Disclaimer: Not mine, no money is being made, please don't sue. The characters belong to DC. The Timmyverse concept isn't mine either, and I thank Charlene for letting me play there for a bit.
AN: First things first, I have to thank Patty and Charlene for their time and patience in beta reading. If the story's any good, it is to their credit. Special thanks to Patty for so many suggestions she might as well be co-author. Guido and Floppy really should nag her to write more. :-)
Thanks too to all the Timmyverse writers who have come before: Charlene, guardian of the Timmyverse, Patty, who wrote Mr. Bear fic when I had a bad day, NChan for wonderful stories *and* art. Thanks and apologies to anyone I'm missing. And of course to Rea, whose "Simba Roared" kicked the whole thing off.
It had been a crisp autumn day. If the late afternoon weather held it would be a perfect Halloween. “Now if only the signal stays dark," thought Alfred Pennyworth as he reached for the ringing phone, “I can send Master Bruce and his young charges off for the evening without worry."
“Wayne Manor. How may I help you?" he answered formally.
“Alfie!" cried the young voice on the other end of the line. “Timothy! What have I told you?" His mother could be heard speaking sternly to the youngster in the background.
“Sorry." Tim’s voice continued, very softly, “Mr. Pennyworth?"
“Yes Master Timothy?" Alfred replied, thinking that Janet Drake could do with some parenting lessons. Even Master Bruce, for all his faults, was more skilled than the Drakes.
"May I please come over early and show Mr. Wayne and Di... Mr. Grayson my Halloween costume? It’s really neat! Mom... Mother had her sewing lady make it ‘specially for me, and I want them to see so they'll recognize me when I come to Trick or Treat with Dick and...”
As Timmy stopped to draw breath, Alfred took advantage of the momentary lull to answer. "Of course you may come over young sir. I shall alert Master Bruce and Master Dick of your imminent arrival."
“Huh? I don't have an imm... m&m aunt."
Alfred smiled, “No young sir, it means that your arrival will be soon and certain."
"Oh, then yeah. I mean yes, tell ‘em I’ll arrive immimminiment," Timmy paused and took a deep breath. Alfred smiled again at the excessive m’s and syllables, before Timmy continued, "Thanks Alf... Thank you very much Mr. Pennyworth."
Not more than ten minutes later Timothy Drake stood on the steps of Wayne Manor. As his mother pulled quickly away, Tim stood on his toes and rang the bell. Forewarned by Alfred, Bruce Wayne smiled as he swung the massive door open to greet the youngster. As Dick craned his neck to see around the larger form of his guardian, Bruce’s smile froze on his face and his mind stopped working. Alfred moved forward and froze as well to stare at the little costumed boy on the doorstep.
Five-year-old Timmy stood there grinning, resplendent in his Zorro outfit. He wore a white shirt with wide, flowing sleeves, a black satin cape lined in bright red, a black domino mask, and a broad brimmed hat. Brandishing his plastic sword, he gleefully shouted, “Tricks or Treats!"
Bruce stared at the small swashbuckler for one speechless moment and his frozen smile quickly faded. Abruptly he turned on his heel, disappearing into the house.
Alfred looked between the miniature Zorro and the retreating Bruce, unsure who to comfort first. Coming to a decision, he quickly followed Bruce, leaving a confused and hurt Tim standing on the doorstep.
Timmy’s happy face changed rapidly, first to confusion and then to hurt. As he stood on the steps, his sword drooped limply in his hand. With wide eyes he looked to his friend and playmate, Dick Grayson, for an explanation.
"Dick... what'd I do now? Doesn’t Bruce like my costume? Does he think I’m bein’ a pain? Oh, I’m bein’ a dret-full child...” Tim fretted, eyes downcast.
Sighing loudly, the 12-year-old realized that he was the one who would have to explain things to the younger boy. Bruce would just mess it up, if he could talk about it at all, and poor Alfred was going to have his hands full with Bruce... again. So it was up to Dick to save the day.
"Come on in Tim, don't mind Bruce. Let’s go in the kitchen and raid the candy while no one’s looking." Dick flashed his best smile at the little boy and flung an arm around his shoulders, ushering Tim through the big house towards the kitchen.
Entering the big kitchen, Dick settled Tim at the table, relieving him of his hat, sword, and mask. These costume accessories were stashed on the center island and Dick retrieved a bowl from the pantry. The bowl was filled to the brim with all the boys’ favorite treats, the spoils of a holiday shopping spree with Bruce. “This is for handing out tonight," he confided to Timmy, “but Alfie won't mind if we each have a piece now."
