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Fic: Here and Now

Title: Here and Now
Author: Brokaw22
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Someone should be here with Tim...just not Jason.
Thanks to Kathy for the beta work.

He's not sure why Dick hasn't noticed and done something about it yet, but there is clearly something wrong with babybird. Every time Jason sees him, he looks even more gaunt than the last time. His fingers look thinner in his gloves, and he seems to be withering away. Jason is starting to feel like the kid is going to end up breaking a rib just by sucking in too much air. He thought the kid was just running himself ragged again, and that Dickie-bird would take care of it, but it's been months and the kid is getting steadily worse. Jason can tell, which is why he's made the trek all the way out to the kid's apartment. It's dark, which is kind of odd for this time of night. The kid should be back from patrol by now. Hell, even the Bat himself is at home brooding.

Jason slips into Tim's apartment with barely any trouble, which in and of itself is worrisome. He makes a mental note to mock the kid about his security in an attempt to get him to upgrade it again. He thought the apartment was empty, and was planning to just wait for the kid to return, but once he's inside, Jason can hear the sound of coughing and choking. He rushes into the kid’s bedroom where the sound is originating from, only to find Tim lying face down on the floor hacking and gasping for breath.

Jason flips on the light and has to pause for a moment. There's a small pool of blood in front of Tim, and it takes Jason a second to realize that the kid is coughing up blood. He gets to Tim's side and helps him to sit up. “You shouldn't be here.” Tim whispers out in between gasps and coughs. “Why are you here?”

Jason isn't sure what to say. He's not sure what to do either, so he takes a note from his old book of dealing with his mom when she got bad, and picks up Tim, who is feather-light, and places him on the bed, propping up pillows and trying to make him as comfortable as possible. “I can't believe the others just left you like this. At the very least I thought Alfred would insist that you stay at the Manor.”

Tim stares at him, eyes unfocused for a moment, still trying to catch his breath. “He probably would, if he knew.”

Jason's eyes widen. “How the hell do none of them know?”

Tim shrugs before his coughing fit sends his entire body into shakes. “They’re busy. Alfred has lots of charges now, Dick has Damian, and Bruce has WE and Batman Inc. I can take care of myself.”

Jason scoffs as he tucks Tim under the covers. “The hell you can. I can't believe you're still going out like this.”

Tim shakes his head. “I'm not. Stopped two weeks ago.”

Jason raises an eyebrow at that, because, now that Tim mentions it, he hasn't seen Red Robin out in a while, and he should have known...should have come sooner. “And still none of the others have noticed?”

Tim shrugs again as he motions for the glass of water on his bedside table. “Probably noticed and haven't found the time to check on me.”

“And how were you planning to hide this once Dickie-bird or one of the others came to see how you were?”

Tim merely shakes his head before taking a few sips of water. “They wouldn't have come. They would have called.”

“And?” Jason raises his eyebrow again. “You really think you're good enough to hide all of the gasping, choking, and coughing?”

Tim rolls his eyes. “Recording...press button.” Tim gestures to a remote nearby that looks as though it was cobbled together from a mismatch of leftover hardware. Jason's almost afraid to press the button, but he's also too damn intrigued to stop himself, so he reaches over and the moment he presses the button Tim's voice -- Tim's normally healthy and strong voice -- comes out of a speaker hooked into his phone. “Oh, hey, yeah, I'm fine. I just didn't feel my best, so I decided to take some time off to recuperate. It's nothing, really, and you shouldn't worry too much. I'll take care of myself. Don't worry. Well, I'm gonna go rest for a bit. Talk to you later.” Jason knows that Tim probably has a program to select the caller’s name and insert it into the extremely well crafted lie.

He stares at Tim disbelievingly for a moment. “Why...why hide it?”

Tim sucks in a breath, or at least tries to. “No reason to worry them. Nothing they can do.”

Jason can't argue with that logic, but he sure as hell wants to. Tim makes a motion for Jason to hand him his laptop, and Jason wants to tell him no and to rest, but he can't deny Tim anything...not right now...not while he's lying there looking like...well, like he's going to die. So, Jason grabs the laptop off of a nearby desk, and hands it to Tim. The kid opens it, and begins pulling up file after file. He tilts the screen so that Jason can see it. “These are for you.” He opens a few more under different folders. “These are for them. They'll automatically send out at certain dates and times. It's everything you'll need.”

Jason's afraid to ask, but, again, he can't stop himself. “Need for what?”

Tim gives him the tiniest of smiles, but with the blood coating his teeth it sure as hell isn't a pretty one. “Everything...the mission, cases, WE, Batman Inc. ...everything.”

The idea that this is what Tim has been spending all of his time on...that instead of just going to his family, he's spent his time secluded away trying to soften the blow for them when it inevitably comes and no one has even bothered to fucking notice, enrages Jason enough that he just wants to smash the god damn laptop, but he knows that destroying all of Tim's hard work won't make him feel better. He breathes out a heavy sigh and settles onto the bed next to Tim. “Why are you showing all of this to me, babybird?”

Tim simply shrugs as he shuts the laptop and passes it back to Jason. “You're here.” Tim doesn’t say anything else before snuggling further into the pillows and blankets that Jason fluffed up for him.

Jason can't even begin to state how fucking wrong that is. That it's him here instead of Dick or Bruce or...hell, Alfred. Someone else should be here... anyone else should be here. Tim's family… Tim’s friends... someone… anyone who hadn't tried to kill him. Someone Tim loves... someone who loves Tim. Jason doesn't give a damn as long as it's someone who isn't him -- the reluctant older brother. However, things rarely, if ever, go the way they should in this family, which is why when Tim falls asleep beside him, Jason doesn't immediately run to the Manor and tell them what's going on. No, instead he clasps Tim's hand in his own, threading their fingers together, and quietly whispers a single promise. “I'll always be here, babybird, because someone should be.”

The End


Feb. 19th, 2013 12:51 am (UTC)
Haha, I swear lately I've been so bad at writing happy endings. However, I do have a friend who wants me to write one funny story a month, so who knows? It might happen.