The final step in the adoption proceedings were for Bruce to bring Tim to a social worker and have his living situation examined. They had already toured around the Manor to make sure Bruce was providing for him, but this was to make sure no parts of his story changed when Bruce wasn’t in the room.
It went by far too slow for everyone’s taste. Tim found most of the questions quite boring and gave his regular answers until the interviewer was finished. He was just glad that this was going to be the last one of these he would have to do. He was even ready for his afternoon nap by the time the interview was over and made his feelings known to Bruce as soon as he saw him.
Once he confirmed that there wasn’t any need for any more paperwork or meetings, Bruce lifted Tim into his arms and escorted him out of the room. In a fashion Bruce still marveled, Tim fell asleep as soon as he had his head in Bruce’s neck and it became Bruce’s sole responsibility to carry their weight.
With one arm balancing Tim and the other opening the door, Bruce walked out of the office building and into a shower of flashing lights and noise. It had seemed that something that was meant to be a private meeting was now public and worth the attention of the paparazzi.
In his arms, Tim groaned at the noise and bright lights that had ruined his far too short nap. Bruce tried to reposition his scarf and hide him from the unwanted intrusion, but his immediate goal was to get him into the car and home as soon as possible.
Waiting in the lobby for the meeting to end Bruce had loaded the fact that the adoption had been an entirely private procedure, only a few people knew that there even was one, but all good things have to come to an end.
He drowned out the questions and cameras as he made his way to his car and lifted Tim into his car seat. He had gotten used to the attention years ago, he had to face it as soon as he was born, but seeing the way Tim groaned at the noise he knew it would be a while before Tim felt the same. To be fair, he didn’t quite know if he wanted his son to, but he knew it would come with time. Looking back as people tried to get a shot of him as he turned away from Tim to get back to his seat, Bruce was grateful for the dark tinted windows that made trying to capture anything inside the car completely useless.
Driving home was a boring enough affair, something Bruce was even more grateful for after his experience with a press helicopter, and as soon as they were in the driveway of the Manor Bruce woke up the boy to inform him, “We’re here bud.”
Even though Tim woke up, his face gave away just how uninterested he was in moving a muscle; his naps were much more important. Bruce knew that if he wanted to get the boy of the car anytime soon he’d have carry him in himself.
He hoisted the boy up over the shoulder like a sack of potatoes to wake him up. As soon as he was in the air Tim forgot just how tired he was and began trying to get Bruce to do it again. It took a few leaps in the air before Tim was willing to be let down on the ground and as soon as his feet touched the floor he wanted to celebrate.
While they got some treats to eat they would have a much larger celebration next week when the whole family was together. But right now it was just the two of them and that was more than perfect.
Dick had once joked that Tim was unabatedly his little brother as soon as he had eaten some of Bruce’s cooking and in light of how bad it had been they ordered take out from some of their favorite restaurants in Gotham. There was a full buffet before them in Bruce’s room and with some of Tim’s favorite movies playing in the background they began.
They sat in Bruce’s bed, it was only when Alfred wasn’t here that they were able to eat in their rooms, and talked about absolutely nothing of any importance and as it got darker Tim’s will to stay awake receded as well.
By the end of the night Bruce moved the plates off the bed and pulled the blankets up enough for Tim to crawl in beside him and as always he passed out as soon as his head met Bruce’s chest.
Slowly running his hand up and down the boy’s back, Bruce tried to imagine what the next few years would be like. Bruce knew what he wanted, he wanted them to be perfect and happy together, but he also knew that nothing went as according to plan, especially in a city like Gotham. He allowed himself the luxury nonetheless as he watched as Tim dozed off without a care in the world.
Being as Tim was incredibly different than Dick, Bruce couldn’t even begin to imagine the things he would have to suffer over the next few years.
Bruce woke up to his phone buzzing and found that Dick was calling to facetime him. He had been the past weekend with his friends and San Francisco and Bruce couldn’t think of any need to call so early in the morning.
In any case he answered and asked the usual, “What is it, Dick? Is everything alright?”
