Grimmy: Augh! I shouldn't even be posting this but, ionno. I just really had to get it out. I hate waiting. Anyways. Second fic in one day, ohyus. So if I don't update tomorrow, this will have to serve as Friday's oneshot. Also, this is for two challenges actually. The Alfred Challenge created by livlife. And the Learning Things The Hard Way challenge created by shintas1st.
He hated Wayne Manor when he first arrived. It was large and lonely, the only residents being Bruce Wayne, Alfred, and himself. There were no other kids from the 'neighborhood' to play with and most of the time he felt like he was in the way anyways. Whenever his new guardian was home, which was rare, he was doing work or entertaining guests. And Alfred, well he was old, and old people were never fun. It was no place for a young, hyper boy.
But then he discovered the identity of Batman.
It'd taken him a few good months to figure out something was up. But oh, what he would give to have figured it all out sooner. He would have had more time to enjoy what he had. Soon after the discovery he took up the role of Robin, Batman's sidekick. Gotham's boy wonder. Of course, it wasn't instantaneous. He had to do a lot of training, most of the time with Bruce but every now and then the billionaire was off on some mission and he had to train with Alfred.
He'd thought it was funny that the old man thought he was able to teach him anything. He looked like he was alive when Sherlock Holmes was still solving mysteries, a joke between them, and Dick was a little apprehensive about fighting the old man. That changed quickly when he realized just how agile the butler was. He was a lot stronger than he looked and a lot more stern than the man he worked for. That was surprising in it's own right.
He was patient, and while strict, he often stopped to make sure the young boy was okay. And after a while he'd have to force them to take a break. He'd never admitted to it but Dick loved their breaks. Alfred would tell him stories of when he was younger. The places he'd gone, the people he'd met. He'd even had children!
But now... He looked so much older than Dick originally thought he was. So thin and frail. He'd never seen the man look so tired in his life at the Manor. He'd never even seen him get a cold. It was startling to see him look so sickly and no matter how optimistic he tried to be, Dick feared the worst. There was a pained, twisting feeling in his gut and he knew it was directly linked to the looks that were sent between Bruce and Alfred.
And the worst part was that he was sure he understood what they were trying to say.
Sensing his distress, Alfred reached over and placed a trembling hand on Dick's much warmer one. And when he looked at him... Dick almost puked. He looked so content and unafraid of this situation. He was already making peace... Accepting it... "Young master Richard... Would you mind telling me a story?" He felt so cold...
His heart was racing but his voice was surprisingly calm when he finally answered yes.
Eleven. He was eleven, almost twelve years old. His birthday was actually approaching in two short days. To him, however, it was taking an eternity for the day to come. Not that he was expecting anything special. He didn't have many friends just yet. He was entirely too anxious at night to sleep properly on school nights so he unintentionally scared the other children away with his tired glares and moody demeanor.
But he couldn't help it. Not when he had weekends as Robin to look forward to. As long as he kept his grades up, that is. He'd even met a few other heroes, his best friend and current house guest happened to be one in training just like him. He'd been Robin a lot longer than impulsive boy had had his powers, something he liked to flaunt a lot.
His new friend was currently spending the weekend there since Dick's birthday fell on a school day. There was no way in hell his mother was going to let him get away with missing school. Friend's birthday or not. So the two boys had decided to celebrate early. Wally, he'd eagerly given up his identity and practically forced Dick to tell his own(he always had an inkling that Bruce knew), had even brought him a gift.
Wally insisted he open it immediately and Dick didn't really want to refuse. The first thing Dick saw was what appeared to be an, in Wally's own words, "ass load of candy." But right underneath that was a patch, black and round with a single yellow 'R' in the middle. 'R' for Robin. Needless to say that was probably the nicest hug the faster boy had ever received and he blushed quite a bit.
And after that they took off running up and down the halls and through the entertainment rooms. They pretended they were one of the all star superheroes, often taking a new identity to get the upper hand in their play battle. Eventually they rolled right into the kitchen, much to Wally's delight. The first thing that was noticed was that Alfred was cooking. Cake. He could smell it.
Before anyone could protest, Wally had grabbed the batter bowl, it'd clearly just been emptied into the baking pan, and began to lick it. Dick huffed and rolled his eyes before flicking the redhead on the ear. In truth he was just a little jealous. That was his job after all, licking the bowl. Wally grinned and pulled away from the sweet mix only to stick out his tongue and flick bits of batter onto Dick's face.
"Young Sirs, try not to mess the kitchen," Alfred said. A slightly amused expression was on his face as he licked his thumb and wiped the sticky mix from Dick's face. Naturally, he cringed and tried to turn away from...
"Alfred?" Dick's voice cracked terribly. No response. "ALFRED!" Didn't they hear it? His monitor was beeping and the previously pointy lines had gone completely straight. Why weren't they doing anything! "ALFRED!" Dick cried out again. He'd leaped to his feet but before he could actually reach the man he was pulled back into the hard body of Bruce Wayne.
He struggled against the man but his attempts were obviously futile. But still, he tried. Until he felt it. Something warm and wet plopped against the back of his neck. And his head. He was afraid to admit that he knew what it was because that meant giving in to what he knew was true. But he stilled anyways. The hospital staff rushed in, all running extremely slow. Perhaps this was what the world looked like to Wally was the last thing to pass through his head before he completely blanked out.
Alfred was long gone...
Grimmy: Bawwww! I actually teared up a little writing this. :( I love Alfred, he's the coolest BAMF butler ever to walk the Earth. That little italicized section just so happens to be a flashback if you all couldn't tell. Dick was supposed to be telling the story which is why I didn't separate it with a line breaker. Btw, I totally went for those extra points ;)
So, like usual, I ask you all to review. No poorly constructed joke to go along with it this time, I'm too blah~
Side note, people who ask me to read their fics, which I totally don't mind doing because I love reading new things and different perspectives from different authors, please read the note on the bottom of my profile. :) Thanks. It's mostly directed towards those few people that don't know how to act right.