Bruce watched it all happen in slow motion. Tim aimed a leg sweep at the man in front of him, three others already on the ground surrounding them, before running off to catch one of the men trying to get away.
Remembering where they had seen the parked car, Robin attacked a grappling hook to the building across the street and disappeared from Bruce’s line of sight. He wanted to run after him, this was only the fifth time he had been out as Robin, but he had to attend to the criminals scattered around the ground to see if he could get any information.
That was his plan until he heard a gunshot from the direction Tim had flown off in and dropped everything to follow. He was sure Dick was saying something in his ear, that he would go see if he could get any information out of the goons Bruce was leaving behind, but it wouldn’t surprise him if it was just figment of his imagination. Bruce wasn’t sure he’d be able to hear anything through the loud ringing of the gunshot still barreling through his head, but he followed the sound until it was drowned out by the smell of blood.
Just below where he was standing on top of a building he could see three figures, two shaken, probably by the gravity of what they had just done, and another slouched down behind a pile of empty boxes. With complete disregard to the former, Batman leaped down the building to tend to the latter.
From what he could immediately tell there were no major injuries, but he didn’t want to risk it as he scrunched down beside Robin and began checking his vitals.
It looked like the bullet had only grazed his arm, maybe trying to disarm him before he could throw any birdarangs, and the wound wasn’t deep. The kevlar had taken most of the damage, but Tim wasn’t going to like experiencing what it felt like to have a bullet taken out of his body.
The most damage seemed to be to Tim’s ears as he was having a hard time paying attention to what Batman was asking. Tinnitus was something one only got used to through experience and Bruce was willing to bet a lot of money that this was the first time Tim had experienced a gun being fired so close to his ears.
Even with the assurance that there was nothing to be worried about, Bruce sent Dick a message to wrap up as soon as possible and lifted Tim onto his shoulder to carry him home. If the boy was in any proper state he would have argued at the position, hating the fact he had to be carried at all, but he was still too disoriented to form the proper words.
The BatMobile found them soon enough and Bruce was able to lower Tim into the passenger seat before figuring out the closest route back to the cave where Alfred was waiting to treat Tim.
As his tinnitus began clearing up, Tim began to feel more and more anxious about the lecture he was surely going to receive when Bruce didn’t’ have anything to distract him otherwise. Right now it was only his need to pay attention to the road and get home as fast as possible that was keeping Bruce from blowing up and Tim sincerely hoped that Alfred and Dick would be in the cave to maybe defend him.
He knew he’d screwed up, the constant ringing made it obvious and the closer they got to the cave the more pain he felt from the bullet still resting in his arm. His adrenaline was wearing off, but he’d rather focus on the pain than the strained look on Bruce’s face.
Getting out of the car was more awkward than getting in as Bruce and Tim had completely different opinions as to how properly equipped Tim was to carry himself to the medical bay. In the end Bruce still won and carried most of Tim’s weight before dropping into the chair and taking off the destroyed pieces of armor surrounding the wound.
Aware of the direction the situation was going to take as soon as he was finished cleaning up the wound, Alfred ordered Bruce to get changed and bring leftovers for Tim in hopes that it would give Tim enough time to catch his breath before Bruce knocked it out of him.
By the time Bruce came back Tim was drowsy from the medication Alfred had given him, they both knew it was because he didn’t want Tim to remember what would be happening next, and he set the food on the table beside the boy before asking, “How are you feeling?”
Tim was shocked by the calm tone of the question and he easily answered, “I feel fine. It hurts like a mofo, but I’m sure I’ll be back to normal before long.”
Bruce nodded, happy to hear that Tim was feeling okay, and quickly changed his tone to stern anger as he asked, “Have you lost your damn mind!? You could have died. A few more inches up and to the left and that would have been it.”
It might have been the medicine Alfred had given him or the fact he was close to falling asleep, but Tim gave Bruce an apology without any struggle. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again, Bruce. I learned my lesson about acting outside of training.”
“That’s great, Tim, but I want to know why you did it in the first place. Why would you do something that stupid. It’s disappointing seeing you act like this.”
Trying to remember exactly why he’d acted as irrational as he had, Tim explained, “I just thought I should try to catch them. They were the leaders and it had been their plan so they would have the most information to give us.”
“They would also have the best weapons. The kind that can penetrate kevlar.” At Tim’s inability to look up at him, Bruce sighed before adding, “You’re very lucky they didn’t have good aim, Tim. Miraculously lucky.”
“I know, Bruce. I messed up and got hot headed and it could have gotten other people hurt,”
“It got you hurt, Tim. That’s what matters. It got you hurt and it could have been avoided.”
Tim looked at the ground as he repeated, “I’m sorry, Bruce. I really am.”
Bruce sighed. He knew Tim was sincere and he also knew there wasn’t much more he could expect from him right now. Instead he decided to surprise him by saying, “Outside of the last three minutes or so you did great. You’re moving much more efficiently, your moves are landing more proper hits than before, and it takes you half the time to drop your enemy to the ground. That’s a lot of improvement for such a small window of time.”
Looking up at Bruce shocked by the praise, Tim decided a smile was the least he could do in return.
“It’s getting late now, Tim. I know Alfred won’t be a fan of me keeping you up any longer so I’ll help you back to your room and we can practice more with guns when you heal.”
Moving Tim up the flight of stairs to his room was comparable to trying to move jello, but soon enough he was in his nightclothes and on the border between awake and asleep. He had just enough energy to watch Bruce move around his room and to say, “I’m sorry I messed up the mission today, B. It won’t happen again.”
Tapping him on the head like he remembered doing Dick when he was hurt, Bruce smiled and said, “Yes it will, it’ll probably happen a lot over the next few months, but the important thing is that you’re alright.”