“Now, Mr. Wayne, traditional farming is going out of style. Within 10 years, your farm is going to be obsolete. Stop holding on to this ridiculous notion of yours, and sign the damn papers. It’ll provide for you and your, well, family for the rest of your lives.”
Bruce Wayne glared from underneath his hat, a glint of malice slicing out from his blue eyes. He was getting really tired of Mr. Dent’s assholery. He had far better things to be spending his time on. In fact, anything would be more worthwhile than this hellhole of a conversation.
“I don’t think you understand, Mr. Dent. I have no intention whatsoever of getting rid of this farm. It is my one of my prides and joys, and no amount of money can equate what I have built here. Now the door out is to your left, kindly shut it behind you.”
Bruce stood up and walked out of the room, leaving Mr. Dent dumbfounded. Bruce heard Mr. Dent choke back indignation, and smirked as he headed towards the fields. Before he managed to open the door, he heard the door slam shut as Harvey Dent stormed off.
Wayne Manor proudly overlooked a thousand acres of rolling grasslands in Gotham, Indiana. Bruce had inherited the beauty from his parents when they died, leaving him with enough knowledge to keep it going. And he did. And he learned every corner, every acre of that land like it was him himself. There was no way, and he meant no way that he would let it go. Dent could pry it from Bruce’s cold dead hands.
Bruce’s parents had died in a car accident when he was ten, and each day spent on the farm made him feel closer to the two of them. And over time, Bruce had put together a misfit family himself.
Bruce checked his watch. The meeting had taken far too long and he hoped that Dick and Damian milked the cows on time.
He stepped outside, and breathed in the crisp air. He loved his home.
Bruce turned towards the source of the noise. He couldn’t say he was surprised.
Galloping down the nearest hill was a cow. But not just any cow. It was Damian’s favorite cow, the one he donned “Batcow” after his favorite comic book character. But it wasn’t the appearance of the cow that was so unusual. It was the fact that Dick was tied to the back of it.
“BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Dick pleaded as the cow came to a stop and chewed on the grass.
Bruce suppressed a smile. “What’s the matter, Batcow? Something weighing you down?”
“THIS ISN’T FUNNY BRUCE.”
“You’re right. I’m not laughing.”
“YOU ARE ON THE INSIDE AND YOU KNOW IT.”
“Dick, did you forget how to milk a cow?” Dick continued to squirm, failing at untying the rope that bonded him and the cow.
“I’m sure Damian could show you how.”
“DAMIAN IS THE SOURCE OF THIS PROBLEM.”
“Dick, are you trying to tell me that Damian made you forget how to milk a cow?”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” Dick groaned.
Bruce doubled over in laughter. He knew he shouldn’t have, especially as he watched Dick blush more and more, flailing against the restraints. Batcow continued to graze peacefully, either blissfully unaware of Dick’s plight or perhaps indifferent to it.
Bruce caught his breath. “How in the world did you get roped up in such a situation?”
“Bruce I fucking swear you need to stop with the puns.” Dick flailed more.
“Okay serious time.” Bruce began to untie the well done knot. “How did you actually end up tied to Batcow?”
“Damian did it.”
“No, I understand that. My question is more along the lines of how he did it. Of course I’m making the assumption that you didn’t just let him tie you to a cow.” He finished undoing the knot and let Dick hit the ground with a thump. Dick groaned again.
“I may or may not have been sleeping when I should have been milking cows.”
“Dick…” Bruce chided, holding out a hand to Dick to help him up.
“I mean, Damian is 13 so he’s practically an adult and he likes milking them anyway so I thought…”
“You apparently thought wrong.” Bruce said, dusting his hands off. “I should have left you tied to Batcow.”
“Come on, Bruce,” Dick pleaded, grinning. “You know you love me.”
“Sadly I do. Don’t you have some other work to be doing?”
“Yeah, I guess--by the way, how did the meeting with Dent go? Did he finally get the picture?”
Bruce sighed. “I don’t think so. I can only hope.”
“I mean, what can he do, right? It’s your farm after all.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
Bruce adopted Dick Grayson when Dick had just turned twelve. Dick’s parents worked on the farm next door, one of the many that had been shut down by the likes of Dent. Bruce had never really expected to have children, but he and Dick bonded quickly. Fifteen years later and it had only grown stronger.
