dragged out of his room by the strongest person ever.
Alfred Pennyworth. Now I know many of you, my fabulous readers, would argue with me that anyone would be stronger than Alfred. And to that I say, fight me.
Even Superman can’t stop Batman, let alone Bruce Wayne. But Alfred raises one grey eyebrow and the Bat himself cowers. And if Batman shrivels under the weight of Alfred’s power, then Bruce Wayne is like Superman without the sun. Weak and useless under the all-knowing, all-powerful Alfred Pennyworth. So when Dick stated that he would not be coming down for dinner, I watched with amusement as Alfred picked the lock, grabbed his oldest grandson by the ear, and dragged his skinny ass down to dinner.
Dick, did not want to come down, afraid that he would not be able to eat anything that was put in front of him. But the boy obediently sat down and took a few hesitant bites of the chicken and pasta placed on his plate. He could tell that Bruce was watching his every bite, as much as Bruce was really trying to not be noticeable.
After dinner, Dick hightailed it to his room and locked the door. After a moment to pause and breathe, he moved to the bathroom and locked the door to that as well. Then the boy crochet next to the toilet and stuck his fingers down his throat. All of dinner came back up and into the toilet bowl. This continued until everything was empty and all that was coming up was bile. Dick didn’t know how long he was hunched over the toilet, but when he sat back, he was pale and shaky. I can see the phone that Dick is searching for up on the counter but I can't exactly give it to him, so I just sit back and watch.
After Dick has finally regained some color and some strength, he gets back up and fumbles around for his phone. Once he had finally gotten a grasp on it, he realized that he had indeed been there for longer than he thought. Almost half an hour. Normally when he purged he was only in the bathroom for about 10 or so minutes. But today was worse and he knew why. It was the talk with Dinah earlier that day. After grabbing his phone, Dick sat back down on the floor, leaning against the wall.
And little did Dick realize, Tim was standing there, watching his older brother with a face paler than his older brothers.
“Dick?” Oh, man. Dick never noticed that Tim was there. And a little secret between Tim, me, and now the rest of you, Tim used to purge. It was all about control for the boy. And now Tim is watching his older brother do something that he had worked for years to get under control.
At the mention of his name, Dick looked up so fast I felt whiplash. “Timmy! Wh-what are you doing here?”
“I heard something and you didn’t answer your door when I knocked.”
“Oh well, you checked! Nothing wrong! You can go now.” A for effort Dick. F for execution. Tim isn’t stupid.
“Dick, were you purging?” The fear in Tim’s voice was heartbreaking.
“NO! I promise. I just had an upset stomach. No big deal.” What Dick failed to realize is that his hands had small cuts from his teeth when he stuck his fingers down his throat. And Tim being the great detective that he is, and knowing what it looks like to purge, was not fooled.
But for now, Tim played along. “Oh. Ok. Come on, I'll help you get cleaned up.” The younger pulled the older boy up and helped Dick to his bed. Once there, Dick just about passed out, knowing it was the purging that wore him out. Tim helped Dick get his shirt off and frowned when he realized just how skinny his brother had gotten. But Tim said nothing and continued to
help his brother into a clean T-shirt. After Dick was all changed, Tim could no longer hold his tongue.
“Dick, I know what purging looks like.” And suddenly, Dick was no longer tired. Wide awake at his brother's words.
“Well I wasn’t purging, so you would be wrong.” Dick feigned innocence. But all it did was tick off Tim more that his brother wouldn’t even open up to him.
“DICK! Stop. I know what signs of purging look like. I can see the marks on your hands, I saw how thin you have gotten and you hardly ate anything at dinner. Just let me help!”
To be fair, Tim did try. I couldn’t have predicted Dick’s outburst.
“Oh, so you're an expert?! Just because you took a few health classes and learned all about the screw-ups who hate how they look? You have no idea what you are talking about Tim! NO idea! Ra’s al Ghul may call you Detective, but that does not give you permission to go around trying to find a problem and solve it. Especially when there is no problem and you don’t know what you're talking about! GET OUT!” Tim. Bud. You tried. But I can not comfort the teen so I am left to watch as Tim scrambles up and towards the door, looking like he had just been slapped.
