Tim had always known that at some point Dick wouldn’t have as much time for him, but he always thought it would be when they were like Bruce. He’d imagined them being old men who didn’t even live in the same house anymore, they’d be grumpy with their own jobs and their own lives, but he was too young for Dick to forget about him now.
He wasn’t prepared for his brother to be too busy for him when they lived five seconds away from each other, when there was only a wall separating them. If Dick couldn’t make time for him now, then what would happen when they were Bruce’s age, or worse Alfred’s? Would they just not talk to each other anymore?
The problem had mostly started with Dick spending his nights as Robin. Having to train with Bruce most afternoons, some of his nights flying around Gotham, and still having to stay on top of all his schoolwork, Dick just didn’t have time to pay attention to Tim.
Bruce presented him with a similar problem. It seemed that a series of unfortunate events had taken place and he found himself swamped with training Dick, working on a new case with Penguin, and trying to finalize a merger with a small but prominent pharmaceutical company in Gotham. Now he was either spending his time in the cave working with Dick or in his office making sure all of his employees were working their hardest on their projects. Now he wasn’t home for over a few hours a day and Tim felt like he was losing his father all over again.
They even lost their nights together, something they’d held onto on principle even when they had their separate rooms. It had become an unspoken of tradition in their family for them to load into on of their bedrooms and watch an old movie but no one had the time and it sort of fell through the cracks, something Timmy was afraid of happening to himself too.
The two heroes stayed out so far into the morning that Tim couldn’t stay up to wait for them no matter how hard he might’ve tried. He tried to station himself in Bruce’s chair the cave to catch his father and brother as they came in, but he always woke up to find himself in his bed all alone and couldn’t help but feel he was one step closer to losing his family.
That didn’t mean Tim gave up trying. He always made his way to the cave when he knew the two were on patrol and sometimes he would even get the chance to give them some advice from the computer. Tim liked to think that in a few years the problem would go away when he’d be able to join the two on their routes around the city, but he didn’t think he could wait that long to have his brother again.
Instead, he built up his resistance to sleep slowly and slowly until at one point he could remember Bruce telling Dick to take a shower before reaching down to carry Tim to his room. Feeling much safer and happier in his arms than he had when he was awake and somewhere in the tired crevices of his mind, Tim decided he’d make up for his loneliness with Bruce.
The following morning, Tim found himself a little late for breakfast and when he finally made his way downstairs he was just able to catch Dick leaving for school and Bruce leaving for work. He decided to skip breakfast and talk to them for however long he could before they left, but Dick was in a rush to gather some of his books he’d left in his room so all Dick had time for was a quick wave goodbye before he ran out to the garage where Bruce was waiting in the car.
Tim noticed that Bruce had left his briefcase beside the table and in a moment of craze he sneaked took out what he assumed to be some important paperwork. After hiding it in one of the cabinets, he called Bruce’s cellphone and informed him, “Daddy, you’ve left your bag in the kitchen.”
Bruce said some words he made Tim promise not to repeat and sped home to gather the bag and leave with a pat to Tim’s head all in a few minutes.
Tim sat down a little deflated at being alone for another morning but he waited to see if his plan would work. He poured out some cereal and ate it slowly it at the breakfast table while he tried to distract himself with the tv. Just as he had assumed, not even an hour later the phone rang with the number he knew belonged to Bruce’s office and he could praise himself for being so resourceful.
He picked it up and pretended to be confused when he asked, “Hello?”
Bruce said exasperated, “Timmy, I need you to do me a favor. It’s very important.”
Already knowing what Bruce needed, Tim asked, “What is it, Daddy?”
Bruce explained, “Go into my office and see if I’ve left some paperwork on my desk.”
Tim pretended to make his way to Bruce’s office and look for the paperwork but instead he leaned into the cabinet and pulled out the ones he had hide away earlier. Reading off the title page he asked, “Is it the one that says ‘Reseawch into the Susten…Sustin…Sus-tain-ab-il-i-ty of Kepto…Krepto. Daddy, I can’t read it anymore. Is that the one?”
With a sigh of relief, Bruce said, “Yes, thank you, Tim. I’ll be home as fast as I can to pick them up. Thank you very much.”
Letting himself feel proud of himself if only for making up such a great plan on the spot, Tim blushed and said, “You’re welcome, Daddy.”
Learning that Bruce would be making his way home to retrieve the papers, Tim ran out to his room as fast as he could and quickly changed into the shirt Alfred said he looked very smart in. Once he thought he looked very handsome in the mirror, he took the papers and sat in the stairs waiting for the door to open.
In a few minutes, Bruce came in and said, “Thank you very much, Tim. i don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Tim took it as the perfect opportunity to ask, “Daddy, can I come with you to work today? I already changed and everything.”
