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Warnings: Attempted suicide and self harm
A/N: For Mgnemesi’s post ages ago…
Snippet: "I had been given a second chance and I was just going to blow it off, say ‘nah I give up’ and just roll over and die. If I did that I let the Joker win, and I would have betrayed everything I stood for before Bruce took me in.
"And I couldn’t do that.
"And I know in your heart of hearts, you can’t either."
"Tim… Tim…? Tim, I now you’re in, your light’s on and your Ducati’s in the garage.” Nothing, time to bring out the big guns “Tim if you don’t open the door I’m going to go and get Alfred” there was no sound of movement behind the door, nobody refuses an Alfred threat.
Which is why he didn’t feel in the slightest bit guilty about picking the lock on Babybird’s door.
"Tim? Babybird?" The bathroom light was on "Babybird, I’m coming in and I don’t care whether you are decent or not"
He was so glad that he did, and yet wished he hadn’t. Because the first thing he saw was a blood red arm hanging limp over the side of the bathtub, slowly dripping vivid red droplets onto the Snow White tiled floor, so very close to a blood coated razor blade.
Jason stopped thinking and went into emergency overdrive, doing and not stopping for anything.
Tim was fully clothed and sitting in freezing cold, blood saturated water. That prompted his first action; get him out of the water and his clothes, and into something warm; most probably the bed, elevate his arm on top of fluffy pillows and go and find some gauze and bandages.
The first thing he noticed was that Tim was far too skinny and almost weightless in his arms. He knew the kid had been pushing himself for the last few weeks since Bruce disappeared, and then died, but this sort of weight loss was a long term build up thing not short term stress.
It made him wonder how long Tim had been starving himself and why nobody noticed.
But he really didn’t have time to think at that moment, he needed to do, to go into automatic ‘remember as much of what Alfred has taught you over the years as you can’ mode.
So he didn’t think.
Tim kept his first aid kit in the designated family place (under the bathroom sink) and it didn’t take him long to find some gauze and bandages, which he promptly wrapped tight against his brother’s arm.
Pressurise the wound: check. Keep it elevated: check. Keep Tim warm: check.
Find Alfred. Because although he may know a lot about how blood loss affects his own body; Jason has no idea how it will affect Tim when he’s so small, and so thin.
But Alfred would, Alfred always knows.
He also isn’t too hard to find when you run through the house screaming.
"My gosh! Master Timothy!" Tim looked significantly bluer than when Jason left him, you could barely see his chest rise and fall. "Master Jason we need to get him down to the cave"
Given Tim’s weight Alfred could have taken him down to the cave himself, but the older man ran (and Alfred doesn’t run very often) down to the cave. It was obvious how much he cared for his third ‘grandson’ even if nobody else did.
That was a lie. Jason has come to realise that he too cares very much for Tim, at least enough for Jason not to want him to die from exsanguination and hypothermia alone in a bath tub.
The cave was cold and damp, but it was the only place with a large supply of Tim’s blood and an IV. Jason placed his brother on the nearest available gurney and stepped back, trying not to get in the older man’s way, but he had to ask; he had to know,
"Alfred- is- is he gonna be okay?" Alfred gave him one of those looks of pity mixed with sympathy and hope.
"I don’t know Master Jason, I just don’t know" he went back to his fixing and fussing, and Jason’s knees finally gave way into one of the more comfy computer chairs.
It was more than an hour before Alfred finally said that he could do no more, that Tim had enough blood in him and that it was probably best if they take him back up to his room; it was warmer and more comfy up there after all.
They don’t call Dick. Jason thought it most effective if he found out the hard way, really he was just bitter that Goldie could ever not notice this. Because suicidal thoughts don’t just come out of the blue for Tim, he was- he is a strong minded stubborn self-sacrificing idiot, but he’s not suicidal.
Which meant either something major went down in the manor that he hadn’t caught wind of of Tim was damn good at pretending.
He already knew that. He called Tim pretender, he called Tim worthless and-
They had all hurt Tim, this time it was obviously too much.
He sat in silent vigil by his brother’s bedside for a while, before the lack of noise infuriated him,
"Hey Timmy, when you wake up you and me are gonna have a long talk about whatever this is, and about why you would do this." If he woke up, because there was still a very large chance that he won’t, that the blood loss was just too much and his body still might give up, it decreased every second he’s still alive, but there’s that chance.
"I haven’t killed anyone in a while, not since-" I tried to kill you "anyway you would be really proud of me… I came here wanting to tell you that I miss him too, and I believe you and that maybe you could be my Robin and we could go find him together- and then, and then I found you like… like this Babybird, what do you think you’re doing?
