Hey everyone! I've finally got a new Robbie fic to share with y'all. I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Theresa for betaing this for me.


Disclaimer: This characters do not belong to me. Please don't sue.

Too Deep to Breathe
By Rea

Ever since that day, I haven't been the same. It's a shame, really, because I liked who I was. Tim Drake, I mean. I liked me. `Course, nothing lasts forever. So neither, did I. Once, I had blue eyes, black hair and a dimpled grin that made old ladies want to pinch my cheeks. Once, I had a father, a mother, a brother, a grandfather and an uncle. Once upon a time I had a family. I even had friends that I saw every day at school. For a short time I belonged to a team. It was great. We went on wild adventures. We camped out. Heck, we even went to the Olympics. One of our members was an archer. She won gold. Cissie, was her name, I think. She might have been my girlfriend. Once, I had a girlfriend. Maybe even two. Or three. All the images get a little fuzzy. Cissie, my first girlfriend, she kissed me once. That was once a upon a time.

Once upon a time, I had a life.

"My lord, sir. Whatever do you make of this?" Alfred Pennysworth stared in disbelief at the childlike scrawls across the walls of the ball room in Wayne Manor. Happy faces and stick figures in black marker smiled at him from their positions on the cream wall of the ballroom. Dogs and cats lulled lazily on marble floors, basking pink and purple fur in the crisp moonlight filtering in from the skylight over head. "Who ever could have done this?"

"I don't know. " Bruce Wayne glared at the mess. He was supposed to hold a reception for Wayne Tech in this very room two nights from now. Judging by Alfred's futile efforts to wipe away the offending marker, he suspected he'd be forced to make alternate arrangements. "But I intend to find out."

"The security cameras?"

"Yes. We'll discover whatever little monster did this and how he or she managed to elude our security systems."

"As you say, sir." Shaking his head forlornly at the mess, Alfred hurriedly followed his master from the room.

"You should really wake up, ya know. You're letting the world pass you by. I know you got hurt bad. I know it was my fault, but come on! Enough's enough! Wake up, already!"

Kon adjusted the crisp sheets encasing the pale form of his friend laying in the infirmary at the batcave. Tucking the sheet under Robin's chin, he continued his aimless chatter while his mind tried to ascertain the time. He didn't know how long he'd been here. Time eluded him in the recesses of the batcave. The stone walls, flitting shadows and odd chill had a way of suspending time. Once you entered the cave, it was like you stepped out of your life. Or turned the world off. It amazed him how much time could pass in a single visit. What felt like an hour was really four or five. Hell, an entire day could pass and the only indication he'd get that the day had gone was Batman going on patrol.

Frankly, he didn't care. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. Nothing but Robin. Damn but he missed the little godling. Missed hanging out with him at the Young Justice HQ. Missed the wild adventures they'd always find themselves on. Hell, he even missed the way Rob used to lecture him.

It was hard to believe the tiny slip of a boy before him was his friend. He'd lost so much weight. He was nothing but a skeleton. The IVS in his arm weren't doing much of a job in keeping the meat on his bones. His hair was growing shaggy and he desperately needed a shave. Tomorrow, Kon vowed to bring his shaver. Or get Robin's from Alfred. Knowing Rob, his friend would prefer to use his own. Robin always was particular about sharing.

Rubbing his eyes tiredly, Kon decided to take his leave. From beyond the walls of the infirmary, he could hear Batman preparing for patrol. The Bat didn't like him poking around when he wasn't able to keep an eye on him. Deciding to avoid outstaying his welcome, he bid Robin good bye and left.

Batman nodded as Kon flew towards the exit. "Tomorrow?"

"Yeah man, tomorrow."

Batman grunted his approval. "Robin likes it when you come. He's not so restless."

"Sure," Restless, sheeya right! What the heck did he mean by restless? Robin was catatonic. He wasn't up for `liking' anything just as he wasn't about to get up and do cartwheels. Giving a slight wave, he flew off. Damn the hand fate dealt. When was he gonna get a break? First he loses Tana and now he was about to lose his best friend. It was doubtful Robin would wake up. Hell, with the amount of energy the poor guy had had coursing through his body, no amount of visiting was going to bring him back out.

