A Bitter Pill

by Lara Wilson

It bothered him.

He'd never say it and he'd never begrudge Tim the security that brought relief to his younger brother's shadowed eyes.

But, it bothered him.

His adoption by Bruce had come at a time when, while still meaningful, hadn't been necessary. He knew it wasn't an afterthought--Bruce never made decisions like this in any way rashly--but, now, a week after they'd celebrated Tim's adoption, and Dick had felt truly happy for him, he couldn't help but feel a bit resentful, a bit irritated.

Why hadn't Bruce tried to adopt him when he was seventeen, or, better yet, nine? His money and influence had made his guardianship a surety for all Dick's childhood, but adoption would have sealed it.

Would have given him a family again.

Not that Dick hadn't thought along those lines anyway while growing up in Wayne Manor, and not that he'd ever call Bruce 'dad'--and he was certain Tim wouldn't either--but adoption was a commitment that guardianship didn't convey.

And he couldn't help but wonder why he hadn't meant enough to Bruce to take that next step when it would have mattered so much more.

And feel irritated at both his father for taking that step when it hadn't been necessary, and himself for feeling resentment that Tim got what he'd always, if only subconsciously, wanted.

Swearing to himself, Dick tried to put his petty bitterness aside and concentrate on being the best big brother ever. He and Bruce would probably never confront this issue--it's just the way they were--and Tim needed them both.

He could live with a dysfunctional family. He had since he was nine.


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