I'm nobody! Who are you?

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Strays - Part 11
DCU, Flock, Strays
Summary: Batman is very happy with the way that Robin has picked up his training, his methods and his habits. Generally. But his protege showing up at the Batcave with two small children, Tim and Jason, clinging to him proves he's adopted one trait Batman would have rather he hadn't. It seems the batfamily has an incurable penchant for picking up strays, and Tim and Jason are only the beginning.
Fandom: DCU/YJ
Characters/Pairing: The Batfamily
Genre: Gen/Fluff/Angst
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Originally for this prompt from the yj-anon-meme, de-anoned and available on this comm with a lot of other fun art and fic by some really amazing people.

Side Stories: Tradition

Main Storyline: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10,


A word from W.E.’s PR representative had a contingent of reporters waiting for Brucie, his ward and soon to be adopted son in front of Wayne Enterprises. The trio stepped out of their limo at exactly five minutes past noon, fashionably late. Brucie made his way through the crowd, his ever present smile in place and a hand on the shoulder of each of his charges. Jason was trying very hard not to scowl at the intrusive flashes of the reporters’ cameras, but Dick made up for the other boy’s reticence with his performer’s grin.

The moment Jason was close enough to catch sight of the center of the media circus, he shrugged off Bruce’s hand and darted toward the eye of the storm. Bruce continued moving forward at a sedate pace even as he watched Jason pull a startled Tim into a hug. Cameras flashed. All eyes were focused on the boys; only Bruce saw the way Janet’s lips pursed ever so slightly and Jack’s brow furrowed in disapproval at the children’s behavior.

“Jack! Janet! Isn’t it just the loveliest day?” Brucie sidled up beside them with a welcoming grin, completely oblivious to the shouted questions of the hovering reporters.

“The loveliest,” Janet said dryly.

Brucie easily drew the pair into conversation, idly answering the odd question from the reporters that managed to penetrate his brain. Even as he guided the exchange, Bruce watched Dick join Tim and Jason out of the corner of his eye. The boys exchanged hugs and then arranged themselves in front of the adults. Their clothing was unwrinkled and their hair tidy. They looked like miniature grown-ups, but they were still very much children. The boys were too busy whispering amongst themselves to pay attention to the impromptu press conference going on around them. But the press conference was very aware of them.

The cameras kept flashing. Tomorrow’s papers would be filled with adorable pictures of the Wayne heirs and the Drake heir.

After fifteen minutes, Brucie smiled apologetically at the reporters. “Oh, wow, look at the time. We’re running late for our reservation.”

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about, Mister Wayne,” said one of the journalists. The rest of the reporters chuckled.

“Ah, but we have three growing boys here. Can’t put it off, I’m afraid.” Brucie shrugged apologetically.

The paparazzi’s steady stream of questions burgeoned into a torrent. Each reporter was shouting at the top of their lungs as they attempted to get the answer to one last question about where the Waynes and Drakes were going and what they would be eating there.

Brucie just grinned. He threw an overly friendly arm around Jack’s shoulders and led the group back to the waiting limo.


Lunch was a quiet affair.

Aureole’s maître d’ seated the Wayne party at her best table. Most people needed to reserve a table several weeks in advance, let alone that table. However Bruce Wayne was not most people. All it took was one of Brucie’s smiles and the wait staff was scurrying to see to the party’s every need.

Each table setting sported several different forks, knives and spoons. Atop the plates were fancifully folded cloth napkins that the boys took apart almost immediately.

Their waiter handed out gorgeous leather bound menus. Bruce opened his menu but didn’t bother to read it; he knew what he was going to order. Instead he watched as Jack and Janet pursued their menus. He saw exactly how long it took Jack to grimace at the lack of prices. Janet, on the other hand, did not flinch away from the obvious show of wealth. She took her time and when she was done she turned her gaze on Bruce. He met Janet’s assessing stare evenly over the top of his menu. After a moment he lowered the menu and giving her his best Brucie grin.

