Closing the door behind him, Tim went into his room to find his cell phone somewhere in the mess. The movers were almost done packing everything into their truck, but Tim had them go on a break as he got some of the more personal things from around his apartment.
Nonetheless, Tim was ready as he made his way into the now barren bedroom to make a call. Dialing the number he had memorized a thousand times over, Tim dropped onto the only piece of furniture in the room, his bed, and sighed hoping that things went in his way.
He stared at the digits and thought over the conversation in his head. This would have been easier if he had any idea who would pick up the phone from the other end, or even if anyone was home to take the call. Tim threw caution to the wind and pushed the green icon and listened as the steady dial tone mimicked the beating of his heart. After a few seconds, Tim heard Alfred’s soft voice break through, “Wayne Manor. This is Alfred speaking. How may I help you?”
Smiling up at Ms. Fortune for making this a little easier for him, Tim responded with a soft voice, “Hey Alfred, it’s Tim.”
On the other side of town Alfred pulled out a seat and sat down, wanting to put his full focus into the conversation. “Master Timothy. It’s been weeks since I’ve heard your voice.” Momentary excitement receding, Alfred wondered out loud, “I hope you’re not calling with bad news.”
Shaking his head even though he knew Alfred couldn’t see him, Tim assured him, “No. It’s just…I need to if it would be okay if I dropped by later today.”
Troubled that someone was his grandson would feel the need to make something as formal as a reservation to see his family. “You don’t have to call beforehand, Master Tim. I’m sure Master Bruce would be pleased to see you regardless.”
“Yeah I know, Alfred. I just wanted to be sure that I didn’t catch you guys at a bad time.” No matter how much it might hurt Alfred, Tim wanted to make absolutely sure that he didn’t do anything that might come off as rude or ill mannered. His parents didn’t raise him much, but they did teach him better than that.
“Timothy, are you asking to make an appointment to see family?”
Tim got up so he could run a hand through his hair and make sure he worded things perfectly enough so that he didn’t give too much away. “Yeah sort of. There’s just some stuff I need to finish up on. I also need to see Bruce as soon as I can, but it’s not going to take more than a few minutes, half an hour at most depending on the details. All in all, I should be in and out within two hours.”
Going through the schedule that he had memorized in his head, Alfred told him, “If you can come by today Master Bruce will be free before dinner.”
Breathing out a sigh of release, Tim offered, “Great. I can come by around 4 and be out before dinner starts.”
Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to have Tim spend even more time with the others, Alfred tried to sweeten up the deal. “Master Tim, you can come and eat dinner with the family. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you’ve eaten at the Manor.”
“Alfred…” This really was going to be one of those days.
“I must insist, Master Tim. It’s been too long.”
“I’m sorry Alfred, it’s just that I’m going to be a little busy later today so I can’t stay for dinner.” That wasn’t the whole truth, if he wanted he could push the meeting until tomorrow or next week or next month, but he wanted to be home and alone as soon as possible. Maybe in a few years he’d tell Alfred about it.
Not wanting to push too hard, Alfred conceded, “I understand, Master Tim. I will be great to see you regardless.”
“You too, Alfred. I’ll see you at 4.”
Tim dropped the phone on his bed and immediately got to work making a plan that would get him in and out of the Manor as soon as possible. It hurt that at this point Tim wasn’t able to just walk in and out of the house as he had done so many times in the past, but it was what it was and Tim knew he had to accept it.
No more than an hour later Tim was making his way up the steps to the gothic building and he tried to think about whether or not it would be better for him to knock or walk in unannounced. There were virtues to both, by walking in he would come off as more confident and he could to work faster, maybe even make it through the trip without talking to anyone he didn’t have to, but by knocking he wouldn’t be impeding or come off as rude. The choice was taken out of his hands as the door opened before him and Alfred welcomed him in.
Before he could say anything, Alfred threw his arms around him and breathed out, “It’s been far too long, Master Tim.”
Returning the hug and patting him on the back, Tim insisted, “I know, Alfred, I know. I’ve missed you to.”
Pulling away from the embrace to put his hands on Tim’s shoulder and looking him in the eye, Alfred asked, “Now, what is it that you wanted to do?”
Moving aside so that Alfred could see the empty boxes in his car, Tim explained, “I left a couple of things here before I moved out and I just needed to grab them.”
Sighing, Alfred asked, “Is it really necessary, Master Tim? Wouldn’t it be easier to move back? I absolutely don’t have any reservations on the matter.”
Giving the old butler a sad smiled, Tim said, “It’s probably been too long, Alfred, and I don’t really think the others need me here anymore.”
Taken aback, Alfred tried to argue with Tim but couldn’t come up with anything quick enough.
Tim gave him an understanding look before making his way to his old room. Passing through the hall he could hear whispers and laughter coming from Dick’s room, but he decided it would be best if he just went about his business as quickly as possible. In any case, there wasn’t much he had to say to Dick. Not now, maybe a few years ago, maybe a few months ago, but not now. Maybe not ever again.
