galaxysoup: (ConstantViglance)
[personal profile] galaxysoup
TITLE: Five Stories Tim Fell Into And One He Chose For Himself
FANDOMS: DC Comics, The Avengers (movie), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Full Metal Panic!, Smallville, Doctor Who, Iron Man
RATING: PG 13
SUMMARY: Because Tim Drake would be a superhero fanboy in any universe.
CATEGORY: Crossover
DISCLAIMER: On a scale of One to Not Mine, these characters are Not Mine. They belong to a lot of terribly important and official people who work for big companies and get salaries and basically aren’t me. Suing me for copyright infringement would be pointless and unprofitable, I swear. Brother Blood once bit my sister.

1. On Target

For Tim’s fourth birthday his parents take him to the circus. It’s all lights and colors and people in costumes and Tim can’t possibly look at absolutely everything, but he gives it his best shot.

“He’s too young for this,” his mother worries. “He’s going to be scared.”

How could I ever be scared of this? Tim wonders, but even at four he’s learned to be quiet when his parents talk.

“There’s one of the performers,” his father says. “We’ll take a picture with him so Tim sees he’s just a person, how about that?”

The performer is a young marksman, with a bow and arrows and a colorful costume. He kneels down by Tim, grinning, and Tim smiles back.

“Watch carefully when I’m on,” the marksman says, ruffling Tim’s hair like he’s a normal boy. “I’ll hit the bullseye just for you, okay?”

Tim watches, enraptured, as the marksman hits his target time after time, and even though the stands are crowded and he can’t possibly pick Tim’s face out against the glare of the big top lights, Tim knows he looks.

Tim follows the marksman’s career carefully after that. He saves flyers and newspaper articles, learns that the marksman’s name is Clint Barton, and reads everything he can find on physics and engineering so he can understand exactly how arrows fly. For his tenth birthday he gets a toy bow and arrows of his own, for his thirteenth he gets a real one. In class, while other kids are drawing superheroes and cartoon characters in the margins of their notebooks, Tim designs a compound bow and figures out how to make tranquiliser arrows.

After Clint leaves the circus Tim follows him as far as the army. He learns to hack just so he can access Clint’s military records. He’s an exceptional sniper, and Tim’s just as proud of the commendations that get written up on Clint’s file as he would be of a favorite athlete’s MVP award.

When Clint joins the Avengers Tim is thrilled. Other kids wear t-shirts with Captain America and Iron Man on them, but Tim is loyal to Hawkeye and defends his reputation up to the point - and once past - an actual schoolyard fight (Tim wins; archery isn’t the only thing he’s been studying). He doesn’t care if Hawkeye isn’t a god or a genius or a national icon; he’s talented and that’s way cooler.

New York is a short train ride from Gotham, and there are plenty of museums and things for Tim to visit in between walking casually by Avengers Mansion and hoping to catch a glimpse of Hawkeye. He’s just leaving the Natural History Museum when there’s a massive explosion from a few blocks away, followed by the sounds of a serious fight.

Naturally, Tim runs towards it. He crouches down behind a mailbox and watches as the Avengers fight a giant beast thing. It’s doing a lot of damage - Thor and Iron Man are flying around, trying to contain it, while Captain America and the Black Widow try to hustle people out of the area. Tim assumes Hawkeye is somewhere up high, where he has a good vantage point. There’s no sign of the Hulk.

The beast flails, there’s a crash, and the next thing Tim knows Hawkeye’s tumbling to the ground on the other side of the street.

Clint’s bow hits the ground right in front of Tim.

Tim stares at it for a split second, then scoops it up and sprints towards Hawkeye. Their eyes meet, and Tim pulls his arm back to throw the bow to him, and then half of a building lands between them.

Tim hits the ground hard, choking on dust, still clutching the bow. There’s no way he can get it to Hawkeye now and the beast is headed his way.

A glint in the rubble catches Tim’s eye. It’s one of Hawkeye’s used arrows, and it’s scratched and the fletching is damaged but it’s still usable.

Before he can think twice, Tim nocks the arrow, pulls back the bowstring, breathes out, and fires.

The battle doesn’t last much longer. Tim’s arrow makes the beast pull back, which gives the Avengers the opportunity to corral it and get it under control. Hawkeye climbs over the rubble, sees that the fight is pretty much over, and comes to retrieve his bow.

“Nice shot, kid,” he says with a considering look.

