The same as they are
by Te
February 22, 2007

Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.

Spoilers/Timeline: "Sins of Youth." Takes place during that
wild, wacky time. Also references "The Lesson" and other

Summary: It might not be too late to medicate him.

Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content.

Author's Note: Totally Gloss' fault. It's *fun* spooling out
alternate theories of Bruce/Tim meta.

Acknowledgments: And then Gloss totally enabled zomg.


Batman is asleep, and Bruce is in the Cave.

The fact that he can't get the little sentence out of his head
is, he's sure, part and parcel of the extended side-effects of
the spell which has left him -- by his observations --
approximately fifteen years old. The first time --

The only time this should have happened --

It's a strange thing to remember something and live it
(almost) at the same time. This is also painfully obvious,
but easier --

He doesn't even have any scars.

This is, of course, why he's in the Cave. The man he'll
eventually (he has, already, of course) form 'Bruce Wayne'
into isn't quite vain enough to own as many usefully-placed
mirrors as belong to the Bat.

These have been replaced multiple times, and have been
used for a number of different things, but were originally
placed and arranged for a man (a *hero*) who worked
alone (because he had to), and who would thus need
something like this arrangement to check for wounds, and
to make sure he wasn't developing infection in any extant

That doesn't have anything to do with tonight -- patrol had
gone so smoothly (it so often does, with a partner, and why
didn't he realize that when he was this old -- when he -- it's
not like he can't do this *alone* --)

Patrol had gone smoothly enough that he barely had any
new contusions. He's just --

This is just the first time since coming home with Tim (it's
wrong and it's right, at once) that he's been *alone*, or
alone enough to justify this -- examination. He hasn't been
able to bring himself to shut down all the cameras -- now,
nearly more than any other time, they all need to be
prepared for the unexpected as much as possible -- and so
Tim will be able to, at any time, *see* him doing this,
but --

It's better that one of the monitors is showing him (the boy,
the man -- will he really only grow that tall? Why had he
dismissed the hormone supplements so casually?) asleep
in the bedroom which hasn't been Tim's for a long time --

It's always going to belong to Tim. At least until enough
generations pass that someone else will… he doesn't know.
It's hard -- harder -- to think about his family now.

He doesn't remember if it was like this the first time. He
doesn't remember the realization that there wouldn't be
any more Waynes without -- adoption?

He has a *son*. He'd -- he'd had *two*, and --

Bruce drops into a crouch and it doesn't help at all. His
palms are too soft and smooth against his face, and it's
too easy to feel the Case behind him. What did he grow

Why did he --

"Bruce," Tim says, and it *had* been a while since he'd
checked the monitor. "Are you --"

"Yes. No. It's --" Interesting, actually. When he looks up,
Tim is standing over him in a robe he hasn't seen (ever)
since Dick had moved out. It's the same shade as certain
parts of the first Nightwing uniform, and looks very
strange -- and a little ill-fitting -- on Tim's form. Distracting.
"Do you have memories?"

The eyebrow he raises -- there couldn't have been any
doubt. They're both too small to be Batman, but right now,
Tim's a lot better at faking it. "I meant -- of the future you
didn't have yet. The past you must've had. It's…" Bruce
feels himself frowning. "Difficult to express."

"Hmm. Are you wondering if these particular… forms are
only potential? If there are possibilities inherent to… all of
this?" The gesture is small, but efficient, taking in --

It shouldn't be strange to be naked and crouched in front
of -- Batman. Just -- dammit. "There ought to be something
we could learn from this, at least," Bruce says, and forces
himself to stand up with his hands at his sides.

"That would certainly be… pleasant," Tim says, and the
smile on his face is small and a little infuriating. (Perfect,
another part of him, or maybe the real him, insists, only
that can't be true.)

"Look, I -- I think I'm going to go to sleep."

"You should," Tim says, and looks like he wants to touch his
shoulder, but doesn't.


It's almost ten when he wakes up, which is disconcerting
enough to make Bruce feel a little nauseous, though that
could be the ridiculous (understandable) hunger.

He finds Tim with Alfred in his bedroom. Alfred is taking
Tim's measurements for -- what?

Of course it'll just turn out to be for *enough* clothes to get
through -- this, but Bruce doesn't think it's all that wrong for
him to feel… ill-at-ease.

For more reason than just the fact that Alfred will be taking
*his* measurements, soon enough. Assuming Tim hadn't
already done it by -- Bruce had *taught* him --

He can't.

