Pairings/Characters: Bruce/Dick, Alfred
Continuity: Comics Bronze Age
Genres: Challenge, Fluff, Historical, A Touch Of Humor, Romance, Slice-Of-Life
Claim: For my 2017 Bruce/Dick Bingo Card.
Pattern: Row C (Straight/Vertical Line Bingo) (2/3)
Prompt Count: (2/9)
Summary: You know the old saying, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!!!"? Well, in Bruce’s case, "Beware of Butlers baking apple pies!!!!" ;)
Date Of Completion: March 18, 2017
Date Of Posting: April 25, 2017
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 3021
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Are the days,
As we laze,
Bruce frowned. His eyes felt gritty and all he wanted to do was crawl into bed. Last night had been an extremely busy one.
You must be getting old, Wayne. Just because you have to patrol alone now with Dick at Hudson University, you’re falling apart.
He entered the Manor and put his briefcase on the pier table in the foyer. He could smell apple pie baking as Alfred appeared.
“Ah, good to see you, sir.”
“Is that apple pie I smell?”
“You do.” Alfred took Bruce’s hat and coat and put them in the closet.
Bruce went into the kitchen. He felt a pang. Dick would always stop here for a snack after school. He had heard his ward’s laughter all the way in his study as Dick and Alfred had talked, Dick telling him about his day.
“Have a seat, sir. The pies are just about ready to come out,” said Alfred as he briskly entered the kitchen.
Bruce began to automatically refuse but the pies smelled so good. He pulled out a chair and sat down at the table.
Alfred removed the pies from the oven and put them on racks to cool. He poured Bruce a glass of apple cider and handed it to him.
“Why two pies?”
“Two are better than one.”
Bruce sipped his cider. Alfred was sidestepping the question.
Alfred cut them each a slice of pie a few minutes later and joined Bruce at the table. Bruce took a bite. “Mmm, excellent.”
“Thank you, sir.” A look of approval crossed Alfred’s face as he also took a bite. “I concur.”
Bruce smiled. No false modesty for his old friend! He let the flavor roll around on his tongue, the apples a bit tart but dusted with cinnamon.
“You’re right, two are better than one.”
The butler’s expression was smug, and Bruce was immediately suspicious, but he continued eating his pie.
It was quiet in the kitchen, just the way Bruce liked it. Despite popular opinion, Dick had known how to keep quiet.
But he also knew how to liven things up, bringing light and laughter into this house.
“Master Dick will be pleased to receive this pie.”
“You’re going to mail it? Or is he coming home for the weekend?” Bruce felt a rush of excitement at the latter prospect.
“No, he will be busy the next few weeks with his studies and the Teen Titans.”
“Oh.” Disappointed, Bruce slowly cut another piece of pie. “Hope it gets to him in one piece.”
“Oh, it will. It shall be hand-delivered.”
“There’s some new service out there that delivers pies?”
“Yes.” At Bruce’s look of surprise, Alfred smiled. “I hope he will tip you well.”
“Yes, sir. I think you will enjoy the ride at this time of year. Lovely colors on the trees.”
Bruce put his fork down. “I’m not going up to Hudson University.”
“It’s not that long a trip. You will spend a pleasant day together and then you will return home.”
“I don’t have time…”
“I think you will.” Alfred picked up a manila envelope from the next chair. “I was going through some of the old photograph albums and found this tucked away in one of them.” He handed the envelope to Bruce. “I have copies.”
Bruce warily opened the envelope. His eyes widened and he glared at Alfred.
“That’s dirty pool.”
Bruce steered the wheel of his silver Lamborghini and had to admit that the foliage was spectacular. The fresh air was invigorating, too. He was still tired, his usual state of being lately, but he was looking forward to seeing Dick.
I miss you.
The dreams he had been having lately about the eighteen-year-old were disturbing his sleep and contributing to his weariness. His face flushed as he remembered the details of his dreams.
Just another thing I want and can’t have.
He dismissed the thought and concentrated on finding his exit off the highway.