Tim grins.

“Thank you, Mr. Barton,” he says, and knows by the look of shock on Hawkeye’s face that he’s in.

2. I’ll Be Staking You In All The Old Familiar Places

As he watches the vampire explode into a thousand itty-bitty little dust particles, Tim really wishes he could find some way to make his dad appreciate the irony of the situation.

Gotham is dangerous, this is true. Tim has run away from home possibly a little more than is strictly necessary, this is also true. And yeah, from the outside, Sunnydale looks and sounds like the most stereotypical Leave-it-to-Beaver perfect environment for raising your kids and getting them away from any bad influences.

It’s named Sunnydale, for goodness’ sake. What could possibly go wrong in a place with such an obstinately cheerful name?

Answer: Did he really have to ask?

“You okay?”

Tim blinks up his rescuer, who on top of being blonde and perfectly dressed is about three inches shorter than he is, and still managed to throw him bodily across the alley to get him out of the way of the vampire.

It isn’t like he shouldn’t be used to small blonde girls who can bench press the Batmobile – he did, after all, used to spend a significant amount of his free time with Wonder Girl – but there is something a little affronting about being saved by the ditz from his math class who can’t remember the difference between Algebra and Geometry and has not, as far as he can tell, been given powers by various members of the Greek pantheon.

He’d been about to do something himself to get rid of the vampire. Honestly.

“Hey, you okay?”

“Vampires,” Tim says in disgust, digging himself out of the pile of trash he’d been buried in. “Fabulous.”

The girl grabs him by the back of the collar and hauls him bodily to his feet. “Welcome to Sunnydale,” she says briskly. “Don’t go down dark alleys at night, stay away from cemeteries, don’t invite anyone into your house after the sun sets, and you’ll be fine. Probably.”

“Let me guess: failing that, a stake to the heart, holy water, crosses, garlic, decapitation?”

“You know your horror movies,” the girl says, mildly impressed. “You okay to get home, or do you want me to walk you?”

Tim blinks at her, and weighing the merits of maintaining his civilian identity versus reasserting his masculinity by revealing that he so could have taken that vampire if she’d just stayed out of his way.

Ah, well. It isn’t like he has anything invested in his masculinity anyway.

“After you,” he says, gesturing her forward.

His dad is totally going to flip.

3. The Guy I’m Kind Of Friends With Is A Sergeant!

Tim doesn’t really think much about the new kid except to mentally diagnose him with some sort of disorder - probably Asperger’s - after his incredibly awkward introduction to the class. It’s a little odd when Sousuke immediately attaches himself to Tim, but Tim’s the class president so it’s really pretty much his responsibility to look after him anyway.

After the third time Sousuke tackles someone for looking at Tim sideways, Tim changes his mental diagnosis of Asperger’s to PTSD - not surprising given some of places Sousuke says he’s lived - and tries to be as patient as possible. A little observation on Tim’s part lets him figure out what some of Sousuke’s triggers are and how to avoid them, and that helps a lot. Sousuke’s actually kind of a nice guy, when he isn’t putting people in chokeholds and trying to smuggle fake guns into school.

He’s not sure why Sousuke chose him to be protective of, out of everybody, but when he isn’t being annoyed by it Tim actually finds it to be kind of misguidedly sweet.

That’s probably why when Tim’s AP Spanish class decides to go on a trip to Nicaragua and Sousuke looks like he’s going to have a panic attack if Tim goes off without him, Tim uses his official position as class president and his unofficial one as Sousuke’s babysitter to convince the administration to let Sousuke come along. All it really takes is a few well-chosen phrases about socialization and integration into a healthy learning environment and Sousuke’s ability to pay and they cave. Disruptive as Sousuke is, no one can deny he tries hard and all the teachers want to do something to help him.

It turns out to have been a very good thing, because the plane is hijacked and and then rerouted and forced down, and Tim finds himself strapped to a table in a weird machine with schematics flashing across the front of his brain. He’s never been so glad that he knows someone with a semiautomatic in his life.

It also turns out to be a good thing that Sousuke is secretly part of a mercenary organization and has been assigned to go undercover and protect Tim, although it’s probably not as good a thing that Tim apparently has advanced military technology in his brain that he was never even aware of. You win some, you lose some - and it does explain a lot about some of Sousuke’s more unusual habits.

“So you do this stuff a lot?” Tim asks, clinging to the handle of the truck’s door as Sousuke swerves wildly to avoid incoming fire.

