Title: The Twelve (Hundred) Reyes of Christmas (1/2)
Pairing/Characters: Tim/Jaime
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] aravistarkheena 
Holiday Well-wishes: Happy New Year's
Rating: PG
Word count: 2431 (this part)
Summary: Tim is stranded in El Paso for Christmas.  This is not the quiet holiday he expected.
Author's Note/Warnings: The Second part should be up in a few days!
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] lady_sarai 
Favorite edible plant matter: Avocado


“This is a really bad idea.”

“No it's not. They're going to love you.”

“I really could have just gone to a hotel.”

“To be by yourself on Christmas? No way. Besides—my mom would kill me and give my presents to the Salvation Army if she found out I let my boyfriend stay in a hotel by himself on Christmas Eve. Really .”

“It wouldn’t have been a problem. My holidays are usually pretty quiet.”

"Isn't 'quiet holiday' an oxymoron?"

“Huh? What do you mean?”

"Well, it's just--I have a pretty big family. And Christmas is kind of a big deal."

“And we're back to this being a bad idea. I really don't want to intrude.”

“Tim. It's fine. Really. I mean, by tomorrow night there will be so many people here, one or two or ten more really won't even matter, and did I mention that my mom would kill me?"

“I might have heard something like that.” Tim took a deep breath as Jaime led the way toward his front door. They’d had to stop and get him some regular clothes—he hadn’t exactly packed for an overnight when he’d come to El Paso to answer Jaime’s call for help. He hadn't really planned to stay long at all, past maybe wishing Jaime a Merry Christmas on the way back to Gotham.

But then his plane had been shredded by the monster of the week (and how did El Paso wind up with so many psychos waiting to face off against its resident superhero anyway?), and he'd made the mistake of telling Jaime that it was okay if he stayed in a hotel for the night until he could get Kon to take him back to Gotham, because he hadn't actually had any plans for the holiday anyway.

Which apparently had been the wrong answer, because Jaime had looked horrified, and had insisted that Tim come home with him for the night. Even though it sounded like everyone even remotely related to him was going to be there at some point within the next twenty four hours.

“Hang on.” Jaime paused with his hand on the doorknob and turned back toward Tim with a slightly sheepish look on his face. "Um. So. Milagro--my sister--she still believes in Santa Claus, and you'd think she'd catch on by now--she was totally over the Easter Bunny like two years ago--but the whole Scarab thing and alien invasion thing kind of--reinforced it. So… maybe don't ask her about reindeer, because she's got this whole convoluted explanation for it and will talk your ear off if you let her."

“Uh... good to know.” Tim gave him a wry smile. “Anything else?”

“...You're not a vegetarian, right?”

Tim barely had time to laugh a little in disbelief before the door opened to reveal a girl that was somewhere around eight or ten with pigtails, who looked just like Jaime. She stood with her hands on her hips, looking at her older brother impatiently. “You’ve been standing out here forever. Who’s your friend?” she asked turning to look at Tim curiously.

Jaime rolled his eyes skyward. "What did Mom say about you spying on me?"

"Yesterday she said that one of these days I'll hear something I don't want to, and that will teach me, but I think she's wrong. Who's your friend?" she repeated without skipping a beat.

Jaime just blinked at her for a second before opening his mouth and then stopping, shooting Tim a vaguely panicked look. "Um. This is…"

“Tim,” he said, stepping forward. “Tim Drake. Hi.”

Milagro held her hand out to shake his, looking deeply serious. "I'm Milagro. Your picture is in the magazine in the bathroom."

Jaime made a strangled, sputtering noise from behind Tim.

Tim turned to look at him, a slightly amused smile on his face. “It’s okay, Jaime,” he said, trying to hold in his laughter. “I’m kind of used to being famous by now.”

Jaime just looked at him with an expression that was some combination of shock, horror and utter embarrassment. "Uh--right," he managed, his voice a little strained.

Milagro made an impatient noise and grabbed Tim's hand, attempting to drag him into the house. "Mo-om!" she yelled, drawing out the vowel. "Jaime brought this famous kid home for Christmas!"

Tim shot Jaime a brief, apologetic look and allowed himself to be dragged into the house behind his younger sister.

Jaime stood in the doorway for a moment before shaking his head and following them to the kitchen. “Hi Mom,” he said. “Milagro’s being rude.”
 
Mrs. Reyes turned off the water in the sink and wiped her hands on a dishtowel, rolling her eyes. “Now who is being rude? Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

Tim glanced over his shoulder and saw a panicked look flash across Jaime’s face. Smiling a little, he turned back to Mrs. Reyes. “I’m Tim,” he said finally. “Jaime heard the tail end of my ‘I’m stranded’ phone call and offered to let me stay here. I hope that’s okay?”