The campus bustled with students going about their business on this crisp fall Saturday. Bruce parked in the visitors’ lot and exited the car, noticing the admiring glances thrown at the Lamborghini. He picked up the pie box by its string and headed for the dorms.
He was glad he had dressed casually in jeans, a thick white cableknit sweater, and slightly-scuffed sneakers. He entered Mason Hall and walked up to the third floor, bypassing students who were too self-absorbed to give him more than a cursory glance. Youth never changed.
He reached the third floor and found Dick’s room at the end of the hall. The door was halfway open, and Bruce knocked below the pilfered STOP sign.
“Come in,” Dick said.
Bruce pushed the door open to be greeted by the sight of Dick sitting cross-legged on the unmade bed in jeans and a T-shirt. A bright smile flashed across Dick’s face, mingled with surprise.
“Bruce! What are you doing here?”
“Delivering Alfred’s apple pie,” Bruce said dryly. He held out the box.
Dick hopped off the bed and took it. “Oh, man, thank him for me!” He opened the box. “Mmm, smells great.” He put the box in the mini fridge he had brought with him.
The room was in disarray, typical of a college dorm. Clothes were scattered on the floor and draped over chairs, and Dick’s half of the room featured circus posters, but not The Flying Graysons. That one was still in his room back home. His roommate favored day-glow posters of The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones.
Bruce refrained from mentioning the mess, though his years of living with Alfred and his ‘gentlemen’s training’ made him itch to pick up the shirts off the floor.
“Okay, is something up in Gotham?” Dick asked.
“No, just wanted to drive up and spend the day.” Bruce hesitated. “Unless you’ve got plans?”
“Nope.” Dick smiled again. “Let me throw on a shirt and comb my hair and I’ll show you around campus.”
Bruce had seen the campus when Dick had made a visit while considering colleges, but it would be good to see it through his eyes. He followed Dick down to the ground floor and out into the quadrangle.
Dick gave the Grand Tour, pointing out the various classroom buildings, the cafeteria, administration, and the science lab.
“They put it at the edge of campus in case something blows up.”
Dick’s eyes sparkled as he smiled, and Bruce simply raised an eyebrow, unsure if the younger man was kidding or not. Dick laughed and led them up a pine needle-strewn path as they walked up a slight incline.
“Here’s the crown jewel: the library!” Dick said in amusement.
The building was tall, at least three stories, and had a curving entrance that reminded Bruce of a church.
“So is the library off by itself because the librarians might blow it up?” he asked.
“Hey, don’t underestimate librarians. Just ask Barbara.”
Bruce smiled as they entered the library with its high vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows and towering stacks of books. There was a hushed quiet that Bruce always associated with libraries. Dick led him to his carrel on the second floor.
“Home sweet home.”
Bruce approved of the neatness of the simple room: a built-in desk with a cupboard underneath where study materials could be locked away, a chair that didn’t look too uncomfortable, and a pencil cup with the university logo filled with an assortment of colorful pens and pencils.
“Seems like you could get a lot of studying done here,” Bruce said, liking the quiet and privacy.
“I do. The dorm can be a madhouse. And when I have a group project, I can meet with team members in conference rooms located on this floor and the one above us.”
“You seem to have settled in here.” Bruce was glad of that, though some selfish part of him wanted Dick to be homesick.
“Pretty much. I’m used to adjusting to new situations.”
Bruce knew that was true. Dick’s circus background had kept him on the move as a child, constantly attending new schools whenever the circus went into winter quarters. Dick always made friends wherever he went, a talent that Bruce frankly envied.
“Plenty of entertainment in town, but the university set up a pub here on campus. Naturally it’s not as popular because it doesn’t serve alcohol, but it’s got a decent menu and can be good for quick get-togethers without driving into town.”
Bruce was not surprised about the no-alcohol policy. Most of the students were under 21, and therefore not supposed to purchase alcohol, though students always found a way. His own college experience had taught him that.
