It started out innocently enough, which probably should have been Jason's first clue that things were going to get out of hand. He walked into his kitchen to see a lone box of cereal sitting on the counter - one that he hadn't purchased. Since it was the Golden Boy's favorite, Jason didn't think much of it. He left it there untouched and continued on with his day, completely forgetting about the inconspicuous box all together. At least, that was until he returned to his apartment after patrol and found another identical box of cereal sitting next to the first. It was then that Jason should have realized that this was going to become a problem; but he was exhausted and didn't really give the boxes much thought.
When he awoke the next morning a third box had joined the first two, and that was when Jason started to take notice. Nothing else in his apartment had been disturbed, but the fact that Goldie had somehow made it into his apartment while he was sleeping, without him noticing, made Jason's teeth grind together. It wasn't worth actually trying to talk to the eldest, so Jason just placed the boxes in a bag to give away, and headed out of his apartment. He couldn't for the life of him imagine what Dickie-bird was up to, but he figured it wasn't anything life-threatening, so he ignored it.
It wasn't until a week later that Jason realized that ignoring the problem wasn't really an option and he shouldn't have tried it in the first place. After waking up to discover twenty boxes of the ridiculously sugary cereal Dick loved taking up nearly every space in his kitchen, Jason decided it was time to have a talk with his older brother. Jason tapped his foot impatiently as he held his phone up to his ear and waited for the acrobat to answer his damn phone. With each passing second, his agitation grew and the tapping became faster. Finally, the irritating ringing had stopped and Dick's exuberant voice greeted him. Jason didn't give him a chance to say anything beyond, "Hey, Jay," before he launched into a tirade.
"What the hell is your problem? Stop leaving cereal all over my apartment. I don't even eat the damn stuff."
Dick's laughter was sudden and bright, and made Jason want to punch him repeatedly. "To be fair, it's only in your kitchen."
Jason growled in both frustration and anger. "I don't care. Stop it!" He hung up before Dick could say anything else.
Jason wasn't really sure why he thought that would be the end of it, but he was certainly paying for that assumption now. However, that didn't mean he had to be the only one who was being tormented. He knocked on the door, and waited for the occupant to answer. He wasn't sure how long it was going to take before the door opened, but Jason knew his persistent knocking would eventually win out. After all, it always did.
He was honestly impressed that after five minutes of continuous banging he still hadn't garner the attention that he wanted, but Jason wasn't one for giving up, and after a full ten minutes he wasn't the least bit surprised to see a bloodshot gaze glaring at him from the suddenly thrown opened door. "What do you want, Jason?"
Jason smirked at Tim's harsh tone as he tried pushed past the younger man. "Got a present for you."
Tim crossed his arms over his chest and placed himself more securely in the doorway. "Whatever it is, I don't want it. Now go away."
Tim was about to close the door in his face, but Jason shoved his way inside and deposited a large garbage bag onto the floor in front of Tim. "Well, too bad. I'm running out of room for this stuff. Also, you have Dickie-bird to thank for this."
Tim edged closer to the bag, peering in as if he expected it to explode, and then all of the color drained from his face. "This…what am I supposed to do with this? I'm not going to eat that. The sugar content alone would kill me."
Jason merely shrugged. "Don't look at me. I tried dumping some off on Damian, too, but he was all, 'this is beneath me' except, you know, in a snottier tone. I'm drowning in this shit. Golden Boy has been leaving me like twenty boxes a week. What normal person eats that much cereal anyway?"
Tim held up both of his hands and took a very large step away from the bag as if it was going to attack him. "Well, I'm not taking them. Just tell Dick to stop giving them to you and take these to a food bank or something."
Jason rolled his eyes as if things were really that simple. "Dude, all three of the food banks near my place told me if I brought them anymore cereal there would be consequences, and some of those people are scarier than B. As for Dickie-bird, I put a gun in his face and told him either the cereal stopped or I was going to shoot him, and do you know what the fucker did? He handed me a fucking box of the shit right there on the roof and limped away with a fucking smile on his face, despite the bullet in his damn leg."
Tim sighed heavily. "Fine, I'll talk to him, but I'm still not taking these."
Jason glanced down at the bag before deciding it was a fair trade. "Fine, demon brat deserves a little pay back for messing with my bike anyway."
He grabbed the bag and made his way out, hoping that this would finally be the end of it. In hindsight, Jason should have known better.
