Title: Good Deeds

Author: A.j.

Rating: PG

Universe: Intended as a Potatoverse addition, but mostly comicverse.

Spoilers: Er. Mostly just general knowledge of Birds of Prey, Robin, and Batgirl issues. Nothing specific.

Archiving: Want? Take.

Notes: Originally written because Kerrie said no one ever wrote *her* fic. All yours, hon. :)



***



Good Deeds

by A.j.



***



There are three things scarier than a competent administrative assistant.



The first is the threat of total nuclear annihilation through a slowly descending cloud of radio-active particles blown into the atmosphere when three major global powers get skippy with big red buttons. The second involves Batman, severe trauma inflicted on one of his closest friends, and about four hours in which he is allowed to Plan. And the third generally involves any female on the planet before sufficient caffeine is pumped into her system.



Thankfully, up until this point in his rather short life, Tim Drake had only been exposed to one of these, and he still maintained that the large, decorative mug kept on the edge of Barbara Gordon's desk had surreptitiously erased that memory after making rather solid contact with his forehead. Admittedly, there was the occasional bad dream, but he never remembered those, so it was okay.



Unfortunately for him, Tim Drake's life was about to be shifted in rather odd direction. And this is saying something, considering he's spent most of the last four plus years running around in body armor and being kidnapped by random super villains. But most of those weren't his fault. Really.



"And I cannot stress how important it is for you to remember that Mr. Fox likes only French Roast in the mornings. That's it. Just French Roast."



From two feet away, Tim nodded carefully at the competent administrative assistant pointing emphatically at one of the stainless steel-fronted refrigerators in the executive break room. The white-tipped nail of her French manicure (was this a theme?) near trembled with intent.



"What's the name of the coffee?"



"French Roast."



"When is it served to Mr. Fox?"



"In the mornings?"



"Very good." Rita "call-me-secretary-and-find-yourself-transferred-to-Pittsburgh" Atherbee smiled brightly and shoved a gaily-wrapped bag into the young man's hands before bustling in the direction of her desk. "I assume you know how to turn on a coffee maker. Get to work, slick. And as soon as it's done, bring it right to Mr. Fox's office."



Tim tried very hard not to sigh as he turned and started searching for a new paper filter. This was just perfect.



Why was he doing this again? Oh, right, because Bruce 'officially' hired him every year for a summer internship at Wayne Enterprises to cover his activities as Robin, the boy wonder. Unfortunately that cover story demanded a certain amount of face-time in the office. Usually, Tim didn't mind just conking out on Bruce's ultra-plush couch and catching a few hours of sleep during these supposed confabs with the boss. It was really nice to actually catch up on that sleep he never really did get during the school year. That was when Tim went: *squish*. Everyone knew it, everyone accepted it.



But it had been slow this year. Really, mind-numbingly SLOW. He'd been in bed by 1am for the last three nights running. ASLEEP. That was downright unprecedented. As such, when he'd wandered in to report for his first Official day in the office, he'd been bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready for work.



Thing was, there were only so many games of Battle Hamster one could play before blowing ones brains across a nicely polished desk, and his personal limit seemed to be two days worth. He'd tried to find something else to do. Really. He'd reorganized Bruce's non-existent files, and even straightened the pencil cup. It was really straight now. Every pen exactly point-oh-two centimeters away from each other. That'd taken some time, yessirree. Tim'd even attempted to be Productive and see if Babs needed help with researching something. Anything.



Unfortunately, that hadn't ended quite as planned.



***



"Babs?"



"Hey, Tim. How goes the life of an intern?" Even from forty miles away, Tim had sensed the sarcasm in her tone. Ah, Babs. Reliable as trains in Europe in everything up to and including making fun of you.



"Crappy. I need busy work."



"Heh. Well, I'm disgustingly caught up. In fact, it's so slow, I'm here in the cave defragging the Crays. Lord knows the last time you-know-who did it." A low grumble in the background let Tim know just how you-know-who felt about that remark. "Oh, stick it somewhere painful."



Ah, Babs. Hey, wait...



"What's he doing there? He's supposed to be here!" Tim had shifted a little deeper into the plush leather chair closest to the window. Outside and fifty floors below, people bustled to and fro. It was all rather comforting, if a little strange when done in daylight hours. "I'm not suffering alone again."



