Bruce and I were in his study doing our best imitation of JFK and his son: Bruce was sitting at his desk, doing work, while I played with my dinosaurs under the desk.
"Rrrrrrr," I growled, dancing my Tyrannosaurus Rex up Bruce's leg. When Bruce didn't respond, I roared again and had the dinosaur nip at his kneecap.
Bruce flinched, but the pain was too miniscule to even register in the mind of the great Batman. Holding my T-rex in my teeth, I clambered up Bruce's leg, then gripped his shirt to pull myself into his lap. Once I was safely ensconced there, I shimmed the dinosaur up Bruce's shoulder, over his face, and then nipped his nose with the rex's open jaws.
"Ow. Dick," Bruce said tiredly, pulling the dinosaur off his nose.
I giggled. "Om-nom-nom," I munched, twisting the dinosaur before his face. "You yummy," I said in my best dinosaur voice.
Bruce gave me a small smile. "Dinosaurs don't eat people, Dickie." He ruffled my hair.
"Dey eat you."
"Cause you, Batman," I beamed. "You spe-cel."
"No, you're special."
"No, you!" I poked him with my dinosaur.
"No, you." Bruce started to tickle me.
I collapsed in a fit of laughter, and went slack across Bruce's lap. I dropped my dinosaur, and shrieked with laughter. Bruce mercilessly tickled me until I nearly ran out of breath. Satisfied with himself, Bruce went back to checking his e-mails while I recovered.
Just as I was sitting back up, one of Bruce's e-mails began to play music. Recognizing the tune, I turned to the screen to see it was filled with images of Mickey Mouse.
"Mi-ey Mouse! Mi-ey Mouse!" I pointed and shouted.
Before Bruce could respond, the study door opened and Jason poked his head in.
"What's going on in here?" he asked in a mock authoritative tone.
"Mi-ey Mouse! Mi-ey Mouse!" I repeated, thrusting my finger towards the computer.
Intrigued, Jason came over to the desk and looked, uninvited, at Bruce's computer screen.
"Disney World?" he asked.
Bruce muted the computer, sighed, and leaned back in his chair. "Yes, apparently Lucius has scheduled an important business meeting at Disney World. It seems the other CEOs want to take their children and or grandchildren."
"Dude. Let's go."
Bruce raised an eyebrow at Jason. "I thought you hated Disney World that last time we were there."
Jason shrugged. "That was last time. This is this time."
Bruce was not convinced. "And the difference is?"
Jason picked me up off Bruce's lap, and situated me on his right hip. "This little guy right here."
"Me?" I grinned up at Jason, who indulgently tousled my hair.
"Yeah, Dick. He's a total babe magnet. Of course, last time he was attracting the ladies for himself. This time he's going to help big bro Jason get the girls."
"I beg your pardon?" Bruce was skeptical to say the least.
"Bruce, seriously? Have you seen chicks and babies? They gravitate towards each other like bears to honey. The ladies are going to love this munchkin. They'll be flocking to his cuteness. And then I'll come swooping in, all caring and nurturing, and they will love me, too."
"That would require you to be caring and nurturing, Jason."
Jason dismissed Bruce's objections with a casual wave. "A man can pretend to be anything when hot babes are on the line."
Bruce frowned. Jason turned to me, all smiles, and chucked me under the chin. "You're gonna reel the ladies in for me, aren't you Dickie-bird?" he cooed (seriously! He really did!). "Yes, you are. Yes, you are."
I can't say I entirely approved of Jason's plans, but I figured there would be plenty of time to ruin it later. In my mind I planned all manner of tantrums, accidents, and general terrible-two-ness, which should safely scare away any lady Jason would flirt with. But on the outside, I giggled and clapped my hands like any toddler would.
I squirmed in Jason's arms, so he put me down. I then proceeded to run around the study, shrieking "Mouse! Mouse! Mouse! Mouse!" while Jason and Bruce … tried to do something.
As intended, my shouts attracted Tim and Damian, who came running to the study, each trying to push the other out of the way.
Tim managed to enter first. "Ha! In your face!" he taunted Damian, which earned him a "can't-you-be-more-mature" look from Bruce. Damian sneered smugly at Tim, as he walked towards the desk.
Poor Timmy. To make up for his hollow victory in the race against Damian, I ran up to him and wrapped myself around his leg. "Timmy, Timmy, Timmy!" I chanted, jumping up and down.
"Come here, you," Tim said and obligingly picked me up. Damian cast him the stink-eye and it was Tim's turn to smile smugly. At least it was a tie now.
"Why all the commotion, Father?" Damian asked.
"We're going to Disney World!" Jason announced, strangely joyous.
"Really?" Damian did a rather poor job of disguising the excitement that crept into his voice.
Meanwhile, I had been messing with Tim's hair. As he tried to avoid my fast little fingers, he asked, "Umm, how … are we … gah! … going …Dick! … to do that?"
