ambedo n. a kind of melacholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—which leads to a dawning awareness of the haunting fragility of life
Snippet: Kon closes his eyes- tunes it all out, and focuses on one point. One. The only point he needs.
As Tim sleeps Kon can’t help but stay awake. Listening-
As he’s always listened. Always. to his anchor, his best friend- his boyfriend, his…soul mate. This is the person- no matter what. Kon will always want to listen. Be at his side. He closes his eyes. And listens. The steady inhale, exhale of Tim’s lungs. The slide of air against the paper-organs and tissues, out of his mouth. Past his teeth and pale lips. He listens. The steady heartbeat- the thump, thump, thump. His anchor. His grounding force. He listens to the soft slide of Tim’s clothes against his skin, the soft sound of his skin rubbing against skin when his face turns into a frown and his legs shift as he rolls over. He listens to every detail, alert and attentive. To Tim.
Always to Tim.
-to the sounds of the city outside their walls. The city inside them.
Outside he hears the sounds of guns, chain-link fences being rattled, cats yowling, dogs howling, rats scuttling, tires screeching, sirens screaming, door hinges squeaking, and children squealing. Outside he hears the click of high heels on the side-walk, the click of a lighter, the murmur of a crowd. Outside he hears the rustle of wings, the creak of branches, the groan of metal, the hush of rushing water.
He hears the refrigerator hum. He hears the fan of the air conditioner. He hears a steady tap, tap, tap of the water-faucet. He hears creaks in the walls. He hears-
With his TTK he slowly rolls Tim’s shirt up, fingers moving to trace one of several scars on the teen’s abdomen. Long and fresh- he sees it as if it were daylight.
Tim smells like blood.
He always does- it’s a scent he’s long grown accustomed to associating with the shorter vigilante. It’s not always his- no. But usually- There’s some cut, some healing scab, broken lip, paper cut, bitten cheek, healing wound. Always something. Kon closes his eyes- breathes in.
Blood and coffee, soap and sweat and shampoo. Aftershave and mouthwash. Lingering cologne, slight scent of Tam’s perfume from when Tim was working in the office. He can smell all the things Tim did today. If he tries hard enough.
(For Tim, he will always try. His Robin. Always. His.)
Kon splays his hand flat over Tim’s scar, barely touching- light. So light. Still, Tim’s face twitches, scrunching up as he rolls onto his back, shoulder brushing Kon’s chest.
In the dark Kon can still see. Feel.
See the way Tim’s hair covers burns. He traces them with his eyes- follows the lines of Tim’s body. Natural and not. It makes him think of some sort of morbid map. Boundaries between countries. Counties. The veins on his wrists, the blue at his elbow- roads. Pathways. The gentle flutter of Tim’s eyelashes as he dreams- they cast vivid marks upon his skin.
The shadows highlight each sharp line, cutting jut, crease, fold. Tim is not smooth. No. Even the parts that seem smooth are cut- jagged. Black and pale white. Divided and conquered.
He wonders what it would have been like- if Tim were the one to be sent to the future. If Kon was the one left behind. Would Tim still have so many scars? would he still be covered like a jig-saw puzzle, map? Kon watches the way Tim’s too-long hair falls onto his face, the soft part of his lips. The gentle curve of them, the furrow in his eyebrows. The twitch of his fingers.
He listens to the hm and the ah. The thump, thump, thump, of Tim’s heartbeat.
It stutters for a moment as Tim gasps in his sleep. A nightmare. Kon watches Tim’s face. Watches because-
This is all he’s allowed to do. He can’t protect Tim from everything. Though if he could- he’d probably try and Tim would probably kick his ass for it.
Tim doesn’t need him to fight his fights for him.
But Kon wants to.
Tim’s human. So human. So frail- delicate in ways Kon isn’t. Ways that most people don’t even think of. It would be so easy- so easy for Tim to die.
For the thump, thump, thump of his heart- Kon’s anchor, his beacon, his leader- to stop. Be stopped. It would be so easy. Sometimes Tim does it himself.
Makes Kon worry.
Doesn’t eat, doesn’t sleep- just keeps working.
Those are the times Kon wants to scream- you aren’t an energizer bunny, you’re human and even Superman sleeps!
It never stops amazing him, how extraordinary Tim is. How far he goes. How far he can reach. Stretch.
But so human. So mortal. It’s scary. The idea that one day he might wake up and not hear it- Tim’s heartbeat. That any day could be the last day he hears Tim’s voice. Sees Tim’s smile. That any day could be the last-
Maybe that’s why he does this. Listens in the night, early morning, when Tim is asleep. A danger to no one but Kon. Kon and his fears. A danger to no one, not even to himself.
Kon closes his eyes, presses as close as he can get to the other teenager without waking him, disrupting his well-earned sleep.
Sometimes the sensations are too much. Too strong.
When those times happen, Kon shuts it all down and focuses on Tim. Tim’s heart. Just Tim. His Robin. His leader. His best friend.
Kon closes his eyes- tunes it all out, and focuses on one point. One. The only point he needs.
While he can-
Don’t die today, he thinks. Don’t die today.
He thinks that, as he does every day before he goes to sleep.
Not today. Stay alive for me. Kon thinks at the sleeping Robin. Because no matter what Tim was always the point he worked back towards. The person who could make everything right and- Kon just wants Tim to be alright.
Tim with his scars and his jagged edges, his chapped lips and sleep-bruised-eyes. Tim without his spleen and without the green of his costume. Tim- Kon’s Tim, Kon’s Robin.
And it will all be fine.
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