Tim stood outside of Dick's apartment, wondering why it always fell to him to be the reasonable one in this family. He waited patiently for Dick to answer his door while he considered the best course of action for dealing with Dick. He decided that the direct approach was probably the most efficient. However, looking back on it, Tim wondered why he ever thought that it would work.
When Dick finally opened the door, Tim didn't even give him a chance to speak. "I don't know what's going on with you and Jason, but it needs to stop before Jason tries to kill people with cereal."
Dick stared at him for a good long moment, and then blinked owlishly. "Tim…Timmy, if you were feeling left out, why didn't you just say so?"
Tim's eyes widened immeasurably at Dick's words. "Wait, what? I don't…that's not the point of this."
"Tim, I didn't mean to make you feel that way." Dick suddenly gathered Tim into a tight embrace that he wasn't at all prepared for. "It's okay, I'll fix it."
"Fix what?" Dick abruptly let him go and fled back into his apartment, slamming the door. "Dick, what are you talking about? Dick! I know you can still hear me! Dick, open this door." He stood out there for another five minutes before Tim just accepted his fate. He was sure that between Jason and him, the two of them could figure out some way to deal with Dick. He had no idea how bad things were going to get before he found the solution.
A week later, there were so many cans of tomato soup in Tim's kitchen that he literally couldn't find his coffee maker. He was certain he had left it on the counter by the stove, but all he found was a mountain of soup cans. He sighed heavily as he made another attempt to get Dick to stop. He sat on his bed, far away from the soup can disaster zone his kitchen had become and waited for Dick to answer his phone. Once Dick's cheerful greeting was out of the way, and Tim took a calming breath, he began with his practiced speech. "Okay, I don't really understand why you're doing this, but we're not literal baby birds and you're not our mother, so please stop. We are prepared to take drastic measures, so just desist while you still have a choice."
He didn't want to hear whatever Dick had to say in response, so Tim merely hung up, and then began to work on a plan for dealing with his kitchen. He wasn't really sure what to do with all of the soup, but he was sure that he could figure something out…maybe.
A week later and both Tim and Jason were at their wits end. They had taken refuge in the cave for the time being, because the hoards were slowly encroaching on the rest of their apartments. Apparently, merely taking over their kitchens just wasn't good enough for Dick anymore. The two of them sat together, bemoaning Dick's new obsession and trying to figure out a suitable payback, when Damian's laughter caught them both off guard. Jason glared at the demon brat, but he was too fed up to really do anything about it. After all, he was sure that if it wasn't happening to him, he'd be laughing at their plight as well.
"You two are both exceptionally pathetic." Damian sneered at them from his place by the computers, while Tim and Jason sat on the practice mats. "I would have thought that two vigilantes, such as yourselves, would have handled Grayson's more eccentric qualities better."
Jason was about to tell the kid off when all three of them tensed at a very distinctive laugh. "Aw, Dami," Suddenly Dick appeared out of the darkness with the brightest grin on his face that Jason had ever seen. "Don't worry, I didn't forget about you."
Damian's face morphed from one of pure elation to one of horror. "Grayson, I swear, if you…"
Dick's grin only grew as he threw his arms around Damian's shoulders. "Don't worry about it, littlest brother. I've got this handled."
Dick abruptly jumped away and flipped his way up the stairs. Damian just stared at the other two with an uneasy expression. "What exactly does he mean?"
Tim merely shrugged. "Who knows?"
Jason sighed heavily. Somehow, having the others suffer just as much as he was wasn't making this anymore entertaining for him, after all.
Tim was definitely growing tired of people banging on his door at ungodly hours. It seemed to be a trend lately - one that he evidently needed to break people of. When he answered his door, he wasn't exactly surprised to see a scowling Damian standing in front of him, but it certainly didn't improve his mood any. "What do you want?"
"My room is covered - and I mean, completely covered - in fruit rollups. Therefore, I shall be staying here until this situation has been resolved."
Tim couldn't stop himself from breathing out a laugh. "Do you honestly think being here is any better? I hope you like sleeping on canned goods, because there isn't much space that isn't covered in them."
Damian stepped inside and sniffed the air dismissively. "Your bed should suffice."
Tim rolled his eyes. "Ignoring that this is my apartment, and my bed is not up for debate, exactly where do you think Jason is? He was overrun by cereal boxes weeks ago."
