Whenever there was a quiet night in Gotham, the Bats were equal parts wary and content. Wary because things were rarely quiet for long in their city and when it inevitably blew up again someone was bound to end up with a major injury. However, they took the quiet patrols as they came, allowed themselves the chance to relax and almost have fun with their patrols.
Which is exactly why Tim Drake was unhappy at this moment.
Because ever since his family had discovered that there was a restaurant also named Red Robin quiet nights almost always turned into a competition to see who can do the call-and-response slogan the most times in one night.
It had started a month ago with Jason, who had been clued into the chain’s existence by Roy on one of their missions outside of Gotham. When he got back the very first night he patrolled the same hours as Tim and heard “Red Robin” get called over the comms he was quick to chime in with the second half of the slogan. Unfortunately for Tim, he was standing with both Dick and Damian on a rooftop collecting themselves after taking a group of Black Mask’s goons down together. Doubly unfortunate was the fact that Jason dropped onto the roof not even thirty seconds after he spoke and got to see Tim stiffen and put his head in his hands.
“Red Robin?” Dick asked with an undercurrent of worry. He faced TIm with a frown, then glanced over at Jason. Bruce was very obviously listening in on the comms, but so far had elected to stay out of his children’s shenanigans.
Jason grinned smugly, having taken off his helmet so he only had on his domino, “Yum!”
“Hood what is this nonsense?” Damian nearly hissed. At least someone was as annoyed with this moment as Tim.
“Well see, lil baby bird neglected to mention to us that he’s not the only one to use the name Red Robin.”
“I used it after you Hood, I wasn’t aware of its... other uses.” Tim sighed, “And I had hoped that no one else would find out about it seeing as there is rarely a reason to be anywhere there is one and I may have made sure that there was no way for them to open in Gotham.”
“Wait th-there’s what ?” Dick spluttered. Damian also began to get an evil grin on his face, to match Jason.
“Are you telling us that there is a business chain outside of Gotham that uses the name Red Robin and they use the slogan ‘Red Robin. Yum!’ as their advertisement?”
“Exactly lil demon. That’s exactly what I’m sayin’. And baby bird has been hiding it from us. So I'm thinkin’ we gotta make up for lost time.” Jason’s grin turned shit-eating, “Don’t ya think?
After that it was fair game for any one of the Bats to chime in on the joke. Once when Tim was in the middle of taking down a group of wannabe paramilitaries looking to rob a bank Oracle was giving him some intel on where the group was all located in the bank and said his name in warning, causing Damian to snidely butt in “Yum” as sarcastically as he could physically make it. It caused Tim to be so startled and irritated he hit the thug sneaking up behind him with his elbow a little too hard and broke his nose.
Steph called his name out to say hello as they passed and somehow Cass heard from wherever she was lingering, in Gotham for a short time, and said “yum!” before sneaking by and giving Tim a noogie through his cowl.
Bruce even joined the call and response once, though Tim is fairly certain it was more accidental than anything, as they were joking on the comms, a rather fun night of patrol by all standards, and Dick had said “Red Robin” in a scandalized tone. There was barely a pause before Bruce murmured the “yum” almost too quiet to hear. There was stunned silence over the comms for all of five seconds before everyone, TIm included, started laughing and asking Barbara if she had managed to record that slip up in The Batman’s scary demeanor.
It honestly wouldn’t have bothered Tim so much, the fact that his family made jokes about his vigilante name, were it not for the fact that the more they made the joke, the less seriously they seemed to take Tim. They seemed to show less and less respect for him while on patrol, and more inclined to make jokes about his name than seriously ask for his help or consider his input with sincerity in favor of trying to see who could make the little inside joke the most times.
Which is where they are tonight. Two hours into patrol and Tim has already been forced to hear the damn slogan twenty. seven. times . He could feel his blood pressure rising each time it happened.
He forces a grin and powers through, the cogs in his brain moving quickly. Cass notices how he seems to tense more and more each time the slogan is called out and frowns in worry. He smiles softly, shakes his head, and if Cass leans against him while they rest and eat sandwiches on a rooftop that’s only for the two of them to know.
“Okay?” Cass asks softly.
