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Breaking and Entering (And Other Forms of Sibling Bonding)

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Tim leaps onto his windowsill with only minor difficulties. It should have been an easy jump, just a couple of feet from the neighboring roof to his empty sill, but one of the robbers he had detained earlier got in a lucky hit, and Tim, or rather, Red Robin’s been operating on one ankle ever since. 

‘At least,’ Tim thinks irritably. ‘It's not broken.’ The limb is swollen and the skin around his ankle bruised, but at worst, it’s a sprain. He’ll have to wrap it for the next few days or so, ice it as well, but afterwards, he’s free to continue patrol. 

It’s still annoying though, throbbing painfully as he reaches for the lock. 

And then all of a sudden, the entire situation is irrelevant. Because the lock, triple checked earlier and only accessible through Oracle and a sensor in his belt, isn’t activated. Instead, a blinking green light stares back at him.

His apartment's been broken into, and not by a casual burglar. That lock was too advanced, a gift from Barbara herself. Tim can count on one hand the number of people who could disarm it, and one of them isn’t even on-world. 

Tim slowly raises a batarang from his belt. He’s at a disability right now, with his ankle out of commission, but he has home advantage. He knows his apartment, has mapped out every nook and cranny for a situation like this. There’s no need to alert anyone else because Tim is certain he can win. He’s prepared for anything, he tells himself, as he moves the curtain slightly to get a better view of his target, and then promptly blinks at the sight. Because there, instead of a villain, instead of a threat, is Jason Todd sans mask, curled up on his couch with a box of General Tso’s chicken in one hand and the remote in the other. The intro for Friends blares happily on Tim’s Netflix account. 

Tim nearly drops the batarang in relief.

“Jason, what are you doing here!” 

Jason didn’t so much as bat an eye at the angry half-stumble Tim takes into his apartment after he swings in through the window, or at the weapon clasped in his younger brother’s palm. 

“Eating Chinese take-out, what’s it look like?”

“That isn’t what I meant!” Tim huffs, as he staggers his way over to a kitchen barstool. The pain in his ankle has progressed to a stabbing throb, and under the glare of his older brother’s smirk, he hauls himself on top of the stool to get off of it. Jason snuffs out a laugh around a bite of General Tso’s, probably at the fact that Tim’s feet don’t even reach the ground. A frown pulls at Tim’s lips - he can’t help that he’s short-  before deciding the conversation isn’t worth it and begrudgingly goes back to the topic at hand. “What are you doing in my house, Jason? It’s three in the morning!” 

“Your window was open. I took it as an invitation to come in.”

“My window was not open!” 

Jason raises a brow. “Then your door was open.”

“My door wasn’t open either!” Tim throws up his hands in exasperation. “How did you even get through the alarm system to break in? Barbara made it!”  

Jason shrugs while shoving another forkful of rice in his mouth. Tim does his best not to pull out his batarang and smack the utensil out of his hand. The most he can do right now, with his ankle all bent out of shape, is pull off the cowl and glare at the impressive six-foot-three form his brother is currently sporting. There was a time when Tim would see that form and fear for his life, but now Jason seems to have toned down his murderous spree and settled for simply annoying his ‘Replacement’ to an early grave. 

Tim almost misses the death threats. At least they were more exciting than whatever this is. Especially when Jason goes to stand up, and spills sauce all over his couch in the process. 

“Jason!” Tim yells, and Jason wags a hand in his direction as he kneels to mop up the mess with a napkin. 

“It’ll be fine, Tim-Tam, calm yourself.”

“I will not calm myself!” Tim snaps irritably. “You broke into my house, spilled soy sauce all over my couch, for some reason you happen to know my Netflix password-”

“Oh, yah. Nice Queue.”

“You’re eating Chinese take-out in my once pristine living room, and hmm, there was one more thing. Oh, wait! The last time you randomly appeared in my apartment you tried to kill me ! So no, I will not calm myself until you at least tell me what you’re doing in here!” 

Tim crosses his arms angrily when he’s done, feeling all the bit a petulant child and all the bit worthy of acting as such. He even tosses his head for emphasis, glaring at the kitchen wall instead of his brother’s broad shoulders as he continues to clean up the mess. 

From somewhere over in his brother’s general vicinity, Tim hears Jason sigh and tracks the sound of his brother’s footsteps as they trail him to the kitchen. 

He has to contain his surprise when Jason shoves a container at him that Tim just barely manages to catch. Indigence builds in his chest.

“I’m not holding your-” 

“It’s for you dumbass.” Tim’s mouth snaps shut. How he ended up being the ass in this situation, Tim doesn’t know, but he sure feels like one, holding a carton of his favorite chinese take-out as his brother rummages through his freezer. 

