resolve adjustment

Day 1: Firsts/Lasts

Firsts—–

The first time you call him “Robin,” he nearly slips off the rooftop edge he’s perched on in shock.

You’ve resisted using the name with him for the longest time–it was always “Tim” in the cave, and you avoided the title when he first went out into the field.  It had felt wrong.  Wrong to be using Jason’s name for someone else so soon after his death.  Wrong to refer to the boy who was so different from both of your sons in so many ways by a name that brought memories of smiling, joking partners in pixie boots.  

Wrong to be sending out another child soldier into a merciless war without end.

But as much as all of those things had weighed on you, made you distant from the child who had done nothing wrong other than worming his way into your life so soon after your son died–it wasn’t fair to him.  You’ve watched the boy push himself hard, constantly convinced that he’d never live up to his predecessors but determined to work until he made it as close as he possibly could, seen him sweat and bleed and give up sleep so he wouldn’t let you down…and seen the subtle, but persistent, yearning for approval, the need for validation that he desperately craved but never expected.  He will never be the acrobat that Dick is or the fighter Jason was, but he’s worked harder than any of them and he’s come so far.

In spite of this, you still resisted calling him by that name.  So you suppose you shouldn’t be surprised that the first time causes such a reaction–especially when preluded by a “Good work,” and a clasp on the shoulder.

He’s quick to compose himself, and unlike the nervous (but determined) boy he’d been when you met him, all he does not stutter an awkward thank you and instead says, “I was just doing what you trained me to do.”

He’s humble.  Not cocky, which is good, but it stems from the feeling that he doesn’t belong here.  And you doubt the way you’ve been dealing with him has been helping.

But problems can be resolved, and you’re still adjusting.  That’s what Robin stands for: hope–and second chances.

“Let’s go, Robin.”

This time, there is a hint of a smile tugging at his lips, but overall he remains professional.  “Yes, sir.”

Robin.  It feels right.

Lasts—–

When you return from the “dead,” you are not surprised by most of the names that have been exchanged.  You are not blindsided by Dick wearing your cowl (in spite of telling him not to,) and Stephanie wearing the Batgirl costume was by your design, and as such you knew Cassandra would have to wear something new.

You are surprised to see your blood son wearing the Robin symbol, and your son Tim wearing a costume and using a name that don’t belong to him.

Tim is almost an adult now, and Robin has never carried past teenagehood.  But it’s also the only name he’s known, and it shows in his choice of new name.

He isn’t as open with his feelings as Dick is, or Jason or Stephanie or even Damian.  But you know Tim, and you can see how having his title, his name stripped from him and given to the one who’d tried to kill him hurts him.

So you cheat.  You only do it when it’s just you and him and under the pretense of “oh, ‘Red Robin’ is a bit of a mouthful,” but you call him Robin.  Damian was never yours anyway–he’s too attached to Dick and as proud as you are of him (both of them,) you wouldn’t try to take his place.  But Tim–everyone else mourned you but for Tim, you were the only one he thought he had, in spite of everyone believing you were dead.  And you never officially fired him from Robin–it would be unfitting (and downright disrespectful toward Dick) for him to take the name again, but you hadn’t taken part in the decision.  And he was yours.

He’s definitely noticed, and understands why you do it, but never comments on it.  He even seems happier, which is good.

Until one day, he corrects you.  “It’s Red Robin–Red for short, if you want,” he says, and instead of the grimace that eerily reminds you of a mirror or his neutral (displeased) expression, he’s smiling in a way you haven’t seen in a long time–he almost looks like a boy again.  Happy.  Full of hope.

“You sure?” you ask.  You want to be certain that he’s doing this for his own sake, not to make Dick or you or Damian (more for Dick’s sake) comfortable.  You want him to be happy.

He nods, and it’s nearly impossible to place him with the same boy who’d been so unsure of himself all those years ago.  “I’m sure.  This is who I am now, and I’m happy with it.”

If there’s a lie, you don’t see it–and you have faith that he wouldn’t deceive you over something like this.  “Red Robin,” you agree.

It feels right.

@orderisoutofstyle

Edward looked down at the button and sighed. “You’re right. The shirt can be fixed later. Although I find it regrettable, there’s no use in lamenting an opportunity.” He unbuttoned his shirt ¾ths of the way and looked down. “…” He took it off completely.

“Matter resolved.” He adjusted his glasses and picked the button up. He pocketed it in the shirt for later.

The Foxhole Court seriously reminds me of the first couple of episodes of a sports anime.

After getting to know the main character (who you find out is somehow naturally talented at one thing most other players aren’t good at yet lacks the level of training and experience to make them a great player), you get introduced to about six different characters/teammates and their various complex backgrounds and The Rival so far only known by name and their connect to the secondary main character. But you can barely tell all these characters apart or remember their slightly angsty backstories. And just when you’re finally getting the hang of it all (and how fucking weird the coach is because the coach is always weird) you meet Those Other Teammates who for some reason haven’t been been around for their yet for plot reasons. So Those Other Teammates finally show up and disturb whatever gentle peace has finally settled down (because so far the storyline has been about the main character gathering his resolve and adjusting to the new situation). And then finally just when everyone is coming together and thanks to the main character and the new team dynamic, things seem to be going even better than ever (you’re still confused as to why everyone seems so deeply passionate about this sport even though the secondary main character and the main character have already had the “you need to want this more than anyone else, you need to be the best possible and I believe you can be the best and it’s now my job to make you the best” conversation), The Rival shows up (though they might have made a brief appearance earlier), the real nature of the angsty connection they have to the (secondary) main character is reveled. And the team suffers some kind of major setbacks, including and not limited to losing to The Rival, which gives them new found hope and motivation. And there’s a rough adjustment period where they’re relearning how to be a team

Then rest of the series follows some intense character development, kickass teamwork, and victory. Bam.