Bruce followed Dick down the stairs to The Cellar, which was located underground in the student recreation center. He allowed himself the indulgence of admiring Dick’s exquisite butt until they reached the bottom of the stairs
A handful of people were scattered around a few tables, chatting and studying as they waited for lunch to be served cafeteria-style in half an hour. It was a dark-paneled room with the kitchen at one end and a dais for bands at the other end. School pennants and rock ‘n’ roll posters decorated the walls.
“Unless you want the total college experience, I suggest we eat lunch at a little place I know on the river.”
“I’ll take the river.”
Amused, Dick said, “Great, let’s go.”
Bruce found himself ogling Dick’s butt again as he followed the younger man up the stairs. He felt flushed and Dick looked at him quizzically.
“You all right, Bruce?”
“Yeah, I just think it was a little overheated down there.” Give yourself a break, man. That is the butt of all butts!
“They do tend to have a heavy hand with the thermostat around here.” Dick lowered his voice as he leaned closer. “Guess I’m just used to the coolness of the Cave.”
Bruce’s pulse speeded up as he smelled Dick’s cologne. It was a light and airy scent, just like him.
“Well, let’s go,” Bruce said. “I brought the Lamborghini.”
“Ohh, that’s groovy. Let me grab my jacket and we’ll go.”
Bruce waited by the dorm entrance, watching girls in miniskirts walk by and giggle, giving him smiles that he returned. He was feeling very Brucie.
“Okay, let’s put pedal-to-the-metal,” Dick said as he emerged from Mason Hall while shrugging on his jacket.
When they reached the car, Bruce tossed the keys to Dick. “You drive.”
Dick’s smile was extra high-wattage as he caught the keys and climbed into the driver’s seat, starting the engine.
“Mmm, a nice purr.”
It suits you. You’re as sinuous as a cat.
Dick drove on the back roads, the splendor of the countryside surrounding them. Maybe it was the crispness of the autumn air and the glorious blaze of color, but Bruce allowed himself the indulgence of pretending that he and Dick were taking a romantic drive.
You should have spoken up before he left. Now it’s too late. He’s had a taste of independence and won’t want to get tied down to an overthirty-year-old man. Never trust anyone over thirty, right?
They reached the roadside restaurant, a charming establishment with hand-painted dishes displayed on shelves on the walls and a hearty menu of American favorites like Yankee pot roast and apple cobbler. Bruce and Dick sat down at a pine table by a window that overlooked the Hudson River below.
“Do you bring your girlfriends here?” Bruce asked lightly. It hurt to say it, but he was curious.
“I don’t really have time for girlfriends,” Dick said ruefully.
Bruce was surprised. The waitress came over and at Dick’s recommendation, he ordered the Yankee pot roast. Dick did the same. As the waitress departed in her crisp taffeta uniform, Dick sipped his icewater.
“So, Gotham’s been pretty quiet lately, according to The Gotham Gazette.” At Bruce’s raised eyebrow he said, “The library gets a copy.”
“Of course.” Bruce sipped his water. “And the paper’s accurate.”
“Guess you have time to get used to going solo, eh?” Dick winked.
Bruce felt a hollow pit in his stomach. Alone. He mentally shrugged. He would have to get used to it.
“I think I can manage.”
Dick laughed. “I’m sure you will.”
They talked about recent cases of the Justice League and Teen Titans while they ate dinner rolls, enjoyed crisp garden salads, and savored the Yankee pot roast with its rich, brown gravy, tender roast beef, succulent baby Yukon Gold potatoes, and firm baby carrots and peas.
While he talked, Bruce was aware of the taste sensations and realized that food always tasted better when he was with Dick. All of his senses were engaged as colors seemed brighter, sounds richer, and scents more fragrant.
How would his flesh feel under my hands?
His cheeks flushed and his hand trembled as he drank his coffee.
Dick frowned. “Bruce, you all right?”
“Huh? Oh, I’m fine.”
“Is it too warm in here?”
“No, don’t worry.” But Dick did look worried, the last thing Bruce wanted. “I’m fine.” Dick looked skeptical but didn’t push it.
When they were finished with lunch, Dick smiled and said, “We should have brought Alfred’s apple pie for dessert.”
“I agree. Though I’d be willing to try this place’s selection.”
