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Why'd You Leave?

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“Martha is pregnant.”

The older man paused in front of the bedroom mirror. The spoken words left his hands suspended over his collarbone where he was working on knotting his tie properly. Blue eyes flicker to the right and focus on the reflected image of a younger, raven-haired male seated on the edge of the bed. “Is that so? Hmm…I suppose congratulations are in order.”

“Hmm, do you really mean it? Or is that your British, grandee kicking in?” The shirtless male stood up from the bed and walked up behind the other. He slipped his arms around seamlessly ironed slacks and hugged the elder against his chest. “We were going to announce it tonight at the party… but I figured you should know ahead of time…. Avoid being blindsided and all.”

“Blindsided?” The man blinked and he stared at both their images in the mirror. Blast it all… how in the bloody hell did he manage to bed a rich, young Adonis… The man was the epitome of perfection, born and bred among Gotham’s elite. “We both know how much your wife wanted children, it was bound to happen sooner or later…”

“Yes…That’s true.” He sighed softly and nuzzled his lips against the nape of his lover’s neck. He pecked a few gentle kisses and whispered, “It doesn’t mean anything will change between us… We can still be close, can’t we Alfred?”  

“Don’t be daft, Thomas…. This changes everything. I believe this is the invisible marker I was talking about.” Alfred pushed the younger man’s arms away from his waist and he turned around to face the taller male; he thought it absolute bullocks Thomas had 5 inches over him in height. A large, robust man with well-defined muscles and broad shoulders…. Alfred could get lost in that flawless body. He brushed the thought away quickly and added on, “We agreed this would be temporary, that no feelings of attachment were to incur- “

“That’s just it, Alfred… I like you, I really like you…” Thomas interrupted. He raised his hands and took hold of Alfred’s tie. With expert fingers that memorized the routine years ago, he tied and folded Alfred’s tie into a neat knot. He adjusted it accordingly and pressed one hand down to flatten the faint creases. He let his hand trail down the older man’s chest and hovered dangerously close to his belt. “Could you really forget me? Forgot every sinful act we’ve committed inside the manor?”

Alfred recognized the hunger behind those ocean blue eyes. He was familiar with Thomas Wayne’s possessive nature; every wealthy person carried the distinct trait. When they saw something they wanted, they HAD to have it by any means necessary. Money, blackmail, threats, sex, whatever it took to appease that hungry beast inside. Well, Alfred was nobody’s fucking meal, let alone a side piece that had to be kept a dirty secret. With an apathetic tone, Alfred addressed the younger. “Yes, I can. This…arrangement between us, had a time limit.”

“I don’t recall discussing a time limit…” Thomas flashed that dangerously seductive smile of his. They might have finished up an early session of lovemaking but youth was on his side; he could go endless rounds, so long as Alfred allowed him to ravish that wonderful body of his.

Tiny jolts of electricity spur in Alfred’s chest, that goddamn smile… It weakened him, made his legs feel like lead and his head airy. He cleared his throat and gently pushed Thomas away against his muscled chest; part of him reasoned it was to exude a safe distance, the other, merely to touch his beloved one more time. “None of this means anything Thomas. You and I, this was a matter of convenience. I work for you- your family and you…needed sexual relief.”

Convenience?!” Thomas repeated the word in vexation. He didn’t like Alfred pushing him away…not like this. He grabbed the older man by his wrists and unintentionally squeezed hard; his anger was getting the better of him. “You consented to this Alfred, I can’t help myself if I…developed feelings for you.”

In spite of the painful grip around his wrists, Alfred was seemingly calm. Oh, how lovely, the spoiled brat that was Thomas Wayne reared it’s ugly face. At one point in time, Alfred couldn’t stand that grotesque attitude. To him, Thomas was an overgrown baby who threw temper tantrums when he couldn’t get his way. Only thing was, these were adult-size tantrums; broken glass, a bruised lip or arm, and atrocious threats. All in a day’s work for Alfred Pennyworth. He sighed and glanced to the side, averting his gaze in what seemed to be a submissive gesture. “Let go of my wrists, Sir.”

“No.” Thomas only increased his grip, causing some of the fragile bones inside Alfred’s wrists to pop. “You let me mark you Alfred…. You let me claim you as mine. Just because you cover it up with a shirt and pants doesn’t make the scars any less meaningful…. You’re going to stand there and lie to my face? You didn’t develop any feelings for me…AT ALL?” There’s a hint of pain in his voice on the last part.

Alfred felt a pain in his chest, he didn’t want to look at Thomas because he knew those hauntingly beautiful eyes would weaken him. Of course he developed feelings for Thomas, he… He grew to love and cherish him but he also loathed him… Being the kind of man he was, Alfred could never ask Thomas to leave his wife. He assumed, after all those evenings screaming their declarations of love to one another, that the young man might come to realize he LOVED Alfred enough to leave his marriage. What an implausible fantasy that was…. So ridiculous. Alfred was just a butler, who’s family name served the Wayne family for generations. He was garbage compared to the lovers Thomas Wayne could have. To an extent, Alfred cared for Martha and now that she was with child, she would need a dedicated husband to tend to her every need; pregnant women are delicate, Alfred couldn’t corrupt a promising future, never.

Swallowing the heavy lump in his throat, Alfred shook his head. “Sorry to disappoint… But no, I don’t feel anything for you. Everything I said…shouted, was in the heat of the moment.” He tugged at the grip around his wrists, “Now if you’d be so kind mate…. Let go of my wrists.”

Thomas spoke through gritted teeth, “Oh you lying sonofabitch…..”

“I beg you pardon Sir?” Alfred didn’t bat an eyelash.

The indifferent words elicit a deep, guttural growl from Thomas. With a death grip around Alfred’s wrists, he threw the older man against the floor.

Alfred gasped when his body crashed into the floor.

Thomas was on top of him within seconds. He grabbed Alfred’s forearms and tried to pin him again. “YOU’RE LYING!”

Alfred knew he couldn’t overpower Thomas. He decided to switch tactics and his face softened into a sad smile. “You’re right….I’m a liar.”

The admission seems to calm Thomas’s rage, by a fraction. He had Alfred’s arms pinned against the floor but he relaxed his grip. Those irritated blue eyes of his focused on his lover’s unhappy expression. “Alfred… Please don’t do this.”

“Do what, darling?”

The affectionate term of endearment soothed Thomas’s rage. He let go of Alfred’s arms and trembled ever so slightly atop the butler. “Don’t end this…don’t end us. I need you.”

As much as Alfred wanted to indulge in the heartfelt confession, he couldn’t bring himself to hurt Martha Wayne anymore. “C’mere love.” He raised his hands and cupped Thomas’s face.

Thomas swooned at the loving gesture. He relaxed and leaned down.

Oh, he’s going to hate me, Alfred thought to himself. He closed his eyes and readied himself…. In a flash of movement, the older man threw his head forward and headbutted Thomas.

One skull to the other, their bones collided.

Thomas cried out in pain, momentarily stunned by the violent action.

Alfred seized the moment and he grabbed Thomas by his shoulders, only to throw him off to the side.

Thomas grunted when he hit the carpeted floor.

Within seconds Alfred was standing up, ignoring the painful throbbing in his forehead.

“Y-you hit me!?” Thomas managed to sit up and grab at his nose; it was bleeding. Alfred never marked him, not even a playful nibble, it was HIS rule to never mar Thomas’s skin in any way. Now, the young man had a bruise forming across the bridge of his nose, including the stream of blood.

“Bugger off, you didn’t leave me any choice.” Alfred’s voice is full of contempt. He’s had it with Thomas’s outbursts. It was any wonder he let the spoiled, rich man entice him into bed. He grabbed his suit jacket from the bed and picked up his shoes from the floor. He moved to the door and grabbed the handle-

“Alfred?”

The butler froze.

“Stay.”

Alfred could feel his heart racing underneath his chest, not from rage, but from the sheer power Thomas Wayne had over him. Once upon a time, those words had him in a spell. He would do whatever Thomas wanted, succumb to his every beckoned request.

That was another lifetime ago… When Alfred used alcohol to deal with his father’s passing and an equally suffering young man seduced the butler into bed.

No more.

The lies had to end.

“Consider this my formal resignation, Sir.” Alfred left the room and ignored Thomas’s pleas. He stopped above the staircase and threw on his suit jacket, the next action required he slip on his black oxfords. Once that was done, the man descended the stairs quickly and made a dash towards the door. He was done, he couldn’t do this anymore. He served the Wayne family for 3 years now, surely that was enough to fulfill a dying man’s wish? It wasn’t as though Alfred’s father could return to reprimand his son for breaking his promise. Alfred TRIED, he truly did…. This whole servitude thing wasn’t for him, not when the heir to the Wayne empire was trying to get into his pants.

“Sod off…” Alfred mumbled, just as he neared the front double mahogany doors.

The doors burst open and in stepped a woman with long, blonde hair.

Alfred stumbled to a halt. “Martha! Y-you’re back so soon? The food market closed early?”

“Oh, no, no of course not. I just HAD to come home Alfred!” Martha’s light brown eyes had an excited glow to them and her skin… it radiated warmth and a gold-honey hue.

Alfred had to suck in a breath to admire the woman; pregnancy looked beautiful on her. “Ma’am…. Are you feeling well?”

“Why yes! Thank you for asking!” Martha laughed, however, tears trickled down her face. She rushed up to Alfred and practically leapt into his arms.

“Ma’am!?” Alarmed, Alfred wrapped his arms around the woman’s waist. He felt her arms wrap around his neck, he also took note of the trembling. “Martha?” Alfred said softly. He rubbed his hand up and down her back in a reassuring manner, “You’re crying…Might I ask why?”

Martha sniffled and nodded but it took her a few minutes to compose herself. “Y-yes…. Oh, I’m terribly sorry Alfred. I didn’t go to the market today…I went to an appointment with the family doctor.”

Pretending to be clueless, Alfred inquired: “Family doctor? Oh my, is everything okay? It’s not bad news is it?”

“Alfred…” Martha giggled and she reached up to wipe the tears from her eyes. “I thought Thomas would’ve told you by now…. I’m with child, as of today, I’m 10 weeks.”

10 weeks.

Alfred’s chest hurt. Did Thomas know about this awhile ago? Did he really wait THAT long to inform him? “Blimey… You’re not showing at all. I can’t begin to express my happiness for you and Master Wayne.”

“Oh shush, you’re going to be the Godfather Alfred so don’t act so humble.” Martha leaned up and pressed a kiss against Alfred’s cheekbone.

“…. Godfather?” Alfred was incredulous about the statement. “But… wouldn’t you prefer a family member? Someone far more prestigious then myself?”

The comment made Martha laugh, a light-hearted laugh that was gentle and endearing. “Alfred…my sweet, sweet Alfred.” She pulled back a little and cupped the older man’s face with two gloved hands. She gazed into his eyes and smiled timidly, “You are family. No one is more suitable to help me raise my child then you, with the exception of Thomas.”

Alfred felt a tight coil wrapping around his heart. Oh, if guilt was a snake, then that bloody snake already had its fangs inside the man’s heart, spewing its hateful venom into every blood vessel. “I... I am truly honored you would bestow such a title upon me, Martha…”

“Think nothing of it.” Martha gave the butler another firm hug before stepping back and lowering her arms. She beamed at Alfred with a big smile, “My next appointment is at the end of the month, you’ll come with me wont you? Thomas is always busy with work, he has to travel during that week. Oh! We can start planning a baby shower. I’ll need your expertise on the cuisine and color scheme.”

At a loss for words, Alfred could only nod. The fiery determination to leave Wayne manor was now a smoldering pile of ash. How could he say no to Martha? She confided in him, treated him much like a sister would. If she needed him, he would be there. As for Thomas… Alfred would keep his distance. He despised the man, almost as much as he –

No. He did NOT feel that way at all.

“Martha?”

“Yes Alfred?”

“I would be honored…to serve as the Godfather to your child.”

Martha laughed, but within seconds she was sobbing and covering her face.

Oh, pregnancy was lovely.

Alfred grabbed Martha in another fierce hug and he rested his cheekbone against her blonde curls. This was going to be difficult… But in the entirety of his life, the British man was never one to back down from a challenge. He brushed away the sinking feeling in his gut and convinced himself he was happy for Martha and Thomas Wayne. After all, what was a life of servitude without sacrifice?

Chapter Text

Ultrasounds are strange… Were they supposed to be enjoyable? Or were they horror shows hidden from the public eye? Alfred didn’t want to attend, although he offered to…. Martha insisted he stay in the room while she undressed. The butler found it in his voice to express his concern, “Ma’am?” He kept his back to the woman.

“Yes Alfred?” Martha let her dress fall past her shoulders, hips, and then to the floor.

“Shouldn’t Thomas be here?”

“Work, he said he couldn’t leave work….”

Sensing the sadness in Martha’s voice, Alfred turned to his left and gripped the blue, folded cube on the plastic bed. He shook the fabric out and kept his gaze focused on the floor. “The doctor said to lay down and this will cover your-”

“Alfred, calm down.” Martha giggled, “You’re nervous. I can tell.”

“I never…attended one of these, ma’am.” Alfred paused in his movements and exhaled a deep breath. “Shall I step out of the room? My nerves… You’re certainly braver then I am.”

“Balderdash.” Martha took the blue fabric from Alfred’s hands and sat down on the plastic bed covered in a white tissue like material. She placed the blue fabric over her waist and legs, and then reached out to take Alfred’s hand. “I’m sorry…I know this is awkward. I’m grateful you can join me, I don’t know who else I can ask.”

Alfred sighed softly and when Martha squeezed his hand, he turned to face her and plucked a brief kiss against her cheekbone. “I’m humbled you thought of me. You need someone here with you Martha.”

“Alfred…” Martha’s eyes watered up.

“No, don’t cry again pleaaase~” Alfred cooed, “They don’t have a Starbucks in a hospital. I’d have to race across town to get you a white chocolate big train.”

“With whip cream and sprinkles?” Martha wiped the tears from her eyes.

“Yes, all the whip cream and sprinkles a woman can ever want.” Alfred kissed Martha’s hand.

“Thank you, Alfred.”

“It’s my duty, ma’am.”

The two sit quietly and patiently wait for the doctor to arrive. When she did, Alfred was taken back by the energetic demeanor.

“Why hello, HELLO! I’m Dr. Lien! It’s great to meet you. Let me guess, first time parents?!” The doctor shook Martha’s hand vigorously and then grabbed Alfred’s.

“Oh no, this is, um…” Martha struggled.

“Friend of the family.” Alfred finished, “Her husband couldn’t be here, so I stepped in.” He squeezed the doctor's hand and let go.

“Really? Oh we get A LOT OF THOSE!” Dr. Lien cackled.

 Martha and Alfred exchange glances but neither comments.

Dr. Lien went about to lubing up a peculiar item that she was going to insert into Martha’s vaginal area.

Alfred stood up to excuse himself, however, Martha’s tight grip against his hand prompted him to sit back down. He closed his eyes and pressed his face against Martha’s shoulder. “Sorry love, I can’t look.”

“Neither can I.” Martha shut her eyes tight and nuzzled her face against Alfred’s head.

“Okay honey here we go~” Dr. Lien said in a singsong voice. She jammed the object inside Martha’s warm heat.

Martha tensed up and yelped in pain.

Alfred fainted.

 


 

 

Thomas Wayne started drinking more. Nobody noticed, except for Alfred. Having grown up around alcoholic family members, the butler learned to recognize intoxicated mannerisms. Sure, Thomas played it off well enough and he often isolated himself in his work office atop the tower; it was the highest peak in Wayne Manor. Alfred decided it was best to leave him alone, but he did leave trays of food outside the door, only to return and find them untouched.

Martha was into her 6th month of pregnancy and Alfred was stern about her food régime; no beef or fried foods. He kept her on a strict diet of fish, vegetables, fruits, and occasionally he allowed chicken. The older man was very patient and understanding when Martha experienced drastic mood swings. Sometimes, she was a sobbing mess, other times, she snapped at Alfred but was quick to apologize for the livid outbursts. She confided in Alfred, expressed how lonely she was for Thomas and how he grew more distant and cold with each passing day.

Alfred did his best to console her and offer reassurance. He hadn’t spoken to Thomas in months, besides the occasional ‘Very good, Sir’ or ‘Right away Master Wayne’. He was purposely avoiding the younger man and Thomas evidently did NOT like that.

It was during the fall time, on one Sunday evening, when Martha announced she was going to move in with her mother back home.

Worried and on the verge of a panic attack, the butler rushed to the front doors and blocked them with both arms held out on either side. “Martha, please….”

“Alfred, don’t.” Martha had two suitcases packed, she kept them light in weight and had every intention of fetching the remainder of her clothes later. “I’m done making excuses for Thomas, he’s…..unreachable at this point. I will no longer live in this house as an unnoticed guest.”

“Martha…” Alfred could see the trembling in her shoulders and how she struggled to keep her voice steady. “It’s the hormones talking-”

“DON’T YOU DARE UNDERMINE MY DECISION!” Martha bellowed.

Alfred flinched.

Seeing the reaction, Martha burst into tears. She covered her face and shook violently with each loud sob. “He….he doesn’t love me anymore Alfred! I-I can tell… He doesn’t say it with words, he says it in his eyes and with his body. I’m done, I can’t take it anymore.”

The older man stepped forward and he wrapped his arms around Martha; he was careful not to hug her too tightly, her prominent stomach carried the future heir to the Wayne Empire. He pressed a gentle kiss against the side of her head and whispered, “Alright love. You wanna leave? Then I won’t stop you. But I will ask one favor…. Can you wait another day? I’ll talk to that wanker myself and straighten him out proper, yeah?”

Martha giggled and sighed afterwards. “Oh Alfred… I should’ve married you instead.”

“That’s a load of tosh, your family would absolutely hate me.” Alfred teased gently. He pulled back just a bit to wipe Martha’s tears away with the stroke of his thumbs. “I’ll set the kettle on after I speak with Master Wayne, assuming my proposal is acceptable?”

“It is.” Martha nodded. She leaned forward and pecked Alfred’s left cheekbone with a kiss. “Thank you.”

“Of course.” Alfred smiled and leaned down to pluck the suitcases from the floor. “Go on and rest love, I’ll be back soon.”

Martha nodded and she made her way to the living room area; the leather couch was far more comfortable then an empty bed.

The butler marched up the stairs, took a sharp left, and found himself barging into Thomas Wayne's office.

Upon hearing the door slam open, Thomas lifted his head from the paperwork he was reviewing. There was board meeting tomorrow with the Wayne Enterprise shareholders. Each affiliation submitted a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year and it required Thomas Wayne’s final approval. Not everybody knew Thomas excelled in math and physics; he was far more than just a pretty face. “Alfred? To what do I owe the pleasure of this unexpected visit?”

Alfred scowled at the younger man and he set the suitcases down; Thomas looked very attractive with reading glasses on, but he kept that thought to himself. “Do you recognize whose suitcases these belong to?”

Blue eyes move down to the brown leather suitcases. “Is Martha traveling somewhere?”

If looks could kill, Thomas would be dead. Alfred didn’t try to hide the contempt in his face and voice, “You cocked up your marriage ya daft wanker.” The superciliousness Thomas displayed deserved a good flogging.

“What’s this about my cock?” Thomas removed his reading glasses and set them aside on his desk. Oh, Alfred was amusing when he was angry; he often restored to colorful British insults when he was really pissed off. Having grown up with Alfred’s father, Jarvis Beagle, he was familiar with British phrases and their meaning. Of course, it was fun to poke and tease Alfred with naivety.  

Alfred approached the desk and he slammed his palms down against the platform. “You really wanna pretend Martha isn’t prepared to walk right out of this house and YOUR life?”

Thomas rested his elbows on the desktop, seemingly unfazed by Alfred’s actions. The words, however, make his nose crinkle up and his eyebrows furrow. “What? Martha is leaving me? Good lord Alfred, I thought you had a good handle on this pregnancy thing.”

The audacity of Thomas’s comment was enough to push Alfred into the deep end.

“BUGGER OFF!” Alfred grabbed one of the books on Thomas’s desk and hit him over the head with it.

Caught off guard, Thomas grunted from the blinding pain. He pushed back from his chair and quickly stood up. He moved around his desk and advanced on Alfred.

The butler shuffled backwards and chucked the book at the other male’s face.

Thomas raised his right arm and blocked the object from hitting him again. “Come here.” He reached for Alfred.

Backing up against the wall, Alfred retaliated with a firm “NO,” and he punched Thomas in the face.

Thomas gasped when a right fist connected with his left cheekbone. For a brief moment, he’s dazed and stumbles back.

Alfred lunged forward and he tackled his employer down against the floor. Climbing over his chest, Alfred wrapped his fingers around the perfectly pressed dresshirt and pulled Thomas’s head up. “MARTHA, YOUR WIFE, IS LEAVING! GROW THE FUCK UP AND START ACTING LIKE A HUSBAND!”

Thomas blinked and he slowly raised his hands and placed them on the small of Alfred’s back. “I missed you.”

The admission made Alfred’s expression falter. Did he hit him too hard and knock a screw loose? “Don’t change the subject.”

“Why? You didn’t miss me at all?” Thomas turned his head and kissed Alfred’s knuckles.

Alfred let go and he clambered off Thomas. No, no, he shouldn’t be doing this –THEY shouldn’t be doing this.

Thomas grabbed Alfred by his hand and he pushed himself up into a sitting position. “Stay.”

“With all due respect….go fuck yourself.” Alfred pulled his hand away.

“I see…” Thomas raised an eyebrow, “Soft and gentle doesn’t work on you anymore? Then again, your kinks do indicate a love for violence and force.” He shifted his weight onto his feet and stood up.

“…..I can see it was pointless trying to come in here and convince you to take care of Martha. She has every right to leave and deserves someone better then-“He motioned to Thomas with the flick of his hand, “-You.”

“Does she now?” Thomas mused with a half-smile.

Fuming with rage, Alfred scoffed at the remark and he turned around to leave. He failed Martha and he wasn’t looking forward to sharing that with her.

Fast steps move up behind Alfred and suddenly the butler is pushed against the closed door.

Alfred murmured something under his breath but try as he may, he can’t shove Thomas off of him. He can feel arms wrapping around his waist and a clothed chest pressing against his backside. He’s being squished between the multi-billionaire and the door, causing him to snarl, “GET OFF OF ME!”

“No.” Thomas nosed the back of Alfred’s neck.

Alfred threw his head back.

Thomas moved his head out of the way and laughed in amusement, “Haha, nice try Al. That trick won’t work again.”

Al.

