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Fic: Childhood vs Adulthood
brokaw22 wrote in batfic
Title: Childhood vs Adulthood
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Now that Tim's an adult, he considers the differences and similarities between his childhood and adulthood.
Note: This is for the tumblr Tim Drake week.

Tim usually doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about his childhood. After all, other than that one special moment spent on the opposite side of the camera taking a picture with a smiling acrobat family, all of the best moments of Tim’s childhood were experienced through a viewfinder, the press of a button, the click of a shutter, and still shots of other people’s lives. He hates to admit that he misses it immensely. He misses the feel of the thick leather strap around his neck, and the heft of the camera weighing on him and bumping into his chest as he made his way through dimly lit alleyways and darker still side streets. He misses crawling into impossibly small crevices high above a city that never sleeps. Tim also misses the thrill and joy of being able to capture such amazing pictures without anyone ever noticing him. However, most of all, Tim misses the immense amount of enjoyment his hobby brought to him.

He doesn’t like to think about how his childhood was fraught with loneliness and empty rooms, and how the only thing that eased the endless days of silence were nights spent following his heroes through a noisy city. He doesn’t like remembering how much a simple glimpse of a cape or hearing an exulted whoop of delight left him jovial and excited for an entire evening. It was in those moments, tucked away behind a convenient air vent or huddled in a shadowy corner on an ancient, rusted fire escape, that Tim could pretend that the long trips that his parents took and the insistence that Tim didn’t need anyone watching him, spending time with him, or truly interacting with him were good things. After all, he certainly couldn’t have done the things he’s done or become who he is had his parents been more attentive.

Conversely, Tim doesn’t really enjoy thinking about his adulthood, either. Things have changed drastically. He has a different name now, and an entirely different family, and yet, the comparisons and similarities are nearly startling. Tim doesn’t spend a lot of time behind camera lenses anymore, because he spends far more time than he ever believed that he would in front of them. After all, Timothy Drake Wayne doesn’t get to stand in the shadows merely observing anymore. He’s someone to be scrutinized now. It makes his skin crawl in a way that can sometimes feel like Scarecrow Toxin. Still, Tim endures it, knowing that these things are a necessary evil.

However, the camera placement isn’t the only thing that has changed. Where once there were too many rooms and not enough people to fill them, silence that was so deafening that sometimes Tim imagined he lived in a museum, or worse, a mausoleum, now there is too much noise and finding a quiet place away from his family can be nearly impossible. Sometimes he wonders if this is really better than that big empty house, especially since, even in the manor, surrounded by people, Tim still has a tendency to feel alone. Still, he knows there’s a difference between being isolated and merely feeling that way. After all, he relives those moments every time he spends a little too much time away from the manor and his family. Nonetheless, it would be nice if he could get a single second to himself sometimes.

In fact, right now would be good. He doesn’t even know what Dick, Damian, and Jason are bickering about. He just knows that the noise level is giving him a headache and distracting him from the work that he desperately needs to finish. He considers asking them to quiet down, but Tim knows that drawing their attention to himself won’t actually yield the result that he’s looking for. He has always been prone to feeling invisible. It used to be a comfort. After all, it’s one of the many reasons that he got away with his childhood hobby in the first place. However, feeling invisible while surrounded by people isn’t nearly as comforting.

Tim thinks about his empty, silent apartment, where no one really visits him unless they need something, and wonders if it would be better there. The quiet hum of electronics isn’t always enough to remind Tim that he isn’t actually as alone as he used to be during his childhood, but it is more conducive to work. He’s just about to get to his feet and leave when a hand lands on his shoulder, leaving him frozen in place. “You’ve been awfully quiet over there. Wanna settle this for us?”

Tim owlishly stares up at Jason, confused as to why he’s suddenly being included and uncertain of what he’s precisely being included in. “Settle what, exactly?”

Jason rolls his eyes, but there’s a smirk on his face, so Tim knows that he’s not actually as annoyed as he’s pretending to be. “Haven’t you been paying attention? We’re discussing the worst Brucie nickname ever, and I don’t care what those two morons think, Tiger is still the worst.”

Dick shakes his head as he plops down beside Tim and drapes an arm over his shoulder. “No way, Chum was definitely worse. He always said it with that creepy Brucie smile…you know the one.”

Damian scoffs as he joins them on the other side of the room. “You’re both idiots. Clearly, little man is the most appalling.”

Tim’s eyebrows furrow in puzzlement. He’s more than a little mystified that this is what they’ve been squabbling about for the last thirty minutes. Tim merely shrugs as he pulls his laptop closer to himself, subtly saving what he’s been working on, knowing that now that their attention has been drawn to him, he isn’t going to lose it any time soon. That is, at least, something that’s altered since his childhood, though he’s not entirely certain that it’s a good change. “Dunno, they’re all kind of terrible.”

Jason’s rolls his eyes dramatically as he folds his arms over his chest. “No shit, what was yours, anyway?”

Tim’s brow creases further as he thinks about it. It’s been a long time since Brucie has referred to him as anything other than Tim or Timothy. He supposes that being the active CEO of WE does have its perks, after all. “Um, I’m pretty sure it was just Sport, but I’m also fairly certain that he calls all of us that, so I guess nothing.”

