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Title: Four Ways Things Could Have Gone (but didn't)
Author: [ profile] aubreys_master
Fandom: DCU
Genre: Drama/character study
Fic type: One shot
Characters: Tim Drake (with Alfred Pennyworth, Dick Grayson, Cassandra Sandsmark, and Jason Todd)
Pairings/relationships: light Jason/Tim, one-sided Conner/Tim, implied Dick/Tim
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Ummm...none, I don't think. Actually. Wow. Some slash-lite in a few of them.
Timeline: Mixed/undetermined
Summary: Four events in Tim Drake's life that could have gone differently.
Author's notes: For [ profile] albumsontheside because the format was her idea. :P Sort of. It was supposed to be one of those "five things" fics, but...I couldn't think of a fifth thing. >> Or, rather, I couldn't think of one that I could write to suit me. So...please enjoy? :D

Sometimes – often – there was little that Timothy Drake hated more than high school. His complete inability to communicate with his peers on any meaningful level left him not only at a loss, but also so lonely that it sometimes stunned him. What made everything even worse was that the same looks that he got at school whenever he opened his mouth and let out something that no one else understood, he often got at Titans Tower, when he tried to carry on an intelligent conversation with most anyone there. (There were occasional exceptions to this rule. Cyborg, or Bart, would on occasion listen to him. Usually, Tim got the distinct feeling that no one wanted to parse through the information to reach his message.)

For a time – miserable and unsure – he had wondered if there might be something wrong with him. He had gone home and researched. He had read page after page on the internet, on every personality disorder he had been able to discover. Yet he learned nothing that had made him feel any better at all. He had mentioned his concerns to Alfred, who had offered Tim the most astonished look. Then, he had smiled gently and shook his head.

“Master Tim,” he had murmured. Tim’s heart had sped up, worried that Alfred would agree with him. But all Alfred had said was, “Give it time. They’ll grow to reach you. Extraordinary people generally lead extraordinarily difficult lives.”

All of Bruce’s boys were extraordinary.

Tim had listened to the phone ring for what felt like hours. He had listened to Dick beg unrelentingly for him to pick up. He supposed, on some level, that it was touching that this man he had idolized for most of his life cared so much about Tim that he would put out so much effort to get in touch with him and make sure that he was okay in the wake of his father’s death.

That was the crux of it, wasn’t it? He wasn’t okay. He could never be okay again, because his family was gone. Tim Drake was lying in his father’s bed, under Jack Drake’s favorite afghan, listening to his idol – the reason Tim was Robin to begin with, arguably even the indirect reason for Jack Drake’s death. The thought shocked him. Tim’s eyes flew open and stared at the ringing phone as he realized what he was thinking. Guilty, he picked the phone up with a shaking hand,.

“Hello?” His voice cracked, hoarse from too many hours – days – of crying.

“Tim?” Dick sounded surprised that Tim had finally answered. Tim supposed that was a reasonable reaction. He had kept Dick waiting for a long time, after all. “Tim! Hey, buddy, how are you doing?”

Tim cleared his throat and his voice was clearer when he spoke again.


But he must not have sounded very convincing. Or maybe Dick just knew him too well. He did not sound convinced, either way.

“Bruce thinks it would be a good idea, if you went back to the Manor,” he supplied finally. “He wanted to let you know that you’re welcome.”

“No,” Tim refused flatly.

Dick paused. It sounded like a hurt silence. Like he had to steel himself to try again. Finally, though, he took charge, just as he always did as Nightwing with the Titans.

“Well, I’m not going to leave you by yourself all night,” he stated firmly. “Unlock the door and I’ll go stay with you.”

Tim bit his lip hesitantly and thought about that. “I’d rather not,” he decided finally. He wasn’t sure whether he was referring to letting Dick into his house or leaving the door unlocked. He heard Dick’s audible sigh over the line.

“How about your window, then? Come on, Tim…you shouldn’t be alone. I know.” And the worst part was that he did know.

Tim relented. He opened the window to his father’s bedroom and flicked the lamp on, so that Dick would know which one to aim for, before crawling back under the afghan. Dick must have emptied his gas tank, speeding from the Manor to the Drakes’ condo – Tim’s condo, now, he supposed. All Tim knew was that before he even had time to fall asleep before he felt the bed dip and strong arms wrap around his waist. He hadn’t even heard Dick come in. Had he really been that quiet, or was Tim just slipping? He shivered and pulled the blanket higher under his chin. Slipping – not anticipating – had cost him his father’s life less than a week ago. He was still surprised that he had been allowed to return home at all, after the funeral, even if Bruce and Dick were both trying to get him to go back to the Manor now.

In his father’s bed, Dick Grayson held the boy who had once idolized him. Tim had sacrificed one family for the sake of being with another.

In his father’s bed, held in Dick Grayson’s arms, Tim Drake wept.

Cassie’s voice was shrill and grating, as far as Tim was concerned. It interrupted the silence in his laboratory like a punch to the stomach. It made his head hurt and made him want to grind his teeth. Why hadn’t he told her? she asked. He hadn’t told her because he had known that she would react like this.

“Is this why you’ve been such an asshole lately?” Cassie demanded. Tim’s head snapped up to stare at her. “Because you’ve been driving yourself crazy trying to clone Conner?”

He wanted to tell her that wasn’t the problem at all. He loved being in his lab. He could do something useful in his lab. He could help Conner there. But he didn’t tell her that. He just stared at her for a very long time.

“You got my goodbye,” he stated finally, still watching her evenly. He was grateful for the opaque lenses in his mask, hiding his eyes from her gaze. All he had to control was the set of his mouth.