After a few seconds of muttered curses, Jason is back at his side. The door shuts with a muffled thud, as Jason draws up a chair. Tim flinches. He doesn’t know how well Jason will take his apology - he can’t believe he’s apologizing, Jason’s the one who broke in - but he should at least try to offer up some sort of olive branch. Alfred taught him that much. 

“Listen, Jason-” 

“Ankle.”

Tim blinks. Tries to process that. Blinks again. He’s certain his mouth is hanging open, and when he tries to speak all that comes out is:

“Wha-“

Jason rolls his eyes but holds up a bag of frozen peas in one hand and taps twice on Tim’s right knee with the other. 

“Your ankle, idiot. You’ve got to ice it.”

That is… not how Tim was expecting this conversation to go. His shock must show in his face because Jason seems to find the entire exchange worthless and continues anyway, wrapping a firm hand around Tim’s calf and leveraging it up until its resting on his own barstool, just beside his thigh. 

He tilts the damaged appendage back and forth, examining it with a trained eye, before lightly pressing along the joint.

“Shit!” Tim hisses and tries to rip his leg away from Jason. His brother holds firm; it’s a test of pure strength, and as such, Tim loses very quickly. Jason has a good eight inches on him, not to mention about sixty pounds of sheer muscle. It’s a needless battle from the very start. 

Jason seems to know this and smirks at his squirming.

“Calm down, Replacement. We’re almost done.”

“I’ll be calm when you’re not poking at my ankle!” Tim snaps straight back. He huffs again because, despite all this, Jason is right; he does need to ice it (and probably wrap it too), and being treated like a child means that he might as well enjoy the other part of that equation too: acting like one. 

So he huffs and swings his head and firmly doesn’t think about how much he looks like a six-year-old throwing a temper-tantrum. Even if Jason wrapping his ankle with bandages from the kit he keeps in his kitchen - Jason’s familiarity with the intricacies of his house really should worry him- alleviates a good bit of the pain already. 

Tim hazards a look about two minutes in though to find his ankle perfectly wrapped, with his brother holding the frozen peas and rolling his eyes at him. 

“Good enough of a job for his bitchiness?” Jason hazards, holding the peas out for Tim to take. 

“Your request is still pending approval.” Tim snarks back, snagging the bag and letting it rest against his ankle. He remembers now why it was so hard for Dick or Bruce to stay angry at this asshole. The snark was pretty funny. Besides, it’s a better job than Tim himself could have done, and they both know it. Still, he has to keep up appearances. He can’t just admit to liking Jason Todd, or well, he can’t anymore. 

That bridge burned about two years and three murder attempts ago, and he especially can’t when the man tells him to ‘hold on’ and scoops him up like a child on patrol.

Tim immediately flings one arm around his brother’s neck, keeps the other clutching his take-out, and scrambles for purchase.

 “Jason, what the hell-!

“Oh calm down, you can’t sit on the barstool all night, and if you ruin the hard work that just went into your ankle, I’ll murder you for real this time.” 

Jason takes the couple of steps back over to the couch, knocks the remaining pillows off with his foot, and promptly drops Tim onto the cushions. 

Tim will deny the squeak he makes for the rest of his life. He won’t deny the glare though, even as Jason throws the discarded bag of frozen peas at him and hands him a fork for his lo mein, still somehow clutched in his hand. 

“You better now, Replacement?” There’s a smirk playing on his brother’s lips. Tim can’t help the fact that he is, in fact, better now, but he can take his fork and use it to slingshot noodles with no problem. This is his life now, starting a food fight with someone who, months ago, wanted to kill him. 

“You’re an ass.” Tim says, and wonders when he stopped meaning it. 

“Guilty as charged.” Jason snarks right back, as he wipes noodle bits from his face. He picks up his discarded take-out carton from beside the couch, and scoots himself back onto the couch. With one hand, he leverages Tim’s sprained ankle onto his lap and puts the peas back in place. He then reaches over for the remote. 

“Did you know that Supernaturals on its fourteenth season?”

Tim is. He isn’t sure however what makes him continue the conversation. He should by all means get away from this odd situation where his sometimes-murderer not-brother brother makes small talk with him after breaking into his flat. He should make up an excuse and go back to the Tower where he can shower and rest and where things make sense. He should but somehow his mouth refuses to get the memo and says:

“They should have canceled it ages ago.” 

Jason Todd turns to grin at him, all sharp teeth but no lost affection, and promptly flips to a random episode. 

“Bet you the Kruger case that at least one of them dies this episode.”

“The case by the docks? With the drug dealers and that bitch, Kennedy, that B threw in jail last time?”

“The very same.” 

Tim settles back into the cushions and hides his smile in a bite of Lo Mein. 

“You’re on.”