Chapter 1: “You think Bruce is Batman?” [AU]
Anon Ask on Tumblr: i don’t know what you’re going to do with tim in the next chapter but i can imagine tim figuring out that bruce is batman and dick/jason are like “pfttt no tim, bruce is dating batman” so tim second guesses himself and eventually becomes genuinely convinced that bruce and batman are two separate people despite the evidence otherwise
Jason and Dick’s expressions were frozen in the perfect representation of incredibility.
“You think Bruce is Batman?” Jason asked, and his tone was so full of disbelief that Tim felt like he should apologize for having come to such a conclusion.
But then again, he had evidence, didn’t he?
“Every time Batman does more public stuff, Bruce Wayne is out of Gotham,” Tim carefully started to explain. “And Mr. Wayne has a lot of scars and you’ve said yourself that he can just put on the cowl and everything fits. You can’t tell him and Batman apart.”
Dick shrugged. “Dad’s got a lot of work. He doesn’t advertise it, but I’ve seen the paperwork. And yeah, he and the Bat are quite similar at first glance, but they have their differences.”
“Unlike Bat-Dad, Bruce actually talks to people for once, instead of just ‘hnrgh’-ing his way through life,” Jason added.
He got off from Tim’s bed and snatched one of the three blankets Dick had wrapped him in. Then Jason pulled the blanket around his shoulders.
“I’m Batman!” He growled. “Look at me! I only talk in grunts and I managed to find the One Dude in the whole world who’s down to punch criminals in the name of justice, letting me live in a Cave beneath his house and raise kids together!”
Jason struck a pose, and he looked so freaking ridiculous, Tim couldn’t help but giggle. But that was alright since Dick joined him with a genuine laugh.
“And I’m such a sucker for rules even though I do illegal shit all day-“
Jason jumped, immediately switching into a defensive position before he realized it was just Bruce.
Just Bruce Wayne, whose legs and arms were full of old scars. Just a man dressed in what looked like the softest (and funniest looking) bathrobe Tim had ever seen. It didn’t really fit into the harsh look of the Bat-Cave.
“If you boys are done fooling around, I’ve made some hot chocolate for us.”
Dick and Jason cheered and immediately rushed up the stairs.
“Alfred’s still recovering! Don’t wake him up!” Bruce shouted after them, though whether they had heard him was up in the air.
Maybe Tim had been wrong after all. Dick and Jason had been here for years, surely they’d have known if their adoptive parents were just one person.
Dick and Jason were lucky to have them, strange as the arrangement may be. The thought of having to go back to his house, cold and empty and lonely, while his parents were halfway across the world and utterly unaware that he’d been kidnapped was… disappointing.
“Can you walk?” Mr. Wayne asked. “Or do you want me to carry you upstairs? My hot chocolate might not be as good as Alfred’s, but I promise you, you’ll get a proper one for breakfast.”
For breakfast? Tim didn’t have to go home right away?
“I’d like that.”
Chapter 2: “I- um- Batman fired me.” [AU]
AU of Chapter 3 - What if Jason had been fired by Batman instead of grounded by Bruce?
And uh, this got a little angsty.
Might be because I'm projecting. Maybe.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
AU of Chapter 3 - What if Jason had been fired by Batman instead of grounded by Bruce?
Batman turned his back on Jason, declaring their conversation, their partnership, and about everything else in Jason’s life as ‘over’. Jason wasn’t Dick, who had been adopted by Bruce and was running across the rooftops as Nightwing, and he wasn’t Barbara, who had a home and an entire life waiting for her at the other end of the city.
He was just Jason, who had felt so smart and brave when stealing Batman’s tires. Batman didn’t hurt children, no matter what they did. And Jason had been so, so hungry and tired. If he had gotten away with the tires, and he almost had, he would have been comfortable for the next months. If not, Batman would either leave him alone or get him somewhere safe.
Back then, Jason hadn’t been able to understand why Batman hadn’t just told him about his relationship with Bruce. Nowadays, he knew. Jason had never been supposed to find the Bat-Cave, or even know about Batman. Jason was meant to be just another foster kid for Bruce, someone to get rid off once he turned eighteen. But then Dick had to babble and Bruce had to adopt him and everything spiraled out of control.
But that didn’t matter anymore. Jason had been fired as Robin and if inclusion in the family meant knowing the secret, then being banned from the Cave meant exclusion from the family.
Jason passed Dick’s room, then Bruce’s and finally stood in front of his room. His soon to be ex-room. He’d written his name on a wooden plate hanging from the door in fancy lettering. Alfred had taught him calligraphy as part of the get-Jason-back-into-school morning lessons and the nameplate was one of the last things they had done together when Jason had been learning still. By now, he was the one writing all the invitations for parties and whatnot, his penmanship surpassing Alfred’s.
