Tim’s not really sure where it all started. But he’s nearly 100% sure that it’s Young Justice’s fault.
Scratch that it's definitely Kon's fault.
The lines of what life was like for him before and what it was like currently were so blurred Tim may as well be legally blind.
Which, if that were the case, may make things easier than they currently were.
So Tim was wealthy.
There was no way to really beat around the bush with that. He was wealthy. Rich. Upper Class. A one percenter.
Tim had money is what he was saying. So it stood to reason that he had a bigger allowance than most other kids.
Kids like Cassie, who was financially reliant on her mom.
Bart, who didn't even have the legal documents to open a bank account.
Kon, who's sponsorship money from when he'd made Hawaii his stomping ground was all but dried up.
So it was easy for Tim to be the one to pick up the tab when they all went out on non-hero business (because of course the expense reports the teams sent back to the JLA financial department for reimbursement excluded non-caped dining).
From there it just seemed like natural progression.
Cassie had a pair of boots get destroyed during an acid canon wielding villain encounter? It was just easier for Tim to buy her a new pair through express shipping of the same specialty company that supplied Batman (not that they knew that). Besides, unlike him, Cassie's mom wasn't exactly rolling in enough money to be able to drop a couple hundred on new boots every time a pair got wrecked. Cassie was still growing and would need a new pair regardless everytime she went up a shoe size.
For Bart, it was initially an investment. A contingency plan. Who knew when Tim or the team would have use for a spaceship? Batman's was under lock and key and more security measures than Tim could ever hope to counter at that point in his tenure.
But spaceship and alien tech maintenance was expensive . Especially if you wanted to keep it on the down low. So Tim's checkbook made a frequent appearance during the monthly equipment check. Bart was good at recognizing and categorizing issues before they became worse so Tim felt it was fair if a reward was issued now and then.
Ice cream, pizza parties, the occasional trip to an 'all you can eat' buffet (which was really more of a 'eat until Bart gets us all kicked out').
Kon. Kon was a special case. Before the Kents took him in, Tim was his sole provider. Not that Kon knew that, their relationship had been… abrasive at its conception to say the least. But the other boy had hardly had more than a few shirts and pants to his name. That and that stupid (cool) leather jacket which somehow went untouched during the peak of YJ. Superboy was as wild as he was reckless when learning to be part of a team so it was easier to order his suits in bulk and have them 'magically' appear in his closet rather than weather through the time of fixing and mending every hole and slash in the barely adequate armor.
But then came the winter missions when they'd be stuck out in Siberia or some other icy tundra. His team would return to base cold and shivering because their winter suits could only do so much after hours of prolonged exposure. Fur lined boots and down coats it was then (customized to their costumes of course).
From there it was easier for the little things to just slip by without Tim noticing them.
Kon's multiple sets of crystal, diamond, and gold earrings. He wore them all the time so they'd seemed like good birthday gifts?
Cassie had seemed to appreciate the sentiment as well, especially when Tim gifted her a set of bracelets and bangles dated back to the Ancient Greeks because his Dad had sent them to him as an apology gift and Tim had no functional use for them.
Bart was surprisingly difficult to shop for but beamed like he was the sun when Tim would drive them to the grocery store and let him go wild.
But Tim couldn't be there for them all the time. Couldn't go to every birthday, anniversary, or we're alive party. So a venmo of a couple hundred to make sure they had plenty of drinks, food, and snacks made up for him not being there, at least in his mind.
It was just the way things were between them, the way things always had been.
Not really something Tim really gave much thought to.
Which is why, when a night out in San Francisco with the old YJ team (and Damian as a tag along because Dick and Bruce had been pushing them to get along a little harder recently) ended in a $403.86 tab at the local Red Robin, pulling out his credit card was just instinct by that point.
A stroll through a night market where Bart's eyes caught on to cones of dinosaur shaped cotton candy for sale, Cassie on the pair of aluminum brass knuckles that were only gold plated, and Kon a stuffed animal that was oddly Krypto shaped.