That bloody nickname…. It sent waves of repulsion through Alfred’s body and sat heavily in his stomach. That’s what Thomas used to call him when he first started working in the manor; it wasn’t a term of endearment, but rather a derogatory one. Thomas was the spoiled, shoddy, child who wanted to poke fun at the help and see if he can ruffle up their feathers. Alfred stuck it out, he HAD to, because it was his father’s dying wish to do so. When the two became better acquainted, Thomas resorted to calling him Alfred and on occasion, Mr. Pennyworth when formal events were going on. Only Martha and Wayne could call him Alfred, everyone else had to resort to his last name.

“Sir, if you don’t let me go…. I will have to resort to force.” Alfred warned.

“Force? That sounds fun~” Thomas opened his mouth and he trailed his tongue from the base of Alfred’s neck all the way to his hairline.

Alfred shivered, feeling a tingling sensation crawl down his spine. Oh no, he could feel his resolve weakening.

Thomas smirked and he leaned down to whisper in the older man’s ear, “Tell me what you think of me Al.”

Unable to refuse, Alfred pressed his face against the door and spoke: “You’re an entitled prick and a sorry excuse for a husband. You’re not a man, you’re a selfish lad who can’t handle his alcohol.”

The answer delighted Thomas, and he awarded Alfred with a bite against the back of his neck.

Alfred flinched and before he could stop himself, a disgracefully, husky moan escaped his lips.

“Ah, there it is.” Thomas pulled away and his eyes flashed dangerously. “How long has it been since you touched yourself? Tell me Al…..do you think of me when you’re masturbating?”

Alfred didn’t want to answer either of those questions… Who else would he think of? Thomas knew the answer already and Alfred was too stubborn to give it to him.

“Hmm, you want to play that game? Okay, let’s play.” Thomas unfastened Alfred’s belt and unzipped his slacks.

“Don’t.” Alfred grabbed Thomas’s hands to stop him.

Thomas chuckled, “You’re already hard Al, you can’t lie yourself out of this one.”

It was true. Alfred was hard as stone and was in need of relief. Thomas had that effect on him… his brute strength and aggressive behavior brought out the inner sexual fiend Alfred so desperately tried to hide. He pressed his hands against the door and managed to roughly shove Thomas back enough to turn around and face the taller male. “Cease and desist or so help me God, I will walk right out of this manor and never return.”

“Oh? You’re willing to leave Martha all alone?”

The words sting. It was at that moment Alfred realized the situation he’d gotten himself into. Thomas purposely stepped out on Martha, thus leaving Alfred and her alone to bond. He could very well leave Thomas forever but not Martha, that precious, sweet woman needed all the support she could get.

It was a trap.

Alfred fell into another manipulative trap that Thomas Wayne had set for him.

Thomas remained close, with his hips pressed against Alfred’s own and his hands resting on the older man’s hips. He stared at those hazel blue eyes, watching how the wheels turned and twisted. “You figure it out yet?”

Alfred doesn’t say anything.

“You did, didn’t you? You’re a smart man Al, but I’m surprised it took you this long to realize what was going on.” Thomas leaned forward and he brushed his lips over Alfred’s left ear. “I’ll make it quick, simply because you and I won’t last long. Three and a half months is a long time to wait around for that hot piece of ass.”

The warm air that ghosted over his ear sent goosebumps crawling over Alfred’s neck and arms, although, it was the words that stirred an aching feeling in his loins. “Bastard…”

“I love you too~” Thomas licked the shell of Alfred’s ear, “Do it for Martha. Take your pants off right now.”

Alfred Pennyworth is a puppet and Thomas Wayne is the puppeteer. When did it become like this? Why didn’t Alfred see it? Alfred had never felt this terrified or engrossed by another person’s greedy, sadistic, and egotistic nature.  Oh, the man was drop-dead gorgeous and Alfred argued that he wasn’t doing this for lust, or for love, he was doing it out of loyalty to Martha Wayne.

Trembling hands grip at the belt and pants before tugging them down. Alfred quietly removed his shoes and stepped out of his slacks and underwear.

Thomas watched like a hungry wolf and he licked his lips when he saw Alfred’s cock; the tip glistened with pre-cum. Without wasting anymore time, the man tugged his own pants down far enough to release his own erection. He grabbed Alfred by his hips and abruptly hoisted him up.

“W-what are you-” The startled butler grabbed onto both of Thomas’s shoulders, feeling his feet leave the floor.

Thomas ignored Alfred and shoved him against the door. Supporting all the man’s weight with his left arm, Thomas reached up and swiped the pre-cum from Alfred’s cock. Then he slicked his own length thoroughly before positioning the tip of his penis against Alfred’s entrance.

Alfred tensed up. Having gone months without touching himself and being forced to take in Thomas’s thick member without preparation, well, Alfred was rightfully scared. “Thomas wait!”

“I’ve waited long enough.” With that, Thomas bucked his hips forward.

The pain that followed caused an excruciating cry to erupt from Alfred’s mouth.

The younger man was unmerciful. He continued to move and shove his length inside Alfred. “You’re so tight Al~”

Alfred wrapped his legs around Thomas’s waist and his arms looped around the other male’s neck. Every nerve and muscle screamed in agony at the forceful entry. It burned so sweetly, and it provoked a soft groan from the older man.

“Oooh fuck, I missed that voice.” Thomas started grunting and he pounded himself inside Alfred’s tight heat.

The pace was unforgiving and rough, exactly how Alfred loved it. Gravity did it’s work and every time Thomas moved those powerful hips of his, Alfred felt the attacks against his prostate. He was so starved for sexual intimacy and he didn’t realize it until now…. He missed Thomas as well.

Alfred pressed his face against the side of Thomas’s face and inhaled; hair-gel, spiced cologne, fragrant body wash, and that natural, tantalizing musk that defined Thomas Wayne…. Alfred adored the scent of the younger male.

Thomas cursed under his breath and started moving faster.

Alfred’s back slammed into the door with each thrust, and pretty soon he’s panting and writhing on Thomas’s cock. “I-I’m going to-”

“Do it. I don’t care-“Thomas grunted, “-about the shirt,” another grunt, he can feel the pressure building in his abdomen.

A wave of pleasure crashed down on the butler and he let out a sinfully, lewd moan when he came.

Within seconds, Thomas released his load inside Alfred. Unlike the other, his cry was animalistic and deep; he dug his fingers into Alfred’s thighs while he rode out his climax.

It felt so good, the pain in his legs, the pain inside him from Thomas’s sheer size, all of it…. Alfred panted lightly, not at all mindful of being repeatedly slammed into the door.  

By the time Thomas stops, the two men are physically exhausted and breathing heavily. For Thomas, it feels as though his heart is about burst out of his chest. It felt good to fuck Alfred again, his only complaint was the fast orgasm. “Alfred... I’m sorry.”

Alfred had his head resting against Thomas’s left shoulder, with his face turned towards the young man’s neck. He moved just a little and kissed the warm flesh. “What are you apologizing for?”

“For using Martha against you. I just…..really missed you.” Thomas nosed Alfred’s neck and returned the affectionate kiss. “I’m not talking about the sex either, I mean…that’s one thing I enjoy about you but there’s a multitude of things to love about you Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth.”

Alfred’s heart skipped a beat when he heard his full name. Nobody knew about his middle name, or his mother’s maiden name, how on earth did Thomas come to find that information? Although curious, Alfred couldn’t bring himself to say anything. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the warmth against him and inside him. As awful as he felt about the scandalous affair, Alfred was shamefully content with Thomas Wayne.

Thomas held onto his lover, until both their hearts slowed down and the heavy breathing was reduced to a normal pace. He shifted his right hand over Alfred’s ass and gave it a playful squeeze.

Alfred jumped slightly and raised his head to glare at Thomas, “I’ll give you a bunch of fives if ya keep it up.”

“That’s pants.” Thomas said with a grin.

Alfred rolled his eyes. Cheeky bugger.

“Hey Alfred….next time Martha goes out, can we have some real fun?” Thomas pecked Alfred’s cheekbone with a kiss.

Alfred pretended to consider it, but he already knew the answer. “No, I’d rather we didn’t go down that road again.”

“Aww, but we already went down that road, over, and over.” Thomas turned his hand upward and danced his fingers across Alfred’s lower back. “I bet the scars healed up nicely…. Let me mark you again, please? I promise to be a good husband to Martha~”

Alfred smacked the side of Thomas’s head with his hand. “You just bloody apologized for using Martha against me and you’re doing it AGAIN?!”  

Thomas laughed at the reaction and his lips curled into a fond smile, “Well?”

“….Hmph.” Alfred looked away, those blue eyes and seductive lips could make him do anything they asked for. “That depends on your performance with Martha. If she isn’t happy, then you’ll have to keep yourself company.”

“Deal.”

“No, don’t say it like that. This is no-”

Thomas grabbed Alfred’s chin and turned him before capturing his lips with a kiss.  

Chapter Text

The following morning, Alfred is pleasantly surprised to witness a dapper Thomas Wayne doting on his beloved wife, Martha Wayne. The butler prepared breakfast for them and while he cleaned up the kitchen, he can hear Martha’s delightful laughter floating through the air. The sound is melodic and calming, it made the older man smile.

Every single day that week, Thomas Wayne left work early to tend to his pregnant wife. He started planning more outings like picnics in the park, attending performances at the Broadway Theatre, and even taking up weekend parenting classes. Martha’s parents lived out of state and Thomas’s own parents are deceased. Their close friends have older children but they offer up helpful advice for when the baby is born.

Martha has no complaints. She’s absolutely enamored with her husband and overjoyed he’s spending more time with her. She silently thanked Alfred by purchasing him a new gold pocket watch and an enormous box of Earl Grey tea, his favorite.

Alfred is impressed by the change. Thomas even manages take time of work and attend a couple of prenatal appointments with Martha, giving Alfred time to go out and visit the local food markets. He preferred organic produce, grown locally and unmarred by harmful pesticides. He also picked up fresh meats from an Italian owned butcher shop, as of late, Martha has been craving steak. He begrudgingly gave in and started researching healthy recipes to accommodate Martha’s cravings.

What’s more surprising is the fact Thomas doesn’t demand any attention from Alfred. In fact, whenever they’re alone, Thomas treats the butler with respect- he acts real chummy but doesn’t inappropriately touch Alfred. It’s strange, at first, because Alfred KNOWS the real Thomas Wayne, the one who takes without asking, who demands without saying please, and the man who once worshiped Alfred Pennyworth’s body.

Initially, Alfred thought it was all a clever act. Thomas was a gentleman, which is another word for a patient wolf. That’s right, Thomas was going to jump out of nowhere and attempt to get inside Alfred’s pants, resulting in another heated argument about moral values.

And just like that, a month went by.

Alfred told himself that he didn’t miss Thomas’s groping hands or the playful winks he’d throw his way when nobody was looking. He also didn’t miss the snobby attitude or aggressive behavior. He certainly didn’t miss the soft whispers where Thomas expressed his undying love for the man.

No.

Alfred didn’t miss any of it. Even as another month came and went. It was uneventful for the butler but not for the happily wedded couple.

They decided to host a gender revealing party and Martha entrusted Alfred to set it all up. He chose a popular vineyard and had all the guests RSVP when the date rolled around. He hired a caterer that prepared some of the finest French cuisine and the guests placed a wager on what the gender would be. Some of the guests wore pink party hats -if they thought it was a girl- and others wore blue party hats -if they thought it was a boy.

While everybody talked among each other and laughed loudly at embarrassing childhood stories– the wine had a lot to do with the bubbly atmosphere- Alfred sat alone at one of the tables. He’s sipping on a glass of red wine, surveying the area before him with a pleased smile. Everybody was enjoying themselves, especially Martha. She didn’t appear bothered by the hundreds of hands that touched her ever-growing stomach. At one point she looked across the lush green yard and waived to Alfred. The butler raised his hand and returned the wave.

“You did good Alfred, everybody is having a good time.”

Alfred felt a distinct chill run up his spine when he heard the familiar voice. He kept his expression stoic while glancing over his shoulder to see Thomas Wayne standing directly behind his seat. “Thank you, Sir.”

Thomas nodded, pulled out the seat next to Alfred, and then sat down. He crossed his arms and hunched over the table, a posture that didn’t suit the elegant man. He stared over at his wife and sighed happily. “She’s a gem. You know she’s gong to buy you another gift for throwing such a great party. Would you prefer silver or gold cufflinks?”

“Neither. I don’t need gifts. I did this because she asked me, because I care about her happiness.” Alfred ignore the urge to stare at Thomas. He looked real fit in that teal vest and black suit jacket, Thomas had outstanding taste when it came to formal apparel.

“Hmm, I see.” Thomas looked at Alfred, “What about yours?”

“I beg your pardon?” Alfred took a drink of his wine.

“Don’t you care about your happiness?”

Alfred blinked and he lowered his glass, this time he had to look at Thomas to see what kind of expression he had; it was sincere. “I am happy.”

“Are you?” Thomas had that know-it-all smile on his face, however, it’s somehow softer then before.

“Yes.” Alfred nodded.

“I see…well that’s good to know.” Thomas drummed his fingers against the tabletop, “So… Martha is happy and you’re obviously happy…..how about you assist me with my happiness?”

There it is.

Alfred knew it was only a matter of time. He rolled his eyes and shook his head.

Thomas laughed, “Haha! What’s with the discontent Alfred? I wasn’t going to ask you to do anything nefarious, although…. One might consider requesting a hint at the gender before everyone else as slightly immoral.”

“Hmm?” Alfred quirked an eyebrow, was Thomas really interested in knowing the gender before the big reveal? That’s all he wanted? “Tell me, what are you hoping for? A boy or a girl?”

Thomas stopped moving his fingers and he stared into Alfred’s stunning blue eyes, considering the question.

Alfred grew uncomfortable with the long pause, however, he maintained eye contact.

“I’m hoping….for a healthy baby.”

The answer surprised Alfred. “You’re telling me you really have no preference?”

“I’m telling you I really have no preference.” Thomas nodded.

“Oh…. If you’ve no preference then why are you inquiring about the gender?”

Thomas flashed that playful grin of his, when he was planning something.

Recognizing that up-to-no-good spark in Thomas’s eyes, Alfred frowned. “You’re in on that bloody wager, aren’t you?”

Thomas tried to feign shock. His mouth dropped open and his eyebrows rose high, “Alfred! That’s a terrible insinuation. I’m honestly appalled you would think of me like that.”

The dramatic reaction made Alfred snort, “I will NOT help you cheat on some bet, no matter how large the pot is.” Alfred took another drink of wine.

“But you’ll help me cheat on my wife?”

Alfred choked on the wine and he spit it all out, staining the white tablecloth in the process.

Thomas snickered before standing up. “Take it easy on the wine Al~”

Bewildered and embarrassed, Alfred looked up to see Thomas wink at him before leaving the table. Such a simple gesture had power over Alfred; the effect was a fluttering heart and flushed cheekbones. The butler set his glass of wine aside and proceeded to clean up the area.

When the sun began to make its descent, Alfred rounded everybody up to the center of the vineyard. He carried a big box that was nearly his size. It was wrapped in decorative silver paper with gold etched designs. A white satin bow sat on top of the gift, the colors were considered gender neutral and didn’t give away the secret hidden inside. Alfred set the box down and he instructed Martha and Thomas to stand on either side of the over-size present. “Take one end of the bow in your hand-yes like that, and I want both of you to look at each other while you walk backwards.”

Martha and Thomas do as they’re instructed. They look at one another and giggle like excited children. They were going to discover the gender of their child and neither of them looked happier in that moment.

Alfred beamed with pride, Martha was stunning and the glow on her skin was unmatched, the sunset couldn’t hold a candle to her beauty. He glanced at Thomas from the side and saw joy and eagerness; he was strikingly handsome when he wasn’t being a brat.

Very handsome.

Alfred was happy for the two, at least, that’s what he continuously repeated inside his head.

Martha began to walk backwards.

Thomas did the same.

The guests held their breathe.

The satin bow was pulled apart and when the knot loosened, the lids to the giant box flew open and a flurry of bright, blue balloons floated up into the air.

The crowd erupted into ecstatic cheering and clapping. “A BOY! IT’S A BOY!” They chanted.

Martha put her hands over her mouth and started crying tears of joy.

Alfred’s smile grew and he stole one more glance at Thomas.

The soon-to-be dad was crying.

Thomas Wayne, billionaire, entrepreneur, Gotham’s top celebrity, had streams of hot tears trickling down his face.

The stunning smile on Thomas’s face made Alfred’s chest hurt. He didn’t understand why that expression unsettled him, and he couldn’t identify the emotion he felt as a result. Alfred quickly brushed it off and he raised his glass of wine up in the air. “To Thomas and Martha Wayne, congratulations to you and your darling son.”

“Here, here!” Somebody shouted.

“I second that!” Another said.

Everybody raised their glasses and toasted to the young couple.

 


 

Martha’s due date is just two weeks away and with every expectant mother, she was experiencing the nesting phase. Because of how close she was, Alfred and Thomas stay by her side at all times. Thomas already took an extended leave of absence from work and would only go in if it was an emergency. He mostly worked from home and was constantly on the phone to negotiate sales between Wayne Enterprise and other upcoming industries.

One crisp, fall evening, the trio is paying yet another visit to a baby store. Martha went to every single one of them but she always insisted on a second visit, to see if they had any new merchandise. She purchased numerous outfits for her unborn son, including hundreds of toys, blankets, bottles, pacifiers, and other miscellaneous items that a baby didn’t really need – Thomas let his wife indulge and he paid for everything, reassuring her that their son needed every single item Martha plucked off the shelves.

Alfred always got stuck with carrying all the bags; he didn’t mind one bit. The butler felt just as much a part of the family and he was thankful they included him in everything that revolved around the baby – his future godson. The older man was thrilled and he was equally anxious to get everything ready for the arrival of the new heir.

Martha was inspecting a wooden rocking horse while Thomas was on the phone.

Alfred stood off to the side with various shopping bags hanging from each arm. He admired the rocking horse and the beautiful colors. It wasn’t suitable for a baby but, in a few years, the young master might enjoy it.

“Hmm, I wonder if they have this…..this…..” Martha swayed in place.

Alfred saw the unusual expression on Martha but before he could say or do anything to address it, Martha collapsed to the floor.

“MARTHA!” Alfred shouted in alarm. He dropped the bags to the ground and rushed over to his friend’s side.

Thomas heard the frantic voice and he lowered his phone, only for his jaw to drop when he saw Martha on the floor. “WHAT HAPPENED?! MARTHA!” He moved over to his wife’s side and kneeled down. “Alfred w-what’s wrong with Martha?”

Alfred cradled Martha’s head in his arms and he shook his head. “I don’t know, call for an ambulance right now.”

“Okay, on it.” Thomas dialed 911 and he held the phone against his ear. He took his wife’s hand and gently squeezed it.

Martha’s eyes fluttered open, “D-dizzy….” She whispered.

“Dizzy, well that’s no fun is it?” Alfred nuzzled a kiss against Martha’s forehead. “Don’t worry love, help is on the way.”

“Okay…thank you, Alfred.” Martha closed her eyes.

The ambulance arrived within 15 minutes, record time considering how busy Gotham City is. Thomas rides with Martha in the back of the ambulance. Alfred located the car and threw all the bags in the back seat. He started the vehicle, shifted into drive, and took off to the hospital.

“Her blood pressure was exceedingly high but the medication should lower it down without affecting the baby’s health.”

Thomas and Alfred look at one another, then back to the doctor.

“Thank you Dr. Topolosky, for everything. Will my wife be able to come home tonight?” Thomas inquired.

“I recommend an overnight stay, for observation purposes. She’s also expressed some painful cramping that could very well be early contractions. It’s best if she stays here in our care.” Dr. Topolosky said.

“Very well.” Thomas shook the doctor’s hand and he stepped around him to go inside the other room to see his wife.

Martha is in bed, dawning one of those faded hospital gowns. She was sipping on ice water when she saw Thomas. “Are we going home tonight?” she asked hopefully.

“I’m sorry my love, but the doctor wants you stay overnight. Why didn’t you tell me about the contractions?” Thomas took a seat next to his wife’s bedside, appearing worried.

“Because.” Martha reached out and brushed her hand against Thomas’s cheekbone, “You would do this… You would worry, and your work, your sleep, it would all suffer. Besides, you don’t need those awful worry lines on that beautiful face of yours.”

“Martha….” Thomas nuzzled his cheek against her soft hand and he placed a kiss against the palm. “You’re an angel, you know that?”

“So I’ve been told.” Martha smiled and her eyes shifted past Thomas’s shoulder. “Alfred, I don’t want you worrying either.”

“As you wish ma’am.” Alfred stood in the doorway, feeling relieved that nothing bad happened to Martha and the baby after the fall.

“Did you call my mother?” Martha asked, looking back to her husband.

“Yes, she’s boarding a plane this evening. I’ve already got a hotel room set up but she’ll probably stop in to see you first. I also called Cheryl and Adam, they’re going to find a sitter and come see you.”

“Oh Cheryl…she’ll probably insist on sleeping over, she’s so overprotective.” Martha chuckled, “My love you look tired. Go home and rest. Both of you look like you could use it.”

Alfred chuckled, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means you look a mess, now go get some sleep old man.” Martha teased.

“Old?!” Alfred scoffed, “I’m hardly a few years older then you!”

“Just a few?”

“Okay, a little more then a few…”

Thomas laughed lightly and he leaned in and kissed Martha on her cheekbone. “I’ll do my best, but if I can’t fall asleep, then I’m marching right back over here.”

“Fair enough.” Martha nodded.

“You’ll call me if you need anything? Ice cream?  Bananas? Raspberry jam and peanut butter sandwiches?” Thomas rubbed Martha’s hand.

“None of those sound good anymore, I can’t believe I lived off those sandwiches for an entire month…” Martha squeezed Thomas’s hand, “Yes. I will call you if anything should come up. Now go, the both of you are interrupting my movie.”

“As you command, my lovely queen.” Thomas pressed one more kiss against his wife’s forehead and he stood up.

“Have a good evening Martha.” Alfred said.

“You too Alfred, see you in the morning.”             

Alfred nodded and he stepped out of the room, with Thomas following a few steps behind.

It’s nearly midnight when Alfred and Thomas arrive back at the manor. The butler unloads all the shopping bags and sets them down in the living room area. Just as he’s about to turn around and go for the stairs, Alfred feels two arms slide around his waist; Thomas hugged him from behind.

It had been a couple of months since Thomas touched Alfred and the gesture shocked the older man. “Sir, what are you doing?”

Thomas doesn’t say anything, he takes notice how Alfred didn’t try to pry him off or pull away. He nuzzled a kiss against the nape of Alfred’s neck. “Did you miss me?”

“….Miss you?” Alfred frowned, “Don’t be absurd. Let go of me-”

Thomas suddenly let go.

Alfred turned around and his eyes widened slightly.

Thomas slipped off his suit jacket and he tossed it on the floor. He shed his tie and began unbuttoning his shirt.

Alfred wasn’t able to tear his gaze away.