"I mean I’ve been there okay… We’ll probably have to have this conversation again when you wake up but… I really have been there, just after I came back… And after I… Beat you up… I’m really sorry about that by the way, but I- when I thought that all that time Bruce didn’t love me, when I thought he adopted me as some sort of charity case, that he never really wanted me…
"I stood on the ledge on top of my building, and I wondered if it’d hurt like last time, or if maybe the shock would kill me first. I stood and I was so close to jumping, and then I heard a mugging in the next alley, and I remembered what I loved, why I loved it, and I remembered that my life was taken, that my life was stolen from me.
"I had been given a second chance and I was just going to blow it off, say ‘nah I give up’ and just roll over and die. If I did that I let the Joker win, and I would have betrayed everything I stood for before Bruce took me in.
"And I couldn’t do that.
"And I know in your heart of hearts, you can’t either."
Tears streamed down his cheeks at the memory, it wasn’t his best time, but he got through it. And he will help Tim get through it.
"Master Jason" he was sure that Alfred has better ninja skills than Bruce did- does, because he really really does believe Tim. "Master Timothy’s wound needs cleaning and re-dressing."
"Sure Alf, I’ll do it"
Taking the dressing off was a painstakingly slow process, Jason had put it on hastily and some of the blood had dried it to Tim’s skin. It was nothing a little disinfectant couldn’t handle, although if Tim was awake it would have hurt like hell.
Only after Jason cleaned the whole of the wound did he see the extent of what Tim did, and he thought how might throw up.
"Yes Master Jason"
"When do Dick and the Demon Brat normally get home?"
"At about a quarter to four sir," he couldn’t tell if the older man had seen Tim’s arm or not, he was Alfred after all the man was omniscient but extremely professional about his duties, he nodded.
"Stay with Tim? I’m going to wait for them in the cave" Alfred squeezed his shoulder
"Of course Master Jason"
It was a good punch, and the look on Dick’s face was almost worth the fact that he was not with Tim at the moment, almost, but it wasn’t, not at all.
“Jason?!” the man looked hurt, “what are you doing here?”
“I came to see Tim”
“Tt, then what are you doing here? The useless one is not needed here anymore, I am a better Robin than he ever was and therefore I have replaced him and taken my rightful place in my father’s legacy. Have you tried the rubbish bin? That is where the trash is put in the county, isn’t it?” he looked at the two figures in front of him, the shock of realisation pooling in his stomach. If he had talked about Dick like that he would have been grounded with no patrol for at least a month, but Dick didn’t even make any notion to say that he had even heard what was coming out of the brat’s mouth, let alone scold him for being disrespectful and just downright mean.
But when he tried to backhand the kid (he may have stopped killing but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t prepared to give the kid what he deserved, and really needed to let out some anger okay) Dick immediately caught his hand.
“Jason what do you think you’re doing he’s just a kid.” More like a demon with no respect, an egocentric complex that rivalled his grandfather’s and an attitude that probably just drove his older brother to try to commit suicide. Yup definitely ‘just a kid’.
His brow furrowed “Perhaps you should ask yourself the same thing, I have more important places to be” he didn’t respond to Dick’s pleads for him to come back; he needed to be with Tim at the moment. He deserved someone to look after him.
“Master Richard I assume your patrol was productive?”
“Very, Damian’s really coming along; is Jason still here? I wanted to talk to him about what he said in the cave earlier”
“I believe he is in Master Timothy’s room caring for the young Master’s current predicament” what predicament, what’s happened? why wasn’t he told?
“Wait, what? Alfred, Alfred, what do you mean predicament? Alfred?” but the butler had already disappeared.
He’s greeted by Jason at Tim’s door
“What do you want?” his brother’s anger evident though the low growl in his chest
“I want to see Tim” and he sounded too much like Bruce, too much like their stone cold, caring internally in his own way; mentor. Jason barked a laugh,
“I didn’t know you cared” and-
“How can you say that of course I care, now let me in to see Tim, he’s my little brother too you know” he could have sworn Jason said something like “not by the way you’ve been acting” but it was so low and under his breath that he couldn’t quite make it out. In actual fact the younger man just stared at him.
“Why did you make that demon kid Robin?”
“Don’t tell me Tim’s got you calling him that too-”
“Answer the question” Jason was getting impatient; he should be inside the room waiting for Tim to wake up, but instead he was here dealing with their hopelessly optimistic but endlessly ignorant and blind older brother. But he wanted answers, and he was going to get them.
“Damian needs Robin.”
“More than Tim?”
“Tim’ll cope; he’s done it befo-” he was so close to punching Dick again, how can one person be so- so- agh.
“Don’t you dare, don’t you dare use ‘he’s done it before’ as an excuse!”
“Why not we both have”
“And you know what helped us cope; Robin”
“Tim’s not the only one who lost a father this time”
“No but Tim is the only one who lost his mom then his girlfriend, then his dad, then his two best friends, then his second dad, all within the space of a few years. Robin was the only thing holding him together.”
“He has us”
“Your mind may work that way, but Babybird’s doesn’t. But because Bruce didn’t ‘choose’ him the only reason he thought Bruce kept him around was because he was Robin, because he was useful.
