imasupermuteant: (Timmy Smooshface)
[personal profile] imasupermuteant
Title: Duplicity [Part 3/?]
Fandom: Young Justice (Cartoon)
Pairing: Dick/Wally, Tim/Superboy
Wordcount: 2798 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

[Part 1]  [Part 2]



Training never stopped.

It was the very second thing that Tim learned after becoming Robin Green, right after “the Mission comes first” and right before “never go after the Joker alone”.  It was the only thing that had kept Tim going through his initial (grueling, torturous) training. The knowledge that he would always be learning, growing, becoming.

Training never stopped and Tim never stopped training, it was vastly important to make every experience count.

Even when said experience was capture the flag. A game so ubiquitously hated that it came out the other end as ‘classic’. It was juvenile and pointless and, Tim thought privately, far more fun when being played with a group of skilled vigilantes.

“Robin, left!” Kaldur’s voice echoed from behind him.

Tim went left, sliding under a padded obstacle and coming up running, narrowly avoiding an attack from one of the metal drones that made up the other “team“.

“It’s on the other side of that wall.” Tim called, keeping one eye on the tracking device that showed the current resting place of their moving “flag”.  The entire team moved in tandem, those with powers flying over the wall with ease.  The hurdle was massive, Tim didn't quite know how Black Canary had managed to get it in the building, and made of smooth metal which wouldn’t hold one of Tim’s grapples easily.

As he watched M’gann fly down to lift Artemis over the tall metal contraption Tim realized that the rest of the team expected him to get himself to the other side alone.  It was a reasonable assumption to make, considering Robin’s (both Robins’) tendency to do things independently. 

But the exercise was meant to improve teamwork, Tim reminded himself. And Superboy was only a couple feet in front of him.

“Superboy!” He shouted, not stopping, getting dangerously close to running head-first into the obstacle, “Give me a lift, won’t you?”

Superboy looked over at him for a single confused moment, and Tim was almost convinced that he would have to make an awkward quick-stop to prevent himself from an embarrassing collision.  But then Superboy seemed to get the request, and was grasping Tim tightly by the shoulders and lifting him as he leaped--

Everything blurred for a moment, and Tim struggled to maintain his sense of direction, and then they were landing solidly on the other side of the sand-trap on the other side. Wally was already struggling to free himself from the sand, while the rest of the team appeared to be fighting off more automated enemies. 

The important thing was that the flag was still where it had been, and Superboy was still holding on to Tim like his life depended on it.

“Nice, SB.” Tim said with his Dick-est grin, clapping Superboy on the shoulder even though it made his hand sting, “Let’s get that beacon.”

A strange look of confusion crossed Superboy’s face as Tim released his hands and set off towards the glowing beacon that was their flag. But Tim didn’t have time to question whether or not he was blowing his cover.  I’m passing just fine, he reminded himself, none of these kids know Dick better than I do.

All in all, laying his hands on the flag and ending the game wasn’t nearly as satisfying as Tim would have liked.

“Good job, team.” Black Canary said as the equipment merged back into the complicated machinery that made up the base.  “I saw some really good work out there.”

“You know it!” Wally crowed, so loudly that Tim couldn’t fight a wince, “Nice moves, Rob.”

“I-- uh-- It was mostly Superboy.” Tim said.

“No way, man, you rocked!”

“You were pretty impressive, Robin.” M’gann said with a smile. Artemis grunted and Tim could only assume that it was meant to be a similar sort of praise.

Tim smiled and didn’t insist. Even though it had been mostly Superboy.

“We all did well,” Kaldur said in his calmest “leader” voice, Tim wondered if he was the only one who noticed that Kaldur was mimicking Batman in these moments, “the exercise was successful because of our work as a team.”

Black Canary watched them all with a smile that Tim couldn’t decode.  He resolved to spend more time watching surveillance footage of her expressions in the near future. It never hurt to be prepared.

“And with that inspiring praise,” Wally said with a loud and most likely faked yawn, “I’m headed for bed. Anybody else?”

Eye contact. Tim felt his eyebrows twitch at the unexpected intimacy. 

Did Wally expect something?  Probably not, Tim thought, people made eye contact for no reason all the time.

“I’m gonna to watch a little TV first.” He said since it seemed as though Wally was expecting a response. Dick watched TV, right? They didn‘t have much time for it at home, but it seemed like a common activity at the mountain, “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Oh. Okay, sure. G’night.”  Wally sped off with a sigh.

Why did Wally seem disappointed? Tim gave himself a mental shake and moved towards the rec room, where the large television waited patiently to dispense boring drivel until he couldn’t stand it anymore.  Where the couch was comfortable and he could let his Dick-act drop a little, if only for the next few hours.

