Fandom: Nightwing, Teen Titans v3
Characters: Dick Grayson, Tim Drake
Pairings: Tim/Kon mentioned
Category: family, humor, character study
Summary: Dick could understand why Tim slept in a Superman T-shirt sometimes. Because, Superman, right? But this...
A Story With A Capital 'S' (Or Two)
Dick used to have a thing for Superman. Not, like, bigger than his thing for Batman or anything, exactly, but also, kind of yes. Because Batman was a hero and he did a thousand amazing, unbelievable things every single day, but that never negated the fact that Dick lived with the guy. He saw him every day. He saw Bruce chew his broccoli and tie his shoes, and he saw Alfred be sarcastically polite at him, and he saw Bruce get slapped in the face by the wrong woman (and sometimes by the right one), and he saw Bruce scratch at his evening stubble, and he'd heard the man belch and cough and fart, for god's sake.
Plus, Dick had been half of Batman and Robin for almost as far back as he had even known Batman existed, so it seemed really weirdly egotistical if he were to go around fanboying his partner.
Superman, on the other hand. He was-- He was incredible in the way that volcanoes were incredible, just full of power and deadly, mysterious, untouchable beauty. Bruce had once compared him to thunder and lightning, and even now that 'Clark' was one of Dick's oldest friends and also one of the most down-to-earth, human people Dick knew, Dick could not contest that.
Dick might be older and more experienced now, but occasionally, he still had to mentally (or, even not just mentally) do a little dance and say, "Ha! I am bros with Superman, youse bitches!" because, dude, Superman. (And because Dick was really just kind of immature like that.) Hell, Dick still had his favorite Superman boxers. It wasn't like he'd let on to Clark about them or anything, but he also wasn't about to throw them out. Ever.
The point of all this was, Dick understood why Tim -- Tim, who had collected clippings and clues and photographs of Dick and Bruce and Jason for years, and who was about the most goddamn dedicated Robin Dick could imagine... Dick could understand why Tim slept in a Superman T-shirt sometimes. Because, Superman, right?
So other than a few words of friendly teasing and a half-serious warning not to wear it when Bruce might see, Dick didn't see any reason to mention it.
Dick had stopped by the Manor early this morning to pick up some things. Bruce had still been asleep, and, well, Dick hadn't consciously planned that, but he figured it was just as well. Afterwards, he'd thought he might as well drop in on Tim, who was about as close to a next door neighbor as houses in these parts got.
Tim's step-mom (and wasn't that a concept) had cautioned him that Tim had just gotten up, but they knew each other well enough that she'd let him in anyway.
Striding into the familiar kitchen, Dick had found his 'little brother' seated with his back to him, head bent over what was probably his breakfast. His hair was tousled by sleep instead of by design, and his feet were bare, and he still wore plaid sleep-shorts and an oversized T-shirt. He yawned and half-turned as Dick approached.
"That had better have been my name," Dick warned, punching Tim in the arm in lieu of the more vigorous tackle he might have attempted if they were someplace else -- someplace where he was allowed to be an unregistered black belt and Tim's scars made sense. He grinned and used one foot to hook out a chair to sit in. "Nice shirt," he added, glancing down at the S-shield emblazoned over Tim's chest. "Can I have one of those?" He'd already reached out and had a wedge of Belgian waffle in his hand before he registered Tim's expression.
Tim looked... caught.
The background of Tim's shirt was black instead of blue, and a trademark symbol was prominent on the tag which had been flipped out at the back. Dick wouldn't have even thought twice about it -- he still wore the occasional Flash memorabilia, no big deal -- except for how 'caught' was most definitely the operative word here.
Tim started to stammer something about how Kon had gotten them all Superboy shirts, and wasn't that just like him, and now he had to wear it so as not to hurt Kon's feelings and... a bunch of other excuses that didn't even make sense. Dick had been trained by the so-called greatest detective in the world, after all, so he noticed things without even really trying.
For instance, he noticed that Tim's shirt was about three sizes too big, and it didn't look nearly new enough. In fact, he noticed a darkened smudge across the left shoulder that might just be a stain but might also be the remnants of a burn mark. Like from laser fire. And when he casually leaned into Tim's space, ostensibly to tuck the tag back in against the back of his neck (causing him to flinch just enough to be telling), Dick noticed how the scent on the fabric wasn't quite... right. Wasn't quite Tim.
He didn't have Babs's memory, but he didn't need much to recall how late Tim had been, returning from a Titans weekend that time Dick had swung by for a surprise visit, and also how edgy Tim had gotten the last time they'd hung out together and Dick had asked him, "Seeing any girls lately?" He'd put the first down to the usual last-minute emergencies, and the second down to Tim's natural shyness.
For a moment, Dick debated how to play this: ignore it, joke about it, ask outright? It wasn't as if he had proof yet, but he'd always been more for following his hunches than Batman was.
He dipped his waffle in the puddle of syrup on Tim's plate and took a moment to enjoy the taste -- and to note how Tim was now breathing slow and deep in a way that had to be via strict control.
Dick figured the direct approach was probably best. Anything else might cause Tim to stroke out more than he already was.
"Chill, Tim. You're a teenager. You're allowed to moon over your boyfriend when he's not around." He finished his waffle wedge and took another. Tim didn't seem to notice. Deep breathing abandoned, he was turning a brighter and brighter red.
"I-- I'm not-- mooning."
"Don't worry about it. It's completely normal. I used to steal Kory's pillowcases." He ate the second piece of waffle and licked his fingers, then paused. "Oh, shit. Has he given you The Speech yet?" It was impossible that Bruce wouldn't have figured it out already, given a) how observant he was and b) how much time Batman and Robin spent together.
