Pairing: Tim Drake x Reader
Word Count: 3.1k words
Summary: Tim harbours an unrequited love for you, his best friend.
A/N: I feel kinda horrible. I’m losing my touch when it comes to one shots.
For as long as Tim could remember you were always at an arm’s length away from him.
He was your best friend. He was the only person on the face of the planet who had seen you at your highest and been with you through your lowest. It was supposed to fill him with a sense of pride. The knowledge that you’ve slept in his bed and worn his clothes more times than he could count should have given him edge.
He was the only one to watch you while you slept peacefully. He was the only one who knew that you unconsciously cuddled people in your sleep. He was the only one who knew what you looked like when all your filters and barriers were down. That should have given him an edge.
Yet, why did it make him feel like he was at a disadvantage? Why did he feel like this would be the closest he’d ever be able to get to you? Why did it feel like he’d only ever get to be at an arm’s length?
There will be others who will eventually surpass everything he has with you. You’d wear their clothing and sleep in their beds. And then they’d go further with you than he could ever hope to. They’d be the only ones who could hold you intimately, fingers sneaking underneath clothing to rest against bare skin.
They’d be the only ones who would get to taste your lips. They’d be the only ones who would know what your body felt like against theirs. You loved Tim, more than anything, but you didn’t love Tim the way he loved you.
Tim loved you in a way that made his heart bleed. You’d never know of the mornings when he’d wake up, only your beautiful smile on his mind. He loved you in a way that made him want to share every single depth of his soul, every raw, real, vulnerable part of him.
He was your best friend. And in some ways that was more precious. But even he couldn’t stop imagining what could have been if he wasn’t your best friend. What if he hadn’t grown up beside you? What if he only met you when he was old enough to realize what he was feeling?
Would he be the one you would greet with kisses every morning? Would he be the one who gets to feel your heartbeat against his? And would he get to feel the pride whenever you would part with your pathetic best friend who was madly in love with you, to leave with him?
Realistically, Tim wasn’t supposed to attracted to you. He just wasn’t. He saw you when you hadn’t showered for three days and was just getting out of the hibernation you proclaimed onto yourself during exams. Tim had seen you get winded just by climbing up a flight of stairs and watched you scarf down a box of donuts like a pig.
He wasn’t supposed to be attracted to you. Not when you tried so hard to remain unattractive in his eyes. He came to realize that attraction wasn’t what he felt. It wasn’t unbridled fire that he felt when he looked at you. It wasn’t sweet lust that flowed through his veins when you looked up at him beneath your lashes.
It was love. And he realized that falling in love with you was possibly worse than being attracted to you.
Because you already had a boyfriend.
“Yo Timbers, do you think you can drop me off at the cafe after school today?” You asked absentmindedly as you crawled into the front seat beside him. You had a muffin and cup of coffee in your hand and he knew it was for him. That was the deal, he’d pick you up for school if you’d get him breakfast.
His uniform is crisp and sharp even though you’re sure he rolled out of bed 10 minutes ago. His shirt is tucked neatly underneath the school’s navy-blue sweater, the first few buttons undone and no doubt his tie was thrown in the backseat.
He smells like coffee and you want to scold him for sneaking a cup before leaving his house and trying to cheat on Alfred’s one cup rule by asking you to bring him some but you keep your mouth shut, liking the smell that radiates off him. He always smelt nice.
“Sure, why though? Doesn’t Lloyd usually drop you? Did you fight?” He asked, trying to mask the hope in his voice for concern
You shook your head, handing him the food and pulling your laptop to rest on your thighs. You had an assignment that you needed to hand in before it’s deadline that you forgot to complete. Your attention was completely captured by the screen, missing the concerned look he sent you, eyes flitting over your face to check for any sign that you might have been crying.
“He has practice after school today and it’s stretching after the student council meeting.”
He nodded, choosing not to tell you that all school activities were required to end by 5 and there was no way that football practice would end later than your meeting. Still, he gave him the benefit of the doubt, not wanting to upset you over something that could easily be a misunderstanding.
He’d find out soon enough anyway.
Lloyd might be able to hide something from sweet, innocent Tim but nothing could ever sneak past Red Robin’s gaze. He made a mental note to check every single security camera after he got home from school. Tim wasn’t quite sure what he wanted out of this.
Did he want to make himself more miserable than he already was by proving your boyfriend was loyal? Or did he want to find that your boyfriend was cheating on you and break your heart?
Until he found his answer, he’d chalk it up to plain curiosity. He was a detective, if he didn’t investigate then it would be an insult to Batman’s legacy itself.
It was late when Tim remembered that he needed to check the security camera footage. It was well after midnight and Tim had just gotten back from patrol. His muscles ached and burned with each step he took. He just wanted to crawl underneath his covers and slip into a coma.