Well all that took was three pairs of wide eyes locking on him and outstretched hands.
Bart was first because everyone knew just as well as he did that he was Tim's favorite. Cassie immediately after because you gotta pay your respects to the leader. Kon went last because of his recently developed (annoying) habit.
A kiss on the cheek too quick for Tim to slap away and Kon was off like a shot.
Tim glared and made his way over to the picnic table where he could feel Damian's stare boring into him.
The two of them sit in companionable silence for a few minutes (a record!) before Damian decided to open his mouth.
God . What could he possibly want? Tim thought plying him with veggie burgers and pasta would be enough to get him to leave him alone for the night. It always worked on Tim when his dad did it.
A flash of a small palm settled under Tim's nose, nearly crashing into the phone Tim had it buried in.
Tim stared at the small palm, working his eyes up to a thin, tanned wrist and stopping at a pair of bright green eyes.
A brow, too neatly groomed to be natural, quirked up and Tim's fingers were wrapping around a few bills in his wallet before he knew it.
The almost silent smack of paper landed in Damian’s smaller palm without a word being spoken between them. Damian's eyes fluttered with...something. Before he was off the bench and jogging towards a booth with a milk bottle toss.
Tim stared at his small back for a moment before calling out after him.
"Bring me back a diet soda when you lose!"
The quick whip of a finger flickered over Damian's shoulder and Tim couldn't help but wonder who he learned that from.
In hindsight that was probably the beginning of the end.
He and Dick run into each other at a coffee shop.
Which is a less common occurrence than one might think.
They're just exchanging words, simple pleasantries about Tim's CEO duties and Dick settling into his job at the GCPD when they get up to the register.
Dick orders some overly complicated drink with plenty of whipped cream on top like he thinks he's at a Starbucks and not The Gotham Roast. Tim orders a chamomile tea because coffee reacts badly with his meds and he's dealing with a particularly pig headed investor first thing in the morning.
It's all fine up until Dick reaches for his wallet and immediately his charming grin to the barista becomes strained.
"Ah uhmm…" He laughs, trailing off in that implied 'oopsie' kind of way. "It uh, it seems like I forgot my wallet this morning?"
Tim has a hand on Dick's lower back before he can think, patting and stroking in the same way he does to Bart when it comes to pay the check and he's nervous with the lightest sprinkle of embarrassed.
"I've got it, don't worry."
A swipe of a card and Tim depositing a generous tip into the jar beside the register and the two of them are waiting patiently at the pick-up counter.
Tim can feel eyes on him the entire time, the weight of Dick's stare normally a comfort is now confusing.
Despite the simplicity of his, Dick gets his order first. It's slid across the counter with an air of nonchalance by the barista into Dick's eager hands.
Tim is finishing a text when Dick's heavy hand rests gently on Tim's shoulder and a waft of hazelnut creamer reaches Tim's nose.
"Thanks, Daddy." Dick murmurs, breath brushing against Tim's ears as a soft peck touches his cheekbone.
Tim sits frozen, Dick long gone by the time his name and order is called out. A stuttered ‘thank you’ and Tim is out the door like some bitch with their tail between their legs.
What the fuck.
Tim forgets about it for a while.
Too much to do really.
During the day he has a color coded schedule to follow from morning to afternoon at Wayne Enterprises. Evenings belong to Batman and all his current cases. The Birds of Prey have something crossing into Tim’s territory. Red Hood and him are crossing paths with another in a case.
Tim can’t return to the other Titans side for several weeks. Not that any of them really hold it against him. The weather is verging on into winter and San Francisco gets significantly less cold-themed villains than other cities in the United States.
Visiting the tower was the closest thing that Tim gets to a vacation, realistically he hasn’t had one since he was five and his parents drove to Connecticut. To pick apples or something? Tim didn’t remember. He spent most of the time hiding in the pumpkin patch hoping someone would pick him.
Still, it’s rare for him to be able to sit and not have to jump like a trained animal at the slightest sound. Garfield seems to be of the same opinion, the other Titan stretched out like a literal cat on the other end of the couch, eyes locked on the TV running commercials with heightened intensity.