Finishing up with the last button, Thomas let the long-sleeved dress shirt fall to the floor. He stared at Alfred and with a slight smirk, he unfastened his belt and unzipped his pants.

“W-what are you doing?” Alfred mumbled.

“What does it look like?” Thomas removed his shoes, one at a time, then he pushed his pants down. He stepped out of his pants until he was standing before Alfred with just his black boxer briefs on.

Alfred can’t find the words to respond. Those blue eyes of his hungrily eat up the image in front of him. Thomas was fit, he had the body of an athlete. God knows how he managed to maintain his fitness routine while downing alcohol in the evenings and balancing a busy work schedule. Whatever he did, it was working for him. Alfred feels like he’s trapped in some kind of hypnotic state. He had dreams of that perfect body and yearned to touch it again.

Thomas doesn’t comment on the silence, instead he hooked his thumbs underneath the band and tugged his boxer briefs down past his thighs.

Alfred’s breath hitched. He took a step back, chewing nervously on his bottom lip. Thomas was an impressive 6 inches for being soft.

Thomas smirked and he let the underwear fall down to his ankles. “So, you don’t love me, you don’t miss me, but you’re always watching me Alfred. I know because I’m watching you too. If it’s not emotions guiding your actions, then let it be your lust.” Thomas turned around and walked casually over to the staircase. “You know where to find me~” He put his hand on the mahogany rail and silently padded up the steps.

Alfred stood there, completely awe-struck by Thomas’s actions and proposal. He was….He was actually letting the older man decide this time. Of course, Alfred would never accept the offer… no matter how tantalizing it may be. He moved over to the discarded clothes and picked them up from the floor. Without hesitation, Alfred pressed his face into the clothes and inhaled.

The clothes are soaked with scent of Thomas Wayne.

It’s enough to make Alfred’s cock give an interested twitch.

No. He isn’t going to consider it. He isn’t going to entertain the idea or stroke Thomas’s ego by showing up to the room.

Alfred walked over to the staircase with Thomas’s clothing in his arms. He’s going to climb those stairs, go to Thomas and Martha’s room, and put the clothing away in the hamper. He moves his feet and climbs one step at a time. He turned right and wandered down the hallway. Alfred thinks about Martha, about what she may like in the morning for breakfast. She was still crazy about bananas, maybe banana pancakes? Or banana bread with tea? Or, he could humor her and bring a raspberry jam and peanut butter sandwich. Yes, she’d laugh at that. Alfred adored Martha’s laugh, it was soft and sweet, a blessing in it’s own to hear it.

The butler came to a halt.

Wait.

Alfred is confused, he walked past Martha and Thomas’s room.

Oh.

He’s in the part of the manor where the guest rooms are located.

Alfred glances to the side when he hears a voice.

“Are you going to stand out there all night?”

The door is closed but Alfred knows who’s on the other side.

“Come here.”

That demanding, arrogant, entitled, voice cast a spell over the older man. It repeats inside his head, growing louder and louder. It’s enough to drown any sense Alfred had left and he feels the clothes slipping from his fingers. His hand finds the door handle and he twisted it.

Alfred Pennyworth knowingly entered the wolf’s den.

Chapter Text

Whenever you step inside THIS particular room, you will shed every article of clothing.

The room is dark with minimal light filtering in through the window, provided by both moon and stars. He doesn’t need to see where everything is, he knew Thomas kept the room simplistic. The only piece of furniture is a king size bed off to the right, the remainder of the room is bare; Thomas keeps all his toys inside the walk-in closet, which is padlocked 24/7. Part of him wonders if Martha experienced this malicious side to Thomas Wayne, or, if her husband sheltered her away from it. He never asked, one of rules, once inside the room, was to never bring up Martha Wayne.

Alfred focuses on the outline of the younger male, who’s leaning against the window. He doesn’t have to see Thomas’s face to know his eyes are on him; he can feel them burning into his soul. Tentative fingers work the buttons loose on his black suit jacket before peeling it off and letting it fall to the floor. The next item to be removed was his tie, followed by the charcoal grey sweater vest, the pale maroon dress shirt, his oxford shoes, and finally his slacks and underwear. Once everything was pooled around his ankles, he stepped out of the discarded attire and stood at the center of the room. Without a second thought, the older man folded his hands behind his back; his left hand gripped his right forearm and vice versa.

“Ah, you remember.” Thomas sounds pleased.

It’s merely an observation, so Alfred doesn’t have to answer. Right now, he’s at war with himself. The wall of morality he built was going to implode. He knew bloody well what he was getting himself into, what he was doing to Martha behind her back. It made his heart hurt and his throat excruciatingly dry. Disgusted and nauseated, Alfred couldn’t bring himself to turn around and walk right out of that room. He could leave – he had time.

Thomas pushed away from the window and walked over to Alfred. His movements are slow and meticulous, as though the wolf is sizing up it’s prey first.  He’s carrying an object in his hand, an object Alfred is all too familiar with.

A moment of weakness, that’s all it was. Alfred wanted physical intimacy, he wouldn’t deny that. He also wouldn’t admit to his failed attempts at sexual release, or how he always thought of Thomas when he touched himself. What’s even worse, and probably the most selfish thought of all, Alfred wanted Thomas to smile at him the way he did to Martha. He recognized the joy in Thomas’s eyes, it wasn’t fake nor was he acting, Thomas Wayne was truly happy when he was watching Martha.

Alfred wanted Thomas to look at him like that. He wanted to make him happy too, and it tore Alfred to pieces. He shouldn’t have let things get as far as they did. He should’ve put an end to Thomas’s advances when feelings started to develop. Now that the attachment was there, Alfred could only blindly follow what his body wanted, in hopes it could fill the void in his heart.

Thomas stood behind Alfred and he slipped a leather strap around the other’s upper left arm; he fastened a buckle afterwards, making sure it was fitted. He repeated the same thing on Alfred’s right arm and once that was done, he slipped the remaining piece around the butler’s forearms. He was using a strict armbinder that was made of faux leather with locking buckles. Thomas latched all three buckles together and leaned in to whisper, “Is that too tight?

Wiggling his wrists, Alfred tested the security of the armbinder; it was tight but tolerable. From his wrists to his forearms, the older man was restricted from using his hands. The armbinder was also connected to his upper arms, eliminating all movements.  He can already feel a small bubble of anticipation settling in is stomach. “No…”

“Good.” Thomas moved across the room to grab something out of the closet.

Alfred stared at the window, he could make out the faint glow of city lights in the distance.

Something soft covered Alfred’s eyes, making him jump slightly.

“Ah, easy love. It’s just a satin mask.” Thomas positioned the blindfold over Alfred’s eyes before trying the two ends together behind his head.

“Sir?”

“Yes?”

“Can I make a request?”

“Of course.”

“Don’t call me love.”

Thomas raised an eyebrow and he settled his hands over Alfred’s shoulders. “Okay, what would you have me call you?”

“Al….”  he said begrudgingly. ‘Love’ was the endearment reserved for Martha and it should be kept that way. Al, was for him, only Thomas called him that and it held some kind of meaning behind it- special or not.

“Very well.” Thomas said with a fond smile. He kissed the back of Alfred’s neck, “Can we use earplugs too?”

Alfred bristled from the kiss, he couldn’t see or an anticipate Thomas’s movements and there was something thrilling about it. “Earplugs? I don’t know…”

“Oh come on Al, it’ll be fun. Everything I do to you will be intensified, you’ll only be able to focus on-” Thomas trailed his hand up along Alfred’s shoulder to his neck, “-my touch. Isn’t that what you’ve been wishing for?”

Alfred swallowed thickly, fingers twitching beneath the leather restraint. Oh God yes, that’s exactly what he was craving. However, being blind and deaf was a lot to ask for and it required an insane amount of trust… He wasn’t too sure if he trusted Thomas THAT much.

Sensing the uncertainty, Thomas went around to the front of Alfred and he pressed his body against the elder male. Chest to chest, the younger shifted his hands behind Alfred’s head and intertwined his fingers with dark chestnut locks. In a rough manner, he wrenched the other male’s hair.

“Ah!” Alfred gasped, the pain rippling through the back of his skull and neck forced him out of his thoughts.

“Come on Al, stop thinking so much. Give yourself to me, you now I’ll take care of you~” Thomas relaxed his grip and nuzzled a kiss against Alfred’s left ear. Within seconds he pulled the hair again.

Thomas’s hold on his locks tightened and loosened in a repetitive pattern, while whispering sweet promises against the older man’s ear.

Pain and relief.

Back and forth.

It rocked Alfred into a more tranquil state. “That’s right. No one’s around to bother you. It’s just me. I’m going to look after you, Al. Always will.”

He liked the sound of that, and once again, Alfred was spellbound by Thomas’s sultry voice. One second it was harsh and demanding, the next, charming and gentle. The young man was truly remarkable. “Okay, earplugs it is” he whispered.

Thomas smiled and he kissed Alfred briefly against his lips. He pulled away and walked back over to the closet to retrieve the earplugs.

Alfred’s heart raced a little, he never used earplugs before and he wasn’t sure what to expect. He listened to Thomas’s footsteps return.

“Before I put these in, do you want the bed or would you prefer to stand?”

“Stand.”

The challenge in Alfred’s voice had Thomas grinning from ear-to-ear. “Your confidence is sexy. Okay Al, you won’t hear or see anything but you still have control over your voice, should you-”

“Yes, I know.” Alfred interrupted.

“Very well,” Thomas said with a chuckle. He raised his hands and positioned the earplugs against Alfred’s ears. He carefully worked them inside until they were lodged securely inside both ears. The younger man took a few steps back and crossed his arms. He was curious how Alfred might react to sensory deprivation. They used the blindfold before and the older man adapted to that without any issues. Could he handle the loss of hearing? Thomas would soon find out.

Alfred maintained his posture, similar to how a soldier stands at attention, with the exception of his arms being restrained behind his back. He doesn’t feel Thomas’s body warmth anymore, was he collecting something else from the closet?

Careful steps circle around Alfred, with inquisitive eyes observing every movement.

Bloody hell, he didn’t step out did he? That was low…and fucking cruel, even for a man like Thomas. 

Minutes drag on.

Not being able to see or hear is an unusual sensation. He’s practiced putting together multiple firearms with a blindfold on but one needed their hearing to listen to the pieces click in place. He imagined, if he had no hearing, he would find a way to adapt and master any challenge set before him. This was one of those moments where Thomas was challenging him.

Challenging what?

Alfred’s patience? Oh Alfred was exceptionally patient. Her Majesty’s Armed Forces provided him with the necessary skills to work under pressure and not to succumb to fear and panic. As soon as Thomas removed his ability to hear, Alfred began counting in 60 second intervals. This helped him keep track of how much time passed and it prevented any dreadful feelings that were threatening to surface.  

According to the deaf and blind man, a total of 20 minutes elapsed since Thomas stepped away. What the hell was he doing? Either he was standing there watching him or-

A hand slid behind Alfred’s neck, causing his heart to race and his body to stiffen up.

Warm lips find their way to Alfred’s neck and another hand rests against his hip, stroking up and down in a gentle manner.

Letting out a sigh or relief, Alfred is reassured by the contact.

Thomas pulled away from Alfred’s neck but he kept both hands on the other male’s body. He moved his hands all over Alfred, starting from his neck and moving to his chest. Fingers trace the lines of muscle and circle around to his sides. Thomas applied light pressure and moved his hands down, trailing each ridge that indicated Alfred’s ribs. Afterwards, he shifted his palms to the older man’s hips and traveled down the length of his legs.  

It wasn’t sexual at all, it was as though Thomas just wanted to appreciate Alfred’s body.

His skin tingled everywhere Thomas touched. Not being able to predict where the hands would go next caused Alfred to tremble ever so slightly.

Soft lips press delicately against Alfred’s inner thigh, eliciting a sharp intake of breath. Thomas left a trail of kisses from Alfred’s thigh to the center of his chest. Then he paused.

Alfred waited.

Hands cup Alfred’s face and tilt it upward, followed by a tender kiss.

Those lips were salacious and the taste, oh God the taste was unbelievably delectable. Alfred couldn’t begin to the describe the taste of Thomas’s mouth but it was sweet, with faint traces of rum or whiskey. The butler could lose himself when Thomas kissed him.   

Thomas ended the kiss as abruptly as he initiated it. He moved back to the closet to grab something.

Alfred had no choice but to wait, he was achingly hard but too stubborn to ask for attention. Thomas was purposely teasing him, making him wait and letting the sexual frustration build. It’s been building for over 2 months, why prolong his suffering?

Something touches Alfred’s face, making him jump in place.

The older man can smell leather and the multiple pieces that trail along his face are telltale signs of what’s to come next. Yes, he’s familiar with the leather flogger. In the most non-verbal way, Thomas was letting Alfred know what he was planning to do.

“The beauty of marks is that the emotive impact of the scene can stay with you for as long as the marks are there. They’re physical and sensory reminders of a spanking. It’s one thing to just recall a scene, but looking at the marks can trigger deeper memories.”

Alfred’s eyebrows furrowed and his lips twitched into a look of disapproval. “Bullocks… why would any SANE person submit to archaic forms of violence?”

Thomas laughed and shrugged slightly. He watched the other with one of those smiles that bewitched Alfred, “From my point of view, marking can be a total turn-on. Just seeing my handiwork after a scene can reinforce all the hottest aspects of dominance.” 

“Seems dodgy to me.”

“But you’re thinking about it aren’t you?”

“Bugger off.”

The sound of leather colliding against skin shattered the memory.

Pain shot up Alfred’s lower back and he threw his head back, crying out from the excruciatingly painful attack.

There was no time left for recovery, a second strike found its way against Alfred’s ass.

Alfred’s legs almost gave in on him. He swayed slightly and grunted, forcing himself to stand still. If he fell, there would be no way to brace himself. How would he explain to everyone about a hideous bruise on his face?

Nothing happens.

Alfred swallowed the lump in his throat.

Now he was on the verge of panicking. His lips parted, “Thomas-”

The leather flogger came down upon Alfred’s exposed chest. It was powerful, much harder then the strikes behind, and bits and pieces of flesh rip open as a result.

Alfred choked back a sob, the blindfold hid the tears in his eyes.

Thomas stepped back and he lunged forward, this time aiming the leather flogger for the front of Alfred’s thighs.

The damaging assault against his body broke Alfred. Besides the unbearable amount of pain, he can feel blood on his chest and thighs. He collapsed down on his knees and doubled over from the immense pain. He’s crying and somehow, he managed to blurt out a single word.

“Remora!”

Thomas froze. He recognized the safe word, its Latin definition translated to ‘stop’ or ‘halt’. He dropped the whip on the floor and crouched down in front of Alfred. He removed the ear plugs and looped his arms Alfred’s torso. “Get up.” He stood and pulled the older man along with him.

Alfred obeyed and with Thomas’s aid, he stood back up on his feet.

Thomas slipped his fingers underneath the blindfold and gently removed it.

Alfred tried to blink away tears.

“So beautiful. Just for me.” Thomas drawled before his hand dipped below and traced patterns down to Alfred’s hardening cock.

The touch made the muscles in his abs jump. Alfred felt good, in spite of the pain, really good.

Those same fingers brushed the head and smeared pre-cum already gathering there. Alfred let out a loud gasp, back arching.

“Yes, just like that~” Thomas purred, kissing his neck.

Alfred felt as though he were wrapped in golden silk; not a care in the world. He only needed to focus on the man in front of him. Any remnants of guilt were gone. He wanted this, God he wanted Thomas so bad.

Thomas’s hand wrapped around his cock and slowly started to stroke Alfred, using the natural lubrication. “That’s it, Al. You're doing so good for me~” Thomas was showering him with praises that only made Alfred’s heart beat louder in his head.

The older man gave one long sigh, submitting entirely to the touch. He leaned against the taller male, his breath tickling Thomas’s shoulder.

“You feel good?” He asked.

Alfred could barely move but managed a slow nod.

“Use your words Al.”

“Feelsgood.” Alfred slurred together, drunk on his feelings.

Thomas smirked, pleased with the response.

Seconds later Alfred felt the muscles in his stomach start to tense up.

“Are you going to cum for me, Al?” Thomas asked.

"Yes .” Alfred gasped, eyes falling shut.

“Cum for me then. Show me how much you want me.” Thomas whispered in his ear.

Alfred’s body couldn’t refuse him. Letting his mouth fall open and his eyes squeeze shut, he let out a loud moan that filled the entire room, echoing off the decorative walls. Warm cum splashed against his abs and Thomas’s hand. His chest heaved, sucking in deep lungfulls of air he hadn’t realized he was holding. His eyes blinked back open and he felt like he was going to faint right then and there.

“That’s very good Al, but you’re coming back up too quickly. You need to relax.” Thomas said, holding him up. “Let’s get you to the bed.” The taller man bent down and Alfred felt himself getting picked up.

Alfred didn’t protest. He wasn’t that light… How was Thomas doing that with such ease?

The younger man carefully set Alfred down on soft sheets, “Roll to your side.”

Alfred obediently turned his body to the left side.

Thomas unbuckled every restraint and gently removed them from Alfred’s arms and wrists. He surveyed Alfred’s backside and saw faint red welts forming. He didn’t break the skin in the back, but the open wounds on Alfred’s chest and thighs would need cleaning. “I’ll be right back. I’m going to grab a few things from the bathroom.” He was about to stand when a hand wrapped around his wrist, prompting him to stop and look down.

“I love you Thomas.” Alfred was on his back and staring up at the younger male.

A knowing smile danced across his lips, “I know.”

That self-assured tone stirred a mixture of emotions inside Alfred’s chest. How was it possible to love someone and hate them all the same?

Thomas abruptly cupped Alfred’s face and kissed him.

This time it wasn’t fleeting. It was long, soft, and meaningful. A tongue pushed it’s way into Alfred’s mouth and explored.

Their lips sealed together in a kiss was reminiscent of the first. Slow and soft, the wet sounds gave Alfred a head rush. He cupped Thomas’s face and leaned up, matching the same movements as the other.

Minutes pass, but who’s counting?

Thomas kisses Alfred into bed until the burning sensation his lungs caused him to pull away with a loud gasp.

Alfred was panting, his face flushed from the passionate make-out session. “Thomas?” he said in between breaths.

“Yes?”

“You’ll allow me….to reciprocate?”

“Of course.” Thomas smiled and he took Alfred’s hand, raising it to his mouth to brush a kiss against the knuckles. “But after I attend to those cuts, okay?”

“Okay.” Alfred smiled. It astonished him how someone like Thomas Wayne could walk around with a full erection and act so calm and polite. He was a completely different person behind closed doors and he felt privileged to know both sides firsthand.

Thomas winked, a gesture that was hardly noticeable in the dark. He let go of Alfred’s hand and stood up. “Should I turn the hallway light on?”

“Mhmm.” Alfred stared up at the dark ceiling, with a content smile resting on his face.

Thomas admired his lover for a few moments and then he opened up the bedroom door. He stepped into the hallway, turned the lights on, and made his way to the nearest bathroom; they were always stocked with medical supplies, should any guest need first aid services right away.

The room lit up with light from the hallway but it wasn’t too bothersome or overly bright. Alfred’s eyes adjusted right away and he closed his eyes. He was going to be sore tomorrow, maybe he ought to request the morning off to ice down his body. Afterwards, he could soak in a hot bubble bath with lavender oil, a bottle of champagne, and classical music.

Oh yes, that sounded quite lovely. The only thing that could make it more perfect is if-

Thomas bounded into the room so fast that he nearly crashed into the bed. “AlFRED!”

The older man felt his heart lodge itself up into his throat. He bolted into a sitting position to see a hysterical Thomas Wayne.

“It’s Martha! She’s in labor!!!”

Chapter Text

Thomas Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth rushed over to the hospital.

“WHY did you leave your phone downstairs?!”

“It was in my pants pocket, how was I supposed to know she’d go into labor?!”

Both men are equally terrified and in a state of panic.

When they parked and climbed out of the vehicle, Alfred grabbed Thomas by his sleeve and urged him to wait.

“Alfred-“

“Disheveled appearances do NOT suit you, Sir.” Alfred fixed Thomas’s tie, buttoned up his shirt and suit jacket, then he flattened out the creases on the sides. “There…. now go to your wife.”

Thomas leaned forward and pecked Alfred’s forehead with a kiss, “Thank you Al.” In a hasty manner the younger man rushed through the glass sliding doors and took the stairs to find his wife.

Alfred stood where he was, unblinking, and dying on the inside. Why? Why did he have to share Thomas Wayne? How much time will pass before that man touches him again? He didn’t think he could wait another 2 months.

Oh shush, you’re going to be the Godfather Alfred so don’t act so humble.

Pushing his pride and feelings aside, Alfred Pennyworth walked into the hospital and took the elevator up to the 5th floor. He located Martha’s room and heard voices; this prompted him to stop outside the slightly ajar door.

“Martha…he’s beautiful!”

“He is, just like his father.”

“My love….thank you for blessing us witch such a handsome son…” Thomas’s voice was heavy with emotion.

Alfred can hear his lover crying. It’s enough to halt his breath.

“Oh Thomas, I love you.”

“I love you more.”

The baby cried.

Alfred turned around and quietly strode down the hall. He didn’t want to see either member of the Wayne family. He couldn’t resent them and be apart of the family at the same time. As selfish as it was, Alfred acknowledged he didn’t want to share a third of Thomas’s love; not with Martha, and not with their son. He was going to resign and leave Wayne Manor for good.

 


 

Alfred kept his cell phone off on purpose while he prepared the baby’s room. First, he assembled the wooden crib and made sure it was firm and secure. Then, he put together the additional toys Martha purchased and stored them in a separate room; the baby could play with them once he was old enough. Alfred readied the bed, moved additional furniture into the nursery, and finally placed a rocking chair next to the bed. Martha would need that, babies loved to be rocked to sleep, or so he assumed; Alfred was an only child, he had no nephews, nieces, or young cousins to practice child-rearing on. Martha and Thomas would have to figure it out on their own, Alfred couldn’t take part. He REFUSED to take part in the new heir’s life.

Having worked throughout the night without rest, Alfred was exhausted. He forced down a few cups of tea and packed his suitcases afterward. All of the work and preparation dragged on into the afternoon hours. By the time he was finished, it was nearly 5:00pm, good, he could catch the 6:00pm train out of Gotham City. He opened up the front door, hoisted two big suitcases from the floor, and trudged down the walkway.

“Alfred?”

The butler froze. Blue eyes widen in shock when he sees Martha and Thomas Wayne at the end of the walkway. “Ma’am, Sir. I…”

Thomas was holding a car seat, however, it was empty as his wife held their newborn son against her chest.

“You’re…..leaving?” Martha’s eyes hovered on the suitcases.

“Yes…. Urgent family business back home. Have to attend a funeral and help oversee the arrangements. I’ll be back soon love.”

That was a lie.

