imasupermuteant: (Timmy Smooshface)
[personal profile] imasupermuteant
Title: Duplicity [Part 1]
Fandom: Young Justice (Cartoon)
Pairing: Dick/Wally, Tim/Superboy
Wordcount: 3435 words
Summary: Tim has never really minded that Dick was the one assigned to work with the other teenage heroes. But when he has to pretend to be Dick and join the team himself, he realizes that he was missing out on a lot more than he thought. Written for the YJ-anon-meme, this version has been seriously revised.

Four o'clock on Sunday morning in downtown Gotham was one of the easiest patrol shifts available, or at least Tim thought so. The city was settling down to sleep, the sounds of sirens and screaming matches and dogs barking echoed in the darkness.

All was almost quiet and marginally peaceful in the most crime ridden city on the east coast. The crooks and the drug dealers lay sound asleep in their beds, dreaming of the sorts of things that would make Tim kick them in the face.

Tim crouched on the roof of one grimy, gargoyled building, keeping his gaze fixated on the windows of the equally depressing building across the way. His bright red and green uniform was hidden under a long black cloak and his eyes were covered by a thick-lensed  domino mask.  A thermos of hot chocolate (now quite cold) rested on the roof beside him along with a pair of binoculars and half a protein bar. It had been a long night.

‘Robin Red to Robin Green.  Come in."

Static cracked across the line for a moment before Tim reached up to tap the comm and give his reply. Tim frowned, why was Dick active at this time of the morning anyway?  He was supposed to be spending weekends with his team, which meant  he should have gone straight to bed after arriving home from Happy Harbor.

“Green here.” He didn’t let his gaze waver from the darkened windows. Tim had been watching all night. He wasn’t going to let himself get distracted now

‘Where are you?’

Tim suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. There was no one there to see.

“I’m watching the Maroni place. Just like I was last night. And the night before.”

‘Oh. Anything good.’

No. Tim didn’t say, there was nothing. No way to prove that Dan Maroni was organizing a multinational drugs-and-underage-girl enterprise from that very apartment. Not even after weeks of careful investigation and three undercover operations and four freezing nights alone, watching dark windows.

“Shouldn’t you be in Rhode Island?” Tim asked instead.

‘Just left, B and I are doing a spin around Old Gotham before bed. Oh! I have the best stuff to tell you.’

“I can‘t wait.”  Tim said, actually rolling his eyes this time despite the lack of audience.  Another Team Sidekick story was definitely not what he wanted to be hearing after a long night of surveillance.

Robin Red (as Dick was called by those who knew that there was more than once Boy Wonder) has been spending a large portion of his "free" time training with the team of underage heroes that Bruce had helped to build. It had obviously had a huge impact on him. The most notable that he was simply unavailable, even on the radio. Dick talked about his team constantly when he was around.

Tim couldn’t help but feel a little sad that he didn't get to spend as much time talking to Dick as he had before.  It meant that Tim spent a great deal less time talking in general, since Dick, Bruce, and Alfred were the only people he bothered to converse with in the first place. Over the past couple of years he had gotten used to Dick’s undivided attention, and it felt a little strange that it was gone. Even when they did talk, it was about Superboy's anger problems or Miss Martian's baking or Kid Flash's... Flashyness.

Tim mostly talked about stakeouts. And mobsters.

Speaking of which.  There was a light on in Maroni’s penthouse, and the shape of stocky male bodies could be seen in silhouette.  Tim reached for his binoculars.

‘Incoming.’ Bruce voice came across the comms for the first time that night.

‘It’s Ivy. What‘s she doing at the art museum?’  Tim could here the barely restrained joy in Dick’s voice.  It was part of the reason for why Dick accompanied Bruce on patrol seventy percent of the time, while Tim spent weeks at a time watching drug deals and stalking killers on the internet. 

“New bonsai exhibit.” Tim said, “The prize of the collection is nearly four hundred years old.”

‘How do you even know that?’ Dick demanded. His voice was strained. Probably fighting, then.

