Moving through the house, Bruce mentally went through the checklist of chores Alfred had given him. He had no idea how the butler managed to get so much done at his age, but Bruce was looking forward to the day when his boys were old enough for him to delegate some of the chores to them. It would be a fitting punishment for whatever mistakes they made in the future.
The last thing Bruce needed to do for the night was clean up the dishes from dinner before heading off to tuck the boys in bed and quickly rinsed off the dishes and loaded the dishwasher. Before he turned off the lights, Bruce caught sight of the cake Alfred had left for them. Most of what was supposed to last them a week was already gone, the only thing left was a sorry mess of cake that might have been meant to resemble a slice, and the detective could make out where small hands had dug into it without the use of utensils. He could also see were the hands tried to gather the remains of the cake into the slice in hopes of no one noticing. Looking down at the counter, he could also make out small handprints smeared with chocolate as they tried to leave the scene of the crime before anyone caught him.
Cleaning up the mess, Bruce grabbed a glass of water before going up to Tim’s room hoping to catch his son brown handed. The handprints were far too small to belong to Dick and Bruce knew Dick would have at least used a knife and fork.
Bruce knocked on the door and waited for a grunt before turning the handle and peeking in. Tim was in his bed turned to face away from the door with the lights turned off. There was absolutely no doubt in his mind that he had caught the culprit; Tim always begged to stay up as late as possible and he never went to bed before 8. Stepping in the room, Bruce switched the lights on and sat down beside the boy’s back.
He could see Tim tense up as he pretended to sleep and hoped that Bruce would just leave him to his shame. Tim had probably been hoping to get away with the it, imagining that no one would be able to tell the difference between the cake and the remnants he felt on the counter. Never being the person to ignore a misdeed when he saw one, Bruce shook Tim until he turned over and pretended to wake up.
The five year old must not have known that his face was covered in chocolate because he made no attempt to hide the evidence. The pillow underneath him was covered in the chocolate that had rubbed off of his cheek and Bruce found it far more humorous than anything that his son was so bad at hiding evidence.
Smiling down at him as if nothing was wrong, Bruce asked, “How are you feeling, sport?”
Tim admitted, “Not too good, Dad. I feel a little sick.” Hopefully his father would feel bad for him and leave him to his misery. Considering his amazing luck today, finding an abandoned cake and getting away with eating most of it, he could convince Bruce to leave them alone.
Creasing him lip, Bruce explained, “That’s what happens when you eat too much cake.”
Stiffening up, Tim tried to play dumb and asked, “Cake? We have some cake?”
Helping him sit up so he could drink some water and get the strong taste of chocolate out of his mouth, Bruce reminded him, “Yes, the cake you made with Alfred before he left. The chocolate cake that was sitting on the counter. Do you remember it?”
Tim chugged down the water before shaking his head. “You’re probably imagining things, Dad. There was never a cake.”
“Really?” Bringing a hand to Tim’s cheeks and running his thumb through some of the cake’s remains, Bruce asked, “Then where did this come from?”
Tim looked at Bruce’s hand in shock before rubbing his own on his face and trying to clean it up as much as he could. He had thought that he had cleaned off all the evidence when he washed his hands, but he had forgotten about his face in his panic.
Hanging down his head in shame, Tim waited to hear whatever punishment Bruce had for him. At the very least, he was in trouble for the very poor attempt at a cover up. To his surprise, his dad lifted him up and carried him out to the bathroom.
Glancing at his reflection, Tim lamented on just how ridiculous he looked before turning his attention to where Bruce was lathering his hands in soap. Tim appreciated that Bruce was taking the control on this because he didn’t feel up to moving around on his own. His stomach was as full as it had ever been.
When he was returned to his bed fully cleaned up, Tim was ready to go to sleep. That was the only thing he could imagine making him feel better, but he could tell that Bruce had more to say to him. They were about to enter the punishment period of this evening.
Bruce could tell Tim was in pain, a common occurrence when one eats a third of his or her body weight in cake, but there was a lesson in all of this. Running his hand through Tim’s hair as he waited for the boy to settle in, Bruce explained, “I know chocolate tastes good, but too much of anything can be a bad thing.”
“I’m sorry, but it looked really good.” Tim had acted on instinct he didn’t even know he had.
“I know, sport, but now you feel a little sick, right?”
Tim sighed, “Yeah. My tummy hurts.” It had never felt like this before,
“That’s because you had too much cake.”
“Okay, I made a mistake.” Looking up at Bruce a little afraid of his answer, Tim asked, “Am I grounded?”
Turning around in deep thought, Bruce decided, “You’ll bake another cake tomorrow, but this time you won’t get eat it.”
“That doesn’t sound too bad.” His punishment usually involved menial labor and cleaning around the house or helping garden.
Bruce assured him, “You’ll feel differently in the morning.”
Tim didn’t trust his father, this was far more likely to be a ploy to get him to stop eating cake, but he didn’t question in and turned over in his bed to finally get some sleep. He paid no attention to Bruce as he patted on his back as imagined just what type of cake he could make. This time they could add even more chocolate and mix in with whatever he could find: vanilla, marshmallows, M&Ms, skittles, apple juice, soda, cookies, ice cream, syrup, and anything else he could find in the kitchen. This was going to be the best cake Bruce and Dick would ever eat.