Frankly, Tim was having a terrible day. He’d broken his wrist a week ago, which meant no patrol, and he’d finished all the work he could do from home. He was going stir-crazy— wandering aimlessly around his apartment, checking and rechecking his equipment. In the end he’d driven to the manor, hoping for something to do, but the house had been empty all night. He’d clicked through Netflix episodes until the early hours of the morning, fallen asleep on the couch, and woken up exhausted.
At least Dick wasn’t doing any better. He called to check in while Tim was headed downstairs, complaining about a streak of murders in his neighborhood that he hadn’t been able to solve. Tim put him on speaker when he hit the kitchen, set his phone on the counter, and nodded to Damian, who was already at the table. Damian didn’t look up from his newspaper.
“Drake. You look half-dead.”
“You’ve looked worse.” Tim pulled the pancake mix from the shelf and turned around in time to see Damian slowly lower his paper, clearly scandalized. Tim decided he was too tired to care.
“We need to work on your sense of self preservation,” sighed Dick. “Hey, Damian. Try not to stab anyone.”
“No promises.” Damian glared pointedly in Tim’s direction and went back to his paper.
“Anyway, Tim, listen— I have to go. I’ve been awake for forty hours, and this isn’t getting any easier.”
“Have you considered taking a break?”
“This was my break.” Dick stifled a yawn. “I’ll be fine.”
Tim figured he probably would be, until he saw Damian’s eyes narrow. Uh oh. As Dick clicked off the line, Damian folded up his newspaper and made for the door. Tim followed him into the hallway, grinning. He was pretty sure he knew what was about to happen.
“So what are you going to do to him?”
“Go away, Drake.”
“Slip him sleep meds? Break into his apartment and badger him into submission?”
“You’re not going to physically fight him, are you?”
“No.” Damian swept inside his bedroom, slamming the door in Tim’s face. “Mind your own business.”
“Damian, c’mon, I just want to know if I have enough time to make popcorn.” No answer. Tim leaned against the doorframe, listening to Damian clatter around inside. “If this is about what I said in the kitchen, I’m sorry about the dead joke.”
Damian’s voice came out muffled behind the wood. “No you’re not.”
Okay, fine. He wasn’t. “Seriously, tell me what you’re planning to do.”
“I’m going to ask him politely to go to sleep.”
“That’s it?” Tim pulled away from the wall, disappointed— and maybe a little irritated. He knew from personal experience that if he went that long without sleeping, Damian started pulling out sedatives. As tired as he was of Damian’s over the top interventions, Tim had always assumed they were over the top because that’s how Damian did things. From the right angle, he was almost being nice. But if he wasn’t going to do it to Dick…
“How come you don’t—” Tim cut himself off as Damian’s door swung open.
“Because Grayson values my opinion and me as a person, so if I ask him to take care of himself, he will. Because Grayson listens to to me.” Damian swung his laptop bag over his shoulder, shot Tim a look that said (very clearly) unlike some people, and marched back up the hall.
“That’s not…” Tim stood for a few seconds, arms crossed, then hurried after Damian. “Okay, that’s not fair. I listen to you. Or at least I would if you ever asked me for anything.”
“I do,” said Damian. “You don’t.”
“Since when?” Tim couldn’t remember ignoring any requests— Damian didn’t talk to him that often, and most of what he did say was insulting. Tim could remember a few comments about his life habits, sure, but no questions. Damian never asked.
Alright, maybe that was Damian’s version of asking.
“Fine.” Tim caught up with Damian at the front door, while he was fishing for his keys. “I’ll pay more attention next time.”
Damian rolled his eyes. “I’m thrilled. Can you drive me to Grayson’s apartment?”
“Yeah. Sure.” Finally, something to do. He’d been lying around for days, and he was starting to feel like dead weight. Useless. Anyway, Tim wanted to see how this played out— Dick was stubborn, and Tim wasn’t sure that he would cooperate as easily as Damian predicted. He was as much of a workaholic as any of them.
“I’ll get my keys.”