Thomas quirked an eyebrow, “They wanted to keep Martha and Bruce for one more day, but we were both worried when you didn’t answer your phone…”

Alfred ignored the dull throb inside his chest. “Ah, yes, sorry about that mate…was busy setting up the nursery and all. It’s lovely, please consider it as my-“ He tailed off, having finally caught the name. “Bruce Wayne…. marvelous choice.”

“Care to hold your godson before you leave?” Martha asked with a smile.

Hesitant, Alfred set his suitcases down and stared at the swaddled newborn in Martha’s arms; he had a blue knitted cap covering his head. “Right, of course.” He walked up to Martha and extended both his arms.

“Watch his head.” Thomas said.

“I know how to bloody hold a baby, Sir.”

“Oh? Who’ve you been practicing on?” Thomas mused.

Alfred glared at Thomas but he turned his attention back to Martha when she placed the new heir into his arms. He shifted his left arm up to support the baby’s head and he wrapped his right arm around the little body. Wow, he hardly weighed a pound; not in the literal sense, he was very small.

Bruce sensed the movement and his eyes blinked open.

Alfred gasped in awe.

He saw the ocean and sun in those blue orbs. Coral reefs, brilliantly colored fish, unknown creatures that were hidden amongst the crevices in the floor. Warmth. Unforgiving cold. Beauty and mystery. Alfred stood submerged in every elegant detail in Bruce Wayne’s eyes and in that moment, he stopped breathing.

“Alfred my love, are you okay?” Martha’s tone is worried.

“Hmm?” Alfred tore his gaze away from the baby. He didn’t realize it but he was crying. Warm, slick tears trailed down both cheekbones. “I’m fine ma’am, he’s…..just so bloody beautiful.”

The comment made Martha’s eyes water up. “Alfred…”

Somehow the newborn managed to wiggle around and free his left arm. One small hand finds its way to Alfred’s jaw.

Feeling the touch, Alfred looked down.

Bruce had his eyes closed and on his face was one of the most precious smiles Alfred ever witnessed.

The butler felt his heart breaking into two pieces. The smaller piece would always carry a torch to Thomas Wayne…. The larger piece of his aching heart would hold nothing but adoration, protectiveness, and love for Bruce Wayne. He nuzzled a kiss against the tiny hand, catching whiff of that newborn baby smell. It’s new to Alfred but he loves it, he loves Bruce to death. In a choked whisper, he manages to speak: “My darling boy, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Alfred Pennyworth, your…g-…..godfather-“

Alfred trembled and wept.

Martha wrapped her arms around Alfred and she pulled him into a hug. She kissed the elder against his cheekbone and was crying as well. “Please stay Alfred.”

Thomas is silent, he watched the two with a warm smile. 

Alfred pressed a kiss to Bruce’s forehead and nodded; he can’t seem to stop the overwhelming tears. “Todger I am, the family can handle all the arrangements themselves.” Screw his fake dead relative, Alfred couldn’t leave.

Not now.

Not ever.

 


 

Having done his research, Alfred understood the importance of rest and support for new mothers. Him and Martha switched every night when it came to attending to Bruce’s needs. The lad suffered from day-night confusion, so Alfred did his best to maintain a consistent feeding and napping schedule. Most times he could get Bruce to fall asleep at a decent time, however, the boy was up in the early morning hours. Lack of sleep weighed heavily on Alfred but he didn’t mind one bit. He enjoyed feeding Bruce and telling him stories. Bath time was his favorite, Bruce often fell asleep after a relaxing soak in his blue tub.

And that scent….

Alfred could smell Bruce on his hands, his clothes, and in the Manor itself. It was comforting.

Weeks turned into months and gradually, Bruce began to sleep through the nights. This didn’t stop Alfred from getting up every hour on the dot to check on the boy. He always checked Bruce’s chest first, to make sure he was breathing, then he’d cover him up with his soft, furry blanket and kiss him atop his head.

On occasion, Bruce would get up around 5:30am for a bottle.

This was such an occasion and Alfred found himself downstairs in the kitchen. He heated one of Martha’s pouches, which was stored with breast milk. He emptied the contents into a bottle and slapped a medical grade silicone nipple on it. He carried the 4-month-old into the living room and made himself cozy on a leather recliner. Alfred shifted Bruce to his left arm and propped the bottle into his mouth.

Bruce cooed happily and eagerly drank the warm milk.

“Fatherhood looks good on you.”

Bruce glanced up to see Thomas hovering in the living room entryway.

“Does it? I imagine the spit up and shite diaper smell might be unappealing to most.”

Thomas chuckled and he approached Alfred.

Taking note of the suit, Alfred raised an eyebrow. “You’re off to work? A bit early innit?”

“You know what they say, early bird catches the worm.” Thomas stood next to the recliner and he looked down at Bruce, admiring the content expression on his son’s face. “Al?”

Alfred tensed up and he hastily turned his attention back to Bruce. “Sir, please, I’m tending to-“

“I love you.”

Alfred blinked.

Thomas leaned down and pressed a kiss against chestnut locks. “Thank you, for helping us with Bruce. I truly appreciate everything you do.”

Alfred doesn’t comment, nor does he respond to the affectionate sentiment.

 


 

A year goes by and in that time, Alfred brushes Thomas off. The younger man’s advances grow increasingly bothersome, and in some cases, hostile.

During one particular evening, with plenty of alcohol involved, Thomas entered Alfred’s sleeping quarters.

The butler awakened to see Thomas Wayne hovering over him and attempting to pin him down.

Alfred’s training from the army kicked in and he headbutted Thomas. Next, he threw the younger male off the bed, got up, and kicked him in the face. He told him to get the hell out and Thomas surprisingly obeyed the command.

They never spoke of the incident and Thomas told Martha he fell in order to explain the bruise on his face.

This doesn’t hinder Thomas’s attempts to establish a connection with Alfred. When his family isn’t within earshot, he whispers sweet things to his lover.

I love you, Al.

I miss you…

God you’re beautiful.

I need you…please Al? Let me take care of you.

Alfred’s heart races every time that alluring voice addresses him. He refuses to give into his desires and ignores the younger man. He wanted Thomas, and himself, to be good role models for Bruce. They couldn’t do that if they were engaged in a disgraceful affair. Perhaps they would never have to explain themselves to Bruce, and maybe, they could pretend it never happened.

Maybe.

 


 

Bruce is three and a half years in age, old enough to dash away and hide in the smallest fissures.

Alfred turned it into a game. Whenever he had his back turned, he knew the mischievous infant would scamper off in a random direction. He’d count down from ten and would go off to find the lad.

Sometimes, Bruce is far too good at hiding.

Alfred figured out a clever way to solve that dilemma. Knowing how much the boy envied his accent, the butler would start singing at the top of his lungs. Thankfully, nobody else was in the manner except for him and Bruce. He purposely sang off key, his agonizing high notes bounce off the manor walls.

Bruce always giggled.

That’s how Alfred found him, and one, embarrassing time, he had to resort to the method while shopping at the Gotham Central Mall uptown.

 


 

Alfred is sad when Martha and Thomas enroll their son at a private school. The lad is five years old and Martha insists he learn to socialize with children his own age. The butler doesn’t know what to do with himself, he’s never gotten so much cleaning done in a single week. He gradually adjusts to lonesome hours during the day but he’s always excited to pick up Bruce after school.

Thomas Wayne gradually stops flirting with Alfred. In fact, he hardly addresses the butler and when he does, it pertains to upcoming events and Bruce’s schedule.

The older man convinces himself that he’s grateful for Thomas’s withdrawal.

In reality, Alfred is in pain. Whenever Martha, Thomas, and Bruce are engaged, the butler can’t help but envy their happiness. He wanted that. He really, really wanted that family life and to share it with Thomas Wayne. These miserable thoughts are the worst when he’s alone, however, as soon as Bruce is back in his arms, Alfred forgets his loneliness.

Bruce Wayne is Alfred Pennyworth’s saving grace. He didn’t know where he would be without the boy.

 


 

When Bruce turned eight years old, things took a change for the worse.

Initially, Alfred doesn’t notice.

It started off with Thomas Wayne offering (in this case nobody could refuse) to take his son to school in the morning and pick him up afterwards.

Simple enough, Alfred didn’t mind, Martha and Bruce are pleased.

The next change to follow was the driving arrangements. Normally, Alfred drove the Wayne family to every event, appointment, or leisurely activity they wished to participate in.

Thomas dismissed Alfred from driving and he took it upon himself to drive his wife and son everywhere they went.

Bruce idolized his father, so who was Alfred to intervene in their time together? He keeps his mouth shut.

Thomas hires a personal chef with a German accent; Alfred found it a tad annoying and brutish. The new chef prepares all the meals and he even goes out of his way to do the weekly shopping and stock the kitchen with nutritious foods.

That left Alfred with just the cleaning.

Until Thomas hired a housemaid.

That was the final straw. With the new help, Alfred had NOTHING to do at the manor. He feels isolated from Martha and Bruce, it’s almost as if they’re housemates who’s schedules never line up. He misses the boy, he misses Martha, why was Thomas doing this to him? He needed answers.

Having downed enough liquid courage to address his employer, Alfred marched right into his office and slammed the door shut behind him.

“The bloody hell are you doing?!”

Thomas was standing in front if a full-size mirror, adjusting his tie. He ignored Alfred and finished knotting it properly before turning around to face the angry British. “I’m getting ready to head to a Broadway musical, Bruce has been dying to see Lion King.”

Alfred’s lips twitch into a scowl. “You know what I’m referring to…”

“No, I don’t. So quit wasting my time and spit it out.” Thomas walked back over his desk and picked up the royal blue suit jacket draped over the chair.

The older man was tempted to grab one of the office chairs and slam Thomas in the face with it. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, that helped calm his frazzled nerves, somewhat. “Why are you keeping Martha and Bruce from me? Why did you hire the new help? Am I not meeting your expectations?”

“Hmm.” Thomas slipped the suit jacket on, looked down, and proceeded to button up. “Do you hear yourself Alfred? You sound stressed out.”

“Stop avoiding the questions mate.”

“Why?” Thomas glanced over at Alfred. “Is Martha your wife?”

“No-“

“Is Bruce your son?”

“Ah, no, but-“

“Then we’re done here. You have no authority to question what I do with my family. As for the new employees? I thought you could use some help. Afterall, it’s a pretty big manor.”

“Sir-”

“Mr. Pennyworth.”

Alfred’s chest tightened up at the formal address, Thomas NEVER called him that; he can sense the venom in the other male’s words. “Yes?”

“What are you?”

Alfred doesn’t answer.

Thomas lowered his hands and cleared his throat, “Ahem. Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth, what, the fuck, are you to THIS family?”

Alfred cringed. With reluctance, he answered: “The butler, Sir.”

“Exactly. A butler is all you ever will be.” Thomas picked up a brown envelope and held it out to Alfred. “But if you’re unhappy…. You can leave.”

“What?” Alfred blinked, dumbfounded by the suggestion. He took the envelope and cautiously peeked inside.

The envelope is stuffed with cash.

“There’s 12 months of your salary inside there. Take it and catch the next flight out of Gotham. Maybe go visit the graveyard of your fake deceased relative.”

Alfred stares at the money, unable to speak.

“Well?” Thomas said impatiently.

“You…..” Alfred looked at the younger male, “You’re paying me to leave?”

Thomas rolled his eyes, “Don’t be dramatic. I’m saying you CAN leave, and should you do so, I’m offering generous compensation.”

Without warning Alfred threw the brown envelope at Thomas’s face. “YOU GORMLESS TIT! YOU THINK I WOULD ACCEPT THIS GARBAGE AND LEAVE?!”

The brown envelope bounced off Thomas’s face and hit the floor; he didn’t make a move to pick it up. Thomas face contorted into a hateful smirk. “So emotional.”

“BUGGER OFF YA PILLOCK!” Alfred’s face is red and his whole-body shakes from rage burning it’s way through his chest. “I’m just as much part of this family as you are! Martha and Bruce, you can’t take them from me!”

“Oh but I can~” Thomas purred, “I was thinking of a long, family vacation over in the Caribbean. Of course, you’d stay behind and look after the manor. Afterwards we might just do a round trip around the globe, let Bruce get acquainted with what the other countries have to offer.”

Alfred backed away, head shaking back and forth slowly. “No, you wouldn’t.”

“Want to place a wager on it?” Thomas quirked a brow.

Alfred’s limbs felt heavy, as though someone weighed him down with cement blocks. His heart is fluttering wildly underneath his chest, threatening to burst out any second. Fear and bewilderment were written all over his face as he processed the threat.  

Who WAS this man before him?

How could he do this?

How could be so cruel?

Swallowing his emotions, Alfred spoke in a shaky voice: “You know how much I love Martha and Bruce…. But there’s one thing you’re unaware of.”

“And what’s that?” Thomas asked in amusement.

Alfred focused on Thomas’s cold blue eyes. “I never loved you. From the moment I laid on eyes on you, I knew you were a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You’re a manipulative, lying, entitled, selfish piece of shit that doesn’t deserve love, not from me, and certainly not from Martha and Bruce.”

Thomas’s expression faltered and the words appeared to affect him. “Alfred-”

“I hope she leaves you. Martha and Bruce deserve an honest man who loves them. They will always have my heart and you, Sir, will not.” Alfred turned.

Thomas walked around the desk to try and stop Alfred but the butler was out the door within seconds and he made his way down to the kitchen.

Trembling hands retrieve a wine glass, however, in the state he’s in the man accidentally drops the glass; it shatters on impact.

“Alfred?”

Alfred jumped and turned around to see Bruce standing in the kitchen entryway.

Curious blue eyes see the glass on the floor and he looked back to Alfred. “What’s wrong?”

“Ah, nothing. Butterfingers is all. Stay back Bruce, let me clean this up.” Alfred hastily fetched a broom and dustpan. He swept up all the glass and discarded it in the trash bin. When he glanced at Bruce, he noticed the unfinished tie around his neck, “Oi, ya need help with your tie?”

“Oh, yes. Mother tried a few times but, um, she doesn’t really know to fix ties.”

“He’s a liar, don’t believe him.” Martha chimed in, having crept up behind her son.

Bruce giggled, “Am not!”

Alfred smiled at the banter and he set both broom and dust pan down. “C’mere.” He pulled out a chair and sat down.

Bruce walked up to Alfred and stood in front of him.

Taking the two ends in his hands, Alfred expertly folded the tie and created a symmetrical knot. He tucked one end behind the knot and adjusted the tie to fit around Bruce’s neck. “Not too snug is it?”

“Nope.” Bruce unexpectedly wrapped his arms around Alfred’s shoulders and hugged him.

Alfred’s chest throbbed painfully at the idea of Bruce and Martha leaving his life for good. He immediately hugged Bruce back and he held the boy firmly against his chest.

Martha beamed with pride and joy. She couldn’t have picked a better godfather for Bruce.

“Go on ya cheeky monkey and enjoy the show.” Alfred held back tears and he ruffled up Bruce’s hair just a bit.

Bruce grinned and lowered his arms. He stepped back, “It’s the Lion King! I can’t wait to see it. Hey Alfred do you want to come with us?”

Before Alfred can respond, Thomas appeared behind Martha; he’s got a grey fedora on that matches the charcoal grey jacket. “Alfred is busy.” He said in a curt manner.

Martha glances up at her husband curiously and then she looks to Alfred; she sensed a certain animosity between the two men. “What’s going on?”

Alfred stiffened up in his seat and he quickly got up. He took Bruce’s hand and guided the boy back over to his mother. “Nothing love, don’t you fret.” Alfred placed his hand on Martha’s right shoulder and he leaned down to press a kiss against her forehead. “Have a good time. I’ll bake some of those pumpkin cookies you fancy so much, yeah?”

“Wonderful.” Martha smiled and she pecked Alfred’s cheekbone with a kiss, while taking Bruce’s hand. “Take care Alfred.”

“Thanks ma’am.” Alfred let go of Bruce’s hand and he walked the family to the front door.

Thomas didn’t look at Alfred and his expression was unreadable.

Ignoring the heartache, Alfred bid them farewell and quietly closed the door behind them.

Retiring back to the kitchen, Alfred poured himself a glass of champagne. He downed it rather quickly and filled another, and another, and another – he lost count. He drank enough to silence his worried thoughts and numb the pain in his heart. He didn’t bother to bake a single thing, he would apologize and whip up a batch of cookies in the morning -assuming Thomas didn’t whisk his family off after the show.

Martha Wayne.

Bruce Wayne.

Alfred can’t imagine a life without them…. Including Thomas Wayne.

As despicable and vile as that man was, Alfred still harbored feelings for him. He was good at repressing things but the one thing he couldn’t deny was his love for Thomas. Every time that beautiful man hit on him, Alfred desperately wanted to give his body to Thomas.

What if they got caught one day?

What if the Waynes divorced and fought for custody over Bruce?

Bruce would be upset and broken.

Alfred couldn’t do that to his darling boy. He couldn’t break his family up or cause him sorrow.  

“Doesn’t matter anyway…” Alfred grumbled bitterly, Thomas was going to take Martha and Bruce away from him. Maybe he should go into Thomas’s office, collect the money, and leave before their return.

Alfred downed two more glasses of champagne.

The phone started ringing, causing Alfred to jolt in his seat. The butler groaned and rubbed his tired eyes; he was going to have a nasty headache in the morning. He stood, walked across the kitchen, and picked up the cordless receiver. He answered the call and held the phone to his ear, “Wayne Manor, Alfred Pennyworth speaking.”

“Mr. Pennyworth?”

Alfred blinks, he doesn’t recognize the voice on the other end. “Yes?”

There’s a pause.

“Detective Gordon, I’m with the GCPD.”

Alfred stopped breathing.

“There’s been an incident.”

Chapter Text

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like "maybe we should just be friends" or "how very perceptive" turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones


 

It’s a cold, fall afternoon when a yellow taxi makes it’s up to Wayne Manor. The vehicle pulls up to the front entrance and a young, well-suited man climbed out of the back seat. He’s wearing a single button suit with a blue plaid square pattern; his dress trousers reflect the same color and design as the suit jacket. Underneath the notch lapels is a white long-sleeved dress shirt, with the collar neatly folded down and perfectly aligned with the rest of his attire. Seeing as how this was a casual visit, the man didn’t opt for a tie this time. As the cab pulled away, black leather shoes carry him up the steps.

"This place is huge....hmm, family must be minted." The man commented quietly. He raised his right hand and knocked on the door three times, each strike loud and clear. 

Impending footsteps near the door and a lock clicks. The unusually large door -did they expect giants over for company?- swings open to reveal a much older man in a black suit and a golden rod colored tie.

“Alfred?”

“Father.”

“Ah! My son come here!” Jarvis held his arms open.

A smile curled Alfred’s lips and he stepped forward to embrace his father.

The two men hug each other tightly, having been separated for two years. Admittedly, Alfred could stop in and visit more; his time in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces didn’t keep him that busy. It was a personal choice, one that stemmed from resentment that he’d rather not think about. Here was his father, aging well and always eager to welcome Alfred home with open arms.

Home.

This was Jarvis’s home but not Alfred’s.

After several minutes, Alfred is the first to break the silence. “Is the whole family here?”

“No, only Thomas and I are home. His parents are overseas, something work related. Come in, I’ve got the kettle on.” Jarvis lowered his arms and stepped back to examine his son’s choice in apparel. “My, my, what an interesting suit you have on. You must be the bee’s knees back at home eh? Woman clobbering down at your doorstep and all?”

Alfred grinned, having to refrain from laughing. “Absobloodylutely!”

Jarvis chuckled and he motioned for his son to follow, “Blimey you remind me of your teenage years. Shut the door behind yourself and wipe your shoes off yeah?”

“Yes, of course.” Alfred entered Wayne Manor and closed the door behind himself. He wiped his shoes on the thick doormat before following his father past the living room and dining area, only to enter a fairly spacious kitchen. “This must be your favorite room I take it?”

“Mhmm. You know me too well son.” Jarvis put on an oven mitt and removed a black tea kettle that was whistling away atop the oven. “Have a seat. You still take Earl Gray?”

“I’m surprised you remember.” Alfred said, taking a seat at the small circular table; this one had only four chairs and was humble in size. Alfred saw an enourmous dining table in a separate room, good lord, how many guests did they entertain to need dozens of chairs?

“Oh poppycock. You’re a creature of habit just like I am. The day you switch up your tea preference is the day I retire.” Jarvis filled two ceramic mugs with boiling water and set the kettle back down on the oven. He removed the oven mitt, picked up both mugs, and walked over to the table. He set one down in front of Alfred and the other before himself. He already had a tray of assorted tea set out on the tabletop. Jarvis fetched milk and honey from the fridge before taking a seat across from his son.

Alfred watched in silence, internally debating on a topic inside his head and whether or not he should address it. He reached over and grabbed one of the tea bags from the assorted tray. Peeling the outer layer off, Alfred cleared his throat. “Ahem, father…have you considered my offer?”

Jarvis placed a chamomile tea bag inside his cup and looked over to his son. He raised an eyebrow at the question, “Straight to business eh? How come we never discuss each other’s lives and interests?”

“For starters, you stepped out my life when I was two years old.” Alfred said in a tone that was far more acrimonious then anticipated.

Jarvis blinked and for a brief moment, his eyes glossed over as though he were going to cry.

Alfred swallowed thickly and hastily tried to backstep. “I’m worried for your health father. You’re fifty-seven years old and you’re STILL tending to a family that’s wealthy enough to hire a whole bloody armada of servants. You deserve to retire and live out the rest of your life, free from servitude.” Alfred shifted his right hand forward and placed it over his father’s left. “Move in with me. I’m not home often, you can clean and cook, it’ll be just like Wayne Manor yeah?”

“Son…” Jarvis sighed heavily and shook his head. “I dedicated my life to this family and I understand that caused you pain. My decisions and absence from your life burden you to this day, the last thing I want to do is impose myself onto your life. You owe me nothing Alfred.”

Alfred listened quietly, the words his father said were true. He never understood how a man could walk away from his wife and child to take care of another family. How could Jarvis trade his own life for the life of a servant? A slave in Alfred’s opinion, his own father shackled himself to the Wayne family and never made any attempts to return home. No matter how hard his mother, God rest her soul, tried to soothe Alfred’s hatred towards Jarvis, she could never fully eradicate the spiteful seeds growing inside his heart. When mother passed away, she asked her son to forgive Jarvis and to look after him. He was trying to do just that, but his father was stubborn like a mule and he refused the idea of retirement. This infuriated Alfred to no end, however, he couldn’t force the old man out of a life he’d grown accustomed to – that would cause an even bigger rift to form between them, if that were even possible.

With an exasperated sigh, Alfred withdrew his hand and deposited the Earl Gray tea into his cup. “No, I don’t owe you anything. Believe it or not, I’ve nothing but the best intentions for you father. It’s what mother would’ve wanted, for us to reconnect after all those years apart.”