Dick gave him a coy smile before saying, “I really don’t know how to answer that question, but I just wanted to see your reaction when you heard the news.” A little more attentive than before, Dick asked, “Is Tim with you?”
Looking down to see that boy still on his chest, Bruce told him, “He’s still sleeping. I can give him a note when he wakes up.”
Shaking his head, Dick said, “Wake him up. I promise it’ll be worth it.”
Although he knew better than to trust Dick when he had that look on his face, Bruce softly nudged Tim until he woke up. It took him a moment but when Tim was finished rubbing the sleep from his eyes and looked at the clock, he asked, “What is it?”
With Bruce still unsure about what the call was about, Dick answered, “I have a surprise for you Timbo.”
Taking the phone into hand, Tim forgot just how sleepy he was and asked excited, “What is it?”
Not missing a beat, Dick promised, “I don’t have it with me, but you’ll see it when you turn the tv on and switch to the news.”
Already formulating how he was going to chastise Dick when he saw what he had done, Bruce found the remote and did as instructed. Once he glanced at the screen it was enough for him to drop the remote.
The headline on national news read, “BRUCE WAYNE WITH NEW GIRL”
All of the hosts were discussing just who the girl was and some went as far to saw just how beautiful she was and where she could have possibly have come from. It looked the pictures taken yesterday had gotten everyone’s interest on just who it was in Bruce Wayne’s arms.
The only problem was that the pictures they were speculating off of had him carrying Tim out from his meeting yesterday and loading him into their car. Now everyone wanted to know just who it was that Bruce was holding onto so tightly and everyone was excited at the prospect that Bruce was adopting another kid, this time a little girl, and just how beautiful she looked.
Breaking through his trance, Dick called out, “When were you going to tell me I was getting a little sister. I mean, I don’t even mind getting rid of Tim if it means I can keep her.”
Understanding that this was the gift that he was talking about, Tim stuck his tongue out at his older brother before ending the call and turning to Bruce. The curiosity was clear on his face and Bruce explained, “They weren’t able to get a proper picture of you but from what they saw they think you’re a girl and very beautiful.”
Tim groaned but didn’t think it important enough to him getting out of bed and fell back against the sheets waiting for Bruce to get the same idea.
Knowing that he would have to be the one to clean up the mess, Bruce turned off the tv before tossing the remote off somewhere he didn’t have to think about it and joined Tim in putting off the day as long as they could.
In any case, he had been right in thinking that raising Tim was going to be a completely different story than raising Dick.
Closing his phone as he laughed at the ridiculous look on his brother’s face, Dick walked into the common area and devised a strategy. He had been planning on showing everyone his little brother once the adoption was finalized, but this situation offered much more interesting possibilities.
He stood in the kitchen and considered his options. Most of the team wasn’t going to be here today, only Wally and Roy, but those two were always best ones to mess with.
They would be up in an hour and if Dick played his cards right he could string them along for hours, maybe even into tomorrow depending on how long it took Bruce to fix the mess.
Grabbing something to eat before crashing on the couch, Dick made sure some of the celebrity news channels were still covering before turning the television off to get to work. He pulled out his laptop and started building Wikipedia pages. Over the past few years he had become known as a pretty trustworthy editor for the website and he decided this was the best use of his reach. The pages would be up for days before anyone began to ask questions and that was more than enough time to do everything he needed.
Pretty soon the others were on the couch with him as they tried to find something to watch. Knowing that the hosts usually recapped the story at the turn of the hour, Dick waited until just before to scrolling into the coverage and pretending to be flustered at the discussion of Bruce’s new daughter and changed to something else.
Just as he had expected, the other two picked up on the story and his weird behavior and Wally snatched the remote out of his hand before switching back to the story.
One of the hosts cut the other off and looked right at the camera. “Now if you’re just joining us, yesterday paparazzi found Bruce Wayne outside of an adoption office with a young girl in his arms. From that point on, the internet has been a buzz with trying to find out the identity of the young girl and whether or not she is a new member of the Wayne family. For those unaware, four years ago Bruce went through a similar situation with the adoption of Richard Grayson and that means we could be looking at a possible new addition to the Wayne family.”