“It will be. It’s not even that I’m mad about the joke itself, it’s just annoying as hell and I’m worried about being taken seriously by anyone anymore. Just because I’m not the first Robin, or a former gang-slash-drug lord, or raised by the freaking League of Assassins doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve the same respect as the others.” Tim sighed and leaned more weight against his sister. He had no issue talking to Cass about this- it seemed like out of anyone else she knew what he was feeling best, and it wasn’t because of her ability to read anyone like a book. Although he wouldn’t hesitate to say Steph or Kon or Bart were among his closest friends, it seemed like Cass was the only one who consistently listened to his problems and fears without trying to minimize them or make him guilty about them. He offered the same respect in return, and it felt like the two of them practically had twin-telepathy at this point
“Tell them.” Cass responded firmly.
“Tell them what? That I should be taken seriously? Tell them I can’t handle a little joking around? First it shouldn’t need to be said, and second neither of those conversations would go over well. Dick will say of course he takes me seriously,” The two of them were in a much better place now than they had been after Damian was given the Robin mantle, nearly back to the relationship they had before Damian was in the picture, but it wasn’t perfect, “Jason finally isn’t trying to kill me but he also hasn’t really begun taking any of us that seriously since coming back,” Which wasn’t entirely true either. He had stopped trying to kill any of them and now respected that they could all hold their own. However he hadn’t yet thought of Damian and Tim as adults and ready for the next level of respect that came with it, “And Damian is…. Damian,” That is to say, while he no longer tried to kill Tim or do everything in his power to destroy his reputation and get him kicked out of the family if there was anything that seemed to annoy Tim or knock him down a peg Damian leapt at the chance to do it.
And that… that didn’t seem like such a bad idea to Tim.
So he really can’t be blamed for the revenge he begins to plan out against his brothers. Steph, Babs, and Cass are exempt from his revenge, mostly because none of them were as heavily involved as his brothers, and also because the three of them teamed together would spell disaster for Tim and he wouldn’t doubt them to work together in retaliation. Bruce and Alfred are also exempt, although that is mostly because neither of them had participated, save for Bruce’s minor slip-up.
Instead, he enlists Cass’s help, tells Babs nothing except to make sure Dick patrolled and to keep an eye on cams the next night, and leaves Steph out of it entirely and convinces her to take the next night off. Alfred gives him a knowing look while preparing Bruce’s suit for his work event that’s keeping him from the field that night, but refrains from saying anything beyond an exasperated “please do not make any extra work for me Master Timothy.”
The next night Tim and Cass are ready to go with the revenge plan, and his brothers have no clue what’s going to go down. Sometimes they all, Tim included, get so caught up with themselves or the Mission or their lives that they forget things that are common sense to the family. Like that Tim is a genius tactician and knows nearly everything about them and how they operate. They also forget (read as: Tim hasn’t really told them the whole story) that he fought against the Court of Spiders and won so he knows his way around a plan with back-ups upon back-ups.
And that leads to Phase One of his plan.
Phase One starts with Dick because he wants Jason and Damian to know something is going on and he wants to keep the two of them on edge. It also starts with Dick because while he has participated, he genuinely thinks this is some light-hearted brotherly bonding thing, and doesn’t deserve the same level of revenge as the other two who know exactly what they’re doing. Plus it’s always fun to mess with Dick, regardless of whether or not he’s done something wrong.
So Tim sneaks into Dick’s apartment while he’s at work and goes directly to the kitchen. The expected thing would be to hide all of Dick’s sweets that he keeps in the house, but he doesn’t want to go with the most expected moves. Instead he switches the bags in the cereal boxes with broken up saltine crackers (Dick has declared saltines to be his arch nemesis ever since he ate too many of them once while sick). Next he takes a page out of the classic book of pranks and replaces the frosting in the oreos with toothpaste then puts Dick’s sugary cereal in the last place Dick would ever look: the fruit crisper in his fridge.
After that he moves to the bedroom closet where Dick’s casual clothes are and replaces them with toddler versions he convinced his neighbor to give him on the condition that it would all be donated after he was done with his revenge. The only change to Dick’s Nightwing uniform that he makes is the addition of the old Discowing collar. He adds endless amounts of confusing tripwires untils its unable to be removed unless he wants to ruin the whole uniform, so if Dick wants to patrol tonight he’s going to bring the return of Discowing.
