Tim sat on the nicely made bed and watched in awe as Alfred continued to pack his bags and get ready to leave. Never in the years he had been there had Alfred ever left the manor to do anything, let alone go on vacation. The butler was the most dedicated man he had ever met, but even dedicated men need a little time off. Alfred only made this exception for one person: his sister. Margaret was going to celebrate her sixty-fifth birthday in three days, and the butler was determined to make the trip and surprise her. Bruce wasn't going to be around as well because it was his weekend to be in the watchtower for the League. As a result Alfred gave the entire staff the weekend off, leaving the manor to Tim for the first time. Tim was surprised by this but flattered that Bruce trusted him to stay there without any supervision. He was sure that Nightwing was going to be called in to watch over him, but that didn't happen. The entire manor and cave was going to be Tim's for four whole days and while he was excited about this prospect, the young man was also determined to be responsible and prove to both Bruce and Alfred that he was worthy of their trust. Prior to his leaving Alfred make sure the manor was cleaner than usual and made sure the kitchen was stocked with foods for Tim to make on his own for the few days everyone would be away. Tim appreciated the effort by Alfred but was looking forward to doing things that he usually couldn't do like cook something himself from scratch or order a pizza.
As the butler finished packing his last suitcase, Tim hopped off the bed. "Let me help you with that." He said as he took the case and carried it down the stairs.
"Thank you, Master Tim." The butler said as he followed the young man down the stairs. "I take it you will be on your best behavior while I am away?"
"I promise Alfred. Everything will be all right." Tim said with an innocent smile.
"Very good." The butler said as he called for the driver to take his bags. "I will return in seven days but Master Bruce will return from his watch in four. Please try to have the manor in once piece when we return."
"Did you tell this to all the other Robins whenever you left?" Tim asked.
"Not only did Master Jason and Master Dick get this lecture whenever I left, so did Master Bruce." Alfred answered, not showing a single hint of emotion.
"Take care, Master Tim. Enjoy your weekend off."
"You too Alfred. Send Margaret our best."
The butler finally smiled. "I will. Thank you."
Tim watched as Alfred left the main foyer and got into the waiting car. It peeled a little rubber before speeding off towards the airport. Tim couldn't believe how silent it had suddenly become in the Manor. Tim was alone, and free to do anything he wanted. He had no idea what he was going to do first. Do a little rollerblading in the hallways? Hook up his X-box to the main screen in the Batcave? The possibilities were endless, but Tim decided that it would be best if he didn't do any of these things on an empty stomach. So his first official decision as the temporary ruler of Wayne manor was to raid the fridge and get something to eat. Before he did that, Tim ran back upstairs and immediately changed into something more comfortable. Gone were the dress shoes and the slacks that Alfred insisted everyone wear around the manor by day. Tim tossed on a t-shirt of his favorite band, some worn out jeans with a hole in one of the knees and a pair of old but very comfortable sneakers. Now that he was wearing the new temporary dress code for the weekend, it was time to get something to eat. He slid down the guard rail of the main stairwell into the foyer and then raced to the kitchen to see what Alfred had left him.
Tim opened the massive fridge to see that Alfred had prepared his favorite: lasagna. It was chopped up into quarters and stashed into individual containers. He grabbed one of the containers, opened it and tossed it into the microwave and set the timer for two minutes. While it was cooking he looked around for something to drink. He had to settle for fruit juice since Alfred didn't approve of anything carbonated in the house. Tim realized he was going to have to go out and hit a store to get the stuff he wanted enjoy over the weekend, something he put on his to do list for tomorrow. After the microwave dinged to indicate it was finished nuking his lunch, Tim grabbed the hot food and his juice and decided it was time to take his meal to the living room to watch something on the big screen television. Alfred would never approve of eating anything while watching television, but this was one of a million things Tim had been looking forward to doing all week. He decided he would also watch a movie that Bruce would never approve of as well… taking advantage of the PPV features that were rarely used at Wayne Manor. Something violent starring Bruce Willis giving one cheesy one liner after another would be just fine, Tim thought to himself as he descended the staircase to the living room.
Then something completely unexpected happened.
Tim was halfway down the stairs when he felt a violent push from behind. Someone had kicked him from behind and sent him falling down the stairs, with the lasagna and juice spilling all over the place with him. Stunned, it took Tim a few seconds to catch his breath and crawl back to his feet. Sauce from the lasagna was all over the clean carpet and the juice had landed on one of couches. Alfred would be screaming bloody murder had he been there to witness the event. As Tim was surveying the stains, he suddenly heard someone laugh from the top of the stairs. He looked up and the boy he say standing at the top of the staircase was the last person he had expected to see. "Damien?"
