This is a short, silly story about Batman trying to find a new Robin and failing. It is the answer to a prompt my good friend pocketnin gave me: "But, but, but! Ma'am! I just wanted to take him to play in my cave!"
Disclaimer: Holy smokes, Batman! I don't own your franchise!
It was a Saturday afternoon, and Bruce Wayne was dressed for success.
Comfortable yet stylish slacks, button up shirt, and one of his nicer jackets—he could have been on his way to a board meeting, or perhaps an informal gathering with some upper-class acquaintances.
Alfred stopped him at the door. "Don't forget your binoculars, Master Bruce."
"Of course. Thank you, Alfred."
Alfred watched him leave the manor with a barely-visible smile. He had known this trip was coming for some time now.
"Good luck, Master Bruce." he said quietly, and went back to polishing Bruce's model bat collection.
APPROXIMATELY TWENTY MINUTES LATER, AT A GOOD-SIZED GOTHAM PLAYGROUND
Bruce settled himself onto a bench—perfectly situated to give him the most efficient view of the entire grounds—and readied his binoculars. From a pocket concealed in his jacket he pulled out a small notepad and a pen.
For the next several hours, he paid close attention to the children playing in front of him, especially the young, dark-haired boys. Occasionally he would use the binoculars to track a boy who ran out of his comfortable line of sight, or would look down to scribble something in the notepad. It was time to start looking for a new sidekick, and it was best to start them out young.
There was one boy in particular that his eyes were drawn to again and again. The dark-haired boy climbed like a monkey, seemed to have no fear of heights, and righted himself quickly and without tears on the rare occasion that he fell. And to top it off, he had forcefully stopped what appeared to be a neighborhood bully from harassing some younger children more than once, without an ounce of fear.
Bruce was beginning to think he was perfect.
As he wrote down all the information he had gathered on the boy—limber, strong-willed, proper hair color—and made a list of identifying features to look him up with later, a middle-aged woman sat down next to him on the bench, one hand in her rather large purse.
Bruce ignored her, intent on finishing up his search by simply watching the boy for a few minutes. With all his attention on the kid, he was more likely to hear something like a name that he could use to identify him later.
The woman beside him coughed politely. "Hello."
Bruce didn't even look at her—he didn't want to lose his pick in the crowd of children, and he certainly had no interest in talking to some random bystander.
"Excuse me," she said after a few moments of being ignored, "what are you doing?"
"Bird watching." he replied absently, still not looking at her. It wasn't a lie, after all. He was very intently watching a new Robin.
"It doesn't look like you're watching the sky, sir." the woman said insistently. "In fact, it looks like you're paying an unhealthy amount of attention to those children. Do you have a child here?"
"Not yet." he replied crossly, and missed her peering at his notepad while he followed the boy with his eyes.
Unfortunately for Bruce, the woman sitting next to him was three very deadly things.
First, she was the president of her neighborhood's Neighborhood Watch program. Second, she was a graduate of several women's self defense classes. And last (but certainly not least), she was the prospective Robin's mother.
Bruce Wayne didn't stand a chance.
"Sir, if I could get your full attention for a moment?"
The sound of her voice—again—distracted Bruce for the half-second necessary to lose a child on a playground, and the fact that he had lost sight of his prey irritated him so badly he turned back to give her an angry glare.
That was a mistake.
As soon as he turned around she gave him a face-full of Mace. It was a direct hit, too—directly from the bottle to his eyes.
As Bruce howled in pain, the angry mother used her purse to slap his face. "I saw you watching my son, you pervert! Kidnapper! Pedophile!" She accentuated each accusation with a blow to his face with the purse, giving him no time to recover or pull away. "I'll report you to the police! I'll give you over to Batman, you evil son of a—"
"But, but, but! Ma'am! I just wanted to take him to play in my cave!" Bruce wailed, not capable of understanding why she would act so violently towards someone who was simply watching her child play, without knowing what he was planning for him later.
"You want to what?!" shrieked the woman, and Bruce realized that he had made another mistake.
Eventually the woman left him, huddled on the ground whimpering, to take her son home. And eventually Alfred came looking for him, brought him home and, to his credit, didn't laugh once when Bruce explained why he was so badly injured.
And when the boy and his mother got home, and the boy asked his mother why she had been beating a man senseless at the park, she had a simple answer for him.
"The bad man was giving you nasty looks, sweetheart, but we'll be fine. People like him are why Mommy keeps a brick in her purse."