aqueenamongstkings prompted: More sick!Tim? You do a lovely job with him. Maybe Tim once the fever breaks?
An almost sequel to Sleeping it Off, but can be seen as general sickfic.
Characters: Dick, Tim, minimal Bruce.
It’s late when Nightwing and Batman get back. They’d ridden back together in the Batmobile, and Dick had been telling a story for the past 15 minutes. Bruce was probably not listening, but did occasionally grunt (out of politeness or annoyance it was difficult to tell).
So Dick walks behind Bruce, continues, “You shoulda seen ‘im, B. He had these three cops at his back and–”
Bruce holds up a hand to shush him, and Dick scowls at Batman’s back. Bruce, catching the look, inclines his head, very slightly, directing Dick’s gaze–
Dick gives a sort of fond sigh, runs a hand through his sweat-stiff hair. “How long has he…?”
Bruce grunts again, tugs off the cowl. “Stubborn,” is all he says, walking away, but it’s enough.
The younger man heads toward the console, torn between a smile and a frown.
Tim is curled up asleep, tipped half out of the chair, his head pillowed on the desk beside the keyboard. A blanket is around his shoulders, loosely grasped in place by a hand.
Dick crouches beside the chair, reaches out a gauntleted hand. He brushes Tim’s hair back gently and waits for him to stir, hand resting against his neck.
Tim’s eyes open slowly, confused, and Dick says, “You shouldn’t be down here, Timmy.”
“You’re back early,” Tim croaks, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.
“Late actually, handsome,” Dick says, rubbing Tim’s cheek with his thumb now. “You fell asleep.”
“Mm no,” the younger disagrees, frowning. “That can’t be right, I just wanted to–”
“Work yourself to death? Yeah, I know,” Dick says, finally withdrawing his hand to take off his mask. “You shouldn’t be down here in the cold, you’re still sick.”
“I’m fine now,” Tim protests, tired and pale. “Alfred said my temperature is normal.”
“Doesn’t mean you’re not sick, idiot,” Dick retorts, but it’s fond. (Tim almost looks like he doesn’t mind.) He gives a sigh. “Your poor immune system, Timmy. It works so hard and then you come and sit in the cold for no good reason.”
“You and Bruce were withholding my laptop!” Tim says, and it’s a pleading whine. There are dark circles under his bloodshot eyes, and he doesn’t even look fully awake just yet. In a smaller voice, he says, “That’s a good reason.”
“The world’s not gonna fall apart without you around for a couple days.” Seeing Tim’s about to protest again, but that his hand is gripping the armrest for support, Dick leans forward, a bracing hand on his brother’s shoulder. His lips ghost across Tim’s temple as he says, gentle, low, “C’mon, kiddo. I know you’re tired. You want to be upstairs right now. In your nice heated room, where you can properly relax. In your own bed. Warm and comfortable and soft, with piles of blankets and clean sheets. And you can sleep as long as you want, hmm?”
With each word, Tim had sagged a little more in the chair, leaning more heavily against Dick. Now, face pressed into Dick’s shoulder, the older man can’t help but nuzzle a kiss just above his ear, shifting his arms to hold Tim more securely. A smile spreads wide across his face.
(And really, he isn’t playing fair, but it’s not like he can stop knowing that Tim is soothed by his voice, and the boy is sick, so he doesn’t feel bad about it at all.)
For a full minute, he is crouched at the computer console, supporting most of Tim’s weight and appreciating the rareness of this type of contact with Tim, his Tim. Then he catches Bruce watching them from a few metres away, having shed his cape and gloves, and grins.
He eases Tim back to a sitting position, rousing him, says, “You can make it upstairs by yourself, right?”
“Yes,” Tim is mildly affronted, but too tired to properly express it. He rubs his eyes again, trying to wake himself up a little more. “I’m not even sick.”
“My bad,” Dick says, but he’s grinning a bit too wide, and Tim gives a huff of annoyance. “So why don’t you head on up to your room and warm up? Just for my peace of mind, I mean. I’ll grab a shower then come up and check on you, ‘kay?”
“I’m a grown man, Dick, I don’t need you to tuck me in,” Tim says, going for ‘scathing’ and not quite getting there. Dick’s grin is in no way deterred as he stares up at his little brother. Then, conceding, Tim says, “But it’s late. I guess this c’n wait ‘til tomorrow.”
Dick stands and backs up to give Tim the space to leave the chair, suppresses his immediate instinct to help Tim (or cuddle him). Tim stands slowly, bleary and overtired, dropping the blanket to his now-vacant chair. He’s dressed in a pair of Rubik’s-cube pyjama pants, what looks to be two (or is it three?) sweatshirts, and socks, with slippers. Dick swallows his smile as the teen moves toward the stairs.
“Hey Bruce,” Tim mumbles, on seeing the older man.
“Tim,” Bruce returns. But Dick knows his mentor well enough to know when he’s hiding a smile.
There’s still light under the door to Tim’s room when Dick heads up. He knocks twice, softly, but enters when he gets no response.
Tim is flopped on the edge of the bed, slippered feet still resting on the carpet. He’s not even under the covers, head tipped back and mouth open. Sprawled, child-like and exhausted. He’s sound asleep.
Dick can’t help but chuckle fondly, murmurs, “Least you made it this far, little brother.”
So he takes off Tim’s slippers, manages to ease him upright to remove one of the sweatshirts. As he manoeuvres Tim into a more conventional sleeping position, the boy stirs, mumbles, “…Dick?”
“Yeah, Timmy,” he says, low. As an afterthought, he adds, “Unless you’re gonna be mad, in which case I’m Bruce.”
“Dick,” Tim says again. His eyes close again, but he helps Dick move him under the covers. “I… lied before. I’m still… bit sick.”
“You don’t say,” Dick says, trying not to sound like he’s laughing, because Timmy.
“Mm,” Tim says, into the pillow. “S’rry.”
“Relax, little brother,” Dick says, running his hand through Tim’s dark hair. Then, “You want me to stick around ‘til you fall asleep?”
“No, s’fine,” Tim says, as his brother settles the covers snugly around him. ” ‘nks, Dick.”
“Come get me if you need me, kiddo,” Dick tells him, but Tim’s breathing has already evened out into sleep.
Dick smiles to himself, adjusting the covers one last time. For a long moment he looks down at his peacefully slumbering little brother. Some days he can’t believe he’s lucky enough to be part of this family. (He wonders, fleetingly, what Damian would say to a 4am cuddle, because he has to use these feelings somewhere.)
Then he kisses Tim’s cheek and flicks off the bedside lamp, leaving his brother to his rest.