Another ‘reporter’ went on, “That’s not the only thing people have been talking about. While the photographers and internet were unable to indemnify her, one thing is obvious: she is very beautiful.”
From the other side of the table a guest added, “Even if you compare her to Richard when he was first adopted, she is something else. In keeping with the late Thomas and Martha Wayne and now Bruce and Richard, the Wayne family is leagues ahead not only with money but also looks.” If they hadn’t been wrong about Tim’s gender Dick might have been a little insulted.
Before switching to another, easily more important, story, the reporter finished with, “We can’t say for sure what her age is, it appears to be around 6, but one thing is certain: the world can’t wait to learn more about her.”
Turning to their flushed teammate, Roy asked, “When were you going to tell us that you had a little sister?”
As he had practiced, Dick explained, “I was waiting for the adoption to be finished. There’s a little thing called tempting fate.”
Not really believing him, Wally asked, “So what’s her story? Is she anything like you?”
Breathing deep and reminding himself of the story he had worked out over the last hour, Dick answered, “No nothing like me. Her name is Shelby Carter, well now Shelby Wayne, and she’s 7.”
Knowing it was important to any of their stories, Roy asked, “What about her parents? What happened to them?”
Looking down into his lap, Dick muttered, “That’s one thing we have in common. Her parents were murdered a few months ago by the CIA. It’s a complicated story.”
Scooting in closer, Wally said, “We’ve got time.”
Taking in a deep sigh, Dick recited, “Well, her dad, Walter, was an heir to the crown of a small country in Central Europe, Konary. He was next in line and Shelby’s grandfather is sick so it looked like pretty soon her father would be taking over. So the people are rich and the country is small. Most of the people there had made their money through war crimes and illegal trade. Say someone steals a bunch of money from a bank, he or she would contact someone who knew the king, Shel’s grandpa, say that he or she wanted in and pay an entrance fee. Everything from there on would be settled and outside of tax the government of Konary would never get in the middle of your business.”
“So her parents were involved and that’s why the CIA took them out?”
Shaking his head and internally smiling as they fell for the story, Dick explained, “The exact opposite. Shel’s grandpa had been willing to let all this slide because it didn’t make much of a difference to him. Whether or not the person was a mass murder, they were still paying tax and loading his pocket’s, right? But her dad saw things differently. He wanted to show the world just how messed up it was. The only people who really knew about what was going on were intelligence agencies, CIA, MI6, Hamas, Beijing. Konary is one of the few thing they can agree on and they liked the status quo. Shel’s mom, Charlotte, had been sent by the CIA to try and stop her dad eight years ago. That’s how long they had been planning this. They didn’t want to kill him, there was no one else in line for the crown so if he died then it would be a mess of everyone trying to get the throne, but try to change his mind. Shel’s mom thought that if she could get Walt to fall in love with her and have a kid together then he would have to stop because he would be putting their kid at risk, but it didn’t change anything. Instead Charlotte changed her mind on the whole thing and decided he was right and helped him out. Because they already had another heir to the throne, Shel, the CIA went ahead and killed them both and tried to take her in. Bruce had been watching the whole thing going down and was working with Walt on the low, but he wasn’t able to stop them from dying and to make up for it he took Shelby in.”
Turning to Wally to see what he thought about the story, Roy declared, “I don’t believe you. That’s bull.”
Feigning not caring, Dick fell back against the couch and said, “It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing to happen.”
Roy agreed with Wally and said, “It sounds like a bad spy movie.”
Dick argued, “With the right direction it could make a great movie.”
Crossing his arms and looking at Dick quizzically, Wally asked, “How do we know you’re telling the truth?”
“Why would I want to lie to you? It would be stupid.”
Roy huffed before saying, “That’s why it’s something you would do.”
Dick challenged, “Look it up. I’m not lying about anything.”
