Room: Chapter 1

The room wasn’t exactly filthy, but it was a definite downgrade and one that Dick wanted to be in for an extended period of time. He wasn’t entirely sure where he was, but that was the first thing that his cloudy mind could think of when he held his brother to his chest and tried to make sense of the situation. He had never thought he would feel so powerless ever again and as he lulled his brother to sleep he tried to think about something happier.

He thought about the excitement running through his body and making him jump around the small kitchen of his parent’s trailer when he learned that he was going to be a big brother. It had been one of the greatest days in his life, sitting down for breakfast and having his parents explain that their little family was going to be just a little bigger. Even then he knew that that little addition was going to mean the world to him.

He had been in shock. Dick knew that he’d made it clear that he wanted a little sibling since he learned what those were, but he never thought it would actually happen. A few weeks later, when he could see his mom’s stomach growing a little every week, he learned that it was a boy. That just made everything so much better. There was so much he imagined them doing together, playing video games, running around their circus, getting into snowball fights, and most importantly getting the opportunity to teach him everything he knew about acrobatics. Dick planned out the rest of their lives together. Dick even kept a private list he hid from his parents detailing what he was going to do when his little brother was born, everything that would make him a perfect older brother.

He thought of everything he felt when he saw his little brother for the first time. It seemed like so long ago he had been in the hospital looking up at Jonathan and begging him to tell him what his little brother’s name would be. Apparently it had been a surprise, something they didn’t want anyone to know before they met him. They explained something about people never liking the name parents pick out and it being hard to fight a name when you actually see the baby but all Dick could hear was that they were hiding an important part of his brother’s life from him. On top of that, he hadn’t appreciated how little they cared about his own input into the naming process, Charmander would have been a great name.

The dissatisfaction hadn’t lasted long because soon they were following the doctor to his mom’s room and seeing her look as tired as she had ever been.

He had stopped in his tracks when he saw the small pink baby hiding in his blue blanket in Mary’s arms. John left his side to kiss the top of her hair and tell her just how amazing she was and how much he loved her. The baby had been sleeping, much to Dick’s chagrin, but their dad didn’t seem to care as he rubbed his cheek softly and told him how much he was going to love being a part of their family.

Pretty soon the two had noticed that Dick was still standing at the foot of the bed and motioned him to come over. He had been too far away to see his little brother and that needed to be fixed as soon as possible.

Mary had given him a tired smile and moved the small bundle enough for Dick to see the top of his head and the beginnings of his dark black hair. “Come on, Dick. Don’t you want to see your brother?”

Dick had tried to voice just how happy he was to have his little brother in the same room as him, but all that came out was a choked squeak as he saw his brother wrinkle up his nose and give them a weak yawn.

As always, John had read everything on his face and got up to lift him on the bed so he could see him clearly. Dick clearly remembered thinking his brother was the most amazing thing in the world, definitely the cutest. Behind him his father reminded him about something that had been bothering him for the last few days. “You know you’re going to be the third person to know him name.”

His voice had been almost breathless as he asked, “What is it?”

A large hand had run into his hair while his mother returned her gaze to the sleeping bundle and say, “His first name is Timothy, but we were hoping that you could help us with his middle name.”

Looking at him now, Dick realized just why his parents didn’t let him name Tim ‘Charmander.’

He couldn’t help but repeat the name over and over again, “Timothy, Timothy, Timothy, Timmy, Timbo, Tim,” until it felt like to most natural thing in the world. He didn’t think about the second part for a while before running every possibility through his brain. “Can I give him the same middle name as me?”

His dad couldn’t help but ask, “Do you know your middle name?”

“No, what is it?”

“John.”

Dick tested it out. “Timothy John Grayson. Timothy John Grayson. Timmy John Grayson. Tim John Grayson.” Satisfied, he nodded to his parents and claimed, “It’s perfect.” Just like his Timmy.

Dick couldn’t help but think about watching his parents fall and knowing that it was his responsibility to look after his Timmy.

It had only been a few months since he had been born and one of the first times since his mom had performed but none of those criminals seemed to care. No matter how much Dick had wanted to imagine otherwise, everything changed from then on. Dick had spent the night holding Timmy to his chest and rocking him in his bed. He had comforted him when he started to fuss and cried with him when he couldn’t hold it in anymore.

He thought about Bruce and how he had offered them a home when he had no reason to. He had been in the crowd that night and searched Dick out as soon as he could. It would be no exaggeration to say that Bruce was their saving grace.

He remembered those two years he spent growing up in Gotham, two years that were some of the best he had ever had.

He remembered being amazed the first time he got to taste Alfred’s cooking and his excitement when he learned he would be making all of their meals.

He remembered helping Bruce set up Tim’s crib in his room.

