Fic Rec: Summer, With Garment Cast Aside
Posted by S.R.B.
Okay, we’re going to jump, now, from 2005 (Everything Spring) to 2011. Six years of fic separate the original story with this AU-of-an-AU. According to the author notes, the original plot bunny for Everything Spring was a lot darker than the story ended up being. This story is definitely darker, but not quite so dark as, say, Built the Same, but darker than Everything Spring.
My argument, since I chose to accept it, is that this premise can’t truly get that dark, because of the inherent natures of Tim, Jason, and Bruce, and the dynamic that appears between them when the specter of a Dead Robin never existed.
Can it be fucked up? Hells yes. But joyfully so.
(Note: This is a LOT long than I expected. And I *tried* to cut the quotes down, but–well–there’s just so MUCH to work with!)
So, like Everything Spring, Summer begins with Jason doing violence upon a deserving person’s person. Unlike ES, Summer then continues to Jason and Bruce fucking on a rooftop, where:
The roof has more sightlines than a damned *football* field — well, okay, not quite that. There *is* a rusted old water tower, and a funky balustrade on the east side that looks like broken teeth —
And Jason doesn’t give a fuck, because Bruce just *threw* him down — “*B* –”
“We’re being followed,” Bruce says, and drops to his *knees* —
“Yeah, *right* now — wait, what?”
Bruce hums *again*, and pulls off his gauntlets with his teeth, and *God*, Jason *loves* seeing that, but —
“Seriously, B –”
“For the last three nights. Perhaps for longer,” and Bruce pushes his hands up under Jason’s damned tunic —
God, they’re so hot and *soft* from being in the gauntlets, but not that soft, at *all*, and Jason’s fucking twitching for it — “C’mon, c’mon, tell me who it *is* –”
“I… am not entirely sure –”
“Please, Jay –”
“B, we’ve been *fucking* out here for the last three nights!”
So, not only does Bruce know, but he’s deliberately putting on a show. Instead of Jason taking the initiative, and Bruce entering later, when it becomes clear that Tim was now part of Jason’s world, Bruce is–well–playing with it. Fast and loose. And this is where we begin to see the darkness – in the representation of Bruce himself.
There are trends in Te’s stories in how a particular character is portrayed. And, sometime after Everything Spring, Te’s Bruce became fundamentally fracture and broken, and essentially needy. Not that there weren’t instances of that before, but the Bruce of Te’s early canon is different that Te’s later works.
At one point over the years, Bruce admitted to a 16 year old Clark that he was more attracted to him as a teenager. And that Bruce had time to come to terms with that aspect of his personality. I’m gonna say that since then, Te’s Bruce really has.
So, when Summer came around, Bruce was much more open about his desires, and willing to embrace that side of himself. Functionally, that means that Bruce and Jason fuck like bunnies and that instead of Bruce’s sexual attraction to Tim happening after Tim starts wearing the red, yellow, and green; it happens right here. Before they even fully meet. (And Bruce hints later that it started before then, when Timmy would stalk him at the parties).
This gives the story an immediate darkness, because it’s The Bat on the prowl and we, the reader, know, via Jason, that The Bat is Fucked Up.
And how do we know this?
Because Jason’s first instinct is not, as in ES, to keep Timmy for his own. It’s to protect Timmy from The Bat.
And then there’s a tiny — seriously tiny — shivering boy kneeling at his feet and looking up at him with eyes like — like fucking — saucers.
Gennaro’s gone, and —
Okay, fine, he doesn’t *have* to be big and bad right now. Much. He drops into a crouch and gets a *grip* on one of those bony shoulders. There *is* some obvious muscle there, but Jason has to feel around for it —
Jason blows out a breath and holds up a finger to the kid. “B, we gotta talk about protocol when you’re, you know, thinking with the big head again.”
“Heh. You started it. Now leave this to *me*, okay?”
“As you say. I will… watch.”
And that’s a little — much. Even considering everything.
But–It’s not just Bruce. It’s also Tim. Tim is sharper, and more–I’m gonna say twisted–in this story than in ES, for various reasons. One, is that, unlike in ES when Tim stays awestruck for most of the beginning of the series, this Tim sharpens, and *adapts* quickly.
Jason stands, too. “Back it up, Drake. You and I *both* know you’re not a day over eleven –”
Jason raises both eyebrows. “Oh, yeah? When’d you start jerking off?”
Drake makes a *choked* noise —
“See, that’s exactly what I mean –”
“Some — some of us aren’t exactly comfortable airing our sex lives *out*.”
Jason — blinks again. “Was that bitchy?”
“Was that bitchy *innuendo*?”
Blush. And there shouldn’t *be* enough moonlight in *this* damned metaphysical sinkhole for him to pick that out, but there is.
Just like there’s enough to see those blue, blue eyes. “Okay, Drake, seriously, answer the question –”
“I — two years.”
“I started. Um. Masturbating –”
“Wha — oh. I. Fuck. I didn’t mean that question!”
Some things are universal. Jason’s first concern is sex. He defines maturity through sexuality. (Which begs the question; is Tim more
mature because he is more aware of his own kinks, or is Jason because he’s actually done something about his own?) But this time, instead of Tim blushing and stumbling and admitting that he’s quite innocent, Tim snarks back. THIS Tim has gone through six years the same way Jason has–the character, though younger and in different story lines, has gained several kinks (including breathplay and a less fixed position of his own gender – which depending on the story is less kink and more political statement, but–) and the fundamental Tim behind this representation has changed. Into something a bit darker and a hell of a lot more complex.
Little bitch! Love it! Always, Tim’s first instinct is his mission– is gathering intel. And, like the little techy that we know and love, he’s encrypted it with his own coding. This is why Babs tries to poach him–and why, whenever Tim ends up working with the birds instead, it works so well. “
I don’t mean to be rude, Robin, but you seemed to be about to threaten me with some sort of exposure if I didn’t… runalong home and promise not to come out again. Yes?”
Jason licks his teeth. Well. “Yeah, actually. It’s *dangerous* out here for –”
“People my age? Is that really what you were about to say?”
Bruce hums in his fucking *ear* —
And Jason crosses his arms over his chest. “It’s *dangerous* for anyone not *trained*. And since you weren’t running the way Batman taught *me* to run, or the way Black Canary taught *Batgirl* to run –”
“Oh! She *was* trained by the JSA? That explains so many things,” and Drake pulls out a sweet-looking little palm-top like the one Bruce tries and *fails* to get Jason to use —
Like the one Babs modified for her *own* use back when she was still recovering from that fucking gut-shot — yeah.