Roy pulled out his phone while Wally sped off to find his laptop. This was the important part. Dick had looked through the Wiki pages a few times, even coming up with a full backstory to the founding of the country and making a list of criminals thought to be citizens. The crowning glory was a video he had cut together from an obscure movie he was sure neither of the two had seen before.
As soon as Roy turned his phone horizontal to watch what was thought to be footage of a drug kingpin from Vietnam boarding his private jet with a briefcase when another European gentleman came off the plane a few minutes later to make a call he knew he had won. They both bought the story.
Wally turned away from a conspiracy theory thread Dick had created to ask, “So what’s going to happen to her now?”
Sighing and looking down at the table as if he was contemplating whether or not to tell, Dick told them, “Well, the reason that we hadn’t really been vocal about her adoption was because we didn’t want the CIA to find out, but now it looks like we’ll have to up the protection at the Manor.”
“Do you think that they are going to try something?”
Thinning his lip, Dick admitted, “Probably. Her grandfather isn’t doing too well, especially with the death of his son, so he might not last long and they want her there as soon as possible. The CIA wants to use her as a puppet so that they can use the infrastructure there to blackmail people of interest to them and hide the ones that they helped.”
Throwing his phone to the side so he could give Dick his full attention, Roy asked, “Do you think she’s a shell, someone the CIA is using to spy on you and B?”
Although he hadn’t expected Roy to believe him enough to start coming up with his own theories, Dick played it off as something he and Bruce had talked over extensively. “It doesn’t matter either way because we’re planning on wiping her memory.”
The looked at them even more shocked than they had been before Wally shouted out, “What?”
Looking at him stoically, Roy asked the more important question. “Why?”
Dick acted as if it made perfect sense. “The best possible scenario is that Konary crumbles by itself. That is what’s probably going to happen when she doesn’t take up the throne. Wiping her memory means that she can’t changer her mind later and decide she actually does want to be queen of something like that.”
He would have thought the bats would know just how bad of an idea it was, but Roy tried nonetheless. “What if she somehow remembers in twenty years and loses all faith in you two?”
Having practiced the expression that most looked like a groggy Bruce, Dick answered, “We have a contingency we aren’t allowed to discuss with other people. No exception.”
Wally threw his arms in the air in disbelief. This was not how he expected his rare day off would go but he knew he had to ask, “Can we meet her?”
Creasing his brow in consideration, Dick said, “I’m not sure…B is already going to be mad at me because I told you.”
Not wanting to come off as too interested, Roy said, “If it really matters to Wally we could do a quick in and out. Introduce ourselves and tell her we’re sorry about her parents and leave.”
Dick countered, “You’re only going to have to introduce yourself again after…Why not wait until then?”
Wally explained, “I want to meet a princess. She won’t be a princess then.”
Dick stood up and paced around the room fully aware of the fact their eyes were tracking his every move. He came to an abrupt halt and looked at the clock on the wall before sighing, “Fine. Bruce has a meeting with someone that starts in a couple of minutes so we can go over and I’ll introduce you to her.” This was actually the only truthful thing he had said all day.
Leaping up excited, Wally exclaimed, “Thank you so much, Dick. Don’t worry we’ll be on our best behavior.”
Shaking his head and internally smirking, Dick explained, “It’s more than that. I’m going to have to teach you how to properly greet the princess.”
Although he hadn’t expected his plan to go by as perfectly as it had, Dick was incredibly grateful it had. Once he was sure Bruce would be in his office, he lead the two to his room and told them, “I’ll find Shel, but you have to wait here. Remember what we practiced ”
Not seeing any reason to argue, the two went into the correct position and began waiting.
As soon as he closed the door behind him, Dick ran out to Tim’s room and allowed himself in. His little brother was reading a book on his bed and looked up uninterested in whatever Dick had to say, probably still upset about what had happened a few hours ago.
Cutting him off, Tim proudly announced, “I don’t care, Dick.” The four year old didn’t want to hear anything he had to say.
Sitting beside his little brother and taking his hands, Dick explained, “I know I was mean to you this morning, but I felt really bad about it. To make it up to you I actually did get you a present.”
