Bob Wars: A New Pain in the Butt.
Karen Roth -- firstname.lastname@example.org -this is the Momma of Bob. Check out her Bob stuff.
Please read Karen's stuff before you read this. Or you'll think I'm just crazy for making Bruce such a weirdo. But he's a weirdo for a reason. It's all the stuff Karen wrote about.
Ok, I'll shut up now and let folks read.
You know the drill, I don't own them. I wish I did. Or at least get a pay check from the folks that do. That'd be cool.
"Well, I couldn't say no," Nightwing said, putting the plastic cage on a table in the Batcave.
"You shouldn't have said yes if you weren't going to be here to take care of the thing." Batman was not a happy camper.
"It's not a thing. It is Bob. And I didn't know I was going to have to work the weekend until like ten minutes ago. Come on, Bruce. It's a day and a half till I get off this case. Sunday afternoon I'll pick up the little guy, Monday night I'll return him to Oracle, and it's all good. Just feed him and give him water. You can do that. TIM can do that. Just… like… give him to Tim when Tim gets in tonight. That's like what? An hour from now? Then you don't even have him for a day and a half."
Batman growled low in his throat.
"Come on. Remember that pet rat I wanted?"
"How could I forget?" Dick had whined for about three months about wanting a rat when he was ten.
"You never got me the rat. Therefore you owe me."
"Guilt will not work on me."
"That's because you don't have a heart."
"Dick Grayson, I will not keep a non-winged rodent in this cave for even fifteen minutes. Take him back to Oracle."
"She's got the flu."
"The filthy creature will NOT catch it from her."
"She said she can't take care of herself, the entire intelligence community and JLA and still take care of him. Give her like three days for the antibiotics to kick in. Man, you're a vicious bastard."
"You shouldn't have given her the damned thing if she's incapable of taking care of it."
"Geeze, man. You're brutal." Nightwing folded his arms over his chest and stood in silence. He knew there was a time to pout, and a time to fight. Now was the time to pout.
"Woh. Dude. We having a staring contest?"
Neither of them looked back at Tim.
"Nightwing would like you to take care of this creature for a few days. He's too BUSY."
"Cool! Its Bob! Hey little guy." Robin took off his glove and stuck his finger in the cage. "Hey, I'll take him! It'll be awesome. How long do I get to keep him for?"
"Until Oracle recovers from the flu"
Man, did Bruce sound spiteful, Tim thought. He knew Bruce and Bob had a sordid history, but man. Bob was in a cage, and he wasn't getting out, and he was just a hamster. Like, he couldn't do anything. Bruce just hated him for like no reason. Well, that wasn't true, he hated Bob for reasons, and Dick and Tim hadn't exactly HELPED those reasons.
"Take that thing to your house, then report directly back here."
Tim shrugged and took Bob away.
"You didn't have to be nasty about it."
"Yes, I had to be nasty about it, Nightwing. After the hell you two put me through?"
"Aw come on, take a joke. I do worse to Tim, and you all know it. Ok, so maybe I shouldn't have told the whole Justice League about the bomb thing, but it slipped. Roy and I were drinking… and then the next thing I know he knows, and then he tells the Titans, then they tell everyone else…"
"What did I tell you about loose lips? And what the hell were you doing, drinking to the point of incapacitation."
"First of all, I was just riding the buzz. Me being a legal adult and all, I can do that. And second of all, ROY is the one with lose lips. Give HIM a lecture." God, Dick thought. He treats me like I'm twelve sometimes. "Like, grow up, man. Get over Bob."
Dick walked away. "I'm gonna get some sleep. Before I start the stake-out from hell. And trust me. Nothing you EVER put me through can be as bad as listening to Amy all night and day. NOTHING." She was a pal, but man, the things she talked about sometimes.
Batman inhailed deeply through his nose. His eldest son knew how to push his buttons. No one really understood this… thing. But he couldn't expect them to. So many things he held close to himself.
"WHAT?" Batman snapped, without turning around.
"Dad said I'm grounded. I can't keep Bob." Tim was very apologetic. He'd cleaned out half the garage, but got distracted last night with all the goings-on, and hadn't done the rest, and now he was toast. "Alfred can take care of him, right? Then you don't have to worry about Bob."
"Alfred is… Well, he has the weekend off," Bruce said painfully. There was a vast conspiracy in the universe to make sure he spends 'quality' time with that damned little beast.
"Hey, look, you can do it, right? He's self-sufficient. Feed him, water him. I gotta go. I'm sorry. And… I promise not to say anything about it."
That was something, Bruce thought. They'd made his life a living hell after the bomb incident, and Bruce wasn't sure he could stand EITHER of his protégés giving him a hard time.
"Alright," Bruce said, dejectedly. "I can do this," he whispered to himself. Tim was gone. Off being grounded.
"You and I are going to be great friends," Bruce said sarcastically, looking at the little beast in his plastic box. "I'll make you a deal. You don't bother me, I won't skewer you, roast you and eat you."
And thus it began. One point five days in the presence of Bob. His constant fuzzy presence a painful reminder of things he'd rather burry deep in his mind.