"Oh, he's just being a pest and trying to train Batgirl. Lord knows why. She handed him his ass twice this mor-" Babs' voice was cut off by a sudden screech in the background. It was a familiar screech. One that caused an automatic reaction Tim could not have suppressed even with a full compliment of policemen in the room. From his new position under the desk, he pieced out the content.



"Wanna be in full flower of womanly passion!"



There'd been lots of pausing after that.



"...what?"



"Dinah's been playing the romance novels on tape over the open line again."



"Why?"



"She was bored and wanted to count how many times Fabio used the word "manroot" in one novel."



"And?"



"Three."



"Only three?"



"She giggled something about masts and I decided I liked my brain well enough without having to scour it with steel wool."



Tim snickered. The only other more reliable form of entertainment than Impulse with a pogo-stick was Dinah Lance. A bored Dinah Lance.



"Why you no show me!?" In the background, Cass's tone had gained stridence and quite a bit of annoyance. Another low grumble was the only response. With a sinking feeling of dread, Tim asked the next question. He didn't want to. But just as people slow down to see the carnage in highway accidents, he just couldn't help it.



"Please tell me she isn't yelling at who I think she's yelling at."



"What do you think?"



Yup, it was that bad. Hello, mental image.



"..."



"Tim?"



"..."



"You okay?"



"I... Coffee. Need coffee."



"Tim?"



"Batman. Manroot. Cass."



And then Babs had been left with a dial tone and the distinct echo of giggling.



***



So, instead of doing the smart thing and ordering the newest version of online Clue, he'd decided to be Helpful.



Rita knew a patsy when she saw one. And bless her soul, no one got to the exulted position of executive assistant to the man who REALLY ran Wayne Enterprises without knowing how to exploit morons like the dickens. Measuring the second precise scoop of French Roast coffee into its filter, Tim pondered asking Bruce if the woman's talents might be better put to use as a supervisor of some sort.



She'd certainly taken charge, with rather frightening speed, when he'd wandered out of Bruce's office ten minutes ago, looking for something productive to do. He'd been four steps out of the highly polished black door when she'd spotted him.



"You."



Tim had stopped and raised his hand to wave.



"Break room. Now."



So here he was. Watching coffee percolate. Admittedly, a nice sight. Mmm, French Roast. Sure, it didn't have the real bite of the Turkish stuff, but being able to see reality in plaid was only useful after three days of no sleep. Then, it wasn't like plaid at all.



And he really had to stop having these conversations with himself. Or get therapy. That was an option too.



The coffeepot beeped in an expectant way. How this could be, Tim wasn't really sure, but the coffee was done, and the mug was waiting and... Oh, for the-



Tim sighed and headed for the closed oak door, deciding that he was sighing entirely too much for an eighteen-year-old.



***



It had seemed really simple. Go in, set coffee on desk, scurry away and try and convince Bruce's secretary that she had filing for him to do.



Simple. Easy.



Lucius Fox was on the phone, seemingly completely involved. Tim had always kind of admired the man. He was a good, honest man who managed to do a superhuman job, and with only one heart attack to date.



"Jonas, I don't care. I need that paperwork yesterday. No, I've got two men downstairs that need that stamped and set and ready to go last week." The older man looked up and smiled at Tim. If he was surprised at the new face, he gave no indication. "Jonas, the guys downstairs need that. I'm not having them do that illegally, and we need that stuff out of the labs. It's poisonous, that's why!"



Tim slid the coffee within reach, but out of the gesticulation radius. He never noticed how animated the CEO was. Carefully he started edging out the door and back towards the hallway. Bruce's office was just down the way and if he was really careful, (and y'know, used a few tricks) he could sneak past Rita unnoticed.



Hadn't he seen the limited edition Clue on Eshore awhile-



"Young man! Can you hand me that file?"



Three inches from the door. Almost. "Sure, Mr. Fox!"



Neatly turning, Tim headed back towards the coffee table near the window and scuttled back. A few papers were sticking out of the top. Tim set them down on the threadbare blotter.



"Jonas? Are you sure this is all we need? I don't want my staff handling hazardous chemicals without permission. Thanks, son."



