Title: Silk Screening
Pairing: Gen. (Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake father-son bonding)
⚡ Tim owns a lot of superhero shirts. Annoyingly, (at least to Bruce), he didn’t own a Batman one. At least, not until Bruce broke into Tim’s place to put three different Batman-themed designs in the boy’s closet. Tim never mentioned it, but did thereafter get a tiny smirk whenever Bruce sees him in a superhero shirt.- incogneat-oh
Snippet: He doesn’t know what to think that Tim thinks that it’s amusing to walk around wearing a Superman shirt in Batman’s cave. Tim slides into his warm-up stretches, eyebrow raised. “Something wrong, Bruce?”
Bruce doesn’t stare. He doesn’t look into. He observes and notes. What he is observing and noting is that his son, the third one, the good one, the loyal one, is wearing a Nightwing shirt.
He wasn’t aware that they made Nightwing shirts. He wonders if his eldest is. Probably not, if he did- no one would ever hear the end of it.
“I took a silk-screening course in high school.” Timothy remarks, head tilted as he pulls down a mug from the kitchen cabinet. “You know. Fluff class, an elective.”
It’s not that he said anything, or did anything to warrant the answer. It’s that Timothy –the good son. The son that doesn’t try and kill Bruce’s nerves, the one that’s responsible for the least amount of stress (though he does cause some amount of it), the one he can depend on to not try and make his brain, heart, or other vital organ explode from sheer annoyance, exasperation, confusion, anxiety, or otherwise.- is a very smart, intelligent young man who can tell when his adoptive father is glaring holes on the blue emblem on his chest.
“Does it bother you?”
“Mm.” Bruce says in way of answer, eyes flickering back to his morning newspaper. He hears the little chuffing snort of air that signals Tim’s laughter, then the near silent pad of his middle child’s feet as he leaves the kitchen and the creak of the wooden stairs.
It’s not that he’s jealous. No. Not at all.
Bruce wonders if Tim can tell that he’s grinding his teeth. From the somewhat faux-innocent look on the young man’s face, the answer is yes.
He doesn’t know what to think that Tim thinks that it’s amusing to walk around wearing a Superman shirt in Batman’s cave. Tim slides into his warm-up stretches, eyebrow raised. “Something wrong, Bruce?”
Your wardrobe choices, he refrains from answering.
“Don’t stress your ankle, it just healed.” A small smile and an aborted eye-roll.
It’s really not that he’s jealous. No. He’s not that petty. It’s just that his son should not be wearing the Kryptonian’s colors. Bruce is slightly mollified by the fact that, thus far, it’s only been shirts.
He distinctly remembers a phase in Dick’s younger years that involved posters, bed-sheets, pajamas, and other paraphernalia in blue, red, and yellows. It had amused Alfred to no end, and he has a feeling that the butler is similarly amused by this a well.
Sadly, he has a feeling that for Tim, this is not a phase.
He wonders if threatening Clark would make himself feel any better. Bruce hears Dick bouncing down the stairs, stop. Then a full out cackle of joy and amusement. He wonders if Dick saw Tim wearing the Nightwing shirt yet.
Out of the corner of his eye he sees his eldest smirk in his direction before jogging over to where Tim is doing stretches.
“I like your shirt, lil’ bro, you’ve got great taste.”
Bruce wonders if this is a plot by his eldest to corrupt Tim against him.
Really. It’s not that he’s jealous. Not at all. That would be immature. Tim is free to wear whatever he wants. Tim is a grown man who can make his own (poor) choices.
From Alfred’s knowing look he can tell that he’s fooling no one. Except perhaps Tim who just gives him a confused, yet slightly amused look before turning back to his sandwich.
“I wasn’t aware that there were Wonder Woman shirts for men.” He idly wonders just how many of these shirts Tim has.
“I wasn’t either.” Tim says, nonchalantly as he nibbles on a pickle. “By that same token I didn’t know there were Catwoman shirts. I have a feeling these are women’s shirts and that Jason is playing a very elaborate prank on me, but I find I don’t really care.”