If only he'd gotten to apologize before it was too late. Now it seemed he'd never get a chance to set right the wrong.

Exiting the tunnel, Kon flew into the night.

The red and blue flashes of light against the pitch black of the night sky told Batman the police were coming long before he heard the wail of sirens. Tightening the knots binding his latest batch of lawbreakers, he cast one more baleful glare at the quivering delinquents tied to a lamppost before departing for his car.

It had been an uneventful night. Aside from the usual burglaries and armed robberies that made up a large chunk of Gotham's crime rate, all was well within the towering skyscrapers and metal landscape of the city.

He considered retiring early. The vandalism of the Manor's ballroom grated on his mind, gnawing on his brain like a dog chewing a bone. Careful scrutiny of the Manor's security cameras had turned up nothing. No one had been spotted entering or leaving the room. No flitting shadow to be seen, no pitter-patter of tiny feet to be heard. The lack of a suspect wasn't what unnerved him. What unnerved him was the 10 second lapse between the appearance of the drawings and the camera rotation of the room. Ten seconds from the time the camera shifted its focus from the main floor to the upper balcony then back again. Ten seconds. Not enough time for anyone, certainly not a child, to draw the mass of kittens, puppies and stick figures that were present for the cameras return.

For a brief moment he'd entertained the notion of a practical joke. One of the world's speedsters had perhaps been suicidal enough to draw upon his marble floors. He'd dismissed the thought as ludicrous, but not before he'd run the film through various modes to detect the fluctuations and patterns of the known speedsters he held on record. He momentarily thought the vandalism might have been the product of hyperactive Bart Allen, but as Impulse wasn't privy to their base location nor their identities, it was improbable to accuse him.

So the mystery was left unsolved. As the Batmobile roared through the streets of Deadman's End, Gotham's most prolific underbelly neighbourhood of human filth, Batman found himself welcoming the diversion of street hoods and drug pushers to his problematic vandal at the Manor.

A scream in an alley to his right had him bringing the car to an abrupt stop. He darted into the darkened alleyway as the scream sounded again. It wasn't a woman. The pitch wasn't high nor feminie enough. Rather, it sounded a like a child. A boy. Stopping behind a metal dumpster, he cocked his head listening. No sounds of a scuffle reverberated off the brick walls of the old buildings. No scrap of metal. No slap of a fist against flesh or the loud crack of a bat. Just frightened breathing and the scream that had subsided to a whimper.

Emerging from his hiding spot, he approached the back of the alley. Dark shadows crept along the walls, masking garbage cans, cardboard boxes and assorted rubbish. "Hello?"

The whimpering abruptly ceased.

"I won't hurt you." Slowing his pace, he scanned the alley. Nothing. No huddled forms curled against the walls. No bodies lying helpless on the ground. Where was the child? "You can come out. You're safe."

Nothing. The alley was empty. A quick search turned up nothing. If a child had been hiding, there was no place for him to go. The brick wall at the base of the alley was too high to climb and there weren't any fire escapes leading to the apartments. The alley was empty save for the foul smelling garbage lining its walls.

Feeling ill at ease, he retraced his steps from the alley, keeping his attention focused for signs of a trap or the elusive child. Emerging from the street, he reluctantly dropped his guard. There was nothing there. Perhaps in his zeal to forget the possible intruder at his home and with the notion the vandal was a child, he'd inadvertently created the situation to distract himself.

Shaking his head slightly, he made his way to the Batmobile. He opened the cab, but instead of climbing inside, he looked up. The murky clouds that had covered the sky for the better part of the week had dispersed. The night was clear. It was rare Gotham had a starry night, yet there they were, twinkling like the lights of the skyscrapers. Robin had always loved a starry night. He'd once told Bruce he'd liked seeing the stars because to him they felt like blankets draped over his shoulders protecting him from the horrors of patrol.

"When they're out, I feel like nothing bad can touch me." Robin had said, smiling over his shoulder as Bruce. "The stars make me feel safe."

