There are a lot of thoughts swimming in his head and he’d like to say that none of them are spurred on by that tone, or the admission of weakness, but if he’s being honest those are the only things that are important right now. Here is the boy that taught him that Batman needed a Robin, and all he wants to be able to say is that that boy didn’t need anyone. He needed to be strong. To stay in control. It would make him feel like less of a failure, less at fault. But he can’t risk any statement invalidating more of what they’ve been through together, not when their relationship already feels so strained and disjointed, not for a reason so selfish and stupid. Bruce cares for him. He does. What you don’t say can be just as important as what you do, and it feels like a long time before he speaks, although it’s just a moment longer than any usual response.
"No one forced your hand." But that statement seems to speak volumes by itself, as if No One is a person just as strong in Tim’s life as Bruce himself, and its presence did force him to do what he thought he had to, to bring his teammate back.
He wishes that he could say that he’s sorry that he wasn’t… present even when he was able to be. But he can’t. So he’ll do what he does best. He’ll be stubborn, and withholding, bordering on obtuse. It’s a conscious decision. Nobody should think that it’s not.
Tim is quiet, and capable. He knows these things. He’s preferred his own company since he could toddle, though it was less of a choice back then. It has never meant, however, that he hasn’t been better off for having people that he can depend upon when he needs them.
He looks right at Bruce, refusing to show further weakness by avoiding his eye.
"Nobody stayed my hand, either."
It still isn’t an excuse. He can hear Bruce’s responses already, even the ones he won’t speak aloud. Tim should have known better. Should have stayed his own hand. Shouldn’t have failed the symbol.
"I made a mistake. I won’t make another by restricting my relationships to those that you approve of."