Bruce isn’t quite sure what he’s done to his second eldest this time to cause him to torture Bruce like this. He wonders if everyone knows about Tim’s little collection of shirts and is actively using it to make Bruce give in to the petty urge and burn them all.
Bruce is so very, very close to doing something juvenile, like sulking over his grown son’s wardrobe. It’s not even like it’s bad. It’s not like Tim dresses up in bad clothes, inappropriate or objectionable clothes. It’s not like he’s exposing an indecent amount of skin or sporting offensive slogans or explicit images on his clothes. It’s not even like he’s dressing shabbily.
It’s not that Tim goes out in these t-shirts or sweatshirts or sweaters. It’s not like Tim is doing this to be insulting.
It’s just that-
Bruce carefully does not twitch when Tim takes his seat next in between Dick and Jason, across from Damian and Cassandra.
But from the looks on all four of his other children’s faces he can tell that he still looks –reasonably, he might add- irritated.
After a few minutes of peaceful silence –silence being a relative word, in that it means Damian, Dick, and Jason exchanging quips and Tim occasionally butting in with Cassandra to make a point about something- Dick says-
“Nice shirt, lil’brother.”
“Thanks.” Tim says. Bruce barely refrains from stopping the eye-twitch.
Tim is wearing a Superboy shirt. He doesn’t know what that means that Tim has a Superboy shirt. And knowing Tim it isn’t just a Superboy shirt, but Superboy’s shirt. As in Superboy had probably worn it at one point and Tim had taken or forgot to return it or something along those lines.
It’s not just that it’s Superboy. It’s that Tim appears to have a shirt for every single superhero out there, except him. At some point Tim has even obtained Aquaman shirts.
He hears Cass and Jason snicker under their breath. He stabs a carrot.
Bruce mentally reminds himself that such jealousies are beneath him. That it doesn’t mean anything at all that Tim doesn’t wear his symbol. It doesn’t. he doesn’t need Tim to wear his symbol to feel confident in his son’s loyalty. Tim wearing other people’s colors and insignias doesn’t mean that Tim doesn’t…find Batman worth less or not as…noteworthy. No.
Tim nibbles on a bit of pork, “May I assume that it’s also you who put in the Green Arrow shirt?”
For the love of god.
He tries to shake the rather annoying feeling of guilt as he slides the shirts into Timothy’s drawer, placing them among the other shirts.
Bruce is about to close the drawer when he notices a black shirt crammed into a corner of the drawer. He frowns, gently pulling it out. It’s not like Timothy to just jam clothes into his drawer like that. He folds with a certain military preciseness that would have him worrying if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s a thankful sight in comparison to Jason and Dick’s messes.
The black material unfolds, the cotton worn. The fabric is soft, the collar slightly frayed. The logo is faded. The shirt is much too large to be Tim’s size, but it’s obviously his. He wonders when Tim bought it, when he wears it, and why he’s never seen it before.
The yellow has faded until it’s a strange shade of yellow mustard and the logo has flaked off in some areas. He lets a small smile slip before he carefully tucks it back into the back corner, sliding the drawer shut.
A soft place of pride in his chest expands as he pads out of the room.
Bruce tries to ignore the look of complete amusement that is blatantly plastered on Alfred’s face as he slips out of Tim’s room, gently closing the door with a soft click.
“You saw nothing.” A slight twitch of the elderly man’s lips as they walk down the hall towards the living room.
“Of course, sir.”
Bruce can’t help but let a small smirk form on his face when he sees Tim meander into the library wearing a shirt emblazoned with a bright yellow signal on it.
Tim ducks his head, bashful before giving him a shy smile. Bruce gives him a curt nod, turning back to his computer as Tim weaves his way through the stacks.
Occasionally he looks up to see a glimpse of the yellow stripe on the edge of Tim’s sleeve or the flash of the insignia as Tim passes by.
On Tim’s way out he gives Bruce a look that clearly says love you, Dad without saying it and Bruce gives Tim a sort of smile that says and I love you, son.
The next time Bruce sees Tim in one of his shirts- it’s a Green Lantern shirt- he ignores the sort of snickers his other children give and smirks.
126 Notes/ Hide
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