Tim has one of the hundreds of magazines that get sent unsolicited to the Tower, laid out on his lap, half paying attention to the screen in front of him while reading about the top 10 best skincare must haves this coming season.
It’s Beast Boy's sudden squawk as he transforms into a cockatiel that startles Tim into letting the editorial slip out of his lap. Hand flying to his utility belt, Tim’s almost up before he gets side tackled by Beast Boy as a capuchin that starts tugging and climbing Tim until he’s on his shoulders and nearly screeching.
“That’s me! That’s me!”
The voice is so gleeful and light with happiness that Tim’s shoulders lighten almost instantly. His eyes drift to where the little paws are tugging him towards and makes eye contact with TV-commercial-Garfield smiling widely as he holds up a bottle of mouthwash.
Tim’s brows quirk up.
Beast Boy is patting on Tim’s head like a drum, feet clenched tightly on Tim’s shoulders as he drapes his body over Tim’s head. A full body shiver travels through the other boy before he speaks.
“I was late to the casting call, they almost didn’t let me audition! I thought for I wouldn’t get it!” Garfield babbles, shifting at Tim’s back to hang over the couch and loop his arms around Tim’s neck.
Tim quirks a brow, leaning back into the hug as he watched the jingle play from the speakers and cartoon teeth dance on the screen.
“Shouldn’t your agent be on top of that kind of stiff? Making sure you don’t lose an opportunity by being late?”
At least Tim thought that was supposed to work. Bernard always made it seem like that’s how it worked whenever they’d meet up and he’d lament to Tim the woe of a working actor/agent in Gotham City. Well that and how much he wanted to move out to LA and manage the ‘ real’ stars.
Garfield made a considering noise behind him, his chin resting on the crown of Tim’s head.
“For that to happen I’d have to get an agent, between auditions and heroing I just haven’t been able to find the time.”
Garfield practically wilts and that tugs at something in Tim.
“I know someone.” He offers.
“He’s Gotham based but shown a willingness to move, plus I can vouch that he’s not a plant or undercover agent-”
Tim’s rambling, hands already moving towards his phone where he knows he has one of Bernard’s cards tucked away in. Garfield tugs his head back, tilting it enough that they’re staring at each other upside down.
“You...got me an agent?”
“Well, he hasn’t agreed to take you on yet but I don’t think he’ll say no.”
“You got me an agent!”
“Maybe? Probably? It’ll take some time for him to find an apartment, but I know a few entertainment companies out here that would be willing to look at your headshots-”
“You got me roles??!!”
“You got me an agent and roles?!”
“Hey, you still have to work for these you kno-”
“I know!” Garfield gleefully exclaims, bouncing on the balls of his feet as he rocked Tim back and forth. Two hands come up and hold Tim’s head still as Garfield lowers his face and plants a wet kiss on Tim’s stunned forehead.
“I love you, Daddy!”
Tim sits stunned for several minutes, not even registering Garfield’s loud exit as he yells to Raven about ‘great news!’.
What the fuck.
Tim is going to kill Kon.
Fuck the ‘one-rule’.
Tim is going to kill Kon.
He should've been tipped off from the beginning. World’s Second Greatest Detective Tim’s fucking ass.
It’s humiliating, even more so when the rest of the Titans start doing it, all alerted about how Tim had scored Garfield an agent and gotten him an ‘in’ into the industry.
It didn’t help that Garfield’s mouthwash commercial was making the rounds on TV, reinforcing the other boy’s words.
Suddenly anything Tim does is met with a cheeky ‘Thanks, Daddy’. Requests or questions directed toward him start with ‘Daddy? Can I/we/you-?’.
It’s made worse by the fact that the others are now startlingly aware of how Tim occasionally purchases expensive gifts for his friends, or sends them large amounts of money for when he’s not around.
What was it that Robert K. Merton called it? A self fulfilling prophecy.
