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Fic: Finding Home
Dragon Princess
brokaw22 wrote in batfic
Title: Finding Home
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Tumblr Prompt: Would you ever write a story where Tim tries to run away with Haley's Circus? Tim doesn't try...Tim succeeds.

Dick’s walking through the animal cages, caring a large bucket of soapy water. It’s his turn to wash Elinore and he knows that it’s going to be tricky, because Elinore has a bad habit of dumping the bucket, but Dick’s not too worried about it. After all, he’s definitely the elephant’s favorite, so it probably won’t be too bad. When he gets to where Elinore is standing, he sets down the bucket far enough away from her that she won’t be able to reach it. “Look, it’s bath time, so let’s just get this over with nice and easy. No bucket dumping today.” He reaches down to grab the scrub brush and pauses when he sees a tiny little head peak out from behind a nearby tent.

Dick’s eyes narrow as he drops the brush back into the bucket and calls out to the child. “Um, hey, whatcha doin’ over there?”

There’s a little surprised squeak, and then the kid ducks back down. Dick approaches slowly with his hands out in front of him. “Hey, it’s okay? My name is Dick. Are you lost?”

The kid stands and brushes himself off before giving a small shake of his head. “No, I’m right where I want to be.”

Dick’s brow furrows in confusion. “Um, okay. What’s your name?”

The little kid blushes as he sticks out his hand. “Tim.”

Dick takes his hand and shakes it. At least the kid isn’t cowering anymore. “So, what do you mean ‘you’re right where you want to be’?”

Tim smiles shyly. “I want to join the circus.”

Dick does his best not to roll his eyes. This happens every once in awhile, especially when the circus travels close to big cities. “Don’t you think your parents would miss you? I’m sure that they’re already worried about you.”

Tim merely shrugs. “No one is home and my parents won’t be back for months. I doubt that they’d notice if I was gone.”

Dick stares down at the kid in front of him for a long moment. He doesn’t know what would cause someone to leave their kid for months at a time, but surely, someone has to be taking care of this kid, while his parents are doing…whatever. “Well, who’s watching you? Wouldn’t they notice and be worried about you?”

Tim shakes his head. “There’s a housekeeper, but she doesn’t notice if I’m there or not. Trust me, I’ve tested it.”

Dick doesn’t know what that means and he’s not entirely certain that he wants to know. Instead, he kneels down and puts a hand on the kid’s shoulder. Tim stares at the physical contact in wonder, but Dick doesn’t know why. “Well, I’m sure your housekeeper would notice if you were gone for a long time. Sometimes adults don’t notice things right away…not even after a couple of hours, but give them time and…”

“Is a week not long enough?”

Dick’s eyes widen as he stills all over. “What?”

“A week…that’s how long I left. I stayed close to ob…obser…watch, but not close enough for her to see me. The housekeeper didn’t notice. Is that not long enough? Should I test it longer?”

Dick looks horrified as he gathers the kid into a hug. “No, no, I don’t think you should test things that way.”

Tim stiffens in his hold, but doesn’t try to move away. Dick’s getting the impression that this kid doesn’t get a lot of physical contact at all. “It’s okay. No one ever notices me. It’s why I want to join the circus. None of you will notice or care, either, and I can watch everything. I’m really good at staying out of the way. I promise.”

Dick holds him tighter. “Well, I noticed.”

Tim looks down at the ground. “Oh, right, I guess I’m not so good.”

The kid sounds heartbroken, and Dick doesn’t know what to do. This is the first time that he’s ever faced a kid that didn’t immediately start crying that they want their mother when Dick mentioned how much their parents would miss them. He doesn’t think that this is like that one girl when she thought her parents didn’t care about here anymore because of the new baby. This…this doesn’t seem like a misunderstanding.

Dick strokes the back of the kid’s head. “Tell you what? I’ve gotta wash old Elinore over there, if you help me and do a good job, we’ll talk to my parents about letting you stay.” The kid nods enthusiastically and follows Dick over to the giant bucket. Dick doesn’t know how it will all work out yet, but he does know that, as soon as his parents hear about Tim’s, they won’t want to send him back either.

The End (for now)