Opening the door, Tim found his room completely unchanged in the months he had been away.
He sat on his bed for a moment before thinking about the time he had spent in these walls. He had moved in immediately after his mother’s death and he could remember lying in bed in tears and Dick coming by to visit and comfort him. There had been nights where Bruce would come in to comfort him from a particularly harsh patrol or one of the many times someone close to him died but that was a long time ago and reminiscing on the past wouldn’t do him any good.
Glancing at his phone and realizing he had spent half an hour doing nothing, Tim began going through his things. He had taken all of the essentials to his apartment, but there were still some things he wanted to bring back. Digging through his closet he found some of the shirts he wasn’t allowed to wear in public anymore and was pleasantly surprised to find that they still fit him. There was also one sweatshirt that Dick had loaned to him over a year ago, Tim had worn it out in the many times he had needed support and Dick was too far away to help, but Tim left it on his bed in case Dick decided he wanted it back.
Two cardboard boxes were all he needed and he dropped them down beside the front door before going into the kitchen to find Alfred preparing dinner.
Peeking over his shoulder to see what he was making, Tim informed him, “I got everything I needed from my room.”
Turning down the stove so that he could give Tim his full attention, Alfred asked, “Are you sure you don’t need anything else, Master Timothy?”
Unsure of how it would sound but certain of the fact that Alfred wouldn’t judge him, Tim asked, “Do you by any chance remember where you put my baby stuff?” When Alfred turned back to look at him confused, he explained, “You know after I moved in and everything, I was wondering where my old stuff is?”
Thinking for a moment about where he could have placed them, Alfred said, “It’s in the attic, Master Tim, but is it really necessary that you take those out?”
“I really need them, Alfred.” He knew that it would be enough for Alfred, enough that he would be able to look beyond the lack of explanation and do anything Tim needed him to.
Alfred gave him a weak nod before offering, “Okay, Master Tim. I trust that you know what’s best for you. While you talk with Master Bruce I will load your things in the car.”
Tim made his way to Bruce’s office and knocked on the oak door. When he heard a noise, he walked in and found Bruce signing documents on his desk. He sat down in an empty seat until Bruce was ready to put his attention on him.
After a few minutes Bruce put the papers on the side and asked, “What do you need, Tim? Alfred told me he thought it was important from how you sounded on the phone.”
Looking uncomfortable explaining it in front his watchful eye, Tim rushed out, “I just need you to sign some papers.”
Knowing Tim was purposefully avoiding giving over too many details, Bruce was ready to interrogate him as much as he needed. “What are the papers about?”
Tim bit his lip before explaining, “They are my resignation as CEO from Wayne Enterprises. I’ve already signed over all of my shares to you, but this is for the power of CEO and I left the successor’s information blank so you can give it over to whoever you want.”
Bruce gave him a confused look for a moment before turning back at the papers and finding the areas highlighted for him to sign. He pretended he didn’t notice the relieved sigh that Tim let out as soon as his pen touched the paper. Handing the packet back to him, Bruce couldn’t help but feel like he’d made a massive mistake but didn’t feel it to be his place to question Tim’s decision. If this is what he felt like doing it wasn’t his place to question it.
Rushing downstairs, Tim found Alfred looking through some of his childhood mementoes in the foyer. There was a serene smile on his face when he on his face when he found an album with pictures of Tim growing up. Tim didn’t want to ruin the moment by telling him that the pictures had been taken by babysitters and they stopped soon after he began to take care of himself.
When he noticed that Tim was waiting for him, Alfred put the album back in its place and helped him load the boxes in the car. When everything was said and done, he took the boys in his arms and said, “You can stop by whenever you want, Master Tim. Please don’t be a stranger.”
Tim laughed at the prospect and returned the embrace, “I’m sure I could never stay away from you for too long, Alfred.”
Tim wondered if Alfred could tell that he was lying, but watching the butler light up at the promise he couldn’t help but feel like Alfred deserved the moment. He deserved to think, if only for a moment, that this wasn’t a big deal.
With a quick wave goodbye, Tim drove out of the driveway and back to his apartment where a moving van would be coming in a few hours. He dropped off the paperwork at his lawyer’s office and took a copy home for himself. He debated whether or not to send one to Bruce, but he didn’t seem to care that Tim had just signed over his position in the company with no explanation so he must not need the papers.
Looking around his apartment to see his home empty as his room, Tim sighed against his door and thought about what he was doing. This was his last chance to turn everything around, to pretend that nothing had happened, but looking at the picture on his phone Tim knew he had made the right choice.
Once the last of the trucks had pulled out, Tim went out to his balcony and waited for his next meeting. He wanted to pull out a drink, but this was going to be the first time Tim was meeting him and he wanted it to be perfect. He had taken out some of his old things, car seats and cloths he hadn’t been able to donate or throw away, and set them out so that he could make things as perfect as possible.