"Ah, Master Bruce," Alfred says -- quietly, because Tim is
doing a disturbingly near-perfect impression of 'Bruce
Wayne's' voice as he systematically dodges, apologizes for
forgetting, and outright cancels various engagements for
the next few weeks --

Bruce hates that headset. He really does.

"Have you given any thought as to how you'll wish to break
your fast? I failed to convince Master Tim to actually request
anything more nutritionally useful than coffee and juice, but
I live and hope for *your* good judgment."

Alfred -- of course he's coping with all of this. Alfred copes
with *everything*. It has to be -- it's probably petty that
Bruce wishes he wasn't, and, anyway, he really needs food.
"I -- maybe… eggs? Or pancakes. Or… bacon?"

"Perhaps, even, all of the above," Alfred says, less as a
response than a rebuke for Tim. Though he sounds even
*more* amused.

It's kind of a relief when he leaves, and Bruce chooses to
believe that it's *only* because his departure means food
will be coming soon.

"You know, I've observed the hunger of teenagers --"

"You *were* one -- I. Never mind."

"Why, Brucie," Tim says, and then ruffles his *hair*, "should
we have a talk about hormones…?"

"You -- I would still be better. At doing that voice."

"Almost certainly," Tim says, and -- finally -- steps down off
the stool. He's just not that much taller than Bruce at all,
even now. "But the inflections take the sort of practice
which you -- at present -- lack. Now tell me where you've
hidden the clothes Dick left here which didn't *require* a
sweater vest to complete the outfit."

"You should eat breakfast, too," he says, and still doesn't
*quite* feel --

"I will, when I have more time."

-- like himself.

"There have to be *some*, Bruce."

Bruce does his best to shake it off internally, to -- this should
be *comfortable*, or maybe comforting. He -- he
*remembers* all the times he'd tried and failed to get Tim
to be just like *this* with him, to be this comfortable and --
he doesn't know.


And he can't -- he can't. Why can't he *hide*, at least a
little, from Tim? Why does all of it -- he.

"You need to talk to me, Bruce."

"You -- you're reminding me of Harvey," he says, in part
because it almost has to make things better, make things
quieter, or -- "when we were both. This age."

What it *does* --

Tim breathes hard through his nose, once, and the hand is
back on his shoulder, and it doesn't --

"He -- Dent. He --"

"Just -- 'Harv.' At the time."

"Hm," Tim says, after a moment, and then just -- lets go.

It's miserable-feeling, and he doesn't have to be fucking
obvious, just because part of him *knows* that he could
just call Harv, and they could do… something. Anything.

Girls always like to be around him.

"You -- I don't know how I'd let myself forget how close the
two of you were *before*… you officially became the Bat."

"After, too. Just -- it was different and I didn't mean to say
it. You're just -- I think it would be better left," he says, and
it's a little like releasing the exhale which he knows full well
Tim already did, but it *feels* that way. Just --

Grabbing a little control from the Bat. Something he always
did. Something it used to feel not-right to do, because he
was scared of -- of something.

"Look, I'm hungry, Tim, and I'm -- I'm fully aware that I'm
somewhat -- that I'm not right."

"You are, in fact, exactly what you should be, Bruce. You
shouldn't worry that I'm not… enjoying myself," Tim says,
and gives him that -- little *smile*.

"Well, I wasn't worried *before* -- I -- the clothes. You
should ask Alfred. He always -- he never likes where I hide

"I -- imagine not. If I asked, would you tell me more about…

It sounds wrong in his voice -- in that voice which shouldn't
be as familiar as it is, so cool and quiet. Then again, it
always sounded wrong when other people said it. "I -- I
don't think so."

Tim nods, once, and turns for the door. "Let's go. You can
help Alfred convince me away from my more Battish turns
of behavior."


It feels good to fight the way the Bat -- the way *he* did,
most of the time. It's a distraction from how tight this
uniform is, and it also makes him forget about the colors of
the cape, as opposed to the weight.

The uniform makes him want to complain as a matter of
course, but the fact is that it's -- it's as close to the right
uniform for him as any Robin suit could be.

He was never supposed to be Robin, at all. He just isn't --
he isn't.

Watching Tim move -- or just feeling it, at his back --

In any event, while it would probably be different if Tim
*did* have memories of the life the spell had, apparently,
just kind of skipped *over*, it's not.

