Standard disclaimers apply. This is for Jim, hopefully it'll make him feel better (or not, I don't know) and for everyone else who wants to take the Bat-writers, put them on a spit and roast 'em.

Love, Defeathered

**

It was dimly lit. It smelled funny.

Bruce sat in his cell, staring at the floor. This had to be high on his list of things he'd never seen coming. He Who Planned For Everything.

The cell door opened.

He never looked up.

Alfred's shoes appeared in his field of view.

Bruce still wouldn't look up.

"You have five minutes," a deep voice informed the older man.

"This won't take that long," Alfred responded.

The cell filled with the sound of the rustling of a paper bag.

The scent of…raw meat caught upon the air and came to rest heavily in Bruce's nose.

He still would not raise his gaze from the floor.

"Young man," Alfred said sternly. "Look at me."

Bruce's eyes would not break contact with the dirty grey floor.

"Bruce."

There was a large silence. There was the pain of indecision. There was even more protracted silence, until it became unbearable. Bruce licked his lips, desiring to fill the void with words, rather than compliance. No sound came out.

"Look at me," Alfred ordered again.

Without the breath for voice, Bruce complied. His eyes met the old man's.

A hand reached into the paper grocery bag. The brown paper crinkled and creaked, apparently saying whatever it was that Bruce could not.

With swiftness and strength that Bruce often forgot the old man possessed, a featherless, beheaded chicken came sliding out of the bag and came flying at Bruce's head. Stunned, Bruce did not move, and it connected with the side of his head with a heavy, wet slap.

Folding the bag over it, Alfred tucked the poultry under his arm and turned to the bars. "I am done," he said calmly, then left.

THE END