“Your mother is an angel, bless her soul.” Jarvis picked up the honey and measured out a tablespoon full. “Well, that’s exactly what we’re doing ennit? You’re visiting and calling more, we’re reconnecting.”

“Pfft.” Alfred rolled his eyes, “A visit every few years and a phone call every three months is NOT appropriate to rekindle our relationship.” 

“Speaking of relationships, how are you and that lass doing?” Jarvis removed the teabag from his cup and plunked a spoon full honey inside the dark liquid.

“Don’t try to change the subject…” Alfred’s nose wrinkled when his father poured another spoonful of honey into his tea; he didn’t like sugar or honey in his tea, it ruined the earthy taste. “Loraine, her name is Loraine and she moved back to the states. We visit over the phone from time to time.”

“Ah, Loraine, yes that name does sound familiar.” Jarvis stirred up his tea and set the spoon down. He lifted his cup an blew over the steaming liquid. “Seeing as how we’re all business today, have you considered my offer?”

“…….You know how I feel about your lifestyle.”

“I’m not hearing any sort of confirmation.”

“A resounding no is my confirmation.”

“I see.” Jarvis took a drink of his tea.

Alfred frowned slightly, his father’s calm and agreeable attitude was irritating at times. He removed the tea bag from his cup and raised it to his lips. “Please reconsider my proposal father, that boy is what, thirteen years old now? Soon as he turns eighteen you can be done with this place and-”

“Sixteen.” Said a voice off to the side.

Alfred and Jarvis look over to the kitchen entryway.

Leaning against the wall with his hands inside his pants pocket is a young boy with raven hair and stunning blue eyes. He’s got his hair slicked back but a few loose strands poke out from the sides. He’s wearing a navy-blue polo shirt with some fancy brand name embroidered on the front pocket. Paired with the look is bleached faded jeans, a slim fit that makes him look taller then he really is; brown Chelsea boots are the final accessory.

The casual and formal clothing options scream privileged youth, and uncaring desire to stick to any one look. Alfred’s nose wrinkled, he didn’t like the smug expression on the teenager’s face. “I beg your pardon?”

“I’m sixteen, you said thirteen and clearly there’s a big difference.” He pushed away from the wall and walked over to the small kitchen table. He extended his right hand, “You must be Alfred. Jarvis speaks highly about you, I have to say, I am loving that suit on you. The color matches your eyes.”

Jarvis smiled and motioned to the younger male, “Alfred this is Thomas Wayne. I don’t believe you two have formally met one another?”

“Indeed, we haven’t.” Alfred can see something behind those blue eyes; they held mystery but they were guarding something. The pompous smile irritates Alfred however, he stood up and took Thomas’s hand in his own. He shook it twice. “A pleasure to meet you, Thomas.”

“Likewise.” Thomas squeezed Alfred’s hand, the peculiar smile never leaving his lips. “Jarvis this is a special occasion. You should prepare something for all of us, maybe your pumpkin spice cookies? If you don’t mind me joining you both for tea.”

“Wonderful idea Sir.” Jarvis stood up from his seat.

Alfred tugged his hand out of Thomas’s grip, only to find the teenager was squeezing down tightly. He stared at Thomas, quirking an eyebrow curiously.

Jarvis was already at the fridge and fetching ingredients for the pumpkin cookies.

Thomas wasn’t done inspecting Alfred, he unabashedly looked the man up and down. “God that’s a tight suit, is it hard to get out of?”

Alfred blinked, “I…don’t know what you mean by that.”

“Oh, I mean, you would look better without the suit – without any clothes at all.”

The comment made Alfred’s face burn. What the hell was this little plonker up to? He yanked his hand away from the death grip, eyes narrowing suspiciously. “As much as I would love to stay for cookies and tea, I have business to attend to in the city.”

Jarvis set everything down on the counter and paused, “You do? Can’t you put it off for another hour?”

“Yeah Alfred, can’t you?” Thomas lowered his hand and slipped it back into his pants pocket. “I’d really like to get to know you~”

The subtle change in Thomas’s voice sent a chill up Alfred’s spine. Normally, he can read people but this kid…. He couldn’t tell if he was actually flirting with him or just teasing him for the sake of entertainment. And he was doing it front of Jarvis no less, bold and unafraid, this kid was trouble. “Afraid not, my apologies.” Alfred stepped around Thomas, “I’ll be in touch father.” He left the kitchen and quickly made his way to the front entrance of the manor.

“Hey hold up!” Thomas said, having followed Alfred.

“Thanks for the hospitality.” His tone lacked enthusiasm and Alfred didn’t wait. He opened up the door and stepped out, but before he could shut it, Thomas was quick to grab the handle.

“Geez, does flirting make you this uncomfortable every time?” Thomas pulled the door open and stepped outside with Alfred.

“Hmm? That was flirting?” Alfred feigned incompetency.

Thomas laughed, “Hah! I like you. You’re nothing like Jarvis.”

Alfred turned his attention towards the empty lot in front of the manor, a scowl on his face. Jarvis had to formally address Thomas but the kid could informally address him? It was absolutely ridiculous. “You don’t know a thing about me.” He said flatly.

“No, I guess not.” Thomas shrugged. “Your father called one of the local cab services we use, should be here in ten.”

“Wonderful…”

Thomas moved behind Alfred and out of curiosity, he leaned up on his tiptoes and pressed his lips to the back of Alfred’s neck. “You don’t like me, do you?”

Alfred recoiled from the touch as though it burned. He turned around on his heels and backed up, a hand covered the back of his neck; it was tingling where Thomas’s lips touched. “What the bloody hell is wrong with you?!”

Thomas grinned, “Wow, calm down. Shit, you really get worked up easy huh?”

Alfred crossed his arms and remained silent, the annoyed expression remained plastered on his face.

“So…why do you hate me? We just met and all….can’t be because I made a pass at you?” Thomas approached the older male.

Alfred remained unmoving and quiet.

“Or….does it have something to do with your father raising me instead of you?” Thomas stood right in front of Alfred, their bodies nearly touching. He smirked a little and looked up at the older man.

The British man was 6’0” even, whereas Thomas was around 5’7”, and Alfred was nearly a decade older. Yet, he found himself growing increasingly nervous with their close proximity. This kid knew how to push buttons and he was stabbing the metaphorical bear with stick to try and get a reaction out of Alfred. How the hell did his father put up with this arrogant kid? He had the patience of a saint, something Alfred didn’t have.

“No, you’re wrong.” Alfred stated.

“About what? Be specific, Al~” Thomas accentuated the abbreviated name with a slight purr.

The sound of his name on Thomas’s tongue like that made Alfred’s stomach twist into painful knots. “Oi! That’s not my name!”

“I know.” Thomas smiled cheekily.

Alfred’s heart fluttered. That….that damn smile, it was both infuriating and to an extent, charming. What in the actual fuck… Alfred mentally cursed at himself.

The sound of a vehicle grew nearer.

Alfred glanced over and saw a yellow cab.

Big mistake.

Thomas seized the opportunity to plant a wet kiss against the older man’s cheekbone, “Hope to see you again soon, Al. You and me, we’re going to have a lot of fun~”

The sudden kiss startled Alfred and he put a hand against Thomas’s chest and pushed him back. “I highly doubt that mate. I’m not a pedophile and I’ve no intention of seeing you ever again.” He wiped the saliva off his cheek with the back of his hand and then marched down the steps towards the cab. He climbed in the back of the seat and buckled up, “Take me to the nearest pub.”

“Right away.” The driver said, shifting the vehicle into drive.

Alfred tried his best to focus on the road ahead. He found himself unwillingly looking over his shoulder to glance at the manor.

Thomas Wayne was waiving at the cab as it disappeared over the hill.

Alfred can still feel his neck and cheekbone burning from the touch.

 


 

Months stretch into a year, and that year stretches into two. Alfred didn’t call during that time due to personal issues going on back home. While serving his final year in the British Armed Forces, Alfred Pennyworth sustained an injury that put him in the hospital for six months; he fractured five ribs on his right side, and broke two vertebrae in his lower back. He spent most of his time bedridden in a hospital until they scheduled him for physical therapy.

Alfred’s road to recovery was a fast one and because of his outstanding service and skills demonstrated in the army, he was given a job after being released from the hospital. He worked as an intelligence agent, and in most cases, he trained all the new recruits. Once he was fully recovered and in top physical shape, Alfred was sent out into the field. He traveled to Japan, Germany, Australia, and even Ireland. None of his missions took him to the states, so he saw no need to stop in and check on his father. In fact, his father -and that annoying, entitled teenager- didn’t cross his mind at all.

That is, until he received a telegram while he was overseas.

The hotel staff delivered the telegram to Alfred’s room around 7:30pm.

Alfred thanked the messenger and tipped him a generous fee. He retired to the bed and sat down, flipping the telegram over to read it.

Alfred, I hope this letter finds you in good health. I can’t say the same about your father.

Alarmed, Alfred held his breath and read the remainder of the letter as quickly as possible

Jarvis fell and broke his hip. During his stay at the hospital he developed a fever and pneumonia in his lungs. I didn’t know who else to contact. I’m sorry.

-Thomas Wayne.

The telegram was dated a week ago.

Alfred’s heart sank.

Shaking hands dropped the telegram onto the floor and the man bolted up from his bed. He collected all of his belongings and rushed out of the room.

He caught the first plane out back to the states.

Chapter Text

I don’t know if you’d be particularly interested in hearing anything about me. My life, I mean… Most of it doesn’t add up to much… that I could relate as a way of life that you’d approve of…I’d like to be able to tell you why, but I don’t really…I mean, I move around a lot because things tend to get bad when I stay. And I’m looking…for auspicious beginnings, I guess…I’m trying to, you know, imagine your half of this conversation…My feeling is, that if you could talk, we probably wouldn’t be talking. That’s pretty much how it got to be before… I left…Are you all right? I don’t know what to say…Tita suggested that we try to…I don’t know. I think that she…seems to feel we’ve got…some understanding to reach…She totally denies the fact that we were never that comfortable with each other to begin with…The best that I can do, is apologize. We both know that I was never really that good at it, anyway…I’m sorry it didn’t work out.

-Five Easy Pieces (Film)

 


 

 

While en route to the states, Alfred called every single hospital in Gotham. Turns out, Jarvis Beagle checked out a few days prior. The discovery allowed Alfred to breathe a little easier. He knew exactly where his father would be and he wasn’t looking forward to a second visit.

Wayne Manor.

Alfred caught a cab up to the place and when he knocked, he was surprised to see a dark, Hispanic woman answer the door. She was middle-aged with sharp cheekbones and black hair pulled up into a tight bun - surely this wasn’t Thomas’s mother? He didn’t think so, judging by the pale green scrubs she had on.

“Hola señor, ¿puedo ayudarte?”

“Hello, I, er…My father, Jarvis Beagle. I’m here to see him.”

“You speak English! Yes, I believe your father is expecting you. Come this way señor Beagle.” She stepped aside and motioned for him to enter.

Alfred didn’t correct her mistake pertaining to his last name. He moved forward, wiped his feet off on the doormat, and waited patiently for the woman to show him to his father’s room; he had no idea where it was to begin with.

The Hispanic woman lead Alfred down the hall, past the kitchen, living room, and staircase. They took a left and went down further into the corridor until reaching the last room. She paused outside the door and knocked twice.

“Come in.”

“Hola señor Beagle, you are feeling well enough for visitors?”

“I am.”

The woman pushed the bedroom door open, “Please ring if you need anything. I will be in the kitchen preparing dinner.”

“Thank you, Camila, much appreciated.” Jarvis’s eyes lit up when he saw Alfred. “My son, it’s been far too long. You’ve aged remarkably well.”

Alfred rolled his eyes, “It’s only been a few years.”

“And how unkind those years have been.” Jarvis tutted. He can see the stress on his son’s face, including the crow’s feet that were starting to form around his eyes; he was much too young for those. “Tell me, this new job of yours… are you happy?”

“That’s irrelevant.” Alfred walked over to the bed where his father was laying, his upper body was perched up against a mound of pillows and blankets. The blue pajama button-up with yellow ducks brought a smile to Alfred’s face; who knew his father could look adorable in duck pj's? The man stopped when he noticed a silhouette slumped over in a cloth recliner.

Thomas Wayne was curled up in a ball and sleeping away peacefully with a blanket covering most of his body.

Jarvis followed his son’s gaze, “Ah. I had trouble breathing last night and Thomas was frantic with worry. He hasn’t left my side for twelve hours, I’m glad the boy is finally resting.”

“Where are his parents? Shouldn’t they be here too? Are they not worried about your health?” Alfred inquired, this time he didn’t bother to hide the contempt in his voice.

“His father is in Prague, and the mother is in Bern, hence the personal care assistant they’ve hired to help me out around the manor until I recover. Her name is Camila Araceli Suarez, lovely name isn’t it? Just rolls off the tongue like warm milk. You would enjoy her company, although, she tends to switch dialects every so often-”

“How long?” Alfred interrupted.

“I beg your pardon?”

“How long have you been sick?” Alfred turned his full attention on his father. “Don’t lie to me. I’ve taken the liberty of going through your medical history here in Gotham and you’re scheduled for your first dialysis appointment next month, pending your recovery from pneumonia.”

“How did you...” Jarvis trailed off he avoided his son’s expectant gaze. He fidgeted with the blankets between his hands and eventually sighed. “I haven’t actually started to feel sick until this past year…. But I’ve known about the diagnosis for seven years now.”

Alfred’s expression contorted into disbelief. “You were diagnosed SEVEN years ago?! Bloody hell, why didn’t you tell me!?” Unable to control his anger and pain, Alfred’s voice rose dangerously high. He didn’t care if he woke the boy up, or if Camila heard him. His father had cancer and he had the audacity to keep it hidden from his biological son, his own flesh and blood. “YOUR PRETEND FAMILY DESERVES TO KNOW YOU’RE DYING AND NOT ME?!!!”

“Alfred, please…” Jarvis’s gaze darted from him and then to Thomas.

“PISS OFF!” Alfred hissed, he felt like he was drowning in a flood of emotions. He didn’t know what feeling to concentrate on, there was too many and he couldn’t deal with it right now. To avoid a cataclysm, Alfred turned on his heel and made his way to the door.

“Son-” Jarvis pleaded and he extended his hand, attempting to push the blankets aside to get out of bed.

“Stay where you are!” Alfred snapped, he didn’t bother to turn around. “You really severed all ties to me and mum haven’t ya? We never mattered, I suppose my only function in your life is to exist and carry on the bloodline. Well… At least I’ve done that right.” Alfred swallowed the heavy lump settling in his throat.

“Alfred, my son-”

“Goodbye father.” Alfred left. He rushed down the hallway, his fast pace almost carrying him into a straight-out sprint. He ignored the pain in his chest, and the undisputable urge to turn around and apologize.

Apologize for what?

What did he do to deserve such a callous man for a father?

Jarvis was right, Alfred didn’t owe him anything.

“Sorry mum…I tried, really I did.” Alfred mumbled. He didn’t phone a cab, instead, he marched down the paved road and climbed down the hill towards the iron gates. He left the property and booked a hotel room.

That night, Alfred’s fractured ribs are not what’s hurting him. It’s his heart, and how wounded it was by the information he received. Jarvis was dying, and he knew about it but chose not to share it with Alfred. Thomas knew ahead of him.

Thomas knew his father better then Alfred.

Thomas was the son that Alfred could never be.

It wasn’t bloody fair.

Alfred resorted to drinking in the hotel bar downstairs. He drank enough to numb both his physical and emotional pain.

That night, Alfred slept peacefully without any nasty thoughts keeping him up.

The following morning, a sick and VERY hungover Alfred Pennyworth rolled out of bed with a groan. He pressed both hands to his head and could feel his temples throbbing. “Blimey….” It felt like he was hit by a bus. The man wandered into the bathroom and he took a nice, long, hot shower. He washed his mouth out vigorously with toothpaste and mint-flavored mouthwash. Then he took a towel, wrapped it around his waist, and padded back into the main room. He sat down on the bed and stared at the phone.

Yesterday’s events were already working their way back into his memory.

Alfred knew he was at fault, he shouldn’t have stormed out on his father like that.His reaction and hurtful words were uncalled for.

Hesitant, Alfred’s hand hovered over the phone. He finally grabbed it and pressed it to his ear. He dialed up the number to Wayne Manor and waited in silence.

It rang once.

Twice.

Thrice.

A familiar voice answered, “Hello?”

Alfred blinked, “Thomas, uh, good morning. Say um, is it possible for me to speak to my father? Is there a phone in his room or do you need time to grab him?”

Silence.

Thomas sniffled and a shaky gasp left his mouth.

Alfred’s eyebrows furrowed, “Thomas? What’s wrong?”

In a strained voice that's hardly above a whisper, Thomas speaks, “He’s dead Alfred…Jarvis passed away this morning.”

 


 

Alfred thought he knew what heartache was. He thought it was watching his mother cry over the stress of work and mounting bills. He thought it was when Toby, his golden retriever, was hit by a car and slowly died in his arms when he was a young lad. He thought it was when he became aware that his father would miss every single birthday and every single rugby game to follow. He thought he understood pain and betrayal when Jarvis expressed he was dying; Thomas Wayne was privy to such knowledge while Alfred was not.

Pain was watching a complete group of strangers, who were closer to his father, lower Jarvis Beagle into the ground.

Alfred could hardly pay attention to the eulogies. It doesn’t surprise him that Jarvis requested he be buried in the Wayne Family Cemetery. A detail like that would’ve irritated Alfred, however, he’s numb to the bone. As the strangers began to shovel dirt over the shiny black casket, Alfred moves close enough to drop a Bluebell flower, native to Britain, into the grave. Bluebells were his mother’s favorite, he didn’t know if his father had a favorite flower, or what his list of favorites included.

To his disappointment, Thomas Wayne is nowhere in sight; his parents made it back to attend the funeral but Alfred avoided them and everybody else.

The next day, Alfred met with his father’s executor who was obligated to notify the beneficiaries of Jarvis’s last will and testament. According to the bald, pudgy man, Alfred was the only one listed.

They’re seated in a big office at Wayne Enterprise, the executor, known as Charlie LaFromboise, listed off financial stocks and a bank account with a hefty amount in savings; it all goes to Alfred.

“I don’t want none of it.” Alfred stated, “Give it to charity or something.”

“Are you certain?” Charlie thumbed through a folder to locate the right paperwork to accommodate Alfred’s decision.

“Yeah, just pick one.” Alfred was impatient to get this over with.

“Very well.” Charlie hummed and he spread out three documents for Alfred to sign. “Oh, and there’s this.” He reached into his briefcase and retrieved a white envelope.

“Hmm?” Alfred stared at the envelope. “What is it? If it’s a check I won’t take it.”

“No, no, I think it’s a letter. Jarvis gave it to me a few months ago to hold on to. I think the old man knew his time was just around the corner.” Charlie held the envelope out.

“I see….” Taking the letter, Alfred tucked in his pocket. He signed the necessary legal binding documents to hand over all financial assets to charity. Afterwards, he shook Charlie’s hand and left the building. He found himself at a bar near the hotel and he drank for hours, desperatly trying to drown out the troublesome thoughts. It wasn’t until 11:00pm that he managed to stagger out of the bar, down the street, and back into the hotel. He swayed inside the elevator, cursing the impending hangover he would suffer in the morning.

The elevator pinged and the doors slide open.

Staggering into the hallway, Alfred walked to the end of the hallway. He located his room and fumbled through his wallet for the card key.

A sniffling sound made Alfred look over to his right.

Thomas Wayne is sitting on the floor with both knees pulled up to his chest. When he saw Alfred, he clambered to his feet. “Alfred-”

“Save it mate. I don’t wanna hear it.” Alfred swiped the card key, pushed his door open, and slammed it shut behind him. He kicked his shoes off and tossed his wallet aside on the opposite bed.

“Alfred…” Thomas’s voice was right outside the door. “I’m sorry.”

“Go away.” Alfred peeled his suit jacket off and began unbuttoning his shirt.

“I ….I couldn’t go Alfred. If I saw Jarvis – saw the casket – I didn't want to have a breakdown in front of everyone.” Thomas’s voice was heavy with emotion and he struggled to get his words out. “Seeing it, seeing him, that would’ve made it real-”

The door swings open.

Alfred stared at the surprised teenager, taking note of the red puffy eyes; the kid was crying earlier. “It is real mate. Jarvis is dead. Now go home.”

Thomas covered his face with both hands and wailed in anguish.

Startled by the reaction, Alfred reached out and tentatively placed his hands over Thomas’s shoulders. Now that they were standing close together, Alfred noticed Thomas was the same height as him. Jesus, that was a fast growth spurt. “I…I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“It’s not a home….” Thomas said in between soft sobs; he refused to uncover his face.

“I beg your pardon? What do you mean?” Alfred’s head felt like it was about to roll off his own shoulders; he was buzzed up and trying to appear like a coherent adult.

“Jarvis made that place a home, without him…it’s dead. I don’t want to stay in a dead house.” Thomas shook with every sob while tears drained from his eyes and soaked his hands. “He wasn’t supposed to die! He said the results we’re promising a-and….” Thomas hiccuped, “-he said he was healthy Alfred! He told me not to worry and he…he…died….”

Alfred listened and realization slowly dawned on him: Jarvis lied to Thomas about the severity of his sickness. Jarvis lied to them both.

It was cruel and humorous at the same time. Yet, as much as Alfred wanted to rejoice the fact Thomas wasn't so special, he couldn’t feel anything ... Maybe a tad bit empathetic towards the sobbing boy. Jarvis was important to the both of them and now he was gone, leaving behind two-broken- young men. Seeing Thomas fall apart and bare his soul made him appear more like a human being, and very much like the child he was.

Perhaps it was the alcohol that inhibited his common sense or maybe, just maybe, it was the pain inside his body and mind. Whatever it was, Alfred couldn’t quite explain his actions.

Gentle hands take hold of Thomas’s wrists and slowly pry them away.

Thomas raised his gaze and stared at Alfred through blurry eyes.

The older man closed the gap between them by pressing his lips against Thomas’s own.

The younger gasped in surprise.

Good….he stopped crying, Alfred thought to himself. He let go of Thomas and stepped back.

Without warning, Thomas attacked Alfred with a ferocious kiss. Arms loop around the elder’s neck and he practically threw himself at the other.

“Mmmf!” Alfred wasn’t expecting THAT response. He put his hands over Thomas’s hips and stumbled back, this kid wasn’t small anymore, he weighed more then he looked. The back of Alfred’s legs hit the bed and he tumbled backwards onto the soft mattress.

Thomas collapsed over Alfred but not once did he let up on the kiss. By then he was already exploring the older man’s mouth with a persistent, skilled tongue. He leaned up and cupped Alfred’s face, giving a few experimental hip thrusts.