“Isn’t this place just the greatest?” Brucie said. “Do you boys know what you want? If nothing on the menu suits you, I’m sure Chef Denude will make up anything you want. Ha ha.”

“I want a burger,” Dick chirped. He hadn’t even bothered to open the menu.

“What about you, Jason?” Bruce asked.

“I don’t know.” Jason leaned over onto Tim’s seat to get a closer look at the other boy’s menu. “What are you getting, kid?”

Tim hesitated before pointing at something on the menu.

Jason made a face. “Duck? That’s gross! You can’t eat ducks.”

“I can’t?” Tim asked, wide-eyed.

“No, you can,” Dick cut in. “It’s definitely weird, but it’s way better than eating bunnies.”

“People eat rabbits?” Jason asked, horrified.

“It’s not bad,” Tim said softly.

“That’s like eating Bugs Bunny! How could you eat Bugs?” Jason demanded.

Tim frowned. “Who’s Bugs Bunny?”

Dick and Jason gasped in unison.

“You, you don’t know who Bugs Bunny is?” Dick said incredulously.

The two boys launched into simultaneous explanations of one of the few iconic cartoon characters that Bruce recognized.

“Boys!” Jack snapped in frustration as the children’s voices reached a deafening height. “Quiet down.”

Bruce’s charges stopped midsentence, but before either boy could say anything, Brucie laughed loudly. “Ah, boys will be boys, Jackie! They got a bit over excited, but they’ll keep it down now. Let them be while we talk about boring, grown-up things, eh?”

After that little hiccup, the lunch went smoothly. The kids huddled together and spoke quietly to each other. Bruce focused most of his attention on the elder Drakes, prattling on about business and travel and the charities that Brucie was currently championing. Toward the end of the meal Bruce made a point to direct the conversation toward family.

“My Richard’s got quite the head on his shoulders, you know. He came in first in the city-wide Junior Mathletes contest a few months back, even though he was the youngest there. I don’t understand a word of the stuff myself, too complex for my tastes, but wonderful all the same.”

Jack’s jaw dropped a little, but Janet didn’t miss a beat. “Mmm. Our Timothy was doing quite nicely in his schooling before his… unfortunate absence. He’s learned addition, subtraction, basic multiplication and was working on division right before this whole affair began. And he’s fluent in French as well as written Greek and Latin.”

“Oh wow, you know that makes me think of this one time in Rome - That’s where they speak Latin, right? - well there was this really lovely young thing and we… But the kids have ears you know. That’s what Alfred tells me, anyway. In any case, I’m really excited about getting Jason all settled and ready for school. I’m sure he’ll love Gotham Elementary. They’ve got quality staff there and a super athletics program which should be just up my boy’s alley, I think.”

Jack brightened a bit. “Timmy’s got quite the hand-eye coordination. He’s a chip off the old block, if you know what I mean. Mark my words; he’s going to be a football star when he hits high school. And, and um well – ”

Brucie smiled vacantly even as Jack awkwardly petered off. Janet waited patiently for her husband to finish before returning to Bruce’s previous remark. “Have you considered acquiring a tutor to get the boy up to speed? I realize his…previous education may have been somewhat lacking and I know Gotham Elementary has very high standards. If you like I can make a few recommendations.”

“That’s awfully nice of you Janet. But the school has already got me set up with a few swell folks.”

“Mmm, I’m sure they'll be…adequate.”

Bruce’s smile thinned at the insinuation behind the word ‘adequate’. Janet met his gaze unflinchingly, her lips curled into a tiny smirk. He was struck by the sudden notion that the woman had provoked him on purpose.

If she had…and he had fallen for it…that was worrisome. The slightest misstep on his part was all it would take to shift her perceptions of him enough to ruin any chance at all of his plan succeeding. He could not screw this up. Not when Tim’s well-being was on the line. With a great deal of effort Bruce buried his indignation and fell back into his role, letting his smile loosen in a properly vacuous grin.