Dick had grown up to be a handsome man, tall and muscular from his work on the farm. Dick primarily managed the work with the sheep, but also helped Damian in milking the cows. Bruce tried to limit the amount of machinery involved with farming, feeling that it wasn’t natural enough. Therefore, it took a lot of work milking the cows.
Just as Bruce had finished his sentence and before Dick could respond, Jason sauntered up, hair dripping with sweat. Jason Todd was the second boy that Bruce had adopted on a trip to Chicago. He had made the mistake of parking his car in an alley, and to his surprise, an eight year old was stealing his tires. He had seen something in Jason, something that needed a family. And though there had been some bumps in the road, Bruce believed that Jason came out alright.
Like Dick, Jason had grown tall (taller than Dick) and muscular. Jason trained the horses, trying to figure out what made the unruly horses tick and get them to cooperate. Bruce wondered if it was a coincidence that Jason had such an affinity for the work. On the side, Jason also participated in Gotham’s rodeos, and had won several of the bull riding competitions.
“What’s with you, Dick? Had a little mud wrestle?” Jason smirked, winking at Dick. Dick got flustered as Jason continued. “I almost have Daisy broken in. Give me a few more days and she’ll be happy to wear a saddle.”
“Looks like someone has been working hard,” Bruce said pointedly, giving Dick a look out of the corner of his eye. “You think we should keep her or sell her?”
“Hm, I don't know,” Jason started, getting serious. “She would make a fine show horse but she eats so much. Ultimately up to you.”
“Well I do trust your judgement, Jason.”
“That’s a first,” Jason joked. “Wouldn’t make a habit of it.”
“I might just have to,” Bruce added cryptically. Before anyone could ask him to elaborate, he asked “Do either of you know where Damian is?”
“Here, Father,” Damian said as he jumped from the top of the nearby tool shed.
Damian was the only one of Bruce’s sons who was biological. Damian arose from a fling that he had when he went overseas to visit a friend. The mother wanted to “find herself”, and left Bruce with the kid. Bruce didn’t mind in the slightest.
As Damian was only 15, he mostly took care of the smaller jobs on the farm, liking milking the cows and collecting eggs from the chickens.
“Do I want to know what you were doing up there?”
“I had to get footage of Grayson making a fool of himself,” he replied, tapping his cell phone. “This is gold.”
“Gimme that,” Jason said, plucking the phone from Damian’s hands. Guessing Damian’s passcode correctly (it was currently “grays0nsux”), he watched as Dick bellowed from the back of Batcow as he passed through the fields of Wayne Manor.
“Damian, I swear, I will give you ten bucks if you give me a copy of this file,” Jason stated as Damian plucked the phone from Jason’s hands.
“Deal? NO DEAL!” Dick shouted, panicking. Damian might not be one to post it on the internet, but Jason certainly was.
“Enough, enough,” Bruce chided. “Well, that’s almost everyone. Where’s Tim and Alfred?”
“Tim’s in his “office” and I think Alfred’s in the kitchen,” Jason replied. “Why? Is something happening?”
Tim Drake was Bruce’s third adopted son, and managed the finances for the farm. Unlike the other three, Tim was not particularly athletic, preferring to stay at his computer and crunch numbers. The most Bruce ever managed to get Tim to do is ride a horse.
Alfred was his parent’s best friend and one of the farmhands. After his parents died, Alfred was like a second father to Bruce, and Bruce attempted to limit how much Alfred worked (but it did not stop Alfred from trying.)
“Yes and no,” Bruce started. “Something hasn’t happened yet but it might be happening.”
“Alright Sphinx,” Jason touted, “Spit it out.”
“No. I want to do this as a family.”
“Ooh, family meeting,” Dick joked, “I wonder which one of us is getting voted off the farm.”
“It’s definitely you, Grayson,” Damian replied.
Bruce interrupted the bickering. “I suggest that if you want to know what I have to say, you find Alfred and Tim. I’ll meet you guys in the living room.” Bruce turned away. “Oh, and Dick?”
“Take a shower.”
Bruce walked off as he heard the sounds of Damian and Jason chuckling.