Watching the twinkling balls of sulphur burn in the night sky, Batman felt anything but safe. He felt strangely exposed. Had the stars made Robin feel safe on that fateful night. Before he was robbed of his life, had the stars given him comfort?

From somewhere within the neighbourhood a shot rang out and someone screamed. Discarding his nostalgia for the moment, Batman got into the Batmobile and resumed his patrol.

At the edge of the alley, a shadowy figure stared into the blue expanse of stars and rubbed drying tears left on puffy cheeks.

Isn't it funny how life is riddled with phrases like: should have, could have, would have, had I only, if I had been there, if I had just done things differently? Funny, how we spend our lives wrought with regret. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to act on each and every one of my impulses.

Impulses, impulsive, impulse. Is that a name? I think I know an impulse. Or was one. Had one. Whatever.

It'd be fun, I imagine, to act out every thought, every urge that ever entered my mind. What would happen, I wonder? Oh look, I've just had another regret. That's all my life was, you know. Regrets.

It was one long list. Wouldn't it have been fun to get rid of the list and act out my urges? I've done it again, haven't? Another regret. Another for the list.

Isn't it funny how life is riddled with phrases like...

Alfred Pennysworth sat beside his young charge's bed, a washcloth and basin held in his lap. Dipping the cloth into the water, he proceeded to wash the indifferent face before him. He smiled softly as aged fingers brushed against the prickly stubble covering Timothy's cheeks. "It is time for a shave, isn't it young sir? I'm afraid I'm quiet unaccustomed to having to worry over such things for you. It seems like only yesterday you were but a little boy standing on our doorstep armed with all the secrets of our tiny family." He dabbed at a small stream of water trickling over Tim's chin and down his neck. "You've grown up. If only you were here to see it instead of hearing it from an old man such as myself."

Setting the water aside, Alfred Pennysworth gave Tim's right arm an affectionate squeeze. "Master Bruce shall be returning soon expecting his nightly snack. I will put the kettle on to boil and then return with your shaver. We simply cannot allow such stubble to grow, now can we?"

Smiling, he rose and left the infirmary. Striding across the expansive floor of the cave, he glanced absently at the clock. Yes, the Master would be returning soon. The night was quiet, so his presence would not be needed. A cup of tea and toast should be sufficient---

He jumped as the lights in the cave suddenly went out. "My word." Carefully retracing his steps down the stairs, he picked his way around tables, chairs, and file boxes to the fuse box. He noted idly, that the Batcomputer was fine. The monitor still cast its familiar hue while the hardrive hummed. "Curious." Prying open the control panel, he was surprised to discover the switch wasn't blown. "Curiouser and curiouser."

From somewhere behind him a chair creaked. Feeling the hairs on the back of his neck rise, he realized he wasn't alone. "Hello?"


"Who ever you are, I would greatly appreciate it if you would return the lights to their prior state of activity."

Much to his surprise his visitor complied. He blinked as the lights returned. Feeling his heart hammering in his chest, he straightened his collar and squared his shoulders. "Now, show yourself."

To his dismay a group of hastily drawn Crayola kittens and puppies had found a home upon the cave floor. A fine tipped permeant marker that he recognized from Timothy's pencil case lay beside a kitten sporting a large bow around its neck. Scooping up the marker, heresisted the urge to throw it. His nice clean cave. First the ballroom, and now the cave. What was next, his precious kitchen?

"I mean, it, young sir. I will not tolerate this game of hide-n-seek. You have until the count of three to show yourself before I call the Master." Head cocked, he waited. "One."



The stereo system in the cave's gym abruptly came to life, belting out the lyrics to the Foo Fighter's latest single. Doing his best to hide his startlement, Alfred calmly walked to the gym and yanked the cord to the stereo. "That will be quite enough of that."

His visitor apparently had other plans as the treadmill and Stair Master sprang to life, moving up and down as the settings climbed through various inclines and speeds. Wondering if he'd end up unplugging every electrical appliance in the cave, he decided to give his unwanted guest one final chance to turn himself in. "This is your last warning. Show yourself."

