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I Have Had One of Those...

It...it could have been a lot worse.

He tells himself this. He tells himself this a second time, coming to believe that he'll start to understand gratitude in just a moment. A moment, he just needs...

The blood dripping over his lip has a particular tang to it. Familiar, though he cannot appreciate that while he waits for the pain in his leg to stop. Any moment now, he'll pass the threshold of feeling shock and the unquenchable demand to collapse in on his person, and the pain will become bearable. Numbing, almost nice. Moments, he just needs to wait...

"Teh," he chokes back. It's a sound he makes again, with the next breath. The mask is blocking the torrent of tears, and Tim realizes that he's on the precipice of giving up on withholding a good cry.

It really could have been a lot worse. And he won. He did succeed and he's alive and...

All those things he had just let through. All the hits, and the way the man's aggression had just slipped past every defense. It had taken on a face it shouldn't have, and like a member of some audience watching a replay show again and again, Tim had just allowed it to happen. Small, confused, aware but helpless to avoid it. A train wreck, which was him all over.

The man was nothing special. Just a criminal, and yet he had taken on the reflection of everything in Tim's life right now.

His dad, the lie, the gang war, the Titans, the lie, the homework, the look Bruce had given him, the lie.

"Oh."

And he's crying. His nose runs and his eyes see red and black and the asphalt in the alley takes him, and it's indifferent and smells like rot. He'll get the grime and the diseases of the street on him, clinging to his cape, if he stays like this. It's all his body knows to do right now, though.

It's...it's okay. He thinks this, a kinder more rational part of him that doesn't make excuses for him. That side has Dick's voice, and is completely accepting Tim's need to let out the pent up things he's only now realized he's been hiding. There's nobody conscious enough to see him this weak. He's human and he's in pain, and perhaps much of the strikes against him could have been avoided. There were a few accidental injuries from his fall, and all of it now serves a purpose of being a conduit. A justification to cry and wheeze and crumple.

He does this for a few moments, starting to finally understand the gratitude he initially told himself he would feel. Nothing broken. Bruises, certainly. He's already feeling some reign of control coiling inside of him, stirring. He can push off of the ground and tells himself the stink will wash away. His eyes sting from crying, but his sinuses feel clear.

The bruises are dulling into the strange kind of ache that feels almost kind of good. He can live with it, and start to probe it for different threshold-feelings, stretch himself and sigh, forlorn.

He comes up composed, a little glad that he had been alone tonight. Bruce would have...he's not sure what Bruce would have done, or thought. Dick would have taken him, and some of Tim longs for that kind of time-line. The other is busy, though. He's out here for Dick, so he'll just make do.

And it wouldn't serve him to have the Titans see him like this. No, that wouldn't work at all. A part of him wishes it could be like that, but...but, no.

He hums and sniffs hard--snotty, yet nodding at the shadows in the alley and the broken crook in the corner. Sucks on his lip testing the sting, and then leaves, moving gingerly.

It's the closest he'll get to leaving his problems behind him.

---

Stacy fell down the back stairs taking the garbage out. I don't know how the neighbors over the fence didn't hear me sucking back cries from the grass. Maybe I wasn't as loud as I thought I was, or maybe they're just jerks.

I feel like an idiot.

But still, it could have been worse. I'm going to have the biggest bruise, but considering how close to my bike I was and how I probably unconsciously break-falled into that bruise (and nothing worse), I should be grateful.

I wish being a black belt meant I wouldn't have to be clumsy anymore. I suppose it's not an automatic thing, though. That I still need to be constantly working towards grace and caution, rather than inheriting it.

That's the way the world works and should work. And I understand this, but it doesn't mean I don't hate it for that. Stupid world.

On days where I fall down the stairs, a part of me secretly dreads the revelation that they were all wrong about me. That I'm not ready to be where I'm at, and that I'm never going to be. The "Bruce" look.

And I hate myself for thinking that, but it's mostly just the humility of having such an avoidable accident.

I'm tired and stressed out about money, and work, and how my house looks. There's only one other time that I've used getting hurt as an excuse to cry my face off over all the perceived stress in my life. Today was one of them.

I'll be better in the morning, which also comes with being black and blue.