The friction of Thomas’s groin against his own had Alfred squirming underneath the teenager, and an unintended moan left his lips.

“Alfred…” Thomas shifted his hands a little higher and intertwined his fingers with chestnut locks. His eyes cleared up enough to focus on the dazzling blue orbs below his own, the ones that reflected so much more wisdom then he himself possessed. Eyes that had pain hidden behind them. “Help me Al, please.”

Alfred swallowed thickly, unsure what to make of the request. He’s vaguely aware of the tent underneath his pants, or that the boy was equally hard. Alcohol tended to do that, numb most of the feelings, but allowing the body to react on its own. Without a doubt in his mind, he wanted Thomas. However, he wasn’t drunk enough to drown out the nagging voice inside his head; it reminded him that Thomas was a kid and that it was wrong for him to take advantage of the younger male’s vulnerable state. “I’m sorry I kissed you, please get off. We shouldn’t be doing this.”

“Please Alfred? Please help me numb the pain…” Thomas begged and he pressed his tear-stained face against Alfred’s left cheekbone, nuzzling kiss after kiss. “Please?”, he whispered, “I want to feel anything else but this.”

“I….I can’t mate, you’re just a kid.” Alfred could feel his resolve weakening. His heart ached for Thomas because he knew exactly what he was eluding to. Any pain would be better then what the both of them were feeling right now.

“I’m 18 Alfred, I’m an adult.” Thomas lowered himself against Alfred’s chest and he pressed his face against the older man’s neck. He kissed repeatedly and flicked his tongue out against the warm flesh. “What do you want me to do Alfred? Get on my hands and knees and plead? I’ll do it, if that’s what it takes to get you to fuck me.” Thomas’s lips trailed across Alfred’s jawline and he purposely ground his ass against Alfred’s bulge. His voice dipped low and he moaned over and over again.

In spite of what his mind thought, Alfred can feel his body reacting to every touch and sound that left Thomas’s lips. It was like the teenager was in bloody fucking heat and the continuous dry humping was creating a wet mess inside the older man’s pants. This was wrong, right? Engaging in intimacy for the sake of muting out one’s own emotions-

Thomas bit down on Alfred’s neck. Hard. So hard in fact, it drew blood immediately.

“AH!!!” Alfred’s body jolted underneath Thomas and he dug his fingernails into the other’s hips. Pain surged through his neck and traveled all the way down his body, and shamefully his cock twitched at the violent action.

To hell with it.

Alfred gripped Thomas’s hips and he sat up, only to shove the younger down against the bed. He wasted no time in grabbing the boy and turning him over onto his stomach.

Thomas giggled at the sudden the change, obviously not afraid of the rough behavior. “Don’t you dare take it easy on me~” He purred.

The words only fuel Alfred and in a hazy state of lust, he yanked Thomas’s pants down past his thighs. There wasn’t anything intimate about what they were going to do, so Alfred saw no need to remove Thomas’s shoes or any other article of clothing; as long as he had access to that perfect ass, then he was satisfied. Alfred unfastened his belt and pulled his slacks down far enough to free his erection; it was slicked up in pre-cum from all of Thomas’s teasing.

Thomas managed to look over his shoulder and get a peek at the monstrosity that was about to enter him. He licked his lips at the sight, eyes dilating from the sheer lust coursing through his body. He wiggled his hips, moving in such a tantalizing way to show he was ready. “Alfred, hurry~”

Alfred’s nostrils flared a little, oh, the sight before him was gorgeous. He was going to wreck that perfect ass until Thomas was screaming. He grabbed the boy’s hips and lifted them up higher, while moving close and positioning the head of his cock against Thomas’s entrance. He gave no warning and instantly shoved his length inside.

The constricted grip around his erection made Alfred double over and he gasped against Thomas’s shoulder.

Thomas arched his back and threw his head forward, a pained cry pushed past his lips.

Alfred had to pause for several seconds to collect himself and not instantaneously cum inside. He was unfamiliar with the sound Thomas made, prompting him to lean back up on his knees and look down. He cautiously pulled his hips back a little and saw blood. “Y-you….you’re a…” The older man stammered in confusion.

Thomas’s whole body was shaking from the pain but when he craned his neck to look over at Alfred, a playful smirk danced across his lips. “What? Surprised? Don’t stop now, we’re just getting started.”

“I….no. This, maybe they have something in the bathroom we can use as lubricant, I’ll go check-”

“Alfred.” Thomas said in a firm voice.

The older man turned his attention back to the other.

“I need this…” The smirk faded away and once again, tears started to collect in his eyes. “I deserve this, so please, don’t spare any kind gestures. Be rough, I wan’t you to let out your anger on me.”

Alfred stared at Thomas and carefully weighed in on his words.

With an affirmative nod, Alfred motioned to the headboard. “Hang on to that.”

Thomas smiled a little and obeyed the command. He grabbed onto the headboard with both hands and waited for Alfred.

The older unbuttoned the remainder of his dress shirt and tossed it aside. He carefully pushed himself back inside Thomas and situated himself into a more comfortable position. He wrapped his arms around the younger male’s waist and pulled him up a little, so he was nearly sitting on Alfred’s erect cock. Alfred nosed a kiss against the back of Thomas’s neck, “You ready mate?”

Thomas nodded, “Fuck yeah.”

Never one for rough sex, Alfred unceremoniously attacked Thomas’s ass. Thick leg muscles and a powerful body strength allowed him to push against the bed and dig deep into Thomas’s insides. He spared no kindness, as Thomas requested, and he ground himself inside in slow, rough circles. Strong arms kept Thomas pinned in place, with his back against Alfred’s bare chest.

Thomas loved it. The sounds he made were a combination of pain and ecstasy. He doesn’t care that he’s bleeding, or how much pain he’s going to be in tomorrow, right now he’s temporarily numb and unaware of Jarvis’s death.

Both men give into their carnal desires and let everything else go.

By the time Alfred taps out, he’s ejaculated inside Thomas multiple times; twice in his ass and once in his mouth. Alfred reciprocated and sucked the teenager off until he reached his climax, only to have the boy rutting against his hips fifteen minutes later. Christ he was fast to recover and he definitely had an insatiable libido. They went on for hours, until Alfred finally pulled the boy off his cock.

The sound it made….

Alfred saw a thin trail of saliva connecting his cock to Thomas’s lush red lips. “Bloody hell…we’re done mate. It’s 5:00am in the morning and I’m knackered.” That was true, as was the aching pain in his chest from broken ribs; the drunk feeling faded quite a while ago, making him more susceptible to the pain of his past injuries.

“Aww, really?” Thomas licked his lips, breaking the chain of spit. He reached up and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, “Can we cuddle?”

Alfred pretended to consider it but he already knew the answer. “Yes, that’s fine. Have you, um, called your parents to check in?”

The question prompted an eyeroll and loud snort, “Pffft!” Thomas crawled over Alfred and collapsed against his chest. The two of them were naked with sex mussed hair; Thomas had longer hair, giving him a wild and untamed appearance. The younger nuzzled a kiss against Alfred neck, close to the 2nd bitemark he left.

Alfred’s neck throbbed but the pain was pleasant, he didn’t mind the hickeys at all. As for Thomas, the boy was unmarked and it took quite a bit of effort to refrain from marring up that beautiful skin. He did leave a few scratch marks on Thomas’s hips but they were superficial and would heal fast. “Thomas, can I ask you a question?”

Thomas eventually settled his right cheekbone against Alfred’s chest, right underneath his chin. “Mhmm, sure.”

“When you said I deserve this, what did you mean by that? Why do you deserve pain?” Alfred raised his left arm and slid it around Thomas’s lower back.

Tracing lazy circles on Alfred’s chest, Thomas shrugged. He let his fingernails graze over Alfred’s warm chest before answering with a sigh. “I….I’m responsible for my parents being in a loveless marriage.”

“What’s that now?” Alfred didn’t understand. He lowered his arm and rested his left hand over the boy’s lower back. He started rubbing his fingers against the sore muscles and gently massaging them; he hoped this would urge Thomas into a detailed explanation.

Thomas purred at the touch and leaned up to press a kiss underneath Alfred’s jaw. “My mom and dad…they were young and drunk. What was supposed to be a one-night stand resulted in an unwanted pregnancy. My maternal grandmother refused to let my mom abort and my paternal grandfather forced my dad to marry my mom. Nine months later, I was born.” Thomas stopped moving his hand and he stared off to the side.

The sudden silence prompted Alfred to tilt his head and kiss the boy on his forehead. “Nonense, I’m sure your mother and father-”

“I’ve known since I was five Alfred.” Thomas cut him off, “My mom is a drunk. She's excessively loud when she’s boozing and visiting her friends. I never heard her say anything nice about me and father. She said if it wasn’t for me, she’d be out living her life to the fullest. And my dad? My dad finds every excuse to stay away from me. Traveling, workshops, press conferences, he doesn’t want to be at the manor.” Thomas crossed his arms and lifted his head to peer down at Alfred, there’s a deep sadness in his eyes. “If it wasn’t for Jarvis, I don’t think I would be here. All I ever saw in my parent's eyes was contempt…. Kids pick up on that kind of negativity, that’s why I misbehaved at school. I got kicked out on purpose, I stole a car from my dad’s collection and wrecked it, then I set fire to a Christmas tree during a social gathering at city hall. Everything I did, they never batted an eye. They never paid attention.” Thomas paused and he exhaled a trembling breath; he fought back the urge to the cry.

Alfred didn’t interrupt and he patiently waited.

Confident he wouldn’t cry, Thomas opened his eyes and continued. “Jarvis was a good guy, closest thing I had to a father… You know he always talked about you Alfred.”

“Did he? I imagine to complain about my lack of visits and phone calls.”

“No, not at all.” Thomas chuckled, “He spoke highly of you. Said he was proud of the life you chose to live and how you're a decorated war hero in Britain.”

“Ah, that’s stretching the truth a bit…”

“So? That’s what fathers are supposed to do. They can’t help themselves, they HAVE to talk up their kids’ lives and list off every silly memory they have about them…even if it’s not real.” Thomas averted his gaze. “I think… The sickness, or maybe his old age, was starting to affect his memory. Things that happened with me and Jarvis, he re-told them as stories that included you Alfred. I think he really missed you, I think he…. was lonely for you. I know he loved you and was really proud of you, I was kind of jealous….” Thomas sniffled, trying his best not to cry. “I wanted someone to talk about me like that. My own parents wish I didn’t exist and Jarvis… All he could do was incessantly talk about his son.”

Alfred cupped Thomas’s face and he pressed his forehead against the other’s own. Even before the boy finished explaining, Alfred was crying silent tears. He hadn’t cried during the phone call when Thomas informed him of his father’s death. He hadn’t cried during the funeral, or when people sobbed during their eulogy speeches. He sure as hell didn’t cry when he was drowning himself in alcohol at the bar, or sitting up for hours in his hotel room. But here he was, with one of the last people in the world he expected to share a bed with, let alone share their mutual pain and love for a man he hardly knew himself.

“Jarvis was proud of you too.” Alfred opened his eyes and touched a light kiss against Thomas’s cheekbone, “In his letters and phone calls…He always talked about you. When you were a baby, he gushed about your first words and when you learned to crawl. He praised your accomplishments when you joined track, or how your Mathematics team took first at state. He said he loved you very much, that you were like a son to him. I…. admittedly, wasn’t happy to hear that but now….” Alfred stroked his thumbs across Thomas’s face to wipe the tears away, “I firmly believe you needed Jarvis in your life more then I did. My mother, God rest her soul, provided enough love for the both of us.”

Thomas buried his face against Alfred’s neck and sobbed.

Alfred wrapped both his arms around Thomas and he held the boy close.

Each of them cried for a long time, Alfred was the first to stop but he kept his arms securely wrapped around the younger male.

Eventually, Thomas cried himself to sleep. Alfred could tell, judging by the slow, consistent breathing patterns. The older male very carefully, and gently, rolled Thomas off his chest and onto the bed. Alfred sat up and glanced at the alarm clock; it was 7:20am. No point in going to bed now.

Alfred got up and walked over to his discarded suit jacket. Bending over, he plucked the white envelope from the inner folds before retiring to a leather chair. He sat down and ripped the side of the envelope open. He retrieved the lined paper from within and unfolded it. Tired blue eyes read the letter over; the sunlight filtering through the curtains was adequate enough.

Alfred,

It is with my sincerest apologies, I inform you that my old age and arch nemesis, cancer, has finally taken its toll on my body. You’re going to be angry at me for not telling you sooner and I want you to know, it’s okay to be angry. I didn’t tell you, or Thomas, how fast my health was declining to avoid upsetting either one of you. If not both of you, then surely you, Alfred, would’ve badgered me into chemotherapy. 

My boy, I’ve seen what chemo does to a person. People die sooner from the radiation then cancer itself. If I can stretch three years into four, then I will gladly do so. I knew I had a limited time left on this earth but I wanted to live it pain free. The symptoms only recently started showing, hence my urgent need to write this letter.

Please understand when I ask, for the hundredth time, will you consider serving the Wayne family in my place? Thomas and his parents, they’re a good bunch. As you can tell, Thomas likes to ruffle feathers but once he warms up to you, he’s a caring and sweet lad. The family needs someone with a good head on their shoulders to run things at Wayne Manor. I strongly believe that person is you, Alfred.

The choice is yours and whatever it may be, I want you to know, I’m bloody proud to call you my son. I love you, so very much darling.

-Jarvis Beagle

Alfred could feel tears streaming down his face and they stained the open letter. He leaned forward in the chair and covered his face with his hands. His chest heaved and his grief-stricken cries are muffled.

To serve a dying man’s wish is the highest form of respect and honor.

A decision was made.

Alfred Pennyworth would stay at Wayne Manor.

 


 

 

Alfred met Thomas’s parents, they seemed…. A bit distracted, but friendly enough. They welcomed the British man with open arms and set him up in one of the largest guest rooms. It was kind of the parents to match his pay from his previous job, and leaving the agency was a relatively easy transition.

Everything went surprisingly well… For a few weeks.

The new butler made it VERY clear he wasn’t interested in Thomas but the teenager shamelessly flirted and groped Alfred every chance he got.

It got to the point where Alfred snapped and raised his voice.

“Get your bloody mitts off me!!!”

Thomas flinched, “Alfred… Why do you hate me?” His eyes watered up.

Having been in the Wayne Manor for nearly a year, Alfred learned to recognize fake tears and real tears. Those were the biggest crocodile tears he’d ever seen but he wasn’t going to let the smug little brat guilt trip him into bed. “I don’t hate you. I’ve repeatedly asked you to keep your hands to yourself and avoid touching me in an inappropriate manner.”

“But at the hotel-”

“Was a one-time occurrence, Sir. I made it profoundly clear it would not happen again.” Alfred raised a hand to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. Fighting Thomas’s advances off 24/7 often gave him a headache.

“BUT AL!!!!!” Thomas’s fake tears disappeared instantly, only to be replaced with a pissed off glare. “You’re a fucking tease. If you don’t want to fuck me, then turn around and bend over. I’ve topped enough men and woman to know how to make it feel good.” He moved closer to Alfred.

Alfred raised his right hand, refusing to back down from the advancing male; Thomas was 6’2", how on earth he grew another two inches in the span of a year was beyond his comprehension. “No. The answer is, and always will be, a resounding no.”

Thomas stopped with Alfred’s hand against his chest. He pursed his lips together in a mock pout. “I miss you.”

“I highly doubt that.” Alfred lowered his hand. “Find a girlfriend, someone closer to your age. Maybe then you’ll be less inclined to pester me for sexual favors.”

“I love you." 

"Bollocks."

"Please-"

“No.” Alfred turned around and left the living room area. Good Lord, he’d have to clean that awful mess up once Thomas retired to his bedroom. The boy broke several chairs against the wall and he managed to throw a glass vase at the chandelier and knock it clear off it’s hook; there were glass shards everywhere.

Such a headache…

 


 

 

Get a girlfriend. That was Alfred's suggestion and Thomas did JUST that.

Her name was Martha Kane, a young, delightfully charming seventeen-year-old girl. She could hold an engaging conversation with just about anyone, whether it involved religion, philosophy, or recent events including politics and overseas events.

Alfred admired the strong, moral values Miss Kane’s family had. Any time she was over at the Wayne Manor, she had to have an escort present at all times -the family provided their own. If Thomas and Martha went out into the city, Alfred chaperoned them and made sure they didn’t engage in anything too intimate -besides the occasional peck on the cheek or holding hands. Alfred did this out of respect for the family’s beliefs in marriage before sex.

That, shockingly, didn’t stop Thomas from flirting with Alfred, but he was less handsy.

A small relief.

One evening Thomas led the butler into a room that he was banned from entering. It was surprisingly clean, and bare, for being a guest bedroom. Who cleaned it? The obvious answer was Thomas, seeing as how he had the keys.

Thomas entered a code that unhinged the padlock around the closet door. Thomas opened the door, flicked the light on, and motioned for Alfred to follow.

What Alfred saw took his breath away…

The closet wall was lined with various sex toys ranging from restraints, whips, handcuffs, blindfolds, leather masks, dildos, anal beads, ball gags, plugs, collars, paddles, leashes, and different bottles of lubricants.

“Blimey…” Alfred shook his head, he was somewhat amazed, and somewhat disgusted. Thomas WAS a sexual deviant.

The taller male grinned and he moved behind Alfred. He wrapped his arms around the older man’s waist. “Yeah, pretty impressive right?”

Alfred scoffed, “Hardly.” He didn’t mind the close physical contact, years without it left him longing for someone’s touch -Thomas Wayne’s touch to be precise. Thomas's body filled out nicely over the past few years and he no longer resembled a lanky teenager. A thick neck, broad shoulders, powerful arms and legs, Alfred hated to admit how often he thought about that flawless body. The increase in weight and muscle mass balanced out the few more inches of height added on; the younger man was currently 6'5".

“So when are you going to let me top you Al?~” Thomas nosed the back of Alfred’s neck.

“Mmm, never.” Alfred found himself involuntarily tilting his head to allow access to his neck.

“Oh yeah? Bet I can change your mind~" Thomas began biting at the soft, warm skin. He whispered, “I know how to get my way.”

“I’m sure you do.” Alfred sighed softly, enjoying the attention to his neck. It wasn’t as though Thomas and Martha were married…. They were simply dating. Alfred saw no moral corruption in letting Thomas strip him of his clothes and push him onto the guest bed. He gave into his bodily desires and allowed Thomas to slowly work his erection inside his untouched hole.

Alfred's first time being a bottom was painful, but oh so pleasurable.

He reassured himself it wouldn’t happen again.

Oh, was he wrong.

 


 

 

Thomas’s parents died in a plane crash; unexpected weather forced an emergency landing on unsteady ground in the Alps. The plane flipped over in the process and rolled.

There wasn’t a single survivor.

The funeral was lavish, much like the Wayne lifestyle.

Hundreds of people attended the ceremony and it dragged on for hours while people spoke fondly of the deceased Wayne couple.

Thomas Wayne was eerily quiet and expressionless throughout the whole thing.

Martha cried and clung tightly to Thomas’s arm.

Alfred stayed close but like Thomas, he didn’t shed a tear or express any discernable emotion. He shook hands and thanked those in attendance. When the funeral wrapped up, Alfred glanced to his side to see Thomas escorting Martha to her vehicle. The butler walked back to his mode of transportation and climbed into the driver’s seat. He waited….and waited….. Right as he prepared to leave, Thomas opened up the back door and slid onto the seats.

“Sorry, Martha was inconsolable.” Thomas’s voice was monotone.

“No worries mate.” Alfred shifted the vehicle in drive and they went back to the manor.

It felt…strangely empty inside the manor walls.

Thomas said nothing and retired to his bedroom.

Alfred hovered in the kitchen, unsure if he should clean, start on dinner, or pay a visit to Thomas’s sleeping quarters.

Unwilling footsteps carry the butler up the stairs, to the right, and down a hallway to Thomas’s room. He knocked on the door and waited for a reply.

Nothing.

“Sir?” Alfred knocked again.

“Yeah, come in.” Thomas said softly.

Alfred entered the bedroom and saw Thomas seated in a cloth recliner near the window. He was sipping on a glass of whiskey, gaze focused on the evening glow Gotham City provided. The room is dark, but for a small lamp in the opposite corner of the room; most of the young man’s face is shrouded in darkness. He didn’t look at Alfred.

“Are you okay Sir?”

Thomas shrugged. “Yes, of course. Goodnight Alfred.”

The words stabbed Alfred right in the heart. This was…. The first time Thomas remotely dejected his presence. “What’s wrong Thomas?”

Blue eyes flicker to the butler. “You really want to know?”

Alfred nodded.

“Why?”

Alfred swallowed, “Because…. I care about your well-being Sir.”

“That's comforting… Now, leave me in peace.” Thomas looked back to the window.

The words did something to Alfred. They stirred up the undeniable urge to establish a connection with Thomas Wayne. The butler strode across the room and he lowered himself onto his knees next to the chair. He placed his hands on Thomas’s legs and looked up. “Fine. I want to know, I HAVE to know what’s going on in your head and in your heart.”

Thomas set his glass down on the floor and looked down at Alfred. “Why?”

Alfred’s chest burned when he said it: “Because I love you.”

The cold expression softened and Thomas cupped Alfred’s face. “Do you now?”

Alfred nuzzled his cheekbone against Thomas’s hand and nodded. “Yes Sir, I do.”

“Care to show me?” That playful spark appeared in Thomas’s eyes when he grinned.

Years ago, Thomas Wayne helped Alfred survive the passing of his father. Well, now it was time to return the favor -at least, that’s what Alfred told himself.

Hours upon hours, Alfred Pennyworth allowed Thomas Wayne to ravish his body in every sinful way possible. The butler allowed a restraint, a whip, and a ball gag.

It hurt….

But the physical pain was exhilerating and freeing.

Alfred didn’t mind the bites, the bruises, or the painful whips that tore his flesh apart. As long as Thomas Wayne was causing him pain, the older man loved every second of it.

After Thomas cleaned up the cuts and provided painkillers, including an ice pack, he snuggled up beside Alfred and hugged him. “Thank you~” He pecked a kiss against Alfred’s cheekbone. "I love you."

“Mmm….” Alfred hummed and stared up at the dark ceiling; his body was covered in fresh cuts, an oddly intoxicating feeling.

“Hey Al?”

Alfred groaned, “Please don’t call me that….”

“Heh, sorry…” Thomas nosed his way along Alfred’s neck, inhaling the familiar scent. He sighed happily and continued, “My dad….he um…. He really liked Martha and suggested, a lot of times actually, that I should marry her.”

“Oh? I see.” Alfred wasn’t sure what to say.

“Yeah… That was my reaction too.” Thomas trailed his hand over Alfred’s chest and drew lazy circles. “Nothing I did made my father remotely proud, but if I married Martha….” He trailed off.

