Rec Post: Everything Spring

To say that I have a favorite Te story would be a lie–I have several, and depending on my mood, they cycle through which story is at the top. This series spends a lot of time on the shoulders of giants. It’s Everything Spring, and it’s my favorite AU-that-should-be-cannon–a what-if-Tim-was-caught-being-the-best-stalker-ever story. The first story is Look Around Round, Summary:  “I’ll tell *Batman* on you, you freak.”

Quick side note: I both love and hate Te’s summaries. Mostly because they’re usually damn clever–but only after you know what the story’s about. They certainly are memorable, though, and I’ve often had to search for a story by summary rather than by title. I’m particularly fond of this one.

So, go read it. Then read the sequels. Then read the riffs by Petra. It’ll take a while. There’s a lot of story there (and for good reason; it’s an awesome premise.) I’ll be waiting behind the cut.

According to Te’s author’s notes, the series began with this picture by Audrey

I can see why. It’s an inspiring picture. (You can find more of her art here.)

One of my favorite aspects of Tim’s canon is that he–successfully–stalked Robin (and thus, Batman and Robin) for four years–from ages 9 to 13. He FIGURED IT OUT at 9, when ALL THE REST OF GOTHAM had no freakin’ clue. And it’s that fact–added to the brass ones he has when he came forward–that make Batman sit up and take notice (or grimly stare and grunt noncommittally…and make a Robin suit in his size, anyway). This is also an aspect of his backstory that seems to get looked over in comics (maybe because it’s been four “years” and he’s had other establishing factors…or because the writers are terrible with continuity). But, in this story–it’s kinda the point.

Tim is a creepy, creepy, kick-*ass* stalker, with just the right kind of skewed priorities that smack of the kind of *issues* that make him a perfect candidate, not only to be a vigilante, but to be ROBIN.

It’s one thing to have the kid so freaked that he can’t seem 
to look at Jason anymore, but damned if he isn’t staring at 
the *camera*. Christ. And… wait. Fuck.

“How long have you been doing this, anyway?”

“Four… four years.”

Jason blinks. “What — what were you, *seven*?”

The kid frowns, a little. At the camera. “Nine,” he says, just 
like that makes so much more sense and how could Jason 
be so stupid?

When *Jason* was nine he hadn’t even managed to steal 
anything bigger than some candy and the occasional six 
pack for his fucking Dad. Jesus. He stares, a little, and 
then makes it a glare until the kid stops staring at the 
camera like it’s the source of all joy in his universe and 
swallows again.

Of all the things that Tim is insecure about (and I’ll talk more on that when I get to World Enough) he’s never insecure about his brain, and his detective ability. And it’s usually regarding matters of his mind–his natural inquisitiveness and brilliance–that makes him stand out–that gives him a more refined edge than he would have if his only sharpness was ruthlessness. It was his brains that got him into Robin suit, and it’s his brains that set him apart.

Also, his deviousness, which really comes out in the third story in this series, A Saying Old, when Bruce (as Brucie) and Jason drop in on Tim unexpectedly, and Tim not only is able to keep up with the under-cover innuendo, but play with it–he’s as good at is as Batman, if not better.

Bless his funky neglected home-life.

Also, bless his un-abashed nerdy-ness. I adore it when he admits to playing “Fae Quest,” or “Wizards and Warlocks,” or any other DC-ized version of D&D. He’s a total superhero fanboy:

Okay, Tim’s awake.

Tim’s awake because Jason just snorted out loud, but 
dammit, he has an *excuse*.

“Robin…?”

“You totally have Superman sheets. On your bed.”

“Um.”

“I didn’t know they *made* these for big beds. *Jesus*. 
They make these for full-size?”

Tim is blinking at him. “Um. It’s a queen. Actually. And 
my — Robin?”

Jason stops poking at the giant — probably wider than 
both of them, side by side — Super-shield. “Where’s 
your camera, man? I want a picture.”

(A Saying Old)

Tim’s fannish-ness with other heroes is one of my favorite aspects of his character. The fact that he has action figures, and Superman sheets, and a poster of Superboy–well, Tim’s disagreement with Bruce about how to treat the supers makes total sense. (I totally ship Tim/Kon, btw. World’s Finest 2.0 for the win!) Also, the fact that Tim’s favorite superhero is Blue Beetle, and NOT Batman, Superman, etc? TOTAL WIN. It makes sense (he works with the–deeply flawed–Bat; they wouldn’t function with hero-worship), and adds a certain lightness to his character that he needs.

