Rating PG-13
Disclaimers: DC owns the characters, Sarah owns the Tattoo. This is written for the Reader's Review Tattoo Challenge to write a fic where someone else finds out about THE TATTOO from Gotchoo (My all time fav funny fic). I couldn't decide who should find out so I did two in one fic lol. Thanks to Patty for the beta work and Sarah for the inspiration fic and talking about this one. You know which line's just for you ;-) I hope you all enjoy. Char :-)


Branded
by Charlene Edwards


Superman walked down the hall of the Watchtower toward the Hall of Justice. He was reading through his file before the meeting... today was the annual joint meeting between all the organizations--JLA, JSA, Titans and Young Justice--and he wanted the meeting to go smoothly. The Watchtower was overflowing with earth's collective heroes. Superman wasn't used to so much noise on the usually serene headquarters. He hoped that the Hall of Justice would provide a moment of solitude prior to the meeting's commencement.

Superman was wrong.

Roy Harper's voice could be heard coming from the Hall of Justice loud and all too clear. He was angry. Superman didnít know what the Titan member was angry about, but it appeared that the leader, Dick Grayson also known as Nightwing, was receiving the brunt of his anger.

"--at least I'm not the one with a bat stuck up my ass or ON my ass ... no correction branded on my ass--"

"Roy, don't go there," Dick's voice warned.

Superman stopped walking and leaned against the wall. Maybe one of the cells in the secure area would be peaceful? Maybe... branded? Had Roy said Dick had a bat branded on his... no. NO! Bruce wouldn't brand... well... no, he wouldn't. Would he? "Maybe." Superman shook his head. That was impossible, even Bruce wouldn't do that... to his--

Superman quickly turned to face the wall. There was one way to find out. He started to sweep the Hall of Justice with his X-Ray vision when he closed his eyes. "I can't do that," he berated himself. "What am I thinking?" That Batman brands his kids. Has he branded Robin and Batgirl too? How old are they when he brands them? NO he can't brand his kids. Why would he? Other than his obsessive compulsive personality and extremely possessive nature. That would be child abuse to...

He opened his eyes and they unwillingly showed him all he needed to know. Turning on his heels, Superman stormed off toward the Monitor Womb.


Batman sat in the Monitor Womb of the Watchtower running diagnostics on the computer and communications systems. The monitor womb holds some of the most sophisticated systems in the world, and Batman felt it was his job, along with Oracle, to ensure that the systems were running properly. He heard the door behind him slide open. Based upon the sound of the footsteps, Batman's mouth quirked upwards. "Yes Superman," he said without turning around.

"We need to... um... talk."

"About?

Superman looked at Batman's back. It really was annoying when he talked that dismissive to everyone. "Uh... don't you think... well... it's child abuse to brand a child."

Beneath his cowl, Batman raised an eyebrow inquisitively. He turned to face Superman. "What are you talking about?"

Superman looked into the countenance of The Batman and continued with his righteous indignation. "Parents or guardians should not brand children. That's what I'm talking about. Branding is branding whether it's with a branding iron or a tattoo parlor, it's wrong and it should never have happened and..."

"Did your parents brand YOU?" Batman asked.

The question stopped Superman's tirade as he looked at Batman with confusion on his face.

"Well?" Batman asked.

"WHY would my parents BRAND me?" Superman asked indignantly.

"Is there a point to this Clark?" Batman asked with an edge of annoyance in his voice.

"The point? The point! The point is... YOU branded your kid? Have you branded all four of them?"

Brand his kids? "Hayseed, what the hell are you talking about?" Batman said as he rose to his full height to face Superman.

"Dick! You branded him! I just heard him and Roy talking about it... so I... peeped. He's got a bat on his... rear end. I remember you saying that you couldn't lose him because he wore your brand, but I thought you were joking. "Property of Batman" is that what that is? " Superman asked as he folded his arms across his broad chest continuing his inquisition. "Don't you think that's taking the obsessive compulsive bit a bit far. I know you're possessive but this is--"

"He's got... what? You peeped? A what?"

"--more than... A bat brand on his... you don't know? Uh... ok... never mind then," Superman said as his face turned as red as the "S" in his shield. "I'll just be going back to the meeting room." He whirled around and started to step onto the sensor that would open the door.

"STOP! ...Come back here," Batman ordered. "Now. Tell me exactly what you mean. What does Dick have on his rear besides clothes?"

Clark felt like a small child when his mother would discipline him. He froze in his tracks and turned around sheepishly. "There's a black bat tattoo like the bat on your... costume. He and Arsenal were arguing about it."

Like the great detective he was, Batman started putting the clues together. "Dick has a Bat tattooed on his butt. Roy knows about it. Is that correct?"

"Uh huh," Clark replied meekly. "I... I'm sure there's a good explanation for this. And since you didn't know there's no need for you to let him know that you know."

"Where. Is. He?" Batman's low deep voice asked with an icy tone.

Superman shook his head as he pleaded, "Bruce, please don't cause a scene... " Seeing the dreaded Bat glare, Superman bowed his head defeated. "With the Titans in the Hall of Justice. He and Roy were arguing. Would it do any good to say I think you shouldn't confront him?" he asked as he watched Batman's cape flutter through the sliding door. "Guess not." Clark sighed. "Just change my name to Supermouth. Faster than a speeding locomotive with no idea of what I'm saying. I'll just sit here and watch the monitors and wait for the fireworks."