He almost didn’t notice when Superboy came in and settled himself in one of the armchairs, but the creak of the seat drew his attention. Tim gave himself a mental slap for not being aware of his surroundings.

He waited patiently for Superboy to say something, reminding himself of all of the ways that Dick might respond to conversation.  But he stayed quiet, his eyes focused on whatever was playing on the screen.

Every now and then, Tim could feel the weight of eyes resting on him, but the silence continued and it was comfortable. He didn’t say anything.
 An hour later, Tim rose silently and headed for his own room, Superboy probably wouldn’t appreciate being woken up.
 
-------------------------------

 
The next day had no mission and no training, Tim was almost convinced that Bruce was trying to cut him some slack.  Instead, the team gathered a noon for what M’gann called a “movie-lunch-hanging-out extravaganza!”. 

As far as Tim could tell, that meant crowding in front of the TV (again) and consuming far too much popcorn. 

"How's it going, Rob?"

Tim resisted the urge to jump as Wally appeared right next to him with a crack. Sitting on the couch with no regard to personal space, his hip touched Tim's indecently.

"Fine. I mean... Its going great, man!"

"Yeah?"

"Of course." Tim shuffled over a little on the couch but it seemed as though Wally was intent on taking up the whole space, his shoulder brushed Tim's arm. For a split second, Tim could feel Wally’s thigh touch his own.

M'gann leaned over the back of the couch to comment on whatever movie was playing and as she did her hair brushed his shoulder. Did Dick usually do this much touching? Surely Dick didn't allow this extent of bodily contact at all times, how would he concentrate?

Did Dick touch Tim this often? He couldn't remember.

Does training count? How about outside of training? First aid?

Tim resisted the urge to count every instance of physical contact he'd ever had with the other Robin.  It would be distracting.  Such a difficult thought exercise would have to wait until he was alone.

"Robin," And there was Superboy, holding a large bowl of popcorn and looking like maybe he wanted to sit.

Tim looked up at him, looked down at the (to his mind) already crowded couch, and reminded himself to be Dick.

"Hey, Supes." Tim applauded himself for the creative nickname. Superboy gave him another one of those complex crinkled-eyebrow looks. 

And now Superboy was sitting on one side and Wally was on the other and Tim thought he might feel a hand on his thigh.

Tim resolved to shake himself out of his discomfort.  There was no reason for him to be this freaked out by casual touch, he reminded himself. He had no sizable physical or emotional trauma.  It was obvious (judging by the behavior of everyone else on the team) that physical contact of this kind of was normal, even expected.

Dick does touch me all the time. Tim though as his skin jumped underneath Wally’s hand. Bruce and Alfred pat me on the shoulder and help me with bandages and stitches. And we all help with stretching and massage. This is no different.

Except that it was different.  Something about the way Bruce and Dick made contact, something about the fact they the two of them would forever be, in Tim’s mind, Batman and Robin (and so much more important than normal people), made their kind of touching far less intrusive. 

Wally laughed at something M’gann said, leaning back to nudge Tim in the ribs and pat him in on the knee.

Something about Wally’s smile instantly reminded Tim of one of the  more pleasant moments with his mother.  Watching her from across the room as she flirted with a business associate. The same tilt to her head as she listened for the next cue to laugh. 

Tim felt his stomach lurch.  It was too much.

“I have to-- ummm-- Batman. I have to check in with Batman about a-- training thing. Be right back!”

He stood, ignoring the confused looks from both of his couch-companions, and shot out of the room as if he had the speed-force on his die. Not exactly the most efficient extraction, but an effective one.

Damn.” Tim hissed under his breath as he jogged through the empty hall.  Thinking of his-- of Janet while trying to maintain an undercover personae would most certainly make him loose his cool.  

It’s just the stress of the assignment, Tim thought, I’ll just meditate a little more and all will come out right. As soon as I can get to my-- to Dick’s room.

He hadn’t really gotten a chance to look at Dick’s quarters, having gone to bed late the night before and woken up early.

There was little doubt in Tim’s mind that the room belonged to Dick.  It certainly wasn’t what Dick would consider messy, but it was well lived in.  Comic books and non-necessary equipment covered nearly all of the available surface space, dirty and clean clothes occupied separate piles on the floor, the bed was unmade. 

Train or clean? Tim wasn’t so sure Dick would appreciate it if he touched Dick’s stuff, but the mess made any kind of meditative state impossible.  Tim settled for making the bed and throwing away some of the empty chip wrappers he found on the desk.

Even so, the atmosphere was far too distracting for Tim to get any real work done.  At home, Dick’s room was the place where they went to relax.  No work was allowed inside those four walls of the manor.

And while Dick’s room at the mountain isn’t quite the same, it still has that sense of quiet relaxation. The same warm feeling and the same smell…

…Tim wasn’t going to get anything done.  And he was starting to actually miss Dick a little. Ridiculous, considering he’d only been away for a day.