But it was then he remembered he was supposed to check the camera footage. Pulling up the school’s database made him feel a little pathetic to be quite frank. He was stalking the boyfriend of the girl he was helplessly in love with and who would never return his feelings. It was ridiculous.
Even then he swallowed down his pride and pulled up the file from today, pulling up the what happened at the school between the needed time frame. Just as he expected, the football field was empty, the grass was clean and undisturbed, like no one had set foot on it the entire day.
Then, he got curious. What could Lloyd have been doing? The answer was clear but maybe he was being too hopeful. It was like Batman always said, don’t make it personal. So, he decided to confirm. Like any good detective would.
And sure, enough there it was. It took hours of looking through various different traffic cameras and the sun was coming up when Tim finally found some damning evidence. He tracked your boyfriend down to the mall, where sure enough he was on a date with another girl. It would have been all too easy to assume that the girl was just a friend, had it not been Lloyd’s ex-girlfriend and had it not been for the fact that he was pressing her up against the wall of the parking lot.
It was bitter-sweet.
For a second, he was overjoyed that you’d have to break up with him now and a glimmer of hope shone in his heart. It was then he was hit by a flurry of negative emotions. Anger, betrayal and jealousy.
Even after getting his hands on something so precious, after being lucky enough to be dating you, Lloyd went behind your back and betrayed your trust. He was an idiot. How could he want a girl who paled in comparison to you? And how could he be so cowardly that he couldn’t break it off like a man before chasing someone else?
How was he going to tell you that your boyfriend was cheating?
His brain slowed down then, unable to focus and he realized when he looked out the window that he had gone another night without sleep. Even then he pulled himself out of bed and got dressed, regretting not sleeping through the night as he realized how hard it was to keep his eyes open.
He got dressed quickly, knowing he had to pick you up when he got a text from you. “No need to pick me up today. Lloyd’s giving me a ride.”
Feeling kind of blank and unable to think of what to tell you, he simple replied with an ‘Okay’ and told you to call him if anything went wrong. Even then he couldn’t push down the uneasiness in his stomach.
When he met you at school, Tim immediately knew something was wrong. You gave him a smile that didn’t quite reach your eyes. It was unsettling, you were looking at him in a distant way and didn’t even hug him hello. He knew you better than anyone else in the world, knew your mannerisms even better than yourself.
There was just something about you that was wrong, the distance look in your eye was a tell-tale sign that something was wrong. But try as he might, he just couldn’t squeeze it out of you. It was only around lunch that your mood started to make any sense.
“Lloyd and I broke up.” You sighed and Tim froze. Did you find out what had been going on behind your back? Did he tell you?
“Broke up? Whatever could be the reason?”
You raised a brow at his tone and Tim had to hide the way he cringed at his own words. He was a horrible liar. Although he had gotten extremely good at hiding the way his heart swelled with hope. Would you finally start to notice him now that your incompetent boyfriend was out of the way?
“Well, we just realized that we wanted different things from our relationship.”
“That’s why you broke up?”
“Are you sure?”
“Tim! What on earth are you talking about?! Of course, I’m sure!” You snapped and Tim flinched.
When you noticed the alarmed look on his face, you immediately felt guilty and sighed, looking away.
“I promise I’m fine, okay?” You told him finally, sounding defeated, “I need to go.”
You weren’t fine. You weren’t fine at all.
Ever since the breakup, you had been avoiding everybody, taking the bus to school and back home instead of letting Tim take you. You didn’t reply to his calls, choosing instead to text and even then, it wasn’t the same. The break up was affecting you worse than he thought and it was driving him insane.
He was actually losing his best friend because of some asshole who didn’t know what he had when he had it. The more he thought about it, the more rage filled him up. How could your boyfriend wrong you so much?
If it was Tim in his position, he would’ve woken up every day to the thought that he was lucky enough to be with you. He would feel the sun and the stars every time you kissed him. He would love every single inch of skin, every single perfect part of you that you were generous enough to show him.
He would make you feel loved. He would support you and respect you and love you. And he would feel over the moon when you returned it to him. His heart would race whenever you told him you loved him. He would appreciate everything you did for him.
That’s what Tim would have done if he was lucky enough to be your partner.
But Lloyd was just luckier. And what did he do? Rip out your heart and take it for advantage by loving some other girl when he had everything that anyone could ever need inside you.
Tim felt pure jealousy that your ex-boyfriend got the change that he never did. And that he threw it away right in front of him.
Maybe that’s why he felt inexplicable rage when he saw Lloyd in the hallway, kissing his new girlfriend. She was pretty, no doubt, and friendly but she couldn’t hold a candle in comparison to you.
