Disclaimer: If I owned DC, Stephanie Brown would still be Batgirl – thus I own nothing.
A/N: This is an AU and it is a pre-reboot AU. Also has references to Batman Beyond, but is comics based. Reviews and constructive criticism are appreciated. And yes, they will be acting slightly OOC, its an AU.
Bruce glanced around the large office as he stepped into it for the first time in months. Lucius had kept everything the way it had been when he had vanished, allowing no one besides his sons and the cleaning crews access. He wandered absently around the room, re-familiarizing with the layout and the objects that decorated the shelves; mementos and small presents that the boys had gotten for him over the years – most from Dick, one of two from Jason and Tim and one, shockingly enough, that had been thrust at him by Damian as he had left this morning. He turned the clumsily carved bird over in his hand, examining the workmanship – crude, but the boy had obviously put quite a bit of effort into it. He examined the shelves and, finding an empty space near the middle, placed the carving next to a child's drawing of Batman and Robin and an odd looking piece of blown glass.
"Mr. Wayne?" He looked up as Lucius Fox stepped into the room, followed by Derek Powers, an up and coming business man that Batman had been investigating recently. He hadn't been impressed with what he had found – and neither was Bruce; Powers already had a reputation as a ruthless man who would do anything to get ahead, including extortion, blackmail and murder.
"Mr. Powers, I look forward to seeing the proposal that you're bringing to the table." Actually, Bruce was certain that the proposal was designed to further Powers Inc. at the expense of Wayne Enterprises as much as possible, but Bruce wasn't a good actor for nothing. "Let me give the paperwork a once over and I'll get back to you by next Monday."
Powers gave him a thin smile and stood to go, glancing around the office and taking in the various pictures and knick-knacks. "Family trinkets?" Bruce could hear the sneer in the other man's voice, the condescension evident in his eyes. No, Bruce didn't think Powers ever would put little gifts and presents in his office – assuming that he even received them.
"Some." Bruce kept his answer short, not wanting to discuss his children with the man in front of him. Something, instinct, was telling him that he didn't want Powers to know any more about his sons than the man could get in the newspaper. And Bruce trusted his instincts. "If that will be all, I have a business lunch to attend. Is nine o'clock on Monday good for you?"
"That should be fine. I'll be in town for a few weeks, talking to other businesses." Another smile that didn't reach the man's eyes. "See you then."
"Yes." Bruce waited until the door shut behind the man. "Yes, maybe even sooner."
The rest of the day was a whirlwind of people, forms to sign, and meetings to attend, so it wasn't until later that evening that Bruce found the time to actually look at the paperwork that Powers had given him. Tim and Damian were both in the office, reading copies – Tim because he was actually named as Bruce's heir and Damian because he honestly did want to know how the company worked outside of intimidating a few board members.
"Bruce, this contract is ridiculous." Tim highlighted another section that he thought was benefiting Powers at WE's expense before passing the paper over to Damian for confirmation. Damian read the paragraph, flipped back towards the front of the contract and frowned.
"Yes. The person who wrote this obviously thinks you're either a simpleton or won't actually read this front to back." A pause as Damian glared at the paper. "What does this mean?"
Tim leaned over and read the section Damian was pointing at, then allowed the younger boy to flip forward to the section he originally had been reading. "It means that if the conditions of this first paragraph here meet the conditions of this second paragraph here, then Wayne Enterprises owes Powers fifty shares of stock for every instance mentioned."
"It's referring to the retirement of 'long term employees of good standing'. All employees that make it to retirement are in good standing. Otherwise they wouldn't have made it to retirement." Damian sat up from where he had been sprawled on the floor – a mannerism that he had adopted fairly quickly from Dick – and stretched. "You aren't going to agree to something this insipid, are you father?"
Bruce glanced up briefly before returning his attention to the papers. "No. This contract isn't fair to the stockholders, the employees or the family. I am not going to allow the company that my father built up to be destroyed like that."
Tim gave a hum of acknowledgement before he glanced at the old grandfather clock in the corner – not the one leading to the Batcave, but the whole mansion was covered with them. "We going on patrol tonight?"
"Take Dick or Jason with you, I'll be out in a few hours." Tim and Damian exchanged quick glances and rose. "And contact them before you leave the cave."
Tim gave a quick nod, knowing that sneaking out of the cave with Damian in tow was probably not a good idea at this point – Tim could take care of himself, but Damian was unused to working with – or listening to – anyone but Dick or Alfred. And Alfred was a little old to be swinging over the rooftops to keep the youngest Wayne in line.