Your tim angst is killing me, could you write maybe some comfort for him?? and like red robin!tim not robin tim if you are up for it
Um. I tried? This was supposed to be a short and sweet moment with Bruce checking up on Tim but some angst managed to creep in anyway. (In hindsight, Bruce probably wasn’t the best choice for purely fluffy comfort…)
On a side note, awkward dad Bruce is my favourite kind of Bruce.
Bruce shifts his grip on the plastic bags in his hand and knocks on the door. He tries not to fidget while he waits, smoothing down the material of his suit jacket and telling himself it’s because it’s creased from hours sitting behind a desk, but by the time the door finally cracks open it’s taking conscious willpower not to straighten his tie or readjust his cuffs.
“Hi,” he says.
Tim blinks at him. His hair is mussed, eyes half-lidded, jacket and tie gone, top buttons undone, but still in his suit from WE. Probably woken from a nap by the knocking. Bruce feels a thin shiver of guilt about that (to add to the many, many other things he feels guilty about). “Hi,” the teen replies, almost wary in the way his eyes flicker over Bruce’s face and down to the bag in his hand. “Did I forget something?”
As though Bruce can’t show up at his son’s apartment just to visit without an ulterior motive. "No. I just thought I’d drop by, see how you’re dong.“ He hefts the plastic bags a little higher. “I brought dinner.”
“Oh.” Tim’s nose scrunches slightly, lips moving to form some silent question that Bruce would put money on being “why?” But he just takes a step back and pulls the door further open, a belated invitation accompanying the gesture. “Sorry it’s kind of messy, I’ve been a bit busy lately…”
Empty words to fill an awkward gap, because the apartment isn’t messy at all. Bruce moves through the living area to set the bags of takeout on the breakfast bar of the open-plan kitchen and notes nothing more than an empty coffee mug, Tim’s laptop and a precarious stack of paperwork on the coffee table to indicate that a young adult teenager even lives there. “It’s fine,” he says anyway. “Taking in Jason desensitised me to mess.”
Tim smiles at the joke, but it’s forced, and the way his head dips and shoulders tense looks like he’s trying to sink into himself. Bruce winces; Tim’s always been a little funny about Jason, quick to defend him but even quicker to shy away from anything resembling banter.
“Where do you keep your plates?” he hurries to ask. His turn to cover the ensuing awkward pause with inane chatter Tim slips past him, the whisper of his clothing barely brushing Bruce’s back, and pulls out two plates and two sets of cutlery. They work in silence to serve out the Indian dishes and it’s only once they’re sitting on the couch with the TV chattering away with a news report that Bruce finally clears his throat to break it.
“So how’s work?”
Tim snorts. He swallows his mouthful then spears another forkful of butter chicken and rice before asking, “You really want to do this?”
“Bruce.” Tim sighs. He sets his fork down with a clatter then turns to give Bruce his full, incredulous attention. “We work in the same place. We saw each other four hours ago. In fact, we see each other almost every day. Do I need to continue? Because I can make a list, starting with the fact that you never make small talk. And you never invite yourself around with takeout. And you never-”
“Tim.” All it takes is that one, firmly spoken word for his second youngest’s jaw to snap shut, for him to turn away to glare out the window as though it will alleviate his frustration and confusion. Bruce sets his own fork down so he can run a hand through his hair. “I know I’m not the best at… all of this-” He can’t quite see his face, but he’s pretty sure Tim rolls his eyes at that. “-but I’ve been back for several months now and I feel like I haven’t seen you at all outside of WE, and that’s hardly the place to properly ask how you’ve been.”
What with walls with eyes and employees with ears, eager for any tidbit of gossip about anyone with the last name Wayne. Any casual allusion to their nighttime activities is treated with the utmost caution; even if Tim had cracked ribs or a bullet wound, he wouldn’t dare to say it. And it’s not like Bruce can just check for himself since Brucie is just a bumbling, oblivious billionaire not a world class, analytical detective.
“I’ve been fine,” Tim says eventually. His eyes dart toward Bruce before dropping down to stare at his plate. “Sorry,” he adds a second later. “I didn’t mean-”
“It’s fine,” Bruce interrupts. “It’s just…” I miss you. "Even though you’re not technically under my care anymore, I still worry.“
Tim is biting his lip, still staring at his plate. Silence stretches between them for the third time and Bruce is beginning to think he’s made some kind of mistake when he hears a soft, “Thank you.” And when Tim lifts his chin to meet his gaze, his smile is real. “For dinner and…”
Bruce squeezes his shoulder. “Anytime.” On the TV, the intro for some new reality TV show is playing, an upbeat melody to offset the more serious mood in the apartment. Bruce clears his throat, “Now, how about a movie?”
Tim’s posture relaxes, eyes lighting up as he suggests, “The Princess Bride?”
And when Nightwing taps on the window a few hours later to see if either of them are going to be patrolling that night, Bruce waves him away. He smiles down at the teen sleeping against his shoulder, brushing back his unruly hair and dropping a kiss on the top of his head. The slight movement dislodges Tim enough that he slips forward, head coming to rest against his adoptive father’s neck. Bruce tightens his hold around his shoulders and Tim sighs softly, curling against his chest. He’s surely going to have a crick in his neck in the morning if he sleeps sitting upright but Bruce finds he doesn’t care, more than willing to suffer a little pain if it means providing comfort to his son.