He opened the door and immediately began assembling his bags. He’d long since given up his old ratty backpack from the alley. Why should he keep that thing when Bruce had taken him shopping for a proper bag that “actually supported his weight” or whatever.
His school bag was still lying innocently beside his desk, waiting for him to pack it for the next day. It was the biggest one he had with all his books having to fit into it, his gym clothes, and his water bottle. Jason lifted the bag up and turned it around, all his school things falling to the ground. It was a god damn pain in the ass to do this with his injuries, but Jason was Robin- had been Robin. He could do this.
A few cookie crumbs could be found among the items. Those were from the times he had sneaked biscuits from the manor to school. They weren’t supposed to take food from home to school. They were fed at Gotham Academy, getting everything from salmon to vegetarian burgers paid for by their parents. If he could have just finished the year, he’d have better chances. He’d miss school and everything that came with it. Preparing presentations in the manor’s library was one of his favorite past-times.
“Jason? What are you doing?”
Jason looked up from his bag, already half-filled with clothes and expensive gifts from the past years he could sell for good cash.
Bruce was leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed and his eyes conveying a thousand emotions, not one of them being happiness. Jason quickly rubbed over his eyes. He hadn’t even noticed that he’d started to cry.
“I- um- Batman fired me.”
Bruce stepped into the room, carefully and silent like he used to during Jason’s first months in the manor.
“I’m aware, you’ve been getting reckless. You nearly died.”
Jason’s hands curled to fists. He didn’t want to hear this again, he needed Bruce to stop talking right now.
“But that doesn’t explain why you’re packing your bags,” Bruce continued carefully.
His thoughts come to a halt and incomprehension took hold of him.
“He fired me,” Jason repeated. His voice was wavering and he shut his eyes because they burned. Why couldn’t Bruce just understand and leave?
“And- and I’m only here because of him. I know that. If he doesn’t need me anymore, I have no reason to be here and that means I need to leave and- and-“
Jason hiccuped and Bruce was at his side at an instant. He didn’t want to cry, he didn’t want to be weak, he didn’t want to be packing his back and leave his home!
"And I don’t wanna leave! I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry, please give me another chance, I want to stay here, Dad. I’ll do anything, just keep me, please.”
Jason couldn’t hold back anymore and hid his face Bruce’s shirt. Bruce didn’t hesitate to put his arms around Jason, drawing comforting circles on his back.
“You’re my son, Jay,” Bruce said softly, but without any hesitance. “No matter what happens, no matter what you do, this will always be your home. I don’t need nor do I want an injured or a dead Robin. I just want you to be my son.”
And Jason kept crying.
"But Jason has been living there for three years, surely he must know that him being part of the family wasn't in question?"
Fact is, no. Parents' love is very much conditional and the way you become aware of it, varies greatly from person to person and situation to situation. Jason, for example, knew that Cathrine loved him, but not enough to give up her drugs.
Here, he hasn't told anyone about the situation with his mother yet, his older sister figured just got injured, he went through some traumatizing injuries and from Batman he got the cold shoulder (bc Bruce was busy angsting about How Could I Let This Happen To My Babies?). Jason's reaction is pure panic.
Now you see why this isn't what I used in the main story? Too much angst lmao, couldn't have ended chapter 3 on such a happy note then.
That being said: THANKY YOU ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS!!! It really made me happy to see you're interested in all my dumb ramblings and outtakes and thoughts for this AU as well!!!! If you have any questions, story requests or hell, even AU-of-these-AUs ideas, just tell me here or over at tumblr!
Chapter 3: “Article 43 Addendum" [CANON]
Clark Kent: being a good friend vs getting the Bat-glare for the next 3.000 years
First time writing Clark's POV, I hope it turned out alright! Set after Dick has figured out “””the truth”””, but slightly before he joins Bruce on the streets as Robin!
This is canon in this universe!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Stylefoxx Asked on Tumblr: May I request if the Justice League will know if Batman and Bruce are dating each other?
When Batman has announced that he’d arrive with a delay, Clark had expected the worst. The news hadn’t said anything about a Joker breakout or similar, nor did Clark’s hearing pick up anything unusual in Gotham, but Batman wasn’t late without a good reason. Especially not any later than the Flash. Batman was a notorious workaholic and hated getting off schedule, so Clark had taken another look at their HQ’s med-bay, just in case.
