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Marry Me: A Love Song in Seven Parts

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The first thing that came out of Damian’s mouth when he spoke to Tim was, “Marry me?”

They had never spoken to each other before, although Damian had stalked from afar. He hunted his prey and observed everything there was concerning, one Timothy Jackson Drake, before opening his mouth and subsequently ruining everything.

He concluded his observation with two thoughts. One, Timothy was perfect and two, Damian needed him in ways that made his chest hurt when he thought of Tim going off and marrying people who weren’t him.

Tim looked up at the boy in front of him…proposing nonchalantly. As though their school hallway was an appropriate place in their lives to do so. Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne. The new Robin. More importantly for the situation Tim found himself in, Damian was one of the most popular boys in school despite, or perhaps due to, his attitude. Damian was sadistic, he laughed when others cried. He was horrible and spoiled, and infinitely sweet to the cat that hid behind the school, bringing it treats and calling it Cat.

Tim showed no signs of shock.

His mother taught him better than that, though he did blink twice in row. A concession to the oddity of being asked to marry someone when the person in question was the same age as him, and that age was twelve.

Tim paused for a moment, watching the stiffness of Damian’s shoulders, the hunger in his eyes. The moment after Damian said it, he almost looked as though he wanted to force the words to retreat back down his throat. The moment after that, he looked at Tim, serious and imposing. Decisive.

Tim thought he could love this boy. This mad, helpless, boy staring at him as though he were the last drop of water in a desert.

Tim had his answer.

“Yes,” He spoke. 

Damian’s eyes widened in shock before he picked Tim up, his hands hesitant, afraid that if he pressed too hard, he’d hurt the smaller boy. He never learned how to be gentle but he would be damned if he hurt Tim. Not now, not ever, but especially not when he had consented to being Damian’s.

With anyone else, the youngest Robin would question motives, would dissect and rip apart the reasons why they made the choices they did, but he knew this: Tim watched everyone. Observed everyone.

He knew that Tim would not have said yes if he didn’t mean it, if he wasn’t sure. He knew that Tim wouldn’t have said yes if there wasn’t something about Damian that made him want to. 

“We will have a beautiful wedding, and you may have whatever you wish as long as you remain safe.” Damian murmured down at Tim, who clutched softly at his white button-up shirt.

He smiled, and Damian had never seen him smile before. It was perfect. 

Damian thought he could love this boy, with his quiet joy, and his small, hidden smiles.

….

“This is Wayne Manor, but you won’t like it, so when we get older I will provide a more suitable abode.”

Tim nodded his head, amused but comforted. The manor looked empty, far too lonely for his taste.

Carrying Tim to the library, Damian set him down on the largest arm chair, fully intending to join him before the many sounds of the imbeciles who shared his home rang through the air.

“Damian, lil D, guess what-” Dick paused after barging through the doors. There was another person with Damian. There was never another person near Damian. Damian never brought anyone home.

“You have a friend over.” Dick breathed out, surprise clear as the widening of his eyes. He smiled as he walked up the the pair. It was good that Damian had finally, finally made a friend. Holding out his hand to shake, Dick introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Dick, Damian’s older brother.”

Clear blue eyes were the first thing he saw. Gracefully sloped cheekbones the next. Damian’s companion was beautiful. He looked as though he was made not from flesh and bone, but porcelain. The hand that shook his was soft. “Timothy Drake.”

A name for a face.

“Cease touching my betrothed, I know where you’ve been Grayson,” Damian snapped. 

Dick laughed and pulled his hand back. It was cute that Damian was so possessive of his friend. Tim folded his own hands in his lap.

“Is that any way to talk to your favourite — betrothed?” Dick stuttered, his mind failing to understand the word in relation to his younger brother.

His younger brother who routinely beat people half to death. For fun.

Damian sighed in frustration. “This.” He gestured towards Tim.“Is my fiancé.”

Dick blinked rapidly in shock. “You’re twelve.”

Damian snorted and ignored him, as if being twelve meant absolutely nothing. “I’m getting Bruce,” Dick insisted.

Looking over his shoulder at the pair, Tim remained unmoved by the conversation, his facial expression blank. Dick shivered. Apparently, Damian liked them as frosty as possible. Yeesh, he’d seen ice bergs with more warmth.

When Bruce arrived, with all the fanfare of a single father caught off guard, Damian and Tim were playing chess. Tim moved his knight.

“Damian,” Bruce began. “Are you currently engaged?”

Without looking up from the chessboard Damian answered, “Yes.”

“I understand that you may have feelings towards Timothy, but you are both…twelve,” Bruce stated hesitantly. 

Damian finally looked up from their game, his eyes piercing as they looked back at Bruce. “I am aware that we are twelve, that is of course the reason we are betrothed, not married. The marriage will occur upon our reaching the appropriate age.”

Bruce nodded, while Jason tried not the laugh, and Dick panicked quietly beside him. Their youngest Robin was serious. Completely and utterly serious, while his “betrothed” watched them like an exquisite marionette. Lovely but dead.

“You are aware that there a certain things about our family that are private. How much do know about Timothy?”

Damian smiled darkly and said, “Everything.”

Batman scowled at the implication. How long had Damian watched from afar and how far had he gone in his pursuit? “And how much does he know about you?” He asked.

Tim laughed, a soft little sigh of a laugh, “More than you want me to…Batman.”

The men at the door tensed as Damian turned back to face Tim. “I had suspected that you knew, but the confirmation was much appreciated.”

Tucking a strand of hair behind his ear Tim smiled as he replied, “Your main computer systems are lacking.”

Jason spluttered in shock.

Damian stood placing himself in front of Tim. “ Enough. Timothy is intelligent, he has no ulterior motives towards this union, and above all he is a civilian. Which means that Batman,” Damian glared directly at Bruce, “can’t interrogate him. Is that understood.”

Bruce nodded. If he had tried to take Timothy away from Damian, Damian would have fought to kill. A product of his heritage and teenage impulsion.

Alfred smiled. “Welcome to the family Master Timothy. Will you be wearing white to your wedding? You would look quite charming in the right tone.”

Tim blinked. “Yes, actually. I was thinking a winter wedding would be appropriate, or perhaps a spring one? Thank you for inquiring Mr. Pennyworth.”

“Not at all Master Timothy, I have some fabric samples, perhaps you could look over them after tea?”

Damian sniffed, sitting back down, placing his hand over Tim’s. “At least some of you have the right idea. Peppermint if you will, Alfred. Honey not Sugar.” Damian had always preferred his tea plain. The preference stated wasn't his own.

“Of course.” Alfred nodded. “Is that all, or would some snacks be amiss?”

Damian moved his rook. “Nothing with any traces of strawberry. Tim is mildly allergic to them, other variations of fruit would be fine.”

Alfred left the room, serene as always. Tim moved his pawn.

No one watched as he made his way over the perfectly manicured lawn. The roses were in full bloom, devouring the stairs that led to the front door with their thorny vines and brambles. The smell was sickly sweet. It permeated the air, spreading pollen in small bursts as the flowers matured. They would undoubtedly attract bees as flowers are wont to do.

Tim was much the same, and Damian had never liked insects. Like a good gardener he would keep his flower separated from the rest. He would give it fertile soil and allow it to grow in peace. Bees were wholly unnecessary to the process.

He brought with him three dahlias in full bloom. Their massive heads the perfect shade of vermillion. Each flower is larger than Damian’s fist. He knew Tim would be pleased.

The door opened before Damian has a chance to knock and the soft blush that spread across Tim’s face let Damian know that Tim hadn’t intended to make such a vulnerable expression of joy. Dressed in soft blue sleep clothes he appeared well rested. His milky collarbones peek out. Damian restrained the urge to spread his own blazer over Tim’s shoulders protectively.

“May I enter?’’ Damian asked, polite as always.

Tim looked away shyly, taking the larger boy’s hand in his, as he said, "Always. Please come in. Would you like some breakfast?’’

Damian hadn’t eaten breakfast in Wayne Manor for days, opting to spend his mornings with Tim before walking him to school. He of course, answered yes. 

The table was set, but for the long stemmed vase in the centre. It was filled with water yet empty, waiting for the flowers Damian would bring. They were lovely on the table, just as Damian imagined them to be.

Tim felt one of the petals between his fingers, “Thank you.” He whispered.

Damian nodded in acknowledgment. This was nothing to thank him over. This was as it should be.

Jams and various other preservatives littered the table. The pitcher of milk had been set, the morning tea brewed, and as Tim puttered around the kitchen Damian recognized the scent of freshly baked bread. Studded with sunflower seeds, poppy, sesame, and various nuts, the sweet bread Tim held a fondness towards had quickly become one of Damian’s favourites as well.

Savouring the meal, they were quiet as they ate but for the actions that spoke of their familiarity. Damian passed the peach jam to Tim without a word, Tim the plum to Damian. They move in tandem, their motions precise and elegant. They were aware each other’s preferences long before they knew each other personally. In a way, it was relaxing.

As Damian swiped a piece of jam from the corner of Tim’s mouth he contemplated the morning sun, shining though the kitchen window. It gave his beloved a halo of light. Placing the thumb into his own mouth he licked up the excess of jam, humming in pleasure.

There was no hurry in their morning ritual, no place to be more important than where they were. School had never been difficult for either of them. Perhaps this morning they would even stay in? Laze about the house, amusing themselves with blanket forts and other childish things. Here in this empty house they had a secret world, unknown to all others. Here they had slow mornings and soft, chaste kisses, so light that the touch barely registered at all.

As Tim dressed and collected his school things, while Damian cleaned the remains of their breakfast. There was a maid for these things, but  if he did not do this Tim would simply clean when he arrived home. His Tim had always been meticulous. It was something Damian approved of greatly.

