Any prompt you want + Damian & Tim bc you write them so well!!!!
I went with drugged because I didn’t want to sleep and inspiration hit me. It’s also one of my hc bingo squares so two birds with one stone…
I know I said these would be drabbles but this got so much longer than I thought it would be when I sat down to write. So enjoy 1,421 words of Tim trying to be a good big brother.
Damian is looking at him with glazed over eyes and an expression of hazy confusion. It’s abnormally unguarded for the usually prickly child, especially directed at Tim. Even on days when they’re not literally at each other’s throats with whatever weapon was at hand, the best he gets is cold indifference. Anger, disgust and spite are all common, but they’re shielding emotions, protecting, no matter how genuine they may be. This childlike openness is unusual. It makes a chill go down Tim’s spine, immediately washed away by a hot wave of rage. If Jason doesn’t get to the bastards who kidnapped their brother and chained him up in a basement first, Tim might just kill them. (Bruce might even forgive him for it.)
“You’re not right,” the kid slurs and Tim’s chest tightens for a second because it’s so much like the words he’d spit at Tim on a normal day but the tone is all wrong. Muddled, confused, hurt. Painfully young. “I prayed for Grayson. He was s’posed to come. S’posed t’ save me.”
Tim is stuck by the sudden thought that, for once in their lives, he and Damian are in agreement: he too wishes it was Dick who’d come to the rescue. But Dick isn’t even in the field, is still benched because of a moderate concussion he sustained two nights ago. Which Damian should be aware of. He knows Dick was injured, had been there to witness it himself, and he knows Alfred’s policy on injuries. But he’d been scared, drugged up to his eyeballs with some insane concoction that miraculously hasn’t killed him, and he’d called for Dick because he believed his big brother would always come to his rescue.
Tim feels suddenly, overwhelmingly, inadequate. He and Damian don’t get along. He doesn’t know the rights words or action for comfort. He is so far from cut out for dealing with situation. So he does what he thinks Dick would do; he forces a smile and says, “Sorry, kiddo, I’m all you’ve got.”
It’s the wrong thing to say. He realises this seconds too late when Damian’s lower lip wobbles and tears begin sliding down his cheeks. It’s silent and Tim hates himself for not even noticing, focused on unpicking the lock on the chains as he is, until a salty drop lands on his hand. Then his head snaps up and his eyes widen because if he couldn’t deal with the situation when Damon was confused and wanting his big brother, then he definitely can’t deal with it when he’s crying.
He wants to slap himself. If there’s any proof he’s not good with kids, it’s telling the one pumped full of drugs and with abandonment issues that outrank his own that Tim is all he’s got. He hadn’t even said at the moment. Stupid. May as well have said Dick isn’t here because he didn’t want to come. (That Damian would know how wrong that is, that Dick is stuck at home going out of his mind with worry, if he was in his right mind is irrelevant because he isn’t. He’s drugged and scared and confused and Tim is officially an arsehole.)
“Please don’t cry,” Tim says desperately. His instincts, honed by years of exposure to Dick Grayson, say reach out and hug the kid. The instincts honed by Batman’s training say get him out of the chains and out of danger then deal with any other problems. He goes with the latter (shakes away the image of Dick’s bright blue, disappointed eyes) and by the time the shackles and chains are undone, Damian is hiccuping between stifled sobs.
Tim tosses the last restraint away and straightens up from being bent over. He’s still crouched on the ground, though, so when Damian launches himself at his chest it sends them both toppling back onto the dusty concrete. It’s mostly the surprise; Tim was expecting to have to fight to get through the kid’s barriers to touch him in his awkward attempts to offer comfort. Instead, Damian’s arms are wrapped tightly around his neck and his legs are squeezing Tim’s torso and his breathing is much too rapid beside Tim’s ear.
It’s a hug, Tim realises. A desperate, clingy, baby koala like hug. Tentatively, he lifts his arms and wraps them around the kid.
“You’re okay,” he says. He closes his eyes and thinks of skittish animals and frightened children who Red Robin helps on patrol all the time. It’s a category he would not usually lump Damian Wayne, the fierce Robin, in with. But right now it’s easier to detach himself from the situation, to remove names and family and treat this like any other superhero job. “I’ve got you,” he whispers. “You’re safe.”
Like with any other child, the soft words work, and eventually Damian’s breathing slows and Tim feels the flutter of lashes against his neck when the kid turns his head to find a more comfortable position. He makes no move to let go, though, even when Tim gets them up off the floor. It feels a little surreal to shift an arm under Damian’s thighs to hoist him into a more comfortable position on his hip, the action automatic, like Tim has carried his brother hundreds of times before when he hasn’t even done it once.
The kid is probably only a foot or so shorter than him, small but muscular, so the weight against his front takes several seconds to adjust to. Unlike usual, though, Damian doesn’t rush him. He just curls a first into the cape near Tim’s shoulder and mumbles something against his collar. It’s not even an insult, just a nonsensical comment about burgers - and not even that Tim has been eating too many of them. Just weird, drugged ramblings.