Deciding that the possibility of a present was more important than what happened to Little Red Riding Hood, Tim followed Dick back to his room as he imagined what it could be. It had to be big if Dick couldn’t carry it and everyone knew big presents were the best.
On the other side of the wall Wally and Roy realized they didn’t know how to make conversation with royalty. Everything from television and movies had something to do with politics, but this was a seven year old and if she needed everyone who met her to go through the ritual Dick had taught them then she would be pretty regal.
They stiffened up at the sound of the door opening and immediately dropped down to a kneel before saying, “It’s an honor to meet you, Princess.”
Dick had told them not to look up until the princess said something, but Wally and Roy had not expected it to be a defeated little voice. “Is this my present, Dick?”
Before daring to look up, Roy and Wally looked to each other to share their confusion. Roy decided he could handle an angry seven year old princess and raised his head.
The first thing he noticed was that the princess was short for a seven year old. The second was that the princess was in fact a prince.
He squinted his eyes in confusion and turned to Dick for some answers. The twelve year old was unable to hold in his laughter and he fell on his chair unbelieving that everything had worked.
Knowing that he had been lied to, Roy immediately got up from the embracing position and explained to Tim, “This idiot told us you were a princess and that we needed to do that little thing to meet you.”
It didn’t look like their day was going to be any less confusing because as soon as Roy gave him the confusing explanation Tim’s eyes began to water. He tried to hold them back, but it was all to no avail and he drew everyone’s attention onto himself.
Dick immediately stopped laughing to figure out what was wrong with his little brother but Wally beat him to it and had Tim on his lap on Dick’s bed as soon as he heard the sobs.
Trying to comfort him, Wally used a baby voice he did not know he had and asked, “What’s wrong kiddo? We’re sorry you’re brother lived up to his name, but we didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
Wiping his tears away, Tim muttered just loud enough for them to hear, “Everyone thinks I’m a girl. On the tv and now…everyone thinks I look like a girl.”
Roy got up beside him and asked, “How about we start over? My name is Roy and this is Wally.” Pointing to Dick, he added, “That’s a dick. What’s your name?”
Happy that someone cared, Tim answered, “My name is Tim. It’s Timothy, but I like Tim.”
Wally laughed and said, “My name is Wallace, but I like Wally better.”
The small smile that Tim gave them was enough to warm both of their hearts and they hated Dick a little more for making him upset.
Before he could move onto these new friendships, Tim had to pull them closer and ask, “Were you being mean to me?”
As quick as ever, Wally assured him, “Not at all, Timmy. It was actually your brother but we were really excited to meet Dick’s new sibling and he told us you were a girl.”
Tim nodded his understanding but was hurt to find out his big brother had betrayed him once again.
Seeing the somewhat defeated look on the kid’s face, Roy turned to Dick and asked, “How about you get us some juice?”
Ignoring him, Dick tried to get to his little brother but he was stopped immediately. Tim agreed with the only people, beside his new dad, who seemed to care about his feelings and agreed, “I want juice, Dick. Juice.”
Although he was unsure about how he ended up failing with such a perfect plan, the cherry was when Wally didn’t even bother to look at him when he said, “I’ll just take some water.”
Dick sighed and went down to the kitchen before returning upstairs to find his room empty. Following the voices, he found them in Tim’s bed reading the book Tim had abandoned a few minutes ago. Setting the drinks out beside them, Dick pulled out Tim’s desk chair and waited until they were ready to talk to him again.
There were many press conferences Bruce expected to have, but this was not one of them. All through the day he had calls from news agencies wanting an exclusive with the newest member of the Wayne family and this was the best way to put any further discussions to an end
Not wanting to pick one of the channels over the others, and not trusting any to be sensitive enough for his son, Bruce announced that he would be holding a press conference at Wayne Tower and all press were welcome.
Tim was the only one looking forward to the press, he wanted to set the record straight now and forever.
