A Loss Too Great

by Lara Wilson

Dick was in his apartment pulling on his costume for a, hopefully, uneventful night of patrolling when the news report interrupted the baseball game on the television.

His first thought was Tim.

And his second.

He took a moment to mourn the young man, another to miss his own best friend, then headed for the nearest League teleporter.

*****

"He won't let us in," Vic said softly.

Dick frowned at the other man. "You run the whole building."

"I tried to bypass his locks three times. He changed them each time. I could keep trying, but I got the message, 'Wing. He doesn't want company."

"But, he's okay in there, right?"

Victor Stone nodded, glancing again at his wrist unit that was monitoring the vital signs of the Titan on the other side of the locked, steel door.

A soft yet very strong hand brushed over Dick's bicep and he turned at the sound of quiet weeping. Cassie--Wonder Girl--looked up at him from broken eyes. Behind her Rose's one shocked eye in a white face met his, before she turned into her brother's arms.

"Help him," Cassie pled. "He's lost so much."

Nodding, Dick turned back to the door and knocked. "Tim?"

A minute, then another passed, and just as he raised his hand to knock again, the lock turned. Dick gave Vic a hesitant yet hopeful look. "Leave me alone with him."

Vic nodded in understanding and began to herd the Titans out of the hallway.

Dick pushed open the door.

*****

The room was nearly pitch black--the only light seeping in around the edges of the drawn curtains--and nearly empty. A low bed, a desk, a set of file drawers, some shelves--typical Tim--which brought a pang to Dick's chest. He could see nothing personal, and that was all too familiar.

"Tim?" Although he could have adjusted his lenses to see into the dark corners of the room, he peeled off his mask and dropped it. He didn't want to be Nightwing here.

His gauntlets followed the mask.

For a long moment there was silence, then the sound of increasingly unsteady breathing drew his attention to the corner between the bed and the door. Dick walked on silent feet towards the sound, the rawness of it hurting his ears.

He hadn't been there when Tim had found out about Stephanie or found his father, and he'd been unconscious when Kon had fallen, and he wondered if Tim's reactions at those times had been similar, but he doubted it. This was pain long building.

This was pain that could destroy.

Spotting the huddled form of the young man, Dick dropped to one knee and carefully extended a hand to touch Tim's cheek.

It was wet from tears and cold from shock.

"I...I can't do this anymore, Dick," came out broken and stammered and then Tim was pulling away, curling into himself, and Dick couldn't allow that. Taking the shattered Robin's upper arms, he turned him, pulled him in and held him despite his struggles.

Tim's hands clawed at Dick's shoulders, his forehead beat against the armor on his chest, and a sound began to emerge from trembling, bitten lips.

Animalistic and full of pain.

"Let it out, little brother," Dick whispered, stroking one hand down Tim's shuddering back as he held him tightly to him with the other. Tim's struggles slowly stopped, but the sound only grew until he clung to the older man, sobbing in such despair it broke Dick's heart and brought tears to his own eyes.

*****

When Tim finally calmed down the two men turned, putting their backs to the wall. Dick slid one arm around the younger man's shoulders and pulled his head down onto his chest. He could feel Tim still trembling, hear the soft gasps, tell he was exhausted both physically and mentally, and so he simply held him, lightly stroking his shoulder and keeping quiet.

There was nothing he could say to make Tim feel better and Dick knew he wouldn't appreciate any attempts. Bats didn't spout empty platitudes and they kept their grief within the family.

Dick could do that for Tim.

"How many more do I have to lose?"

Tim's pain-filled question made the older man's own heart skip a beat. Dick had lost his share of friends and family, but never so many so close together, and he'd been blessed to get one back--two, if you counted Jason. Lightning rarely struck in the same manner twice, even among the hero community, and they'd beaten the odds too many times already.

Chances were good Tim's losses weren't coming back and, like Dick himself, he'd take on the responsibility for this latest death as he had the others.

Something they'd both inherited from Batman.

"I could say something useless like it's the nature of what we do, that he died a hero, but you know that, Tim. All I can truly say is that I'm sorry. All I can do is be here for you."

"Barbara called me," Tim stammered, "I guess she still monitors us all, and she called..."

"I saw it on the news."

Startled blue eyes met comforting ones. "It made the news already? It..." Frowning, Tim tiredly shook his head. "And Bruce...didn't call..."

"He's with the League." It was a tolerable explanation but the spurt of anger at their father didn't dim immediately.

Tim lifted his head. "I should...I should contact the elder Flash, give my condolences, should..." He started to struggle to his feet and Dick pulled him back down, pinning him to his side.

"You don't need to be there for anyone but yourself, Timmy." His words came out a bit more ferocious than he'd planned, but he didn't like seeing his little brother taking on so much weight.

"But, Cassie and...we're the only two left."

The only two active and surviving members of Young Justice. Dick knew how that felt, losing teammates, being a survivor, but he simply nodded and placed his hand on Tim's cheek to pull his head down again. "You'll be there for her later."

"I...don't know what good I'll be." A hint of self-loathing in his voice made the older hero frown and pat the younger's cheek.

"Don't worry about it. Don't think at all, Tim. Just...stop."

There were a few sniffles against his neck, then the boy turned, wrapping his arm across Dick's chest and whispering, "Thank you for coming."

"There was never a question." He felt the tears wet his neck again and rested his cheek against the top of Tim's head. "Never a question, little brother."