That just about wraps up his revenge on Dick, at least for now. He truly hopes Dick will patrol tonight, since he was scheduled to and Bruce most likely wouldn’t consider this a reason not to.
He snickers and sends a picture of the updated uniform to both Cass and Babs. He receives a smiley face back from Cass and Babs says she’ll make sure Dick knows he has no choice but to patrol tonight. As he leaves, he makes sure to move the furniture around a little bit, just enough to throw Dick off.
Dick messages the family group chat within 15 minutes of getting home from his shift.
Big Dick Energy: Who did it
Big Dick Energy: who came into MY HOME and MESSED with MY STUFF
Big Dick Energy: WHO REPLACED MY CEREAL WITH SALTINES
Big Dick Energy: WHY IS MY FURNITURE MOVED AROUND
Big Dick Energy: oh
Big Dick Energy: oh no no no no no no NO
Big Dick Energy: death is coming for whoever did this
YOLT(wice): woah there dickie, everything okay?
Big Dick Energy: NO
Lil Demon: Grayson tell us what you are being dramatic about. It is not becoming of an adult to act in this manner
Big Dick Energy: i can’t
Big Dick Energy: all of my clothes except for my uniforms have been replaced with toddler clothes??? I literally have nothing to wear except for my uniforms
Big Dick Energy: Bruce I’m coming to the Manor to steal some of your clothes
Big Dick Energy: and I’m bringing my uniform to see if it can be fixed before patrol tonight Babs said I have to patrol tonight
Dadman: I am afraid to ask, but as your father I need to know what is going on.
Not the Burger: Dick are you okay? I’m honestly concerned
Big Dick Energy: someone put the disco collar on my uniform and i can’t get it off
Dadman: is that all?
YOLT(wice): thats fucking hilarious i wish i thought of that
Alfred: Language Master Jason.
YOLT(wice): do you have it set to notify you whenever one of us swears?
Lil Demon: What is this “discowing” and why is it so alarming
Not the Burger: I have plenty of photos to show you. It truly is an amazing monument to why we don’t let Dick make fashion choices
Big Dick Energy: you little stalker
YOLT(wice): i will pay you so much money to have copies of those photos
Not the Burger: I’ll consider it, I could use some new stuff
Dadman: I would also like those photos Tim
Big Dick Energy: Et tu Bruce??
Dadman: As for the uniform Dick, if Barbara says you need to patrol for her tonight then you need to patrol. If the collar is unable to be removed then you’ll have to go with it on
YOLT(wice): baby bird i will cover your route if you can guarantee to get pics of that
Big Dick Energy: WHO IS BEHIND THIS
Big Dick Energy: I WILL FIND OUT
Big Dick Energy: AND I WILL GET REVENGE
Unsurprisingly, and according to plan, Dick blames Jason for the prank. Which is exactly what Tim was hoping for. This means that Dick will avoid Jason for the rest of the night and Tim has all the space to work with. It hopefully also means that Dick will avoid Damian in order to prevent the 13-year-old from catching a glimpse of the Discowing collar.
Which allows Tim to begin Phase Two of his plan: revenge on Damian.
This is also where Cass, Kon, and Bart come into the plan. Cass offers to patrol with Damian, since Bruce is busy with a Wayne Enterprises business event he promised Lucius he would attend months ago and won’t be able to patrol until much later into the night. Meaning that she is able to lead Damian directly into Tim’s trap.
With Damian, the revenge is meant to make him both need Tim’s help, and knock the brat down a peg or two. And the best way to do that? Lead him into a situation where he is unable to do anything but call for help, and ensuring Tim is the closest and most capable to help.
Since this portion of the plan involved Bart and Kon, Tim had to be very careful to ensure it happened at a time when Bruce wouldn’t be able to get away or interfere, nor find out about the two metas until long after they were gone. Once Damian was right where he wanted him, alone halfway down one of the actual quiet alleys in Gotham, Bart sped around the preteen and wrapped him up in what was essentially a blanket burrito that clipped on the outside, preventing the person inside from getting out. Tim may or may not have gotten inspiration from the many, many straightjackets he'd seen. At the same time, Kon swept in and hooked Damian in his wrappings on a hook on the fire escape that they had planted earlier.
“Just gonna tell you this once Little D,” Kon grinned from where he hovered by Damian, “I would start respecting those around you a little more, otherwise this isn’t going to be a one-off thing.”
