Tim Drake stood near the entrance to Gotham Grocery. Bruce had sent him here in his normal street clothes to monitor the events that he knew were about to take place. He had already been standing around for nearly fifteen minutes without anything happening before one of the store workers noticed him. Pointing to a sign located near him, Tim read: No Loitering.
Great, just great, he thought to himself. Harley is on the loose and I have work to do, but the people here think I'm just some bum. Tim notices a couple of girls dressed in capris and baby doll tees walk by. Tim's eyes following their every move. Come on Tim, he thinks to himself, can't let your hormones control you. You have a job to do.
A buzz comes from one of his pockets. Pulling out the phone, Tim answers, "Yeah?"
The voice on the other end was that of Bruce Wayne, checking to make sure his son was staying focused on the task at hand. "Tim, how are things going so far?"
"I'd be lying if I said I was having fun watching people. There's been nothing! Well, except these two really cute girls that just walked by, but-"
Bruce sharply cut him off, "Dammit Tim, you can't let yourself get distracted by girls! This is an important assignment. Keep on the look out for Harley, chances are she isn't going to be in costume."
Nodding, Tim replies, "I know, but how am I going to figure out who she is? I've never seen her out of costume before."
Sighing, Bruce shakes his head, teenagers really can drive you nuts. I wonder if this is what it's like to actually have kids of your own, "Listen, I'll send a picture of her to your phone so you can recognize her."
"Tim," Bruce's tone was serious, "I'm warning you, I know that you're sixteen and you have more than just crime fighting on your mind."
Tim was blushing in spite of himself. Of all the people to give me a lecture about women, he thought, Bruce can't even keep a steady girlfriend, well, except Selina, but that's different. "I know, I'm doing my best."
"Just keep it that way. Harley is-well-" Bruce struggles to find the right way to put it, Harley is after all a very beautiful young woman, especially to a teenage boy whose hormones are racing out of control. "Harley is very attractive. I just want you to be on your guard."
Tim smirks to himself, "Don't worry, I'll be fine, Dad."
With that, Tim hangs up his phone and waits for the picture. His eyes dart around the store as he begins walking around, trying to at least not look like he's just standing around doing nothing. He notices some of his favorite snacks on the shelf in the cookie aisle. If only I had time, he thinks. Suddenly his phone buzzes again. Flipping it open, he presses a button and a picture fills his screen.
His jaw drops as he gazes at the beautiful woman in the photo. Blond hair arranged in pigtails, blue eyes and pouty lips. Wow, he thinks to himself, Bruce really wasn't lying about how good she looks. His eyes lock at her chest, OK Tim, control yourself, she's not someone you'd ask out on a date after all. She's a psychopath and she dates The Joker of all people. A tap on his shoulder snaps him out of his thoughts, turning around he sees the same beautiful face that he was just looking at on his phone. Oh my god, it's her!
"Excuse me young man," Harley says twirling one of her pigtails, "my friend and I are trying to get through to the end of the aisle. We've got a new cereal we're testing out for everyone today."
Motioning to the box in the other young lady's hands, Tim reads the label: New Joke Bombs, The Cereal guaranteed to pack a punch in the morning! "Joke Bombs?"
The other young woman speaks up, her brunette hair also arranged in pigtails, "That's right! This cereal has a secret formula to it, add some milk and BOOM!"
Harley pats Tim's shoulder and says, "Why don't you come and visit us in the cereal aisle in a little bit. We'd love to have you try some of this stuff. We know a young man such as yourself would just do anything for more after having a bite!" Harley chuckles a bit as she and her partner walk down the aisle towards the cereal section of the store.
Tim suddenly realizes his heart is racing. She's gorgeous, he thinks, I don't know if I can do this! He realizes that he is watching her butt as she walks to the opposite end of the aisle he's standing in. Dammit, get a grip! What would Bruce do if he saw you ogling over Harley Quinn? Tim smacks himself in the face to try and help himself snap out of it. OK, we've got a mission to do.
Walking towards the opposite end of the store to produce, he notices some of the costumers in the store talking about something. He stops and pretends to look at some apples while he listens in on their conversation.
"Did you see that little blond that just waltzed in a little while ago?"
"Did I ever! That girl is to die for! Did you get a good look at her friend too?"
"I know! How did we get so lucky to come to the store on a day like this! Two gorgeous ladies handing out free samples."
One of the guys in the group laughs, "I'll take a free sample of something!"
The whole group erupts with laughter. Seriously, Tim thinks to himself, this is not helping. Looking up from the apples he was looking through, he spots the restrooms. I think I'd better go and refresh for a second. Maybe call up Bruce too.
