It’s the weirdest funeral Bernard has ever been to.
Not that he’s been to that many strange funerals, so it’s not really much of a contest. And the funeral itself isn’t really the odd part, it has the standard eulogies and ceremony.
It’s been kind of a weird week, anyway. It was kicked off when Red Robin showed up at Leslie Thompkins’ clinic. He’s fairly sure he’d know if vigilantes showed up for health care on a regular basis at city hospitals and clinics, which means they mostly have some kind of private arrangement - vigilante doctors? He's pretty sure there's some guy named Doctor Midnite or something like that - which means it’s unusual that Red Robin chose to pay them a visit, right?
But whatever, he’s a professional nurse now, has the degree and everything, so even though there’s something really weird about the whole thing he just stitches the guy up, resists the urge to ask too many questions, and sends him on his way. Red Robin’s the first vigilante he’s actually met, although he saw the three Bats that time in high school; he wonders if they’re all that creepy. He’d spent the whole time feeling like he was being measured for something. Possibly a coffin. And yeah, he knows the Bats supposedly don’t kill and that makes the underworld take them less seriously at times, but Bernard is pretty sure that it takes more skill not to kill someone.
It’s a little distressing not to be able to tell where someone’s looking is all he’s saying. But he’s a professional, and no matter how much he wants to, he resists the urge to call up everyone he knows and tell them he met Red Robin.
He gets a call from his old friend Tim the next day. He doesn’t hear from Tim very much anymore, although Tim's connections got him a decent job in a shitty economy. It pays peanuts but he mostly likes it and it makes him feel good most days when it’s not all insanity and preventable death and frustration. Anyway, he’s never really sure if Tim actually wants to hear from him; the guy returns his emails but they’re the kinds of responses you’d get from a distant cousin you don’t really know or something. It’s not like they seem to have much in common anymore since Tim dropped out of school and took over a major corporation.
They don’t really ever talk on the phone and Tim doesn’t call him, and with the second off thing that’s happened, Bernard feels comfortable declaring it Crazy Week. Tim invites him to a funeral of some guy he’s never met who was apparently Bruce Wayne’s butler. Which is also very weird, but maybe this is Tim’s way of saying he needs emotional support or something.
Bernard is an awesome friend if he does say so himself (he does), so he shows up at the funeral in his best suit, which is probably not posh enough, but whatever, he’s fairly sure Tim doesn’t actually care if he’s wearing Armani. Fairly sure, since he hasn’t seen the guy in ages.
Which leads him here, hovering awkwardly just outside of the circle of people talking to Tim. What made the funeral really strange was the people. Aside from the fact that he sees at least three prominent reporters, the hair has been standing up on the back of Bernard’s neck since he got here, like some deep instinct thinks this group is absolutely terrifying. He’s pretty sure they’re not going to kill him and eat him, but his subconscious is apparently not convinced of this.
It’s not even something he can pinpoint, because like Tim, none of them are giving up any of themselves. But almost every single one of them has serious muscle under their clothes (not all fancy, which makes him feel better) and they all move like predators when they think no one’s watching.
Tim acts like he’s just noticed Bernard standing there. “Bernard! Come on, let me introduce you to everyone,” he says, throwing an arm around his shoulder. Bernard meets a dizzying number of people, and then most of them clear out. Leaving him alone with all the really scary people, and the arm Tim’s slung around his shoulders has started to feel like a trap. A really strong trap. He really wishes Tim had mentioned that he hangs out with a family of assassins or something.
“Uh, I should-“ he starts.
Tim squeezes his shoulder and ignores him. “Bruce Wayne,” he says, and Bernard gulps and shakes hands. Wayne nods vaguely like he’s going to forget Bernard’s name in the next five minutes and moves on; Bernard sees him leave the funeral a short time later. “My older brother, Dick Grayson,” Tim continues. Dick has a glint of humor in his eye, which doesn’t make Bernard feel better so much as it makes him feel like Dick would probably laugh as he killed someone. “Damian Wayne, legally my younger brother by adoption and emotionally not my younger brother by way of mutual dislike.” Damian looks him up and down, and if Red Robin had been weighing him, Damian is way more obvious about it.
“Hmph,” Damian says, looming. Bernard’s not short or anything, but Damian looks like he’s about fourteen or fifteen based on the scraggly facial hair and pimples and he’s already huge. Tim doesn’t seem bothered, but Bernard has to will himself not to back up a step. “I suppose he’ll do. He’s certainly no Pennyworth, but we’re not going to find another one of him, so I suppose I’ll let you have him.”