They have -- they have experience, working this way, and
it's not like Tim would let him try the moves that would
require him to have all the strength, physical experience,
and control he *doesn't* have, right now.

Batman wouldn't let him.

It's pretty basic, but it works.

Except when the tights get caught on the jock, or it's so
bright he can't help but feel like a target, or he forgets that
he hasn't done *this* move or *that* move a thousand
times -- more -- and slips just enough that he knows
Batman can see it, or *feel* it --

And that's when the other memories kick in, the real ones,
the closer ones -- something.

He remembers not believing the voice he'd hear whenever
he went down to the Cave.

He remembers not believing *in* it and he remembers when
it wasn't there, at all, and sometimes, when a punch doesn't
land quite square, when a kick feels impossible even though
he's halfway through it, Bruce wonders what he's *doing*
here, what he's thinking --

What *Batman's* thinking, because he's right there, he's
*right* here, but Bruce is just a kid --

"Robin -- follow."

And he does, and he doesn't know what's going on, it's just
another alley -- and then his back is against the wall, and
the bricks make a weird scrape against the material of the
cape -- how had he come *up* with that? -- and --

"Robin," Batman says, and it shouldn't feel as right as it
does, like maybe he's even more of a kid than it feels like,
and there's stone burning his bare feet with cold, and he
isn't *alone* --

"I'm okay. It's just -- I'm okay --"


"I -- you *know*. Or you should. It's just -- it feels a little
like vertigo, I --"

He can't see Batman's eyes, but he knows what they'd look
like. He remembers the way Tim looks at things which don't
make any sense, he remembers what it *feels* like --

Shoving Batman can't ever be anything but stupid, because
even though it won't be long before Bruce *outweighs* Tim
if they keep eating (and not eating) the way they did today,
Tim is still --

It's still Batman, and he doesn't just check his own
movement, he uses the cape to cover the check, just like
it's perfectly natural and Bruce is the only one in his own
skin --

"We're going home," Batman says, and calling it an order
would just imply that Batman thought there was any need
for something more than a *statement*.

The fact that he wants to run --

In the Cave, there's only ever more Cave when you run.


The ride back is silent, and the fact that it's a silence he
recognizes --

He knows it -- the combination of analyzing Robin's behavior
for potential sources and the inability to look *at* Robin, at
him --

He doesn't know it, because it's not himself under there.
Because it's Tim, and he's had to try --

He remembers needing to try as hard with Tim as he ever
had to with --

("Aww, c'mon, Bruce! If you stay cooped up in your room all
night you'll wind up smelling like your roommate's socks,
and then I'll *never* be able to hang out with you.")

-- with. It's Tim, and it's Batman, and maybe it always
made more sense that way. Maybe the Bat was just waiting
for --

If he didn't have a reason to be paranoid, he wouldn't have
so many memories of himself as an adult arguing with
the -- the thing which probably doesn't exist. The thing
which is almost certainly a product of post-traumatic stress
disorder and a particular variety of poor socialization. Of
course, taken that way, it might not be too late to medicate

"Your laugh is entirely unfamiliar," Tim says, and it is Tim,
even though Bruce can still hear the edges of the Voice.

"In about three years, I'm going to start working on
changing it."

"Hmm. To what, exactly?"

"It will turn out to be easier to just -- stop. For the most

"Hn. You don't say."

Bruce knows he'd smiled that way fairly often, that Robin
could bring it out of him, make him need to in the way even
the suit couldn't contain. Even --

"How much of the… problem you were having is the suit? It
was always mine."

"Jason -- Jason made Dick's suit his own," he says, and
thinks, 'my son,' and remembers the way he rarely rode in
the passenger seat without resting a foot on the dash.

He remembers the way Jason's fingernails were nearly
always dirty, and learning how not to wince when Jason
scratched at scabs and scrapes.

He remembers thinking 'my son?' and then not thinking of
much, at all, and he doesn't --

"I -- have an awkward question, Tim."


"How -- how did you avoid thinking about sex in this

The laugh which comes out of Tim's mouth -- it should be
enough, *different* enough that it is a laugh, breath and
sound and humor. It's just that it's nothing which makes
him think about Robin.

He's the only Robin in this car -- that has to be a problem.
"I -- I'm serious."

"Is it that tight, Bruce?"

"No -- yes, but -- no. That's not the problem. It just feels…

"Hm. A matter of desecration?"

"I can't talk to you -- like this."

