Cullen walks down the stairs, as quietly as he knows how, which is to say, not very.
(Harp always jokes that he has the grace of a hippogriff and he barbs back that at least he doesn’t smell like one.)
The soles of his sneakers are treadless and the glue that holds the rubber to the bottom of the shoe has dry-rotted out and gape and slap against the ground even as he tries to tip-toe lightly, tries to fight off some of his heavy steps.
Because he sees Tim down there, through the railing, the blue light of the tv on the lowest volume reflecting on his face. There’s a laptop in his lap, hands on the keyboard, but they aren’t moving, or anything.
Cullen reaches the bottom of the steps and he can see that Tim’s face is slack jawed with sleep, his cheek drooped against his shoulder and the weight of one of his hands is resting on the ‘l’ key, filling up his documents with one letter.
Harper must have gone to bed already, her bra is on the coffee table and her and Tim’s socks (Four different patterns of sock! What is wrong with those losers?) next to a few empty cans of diet soda. Tim usually outlasts her on the couch, when they don’t immediately run to Harper’s bedroom.
Tim and Harper don’t get along, they don’t have much in common. But there’s something there. Something that makes Harper’s eyes shine and curl up at the corners. Something that makes Tim’s shoulder set back, down and un-defensive.
They’re… having fun.
And it curls something in his stomach. Something that he tries so hard to push down, to ignore.
Because Harp deserves this.
Cullen sighs, pries the laptop from Tim’s loose grip, closes it and sets it on the patched-up recliner.
There’s a shaggy throw blanket on the ground that he shakes out first, because honestly between the three of them, Dorito dust is a legitimate concern, He’s got it halfway tucked around Tim’s broad shoulders, when he feels Tim’s eyes on his.
"Thanks, Cul." Tim whispers with a soft smile, something sincere and warm and not cloaked in a million layers of issues.
He hates it. He hates that he wants. But all he can do is smile, lean down and kiss Tim’s raspy cheek, the man’s eyes already closed again.
Cullen hates every single one of his Tim Drake-focused feelings.
But mostly he hates that he hates that his sister found him first.