"Dick, he's going to kill Bob," Barbara Gordon said with worry.
"He's not going to kill Bob." Dick had been driving home when Tim called, and had felt compelled to tell Babs the fate of her little guy.
"He's going to skewer Bob and roast him alive."
"Barb, you're sick. You're getting hysterical. Go take a nap."
"Don't tell me what to do, former Boy Wonder."
"And don't patronize me, either."
"I'm calling to check up on Bob."
Dick had just passed into the Bludhaven city limits. The place was dank and dark and corrupt, but it was home. "If you do that, he'll think you don't trust him."
"I DON'T trust him."
"Aww. Come on. That's not what I said. He'll THINK you don't trust him."
"I'm calling to check up on my Pooky."
"Maybe he's not even there. Did you ever think of that? Bruce has a life you know. It's dark and stuff. Maybe he's out swinging across roof tops."
"He'd BETTER be. And Bob better be safe in his cage, or he's toast. He'll be more than toast. I'll… I'll… I'll sneeze in his mouth!"
"Babs, honey… PLEASE go to bed. I'll pretend I didn't hear that last comment… if you just go to bed."
And so it was. Every fifteen minutes, Batman would look behind him to the table and frown at Bob. He held no further conversation with the thing; he refused to waste his breath. Occasionally, despite his natural ability to concentrate, he'd find his mind wandering to the horrible things which he could do Nightwing and Robin, ranging from the mere annoying to things that would leave scars. He wondered if his eldest would fair so well with the ladies if he gave him a deviated septum. He could do things to Robin to insure Spoiler never distracted him ever again. He could…
Batman was a man of few words, and the few that he used were seldom vulgar. But at ten thirty, when he'd taken his usual peek at the pink plastic cage, he'd found it overturned.
"Damn you, Bob!" He cried in mortal rage. "Damn you to hell!"
The creature had been sent from hell to torment him.
"So… umm… like… my dad's asleep. Think I should… you know? Look in on Bob?"
"Tim, I can't believe you woke me up for that. This is like the only sleep I'm going to get for a week. I don't care WHAT you do. I mean… Bruce is going to do what he's going to do anyways. And he wouldn't do anything to Bob. Barbara'd be wicked-pissed."
Tim bit his lower lip. "Ok… so, say I wander over there to look in on Bruce. You know… Make sure Bob isn't like… blowing him up or something." Tim snickered.
"You can torment him, but it's your hide, man. I aint bailing you out."
Tim rolled his eyes. "Yes oh great master, supreme ruler of the-eh hem. I don't need you to save me. Only WEAK Robins need bailed out."
"Monday morning, I'm going to come over your house and kick your ass."
"I'd like to see you try."
Dick could hear a sound of fumbling in the background.
"Sorry, dad stuck his head in," Tim whispered. "I'll check up on the illustrious Bob when dad's back in bed."
"Sure thing. Anything even remotely amusing, you call me right away, you hear that?"
"I thought you didn't want me to wake--"
"Just do it," Dick told him. Man, sometimes it was hard being the older brother.
Bruce took a few deep breaths. This was not how he wanted to spend his evening. It was early, the city was quiet… he wanted to do paper work. Not search for the very thing he hated. But Barbara would kill him. They'd never quite gotten past that whole handing the mantle of the Batgirl to the Huntress thing. This'd just be the straw that broke the camel's back. No puns intended.
He set traps. Non-lethal, of course. No matter how much it killed him. An hour went by, tripping off into two, and he had torn most of the cave apart without so much as a poop pellet found.
Tim's heart sank when he entered the cave. It was a mess. It had been in better shape when Jean Paul was running the joint. At least Jean Paul kept the stuff he needed kinda neat.
"Batman?" he called tentatively. No alarms had gone off… nothing. The place was just… trashed. "Bruce?" He was worried. He was very, very worried.
"Haha, it's funny," he said, his heart not really in it. "This is… this is some kind of sick pay back for the stuff me and Nightwing did. Nightwing and I. I mean. Then you're going to make us clean it all up or something. Come on. It's not cool."
He went up the steps and into the house; the bottom floor looked the same as the cave. There was stuffing everywhere, the innards of the sofa on the floor. Its frame was overturned on the ground, like a gutted carcass. The refrigerator was pushed away from the wall…
Tim dashed for the phone.
"Dick, I think you better get back here."
"What's wrong, squirt? Wrath of Bruce too much to handle?"
Tim sucked in a breath. "The cave's trashed. The house is trashed… Bruce isn't here… Dick… I'm worried. No alarms were set off. I… I'm going out to look for him." Bob had been entirely forgotten.
"Haha, very funny."
"Dick, I'm not making this up. I WOULDN'T make something like this up."
On the other end of the line, Dick rolled over and looked at the clock. He was going to kill Tim. "Fine. I'm coming to Gotham. But it's only to kick your ass so you can bow before me and tell me how I'm the master."
"Fine, Dick. Whatever. Just get your butt over here."
Just as he'd been about to move on to the destruction of the second floor, the Bat signal had shown brightly against the overcast sky.
"DAMN!" he cursed, flying down through the cave and to the car. Checking to make sure there were no Tribble-like objects waiting beneath his posterior, he climbed in and took off.