But before he slipped out of the room. Tim turned back to Dick. “I understand more than you could possibly know.”
Dick. What have you done?
Back in Tim’s room, Tim relapsed. All of that night's dinner left the skinny boy's body.
Boys ages at the time the story takes place:
Dick - 23
Jason - 18
Tim - 13
Damian - 9
Bruce - 45
Alfred - Immortal
Dick had a panic attack moments after Tim left the room. His only saving grace was that Damian and Jason were walking past. Out of all of the boys, Jason and Damian got along fairly well. After all, Jason did care for child Damian when they were both at the League of Assassins. Since Jason died when he was 15 and Damian was 6. And then Jason came back to life only about 6 months later, right before the boy turned 16 and Damian was 7. Unfortunately, Jason left the League and wasn’t able to get the boy to his father until he was 8 and by then, Talia had dropped his assassin ass off at the Manor, almost a year after Jason left. But the two were actually pretty close. Damian was dropped off with
So as the two were walking past Dick’s door from their sparring session in the gym, they heard the telltale sound of rapid breathing. Not even thinking twice, the two tried to open the door to discover that it was locked. But because they are Bats, they each had a lock pick set on them and in just a few minutes Dick’s bedroom door was swinging open. They were not expecting to see Dick, curled up on the floor in the corner furthest away from the door, shaking and sobbing. The smell of vomit was fresh and Jason definitely noticed the vomit was bile and nothing more. As the two got closer to Dick, the poor man started to panic even more. Over and over, screaming at them to stay away. That he was poisonous, that everything he touched died or got hurt.
And where was Bruce you might ask? Well, Bruce was down in his study, completely unaware of the problems that were happening just one floor up. Can you tell that he is striving for Father of the Year?
Back to the problem at hand, Dick is panicking. Jason is trying to calm his older brother down and Damian looks his age. Well, like a worried, anxious 9-year old. But because of the matter at hand, no one noticed how worried Damian was. Or that he had run out of the room. So let us follow the youngest of the Wayne's. He runs out of the room and into the hall. Clearly looking for something. Or someone. And the boy takes off downstairs, running in and out of rooms until he finds the one where Bruce is working on paperwork. After a quick and panicked yell, Bruce got up and followed his son to his eldest's room where Jason was holding a crying Dick Grayson who was holding Zitka. Dick’s shirt was off again since from the looks of it he puked again. But his torso was now on display.
Bruce stopped in the doorway with Damian behind him. It was clear to practically everyone that Bruce could see how thin his son had gotten and was unaware of the purging. But Bruce, ever the world's greatest father, told Damian to go find Alfred and then moved forward to help his two oldest sons.
Dick started to cry again when Bruce walked forward, but the older man couldn’t get out of his brother's arms to run away. So Bruce sat down on the floor about 5 feet away. Close enough that he could help, but far enough away to not worry his son anymore. After Dick had calmed down some more, he collapsed, leaning into Jason, exhausted from the night's events.
“Dickie? Can you look at me, chum?” Bruce tried to get Dick’s attention. And shockingly, Dick did a lookup. An apologetic look in his eyes.
“I’m so sorry dad. I screwed up.” And the sons started all over again. But this time, Dick didn’t flinch away when Bruce got close. So together, Jason and Bruce held Dick, comforting him until he was ready.
“Oh no Dickiebird. I just want to help. And when you are ready to talk, I will be right here.” Honestly, Bruce wasn’t expecting his oldest to start talking, but he did. And once Dick started, there was no stopping him.
It was clear that the words were hurting Jason and Bruce so much to hear about all that Dick had gone through. When Dick brought up what happened with Mirage and Roy and Kori's anger towards him, Jason held him tighter. When Wally was brought up and all that happened while Bruce was in space, Bruce looked shocked but the realization of why Wally stopped coming over and hanging out with Dick made much more sense. Both were shocked to hear about Slade and Tarantula.
But the thing that shocked me the most, as well as Jason and Dick was right after Dick explained the purging and Barbra trying to help, Bruce started to cry. He cried and apologized for being such a terrible father. But instead of Jason or Dick agreeing with the man, saying that he was the worst father, they hugged him. And reminded him that no father was perfect, and the fact that he was trying was enough.
