So maybe it was a weird thing to set him off, but really— was Tim in control of his life just now? No. He hadn’t been for several years, if he were being honest, and why change what worked? He was hardly ever an emotional wreck (once a week maximum), which was fine. One day in seven was fine. Until it was one of those days, and he was standing outside his apartment, holding his key ring, trying not to scream or cry or punch a wall, or maybe all of the above. He hadn’t decided yet. He was thinking about Bruce. Bruce didn’t remember him. Of all of the things the universe could have thrown at him, that was maybe the worst. Most days, he just wanted to tell him— drive out to the manor, let himself in, lie down on a couch, and wait for Bruce to walk by. He could picture himself doing all of that, easily. It was the bit after that where he got stuck. Bruce wouldn’t recognize him. Tim kept thinking about his eyes— they’d be empty, polite, “oh look, a stranger” eyes, and Tim wasn’t sure he could take that. He felt sick just thinking about it. It made it hard to breathe, so he leaned his head against the doorpost, still staring down at his keys (vehicle master, Jason’s house, apartment, manor). He could do it if he wanted. Turn around and tell Bruce. Maybe he should. Bruce would want to know, wouldn’t he? He always did. The thought of Bruce making a such an important decision without all the facts was ridiculous— Bruce didn’t do that. And surely if he knew he was Batman, if he knew about his kids— Anyway, Bruce deserved to know, and the rest of them deserved that too. Tim knew the others were suffering— Damian wasn’t allowed to go home, so he’d been migrating between safehouses for weeks. You knew he was desperate when he started showing up at Tim’s, and he’d been doing that a lot lately. And as much as he wanted Bruce to be happy, well… didn’t Tim deserve to be happy too? It had been a while. He didn’t blame Bruce for shutting them out. How could he? It wasn’t Bruce’s fault. It was just that Tim wasn’t sure what to do without Bruce. It was hard to explain. Tim had a strange life. He was a secret— there were only about a dozen people who knew what he did with his time, and less that knew him personally, for real. There had been years when it was only him and Bruce, and now Bruce didn’t remember any of that— whole years that were just Tim now. By himself. It made him feel less, somehow, like he was disappearing. Even on the days when Jason was pacing in his kitchen and Damian was asleep on his couch, Tim felt horribly, horribly alone. He just wanted Bruce to remember. It didn’t seem like that much to ask. Tim could picture himself at the door to Wayne Manor, with the key that he’d had since he was thirteen. He could see his hands opening the locks (top turned right, bottom turned left, shove the door open with a knee when it stuck). He could imagine meeting Bruce again, and a couple of half-formed sentences he might say. “Tim Drake-WAYNE. Your son.” “You don’t have to be Batman if you don’t want to, but you’re kind of stuck with us.” “Would it be okay if I came home?” But after that, all he could picture were Bruce’s stranger eyes. The thought was enough to make him go cold all over again— he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t. Tim unlocked his apartment and stepped inside, past the kitchen and a pile of blankets that was probably Damian camped out in his living room again. He pulled his manor key off of his ring and set it on the counter. Wouldn’t be needing that anymore. After that, he went to bed. There was nothing else he could do.