“He was starting to warm up to the idea that Bruce wanted him as family when he adopted him, then Damian comes along and Bruce goes missing and you took away Robin and gave it to a kid who is nothing but downright mean towards Tim, you know what that told him? That told him that he wasn’t useful anymore, that you didn’t want him around anymore. And if the way Damian talked about him in the cave is how he always talks about him then I’m not surprised he tried to kill himself!” he had not meant to say that;
“You heard me the first time” this time Dick’s hand was at his throat, pushing him up against the door behind him
“Why didn’t someone call me?”
“We were a little busy making sure he didn’t die”
“And then I didn’t think you deserved to know” an extremely hard punch landed on his jaw.
“I. Want. To. See. Tim.”
Jason smiled “Okay but I’m about to change his dressing, you may not like what you see.” He slowly opened the door, allowing Dick in behind him before closing it again without a sound.
“Wh- why is he blue” Dick had been shocked out of his anger by the sight of Tim lying on the bed with a definite blue tint to his skin and lips.
“Hypothermia.” Seeing the questioning look still in his eyes he elaborated just a little bit more “I found him taking a freezing cold bath”
“Why would he… what are you doing?” bandages, he motioned to Tim’s arm, they need changing.
Hearing Dick’s strangled sob was almost as satisfying as punching him, “It’s gonna scar you know, Tim going to be left with a permanent reminder of this, about how he doesn’t compare in your mind”
Tears were streaming down his brother’s face much like they had done down his earlier.
“How could he think that?” Dick was actually surprised by this piece of information
“Dick do you even know how you act around Damian?… you seem to be completely oblivious to everything”
“Do you even realise that he called Tim ‘the useless one’ and ‘trash’ in the cave earlier?”
“No I… did he?” Jason nodded “I- I didn’t noticed”
“He does it all the time Dick and you never tell him to stop, in Tim’s mind that as good as saying you agree”
Tim woke up to a pained whine that wasn’t his, it was muffled and high but it definitely was not coming out of his mouth.
He tried to open his eyes but he just couldn’t, he was desperately cold but his limbs were too stiff to start shivering. At least he was comfortable, in- his bed? He was in the bath last thing he knew… it was running cold and he… gave up.
So how was he still here?
“Promise me something?” Jason? “Whenever you see him, remind him that he’s perfect”
But he’s not, he’s not perfect, he’s nowhere close and Dick knows that, Jason should go ask him… or Damian; because they know, they waste no time in telling him either.
“How do I apologise?” Dick? What would Dick be apologising for? He merely speaks the truth.
“How about ‘I’m sorry Tim, I didn’t mean to make you feel like an insignificant pestilence’ might be a good start… or how about ‘Damian is an idiotic barbaric buffoon who should go suffer in the depths or Mordor’ that’ll make him feel better.” His brother’s laughs filled the air
"Oh gosh, I had forgotten what a geek he is"
"Yeah, but he’s our geek"
"That is true, Jay, that is true" the room fell into a comfortable silence and Tim felt a familiar fuzzy feeling in his chest, something that he doubted was the drugs that he was obviously on. It was nice, to be noticed again; especially by Dick who just has his hands so full with Damian.
It was the times when Damian would bring up all of Tim’s imperfections and Dick just wouldn’t look at him- couldn’t look at him- that Tim hated the most. How one minute Dick could call him little brother, but the next minute remind him that they knew he was a pathetic excuse for a human being, let alone a hero and a brother. It was times like those that Tim felt the constant knotting in his stomach pull and twist to some sort of breaking point, it was times like those that Tim didn’t care about being more reckless or stupid on patrol, how he didn’t mind getting that little bit more beaten up; because the pain made him feel better.
"You really care for him, don’t you?"
"I didn’t, not at the beginning, but now; he’s like my exact copy but polar opposite. I came back to ask him to be my Robin… Well I was planning on giving him Red Robin, and then we could go search for Bruce together…" Jason believed him. Jason believed him, though he could feel the disappointment radiation off Dick "Don’t give me that look Dick, the kid’s got a point, it is very probable that Bruce is still alive. Really the thing is that I know how it feels, to be where he is, I just didn’t want him to have to deal with it alone like I did."
"He’s not alone he has me-… Okay point taken" Tim could just imagine the pointed look Jason was giving Dick, it was enough to make him smile.
"Hey Timmy, are you awake?" It was still too difficult to open his eyes; but now that was probably due to the fact that his eyelashes were stuck painfully together more than anything else. Dick took his hand and squeezed, he squeezed back. "He’s awake… Jay, Jay, he’s awake" a different, stronger, bigger hand started stroking his hair, it was soft and gentle and not at all like he imagined Jason could be. Especially when lips came down to brush his forehead,
"Welcome back to the land of the living Babybird, don’t you dare ever try that again."