It wasn't time travel.
After finally managing to bring himself under control, Tim had forced himself to shower, dress, and follow the sounds and aromas of breakfast to the kitchen he barely remembered. His eyes had burned as he'd taken in Dana wearing a silly 'kiss the cook' apron dishing up pancakes, his father chuckling as she teased him and he tried to concentrate on the Wall Street Journal. CNN was on the television and that's when Tim knew.
The date was correct.
September 17, 2007.
Correct, but so wrong.
Tim locked down his emotions, forced himself to smile, to eat, to thank Dana. He tried not to look too long at his dad. Tried not to remember the boomerang slick with blood, the burning tears on his cheeks, the inability to breathe.
Batman holding him, another orphan.
Tim forced himself not to crumble into a heap of sobbing goo. It would be too easy and too unexplainable. He needed to figure this all out. Not time travel but another reality. What was the point of divergence between his own and this one?
What had kept his father alive which, in turn, had kept Dana sane and out of Bludhaven?
Was he still Robin?
Had he ever been?
Too many questions, and he was expected to go to school, but not the one he attended in his own world. Louis E. Grieve High...Darla. Was she alive? Had there been the Gang War. If not, was...Stephanie alive?
TOO MANY QUESTIONS.
Tim felt the crumbling begin, the questions and the fears and the worry he'd screw something up eating away at the edges of his nerves, and he forced the focus trained into him for years on his mind, and smiled at his parents, and headed for school.
He needed to talk to Batman.
But, what if there was no Batman.
Research would keep him focused. Keep him sane.
Thrusting the fears and the hopes aside, Tim put one foot in front of the other and let determination keep him from shattering.
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