Also, It fills my fannish heart with glee when he does things like this:

“Uh, huh. So when you’re *not* stalking us, what the hell 
are you doing?”

“Collating, mostly. Some indexing.”

Jason blinks. “Did you…

“And. Well, school.”

Did he really just use the word ‘collating?’

(Look Around Round)

Because, really Tim is the ultimate fan fantasy. He’s given the opportunity to BECOME his idol. The canon creators have admitted in the past that Tim is there to be the  fantasy (at least at first) to generate mass appeal for a younger audience (see? He’s just like you!) And this scene? Was him totally just admitting to organizing his baseball cards. Or his his comic books. Because comics need to be kept in proper sleeves and the backing board need to be changed regularly because of the acidity of the paper and is a *pain in the ass* when you have *several hundred* comics and–

*ahem*

He scowls and eases the pressure a little. “Say it. Say it so 
I can beat the *shit* out of you.”

“That’s not much…” The kid coughs. “… incentive.”

Jason feels himself blinking — *again* — and he’s really 
fucking grateful for the mask, because… did the kid really 
just…? Jason would squeeze again, but it’s… okay, he has 
to laugh. He really does.

He doesn’t let *go*, but…

He really has to just snicker. Jesus. *Balls*.

There’s a hidden strength to Tim, pre-Robin. He’s surprisingly sharp before he wears the mask. All that makes him Robin is there, hidden underneath a layer of untrained fan-boy. There’s a drive–that same willingness to do whatever is neccissary–

Jason figures he’s got a choice — either laugh or beat the 
kid to death. Tough call. “How? Hypnotize yourself into 
amnesia?”

The kid rubs at his throat. “I… haven’t learned that. Yet.”

And he totally would, too. (Infinite, Undying; Being and Belonging).

But, as much as this story emphasizes how awesome Tim is (how he is putty ripe for the Bat to mold) it’s also about how Jason would react to Tim, to Bruce bringing Tim in, and how Tim’s Robin (and thus the ENTIRETY OF THE BATCLAN) would be different if he was one of a set.

I know that this wasn't the plot, but I can dream.

And, becuase it’s Te, it’s done through sex.

Once again, we have Jason introducing Tim to sex and sexuality:

Jason shakes his head a little and scrubs a hand back 
through his hair. “All you do is stalk, and index, and go to 
school.”

“I… sometimes I… well. Yes.”

Jesus. That’s… that’s pretty much just *sad*. “You totally 
don’t even have a girl, do you? You’ve *never* had a girl.”

Tim blinks at him like he’s maybe speaking Kryptonian. 
“The idea hadn’t… I mean. I don’t know anyone I. Um.”

The idea hadn’t… he was totally about to say ‘occurred.’ 
“You *are* thirteen, right?”

“Yes,” Tim says. It was almost at a normal tone of voice, 
even.

When *he* was thirteen… he wasn’t doing any damned 
collating. Not when he could be doing *other* things, 
anyway, and even if that *did* come down more to 
“training with Bruce” than “hooking up,”… well. *Still*. 
“So you do know what I’m talking about. Right?”

“Um. Sex.”

Jason frowns. *Some* of the kids at his school were still, 
well, *kids*. But Bruce had statistics on this stuff, and 
everything.

And if he never has to hear Bruce say the word ‘condom,’ 
again, it’ll be much, much too soon. He’ll take the nasty-ass 
antibiotics again first, thank you.

Still, it’s *possible* the kid was just… too high on darkroom 
fumes to, like, develop. Did darkrooms have fumes?

“What about sex? I mean. What *about* sex?”

Indeed, Tim. What about sex? Sex is so much a part of our culture, that when sex isn’t thought about, it’s usually an indication of, well, queerness. The person is a late-bloomer, is gay, is trans, is asexy–in short, is not a “normal” heterosexual. (We are a culture obsessed with the “normal,” and because of this, there are very few queer role models. The number is growing, sure, but it’s not nearly enough.) That absence reflects a dialogue that’s still mostly missing in society. It also speeks of how uncomfortable Tim is with his own sexuality, a byproduct of having an “alternate” sexuality in a world with few role models, and his wire-cage-monkey home life.