Drake comes from money, all right, but — fucking A.
“Look — you. Really can’t write that shit down,” Jason says, and taps on the Drake’s screen.
“Oh, I — it’s all coded,” Drake says, and offers it to him.
Jason frowns and takes it — and the screen is full of numbers and symbols. Just — what?
“That — well, that’s Bar — Batgirl’s file –”
“What did you say?”
Bruce hums again. “Narrow your eyes.”
Jason narrows his eyes at Drake —
And Drake shivers once and blushes like imminent death. And bites his lip. *At* Jason. Just —
Jason holds up a hand to Bruce and *really* looks at Drake, and that little palm-top, and those *nice*, *sturdy* boots, and —
His stance. His fucking —
“You know karate, don’t you.”
“I — a little –”
“Um. I’m. A black belt –”
Drake looks *down* —
“*Look* at me, kid –”
“*Drake*, then –”
“I — I’m a brown belt in tae kwon do –”
“And you know *exactly* who Batgirl is.”
*Sigh* Bad. Ass. Also, unlike in ES, where Tim was just a fanboy, we see evidence here that his fannishness has taken on that creepy-I-obsess-about-you-so-I-know-everything-about-you-and-am-slowly-turning-myself-into-you-like-Jennifer-Jason-Leigh-in-Single-White-Female vibe that, really, is one of my favorite parts about Tim’s character. Because, on some level, we’ve all been there. Usually, it’s wearing the same brand as a celebrity, or hairstyle, or something, and it (rarely, thank God) isn’t dangerous. But it’s something we can identify with. After all, who wouldn’t want to be just like Robin?
Someone who knows just how much crazy goes into being a Bat, and is still outside enough, still rational enough to know that deliberately converting someone to the way of the Bat is a bad, damaging idea.
This time, Drake looks down *and* away, and that —
That fucking —
Okay, Jason can *admit* that he’s scared like he’s only ever been scared of fucking *Batman* that night he’d dragged
Jason back to the Cave for the first time, but — no. He can breathe. He can think.
And he can grab Drake by the jaw and *make* him meet his eyes. “*Talk* –”
“I would never — I’ve never told anyone!”
Shit, shit —
Wait, no, the protocol is not to confirm. The protocol is to figure out as much about what the *target* knows as possible. So —
Nice and easy. Get the kid talking again. And how had he done it in the first place?
Jason smirks, lets go, and steps back. “You don’t know shit.”
Drake narrows his own eyes.
“A kid like you…” Jason shakes his head and makes as if he’s going to walk away —
“Oh — please –”
“Please *what*,” Jason says, and doesn’t turn around.
“Look, I — no. No, you’re right. You should… I’ll never tell anyone. I promise,” Drake says, and his voice gets small and old and fucking *alone* —
And Jason thinks he can hear Bruce’s leather and armor creaking with the need for him to *move* from right here. Just —
You don’t do a kid like that.
You just don’t, and Jason isn’t —
“Do you… ah. I don’t… seem to know where I am. At the moment –”
— an asshole. Oh, yeah. That. “Uh. Things are a little… different. Here, I mean,” Jason says, and turns back around.
And looks at the skinny, blushing, Bruce-attracting little rich boy who seems to have gotten *smaller* —
Silence. *Lots* of silence, because it’s not like Jason ever *uses* the coded orders —
Especially not the ones that are all about sending your partner right the fuck *away*
And it’s that instinct, that knowledge, that the Bat isn’t for everyone, that motivates Jason. He knows how attractive Tim is to Bruce, and he’s deeply aware of how insecure that makes him, even if he’s deliberately not thinking about it. It’s this that makes Jason send the Bat away and take Tim deeper into a part of Gotham that we rarely get to see.
Jason walks them further into the nameless neighborhood, looking around for strays who don’t belong, general changes…
The old post office building is nearly concave now, but it’s crumbling more slowly now that rubble has mostly blocked off the little pocket universe in the sub-basement.
The streetlights on the *right* side of Hummingbird Street are still gas, but the ones on the left are now a weird and kind of twitchy-feeling silver-blue, so Jason decides to take Drake the long way.
Everything else is quiet and as normal as this part of town *gets* —
“Did… ah. Is that street really called Fthagn Ia –”
“Don’t say it out loud.”
“Oh. Ah. What? *Where are we*?”
Heh. “You’ve been following us around for fuck only knows how long –”
“Four years –”
“Jesus fucking — four years and you’ve never been *here*?”
“This — it’s not on any street-map I’ve ever *seen*, Robin.”
“Well, no, but you can’t get to know Gotham from freaking *maps*. Not the real Gotham, anyway[.]”
It’s easy to forget that Batman isn’t the only vigilante in Gotham, that not all the crime is between mutants and martial artists, that there is magic in Gotham. Jason Blood. Zatanna. I’m pretty sure Constantine hangs around there sometimes when he’s on this continent. And it’s not the fairy-tale magic that we see with Superman; it’s the Lovecraftain Cthulhu-style magic that speaks of old and primeval forces that aren’t evil so much as hungry and dangerous and are always vuagely Tesla-steampunk and–well–
Jason also ends up taking Tim to a magic-infused bathhouse, so–there’s the implication of danger, and the willingness to do something despite the danger and, oddly enough, in the middle of danger is the safest place to be.
And, even though Jason’s freaking out:
Jason reaches out with his bare hand and grips Tim’s *reaching* hand —
And Tim grips back with some decent strength. Not enough —
Enough for *what*?
And his brain — his stupid, awful, *terrible* brain — gives him the image of Bruce staring at Tim from that rooftop. Staring with his *mouth* open just a little and his hands clutching at the balustrade hard enough that there’s a gritting sound every time he *breathes* —
Jason recognizes Tim’s need and has already started to loose the battle he chose to fight; the battle to keep Tim from becoming a Bat. Because Jason is nothing if not self-aware and, while it first leads him to telling Tim how fucked up being Robin is, and how The Batman wants him – and how that might not be the best thing.
Their conversation in the bathhouse is wonderful on many levels, and, well–
And — “Why the hell did you know what — the other guy could do?”
Another bitten lip — “Um. I saw him… before.”
“Before — holy — how the fuck *old* were you?”
Too young, Jason. Too young. (I mean, look at the *suit* That’s not a suit that any child old enough would ever choose. Even not our conservative Timmy.) Or maybe, for your sake, just young enough.