And Lloyd was holding her so tenderly, kissing her so sweetly in a way Tim knew would kill you if you had been there to witness it. But you hadn’t shown up to school that day, after having caught a cold and using it as another excuse not to see Tim.
Frustration at the fact you weren’t talking to him and angry that your ex-boyfriend was parading his new girlfriend right in front of him had bubbled over and he did something that was very unlike him.
No one knew how to react when docile, sweet Tim punched Lloyd in the face so hard he almost passed out.
“Tim?! What the fuck?!”
Tim felt some satisfaction seeing his nose bleed. He grabbed his collar, “How fucking dare you?”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“(Y/N)?! My best friend?! How dare you cheat on her? You’re such an asshole, you don’t even know what you lost.”
Lloyd finally understood why Tim was so furious and he rolled his eyes, making Tim even more angry, “Oh for fuck’s sake Tim, (Y/N) and I weren’t dating!”
“What the hell are you talking about? You went on dates, you kissed, you said ‘I love you’. Are you actually trying to sell me some bullshit?” The grip on Lloyd’s collar got tighter and his glare got more furious. Tim looked so angry that he actually began to feel scared, never in his life had he ever been looked at with such a murderous scowl. It was always the silent ones.
“I mean, that we weren’t really dating. (Y/N) and I made a deal. We’d pretend to date so we could make someone jealous; my ex-girlfriend and a guy she had a crush on. I got my girlfriend back but things didn’t work out on her end, probably why she’s so upset.” He explained, pulling his collar out of Tim’s fist as soon as he felt the grip relax a little.
His nose was still bleeding but it could’ve gone a lot worse, he supposed.
“So, (Y/N) was trying to make someone jealous? Who?”
Lloyd rolled his eyes again and Tim felt like punching him again, solely for his condescension, “Take a guess. Who heard all about our fake relationship and fake dates? Who saw us kiss and say ‘I love you’?”
He knew was the boy in front of him was trying to imply. He recognized the knowing look that he received. He knew just exactly how this conversation would play out but for once in his life Tim couldn’t be sure. He couldn’t say with utmost certainty that he was the guy Lloyd was talking about. Or rather, he feared being wrong more than having confidence in his instincts.
Lloyd recognized the insecurity in his eyes and sighed, giving his shoulder a friendly pat, “(Y/N)’s in love with you.”
Tim’s heart started racing. This was just what he wanted to hear, just what he had wanted for a year now. He needed to see you. He needed to see you and kiss you and hold you. Tim needed to tell you that he loved you too, to erase all the insecurities and uncertainties that either of you might have had about the other’s feelings, to start over with you. He needed to see you.
So, he didn’t wait. Tim apologized for Lloyd’s face (what he did to it, not what he was born with) before gathering his things and leaving school in the middle of the day. The repercussions of cutting class and the fear of doing something wrong was nothing in comparison of the magnetic pull of his body to yours.
He scrambled into his car in record time, driving as quickly as he could, on his way to you.
You weren’t too surprised when you opened the door to Tim after a flurry of knocks. You assumed that it would come soon, given the way you had been diligently avoiding him for days. But even though you had intentionally trying to keep your distance from him, today was completely by accident.
You had honestly caught a cold and you didn’t want Tim to see you this way. That made you feel even worse. It was okay when you had no idea what Tim felt for you. You wanted to look pretty, you wanted to impress him. But now that you knew he felt nothing for you, you felt guilty towards yourself for still wanting to look pretty.
“I punched Lloyd.”
Your brows furrowed. That wasn’t what you were expecting. You were expecting him to go off on some tangent because you weren’t taking care of yourself, “What? Why would you do that?”
“Doesn’t matter. He told me you were only dating him to make me jealous. Tell me it’s true.”
Your eyes widened and your heart began to race in your chest, “What?”
“Tell me it’s true, (Y/N), because I like you and I need this to be true.” He said desperately, grabbing both your hands and holding them to his chest. The blanket you were holding around you fell to the ground.
“I—” To be quite honest it was overwhelming. Was Tim really telling you the things that you had wanted to hear for so long?
“Tim, I’m in love with you. I just never thought you’d feel the same way.”
This felt weird, this felt new. You were finally crossing that boundary with Tim, finally confessing your feelings for what they are and telling him that you wanted more from your relationship than just friendship. You wanted love.
“I love you too.”
And it was then Tim was extremely thankful that you were good friends.
Because he knew the exact face you made before you felt like throwing up.
“I hope that wasn’t in response to my heartfelt confession.” He commented as he held your hair back.
“Shut the fuck up, you loser.”
“This loser’s your boyfriend now.”
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