Slowly, carefully, Dick stroked his fingers through the tangled, too-long hair as Tim sprawled in almost catatonic stupor across his lap. The only sign of life in the younger man was the constant shivering.
It wasn't from cold.
An hour before, Dick had returned home to the penthouse and found him curled in his bed, naked and shivering, burrowed beneath the covers. Dick had immediately dove into the bed, hugging the younger man, babbling his joy and relief that he was finally home. It had taken ten minutes for him to realize Tim wasn't responding to either touch or words.
Wrapped in the blankets, he'd dragged Tim onto his lap and tried to get him to meet his eyes. He failed and those eyes were a dull, pale blue, and so empty. A cursory examination had shown Dick that there were new scars on too bruised skin. No open wounds but some that were barely closed, and an ugly red scar in his side.
As Dick lightly touched the mark, Tim twitched, tried to pull away, and Dick went back to stroking his hair, monitoring his pulse as his fingers slid over his neck before returning to his scalp.
After nearly another hour, with his body growing stiff from not moving and the weight, slight though it was, of his brother in his arms, Dick began to murmur, "Come back to me, Tim, please. You've come home. You're safe here. You came here for a reason. Talk to me. Let me help you." Over and over, similar phrases.
None of them bringing an audible response, but, as he watched, Tim slowly began to relax, the shivering easing then finally ceasing, and then those frightening, empty eyes fell shut.
"Heal," Dick whispered, and pressed a kiss to Tim's forehead. "You're safe. I love you."
"Forgive me," Tim whimpered, his voice strained as if he hadn't spoken in days.
"Always," Dick swore. "Never a question."
He kissed Tim again and held him close as he drifted to sleep.
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