Alfred sensed where this was going. He turned his head and planted a kiss against Thomas’s cheekbone. “It is the highest form of honor to respect your father’s last wish. If he wanted you to marry Martha Kane, I suggest you do it.”

“Really?” Thomas sounded surprised. “You…. You would be okay with that?”

“Of course, why wouldn’t I?”

“Well…you said…..”

“Heat of the moment darling.” Alfred reached up and stroked his fingers across Thomas’s cheek. “You need a girl closer to your age. Someone that can bare you children, that’s what your father would’ve wanted, yeah?”

“I guess….” Thomas pressed a kiss against Alfred’s hand. “As long as we….me and you…”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way, Sir.” Alfred leaned up and kissed his lover.

Thomas smiled against the kiss and he looped his arms around the older male. He held him close, held him tight.

Alfred fell asleep in Thomas’s arms that night.

 


 

 

It was in the springtime, June to be exact, when the wedding bells rang.

Thomas Wayne slipped the ring on his new bride and vice versa.

Martha Kane became Mrs. Martha Wayne.

Nearly all of Gotham City rejoiced.

Thomas was twenty-five, and Martha twenty-two, as young as they were, both knew they were madly in love.

Alfred reminded himself that this is how it was always supposed to be. Thomas deserved a family, and as the butler, Alfred would assist in taking care of said family.

It was one-sided…. He only took care of Thomas and he allowed the younger man to sweep him off his feet and lay him down in bed every few months. Alfred was convinced Martha didn’t know about Thomas’s dark sexual kinks but he was fine with that. Feeding Thomas and satisfying his sadistic tendencies was the equivalent of a full-on body high; the best medically prescribed drugs could NOT compare to this endorphin fueled high.

Alfred was lost in his affection for Thomas Wayne.

A few more years passed and Alfred continuously broke his promise (to himself) and gave into Thomas’s persistent advances. Being loved, being wanted, it was an addicting feeling. Alfred could always push the guilt aside, as long as Thomas reserved the bloody, painful kinks for him- only him.

It was a vicious cycle that Alfred and Thomas repeated.

Neither one could go for long without touching each other. 

Alfred expressed his guilt for engaging in such immoral acts....

Thomas kissed him and soothed his doubts and worries away with sweet words...

I love you Alfred.

I need you.

Let me hold you.

Stay.

Until they were sweet no more.

 


 

 "Martha is pregnant."

 

Chapter Text

“There’s been an incident.”

The first thought that came to Alfred’s mind was the well being of the young heir. “Bruce?!” He said in a breathy whisper.

“He’s safe. He’s right here with me.”

Relief.

Now that Bruce’s safety was established, next came the dreadful question and with it painful knots formed inside his stomach. “Thomas and Martha...”

“Deceased, I’m sorry.”

Deceased.

Thomas and Martha.

Thomas Wayne is no more.

The revelation is comparably like drowning.

First, the weight of the water crushes down on Alfred’s body, restricting him of any movements.

“I hope she leaves you. Martha and Bruce deserve an honest man who loves them.”

Second, his throat, his lungs, his stomach, and every porous space inside his body fills with water.

“You’re a manipulative, lying, entitled, selfish piece of shit that doesn’t deserve love, not from me, and certainly not from Martha and Bruce.”

Third is followed by the burning inside his lungs, it swells and entraps the rest of his organs. The scorching sensation makes his eyes water up and he desperately chokes for air.

“I never loved you.”

Unaware the question left his lips, Alfred spoke in a hushed tone: “How?” His hand is shaking something awful, it’s any wonder he’s able to stand.

“A robbery gone bad. Listen, this is an ongoing investigation and I’ll discuss further details with you at another time. Can you pick Bruce up?”

“Yes, of course.”

Jim listed off the address and quickly ended the phone call to attend to a crowd of people collecting around the murder scene.

Alfred set the phone down and he took a moment to compose himself. He exhaled an unsteady breath and focused on his quivering hands. “Don’t you bloody cry. Pull yourself together, if not for your sake then do it for Bruce.”

The tremors in his hands stop.

Satisfied, Alfred left the kitchen and went into the hallway to gather up a jacket, a scarf, shoes, and his car keys. He left the manor and drove across the city to the address Jim gave him; it was close to the theatre, where Bruce and his parents attended an evening show. He ignored the aching feeling in his chest and buried the devastating emotions threatening to overtake him. Now was not the time. The boy -his boy- needed him.

Alfred had to be strong.

When rounding off the busy freeway, Alfred noticed two ambulances racing ahead. He followed closely behind.

Unfortunately, the police had the road blocked off and were ushering pedestrians away. The officers only allowed the ambulances in.

Forced to park his car a few blocks away, the butler pushed past people and approached the nearest cop. “Alfred Pennyworth. I’m here for Bruce Wayne.”

“Oh yeah, so you’re the butler huh?” The man held out his hand, “Name’s Harvey Bullock.”

“A pleasure, Sir.” Alfred took the officer’s hand and shook it, although, this officer looked more like a detective with his attire. “I’m in a bit of a hurry mate.”

“Say no more, Jimbo is sittin’ with the little guy. Right this way.” Harvey lowered his hand and motioned for Alfred to follow.

Both men move walk past lines of yellow forensic tape and they make their way over to the sidewalk across the street. Alfred saw a younger man with short blonde hair sitting on the sidewalk, next to a familiar boy with raven hair. As soon as he saw the young heir, Alfred pushed past Harvey. “Master Bruce.”

Jim and Bruce look up.

Tears immediately filled those blue hues and Bruce leapt from the sidewalk and ran into Alfred’s chest. He wrapped his arms around Alfred’s back and hugged him. “They’re gone Alfred! Father and mother! THEY’RE GONE!!!”

Alfred gently looped his arms around Bruce’s shoulders and he stroked his fingers through those soft curls. “I know…. I’m sorry Master Bruce.”

Bruce sobbed against Alfred’s chest, fresh tears and a runny nose stain the black suit jacket.

It took every ounce of willpower to avoid crying right along with Bruce. He can feel the boy’s small frame trembling while he cried. Alfred shifted his other hand against Bruce’s back and stroked up and down. He doesn’t know what to say. What could he say? Everything’s going to be alright? No, that was a lie. Bruce’s parents are dead, nothing was alright.

The death of a beloved is an amputation. Bruce feels it, the two pieces to his heart are missing. As for Alfred, there’s a growing void in his heart.

Jim Gordon stood up from the sidewalk and met Alfred’s gaze.

Alfred nodded and mouthed the words ‘Thank you’.

Jim nodded, and he walked off in another direction to find Harvey.

Alfred took a step back and he knelt so that he was eye-level with Bruce. He cupped the boy’s face and slowly moved his thumbs, wiping way the tears underneath Bruce’s eyes. “Let’s get you home Master B, I’ll run you a hot bath, yeah?” Alfred froze when he saw the red stains across the younger male’s coat. It was blood…. Thomas and Martha’s blood.

“O-okay…” Bruce sniffled, unaware of Alfred’s pained expression.

Alfred stood up and he put an arm around Bruce’s shoulders. He guided the boy back to the vehicle and the two made their way back to Wayne Manor.

 


 

During the funeral, Alfred took notice of Bruce’s impassive demeanor. The boy didn’t cry, nor did he speak to anyone. He politely shook hands and only nodded when people expressed their condolences.

When the caskets are lowered, Bruce got a little to close, almost as if he was making to jump inside the grave with his parents.

Alfred put a hand on Bruce’s trembling shoulder. “Master B….”

Bruce pushed the older man’s hand away, turned around on his heel, and took off walking back to the vehicle.

Not saying anything about the gesture, Alfred turned his attention down to the grave. Thomas and Martha were going to be buried side-by-side; Thomas in a black casket and Martha in white. It reflected their marriage and their union as one. It also reminded Alfred of the day he attended their wedding as Thomas’s ‘Best Man’ and as Martha’s esteemed ‘Maid of Honor’. It was a strange experience to be valued so much by two individuals he considered friends.

After the eloquent wedding festivities, he felt a heavy feeling on his chest for the remainder of his years in Wayne Manor. Martha loved him and cherished him, even referred to him as ‘Uncle Alfred’ from time to time. Thomas was a whole different story… No matter how much Alfred tried to resist, that beautiful young man always managed to get his way -as he so confidently stated years ago before he married Martha.

That’s right. Thomas always got his way. He was a greedy, narcissistic asshole who wanted the best of both worlds. A loving wife, and a devoted servant who willingly submitted himself. “Bastard…” Alfred mumbled, with little to no anger behind the insult. It was easier to be angry and hate Thomas, although, he couldn’t muster the negativity.

Till death do us part, Alfred remembered the words. Death took Martha and Thomas away from him and the worst part of it all, was that he mourned the loss for his lover. He would never feel Thomas’s touch again or witness that infuriating, gorgeous smile. The guilt over missing Thomas Wayne more than Martha was a fucking knife in his heart. Alfred believed if anyone was more selfish, it was him. He took advantage of Thomas when he was vulnerable, many, many times. He knew the boy wanted attention, he needed it, craved it from somebody older them himself; it was the love he sought that his parents could never show him. Alfred fed into it, he praised the boy, showered him in affection and love, gave him all the attention he needed… Only to bitterly stand off to the side and pretend he didn’t care that Thomas took a wife. He tried to pretend he was okay with it, that he was happy for the couple… What a lie he was living.

Alfred decided that he was the worst kind of person and maybe, it was better this way, because Thomas deserved somebody who was honest. Somebody that wasn’t conflicted or afraid to show unconditional love. Someone, who wasn’t scared to bare their soul in hopes one might reciprocate the same feelings. Undeniably Alfred loved Thomas, but he was terrified of how the outcome might turn out. What if that love faded away one day? What if Thomas decided he was bored and walked out of Alfred’s life? What if Alfred wasn’t enough?

The fear stemmed from Jarvis Beagle leaving Alfred when he was an infant. Alfred never did figure out why he wasn’t worthy of receiving his father’s love, and the whole ordeal left him scarred. He remained guarded, fully prepared to leave before anybody else walked out of his life.

Alfred Pennyworth was not prepared for Thomas Wayne to leave him.

There were so many things left unsaid.

So many words that should NOT have passed his lips.

Lies.

All lies

And now Alfred would have to live with those regrets for the rest of his life.

In what felt like a horrible dream, Alfred turned away from the grave and walked past clusters of friends and family; some were merely acquaintances that worked for Thomas Wayne. Some of the people were unrecognizable but maybe they heard about the prestigious Thomas Wayne’s passing and decided to show their respect for the man. Alfred didn’t blame them, Thomas was a career driven man who was intelligent and goal-orientated. Gotham lost a good man, and Alfred lost the love of his life.

As he climbed behind the passenger wheel, he glanced over his shoulder to check on Bruce.

The raven-haired male was curled up against the door and sleeping.

This didn’t surprise Alfred, Bruce had been sleeping quite a lot these past few days… Maybe it was better being in his dreams then living in the current reality. Alfred started the vehicle and left Gotham Cemetery.

 


 

Two weeks after Thomas and Martha’s passing, Alfred received a phone call from the principal, Mrs. Lanning in regards to an altercation between Bruce and another student. The butler hastily made his way over to the school, parked the car, and went inside the building. As he neared the office, he spotted Bruce sitting alone among a row of empty seats outside the principal’s door.

“Are you alright Master Bruce?” Alfred approached the boy.

Bruce stared at the tiled floor and said nothing.

There’s noticeable swelling on Bruce’s right cheekbone, prompting Alfred to furrow his eyebrows in concern. “Don’t worry mate, I’ll get you some ice for that nasty bruise when we get back to the manor.”

A slight shrug was the only response Alfred received. Bruce grabbed his backpack, stood up, and walked down the hallway towards the entrance.

Alfred sighed, and he followed the young heir.

The incident at school was just the first of a series to follow. Bruce was getting into physical fights and arguments at school, and it got to the point where he was being defiant to the teachers. Alfred finally had enough. After the 10th phone call and being forced to drop everything he was doing to pick up Bruce, he confronted him.

Before Bruce could enter the car, Alfred put his hand over the door and stood in front of it. “Master Bruce, I think it’s time you tell me what’s really going on. All of these disruptions…it’s not like you.”

Bruce stiffened up and his hand visibly tightened around the backpack strap over his shoulder. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Too bad mate, because frankly it’s getting to be tiresome picking you up every other day. I’m not interested in getting to know your principal, her casual flirting is quite revolting.” Alfred’s nose wrinkled at questionable encounters.

The comment elicits a partial smile from Bruce.

“Ah! There! Made you smile, didn’t I?” Alfred grinned.

The smile was immediately gone, and Bruce glared up at Alfred. He became serious, the wrinkles in his brow made him appear older. “I’m not starting the fights Alfred…. it’s everyone else around me. They…they make inconsiderate comments and accusations. And I…I’m not….” Bruce hesitated.

“It’s okay Master B, you can tell me.” Alfred urged gently. He lowered himself down onto one knee and he put his hands on Bruce’s shoulders. “You can trust me.”

Bruce’s expression softened a little and he stared into Alfred’s eyes. After considering the words and deciding they were true, Bruce cleared his throat. “I….I’m not an orphan.”

Alfred raised an eyebrow at the statement.

Bruce sighed and added on, “They call me an orphan. They whisper it, some blatantly spit it out at me like an insult. But I’m not an orphan, am I?” Bruce’s eyes watered up and his bottom lip quivered, “An orphan is a person without a family. Someone who has nobody to take care of him. I’m not an orphan am I Alfred? I have you, so they’re lying. Everybody is lying a-and they don’t understand, t-they….d-don’t…”

The older man pulled the boy into a hug and he rested his chin on Bruce’s shoulder. “No Master B, you are certainly NOT an orphan. Your school is full of plonckers, pay no attention to them.”

Bruce buried his face against Alfred’s neck and cried softly. His body trembled while his fingernails dug into the older man’s back, desperately clinging to him for dear life.

Alfred stroked his fingers through Bruce’s hair. It was at that point he decided to remove Bruce from school and hire a private tutor to home school him.

It was a smart choice on Alfred’s part, Bruce was exceptionally intelligent and surpassed the tutor’s expectations. He was a diligent student, always studying, reading, and acing every test that was presented to him.

The boy reminded Alfred of Thomas. Not just in appearances alone, but his confident attitude, sharp tongue, and growing intellect; he was shaping up to be just like his father. Alfred and Bruce often played chess during the evenings and even though Bruce had yet to beat him, Alfred grew increasingly worried his winning streak might end soon. The boy was capable of learning new strategies and executing them with confidence. Such a smart boy, who was far more mature then children his own age.

Alfred didn’t like it when Bruce started hanging out with a hoodlum known as Selina Kyle, however, it seemed to do the boy some good to have a friend closer to his age. Bruce was smiling more and for that, Alfred was thankful.

 


 

While Selina Kyle helped distract Bruce from the death of his parents, Alfred found other means to cope with his inner turmoil.

Alcohol and lots of it.

The butler set up a few rules for himself. He was to have no more then one drink per hour and he had to make sure the smell was never on him; mint-flavored mouthwash and Earl Gray tea often masked the scent. After Bruce went to bed, Alfred could indulge in as many drinks as his heart desired. It would start off with just a few extra glasses, then proceed to a pint, and as the years passed, he could consume an entire bottle before midnight. He knew it was unhealthy, but alcohol numbed up his pain, until he could hardly remember Thomas or the wonderful moments they shared.

Occasionally, Alfred would pass out in the living room on a recliner. Other times, it was the kitchen table, or behind the desk in Thomas Wayne’s office and sometimes in the guest room where the two men engaged in sexual trysts. However, tonight was a bad night. The loneliness was overwhelming and taking a bottle of Scotch with him, Alfred went into Thomas and Martha’s bedroom. It was after midnight, he knew Bruce was fast asleep. The butler staggered a little while moving over to the spacious walk-in closet. He opened the door and flicked the light on to reveal two rows of suit jackets and numerous men’s’ dress shoes; the slacks were ironed and neatly folded away the bedroom dresser.

Trembling hands move over the suit jackets and Alfred stopped before a royal blue one; he always thought this color looked good on Thomas. He carefully removed the material from the clothes hanger and hugged the suit jacket to his chest. He nosed the collar and inhaled deeply.

Thomas’s scent was on the suit jacket, as it was on every piece of clothing he owned. It stirred up blurry memories and conversations he had with his lover before his passing. He wandered out of the closet and looked at the empty bed that was fixed up with the very same blankets and pillows the couple used that day…. Of course, Alfred made sure to wash the linens every few months, but they remained untouched. The butler couldn’t bring himself to throw out Martha and Thomas’s belongings, neither could Bruce. Everything was kept as it was, a sort of tomb that remained inside the manor.

 As much as he wanted to lay down on the bed, Alfred couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping in the same place as Martha… He settled for sitting on the floor with his back against the wall. He cradled the suit jacket in his left arm and took multiple drinks from the bottle of Scotch.

Alfred continuously drank until the bottle was nearly empty. He could hardly sit up anymore and he was forced to roll over onto his side. He curled up in the fetal position and held Thomas’s suit jacket against his chest. He allowed himself to cry and sob into the royal blue material; it was soft, and it smelled so good. How can something this good cause immeasurable pain? He cried, and cried, until the alcohol put him to sleep.

It’s around 4:00am when Bruce stirred from his sleep. The pre-teen thought he heard something… He sat up and listened.

Something fell.

The soft thud came from down the hallway.

Lifting the blankets, Bruce climbed out of bed and left his room. He padded silently down the carpeted hallway and paused when he noticed a slightly ajar door.

It was his parent’s bedroom.

Ignoring the nervous sensation, Bruce gently pushed the door open and peered inside the room. There’s enough light provided by the moonlight filtering in through the curtains to see the outline of Alfred Pennyworth lying on the floor. A moment of panic caused Bruce to rush over to the man’s side and he reached down and pressed two fingers against the elder’s neck.

A pulse.

Sighing in relief, Bruce plopped down on the floor and stared at Alfred. He felt sympathy for the other male, knowing how much Thomas and Martha’s death affected him. This wasn’t the first time Bruce found Alfred passed out and reeking of alcohol. Since the manor wasn’t known for it’s central heating, Bruce often covered Alfred with a thick blanket. He fetched a glass of water and generic painkillers, often leaving them beside the unconscious butler. Alfred was miserable, no matter how hard he tried to hide it, Bruce recognized grief when he saw it.

Ironically enough, Bruce saw the same thing in his father, who repeated similar habits. He didn’t know why, on some days, his father would drink heavily and hole himself up in the office. Other times, he noticed the sorrowful expression on Thomas’s face. Bruce was only five at the time and he didn’t understand, however, his father wasn’t emotionally distant from him or Martha. Thomas Wayne repeatedly expressed his love for his family. He showed them how much he cherished them, Bruce never doubted his father’s love. Yet, he couldn’t understand what was bothering him enough to create that sad, longing look in his eyes that periodically showed up. Bruce never asked, and Thomas never explained.

With Alfred it was different; his drinking habits didn’t start until after Thomas and Martha’s death. Bruce knew why he was suffering, what he didn’t understand is why Alfred didn’t want to talk about it. He tried to sneak in the subject during their chess games or during meal time, Alfred simply brushed it off and changed the subject. Alfred never mentioned the blankets, the water, or the painkillers, but the very next day he whipped up extravagant meals and let Bruce plan their daily outings and activities. Sometimes, the butler would say ‘Thank you’, but never what he was thanking Bruce for.

Bruce knew. Alfred knew. They just didn’t speak about it.

“Oh Alfred…” Bruce sighed. He was worried the poor guy was going to drink too much and risk alcohol poisoning. If that didn’t kill him, Alfred could potentially trip on the stairs, resulting in a fall that could hurt him or worse... This was getting out of hand, Bruce was only 12 years old, he needed Alfred in his life.

The raven-haired male scooted close to the butler and he laid down on his side, facing the older the male. He noticed Alfred was holding his father’s suit jacket as though it were the most important thing in his life. That was evidence enough to show how much Alfred missed Thomas and Martha. Of all places to pass it out, he chose their bedroom.

The pained expression on Alfred’s face made Bruce’s chest hurt. His friend, his caretaker, was suffering alone. Bruce raised his right hand and he reached over to place it against Alfred’s cheekbone. He stroked his thumb back and forth, eyes studying the upturned eyebrows and tight frown. He was close enough to feel Alfred’s warm breath against his face, the smell of Scotch burned his nose.

Somewhere in that drunken state of mind, Alfred felt the touch against his cheekbone. His lips parted, and he whispered, “Thomas…. I’m sorry…. I’m so very sorry….”

Bruce wasn’t sure if Alfred was dreaming, or if he was reliving a memory. The apology was heartfelt, and the boy responded: “It’s okay Alfred, I forgive you.”

The words elicit a soft, agonizing cry. Tears fell from unopened eyes and he nuzzled his cheekbone against Bruce’s hand. “I miss you, please come back.”

Bruce swallowed the lump forming in his throat. He didn’t know how many times he repeated the same sentiment when he was crying himself to sleep. “I miss you too, but you know I can’t come home. I’m in a better place Alfred, we will see each other again, I promise.” Bruce repeated words other people told him, words he wasn’t sure he even believed himself.

Alfred nodded slightly and mumbled, “I wish I could hold you again.”

Bruce doesn’t quite know what to say to that one. Did he mean hug? He saw Martha and Alfred embrace all the time but never his father and Alfred. Using the sleeve on his pajama shirt, the boy wiped away the tears on Alfred’s cheekbones. “Okay…” He placed his hand on Alfred’s side and moved closer until his body was pressed against the older man’s chest.

Alfred kept his righ hand over the suit jacket while his left arm looped around Bruce’s lower back. He pulled him into an embrace and held him close; he was slow, careful, and extremely gentle. He pressed a kiss against the top of Bruce’s head and sighed in content.

Bruce is still. He managed to tilt his head his up and take notice of the peaceful expression on Alfred’s face. He smiled a little and closed his eyes. He didn’t mind the closeness, or the smell of alcohol. In all honesty, the last time Alfred hugged him was nearly two years ago, after he was dis-enrolled from private school. Alfred only hugged him when he was in pain, so it seemed fair to return the favor. Bruce nuzzled his face against Alfred’s chest and inhaled the scent of tea, flour, sugar, tobacco, and cologne; something spicy and earthy. He smelled good, Bruce decided that the odd combination was his favorite scent.