From the corner of his eye, he caught movement. A shadow flitted across the wall near the locker room before darting inside. Moving quickly, he pursued. "Stop! I won't hurt you."

Coming to a halt at the threshold, he carefully scanned the room through the crack in the door before stepping inside completely. His hand fumbled along the wall for the light. Finding it, he flipped the switch, basking the room in a harsh florescent glare.

Expert eyes scrutinized the change room. From the back of the locker room he could hear water running. Heart pounding, he made his way to the rear, careful to scan the preceding stalls as he went lest his mystery visitor take him by surprise. Steam poured from the last stall, making his skin clammy. Reaching inside he shut the tap off. He jumped as a stray drop of water from the shower head dropped onto his hand. The water was cold.

"Curious." he whispered. "Most curious."

He jumped as someone giggled behind him. Spinning, he raced towards the door in time to see a tiny figured wrapped in a discarded towel from practice race back into the cave. Suddenly fearful for Timothy's safety, Alfred pursued. If his visitor enjoyed pressing buttons and turning on taps, imagine what mischief he could get into in the infirmary.

However, as he emerged from the locker room, he found nothing. Well, almost nothing. The mysterious young visitor was gone, but Master Bruce's towel had remained behind, draped carefully over the back of a chair. Retrieving the abandoned item, Alfred couldn't help but wonder whether he had imagined the entire episode. Only the scrawled kittens and dogs refuted the notion as their arched backs and tilted heads regarded the elderly butler from their vantage point along the floor.

Unconsciously wringing the towel, Alfred continued towards the infirmary. Inside he stopped, breath catching in this throat. Upon Timothy's indifferent face lay a smile.

"I'm telling you, Kon, it's time to move on." Cassandra Sandsmark stood in front of Kon-el, an immovable force blocking the entrance of the Young Justice resort. "It's been what? A month. Two?" Her face softened as Kon's hardened. She laid a gentle hand upon his shoulder. "He's not going to wake up."

"Bullshit!" Kon exploded. "That's bullshit, Cass! Just because you and the rest of the team don't give a shit, doesn't mean I have to give up!"

"That's not fair Kon--"

"And giving up on Rob is?"

Cassie's eyes flared. "No, but neither is giving up your entire life."

"I'm not giving up my life. In case you've forgotten, I don't have an expiry date anymore." Kon retorted, pushing past her into the hotel. "Besides, I'm taking care of a friend."

"A friend you told not more than two month ago that you didn't trust. A friend you accused of collecting potentially dangerous files on his teammates. A friend whose leadership you questioned. A friend who---"

"A friend who heard the concerns one member of the team was brave enough to voice. Concerns the rest of this goddamned team were harboring but were too freakn' scared to say." Kon spun to face her, anger making his fists clench. "Don't lecture me about Apokolips, Cass. That scene is long over. I stay with Rob because I'm his friend. I'm talking loyalty and dedication, here."

"Sounds more like guilt to me." Cassie huffed, blowing a stray hair from her face. "Everyone knows you two had a big fight."

"We fight all the time." Kon said softly. Turning away, he headed to the rec room. He so did not need this right now. With any luck, Slo-bo wouldn't be here to hog the remote. All he wanted was to veg through an episode of Wendy.

"You're avoiding issues!" Cass yelled at his retreating back. "You can't put your life on hold for just one person."

Kon flashed a wry grin over his shoulder. "Watch me."

"Damned kid." Jack Drake was not a happy man. Whether by nature or incident one never knew, but generally, the head of Drake Enterprises was dour at best, surly at worst. Today he was both. Throwing his cell phone into the backseat of his car, he sent a beseeching plea to his new wife, Dana Winters. "Why me? Why can't I have a normal kid? Is it too much to ask for? Is it?"

"Timothy is normal." Dana soothed. "He's just a bit.... rambunctious."

"Rambunctious? Magician is more like it." Making a left, Jack took the off-ramp leading to Gotham Heights. "I wonder where he's disappeared to this time? Everest to mountain climb? How about another weekend getaway with wayward children in more need of discipline than him? Waitaminute, how about Gotham? I know there're parts of the city not yet excavated. Hell, maybe he's in the sewers playing with that human crocodile that's been on the news. Whathisname? Captain Croc?"

