[identity profile] finkpishnets.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ivoryandgoldd
i am your gravity by [livejournal.com profile] finkpishnets
young justice/dcu | dick/tim | pg-13 | ~1,626
tim’s six years old when he falls in love.

a/n: this features kory/starfire because my comic!them is showing, and sort of includes comic events but in a muddled up yj time frame? written for my young justice comment ficathon and the prompt “just one dance...please?” and for the cottoncandy_bingo prompt “heartache”.



Tim’s six years old when he falls in love.

The smell of popcorn and cotton candy on the air, lights blinding and a hundred breaths caught in a hundred throats, and it’ll be years before he understands what that means but right then all he knows is that the world has changed forever.

Tim’s six years old when he falls in love and seconds later someone else’s world comes crashing down around him.



+



Bruce Wayne is Batman and Batman is Bruce Wayne, and it’s easier to unearth than Tim expects it should be but he’s thirteen and smart and besides, people only see what they want to see. It makes sense when you know, but it’s not as important as the other half of the equation, the one that lead to all this in the first place, and Tim was always looking for Dick Grayson, it’s the Robin part that’s a surprise.

Or, Nightwing now, and it suits him even if he’ll never quite shake off the old identity. In Tim’s mind he’s still the boy on the trapeze, though, so everything’s relative.

Dick Grayson is a superhero, and that’s huge, except not really.

Tim’s never been one to accept the boundaries of mundane reality; it would be strange if the person he was in love with did.



+



His suit is different - designed with him in mind, not Dick (not Jason) – and he should be surprised with how easily he fits into it, into everything that comes with it, but he’s always dreamt of flying.

Gotham City is home, and patrolling the streets by Batman’s side feels somewhat close to destiny. Tim’s never been one to over-romanticize, but he supposes it’s inevitable that there’s a certain poetry to it all.

The Young Justice team is completely different; there’s a chaos to them all that Tim’s not used to outside of cafeterias and classrooms, and at first he wonders if it’s worth it, if this is really somewhere he can be useful, but then Dick looks at him from behind his mask and grins, like he knows exactly what Tim’s thinking (if only, if only), and Tim stays where he is, listening to introductions and team assignments and Wonder Girl’s questions regarding male to female ratios and accepts this part too.

This isn’t what he had in mind for his life – any of it – but it’s right all the same.



+



Tim’s not sure there’s ever been a time when Dick hasn’t had a girlfriend, whether as Bruce’s ward or his masked counterpart, but it’s never mattered, not really, not when none of his relationships last longer than a few months and there’s never much heartache on either part at the dissolution.

And then Starfire comes crash-landing into their lives and all that changes.

Kory is more than beautiful, more than any comparable synonyms, and Tim sees it straight away, the look in Dick’s eyes when he’s around her, the one that screams of promised futures and epic love stories; he knows that look because it’s the same one he has to stop himself giving Dick every second of every day, and here Dick is openly swearing himself to someone else.

They say everything comes around full-circle; if that’s true then his circle’s been cut down the middle because right now he’s fifteen years old and his heart’s breaking for the first time.



+



Somewhere along the line they become the sort of team the Justice League can be proud of, which doesn’t really matter except that they’re also pretty proud of themselves. There’s a trust there - between Tim and Bart and Cassie and Conner and Jaime - a trust that can only come naturally, and it exceeds all expectations.

He’s still not sure how Conner became his best friend, but it’s another of the things he puts down to the as-of-yet unclear larger picture that is his life.

He’s more grateful for his friends than he can say, and if he’s honest with himself they’re the reason he sticks around and doesn’t throw in his mask completely the day Dick takes off, issues of his own to deal with and no time left for a pseudo younger brother and his oh-so-unrequited feelings.

Tim’s not so self-invested to think that Dick’s problems have anything to do with him, understands the fragile line they all walk between stable and falling, crashing, burning, but it doesn’t make his absence any easier, even after the crack in his heart has healed to a dull ache he’ll most likely carry around forever.

It’s okay though.

Once you’ve seen the end of the world a few times you stop exaggerating love that way.