“Yes,” Sousuke says, stepping on the accelerator. “Please don’t be alarmed. I’ll protect you.”

4. Come Fly With Me

Jack Drake moves his family out of the city after the circus thing. Gotham, he’s come to realize, is no place to raise a family. Janet agrees. It would be best to keep Timothy out of the reach of any unhealthy influences. He’s such an impressionable boy.

Together they find the smallest, safest, most unremarkable little town in all of America, and settle in quite happily. It isn’t as exciting as the city, of course, but at least no one here will try to kill them.

“Something wrong?” Jonathan Kent asks his son several years later.

“I’m not sure,” Clark says slowly. “I just feel like I’m being watched.”

5. Hello, Gorgeous

When Tim is four, he wanders away from his parents at the circus. They’re frantic when they find him, and they scold him for being careless and making them worry. Tim decides not to tell them about the nice man in the long colorful scarf who made the scary creatures go away and then hid in a big blue box before he could be seen by Tim’s parents. He thinks they’d find it reassuring that he was completely safe, but they probably wouldn’t take the brain-sucking aliens very well.

As Tim gets older, he thinks a lot about this event. Eventually he decides that: a) it happened, b) it indicates the presence of a world that Tim can barely even grasp, and c) the man must have showed up in other places as well.

The internet provides no clues, which is suspicious in and of itself. The history section at the library is much more helpful.

Tim finds the blue box in one of Van Gogh’s paintings, and once he thinks to look for that instead of the man himself it gets a lot easier. He finds it in cave paintings from Europe, pictographs from South America, and Roman mosaics, and those give him a context to work from. An English school destroyed before World War I pings his radar next, and it makes Queen Victoria’s obsession with strange creatures and more than a few suspicious mass hallucinations in London seem completely obvious. It feels insane to link them all together, but Tim’s sure he’s on to something.

At the first opportunity, he does a study abroad program in London. After that, it’s really only a question of waiting. When there’s a disturbance in the theater district, Tim goes hunting.

He finds the blue box down an alleyway, tucked comfortably between a dustbin and a stack of moldy cardboard boxes. From the faint explosions in the distance the man is not in residence.

Tim goes up to the box and leans in close. “Hello, gorgeous,” he murmurs, stroking the painted door.

There’s a whisper of approval in the back of his mind, and the door swings open.

Tim goes in.

+1. Company Man

Tim’s parents travel a lot when he’s a kid, and Tim is mostly left to his own devices. He doesn’t really mind - he’s more than capable of entertaining himself, and even if he feels a little invisible sometimes it gets much worse on the rare occasions when his parents are around. It’s maybe not surprising that he goes into the military at the first opportunity. He likes the structure, and the chance to feel useful, and it utterly bewilders his parents which he’s not above enjoying.

There are a lot of opportunities for a boy like Tim in the military - he’s capable, and very intelligent, and all those years of quietly watching what goes on around him have made him extremely good at blending in. He winds up in Intelligence so fast it’s almost suspicious.

It does mean his work is classified, which puts a bit of a strain on conversations with his parents, but it’s not like they ever talked that much anyway. Tim’s almost relieved when the phonecalls dwindle to nothing. When he’s given an opportunity for advancement that requires him to fake his death and change his name, he barely even has to think about it. His parents never remembered his birthday, and he always found a way to be assigned somewhere on Christmas, so he’s pretty sure it won’t be much of a big deal. He’s surprised and a little touched when they hold an actual funeral. His mother even cries a little.

He’s very good at that job, and the next, and it isn’t long before his reputation precedes him and he can take his pick of assignments. He chooses one that has a little action, a little science, and gives him a good deal of autonomy. Building a new program from the bottom up turns out to be a lot of fun, and his boss is intense but pretty hands-off.

He still has to do some liaising, but he doesn’t mind that - it’s really more like recruiting, anyway. He likes to meet interesting people, and enjoys pretending to be harmless. It does mean he gets blown off sometimes, particularly since his program is new so no one’s ever really heard about it, but he’s patient and careful and it makes it much easier to take people by surprise later.

“Miss Potts,” he says, “Can I speak to you for a moment? I’m agent Phil Coulson with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division.”

“That’s quite a mouthful,” she says.

“I know,” he says, smiling his mild company smile. “We’re working on it.”

Crossposted to Archive of Our Own.
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