After all, Bruce was the kind of person who would show off bleeding half to death and keep his mouth shut about it and endure.
Thankfully, when Batman did arrive, he seemed to be healthy and awake, and a quick look told Clark he wasn’t hiding more injuries than usual.
Nevertheless, Batman had come with a small and colorful surprise attached to his side.
“Woah, Spooky, what’s with the small clown?” Green Lantern asked, obviously not picking up on Batman’s irritation.
“My name is Robin,” Dick Grayson hissed, furious like a cat. He was wearing a green domino mask and a yellow cape, but otherwise, he was in his Batman PJs, which Clark recognized because he had bought them. Carefully, Clark pinched himself, checking if he was dreaming. There was no way Bruce had actually taken Dick to the Watchtower looking like this, was there?
Green Lantern raised his hands in defeat. “Sorry there, little man. Didn’t mean to offend you. What are you doing here?”
“Accompanying me to our meeting,” Batman interrupted his young charge. “Which I’d like to finish as soon as possible.”
“You were the one who got here late,” Flash mumbled. He was already on his seventh package of chips, and they had been waiting for barely fifteen minutes.
“You disregarded my veto for any meetings this week. I am busy, and as I said before, Gotham is my priority.”
“It’s ‘cause B and Alfie are gone,” Robin said with a yawn. “B’s got a Wayne Enterprise meeting in England and Alfie’s visiting family there so it’s just Bats and me at home and he didn’t want me to stay behind even though I have school tomorrow and should be sleepin’. Bat, when’s Bruce gonna be home again?”
“What?” Besides Batman, Robin looked more asleep than awake already. Tired confusion was written all over his expression.
“Wayne Enterprise…?” Green Arrow repeated slowly, then he froze.
Batman tensed, though Clark doubted that anybody but him and Flash could spot it. Out of all of them, only Diana, Clark, and Bruce knew each others’ civilian identities. Bruce was paranoid enough to not want anybody else to know, and Clark had only discovered his identity in the middle of the battlefield on accident. Bruce hadn’t spoken to him for weeks afterward. It was a little hypocritical since Bruce knew everyone else’s identity, but he argued that his secrecy was a safety measurement. He was the only member of the Justice League with Kryptonite in his possession and every hint towards his identity, would put Clark and so the whole world at risk.
Privately Clark thought that Bruce wasn’t giving himself enough credit, but he could understand where Bruce was coming from.
Clark didn’t want to burden anyone with Superman’s identity either. If villains knew that other members of the justice league could tell them who Superman was... the consequences would be disastrous.
But all of that didn’t matter right now because Dick Grayson, Robin and ward of Bruce Wayne who was Batman, had just asked Batman when Bruce would be home.
“Bruce Wayne?” Green Arrow’s voice had reached a pitch it most definitely wasn’t meant for. “Is that- You’re Dick Grayson.”
And now Robin had caught up on his slip. He paled and his small hand held onto Batman’s cape. Clark wasn’t sure whether this was part of some secret code Batman and Robin had created, but Batman immediately picked Robin up. His cape covered Robin almost completely, hiding him away from everyone’s eyes.
“I’m not,” Robin protested weakly, but the secret was already out.
Clark and Diana shared a look. They had to stop this conversation right now.
“You’re babysitting Bruce Wayne’s ward,” Green Arrow continued, still caught in shock.
Beside him, Green Lantern was already laughing. Clark carefully stepped to Bruce’s side. He wouldn’t kill Green Lantern, Batman had a code, but Clark wasn’t sure whether a fist to the face also fell under the ‘no harm to innocents or other heroes’ paragraph in this particular situation.
“How else is he supposed to afford all these fancy gadgets-” Green Lantern managed to choke out between laughs, only to come to a sudden stop.
“Wait. Is that how you get your funds? Babysitting for Wayne.”
Clark had to do something. Batman had jumped in front of bullets for him, even though Superman was indestructible.
“Article 43 Addendum,” Clark recited, effectively shutting everyone up.
Bruce would hate him for this, but not as much as he’d hate revealing his identity to the League and to Dick like this. Bruce planned things through, and Clark knew he had a plan on how he wanted to reveal the truth to Dick in the future.
Green Lantern and Green Arrow spluttered. “But-”
“This is our code, we all agreed on it,” Superman said, standing straight and being the perfect picture of authority.
Clark was rather sure he’d just earned himself a training session with Bruce and Kryptonite. The things he did for his friends.
“And today we are not here to talk about Batman, but the planned defenses of the Watchtower. Considering tonight’s events, and the fact that we did go against Batman’s veto, I propose that we adjourn this meeting.”