Robin squirmed in the blanket and cursed so vividly in both English and Arabic that the rest of the family was stunned silent until Dick spoke up.
“Uh, Robin? You all good?”
“That accursed speedster and clone came and wrapped me in a-a-a blanket? Regardless I am unable to get it off. He has also left me… otherwise incapacitated. I require assistance from someone nearby.”
“What the hell does that mean demon?” Jason cut in with a snicker. It really was a good thing Bruce couldn’t hear the comms at the moment, otherwise he would have known what Tim was up to.
“I think I’m the closest after Cass… where is she?” Tim asked, hiding his snickers well.
“She went ahead to investigate a scream we heard and told me to wait here.” The sounds of Damian struggling were able to be heard over the comms, “Drake if you have time to chatter and ask inane questions come and help me. And once I find out which one of you convinced those two to do this to me there will be hell to pay and I assure you Father will be hearing you allowed and encouraged metas in Gotham.”
Tim landed just below Damian and snickered into his palm. Not only was Damian wrapped up, but the “blanket” was decorated to make the Robin look like a pinata version of his vigilante self, including streamers hanging from the bottom, “Bold look there Robin, I like the addition of the streamers.”
“Shut your mouth,” Damian hissed. Tim just laughed a little harder and pulled the camera out that he had already used to get pictures of Dick on patrol, “If you photograph me like this there will be swift revenge Red Robin.”
“Yumm!” Jason cheered.
“Say cheese Robin, this is one for the scrapbooks,” Tim smiled, “I can’t wait for the others to see this.”
“Just get me out of here!” Damian wriggled around, swinging wildly from where he was hanging. Tim used a batarang to cut him down, then caught him and undid the clasp. The moment he was able to Damian shoved his way free and stood, glaring down at where Tim was still crouched, “Not a single person is to see those photographs.”
“No promises Robin,” Tim said cheerfully, also standing. He patted Damian on the back, “Now avoid angering metas and maybe they won’t try to sneak into Gotham and tie you up.”
“Leave me be,” Damian hissed. He took off, not noticing the sparkling tassels that Tim had stuck to his cape, so when it flowed behind him there were sparkles to negate the ominous figure he normally made.
The rest of the night Robin also seemed to be rather… clumsy. He had managed to trip multiple times, as though his cape was just a little bit longer than it usually was. There were also multiple issues with his gear. It started when he pulled out one of his katanas and in its place was a flimsy rubber version of the original. When he tried to use the other all that came out was a bubble wand, releasing bubbles when Damian whipped it out. All of his gear and weapons had been replaced with toys that were similar to their counterparts, and even though it was a quiet night, that was the reason Tim made sure Cass was patrolling with Damian- just in case anything actually happened.
With each occurance Damian became more and more annoyed, until finally he began to accuse his family, “Alright Hood, you have had enough fun today.”
“Whatcha mean there Robin?” Jason drawled, audibly inhaling from his cigarette.
“Was it not enough to alter Nightwing’s uniform and interfere with his home? Now you must switch my weapons out with cheap toy imitations and get other heroes to play childish pranks on me?”
This got Jason’s attention, and he wasn’t happy, “Look, I have no clue what you’re going on about. I had nothing to do with you or Discowing’s bad luck today, although I would love to congratulate whoever did it since this is priceless.”
“Of course it wasn’t you Hood,” Dick chimed in sarcastically, “You are the one who likes to pull pranks and enjoys provoking others for no real reason other than you’re bored.”
“No seriously, I didn’t do any of this,” Jason said, “I haven’t been near any of your guys’ shit, and besides, Superboy and Impulse or whatever his name is hate me. They would never do this if I asked them to.”
“Hmm, you are correct there Hood. Then it must have been Nightwing who asked them to assault me like that. Superboy does seem to worship you and-”
“Wait what? No way, I am also a victim today Robin, not the one doing this,” Dick cut in, “I had nothing to do with any of this!”
On a private line Tim was snickering to Cass, “They’re reacting exactly how I was planning on them to. This plan is going so much better than anticipated.”
“Maybe it was Red Robin!” Dick accused, “He’s been awfully quiet!”
“Get real Discowing, Red doesn’t have it in him to be this evil,” Jason laughed at the thought.