Damian came and joined them just as Dick was wrapping up his story. It was then that Dick realized that Tim hadn’t joined them.
Dick sat up with a gasp. “Crap! We need to find Tim. Bruce, I really screwed up. Tim got me purging earlier and tried to help. But I yelled at him and told him he had no right to try and play detective on something he had no idea what it was. I kicked him out, but he told me that he understood more than I could possibly know. I just thought he meant he had known from the health classes at school, but I think there was something more than that. We need to find him!” And Dick sat up more, ready to go find his little brother. But he didn’t get very far, weak from crying and throwing up, the boy fell back into his father’s arms.
“It’s ok Dick. Stay here and we’ll go find him.” But Dick refused to stay and in the end, Bruce gave in and carried his son in a piggyback ride, happy that his acrobat son was never that big or muscled like Jason.
The four made their way to Tim’s room and were shocked to find the door unlocked. But the sight before them broke their hearts. Tim was laying on the floor in his open closet, his arms wrapped in white bandages, with bits of blood seeping through. And the smell of vomit was evident in Tim’s room too. The small boy had fallen asleep in one of Dick’s old T-shirts and sweats, but the tears on his face spoke volumes. Bruce tried to bend down and pick up Tim but was unable to with the weak Dick Grayson clinging to his neck. Jason lightly pushed him aside and picked up the small teen. Wincing at how light he was. Now that the group had Tim, they followed Bruce’s lead to the master bedroom. Bruce gently laid down Dick and crawled in next to his son. Damian went in between Tim and Dick, secretly happy to be with his brothers. And Jason crawled in on the outside of the bed, smooshing Tim and making sure that he can’t escape. The family fell asleep. The next day, there were going to be tears, hugs, and conversations, but for now, they rested.
Tim woke up with a start. For starters, he had no clue where he was. Second, he wasn’t sure who was in the room with him. But after hearing the most obnoxious snoring known to man, Tim discovered that he was somewhere with Bruce. After many all-nighters where Bruce had fallen asleep before, Tim had forced the boy to listen to the man he considered a father snore louder than Joker's laugh. So when Tim awoke to the sound of Bruce’s snoring, he shot up, confused. After looking around, he realized that everyone was in the bed for ‘family snuggles’ as Dick likes to call them.
But there was something wrong. Family snuggles included everyone. So where was Damian? Jason, Dick, and Bruce were still passed out and until any of the three awoke, Tim would only have to guess why he was taken to the room.
Uncomfortable with being stuck with the three older men, Tim wiggled his way out of the bed which took longer than he would have liked trying to escape Dick’s octopus arms. Glancing at his phone, we can see that it is only 5:30 in the morning. Too early for anyone else to be up, but judging from the sounds coming from the gym someone, was more than likely Damian since the others were still asleep. The only exception to it being Damian is if Steph or Cass snuck in and were beating the ever-living crap out of a dummy. But as Tim wandered around the house towards the sound, he realized that he didn’t know who the fighter was. Because the sound that was coming from the gym was not just grunting. But, crying? Tim moved faster because whoever was in the gym was crying and they probably needed help.
What Tim didn’t know is that he was wrong. Damian was in the gym. Not Steph and not Cass. But Damian was in the gym and he was sobbing his eyes out.
So imagine Tim’s surprise when he rounds the corner to the gym and sees his stoic little brother collapsed next to a training dummy, sobbing his eyes out with bleeding knuckles. Without a moment's hesitation, Tim was running into the room to his little brother.
“Damian! What's wrong? Are you hurt?” Tim crouched down protectively feeling around Damian’s knuckles to find anything more than cuts.
But what Tim didn’t realize is that Damian was in shock. The younger boy sat there staring at Tim like he was a hallucination. And the moment that Tim touched the 9-year old, is the moment that Damian realized that Tim was not a hallucination or a figment of his imagination.
“D-Drake? What are you doing here? You were supposed to be asleep.”
“I woke up. And you weren’t tolerating Dick’s octopus hugs so he turned to me. I came to find you once I realized that you were gone.” To Damian, that simply did not make sense. Why would the boy that hated him, come to find him? “Speaking of Dick, do you know what happened last night? Because if I remember correctly, I was sound asleep in my bed.”
Lies. But will Damian call out Tim for his lies? “That is not true.”
