Setting up the table for dinner, Tim was surprised to see another plate setting. It wasn’t always that someone came over for a meal, his daddy wasn’t really the best host in the world, so Tim always welcomed the opportunity to have a guest over. Looking over to Alfred as he was finishing working on dinner, Tim asked, “Is someone coming over for dinner?”
Alfred informed him, “Miss Diana is going to join us tonight.”
Looking down at his sweatpants and t shirt and knowing his aunt always wore much fancier clothes every time she came over, Tim asked, “Do I need to change into something better?”
Alfred gave him a look and decided, “I don’t think so, Master Tim.”
Trusting his opinion, Tim finished putting out all the glasses and plates before he pulled out a chair to ask, “Is today something special? Aunt Diana doesn’t come over a lot.”
Setting out a treat for Tim for helping him out, the butler considered her tone over the phone when she called and said, “I think so, sir, but it’s probably a surprise. Maybe you should go and get your brother and father so we don’t make Miss Diana wait.”
Tim finished up his treat and ran up to Dick’s room and Bruce’s office to warn them that they were having company over and they should be down in a few minutes.
In the end he did decide to change into something a little more formal and it was a good idea because Diana was very well dressed and here to give them a pretty important announcement. She looked excited as soon as she stepped in and wanted to get through the meal as soon as possible so they could talk much more candidly afterwards. Alfred was a little buffed that they were speeding through the meal, but he could tell it was for a good cause and immediately set out dessert.
As they sat around the dinner table, she played with her slice of cake for a moment before announcing, “Steve and I are getting married. He asked me to marry him a few days ago and I said yes.”
The others looked incredibly excited, they all got up and hugged her and told her congratulations but Tim stayed in his seat looking confused at everything. He was happy for his aunt, she looked some of the happiest she’s ever had, but he didn’t really know why she was excited or why the ring on her was so important.
He waited until everyone was sitting down to ask, “What does that mean?”
Looking down at her ring, she smiled at him and explained, “It means Steve and I are going to be together forever. That we love each other and will always.”
“Like a mom and dad?”
Diana thought hard for a moment before explaining, “A little. First it’s boyfriend and girlfriend, then it turn into husband and wife when two people get married. If they decide to have kids then it turns into mom and dad, but you don’t stop being husband and wife.”
“Can two boys and girls get married?”
Unclear about what he was asking, Bruce explained, “Well, four people can’t get married, but a boy can marry a boy and a girl can marry a girl.”
Understanding what he was saying, Tim asked Diana, “And…you’re like best friends?”
“Yes, best friends who are going to be together forever.”
Finishing his cake, Tim asked, “Does everyone get married?” This seemed like something that was very important, but he couldn’t understand why his dad was still alone.
“Most people do.”
“Can you marry anyone? Anyone you want?”
Wanting to be sure there was no confusion, Diana stressed, “Well, if two people want to get married then they can.”
Tim seemed satisfied with the answers and decided it was time for him to go to bed. He put his plates in the sink and drank a glass of water, but before he went upstairs to sleep he knew he had to give Diana a good luck kiss and tell her he hoped she had the best marriage in the world. Dick followed him up to bed, but Bruce and Diana stayed behind to have one of their grown up discussions that was too boring for them.
In his room, Tim decided he wasn’t actually satisfied in everyone’s explanations. He crawled out of his bed to go visit Dick in his room and crawl up with him. He shook him a little until he put his phone down to give him all his attention and then he asked, “Dick, am I going to get married some day?”
Surprised with the question, Dick smiled over and said, “I hope so, Timmy. I hope you find someone you want to be with forever.”
Tim scampered back to his room to plan everything out. He already had his brother’s blessing so there shouldn’t be much more he was to work through. If he was going to marry someone then it should be someone he loved the most but then he was forced to make a very difficult decision. How was he going to chose between his dad and brother?
Lying in bed he weighed the pros and cons of both options. He was sure he’d be happy with both of them forever, but he had a feeling it wasn’t going to be that easy. Bruce was a lot older than him, but he also had a job so that was good. Dick was closer to his age, but sometimes he could be annoying when he had to go to school. In the end Tim decided it should come down to the fact that Bruce was still unmarried when he was so old so maybe Tim could step in before he died alone. If Aunt Diana was so happy to be married, then he could make his dad just as happy if he married him.
In the morning when Dick was away at school and Alfred was out running some errands, Tim changed into his smartest outfit and knock on Bruce’s office door. He had already planned out the conversation in his head last night and he knew exactly what he wanted to say so there was no way Bruce could tell him no.