All heads turned to Wonder Woman. “There is still time to talk about the Watchtower in the future, and we should take Batman’s new responsibilities into consideration.”
After that, nobody dared to disagree. Diana was simply awesome like that. With her standing right next to Batman, everybody hurried to leave the meeting hall as well.
“Thank you,” Bruce told Diana, once everyone was gone. Then he turned to Clark. Robin was still in Bruce’s arms, though by now his breathing had evened out a lot - he had fallen asleep.
“Alfred will be back on Sunday. I expect you in the Cave at eleven in the morning.”
Bruce turned around on his heel and walked away, his cape flaring dramatically behind him
Clark was so screwed.
“Any chance you want to come to our training session?” He asked Diana, but she just laughed at his misery.
“And watch you lose?”
And that was that.
All inquiries to civilian identities that have not been initiated by the JLA member in question are prohibited unless there is a severe risk.
Addendum, proposed by 02-Batman
Inquiries about any member’s spouses or children are not exempt from Article 43.
1) The whole JLA thinks Batman is at least 10 years older than he actually is. Bruce just has that Old Man Energy when he's actually the same age or younger than the other members in this verse.
2) Bruce absolutely loves watching Clark squirm every time the JLA refers to Bruce as Batman's significant other bc it's all Clark's fault
3) Bruce absolutely wiped the floor with Clark
Chapter 4: "Like the police" [CANON]
Sleep deprived 23-year-old vs. excited 9-year-old who will win?
In which I remind you all that Bruce at 23 can be just as awkward as other 23-year-olds.
I wrote this because my friends Iris and Grace pointed out that my phrasing in this post about this verse is a little strange and terrifying to read at 2 a.m.
Dick was in the motion of putting his plate and orange juice on the autopsy table and only Bruce’s yelled “DON’T!” made the child freeze. Dick looked up at Batman with big eyes, his hands hovering just a hairsbreadth above the metallic surface.
Batman quickly walked over to Dick and took plate and glass out of his hands, now unsure where he should put it. The ground? With a blanket maybe. Otherwise, it was as unsanitary as the table. Not that the table wasn’t absolutely clean – benefit of living with Alfred – but Bruce honestly didn’t want to be at the end of the hissy fit that would come with letting Dick eat off the autopsy table. The only other space to put food would be Bruce’s desk and he didn’t want anything sticky that could ruin his case files near the paper. Thankfully, Bruce managed to spot the tray Alfred usually used to bring him dinner on. He must have forgotten it here.
He put Dick’s plate and orange juice on the tray and sat that on the ground. Perfect.
“What are you doing?” Dick asked.
He looked up at Batman as if he wanted to ask him whether he was crazy. Bruce couldn’t even judge him. He hadn’t slept in a few days. Every blink felt like torture. The moment he closed his eyes for a little too long, he’d fall asleep.
“Putting your food somewhere safe.”
“It’s on the ground,” Dick shot back, but sat down anyway, Bruce’s furred winter cape serving as his picnic blanket.
“It’s on a tray.”
“Which is on the ground.”
They stared at each other and what must feel like ages passed before Dick turned around to the autopsy table, giving it a good look and then turned back to Bruce again.
“There’s a table right there.”
“I use that one to cut up bodies on.”
Another moment of silence. Dick’s eyes darted to Bruce’s back as if he were expecting him to hide a knife there. Bruce groaned and was thankful he was wearing his cowl, or he’d be burying his face in his hands in shame. Traumatize the child, why don’t you, Bruce? It’s not like he was supposed to feel safe around Batman or anything.
Maybe Alfred was right. Maybe he did need more sleep than he thought.
“I do autopsies on there,” Bruce elaborated. “Like the police. When they need to determine the cause of death of somebody.”
Was this a child-approved topic? Probably not.
“Dick, take the tray and go upstairs,” Bruce ordered instead.
“Because it’s…” Bruce mentally counted the hours since his last power nap. “Because it’s eight in the morning. I need to go to sleep, Chum.”
“Oooh, alright then…” Dick trailed off and cast his eyes downwards.
Disappointment, Bruce thought. He was on a row this morning. Night. Whatever. He was a really great caretaker material.
“I’ll make it up to you later,” Bruce said and Dick beamed.
“Okay! I’ll go ask Bruce than if he wants to eat breakfast with me in the meantime.”
Cheerfully, Dick grabbed the tray and rushed upstairs. Bruce watched his ward disappear in the elevator and sighed. With a heavy heart, he walked towards the changing room. Maybe he could convince Dick to spend the weekend watching cartoons. That way, Bruce would be able to catch at least some sleep.