A New Start

(note: this was written in repsonse to a "last page" challenge--writing the last page of an unwritten piece of fiction.  It was hard to do, but I gave it a try! <g>)

love him."

Tim resisted the urge to move away from the large presence beside him, the warm pressure of a comforting hand on his shoulder.  Ignoring his own aches, he watched Dick lying in the hospital bed--the tubes and monitors, the pale, pale face.  Reaching out, he touched one finger to the back of Dick's hand where it lay on top of the blanket.

"I know you love him, too," he whispered.  And when Bruce's hand squeezed his shoulder once, gently, he was suddenly grateful for the connection, the bond between the three of them.  Absurdly grateful to have been taken in, cared for, loved by Bruce Wayne who had given him what he'd needed, and by Dick who had finally given him what he'd wanted.

They had never told Bruce about their changed relationship, not outright, and the ghost of omission hovered around them, sometimes almost choking Tim with the anxiety of how they would weather that storm.  But, he always remembered Dick's words to him at the beginning: 'We don't rush this.  We take it slow.'  So, he tried to relish the goodness in his life each day and not borrow trouble.  Besides, he knew that no matter what he did or said, Dick and Bruce would have to work things out in their own way, in their own time.

And he hadn't been afraid that the outcome would be Dick breaking it off with him, he had never once been afraid of that.  Dick was in love with him, had shown it every day for the past year in that slow, unrushed way that he'd promised.

But, he was afraid of this...this small, antiseptic room.  And Bruce was too.  Tim had seen the fear in that usually cool blue gaze.  For the last three hours he had avoided looking Bruce in the face.

"Hey, guys."

It took several blinks before Tim could clearly focus on the source of that croak, his face automatically twisting into a pained smile.  He stepped closer to the bed; distantly felt Bruce's hand drop away.

"Welcome back."  His own voice sounding also little more than a croak.

"You weren't getting rid of me that easily."

Tim squeezed Dick's fingers, had a fleeting memory of the first time they'd made love and of the last time that they'd kissed.  "Never crossed my mind," he lied smoothly, "I had to convince Bruce, though."

Dick's eyes cut to Bruce, then back at Tim, recognizing the truth, as he squeezed Tim's fingers back, though a little weakly.

Bruce cleared his throat, saying "I'll go get the doctor," before slipping out, giving them a moment of privacy.

"Okay, I was a little freaked," Tim admitted when they were alone, "but it took a lot of work to get you, and I'm not done with you yet."  He tried to relax the fierce expression he could feel on his face.

"Love you, too, Tim," Dick said, eyes closing as a nurse entered the room.

"Look who's awake," the nurse said, in a falsely cheerful sickroom voice.  "The doctor's on his way, but I need to check your vitals."

"I'll be outside," Tim said, turning to go.

Dick nodded, eyes opening for a second, smiling around a thermometer while the nurse also took his blood pressure.

Bruce was in the waiting area, sitting uncomfortably in a hard plastic chair, and Tim was reminded that Bruce too had suffered some injuries that night.  For a brief instant, he wished they were all accountants or dentists or something, and snickered as he sat down, imagining Bruce leaning over someone growling, "Open wide."

When Bruce looked at him, he explained it away by saying, "He's going to be all right."

Bruce nodded, a gesture strong with conviction.  

Through time and circumstance, Tim thought, their ties had held fast.  They were all more than family.

He nodded back, equally sure, finally comforted.

The End

feedback welcome at: jazzedup@prodigy.net

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