“Do? For what?” Bernard is confused.
“Your benevolence is noted,” Tim says, deadpan, and then to Bernard. “We’ll talk in a little bit. Let me introduce you to Barbara...”
Barbara Gordon is in a wheelchair and Bernard can tell she could still kick his ass without the use of her legs. This day is not really good for his ego or nerves.
Tim finally guides him outside and into a limo that’s waiting. Tim’s brothers are there, too. “You rode the bus, right?” Tim says. “Let us give you a ride.” It’s not really an offer so much as it is a near-order, and Bernard climbs into the backseat.
“Look, Tim,” he starts. “I don’t know what’s going on, but-“
Tim smiles, just a little. “We want to offer you a job. Alfred did many, many things for our family, and we believe he’s going to be hard to replace, but we think you might be suited.”
Weird week? Try really bizarre. “I don’t think a nursing degree really qualifies me for being a butler,” he says. “Besides, I like my job.”
“It qualifies you a great deal more than you realize, and the most important thing is discretion. I hear you had Red Robin as a patient the other day.” Bernard’s mouth falls open a little because what the hell, no one was supposed to go blabbing these things around. He was pretty sure Leslie wouldn’t. So how does Tim know about it?
“As for your job,” Tim continues, ignoring Bernard’s fly-catching routine, “I propose a trial period. We’ll start with a month. If it goes well, we’ll increase your duties. If it doesn’t, you can return to Leslie, no questions asked. I already spoke with her. I’ll personally make sure there’s a position funded for you. I believe I can even guarantee a raise for all staff. If you agree.”
Bernard’s mouth opens a little further because what the hell? “That’s like...blackmail, Tim. And you’ve been conspiring with my boss? What the hell?”
Damian’s smirking, clearly amused. Tim’s mouth quirks a little at the corner. “That’s the other thing. I need a friend. We all do. Someone who’s never been shy about-“
“Running his mouth?” Damian interrupts.
Tim snorts. “I suppose. Telling us when we’re all being idiots, perhaps.”
The whole thing is super weird, and goddamn Tim, he knows that Bernard is attracted to mysterious people. It’s not his fault his favorite things are those that defy categorization. Or that he’s really intrigued by things that come with very little information. Like Tim, or vigilantes. He’s happy to extrapolate what he doesn’t know (“make up what you don’t know,” Tim had classified it at one point), most of the time, but having the information is always better. “You’re not so much being an idiot as being really creepy,” he informs Tim. “But I already knew you were a weirdo. When do I start?”
Tim’s mouth quirks up a little further. “I’ll see you on Monday. We can discuss payment then, although I doubt you’ll have any complaints, and I’ll brief you further.”
The manor is really intimidating, actually, and he’s pretty sure that if it wasn’t the home of playboy Bruce Wayne, who is not terribly dangerous (except he totally is, Bernard reminds himself, or at least he has scary, scary friends) the place would probably have a rep for being haunted. Anyway, he’s not totally convinced that when he rings the buzzer he’s not going to be jumped by ninjas or something, but it isn't like he wants to explain to Tim that the reason he hadn’t showed up was because he was intimidated by the house. Even if it ispretty intimidating.
He’s buzzed in immediately, though, and no ninjas appear to lop his head off so he drives his car up. Tim’s standing just out front and he directs him to park in a gravel area just off to the side and then beckons him inside.
“Tour first,” Tim begins. “The place is huge, and quite honestly I don’t know how Alfred kept it up so well, along with his other duties. I don’t think I ever saw the man sleep. I think he might have also had an army of robots to help.” He shows Bernard the kitchen, the ballroom, the study. Bruce Wayne is in the last, and he doesn’t seem entirely happy to have Bernard there. Bernard gets it, this Alfred was a friend and father figure to him from what he’d been able to tell and he probably thought Bernard was a usurper. Possibly an incompetent usurper, because Tim was right, the place is huge and Bernard has no idea how the guy had made time for anything but cleaning. But Tim was also right that someone had to do it, because he’d grown up in an old house and he knew what they were like. Aside from collecting dust like any other house, they’d fall apart if you left them alone for a week.
Tim shoots Wayne an unreadable look as they exit the study, and Bernard feels his eyes watching him the entire way out.