Tim took a noisy breath, followed by a half-hiccup, like he'd just eaten something way too spicy. "The-- What?! We haven't-- yet. I mean--" He stopped and seemed to collect himself. "Dick," he hissed. "Why are you here?"
Dick rolled his eyes. "Can't I pay a friendly visit now and then?" He pointed, well, pointedly, at Tim. "And I don't mean that speech. First of all, that's your dad's job." Tim groaned and put his face in his hands, which was okay, because they were syrup-free. Tim apparently ate waffles with a knife and fork when at home. Alfred was going to be peeved when Dick told him. "Secondly, Bruce would probably implode if he had to talk to you about the birds and the bees."
Tim moaned again, like he was seriously in pain.
Dick flicked his ear. "Hey, pay attention."
"Ow, hey!" At least he was looking at Dick now, even if he was glaring while rubbing at his earlobe.
Dick leaned in and lowered his voice, just in case any of Tim's family was close enough to overhear (or eavesdrop). "I meant the speech about dating aliens."
That seemed to get Tim's attention. He scowled. "I'm not going to start carrying kryptonite," he said firmly.
"Good." Dick nodded and sat back. "Not worth it. Trust me."
Actually, Dick had at one point thought about how he would take down any of his teammates -- including Starfire -- but that was neither here nor there, and Dick had felt like a complete heel about the whole thing. He'd never told anyone about it, and he'd deleted his notes almost as soon as he'd started making them. He loved and admired Bruce, but he'd come to terms with the fact that the Batman's ways were not his own.
"If you care about someone, you trust them. Okay?"
Tim met his eyes, and Dick could see Robin leak slowly into his gaze until Tim had transformed completely from flustered teen to resolved young man. "Okay."
Dick felt relieved. And a little proud. He shouldn't have worried. Tim was smart enough -- and crafty enough -- to know that Batman's word wasn't gospel.
Superman was thunder and lightning, but he was also Dick's friend. There wasn't a building in the world Dick wouldn't jump off of without line or net if Clark (or Donna, or Kory, or J'onn) promised to catch him. It was a wonderful feeling, and it was one that Bruce, sadly, would probably never know.
Shrugging, Dick offered, "And if he does ever piss you off, just call and I'll be there to help you pound him."
The corners of Tim's mouth quirked. He ducked his head, and, just that quickly, he was back to uncertain kid. "So-- So you're okay with this? I thought you would be, but..."
A wave of utter fondness made it imperative for Dick to pounce, present location be damned.
Tim yelped as his chair tipped over and they crashed to the floor. "Quit it!" He tried to twist out of Dick's grasp and jabbed with a bony elbow. Dick grunted even as he blocked and took a second hit from Tim's knee. He was determined, however, and he knew that Tim wouldn't risk actually injuring him to get free. Pretty soon, Dick had him pinned expertly, and there was no stopping him from giving Tim a thorough noogie.
A few seconds later, he was laughing so hard that Tim was able to struggle free. He leaped to his feet and glared murderously down at Dick. His hair stood up in all directions. "You are so immature," he accused.
Dick arched up for a quick backwards walkover onto his feet. "Aw, you know you love me." He took advantage of Tim's momentary consternation to grab him for a hug. "My little bro, all grown up." Briefly, he rested his cheek on top of Tim's head. He'd never get tired of this. "Hey," he remembered, "I heard Superboy was a real player back in the day. When it's time, don't forget to use protection."
"Oh my god!"
He jumped backwards in time to avoid Tim's kick. If he'd had the room, he could've done something more showy, but Tim's scandalized expression was enough to make him warm and fuzzy inside. Being a good guest, Dick righted Tim's chair with a smile. "You done eating? I'll take you to school if you want to ride."
"I think I'm pretty much done," Tim said dryly, glancing at his plate, which had been upset by their scuffle. "Oh." Looking down, he plucked at the bottom hem of his shirt. There was a streak of maple syrup across it, continuing onto his shorts. "I'll have to wash it," he said, in the same tone as he might announce that he'd just watched a dog get run over by a truck. Ah, young love.
"Aw, geez. I'm sorry, Tim." Dick thought rapidly. "Look, just put some packing tape over it. It'll keep until the weekend." And Tim wouldn't have to lose the smells embedded in the shirt.
Tim gave him a horrified look. "You seriously mean that," he observed, his voice absolutely even.
Dick shrugged. Being a bachelor living alone had taught him plenty of things that would make Alfred's hair curl. Not to mention, his twelve years in the circus. Haly's in its heyday had done moderately well for their business, but they'd always been undersupplied with something back then.
Tim's face contorted for a second, then he slumped against the chairback and honest-to-god giggled. "That's-- an interesting technique," he said, once he'd gotten his breath back. "Thanks."
Dick grinned. "No problem. Do you still want that ride? Or don't you trust my driving?"
He expected Tim to scoff and blow him off, but instead, Tim looked thoughtful. After a moment, his eyes wandered away from Dick's. He spoke to the tabletop when he said, "No, I-- I trust you." He raised his head again to flash a quick smile. "I'll go get changed and meet you out front." Gathering his plate and flatware, he left Dick standing there, feeling... kind of like he'd had the wind knocked out of him, actually. Only a lot less painful.
He whistled to himself as he let himself out of the Drake home and went to get his bike.
It was a good day when Dick Grayson got to play the hero.
A/N: Inspired by a bunch of things, among them:
- scenes where Tim and Dick hang out together, esp. Nightwing #6 and 25
- scenes where Clark and Dick hang out together, esp. Nightwing #30 and Action Comics #771
- Robin #11 is where Tim's shown wearing a Superman shirt
- Legends of the DC Universe #6 is where Batman compares Superman to lightning and thunder
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Intentions (Teen Titans), by kyrdwyn
don’t Bogart the Bat logo, dude (Teen Titans), by irrelevant