munnin: (Default)
[personal profile] munnin
Title: Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes
Author: Munnin
Rating: R for inferred content, See warnings
Verse: Mended Wings. Previous chapters:
here.
Characters: Dick, Tim, Bruce, Alfred & Leslie.
Warnings: highlight to read, contains spoilers. [ non-explicit allusion to attempted sexual assault on a minor.]
Disclaimer: No ownership, no profit and no offence meant. Everyone is of the age of consent in their country and period of history
Author’s notes: 100% organic. May contain minor flaws and imperfections that beta-treated slash wouldn’t.
Bingo card: H/C. child abuse (sexual).
Masterlist here.

Summary: Now that Tim is safely home at the Manor, they must deal with the aftermath as a family. Comes directly after
Postliminium.


Tim lingered over breakfast, unsure where he stood with his...he wanted to say ‘new family’ but things were still too raw.

“I have to train.” Dick announced with a smile, chugging down the last of his juice. “Leslie’ll kill me if I don’t do my stretches.” He ruffled Tim’s hair as he passed. “Come down and play with me, little brother?”

Tim brushed his hair back into order, covering a flinch as Dick touched him. He could feel Bruce’s eyes on him, steely and unnervingly steady. “In...in a little while.”

Dick looked from Tim to Bruce and back again, reading both their faces in a brief glance. “Ok.” He muttered, clearly reluctant to go. “Just let me know if you need anything hey?”

Tim kept his head down, not wanting to see the knowing look that passed between Dick and Bruce.

Bruce waited for the clack of Dick’s canes to echo into the distance before speaking. “Tim, I’d like to speak to you in the study, when you’re ready.” As gentle as Bruce’s voice was, Tim could hear the tight edge to his tone, the undercurrent of command.

Tim nodded, swallowing thickly as he reached from his tea with hands that shook ever so slightly. “I’ll be there in a moment.”

Bruce answered with a nod and left the room.

Alfred fussed quietly in the background, clearing away their plates and topping up Tim’s tea. He rested a gentle hand on Tim’s shoulder as he poured, squeezing it softly. There was reassurance in the older man’s touch, an understanding Tim had felt since the first time Alfred drove him home.

Tim looked up at him with a tight smile. “Thank you for breakfast Alfred.”

“My very great pleasure, Master Timothy.” Alfred replied, cleaning away his cup.

Tim dragged his feet towards the study. He wasn’t intentionally avoiding this conversation with Bruce but the sense of dread pooling in his stomach weighted him down. Everything was so complicated at the moment and Tim found himself fearing that it was all a dream and any second now they would send him back...

He found his way to Bruce’s door, his hand raised to knock before his brain caught up with his feet.

“Come in Tim.” Bruce called, not waiting for Tim to knock.

Tim fought to keep his eyes raised as he settled into the deep chair in front of the desk. The last time he sat in this chair was the day he’d found the courage to bring his photos to Robin, the day he realised he knew Batman’s true name. Then he had been a frightened child but now, just a few short months later he was Robin and Bruce was no-longer a figure to fear but one to look up to...

And yet his hands shook.

And yet his heart pounded.

Bruce put down his paperwork and came around the desk. “How are you feeling?” He asked quietly.

Tim swallowed and bit back on his fear, meeting Bruce’s eyes with a look he hoped was more confident than he felt. “I’m still a little shaken.

“Right now it must feel as if your world has been turned upside.” He leant back on the desk, his eyes distant. “I remember how that felt, we all do.”

Tim closed his eyes for a moment, too easily imagining the darkened alleyway, the flash of the gun as it went off; the ruckus of the big top and the crack of breaking bone as Dick’s legs shattered; the ring in his ears as his mother’s hand lashed across his face...

Bruce’s broad hands closed around his shoulders, steadying him as he swayed. “We’re here for you, Tim,” He crouched at Tim’s side, “but I need to know what you want.”

Tim took a deep breath, trying to centring himself as Dick had taught him to do. “I want...” he started, fighting to order his thoughts. “I need to be free of my mother.”

“I have my legal team working on that as we speak.” Bruce answered softly. “What I need to know is if you want to stay here, with us?”