There are an obscene number of bedrooms upstairs. Wayne and Damian both have rooms there, Tim and Dick have guest rooms that are semi-permanently designated as theirs, and there are several others. Tim points them out and then tells Bernard that they wanted him to stay there most evenings unless he had it off. Tim’s family keeps weird hours and he’d be on call twenty four seven. Bernard is so beyond fine with that; his apartment is kind of a rat trap and isn’t in the best neighborhood. He’ll hang onto it in case this butlering thing doesn't turn out to be for him, but he is so going to take advantage for now. Tim offers him a choice of the rooms left, and he gives himself a buffer between him and the others, because he knows he’s going to feel like an interloper here for awhile, and he’s just more comfortable with a bit of space rather than butting up against their rooms like he’s a Wayne or something.
Then Tim starts talking about duties. Cleaning, of course. Fair enough; health professionals have to be clean so he’s got that experience. Tim wasn’t entirely kidding about the robots, though; the manor has all kinds of advanced Wayne-produced tech, like really smart Roombas and air filters for dust that mean that actually, the cleaning part isn’t a major thing. Thankfully, since Bernard feels a little overqualified to just do that. If they wanted maids they could hire a maid service, right?
Cooking, which he thinks he can handle, too, though maybe not as well as Alfred had. Damian mutters something about culinary classes when he overhears them discussing that part. Tim shrugs and looks at him. “We could probably make that happen, if you’re interested,” he offers.
“Uh, yeah, maybe,” Bernard says, not fully committed to that yet.
He learns that the Waynes all eat ridiculously healthy food, which he also thinks he can handle since he does know nutritional basics. So he’s starting to get the nursing/butlering intersection a bit. “You said something about added duties if I stay on?” he asks Tim.
“Right. If things go well, we’ll be adding things to your workload.” He shows Bernard back into the study and hands him what appears to be a contract. Bernard manages not to let his eyes bug too far out of his head when he sees how much they want to pay him. “Uh,” he says.
There’s a ghost of a smile on Tim’s face. “We’re going to work you very hard.”
“Okay then,” Bernard answers, and tries not to think about how many vaccines that money could buy for the clinic. Which isn’t fair because Wayne actually does keep the clinic very well supplied; any lack is usually due to supply chain issues and not lack of funds. Still, they could certainly hire another five workers with the cash.
“Alfred did very important things for us,” Tim adds.
“I have a hard time believing you paid him this well to yell at you when you’re stupid. So what were these extra duties? Septic tank cleaning?”
“We’ll discuss those at a later date.” He’s not really loving how Tim doesn’t really answer, but it’s clear he’s not getting anything else.
Bernard has trouble sleeping the first night in the manor. He’s used to the noise of Gotham and the giant house is so quiet and his room is huge and echoes and he can feel the space around him. He tosses and turns and dozes but never really falls asleep and he gives up sometime in the very early hours. He makes a note to get some cheap rugs and hang something on the wall. Change up the acoustics a bit.
He creeps out of his room, thinking maybe he’ll get some warm milk (spiked, of course) to help him sleep. The other bedrooms are all open and dark, clearly empty, and damn. He supposed the older Waynes had an active nightlife even on a Monday night but even Damian’s room is unoccupied, and it’s late. He wonders how late they’ll all sleep in the morning.
He gets his drink and is moving back to the stairs when he hears voices coming from the study. He hesitates - eavesdropping isn’t really kosher for the hired help, he’s pretty sure, although he’s also willing to bet that they also overhear all kinds of things. Tim had certainly been interested in his discretion. On the other hand, he has an insatiable curiousity, and it’s not like he’s going to tell anyone. He just wants to know. For himself.
“You don’t like him,” he catches Tim saying, and they’re talking about him. Now he has to listen. He creeps closer.
“It’s not that,” Bruce says. “I trust your judgment, Tim. It’s just - Alfred.”
“I know.” It’s quiet a moment.
“He has the right name for it, anyway.” Bruce chuckles.
“What?” Another pause, and Bernard shifts. “Bernard, we know you’re there.” Tim’s amused, thankfully. Bernard shuffles into the room, looking sheepish.
“Sorry, I uh. Was just getting a drink.” Bernard clutches his mug.
“Too quiet?” Bruce says. “I like the noise of the city, too. Of course, I rarely try to sleep until - well.”
Bruce seems to be in relative good humor, or is faking it, so Bernard asks. “What did you mean about my name?” he asked.
