» Chapter 10

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[Warning for a very brief mention of suicidal thoughts]

---- From chapter 9 ----

J: Timmy
J: give me his name and I'll give you a corpse

----

Tim privately accused himself of looking at Robin through rose-coloured glasses. It was easier than admitting he was falling for him- for Jason- for real.

He had exhausted himself even more than usual, staying up for a total of 67 hours and consuming every rivals-to-lovers media he could find before passing out at the 67.3 mark and sleeping for a staggering nine hours. When he awoke, there was a moment where bitter anxiety swam in his chest at the unfamiliar surroundings around him, before he remembered he had been avoiding Wayne Manor like a Scientology church and sleeping in the foreign land his bedroom in Drake Manor had become.

He blinked away the blurriness from his eyes and wished he could do the same with his thoughts. His laptop was still whirring away next to him, the cord plugged into it keeping it charging faster than it could die, and his eyes focused on the screen just as the two main protagonists of whatever movie his queue was playing embraced each other, hair and faces wet with fake tv rain.

He looked away from the screen, reaching out a hand to push the lid shut and silence the scene. Unfortunately, that left him staring at his ceiling without even a sappy rom-com soundtrack to distract him.

Jason was violently pretty, a neat selection of things you were forced to look at, lips always wrapped around a cigarette and knuckles painted with dried blood- his own or someone else's- every angle his good side. There was nothing Tim could do but roll over and bury his face in his pillows. Violently pretty.

He pushed his thoughts around for a while, breathing in the smell of laundry detergent and coffee, trying to rationalize his emotions. Rose-coloured glasses wasn't the right analogy, only stood for the way Robin made him bite his lips red.

There's a space in his chest with a gloved fist clenched around it, yearning for something Tim has no words for. He rubs at it, rubs until the skin there is raw, but it doesn't go away.

It's more like a stain glass window, he decides, latching on to the simile so that he has something else to think about. A window with pinks, but also orange-hot lashes of anger, yellowy-greens of sickness. The purples of intelligence, greens of jealousy. But so, so much red- so much hatred it makes his blood jealous.

The worst part, Tim thinks, is that he can't just be in love with Robin. He tried, tried to convince himself the mask makes them different, but once he saw it, he couldn't help but see it in Jason too. Robin was nice and kind and caring. He was strong and brave, but Jason was mean and rough, he pushes and he pushes and he doesn't let Tim get any sleep at night.

At this point, he's pretty sure he's a masochist because he can't decide which he likes more.

Tim could hear his parents getting out of bed down the hall, and he thinks about his mother's stringy golden hair and mean voice, and his father's fat face, heavy like melted clay, and cold eyes. He was dressed and out the window before he could decide otherwise, forgetting his laptop on his bed and without a sweater to protect him from the four AM air.

He only grabbed his backpack because it was already packed and sitting on a chair next to the window, and the lack of light blinding him as he steps out onto the roof proves it's too early for him to head into the city. There's this bizarre sense buzzing in his ears that the city isn't there yet, that it hasn't loaded yet and he's a glitch in the system. The whole world feels dead. The cord keeping it charged knocked kilter.

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