Timmy, still fretful from Bruce’s reaction to the costume shook his head no, wringing the end of his cape in his hands. With a sigh, Dick disentangled the cape from the little boy’s fingers and pressed a huge red Tootsie Pop into one fist.
Reluctantly unwrapping the candy, Tim turned pleading eyes on his companion. “Dick what'd I do wrong? I thought Bruce’d like my costume. It’s from that movie, the one with Tonio Bandana. Daddy took me to see it. Then M... Mother had her sewing lady make it special. She said it'd be even better than when I was Simba, ‘cause it was homemade." Tim’s breath caught in his throat as a sudden idea hit him. “Oh no! That’s what’s wrong! Bruce is upset ‘cause he thinks Zorro’s a better costume than Simba! I hurted his feelings..."
“No, Tim, that’s not it at all," Dick said, giving the youngster a serious look. “It’s nothing you did, honest. You couldn't have known." The older boy patted Tim’s hand reassuringly. “It’s a great costume, really, and I’m sure Bruce and Alfred think so too. It’s just, well, Zorro brings back unhappy memories for them."
Tim looked puzzled as Dick hastened to explain. “You know what happened to Bruce’s mom and dad, don't you?"
Tim nodded slowly, sucking thoughtfully on the red lolly.
“Well, Zorro’s the movie Bruce saw with his mom and dad that night. Just before they were killed by the mugger." the older boy explained softly.
"But Dick, Zorro’s new, and Bruce’s mom and dad have been gone forever!" Timmy exclaimed, eyes wide.
“It was a different version of the same movie. A black and white one with Tyrone Power. Not as good as the silent one my dad liked, but pretty good . Anyway, you just took Bruce by surprise, that’s all. You couldn't have known. I made the same mistake as you the first Halloween I was here."
Tim looked up at Dick in wide-eyed amazement. “You did?! But Dick, you don't ever make mistakes!"
"Oh Timmy, I make lots of mistakes! Believe me. Or ask Alfred and Bruce. I think they keep a list somewhere." Dick said with a rueful smile. “And that first Halloween I was here, that was one of the worst."
"Ya see, Zorro was one of my Dad’s favorite heroes. He and I used to watch the original all the time. The silent one, with Douglas Fairbanks." Dick’s eyes became unfocused for a moment, as he lost himself in the memory. With a shake of his head, he continued, “So anyway, I wanted to be Zorro for Halloween, sort of to remember my dad...”
Timmy listened intently as Dick told the story of his first Halloween at Wayne Manor, and the crisis his choice of costume had created. As the boys talked and worked their way through the bowl of Halloween treats, he began to relax. As he accepted Dick’s assurances that he wasn't at fault, a new worry presented itself.
"But Dick, now what do I do? I don't want to make Bruce feel unhappy anymore. I don't want to be Zorro if it makes him all sad. But... but what else can I be? Tricks and treats is tonight!" Timmy’s eyes began to fill with tears at the thought of missing the festivities.
Dick looked thoughtfully at Tim’s outfit. Snapping his fingers, he exclaimed, “I know! You can be Batman instead!"
Tim looked skeptical. “Batman??? ...but... he hides in kids’ closets. He takes--" His voice dropped to a whisper, “bad kids that don't pick up their clothes, aren't quiet, and don't stay in their room when their Mommies and Daddies tell ‘em to go there. ‘Specially kids who leave Mr. Bear downstairs when they have guests. Mommy... ...I mean Mother says that he sends rats after bad boys."
Dick frowned, “Number one. Batman is a hero--scary yeah, but he’s a good guy. Number two. Trust me, he doesn't hide in closets and he doesn't care for rats either. ‘Sides if he did, he wouldn't send rats after you." Dick paused and thought that Batman should send rats after Tim’s mom, but he didn't say anything like that when he continued, “You could be Batman. You could be a hero."
“I could?" Tim asked hopefully.
“Sure. You’ve already got the cape and the boots! All we need is to change the mask, and get you a black shirt. C’mon, let’s go up to my room, I bet I have just the thing!" Dick bounced out of his seat and grabbed the mask off the counter. Tim close on his heels, he dashed for the stairs, headed for his bedroom. Directing Tim to close the door, Dick proceeded to dig in the back of his closet for a worn trunk. Pulling the trunk into the middle of the floor, Dick opened the lid to reveal his old circus costumes.
“Here we go. I used to wear these in the circus. I’ve got black tights and a shirt in here somewhere. They’re too small for me now, but I bet they'll fit you okay."
"Ah ha!" Dick exclaimed, pulling the sought after items from the trunk. “Here Timmy, go put these on." Having sent Tim to change, Dick continued to rummage around, finding a gold sash that would double as a utility belt.