It didn’t take long for him to hear feet touch down on his roof and someone drop down beside him. Tim spun around and immediately focused on the bundle in Ra’s arms. He could see that the baby was sleeping soundly even though Ra’s cloak hide most of him away. Although he didn’t like it, Tim flinched at the way he was so comfortable in the arms of someone so horrible as Ra’s but he knew it wouldn’t do him any good to comment on it.
Breaking the silence between the, Ra’s greeted him with, “Timothy.”
Tim still refused to look at him and only returned a soft, “Ra’s.”
Moving his arm to the side so that Tim could a better look at the boy, Ra’s explained, “I hope you understand that this my way of asking for your forgiveness. You would be a great asset in any battle and hopefully he can clear up some of the mistrust between us.”
Not taking his eye off of the sleeping boy, Tim asked, “How old is he now?”
“He’s almost a year old.” Pulling out a folder of papers, Ra’s offered, “I took the liberty of forging the proper paperwork you would need.”
Tim ignored the outreaching hand and asked, “Can…Can I hold him?”
Ra’s held him out and commented, “He is your brother, Timothy, and from now on you can do with him anything you wish.”
Nodding along, Tim took him into his arms and brought him into the warmth of his apartment. As soon as he touched him he felt afraid of doing something wrong, holding him the wrong way or squeezing him too tightly, but he tried to assure himself he would be fine. Tim pretended to not notice that Ra’s followed him in and sat down on the stairs to take a close look at his little brother. There weren’t any chairs or couches in the apartment anymore, so the stairs were all they had.
Looking around, Ra’s acted as if he hadn’t known all along that Tim was beginning to move and asked, “Where are all your things, Timothy? I hope you haven’t been robbed.”
Still unable to take his eyes off of the baby in his arms, Tim bluntly answered, “No, I’m just moving and I didn’t want you to see my new apartment.”
Ignoring the harsh tone, Ra’s offered his own support. “Is there anything you need, Timothy? Anything I could help with?” Although he would never admit it, even under threat of death, Ra’s had grown a small but resilient attachment to the small boy and could already see the many ways he would be growing into a fine young man.
For the first time that night, Tim looked up away from him and gave him a soft smile. “No I don’t need your help, Ra’s, but…I really do appreciate what you did. I know you didn’t have to and even though you only did it so that I would owe you, but I can’t really care now that he’s here.”
Old enough to know what Tim was feeling, Ra’s guaranteed him, “You are going to be a marvelous brother, Timothy.”
Balancing the baby on his lap and moving the blanket out of his face, Tim ran a soft hand through the soft hair only just beginning to grow. “I always wanted to be. Having someone like Dick in my life, even though it wasn’t for long, having someone to look up to…it just makes the hard parts of life just a little bit easier.”
Knowing it was a touchy subject, Ra’s pivoted to another question. “Have you picked out a name yet?”
He had. He had thought about it a lot and knew it was an important part of anyone’s life and as such a name should be taken on with much consideration. Even then he couldn’t deny the fact that someone else had strong feelings on the matter and it just so happened that their opinions aligned. “Dana, my stepmother, wanted to name him ‘Thomas’ and I think it suits him.”
“A powerful name.”
Unsure of whether or not to ask the question aside, Tim felt that the day had gone in his favor so far and that the tide wouldn’t change now. “What did you do to Dana? After you saved him, what happened to her?”
He had been expecting this for a while and told him as honestly as possible, “I had some people retrieve her body and bring it to the pit. There we removed the child, Thomas, from her womb and revived him in the pit. I opted out of doing the same with her considering the effects it would have on her.”
Accepting that this was the best he could have hoped for, Tim asked, “What about Tommy? Is he okay?”
“I had some of my finest men look him over and it doesn’t look like he’s experiencing any of the regular side effects of going into the lazarus pit and that might be because he wasn’t brought back to life, he was born in the pit. I am not sure how you feel on the matter, but I also had a paternity test conducted and it concluded that the child is your biological brother.”
Giving him a soft laugh, Tim responded, “I don’t think I care very much about the biology anymore. He’s my little brother.” Curious, both as to how it related to his brother and in general, Tim looked up at Ra’s and wondered out loud, “Do you know if there’s been anything like this in the past, any other babies brought to life in the pit?”
Not ready to fail now, Ra’s thought back and answered, “There is one story, not a very significant one and the validity of it is questionable, but there is a story about one of my ancestors losing a daughter. She was stillborn, and he revived her in the pit. I can keep you informed if I learn anything new, but I am not aware as to whether or not she experienced any last effects.”
Getting up and setting Thomas up in his old car seat, Tim looked back at Ra’s and noted, “I never told you where I’m moving to.”
“It’s not like I can’t find it anyway.”
Covering Tommy in another blanket to hide him away from the hard winter cold, Tim stood up and sincerely responded, “Goodbye, Ra’s, and thank you.”
“It was no problem, Timothy.”