“Umm, yes it is. Cause where else would I sleep.” Thank you, Damian. Not nearly enough people call Timeout on his lies. Probably because he can lie to Batman without getting caught, but that is beside the point.
“Well, after Richard’s breakdown last night, he revealed some interesting things about himself.” turned and glared at Tim with a glare equal to Alfred’s. I wonder if Alfred gave out lessons? It might be useful with annoying kids at school. Anyway, after turning to glare at Tim, Damian continued “He also shared some interesting information about you.”
“Well, I doubt Dick would tell you anything that you didn’t already know. So I'm not worried.”
“You might be. Richard informed us of his eating disorder last night. And something about you coming to help but being kicked out because you somehow managed to anger Richard. Only to tell him that you understood more than he knew. Now from what Richard said, you were talking about him purging. And since you said that you understood more than he could understand, that leaves me to draw the conclusion that you, too, have an eating disorder. Did I get that all right, Drake?” Damian turned to look at his older brother expecting to see anger, not for Tim to be pale and shaking. “Drake? What is the matter?”
After a while, Tim asked Damian a question. “Is that why you were crying?”
Even Damian looked shocked at the question. Probably expecting anger, threatening, or possibly begging for him to not tell anyone. But not for Tim to be worried about him.
“I guess that is part of it,” Damian admitted. “I have never seen Richard breakdown like that and I will admit that it did scare me. And Father was so worried. It confused me, especially when he was so gentle. I have seen Father act gentle, especially lately with the therapy, but he was extra gentle last night. It was the same type of gentleness he used on victims. The type that is so scared they panic whenever someone gets close. And then he went and checked on you, and again he picked you up from the floor so gently. It worried and scared me. Believe it or not Drake, I do not despise you. You and Richard and Todd are so strong and brave, that seeing two of the people that I look up crumble and break, it was terrifying.” Damian started to sniffle and Tim pulled him into a hug, already having tears stream down his face. Damian just clung to his older brother and cried. “I was taught that I needed to be strong and to never show emotions. That it made you weak and being weak meant that you would die one way or another.”
“I know. You don’t have to explain it to me if you don’t want to.”
“No. I need to tell someone this. I had a friend once in the league. A girl my age named Darlina. She was so carefree and always full of life. She was the girl of one of the servants, but being 7, like me, she was allowed a few more months of being a child before she had to work. We did everything together. Talia never approved, but allowed it. She claimed that having a link with those beneath me would benefit me once I was older. Little did Talia know, was that we were making plans to run away. Once we were ten, we were going to escape. We had plans stashed in a hollow book in my room. But, Ra’s found the plans one day and ordered me to him. Once I got there, he had Darlina bleeding and hurt on her knees. I tried to keep my composer but I ran to her and questioned my grandfather. He ordered me to strike her down. That having someone like her around was a weakness. That she would only get me killed. I refused. And after so much begging and pleading, Ra’s relented. We were so relieved, and I moved forward to untie her bonds. Once I got close though the guard that was behind her stabbed her through the chest. Killing her instantly. Her blood was on my hands and clothes as I tried to save her. But no one helped. Talia and Ra’s stood by and watched as my best friend died in my arms. Once I was sure that she was dead, I gave up on trying to save her. Talia dragged me down to the dungeons and left me there with Darlina’s mother. I listened to her cry and mourn her girl for three weeks before I was realized. During that time, I had turned 8. Talia brought me to father.” Damian swallowed thickly. I weep for all the pain my boys have gone through. “I made a little grave for her in the back. I had two of her hair ribbons that I managed to slip away. I buried one in the woods since we always talked about living surrounded by trees and green since the desert was so dry. The other is locked away in my room.”
“Damian.” Tim didn’t know where to begin. “I am so sorry that you had to go through that. Talia was a bitch and I hate her. But here, you are safe and your friends will never be taken away. But I must ask, is that why you have secretly been patrolling with Superboy and haven’t told B? Are you worried he won’t let you be friends? Same thing with Maps? Cause let me tell you kiddo, Bruce would be over the moon with joy if you told him that you had friends.”
“I guess. I just was worried that Father would be more like Ra’s and Talia. They told me stories about how he demanded respect and no tolerance for foolish things. I am ashamed to admit that I still believe the stories somewhat.”