He makes his way as quickly as he can to the bathroom and locks the door behind him. Looking at himself in the mirror he notices that he's sweating a bit. "Come on, Tim," he says, "don't let her looks fool you. She's dangerous, and she wouldn't have a second thought about doing anything to you or any of the other innocent people here today."
Turning on the water he rinses his face off. The cool sensation of the water splashing off his cheeks feels refreshing. He grabs a couple of paper towels and dries his face off. Pulling out his phone, he dials Bruce's number without even realizing it. The phone rings. And rings. And rings. Come on Bruce, pick up! The phone rings once more, then a click, and the familiar voice of Bruce on the other end.
"Tim? What's wrong?"
Tim wasn't sure if that was concern or annoyance in Bruce's voice. No time to worry about it now, he tells him swiftly, "I don't know if I can do this! I just saw her, and-"
Bruce grunts, "And what, Tim?"
"Well, she's even more beautiful than that picture you sent me. I caught myself checking her out. She's wearing some really tight fitting and low cut shirt, I just, I don't know if I'll be able to not get distracted!" Tim was clearly concerned, will Bruce think less of me if I admit I'm not strong enough to do this? Will he think I'm not ready to be on my own yet?
Bruce sighs, of all the times for him to get like this, "Tim, listen, I know what it's like to be your age. It seems like all you can think about is sex. But you know what? Every man goes through that. You just have to figure out how to ignore those impulses and thoughts and stay focused on the job at hand."
Tim nods, "I understand."
"Good." Bruce smiles a bit, sometimes I do think I could make a decent father.
"Can I ask you something? It's kind of embarrassing."
"Sure, what is it?" Bruce says, doing his best to sound fatherly.
Tim looks around nervously, as if someone has somehow made their way into the bathroom with him despite the door being locked. "Does it ever get easier. You know, with women? Do you ever get to the point where you can keep your hormones in check?"
Bruce chuckles a bit despite himself, "To give you a totally honest answer, I'd have to say that it does and it doesn't. You just learn how to deal with it on your own."
"Is that why you and Selina are always-"
Bruce cuts Tim off, "That's not any of your business, Tim! But to be honest with you, it does have something to do with the complicated relationship she and I have."
"OK. I'll just have to keep away from women who dress like cats then!"
"Hey, now that's not fair!" Bruce starts to laugh, at least he's not worrying so much about it now.
Tim laughs as well, "I guess I should get going though. I have a crazy clown to keep an eye on don't I?"
"You certainly do. Good luck, Tim. Remember, contact me no later than seven this evening."
Tim nods, "I definitely will let you know well before then. Good bye! Oh, and Bruce, thanks."
Bruce smiles again, this is definitely what it feels like to be a father, "You're welcome. Bye!"
Hanging up the phone with Tim, Bruce sits back for a moment, watching the monitors above his Batcomputer. He may be young and going through a tough time, but Tim is one terrific kid. I'm really going to miss him when he grows up completely. Bruce scratches his chin, then again, Dick never really left. We just have our different paths.
At that moment, Dick walks up to the computer and sits down next to Bruce. Looking at the monitors he says, "That was Tim?"
Bruce responds, "Yeah, he was having some issues with the assignment I gave him."
Nodding, Dick says, "Let me guess, he was having trouble not getting attracted to Harley?"
"You know him as well as I do, Dick. The poor boy is sixteen years old. That's a rough time for any young man."
Finishing Bruce's thought, Dick continues, "Especially when you're fighting crime and the person you're after happens to be a beautiful young woman."
"Exactly!" Bruce and Dick both laugh, remembering back to when they were Batman and Robin. Robin had gone through similar growing pains. Just a natural part of growing up, Dick thinks to himself.
Bruce leans back in his chair, keeping an eye on the security feeds from Gotham Grocery, "Although, I do have to admit that I'm beginning to second guess sending Tim out on this job. He may not be able to control himself, especially if he ends up getting hit with the toxin."
Dick tries his best to reassure Bruce, "Don't worry he'll be fine, he's more strong willed than either of us I think."
Bruce nods. Perhaps Dick is right. "We just need to be on guard. Anything can happen from here on out."
Bruce's eyes fix on one of the monitors as he notices Tim step into view. "Looks like he's making his move." Bruce watches as Tim walks up to Harley's display of samples. A brief conversation takes place before he tries one of the pieces of cereal. A strange look comes over Tim's face as he chews the small bit of cereal he was provided. Suddenly, another young man walks up to Harley and says something, Bruce and Dick watch in shock as Tim lunges at him and lands a punch square on his jaw.
"Bruce," Dick breaks the silence, "Something tells me that wasn't supposed to happen."
Bruce nods gravely, "No. We'd better get ready, I have a feeling we have no time to lose now."