“I watch the news.“ Actually, Tim had been planning to ask Alfred if he and Dick could visit the exhibit.

‘Focus.’ Bruce growled at the two of them, and Tim found himself stiffly turning his attention back to the mobsters hideout.  There were at least four grown men in the building, one of whom fit the description of Greenie Lumper, who was wanted in at least three states for various criminal acts.

The silence stretched for long minutes as Tim carefully read lips and didn’t think about Dick and Bruce fighting a super-villain on the other side of the city.

There was definitely something going down in mobland.  Someone in the room was talking about some kind of shipment, and if Tim could just pin down some details he would finally have something substantial. He already had the case file ready and waiting to be sent to the GPD, just as soon as it was enough to ensure a conviction.

If there was one thing that Tim was good at, it was being thorough.

People and lips moved in the other building and Tim wrote down what he saw.  A shipment (drugs or people, maybe both?), something big happening, maybe something tonight? The men gathered in the room were no doubt very powerful and very, very bad.

A few more minutes, a little more information, and Tim could justifiably bust in there and nab every single one of them. 

The comm sparked to life again, unexpectedly.

‘Pull back. Now.’ 

“I’m close to something. Just ten more minutes.” Tim protested.

‘Robin Red is down. Pull back.’

Tim felt the cold ice of worry warring with that small, logistical part of himself that wanted to point out that Dick getting injured had nothing to do with his operation.

He looked back, one more time, at the building and the one lit window and let the case go. 

Dick, Tim reminded himself as he lowered himself to street level and ran the four blocks to his concealed motorcycle, was family. And family was more important than any number of cases.  Even if those cases were high-profile human-trafficking rings.

If he ground his teeth any harder Tim was sure he’d hear them crack.

It wasn’t that he didn’t care about Dick. Tim had, when he was eight years old and unreasonably intelligent and very, very lonely, thought that he was in love with Dick. He still did, sometimes. But the love had faded from frankly unhealthy obsession into brotherly affection. And with that brotherly affection came brotherly irritation.

Tim might love Dick dearly, but his pseudo-brother had just cost him a conviction and he wanted nothing more than to punch him in the eye. 

Arriving at the manor just a few short minutes later, Tim realized that someone had beaten him to it.

Dick was sitting on an exam table in the cave when Tim pulled in, pulling faces while Alfred dabbed witch hazel on a rather impressive black eye.

“Hey, baby bird!” Dick called at him with a grin, “how’s it going?”

Tim didn’t say “it’s going like you ruined my op, asshole,” but it was a close call. He nodded instead, stepping close to inspect Dick’s many wounds.

And boy, was Dick wounded. Tiny cuts covered every exposed piece of his skin, on of his eyes was turning the color of a pastoral sunset, and Dick was holding his arm in a way that screamed “I don’t want anyone to know that I’ve injured my rotator cuff”.

“Ivy did all that?”

Dick sniffed, “Well she doesn’t love me the way she loves you.”

Tim rolled his eyes and handed Alfred a butterfly bandage.  Ivy couldn’t tell them apart. None of Gotham’s criminal contingent (or police department or, for that matter, the Justice League) knew that there was more than one Robin at all.

“No really, what happened?”

“Miss Isley saw fit to push Master Grayson off a balcony.” Alfred cut in, his tone portraying exactly how he felt about such an action.

“What?” That didn’t sounds like Ivy. She was one of Tim’s favorite baddies because, in general, she wasn’t interested in causing major damage to anyone under the age of eighteen.  The last time she’d trapped Tim and Bruce in a giant venus fly-trap she had let him out and fed him cookies by hand until the neurotoxin wore off.  Of course, he had been just shy of his thirteenth birthday party at the time and looked about three years younger. 

“…By accident.” Dick mumbled. “And grew some kind of super-fast rose bush to catch me.

Tim pointedly didn’t laugh. “Well I don’t see why I should have to leave the culminating moment of a three month investigation because you got some scratches.”

I didn’t pull you off.” Dick said, “Ask Bruce about it.”