Tim smiles ruefully again — but this time it’s real. “He was very. My parents took me to meet him and *his* parents. He gave me — I’d never had cotton candy before. Or roasted peanuts. Or funnel cake. Or — well, he gave me a lot of food. And held me on his lap. And — smiled at me. Just. He never stopped smiling, Robin. I’d never — no one ever really — um. Anyway. He promised to do his special trick just — just for me. He… didn’t get to. Not that night.”
“That — fuck. Uh.”
Seriously, Jason. How loveless was Tim’s life that a hug, a hug, by a smiling stranger was enough to put him on the road to early vigilantism? Tim, by thing time, needs the all encompassing obsessive love that only the Batclan (read: Batman) can provide.
Jason mentions, then, that Bruce and Dick don’t get along, and that:
It might have something to do with how often Bruce *fucks* me —
And, by the way, how attached are you to the size of *your* asshole?
Jason chokes on his own fucking *self* a little —
Because he’s not yet ready to admit it to himself–and that he’s still very afraid that Bruce is going to give him up, like he gave up Dick, once Jason gets too old. It’s not all about Jason protecting Tim–it’s about Jason protecting himself. So, since Tim is well-preped for the crime-fighting aspect of Robin, Jason tells Tim what to expect from Batman, and, in a way, uses Tim’s sexuality against him. Because, even though Jason’s first instinct is to get Tim to a functioning level of acceptance of his sexuality and himself as a sexual being–
And Jason *thinks* about it like he has a fucking *brain* in his *head* — “Shit. You’re a virgin.”
“Yeah, okay, don’t actually *need* you to confirm that. Uh. Do you have… a girlfriend?”
This time, the blush spreads *slowly*, and that’s fascinating enough —
“You have about ninety different blushes, don’t you.”
“I’ve counted fourteen, but — um. I’m — I think I might be. Gay.” And then Tim searches him like he thinks Jason might try to fucking *hit* him, which —
Jason smacks the side of his head.
“That’s for *thinking* I’d get on your case for that. Jesus, man.”
“I — all right. Fine. It’s just that you’re very — ah.”
“Butch? Straight-acting? *Manly*?”
“All right, I — get your point. You don’t have to keep sounding like a personal ad in the Clarion.”
“Heh. What are *you* doing going through those?”
“Ah. Learning the language?” Tim rubs his palms on his — sturdy, not fashionable — jeans. “I don’t. I mean. I think one of my friends might also be — gay, but I don’t really. I don’t talk about it.”
Tim, you are so repressed. It’s also a crying shame that Tim’s situation isn’t all that uncommon. I know I’m preaching to the choir, here, but–BREAK THE SILENCE! Tim would be a lot different at this point in his life if he could be open about it.
Then again, maybe not. Tim chooses repression and silence as a matter of course, so…
Jason also tries to use Tim’s lack of experience and general overwhelming neediness to get him to back away:
Jason covers Tim’s hand and squeezes it. “There’s always room for another *trained* vigi out there, man. I’m not even gonna try to say there isn’t. But — you don’t want *this* family.”
“I — why?”
“You’re still not getting it?”
“I — I can definitely be… slow about some things — I mean, it’s something I’m working on –”
“And I bet when you put your mind to something, it never takes all that long for you to *get* it, yeah?”
Tim frowns. “Are… are you saying I should put my mind to… to the question of why Batman would’ve… done what he did tonight?”
*Jason* swallows and just —
He tries to keep them both looking *good* for the kids. Not just because it’s important that they not *terrorize fucking children*, but because he fucking well *remembers* what it was like to need a hero —
To need to *believe* in a hero —
“Jason, I — I mean Robin — it’s. He loves you. He’s. I’ve always. I’ve thought that… if you love someone enough… ah.”
Fuck. “That anything goes?”
Tim searches him a little and licks his lips. “It seems. It seems like something that lovers could… have.” And every little thing about him says he’s *begging* Jason not to ruin that for him, ruin his ideas of fucking vigilante *romance* —
Oh Tim. The beautiful thing about him is that he *never looses that romance*, even when he, by all rights, probably should. But–I think he give that romance back to Jason, and back to Bruce, and that’s part of the healing that happens.
Fuck, fuck, *fuck* — “Look, I — yeah. He loves me. He’s made that clear in a lot of damned ways over the years.”
Tim nods, but — yeah, now he’s looking seriously fucking *troubled*.
“You — fuck, *ask*.”
“Because you can’t… just say it? Whatever it is. Um. Why… why doesn’t he get along with Nightwing anymore?”
“Heh, I — don’t know. I do know they never fucked. I *don’t* know why.”
Tim swallows and grips his knees even harder. “He didn’t — they wouldn’t tell you?”
“I never asked Batman. I never wanted to know… until now.”
A slow nod. “When. When he… exposed you. Deliberately.”
The blush comes back in full force. “He didn’t — I mean. Did he?”
“He meant it. He meant for *you* to see.”
Tim takes a deep breath and exhales it *shakily* —
“Over and over, Tim.”
“I — I *have* –”
“He doesn’t know how many times.”
“No, I. I imagine he would have… stopped… me…”
“Or sent me to talk to you. To *detain* you.”
Tim blinks rapidly and starts stroking his thighs — which are pretty decently long and lean.
Well-muscled for a little guy.
Just the kind that Bruce would want wrapped around his face?
And Tim is looking around now, obviously on little geeky-freakboy high alert —
And none of this is his fault. Just —
“You. You. Are you saying — I’m just a kid –”
“Yeah. A hero-worshipping kid who hangs out on rooftops and manages to stay close enough to *Batman and Robin* to take some pictures.”
TAILOR-MADE for Bruce. By the canon writers, even. But, he’s also tailor made for *Jason*, too.
“Never — only the ones — I’d never take pictures of you — making love.”
And Tim looks *miserable* for a second, hurt and just — “I destroyed them. I — I never did it again — it was years ago –”
“When you started spanking it.”
Tim covers his face with his hands —
Jumps in his skin like something’s *goosed* him —
And then he uncovers his face again. “He doesn’t *want* me!”
Oh, Timmy. You’re parents did a number on you to make you think you were so inherently un-wantable, unlovable…I’m gonna come back to this a bit when I get to To Be Worthy.
“He doesn’t even –”
“Know you? Heh. He dragged me home by the scruff of the fucking neck about forty minutes after seeing me for the first time.”
“What — what?”
“He needed a good ten minutes just to stare at me — this is what he told me — and another thirty to catch me when I ran away from him using every trick I knew to get away from big, strong, fast perverts –”
“Batman isn’t a *pervert*!”