Tim’s face looked a mix between wanting to murder someone and wanting to hug Damian to death. “Well, how about this? Bruce will never take away your friends. Trust me. He tolerates my friends right?” Damian nodded. “Well, there you go. If he can tolerate me being friends with a speedster, an Amazon and Superman’s clone, then he will be thrilled to know that you are friends with Jon and Maps.”
The two sat in comfortable silence with the occasional sniffle since Damian was still crying a bit. “You never admitted whether or not Richard was right. I-Is he?”
Tim sighed admitting that there was no way he was getting out of answering Damian’s question. “Well, I did. Do. Sort Of. When I was younger I purged just to feel like I had some control over my life. Everything was decided for me and people older than me ruled my life. My parents decided my classes, the housekeeper, who could hug me, where I went to school, my friends. I think when I was younger there were negotiations of me being married to another girl four years younger than me the moment I turned 18. The forcing myself to throw up gave me a sense of control. Eventually I realized that I wasn’t eating enough to counteract the purging, but I liked the feeling. The feeling of water on an empty stomach and being so thin I could see my ribs made me happy. I worked myself out of the habit once Kon caught me purging at Titans Tower two years ago when I was 11. I never told anyone. And when Dick got mad at me saying that I had no idea what I was talking about, and that just because I was smart doesn't mean I could turn everything into a mystery to solve, I relapsed. That was last night. I was in the closet because I love small spaces. It gives me a sense of security to be someplace that an adult has a hard time reaching.” And the two brothers sat in comfortable silence.
“Timothy, let us make a deal.”
Tim raised an eyebrow in curiosity. “Ok, I'll bite. What type of deal?”
“I will come to you if I need help since you are the only one that knows much about my time with the League, beside Jason. But he knows nothing of Darlina. I also would like to tell my father about my friends but I am scared. So our deal is this, you help me with telling Father about Maps and Jon and I can come to you when things get bad, and you come to me when you get bad. I can help with your relapse. I do not know much about eating disorders, but I do have internet access. So, deal?”
Damian stuck out his hand. Tim grabbed it and the two shook on the deal. “Deal. Now let's go back to sleep. It’s still early.”
“I do not know if I will be able to sleep anymore tonight. Perhaps a movie instead?” Tim smiled and nodded. The two went to the media room and turned on the Avengers.
Dick would find the two boys three hours later, fast asleep, sharing a blanket, with Damian curled into Tim’s side.
Later that day when Damian called Tim, Timothy for the first time nearly made Dick faint and Bruce fell out of his chair. It was even better watching Jason laugh until Damian called him Jason. Upon hearing his name leave Damian’s mouth, Jason ran over and checked Damian for injuries or head wounds or a fever. It was very entertaining for Tim, Damian and myself.
Darlina is French and comes from Christianity. The name means sweet, innocent child. I choose this name because Damian's friend was innocent and carefree, and though she was raised in the League of Assassins, she acted so pure and innocent. Just a little background information for you all.
I would like to make it clear that I am very proud of how far the boys have progressed. Taking a look back at how it all started, there was anger, fear, and violence. And there is still all of that but there is something else that didn’t exist at the start of all this. Family. Yes, one might argue that they were family at the start, but they weren’t very close. Now they are a true family. One that still argues and fights but talks it out and works through their problems with their words and not their fists.
And now we turn to the morning after Damian and Tim’s connection period. It is Saturday morning and for once, there is peace at morning breakfast. But look closely at poor Damian as he is clearly struggling with something. He keeps fidgeting, twisting his fingers, and barely eating his food. Finally, Bruce takes notice.
“Damian? Are you ok?” Damian looked up at this father.
“Umm. I-I was wondering if I could talk to you. In your office. P-Please.” The poor boy looks terrified. But Bruce nods sensing his son’s unease. Bruce gets up and walks toward his office leaving Damian to follow behind. But Damian grabs Tim’s thin wrist and pulls him up and out of the room too. Thankfully, Bruce does not question his actions.
Looking back at Jason and Dick, they are clearly confused. Both of them are still expecting something to go wrong. But nothing has.