“Besides, I doubt he has the ability to switch all of my weapons without my notice, nor would he have wasted resources asking those two to come to Gotham and play childish pranks.”
“Guys, with my day job when the hell would I have had time to set any of this up?” Tim asked deadpan, “But the fact of the matter is that someone is deliberately making our jobs more difficult, and the question we should be asking- other than who is doing it- is who is next?”
“Oh shit,” Jason breathed, “It’s either you or me there baby bird. Keep your eyes peeled open.”
“And that phrase right there is why we think you’re the one behind this Hood,” Damian pointed out.
With Dick and Damian out of the way, that meant it was time for Phase Three.
Jason was inarguably the hardest of the three to get revenge on, but the best way to do it was to be patient. It was well-known Jason was the least patient of the Bats, tending instead to jump in first and double check intel later.
Which meant all Tim had to do was lead Jason on a bit of a chase to get him right where he wanted him.
It started with Tim dropping hints to Jason’s informants that there would be a deal going down in one of the warehouses just inside his normal patrol territory. Once the information was given to Jason, Tim got Bart and Kon to disguise themselves as closely in ninja garb as possible and move around the area in a suspicious manner before they left Gotham, meaning Jason’s other informants in the area would contact him.
After that, Tim made his way, in full ninja disguise, into the warehouse when he knew Jason was watching. He had purposefully chosen a warehouse that Jason had recently arrested the owners of, partially to make Jason a little more suspicious, and partially to ensure no other bad guys would have tried to move into the warehouse. He had repurposed it to meet his needs for tonight- smoke bombs rigged to go off with the press of a button, a confusing maze of towering crates, and the main attraction: in the center there was only space for one person to stand, and rigged around it were paint guns ready to color Jason the most obnoxious shade of firetruck red Tim could find and the container of red glitter ready to be dumped on the wet paint.
Once Jason sets foot in the warehouse, Tim leaps into action. He gets a throwing knife to land right above where he was hiding, causing Jason to look the other way as they’d all learned in their training, in the direction of the fake thrower. While he was distracted, Tim slipped in and very carefully replaced the two main guns at the older man’s hips. Just as quickly, he moved ahead further into the warehouse, making just enough noise to lead Jason to the center of the crates.
“Whoever the hell is there come out now and I won’t have to break your fucking bones for whatever it is you think you’re doing,” Jason calls out cautiously. He pulls out one of the guns Tim already replaced, which Tim was happy to note.
“I don’t think so,” Tim responded through the voice modulator he incorporated into his ninja mask. Jason spun towards where he spoke from, moving closer and closer to where Tim wanted him. Slowly, so slowly, Jason was standing right in the center of all the paint guns he had rigged up. Tim pressed the trigger for the smoke bombs, erasing all of Jason’s visibility so Tim could get into place.
Meanwhile Jason cursed up a storm, and Tim got the camera ready. As soon as the smoke began to dissipate Tim pressed the button to set off the low-power paint guns and they shot at Jason, painting him a bright red. At Tim’s snicker, Jason spun to face him, gun held up. He pressed the trigger and all that happened was a little flag with the word “BANG!” popped out.
“What the fuck?”
“Say cheese Hood,” Tim smirked at Jason’s dumbstruck posture. If only he could have gotten Jason’s facial expression, but you can’t win them all. Just as Jason began to unfreeze, Tim pulled the rope for the glitter cannon and Jason was smothered in bright red glitter, “Looks like there may be a disco ball to go with Discowing tonight, huh?”
Tim didn’t hesitate to get the hell out of there after getting his photos, and hightailed it out while Jason was still sputtering at the turn of events.
“I’m going to fucking kill whoever is behind all this shit,” Jason roared into the comms as he came barrelling out of the warehouse and looked around. Thankfully Tim was already halfway across the neighborhood and had ripped the ninja gear off to reveal his Red Robin uniform.
“Woah there Hood, everything okay?” Dick asked.
“I’m covered in red paint and red glitter from a goddamn ninja, I’m callin’ alla the bullshit here. Get ready Demon, I’m comin’ after ya!”
“What? Why me?” Damian protested.
“WHO IS THE ONLY ONE HERE WITH NINJAS? IT SURE AS FUCK AIN’T ME.”
“Enough,” Ah, perfect timing Bruce, just as Tim planned. He grinned and stuffed his camera into one of his pouches, “Everyone back to the cave immediately. No exceptions.”