When the last plate was put away, the jam tucked underneath the cupboards, and the table wiped Damian waited below the stairs.

Watching Tim descend was a pleasure. One hand rested on the oak banister as he walked down, eyes on Damian. His right foot was limping slightly. The cause, had been…dealt…with. One football playing imbecile did not know how to watch where he was going. One football playing imbecile deeply regretted his actions.  

He hated that limp.

Picking up Tim’s black, laced loafers he gestured for him to sit on the stairs.

Tim tried to protest, but Damian cut him off with a well-placed finger to Tim’s lips. “It is due to my negligence that you have attained this injury,’’ he said. 

Tim smiled wryly, and replied, “You were at the other end of the building.’’

Damian frowned, his brow a deep furrow. He spoke no more. Kneeling before Tim he cupped the heel of his foot. The thin white socks Tim preferred did nothing to hide the delicacy of the bone structure under his hands. Small, protruding anklebones led to lovely calves, and smooth knees, unmarred by the various scuffles consistent with most boys his age. This pleased Damian. He never liked the few scars Tim carried.

The foot in his hand was small, the shoes doll-like. Little doll shoes for little doll feet Damian mussed as he slipped the patent leather footwear onto one appendage.

The injured one came next, and try as he might Tim couldn't restrain a gasp of shock when Damian lifted the damaged limb. He did not hold it by the heel, the ankle lightly swollen, carrying traces of red. He held this one with his fingers poised at the arch, and still it hurt. 

Pulling up the dark blue slacks, Damian brushed a kiss to the damaged area. He heard that kissing “it” better had some form of psychological effect on pain. Easing the second shoe on, he tied the laces with quick efficiency and helped Tim up.

The kiss that brushed against his cheek as Tim braced himself to attain leverage brought him joy.

They exited the house hand in hand, Damian adjusting their pace for Tim. He would come again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after, and so on. He would place Tim’s shoes on his little doll feet, and he would walk him to school until they were no longer attending, and at that point, Damian fully expected to wake up every morning with Tim nestled firmly in his arms.

Ducking his head to hide a smile, Damian squeezed Tim’s hand. Tim squeezed back.

Chapter Text

Janet meets Damian only once.

He is a stiff backed figure sitting firmly on the beige leather sofa she chose for the house so long ago. His eyes are dangerous in their sharpness. She places her impeccably manicured hands on the teacup. Their blood red polish is a contrast to the white of the porcelain.

This is not Timothy’s friend.

He sits ever so slightly in front, angled to cover the smaller boy to the best of his ability, while remaining unobtrusive. That protective stance is one she has seen in lovers, far too many times to be unable to recognize it.

“Jack,” she starts, “could you pick up some milk? We seem to have run out.” This is a lie. There’s a full milk carton in the fridge but Jack smiles and kisses her on the cheek before leaving. He does not know about the milk carton. She intends to keep it that way.

Her eyes never leave Damian.

She has not been a good mother, but she will not allow this silly boy ruin her son. Timothy is fragile. She knows this like she knows the amount of food in their fridge, the curve of her hand, and the precise amount of tiles in bathroom floor.

Forty-six.

She counted them once when she was pregnant with her son. The third one after one miscarriage, and one stillborn. Her only living child. She will not let this boy ruin him.

Eyes narrowing she begins, “What are your intentions towards my son?” The question is calm, spoken with the ice Janet spent her life perfecting. The ice Tim mimicked so very often.

The boy is calm, his eyes meet hers. “I intend to marry him. We are engaged,” he replies.

Janet nods and places the tea cup back on the table, making sure to put it on its appropriate coaster. Cherry wood stained so easily. “You are a Wayne.” The words are not a question, they are a statement. Damian does not answer. He waits for her to speak. His calm is satisfying.

“You will provide for my son. You will make him happy.”

These are still not a questions. Janet will not allow them to be.

She has never seen her son happier. Tim positively glowed with love. Radiant and far more resplendent than she has ever seen him. He was bright, and shining, and wondrous as a full moon on a dark night. At this moment he was so beautiful in his quiet happiness that Janet could be nothing but happy for him.

Damian’s eyes never left her frame. He was assessing the threat. She acknowledges the problems she could potentially cause for the pair, and places them in a far away corner in her mind. She will not bother them. She has seen many marriages fail, the young blinded by their own love. She has seen marriages prosper, bonds forged stronger than any metal known. This is the latter, and she will not interfere.

Hands in her lap Janet speaks, “You will love him more than anything else your existence has to offer. You will be faithful, you will be kind. You will be gentle, and considerate. You will love him.”

Each sentence, a mandate from some higher power falling from Janet’s lips like the words of the old gods, long forgotten, yet potent.

Leaning towards the two ever so slightly Janet continues, “If you fail to do so, I will watch you burn.” The words are not an empty threat. Janet has always been prone to obsession. She knows the boy is a fighter, knows he is dangerous, but she is older, faster in her own way. She has never been a good mother, but she will do this.

Tim smiles. Her darling boy. He knows. He understands better than anyone else ever could.

Damian nods, knowing something sacred has happened even without knowing what, the feeling swells through him, and he is pulled into the rising tide.

“I love him. I will always love him.” It is his only answer, his only defence. It is all Janet needs. This boy will go to great lengths for her son, greater lengths then she has ever taken.

Tim will be happy.

A silent understanding passes through the three of them. For the first time in a long time Tim smiles freely at his mother. “Thank you,” he mouthes.

Talia comes second. Her grace and poise mimic that of Janet, and when she watches the small boy beside her son, her eyes meet his. She has searched for information regarding Timothy long before she met him. All she has learned is this, he is very intelligent and very good at covering his tracks. It is not nearly enough.

“Mother,” Damian speaks proudly, “this is my betrothed, Timothy Jackson Drake, soon to be Timothy Wayne.”

Her son is happy. His eyes light up with joy as he speaks of his beloved. So like her, is Damian. His love pours from him as river water into the sea.

The boy sitting beside him is beautiful, even in his youth, with signs that he would only grow to be more so. Divine, in his long white neck, his swan like limbs, he would match her son well. They were aesthetically pleasing as a pair but it bothered her that he was, even when faced with her, so very cold. There were dark things in cold waters and she would not approve of her son marrying someone who did not love him. Would not approve of him making her mistakes.

Tim did not shuffle his feet or fidget with his hands, he instead stood hand in hand with Damian, blank as a slate of ice. “I am pleased to meet you,” he greets.

Talia’s eyes harden. “Do you love my son?”

For the longest time he does nothing but stare, his eyes searching, for a moments Talia wants to curse…and then…it happens. Like the final act of a play where the small caterpillar becomes a butterfly, Tim changes before her eyes, he sheds his very skin for all the difference she can see. His metamorphosis is breathtaking. She does not know, does not understand how he can hide the weight of his love when it spills from him so freely.

His body changes, the very air around him crackles with the feel of it. She takes in a small breath of shock. Her son was in good hands.

The lilting voice she heard speak before, spoke once again. “Yes.” He is sure, determined, and ready. He is a commander giving an order to the thousands under his rule. “Yes.” He repeats, his voice breaking. He is desperately in love, and his world has changed under his very feet. He is trying to find solid ground and falling further with every step.

In a split second the curtain falls, and the play is over. Tucking his soft parts back inside of himself, Timothy once again appears blank, empty of everything. It is a wonderful, horrible trick that Talia both admires and reviles. For a moment, one single moment, Tim was ethereal in his fullness, in the feelings that burst from his seams. She can see now why her only child has fallen love with this boy. She knows what they will be, what they can build and it gives her hope.

She nods. She will issue no threats and ask no questions. She has seen all she needs to see. Her son is in love with a beautiful boy who loves him back.

She hopes they will keep their happiness, and knows that she would raise them both from the Lazarus Pit herself if she had to.

Her son was happy. That was all she needed to know.

….

Bruce Wayne stared at the boy in front of him. “You do realize, that I do not approve of this relationship?”

Tim was serene, despite the fact that he was alone with Bruce for the first time...ever. Damian had been vigilant.

“I understand,” he began. “I do have to warn you that in roughly two minutes my mother as well as my mother in law will be here to convince you otherwise.”

Bruce’s glare intensified.

“How?” He asked. At no time did he see Tim make any sort of call.

Tim stood, and replied, “I suspected that this would happen. I made a contingency plan.”

The two women who entered the room, looked ready to tie Bruce to a spit and set him on fire before feasting on his flesh. In a very dignified way, of course.

Tim left knowing he had the stronger party on his side. They would convince Bruce, on his behalf, that his relationship with Damian was, in fact, suitable, or Bruce would die in their trying. 

Chapter Text

“May you have beautiful grandchildren.”

Damian scowls, “You will not touch our grandchildren, grandfather.”

Tim rubs the bridge of his nose lightly. This had been an ongoing conversation, and he is tired. “I am not, in fact capable of giving birth. We will see about the incubation period when the time comes.”

Ra’s blinks, “Of course. That does not however, excuse my grandson’s duty to care for his spouse for the duration of the pregnancy.”

Tim stares, “Did you just refer to the incubation period, as my pregnancy?”

Ra’s smiles, “ Yes. You will feel sympathy pain during the growth of your fetus, thus it is your pregnancy. Grandson, you will rub the feet of your young wife during this period. He seems to have delicate ankles. They will swell.”

Damian makes a noise of agreement.

Tim leaves the room.

He reminds Ra’s of his own wife, the only woman he ever loved so long ago, remembering her was something he did often. He would have to give his grandson special bath salts and tinctures for his little spouse. He would also have to send them a wedding present. Perhaps a small country to show his approval of Damian’s choice.