“Of course it is!” Mrs. Reyes said, looking concerned. “Is there anything we can do? If there’s anyone you need to call, go ahead and feel free to use the phone. Are you hungry? Jaime missed dinner—your plate is in the oven,” she added with a reproachful look at her son. “If he had called ahead, I could have had one warming for you, too.”

“You don’t have to go to any trouble, Mrs. Reyes,” Tim replied. “I’m sure I can figure something out.”

Jaime’s mother made a slight scoffing noise and headed straight for the refrigerator. “Fixing a dinner plate is hardly trouble,” she told him, beginning to pull Tupperware containers out. She stopped only to smack Jaime’s wrist as he reached for the oven door. “Wash your hands first!”

“Mom!”

Tim bit back a grin, guessing that it would just further embarrass Jaime. “Thanks,” he said to Jaime’s mother. He turned toward Jaime again, hiding his amusement behind a relaxed expression. “I guess we should go wash our hands, huh?”

Jaime looked at his mother incredulously for a moment before making a strangled noise and shaking his head. He turned around and waved a hand for Tim to follow him. “Come on,” he muttered dejectedly. “The bathroom’s this way.”

Tim laughed quietly under his breath as he followed Jaime. “Is your mom always like this?”

Jaime glanced back at him, shrugging apologetically. “Um. Yeah. Kind of.” He rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “I’m just glad you came, instead of insisting on a hotel. I’d really be in trouble then.”

“It’s not like you would have had to tell her,” Tim said with an amused look. “She couldn’t get mad if she didn’t know I was in a hotel.”

Jaime gave him a weary look. “You’d think that would work.”

Tim laughed a little. “Sounds kind of like someone else I know.” He eyed Jaime curiously. “So—how much are you freaking out right now?”

Jaime laughed, a little too quickly and loudly. “Um. Is it that obvious?”

“Maybe a little,” he replied, not bothering to bite back his grin.

Jaime stopped and just looked at him for a moment before glancing back behind him toward the kitchen. He opened a door and waved Tim in. “Here—we can talk in my room for a minute before Milagro—or my mom—come looking for us.”

Tim stepped into Jaime’s room, glancing around. It was… untidy, but not terrible, and the “WWTKD” sign on the bulletin board made him smile a little. He turned back toward Jaime, smiling wryly. “All right—freak away.”

Jaime shut the door behind them and leaned back against it, just looking at Tim incredulously for a moment before moving to flop onto his bed. “I just—my parents. And you. And Robin. And—gyah.”

Tim grinned and took a seat beside Jaime on the bed. “Yes. Me Robin. You Blue Beetle.”

“That's the problem,” he moaned, turning his head to look at Tim. “They know you and I are... you know. But they don't know you're you!

Tim laughed a little and dropped back onto the bed beside Jaime. “You know there's an easy way around that. We can just not be... you know.”

Jaime raised an eyebrow at him. “In front of my parents? I don't know if I can pull that off.”

“No?”

“I suck at lying to my parents. Like—really. Words fail to express how bad I am.”

Tim wrinkled his nose in a grimace. “That could be problematic.”

“No kidding.” Jaime gave him a pitiful look. “What are we going to do?”

“Well... I think we should try,” Tim said. “I mean—it won't be that hard, will it? We're not exactly all over each other.”

“Well, no... but...” He sighed. “You know, I really didn't expect you to use your real name.”

“I’m a little too obviously myself to answer to another name when I look like this. Especially considering my picture’s on the magazine in the bathroom,” he added, his voice teasing. “Is it the ‘Fortune’ article?”

Jaime rolled his eyes, making a face at the ceiling. “Sorry about that. Milagro’s… well. Kind of insane. And I think it’s ‘People’ or something.”

“Ugh.” Tim made a face. “Probably that article with all the speculation about me and Tam Fox.” He shook his head a little. Tam was a good friend—they had both had a long laugh about the absurdity of it, actually. Of course, Tam's boyfriend hadn't found it nearly as funny, as he'd demonstrated in the very loud one-sided discussion he'd had with Tim the day after the article came out. And Tam had told him that he wasn't allowed to “pull any of that ninja stuff,” so he'd just taken it (and thought ninja thoughts at him, but he didn't think he could be blamed for that).

“Yeah, I think that was the one. Not that I read it, or anything.”

“Uh huh.” Tim smiled a little at him. “Would it have been easier if I'd introduced myself as Alvin Draper or something?”

“Alvin—huh?” Jaime asked, confused. “What kind of a name is that?”

“It's one of my aliases,” Tim said, giving him a wry look. “I have identity paperwork to back it up, too.”

“Seriously? Isn't that a kind of goofy name?”

Tim raised an eyebrow. “It was initially kind of a joke. And then it stuck, so I decided to use it. Are you really going to make fun of my fake name?”

“...No.”

“Good.” Tim rolled over onto his side to face him. “Would it have been easier, though? If I hadn't used my real name?”