"I thought you were doing fine," Tim says, and takes one
hand off the wheel. It wasn't more comfortable to be here,
like this, with one of his feet on the dash -- he looks
ridiculous in tabi -- and comfortable isn't even close to the
right way to describe the feeling when Tim cups his knee.

The tights are thick enough that he can't feel the cold of
the gauntlet, but he knows it in dreams. Or --

He knew it. He will know it.

"This won't -- this can't work with you being my… guidance

"Did they even have guidance counselors in the schools
you attended? Or is it a matter of observation and
second-hand experience?"

"I was always impressed with the way you handled yours."

"Thank you. Bruce, are you attracted to me?"

"Yes, but that's not the. It's not the problem."

Tim nods and -- it's not that he moves the hand on Bruce's
knee, it's the potential for the act.

It's another conversation he'd imagined having with Tim,
another way for them to be closer -- *talking* about it, and
how well they… deal with it. He knows/knew/will know that
Tim is attracted to him.

Even *thinking* that this was not how he'd ever imagined
the conversation feels like an embarrassing statement of
the obvious.

"I need you to tell me what the problem is."

"If I mention something about how I feel wrong in my own
skin will you just make a snide comment about

"I would probably try for a joke, but only to lighten the
mood. I don't know what to tell you, Bruce, beyond that I
need you --"

"To do better. I know. I -- I need practice. In this body."

"Perhaps if you treated it as one of those amusing instances
in which one of us is magically given a change in gender."

Bruce hears himself laugh again, familiar/unfamiliar, and
closes his eyes.

After a while, Tim squeezes his knee and then removes his
hand altogether.


The first time he tried to masturbate in this body (again?),
he couldn't escape the image of himself, of his body and the
way it moves, the expressions which must've been on his
face -- he wasn't anywhere near a mirror, and he'd had to

He'd forgotten how ineffective and painful cold showers
could really be.

He hadn't tried again -- at worst, his body would start…
taking care of itself, when he slept, once a few days had
passed -- and he hadn't planned on doing so.

Even though Tim had, once again, left him alone in the Cave
after walking him through several of the things this body
wouldn't learn -- hadn't learned --

Even Alfred would forgive him for getting sick of the
grammar, he thinks.

He also thinks it would've been better if he hadn't let himself
stop at the Case, again. If he hadn't let himself touch the
letters he'd already carved years ago, that he won't be able
to do anything about, even though his body doesn't
remember anything his mind does.

Even though he's not even sure how far down the memories

Bruce thinks, maybe, it's a sign that they don't go far enough
that he was *able* to do… this.

It's not the suit in the Case, but he's not even sure that it
matters. The shorts *are* worse than the tights in a lot of
ways, but they also fit better. The tunic and the gorget for
the cape fit even better than that, and when he looks in the
mirror --

When he looks, he's not looking at himself, at all.

He's better, somehow. Wiser behind the mask if not smarter,
and everyone can see how strong he is, how *sure*.

His smile looks cold and a little mean, and he doesn't really
have words, at all, for the way the mask's effect is kind of
heightened by the fact that he needs a haircut. He's --

He's Robin, and he belongs here more than the person under
this suit, the person under the suit doesn't know anything,
not even enough to *believe*. If you don't trust the Bat,
there's nothing --


The gauntlets are rough on the skin of his thighs and --

If he stops looking --

He stops looking, and his thighs are his own, and the
gauntlets aren't, and --

And he's exactly young enough to know what that means,
to take it to the logical conclusion --

He knows -- he *remembers*. Robin is always so beautiful.
More than him, more than Batman could ever be, but more
than *him*, and he wants to touch, and be touched, and
the sound he makes once he's pushed the shorts out of the
way -- the way they dig into his skin is just *different* from
the tights --

The sound he makes the first time the gauntlet brushes over
his penis -- *Robin's* gauntlet, just the way he'd made it.
Heavy and rough for the boy who needed as much grip-
security as he could get when he flew, heavier and rougher
for the boy who just liked it that way --

The sound is too loud, and is just as responsible for driving
him to his knees as the *feel*. No one had ever told him
Robin could be like this, that there could ever be something
so bright and real --

It's not him, and it can't ever be, it just -- it *can't* --

And that's the main reasoning behind the way he hears
himself say 'no' when he hears Tim call his name.

When Batman calls for Robin --

He laughs again, because that's just not *right*, even
though he wants it to be -- so *badly* -- when Tim grabs
him by the hair and covers Robin's gauntlet or maybe
Bruce's hand with his own.

