It was a bright Wednesday afternoon when Dick received calls that he was to meet in Bruce's office. He was not told about what, he was merely given a time and an ultimatum to be on time.
Making it to the correct floor, Dick stepped off the elevator with his hands in his pockets. It wasn't like Bruce to talk about the 'night job' at his office. It must have been something important or possibly 'family' oriented if they were doing this mid-afternoon.
"Hi, Cindy," Dick said cheerfully to the secretary that had been there longer than he'd known Bruce. "Bruce in there?"
"No," she said.
This is getting weirder and weirder, Dick thought.
"But Mr. Drake is in there already, and Bruce said he'd be back shortly."
Both of Dick's eyebrows shot up. Mr. Drake? He wondered if his last stunt in tormenting Tim had busted him on the Robin gig. Dick felt his stomach twist with guilt. However, as he entered the office and saw Tim sitting on the leather sofa, the guilt left him, and his stomach twisted with something else-rage. "Hi," he said smartly.
Tim didn't respond.
Dick stood at the closed door with his arms folded over his chest. He contemplated how he was going to pay that brat back for the bucket of spiders he'd unleashed in his apartment. It wasn't the fact that it was spiders that pissed Dick off-it was the fact that they were mildly poisonous and that Dick now had to pay to get the entire building exterminated. Dick was thinking of something that involved pre-used cooking grease and the Red Bird's interior.
However, Dick stepped aside when he felt the door opening beside him. Bruce stood there with a very drawn look upon his face. "Richard, sit on the couch."
"Next to HIM?"
"Next to Timothy." Wow, it was serious. They'd moved up to full first names.
Dick sat down, but stayed as far away from Tim as possible. He hugged on to the black leather arm in an attempt to keep distance between himself and the Brat (or Satan's Child, as Dick had begun referring to Tim as).
"What's up?" Dick asked. He was a little surprised when Roy marched in after Bruce. "Dude, what's going on?"
Bruce sat at his desk and stared at both of his charges. "Some accusations have been made against you two which I feel need to be addressed."
Tim and Dick both shot looks of distain behind them at Roy, who stood blocking the door. "This is for your own good, guys."
"Now, I know you two have always played practical jokes on each other," Bruce said with understanding. The almost human tone of his voice was very, very creepy. "But it's getting out of hand."
"So I glued his hand to his face. I mean, come on. The Titans used to--"'
Bruce shook his head, disappointed.
"Since Saturday morning, you have done at least fifteen things to get Timothy in serious trouble, including accusing him of plagiarism with the dean of students, telling his father you suspect he's using drugs, and implicating him in an armed robbery. You've also pulled seven stunts which could have killed or maimed him. Excuse me if I don't take that lightly."
Tim grinned, but his triumph was short lived because Bruce looked over his folded hands and stared at the young man. "And you, Timothy Drake. We do not shove potatoes in the tail pipes of all of his vehicles, including his patrol car. We do NOT hand in resignation letters with Dick's forged signature on them to the chief of police. We do not release semi-poisonous spiders into apartment buildings. We do not hack into Bludhaven police records and create warrants for Dick Grayson's arrest."
"WHAT?" Dick hadn't known about the last one.
"Oracle caught the hack and reversed it before anyone important noticed," Bruce assured him.
Dick scowled. He had a better idea than used cooking grease. He was thinking about BOILING oil. He was thinking about holding Tim over it until he got blisters on his face.
"I wasn't going to do anything when Roy came to me, but I've been monitoring your behavior. This is out of hand, and both of you are probably in too deep to realize that."
Instead of scowling at each other, both of them turned their attention to Bruce. Superman's heat vision wasn't anything compared to the hot, focused looks from his two protégé's.
Roy came around from behind them and sat in the chair to the left of the sofa. "Guys, just listen," Roy said. "There's a problem here."
Dick glared at Roy. "There ISN'T a problem."
"And that is just what I said to you guys when you guys tried to tell ME that I had a problem. Think about it."
"So you're doing an… intervention?"
Roy shrugged. "You can call it whatever you want to call it. We're worried about you. Both of you. This isn't healthy, and it isn't right."