“In-joke, sorry,” Bruce says. Which okay, he could just say he didn’t want to tell Bernard. Bernard could take it.
“Sorry for disturbing you,” he says, rather than what he’s thinking, and goes upstairs to drink his milk and try to sleep.
It takes Bernard a couple of weeks to adjust, mostly. He’s sort of adjusted to the quiet, and while he’s tried not to personalize his room too much yet, Tim helped him find some rugs and wall decor to borrow. He mostly knows what he’s supposed to be doing when, although here and there something manages to surprise him. He’s really terrible at answering the phone. A third of the time there’s a really angry woman on the end, another third it’s someone who's mad about something other than the date Bruce broke, and the rest of the time he still manages to stick his foot in his mouth.
He’s started a file on his computer titled “The Catalog of Wayne Weirdness.”
*No one dates except Bruce, as far as I can tell.
*Weirdest in jokes ever.
*None of them actually sleep
*Health food nuts
*No one seems to knock, ever; see related entry: everyone knows what’s going on in every corner of the house at all times.
It’s password protected, because he’s noticed that none of them seem to have any boundaries, Damian in particular.
His latest entry on the Catalog is going to have to have something to do with the people who seem to appear in the house all the time. He’s sure he’s not letting them in, and he never sees anyone else do it either, he just turns around and they’re there.
Today there’s a blonde woman lounging in the family room, draped over the couch with her knees over the back and her head hanging towards the floor. She’s got the TV on news reports.
“Doing a bat impression?” he asks.
She jumps and looks...guilty? “Uh, I didn’t see you there,” she says.
“Funny, I didn’t see you come in.”
“Yeah, well, Bruce prefers if some of us don’t knock,” she says and sticks out her hand in his general direction. “Hi, I’m Stephanie. I mostly answer to Steph, though.”
“Bernard, don’t call me anything else. Wait, not Tim’s imaginary ex-girlfriend Stephanie?”
“Uh. Well, I assure you I’m not imaginary, but yeah, Tim and I used to date.”
“Sorry. Just. I thought you were his beard. His fictional beard. Wait, how do you know Bruce?”
Stephanie lets out an unladylike snort. “I’m not sure that you’re wrong about the beard part, but he definitely didn’t make me up. And Tim introduced me. Bruce gave me a job when I was younger.”
Bernard decides not to touch that info with a ten foot pole - best when dealing with a girlfriend and her ex. “So what are you doing here? Can I get you anything?”
She waves him off. “I’m good. My house just gets quiet and lonely sometimes when my mom's working her shift so I have to come over here and hope for the dulcet sounds of Tim and Damian arguing politics at the top of their lungs and possibly trying to kill each other at the same time.”
“Really?” he asks with some degree of horror. He’s picked up on the fact that Damian and Tim have an antagonistic relationship. They’re not exactly subtle. But they didn’t seem that bad.
Steph looks at him sympathetically. “Sadly, yes. They’ve gotten better? I mean, they don’t actually try to kill each other anymore. The worst you'll have to deal with is a broken bone or three.”
“Oh...good,” Bernard says because he can’t think of anything else to say to that.
“So...” Steph grins up at him. “Tim tells me you have some...interesting...theories about Batman and Robin.”
Bernard is going to kill Tim, because he hasn’t thought those things since he was sixteen. Well, okay, maybe eighteen. Give or take. But he doesn’t think them now.
Steph grins wider. “Oh, no, these must be good. Something about Batman having secret government orphanages?”
Bernard’s flushing now. “I don’t really think Batman has secret government orphanages.”
“Sure, sure,” Steph waves her hand. “I still want to hear about them.”
Bernard sighs. “When I was younger I figured the Robins got killed a lot, like once a week, so I thought Batman had to be mining them from somewhere. Government orphanages. Or maybe it was government graveyards where he hid them when they died. Or both.” Steph breaks into peals of laughter and Bernard crosses his arms over his chest defensively. “Hey now. There’ve been how many Robins? I don’t really know, but I think at least six.”
Steph raises a brow. “How do you figure?”
“Well, there was the first one. The girl. The one who predated the girl, who would have been the third because I think there had to have been another in between him and the very first. The one after the girl. And the current one.”
“All right, not bad reasoning. But why change Robins at all?”
“It’s a dangerous job, right? I’d be surprised if the original Batman was still kicking, really.”