“You’re awfully agreeable today,” Dick said in amusement.
“You mean I’m usually difficult?”
“Well…” Dick’s eyes sparkled.
The waitress appeared and they ordered apple cobbler. Bruce sipped a fresh cup of coffee after the woman poured it for him and left.
“I’ve got something to show you after lunch,” Dick said.
Intrigued, Bruce said, “I look forward to it.”
After lunch Dick took the wheel of the Lamborghini again and drove several moves north, following the river. Neither man spoke, but it was a comfortable silence. Despite Dick’s tendency to chatter, he knew when to keep quiet. He could always feel comfortable with Dick.
Dick parked by the side of the road and got out of the car. “Come on.”
Bruce followed Dick to the edge of the embankment. He was treated to a magnificent view of the river and the opposite shore with the trees in all their autumn glory. He drank in the beauty.
“I like to come here when I want to be alone,” Dick said softly.
“Yeah, college life lacks privacy on a good day.”
“I’ve never showed it to anyone…until now.”
Surprised at Dick’s tender tone, Bruce looked over at him. His heart leaped at the expression he saw there. Did he dare to hope that Dick felt the same way about him?
For once in his life he didn’t plan his next move. He acted on impulse even as part of his mind reflected that he was either making the biggest mistake of his life or the best decision ever as he cupped Dick’s face and kissed him passionately.
Time stood still. Had he made the right decision? Passionately. Completely.
When they parted to come up for air, Dick’s sparkling blue eyes searched Bruce’s as a smile played around the younger man’s lips.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was sixteen. I’m not dreaming this, am I?”
“Since you were sixteen?” Bruce’s astonishment amused Dick. How could he have missed that?
“Sure. Why do you think I’m still wearing the spangled shorts and pixie boots? Shows off my best assets.” Dick winked.
Bruce wondered at his obtuseness. How had he missed that?
“You’re the World’s Greatest Detective except when it comes to your personal life.”
Dick’s tone was affectionate as he smiled at Bruce. Bruce cleared his throat and said, “I’d like to rectify that.”
Dick’s eyes grew smoky with lust. “Me, too.”
They kissed again, hard and wanting and pressed their bodies together as they devoured each other. Bruce was only peripherally aware of Dick snatching a blanket from the Lamborghini as they stumbled in a tight hug toward the woods.
They found a spot by a huge old maple tree, resplendent in gold, and Dick laid the blanket down. He was pushed against the wide tree trunk with Bruce fondling him between his legs. They kissed and clutched and growled until Dick slid down to the blanket and Bruce yanked his pants down, and Dick returned the favor.
They burned and grappled and flesh touched flesh as their hearts pounded and their skin gleamed. Their bodies shuddered and rubbed and shuddered some more, and a shower of leaves came down as the wind gusted. And when Dick ended up on top, Bruce finally cupped those perfect buttocks while Dick threw back his head and laughed.
And when they relaxed in afterglow, Dick said, “I want to transfer to Gotham U.”
“Wait until the semester’s over. Enjoy your independence.” Bruce nibbled Dick’s ear and his lover shivered in delight. “Plenty of weekends and holidays to bring us together.” He whispered in Dick’s ear. “I need you to be sure.”
“Now I know you’re gone, man. You and ‘humor’ in the same sentence.”
Dick laughed and rolled over as Bruce pulled him in for a kiss.
Alfred sat before the hearth in the Manor living room in his favorite chair. A warm fire, a rich Merlot, and a good book. What more could a man ask for?
He smiled at the photograph on the end table at his elbow. He picked it up, admired it, and slipped it into the manila folder that he tucked into the back of the album on the table. Perhaps he would someday show it to Master Dick, but for now it was too useful as blackmail material.
He sipped his wine. Who knew that a youthful whim of Master Bruce’s would help him get his longtime charge with Master Dick?
Alfred chuckled as he thought of Bruce’s costume for the Gotham Drag Ball some years ago.
Quite fetching, actually.
He opened his book and began to read, utterly relaxed.
This entry has been cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment on either entry as you wish. :)