"Killer Croc." Dana corrected, tapping her fingers against the car's armrest. "And I doubt that's where Timothy is. He's a good kid, Jack. I don't pretend to understand him, but he's not mean-spirited. If anything, he's a better person than you or I. He has morals..."

"Right. Skipping school for a month is moral."

"Maybe he learned it from you." Dana snapped before thinking better of it. Jack's startled look had her apologizing. "Oh Jack, I'm sorry."

"What was that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing." Dana stared out the window, desperately wishing they would arrive home so she could flee the car. "It's nothing."

"If you said it, it's obviously something."

Dana sighed. "Well, Jack... Tim's been gone for a month, right?"


"So, we just found out today."

"Yeah. We just arrived home today." Jack's brow furrowed. "So?"

"So, the school's been trying to contact us for the past month."

"We were on a very important business trip that could make or break me, Dana." Jack cast a quizzical gaze in his wife's direction. "They knew that."

"We were a state away with no contact number."

Jack rolled his eyes in exasperation. "What did you expect? This whole fiasco with Mark had to be kept under wraps. It was better to let them think we were on a dig in New Guinea than trying to cope with a business deal gone bad that's being investigate by the government? Christ, Dana, that's not something you tell the principle of your son's school."

"Is that all you can think about? How much money you've lost?"

"That's callous. Of course that's not all that concerns me. Mark was a childhood friend, Dana. I'm saddened by his loss, but come on, you can't dwell in the past."

"Is that what you're going to do with Tim? Leave him in the past?"

"Are we back to that phone-call thing? For cryn' out loud, Dana, I was being investigated by the feds. Calling home wasn't exactly an option."

"It was and it should have been." Dana bit her lip. "Jack, in all that time, we never called Tim. Not once. We never checked up on him. Never mailed him a letter or sent a communique. We had periods where a phone was only an arm length's away but we never picked up the phone. Not even to say hi. We were just gone."

"Unavailable." Jack interjected, not liking where this was going. "We were unavailable."

"We were gone." Dana countered. "Just like Tim. Gone."

"So you're saying he learned his disappearing act from me."

Dana sighed in relief as their house loomed ahead. Thank god.

"Dana." Jack's voice rumbled dangerously as he pulled into the driveway. "You're blaming me for Tim's disappearance."

"No. All I'm saying is that Tim's impressionable. You know that saying? Monkey see Monkey do?" Dana shrugged. "Need I say more?"

"So I taught my son not to leave a note to his whereabouts? To just pick up and go when it suits him?"

Dana cocked a brow. "Isn't that what we've been doing for the past year?" She yelped as Jack abruptly hit the brakes, snapping her against her seat. "Geez, Jack, be careful!"

"Don't tell me how to raise my son." Jack clenched the steering column, his knuckles turning white. "Don't you ever lecture me about Tim. He's my son. My responsibility."

"Yes, and haven't you been the responsible one." Dana knew she was goading him. She knew it was a bad thing to do, but right now she didn't care. Tim's continued disappearances were cries for help. A cry for attention. A plea for his father to take notice. Jack may not want to hear this, but he was damn well going to. "Timothy is a good kid, Jack. He deserves better than he's been getting."

"Been getting? That damned kid is getting what he deserves. He put himself in Brentwood, Dana. I warned him--"

"Yes, and that's all you do. You yell. You bully. You lecture. You're never there for him, Jack. When his mother died, did you ever comfort him?"

"I was in a coma, Dana."

"After you woke up. Did you ever talk to him? Did you let him grieve? Because as I recall Jack, you were depending pretty heavily on him. There was a lot of pressure for Timothy to take care of you. In fact, when you were in your chair, you spent the most time with him. Then you got better. And suddenly, Tim was on the back burner again." Dana unfastened her seat belt. "Imagine how that must have felt, Jack."

"I'm not the problem here, Dana."