Cassie offered him an incredulous look. “Tim, you weren’t even there. Are you jealous of me and Conner?”

“Just jealous of you,” he corrected softly. “You got everything I wanted. You got him.”

She stared at him and he saw in her eyes that she understood. She could see it in everything about him, he knew. She could see it in his posture, in his almost-fisted hands, in the set of his jaw. She saw that he had loved Conner at least as much as she had, but she had gotten all the parts of him that Tim would never have. Even if he succeeded, he knew it wouldn’t really be Kon-El. Not really. And she knew that he knew that.

“Tim…” she whispered, horrified. “Tim, you know you can’t –”

He cut her off with a pursed look. He had lost too many people. He needed to try. “I want him back, Cassie.” He kept his tone steady and sane. Reasonable. It was more for her benefit than his. A calm tone would make her believe him. He had to make her understand.

“But it won’t be him,” she pointed out, her voice a helpless whisper.

Tim allowed himself a smile. It very nearly hurt, but he allowed it.

“He’ll be close enough.”


Tim Drake had loved Jason Todd long before he had ever met him. He had loved him when Jason had been dead – a ghostly presence floating over Tim’s shoulder, dictating merrily how Tim’s career would play out through choices made while Tim had been inhaling every news article concerning Batman and Robin like they were oxygen – his lifeblood. Jason’s death had made Batman paranoid, had made Tim’s training endlessly more difficult. Tim hadn’t resented Jason, though. He understood Jason. He looked at the sad, bloodstained Robin costume in the cave and saw the bright, angry, amazing boy who had worn it – and he had adored Jason as much as he had Dick Grayson. It was a different type of adoration, though. Dick was Tim’s hero. He had held the acrobat in almost godlike status during his early days as Robin. But Jason had been a real person to him. He was a flesh-and-blood, earthly human. He had been incomparable to Dick’s angel-ness, but in some ways that made him even better and more exciting.

As Tim had learned everything about Batman, he had learned everything about Robin as well. He had gotten to know Jason Todd in such intimate ways without ever seeing him. He had delved into the dead boy’s history and, in doing so, created a special, infinitely tender place in his heart for this battered child he would never meet.

Then they had met. For a moment, Tim had been stunned, overwhelmed. Jason looked worn and scarred and furious, but he was somehow even more beautiful than Tim could have imagined. But Jason’s hurt and rage had run deep. He had attacked fast and hard. He had hurt Tim, had thrown hate and deep emotional wounds like so many bullets. Tim suspected that most of the blows were actually aimed at Batman more than him. But he had still thought it hopeless, and he felt his idealized vision of his predecessor shattering. Then Jason let something slip. He raged about how he had been forgotten, and why didn’t anyone miss him? Why wasn’t anyone happy that he was back? Such a concern alarmed Tim. Jason had been such an invisible presence in his life for so long, it hadn’t even occurred to him that being forgotten was even a possibility for someone like Jason Todd.

“You weren’t forgotten,” he corrected. It wasn’t a protest, it was a correction because Jason was wrong. Tim made his tone fierce despite his cuts and bruises and aching everything. “I remember you.” Even if they’d never met. “We all remember you. I always will.” He could, after all, only speak for himself toward the future.

The prove his point, Tim made a calculated risk. He moved forward quickly, slipping past Jason’s guard and wrapping his arms tightly around the raging man’s waist. The hug achieved two things. The first was that Jason was so surprised that he forgot, for a moment, to be angry. The second was that it presented Tim with a reality to match his fantasies with.

Jason’s torso was hot and hard and stiff under Tim’s cheek. He smelled of sweat and cigarette smoke and cheap beer and good vodka. It was a smell that Tim had never beheld before as the sum of its parts. It smelled horrible, if he thought about it too hard, too objectively, but it was Jason’s smell, so it was amazing. Bitter, raw and Jason.

“I’ll never forget,” he promised Jason again, who had gone still and seemed to slowly relax in his arms. “Never.”


on 2010-05-25 02:20 am (UTC)
ext_107527: (Haven't Seen Very Often...)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oooh, loved the last one. A lot. Mmm, Jason/Tim. They were all good, but I loved the last one best. Canon tends to forget that Tim cared about Jason too, and probably would have thought Jason as his friend and known every little detail about him.

on 2010-05-25 02:34 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Canon tends to forget that any of them care about each other. :\ I miss series like Gotham Knights, where it was all about relationships and two Robins could be in the same room for more than five minutes without getting in a fist fight (though I must admit that they're getting better about that again. It was dicey there, for a while).

on 2010-06-06 04:40 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oh wow. All of these were pretty amazing, but the last one was the most striking, I think. I've always sort of imagined Jason as the shadowy, almost non-existent Robin; omnipresent but never really talked about. I kind of love the idea of Tim developing a bit of a fixation instead, and it makes perfect sense, really.

And number three totally made me tear up. Oh boys.

on 2010-06-12 05:12 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oooo! I really liked this! All of them were very nice.

on 2010-06-13 06:15 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
These are so very, very, very, very TIM!
And I love your header, so very well done.
Thank you
Edited on 2010-06-13 06:16 am (UTC)

on 2010-06-13 02:56 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
:D That's one of the sweetest comments I've gotten. Thanks so much!

(And, yes. I love my Dickie-bear banner. XD It pleases me.)

on 2010-06-16 08:22 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
These were all so wonderful. I love your detailed look into Tim, what makes him tick and how he copes with things. Each examination was spot on, in my view. But the one that really struck me the most was the second one. It was just heartbreaking and perfect.

Well done!

on 2010-07-29 10:55 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Aww. Thanks for thes litttle vignettes about Tim and his lovers.


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