*Ahem* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! SO MUCH of Bat canon and fanon revolves around the fact that Batman is a GIGANTIC perv—
Jason looks at Tim.
“He’s not — he doesn’t — he *loves* you! And — he gave Dick his smiles back –”
“Until it was all over… right about when Dick had ninety-nine percent of his full growth.”
Tim *flinches* —
And Jason smiles wryly. “Sometimes I think about it, you know? What I’m going to do when I’m too big for him.”
And, with how brash Jason is, we forget, sometime, how insecure he can be. Because his past? warped him just as much as Tim’s did. Tim’s parent’s were never there, but Jason was adopted *twice* and, while that means someone wanted him enough to declare him family, that also means that two sets of parents *gave him up*. And with Bruce, who wants him so much it hurts, he’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop because they *never talk about it*.
Tim shakes his head and *stares* at him —
His eyes are so —
“God, Tim, I — he’s *not* a bad guy. He’s sweet, he’s smart as fuck, he’s funny — and he’s fucking *fantastic* in the sack. But he’s a perv, right down to the bone. There’s something *missing* in him, and it’s the thing that lets him have successful relationships with adults who don’t *throw* themselves at him –”
“But there *are* adults! You — aren’t there?”
“And you really are clinging to that and fucking *hoping*, yeah?”
It also doesn’t stop him from sending Tim to get training. Because he recognizes Tim, and knows Tim would be out there eventually so
he might as well have the right training, be on the right side. But Tim is Tim is Robin, no matter when he is on his timeline and, well, Tim’s going to continue fighting, and training, and making himself into something that the Bat could put in a cape and call Robin. Because Batman NEEDS a Robin…
“Well, I am, too. Because I’ve been in love with him since right about when he stopped even trying to keep his hands off me — I had *just* turned thirteen –”
“And you *knew* that, because you knew everything about me. But you didn’t let yourself think about it, because you need Batman to be a hero through and through.”
“He *is*. And — you’re just — I’m sure if you just *spoke* to him — I.” Tim stares down at his hands —
Stands up and starts to pace —
Fucking *hugs* himself —
“He’d make you love him, too, you know –”
Oh, Jay. It’s already too late.
“I’m not –” Tim raises a hand. “You really can’t talk to me about how *Batman* wants to have *sex* with me and then call me a *kid*.”
RIGHT HERE is where Tim starts to turn around. HERE is where he, really, gets his sharpness back, or lets it loose and, while he can still be thrown a bit, he’s started to *process*, which means that, by the the end of this conversation, Tim has already adapted. Because, ultimately;
“You’re in love with him.”
Blush — “It’s not. *I* don’t know *him* –”
“You’re maybe in love with the Batman?”
Tim turns away —
Jason turns him *back* — and then has to stop, because Tim is looking at him like —
Looking at *him* like —
Jason steps *back* —
And for about *half* a heartbeat, Tim looks like — like every fucking thing he cared about in the world had died.
Batman needs a Robin. But this Robin? NEEDS a Batman.
Robin ALSO needs, well, a Robin:
“You thought I was an *asshole* and you *still* had a crush?”
“No! Not — not *cruel*. Just… perhaps more… I’m not sure I know how to describe it?”
And Jason knows that he’s pretty much guaranteeing that Tim won’t get home until it’s almost time for him to start getting ready for *school* —
Until it’s time for *him* to start doing that shit —
“I… all right?” And Tim gives him a look like he’s trying to figure Jason *out* —
Jason kinda wants to ask him what he comes up with for *conclusions* —
“I — actually, this is — this is it. Or some of it. You — I honestly expected you to stop asking questions once you figured out… what you needed to know. And, obviously, you felt you had to — to warn me –”
“Did you get anything like a decent sex talk from *anyone*? Your Dad, maybe?”
“Ah — no. However, I’ve had access to the internet for a very, very long time –”
“Porn’s one thing, but –”
“*Educational* sites are something else entirely. I assure you that I’ve perused all of them I could find –”
Jason holds up a hand. “Okay, I believe you. Go back to feeding my — fuck, I don’t even know if that counts as my *ego* or not. Tell me how I come off out there?”
“I… strong. Always — strong, and confident, and *sure*. I’ve *seen* you arguing with Batman about some things, and that’s always seemed so — ah. Anyway. You never seem as though there’s anything that *fazes* you, or causes you difficulty. You never seem as though you even need *help* — much less information about the people who stalk you.”
“Not even the really likable stalkers?”
“Um. You. Is there anything else you’d like for me to tell you?”
Your phone number — no. What. No. *Christ* —
Oh, Jay, you’re officially lost, too.
And Jason really can’t use Tim’s sexuality against him. Becuase, from the moment Jay introduced it, Tim has been changing, adapting–and to adapt to Jason, Tim’s had to become very comfortable with his sexuality very quickly. And with that acceptance emerges his attraction to Jason. And, with that, Jason’s restraint crumbles.
That, and their epic fight scene with Ivy.
And *then* he can check on all the cyclists — and find Tim helping the paramedics with the injured ones.
Because Tim is… because he’s just that right.
Jason licks his lips and watches him from the shadows for a moment as he helps an EMT get a small, unconscious man up onto a gurney. He just —
He’s got a bruise on his cheek and some scrapes, but he looks good. He looks —
Jason shakes his head and goes to join him, and Tim gives him a look that fucking *shines* —
A look that says Jason is the fucking best thing since *ice* cream —
After this, and knowing Te, it’s no surprise that Jason and Tim go back to Tim’s to fuck. At this point, it’s all over. Jason’s had time to process, to see the Robin that Tim could be, and that changes his mind. He brings Tim to the cave–brings him home.
Barbara, later on, relates Batman to Peter Pan, and the Robins to his lost boys. While the other Batboys have lost their parents, Tim never really had any. They’re alive–somewhere in the world. While their jetsetting ways are convienient for any teen to turn himself into a living weapon, the issue of what that does to a child is, mostly, brushed over in ES. It’s much more explicit here, and Tim has just the right about of needy and loneliness to make him into Robin, and to also make Jason want to fix him.
“Christ, where were your fucking *parents*?”
Another *dark* look —
Another *blank* look — “C’mon, Tim, is there something we should know about them? You’re not a traumatized four-year-old — you *know* you can tell someone if there’s –”
“They don’t — I’ve never been *abused*, Robin!”
Jason gives him a *steady* look, just to see —
Another blush. “I — that wasn’t a lie. It’s just — they have their own lives.”
“And you have yours?”