It’s goddamn humiliating . Tim doesn’t think he’s ever blushed as much as he had the weekend he spent with the Titan’s before flying back to Gotham.
He was not running, he was not . He just had multiple obligations to several cities and teams.
Not that Gotham turns out to be much better.
Working with Jason is like a drink of cool water on a hot day. You don’t realize how desperate you are for it until you get it.
Dick hasn’t said anything since the coffee shop but he has a look in his eye whenever he and Tim cross paths. If Tim had any doubt that Garfield had called Dick and let him know the great news and that Damain had blabbed about what he heard at the night market, well he didn’t now.
Damian was for sure mocking Tim, in the annoyingly silent kind of way where Tim couldn’t do anything without being accused of ‘starting’ it.
So Jason is a relief, as backwards as that may sound. He doesn’t talk to Tim much outside of coordinating for an attack or exchanging information. Even while staking out a club together he makes zero jibes or pointed comments like Tim imagined he would.
At least one good thing could come out of Jason being estranged from most of the caped community. Missing out on the gossip seemed to top the list.
Which is why Tim’s guard is more or less down as they’re wrapping up the last of their surveillance. Bugs are being collected for the audio stored, cameras are being looped- he and Jason are just about to part ways on a successful stake out.
The two of them had been seeing more and more of each other lately so Tim thinks nothing of it when Jason steadily peels his helmet off, leaving him in a simple red domino.
The grin is new though.
“So, nice work out there tonight, huh baby bird?”
Tim quirks a brow but shrugs, delicately placing each bug into its proper case before tucking it into his utility belt.
“It was good I guess, we might need to come back another night to make sure we have enough evidence before dropping it off to Gordon.”
A slight movement catches Tim’s attention and he looks up to the sight of Jason, grinning with palm stretched out towards Tim.
Tim’s throat catches on a glob of saliva but he absolutely refuses to choke in front of Jason.
Jason’s grin widens and his fingers rub together in a familiar, universal motion. Tim’s hands drift towards the compartment in his suit where he keeps a stash of bills for emergencies. Because sometimes fighting crime didn’t need you to punch anything.
His fingers unlatch the clasp and Tim’s fingers are sliding a thick sum into Jason’s open hands.
His grin widens .
Tim’s still struggling to breath through his nose to not choke and can’t do anything other than flash teeth and scowl.
Jason makes an exaggerated ‘aww’ sound and steps forward, backing Tim into the brick wall behind him. Looming over him, the other vigilante ducks his head in close to Tim’s ear, free hand pinching Tim’s chin between two fingers to keep his head still.
A raspy chuckle wasps into Tim’s ear and he resists the urge to shiver.
“Thanks, Daddy .”
The feeling of a hot tongue licking the curve of Tim’s jaw and neck startles him. Jason disappears a moment later, Tim’s money and bugs in hand.
It made perfect sense that she would know. Afterall, Oracle has eyes and ears everywhere. If anything, she was equally as likely to have told Dick as Damian was. Despite the cool veneer, Tim knew for an absolute fact that she was just as prone to messing with him as any of his brothers.
Still, it’s like the Usual Suspects with her. A devil in plain sight .
Maybe that was a bit overdramatic. Especially since Tim actually really liked Barbara, she was the only one who could keep up when he’d go on a rant about some coding problem that’d been keeping him up.
It’s also the reason why he’s always the person she calls when she has maintenance issues and needs an extra set of hands. It’s elbows deep into one of Oracle’s famed CPUs and bitching about well...everyone who isn’t them, that Tim, well…blue screens.
Tim’s delicately using a pair of sharp tip tweezers and a magnifying lamp to follow along to Barbara’s detailed blueprints, when he feels a hovering presence lean in close.
Tim tilts his head up just in time to feel Barbara press a firm kiss to the crown of his head.
“Thanks for the help today, Daddy.”
Tim can’t help it.
Then he proceeds to have his head buried into the CPU for the rest of the time he’s there, his blush stretching up to his ears when he hears Barbara wheel away, a low chuckle flowing through the room as Tim whimpers into a processor.