Tim closed his eyes tight against the tears he didn’t want to shed.

“I want this to be your home Tim but I don’t want to push you into something you’re not ready for. If you choose, I’ll gladly set you up an apartment, something of your own-” The suggestion died on his lips as Tim’s hand tightened around his wrist.

“I want to stay.” Tim said firmly, opening his eyes as if surprised by the strength in his own voice. “If you’ll have me.”

“I want nothing else more.” Bruce answered honestly, holding Tim’s eye as he stood up. “I have the emancipation paperwork started and we’ll go over it whenever you’re ready but...”

Tim felt his stomach plummet.

“I’d like very much for you to talk to Leslie Thompkins. I want her to assess the extent of your injuries.”

Tim stiffened for a moment.

“She’s been our family doctor for years and I trust her utterly.” Bruce assured. “I hope you will do the same.”

Tim rose slowly. “If it’s something you require me to do...”

Bruce looked saddened. “This isn’t an order Tim, and it is most certainly not a caveat of you staying with us. You don’t have to see her if you don’t feel comfortable but... I would feel better if she took a look at you. She is an excellent doctor and her professional testimony would go a long way to assisting our case for emancipation, not to mention settling my mind.”

“You doubt I should be emancipated?” Tim asked, his voice small and hurt.

“No, not at all.” Bruce touched his chin lightly, drawing Tim up to look at him. “I’m concerned my desire to keep you here is a selfish one. I need to know this is in your best interests, not mine.”

“You doubt yourself because of Jason?” The words were out of Tim’s mouth before he had time to think, quick and questioning as Bruce taught him a good detective should be.

“Yes.” Bruce answered, just as quickly. “I made a mistake in believing I could rescue Jason when it was the opposite of what he needed.” He reached out to Tim but hesitated, dropping his hand. “I don’t wish to hurt you as I did him.”

Tim touched Bruce’s hand, huge and scared compared to his. “I think...” He breathed, his voice breaking slightly, “I think I need rescuing.”

Bruce pulled him into a hug, as tight as any Dick had given him but somehow...different. Stronger, more protective that affectionate, as if Bruce could keep the whole world at bay with just his arms around Tim. Bruce’s touch was so rarely given and so meaningful when it was. Tim sank into the embrace, lost in the comfort of it.

“Will you speak with Leslie?” Bruce asked softly, leaning back, his hands still steadying on Tim’s shoulder.

“Yes.” Tim scrubbed the back of his hand over his cheek, chasing away the tears.

“I’ll call her, ask her to come over this afternoon if that suits you?” Bruce straightened up, brushing Tim’s hair back from his face in a subtle but telling gesture. “You should go to Dick, he’s worried about you.”

Tim nodded, his hand hovering on Bruce’s arm. “Thank you. Thank you for letting me stay here.”

Bruce’s hand covered his. “This is your home Tim.”

***

Tim wandered up to his room for a moment, wanting to wash his face before he went to Dick. He stared into the mirror, his fringe dripping and his skin blotchy. The weight in his stomach was lifting, a little at least. The fear that Bruce would turn him out was dissipating but...

Dick and Bruce trusted Dr Thompkins so completely but could he? After everything that had happened...

“Master Timothy?” Alfred called quietly, hovering in the open bathroom doorway. “Are you alright?”

Tim sniffed back the darkness of his thoughts and reached for the towel. He flinched as the rough pile scrapped against the torn skin of his cheek. “I’m fine Alfred. Thank you.”

Alfred gave a sad little sigh and stepped closer, pressing a damp cloth to the now bleeding wound and holding it there. “Master Tim, I know you weren’t able to bring many of your possessions with you so I’ve taken the liberty of ordering you a new wardrobe. I hope that meets with your approval?”

Tim tried to duck away but Alfred had a firm grip on his face, applying pressure to the cut. “I can’t...I can’t pay for that.”

Alfred tisked and eased the cloth away, examining the wound. “You are a member of this household now, Master Tim.” He said with odd sternness. “Anything you want or require will be provided. You need only ask.”

“I can’t ask that.” Tim whispered, his eyes lowered.