His newest grandson deserved as much.

Tim squinted his eyes in the other room, assaulted with the urge to say, “Penis. I have one.”

Jason watched Damian put Tim’s shoes on for him and squinted at the sight.

“He does know that no one does that, right?”

Dick popped a piece of popcorn into his mouth, “I think this is just his mating ritual.”

Damian helped the smaller boy rise.

Jason snorted, “What, like, Robin presents his potential mate the worm, mate is not satisfied, Robin proceeds with mating dance…that kind of thing?”

Dick frowned, “I don’t think Robins do that.”

“Not the point Dickiebird, so not the point.”

They watched as Damian carried Tim out the front door.

Dick cooed. “It’s like Tim’s a fairy princess and Damian is his prince.”

Jason shook his head, “Damian is the dragon.” he then continued by saying, “He’s also being drugged.”

Dick blinked, “Who?”

Jason sighed, “Damian, Dickie, Damian.”

Dick almost spilled his popcorn, “Nope, this is where you’re wrong Jay, no one would actually want to have Damian after them. I love him but he’s the actual antichrist.”

Jason pondered the statement, “This is true.”

They enter high-school in a flash of laughter and joy. They are brilliant and shining, two stars gone supernova.

They flit through the halls, untouched by all others, lost in their brightness, in their glory, and the glory that comes from two singular hearts beating out the same rhythm.

Tim’s riotous laughter fills the air and Damian can’t help but respond accordingly. Twirling the smaller boy in his arms, they dance through the halls. Their feet tap out the steps to a bastardized waltz. No one is in the school but the janitors, and administrative workers. A few teachers have come early but the halls are empty, free of interference. Their dance remains private.

They never meant to come so early, but they are here and as far as they can see, there is no one else, so they will take this moment and make it theirs.

Dropping Tim into a shallow dip, Damian pecks the tip of his nose. Tim squeaks before giggling, straining upwards to place a matching kiss on the taller boy’s cheek.

A year ago, this is something neither of them would have done, but the year has been kind and they are young. More than that, they are in love and the world has never been brighter. Damian can’t help but hope, that they’ll spend all their time, just like this. Dancing through halls, and streets and ballrooms. He can’t help but hope that they will be as happy as they are now for a very long time.

They are content and as Tim slips free from Damian’s hold breaking into a mischievous run, he can not help but feel joy.

“Catch me.” Tim laughs.

Damian smirks and gives chase, following the slighter boy through the pathways of the school.

He may have been Robin, but Tim was fast, lightning quick, and smart.

However, he was still Robin. Eventually he catches the smaller boy, lifting him from behind. Tim loops his arms around Damian’s neck to steady himself.

He had taken refuge in their first period class and Damian carries him to their usual seat, plopping down on the plastic chair, his betrothed nestled in his lap.

Tucking an errant strand of hair behind Tim’s ear, Damian speaks, “I have caught you.”

Tim shifts slightly, making himself more comfortable, “So you have, Mr.Wayne, and what are your plans? Now that you’ve caught me.”

Damian replies, “I think I’ll keep you.” Gently pushing Tim’s head to rest of his shoulder, Damian runs his fingers through soft black hair.

“I’d like that Mr. Wayne.” Tim whispers into Damian’s shoulder.

Together, always together, they wait for the day to start for everyone else. For children to pile into the classroom and the teacher to try, and fail, to instruct them that sitting on another person was not allowed in class.

….

“Dude.” Kon starts, staring at Nightwing, “The new Robin is like, the devil.”

Dick wished he could say differently.

“And then, he was really nice on the phone to someone, like ridiculously nice for someone who threatens to maim everyone on a regular basis. For someone who does maim everyone on a regular basis.”

Dick groans. He knows where this is going and he does not know how he is going to explain Tim to Kon without making his tiny Krytonian brain hurt. He wonders how he could even begin to explain Tim, at all, to anyone.“

Superboy is still very confused, and slightly awed, and it shows, this is definitely Tim’s fault, “He called them darling, he called the person on the phone darling!”

Dick sighs and wishes that he could stop making these noises but everything that is the engagement of Damian and Tim demands them. That and repetitive face palming.

“Superboy,” Dick warns, “You don’t want to know. You really don’t want to know. I know and sometimes I really wish I didn’t.”

This does not stop Kon from being curious and before he can begin to pester Dick for more information, the older man cuts him off, “If you really want to know, ask Damian.”

What ensues is a curt conversation that involves Kon doing a spit take as Damian bluntly informs him that the person he was speaking to was his betrothed and that he should shut his filthy alien mouth before flies started landing there.

What happens after that is a very traumatized Kon flying to Bludhaven to bother Dick. Dick is not amused.

“Dude, he’s engaged? He’s what, fourteen? Fifteen?”

Dick sighs, rubbing sleep from his eyes, “He’s thirteen.” He slurs, Damian has always been big for his age.

Kon blinks, “Really? Wait, no, not the point. He’s engaged?!”

Dick flops back onto his bed, covering his face with a pillow, Kon can barely make out the words, “Yes, and it’s serious. His fiancé is terrifying, and probably not human.”

Kon nods and backs away slowly as Nightwing starts flailing his limbs muttering about inhuman pixie boys who tamed the antichrist. The pillow is still covering his face. Superboy realizes, that he probably does not want to know.

Telling the team this new information is a perilous process which for the most part leaves all of them laughing until Damian confirms it as true, and then all hell breaks loose.

All of their attempted lectures on how he’s too young and he needs to live more before making such decisions fall flat in the face of Damian’s bullheaded insistence that he was right and they were stupid.

Me'g'an pointedly will not read Damian’s mind for them to try to make sense of this. After the last time she attempted to do so, and something tried to eat her, she gives Robin a wide berth. She does not like the younger boy’s insides, they are not a very kind place to traverse.

Meeting Tim was like meeting some sort of mythical creature they had imagined a million times over but had never seen. It was like meeting a unicorn, or a yeti, or the loch ness monster in all its majesty, except somehow more because this was someone who could make Robin behave. No yeti had managed to do that.

Meeting Tim was like meeting someone who knew everything you had ever done in your entire life, and he was not impressed, so really Kon take that silly earring out, and Cassie why is your midriff bared and the Titans can only collectively straighten their backs under his cold blue gaze.

Damian…is a perfect gentlemen.

Cassie manages to choke on air and Kara who had come for this occasion, specifically, nearly looses control of her heat vision in shock, because hearing and seeing are two different things entirely.

Their second thought, past the little voice screaming at them that this is what married Damian is the knowledge that Tim is really pretty. Seriously pretty, like, to the extent that Kon blushes ever so slightly as Tim takes the hand Damian offered to him and glides past the gaping teens. Cassie is a little bit jealous.

Kon is too busy wondering if Tim is human, because he has never seen anyone move with such grace, to notice.

Bruce sighs down in the batcave.

“Alfred, do you think the engagement is a good thing?”

Alfred continues his ritual cleaning one of the many bats in the cave with a toothbrush as he replies, “Master Bruce, I would not presume to tell you what to think. On another note, Damian is truly happy now, he’s better adjusted, less violent and I do believe it bears repeating, happy.”

Bruce smiles wryly, he’ll take that as a yes.

He wonders how out of all of them, his youngest has had, perhaps, the longest and most stable relationship.

Selina watches as Damian picks up a small grey kitten with long fur that edged into black and in some places was dotted with white. It mewled pathetically as the youngest Robin tucked the ball of fur under his cape.

“I can take the kitten from you, If you want?”

Damian usually gave the stray cats he found to Selina to take care of. He was the only Robin with a spare key to her apartment.

He shakes his head, “This one is a gift.”

Selina grins, “Oh. Are you brining home a pet for your little husband.”

Damian smiled, privately Selina thought that Tim was adorable, much like the kitten hiding on Damian’s person.

“Yes.” Damian stated proudly before disappearing into the night.

Presenting Tim with the kitten Damian made sure the little tom had been neutered and groomed prior to the gifting. He would not present Tim a dirty cat, regardless of how endearing the animal was.

“I understand.” Damian began, “That you are technically not allowed to have pets but this cat is mine and as you are my future spouse we must care for our pets together. You may tell your parents that you are taking care of it for a friend if they visit, and we are unable to move the animal to Wayne Manor in a timely fashion.”

Tim reached out, eyes wide, to hold the kitten. Upon touching the beast, the small thing starts purring immediately. Damian was pleased. It would not do for Tim’s pet to dislike him.

Cuddling the kitten close, Tim stroked one downy ear with his fingers, “What’s his name.” He asks.

Damian placed his arms behind his back, standing at attention. “I have not given him one, I was hoping that you would do the honours.”

Tim bit his lip, considering, “I would. I would like to call him Bear.”

Damian blinked. Such a nonsensical name was not something he had expected from Tim. He would not reject this suggestion, he could see how nervous Tim was and he would not make him unhappy. After all, what was the price of a name for the happiness of his beloved? Bear was a fine moniker for a cat.

“He will be a very confused cat. ” Damian quipped.

Tim heard the humour in Damian’s voice and his shoulders ceased tensing, “But he’ll be our confused cat, won’t he?” He teased back.

Damian reached out a hand to pet Bear, “Yes, he will.”

Bear true to his namesake grows to be a monster of a cat, the size of a miniature tiger and twice as mean.

What had once been a small kitten becomes a hell creature with great claws and tufted ears. Bear looked like the cat equivalent of an escaped convict, crazed glowing eyes gleaming as he brought home large birds and sewer rats.