“Maybe,” he admitted, giving Tim an apologetic look. “Because it wouldn't matter if Mom and Dad knew that Alvin or whoever was Robin, because they're not real. It's a bit more of a big deal when it's you, you know?”

“I know. That's pretty much why Alvin exists at all.” Tim hesitated a moment, then reached to put a hand on Jaime's arm. “It'll be okay. We can work this out. We'll just... be careful, all right?”

“Yeah.” Jaime smiled back at him and rolled onto his side to lean in and kiss Tim. Before he could, however, they heard Milagro's shout from the hallway.

“Jaime! Mom says that you and your friend need to come get dinner now!”

Jaime groaned and rolled onto his back to stare at the ceiling. “I'm going to kill her. With my bare hands.”

Tim laughed and rolled to his feet. “Don't do that,” he said, offering Jaime a hand up. “I don't think I'm allowed to date people who kill their sisters. Batman wouldn't like it. Besides—you should meet my little brother. Then we'll talk about who should get to kill their siblings.”

“No, thanks.” Jaime grinned, taking his hand to pull himself up. “I've heard too much about your little brother.”

Laughing, they both went into the bathroom to wash up before returning to the kitchen, where Mrs. Reyes was setting a pair of plates on the table. She took a seat as they did, and then—to Jaime's obvious horror—so did his father, his sister, and Brenda (the only one of them that he'd actually met).

“So what brings you to El Paso, Tim?” Mr. Reyes asked, after Tim and Jaime had had a chance to have a few bites of their dinner.

“Wayne AeroSpace, actually,” Tim said, setting down his fork with a little regret. It was good. Like—Alfred-good. “There was some follow up regarding the rocket we launched last year from the Lone Star facility, so Bruce sent me out to wrap things up.”

He looked surprised. “On Christmas Eve?”

“Uh—well, yeah.” Tim gave him a small smile. “It needed to be taken care of by the first of the year, and since so many people go on vacation between Christmas and New Year's...” He trailed off with a little shrug. “He thought it was best to deal with it now, rather than try to track everyone down and interrupt their vacations.”

“How thoughtful of him,” Mrs. Reyes said, smiling. “But won't he miss you tomorrow?”

“He's actually away on business,” Tim replied, his expression rueful. Bruce had been off-planet with the Justice League for over a week, as a matter of fact, and wasn't expected to return for another two. Not that he could say that. “My older brother is in Star City with his partner, helping him assemble his daughter's very first bicycle, and my younger brother is with his mother.” And Alfred, of course. “Jaime actually saved me from a very boring holiday in a hotel room while I waited for a flight back to Gotham. I really hope I'm not an imposition.”

“Of course not,” she scoffed. “It's no trouble. We're happy to have you.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Reyes.”

She waved off his words. “It's nothing. So how did you happen to come across my son?” she reached out to muss Jaime's hair, much to his obvious mortification.

“Mom!”

Tim bit back a grin and shook his head. “He came across me, actually. He heard the tail end of my 'I'm stranded' conversation with Dick—that's my older bother—and offered to let me come home with him.”

“Stranded?” Mr. Reyes asked with concern. “What happened?”

“I'm not sure. I heard that it was a fight between some giant bad guy and Blue Beetle.” Tim shrugged a little, keeping his expression strictly Gotham in its polite curiosity about the more super variety of superheroes. “A bunch of planes got wrecked, and the air strip was torn up a bit, so they had to ground all outgoing flights, and redirect the incoming ones. They were offering shuttles, but...” He shrugged again. “I didn't really have any holiday plans, so I didn't want to take someone else's place.”

“That was considerate of you. And of course, it's always nice to have more people around for Christmas,” Mr. Reyes said, nodding a little before turning to Jaime. “I take it Lilly's flight was rerouted?”

“Oh, uh, yeah,” he said. “I think she's coming into Albuquerque, and then they're shuttling her to El Paso.”

“We'll probably see her tomorrow, then.”

“Yeah, probably,” Jaime agreed. “Along with everyone else.”

“Yes, along with everyone else,” he said, laughing. He glanced over at Tim again. “You have a small family, right?”

Tim nodded. “Yes. We're all adopted, except Damian, and none of us have any extended family.” Again, except for Damian, but Tim didn't think that even he counted his potentially body-snatching grandfather as extended family these days.

“I think you'll be in for a bit of a surprise, then,” Mrs. Reyes said with a wide smile. “Our family is very large, and they're coming in from all over for Christmas. I hope you speak Spanish, because most of my side of the family doesn't speak much English.”

“Some,” Tim admitted. Jaime coughed, and Tim kicked him under the table. There was no reason for Bruce Wayne's son—even the smart one—to be completely fluent in Spanish. Robin was, but Tim wasn't. And Jaime had been right—he had a terrible poker face.

This was going to be harder than Tim had thought.
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