Bruce didn’t see any problem in saying, “Sure kiddo, I don’t see why not.”
Excited, Tim leapt out of his seat and lead the way to the garage to say, “If you’re taking me to work then you need to drive your best car.”
Laughing, Bruce found the keys to Tim’s favorite car and buckled him into the car seat before driving off to Wayne Tower. He let himself take the longer route if not only to show Tim some of his favorite sights in Gotham before he had go to Bruce’s stuffy office.
As soon as they stepped out, Tim began to feel anxious about being in such and important building and needed Bruce to lift him up so he wouldn’t accidentally get lost. Bruce was surprised by the show knowing that Tim was usually more outgoing in large crowds but he gave in anyway. People were interested in the boy Bruce was carrying, they were interested in learning anything they could about his personal life, but he pushed them aside to get to the privacy of his office.
He asked his secretary to find a pull out a table and smaller swivel car for Tim and set him up next to his own desk. The sight was almost ridiculous. Bruce had designed his office to be as intimidating as possible but the new additions made it look absurd but Bruce couldn’t find it in himself to care.
Tim immediately got to work drawing pictures and handing them out to everyone who came in to talk to Bruce. It was mostly a way for him to ask Bruce about his opinion of the work and get the employees out as soon as possible, but most only found it cute. Every now and then, he’d be talking to his dad about whatever had come to mind and he’d tell him or her to come back later because he was busy with something much more important, his son.
At first Bruce let it go on, he found Tim’s just as charming as the others, but once he realized Tim didn’t want anything, not even his work, to divert his attention away from him he knew there was more the issue.
Bruce made room on his desk by moving aside the paper and equipment and lifted Tim up so he’d be front and center. Tim like the change, he was the only thing Bruce could look at, but then he realized Bruce thought something was wrong and he knew his moment was over.
Tilting his head so he could look him in the eye and moving out his bangs from his forehead, Bruce asked, “Tim, is something wrong? You’ve been acting a little strange today.”
Tim tried to not look away from him, but Bruce wouldn’t let him. Instead he muttered, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Knowing almost immediately that his son was lying, Bruce said, “I think you do.”
Tim leapt off of the desk to wrap his arms around Bruce’s throat. He spoke into the fold of his neck, “I’m sorry, Daddy. I didn’t mean to. I’m really sorry.”
Unsure of what he was talking about, Bruce asked, “Did you do something bad?”
“Yes. I saw that you left your bag behind so I took out the papers so you’d have to come back,” Tim informed. He still refused to look him in the eye, he didn’t want to see just how disappointed his father was in his actions.
Confused, Bruce asked, “I’m not mad at you, Timmy, but why did you do that?”
He moved him off of his chest to get a better look at the boy and he could see the despair on Tim’s face when he said, “I just…I’ve just felt a little lonely lately.”
“Is there any particular reason?”
Tim tried to hold back, but he rambled on, “I know I’m not supposed to feel bad about this, but you’re Batman and Dick’s Robin now so I can’t sleep with you and that’s not bad because I always knew that at one point he was going to be too big to need to sleep with someone but it shouldn’t be now, Daddy. He should wait until he’s old like you or Alfred, but he doesn’t need me right now so what’s going to happen later? I mean, you are always working on something and he used kiss to me goodbye before he goes to school, but today he just gave me a wave and he wasn’t even paying attention,” Letting his tears fall out, Tim said, “I miss you two, Daddy.”
Wiping the tears off of his cheek, Bruce asked, “Is that why you hid my papers, so you’d get to spend some more time with me?”
Ashamed, Tim started to cry more and admit, “Yes, Daddy. I’m sowy.”
Bruce wrapped him up in his arms and assured him, “There’s no reason to feel so bad, but next time please just tell me. I can’t fix it if you don’t tell me. And you know what?”
Confused and a little scared, Tim asked, “What?”
“I think that if you tell Dick how you feel, he’ll try a little more too. He loves you Tim, more than anyone in the world, and it’s not on purpose that he sometimes forgets to pay attention. He just has a lot to do all at the same time, but I know for a fact if you asked him, he’d drop it all to spend some more time with you.”
Not wanting to let his hopes get too high, Tim make sure, “You pwomise?”
“Of course I promise.”
Wiping out the remaining tears on his cheek, Tim drank some of Bruce’s water before he settled himself on his lap. He was satisfied enough just watching Bruce finish working. Bruce decided that it wasn’t worth it and said, “How about you and I take the day off from work and we can find something else to do.”
“Are you sure? Don’t you have to do some wowk to do?” Tim knew he had already done a lot today and he didn’t want to be even more of a nuisance.
Giving him a little peck on the top of his head before packing up everything on the desk, Bruce assured him, “There’s nothing more important than my family, Tim, and that means I have all the time in the world for you. That is never going to change.”