Dana shook her head in amusement. "Of course not darling. You're the perfect parent." Getting out of the car, she walked into the house, leaving her befuddled husband behind.

Fragmented realities. Or just one. Dunno. It's hard to make sense. Memories of starry nights and familiar tunes fill my head. Voices too. Always the same ones. Always bugging me. Telling me things. Whispering secrets. Telling jokes. I wonder it what it all means?

After ten hours of blissful silence, Kon was again ready to face the world. Or just eat. The rumblings of his stomach forced him from the resort in search of a burger and shake. Not wanting to run into any other YJ members he'd abandoned the local towns scattered around the resort and headed to the bustling frenzy of Metropolis.

Metropolis was a nice place. Unlike the drab and potentially dangerous setting of Gotham City, Metropolis was a pillar of glass buildings and futuristic splendour that just made a guy wanna go out and buy a computer. As the unofficial home to Superman, who wouldn't want to reside within the squeaky clean walls of Metropolis? Besides, Metropolis sure knew how to make a malted milk.

Speeding towards a tiny retro cafe Supes had introduced him to a few months ago, Kon felt his mouth begin to water in anticipation of grilled burgers and sizzling french fries. Of all the eateries he'd had the privilege of sampling, (and dang! He'd tried a lot) this place was one of his favourites. Touching down, he opened the door and trotted to the service counter, stopping occasionally on his way to pose for pictures with fans and to sign autographs. (This was a Super city after all) Twenty minutes later he'd finally ordered and was just sitting down to munch a loaded burger and fries, when a tray slapped down next to his.

"Hey." Greeted a kid wearing a green t-shirt and worn khakis.

"Hey." Surprised, Kon forgot to protest the boy's arrival as he took a seat across from Kon. "Um, something I can do for you?"

The kid shook his head and picked up an french fry. "Not really. You just looked interesting."

"Izzat so?" The kid looked about twelve. His round face hadn't yet lost its baby fat while scrawny arms and legs had to yet to gain adolescent distinction. "And that's a reason to sit here?"

"Yep." Looking thoughtful the kid munched his french fry, scanning the restaurant with interest. "You come here often?"


"This is my first time." Craning his neck, the kid peered around the booth, as if the sight of tattered vinyl and scuffed wood was something to rave about. "This whole place is kinda interesting. One of my pals said this place rocked. Said I should check it out, sometime." Earnest blue eyes darted around the room, taking in the sights. "He was so right. Look at this place! The pictures are antiques. I mean, it's just about impossible to find movie posters from the 20's in prime condition. And willya take a look at these booths? Totally retro. I mean, who uses puce in restaurants anymore?" The kid's eyes nearly popped out of his sockets as a blonde waitress in a striped mini skirt sauntered by carrying a coffee pot that swayed to the twitch of her hips. "Wow. Even the girls are hot. My friend, he told me to appreciate the view. He'd kinda girl crazy, so I figured he didn't mean enjoy the view-view. When he said the view rocks, he sure wasn't kidding. Wow. That girl is like, so stacked! I bet those aren't real though. Not many girls actually have ones that big that are real. You know..."

As the kid rambled on, Kon took a bite of his burger, wondering how he could gracefully get rid of his unwanted guest. He'd come here to be alone, not entertain some teeny bopper tourist. "Don't you have parents looking for you somewhere?"

The kid shook his head, bangs temporarily obscuring his eyes. "Nope, well, yeah sorta. But they don't know I'm here and frankly..." The kid sighed. "I doubt they'd care."

Kon rolled his eyes. Figured he'd get saddled with the only latchkey kid in the city. "That's too bad."

Drawing a knee up to his chin, the kid shrugged. "I guess. I dunno know what its like to have a family, so I don't really know what I'm missing." A chin jerked in Kon's direction. "You must get to go on some pretty cool adventures with your dad, though."

Kon stared down his at S. "Nay. Supes ain't my dad."


"Say what?"

"Isn't." The kid corrected smartly. "Ain't, is not a word."

Deja vu rumbled through Kon's brain. "Who cares?" He retorted, trying to remember who had last lectured him on his grammar usage. "Ain't such a big thing."