In Bruce’s office, Bruce takes a seat at his desk and Tim and Damian take a seat at the couch in the room. Bruce is clearly worried about why his youngest looks so worried. But he is also comforted in knowing that Damian now took comfort in being in Tim’s presence. Tim has his arm over Damian’s shoulder in a comforting way. And the other hand is slowly running long fingers through Damian’s hair in a relaxing way. Tim leans over and whispers something in Damian’s ear and whatever he said made the boy relax significantly.
Damian clears his throat. “F-Father. I wish to te-tell you something.” Bruce nods for Damian to continue. “Timothy p-promised that you would understand. But I'm still worried about telling you. But um, ok.” Damian took another big breath. “I-I have recently acquired so-some f-f-friends?” Domain closed his eyes and looked away, scared to see anger on his father's face. I really wish that I could go down and comfort the sweet child.
But the relief on Damian's face when he sees his father get up and hug him is worth it. “I am so proud of you, my boy. May I ask your friends' names? I would love to meet them.” Oh, Bruce. Wrong word choice.
Damian paled and panicked. “NO! I mean no. Please no.” And Damian retreated into the back of his mind. But before he could he tapped Tim on the wrist 4 times. A signal I watched the boys come up with the night before. If Damian was unable to tell Bruce about Darlina, then Tim was to explain.
And so Tim explained everything. And it was so sad to watch Damian cry into his brother's shoulder, scared that at any moment his father would ban him from having friends. But toward the end of the explanation, Bruce hugged Damian and pulled him into his lap.
“I am so proud of you for making friends. I will never, ever ban you from having friends. I only wanted to meet them so I could meet the people that managed to worm their way into my son’s heart. I am sad that I led you on to think that you couldn’t have friends. And for that, I am so sorry. But my wonderful, talented, special boy, I am so proud of you.” My heart melted at the sight of Bruce comforting his youngest and wiping away his tears. After a while, Damian looked up and looked his father in the eyes.
“Do you mean it? You are ok with me having friends.” Bruce nodded. “My friends' names are Jon and Mia, or Maps as she likes to be called.” Damian smiled at the mention of his friends' names.
“Wait, Jon? As in Superboy? Don’t get me wrong Dami, I’m just surprised that you are friends with him. I didn’t even know that you two knew each other.”
“We met when Connor brought him to a Titans meeting on the same day Timothy brought me.”
“Well, I am very happy, my boy. And I would be honored if I could see Darlina’s grave if that is ok with you. But if you would rather it stay secret with just you knowing her grave's location, then that is fine by me.”
Damian smiles up at Tim and Bruce. “I would be happy to let her meet my brother and father.” But now Damian turned his sights on Tim with a smirk. “But father, there is something that Timothy needs to tell you as well.”
Tim froze and glared at his little brother. “Dami! I did not agree to this. Yo-”
“I promised to help you with your relapse. Well, Father needs to know and this is my way of helping.”
Bruce turned his sights on Tim. “Tim, is there something I need to know about?”
“Well, umm. You see. I may have a small, itty bitty, tiny eating disorder. As in I throw up everything I eat. I was doing fine but I sort of relapsed last night.” Tim looked up hesitantly at Bruce. But Tim was pulled into a hug.
Bruce hugged his son harder as he spoke. “I’m so sorry I never noticed before. I will help in every way possible. But we might as well let your brothers in since they have been listening in on our entire conversation. RICHARD JOHN GRAYSON-WAYNE AND JASON PETER TODD-WAYNE! GET IN HERE.”
The two boys hesitantly opened the door looking more like they got caught with their hand in Alfred’s cookie jar and not listening in on a private conversation. But once the door was opened, Dick ran in and hugged his two youngest brothers. Jason followed behind a bit slower but reached down and joined in the hug too. They stayed that way until they heard a sharp click.
They all looked up to see Alfred holding a camera. “My apologies Masters. I promised Miss Dinah I would photograph any group hugs. Now that I have done my due diligence, I shall depart. Oh and Master Damian, there are fresh pink flowers on the counter for Miss Darlina.” And the old butler departed leaving a stunned family in his wake.
The family gets up and moves to the kitchen, where there are indeed pink flowers on the counter. Damian picks them up with the same gentleness as picking up a kitten. And together, the boys make their way out into the woods.