Jason, who grew up “on the streets,” who has a soft-spot for the prostitutes on his beat (because he hooked himself? It’s a popular trope in fanon, but unclear in this particular series) has a much more casual relationship with sex–it was a part of his life for long enough that it’s familiar. And, because all Robins are old before their time, Jason has his age in sex. Tim has his in his intellect–to the exclusion of sexuality.

Jason looks at him, and tries to figure out how neat the 
kid’s clothes would’ve been before all the stalking and 
tackling and dangling from his fist. But really… fuck it. 
“Are you queer?”

Somewhere, Bruce is glaring at him.

“Homosexual. I mean.”

Bruce is probably still glaring, but the kid is just kind of 
staring at him. Not yelling, not cursing him out — even in 
non-cursing words — not trying to punch him, not 
anything.

Jason lets his arms rest on his thighs and leans in a little. 
“What *else* do you do with all those pictures? Got any 
of *Nightwing*?”

“I… I…”

Right. “‘Cause that’s who — heh — caught your eye, right? 
Met him at the damned *circus*, watched him smile at 
you –“

“He… he gave me.”

Probably not an STD. “Cotton candy? Peanuts? Tickets for 
the Ferris wheel? What did he give you, kid?”

And Tim stares at the ground. “He hugged me.”

*WIBBLE!!* Timmy!

The saddest thing, is that this is cannon. Tim obsesses over Dick, spends years of his life, figures out the Batman and TURNS HIMSELF INTO ROBIN for the sake of a hug. And the comic writers think this is okay, because trauma is drama’s bread and butter. But, in fanfic, the other characters are allowed to act horrified at the lengths the writers put them through–and most respond to Timmy’s past with cuddle-therapy and force-feeding. (My favorite example is in The Pause that Refreshes; “Tim eats some melon, knowing that it’s a general weakness of his family: none of them are entirely capable of interrupting him while he’s eating.”)

Ahh, yes. Anorexic/eating disorder Tim.

In canon, Tim heats healthy because he’s a martial artist and a freaky ninja. He has a penchant for Zesti (Grape-flavored) and pizza (because he is, after all, a teenager) and nothing more is really said on the matter.

In Te’s fanon, Tim establishes control over his life through the food he eats. It’s a common enough trait–when one can’t control the world around you, you can control what enters your body. It’s common psychology behind eating disorders in general. For Tim, it’s not about the food itself, it’s about the control he gains by restraint. It also can tie into his weight (When He Saw His Own Eyes, To Be Worthy). This early on in Te’s work, he’s usually just a picky eater (or, at least, displayed as such. The physchology is the same, and something Te delves into in later works, thought it’s rarely discussed as a disorder, per se. Tim isn’t damaging his health–he’s too careful for that–but the control does represent deep seated issues that–well–I’ll get into when I get to When He Saw His Own Eyes.)

But Tim just sits beside him — carefully — and dangles his 
legs over the edge in an almost entirely believable 
impression of not freaking out.

Which is cool, even if the kid is eating *around* the chunks 
of dough.

“They *are* edible, you know.”

“They… there are raw *eggs* in there, Robin.”

Jason slides his spoon through until he gets just about the 
same amount of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. “Well, 
yeah. It’s *dough*.”

Tim takes another pure-vanilla bite. “Salmonella is… well, 
it makes you really *sick*. It’s *food* poisoning.”

Jason stares at the kid. “You realize that if, like, you’d 
sneezed at the wrong time we would’ve both fallen to our 
deaths, right?”

“Um.”

“Okay, it wasn’t *that* unsafe — I’ve done it a couple times 
before,” Literally. A couple. “… but… eat the damned 
cookie dough, okay?”

Paranoia and control. It’s no wonder Bruce falls all over himself when he meets Tim–metaphorically at least. But, the reason most of the people Tim knows try and make him eat things like cookie dough, is because he wants them to play with him and–

–woah. I just realized the cookie dough ice cream can act as a metaphor. Jason wants to steer Tim away from the vanilla–baby-steps, though, as the ice cream is still vanilla based. Tim is a little gay-boy who, over the course of the series, adds more toppings to his ice cream cone of sexuality– *blinks* Ok, so the metaphor might need work, but the comparison is sound. The ice cream leads directly to play, which leads to sexy-times.

There’s a little whisper-smile on Tim’s face. “What’ll you do 
if I don’t?”

*Balls*. “I’ll tell *Batman* on you, you freak.”

The smile gets a little louder. “But then won’t you have to 
tell him that you took me flying and bought me ice 
cream?”

