The Talk

Robin had been noticeably preoccupied on the last few nights of patrol. Most recently they'd been following the Cluemaster and were close to a breakthrough. Unfortunately, Robin came close to botching their surveillance when the Cluemaster's daughter came into view. Robin went slack-jawed as the pretty blonde decided to change out of her tight school clothes and into a skimpy nightgown. It took several attempts to get his mind back on the task at hand. Luckily the discipline Batman instilled in his young protégé kicked in and they were able to wrap the whole case up with little mess. Still, the fact that Robin had lost his focus for any length of time worried Batman, and he said as much to Alfred, his faithful butler.

"Well, Master Bruce," Alfred stated, "young Master Timothy is growing up. He was bound to show interest in the opposite sex sooner or later. I've noticed it when he spars with Barbara." Alfred placed his hand on Bruce's shoulder. "I think he is overdue for The Talk."

Bruce nodded, surprised he hadn't noticed it earlier. "You're right Alfred."
Alfred smiled and said, "I shall go up immediately."

Bruce stopped him. "No Alfred, I'll take care of it. Man to Man." If Alfred was startled by this development, he was astute enough to remain silent.

It was a normal enough day for Tim: light homework, no cold research. Ives lent him a copy of Fatal Combat 7 for Playtendo and Tim was really looking forward to trying it out. He even had his system hooked to one of the wall-sized monitors in the cave just for this game. He walked into the kitchen and sat down at the small table, scarfing down the sandwich Alfred had waiting for him. He wanted to finish early, knowing Bruce had a thing against playing video games in the cave. Quickly finishing off the remains of the snack, he headed up to his room to set down his backpack.

"Master Timothy," Alfred called from the foyer.

Tim turned quickly. "Hey Alfred," he answered. "I was just going to start on my homework. Wanted to get it finished before Bruce came home."

Alfred kept his stoic expression. "Master Bruce is already home and awaits you in the Library."

Tim's eyes went wide. He started back down the stairs and set his bag on the table on the landing. He thought to himself, Bruce couldn't have found the system yet, I put in the glove compartment of the Batmobile. He looked at Alfred and asked, "Am I in trouble?"

Alfred gave him a pained look and said, "I dare say no, but then again, I'm not quite sure what Master Bruce has in mind." He took Tim's bag. "I'll put this away, sir. You mustn't keep them waiting."

Tim's eyebrows rose. "Them?" He started off to the Library walking with the deliberate slowness of a condemned man.

Bruce went over this in his mind at least 5 times. He turned to his companions again.

"Don't worry Bruce," Clark said. "Tim's a great kid."

"I'm sure we're not telling him anything he doesn't already know," Dick added.

The door opened and Tim peeked cautiously around the corner. "Alfred said you wanted to see me?" he asked.

Bruce came around the large desk and sat on the edge. "Come on in Tim. Have a seat."

Tim entered the room slowly, not knowing what to make of the scene. Bruce sat on the desk, as uncomfortable as he'd ever seen him. Dick draped himself on one of the overstuffed armchairs. Clark sat comfortably in the other. There was an empty chair positioned in the middle of the three men. Oh jeez, he thought. This is not good. Tim quietly took the seat and sat nervously, waiting for the inquisition.

It didn't take long. "Tim," Bruce said, loosening his tie. "I've noticed you've been preoccupied as of late. It isn't good. It isn't safe, not for you, not for anyone." He cleared his throat, mostly a nervous gesture. "You're older now, and you're probably experiencing some... sensations that are a little confusing, if not overwhelming."

Tim inwardly sighed with relief. It was the standard beginning to a teenage sex talk. "Bruce," he said confidently, "If this is about sex, I've known about it for a while now." Then realizing how that sounded, he quickly added, "I mean we went over all this in Biology."

Bruce's shoulders sagged in relief. Tim said the S-word, so he was free to go on. "But Tim, your situation is a bit unique and you need to take specific things into consideration."

Dick decided to save Bruce further embarrassment. "What he means is most guys don't fight supervillains on a regular basis. Sex brings a certain vulnerability to us, and being heroes, we have a lot to lose."

Clark added, "You need to approach this situation with an elevated amount of caution."