Damian taught Bear to to attack anyone who came near Tim. The highlight of this training was when Bear urinated on Todd. Even Tim had been quietly amused as Jason ran around the room trying to kill their cat and failing.

Tim spoiled the monster, giving it cuddles and affection, as well as small cat treats. In return, Bear followed Tim devotedly, much like Damian.

Chapter Text

Their first fight is an explosion. It’s a country responding to the tectonic plates shifting beneath it, hot magma reaching cool earth, spreading volcanic essence across soil.

At least. It feels that way.

It starts with a simple issue, and escalates.

“I am fully capable of taking care of myself.” Tim hisses, eyes trained on the taller boy pacing in front of him desperately. “You can go, I’ll be fine.”

“You should not have to.” Damian pleads, and it was, most certainly a plead. Please let me do this, please let me take of you, but Tim would not be moved.

The smaller boy arranged his pillows once more, reclining on the soft surface of his bed. Damian was meant to patrol for the night, but Tim’s immune system was fighting off a simple cold, nothing more than a stuffed nose and a headache. Ailments Tim had battled alone for years.

Damian was insisting on keeping him company, outraged at the idea of leaving his betrothed alone, sick, and hurting with no one to offer solace or comfort of any kind.

He could see that the younger boy would not be moved so he tried again, kneeling by the side of the bed, taking one small, pale hand in his own, revelling in their differences, in the way he engulfed the smaller limb, keeping it safe.

Tim’s hand was clammy and cold, a light tremor unsettling it.

Damian would not leave this night.

“Please.” He begs. “Let me do this.”

His voice is slightly above the sound of a whisper, loud as gun shot in the silence of the room.

Damian swallows and tries to find the words to continue when all he can see is images of worst case scenarios, seizures and life ending cancers, diseases of the flesh and bone, devouring his Tim as he fights in some dirty alley far away from this room.

He knows that it is not logical, not rational, or in any way possible, and that all Tim has is a simple cold, but the thoughts will not leave.

Gripping Tim’s hand he tries to speak. “Please. Even if it is just to humour me, you must indulge me in this matter, please. I close my eyes and I see you in this room shrivelling into nothing and I -”

Damian stops himself before the words become too much, too dark, and unhappy. Before he overflows with the sheer terror he feels at the human ills that could befall Tim and cripple him far worse than any bullet or knife, take away his mind, and turn his body into a sad, broken thing.

He knows this is not logical, that he would turn the world over to find a cure, use the pit to revive his beloved, bring him back in perfect condition if need be, but his heart feels terror and his mind does not wish to leave.

Sighing, Tim deflates, all anger leaving him. He knows that Damian means the best.

“You have a duty.” Tim reminds him.

Damian strokes the hand he still holds in his, “I have no duty more important than you and I will swear it now, if you wish. I have nothing to honour that usurps your position. Let me do this.”

It is a demand, a promise, a righteous cry from the lips of the boy who will one day become the man he marries.

Tim does not know what to say in the face of this open affection. His mother loved him in her own way, but she would never say it, never stay with him when illness fell.

He does not know what to do in the face of someone who will not be moved, so he lashes out, because it is the only thing he can do to stop the aching hurt that reminds him of all the times he’s administered his own medicine, and cooked his own soup.

Ripping his hand away, Tim’s face smoothes into the cold mask he presents to the public, “This is entirely unnecessary. Do you think me so fragile that you need to watch me sleep?”

“No, I think that you have a minor cold and that I should be here to make you feel better.”

Tim sniffs, “And what do you know of making people feel better?”

It’s a low blow and both of them know it. A nudge to Damian’s heritage as an Al Ghul, as a bringer of pain and suffering. His are not the hands that heal.

The earthquake has come and the very first casualty is a robin, must be a robin, for someone must suffer in the face of such an ache. The ground swells and shakes. The foundations are weakened.

Damian closes his eyes to collect himself before standing, “I will care for you, and I will not leave tonight. If you’ll excuse me I have soup to prepare. It is the traditional meal of the sick, is it not?”

The first building falls with an echoing crash.

With that, he departs and Tim clutches the bedsheets. He just wants the taller boy to go away, to leave him alone, as he has always been.

They spend their night in a cat and mouse chase, neither cat nor mouse, alternating the roll.

The workers try to bring people from the fallen rubble, they dig and they search but for every person they find, for every one they save another fades away. They wage a battle with the earth itself and the earth…is angry.

When morning comes, Tim is tired, his headache removing any thought of sleep from his mind. His eyes are tired and Damian remains by his side, dutifully peeling an apple for his consumption.

He does not know what to do but he feels like crying, and everything hurts so why is Robin still there, still sitting and watching him.

When day-break comes, they re-build. They mourn their losses, and bury their dead but they begin to remake the foundations that had fallen, the buildings that toppled over like dominoes in the hands of a child.

Burying his face in his pillow, Tim breathes as a large hand lightly massages his back.

“Hush.” Damian murmurs, “Hush love.”

The sobs come easily, because Tim is not used to this affection nor this attention, and neither is Damian but tonight had been far too much.

Tired, sleep deprived, and aching Tim succumbs to his urges, wailing miserably for the first time since he was old enough to know better, to understand that no one would come if he called, but someone has come. Someone is slipping into bed with him, pulling him into their arms and cooing softly in broken Arabic.

“Forgive me.” Damian whispers, “I have been too harsh on you, but love, Tim, you must let me care for you.”

He is a solid presence in the smaller boys’ world, his body an anchor in a storm.

“I” Tim hiccups, voice broken, “I, don’t know how.”

When the buildings rise, they are larger, better consolidated then before. Their new bodies built to last. They stretch for endless miles upwards reaching for the sky, no concern for the ground below, prone to movement as it is.

Damian smoothes sweat soaked hair from his beloved’s face, “It’s okay.” He whispers, “It’s all going to be okay.”

And it is.

The earthquakes passes. They rebuild and when that last brick is set, the last bit of mortar dry, they look, and see a city far stronger for the faults that brought it down.

Their first kiss appears after their first fight, the light of the morning shining through the gauzy white curtains by Tim’s bedside.

Damian remains wrapped around him, feeling the way he breathes.

There is something better about this day, this aftermath. This remaking. Something that they can not place until they do.

They watch each other, not with a wariness, but a calm. Tim’s eyes are rimmed with red, his nose rosy, and Damian finds it hopelessly endearing.

The smaller boy’s hands curl into Damian’s shirt unconsciously, clinging to him, keeping him close. He would have noticed if his own hands weren’t so thoroughly wrapped around Tim.

Their bodies are flush against each other, and a wet spot sits on the side of Damian’s shirt. Proof of Tim’s breakdown. Tim does not know what to say, what to bring forth in this quiet conversation other than thank you, and I think I may love you…because he does not know if he does love Damian, because he is terrified that he does.

He said yes, once upon a time in a classroom to a boy he had never spoken to before but agreed to spend the rest of his life with, because he knew that he could fall in love with this boy. Not the affection he had felt, but love.

He knew that he could, but never though he really would. That he would be able to himself go. Tim believed that something had frozen in him long ago. Now, for the first time in a long time, he thought of himself as able.

But believing oneself capable and experiencing the emotion were two separate and tangled things. This feeling had bubbled up though him, filled his veins with light and happiness, it travelled through his lungs until all he could release was a shocked little “Oh.” The sound popping from his lips with ease.

“I’m in love with you.” He breathes out, eyes wide and trained on the darker blue in front of him.

Because what else could this wonderful, horrible feeling be, and he had always had it, buried underneath, this spark of sunshine, and firefly light that lit up around his Robin, but oh, he’s in love when he had believed that such things were beyond him.

Damian drew in a breath, and leaned towards Tim, brushing one set of lips against the other, ever so gently, ever so lightly and sweetly. The first kiss the promise, the reassurance.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, they had met, limbs reaching towards each other, building themselves without knowing into one single tree. Not two.

Damian scowls as he notices the pile of cards, and various assortments of chocolate resting innocently on Tim’s desk.

Without a single word he picks up the offerings, and disposes of them by way of garbage receptacle.

Tim smiles in his seat and watches, sipping his fruit juice from a straw. Tim was the only person Damian knew who could drink a juice box gracefully.

Watching Damian deal with the mess on his desk Tim was, at the core, happy. He knew that the taller boy would deal with his various admirers for him.

It was such a relief.

He always hated the attention he received, and dealing with the confessions required a performance he was never keen on giving. A subtle blend of apology, enough to keep him from being relegated a spiteful creature in the gossip of middle school, and coldness, to prevent the idea that the confessor could wring a date from him, solely out of pity. This year, Damian would handle the issue for him, with what Tim suspected would be a ruthlessness not soon forgotten.

Perhaps Tim would finally be at peace.

Disinfecting his hands the taller boy pulls a blue square box wrapped with a lighter blue ribbon from his plain black backpack. He presents the box to Tim, placing it on the table that once held the previous gifts.

Taking a deep breath, Damian asks, “Would you give me the honour of being your Valentine?”

Tim sets the juice box down and accepts the box, pulling it closer towards his person.

“Yes.”

Opening the container he feels warmth pooling in his stomach. He had not expected this from Damian. It did not seem to be an event he would celebrate.

The first layer of the of the box holds an assortment of decadent French chocolate.

“I have made a reservation for tonight. I had originally intended for us to dine at your home, but I believe that you will enjoy the restaurant I have chosen.”

The second layer held a card, hand crafted by Damian. The drawing on the cover was an exquisite depiction of them, aged several years, and dressed to be wed. The inside held the inscription, “To my lovely Valentine” on the left side, and on the right, “I have pondered on the message within this card for a long while and I have decided to tell you only this. I love you and I will dedicate my life to doing so. That is all.”