Everyone called their understanding, and Tim met up with Cass and Damian to drive Cass home and follow Damian just in case. They were the first ones back, although they didn’t have long to wait. Bruce raised an eyebrow at the tassels on Damian’s cape, which was only able to be removed with their domino mask solution, but didn’t say anything. Dick came in first, slumped posture as he had to show everyone firsthand the altered Nightwing costume. Even Bruce twitched his version of a smile before reclaiming his stoic mask. Damian leaned against one of the desks opposite from where Cass and Tim were sharing Bruce’s chair, Tim mostly on top of Cass but certain he wasn’t crushing her because he was pretty sure she outweighed him.
When Jason came in, there was absolute silence, followed by roaring laughter from the boys and even a giggle from Cass. Bruce, after a moment of staring, covered his eyes with one hand and sighed. Jason was shining, even in the low light of the cave, with every inch of his uniform covered in glitter. He still held the gun with the BANG! flag in his hand as he got off his bike. There was anger written in every line of his body as he stalked towards the others.
“Jason,” Bruce started.
“Nuh-uh. I need to annihilate whoever covered me in fuckin’ glitter. This is gonna take years to get the fuck off me,” Jason was full on seething. Bruce sighed and turned to Tim, who wiped any trace of a devious expression from his face.
Finally: Phase Four.
This was the part where Tim gently tortured his brothers psychologically and made them question the events of the entire night. And Bruce’s need to know every detail would play perfectly into his hand.
“I have no clue just what has been going on with all of you today but we are going to get to the bottom of it,” Bruce turned to the eldest, “Dick, you start. When did you first realize something was off?”
Dick hopped up on the desk next to where Damian was leaning, causing Bruce to frown at him, “Okay, so I got home from work and right away I know something is off because my living room looked different. I tried to throw my jacket on the back of my couch and it wasn’t where it normally was? But I shrugged it off and went to have a snack before dinner.”
“Cereal as usual?” Damian asked.
“Yeah, but it wasn’t cereal in the box, it was saltines. I couldn’t find it anywhere so I went to have some oreos instead and there was toothpaste in them? Thank god I smelled the toothpaste before taking a bite otherwise that would’ve been gross. I gave up on a snack and instead went to change and all of my clothes had shrunk! Or, I guess replaced by toddler clothes. The worst part was someone added the damn discowing collar to my Nightwing suit and rigged it to be impossible to remove without having to trash the whole suit. I checked over every inch of my apartment and there were no traces of a break in and none of my security alerts went off, which means it was either a very intelligent burglar or one of us,” Dick was truly put out if the pout on his face was anything to go by.
“You’re certain?” Bruce asked. Dick gave him a look and Bruce, very wisely, decided to move on, “Damian, what was going on with you tonight? I hear your equipment was tampered with? Was it anything that could have caused you injury?”
“Tt, nothing that serious Father. My grapple was not touched and I still had my baton. However there were two metas involved. Superboy and Impulse were waiting for me to be on my own and they captured me in a device to prevent me from moving and hung me from the fire escape.”
“The device was like a sleeping bag that locked me in. It was also… designed to look like my Robin costume if it were a children’s costume. Drake was able to get me down but insisted on taking photographs before doing so,” Damian and Bruce both looked at Tim, the former glaring and the latter conveying he would like those photos.
“Did they say anything to you about who told them to do this?” Dick asked. He seemed to be in a slightly better mood after looking at Jason struggling to get his helmet off without getting more glitter on his face and in his hair.
“Superboy seemed to think I do not respect those around me and warned it would likely happen again if I do not begin showing respect to those who deserve it,” it looked like Damian had swallowed a lemon. This was perfect, “After that I began to notice my weapons had been replaced by children’s toys. Both of my katanas had been replaced, one by a bubble wand and the other by a rubber version of my katana,” Dick perked up at the words bubble wand and reached over to Damian who was leaning on the desk next to Dick. Damian didn’t bother to look back at Dick while smacking his hand away from his body, “Additionally there were sparkling tassels on my cape that were unable to be removed, and it seems that my cape is slightly longer than usual, leading to some… minor mishaps.”