Bruce was at the cray, tapping out his mission report and stoically ignoring Tim’s withering glare. Tim let his silence speak for itself.

“Isley didn’t intend to injure Dick…” Bruce began.

“No.”

“… But that doesn’t mean that she won’t let every other criminal in Gotham know what happened.”
 
“So?”

“I can’t have Isley taking Robin down in one corner of the city and Robin taking Maloni down in another.” Bruce’s voice was deep and powerful, final.

Tim carefully reminded himself to relax his jaw.

“I’ve been working on this for three months.” He said as softly as he could.

“I know.” Batman growled, “You’ve done good work. The dossier we have on Maloni and his associates is thorough, I’m sure the commissioner will follow through on every lead you given him.

“We wouldn’t need the commissioner to follow through on anything if I’d busted them this morning.” Tim protested.

“I made the decision, Green.” Batman said.

The codename snapped in Tim’s mind like a warning.  A reminder. You’re not the only Robin.  Some things are more important.
 
There was definitely not a small part of Tim’s mind which turned “some things” into “Dick”.

Tim nodded sharply, just this side of salute, and headed back to check on Dick while trying to keeping himself from screaming.

Dick was already down from the table, wiggling his fingers and rocking his head from side to side in an attempt to release his tension.

“So…” He began, “Now probably isn’t the best time to ask a favor.”

Tim didn’t say anything, just raised an eyebrow and waited.

“I left my cell phone at Happy Harbor.”

“So?” Tim asked. Bruce would replace a phone without even noticing, even if Alfred did get the tight ‘this is poor parenting’ look on his face.

“My civilian phone.” Dick told him.

That was a bigger problem.  The civilian phone was the one that all of their ‘friends’ from school would call. The one that had fake names and numbers for all of the important people they knew.  The civilian phone belonged to Dick Grayson, and Dick Grayson did not belong at the Justice League’s secret mountain base.

“You should go get it then.” Tim said. Obviously.

“Alf said I’m on enforced rest until tomorrow afternoon.” Dick groused. Tim repressed a wince at the nickname. After three years he still had trouble not calling Alfred “Mr. Pennyworth”, much less something as undignified as “Alf”.

“Please?” Dick said.

Tim could see where this was going.

“Oh, no.”

“Timmy…” Dick whined.

“It’s five in the morning!”

“It’s not like we have school, it’s August.”

“I don’t--”

Dick was frowning and carefully prodding his shoulder in so calculated a maneuver that Tim couldn’t help but feel a little bit of awe and jealousy. 

“Fine.”

“You rock my socks, bro.” Dick said with a grin.

“Oh my god, never say that again.”

Tim headed for the jet, reminding himself once again to relax his jaw. At this rate, his teeth weren’t going to last through college.

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It was an hour long trip from Gotham to Happy Harbor via bat-built plane and Tim arrived just as dawn was truly breaking, long before any of the young heroes who lived in the mountain would be awake.

Tim was only mildly surprised when the AI admitted him to the mountain by announcing Dick's designation code. The public (and the majority of the Justice League) thought there was only one Robin after all, and it made sense that Bruce would have assigned them both the designation.  It felt strange, nonetheless. Tim couldn’t help but feel a little bit like an impersonator.

It was quiet in the base and Tim crept through dark hallways looking for Dick's room. He'd only ever seen Mount Justice in the form of blueprints and schematics, not necessarily the best way to find out where Dick might have left his stuff. 

The mountain looked a lot more comfortable and friendly than Tim would have guessed.  The Justice League technology merged seamlessly with the earthy, warm feeling of the mountain itself.  It was, however, immense.

"Door," Tim subvocalized to himself as he crept around, "Door, Aqualad's room, another door..."

He was lost. And desperately wishing he had taken the time to memorize the base's schematics.

By the time he wandered into the kitchen Tim was starting to doubt whether or not he would really be able to find the phone at all. He debated whether or not he should just give up, leave that small indicator of Dick civilian identity until Dick himself could come retrieve it.  If Tim couldn’t find it, what was the likelihood that someone on the team would?