"Er..." No. No. Don't do, it brain. No!



Lucius looked at Tim. Tim looked at Lucius.



"That's not the correct form. Sir."



"What? Hold on a minute, Jonas. What?"



"Um." Tim shifted onto his other foot. "If you're wanting to do what I think you want to do, this isn't the right form. This is a 748-A, and I think you need a 748-B." Oh, there it went.



The phone dropped away from the older man's ear. "What did you say?"



"Um, 748-B?"



The look on Lucius Fox's face was curiously blank. "You know what a 748-B form is?"



Tim shifted uncomfortably and did his best not to tug at his collar. Draw no attention to yourself. Be average. Be quiet. Be careful. Or ELSE. That was all Family training. Five solid years of constant, back-breaking brain-washing backed up by a personality and a jaw that could crack granite. But underneath it all was a soft voice. One that only popped up on occasion. It was family training in the form of Mrs. Janet Drake.



*Be honest, Timmy. Be honest, and you'll always be able to say you've lived your life cleanly.*



"Um, sure. It's the insurance form that janitorial staff have to file when they want to work with hazardous chemicals like lye."



"1284-F?"



"Toner requisitions for international offices. In Asia."



"348?"



"Maternity leave for the Gotham offices."



"How are you at cost projections?" The older man's voice nearly cracked with something suspiciously like hope. Or annoyance. Tim wasn't really sure which, but he seemed to be sweating.



"Uh, globally, categorically or in terms of specific projects?"



"Tim?"



"Yes, Mr. Fox?"



"Clean out your locker."



THAT, he wasn't expecting. He was... getting fired? He COULDN'T get fired! Bruce had hired him! And he'd even remembered to pull the French roast beans out of the right freezer! Hadn't he? Wait, Rita had given him the beans!



"Um, sir?" The slight tremor in his voice was not expected or appreciated. The little part of his brain stamped "Robin" was laughing his ass off. Fired. Him. From his first job and on the third day no less. Somehow, this was just par for the damn course.



Lucius just waved a distracted hand at the distressed boy as he stalked across the room and threw open his office door. He was apparently looking for his secretary as he bellowed the poor woman's name as soon as his head cleared the opening. "RITA! Find me Maggie. Pawn that moron, Kevin off on Mr. Wayne and get me Timothy Drake's paper work."



Tim went: ...



***



"I don't believe it!"



"It's not THAT funny, Babs." Ten hours later, Tim was staring, quite fiercely, through the business end of a set of night-vision binoculars at a nearly deserted warehouse. You might even say it was a glower. "You can stop laughing now."



"Oh, god, I need to call Dinah."



Tim glowered some more.



"Come on! It's funny! Lucius Fox just stole you out from under Bruce! Wait. That sounded wrong."



"Babs..."



"You know what this means, right?"



"I deserve a raise?"



"No, it means that you're going to actually have to go to WORK. With responsibilities and stuff."



"I'm aware of that, thank you." Tim adjusted a dial on his binoculars, focusing in on one of the upper windows of the opposing warehouse. A few inches of the black paint some genius had applied to the panes had rubbed away, and he had almost an uninterrupted view of the back of someone's head. "He had me running expense drills all afternoon."



"Calculator come in handy?"



"Will you STOP making fun of me about that? It's really aerodynamically sound! And I've only broken two of them." The head turned sideways, enough for the young boy wonder to make out a very definite hook to the nose. "You said broken nose, right?"



"Four, and yes. Mr. Jon Bl├╝dlowe. Pointman for Lauderfeld's ops."



Tim sighed and tucked his binocs into their nifty Special Place in his utility belt. This always happened to him. ALWAYS. He was going to have to learn not to wish away downtime. Of *course* Lauderfeld's drug ring would decide now was a great time to get active. And Al Ghul. And Blockbuster. And any random cosmic butt-monkey. "I'm not getting to bed tonight, am I?"



Apparently knowing when was... well, when, Babs' response actually sounded sincere. "Sorry, kid."



"Why am I not surprised?" Hopping neatly off the side of his building, Tim did his best to squish down the urge to find a nice corner to crawl into. Something told him he was going to really miss Bruce's couch.



And he hadn't ordered that Clue either. Man.



-fin-