“Then I shall, as with Master Bruce and Master Dick, endeavour to anticipate your needs.” He took the damp towel from Tim’s hand and folded it over his arm. “Now if you would be so kind as to take a bottle of water down to Master Dick. He often forgets to arm himself with hydration before embarking on vigour training.”

Tim felt more than saw Alfred’s soft smile as the butler squeezed his shoulder in passing.

***

Dick was stretched out on the mats as Tim entered, his legs raised above his head.

He smiled at Tim upside-down. “Hey little brother. How ya doing?”

“I’ve had better days.” Tim admitted, settling on the corner of the mat.

Dick flipped over, pulling himself into a handstand, teetering for a moment before letting himself fall flat on his back next to Tim. He reached up and ruffled Tim’s hair. “You’re going to be ok, Tim. I promise. Bruce, Alfred and I will look after you.”

Tim accepted the ruffling with a brief and tolerant smile.

Dick stared up at him from a long moment with that piercing look that always made Tim wonder if Dick could read his mind.

“He’s asked you to see Leslie, hasn’t he?” Dick asked, his blue eyes holding Tim’s. “It’s ok. She’s a bit of a dragon sometimes but she does it to look after us. And you can trust her.” He smiled again, a little sadly this time. “I do.”

Tim said nothing but stayed still as Dick stroked his marred cheek.

“It’ll be ok.” Dick whispered again, twining his fingers in Tim’s. “Come on.” He tugged gently on their joined hands. “Let’s go over that kata Bruce taught you last week.”

They trained for an hour or so before Dick finally tapped out and sat down, his legs aching.

Tim crossed to his side, offering him the water he brought down and dragging Dick’s sticks closer. “Are you alright?” Tim asked, eyeing the knotted cords of Dick’s legs as the elder Robin tried to massage out the kinks.

“Just a little tight, that’s all.” Dick muttered, biting back on his pain.

“It’s no less than you deserve.” Muttered an amused voice from the doorway. Dr Leslie Thompkins lingered there, dressed in a white coat, her grey hair pulled back into a tight bun - every inch the matronly doctor Tim imagined her to be. She strutted towards them, her low heeled shoes clicking on the sprung floor. “What part of ‘don’t push yourself’ did you miss, Richard?”

Dick hung his head in mock shame. “I wasn’t going that hard Leslie, Tim and I were just training.”

“Mmm.” She hummed disapprovingly, eyeing his outstretched legs. “And I bet you’ll hurt for it tomorrow.” She shook a finger at him. “And don’t think I’m going to give you more of that warming gel either.”

Dick put of his best pout, the sort that would turn anyone into a pile of goo but Leslie completely ignored him.

“Tim.” She held out a hand. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

“And you, Dr Thompkins.” Tim shook her hand politely, trying to ignore the fact she was staring curiously at his marred cheek.

“Bruce asked me to take a look at you.” She gestured towards the door, “Shall we?”

Tim swallowed and followed obediently, flashing a tight smile at Dick as he squeezed Tim’s shoulder in passing.

Leslie ushered him into a guest bedrooms, one Tim had never been in before. “Alfred was kind enough to have a fire ready; he mentioned you’re not overly fond of the cold.”

Tim sat on the edge of the bed, his hands clasped as he wondered how much the doctor already knew about him.

“Tim,” she reassured, “I’m here to help.” She opened the heavy bag she had sitting on the dresser. “May I have a look at your cheek?”

Tim stood, obedient and still as Leslie examined his face.

“Your mother did this, didn’t she?”

Tim nodded, trying to keep still as Leslie cleaned the cut and used butterfly closures to draw the scratched edges together.

“She must have been wearing a ring of some kind.”

“Yes.” Tim answered simply. He didn’t want to talk about it; about the fact the ring she wore wasn’t her engagement ring. The ring his father had given had been far too cheap for her taste and she had replaced it with a diamond more to her liking soon after his death. He didn’t want to think about the fact she spent more time in Tanzania selecting the diamond she wanted than she’d spent with him in the last three years.

Leslie tisked quietly, sounding very much like Alfred. “This may scar I’m afraid. Alfred should have seen to it last night.”