Someone clears their throat and Bernard turns to see Tim looming in the doorway. It’s still impressive to him that someone shorter than him can loom so effectively. “Steph, stop teasing Bernard,” Tim says. “So how do you feel about Batman these days?”
Bernard shrugs. “You were there.” Tim doesn’t have to ask where "there" was. “Right in the middle from what I’ve heard. You and I both know that- that Darla was shot before Batman showed up, and that it would have been so much worse if he hadn’t. Wasn’t his fault, no matter what those morons on television thought.” Bernard swallows. Tim nods, impassive.
Steph rolls to her feet. “Excuse me,” she says, and flips off the TV, then exits the room.
“And what about the rumors that Batman started the gang war?” Tim goes on, like Steph hadn’t just bailed for no apparent reason.
Tim is so weird, but Bernard’s used to him by now, mostly, even when he wants to talk about serious stuff. Although sometimes he thinks Tim just likes to argue with whatever he says. “It’s Gotham. We have a gang war every three months, it seems. And the longer between, the worse they are - stuff gets bottled up, I guess? Anyway, I think you and I both know if it hadn’t been then, it would have been a month later and worse.
“Anyway, I don’t know about the using kids thing - that seems pretty iffy, and where does he get them? But mostly it seems like his pluses outweigh that. The police department is overloaded, and not all cops are good, trustworthy cops. Batman is, if not precisely a law-abiding citizen, one that does seem to have some moral code he follows. Like the no-killing thing.”
“Could just be a rumor.”
“Nah. If Batman killed people, the Joker would be dead by now. Isn’t talking politics supposed to be forbidden in polite company?”
“Oh, is this politics? Sorry, won’t happen again.” Tim smirks and moves off.
The intercom in Bernard’s room rings at three a.m., give or take, and Bernard rolls over with a groan, flailing at it until he manages to hit answer. “Mph?”
“Bernard, we need you downstairs. Now,” Tim snaps. “In the room we set up.” Bernard has a little infirmary, impeccably clean (that one he does himself) and stocked with...way more first aid equipment than he thought he’d possibly need to care for the occasional skinned knee from tripping on a tennis court, but Tim had insisted.
He’s only patched up a few minor injuries so far- at one point Damian’s cat clawed gouges into Tim’s arm and Tim swore up and down that “the beast” was trained to do it. So he really can’t imagine what’s so urgent at three in the fucking morning, but this is what they’re paying him the big bucks for. Probably.
He pulls on a t-shirt and clean pants and stumbles downstairs and into the clinic. “Wha?” he says, and then sees the cloth Tim’s pressing to Damian’s arm.
“Damian snuck some wine at the party and had a little accident involving glass,” Tim says. Damian glares at him but doesn’t say anything, and Tim moves the cloth so that Bernard can see. And Bernard’s worked long enough in the clinic, he knows a knife wound when he sees one, okay? The matter of how Bruce Wayne’s son got a knife wound is something that brings him up short, though -
“Quit gawping, Dowd, and stitch me up before I pass out from blood loss,” Damian snaps, looking about as bothered by the possibility as he’d be by a paper cut.
Bernard gets to it, because he’s nothing if not well-trained, and after working the clinic he’s fairly sure he can handle any situation, no matter how outlandish. If the Martian Manhunter showed up and demanded medical care, he could probably at least fake it until more competent help arrived. “Just so you know, I’m not buying what you’re selling,” he informs them.
Tim frowns at him. “You promised discretion.”
“I promised discretion. I didn’t promise stupidity, and I seem to remember promising you that I wouldn’t let you be stupid, either, and I’m fairly sure that whatever ends in a teenager with a knife wound fits the definition thereof.”
Tim looks slightly surprised, which is not an expression he sees very often on Tim’s face. “All right, I guess I asked for that,” he says ruefully, as Bernard ties off the last stitch.
No further information is withcoming despite that admission, though. Bernard gives up after a moment of staring pointedly at both of them. “Drink lots of water,” he tells Damian.
“Please, it’s not the first time I’ve had stitches,” Damian says, hopping off the table. He pauses in the doorway. “Good night, Drake.” His tone implies reluctance to be even this polite.
Tim smirks. “Good night, Damian,” he answers, and Bernard realizes that at the moment, they’re actually teasing each other.
Bernard peruses the morning papers and Google News in great depth the next day, but there’s nothing about Damian Wayne getting knifed in a hostage situation or anything. As if Damian having a knife wound wasn’t a big enough mystery, he now has to wonder how, in the age of tabloids and Youtube, not a single person seems to know about it.