Damien Wayne, Bruce's biological son and the grandson of Ra's al Ghul stood at the top of the staircase, also dressed very casually in a black t-shirt and jeans of his own. With arms folded, he was proud of the mess he had made by kicking Tim down the stairs. "Seems fitting to see you crawling around in your own filth." He sneered before giving out another laugh of amusement.
"What the hell is your problem?" Tim called up as he started to get back to his feet.
"You're my problem, Drake!" Damien yelled back at him. "I am the Bat's real progeny and yet here you are living what is supposed to be my birthright! I'm Bruce's son, but for some crazy reason he prefers to keep you around like a bad stray."
"Maybe if you grew up a little and actually acted like a responsible human being that gave a rat's ass about anyone but himself… you might actually get his attention." Tim replied as he swiped some of the sauce from the lasagna from his arm.
"You have no right to talk to me like that!" Damien said as he started to descend the stairs towards him. "Besides, I'm not here to have a debate. I've come here to take you out of the picture."
Tim already realized from the first kick that this was never a social visit, and was mentally preparing himself for battle while Damien babbled on about his birthright. He took a few steps back and then took a battle stance that he had been working on for a while in the cave with Bruce. "Come get some, you snotty little brat."
"That's the last time you talk to me like that!" Damien had just about enough of Tim's talk as he leapt off the staircase halfway down and lunged at Tim with foot stretched out to kick him off his feet again.
Tim however was more prepared as he stepped aside from the incoming foot and countered with a move of his own. He grabbed Damien's shirt as he flew by and pushed him away in the direction of the furniture. Damien ricocheted off the couch and crashed through the glass coffee table that was in front of the big screen television. Damien had a few minor cuts but was back on his feet in seconds and again was on the attack. Both boys were fully trained and spent the next few moments blocking one shot after another, using extremely difficult moves to try to gain the upper hand only to be blocked again and again. Finally it was Damien who grew tired of the stalemate as he leaped backwards but as he did he dug into a mini-utility best and threw something at his opponent. The small spheres were not difficult to recognize and Tim leaped away from them and back onto the staircase and out of the way as the tiny explosives landed in the middle of the living room before detonating. While Tim was out of harm's way, the furniture and the massive big screen television was another matter all together. They were all ruined by the small explosion, the television especially as the screen shattered into a million pieces.
Damien wasn't finished as he pulled out a shooter that fired a zipline across the room. Tim didn't realize his opponent was going to be using toys, which put him at a distinct disadvantage. He ran back up the stairs and into the main hallway, but Damien used the zipline to make up a lot of the distance and catch up with Tim, pushing him down as he tried to run away. Tim skidded to a stop and then rolled out of the way just as Damien's foot was coming down to stomp on him like he was an insignificant insect. Tim then leapt back to his feet and went on the attack, lunging at Damien with a series of kicks. Damien was well trained as well and was able to defend against all of them as was Tim when Damien came back at him with a barrage of his own kicks and punches. It was Tim who was finally able to connect with a kick as he sent Damien flying back towards the wall. As he flew back, Tim suddenly realized what he had done and gasped as he watched Damien crash into one of the vases that Alfred used to decorate the hallway with. The extremely expensive piece Bruce bought from a Europeon art gallery came crashing to the floor, and Tim's heart sank at the site of the damage he was causing.
Tim didn't have time to think about it as he ran down the hall towards his destination, which was Bruce's study. Once inside he ran over to his desk and tried to open the side drawer on the right. It was locked. Considering all the damage that had already been done, Tim didn't think one extra piece of furniture was going to make him more in trouble than he already was. He grabbed a cricket bat that was lying in the corner and slapped it into the desk with every once of energy he could muster. He broke the corner of the desk so well, that the lock was broken and the front piece of the drawer fell off and onto the floor. Tim reached inside the drawer and pulled out what he had been looking for: Bruce's spare utility belt. Tim put the belt on and tightened it as well as he could and now knew the battleground was even. And just in time as Damien came running into the den, ready to resume battle. Tim took a batarang off the belt and hurled it in Damien's direction. It clearly missed and Damien seemed amused by his opponent's lack of aim but that wasn't the intent. Once imbedded into the wall the batarang exploded, destroying a good portion of Bruce's den and creating a large hole in the wall that led into the main foyer. Damien was stunned by the blast long enough to Tim to take full advantage of the moment as he came in flying with a lunging kick that knocked the young man off his feet.