“I was...” he stated, flinching as she rubbed a cream around his bruised eye. “I wasn’t exactly cogent at the time.”

“That’s understandable.” She stepped back, eyeing her handiwork. “I need you to show me your other injuries now Tim.”

Tim took a step back, the back of his knees knocking against the bed. “I’m fine.” He said, too quickly and too loud. “I’m not hurt anywhere else.”

She gave him a soft sigh. “Tim, I run a clinic downtown and I see all sorts coming through those doors. I know when someone’s hiding an injury.”

“It’s nothing.” Tim muttered, “Just a strained muscle from training.”

“Tim,” she said warningly, “I’ve been looking after Bruce and Dick for years. I know every strain, sprain and hurt you can earn yourself training. Please don’t lie to me.”

Tim glanced at the closed door.

She followed his gaze. “The door isn’t locked. If you need to walk out of here then go, I won’t stop you.” She took a step closer, her hands out as if to calm him. “But I will promise you two things – I’m here to help you and anything you tell or show me will remain in the strictest of confidence. Bruce and Dick need never know unless you wish to tell them. A copy of my report will go to the judge if your case goes to court but no-one else will see it. Now please,” she stepped closer. “Show me.”

Tim took a deep breath, fighting to tamp down his fear and shame. Slowly, carefully, he eased down his pants. His narrow hips were shadowed with handprint shaped bruises, black and yellow beneath the fingerprints.

Leslie sucked a breath, trying to cut off her own anger. “Did she do this?”

“Yes ma’am,” Tim kept his eyes down, hiding his burning face.

“How far did it go?” She asked, not unkindly.

“She tried to...” Tim shuddered, tears trailing unbidden down his face. “But I pushed her away before...” he swallowed thickly, fighting to hold it together. “She said if I wanted to be treated like a man I had to act like one.”

Leslie wrapped a protective arm around the youth and gently eased him back to sit on the bed. “Deep breathes Tim, it’s going to be ok.” She rubbed a hand down Tim’s back, trying to sooth him into breathing properly as he sobbed in ragged gasps.

Slowly Tim dragged himself back under control, pulling up his pants and covering his face in shame.

“This is not your fault Tim,” She urged, “You are not to blame for this.”

Tim said nothing but kept his eyes closed, his face turned away from her.

She squeezed his shoulder. “This cream will help with the bruising.” She pulled a tube from her bag and handed it to him. “If you need more, Alfred knows where I keep a stash in the cave.” She paused for a moment, “I can recommend a councillor if you’d like to talk to someone but... I think you’d be better off talking to Bruce or Dick. When you’re ready.”

“Thank you.” Tim started towards the door but Leslie’s hand closed around his shoulder.

“You’re not in this alone Tim, if ever you need me...”

“Thank you Dr Thompkins.” Tim answered, not looking around. As soon as the door was open, he bolted for his room.

***

Bruce looked in on him an hour later, unsurprised to find Tim curled up in a ball in the middle of his bed. “Tim?”

Tim glanced over for a second but in that moment; he knew Bruce could read him completely.

“Is there anything I can do?” Bruce asked gently, perching on the edge of the bed.

Tim’s eyes were red rimmed and blank. “I...I...”

“Shh,” Bruce soothed, brushing Tim’s hair back from his face. “It’s alright.”

“You know, don’t you?” Tim whispered, his voice caught in a sob. “Dr Thompkins-”

“Leslie is the very soul of discretion.” Bruce cut him off. “I would not have trusted you to her otherwise.” He ran his hand through his hair. “I suspected...from the way you moved at breakfast.”

Tim bit back a pained hiccup.

“I’m so sorry Tim,” Bruce whispered, resting his face in his hands, “If I suspected she’d take it so far, I would never have left you there alone.”

“It’s not your fault Bruce. I provoked her.”

“Nor is it your fault, Tim,” Bruce reached out and pressed a gently hand to Tim’s cheek. “No child should need fear their parent. I’m just so glad you’re here and safe.”

Tim let the small smile curl his lip. He had never felt so safe as he did now, curled up in a bed that was now his own, being comforted by a man who had become closer to him than the father he’d lost.