After about 15 minutes of walking and following Damian, the group stops in front of a homemade grave. Twigs and soft pieces of wood were woven together to create an earthy-looking tombstone. There are vines of flowers growing up and intertwining with the wood, creating a beautiful grave. Along with the vines white and pink flower buds start to pop out and in some areas are already blooming. The family stands a way back from Damian as he sets down the flowers and prays in Arabic. The family all stand by the side quietly. I stand with them though they can't see me. Then he picks the flowers back up and weaves them into the wooden grave. After every flower is meticulously placed, Damian waves them forward.
"Darlina, it's Dami. I miss you so much, but I know that you are in a better place where your innocent and carefree soul is happy. I know that you wouldn't want me to, but I am sorry for getting you...killed... I know that you would tell me to stop apologizing, you wouldn't have traded our friendship for the world. But I need to apologize. So I am so sorry صديقى. But I would like to introduce you to my family."
Damian waves them even closer. "My Father, he would have loved you, would have adopted you in a heartbeat. My oldest brother Richard. He would have given you all the hugs in the world. He truly gives the best hugs. My second brother Jason. You and he would have bonded over so many books. He met you once when he was with the League. He promised to never tell Ra's or Talia. After that, you told me that I had the best older brother and that I was lucky to have him. I scoffed and didn't believe you. I believe you now. And my last brother, Timothy. I always tried to hurt him, but he surprised me by being such a great listener like you were. You would have loved him. I assume that you already met my true grandfather, Alfred. He of course knew where I buried you, he knows everything. He would have loved to bake with you. I know that you always dreamed of having your own bakery. I love you Darlina. صديقى."
The family remained for a while longer, there wasn't a dry eye in sight. And I will admit that I may have shed a tear or two. It was just so nice to see the family all together, helping and leaning on each other for help and comfort.
صديقى is my friend in Arabic.
The individual therapy sessions went well from what I saw. None of the boys discuss what they talk about during their individual therapy with each other. Not that I blame them. I like to keep some things to myself as well. But after so many weeks of group therapy once a week Dinah came bearing good news for the Batclan during their weekly family session.
Of course, I know what the announcement is. And no I will not say what it is. The rest of you will have to find out with the Wayne's. Dinah walks into the living room and is shocked to see all the boys on one couch.
And not a grimace, threat, or frown in sight. Even Damian has a little baby smile on his face. Which I guess is progress. But you have to pick your battles and the fact that they are not actively trying to kill each other makes both Dinah and I very happy.
“Well, boys, I would like to make an announcement.” She stops and waits to make sure she has all of their attention.
“I am moving your family therapy sessions to every other week. You have all made me so proud of the progress you have made. I am still going to be doing the weekly individual sessions but I am so proud of how far along you have all come. And now for your entertainment, let us flashback to the first few sessions.
HAHA!! OH man, this is gold. We turn to the screen which is showing videos of the boys fighting and arguing. Of Damian getting sprayed by water. Of Alfred adding tally mark, after tally mark, after tally mark, to the point where the poor butler had to go get another whiteboard. The video continues playing for a few minutes and it is quite obvious that Dinah and Alfred are enjoying themselves. Alfred is just pleased that the number of injuries non-patrol-related has gone down almost 83%! And the fact that there are fewer bloodstains around the Manor and less destroyed furniture and rooms. For Dinah, it is all about reminding the boys (and herself) how far they have come. That and she is enjoying the looks of discomfort on the boy's faces as they see each other fighting and acting like total barbarians.
After the video, the lights are turned back on, and the flushed looks of embarrassment on every one of the Wayne boys, including Bruce are hysterical. Only made better when Alfred takes another picture and promises to forward it to her. It definitely won’t be used for blackmail, right Dinah. Well, she can’t hear me, but if she could I bet she would agree and then send a copy of the picture to every Justice League member who knew that Bruce Wayne was Batman.
But like all good things, they must come to an end. And so my fellow fanfiction nerds, I bid you adieu.
Until next time with more Batfamily drama, brotherly bonding, injuries, mental health issues, overcoming issues, and trauma. Because what is a Batfamily story without any of those things?
Thank you for joining me, your fabulous narrator, as we watch the Batfamily get the therapy they all needed.