Tim then went on the attack and while Damien managed to block many kicks and punches, Tim was starting to land some and start to wear down his attacker. Damien did his best to repel the attack but was taken off guard when Tim went off script and drove his own forehead into Damien's. The headbutt took the young man off guard and had he seeing stars for a few seconds. Tim then grabbed two fists full of t-shirt and then flung Damien through the hole in the wall into the main foyer. As Tim came flying through the whole in the wall into the Foyer, Damien was prepared as he tossed more of the small spheres at him as he came through. Tim was more prepared this time out as he pulled out a propeller gun of his own and fired a zip line at the ceiling and used it to swing away from the pending explosion. Tim's swinging momentum led him right to Damien who he send a punishing double foot like drop kick to his chest, sending the young tutor of the League of Shadows flying back. It was then when Tim again watching in horror as his opponent crashed into a glass china cabinet, listening to the horrid sound of expensive plates, saucers and tea cups being smashed to pieces echo throughout the foyer.
As Damien struggled to get back to his feet, Tim stood at the other end of the foyer ready to renew aggressions. "Ready to give up?" he called out to the young man at the other end of the massive lobby.
"Never!" Damien said as he got back to his feet and then spit out some blood onto the floor. He wiped his mouth and then took a defensive posture. It was then when a loud voice came booming through the main foyer.
"WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE?" The question was followed by the loud thud of a suitcase dropping to the floor.
Tim took a moment to look away from his opponent to realize who had just arrived. He took one look at the new person in the room and then dropped his hands and his shoulders in shame. Alfred was standing three feet from the main doors with what Tim could testify was the angriest look he had ever seen on the butler's face. For some reason or another, Alfred had come back from the airport. Damien turned to observe the angry look on the butler's face and realized that their fight wasn't going to proceed any further, which led him to drop his fists as well. Alfred walked up to the two young boys with arms crossed, looking down at them with a scowl that would had vaporized them both off the face of the planet had the butler possessed any superpowers.
Tim was the first to speak, "Alfred, I was..."
"My flight was cancelled." The butler interrupted as he raised a hand that indicated that he didn't want Tim to speak. "This was the last thing I expected to see when I returned to the manor less than two hours after I left it." Alfred took a deep breath before continuing. "Personally I don't care who started it but I'm finishing it right now. Both of you will behave yourselves at once and as of this moment you are both grounded!"
"You can't ground me!" Damien said with a scowl of defiance on his face.
"Is that so, Master Damien?" Alfred said with a confident look on his face. "I will let you know that no one gets Master Bruce's ear more than I do and I assure you that he will not be impressed when I finish telling him in profound detail what both of you have done to his home. Not only are the both of you grounded, but you are going to take off those belts and start cleaning up this mess immediately."
Both boys didn't know what to say, so Tim made the first move by taking off Bruce's utility belt and handing it over to the irate butler. Damien waited a few seconds and then did the same, taking off his own belt and handing it over.
"Thank you." The butler said as he was starting to settle down a little. "I will also assure you that the cost of all this damage is going to be taken out of your allowances."
"I don't get an allowance!" Damien cried in protest.
"I'll make sure Master Bruce gives you one just so I can take it away!" Alfred said with a stern look on his face. "Either way, both of you are going to fix and pay for what you did here today. Is that understood?"
For a moment it looked like both Tim and Damien were going to protest, but they both drooped their heads in defeat and conceded to the butler's authority. "Yes Sir." They both said in unison.
"Very good." Alfred said as he walked to the other end of the foyer and grabbed two brooms. He walked back over and handed one to each of them. "You can start by sweeping up all the rubble and broken china in the foyer. While you do this I'll think of what we can do about that hole in the wall. Dinner will be served in six hours so I suggest you get started." Both boys looked at each other with utter discontent, but Alfred noticed it and stomped his foot into the marble floor to get their attention. "The next boy who so much as throws a slap in the other's direction will answer to Master Bruce. Are we clear on that?" They both looked at the butler and nodded to indicate they understood. "Excellent. Now both of you get to work."
Alfred watched as the two boys took to their brooms and started to sweep up the dust and debris that was scattered all over the foyer. Alfred took the time to look through the hallways, the den and then the living room to find out how out of hands things had gotten while he was away. He took a deep breath and then took out his cell phone and dialed a number he didn't think he was going to need to contact that weekend. "Master Dick? It's Alfred. It appears we are going to need your services this weekend after all..."