Earlier that morning, Alfred had taken him shopping for everything they could possibly need living with them and while they were away Bruce had cleared out a room for Tim. Before then he would curl up with Dick in his bed but apparently this wasn’t the best option.

So Bruce had cleared out the room next to Dick’s and set up a crib and dresser and a changing station all to surprise them when they came home.

Dick had been pleasantly surprised, but a little deflated to know that he wouldn’t be able to sleep with his little brother near by. Over the last few days he had grown to like staying up to watch him sleep while talking to him about how much he loved him and how he would take care of him always.

Bruce seemed to understand even though Dick didn’t say anything so he floated the possibility of moving the crib to Dick’s room if it would mean Tim would have his older brother to check up on him. Even when he had tried to play cool, Dick couldn’t hide just how happy the change would make him and he set Tim down near them so he could watch them take the crib apart, move it into the neighboring room, and put it back together.

Tim hadn’t cared that he was now sleeping in the crib, but every now and then he would be fussing and Dick would take him out to play on his bed until he felt tired enough to fall asleep again. To Dick it had felt like the most natural thing in the world, something any good brother would do.

He remembered the excitement that blanketed the house when Tim first started forming words.

He hadn’t said anything yet, Dick didn’t really think he knew why everyone was making such a big deal either, but everyone could tell that it was only a matter of time.

The most fun came when everyone was trying to get him to say their name first.

Alfred was probably the first one out, Tim couldn’t make it past ‘Alf’ before he gave up because it was too hard. Bruce’s friends joined in too, making it so much harder because ‘Hal’ wasn’t that hard of a name to say and he knew exactly how to get Tim’s attention long enough to make a lot of progress.

In the end it was Bruce who won when Tim worked out ‘Boose’ after hearing half of the JL call for him while they come through the cave looking for him. If anything made up for it, it was the fact that it became a sort of inside joke to mispronounce Bruce’s name anytime he annoyed someone enough.

He remembered when Tim started taking his first steps and the afternoons they spent helping him learn how to maintain some balance.

Tim had been between Dick and Bruce and taking tentative steps to either side when they won over his attention. Both of them had to stop themselves from jumping in every time he started shaking and caught himself on the side of the bed.

In almost a week Tim had been following Dick around the Manor, always on his heel and wanting to grow up much too fast for everyone else in the house.

He even remembered his own shock and confusion when he heard Tim call Bruce ‘Daddy.’

Up until this point it had almost exclusively been ‘Boose’ but Tim had been ready for a change. Dick was sure it hadn’t been the first time he’d said it, but it was the first time he noticed.

Even Bruce hadn’t thought too much of it until he saw Dick’s shock and played back their conversation in his head.

That night had been a moment of contemplation for both, time to think about everything that had changed over the last few months, and Dick had come out of it sure of what he would have to do. He was sure that Bruce had been experiencing the exact same internal contemplation and he knew that in the morning they would be having the awkward discussion they were putting off as long as they could.

Dick had come up with his own plan, something he knew would put the whole issue to bed. The next morning when he went downstairs to join everyone else for breakfast he ran through the conversation in his mind a few times before he made his round through the kitchen with, “Morning Alfred,” and a put on his back, “Morning Timmy,” and a ruffling of his hair he pretended to be annoyed with, and “Morning Dad,” with a hand on his shoulder that lasted a little longer than it usually did so Bruce would know that he meant it.

He remembered getting his uniform for Gotham Academy and feeling uncomfortable.

It hadn’t been what he’d imagined a uniform would be, but he also couldn’t say too much when he considered that he’d never gone to a real school before.

Over the summer he’d had to take a few tests to see which grade he belonged in, because he’d been home schooled they didn’t really know where to place him, and it hadn’t been too bad. Being nine and born in November he was supposed to be in the fourth grade but to his surprise he was smart enough to start in the sixth.

The option had been up to him, but he did have a very long and serious discussion with Bruce. They had talked about being the youngest person in his grade and what that would feel like, how it would make socializing harder especially in the later grades. They had talked about how going to the fourth grade would mean less stress and more time to focus on other things. They had talked about how, if he wanted, he could continue to be homeschooled and whatever he chose was completely up to him.

In the end he went with the fourth grade because maybe being the smartest person in his grade would make the transition a little easier, but looking in the mirror he had been was losing faith in his decision. The uniform was the right size and he didn’t look to bad, but it was a little too stuffy for his taste. Despite all his worrying, his first day of school had been great, many people did seem to be more interested in knowing what it was like to live with a Wayne than actually getting to know him but that changed when the surprise wore off.

He remembered a few weeks ago when he had walked into Bruce’s office to see the large pile of papers on his desk. Dick hadn’t been too sure what they were for, but Bruce seemed happy about it so he knew not to be worried. Bruce had lifted him into his chair and showed him just what made the papers so important, they were the finalized adoption forms.

After going into detail about everything they meant, Bruce had finished with, “There is only one thing left, your names.”