Behind the stage and peeking through the door, Tim suddenly began to feel nervous with just how many people were there but Bruce assured him, “If you begin to feel anxious and want to leave just tell me and we can put it to an end.”
Unsure of whether or not he should ask his question, Tim decided that Bruce didn’t like it when he hid things from him so knowing would be better and asked, “Are they going to ask about…them.”
It had taken months to get Tim to forget about his parents, but it made sense that the anxiety of the moment would remind him of them. Not wanting to lie to his son, Bruce admitted, “I haven’t said anything yet, but I’ll have someone go out into the crowd and tell them not to ask.”
Sighing in relief, Tim stood by the door and waited for the time to come. It wouldn’t be a long wait, but as more time went on he began to feel even more worried. He had seen Bruce do many press conferences and interviews and he was always perfect and Tim didn’t want to ruin this for him. At least he couldn’t be as bad as Dick when he accidentally said a bad word Tim wasn’t allowed to repeat.
Once the waiting was up, Bruce came back and assured Tim, “You’re going to do fine, kiddo.”
Taking his dad’s hand into his own, Tim began shaking as a release for the pent up energy and lost his breath when the door opened to a rain of camera flashes. Bruce had taken the side closest to the reporters so that Tim would have some guard against the reporter and once they reached the table he helped him up not to his seat before taking his own.
As soon as the two were seated, the reporters stood up and began shouting all of their questions as the same time. Tim sat back in his chair worried, about what he wasn’t sure, and squinted as the flashing only got more intense once the press got a clear view of him.
Soon enough Bruce put a hand in the air the room went silent. He brought the mic in front of him closer and put the other hand on Tim’s knee as a show of his support, and began with an introduction. “As many of you already know, I have adopted another child. His name used to be Timothy Drake, now Timothy Wayne, and he’s four years old.”
There was a moment of silence after the last sentence and Tim took it as his cue to reach for his own mic and introduce himself. When his arms proved too small to reach it, he looked to Bruce who helped position the mic and Tim leaned in going over what he had practiced a thousand times in the next room. Giving them the smile Roy had taught him, Tim began, “Hello, I’m Tim and I’m a boy.”
Incredibly proud of himself, Tim sat back and smiled to Bruce to show that they could go back now because their work was done.
Bruce smiled at him before turning back to the crowd and explained, “I know that everyone thought that he was a girl from a few pictures, but he is a boy and he wants to make sure you all know that. Now, I’m assuming some of you have questions?”
Once again there was a roar in the room as everyone stood up to ask questions and Bruce pointed to one of the friendlier reporters. All of a sudden the room went quiet and she asked, “What spurred on the decision to adopt another child?”
Bruce easily answered, “I have known Tim since he was a child and decided it was in his best interest to join our family.”
Not waiting for a cue, Cameron Lowell, a reporter from one of the gossip magazines, asked, “What about his parents?”
Tim immediately curled away and look to Bruce. “You said we wouldn’t have to talk about them.”
Smiling down his apology, Bruce said, “Please read the memo one of my employees gave you.” and moved onto another question.
“Is there any reason Richard isn’t here?”
Before Bruce could give an answer, Tim took a hold of his own mic and explained, “Dick was really mean today so he’s not allowed.”
Bruce added formally, “He made a prank out of the misrepresentation of Tim’s sex and because of that he’s grounded.”
On that same topic, another question was directed to Tim. “How have to found your time in Mr. Wayne’s custody?”
Confused by the question, Tim turned to Bruce who cleared up, “He wants to know if you like living with me.”
That was the easiest question im had ever had to answer. “He’s the best daddy.”
On that note, the same reporter asked again, “Tim, what happened to your parents?”
Growing frustrated by the disregard of common decency, Bruce turned to the security and asked, “Could you please escort Ms. Lowell outside?” That was enough for everyone to know not to approach that subject for many years.