“They have a decent variety of pastry that will, hopefully, meet your standards.”

Tucked into the card, far less important than the drawing and inscription were two plane tickets to France. As Damian noticed Tim’s attention slip from the card to the tickets, he began to explain.

“The restaurant is of course, in Paris. We will return in time for class tomorrow morning but we must begin to leave for the airport in one hour and three minutes at the latest.”

On the very bottom of the box a small stuffed Robin was squished below the other gifts.

“I have researched that such toys are customary for this event. I trust that you do not find it offensive. I understand that you are of an age -”

“I like it.” Tim interrupts, squeezing the small Robin to his chest. It’s eyes looked angry. “It reminds me of you.”

Damian smiles in triumph.

“Alfred has agreed to chaperone the trip. I have taken the liberty of collecting your travel documents and preparing a change of clothes. I have additionally -”

“Damian.” Tim interrupts yet again.

Damian blinks, clearing his throat. He has just now realized that for the past few minutes he spent his time rambling. He cannot be faulted for his nervousness, he has never done this before.

Reaching into his own bag, Tim pulls out a box, much like the one Damian, had presented to Tim. It was more rectangular than square and its colouring was green.

“Will you be my Valentine?”

Tim may not have expected Damian to participate, but he fully intended to present Damian with a gift from the start.

Damian pauses, stuttering, “I-I, yes, of course.” He is slightly breathless and his eyes are wide as he takes the gift from Tim and parts the lid from the container, slowly.

The box was, as Damian discovered, the perfect size to place a well wrapped knife of the highest quality. Engraved on the side of the blade, well away from the edge were three words. Be. Safe, Love. Below the blade lay a beautiful photograph of Tim. Damian knew that the smaller boy disliked taking pictures of himself, but enjoyed photography greatly. The image was superb, most likely set up with a tripod as Tim could not have been the behind the camera and the subject of the picture otherwise.

It had been taken in the rose garden, and depicted Tim smiling at the flowers he tended. It was a small upturn of the lips, but something Damian knew was rare for one such as Tim.

Without a word Damian offered the smaller boy his hand to take, waiting for him to finish his juice box patiently before exiting the room, carrying both of their bags with the hand not entwined with Tim’s.

They had a dinner reservation to meet after all.

….

EXTRA: A Scene From After the Fall.

Damian knows that there is nothing he could have done for a fall that occurred a building away. Nothing he could have insisted on, nor protocol he could have used to prevent it.

He finds out one period after the offence happens, his thoughts, bloodthirsty and cruel. His upbringing coming to the forefront, demanding that he take recompense for the pain caused.

He knows it was most likely an accident, knows that there was no way he could have been there to stop the fall, the push, but he is guilty none the less.

It is his duty to care for Tim, it is the very thing he swore, the contract he implied when he asked for his hand.

He is to make sure the smaller boy is safe and he has failed, even when there was nothing to be done, even when he knows that soon he will take vengeance against this slight. He is guilty because a small voice in his head will not stop telling him that you should have been there.

Because he should have.

Soon he will change his schedule. He spends most of his time in Tim’s classes and his calculus is superb.

He will not allow this to happen once more.

Chapter Text

Damian scowled as he noticed the pile of cards, and various assortments of chocolate resting innocently on Tim’s desk.

Without a single word he picked up the offerings, and disposed of them by way of garbage receptacle.

Tim smiled in his seat and watched, sipping his fruit juice from a straw. Tim was the only person Damian knew who could drink a juice box gracefully.

Damian dealing with the mess on his desk made Tim happy. He knew that the taller boy would handle his various admirers for him, and it was, honestly, such a relief.

He always hated the attention he received, and dealing with the confessions required a performance he was never keen on giving. A subtle blend of apology, enough to keep him from being relegated a spiteful creature in the gossip of middle school, and ice, to prevent the idea that the confessor could wring a date from him, solely out of pity. This year, Damian would handle the issue for him, with what Tim suspected would be a ruthlessness not soon forgotten.

Perhaps Tim would finally be at peace.

Disinfecting his hands the taller boy pulled a blue square box wrapped with a lighter blue ribbon from his plain black backpack. He presented the box to Tim, placing it on the table that once held the previous gifts.

Taking a deep breath, Damian asked, “Would you give me the honour of being your Valentine?”

Tim set the juice box down and accepted the box, pulling it closer towards his person.

“Yes.”

Opening the container he felt warmth pooling in his stomach. He had not expected this from Damian. It did not seem to be an event he would celebrate.

The first layer of the of the box held an assortment of decadent French chocolate.

“I have made a reservation for tonight. I had originally intended for us to dine at your home, but I believe that you will enjoy the restaurant I have chosen.”

The second layer held a card, hand crafted by Damian. The drawing on the cover was an exquisite depiction of them, aged several years, and dressed to be wed. The inside held the inscription, “To my lovely Valentine” on the left side, and on the right, “I have pondered on the message within this card for a long while and I have decided to tell you only this. I love you and I will dedicate my life to doing so. That is all.”

“They have a decent variety of pastry that will, hopefully, meet your standards.”

Tucked into the card, far less important than the drawing, and inscription were two plane tickets to France. As Damian noticed Tim’s attention slip from the card to the tickets, he began to explain.

“The restaurant is of course, in Paris. We will return in time for class tomorrow morning but we must begin to leave for the airport in one hour and three minutes at the latest.”

On the very bottom of the box a small stuffed Robin was squished below the other gifts.

“I have researched that such toys are customary for this event. I trust that you do not find it offensive. I understand that you are of an age -”

“I like it.” Tim interrupted, squeezing the small Robin to his chest. Its eyes looked angry. “It reminds me of you.”

Damian smiled in triumph.

“Alfred has agreed to chaperone the trip. I have taken the liberty of collecting your travel documents and preparing a change of clothes. I have additionally -”

“Damian.” Tim interrupted yet again.

Damian blinked, clearing his throat. He had just now realized that for the past few minutes he spent his time rambling. He cannot be faulted for his nervousness, he has never done this before.

Reaching into his own bag, Tim pulled out a box, much like the one Damian, had presented to him. It was more rectangular than square and its colouring was green.

“Will you be my Valentine?”

Tim may not have expected Damian to participate, but he fully intended to present Damian with a gift.

Damian paused, stuttering, “I-I, yes, of course.” He was slightly breathless and his eyes are wide as he took the gift from Tim and parted the lid from the container, slowly.

The box was, as Damian discovered, the perfect size to place inside a well wrapped knife of the highest quality. Engraved on the side of the blade, well away from the edge were three words. Be safe love. Below the blade laid a beautiful photograph of Tim. Damian knew that the smaller boy disliked taking pictures of himself, but enjoyed photography greatly. The image was superb, most likely set up with a tripod as Tim could not have been the behind the camera and the subject of the picture otherwise.

It had been taken in the rose garden, and depicted Tim smiling at the flowers he tended. It was a small upturn of the lips, but something Damian knew was rare for one such as Tim.

Without a word Damian offered the smaller boy his hand to take, waiting for him to finish his juice box patiently, before exiting the room, carrying both of their bags with the hand not entwined with Tim’s.

They had a diner reservation to meet after all.

...

Damian slammed his hands down at the breakfast table. “Listen you incompetent cretins.”

His eyes are slits, his back curled like that of a feral cat. “Mother has requested my presence and, Tim many not come. Due to my location I will not be able to guard my betrothed. You will do so in my place.”

Dick slowly put down his cereal bowl and quickly covered Jason’s mouth with his hand as the younger boy made to speak.

“Why, would Tim need protection Damie? It’s not like he’s on anyone’s hit list.” Dick asked.

Damian cussed in Arabic, mostly spewing vicious slurs against Dick’s mother. Someone needed to save him from well meaning idiots.

Leaning forward he tries to explain himself, “Timothy is a beautiful boy in Gotham, by virtue of that alone, he is in danger.”

Dick knew the kinds of things that could happen to good looking kids in a city like theirs. He knew it from common sense, and from the men at the harbour who whispered about human trafficking, and asked for “special deliveries”.

Tim, however, was not a street urchin. He was an upper class boy who remained in the well established areas of Gotham, part of the well to do.

Jason bit Dick’s hand. Hard.

Yelping Dick shook the limb. He wasn’t shocked as much as he was upset that he didn’t consider exactly what Robin number two was willing to do. He should have known better.

The words that came out of his younger brothers mouth, however, managed to do what the bite failed to, “Yeah, we’ll take care of your babybird.” Jay answered.

Dick wasn’t sure where this was going and from the look on Damian’s face. Neither was he.

“Why?” The youngest Robin questioned. Todd was the least likely to go along with his plan, he was the one he expected the most resistance from.

Jason leaned back, eyes aglow. “Well demon,” He drawled, kicking his feet up on the table, and crossing them with leisure. “I’ve taken a liking to your boy and I thought that I may as well take him for myself. You know, as something pretty to look at.”

He just managed the finish the sentence before a knife was placed against his throat, “Shut your filthy, lying, mouth Todd.”

Dick interrupted, flailing his hands in an attempt to calm everyone down. “Okay, knife away. I know Jaybird was being an ass, but he didn’t mean it.”

Damian sneered, pressing the knife close, “I know that he is not truly interested in pursuing my Timothy, Grayson. If he was, he would be dead by now. This is a warning.”

His eyes never left Jason.

“I will say this once Todd, and only once. You speak of my betrothed in that manner again and I will cut off your tongue. There will be no second warning.”

Jason did nothing but smile. “Alright, alright brat. I don’t want your betrothed. I do want to get to know the person who has you so whipped.”