Confused, Dick remembered looking up at him and asking, “What about them?”

Bruce had cleared his throat, not knowing if he was being insensitive or overstepping his bounds, but he choked out, “Do you want to take on my last name?”

Dick leaned back. Having gone through naming Tim, he had known it would be incredibly important and something he should not take lightly. . “Our last name would be Wayne?”

“Only if you wanted it to be.”

Once again, Dick ran through all the possibilities. “Richard John Wayne. Dick John Wayne…Timothy John Wayne. Timmy John Wayne. I like it.”

Bruce hadn’t wanted to show just how happy he was to know that they were going to be taking on his name so made stressed, “Are you sure? This is going to be a big change.”

“Yeah. I think it would make things easier for Tim. You’re our dad anyway. Of course we should have your last name.”

In that cold room, Dick remembered how safe he felt when Bruce had leaned into him, how it felt to have a massive bear wrapping his arms around him and breathing into his hair. Bruce had kissed the top of his head and whispered, “Have I told you just how much I love?”

Dick had been a little cheeky and tried to play dumb when he said, “This morning you said very much.”

Bruce had turned around to give him another kiss on the cheek and say, “And I meant it more than anything.”

The last thing he thought about was earlier that week when Bruce had announced that they would be going to London for an event. There had been some big party that Bruce needed to go to for a friend of his and they would be spending a full week in the city.

Between spending ten hours in a private plan and getting to see the queen, Dick had been incredibly excited. Their hotel room was one of the largest in the city and out of the giant windows they could see everything.

Although he hadn’t liked the journey over, the scene was enough for Tim to change his mind about the trip. With everyone watching, Tim stumbled over to the giant windows and squished his face against its cold surface to get a clear picture. At first he was entranced with the sight, but he started to lower his gaze and frightened himself with just how high they were and he ran back to his dad for safety. No one could hide how funny they found it, but soon Bruce was putting the boys to bed and telling them goodnight.

The plan for the next day had been for Bruce to leave for the gala as soon as he changed into his tuxedo and grab a ride back. He had been able to cut away early when he informed everyone he would need to put his boys to bed, but he was denied entry because he’d forgotten to grab the key to his room. Because he’d asked for a strengthened security with no outside access, Alfred had to come down and let him up.

Alfred had warned Dick that he would be back in the few minutes. Dick didn’t think too much of it, this wasn’t the first time he’d been left alone, but that all changed when he heard a crash coming from outside the room he and Timmy were sharing.

Ever since he’d learned that Bruce was Batman, Dick had been learning from him and knew better than to go investigate when he didn’t know where the invader was. Instead, he’d picked up his sleeping brother and quietly made his way over to Bruce’s room and locked the door. He had felt the safest there.

A few seconds later he’d heard a frustrated voice call out, “Hello? Is anyone here?”

That lady must have been dumber than Bruce imagined, but Dick knew better than to answer when Alfred and Bruce would be up soon.

Soon enough the robbers had tried to get into the master bedroom. Finding the door locked, one of them had shot out to the others, “Hey, I think he’s hiding out in here.”

The noise from the door shaking had woken Tim up, but Dick had been able to calm him down before he started crying. He clearly remembered thinking ‘How much longer could Bruce possibly take?’

When Dick had started to lose faith in the door, he ran into bathroom to find a proper place to hide. He had made Tim promise to not make any noise and put him in a cabinet before he crawled in with him closed the door. They had heard the door splintering and the footsteps getting louder until the door to the bathroom was slammed open and the person get closer.

“Find them anywhere?”

“No, check under the bed and in the closet.”

“They have to be here somewhere.”

Dick hadn’t dared to feel proud of himself, especially when Tim had been frightened out of his mind, but a major weight was lifted off when he heard the heavy footsteps leave the bathroom. The relief had been short lived until Tim let out a quiet murmur and the door of the cabinet was thrown open. A hand had reached out and grabbed onto him, but in his frantic he tried to reach back for his little. He had screamed as he tried to fight the man, hoping the front door to the suit would slam open when Bruce came in to save them, but it had all been in vain.

Sitting in the cold room with nothing except a lumpy mattress on the floor and a bucket in the corner, Dick tried to calm down his little brother. Hardly past two and a half year old, Tim had no idea why he felt so scared. What he did know was that he didn’t like the room and wanted to be back with his daddy.

Lulling him to sleep, Dick couldn’t help but imagine what Bruce must be thinking to find them missing.

He would open the door and find a mess. To be honest, he would probably be thinking that they had been running around while he was at the party for a few second before he noticed that no one was running out to greet him.

The broken door would be a dead give away.

Bruce would run into the room and look around for them, screaming their names at the top of his lungs, and calling everyone he could think off. He’d run through all the security footage and call Uncle Clark and they’d bring him and Timmy home in a few hours.

They had to.

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