Hearing Bruce’s voice call out, “Come in,” Tim stepped into his office and stood in front of his desk.
Bruce looked up a little confused at seeing him wearing one of the suits he hated and he asked, “What is it, Timmy?”
Tim walked up to him and lifted his arms up until Bruce would take him into his lap. As soon as he was sitting down,he moved all of the papers off of his desk and made it his seat so he could have a more comfortable conversation with his dad. Making sure Bruce was looking him in the eye, Tim placed each of his hands on his cheek and stressed, “You need to pay attention, Daddy, this is very important.”
Thinking he looked very cute when he tried to be so serious, Bruce smiled at him and said, “You have my full attention, Tim. I’ll listen to anything you say.”
Taking a deep breath, Tim gave Bruce his favorite smile and asked, “Daddy, will you marry me?”
Shocked, Bruce creased his eyebrows and was barely able to choke out, “What?”
Tim tried to get past his insecurity in Bruce’s lack of answer and repeated, “Do you want to marry me? Like Uncle Steve and Aunt Diana?”
Tim started to lose his faith when Bruce’s smile went away but it was his words that broke his heart. “Oh, Timmy. I’m sorry kiddo, but that’s not how things work.”
Deflated, Tim asked, “Why? Why can’t I marry you?”
Bruce tried to explain, “You can’t marry your father, Tim. I’m sorry.” He didn’t want Tim to think that he didn’t love him enough to marry him, but there was much more to the situation than the five year old could understand.
To Tim there wasn’t anything more to the situation then, “But I love you and you love me.”
Bruce insisted, “I know and that’s not what this is about. There are different kinds of loves, Tim. You know how you and I love each other, it’s very different from how Diana and Steve love each other.”
“Why?” To Tim it was all the same. Love was love.
He maintained, “Well, they were boyfriend and girlfriend first-”
“But you and I can be boyfriend and boyfriend.”
He took Tim’s small hands into his own and reiterated, “I don’t want to be your boyfriend, Tim. I want to be your daddy. Don’t you like me being your daddy?”
Looking down at their hands Tim acknowledged, “You’re the best daddy in the world.”
Resting his head under his chin, Bruce explained, “And you know how you love your friends, you love Conner and Cassie and Bart and all of them, it’s very different with how you love me and that’s okay. Some day you’re going to meet someone and you are going to know it’s a completely different kind of love and that’s okay.” He held him close and let Tim’s tears soak his shirt until he felt like he had let everything out. Bruce could tell his was very important to him and even though he didn’t see Tim’s logic he could tell it was all because he loved him.
Finished crying and still upset at his rejection, Tim wiped his tears away said, “Okay. We won’t get married.”
Lifting him up, Bruce knew he wanted to cheer him up as fast as he could. He carried him away from his desk to ask, “How about you and I go and get some ice cream?”
Tim pressed his face into Bruce’s neck and said, “Okay.”
Whispering into his ear, Bruce added, “We can go and get the one shop that we’re not allowed to tell Alfred about.” He wanted to get that pain out of his voice as soon as possible and he knew food was one of the best ways to cheer his son up.
Not moving his face or changing his tone, Tim gave him a quick, “Okay.”
Repositioning Tim so he could look him in the eye, Bruce said, “But how about you change into something more comfortable. We’ll probably get caught if some ice cream falls onto it.”
Tim still refused to look him in the eye when he said, “Okay.”
As soon as he was dropped onto the floor of his room Tim changed out of his outfit and silently followed Bruce out to his car. He still refused to say anything else and Bruce was starting to feel like he still needed to give his boy more. Pushing his key into the lock, he looked through the mirror and promised, “You know if you think of something else you want to do, then you can ask me.”
He looked up to see Tim playing with the belt of his car seat when he repeated, “Okay.”
Keeping the car in park, he unfastened his seat belt to turn around properly and ask, “What’s wrong baby?”
Tim couldn’t bring himself to look him in the eye when he said, “It’s just…you’re so old Daddy and you’re not married and I thought I could help.”
Retaking Tim’s hands into his own, Bruce started playing with his fingers and said, “Timmy I’m not worried about marrying someone. It’s not the most important thing in the world. You know what is?”
A little hopeful, Tim looked at his dad to ask, “What is it?”
“You are. People get married because they know it’s going to make them happy and that’s great, but I’m my happiest right now and I’m not going to change anything.”
Tim gave him a small smile before he unbuckled himself to leave a kiss on his dad’s cheek. In the end all that he cared about was that his dad knew he loved him.