Tim isn't sure how he ended up here. He's not Robin anymore. Bruce says he can't be ever again. All the others here are Robin, and he's not, and he can feel the laughter starting in his chest again and it makes him want to vomit and to stab himself and to find some green dye and to -
The guy looks like he's a bit younger than Nightwing, maybe. He's carrying a red helmet under one arm, and wearing a great leather jacket. It reminds Tim of the stuff kids in his old neighbourhood used to wear when they wanted everyone to know how tough they were.
"Hi," Tim manages, and feels his mouth twitch a bit. He doesn't want to be here, he feels like a freak, he wants everyone to stop talking because it's too loud and he doesn't like noise and -
"Hey, it's okay," the guy says, and puts a hand on Tim's shoulder. Mostly Tim doesn't like to be touched, likes to cry or laugh or bite when people get too close, but for some reason it's not so bad with this guy.
"I'm Jay... Jay..." Tim says, then shakes his head and clenches his fists. No, no, he has to keep it together, he has to say... "Tim. I'm Tim. My name is Tim."
"I'm Jason," the guy says, and he doesn't sound like he pities Tim or thinks he's a freak or wants to lock him up, so Tim decides not to try to punch or kick or hurt.
"I'm dangerous." It's only fair that Tim tells Jason that.
"Everyone here's dangerous, far as I can see. Bet there's not a single person in this room who couldn't cripple a mugger without breaking a sweat."
"I'm crazy." The words still hurt, not matter how many times he says them. "Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy -" they still hurt, they still hurt...
"Hey, take a look around. Do sane people dress like this?"
Jason sounds so determined to make Tim feel at ease that Tim can't help but look him in the eye. To try to work out what his deal is.
The expression in Jason's eyes makes Tim's ragged breath catch. It's like somebody took all the thoughts in his head, all the jumbled wrong strange bloody horrible sad terrible lost alone dark ideas, and wrote them out in plain english. Jason's eyes are bleak, and brittle, and determined, and they understand.
And the gulps of choked laughter die in Tim's throat, and he remembers how to breathe evenly.