Jason snorts. “I — okay, I’ll tell Batman I caught you 
*robbing* the ice cream shop. At gunpoint.”

That was either a laugh or just a noise. Jason decides to 
go with ‘laugh.’

“Yeah… you had hostages, and you were making little kids 
*cry* –“

“I thought I *was* a little kid?”

“*Littler* kids. Toddlers. And babies. And… there was a 
pregnant woman in there –“

“Was I making the fetus cry, Robin?”

Jason snickers and nearly inhales a little ice cream. “You 
made the woman *go into labor*, Tim. It was terrible. 
Like, her water broke all over the *floor*.”

“That… seems really unsanitary…”

Jason gives up and laughs, and Tim smiles at him and 
completely fails to eat his ice cream for… really kind of a 
while.

Yeah, there’s no analysis with this one–it’s just one of my favorite passages. Look at them, they’re playing!

Again, because it’s Te, the playing turns into sexy-times. On a rooftop. Because how better for Jason to introduce Tim to a life of being Robin that taking his virginity on a rooftop, covered in melted ice cream, while still wearing his mask?

Do to it with character development.

“Oh Jason, Jason, you… I think you’re just like *me*.”

And in a lot of ways, they are. Hence, The Drowners. 

But, as awesome as that first meeting is, my favorite story is the third, A Saying Old, when Tim has calmed enough to play, and tease, and:

Tim kind of… blinks at him.

“Hunh?”

The blinking gets even more… *blinky*.

“Did I come in your eye or something –“

“But, Jason. How can I be freaky if I’m *cute*?” Blink, 
blinkity, blink.

Jason’s pretty much… Alfred calls it ‘gaping,’ and this time 
he doesn’t even have being in the massive shrine Bruce 
calls a garage as an excuse.

Tim makes his eyes go ridiculously wide. “I mean… freaky 
people aren’t *cute*, are they?”

“Wow, that’s… wow.”

Tim snickers at him.

“It’s like I blinked and wound up in the terrifying alternate 
universe where you’re a damned cartoon character or 
something.”

“I promise not to do anything physically improbable with 
a mallet.”

The snark! The mind-fuck! This is only the first instance where Jason sees how Timmy’s plays. But, he has no idea how good at it Tim is, until Bruce shows up.

Bruce, inscrutable to Jason (but wouldn’t be to Tim because they think the same) investigates with the purpose of feeling out Tim’s suitability. First, he needs to establish a lack of ties:

“So, I take it that the Drakes *aren’t* home today? Whew, I’ve got a handful of stockholders who’d probably surrender their organs if *I* went to work on a Saturday morning, ha ha.”

See, the thing is, Bruce totally knew the Drakes *weren’t* home, so *this*… this has to be all about how Mrs. Mac will spin it, or finding out if there’s anything *to* spin. 

Jason turns to watch her, knowing that Bruce is doing 
the same in some creepy fake-on-the-outside-way, 
and… yeah. He only has a profile view, but he’d bet his 
own money that that was a Mac-flinch, of sorts.

Sure, Tim’s parent’s aren’t dead, but–well, they’re absent enough that they might as well be. Tim is unique in that his parents are both alive when he first dons the tights, and looses them slowly, over years. So, Tim would have the time and lack of supervision necessary to turn him into a teen-aged vigilante.

(So, I’m reading this scene while I’m writing this, and I seriously Can’t. Stop. Grinning. The whole interplay is wonderful. Bruce is BRUCIE. Mrs. Mac is FLUTTERY. Jason is FREAKIN HIS SHIT. Tim is–well–TIM. Not quite sure what’s going on, but still playing several different angles. But–if I copy and paste my favorite bits–it’s all of it, really. It’s just too much…)

Stage two is–well:

Well, at least the fact that he probably has the world’s 
most sullen look on his face probably fits right into Bruce’s 
plans — whatever the fuck they are.

“I… could probably tutor if Jason wanted me to. I mean. 
I’ve done it before,” Tim says, and Jason pretty much 
has to scramble to *keep* his expression correct.

Especially since Tim’s looking right at Bruce, and — that’s 
totally a challenge. He’s *calling* Bruce on this stuff.

“Ha ha, that’s –“

“Hey, Tim’s pretty smart, uh…” Say something. He’s gotta 
say something. “He probably *could* bring my grades up.”

The twitch of Tim’s mouth *almost* makes Jason lose his 
fake-earnest look for a grin, but he manages to keep it 
together.