"Isn't such a big thing." The kid chided. "And it is. You're a hero. Heroes can't be sounding illiterate. It gives them a bad rap."

Whoa. Someone turn off the instant replay.

"Besides, what sort of an example would you be setting?" The kid prattled on, oblivious to his audience's befuddlement. "It's not a big deal for me, because I know how to speak properly. But what about little kids? They'll be going around using the word "ain't" and all because Superboy says ain't, and Superboy is their role model. You need to remember who you're influencing."

"Heh, as if anyone even listens to me long enough to be influenced." Kon grumbled, helping himself to a fry.

"I'm listening to you." The kid took a healthy swig of his malt, taking in more than his mouth could hold. Swallowing loudly, he wiped his mouth using the back of his hand. "Besides, you're Superboy. How could people not listen to you?"

"You gotta point there, kid." As annoying as his unwanted dinner guest was, Kon discovered he didn't mind the company. "What's yer name?"


"Nice to meet you, Marty."

Marty grinned. "The pleasure's all mine, Superboy."

Alfred Pennysworth was still in the Batcave when Batman returned, scrubbing futilely at the markered drawings upon his otherwise clean floor. He looked up as the Batmobile roared in, relief dancing across his features.

He rose to his feet as Bruce exited the car. "Master Bruce! I am so glad you have returned."

Batman took in the graffiti on his floor and scowled. "Did you catch him?"

Alfred shook his head. "No sir. The little tyke eluded me yet again." He quickly followed his Master to the locker room. "Sir, the nature of our young guest's..."

"Vandal." Batman growled, pulling back his cowl. "He's a vandal."

"More like a mischievous young Master Dick."

"Dick?" Bruce's eyes narrowed. "Dammit. I knew it had to be someone we knew! So how did he do it? And more importantly why? Don't tell me Dick's still mad about dinner last week. I already apologized."

"Did you really sir?" Alfred picked up Bruce's discarded uniform. "A grunt is hardly an apology. Besides, I did not say it was Master Dick."

"Yes you did." Stepping out of his sweaty undershirt and boxers, he entered the shower and turned on the water.

"Indeed I did not." Alfred protested, laying a towel and face-cloth over the shower's curtain rod. "I merely said, more like a mischievous young Master Dick. As in, the young boy reminds me of Master Dick."

"You saw who did this?" Curiosity piqued, Bruce poked his head from behind the curtain. "On camera?"

"Negative sir. That's what's so peculiar about this entire matter. I did not see a face. Nor did our mysterious guest register on the security system. Indeed, upon replay, it seems I am the only one on video. To anyone unfamiliar with our situation, it would appear I was speaking only to myself." Alfred humphed. "I can assure you, that was not the case."

"Of course not." Bruce agreed, and continued washing. "But you did see him."

"Only from behind." Alfred admitted. "I only know it was a young boy. A very young boy, who is able to draw pictures in mere seconds, turn on sound systems and exercise equipment without being physically present, and steam up a bathroom using cold water."

"This entire situation is strange." Bruce agreed, emerging from the shower. "Why didn't you call me?"

"I didn't see much point." Alfred held up Bruce's robe. "The child wasn't harming anything."

"What if his intentions hadn't been so innocent? The child was in the cave." Bruce complained, shrugging into the offered clothing. "That is a security breach. What if he'd tampered with the computers?"

"The child left the Cray well enough alone. I should think you'd be more concerned for Timothy's safety than your computer, sir. How much longer will you refuse to deal with the circumstances surrounding Timothy or are you still trying to occupy yourself with other, less important ventures?" Bruce blushed under Alfred's hard glare. "At any rate, I felt a sense of familarlarity about the boy. He reminded me of someone."

"Any ideas who?"

"Not at this time. Just that the child reminded me of someone."

Bruce nodded. "If you can think of who, let me know. In the meantime, I'm going to catch some shut eye."

"Of course sir." Retrieving his scrub brush and bucket, Alfred returned to his cleaning, but not before sending a stray gaze towards the infirmary.

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