It took every ounce of self-control for Tim not to laugh out loud. He was getting the facts of life explained to him by Batman, Superman, and Nightwing. What was next, he wondered, Batgirl explaining the pros and cons of birth control?

After listening to his counterparts, Bruce decided to dive right in. "First and foremost, you always have to use protection."

"Every single time," Dick added.

Tim shook his head again. "Guys, I know all about condoms, latex, nonoxynol-9, the works."

Dick interrupted. "We aren't talking about condoms, though you need to use those too. We're talking Body Armor."

"At least level 3," Bruce stated, "with a stainless steel blunt trauma plate."

Tim's mouth fell open. "Blunt trauma?"

Bruce explained, "The plate will stop most knives, daggers, claws, arrows, poisoned darts, almost any edged weapon. Also keep an assortment of antidotes on hand, just in case." He sat back. "Remember Tim, you aren't invulnerable like Superman. Bullets and knives don't bounce off you."

Clark interjected, "Actually I do have a kevlar and steel plate that I use over my um... well that's not important. Body armor is." Bruce, Dick and Tim stared at Clark a moment then lowered their eyes to about waist level. Clark crossed one leg over the other nervously.

Bruce smirked slightly and continued. "Next, know the background of your partner. Being intimate with someone leaves you open to an attack, and the last thing you need is some sword-wielding psycho popping out of the woodwork."

Dick agreed. "Case in point, Talia."

Bruce glared at Dick. "How did you know about Talia?"

Dick gave him a wicked grin. "Let's just say you may know how to keep quiet, but she sure doesn't."

Clark started to chuckle while Bruce removed his tie in a desperate attempt to keep his composure. Dick let him squirm a little more, then went on. "Try to avoid complicated relationships. I mean lets face it, Bad Girls are definitely fun, but are they worth the headaches and possible jail time?"

Clark shook his head grinning. "Although..." he sighed, "Maxima..."

Bruce said, "Catwoman..."

Dick added dreamily, "Catwoman." There were a few moments of awkward silence before he realized Bruce, Tim and Clark were all staring at him. He tried to cover himself. "I mean, yeah, Catwoman, have to stay away from her. She's bad news." He sat up in his chair, trying to ignore Clark's amused look and Bruce's annoyed glare.

Clark decided to save Dick this time. "Finally, your secret identity." Clark sat back comfortably. "We all have to remember what roles we play. Don't disclose your identity unless you know everything you can about the person and know you can trust them. Tim, it's not just your life you put in danger, it's also Bruce's, Dick's and Alfred's as well. You have to really know who you're talking to and who you're sharing secrets with."

Dick added quickly, "At the same time, keep track of your aliases. You don't want to be bumping and grinding with someone, and hear her call out a name and not realize it's supposed to be yours. I mean it's pretty embarrassing to hear someone call out, 'OH ARNIE!' and stop for a second before you realize she means you." For the second time, Bruce Tim, and Clark stared at Dick, dumbfounded. Dick answered defensively, "Oh come on you guys, like that's never happened to you."

Clark shook his head. "No Dick, I have always been honest in my relationships."

Bruce chuckled. "Yeah right. Two words Clark. Lois Lane."

Clark snorted. "You're one to talk, Matches Malone."

"Hey at least I know Catwoman wants me. Lois has the hots for the cape, not you, hayseed."

"C'mon guys," Dick said, "We're losing focus."

Clark cut him off. "Oh shut up Dick, at least I know my own name."

"Really Clark. Or should I say Kallie."

"It's Kal-el, Arnie. And I don't go around boinking known felons."

"Good lord Clark, you're over 18, it's ok to say f-"

"Uh, guys?" Tim asked.

They answered in unison, "Just a second," then continued to argue. Tim sat quietly for a moment, then quickly snuck out of the room. He wandered back into the kitchen and sat in his chair, stunned.

Alfred took in his bewildered expression and asked, "Well, Master Timothy, how did it go?"

Tim never raised his eyes from the table. "That had to be one of the weirdest talks ever given to anyone. Ever."

The sounds of the gentlemen arguing echoed down the hallway as Alfred stood at the stove, laughing quietly to himself.