Damian snorted and removed the knife. Of course Todd would say yes, solely out of curiosity.

Glancing back at Dick, the youngest Robin asked, “And you, Grayson?”

Nightwing, glad that no blood was spilled, answered, “Sure little bird. No problem.”

Damian jumped off the table he had been kneeling on. The position left pieces of bacon on his right knee. He brushed them off.

“I will take my leave now. I have left you instructions in the Batcave.”

Dick and Jason looked at the paper copy of the “instructions” Damian had left them.

“Instructions” was a word that did not usually mean a set of three bound volumes entitled “The Care of Timothy Drake, One Through Three”. Each volume was the roughly the size of a telephone book and contained information Damian felt was necessary to know when watching over Tim.

None of the books gave away anything as to who Tim was as a person, despite the detailed notes of what they were to do with Timothy Jackson Drake in the case of a zombie apocalypse.

Jason looked up from the middle of volume two, and asked, “Why would need to know that if Tim, and I quote, ‘Suffers from a paper cut, he must be presented with a plaster of an appropriate size. The plaster must be green. It must be given two minutes after the cut but not before-‘ Really?“

Dick idly flicked through the pages of Volume Three. “How long do you think he watched Tim, I mean some of this stuff, like what brands of soap he prefers, and the closest locations where we can buy more, that’s pretty creepy.”

Jason snorted, setting the book down. “Dickie, we passed creepy a long time ago, this is Arkham territory now.”

Watching over Tim was a bit like meeting Tim.

Shocking. Terrifying. Unsettling in the way speaking to a living, breathing doll, would be.

Dick tried to make conversation, “So, Tim. How’s school?”

Tim blinked, staring at the older man like one would gaze upon an insect in a box. “Adequate,” he answered. 

In his mind Dick imagined that he was being pinned like a specimen, his arms and legs spread out, forced into place by nails.

The younger boy returned to his novel. He felt no need to socialize. Out of the corner of his eyes he was aware of Dick’s fidgeting. A foot tapping to a random beat, fingers drumming on the leather of the armchair.

Jason was in the kitchen, making himself a sandwich. Tim could hear him mutter as he searched for the mayonnaise.

He would find none.

Tim never liked the taste.

Settling his book down, he did not make a sound. He did not sigh. He did not announce his actions. He simply entered a movie into the DVD player and waited for Jason to sit down on the couch beside him, with his massive sandwich, to press play.

He understood Damian’s actions. Knew that the two men were here to settle his paranoid fear that one day Tim would be taken away, hurt, and that Damian would have done nothing to stop it.

He supposed he could humour his future husband and he could humour the two who trespassed in his abode, on behalf of his fiancee.

They had promised to stay with him, so he would allow them this comfort and give them something to do with their nervous energy. For they were nervous, unsure of their steps.

A film allowed them to interact with the screen, laugh, and make merry, while leaving Tim to rest in the dark, the forced conversation stilled.

He knew why they agreed. They wished to meet the one who ensnared their youngest, and Tim had not been particularly accommodating. He supposed, that it was a mixture of his unwillingness to show them his soft parts and his need to have the higher ground.

The more stable position.

...

Jason found him in the garden, bent over the roses he so loved.

“Hey. Why did you agree to marry him, Damian, I mean,” he asked.

Tim placed the clippers down on the floor. His poor flowers would have to wait a moment or two for their pruning. He had expected this question to come. He was surprised that it had not happened sooner.

He would answer truthfully. As much as he was able, and perhaps the second Robin would understand, or maybe he wouldn’t, but Tim would try his best to explain the beating in his chest to someone who did not hear the drums.

“I love him. I loved him before I knew what that really meant, and I when close my eyes, when I wake up in the morning, there’s this moment, this perfect, wonderful moment where I remember that he’s there even though I’ve been dreaming of him all night….Do you understand, Jason?” Tim asked.

It is the first time the older boy has heard Tim speak so much, and such gentle words at that. His tone is bland, his eyes blank, but there is something there. Beneath the words, beneath the calm, there is a fire, and if Jason squints his eyes, if he tries as hard as he can, he can almost see it.

He can almost see the boy his little brother loves, in the roses which are so well cared for that they shame to ones Alfred keeps in the Wayne Gardens.

“No,” Jason replied, watching Tim in his coveralls and hat, his white t-shirt tucked stark against the blue denim as he once again picked up the shears.

“I don’t know what that’s like,” he admitted.

Tim pursed his lips, and cut off one stem, then another. “It’s like falling asleep.”

Jason does not know what to say, does not quite understand, even though he sees it in the distance, the far off shadow of the thing Tim spoke of.

He goes back inside the house with more questions that he had when he came out.

Questions like, if I peeled off your skin, who would you be? What would it take to move you? Has Damian ever seen you cry?

Can you even cry?

…What does it feel like to be in love?

...

Dick frowned as he entered the Drake house, feet dragging behind him.

Today was not a good day. He and Jason had been switching off patrol, and the night before had been Dick’s night out. Never before had anything gone so horribly wrong.

He stopped the mugging but it was already too late. The mother was bad enough, but the kid was worse off.

Bullet wound to the head.

Dredging up his last reserves of his joy, he smiled at Tim.

The small boy gazed at Dick, eyes sharp.

Without a word he turned on his heel and left to prepare tea, and cake, and some warm soup to eat before the cake. Chicken broth and noodles, plainly spiced. Easy to stomach.

They spent the day, sequestered on the sofa, watching old reruns of horrible television shows from Dick’s childhood.

Dick watched Tim from the pile of blankets he’d been wrapped in. He always knew that Tim couldn’t have been a bad person. He just didn’t think the smaller boy would be so sweet.

Damian returned in a blaze of savagery, ripping Dick from his place on the couch beside Tim. He inserted himself in Dick’s spot, only closer, pushing up against the smaller figure until he held him in his lap.

Huffing, Damian cocked his head to look at Dick and Jason in challenge.

Dick was sprawled on the floor and Jason was laughing, perched on his armchair.

“I told you to protect him in my absence, not touch him,” Damian accused.

Dick rubbed his back. “I wasn’t touching him.”

Damian had, in fact, noticed that little detail. “Two things Grayson, one, you were close enough, and two, you were in my spot.

Chapter Text

Damian lazily ran his fingers though his intended’s ebony locks. Twining himself around the smaller boy he purred in contentment.

Dick had recommended they watch some film about princesses or some such nonsense. Timothy appeared to be enjoying the humorous aspects, thus Damian enjoyed himself as well. All was well in his world.

The wedding scene of the movie had been a travesty. The bride unwilling, her prince a snivelling weasel but the ceremony itself prompted Damian to action. The dulcet tones of the priest lisping his words sounded from the TV as the larger boy cleared his throat.

“I Damian Wayne do so swear to take Timothy Jackson Drake as my lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish from this day forward until death do us part.”

He thought he missed a line or two but the words seemed correct. He was holding onto Tim’s hands, choking out the speech with a seriousness he had not expected. Every word he uttered was nothing less than the absolute truth.

Timothy’s eyes were wide.

After a pause the smaller boy found his voice, “I, Timothy Jackson Drake do so swear to take Damian Wayne as my lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish from this day forward until death do us part.”

The vow made something in Damian’s chest constrict, elated beyond all belief. He knew that the words were not real but his heart beat a pace too fast for his body and his palms gathered sweat.

These were the words they would one day speak, swearing themselves to one another. And if not these exact words, ones like them.

In place of the priest Damian murmured, his face leaning closer to Tim’s, “By the power vested in me I pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.”

Their lips met, soft and gentle, the slightest bit of tongue coming to the forefront as Damian licked the softness of Tim’s mouth, never breaching inwards but sampling a delight he would claim fully in time.

“Shall we Mr. Wayne?” he asked because he had learned from many a luncheon with Pennyworth that Western couples danced first at their wedding.

Tim blushed and allowed the taller boy to lead him to the centre of the living room, their hands clasped together. The smaller boy tucked his face into Damian’s shoulder, smelling the spiced musk of his skin, the warmth.

It had been a beautiful wedding, their fake ceremony. It was the most most perfect he had ever seen.

They danced with the television sounding behind them, stocking clad feet shuffling against the hardwood floor.

From the window Dick hid under he tried to contain his delight, hurting himself on the rose bushes as he flailed and deeply regretted his lack of photography equipment.

Damian returned home calm. Settled.

Dick sat on the couch covered in small bandages. Raising his eyebrow Robin asked what occurred, without actually asking.

Nightwing laughed, “I got into a fight with some rosebushes.”

Snorting the younger boy headed off to his room.

Dick thought that Robin’s lack of concern would have been so much more hurtful if he hadn’t seen that little ceremony a few hours ago.

The scratches? Worth it. So worth it.

The reporters watched as Damian Wayne, the little prince of the Wayne family, escorted his friend, Timothy Drake to the galla. The Drake’s were another well-to-do family, so they weren’t surprised at the association.

There was however something off about the two.

Maybe it was the way Damian held Tim by the elbow or the picture the two portrayed.

The stoic, spoiled, prince…and for lack of a better word, the princess.

Timothy Drake had been strikingly beautiful before he stood beside the young Wayne. He had turned every head in the room when he was younger still, and retained that ability as he grew.

This had always been their excuse to take a few photos, but never to publish.

Janet Drake was a harpy in human skin and she would not suffer any indignity upon her child. They could all recall the incident when the youngest Drake was bumped into and Mrs. Drake nearly tore the arm off one of the newer photographers berating him for being, in her words “A cowardly mongrel who needed to be put down for the betterment of the species.”

He had never worked in the media business again.

They knew this, this piece of history, this warning but their fingers ached as they watched the young boys settle in the corner of the room to speak, parting through the crowd with ease.