“I — yes,” Tim says[…]
While Jason is willing (to a point) to let that go, it keeps coming back:
Another giggle —
Such a *sweet* giggle, rusty like maybe Tim hasn’t had anything good since —
Jason hugs Tim. Just — holds him and tries to think of what Dick would do other than freak right the fuck out and *shake* Tim to make the sense get in faster. It — well, it would be hugs, just like this, and — “Baby… I’m worried about you.”
Tim tries to pull back —
Jason holds him *tighter* —
And really, Jason can’t let it go. It, eventually, leads to Jason taking Tim home, because, again, as much as Jason wants Tim around, he knows how good the cave can be for lonely little boys, and wants that for Tim.
And, really, that’s why this premise can’t really get too dark. Jason meets Tim and gives him a loving family. Tim’s presence forces the issue of Jason getting replaced, and that kickstarts the healing between Bruce and, oh, everyone.
It starts in Tim’s bedroom:
Jason *nods* slowly. “Just to let you know? My jock is making me hate *life* right now.”
“Oh! You’re hard?”
“Are you really — surprised. Heh. No, I can see it. Sorry, Tim. These panties –”
“You really call them *panties*? Not — not just for effect?”
Jason looks at Tim.
“But — they –”
Jason kneels up and *points* to his crotch —
“All right, I can see certain… certain similarities –”
“Shorts? Aren’t this tight.”
“*Trunks*? Would mean that I’d still have a few *fully*-functional nerve endings in my upper thighs.”
Tim bites his lip.
Jason switches his hips and waggles his eyebrows —
And Tim coughs and glares at him. “They’re very *important* panties!”
Yes. Yes they are.
“Oh, no, he wouldn’t *replace* you!”
And Jason *thinks* about giving Tim another look —
But Bruce had said it. And meant —
Bruce always says what he means to Jason, right from the night early in Jason’s training when Bruce had paused with fucking Two-Face’s mug shots and yellows up on the monitor and told him what he *knew* — but could never prove — about what the fucker had done to his father.
And maybe Jason got to be something of an addict. Maybe —
And Jason really is just kneeling here *pressing* Tim down to the floor with one hand on his sternum. “I’m — kinda fucked-up about Bruce.”
And admitting it is the first step.
Especially, since it leads to this:
“You wanna be like Bruce to me, baby?”
Tim covers Jason’s hands with his own, and looks down —
And keeps looking down —
And *keeps* looking *down* —
And then those eyes are *blazing* at him, more full and *hot* than eyes that color should be able to *manage* —
“I want — I want to be your friend. One of your *best* friends. I want — I’d like to be your family, too, and to — I mean. You’re obviously involved with — Bruce, and other people — I’ve *seen* you –”
Jason presses his thumb to Tim’s mouth. “Boyfriend?”
*Wide* eyes and a swallow —
And then Tim looks determined again —
And then he nods — and sucks the tip of Jason’s thumb.
Oh, boyfriends! And the creepy thing? Is that I can see Bruce saying this. Maybe a younger not-Batman-yet Bruce, but Bruce all the same. Because Tim is a lot like Bruce in a lot of ways, so much so that Future!Batman!Tim makes total sense. And yet, Tim is different enough to balance Bruce, and the way his book ended, with Tim ready to inherit Gotham as something OTHER than the Batman, also makes sense. Most importantly for us, however, is that Tim being like Bruce means that they have the same kinks.
Once again we see that edge of darkness in Tim. When, later on, Bruce, Tim, and Jason are getting it on in the Batcave (really? are you surprised? For shame!) it’s revealed that Bruce is into some of the heaver aspects of BDSM and painplay, the sticker being scarification. Jason is boggled, and Tim–Tim gets it. He gets the *psychology* behind it because, well–
When Tim starts crying out for every thrust like it’s good, like it’s *perfect* —
“*Tell* me, baby, come on –”
“Ohn — *own* — you *own* me –!”
And Jason’s just about to chalk that up to fuck-dumb fucking gibberish — but Bruce gasps —
Bruce is *stopping* —
“B, what –”
“Tim. Tim, what do you mean?”
And *then* what Tim said sinks in, and Jason hears himself groaning —
Timmy needs to be needed, but also to be wanted, and the permanence of scars is highly appealing. Like with Timmy’s parent issues, I’m gonna get into Timmy’s kinks of this nature with To be Worthy.
First, Jason and Bruce have to hash out their issues. You know, that big, honkin Bat-elephant in the room.
So, when Jason gets home,
And Bruce is still standing there. Still —
Fuck it. Jason stands up, meets Bruce’s eyes —
Bruce’s fucking *haunted* eyes —
“Like maybe you’re waiting for me to break up with *you*?”
And Bruce–Bruce is so horrified at the thought, so freakin’ wounded at the idea of loosing Jason–Batman has the greatest capacity for love out of all the vigis, (really, the extremes he goes to can only be fueled by that love) and the worst ability to share (no, *really*?). Batman needs love, and never stops loving, and–
Batman needs his Robins.
“What the fuck am I –” Supposed to do. Without you. With — “Am I too big for you, B?”
Bruce gasps and *rears* back and — yeah.
That. “Too old?”
“You talk about it a lot, you know. How much *older* I am than any other fifteen-year-old. How much my growth beats your records and your — your fucking *predictions* –”
“You’re wonderful, *beautiful* –”
“Is it enough, B?”
“*Please*, Jay –”
“Answer the fucking *question*!”
“*Please*, Jay, I — if I’d known –”
“That it would *hurt* to watch you losing it for another kid? How the fuck did that *miss* you? I — *fuck* — ” And now *he’s* on his knees and straddling Bruce’s thighs —
Now he’s fucking shoving his own *face* in the pile of — of —
Of everything he couldn’t be afraid of before he saw Tim for himself, because Bruce covered everything in his life —
And everything he couldn’t be afraid of *after* that, because Tim was — is — no. Tim is *far* away from this right now, and that’s —
God, how is he supposed to straighten *this* shit out for him?
How is any of it supposed to *work*?
With a whole lotta lube.
I’m sorry, that was crass.
With an *excessive* quantity of lubrication.
…and the realization that monogamy just doesn’t work for them. That they all need all the love they can get from as many people as they can. And that Tim is the lynch-pin.
Bruce finally tells Jason about his relationship with Dick, the wanting that he tried to fight, the joy he felt when Dick and Clark got together because Bruce didn’t have to be afraid of himself anymore and–
And that —
Bruce is *searching* him, and Jason knows that he wants to know that Jason’s *understanding* him, but there’s also —
What is he supposed to — fuck. “Do you not trust me to love you, B?”