“Ha ha, you bet they will.” Brucie spoke loudly into the silence. “So, how about them Knights?”

“It looks like we’ll be going to the playoffs if their past few games are anything to go by,” Jack said with renewed enthusiasm.

“If they go all the way this year, I plan on taking the boys to the championship game. Box tickets and everything. You two should come and bring Timmers along. My treat!”

“Wow that’s very generous of you, Bruce. But I’m not sure we’ll be able to – ”

A loud ringing sound cut Jack off. The man smiled apologetically and pulled out his cell phone. “Drake Industries, Jack Drake speaking,” the man answered.

There was a pause while Jack listened to whoever was on the other end. He frowned and started nodding his head. “Yes. Yes. No, it’s no problem. You’re not interrupting anything that can’t be rescheduled. We’ll be there in less than an hour and we’ll sort this mess out…Yes, that’s fine.”

Jack hung up the phone. “I’m sorry, Bruce. There’s been an emergency at the office. We’re going to have to cut out a bit early.”

Bruce’s hands tightened into fists beneath the table. This was too soon. He had counted on having the Drakes around longer. There were still things he needed to say to them. “Not as sorry as I am,” he managed to say. “You’re going to miss dessert. That’s the best part of every meal, you know. And Aureole’s chocolate mousse cake is simply to die for.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” Jack said. “But my hands are tied. Anyway, thanks for having us. It’s been a real pleasure.” He reached out a hand for Brucie to shake.

“The pleasure is mine. We’ll have to do it again sometime.” Bruce hesitated long enough to relax his hands before taking the proffered hand.

Jack nodded and turned to his wife. “Honey, I’m going to go call a car. I’ll meet you outside, okay?”

That was all the warning the man gave before he strode out of the restaurant, phone already pressed to his ear.

“I apologize for my husband’s abruptness,” Janet said, drawing Bruce’s attention away from the doorway that Jack had already disappeared through.

“It’s no trouble. I just hate to see you go. And the kids are sure to be bummed.” Brucie glanced meaningfully over at the boys who had broken off their conversation. The three children were clearly holding hands under the table as they watched the interplay between the adults.

“They’ll cope,” Janet said. “Timothy, we’re leaving. Say your goodbyes.”

Dick and Jason pulled Tim into a slightly panicked group hug. Fortunately they remembered Bruce’s warnings well enough that they let Tim go after a reasonable amount of time. Upon his reluctant release from the older boys’ grasp, Tim smiled hesitantly up at Bruce. “Goodbye Mister Wayne. Thank you for lunch.”

“I’m glad you could come. Goodbye, Tim,” Bruce said, unable to give a properly Brucie pleasantry. “We’ll miss you.”

Tim nodded, his face blank, and walked to his mother’s side. She took his hand in hers, and the two left the restaurant as well as Bruce’s sphere of influence.

When Janet and Tim were out of sight, Bruce turned back to his children to find them staring back at him. He gave them a warning look to prevent them from bringing up topics best discussed within the privacy of the mansion.

Brucie ordered dessert for his remaining party members and watched the boys pretend to enjoy the sweet treats. Bruce knew how they felt. He hadn’t planned for the possibility of the Drakes running off before he had finished feeling them out better. Jack was transparent, but Janet…Bruce had no idea where he stood with that woman.

And they had just run off to work with Tim in tow. What would they even do with him? They couldn’t have found another nanny yet, could they? Would they just take him to work and leave him to sit quietly in an empty office or waiting room?

Bruce cursed himself. He should have offered to watch Tim before they ran off. But no, that might give the Drakes the wrong idea. He had to be careful with them. One wrong move and…

There was nothing he could do now. He had set things up as best he could. Anything else he did at this point might ruin everything.

They would just have to wait and see.

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This fic is so beautiful

It's so beautiful that my eyes are probably sparkling.

Please continue this lovely, perfect, touching gem of a story!!!!

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