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Fic: The Last Goodbye

Title: The Last Goodbye
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Tim just wants to save his brother's life and keep the rest of them safe.

He’s standing over Dick’s unconscious form, protectively with his bo staff extended, shoulders tense, waiting for the inevitable. Tim can’t help but think ‘this is a great way to die’ in a non-joking, non-ironic sort of way. He doesn’t have much of a choice here. After all, it’s him or Dick, and Tim won’t let it be Dick. He just hopes that when Dick learns about all of this later, he doesn’t blame himself, because this is nothing if not Tim’s choice.

“You’re a good brother and I love you. I’m sorry that I couldn’t do more or be better, but that’s what you have Damian for. You’re good for him, and I’m good for this.” He knows that Dick won’t get to hear his words until later...much later, once all of this is over and he's listening to the mask recording, but Tim hopes that it helps. “I really don’t have any regrets and you shouldn’t either. Please remember that. It had to be this way. You have to know that…if nothing else, then remember this was my choice.”

Tim doesn’t let himself say anything more than that, because he’s not sure that he could get anything else out without choking on the words and crying endlessly. He doesn’t want to do this with tears in his eyes, thinking about how much he’s going to miss all of them. After all, everything he has to say will be said eventually. It’s why he set up the recordings that will automatically send mere hours from now. Tim doesn’t want to think about all of that right now, however, because he just wants to save his brother’s life and keep the rest of them safe. Dick’s needed. He’s easily the most important one out of all of them, so this is the least that Tim can do.

The thought that this will be the last time that he’ll ever be able save anyone makes Tim feel like he’s swallowing glass, but that’s hardly a new sensation for him. Tim meant it when he told an unconscious Dick that he has no regrets. After all, how could he? All he ever wanted to do was the right thing, make a difference, and help people. He’s done that...he’s still doing that, and even though this will be the last time that can do that, Tim couldn’t be happier, since his final act will still be helping someone else. He just hopes that Dick sees it that way. “You were worth saving. Never doubt that. I love you. Goodbye, brother.”

Tim shuts off Dick’s mask feed before doing the same with his own. After all, Dick doesn’t need to see how this ends. He doesn’t need to be able to play it on repeat over and over again and torture himself with it. After all, Tim’s well aware that’s he’s already going to do that with his words. Dick doesn’t need the gruesome visuals to go along with it. Tim runs a hand through Dick’s hair, moving him into a more comfortable position -- one that doesn’t leave Dick’s neck tilted at an awkward angle. Dick will fine. He’ll be safe. His injuries are superficial. Hell, he wouldn’t even be unconscious, if Tim hadn’t knocked him out earlier.

Tim squares his shoulders, and saunters forward, as if he isn’t walking head first into his own demise. The deal has already been made, and Tim knows that Dick might hate him for this later, but…well; he’ll be alive to hate Tim. It’s all that he can ask for at this point. He wishes that he was able to say more…do more, but time isn’t on his side…if it ever was. Tim knows that this is going to be his last goodbye and it’s utterly inadequate, but he’s never really been good at saying everything that he needs to say.

All he can hope for in this moment is that Dick knows…knows everything Tim never got a chance to say. He hopes that Dick’s aware that Tim’s remorseful that they never truly reconnected the way that he hoped that they would after everything and that he’s happy that they’ve come as far as they have. He hopes Dick understands that any blame or bitterness Tim once felt towards him dissipated some time ago, even if he never actually got a chance to tell Dick that face to face. Most of all, however, Tim hopes that Dick knows that Tim never stopped caring about him, even when he was so angry he couldn’t even stand to speak to him.

Tim takes a deep breath, and then impassively faces down the monster in front of him. “I’m ready.”

The monster stares down at him almost ruefully. “This will hurt.”

Tim actually smirks, despite how much he wishes things could be different. He knows that Dick expected Tim to have some sort of plan…well, a plan that didn’t end like this, but that’s the thing about Tim…he knows when he’s out of options, and he knows when and how to make the tough choices that the rest of the family can’t or won’t. “Doesn’t it always?”

The monster nods, but doesn’t immediately move towards him. “There is still time. It does not need to be you.”

Tim glances back at Dick one last time as he shakes his head. “Yes, it does.”

The monster gives him a look of grim satisfaction. “So you say.” There’s a blinding flash of light and searing pain that seems to go on endlessly. Tim’s certain that he screams, though he can’t seem to hear anything over the roaring thunder in his ears. This is it…eventually this will end, and his family will be safe. Tim can’t stop a smile from creeping onto his lips, despite the pain. He’s done his best, and he can do no more. Dick Grayson is safe and that’s all that matters.

The End