"We DON'T have a problem!" Dick ground out.
"I don't have a problem!" Tim chirped in for the first time since this had started. "DICK has a problem! HE told Stephanie's mom I've been cheating on her since we started going out! He pushed me out a window last night!"
"You hit me with a sixty-pound sand bag!"
"BOYS!" Bruce shouted. "This has to stop IMMEDIATELY! You are of absolutely NO use in the field if you're too busy 'getting back' at each other to actually WORK TOGETHER!"
"We work FINE together!" Dick protested.
"When you're not trying to KILL each other," Bruce replied dryly.
"Look, guys," Roy began. "You know he's right. You can't be professionals and act like this."
"Fine," Tim said smartly. "Then we just won't do it in uniform."
Bruce wiped a hand over his face. "No. You don't try to kill or discredit each other in or out of uniform. Period. The end. No nothing. I don't want to see you so much as putting a whoopee cushion under the other's back sides. Am I clear?"
"Perfectly," they both grumbled.
"Good. If you do, you will BOTH answer to me. So don't try pulling pranks on yourself to incriminate the other party."
Roy watched them both sink a little. Wow, the Bat really knew his charges.
"You will both be training on your days off."
"Fine," they grumbled.
"And you will both be training with Batgirl."
Their little eyes grew wide, and Bruce knew some satisfaction in knowing getting though to them in some manner.
"For how long?" Tim moaned.
"You will be Batgirl's personal punching bag until I say otherwise."
They both looked like they were going to be sick. Still, even though Bruce had communicated with them on some level, and had put a cap on their ramped behavior, he knew that they really didn't understand the path down which they had been headed.
"From here you will both directly go to Dr. Leslie's for a thorough examination."
"I want absolute and conclusive proof that neither of you are under the influence of any foreign substances, aren't suffering from brain tumors and are not chemically imbalanced. Oracle will be downloading a complete list of all cases you two have worked together in the last six months that could have possibly exposed you to substances that would produce erratic behavior or expose you to mind control. You two had BEST pray to God that THAT is what the problem is, because if I find out my adult son and almost-adult partner are acting like irresponsible IDIOTS for no reason, just being Batgirl's punching bag will be the very LEAST of your problems."
They both looked at the carpet and swallowed.
Roy smiled. Check mate.
"You understand how absolutely seriously I am taking this?" Bruce asked.
They both nodded, refusing to look at him.
Bruce rose from his chair and came around the desk. He leaned against it with his hands gripping the edge of the oak. "Look… guys… just tell me what's going on."
"No-nothing," Tim answered, buckling under Bruce's sudden change in attitude.
"Tim… is this nothing? You just tried to have Dick arrested."
"He… he tried to have me arrested first."
"Can we call a truce?" he asked both of his boys.
"Dunno," Tim muttered.
"Depends," Dick answered quietly.
"Guys… either you can, or you can't. I want a moratorium declared on the whole affair. It never happened. No more retaliation. We see enough of this on the streets every night. It doesn't end until someone ends up dead. I don't think either of you want that."
Wow, Roy thought. Dark and Creepy was… connecting with them, or something.
"Look at me now," Bruce said in quiet earnest. Both of his charges obeyed. "I want you both to promise me that this is over, that I'll never hear of you two doing anything this stupid or dangerous again." His voice caught with the last, betraying that he WAS afraid of losing them to their collective stupidity. Roy was surprised that Batman would betray so much in front of an 'outsider.'
They both nodded.
"Now get out of here, ok? And quit causing problems."
Slowly, as if someone had died, the two rose from the leather couch and walked to the door, neither making eye contact with Roy. When they left, Roy knew better than to make a crack or even look at Bruce. Grim and Gruesome really did care about his kids.
"I gotta be getting on too," Roy said. "Lian's babysitter's got a doctor's appointment at five." Quietly, he got up and went to the door with the same solemn attitude of his friends who'd just left.
"Roy?" Bruce said with effort. "Thank you."
Roy shrugged, brushing it off. "I got a kid; I know sometimes you need to put on the smack-down." He opened the door and passed through it. "Catch ya later." Closing the door behind him, he left.