+



The day Dick and Kory announce their engagement Tim takes out six drug dealers, a human trafficking ring, and a weapons import business, all before meeting up with Batman to track down Two Face.

By the time he falls into bed his knuckles are raw and his head’s spinning, but at least he’s not thinking. That’s for the morning when he’ll have to give his congratulations and pretend he means them. When he’ll have to look Dick in the eye and say he’s happy for him when what he’ll really mean is don’t do this to me.

It’s childish and self-centred and ridiculous, but Tim’s a teenager and he’ll be damned if he’s going to shut these emotions off for anyone but himself.



+



The wedding doesn’t happen.

Tim still doesn’t believe in fate but these days it wouldn’t take much to convert him.



+



Tim grows up, slotting into place as Bruce’s newest ward with an ease that can only come from the death of naivety. Society adopts him the same way they did Dick, camera flashes and lines of gossip column, and he accepts it all with an outward grace that comes from knowing better; at night he still puts on the suit and fights to keep the city safe, now it just happens after a gala or two.

There are shadows under Dick’s eyes these days, ones he puts down to the parties and the girls and the travelling should anyone outside the family ask, but Tim spends as much time watching Dick’s life as he does his own and he can see the snap of exhaustion draped over Dick’s shoulders. Too many nights away from Gotham, defending a city that attracts criminals like a magnet, and Tim wishes he’d just come home, back to the Manor and Alfred’s nurturing hand, back to him, but Dick’s always been stubborn.

(Tim’s just always been more so.)



+



Dick’s tearing apart at the seams and Tim doesn’t know how to stop it, doesn’t know how to stitch him back together, and it terrifies him in a way few things are able to do nowadays.

He goes on missions with the team, spends time in Metropolis with Conner, and takes on his own assignments around the world, but there’s the constant worry at the back of his mind that Dick’s going to make a mistake, that he’s going to come home to find blue and black and red painted across the pavements on the city all because Dick can’t focus anymore.

He doesn’t seem to be living for anything anymore.

Tim wishes he knew that living for anything or anyone else was futile, but he’s never been a hypocrite.



+



There’s a charity ball, something for the children’s hospital, and he has to hide his two broken fingers in the pocket of his Armani jacket, but it doesn’t stop him from holding a champagne glass so it’s not a total disaster.

He can see Dick, a beautiful blonde on his arm that he’s paying no attention to; she doesn’t seem to mind, not when her shimmering dress is capturing the interest of a dozen other attractive people across the room, but it’s not like Dick to let this mask slip.

He waits until Dick makes his escape to follow him, closing the balcony door firmly shut behind him.

“Timmy,” Dick says, brushing his hair out his eyes with shaking hands. “Enjoying the party?”

“Not really,” Tim says, and doesn’t miss Dick’s tired sigh. “Dick--”

“What do you want from me, Tim?” Dick asks, eyes narrowing, and Tim falters.

Everything, he thinks. Nothing.

“Dance with me?” he says instead, and the words take them both my surprise. “Just one dance...please?”

Dick seems stuck, like half of him is working out the best escape route and the other is willing to just give in to anything people ask of him nowadays.

“Okay,” he says eventually. “Okay.”

Tim doesn’t lead them inside, just wraps his arms around Dick’s waist and waits until the tension in Dick’s body begins to melt away. He can still make out the faint sounds of the orchestra, shuffling his feet in time to the rise and fall of Chopin, and Dick runs his fingers through Tim’s hair, pushing his head gently until it rests on his chest.

Tim tries to remember to breathe.

“Tim,” Dick says, his voice catching. “Tim, I don’t know what--”

“It’s okay,” Tim says, unbroken fingers tightening in Dick’s jacket. “It’s okay.”

He thinks Dick may be crying, can feel his heart beating against his cheek, and Tim just wants to tell him everything, to say I love you and have Dick understand that he means it with every fibre of his being and expects absolutely nothing in return.

“Come home,” he says instead, and Dick chokes on a sob filled with fatigue and relief and too many nights trying to prove himself to a world that doesn’t deserve it but they defend anyway.

“Okay,” he says, and Tim thinks that maybe this is love and maybe it’s enough.

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