"Dick?" a tentative call came from behind him.
“Hmm?" Dick asked as he turned from the pile of gaudy fabrics he was searching through. He spied Tim, now wearing the black shirt, tights around his ankles in a knot, and laughed a little. “Here, let me help you with those." He moved to assist the 5-year-old in sorting out the intricacies of tights for the first time. “They’re not so bad once you get used to them Tim," he reassured.
Dick stood, head cocked to one side, and surveyed the basis of Tim’s new look. Snagging the cape off the bed where Timmy had tossed it, Dick swung it around the little boy’s shoulders with a flourish and fastened it securely. Then, taking the gold sash, he wrapped it around Tim’s waist several times, tied it securely and slid the knot to the back out of sight.
Tim slipped his mask back on as Dick returned to the trunk. There he found a black scarf that had been his mom’s. This he tied on Tim’s head to serve as a cowl. The scarf’s ends were tucked into the cape’s collar.
“Now," Dick said, turning Tim to face the full length mirror, “all we need is a bat for your chest, and some ears."
Leaving Tim, once again smiling, and admiring his reflection, Dick moved to his desk. In the bottom drawer, he found several sheets of black construction paper, the remains of a school project. From the paper he carefully cut a bat shape and a pair of ears. Satisfied with his creations, Dick grabbed tape and a stray safety pin before returning to Tim’s side. The safety pin attached the bat emblem to Tim’s chest, and the tape stuck the ears in place atop the scarf.
“Ta da! There you go Timmy. Instant Bat!" Dick exclaimed, turning his friend once more toward the mirror.
“Oh Dick, it’s wunerful!” Tim cried. “Do ya think Bruce’ll like it? Can we show him, can we?"
Laughing, Dick replied, “I’m sure he will Timmy. C’mon, let’s go find him." With that the boys headed downstairs to show off their handiwork. At the first landing, seeing no one in the entry hall, Dick lifted Tim onto the bannister. Climbing up behind the younger boy, the pair took a quick ride down to the main floor. Suppressing their giggles, they headed for the study door. Dick guessed that was where Bruce and Alfred must be hiding out. Knocking softly, he pushed Tim ahead of him into the room.
At the sound of the knock, Bruce and Alfred turned from their contemplation of the elder Waynes’ portrait to see the two boys standing proudly in the open doorway. “Bruce look! Dick made me a new costume!" Tim said excitedly. “So you don't have to be sad anymore!"
"Yeah Bruce, I sorta explained to him about Zorro. Then we decided to turn him into The Terror that Flaps in the Night!" Dick grinned at his mentor as Tim corrected him. “No, I’m not a duck! I’m Batman!"
Bruce stared at the grinning boys before him, again at a loss for words. He was overwhelmed by their resourcefulness and their desire to see him happy. Before he could think what to say, Tim’s left ear slipped and fell to the floor. Bruce reached down and picked up the ear, smiling gently. “Don’t worry, Alfred can fix that."
"I would be pleased to assist Master Timothy,” Alfred stated, taking the errant ear from Bruce. “Wait right here while I fetch the sewing box... and my camera."
Silence fell over the room as the trio waited for Alfred’s return, the boys looking expectantly at Bruce. Still smiling slightly, Bruce stepped across the room and placed a hand on each boy’s shoulder. “Timothy, I’m sorry. I mean... I shouldn't have... what I mean is--"
Dick smiled, “S’okay, Bruce. Really. Who wants to be Zorro when you can be Batman?"
Timmy beamed a smile. “Batman doesn't send rats after kids and he doesn't stay in the closet," he assured Bruce with confidence. Then he held out his cape and dashed about the room, swooping down on an unsuspecting ottoman.
Bruce looked puzzled, but before he could ask Dick shook his head and chuckled, "I'll tell you later."
Timmy blurred by again in search of the bad guys and yelled, "Tricks or Treats or Batman will eat you!"
Bruce frowned in confusion and Dick snickered, “Ewwww. Alfred’s right, your diet is terrible. No wonder everyone wants to be Superman."
Bruce’s frown deepened as he turned to his grinning ward, but before he could speak, Timmy skidded to a stop in front of them and proclaimed, “Evil guys beware. Batguy is here to take your candy!"
"Batman," Bruce corrected.
"Yeah... him too." Timmy went into sugar hyper drive and ran from the room, “ALLLLFFFFFFIIIIIEEEE! We hafta go before the candy’s gone."
Dick laughed, “I’ve created a monster. Timmy the trick or treat terror."
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