“Rest Tim,” Bruce whispered, stroking his hair. “I’ll have Alfred bring you up some supper later.”

“Bruce?” Tim found himself reaching out to catch Bruce’s hand. “Stay. Please?”

Bruce smiled gently and went back to stroking Tim’s hair, staying till the youth fell asleep. “Welcome home.” He whispered, pressing a kiss to Tim’s cheek, “My son.”


(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 12:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stalinglim.livejournal.com
Oh, Timmy. *pets him*

Great fic.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
I have a nasty habit of doing terrible things to Tim. He really mush hate me.

Thanks!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 02:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darthbatgirl.livejournal.com
Oh poor sweet Tim. I'm so glad Bruce is there for him.

Now I want to see Bruce take away everything Janet has. Just strip her of everything and give it to Tim. That would be fun to see.

This was wonderful hon!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
That'd be nice wouldn't it! I might have to suggest that to Bruce's lawyers.

Thanks babe, glad you enjoyed it.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexiel-neesan.livejournal.com
Oh sweet little bats, Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiim. And everyone. /sniffling.

What about those slippers for trampling my heart? It's even worse! (and I love it)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
nope! That was my boots, not the ones with the 4" heels (I save those for Black Orchid) but sturdy boots never the less.

Glad you liked it. I have plans for the next one which will hopefully be less on the heart-trampling and more on the happy noise inducing.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] larsinger29.livejournal.com
My heart continues to break so beautifully for Tim in this story. You do a truly amazing job at provoking emotions from your readers! I was near tears as I read this (and so lucky none of my coworkers walked in, haha!).

I'm so glad to see that Tim has such a wonderful support system building up around him. The lengths that Alfred, Dick, Bruce, and Leslie all went to in order to make him feel comforted and calm, while also respecting his need to take his time in coping, was heartwarming to read. I especially enjoy the way you write Bruce as being so understanding and loving. Too often he's written as aloof and unable to emote, but you do a lovely job of making him still the Dark Knight while also having a kind and open heart.

I could go on and on about this fic and series, but you know how much I adore it. I so look forward to every installment, whenever they come. They are such a treat to read.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-29 11:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
thank you, you're so good to me.

I really love Bruce in this 'verse, he's just that little more open and protective.

Thank you so much for your support and comments! They keep me writing.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-protagonist.livejournal.com
Well. Now that I've sobbed at in my office and have had various co-workers ask if I was okay...

This is my favorite thing to read, just so you know. I've been laying off reading fandom things due to the lack of time to properly review and lack of time in general -

But I saw you posted this and I had to read it. I seriously had no control. I look forward to this story so so so so much.

Thanks for sharing this, love! I can't wait for the next installment!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-29 11:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
*hands over the tissues* I'm so sorry Sam, I didn't mean to make you cry. (Although I'd love to know what you told them)

I'm honoured you make time to read my stuff. I know how spitefully RL can interfere with fandom life.

Thank you for the support and I promise to write more for you soon.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-29 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyblkrose.livejournal.com
{{{{Tim}}}} *giving him a very Big Mama huggle with rocking, backrubs and soothing nonsense sounds*
That was so deep, you've made Janet into one of the vilest creatures and now I await to see her come-uppance at your capable hands *pointing a Benelli mil spec shotgun w/ rock salt rounds at Janet shouting "dance bitch"*
I love the way you write Bruce here, so together emotionally and loving and protective. I love how he want to make sure that he does not do with Tim what happeneded with Jason and he HUGGED Timmmy *squeeeee*
Thank you for sharing this Baby, oh so good to the last droooooop

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-30 12:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
I have a habit of providing you with reasons to hug our boys.

I really love Bruce in this series, he really does care and isn't afraid to show it. Or to be aware of his own failings.

Thank you as always and I'm so glad you enjoy this series.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-30 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyblkrose.livejournal.com
Oh you know you gett off on watching me hug up on our boys.....naughty gal :P

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-29 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saphire-dance.livejournal.com
Oh poor little Timmy. How awful for him. I'm so glad he has Bruce and Dick and Alfred and Leslie to take care of him.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-30 12:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
They'll look after him, that's what they do best.

Thanks for the comment!

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