“It’s driving you crazy, isn’t it?” Tim asks. Bernard hadn’t even heard the door open, but Tim’s leaning in his doorway, and he knows he locked it, dammit. “The mystery.”
“Obviously,” Bernard says, attempting to glare at Tim. Because really, the family secrets are starting to freak him out a little, and the first time he finds a dead body he is so out of here.
“Everything,” he bursts out. “Your family is weird, dude. People appear out of thin air and no one ever knocks, and you always know when I’m standing there, and Damian gets knife wounds without anyone knowing about it somehow! Just what the hell did Alfred even do for you guys?”
Tim smiles slightly. “Come on, I have something to show you.”
Bernard is pretty sure he’s already seen everything there is to see about the house, but then again, who knows - the place is huge. He closes his laptop and stands. “This better be good, Drake,” he says.
“I believe you’ll be satisfied.” Tim leads him downstairs towards the study. “By the way, the Robin count you gave Steph? Fairly impressive, but you counted me twice. The correct number is five.”
“What?” Bernard says, because those words have meaning but they don’t actually make sense together, in that particular order.
“I’m like Grover Cleveland. I both preceded and succeeded my successor.”
“Oh, ha ha, very funny. You’re trying to convince me that you’re the Urban Legend, Junior? Do I look gullible to you?” And okay, Bernard knows they’re real, but still.
“Former Robin. Current Red Robin. Damian’s the current Robin.” And Bernard wants to object that Tim is screwing with him, except for the fact that virtually every weird thing in his life at current suddenly makes perfect sense.
“What the fuck?” It’s a fair question. Bernard’s stopped in the middle of the study. Tim looks over his shoulder at him.
“Do you want to see our toys or not?” He does something to the clock and suddenly there’s a doorway opening where there was definitely no doorway before.
“Holy shit,” Bernard adds. Part of him is still trying to yell, “That’s not funny, Tim!” He kindly tells that part to shut up for a minute.
“Yeah, I got it, you’re very surprised,” Tim says, and puts him in a headlock and half-drags him down the stairs.
The cavern underneath is enormous, and has some very expensive looking electronic equipment, and an even more expensive looking black car, and some very impressive batsuits. So maybe this would be a little far to go for a joke.
“What did Alfred do for you guys, again?”
Tim’s eyebrow twitches, the way it did when he was losing patience with Bernard, which come to think of it, happened a lot when Bernard said things about Batman and Robin. Which, oops.
“Heh. So, um, I guess you don’t die every three days, huh?” Tim’s eyebrow twitches again. “Sorry about that.”
“I was laughing a little inside.” Tim says it totally deadpan so Bernard’s not sure if he’s serious or not. “And Bernard? Please shut up and let me show you around the cave so you know what your job is really about, okay?”
The cave is ridiculous and has tech and training equipment up the wazoo, some of which he’s never seen before and a lot of which looks like it could double as torture devices (“only when Batman’s doing the training,” Tim says). Stephanie aka Batgirl is doing some kind of uneven bars routine and Bernard has got to get Tim to explain everyone’s identities, at least those he’s allowed to share.
“There’s something you need to know,” Tim says as they leave the cave. “You’re out of the direct line of fire, yeah, but things happened to Alfred, sometimes. We can’t guarantee your safety, although we’ll certainly do our best.” He smiles slightly. "Although some of that was the danger of being Bruce Wayne's butler, too."
“Maybe one of you can train me?” Bernard suggests. “Preferably someone who doesn’t like using exercise equipment for torture. And I don’t want to run around in tights or anything, but if I could get myself out of a situation...”
“Not a bad idea. But you’re okay with this?”
Bernard takes a deep breath. “It’s a lot to take in, so I’ll get back to you, but...yeah, I think I’m okay. Hey, what was the name thing about, anyway?”
“Hm? Oh, Bruce took some of his inspiration from Zorro, I think. Bernardo was his trusted servant in the original book.”
“Tim? Can we ditch the servant title? Because it sounds kind of old fashioned.”
“Officially, you’re the butler, but I think the whole family knows that’s not what Alfred really was to us.”
“Oh yeah? What was his unofficial title, then? Master of the House? Communications specialist? Renaissance Man? Charlie? Awesome Dude?”
Tim’s lips twitch. “Friend. He was a friend.”