Jason — doesn’t flinch —
“Oh, *no*, I — Jay, it’s only. It would make perfect sense to me if you were to have lost your care for me. I’ve been… I treated Tim’s entrance into our lives as a game, all without giving any thought to how you would feel. I — I *assumed* that you would understand, and come to desire as I had. I thought I had learned not to make that sort of assumption. I — please.”
Jason closes his own eyes — and lets himself half-fall into a half-assed lotus.
And covers his face with his hands.
It’s been said before that Tim is the only one who plays with Bruce–who can play with Bruce the way Bruce prefers to play. They play with hidden meanings and transparent lies over lies and with several identities and mind games and–
A *game* — because there’s never been *anyone* in Jason’s life who’s enjoyed playing with him as much as Bruce has. Just —
He’d been able to see it in Bruce’s eyes the *second* he took the cowl off for the first time. Happiness. *Cheeriness*. *Fun*.
So much that it’d been a shock to see him after one of his damned *nightmares*. Just —
Bruce has always wanted to play with him, and Bruce has always wanted to do it *with* sex and —
He can see it. He can smell it like Bruce’s fucking *fear* — “Tell me — tell me about the jealousy.”
“*Do* it, B.”
And he does. Bruce tells Jason how he pushed Dick away–manipulated him, and then offers to leave Tim alone, for Jason. And Jason doesn’t just say no, he’s appalled that Bruce would even ask. Because Jason is in touch with his emotions, and doesn’t even try to deny himself the things that he needs. And he knows better than to deny Bruce what he needs, even as he’s touched by the gesture. He knows it’s not right for Bruce, it’s not right for Jason, and it’s not right for TIM.
*Why* — but. He knows. It’s the same thing that had made Jason train as hard as he could as *fast* he could, made him *learn* faster, work at everything Bruce gave him and everything else he could think of. Because the chance to be Robin was *one* thing… but the chance to give something *back* to Bruce was something else entirely.
It was a *relief* to start fucking —
To start *making love* with Bruce. On so many levels. Just —
One thing he could do right and well. One *perfect* thing —
And that hadn’t felt like giving, at all, after a while. Not that long of a while, either.
Jason looks down at the stone. “You can’t give that to me –”
“I *can* –”
“I mean –” No, look *up* — and he does. And Bruce looks fucking *frantic*, almost *angry* — “I don’t want you to. I mean.”
“He already — you listened. You watched. You *know*.”
“I know… I know he believes that he desires the Batman –”
“It’s more than that.”
“It’s *more* than that, B! I –” Jason shakes his head and stands up, pacing a little —
Stroking the bike’s fucked-up finish a little —
“You know he’s — he’s not like other kids.”
And that’s the crux of it. Tim isn’t like other kids. He’s like Jason. He’s like Bruce. He’s a Bat. He’s a *Robin*.
Bruce takes a slow, soft breath.
“I *know* you know it –”
“Yes. He is. Exceptional.”
Jason crosses his arms over his chest and just — deals. He deals, and he thinks, and he —
He owns the fact that this is what a part of him wants, too. This — God, this fucking *honesty*, and this second — this one *right* here — where Jason’s this close to *bonding* with Bruce over how great Tim is.
Just like they’ve bonded over other people.
And will continue to do so, and will have the *opportunity* to do so because Jay is suddenly hit by a revelation about Bruce:
“You don’t — you don’t fall out of love.”
“No,” Bruce says, and his voice is rough and low and *mournful* —
Oh, Bruce. Pining over Dick, who is only as lost as you let him be. And Harvey, first love, and first lost love. And, while the latter is enough to set Jason off, it’s also enough to convince him, and now Jason has to convince Bruce:
“You’re in love with — a whole fucking *bunch* of people –”
“*Yes*, Jay. I am — needy, and hungry, and *greedy*,” and Bruce drags his face over Jason’s uniform before looking up. “I am all of those things and more, and *worse*, but I am *capable* of devoting my life to you. And a part of me would have you demand just that.”
Jason — can’t keep the frown off his face. Just —
“*No*. I — how do you not get that *you don’t work that way*?”
Bruce laughs again, and it’s fucking *hurting*. “Should I never believe myself capable of giving? Of loving without greed?”
“It’s not fucking greed if you *need* the other person.”
Yes, Bruce, listen to him! Just because it may take Jason a minute to see past his own issues, doesn’t mean he’s any less *right* about this stuff.
“Yes. Yes. I — I am not blind. Though I have pretended to be so,” Bruce says, and turns back to him. “Do you think… would speaking to Dick help, do you think?”
Jason smacks the side of Bruce’s head.
“Hm. Noted. I — I meant… I want it to help the two of *you*.”
“Uh — oh.” Jason frowns and thinks about non-fucking-standard train rides —
And kisses —
And the kind of warmth that always makes Jason wonder how people who *don’t* have Bruce-shaped wedges between themselves and Dick feel around him. If it’s even — livable.
*Good* — and Jason bangs his head against Bruce’s shoulder.
“I…” Bruce sighs and cups the back of Jason’s neck. Just — just like how he was touching Tim tonight.
Jason swallows and shivers —
And thus the groundwork is laid. (Is that a pun? I can never remember. We’re gonna say it is. :P) Bruce will talk to Dick and bring him back, fixing not only their relationship, but Dick and Jason’s too. And introducing him to the Baby Brother in the meantime (even though we don’t get to see it, and I want to see it!!)
But first, Tim has to meet the Bat.
Oh, and about that Bat:
“I’ve had — before you, or Dick, or even Harvey. Before there was *anyone* else, there was a voice in the darkness. A guide to every — every *purposeful* nightmare. Before — oh, before nearly everything, the Bat was *real*, Jay, and it pushed for everything, to have every part of me –”
“What does that *mean*, B?” But he knows. He —
And Bruce nods slowly. “Always… you have always been so intuitive, Jay. Even without having watched me rail at the empty air or shake an empty cowl while snarling –”
“Wait, what –”
And Jason wants to fucking *protest* that, wants to —
God, just to have another minute *without* this —
“You’ve got — a fucking voice in your head.”
“A ghost, perhaps. A minor demon. A most persistent delusion…” And Bruce tugs Jason closer. “You chase it away.”
Jason winces and — “And when I’m not here?”
“It returns… in force. It taught me the meaning of vengeance. It taught me… much. And guided me when I faltered –”
“I don’t — it’s only…” Bruce squeezes Jason’s hand *hard*. “Sometimes I feel it… breathing.”