There was something in the way that Damian would place his hand on the centre of Tim’s back and the way Tim would respond, leaning towards his friend like a flower to the sun.

A beautiful boy would grow to be a stunning adult, and a prince would grow into a king.

If only they were a few years older, they whispered from their places in the crowd. If only.

There was the feeling that regardless of age they would never would touch the two at all, hands reaching to the sky hoping like fools to grasp the stars.

Throats dry they watched the pair, tucked away to the side, living in their own private universe

Every eye in the room watching them.

Brucie sipped his drink, taking in the sight of those enraptured by his son and his future son-in-law. Alfred was by his side, holding tray of champagne in his arms.

“They have no idea, do they?” Bruce asked.

Alfred replied, droll as always, “If it is any consolation it will be far worse as they get older.”

Bruce sighed and picked up anther glass of champagne placing his empty one back on the tray, “Alfred,” he started, “That is not a comfort.”

...

Dick grinned as he explained that, “Robin won’t be here for a while.”

Kon squinted and Cassie placed her hands on her hips, annoyed beyond belief, “What do you mean. He. Won’t.. Be. Here?”

Robin always came to the Titans. Cassie assumed this meant that the younger boy was injured and that Dick was holding out.

“I mean,” Dick replied, “that Tim got sick.”

Cassie deflated, “What?”

Dick rocked back and forth on his heels. “It means he’s busy.”

Muttering as she stormed away Wondergirl wondered why no one in the stupid batclan had anything to say against a teenaged kid getting married.

If she tried to pull something like that Diana would kill her but Robin got engaged and had been for who knows how long, and all was right and shiny in the world

Stupid Bats.

The problem was, Tim was small, and tiny, and quiet. For all his capabilities, for all the things he could do, nothing changed the fact that he was not the most physically imposing. He was rabbit skinned, and dragon hearted in a school of dogs, and for all their skill they could see his insides for his skin.

Damian wore his nature proudly. His scales and claws. His teeth too sharp, his gaze too cruel to be anything but a predator, and as long as he was there the others, the dogs and squirrels and mice that bit, knew better than to touch the proverbial rabbit. They knew that any overture to Tim was a knot in their noose. They stayed away. They knew better.

Things, however, changed. New blood flew into their forest, and from far off a hunting dog travelled to Gotham, banned for his previous home. He did not know to leave the rabbit alone. He had no was of knowing. This was not an excuse.

Snickering the large blonde grinned, his letterman jersey tight on his back. Robert dear, your ego is showing. Tim wondered if he should tell the other that his father only yelled because he was a rampant alcoholic, and that the girl he slept with may have given him a sexually transmitted disease guessing by the way he kept aborting the motion to scratch at his crotch, and the knowledge that Jennifer Hayes had honestly slept her way through the entire football team. Nothing wrong with that of course, but rumour was she didn’t bother with protection.

Instead he moved sloth like to his class.

“Hey, hey freak, were are you going?” Robert called out. Growling he prowled after the smaller boy. “I’m talking to you.”

He was angry at being ignored, and he was going to show that skinny little twerp exactly how angry he was as soon as that bastard looked at him. The school halls had all gone silent, and if Robert knew better, if he had any semblance of sanity he would not have continued.

Bad things happen when the forest goes silent, the smaller creatures fled the scene to hide in their burrows.

Tim still did not look at him.

The blonde sneered and maneuvered himself in front of the rabbits path, slamming him into the lockers, caging him with his arms, and still no fear filled blue eyes.

“Look at me when I talk to you, you got that, you little bastard?” He questioned, grabbing ink black hair with one hand to force Tim’s head back. His buddies had warned him to stay away, but something about the kid just pissed him off.

He did not see the halls clearing as Damian moved through him, his face dark as a thundercloud, his voice detached as he announced, “You don’t seem to understand the rules, so I will be merciful in this. You will unhand him, or I will break you.”

The blonde looked over his shoulder at the tanned intruder. He laughed. He was older, bigger,  and stronger than the kid in behind him, and the one in front. “I don’t think so,” he replied.

Turning back to Tim he raised his hand, ready to throw a punch as he felt his knees go out from beneath him. Spluttering in shock he fell, a gasp of pain left startled lips. Tim moved aside, as Damian locked the larger boy in a hold that would easily allow him to simultaneously break his ribs, or snap his neck. It wasn’t bat protocol, but Robin wasn’t allowed at school anyway, and Damian had been fighting men far larger than himself long before he donned the iconic tights.

Twisting the neck in his ams ever so slightly Damian growled, “Leave Timothy alone, or I will break you. Is that understood?” The blond snarled, as the young vigilante retaliated, pressure increasing on his neck.

“Is. That. Understood?” Each word was punctuated by an addition of force. The blonde nodded to the best of his ability. He left with shaky legs, scuttling off to class in fear after Damian let him up.

Tim hummed from his place behind Damian, the slighter boy mockingly cooing out, “My hero.”

Tim wrapped his arms around tense shoulders. Robin smiled sharply as he placed a small peck on soft lips. “Let us go beloved,” Damien said.

Nodding Tim detached himself, walking with the other boy to their class, Damian’s hand wrapped around his waist possessively.

Tim’s hands trembled as he arranged the cutlery just so. Everything in its place. Every cup is exactly one centimetres away from every other cup, or dish in the shelf, the handles all pointing outwards. He had measured the distance.

Humming he tucked the last knife just so, before closing the cubby.

The drapes were straightened, the carpet cleaned, scrubbed, washed, and vacuumed, the floor was polished.

Everything in its right place.

His parents had extended their stay for another half year and he refused to retain the housekeeper so someone had to keep things clean, and Tim would not to live in a pig sty. He wouldn’t do it. Everything needed to be in its place.

He was smart enough to understand his triggers, the things that set him off, but there was always this sense of detachment whenever it happened. It was like he could see himself move, while his mind screamed at him to stop. While he wondered at his actions, his body still moved, still straightened the chair, one foot between each.

If he could just keep everything where it was supposed to be, if he could keep it together everything would be okay, because -

Everything would be in its god-fucking-damn place.

One of the flowers in the vase was wilting, this brown ugly thing he couldn’t stand. It wrong, and dirty and it was ruining everything but it was okay. It was going to be okay. He would just throw it out.

Even though he had already taken out the trash.

And the garbage bag was empty.

He could just, he could throw it out, put it as compost for his roses, and everything would be okay. Everything would be okay. Everything would be okay, and in its place. Like Tim, who was in his place, in this house he loved, while his parents were in Balta.

Picking the rose up with a cold smile he cupped his hands under the stem to keep it from dripping. Tucking it under the rose bushes he left it there. A corpse in his garden.

He was not ready for company. For anyone. But Damian came up the steps to his father’s driveway, Tim didn’t drive after all, he couldn’t because -

Damian thought he was perfect. He thought that Tim was special and wonderful and right now, the slighter boy could not handle that. He was not, he knew he  wasn’t. His hands were blistered from the cleaning solvents that removed the grime from the bathroom tiles.

Tucking his fingers behind his back he kept his smile firmly plastered on his face. He couldn’t deal with this right now.

Damian’s eyes flickered up and and down as he assessed the other. Nodding slowly, he spoke, “Shall we enter your abode?”

Inclining his head towards the front door he led the older boy inside, sleeves tugged over the reddened appendages.

He could do this…there a droplet of water on his wooden floor. In another life he would have made allusions to dewdrops on blades of grass but in his mind it was proof of failure.

Shaking softly he shut down. Closing his eyes he willed the world to go away. He could not do this.

Everything was no longer in its right place, and he could not do this. Not with Damian behind him, his sock clad feet silent as he moved, but the slight wisp of cotton reached his ears regardless.

He wanted to scream but if he opened his eyes he would see the water, and he would see Damian, who thought he was perfect, who could not see that Tim had failed, that he’ll never live up to any expectations and that the larger boy needed to leave. Now, before Tim dragged him down.

Damian’s hands hovered beside his arms, the heat radiating from them before he grasped Tim, forcing him to move upstairs, discreetly wiping the drop with his foot.

He bandaged the damaged hands and did not speak in the face of Tim’s silence, his trembling. He put everything back exactly where he found it, and tucked the smaller one underneath the covers of his bed, sitting on the floor patiently.

Tim just wanted this to be over, his mind thinking of the flower in his garden. The one he threw out, the one that didn’t belong.

He bit his tongue to stop the screaming from leaving his throat.

Chapter Text

Tim tilted his head as he observed the proceedings in front of him. He should have probably been more concerned about the happenings, but nestled in a safe place he chose to watch with bemused fondness instead.

Damian set a mound of pillows and blankets on the wood of the porch. He picked a single throw pillow up to the light. It was made of red velvet with delicate foliage themed embroidery done in a darker shade, its form small and square. Pressing it to his nose he took in the scent, squeezing it twice he nodded solemnly in approval and added it to the mound surrounding Tim, or rather, the mound encompassing the smaller boy.

It seemed like every soft thing in the manor had been used to build Tim’s…nest, being the best word for it. Dick’s threadbare, yet clean sweatshirt peeked out from the pile, the arm of a teddy bear poked out from in between a downy goose feather quilt, and a thin silk throw.

Each piece had been stacked, and pushed, and layered with Tim in the centre, like a very well insulated egg.

Hazy eyed, the larger boy sniffed another pillow, dark green in colouring before throwing it away. It landed on the grass of the lawn, soaking up dirt and water. Surely it would be ruined.