*****

When the crying came to an inevitable halt for the second time, Dick let Tim pull away and rise to his feet. Joining him, he watched the younger man's shoulders slump and his head droop, and knew just how tired he had to be. "Do you want me to stay?"

Tim nodded wordlessly and ran a hand through his hair, then unclipped his cape and let it drop. He made no move to undress any further, and Dick finally turned on the bedside lamp.

"Get undressed."

"I don't think I can sleep."

Dick almost smiled at the telling weariness in the other's voice. "You will." He watched Tim's hands go to the latches on his armor, then fall helplessly away, and he moved to help. The kevlar and nomex came off piece by piece until he was left in shorts and an undershirt. Dick's hands slid beneath the soft cotton top and lifted it up as Tim's arms raised.

Their eyes met.

"Don't leave me."

The desperation surprised him and Dick shushed him softly. "I'm not leaving."

"Ever."

The top drifted to the floor and Dick frowned at the fear in Tim's eyes. "You know I can't promise that, Tim."

'It...Dick, I can't...not you, too. Not anyone else. I can't..." He was beginning to panic, his words spilling out in confused stammers and his head beginning to shake in denial. Grabbing his shoulders, Dick shook him gently, trying to pull him out of his fear.

"Tim..."

Rising on his toes, Tim pressed his mouth to Dick's in a desperate, needy, grief-filled kiss.

It wasn't the first kiss they'd shared, and it wasn't the first time they'd been together because of loss, but that loss had never been so immediate. It had been muted through time and distance.

This was the first time Dick had been there for Tim so quickly, and he was surprised at the greediness in which he attacked his mouth and clung to his body and roused them both. Before, Dick had always taken the lead.

Now, Tim moved them, pushing them to the bed, tugging at the older man's uniform. Dick went down first, the top half of the black and blue outfit around his waist, his younger brother's hands hard on him, nearly bruising with a raw need. As Tim came over him, their mouths met again in something that could barely be called a kiss. It was too hungry, too powerful, and it left them both breathless and achingly hard.

As trembling yet determined hands stripped him, Dick thought momentarily of questioning Tim, but then thought better of it. This is what he needed, maybe what they both needed, and he'd do anything to pull this Robin back from the brink of despair he was teetering on.

Breaking the kiss, Dick rolled them, his own hands tugging on Tim's shorts. Hips lifted, aiding their removal, and then they were both nude and moving together on the firm mattress. Hands drifted over firm pectorals, steel abdomens, found hard yet silky shafts and pumped. The younger man hissed in pleasure and the older finally saw something more than sorrow and loss on his face.

Dick placed a soft kiss on the arched throat beneath him, then rocked into the stroking hand. "What do you want, Timmy?" he whispered then kissed the pulse point again.

"To forget," came the soft, pleading sob, and Dick groaned, knowing that would be impossible, but he'd try his damnedest.

"Close your eyes."

When Tim obeyed, lashes brushing flushed and tear-stained cheeks, Dick reached for the night stand drawer and the supplies he knew the ever-prepared Robin would have. He watched the hitching breaths making the younger man's chest tremble, and stroked him gently until he started to calm, then leaned down and placed a kiss on his navel, making him jump.

Another kiss--lower--and he tasted Tim and made them both groan and Tim dig his hands into the bedding beneath him as his hips arched and his shoulders rolled.

Dick placed a firm hand on his stomach, holding him still as he swiped his tongue along his shaft, over the head, down the other side until Tim shook from more than grief and one hand found his head, pressing him down. Ovalling his lips, Dick took him in and suckled until Tim was moaning and thrashing against the dual pins of hands and mouth. Lubricated fingers stretched him, prepared him, so that by the time Tim was shaking from release, they were both ready.

Coming over the younger man, Dick kissed him tenderly and pushed into him. Tim gasped into the kiss, hands clutching at broad shoulders, legs wrapping around lean hips.

And they moved as one.

*****

The sound of his communicator woke him and Dick carefully pulled away from Tim to reach over the side of the bed for it. Careful not to wake the finally sleeping Robin, he fumbled it on and turned down the volume.

Surprise hit him at the sight of Roy looking both happy and sad.

"We lost one tonight, Robbie, but we got one back." Roy stepped out of view and another redhead replaced him, making Dick gasp at the painful wrenching of his heart.

"Wally?"

"Hey, Dick." There was sorrow on the speedster's face, in his eyes, but it was him.

He was back.

Joy flooded him and, yet...

The bed shifted and he knew Tim was awake, knew he'd heard, even before the nearly silent sob broke the air, and Dick looked back at his best friend returned from what might as well have been the dead and knew his joy had to wait. "I'll talk to you soon, Wally. I have...Tim needs me."

Wally nodded solemnly. "We have time, Dick. Thank god, we have time."

The picture faded and Dick dropped the communicator back on the floor before turning to his other side and pulling Tim into his arms as he cried.

Finally, exhausted again, Tim whispered, "Maybe there's only supposed to be one Flash," and Dick prayed that for once his little brother was wrong.

End

A/N: I've given up on trying to figure out a timeline for DC. I know Countdown and the Amazon insanity fits into this storyline but I have no clue when, and, obviously Robin and Nightwing (the comics) are in some distant universe because the Robin and Nightwing (the characters) of their respective comics have barely nothing in common with those in Titans and Outsiders respectively.

Anyhoo, in my mind, JLA 10 ends about six hours after Tim gets the news in Flash 13.

Return to Unexpected Attraction