The remaining questions were simple enough. Is Timothy going to be starting school soon? Yes he’ll be going into the pre-k class of Gotham Academy in the fall. How long has Tim been in your custody? I have been taking care of him for the last year but the adoption was only finalized yesterday. Are there going going to be more public appearances for Timothy? Not in a setting like this, but I won’t keep him in the Manor. He’s going to have as normal of a life as possible. How has Richard adapted to his role as an older brother? Overall he’s an excellent brother, he is protective of Tim and goes out of his way to make him happy, but every now and then he likes to pull pranks and jokes that don’t work.
Once everything was settled, Bruce and Tim said their farewells and left the room. Waiting for them in the adjoining room, Dick was the first one to congratulate Tim on a job well done and once again apologized for his joke.
Bruce made his way to his floor of Wayne Tower and stopped at his secretary’s desk to check his schedule for the day. Scanning the page he found some peculiar names, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
He sat down in his chair and got caught up on some of the things he had missed yesterday. It wasn’t long before his first meeting came up and he stood up to greet the owner of a fashion line. Bruce had only met Brian Humphrey a handful of times, but they had been pleasant enough.
“Mr. Humphrey, it’s nice to meet you.”
Giving him a firm handshake, Humphrey sat down before returning the greeting. “Please, call me Brian if I can call you ‘Bruce.'” At the smile and nod that Bruce threw his way, Brian continued, “I’m grateful that you allowed me the opportunity to meet with you; I know it’s hard to get a meeting the day before.”
Not wanting to admit that he had no say in granting him the meeting, Bruce said diplomatically, “It’s no problem. My family has been customers of your products for years and while we might not be close I do have respect for you and your business, Brian.”
Clearing his throat, Brian said, “I felt the same way and that is why I am approaching you with this offer. I watched the news yesterday and I saw Timothy.”
Bruce groaned and admitted, “Yes, that is an ordeal I never saw myself having to go through and I am glad it is over.”
Smiling at the absurdity of the moment, Brian confessed, “The press conference caught my eye and I will be blunt. I would like to make Timothy a model for the upcoming winter line.”
Letting the businessman facade fall, Bruce repeated, “A model?”
Brian explained evenly, “While the reporting on his gender might have wrong, he is very handsome.”
“He’s also only four.” Bruce didn’t really know what to make of the offer, but it would take more than his appearance to convince him.
“That’s why I’m approaching you and not him. Any and all decisions would be up to you and absolutely nothing without your blessing.” This was a massive opportunity for him and he wasn’t going to push any of the boundaries he needed.
Bruce knew that he would let Tim make the final decision but he also didn’t want Brian to get the wrong impression about what he was asking for. “Tim’s incredibly shy and while he does have a fondness for cameras it’s not as strong when he’s the focus.”
Trying to quell any worries Bruce had, Brian promised him, “We don’t want him to act any differently. People love him the way he is and there is nothing I want to change about that.”
Sighing as he considered the offer, Bruce admitted, “I can’t say it’s a decision that will come easily to me, I have a hard time mixing publicity with my children, but if he is interested then I will get back to you.”
Not wanting to press too much, Brian guaranteed, “Don’t worry too much about which way the decision goes, Bruce, it was a long shot but an opportunity I didn’t want to let slip away.”
Standing up to walk him to the elevator, Bruce said, “Having been in business for as many years as I have, I completely understand.”
Looking over the list of appointments he had that day, he could see that he was going to be going through the exact same conversation a few more times. There were six more designers who wanted to hire Tim as a model for their children’s line. There were another two who wanted to hire both Dick and Tim as a duo.
Bruce had wanted to get some real work done today, to catch up everything that he had missed in the mess yesterday, but now all he could think was what would have happen if Tim actually wanted to go through with the idea. He had never considered that his children were going to be in the public eye so early on and in a way that depended entirely on the way they looked.
Deciding to call it a day, Bruce packed up his things and went to his car. Even though he knew it was only going make him feel worse, Bruce opened his phone and looked through the most recent news on gossip magazines. As he had expected it was all news about Tim and his charming personality. He was four, he didn’t have a personality; his had moments when he was happy and angry and shy and excited.
Tossing his phone on the passenger seat, Bruce started the car and pulled out of his personal garage to get home as fast as he could.