"No," he says, and he can't -- he can't explain it. It's too
much, it's too -- *difficult*.

"Robin --"

"*No*, just -- *please* --"

"It's all right, I -- I needed you. I -- think I may have missed
the feel of you -- I don't know, Bruce, Robin --"

"Please don't --"

"Do you want me to -- I don't want to let you go."

And he feels himself -- *pulse* into Tim's hand, into the
gauntlet that isn't there, but he's -- he's too *hot* now not
to feel Tim's hand.

It's Batman's hand, because it's hard and rough on his own,
he remembers and he feels and it's not fair that Tim can
just have this without the body confusion, even though --

Even though --

"Robin," Tim says, and this time it's a growl. "Please let

"It won't -- it won't make anything *better* --"

And Batman laughs in his ear and scrapes his teeth over the
curve of Bruce's ear, and it's just right, just perfect in this
too-perfect Cave that only goes on forever where it's dark,
where Batman can't see him --

"It -- it *won't*," and he sounds younger than he looks,
stupider than his body feels --

"It never has," Batman says, and pushes his fingers
between those of the gauntlet, between Robin's --

"Oh --"

"I honestly thought -- I'd find you down here training. It
gave me an indefinable pleasure to imagine -- sending you
to *bed* --"

"Batman --"

"God help us, I --"

And it was Tim again, just for a moment, but the moment's
gone when the kiss starts. The feel of Tim's hair in his
hands isn't as real as the cool *power* of Batman's hand
around him, of the --

There's no hesitation and there isn't --

There isn't anything but the kiss he's getting that belongs
to someone better, to *Robin*, and --

And he thinks he understands Jason better than he ever has
before and he hopes he'll forget and the noise he's making
into Batman's mouth is just noise. It doesn't answer
*anything*, which makes it better, somehow, that Batman
doesn't seem to need answers from *him*, at all.

"Robin, you -- you don't know how you looked tonight."

"I *do* --"

"So natural until you checked yourself, until you told
yourself it couldn't be this easy --" This time, when Batman
laughs it's against his throat, ticklish and damp and even
hotter than Bruce feels, and he tries to twist away, but he
just winds up fucking -- fucking Batman's *fist*.

"Batman, please --"

"You're exactly what you should be, Robin. Let me…"

He *is*. He can't -- he has to, and Tim would understand
that, Robin would understand, but Batman never can.

Batman never understands how badly they all *need* --

"Oh -- oh -- Batman, wait, *please* --"

Breath on his penis, panted out and teasing -- until Batman
looks up, and there's no tease -- there's no tease which
could live in eyes like that. He --

"You've always -- you always see *everything*."

"Not *enough*," Batman says, and swallows him in almost
one move -- a hesitation less of something unpracticed
than of something remembered for no rational reason at all,
and then it's just heat, and the cold all around, the Cave all
around --

It would always have to be like this, here. Like being
swallowed whole and consumed only enough that he could
still *be* whole, still be Robin, just --

He won't ever leave here.

He's known it and he will know it, and --

And Batman --

And Batman catches him by the shoulder when he's going
to fall, when he *wants* to fall, and the only thing left is
just to curl himself *around* Batman, to work his hips as
much -- as much as he --

Orgasm makes him scream, makes him *thrust* hard
enough to actually stretch in this position and make Batman
make a *sound*.

He's choking Batman with his penis, and when he tries to
scramble away, *back*, he can't.

Batman has his hips and Bruce feels himself --

Robin doesn't shake his head like that. Robin's never this
*lost*, because Robin knows he belongs right *here*.

Robin licks the spit and semen from Batman's mouth, and
gets close enough to really *feel* him. He can't --

Batman *won't* move away from him. Batman's finally
close enough to touch, and wants --

Batman needs him.

Batman -- Batman always needs him, and right now it's
okay. It's not the street and it's not the place upstairs
which can't ever be a home again. It's their home, and
Batman's fingers are testing -- pleased -- against Robin's
muscles through the tunic, the muscles of his thighs --

He's aware of himself as something warm and correct,
aware of there finally being *reason* in the sweat and
slickness between his thighs -- further when Batman
touches, pushes --

"Tell me, Robin --"

"Please -- yes. I -- do it." And it's three different answers,
but Batman doesn't really need words from him. He'd
sworn the only words that count, or --

Confusion doesn't matter, either, not with Batman's slick
finger working inside him, with Batman's other hand
dragging one of Robin's own down to the weak little
disguise of Dick's boxer shorts, to where Batman *still* --

Batman always *needs* him, and needs his mouth to fall
open on a gasp, and his hand to tighten viciously --

The gauntlet is perfect -- Robin knows it by the gleam of
Batman's teeth, by the thrust that makes Robin's gasp
another yell, or maybe something closer to a scream.