Damian glared at the room in general before turning to face Tim. "Then we have but one option left."
Tim wasn't sure if he was going to like whatever Damian's suggestion was, but it had to be better than what he was currently dealing with. It wasn't until much later that Tim realized Damian couldn't be trusted to have actually feasible and working ideas.
The three of them barreled into his study, talking over each other, and generally not making any sense before Bruce even knew they were all in the Manor at the same time. He was trying to remain calm and figure out what they were all yelling about, but their frantic voices were running together. He ended up having to shout over them to get them to stop. "Enough!"
He waited for all three of his boys to quiet down before he spoke again. "One of you, explain."
They all glanced at each other before Tim was pushed forward by the other two. "Dick is driving us crazy." Bruce was surprised by the confession, but merely waited for his son to continue. "He's been literally filling our living spaces to capacity with food. It's to the point that Jason can't even get into his apartment anymore, Damian has abandoned his room, and I'm slowly running out of space. You have to make him stop."
Bruce wasn't sure what he expected the problem to be, but this certainly wasn't it. He had contingency plans in place for various possible events…this; however, was not one of them. He took a moment to register the desperation in his sons' eyes, and then bowed his head. "There's nothing I can do."
Unsurprisingly, it was Jason who exploded in a fit of rage. "What do you mean there's nothing you can do? If anyone can handle Golden Boy, it's you. I don't care if you have to crush his delicate little soul, just get it to stop!"
Bruce simply shook his head. "I'm still trying to get rid of the black licorice from the last time he did this. You're on your own. End of discussion."
The other two threw their hands up in the air and left, but Damian lingered for a moment to glare at him. "You're a coward."
Bruce didn't see any reason to deny the accusation as he watched his sons leave.
The three of them sat around the library, lamenting their existence and wondering what on earth they were supposed to do now. It was hours of transitioning through pacing, sitting, and almost screaming before Tim burst out in a tiny laugh. Damian sneered at him the moment he made the noise. "Now Drake has lost it, great."
Tim rolled his eyes at him. "I haven't lost it. I just figured out our last play, and it's so obvious I can't believe it's taken me this long to figure it out."
Jason punched Tim in the arm. He was sure that whatever idea the little genius had come up with was just going to irritate him. "Well fucking share with the class, then."
Tim smirked at him. "We go to Alfred."
The other two just stared at him before laughing as well. Jason finally felt like things were looking up. "Now, there's a plan. Alfred wouldn't leave us to suffer."
The three of them practically raced out of the room to find Alfred, who seemed to be expecting them, since he had already placed a large plate of cookies out on the table for them when they entered the kitchen. He glanced up at them with a raised eyebrow and the three of them straightened their clothing as much as possible. "Is there something you needed, young sirs?"
Damian elbowed Tim rather roughly. "It's your plan, so speak."
Tim glared at him before clearing his thought. "Um, well, you see, we've been having a minor problem with Dick lately."
Jason scoffed at the baby bird's wording. Leave it to Tim to put things mildly. "Minor my…" At Alfred's pointed look, Jason switched his wording. "foot…minor my foot."
Alfred seemed to approve of his phrasing before turning his attention back to Tim. "And what exactly is the nature of your predicament with Master Richard." Tim explained about the food once again, and Alfred's eyes alit with amusement at their quandary. "I see. Master Richard has his own ideas of what helping is, I'm afraid. However, fear not. I shall do my best to put an end to this."
The three of them instantly wrapped him in a hug. The older two immediately thanked him, while the youngest merely glared and whispered. "This never happened, Pennyworth."
"Of course, Master Damian."
Jason would have mocked the demon brat for his behavior, if he hadn't been so preoccupied with being relieved that this might all finally end.
Alfred never had to wait very long on any doorstep, and he was pleased to see that this particular instance was no different. He gladly accepted the hug as he entered the home of his most exuberant grandson and smiled gently. "You've done well. Your brothers have been getting along quite well. I'm proud of you."
Dick beamed at him brightly as Alfred placed a hand on his shoulder. "Sure thing, Alfie. I guess I have to stop bombarding their homes with food now, though."
Alfred smiled warmly. "Indeed. However, I have often found your creativity to be limitless, my dear boy."
Dick's grin only grew. "Hmm, I'm sure I can come up with something even better."
Alfred nodded. "I never had any doubt."