Title: Poor Substitute

Author: DC Luder

Rating: T

Summary: Dialogue of a painful evening in the Bat-Cave.

Infringements: All recognizable characters belong to DC Comics, not DC Luder.

Author's Note: Bludhaven Hedgehog Day challenge in honor of February 2nd being HEDGEHOG Day, not GROUNDHOG Day (Challenge was to invovle hedgehog in some form in a ficlet). And my first fic featuring Damien!

^V^

"Ow."

"Please, do try to hold still, Master Dick."

"… I told you to duck."

"Shut up, Damian."

"… I must say, Master Dick, this may very well be a first for the Batman."

"Lucky me… ow!"

"My apologies, sir. However, this is going to be a tedious task."

"Just… do it all at once."

"I'm afraid that would be unwise, sir… They need to be excised individually… in order to prevent nerve damage, not to mention-."

"Fine… Keep going…"

"Heh."

"Damian, I swear…"

"I'm afraid, Master Damian, that it would be best for you to leave us… it may get… a bit messy."

"I'd prefer to watch. To learn from his mistake."

"Is that so?"

"It is."

"Well, learn away."

"OW!"

"Oh, I forgot to tell you to duck."

"Pennyworth… look what he's done!"

"*sigh* Master Dick, that was beyond juvenile."

"He wanted to learn- ow!"

"Forgive me, sir, I forgot to draw the skin taut before removing the quill."

"Pennyworth, leave him, my arm needs tending to."

"In due time, young Master Damian."

"Ow… Alfred, how many more are there?"

"About halfway through, sit…. About a dozen remain."

"I told you to duck…"

"Damian…"

"I did."

"No matter, what's done is done… now… Might one inquire as to how this… tragic event took place?"

"…"

"…"

"Master Dick?"

"… The Mad Hatter… he had set up the Queen of Heart's croquet field… he had at least a dozen porcupines, God only knows where he found them all… As he tried to make a run for it, he launched a few of them at us."

"I told you-OW! Pennyworth, he's done it again!"

"I was occupied in snagging a bolo around Tetch when… One of them hit me in the face."

"Oh my… regrettable… But, if one recalls correctly, the Queen of Hearts used hedgehogs, not porcupines."

"I know-ow! A poor substitution in my opinion."

"Agreed."

"…"

"…"

"Ow."

"…"

"Sorry, Damian… I shouldn't have stabbed you with the quill."

"Quills."

"Right…"

"… I suppose I could have warned you… more loudly."

"And?"

"And… not laughed… at your… misfortune. As loudly."

"You laughed at me?"

"Yes… I'm sorry…. You were too busy screaming to hear me."

"Heh… he-heh… Ow. Yeah, I guess was."

"Ahem… and what of the Hatter?"

"I apprehended him, Pennyworth… peculiar man. Big teeth."

"You know, Damian, he was the first big-timer I apprehended on my own, when I was Robin."

"I would not refer to him as a 'big-timer'… he wet himself before I was able to deliver my first blow…"

"Ow… Well, you make some scary faces, kid."

"There we are, Master Dick, good as… new."

"Congratulations, Grayson… Now you will be able to outdo my so-called scary faces… Even when you are smiling."

^V^