Tim stared at the fridge, thinking about the breakfast that Alfred was no doubt preparing that very moment.

"Rob?"

Tim spun around, his eyes widening a little at the sight of a pajama-clad Superboy. Panic set in.

"Uh. Hi. Superboy."

Superboy blinked a bit in confusion, a huge hand coming up to rub at sleepy eyes. He was wearing a pair of loose pants (donated, Tim expected, by Bruce) and no shirt. He looked…

…Well, the only word that Tim could come up with was chiseled.

Superboy didn't seem alarmed, just incredibly sleepy, and Tim quickly realized that it was because he couldn't tell the two Robins apart. Didn't even know there were more than one.

It didn’t really make Tim feel any better.

"What are you doing here?"

"Umm... I..."

It would be a reasonable mistake to make, Tim rationalized. The costume was designed to hide their differences, and Tim was only about an inch shorter than Dick anyway. The difference in size and appearance was disguised with lifts in Tim's shoes and a little padding around Tim's muscles.  Tim had always hated the additions to his costume. They were necessary, yes, but they limited his movements and made him feel off-balance at times.

Meeting Superboy for the first time, he had never been more thankful for those slight adjustments.

"I left my phone here when I left," Tim said, trying to mimic Dick's voice as he had been trained, "I came back so that Batman wouldn't, umm... Roast me, you know?"

"Oh." Superboy stumbled over to the refrigerator and pulled out some milk, taking a long drink directly from the carton. Tim resisted the urge to make a face in disgust. Both because of the habit and because of the disgusting amount of hormones that were routinely pumped into commercial milk. Alfred had started buying the majority of their groceries from local farmers markets after Tim had refused to eat anything but gluten-free bread for a week.

He reminded himself that Dick didn’t care about the potential enviornment-and-healthy-destroying contents of his food. And Dick didn’t care about sharing germs.

And Superboy, Tim reminded himself, thought he was Dick. 

"So. Have you seen it?" He asked.

There was a tiny droplet of milk on the corner of Superboy's chin. Tim was finding it hard to look away.

He didn’t wonder if Superboy's skin felt as soft as it looked.

"Yeah. I think it was on the couch." Superboy's head gestured in the direction of the living area.

"Okay, thanks." Tim said with a smile. He shuffled his feet but didn't move from his spot. There was something missing. He didn't want the conversation to end, but what was he supposed to say?

This sort of thing was not Tim's forte.

The silence stretched out for miles.

"So... I guess I'll just get that and head back to Gotham." Tim said finally.

 "See you next weekend," Superboy said with a bleary blink and a wave.

He turned, heading back to his room, and Tim watched him go.

"See you next weekend." He whispered to himself, feeling suddenly very sad and alone. It had just been a conversation, and not even a very good one. Why did he feel as if he had just accomplished something monumental?

Dismissing his pondering, Tim jogged over to the living area fished around until he found the phone in between the cushions of the couch, noticing the scattering of unopened snacks and video games.

This was obviously a place for group bonding and relaxation. Dick probably played games here, probably spent his time on this couch with Kid Flash and Artemis and Superboy.  Tim took a seat on the couch, disliking the overly plush feeling of the cushions, and imagined himself there during the day, surrounded by all of Dick's friends.

It wasn't an easy thing to imagine. He'd told Bruce that he didn't want to be a member of the youth team for a reason. He'd assumed that he wouldn't have anything to say to these kids. He was surprised that Dick got along with them as well as he did.

Dick had always been the more social of the two of them, though. Some leftover remnant of the circus combined with a natural affinity for people. Tim, on the other hand, had an affinity for computers and criminal profiling, and he'd never really minded that too much.

But now Dick had his own friends, and his own space, and a couch on which he did real kid things.  Tim wasn’t jealous, but he was something. Something that felt a lot like the days when he was just a little boy with a camera. When Dick and Bruce and even Alfred were just people he pretended to know, people who didn’t know him.

Tim stood, pocketed the phone, and headed for home. But first he cleaned all the crumbs off the couch


Part 2.