Jason’s eyes widen. “Seriously? You never had a specific Brucie nickname?”

Dick looks as though he’s trying to recall one, but Tim knows that he’s right. There isn’t a Brucie moniker to remember. Damian just stares at him with mild interest, although Tim doesn’t know why. Jason seems to be waiting for something, and Tim merely shrugs.

He’s honestly never thought about it before…not when he was a child who sometimes attended galas and parties with his parents when they were actually home. In fact, at the time, Tim usually spent the majority of the evening steering clear of Brucie Wayne, because seeing that smile on Batman’s face was unnerving, even then. Tim didn’t think about the lack of a nickname when he was older. After all, he generally only attended the parties in order for Robin to keep an eye on things. He spent the evening working and covering his side of the ballroom.

Tim certainly doesn’t consider it a big deal now that he’s an adult and Timothy Drake Wayne is expected to attend nearly every single one of the galas and parties. Brucie was never really in a position to give Tim his own specific nickname, anyway. After all, Tim doubts Bruce ever really noticed him at first. He was just a scrawny kid occasionally dragged along by his parents. He wasn’t anything worth Bruce’s, Brucie’s, or Batman’s notice.

When Tim did finally become something worth Bruce’s, Brucie’s, and Batman’s notice, a nickname still wasn’t needed. Robin may have been needed, but, at the time, he certainly wasn’t wanted, and Tim certainly wasn’t Bruce’s son. He’s sure it never even occurred to Brucie to give him his own nickname, because Tim’s certain Bruce had no idea he’d stick around for so long. After all, he has the photographic and video evidence to prove that his Robin training was far more extensive than his predecessors.

By the time that Tim became one of Bruce’s sons, Brucie had been attending parties with sweet, little, polite Timothy Drake by his side long enough that there was no need for a new moniker. In fact, the sudden change probably would have just been awkward and weird for both of them. And as for right now…well, Tim or Timothy is just more natural and expected, especially given how long Brucie has been referring to him as such in those particular settings.

Not to mention, Tim is actually an adult now, and even Dick hasn’t been referred to as ‘Chum’ for quite some time. Jason equally hasn’t had to endure being referred to as Tiger since his return to the family. Therefore, it just makes sense not to bother bestowing a Brucie nickname at this point. “Guess, I just lucked out there.”

Jason’s expression suddenly shifts to something darker and far more acidic. Tim has no idea why, but, no matter the reason, he does know that he doesn’t like it. “Fucking damn, Baby Bird, this shit is ridiculous.”

Tim merely blinks repeatedly at Jason’s outbursts. He doesn’t see why this is such an explosive issue for Jason. After all, Tim was a very different Robin from the rest of them. He wasn’t chosen. Sure, he eventually wormed his way into the family and has since found his place among them, but that doesn’t change the fact that for a long time Tim was no one’s son.

At best, his parents were absent, and Bruce didn’t even know that he existed. By the time Tim revealed himself to Bruce, it was more important that Tim do his best to keep his mentor from crossing a certain line than it was for him to become something akin to family. Not to mention, the Jason sized hole in the other man’s heart made anything more than just Bruce’s partner nearly impossible. When Tim and Bruce finally managed to settle into a more comfortable partnership, Tim’s life crumbled. His dad ended up in a coma, and, while Bruce may have taken in him, the billionaire still sure as hell wasn’t his father.

When Tim finally legally became Bruce’s son, there were still complications with that type of relationship between them. Tim recognizes how many of those complications were directly caused by himself, but that doesn’t negate the fact that years of being nothing more to Bruce than a sidekick left him with certain expectations for their continued partnership. By the time, Tim actually accepted that he could have something similar to a father/son relationship with Bruce; Damian appeared. Therefore, all in all, it makes sense that he just wasn’t privy to certain traditions and family related experiences.

Still, Tim can see how this could quickly devolve into one of Jason’s less entertaining rants, so he shuts his laptop and smirks. “Face it, Jay; you’re just jealous that I didn’t have to endure one of Brucie’s more annoying habits. By the way, Chum is definitely the worst one.”

Dick laughs as he gets to his feet. “Ha, see, I win. I knew Tim would be on my side. He is a genius, after all.”

Damian rolls his eyes as he punches Dick. “I have yet to witness his supposed genius, given that, as usual, Drake is obviously wrong.”

Dick moves to ruffle Damian’s hair, before the brat has a chance to dodge. “Now, now, don’t be a sore loser, Dami.”

Jason seems torn between arguing whatever point he was trying to make and rejoining the bickering. Tim merely smiles and shakes his head, which seems to be all of the encouragement that Jason needs. “What would Baby Bird know? He didn’t even have an atrocious nickname. He doesn’t know what it feels like to have Brucie just sneak up behind you while you’re trying to sneak a handful of cucumber sandwiches, and loudly proclaim, ‘Slow down, Tiger. The food isn’t going anywhere.’ It’s downright irritating.”

Tim laughs as all three of them launch into a renewed argument, and opens his laptop again. He’s not entirely positive that he’ll be able to get any work done with the three of them squawking indignantly at each other mere feet from him, but he does know for certain that it’s better than empty rooms and deafening silence. Tim smiles to himself as he considers that this is probably the first time that he truly feels as though his adulthood is infinitely better than his childhood.

The End


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