"Uh, get on our plane and go," Jason stated, "duh" dripping from his tone.
"With Dick like this?" Tim squawked as I tugged at a handful of his hair.
"He's right," Bruce replied, steepling his hands and leaning back in his chair like the hot-shot corporate exec he was. "How can we explain Dick being like that?"
Disappointment hung in the air. "No mouse?" I whimpered.
Tim smoothed back my hair. "Dickie, we can't risk -."
I cut him off by promptly bursting into tears. (Seriously, if I was stuck as a toddler, I'd rather be stuck as a toddler at Disney World than trapped in Wayne Manor for months). "But me wanna see Mooooooooo-use!" I sobbed.
"Oh, geez, make him stop," Jason hissed at no one in particular.
"Bruce, do something." Tim handed me to Bruce, who accepted my wailing form with reluctance.
"Now Dickie, you can have fun here," Bruce soothed, but I was having none of that.
"Pweeze mouse? I be goo! I be a goo, goo boy." I hiccuped, sniffled, and tried to hold back my tears. I looked at Bruce with my most pathetic puppy-dog eyes, which my small size no doubt accentuated. "Pweeeze?"
Bruce hesitated for a fraction of a second. I could see he was trying to steel his nerves, but I was faster. I reached over and grabbed his finger, holding it tight. With a pathetic sniffle and more puppy-dog eyes, I added, "Pweeze, daddy?"
His resolve crumbled instantly, as I knew it would. "Okay," he said.
"Yeea!" I threw my hands in the air and hugged Bruce as tightly as I could. "I wuv you."
He kissed the top of my head (the old softy). "So? How are we going to manage this?"
"Dick's some long-lost cousin's kid?" Jason suggested.
"That would never work," Damian spat. "Father has no other relatives and that would not explain Grayson's absence."
"We have to explain Dick's absence somehow." Bruce pointed out the obvious.
"Well, what if we took along a few other people and said it was a trip for us and underprivileged children from Gotham?" Tim supplied. "We could pretend little Dickie there is some anonymous kid who won a contest."
"And real Dick?" Jason queried.
Tim shrugged. "He's…." He waved his hand in the air. "Ill? Took other underprivileged kids camping? Busy? In Europe? Who knows."
Bruce nodded his head slightly, thinking on the possibility. "That could work."
"Yeah, I'm underprivileged," Jason piped up.
Tim gave him a look.
"Well, maybe not now, but I was," Jason defended.
"Technically, Todd, you're dead."
"That's right! That makes me way underprivileged. So you can give me a fake name and I'll pretend Dick is my lil bro." Jason smiled at me, perched again on Bruce's lap. "And you'll help me get all the babes, right, Dickie?"
"Yeah!" I shouted happily. There was nothing wrong with giving Jason a little hope before I dashed it.
Bruce nodded. "Okay, that's permissible. Not great, but we can work it to our advantage. Who else can we take?"
"Colin," Damian immediately suggested.
"Excellent," Bruce agreed. After all, Colin lived in an orphanage. That was pretty underprivileged.
"What about your girlfriend, Replacement?" Jason half-asked, half-sneered.
"Stephanie? Her mom's a doctor!"
"Well, she's less privileged than us," Jason helpfully supplied.
"If that's your standard, Bruce will owe everyone aside from Lex Luthor a trip to Disney World!"
"No, Stephanie is a good choice," Bruce interrupted. "She knows our family and her father was a criminal."
Tim groaned. "Don't remind her."
"With a criminal for a father, I doubt she ever made it to Disney World. She's an acceptable candidate," Damian stated.
Jason elbowed him. "So you do have a crush on Timmy's leftovers."
"Enough," Bruce said lazily. "We've got Colin and Stephanie. How about Cassandra?"
"Umm, you adopted her," Jason reminded Bruce. "So she isn't exactly underprivileged."
"He adopted you, and you keep saying you're underprivileged!" Tim retorted.
"That's because I'm dead."
Bruce sighed at their antics. "No, Cassandra's going. She's been in Hong Kong for a long time, and most people forget I adopted her anyway. She can pretend to be someone else if necessary."
"Umm, okay," Tim said. It wasn't that he opposed Cass coming, it would just be a little weird if she were pretending to be someone else. But if Bruce had that idea in his head …
"And Barbara will be your chaperone," Bruce said decisively.
"Barbara?" Jason gasped. "Why not me?"
"For starters, you are pretending to be someone other than Jason Todd. Two, it will look more legitimate if I send a chaperone who is a non-relative. And three, you absolutely require a chaperone."
Jason huffed and crossed his arms, but no one protested. We couldn't honestly say we didn't need a chaperone. And I was delighted to think Barbara was coming along. If I played my cards right, she would hold me on her lap and I could snuggle against her warm, cozy chest….
Is Steph's mom a doctor? I thought I read that somewhere.