From there Tim really just accepts it.
He’s fought the good fight, did his best, served his time.
But there was just nothing he could do by this point.
Tim makes a yearly seven figure salary with his work at WE and he has virtually nothing to spend it on.
So why the fuck not?
Steph and Cass want to go out shopping? Fine. Take one of Tim’s cards, but bring him back a slushie.
Damian wants to buy lunch at school. Fuck. Whatever here, just stop snooping in my room.
Titan’s tower needs a new paint job and the JLA financial forms take two weeks to process? Tim’ll pay for it.
It’s just the way things progress and fall naturally. It’s his life now.
His and all his...babies?
“I hope you know that I hate you.”
Kon laughs. Laughs .
Then continues tugging out bales of hay onto a stack into the Kent Family Barn.
“This is all your fault, the Titan’s call me daddy- not Red Robin, daddy .”
Kon grins like it’s the greatest thing he’s ever heard.
“ This is all your fault. ”
Tim’s actually a little offended that Kon’s not the least bit scared. Tim could’ve brought kryptonite with him. Kryptonite .
They both knew he’d whip it out too.
Kon snickers and continues floating stacks of grain up to the hayloft. Tim eyes the mountains of stacks still left and raises a brow.
“I thought it was harvesting season, shouldn’t this all be done by now?”
Not that Tim’s knowledge of Smallville agriculture production was up to date enough for him to know that.
Kon shrugs, the motion jostling the hay enough to let a few flyaways drift to the floor.
“Normally, but production’s been slower this year since Pa’s tractor broke down.”
“It broke down, or you broke it?”
Kon huffs, bottom lip jutting in the same way he did when they were teenagers and Tim wouldn’t let him get his way.
“Clark broke a bunch of farming equipment when he was growing up too” He protests.
“Besides,” Kon continues, stacking up a bales on top of each other,”I’m working off my debt to Ma and Pa with chores, you’ll see.”
Kon shifts his leg behind him and the stack wobbles. Tim watches silently as one after another, they fall like a jenga tower.
Kon stares at the floor in confusion.
Tim fingers the pen in his breast pocket and starts tugging out the checkbook in his back pocket.
“So how much do tractors go for these days?”
“You bought Clark a tractor?”
Tim startles, flinching back and misspelling ‘amenity’ in his email to HR. His eyes flicker up to meet Bruce’s gaze as he waltzes into Tim’s home office.
Unannounced. Geez, and they said Tim had the manners of an animal.
Bruce locks Tim into place with a look .
Tim curls his fingers away from his keyboard, pushing the laptop away and rising to his feet, meeting Bruce in the center of the room.
“Clark and I had an interesting talk yesterday.”
“He mentioned how his father called him, gushing-”
Oh my god, Batman said the word ‘gushing’ .
“-about the new family tractor.”
Tim purses his lips, expression tightening as Bruce stared at him.
“Technically, it wasn’t just for him.”
“It was an accident!” Tim insists. Bruce’s expression remains unshifted.
“The rest of the league has recently caught on.” Bruce continues, gaze pinning Tim down as efficiently as when they sparred. “Lantern has been making...jokes at my expense.”
“I’m...sorry.” Tim offers hesitantly. Tim’s sorry he throws his money around?
What else is he supposed to say when Batman comes to him telling him he’s being bullied by the other leaguers?
Bruce hums, a light sound from his chest as he gives Tim a considering look.
“Reign it in.”
“Yes, sir.” Tim nearly squeaks.
But he doesn’t. Tim doesn’t squeak.
Bruce’s blue eyes linger on Tim, his gaze intense as he watched Tim’s slowly reddening cheeks. Bruce’s hand rose slightly, probably to cup Tim’s cheek in that way he always did when Tim was still thirteen.
All Tim sees is an open palm drifting in front of him. And Tim...Tim can’t help himself, it’s a Pavlovian response at that point.
A crisp twenty gets slid into Bruce’s open hand.
Bruce just stares at him.
Tim’s face burns .