He can’t read Bruce’s eyes at all — and really not once the 
man pastes on yet another smile. “Well, I guess I’ll just 
have to check with my accountant to make sure I can 
afford your services, *Mister* Drake, ha ha.”

“I would settle for Jason’s allowance, Mr. Wayne,” Tim 
says, and, yeah, he’s got a kind of nervous — or possibly 
terrified — tic going on with his left foot, but he’s 
working it. He’s totally —

“Wait. My *allowance*?”

Tim smiles at Jason with his mouth and does something 
kind of *else* with his eyes, something kind of — Jason 
doesn’t know, only it makes him want to be alone with 
Tim kind of right now. “Well. If your grades are *that* 
bad, Jay…” Tim’s shrug is completely fake and —

It hits like a fucking brick. He’s totally playing this exactly 
like Bruce. *Exactly*, and — and he really doesn’t need 
to say that out loud. No, he totally does. “You know, 
Bruce, Tim really reminds me of you in a lot of ways.”

And okay, it’s kind of terrifying how true those words feel 
once they’re out of his mouth, it’s a whole different brick, 
or maybe the same one hitting him again, and the look 
on Bruce’s face is pure *Bruce*, now, but it’s the one 
Tim’s giving him that’s making him blush.

BRASS. BALLS. It’s at this moment that I figure Bruce started mentally taking Tim’s measurements and drawing up drafts for his Robin suit, as well as a training schedule. Because the minute Tim started to play? Bruce was hooked. (I like to think that, in this version, it took time for Bruce to also size Tim up against his bed sheets–not because he wouldn’t want to, but because he wouldn’t think that Tim would want him, and–well–Fret Full Sore).

And this is where the focus shifts to Jason for a bit–how does he deal with the new addition? Like a middle child (kinda). He likes Tim, he wants Tim to have this, but he’s also so unsure about his own place in the dynamic. The Bat doesn’t talk about this shit, and–for Jason’s reference–there’s only one Robin at a time. So, he starts to think–fear–that he’s getting replaced.

Usually, it’s the two of them, or the two of them teasing 
Alfred for trying to do stuff like insist they sleep 
sometimes, or… it’s the two of them, and now it really 
isn’t.

And yet, when the moment comes, when the crisis hits, Jason doesn’t give in to self-pity or angsty emo-ing. He spins in into something he can live with.

“You think he should have *your* job, Jason?”

And it makes his heart trip over, because it’s everything 
he’s fucking *afraid* of, at night, when he’s not dreaming 
of whatever Two-Face had done to his Dad to earn him 
an autopsy report like the one on Bruce’s computers. But 
he can deal, because he *knows* that tone in Bruce’s 
voice. (“Ready, Robin?”) “I think,” he says, “I could use 
a partner, *too*.”

And that, gentle reader, is freakin *choice.* I love the “Batkids”, and having two Robins at once just makes so much sense. Aside from being hot as hell, it totally adds to the mystery if Robin is in two places at once. That, and Jason and Tim just compliment each other in (similar, but not exactly) the way Tim and Steph compliment each other (or, that she compliments both of them; With A Red Hat by Petronelle).

Batman broke when Jason died, as much from grief as from a loss of someone who could make the inherent dysfunction of being a Bat work as a family. Tim became Robin because “Batman needs a Robin,”; He came in to fix it. But–if Jason never died, Tim wouldn’t have come forth and the Bats would lose something without ever realizing it, because they never had it. Everything Spring *completes* the Batfamily in a way that Canon never could. (Like I said, Top AU-I-Wish-Was-Canon).

The family continues to grow with (PORN!) additional stories by Petra, who introduces Steph, Dick, and Superman to the mix. (Because Superman has a hard-on for Robins and collects them like celebrity autographs…) Because Family is Important

Really, I think this says it all:

Bruce has got Bruce Wayne pulled back over him like the 
world’s creepiest cloak, but it’s okay, because now 
*both* he and Tim are allowed to realize that it’s a 
fake-job for whoever’s wandering around.

And because even though Jason *had* been thinking it 
already, it’s still different when Bruce is thinking it, too, 
when Bruce can tell how *much* Tim belongs right there, 
wherever right there *is*.

So long as it’s with them.

Welcome to the family, Tim.

A Fan.

Posted on September 15, 2011, in Batman, Comics, Fandom, FanFic, Fic Author Recs, Fic Recs, The Te. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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