Gordon was waiting for him.
He was even more short tempered than usual, Gordon thought.
"Long night?" The Batman did not respond. "Well. Anyway. We have a breakout from Blackgate. Two guards dead." Gordon handed him the file. "It's Shemash. He got lucky during a routine block transfer." It was a tough town.
Batman read quickly. "How long since the break out?"
Now he was starting to sound like himself. "Thirty-five minutes. I'm surprised the media isn't all over it all over it already."
"I'll do what I can," Batman said darkly.
Suddenly, Batman noticed that Gordon was looking at the ground between them. Ever so slowly, his eyes moved downward. When he saw Bob, his rage almost overcame him. That THING had been in his car yet again! The violation alone was enough to pop blood vessels.
"Funny…" the Commissioner began. "He looks like Barbara's hamster. I wonder if he escaped when I visited her this afternoon." He was going to attempt to catch the thing, just incase it was his daughter's, but Batman's intense stair prevented him from moving. "I'm… sure you're busy," he said. But still, Batman did not move.
Finally, Gordon had to do it. He had to reach for the little thing. Unfortunately, it got away before he could grab it. And when he looked up, Batman was gone. He inspected the roof, looking for the little guy. Hopefully… it wasn't Barbara's. He'd never seen her so attached to anything that wasn't her stuffed bear or that Grayson boy.
Gordon turned around. "Has, uh, Batman been here? I mean, the signal…"
Robin AND Nightwing were both standing there, looking worried.
"You just missed him."
"Oh. Ok. Thanks."
As he was turning to leave the roof, he heard something hitting something hard.
"Ow, jerk," Robin muttered. Gordon pretended not to notice, but he heard the younger vigilante shove back his compatriot. "I can take you."
"In your dreams, Boy Wonder."
Leaving the roof, Gordon wondered if everyone around him had suddenly gone mad.
"I'm going to KILL you!" he heard Robin cry as the metal door clanked shut behind him. Beyond, he could hear the sounds of lines being fired. As long as they didn't kill each other on HIS roof, he didn't care. Unfortunately, as he'd learned a long time ago, just because they become adults doesn't mean they stop acting like children.
"Look, jerkwad, we're supposed to be detectives, right? I say we start detecting and figure out what the hell's going on."
"Like I wouldn't have thought of that on my own, curdled milk for brains."
"Good one, who'd you get that off of, your girlfriend?"
They landed on the gutter of the cathedral, and began beating the living crap out of each other.
"You probably trashed the manor! Just so I wouldn't' get any sleep tonight! You're a freak! You're worse than a freak!" Nightwing had grabbed Robin by his overgrown hair and was yanking his head back and forth mercilessly.
"I'm not making it up! Why's he not responding to our hails? Huh?"
"This is Batman. You know, he who would sooner die than have anything resembling a social life. Now let go. You're ruining the do."
"Yeah, I don't wanna get Crisco on my hands."
Two gloved hands swiftly came up to their ears. Suddenly, their heads smashed together. "You two can either HELP me, or continue acting like infants."
Robin was happy to see Batman grouchy and dower-faced as usual. "What happened at the house?" He asked, grateful his mentor was alright.
"We had a break-out."
"Ung?" Nightwing muttered.
"Blackgate. And… Bob."
"BOB? Holy crap. Bob did all that? I knew Bob was a Super-hamster! Wait till I tell Superboy…" Nightwing slapped him upside the head. Batman was grateful, it saved him the trouble.
"Man, I leave you alone with him for like half an evening…" Nightwing said. It was kind of funny, in a sick way. Of course, it wouldn't be funny when Babs accused him of hamster-side.
"BLACKGATE?" he said. "Now we can either worry about the escaped murderer, or that THING. Rodents can take care of themselves."
Robin and Nightwing looked at each other. They knew Bruce had some serious hostilities working towards Bob, but uh… it was getting a little out of hand now.
"Hey, uh. Like… You guys can take care of this, right?" Robin asked. "I ought to stick close to home. You know. Incase dad goes off for another midnight snack. And I'll look for Bob." Robin waved good-bye and took off.
"Sissy," Nightwing whispered under his breath.
Batman simply growled.
"Hey, boss… I'll explain to Babs that he got away. No big deal. He has a habit of doing that. I wont say that he got out… like all over the city or anything." Nightwing decided to sooth the savage beast, because if he started cracking Bob jokes Batman'd rip off his head or something. Besides, once they were off this particular job, and he was off his case at work… then he could do some SERIOUS damage to Bruce AND Tim. Why get one, when you can get both? As long as you did it in such a way as to prevent them from ganging up on you, you were perfectly fine.
"I did look for him," Batman said proudly.
"I know you did, B-man. He's a non-descript sort of guy, I'll see if I can find a clone. She doesn't have to know, you know?"
And I can have lots and lots of lovely leverage, if I bail him out, Nightwing thought.
Batman remained silent, a plan festering within him. Now that the pressure was off, the hamster's life wasn't worth a thing. As soon as the cover-up was under way, Bob DIES.
TO BE CONTINUED…