Not knowing how much time elapsed, Bruce stayed in Alfred’s arms until he was confident the man was fully asleep. Bruce shifted his hands to the floor and pushed himself up into a sitting position; Alfred’s arm slipped off his back and fell against the floor. “Yup, you’re out.” Bruce reached down and brushed a few graying locks from Alfred’s forehead. The boy stood up and walked out into the hallway, flicking on the lights in the process. He went downstairs and into the kitchen to grab a glass of water. He also plucked a bottle of generic painkillers from the cupboard before making his back upstairs. He set the two items a few feet away from Alfred -just in case he rolled over, he wouldn’t knock the water over. The last item Bruce grabbed was a furry winter blanket from the hallway closet. He returned to Alfred’s side and placed the blanket over his body. Bruce took the nearly empty bottle of Scotch and poured the remainder out into the bathroom sink. He decided it was time to address Alfred’s drinking, more so, the reason behind it.

 


 

Bruce waited a couple of days, needing time to build up the courage to address Alfred’s mysterious apology and why he passed out in Thomas and Martha’s room.

It was a Sunday afternoon and Alfred was preparing lunch for the both of them; roast beef sandwiches with a fresh garden salad on the side. Alfred baked the bread himself and it made the kitchen and rest of the manor smell heavenly.

Seated at the table, Bruce sipped on a cup of raspberry tea. He lowered the cup and cleared his throat, “Alfred, are you aware that you fell asleep in my parent’s bedroom? I found a bottle of Scotch and poured the rest out.”

Alfred was in the middle of slicing cucumbers and tomatoes. The question made him tense up and he stopped cutting. Without turning, he addressed the question: “My apologies Sir, I had one too many drinks and I mistakenly entered your parents room under the premise it was mine. It won’t happen again.”

“….Hm.” Bruce didn’t buy it. “You said some things…. In your sleep.”

“Oh? What sort of things?” Alfred resumed cutting.

“You called me Thomas and apologized. Then you hugged me.”

Alfred froze.

Bruce waited.

Bloody hell that wasn’t a dream after all. Alfred could feel panic creeping into his body, causing his heart to race. He cleared his throat with a cough and shrugged his shoulders, while ignoring the heat in his face. “I must’ve been dreaming about your father then. I’m sorry, I’ll monitor how much I drink in the evenings from now on. I’ve been meaning to cut back and-“

“What are you sorry for?” Bruce interrupted.

Alfred set the knife down and turned around to face Bruce. He crossed his arms and shrugged again. “For the unpleasant words and hug.”

“No, not that. Don’t apologize for hugging me, it really wasn’t bad….”

Alfred raised an eyebrow.

“What I mean is, when you apologized to me-Thomas Wayne- what exactly are you were apologizing for?” Bruce watched the other male closely, evaluating every reaction.

“Hmm. Could be a multitude of things Master Bruce. Maybe I was late picking him up from one of his business meetings, or I carelessly forgot an item he wanted at the supermarket. Like I said, could’ve been anything, I don’t really remember any of my dreams.” That was a lie.

Bruce’s calculative gaze never changed. He suspected Alfred was telling the truth, to an extent. “You didn’t specifically ask for a hug, rather, you referred to it as ‘can I hold you’. I don’t recall seeing you and my father remotely intimate on that level, handshakes were a rare occurrence.”

“I don’t know what your insinuating because I wasn’t myself when this happened. For all you know, I wanted to hug Martha, or maybe a past lover.” Alfred shook his head and pretended he had a headache. He uncrossed his arms and rubbed his temples, “Look, this is starting to hurt my head. Can we drop it and focus on lunch for now?”

“Do you miss them?” Bruce asked.

“What?” Alfred frowned slightly and stared at Bruce. “I’m not interested in this conversation.”

“You miss them, but you never say it. Why?” Bruce wasn’t going to drop the subject this time.

“Why should I validate my feelings out loud? Least of all, to someone like you.” Alfred didn’t mean to sound so cold and hateful, but it came out before he could stop himself.

“Someone like me?” Bruce repeated, he couldn’t believe Alfred said that. He stood up from his seat and walked right up to Alfred. He stared up at the older man with a hard expression and a voice to match: “What the hell does that mean?”

Hell wasn’t necessarily a swear word, but Alfred was aware he might have overstepped. He averted his gaze and looked off to the side, “Nothing. It means nothing.”

“Then….I guess I mean nothing.” Bruce stepped back, shaking his head slowly. “Why are you like this Alfred? Why can’t you ever say what’s going on inside your head? Do you think I can’t handle it or something? I thought we were family Al?”

The nickname stung.

Alfred visibly trembled but he masked it with anger instead. “Master B, in what world is a butler considered PART of the family? I cater to you, just as I did for Martha and Thomas. Sure I may live here and see you every day but that doesn’t mean we’re family. It just means I’m doing my bloody job.”

Bruce turned around right before Alfred finished. He marched out of the kitchen with his hands balled up into fists.

“Bruce-” Alfred realized the mistake he’d just made. He followed after the young heir, “Bruce wait. I’m sorry!”

The boy was incredibly fast. He was already up the stairs and disappeared behind a corner. In the distance, Alfred heard a door slam shut.

The butler was left standing at the end of the stairs, bewildered and upset by his own behavior.

Oh no.

He royally fucked up.

 


 

Things are tense inside the manor. The air is thick with unspoken animosity and neither Alfred or Bruce address it, or each other for that matter. An entire week goes by and not a single word is spoken between the two.

It’s torture for Alfred. A few times he tried to speak to Bruce, like offering tea or seeing if he was interested in playing chess.

Bruce never looked at him, nor did he respond in any way. He ignored Alfred, pretended like he wasn’t there.

Alfred was at a loss. He didn’t know what to do and as much as he apologized to Bruce, the boy wouldn’t give him the time of day. The butler couldn’t blame Bruce, Alfred said awful things, and this was the appropriate punishment he deserved. Alfred deserved solitude, he was a piece of shit for a friend. He hurt Bruce, and in doing so failed his obligations as a caretaker. Thomas and Martha wouldn’t be happy with his performance. No, they would most certainly hate him just as much as Bruce hated him right now.

Alcohol was Alfred’s only peace of mind. He broke his own rules and drank more and more with each passing day. He found himself spending a lot of time in Thomas Wayne’s office. One evening, during a heavy rainstorm, Alfred found himself seated behind Thomas’s desk. He had a glass of whiskey in one hand while the other traced across the smooth finish on the desktop. There were a lot of good memories inside the work space, and a lot of unpleasant ones…

Alfred was already intoxicated, he wasn’t even sure how many drinks he had. He located Thomas’s key and unlocked the desk drawer underneath. He opened it, retrieved a pistol, and set it on the desktop. Alfred leaned back in the comfortable office chair and eyed the firearm. He picked up a bottle of whiskey and filled his glass again.

And again.

And again.

The more he drank, the more appealing death sounded.

Alfred set his glass down and picked up the firearm instead; it still looked brand new, obviously it was never used. He was curious if a shot to the head would hurt. Granted, he killed enough men during his time in the service and a head shot resulted in instantaneous death, or so it appeared. But was there pain? Was there a few final moments to go over every decision made in life?

The barrel found it’s way to right side of Alfred’s head; the cool metal surface felt nice against his feverish skin. He closed his eyes and simply stayed that way, contemplating all his life choices. The void in his heart throbbed and ached, reminding him just how lonely he really was. Jarvis was gone. Thomas Wayne was gone. And now, he pushed the only other person he loved away with cruel, untrue words. Why couldn’t he be honest with himself? He wanted to answer Bruce’s questions, but he was afraid of the repercussions. Bruce could potentially hate him if he found out about the affair.

It didn’t matter anymore. Alfred succeeded in making Bruce Wayne despise him.

Trained fingers cock the gun and a finger slides over the trigger.

If he died, would he see Thomas again?

Alfred Pennyworth was willing to take the gamble.

A soft exhale, followed by closing his eyes. He bowed his head one last time in prayer, fully expecting his death to be painful. If he should pass over into hell, then so be it. What was one hell to the next?

Pressure is applied to the trigger and-

The office door opened.

“Alfred?”

Alfred opened his eyes and lifted his head. He saw an alarmed boy standing in the doorway.

“What are you doing?!” Bruce raced over to the desk and he slowly wrapped one hand around Alfred’s wrist and pushed it away from his head. The other hand gripped the gun around the barrel and carefully pried it out of Alfred’s grip.

The older man didn’t protest. He blinked several times, unsure if he was seeing Bruce Wayne or if this was a drunk hallucination. He swallowed thickly and croaked out, “Give me the gun.”

“No.” Bruce backed away with the gun cradled in his arms. “You…. you could have died.”

“Is being dead that much worse than being nothing?”

Bruce didn’t know how to answer. He saw the pain in Alfred’s eyes, and the sincerity behind his words. “Nothing… Alfred, you’re so much more then nothing.”

Alfred looked down at the desk and didn’t say anything.

Bruce put the gun down on the floor, making sure the barrel was faced toward the door. He walked over and went around the desk to Alfred’s side. He grabbed the chair and turned it on it’s wheels until Alfred was facing him. The boy reached up and gently cupped Alfred’s face, something his mother did all the time when she was trying to soothe her upset son. “Blood doesn’t make family, it’s the bond we share that does. You’re my family Al and I need you.”

Alfred met Bruce’s teary-eyed gaze. The words tore through him like powerful rapids, bringing with it an overwhelming sense of guilt and adoration. He couldn’t stop himself from crying. “Oh my God….I was…I was going to kill myself. I…I’m sorry Bruce-“ He sobbed, “-Please forgive me. I will never leave you, I swear, I will never hurt you a-again.” Alfred pulled away and covered his face with his hands in shame and embarrassment.

Bruce stepped closer and he wrapped his arms around the older man’s shoulders. He held him close, fingers stroking through Alfred’s hair. “Shh it’s okay Alfred. We all…have our moment of weakness. I know you’re suffering and alcohol can only do so much. As for me, I can’t drink or use any form of drugs to numb myself up. I have to deal with it all head-on.”

Alfred was surprised. He never considered what Bruce was going through, and how he did it with a sober, clear mind. Bruce Wayne was a truly remarkable child and Alfred was humbled to call him his godson. The older man slowly sat up and stared at Bruce. He saw the boy holding back tears, prompting him to reach up and grab Bruce’s hands. He held them and stroked his thumbs over the warm skin, “You’re absolutely right. You are…. the wisest man I know.”

Bruce smiled a little. “Does a wise man have regrets?”

“Yes, many of them.” Alfred said with a nod, “You’re only twelve, how many regrets could you possibly have?”

The smile faded, and Bruce looked away. “I have one….”

Alfred squeezed Bruce’s hands reassuringly, “If you’re comfortable talking about it with me, I’m all ears.”

Bruce bit down on his bottom lip as he considered it. He exhaled a trembling breath and looked back to Alfred. “When…when my parents were on the ground dying, I clung to both and begged them not to leave me.” Pain contorted Bruce’s face and the tears started falling, “Even when they …they stopped breathing. I yelled at them to wake up. I was selfish Alfred. I was more concerned about being alone then I was about telling them how much I loved them. Why didn’t I say it? I had time to say it, I HAD TIME!”

Alfred stood up and he grabbed Bruce. He pulled him into a fierce hug and squeezed him tightly.

Bruce violently shook and cried against Alfred’s chest. “I didn’t tell them how much I loved them Alfred! I should’ve said it. Those are the words they should’ve heard! I….I’m a coward….I didn’t… I miss them Alfred. I love them, and I didn’t tell them…” He trailed off and sobbed loudly.

Alfred could feel Bruce’s pain behind his words. This poor boy…. what a burden to carry, and here Alfred was ready to leave him on his own. He regretted ever letting the thought cross his mind and before he can stop himself, Alfred sobbed out the words: “Me too Bruce, me too…. I didn’t tell Thomas and Martha how much I loved them before they died. It is truly the biggest regret I have in this life and I let it consume me to the point of wanting to die.”

There it was.

The truth Alfred tried so hard to conceal. He needn’t explain the affair, only that he loved Thomas and Martha.

Bruce and Alfred cried for a long time. They remained in each other’s embrace, mourning the loss of Thomas and Martha Wayne. They never actually said it aloud until now and to their astonishment, they could share their pain and alleviate it together. Once the tears stopped, the two realized just how exhausted they were emotionally and physically. It was time to get some much-needed rest.

Afraid to leave the butler alone, Bruce insisted on sleeping near him.

Reluctantly, Alfred agreed but he said the couch would be a lot more comfortable then a cold floor. The two slept in the living room area; Bruce on the couch and Alfred in the leather recliner. The elder watched the fireplace and by the time the last flame burnt out, he was fast asleep.

 


 

Alfred and Bruce agreed to seek grief counseling.

Three months into their counseling, Alfred Pennyworth finishes up with his twelve sessions and receives praise from the psychiatrist, a Mr. Crane handed over a certificate of completion. Alfred put the certificate away in his room, it was quite the accomplishment, but he wasn’t going to gloat over it. He never did disclose his relationship with Thomas Wayne, but he was honest about everything else. His abandonment and trust issues were the main topics for discussion.

Alfred felt like a new man. The pain wasn’t there anymore, but occasionally it would reappear at random intervals. When this happened, he immediately busied himself with chores; sitting and drinking gave him too much time to relive the past. It was better to stay busy and get out of the manor more often. At one point he was up at 4:00am preparing pumpkin spice cookies and getting an early start on laundry. It was better then holing up in Thomas’s office and drinking a bottle of whisky to himself. Speaking of which, he didn’t know what happened to the gun. Bruce probably put it away and that was fine with Alfred. The boy had nothing but the best intentions for Alfred, and that thought was comforting.

Bruce was doing just as well as Alfred. He smiled a lot more, teased a lot more, although, some of his jokes are crude. He was getting closer to beating Alfred at chess, and he assisted him in the greenhouse from time to time; the two had green thumbs and enjoyed gardening, who would’ve thought? Bruce had a sixteen week session and was wrapping up with his final two appointments.

It’s 5:30pm when Alfred pulls up to the building.

Bruce was already standing outside, patiently waiting.

Alfred got out and immediately opened the back door for Bruce. “Did you finish early? My apologies, traffic was a bit busy.”

“Yes we finished half an hour ago but it’s fine. I really enjoy Dr. Quinzel’s company.” Bruce said, climbing into the back seat afterwards.

Alfred closed the door and climbed in behind the steering wheel. “Ah yes, the pretty blonde with blue eyes. I see you and your father have the same taste,” he teased.

“Pfft!” Bruce scoffed and rolled his eyes, while ignoring the blush dancing across his face. “Whatever.”

“Oh? Or does your type involve leather suits and sticky hands?” Alfred shifted the vehicle in drive and left the parking lot.

“Hah Hah Alfred.” Bruce’s voice is laced with sarcasm. “Hey um, Dr. Quinzel mentioned this exercise… I wanted to know if you’d be willing to try it with me?”

“Exercise? Explain.”

“Well, she suggested I write a letter to my parents. I’m to put down everything I would say to them as though they were alive. I could even discuss my accomplishments or goals, how life is going and all. Then, I seal the letter in an envelope and dispose of it in any way I see fit. She said it’s helped her and a few other clients formulate their thoughts and emotions, and it really gives them insight on how a death affected them.”

“Hmm…. That sounds interesting. If you want me to participate in this exercise with you, then so be it.”

“Thank you, Alfred.” Bruce smiled and leaned against the door, eyes focusing on the blurry buildings and people that passed by.

There was no time limitation on the letter writing exercise. Bruce finished his two letters after a few days but for Alfred, it took him longer to get his thoughts on paper. In two weeks time, Bruce finished up with his therapy sessions and Alfred completed two letters. When asked of his means of disposal, Bruce said he wanted to go down by the river and burn the letters. Alfred didn’t protest the slightly pyromaniac choice and on a Saturday evening, the two found themselves at one of the city parks.

Alfred and Bruce walked past the playground, down a hill, and approached the large canal. Alfred located an empty oil drum and made sure to check it’s contents; mostly trash and twigs littered the empty vessel.

Bruce fetched more dead twigs and branches around the area. Alfred did the same, he found a few empty boxes and tossed the inside the oil drum.

“Ah, ah. I’ll be setting the fire.” Alfred grabbed the lighter from Bruce’s hand. “Where did you get this? You don’t smoke.”

“Hehe.” Bruce chuckled, and he grinned mischievously.

That playful spark in Bruce’s eyes mirrored that of his father. Alfred couldn’t help but laugh and smile warmly at his godson. “You look so much like Thomas.”

“Thank you.” Bruce glowed with pride.

Using the lighter, Alfred lit the cardboard boxes first and the dead branches immediately caught fire. He took a step back and stared over the flames, towards the river. The sun was setting, casting the sky into a blanket of pink and purple hues. It was beautiful.

Bruce retrieved two sealed envelopes from his pocket. “I miss them Alfred…but it seems to get easier each day.”

“Indeed it does Master B.” Alfred also reached into his pocket and pulled out two sealed envelopes.

Bruce stepped forward and stared at the fire; the orange and yellow flames reflect off his blue orbs. He inhaled a deep breath and exhaled softly. “Mother, father, I love you. I hope these letters reach you, somehow, and if not…. I’ll be happy to repeat them when we meet again.” Bruce held the letters over the open flames.

The paper turned black as soon as the flames touched it. The envelopes began to curl up while random, glowing pieces floated away. He dropped the remainder of the envelopes inside the barrel.

Alfred was touched by the words. He stood by Bruce’s side and put an arm around the boy’s shoulders. He raised the envelopes and held them over the barrel. “I miss the whole lot of you but thank you…. For letting me be part of your family, and trusting me to raise your son.”

Bruce blinked away tears and he leaned against Alfred’s side.

Alfred rubbed Bruce’s arm and dropped the envelopes inside the barrel.

They stood side-by-side in silence. They waited until the fire died out and by then, the sky was dark and the moon was out.

The exercise proved useful. Alfred felt lighter, and Bruce felt the same way. They turned to leave the area and didn’t discuss the letters any further. Bruce wrote two, one addressed to his mom and one to his father. Alfred, on the other hand, wrote one for Thomas and the other to Jarvis.

“How about I set the kettle on when we get back? We can squeeze in a game of chess.” Alfred said, while holding the door open for Bruce.

“Oh you’re on old man. I’m going to beat you this time.” Bruce said with a confident smirk. 

“When pigs bloody fly, Sir.” Alfred shut the door.

Later that evening, a gawking Alfred Pennyworth is pacing the floor in quick strides. He couldn’t believe it. Bruce Wayne, shy of his 13th birthday, BEAT him at chess?! He’s only been playing for a couple of years whereas Alfred had at least 25 years of experience with the strategic game.

Bruce giggled at Alfred’s reaction. “We’ve played almost every single night, it was bound to happen sooner or later.”

“Yes, perhaps you’re right.” Alfred scratched his chin and just to be sure, he walked over to the window to check for flying pigs.

 


 

To my dear father,

I wasn’t entirely sure how to start this letter. Every time we have a conversation, it feels forced and full of fake hospitality. Not on your part, but from me. You were right in assuming your absence from my life caused me pain. I held onto that pain for a very, very long time. I blamed you for everything that went wrong in my life. Because of your abandonment, I couldn’t bring myself to trust anyone. I built a wall to protect myself from being hurt and if possible, I walked out of everyone else’s life before they could leave me. I was doomed to a life of solitude and nothing was going to change that.

I was wrong, father. I was wrong to hate you, to blame you, and trying to make you leave the Wayne family. I was also wrong to assume you didn’t love me but according to your other son, you had nothing but wonderful things to say about me. I wish I had known, actually, I did know, I forced myself to deny the possibility that you ever truly loved me.

Speaking of the Wayne family, you were right father, they are a wonderful bunch and I’ve grown to love them. Thomas is as you described, ruffling feathers is what he does best but he’s a charming boy, insanely intelligent for as bratty as he is. I want to thank you for asking me one more time to step in and take care of the Waynes. Had it not been for your letter, I would’ve gone back to Britain and remained a lonely, bitter old man.

Thomas taught me how to love unconditionally and his son, Bruce -marvelous boy, you would love him- taught me how to be honest with myself. If it wasn’t for the two of them, I probably wouldn’t be around today. Bottling up emotions, as I’ve recently come to learn, is toxic. I hope to be more truthful and honest with myself and others from now on.

With that being said, I forgive you father. You’re a respectable, hardworking man and I’ve always admired you. Thank you for always welcoming me with open arms and a warm hug. I’m proud to call you my father and I love you so very much.

Until we meet again,

Your son, Alfred Pennyworth.

 


 

Thomas, my beloved…

Yours was the most difficult letter to write. You know me all too well and saw past my lies. No matter how much distance I put between us, you were always on my mind. Those powerful eyes and beautiful smile tore down the walls I built to protect myself. Please understand, when you decided that you loved me, I couldn’t love myself. I wasn’t able to give you everything you deserved, and I shamefully used you.

It wasn’t until your marriage that I realized I had developed feelings for you. By then, however, I hated myself for pushing you into a relationship that I really wanted for myself. I’m not good with emotions, I never was… One thing is certain, I fell for the dashing Thomas Wayne and I was too stubborn to tell you.

Martha is a beautiful woman and I’m humbled to call her my friend. However, I resented her at times because she was the one you could parade around Gotham and nobody would bat an eye. Could you imagine how silly it would look if we were hand-in-hand at a social event? Why, we’d be the laughingstock of the century! Of course, I don’t know if you’d find it humorous the same way I do. I can picture you insisting we do it anyway just to get a reaction out of everybody. I liked that about you Thomas, you were so bold and upfront. You wore your heart on a sleeve and I locked mine away. To this day, I often wonder what would’ve happened between us had I just admitted my feelings for you... The few times I said I-love-you, I brushed it off and blamed it on the sexual high you left me with. I lied, quite often, to myself and to you.

When we had our argument, the one where you tried to pay me off to leave Wayne Manor….. I said some things that were untrue. Thomas Wayne, I love you and I have always loved you, possibly since the first moment we met. You’re an amazing person and your heart was full of love, love that you were ready to give away without a moment’s hesitation. I wanted to be your friend, your partner, your loving husband. I wanted to share my life with you Thomas and believe it or not, I still do. I’m always going to love you and I will always regret the times I didn’t tell you this in person.

Your son….he’s a remarkable boy. He looks like you, talks like you, even has some of the same mannerisms as you do. I’ll do my best to raise him into a fine young man, although, I won’t have to put too much effort in -he’s already a gentleman and very intellectual for his age. I’m proud of him, just as you are.

Please give Martha my best. Resentment aside, she’s a good woman, a great friend, and an astounding mother. Bruce talks about her, and you, all the time. Each day it gets a little easier to function in life without the presence of the esteemed Thomas Wayne and the angelic Martha Wayne. Bruce and I will carry your wonderful memories in our hearts. 

Thomas, without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I can’t help myself. This is the curse I’m doomed to live with, forever searching, and forever longing. Nobody can replace you Thomas, and I will never love another as much as you. If we should ever see each other again, I’m going to pour my heart out until you’re sick of me, and even then, I won’t stop telling you how much I love you.

Yours forever,

Al.