“Nothing life threatening?” Bruce reiterated and Damian shook his head no. There was a momentary pause while Bruce looked at Jason and tried to decide if the man was calm enough to explain what had happened to him. He ultimately decided against it and looked at Tim.
Tim cleared his throat and sat up from where he was finally more leaned against Cass and less sitting on top of her in Bruce’s chair, “I can’t report anything out of the ordinary on my patrol, although it is likely I was to be the last one targeted,” He frowned and did his best to not smile or laugh as Cass gently shook with laughter next to him, “I also can’t say I noticed anything while I was at WE during the day, and I stopped by my apartment to get my uniform but didn’t notice anything out of place, but I went straight to get changed then left for patrol, I didn’t pay any attention to my apartment other than to make sure no one was actively there.”
“You mean nothing happened to you at all today?” That got Dick straightening up- this was the hard part seeing as his brothers were by no means idiots, they were trained by the World’s Greatest Detective and were geniuses in their own rights.
“Didja not listen the first time Dickface?” Jason snarked, finally free from his helmet with relatively little glitter in his hair and on his face, “He already admitted he wasn’t payin’ attention and if it was just one or two people doin’ all this look at the timeline: mess with your shit during the day, the demon’s shit just before patrol then have the superbrats harass him, then piss me the fuck off. We all get home before it’s even 1 AM, when are they gonna have time to fuck with baby bird here?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jason sighed and took a deep breath, “I got intel that there was some sorta deal goin’ down tonight in one of the warehouses I just cleared, so I started movin’ over there and saw a guy in ninja getup sneak in. Once I’m in there the place is packed with crates into some sorta maze. I follow the noise, got my gun out and ready to shoot, and once I get to the middle- BOOM! Smoke bombs go off, I hear some noise, shoot in that direction once some of the smoke’s gone and all I get outta my gun is this lil’ fucker.” Jason held up the toy gun. Dick outright laughed and even Damian snickered. Cass giggled into Tim’s shoulder and Tim grinned widely, the first hint of amusement he allowed himself to show.
“They didn’t hurt you?” Bruce asked.
“Soundin’ like a broken record there Bruce,” Jason rolls his eyes, “But no, instead they blast me with obnoxious red paint then covered me in illegal amounts of glitter before runnin’ off. They were bein’ snarky sayin’ some shit about me being the disco ball to Dickie’s Discowing and snapped… a picture.” Jason slowly turned his head and narrowed his eyes at Tim, but didn’t say anything.
Bruce sighed and seemed to think things over for a moment. He ran his hand through his hair before turning back to Tim and Cass who had finally briefly wrestled in the chair for who would be on top of the other, Cass coming out victorious.
“Tim,” Everyone froze, knowing something was about to go down, “What have I said about allowing metas into Gotham?”
“Father you’re not implying Drake was behind all this are you?” Damian actually looked shocked that someone would suggest such a thing.
“I was mad at them and wanted them to be annoyed,” Tim shrugged. Bruce didn’t bother responding to his non-answer with any outward emotion.
“Timmy,” Dick pouted extra hard and hopped up to sit on top of Tim and Cass, “Why are you mad at us?”
“Partially from the Red Robin thing, but that was really only mildly annoying in the long run. You guys just didn’t seem to be taking me seriously ever since things started calming down and that just really pissed me off,” Tim tried to get the much larger man to get off of him but was having very little luck, and Cass just slipped out of the chair so he was forced to endure clingy Dick Grayson on his own.
“So you tampered with your family’s gear,” Bruce started slowly, “and possibly endangered them?”
“Nope, I made sure everything was under perfect control. None of Dick’s costume was tampered with to be nonfunctional, just the collar added and his apartment messed with. I made sure that Damian was still able to protect himself and had a fully functional grapple, and was also with Cass all night in case something really went sideways. And Jason was in a completely safe warehouse that I set up myself, with nothing that I put him through being toxic and is in fact biodegradable. I just wanted to send a message.”
“Well damn baby bird, shoulda just said something, didn’t needa do all this. Also makes me happy you never went darkside,” Jason frowned.
“Yeah, that conversation wouldn’t have gone over well and we all know it. This way we all had a little fun and I have blackmail photos of you all as revenge.”
“I’m sorry Tim,” Dick squeezed him tighter, “I didn’t mean to make you feel like I didn’t respect you anymore. Will you please take this collar off my uniform though?”