They -- they're *home*, and everything --

Robin needs everything he can have and Batman needs
everything Robin can give him, that Robin will let him
take --

*Everything*, and it's nothing he'd imagined, and nothing
he'll dream -- not even when there's someone in this
particular suit who *really* belongs. It -- it's nothing *like*
that, because, right now, there's only one Batman and
Robin --

"Only -- only --"

"Shh, Robin, just --"

"I -- *fuck*," and if he blushes it's because he's a Robin
who doesn't like to -- to --

The position isn't perfect *enough* -- not for the leverage
he needs to really thrust back, to really just -- *give* -- but
that's right, too. His scrotum is pressed against the inside
of Batman's wrist, and if he breathes deep he'll be able to
*smell* the cars, and Batman's penis is full and slick in his
*fist*, and --

"Faster -- harder, *please* --"

"Robin," Batman says, and this time it's almost cool, because
he finally *gets* it, and Batman knows it.

He --

He can't keep himself from squeezing his eyes shut, there's
nothing -- Batman is barely *touching* Robin's penis, and
he doesn't have to.

The flush is making him feel feverish and the *burn* is
making him feel worse -- better, or perfect, or just
*needed*, and he can't keep himself from stroking faster,
*pulling*, now, because he -- he *needs* --

And Batman's *expression* barely changes when he
comes --

When he comes *on* Robin, and finally takes him in hand
again, *fucking* him with the fingers of one hand and
stroking with the other, and the angle starts to get a little
*painful* for his testicles, but that's just what need feels
like, isn't it?

When he laughs, Batman shoves him *down*, onto his
back, and Robin can barely get his knees up and feet
planted before Batman starts again, stroking and *fucking*,
and Robin doesn't know he's biting his fist until Batman
tells him to stop, tells him to do it *now* --

And it's out just in time for him to scream another orgasm
to the Cave.

For a while, the only thing he can hear *and* parse are the
screams of the bats.


At breakfast -- Bruce manages to be awake by nine, and
Alfred can be forgiving of such things -- they both thank
Alfred for the refills on their juice, wait for him to leave,
and Bruce gives up on trying to remember having feelings
this powerful for pancakes and settles into simply enjoying
it while he can.

For a while it's just -- that, so much so that it's obvious
when Tim sets his coffee cup down that he has something
he wants to say.

It is, however, just as obvious that the pancakes on Bruce's
plate are both delicious and warm.

"I -- I feel as though I should apologize for last night."

Bruce shakes his head and chews.

"You don't think so…?"

And… it's an interesting question, actually. One that would
be interestingly *disturbing* if he had to do more than shift
to -- feel and remember and *feel*. He remembers exactly
how he'd always imagined answering a question like that
from Tim, if they ever… if they ever. He remembers knowing
both how it would look and how it would *work*, but he has
no idea if he can manage it now.

It's worth a try -- now that he's swallowed.

"Ah," Tim says, and steeples his fingers under his chin. "And
here I was simply planning on suggesting that we chalk it up

"Hormones, magic, and/or adrenaline?"

The smile on Tim's face -- if not the one in his eyes -- is so
perfectly 'Bruce Wayne' that Bruce wonders if it would
damage any timelines to pilfer it for his own use. "It
seemed the thing to *do*, somehow… Bruce."

Which… he would have to lack far more memory of himself
to not be able to see Tim's point. And while it is possible --
probable -- that part of his response to the repercussions of
all of *this* has to do, more than anything else, with just
how much of himself he *has* forgotten…

"What are you thinking?" And Tim, of course… Batman can
turn any question into interrogation.

"I'm -- I believe I'm rationalizing myself into further
acceptance of recent events."

"Mm," Tim says, and stands. "Good to know. I'll meet you
downstairs for a spar."

Bruce nods at Tim's back.

After he's gone, he still doesn't touch the place where the
'R' shuriken will be, but he wants to.

Batman is in the Cave, and soon Robin will be, too.