‘Red to Green. Come in.’ 

Tim’s hand shot up to activate his communicator.  Dick must have sneaked himself down to the cave just to contact him.  It would have been hard to get past Alfred’s sharp eye.  Add in the fact that Dick sounded like he’d been run over by a train and--

“Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

‘I thought the bed might be tired of me so I gave it a break.’ 

Tim can‘t tell if the cracking is interference or Dick‘s voice, either way it sounds painful.

“Sure. Whatever you say.  You should probably hurry up and get back there before Alfred finds out.”

‘I just wanted to check on you, little bro. What’s it like being me? Oh wait, what am I saying? It’s totally awesome.’

“Ha.” Tim wandered around the room, absentmindedly rifling through the things he saw as he spoke.  Energy bars and mints in one drawer of the desk, batarangs and smoke-pellets in another.  “Are you seriously calling just for the lame puns because there’s other stuff I could be doing right now.”

‘Hey! You love me.’

Tim rolled his eyes and didn’t deign to answer.

Dick continued, ‘No really I’m just checking up. It’s a weird assignment…’

“I’m doing okay.”  Bubblegum, plastique, sunglasses, grapple gun. Did Dick have any kind of system for this stuff?

‘Are you sure? I mean, undercover stuff is fun but this is sort of… close to home.’

“It’s fine, Red. Why are you so worried about this?”

Gloves, bandages, sugar pills, knock out pills, condoms…

‘I dunno I just-- They’re sort of my friends. And I feel bad about lying to them like this. And--’

Why did Dick have condoms in his room?

‘--I was kind of hoping to introduce you to them in a different way. It’s kind of shitty that they don’t even know you exist, you know?’

Tim inspected his finding carefully. It was one of those long strips often handed out in high school health centers.  But not the brand hoarded by the nurses at Gotham Academy, and not the kind that Alfred surreptitiously slipped into every bedside drawer and bathroom cupboard.  Someone else’s condoms then.

‘I get worried about you, Timmy.’ Dick said over the line, ‘I mean, you don’t know anyone else in the biz, the league doesn’t know you exist. You don’t even have any normal civilian friends.’

‘Don’t you get sort of… lonely?’

There was an uneven number of rubbers on the strip and one side was more ragged than the other. One of them had been torn off and used. Possibly more than one.

‘Green, you there?  Tim?’

“I’m here.”  Someone had been having sex with Dick.  Dick had been having sex with someone.  Someone who wasn’t Tim. 

Not that I want to be the one sleeping with him anyway,
Tim reminded himself. 

‘Are you okay?’

“I’m fine.” You’re sleeping with someone and you didn’t tell me. I thought you would tell me if you were-- if you had--  Why wouldn’t you tell me?

‘You sure, little bro?  If it’s stressing you out you can ask Batman to take you off the mission.’

“Yes I'm sure! It’s really not that hard.” Tim shoved the condoms back where he found them, pointedly not slamming the desk drawer, “Maybe they don’t know you as well as you thought they did.”

‘Um. Sure…’

“We can talk later. Green out.” Tim switched his comm to the emergency only channel and let the silence sink in for a moment while he thought.

Tim had always known that Dick would have more friends than him. Would have more connections and more opportunities to branch out. To change.  Dick had been associating with the league for years before Tim even met him. Had bonded with Kid Flash and Speedy before the idea of the younger team had even come up. 

Just because Dick was one third of Tim’s world didn’t necessarily mean that Tim was the same to Dick.  He knew this.  He’s prepared himself for the inevitability that Dick would bond with other people in ways that Tim wasn’t capable of. 

I just thought that when he did I would know. Tim thought, I thought I would be ready to--  to let him go. 

Let him go from what? It wasn’t as though Tim expected anything remotely like romance from Dick.  He would much rather be brothers than boyfriends.  He had given up the idea of that around the same time that he had become Robin. 

But he had expected to have a few more years to get used to the idea of sharing Dick with someone who hadn’t given up on that idea.  And the knowledge that Dick hadn’t even brought it up…

Dick can do whatever he wants. Tim reminded himself, With whomever he wants. It’s none of my business.

Although, Tim thought, it would be nice to know exactly whom Dick was doing his “whatever” with.






[Part 4]
 
 
 

on 2012-02-22 05:14 am (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
It's really cool that you're concentrating more on the relationship between the Robins in this version, I'm enjoying seeing how this turns out.

I want to see what happens when Tim finds out!!!!

on 2013-04-04 08:06 am (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Um, um. I'm sort of freaking out that there isn't a part four to this. I mean, this is freaking INCREDIBLE. Characterizations, plot, pace, dialogue, just everything. I reeeally hope you get back to this fic because you literally just own a part of my heart now. I am in love.