Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not even a Tibetan Mastiff. . And don't forget to spay and neuter your pets.
Thanks KN for the super-sonic beta. I'm glad to be back, terrorizing you with BMWW fiction! Thanks for being my accomplice. :D
Hope you enjoy this continuation of Bruce's puppy adventures. I don't think he is, but it doesn't really matter. You, the reader, are the most important. Bruce will just have to suffer. (Is it crazy that I talk about him as if he were real?)
Man's Best Friend
With his eyes tightly closed, Bruce inhaled deeply. Filling his lungs to their utmost capacity, he released his breath, hoping to let go of the frustration that was welling up inside of him.
It would have been so much easier if he had gotten to train the dog the way he wanted to. In preparing Dick to be Robin, he had used a strict regimen of repetition and drills, so that actions became rote and instinctual, but Diana wouldn't allow that. She didn't like the way Bruce gave orders to their dog. She had also vetoed his idea of a collar that sent electrical impulses throughout the puppy when it did something wrong. As a result, Bruce was one hundred percent certain Bruce Jr. had taken three times as long to be house-trained than was needed.
Diana kept saying over and over that gadgets and commands were unnecessary. All he needed to do was speak nicely to the puppy and Bruce Jr. would comply. But Bruce refused to do that. And so began the war between dog and owner. Every time Bruce got upset with his pet, Diana would respond by laughing at him. He didn't find it funny. It was all well and good when she wasn't the one that had to clean up after the dog. Diana would always point out that he didn't even fix the dog's messes, but left the job to Alfred. Bruce didn't care. It was the principle of the matter. He had already lost three pairs of Italian loafers, five pairs of socks, and two French shirts. Not to mention all his morning newspapers that had drool and teeth marks in them. Funny how it was never any of Diana's stuff that would get ruined. No, when Diana was around, the runt acted like an angel.
Bruce wouldn't even be attempting teaching the dog a new trick, but he had planned on giving something special to Diana, and knew she would get a kick out of Bruce Jr.'s involvement. Resolving that he would bend this dog to his will if it killed him, Bruce decided it was time to conquer his demon.
Pulling a doggie treat out of his pocket he showed it to his namesake. Once more, the human snapped his fingers, pointed at an object he wanted the animal to retrieve and waited..
And waited. Seconds turned to minutes as Bruce Jr. just sat there. Occasionally his tail would wag. Or maybe he'd let out a tiny bark, but he wouldn't budge. Dog biscuit or not, Bruce Jr. was playing dumb. Or maybe he was just stupid. Bruce knew it was just an animal, but the way the puppy's head titled to the side made Bruce believe that the dog was in a severe state of confusion.
Having worked with the dog for nearly an hour, Bruce was feeling desperate enough to try anything. Kneeling down and placing his hands on either side of the furry face, he looked deep into the dog's eyes and ordered gruffly, "Get the objects I point at." Plaintive brown eyes sought his own blue ones, and a little whimper filled the air.
That seemed to do the trick. Bruce Jr.'s tail wagged around, not side to side, as was customary, but in circles. It was Bruce's turn to tilt is head in wonderment, but he snapped back to reality when he felt the unpleasant sensation of puppy tongue on his cheek.
Bruce clawed at his face, swiping at the offensive slobber. "Bad dog!" The puppy lay down on his tummy, and hid his nose behind his front paws. Bruce was certain he would be hearing about this from Diana. He would have begged and pleaded with his foe to stop being sad, but he knew it was useless. She would inevitably find out. While Bruce was able to delight in all of Diana's wonderful gifts, he silently cursed her ability to communicate with fluffy mongrels.
It was just then that Diana walked through the door. Seeing her precious bundle despondent on the floor, she scooped him up into her arms. Her glare at Bruce seemed to grow angrier and angrier as the dog told her what had taken place. The man Bruce just stood there looking at them, trying to figure out how she did it.
"Well, I heard his side of the story. Would you care to explain why he's so upset?"
Bruce answered her by folding his arms across his chest and sticking out his chin.
"Have you been a bad boy, Bruce?"
There were too many ways to answer that, and all of them involved him getting into more trouble, so he kept silent, but his eyes glared daggers at the now happy puppy who was ambling around Diana's feet.
