"Have you seen Tim lately?" Bruce asked Dick failing to be nonchalant in his worry. Dick had come by the manor for a visit on the rare day he had off and other business wasn't in need of being taken care of.
"Not in a few weeks this is the first time I've made it Gotham in a month. Is something wrong?" Dick asked with his mouth full of Alfred's cookies.
"This past week he sent in his case reports and there were more than double what he usually does. I glanced over the WE meeting reports and Tim verbally called out one of the senior chairmen in front of the whole board room. Jason said that he saw Tim beating the crap out low level scumbag to the point Jason stepped in. Jason stopped him!" Bruce explained.
"Tim? Baby Bird? About this tall," Dick gestured, "blue eyes, dark hair, Tim?"
"I know. If it was anyone but Tim I could understand. I didn't want to freak him out by dropping in, but still, it's disconcerting. I was hoping you would know something. I checked and all the Titans are still living and doing well. He hasn't been in a relationship with anyone to break up with."
"This is weird. I'll check with Jason and visit Tim." Dick promised pulling out his phone to text Jason. Within minutes Jason replied and gave more troubling information about Tim. The day was shaping up to be something that Dick had never expected.
Dick stood on Tim's doorstep less than thirty minutes after texting Jason. He hoped that Tim was actually in his apartment. He called and asked Tam where he was, thankfully she ratted him out. It still bothered Dick that before she hung up she told him, "I'd be careful what you tell him. Tim wasn't himself at all. He even refused his morning cup of coffee."
Dick was seriously debating knocking Tim out and taking him to the manor. Because whoever was in his brother's apartment was not his brother. Tim never turned down coffee, he never beat up low-level thugs on a whim, and his little brother never didn't show up to work because he 'didn't feel like it'. Imposter, there had to be an imposter. This is Gotham that is the only possible reason for Tim to be out of character.
"Who is it?" Fake! Tim yelled through the door.
Why was he yelling? Tim always had surveillance cameras everywhere. This was so much worse than Dick was prepared to deal with.
"Officer Grayson! Open up!" Dick barked.
"Geez, Dick, you're going to make the neighbors think I'm doing something illegal," Tim replied as he opened the door. Dick was greeted by the sight of Tim in loose sweaty clothes.
"What's up?" Tim asked inviting his older brother in.
"Just checking in," Dick explained, "Jason told me about the other night."
"Oh, that," Tim wiped the sweat off his face with the sleeve of his workout shirt. "Jason exaggerated, the thug threw hot coffee on me and I snapped. I didn't mean to go crazy on him, but I smelled the coffee and, well, Jason laughed his head off and pulled me off." Tim explained almost ashamed.
"That's normal... I guess. Has anything else been up anything you want to talk about? " Dick quired.
"Not really," Tim sighed, "while you here you wanna watch a movie?"
Dick looked at his little brother and saw a tired 20-year-old with too much responsibility. A lack of sleep that was beginning to become a serious issue and his workout clothes were baggy and not form fitting like they had been. How sad was it that the lack of sleep and self-care was enough to convince him that it was really Tim. The lack of self-care was worse than he usual let it get.
"I'll watch whatever. Are you sure nothings up? Tam told me that you were not feeling good," Dick tried again to get Tim to talk.
"If you really want to know, I'll tell you," Tim sighed, "I had to go for my yearly check-up for insurance and the doctor told me to stop drinking insane amounts of caffeine. I have high blood pressure and to stay off high blood pressure pills the doctor told me to stop drinking coffee and see if it helped. That and apparently it's supposed to help with jitters and anxiety. The only thing is I've been going through withdrawal symptoms."
"Oh, you really had me worried. I was almost sure someone replaced you. You were acted out of character and you know weirder things have happened," Dick explained truthfully, "I'm glad it's really you even if it's because of caffeine withdrawal even though that sucks."
"You're telling me. I've been so snappy and that robber through hot delicious coffee on me. It was caffeinated and I could feel the loss in my soul. He laughed about it and I snapped. Jason thought it was funny and probably told B, right?" Tim guessed, "That must have freaked him out and then he sent you to check on me. I get it. Now that I'm emancipated and twenty years old he never bothers reading the physical reports. Tell him that I'm fine and that I won't shirk my responsibilities again."
Dick couldn't help but sense the change in Tim it went from friendly to almost cold. Tim was right though, he wouldn't normally check on Tim he was old enough to not need help like the others and he was always so independent it was hard to remember that Tim needed a 'big brother check-up' too.
"You know we care about you, right? Have you always had high blood pressure, or did this just start? You're too young too young to have high blood pressure!" Dick replied asking Tim the questions that should have been asked days ago.
"It's hereditary on mom's side. Stress and caffeine aggravate it so you don't have to worry about I'm handling it. Sorry, if I'm grumpy it's the lack of caffeine," Tim finished as he rubbed his temples in an effort to relieve the headache.
Dick felt dismissed like Tim expected that Bruce would reprimand him for missing a day of work, or that Tim felt that no one really cared that he had high blood pressure. It was true. If Tim hadn't been acting strange Jason wouldn't have noticed to tell Bruce for him to ask for Dick to check on him. It was a little sad. Even after everything, Bruce checked on all the rest of his children more than he ever did Tim.
"I'll be quiet so I don't make your headache worse. Do you mind if I just sit beside you for a while?" Dick asked feeling awkward.
"Sure, do what you want," Tim replied as he sank deeper in the sofa. It wasn't long before he fell asleep and Dick studied him more. He remembered to text Bruce what was going on. He was going to have to fix this. Tim deserved better than to be forgotten only remembered when it was pointed out.
Dick wished it hadn't come to this. He pulled out a blanket and put in on top of Tim as he moved about his apartment looking for food he could make for his brother. All he could find was a sad assortment of Cliff Bars, instant noodles, and expired grape jelly. Dick decided on a quick run to the grocery store it was literally the least he could do. It didn't take long to pick of things he knew Tim liked that actually had some nutrition in them. He got back to the apartment in time to pull together a half decent supper before Tim woke up.
The salmon and broccoli was simple but delicious. It was a measly apology. He and Bruce were going to have to do better.