Jason shudders —
“Yes. Yes, that –”
“Call fucking *Zatanna*!”
“And when she finds nothing?”
“Call *Zatara*. Fuck, call *Dr. Fate*. Call Jason Blood. Fuck, call up that fucker *Klarion*!”
“And then? If *nobody* can find anything?”
“Call a psychiatrist?”
“*Fuck*, no, B! If nobody can find anything –” Jason growls and *yanks* Bruce close, wrapping his arms around him and biting at his chest through the pajama top —
Bruce gasps —
“I know, B, I *know*. Just — if it can’t ever be fixed? If the only thing that can happen is that it gets chased away for a little while? Then you damned well keep people around who can do the *chasing*.”
LISTEN TO JASON!!! Boy is Smart!
Here’s another example:
“I’m *with* you on that, okay? I — he’s *gotta* be one of us.”
Jason realizes that Tim is essential, that he’s something that they need, something missing that the never knew was missing until they found him.
Jason arranges Tim half over himself and kisses his forehead. “We needed you.”
“But — you –”
“We needed you,” Bruce says, and strokes down Tim’s upper arm. “You have brought great happiness.”
“And *arguments* –”
“That totally needed to happen.
So, Bruce goes off to talk to Dick, and then Alfred gets in on the action. And when Alfred gets involved? Shit *happens*
Except that they pass Wayne Tower. Hunh. “Al…? We’re not going into the office today?”
“Master Dick called to inform us that Master Bruce will be returning when *he* believes it is time for him to do so.”
Jason coughs. “Uh. Seriously?”
Alfred hums. “Master Bruce then picked up the other line and suggested that there will be a certain amount of company for dinner this evening.”
“Heh, okay. And then?”
“And *then*… Master Dick began to say things which strongly suggest that he has been keeping terribly rough company since leaving the bosom of home. It seemed the better part of valor to leave them to it.”
Jason snickers. “I hear you. Where *are* we going?”
Another hum. And that —
“Oh — heh. Tim, yeah?”
“Indeed, young sir. I thought it would be… prudent for you to give the young sir a certain degree of… orientation.”
“While Bruce and Dick aren’t around to freak ‘im the hell out?”
“I am sure –”
“That you don’t know what I’m talking about. Got it,” Jason says, grinning and leaning back.
And, there’s not a whole lot to say about this next bit that I haven’t already said, but, well, Tim has always been a Bat.
“Oh! Oh! Not my *feet*!” And Tim *winks* at him.
Jason thinks he’s probably — yeah, he’s done. He pulls Tim’s briefs and pants up again so his cock doesn’t get *completely* confused —
“Jay, that’s so *silly*!”
“You. Are. Fucking. *Creepy*,” Jason whispers, and does up Tim’s pants —
Tim giggles one more time — “Mrs. Mac? What’s going on?” And then he gestures Jason back —
And, yeah, Jason *had* heard a little creak —
And Mrs. MacIlvenne knocks twice. “Tim? Are you boys rough-housing?”
His turn. “I would *never* do anything like that, Mrs. MacIlvenne,” Jason says as obnoxiously fake as possible —
And that was something like a *coo* as Mrs. MacIlvenne opens the door and looks them over —
Pretty damned efficiently, actually. Pretty —
She frowns slightly… and then she blinks and folds her hands together. “Now, boys, Alfred says that he accidentally bought too much food for dinner!”
Right. “Oh, man,” Jason says. “Alfred *never* does that.”
“He does seem *very* careful,” Mrs. MacIlvenne says, and looks *thoughtful* —
But Tim gestures sharply *toward* himself —
So Jason tackles him to the nearest wall and starts… tickling.
Tim giggles and starts punching at him —
“Oh, you two! Don’t make me call Alfred up here! I *know* he doesn’t tolerate this sort of behavior at Wayne *manor*.”
The things Alfred tolerates would make a twenty-year veteran of the *Gotham* police force lose his shit a little — but. Jason lets Tim tag him with a light but well-set-up punch to the cheek. “Oof! Heh, yeah, you’re right. The little guy’s sneaky, though. He totally needs it.”
Tim huffs and straightens his clothes. “I do *not*!” And he turns to Mrs. MacIlvenne. “You’d planned a later dinner, right, Mrs. Mac? You’d only have to cook for yourself if I went over to Jason’s.”
“It *would* be easier, yes, but I know your parents didn’t hire me to send you gallivanting off all over creation, Tim,” she says, wagging a finger and twinkling like a small, middle-aged star.
Or something. Fuck if Jason knows — he was pretty sure women like Mrs. MacIlvenne only happened on television.
*Crappy* television, at that.
Still, Tim’s playing it to the hilt, all wide-eyed excitement and —
“Oh, they won’t mind, Mrs. Mac! They –” He *peeks* at Jason. “They’ve met Jason before. At the parties.”
Mrs. MacIlvenne rocks on her heels. “Well…”
“Please? Please? Ah… please?”
And she giggles and flaps a hand at Tim. “Oh, you! Of course you can go! But…” She frowns. “Are you *dressed* well enough? I know you *like* your jeans, Tim, but…”
Tim looks at Jason expectantly.
“Uh. Well, we were mostly going to run around outside,” and Jason grins. “Bruce always says I spend too much time cooped up.”
“Oh, Tim is just the same! Well, jeans are fine –”
“And I’ll bring my study guides with me just… just in case Alfred can’t bring us back until later.”
Another *thoughtful* little frown — and those can be dangerous.
Jason clears his throat. “Yeah, uh. Tim’s actually right at my level for a couple of things, Mrs. MacIlvenne. He can help.”
She blinks — and then blushes a little. And that is *absolutely* the blush of someone who’d received the edited version of Jason Todd’s Life Of Privation And Pain.
It used to be easier to look waifish. Now, Jason focuses on looking rueful until Mrs. MacIlvenne shudders herself into pure, unadulterated sympathy.
“Well, of course! Tim is a *very* helpful boy,” she says, and smiles at both of them. “Well? Chop chop! Alfred is waiting!”
“Ah — I’ll just get my books and things, Mrs. Mac.”
She beams at him. “Such a good boy. All right, I’ll meet you downstairs!” And she goes.
And Jason watches Tim —
For that *moment* of relaxation that means she’s definitely out of earshot.
I wanna smush his creepy little cheeks and I’d probably get *birdaranged*for my troubles. *Sigh* worth it!
Jason snorts. “Give it up, Al. You’ll get my super-stacked chili-onion-cheese dog when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.”
“*Really*, Master Jason –”
“Can’t talk, thinkin’ about nitrites.”
