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Summary: Perhaps it is best not to think too hard about such things, and simply enjoy a pleasant cup of tea among friends. Drabble; based on "The Delusions Of Alfred Pennyworth".
A/N: In case it wasn't obvious by now...I think my Jason Todd obsession is getting out of hand.
I just wanted to write a small something based on "The Delusions Of Alfred Pennyworth", from Gotham Knights #34. If you haven't read it, you can find it on evenrobins-dot-net. (Even when Tumblr is down for maintenance, I do nothing important. I just do more fandom stuff.)
The aged valet has always known that it had to happen eventually - senility strikes even the best of men, and Alfred Pennyworth can hardly claim to be such. But if this is the form that senility takes for him, he supposes that it is not too terrible, and why fight against the inevitable, anyway?
But then, what is to say that it is not real? He has seen far stranger than ghosts in his time.
Perhaps it is best not to think too hard about such things - to not look a gift horse in the mouth, as the saying goes - and simply enjoy a pleasant cup of tea among friends.
This time, Alfred places a photograph of young Master Jason across the table from him, steam curling above the cup of tea before it. Perhaps it will do nothing to make Master Jason more tangible, but it will give Alfred something concrete to focus his attention on. When he looks away, he can almost see the photograph changing ever-so-slightly in his peripheral vision - Master Jason's teal eyes twinkle; a black curl shifts in a minuscule, non-existent breeze - yet when he looks back, it is the same static smile as the day the snapshot was taken.
As before, the cup moves occasionally, ripples dancing across the liquid's surface; sometimes Alfred focuses on the ripples and sees patterns. Morse code? It's difficult to tell - or maybe it's just a coincidence. Alfred smiles and nods at the empty space occupying the chair anyway.
Alfred's cup is empty. He sighs, moving to stand - a breeze brushes by him, though no windows are open; a protestation, Alfred likes to think. How lonely death must be. Perhaps Alfred is not the only one who has come to treasure these moments of companionship.
"Perhaps Master Bruce may appreciate your company occasionally," Alfred murmurs, gathering up the cups - one left with mere dregs, the other full of stone-cold drink. "Crime fighting can be lonely business, as I'm sure you are aware."
Alfred can almost see the trace of a scowl, fragile and echoing. For some reason, this makes Alfred infinitely sad.
Something changes in the atmosphere, and suddenly, Alfred feels alone with a sense that he has betrayed the young ward, somehow.
The words, Same time tomorrow? hang unspoken in the still air.