Damian’s pupils were dilated, his movements frantic, but his actions were kind despite the warnings Dick gave. Poison Ivy had not gone easy with her attack, and while the elder Bats fretted about like headless chickens concerned with Tim’s virtue, the slender boy in question watched his other half in peace.

“Tim. You need to step out of the blankets,” Dick called out from the bushes, head popping from the greenery giving the illusion that nothing was below. Like he simply rose from the ground a single talking head, as opposed to a human being.

Tim stared deadpan, and replied, “I’m quite comfortable actually.”

The eldest Robin flailed. “Tim.” He hissed, but Damian had returned and with him his brother’s head popped back behind its hiding place.

“Have you finally striped the manor of all its bedsheets?” Tim asked. He was curious, both to the answer and what answer Damian would actually give. He almost hoped the larger boy started spouting strange ramblings on the deliciousness of pears if only to tease him for it later on.

Sadly, Damian, drugged was still…Damian.

“I have not, but I will. Soon. Soon I will…and you shall have a glorious nest and it shall be your nest and we will call it…Nest.” The last word was spoke with great conviction, as though the naming of Tim’s newly made abode was a great and terrible thing.

Tim nodded. “Of course.” He paused, and then called out, “Damian.” The other boy stopped mid-step to turn and face his beloved.

“Yes,” He inquired.

Tim smiled. “Would it be possible to get some food, and some more blue pillows. I like the blue ones.” It probably made him a bad person that he was enabling Damian’s drugged actions. He did not care. He wanted more blue in his nest, the red looked so..ugly.

He should probably consider the idea that he may have been poisoned as well. Contact high, perhaps?

“Tim,” Dick called out as Damian disappeared behind the wooden doors of the manner, “What are you doing?” He accused.

The smaller one blinked innocently, “What?” He responded.

“This.” Dick waved to Tim’s perch. “It’s not good. Stop it.”

Raising an eyebrow Tim snorted and snuggled deeper into the covers, the light blue flannel blanket soft underneath his fingertips. What harm could this cause? It was no more than a glorified pillow fort.

Dicks voice was a strangled squawk as he protested. Tim stifled a quiet laugh.

“We need to get demon child away from the…other demon child.” Jason insisted.

Dick looked at him. “Which one is which?”

Jason blinked and considered the question. “I..have no idea. Which one do you think is worse, I mean like if you were stuck on an island with one of them and you had to kill each other who would you rather fight against?”

Dick kicked his younger brother in the shin. “Damian is our brother and Tim is also sort of our brother -”’

“Step-brother.” Jason chimed in as the first Robin ignored him.

“So why would we kill, or think about killing either one of them?”

Jason nodded. “Okay, but, hypothetically…who?”

Dick took a long look at the person in front of him and refused to answer, Jason huffed in frustration. “Fine, I’ll go first. Tim.”

Dick’s eyes widened and replied, “What? How? No, we don’t know what he’s capable of and sometimes when he smiles he looks like he eats babies. Babies, Jason.”

Jason nodded and replied, “This is true, I once saw him with a kitten. I never saw that kitten again. I hope it’s resting in peace wherever it is now.”

The kitten was given the Selina as opposed to the animal shelter. She promised to find it a good home.

“Oh my god, he’s going to skin our little brother alive and wear him as a suit isn’t he?” Dick screeched.

Jason nodded sagely, and said, “Yes, yes he is.”

“Poor Damian,” Dick whispered then considered his words. He kicked Jason in the shin. Again. The injured party yelped and grabbed at his foot.

“Fucking Ow. Dickie. What’s wrong with you?” Jason snarled.

Dick glared and said, “Damian was raised by assassins. He can handle himself, and we have never proven that Tim is anything but a nice young man.”

Jason frowned, his hand still wrapped around his leg. “You are such a Dick, and you sound like Alfred, all ‘Master Timothy is a delightful child’, and ‘your son seems to be doing better than others in his romantic life isn’t he Bruce’. ”

Tim observed Damian climbing up fluff mountain and snuggling beside him, sighing blissfully before he fell asleep.

The nest was fairly awesome in terms of size, and structural integrity.

Tim had been bouncing on the thing all evening and nothing had so much as budged. Except the teddy bear, but that single apple didn’t take down the whole tree. It just fell. On its own.

From his nest he could walk into one of the upper windows in the manor with ease. He was impressed.

Curling into the warmth beside him he pressed a soft kiss to one dusky cheek. He hoped that Damian remembered this come morning, if only for the experience.

It wasn’t every day one evaded bats and birds to build a nest a nest on their porch after all. That kind of thing deserved to be remembered.

Tim huffed softly as he rejected the third offer of the day. It was like the student body had lost all sense and memory over a tiny little dance that would most likely be an uncomfortable arrangement of pubescent bodies staring at each other, trying to move in attractive ways and failing. It was as though they had forgotten that Tim was, well…Damian’s, and that the larger boy was in turn Tim’s. They had been in a relationship for as long as most of the students had known them.

“Hey, Tim.” A cheerleader cooed, second string not first, daughter of a drug lord. “So, are you going with anyone to the dance?”

Sighing he prepared yet another explanation, that while he had not decided on his attendance of the soon to be poorly monitored school function, if he was to go he would go with Damian.

“Katelyn.” Damian nods briskly towards their year mate, as he came into the classroom, “Timothy will, if he so chooses to attend, be going to the dance with me.”

“Oh.” The girl pouted as though this was somehow new information, “Are you sure you want to send that kind of message to the public?”

Damian shrugged and answered, “The opinions of mere plebeians are not my concern.”

Grinning she laughed, “Good for you, I wasn’t trying to horn in your territory, I just thought I’d ask.Tim’s very cute and you’re a lucky man Wayne.”

Smirking his assent the larger one watched her leave.

Once more Tim sighed, “At least she was nice about it.”

Cocking his head Damian observed his most precious person, “I understand this has been a trying day for you, but I must ask if you wish to go to the dance.”

Tim paused to consider the implications. The dance would be hectic and regardless of where it was held people would cram together like sardines which made no sense but teenagers rarely did. However it was their first school dance, and if anyone was to be Tim’s escort it would be Damian. Such things were part of growing…Alfred would enjoy the preparations, the spectacle. So would Tim. Secretly. Very secretly.

It would be…nice.

Smiling he nodded his assent and said, “Yes. I would like that.”

The larger one smiled, “We shall inform Alfred when school lets out. He will be appalled if we do not give him sufficient time to provide appropriate clothing.”

Tim’s smile widened, “White.” He stated, “With tan gloves and leather elbow patches.”

“For you?” Damian asked.

“For you.” The slighter one corrected.

Shrugging Damian assented. He had no particular preferences for his own attire, Tim’s however… “Purple.” He countered, “Dark purple.”

Tim shrugged mimicking Damian.

Alfred’s eyebrow raised at the requests, silently he looked through any collections that would suit the needs of his grandchildren.

Smiling he hummed a little tune and picked up the phone. “Yes, I am calling on behalf of the Wayne family, I require …..

Damian smoothed his fingers through Tim’s hair, ’‘You look wondrous beloved, more so than I had ever anticipated.”

Leaning into the soft touch Tim closed his eyes, multiple shades of violet, indigo, lavender, created a vision of exotic royalty, the son of a dark queen, the slim cut trousers of the darkest plum, a smile on his lips.

Damian dressed in warm white looked doubly foreign, his skin darkening in contrast, his eyes sharp lifting at the corners, the testaments to his mixed heritage starkly pronounced against white cloth. Gotham liked to forget that Damian wasn’t all Wayne, that there was more to him than Bruce. That there was more to him than either of his parents.

Drawing his finger down the slope of Damian’s nose Tim revelled in their differences, the milk white of his skin bleached by the dark of his suit, contrasting against the cinnamon of Damian.

Grasping that hand that touched him Damian pressed a kiss to the soft of Tim’s gloved palm, the heat of the contact seeping through thin silk, the warmth of his breath leaving false wetness. Shivering slightly Tim’s pupils dilated, his body leaning towards his date, pulling their joined hands to the side. A hairsbreadth was left between their lips and Tim spoke, “You are the most perfect thing I have ever known.”

Shuddering Damian watched as the slighter one moved back, and licked his lips. Adjusting the lapels on Damian’s shirt Tim grinned. “I was promised a dance.”

“Of course,” Damian agreed and if his voice was hoarse, neither of them mentioned it.

The dance itself was slow, a sharp little waltz they had done so many times before, in the hallways of the school, in the confines of their home, and the steps did not change, but the intent, the weight shifted as their classmates witnessed.

“Often I am thankful,” Damian confessed his voice silenced under the music and the conversation that filled the hall. “For you are one person in seven billion and in my lifetime I have found you.”

Tim rested his head on Damian’s broad shoulder and replied, “ Of all the schools, of all the families…” Damian nodded, careful not to dislodge the person leaning on him.

“I’m glad we came,” Tim said.

“As am I,” Damian agreed.

They did not stay the night, nor did they stay for the full duration of the dance, leaving with soft expressions of pleasure, and calm minds.

“Shall I take you home,” Damian offered but Tim shook his head.

“I think I want to spend some time, here, with you. Like this,” Tim said.

“Standing on the curb, halfway to the parking lot?” Damian commented.

“There’s a full moon out tonight,” Tim countered, ignoring the soft jibe.

“Excuse me while I turn into a large hirsute monster,” Damian teased.

“That’s fine,” Tim replied, his eyes crinkling at the edges. “I suppose this is a horrible time to inform you that I am a vampire.”

This was spoken with such false honestly that Damian laughed bemused. “We, are one of those so called ‘horror’ movies that Grayson insists on watching, then?”

Tim smiled, ’'Nonsense, we dearest, are a disaster.”

Damian’s eyes softened.