“Yeah, no problem,” Tim relaxed against Dick for a moment before finally pushing him off and getting up,” However, I am gonna shower because I really do need one, so do you Jason. That glitter is supposed to come off pretty easily when washed, same with the paint.”
He was stopped by a hand on his shoulder from Bruce, “You do have a punishment for this Tim…you will be performing the system update on the Batcomputer next week” Bruce leaned down and loudly whispered in Tim’s ear, “You also have to make sure all photos are shared with Alfred and I,” He straightened and squeezed Tim’s shoulder tighter, in a semblance of a hug, “I am proud of you for sticking up for yourself, even if the way was less than desirable.”
Tim smiled and darted in for a quick hug with Bruce before heading to the shower. After he was clean and changed into comfortable clothes he moved into the main area of the cave. His brothers were in the other showers still when he padded out, still drying his hair and heading up to the manor.
Damian was the first one up, and he glanced at Tim. They really were almost the same height now, and Damian used that to his advantage every chance he got. In this moment, he straightened as tall as possible and approached Tim, “Although I find you childish and your so-called prank to be proof of that, I will admit it was very well planned and thought out Drake. As for what your friends said, I show respect to every person who deserves it, and I suppose I should be more… forward in showing you respect. Should I feel you deserve it.”
“Aww,” Tim smiled, “Do you secretly respect me a little bit?”
“Tt, do not take what I said out of context Drake,” Damian sniffed and brushed past Tim to make his post-patrol tea, “If you deserve it I will show you respect, not a moment before.” Tim smiled into the mug of hot cocoa he had already made and went on his way to the movie lounge where Dick had yelled about a movie night seeing as they were all at the Manor and it was a very early night for the Bats.
Jason came in while Tim was texting Cass, asking why she left and went to Babs’ (it was to tell her firsthand what had gone on during patrol, beyond what she was able to see on the cameras around the city. He dropped down next to Tim on the couch and Tim stiffened, prepared for whatever retaliation Jason may have in mind.
“Ya got balls kid,” Jason dropped a hand on Tim’s head and gave him a soft noogie, “You get a freebie this time but you ever try anything like that again I will not hesitate to shoot you with an entire magazine of rubber bullets. You gotta problem, just talk to me kid, I’m a less emotionally stunted asshole than Batdad and Dickiebird can be.”
Tim smiled softly at his brother, “Doesn’t make you any less of a regular asshole though does it J-ah!”
“Sorry, can’t hear you, what’d you say?” Jason asked, pushing Tim flat on the couch and sitting on him. Tim couldn’t stop laughing and trying to shove the older boy off and couldn’t respond, “Nah, you’re gonna have to speak up there Timmy. Huh? You want me to find out where all your weak spots are?”
Which is exactly what Dick and Damian walked in to see: Jason sitting on Tim, poking him in the neck, right where the nerve is, and Tim huffing, trying his best not to laugh. Dick walked over and pulled Tim up from under Jason and squished him between the two oldest. Damian smirked before moving to Dick’s other side and sitting down, “It’s Tim-cuddle time! To make sure he knows we all still love him despite how mean he was to all of us today.”
Tim sighed but settled down between his brothers, the small spike of anxiety he had about their reactions finally smoothed over. There was minimal argument over the movie, they put on a classic they all liked and settled down. Before the movie was over, they all were asleep, the two eldest both leaning on Tim and Damian curled towards Dick who had his arm around the youngest’s shoulder.
Bruce stepped into the room and allowed himself a small smile before going to the basket of blankets Alfred kept between the couches. He smoothed one over Damian and pushed some hair out of his youngest’s face, then laid another over his other three. As unlikely as they were to show their affection to each other outright, an unfortunate habit they learned from himself, when they allowed themselves to relax around each other like this it reassured Bruce that they cared about one another.
“I would recommend spending some extra time with Master Timothy,” Alfred spoke up from the doorway as Bruce ran a hand over each boys’ head, “It would seem as though he has been feeling overlooked as of late.”
“I know,” Bruce straightened, “I’m fairly certain the other boys will also be around to make sure he knows we love him.”
As he and Alfred turned off the lights and the TV, closing the door behind them, the two oldest opened their eyes and glanced at each other. They didn’t nod, but they didn’t need to, before settling down and going back to sleep.