*Snert* Oh, Jay.
Anyway, Alfred brings Jason and Tim back, Jay shows Tim the cave, and everything set up earlier falls into place:
Tim laughs softly. “I wish. I wish you’d been my big brother.”
Jason seizes a little for that —
Kisses Tim’s temple —
And *doesn’t* suggest that Tim let Bruce adopt him. Not even a little. “I can be your big brother now.”
And we all know what that means! Emotional fulfillment and sexytimes!
I’m not going to quote it. If I did, I might as well post the entire thing here, and that would really defeat the point of analysis. But I’ll leave you with this enticing tidbit that, really, sums it up.
“Um. Ah. I’m bent over.”
“In — front of Batman.”
And all is right with the universe.
But there’s one more hole to fix. Babs.
“Babs is gonna leave us, B.”
“She’s gonna go somewhere she can be *respected* for everything she does –”
“It’s not — the Mission isn’t about *respect* –”
“Humans, B. Humans make *up* the Mission in case you haven’t fucking noticed. Get the Bat out of your ass and fucking *cope*. We *need* her.”
Jason is able to convince Bruce that killing the Joker really isn’t enough to push Babs away. I honestly didn’t expect anything to come of that in this story (sequel, yes. This story? Not really.) Mostly because other characters were mentioned (Dick) that led me to believe that was the direction the plot was going. But–
“Oh! Is that — is that Dick?”
“Nah, baby, it’s the woman who’s gonna make you *significantly* less queer,” Jason says, and wraps an arm around Tim’s shoulders as he splutters.
“I don’t think it *works* that way –”
“It totally does.”
“It does *not* — and I can walk on my *own* –”
Jason picks Tim up and throws him over his shoulder —
“You — I — *Jay* –”
Jason pats Tim’s ass. “You gonna admit that Batgirl can de-queer you?”
“I’m *going* to *kick* you!”
“Baby, baby, not in front of company,” Jason says, and jerks his chin at Babs, who knows *exactly* how good she looks in all that black and gold. Still — “Lookin’ good, Babsy.”
Yes. She. Does.
And, in my head, I went: Oh. Batgirl. Yay, Babs! Because I love Te’s Babs – she’s entirely the sort of kickass, powerhouse, force of freakin’ nature that Batgirl should be, because Batgirl was that way because she was Babs first, and–
Red head. Librarian. Could kick my ass. What’s not to love?
Anyway, Batman *apologizes* and, while it’s not immediately all kittens and roses, because Batgirl ain’t easy (and she shouldn’t be), and because this Batman isn’t fucking Barbara, so the Magical Healing Cock effect can’t happen– the healing has begun.
And, well, this scene makes me happy because as much as Tim belongs with the Bats, he was always *part* bird, and it makes me happy to see them get along right off the bat.
And he stands up and offers Babs his hand. “My name is –”
“Tim Drake, thirteen-year-old son of Janet and Jackson Drake, sole heir to the Drake Industries fortune, owner of at least three online Fae Voyage accounts and four Capefan accounts… and very, very clever stalker. Yes?”
Tim smiles ruefully. “I suppose you did have time to learn all of that information today. I would still like to shake your hand.”
Babs hums and looks Tim over just like she *hadn’t* already learned everything about his body she wanted to.
Jason crosses his arms over his chest. “Be *nice*, Babsy.”
Babs shows her *teeth* — “Maybe. *Why* do you want to shake my hand, Timmy? Because you’re such a fan?”
Tim raises an eyebrow. “My name is Tim, Ms. Gordon, or, alternately, Timothy –”
“Not Mr. Drake?”
“Not until you have reason to be both that cold *and* that respectful.”
And *that* — was one of Babs’ real smiles. Specifically, the one that means she wants to *play*. “Noted. Answer the question.”
Tim studies Babs for a long moment, then nods and smiles. “I am, in fact, a fan. Learning that Dick was Robin led — indirectly — to my learning your secret… though I admit I followed you less.”
“Mm-hm. And why was that?”
*Tim* smiles. “You tended to look behind you more.”
Babs blinks, and that —
Uh. “Wait, are you saying we were *easier* to follow?”
Tim *hums* — and rocks on his heels, never looking away from Barbara. “I often wondered, when I was younger, if it had anything to do with your gender.”
“‘Female paranoia’ and all of that. Hn. I came to the conclusion that it likely had more to do with your — relative — lack of sanction.”
Female Paranoia. Oh, Tim. Of course you get that.
I think, on some level, all Robins get that. And it has a lot to do with the fact that they’re all pretty boys, young boys, who run around in spandex/kevlar/nomex panties.
I’ve also had some very interesting conversations with Fright Dyke about this, lets call it a *phenomenon* of female paranoia. The crux of it being that; no, *fuck* you, it’s not *paranoia* it’s *common sense*. Rape *happens* and if you’re not careful – and, sometimes, even if you are – it can happen to you. And it’s not talked about, and it’s all too often turned back on the victim (I’m not gonna say woman, because it can happen to guys, too, but I’m gonna leave “female” alone because we lived in a fucked up sexist world), and *men* at least those that I’ve spoken to about this who were raised with traditional American values of masculinity, just don’t understand because they’re not raised with the–the fucking *assumption* that you’re a target!
But – well, Babs has made damn sure she’s never a victim, and while she is a target, no more so than Robin, or Batman. As for Babs and “female paranoia”, well–
Anyway, after Bruce apologizes, we get this:
Bruce squeezes his eyes shut for a moment — and then nods. “I… may we begin again?”
“No, Bruce,” Babs says, and reaches out to take Bruce’s hand and squeezes it. “But we can try something new.”
Bruce parts his lips and searches her with so much *hope* —
Babs squeezes *harder* —
“Barbara. Tell me what I must do.”
“Mmm. Well. We can start with me going over some of the gang bosses in this town with you so we can pool our information.”
“Of course –”
“And you can loan me the trainee so I can teach him some things he’ll be able to use when he’s your partner.”
Jason squeezes Tim helplessly —
“Jay! I’ll come *back*,” Tim says, and glares at him.
“Uh. I know that! I totally know that.” He doesn’t actually let up on the squeezing, though —
And Babs smirks at him. “Oh, Jaybird… you’re adorable.”
“Fucking A, Babs! We just *got* him.”
Because sometimes, all you can do, is go forward.
After everything, they are left with not only a functional and loving dynamic, they start to heal the rifts that have formed years before. Once again, Sex with Tim has saved the Batclan.
Next time, Timmy’s ass saves the world.