The stairs out of the basement prove difficult but not unconquerable. Tim is definitely breathing heavily by the time they get out of the house, though. Maybe he should add more weight lifting to his training. Or maybe he should just practice lugging Damian around more often.
He rolls his eyes at the thought; as though that would ever actually happen when the kid isn’t drugged and out of it. And why would his mind even make such a suggestion, even sarcastically? Contact with Damian usually provokes a red flags, hyper awareness, danger zone mindset. He should be thinking of battle plans and exit strategies not… hugs.
Damian stirs when Tim reaches his bike and tries to sit him on the seat. He clings tighter and Tim is sure it’s the product of some drug-fueled imagining that his rescue is Dick - maybe even Bruce - until he says, “Drake?”
Tim freezes, hardly daring to breath. Has some lucidity returned to the kid? Is he about to realise the very out of character position they’re in? Is Tim about to get stabbed?
Miraculously, his voice is calm and steady when he replies. “Yeah?”
“Feel… funny,” Damian says, his syllables are still mashed together and there’s still a worryingly floaty quality to his voice, but it’s the most self-aware he’s sounded since Tim got to him. Progress.
Tim isn’t quite sure how to respond (a running theme tonight it seems). He stalls for time to come up with the best, most reassuring response he can by trying again to get them on the bike. This time, Damian lets himself be maneuvered onto the front off Red Robin’s Ducati, leaning back against Tim with an arm wrapped snugly around his chest to keep him there. It’s not exactly safe, but nothing about their lives as caped vigilantes really is. Tim just hopes whatever’s in the kid’s system doesn’t make him puke on Tim on the way.
“We’ll be home soon,” he says, “You’ll feel better then.” With Alfred to doctor him and Dick to coddle him and Bruce doing his hovering worried-papa-bear routine. And Tim can slink off to his apartment and scrub away his memories of this night because it would honestly be better for both of them if they forgot it ever happened (and better for his health if Damian doesn’t remember at all).
When they get back to the Cave, Tim stumbling just a little as he gets them off the bike, it should be a relief to hand the kid over to an eagerly waiting Dick. It’s what he’s been wanting the whole time. So why does his chest ache just a little bit at the suddenly light feeling of having nothing in his arms?
Tim Drake returns back to the DC Universe in September with the upcoming story titled A Lonely Place of Living. The solicitation describes Tim as having to make a choice on escaping Mr. Oz’s prison or staying behind.
As we all know, in this issue Jason sends Dick some coordinates to his location because he needs his help, and Dick shows up to see what Jason wants. That being said, what stands out to me in this scene is when Dick says, “Look, I’ve got like a hundred things I need to get back to.” Dick has hundreds of things to do because he’s always on the move and working, but despite that, he takes the time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to come find Jason and see what he needs. Jason doesn’t even mention in his initial message why he needs Dick to come, Dick just assumes it’s important and he drops whatever he’s doing to come to Jason’s aid. And this isn’t the only time that Dick stops what he’s doing in order to help his family or to support them.
Exhibit A: Damian is upset because of Bruce’s engagement to Selina and because Bruce went to Khadym where Talia is. But instead of making Damian stay in Gotham to stew in confusion and frustration, Dick forgoes whatever responsibilities he has and goes with Damian to Khadym to support him (and, well, probably to make sure he doesn’t maim anyone). As you can tell from the panel above, Damian seems pretty grateful for it.
Batman Gotham Knights #1
Exhibit B: Tim calls Dick because he’s worried about how Bruce is handling a case that Bruce feels personally connected to. As you can see above, Dick is originally heading towards Bludhaven, but as soon as he becomes worried about Bruce and wants to help him, he instantly switches his course and drives to Gotham.
Exhibit C: Tim has self blaming tendencies and it’s extremely prominent in this issue. He’s in a negative headspace where he’s thinking: “I blame myself” and “I finally felt like I wasn’t ruining/ending the lives of everyone I met” etc. Anyways, he comes across a guy who’s attempting to commit suicide by jumping off of a building. Tim sits down with him and basically says, “Bad things have happened to me that I struggle to deal with. I remind myself that things get better, and if I have trouble remembering that, I find someone to talk to.” In reference to finding someone to talk to, Tim also says this, which is relevant to the panel above,
“Maybe they give you advice, and that’s great… or maybe they just listen sometimes, that’s all you need.”
Tim, who’s obviously struggling with his own mental health issues, calls Dick. And guess what? Dick stops what he’s doing and takes the time to listen to Tim. Maybe he can tell from Tim’s tone that something is off and Tim needs him. Or maybe he just decides that having a chat with Tim is more important than going to wherever he was initially headed. Either way, Dick acts as Tim’s rock in this moment, and proves to put aside his own agenda in favor of being there for his brother.