She took her boyfriend's hands and led him to the couch. They sat next to each other, and Diana continued playing with his fingers. "Bruce, you know I dislike it when you're mean to the dog. How come you can be so sweet to me, but not to Bruce Jr.?"
"That dog refuses to listen to me."
"It's because you aren't talking to him correctly."
"What do you mean I'm not talking to him correctly?"
"If you spoke to me like that, do you think I'd do respond nicely to you?"
"Sometimes you do."
Diana stifled a smile, but pressed her point. "Talk to him like you would to me."
"How do you think I get him to listen to me?"
"Not all of us have been gifted by the gods to communicate with animals."
"Just watch." Diana patted her knee a few times to get Bruce Jr.'s attention. The puppy scampered across the wood floor, skidding across the floor and barreling into Bruce's ankles. She raised then lowered her hand down, indicating to the dog that she wanted him to sit.
Diana grinned back. "You'd be surprised how often I control you with simple hand motions like that."
"You don't control me. I allow you to do that because I like the results."
"Call it what you like, but you respond to it. With slavish obedience."
Bruce was about to argue with her word choice again, when Diana began speaking to the dog. "Ok, puppy, I want you to do something nice for me. Can you get Bruce's slippers?"
The dog barked his answer and hurried away. Within a minute, he came back, slippers in his mouth.
Bruce extracted the slightly wet shoes. "Thanks." He sounded less than grateful.
"Get me the newspaper."
Diana shook her head in impatience. "No. You are ordering him around. Let's try this once more. Ask him nicely."
"Can you…Get me the newspaper. Now."
"For someone who is supposed to be charming, you can be a toad sometimes."
"Better a toad than a dog," Bruce muttered under his breath.
"What was that?"
"Nothing. Dog, would you please get me the newspaper?" The puppy disappeared out the door, returning with a book in his mouth. And not just any book. It was one of Bruce's auto repair manuals that he had specifically made for the Batmobile, only now it was covered with slobber and had multiple pages torn.
"I've been looking for that forever. He stole my book." Turning to the dog, he said, "Where did you put that?"
"He's just a puppy. He can't steal things from you. Besides, you probably have it backed up on your computer. Five times over."
"But it's the—
"I know. The principle of the matter." Diana sighed. "Maybe you shouldn't try to teach Bruce Jr. any tricks."
"What were you trying to teach him anyway?"
Diana reached over and touched Bruce's face. "What's wrong?"
Diana crawled into his lap and sat herself down, wrapping her arms around his neck. "It doesn't look like it." In a silly mood, Diana began to apply kisses to her storm cloud's face. "Are you upset, Brucie?"
He didn't push her away, but he did say, "Don't call me that."
"Why not, Brucie?"
"Ok, that's it." Diana let out a small shriek as Bruce grabbed her close and shut her up.
Things were going quite well as far as Bruce was concerned, but suddenly they were interrupted. Bruce tried to ignore the dog, who had leapt up onto the couch, but Diana didn't. She turned to look at the puppy and said, "You know you aren't supposed to hop on the furn-…"
Diana stopped speaking when she saw a small box in Bruce Jr.'s mouth. "What is this?" She removed the item from between his teeth and looked quizzically at Bruce. "Do you know what this is?"
A look of both recognition and exasperation passed over his face for a millisecond, but Bruce managed to hide it from Diana. "No clue. Why don't you open it?"
When she did, the box revealed a beautiful platinum ring with a large sapphire adorning the band. Diana bit her lip as she smiled and hurriedly took it out of the case. "Put it on me."
"I thought it wasn't nice to give orders."
Diana swatted him playfully on the arm. He took the violent hand, brought it gently to his lips, and then slipped the ring on her finger.
"So this is what you were trying to teach Bruce Jr. to retrieve?"
Bruce merely shrugged. He had planned on giving it to her during dinner, but the dog had a way of ruining that too. He didn't have much time to internally whine about how his scheme had been foiled, because Diana began to show Bruce her thanks.
As Bruce received Diana's "gratitude", his free hand managed to locate the scruff of Bruce Jr.'s neck. He gave him a quick pat on the head before returning his full attention to his girlfriend.
Bruce Jr. quickly got bored, as no one was paying attention to him. It was time for him to go to the kitchen, where Alfred and his doggie treats were waiting for him.
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