Deconstructing The Mystery

Bernard Dowd had always loved a mystery. Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys, and especially Nancy Drew. He loved mysteries because he liked knowing things, and knowing things that most people didn't. If something was a mystery, then most people didn't know it.

When Bernard met Tim Drake, he knew he'd found the most interesting mystery ever. And if there was one thing Bernard Dowd liked better than mysteries, it was solving them.

Tim was the hardest mystery Bernard had ever tried to solve. At least, after he'd given up on finding out what happened to the socks in the clothes drier.

Tim hadn't gone out for any extra curricular school activities, though he was spectacular at chess, and astoundingly good with computers. He was also in good enough shape and got high enough marks in gym that he could have gone out for basketball, possibly soccer. Tim didn't have any non-school extra curricular activities, and yet he always seemed to be busy.

And Bernard had never met this supposed girlfriend of his with whom he supposedly spent all that time.

Bernard had originally thought that maybe Tim was involved in a gang, or was dealing drugs. But considering Tim's stance on illegal activities, Bernard quickly discounted those hypotheses. He thought perhaps Tim was gay, and had lied about his girlfriend being a girl. Which was plausible, but unless Tim was a closet masochist as well as being in the closet, then where did all those cuts and bruises come from? Tim hid them well, but he was not nearly as clumsy as he made himself out to be.

Bernard thought perhaps Tim's father, or, more cliché and such, his stepmother, was abusive. But his parents were rarely ever home, so it seemed more likely that they were neglectful, which still wasn't right, but it didn't explain Tim's abundance of injuries.

Finally, Bernard just decided that Tim was involved in some sort of fight club, or perhaps drag racing. Still illegal, but since it was technically a victimless crime… And perhaps this Stephanie or Stephen was someone he'd met there; maybe they were older, or lived outside of Gotham.

Still, Tim didn't really seem the sort to need a nightly adrenaline rush. But then, Tim was very good at hiding, when he wanted to be.

It irked Bernard to admit that he couldn't really solve this mystery, but what was one to do? Tim was a very private person, and he'd become even more closed off after the death of his father. The b murder /b of his father, and since when did costumed villains assassinate ordinary citizens? Bernard had thought that the supervillains stuck mostly to tormenting superheroes.

Bernard had never really given much thought to Gotham's own costumed protectors. Then he saw a special news program on the television. The new, female, blonde Robin – whose name was apparently Stephanie Brown – was dead. She'd appeared only a few months earlier, around the same time that the lesser known female vigilante Spoiler had disappeared. Common thought was that the Robin currently flying above Gotham was the Robin before her.

The Robin with dark, spiked hair, that had disappeared around the same time as Tim had started coming to school unscathed.

Tim had mentioned his girlfriend Stephanie, though not lately. Bernard had thought for sure he was lying.

But then, Robin would have to be good at lying.

Though, now that he'd solved the mystery of who Tim Drake was, Bernard supposed he should give equal consideration to knowing Robin. And he knew just where to start.

After all, the position of Robin may have been taken, but there wasn't a Spoiler anymore.