Looking around the Manor, he found Dick explaining the merits of the Star Wars movies in the theater room to an attentive Tim and he sat beside them as he waited for the movie to end. Once it was over, he stopped them from starting another one and drew both of attentions on himself. Even when he had a confused look on his face, Bruce could see why any of them would want to make him the face of their company.
He reached out and pulled Tim onto his lap to explain, “I had a lot of meetings today and most of them were about you.”
Tim straightened up excited and asked, “Do they all know I’m not a girl now?”
Giving him a small smile, Bruce assured him, “They all know you’re a boy, Tim, don’t worry about that. The meetings weren’t about that.”
Unsure of how to explain these things, Bruce decided to be blunt and said, “I have some friends who make clothes and they would like you to model them.”
Usually when Tim didn’t know what something meant he would read the expressions on his family’s face but this time he didn’t know how to read their looks. “What does that mean?”
Bruce explained simply, “They want to take pictures of you in their clothes and print the pictures out and put them on tv and things like that.”
Unsure of what to do, Tim turned to Dick as always. “What do you think?”
Although he wanted to be impulsive and say something about getting a chance to meet models, Dick knew it was an important decision for his little brother and offered, “Maybe you can try it out and make a decision after that?”
Tim considered the advice for a moment before turning to Bruce and asking, “Daddy, what do you think? Should I do it?”
Bruce sighed, he didn’t want to be in the way of Tim making a decision, but he also didn’t want to fail his role as a parent. Frowning slightly, Bruce took his cheek into his hand and promised, “Whatever choice you make I’ll support it and if you do decide to go with it I’ll make sure everything goes the way you want it to. Anything you want, Tim. Just say the word.”
Sighing as his family failed to be much help, Tim looked into his lap and imagined what to do and decided, “I’d like to try, Daddy, it’ll be fun.”
Leaning in to kiss the top of his head, Bruce said, “We can look through some catalogues and pick out whichever designer you like best.”
Tim nodded but turned to Dick to ask, “Do you want to do this too?”
Knowing that sometimes even the best of brothers needed their space and that Tim might like having his own thing, Dick asked, “Are you sure, Timbo? If you want to do this by yourself I don’t mind.”
To Tim it was as simple as, “Everything is more fun if we do it together.”
It was easy for Dick to see why everyone had fallen in love with his little brother so easily, it had only taken Dick one glance, but the reminder was nice. He smiled at Tim and told him, “Sure, I’d love to.”
Turning back to Bruce a little more excited, Tim asked, “Can we look at the pictures now, Daddy? I really want to see.”
Not having any fashion catalogues on hand, Bruce went online to the websites of the designers
And watched the two decide which fit was best for them. As he had expected, they went with the designer he had worn as a child and they still had in his closet. He found the number in his phone and sent the two off to bed before making a call.
Sitting down on the couch, Bruce waited to hear the phone pick up on the other line and greeted, “Brian, it’s Bruce. Look, I know it’s late-”
Quick to interrupt, Brian reasoned, “I can only imagine that if this was bad news you would have waited until morning to call me during office hours. Don’t worry about it.”
Smiling as his job just got a little bit easier, Bruce said, “Yes, I talked to Tim about it and he wants to do a trial run. He’s still a little shy about the idea, but he’s willing to give it a try.”
Bruce could hear Brian’s smile through the phone as he said, “That’s all I was asking for, Bruce. I’ll contact you tomorrow about the details.”
“There is one other thing. Tim wants to do the modeling with his brother.” He didn’t think it would be a deal breaker, but one would never be too sure.
“Yes. They would like to do this together and I know your offer was only for Tim, but I would appreciate it if you could-”
“Of course, Bruce. I would love to have both of the Wayne boys. Now if you would like to get into modeling…”
Bruce laughed at the idea and said, “No I think I’m going to let my kids fly solo on this one. But I am going to be there for the shoots and oversee any of the finer details.”
“I wouldn’t expect any less, Bruce. Good night.”
“Good night, Brian. I’ll see you tomorrow.”