Batman silently stood in the doorway to the Hall of Justice. Seeing only core members of the Titans in the room, he spoke. "Richard, may I speak to you."

"--and another thing Roy," Dick was saying when he froze, feeling ice water in his veins. Turning toward the door he saw Batman glaring at him. "Richard? What'd I do?" he asked as he walked quickly to the door.

Roy turned toward the other Titans. "See I told you the boy's whupped."

Batman glared at Roy. "We'll be back in a moment." Then he turned his attention to his son. "Follow me." Silently, they walk into one of the smaller conference rooms. Batman initiated the privacy buffers before turning to Nightwing. Swiftly, he reached up and removed his cowl in a swift fluid movement.

Following Batman's lead, Dick removed his Nightwing mask as he sat on the corner of the conference room table. Flashing Bruce his famous million dollar smile, he calmly asked. "What can I do for you? Is there an emergency in Gotham?"

Steely blue eyes locked on the young man before him. How to ask this question? What would be the most tactful way? How to... "What is branded on your ass?" The direct approach was always his favorite.

Dick's eyes grew wide. "On my what? Branded? What... who... nothing," he choked out as he gave his father his best innocent look. "Why do you think something's branded on my... back there," he asked as he stood from the table edge pointing behind him.

Bruce's glare hadn't changed. Standing firm, he asked again. "Is there a black bat tattooed on your rear?"

Dick laughed nervously. "Ohhhhh... that... kinda." Hanging his head so as not to meet Bruce's eyes. "You have the meeting room bugged don't ya?"

"No. I did not. So it's true."

Dick sighed deeply. "Yes it's true." He sat back on corner of table.

"Why?"

Dick grinned and shrugged his shoulders. "It seemed like a good idea at the time... of course I was dead drunk and didn't remember it the next morning but still," he looked up meeting Bruce's gaze with a sheepish grin.

"Dead drunk? So let me get this straight... not only did you become intoxicated, loose control of your faculties, but also you allowed someone to permanently scar you? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time?"

"Well... um... well... yeah that's a good sum up."

"Do you realize the diseases you could have exposed yourself too?" Bruce asked his voice full of concern.

Dick hung his head, "Yes, but Roy said it was a legit tattoo parlor."

"Harper," Bruce growled. "I knew it. I knew he was responsible for this. When are you having it removed?"

Dick looked up wide eyed. "Re... removed? I... uh... hadn't thought... about removing it." Time to change subjects... fast. "Sooooo uh how'd you find out?"

Bruce wasn't thrown off course. "What is there to think about. It's an identifying mark that has to be removed."

Dick was up and moving around the table toward the far wall like a cornered animal. "But that'll be... that'll hurt," Dick whined. "And I'll be outta commission for a few days and... and I don't have time and plenty of people get them. The Bat Symbol is actually a popular tattoo. You're more popular than you think. Only Superman's "S" shield is more popular among superhero tats," he added with a lopsided grin.

Bruce was unrelenting. "It has to be removed because it could be spotted and the connection made. Secondly, it is on your posterior and pain is a character builder... so you won't be out of commission for long. How far second?"

A very wide grin erupted across Dick Grayson's handsome features as his blue eyes twinkled. "Gotcha!" He laughed as he continued, "Lemme keep it. I wanna keep it."

Bruce shook his head. "I've already told you why it has to go and could you explain why you put it on your ass?"

"Because I was dead drunk not suicidal... you couldn't see it on my ass. That was the point... you weren't suppose to know."

"But you knew I'd find out, I always find out."

Dick sighed. "Yeah you do. It's annoying too. But hey, I kept this from you longer than I thought."

"Yes and what are you going to do about it now."

"Keep it," Dick replied defiantly. Proud of his adult independence.

Bruce sighed. Why did his child have to be an adult? Well, technically anyway. "I've told you why you shouldn't... but your an adult and I have to trust your judgment."

"But you want me to get rid of it don't you? And you'll be disappointed in me if I don't? Won't you?" Dick asked.

"No. I trust you implicitly. You're an adult. If you want a bat tattooed on your posterior, then who am I to interfere. It's a tattoo, not something worse... I can deal with that. I won't be disappointed in you, I've made some bad choices too."

Dick's eyebrow arches inquisitively. "You have? What?"

"That's not important and not what we're discussing," Bruce replied tight lipped. "I'm just saying I won't be disappointed in you. However--"

"However?" Dick asked intrigued.

"There's someone else who may not be as... open as I am to this."

"Someone else? Who else's business is... oh... HIM," Dick gulped in fear at the thought as he watched Bruce pull the cowl back up and turn toward the door. "Uh... wait..."

"Yes," Batman said without turning around, a slight smile forming on his face.

"Not that I'm interested mind you, but IF I were to ever get interested, do you know any good places to get this thing removed?" Dick asked as he placed his Nightwing mask back on his face.

Turning, Batman hands a card to Nightwing. "I'd try to keep this quiet. You don't want HIM finding out."

Nightwing looked down at the card and back up at Batman. Nightwing blinked. "You didn't? You DID! What'd you get? Where was it? Tell me! When'd you do this?"

Batman's lips formed a straight line across his face. "That would be telling," he stated and then, in his best Alfred voice continued, "and a proper gentlemen never does."

"Oh come on Bruce!" Dick whined. "You gotta tell me! You can tell me while I'm getting mine removed, huh? Please!" Nightwing watched as Batman opened the door and headed back toward the Hall of Justice. Nightwing ran after him yelling, "I won't remove it if you don't tell me!"


THE END


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