I. It's Getting Crowded In Here....
Dick Grayson, dressed only in his boxers, admires himself in the bathroom mirror. Meanwhile, outside the door......
Damian: *kicking the bathroom door, dressed in tank top and boxers* Damn it, Grayson, stop preening and let me use the bathroom!
Joseph: *dressed in t-shirt, pj bottoms, and bathrobe, has a towel around his neck, a toothbrush and soap pokes out of his robe pocket* Seriously, some of us have a job to get to!
Sam: *dressed in Batman PJs, is doing the "pee pee dance* Joey, I gotta go.....
Jason: *shirtless, in boxers* Seriously, he's just admiring himself....
Stephanie: *t-shirt, boxers stolen from Tim* Hey, I don't judge him.
Tim: *tank top, boxers* Still, he's being inconsiderate.....
Harper: *pj bottoms, sweatshirt* Cullen, don't stare!
Cullen: *t-shirt with Red Robin patten, boxers* But Tim's right there....
Cass: *tank top, sweat pants* Is this the end of the line?
Alfred: *normal attire* Glad you have your own private bath, sir?
Bruce: *black turtleneck, black slacks, black socks, black shoes* Yep.
II. DO NOT ENTER THE WEST WING
Time period: "Early Days"
Sam is going through the manor, exploring. Barkley is following him. They come upon a pair of doors whose handles have been wrapped in velvet rope.
Sam: Funny, don't remember seeing these before....
Damian: *off panel* Neither do I.
Sam: AHH! *falls down* Why do you keep doing that?
Damian: Because it scares you. But yeah, I don't recall this place...wait, I think we're in the West Wing.
Damian: No one but Pennyworth comes here.
Sam: What do you think it is?
Damian: Dunno...how about we find out?
Damian takes out a birdarang
Sam: You always have those on you?
Damian: Always be prepared.
Sam: You don't seem like the Boy Scout type.
Damian: Those wusses couldn't handle me being around, showing them up.
Damian hacks through the ropes and opens the doors. The room is dusty, prompting Sam to cough. The curtains are drawn, and the various furniture and shelves are draped in cloth.
Damian: I don't think anyone's been here in ages. This probably overlooks the back gardens.
He pulls back the curtains, sending dust flying, making Barkley sneeze. Sunlight comes into a room that hasn't seen it in ages.
Sam: What do you think this room is?
Damian: Private parlor?
Barkley sniffs around a massive piece of furniture in the room. He grabs the cloth with his teeth and pulls it off.
Damian: Kane, stop your mutt!
Sam: He's a purebreed! And Barkley, what are you--
He stops and stares, Barkley sits, wagging his tail, next to a grand piano.
Sam: A piano?
Damian pulls a cloth off a bookshelf
Damian: Music books, storybooks, COLORING BOOKS?!
Sam: It's a music room!
Alfred: *off panel* More than that.
The boys and dog turn, looking sheepish at Alfred.
Alfred: This was the music room, the private parlor, and Master Bruce's playroom. I don't think any young man has been in here since Master Bruce's parents died.
Alfred: He ordered it sealed. He had no time to be a regular boy anymore, and it brought back memories that hurt him to remember. You two shouldn't be here.
Alfred: You shouldn't be here either, Barkley.
Joseph: *off panel* There you guys are.
Joseph enters the room
Joseph: Never thought I'd come back to an empty house so I thought to look in the areas deemed "off limits". *looks around* Wow, rococo design, and tastefully done too.
Sam: Joey, there's a piano!
Joseph: Oh, it's been a while since I tinkled the ivories.
Alfred: Master Joseph, I don't think that's a...
Joseph plays a few notes.
Joseph: Perfect pitch. Now, why would a piano that hasn't been used in decades have perfect pitch? Alfred?
Alfred: *looking uncomfortable* I...always had it tuned, in case Master Bruce ever changed his mind.
Joseph: Well.... *sits down and cracks his knuckles* It deserves to be played.
Time passes. Bruce comes home.
Bruce: Alfred! Damian! *pause* Joseph?
He then hears music, and his eyes narrow. As he arrives in the music room, he sees Alfred, Sam, and Damian sitting on a couch as Joseph plays and sings. Barkley and Titus are lying down by the piano, eyes closed in bliss.
Joseph: *singing* The World Is A Stage, A Stage Is A World of Entertainment!
Alfred, Sam, and Damian clap. They turn when they hear and see Bruce clapping.
Bruce: Very nice.
Alfred: Master Bruce...the children were poking around the west wing and--
Bruce: It's fine.
He goes to the mantle of the fireplace and touches it.
Bruce: It's been a long time I've been in here, I nearly forgot it existed. Maybe it's time to air it out.
Damian: You're not mad?
Bruce: I don't think you knew about this place and why I had it sealed. How can I punish you or others over something you don't know.
Joseph: Think I could set it up as a private study, so I don't get underfoot?
Sam: And can we make it a playroom again, please, Bruce?
Bruce: I'll think about it.
Alfred: Master Bruce, you are being surprisingly reasonable.
Bruce: Perhaps I let my grief control my reason back then.
He sees the specters of himself as a little boy with his parents. He's playing with a Zorro action figure as his dad reads and his mother is at the piano. It seems past and present are juxtaposed.
Bruce: It's time I remembered the good times I had in here.
III. Sparring Time
Timeline: Early Days
Joseph and Dick are sparring as Sam and Damian watch. Dick, obviously, is kicking Joseph's butt. Joseph goes flying to the mat.
Dick: Not bad, you lasted five minutes.
Joseph: I beat you back in New York.
Dick: You fought dirty.
Joseph: Still counts.
Dick helps Joseph up
Dick: Not really, if you want to earn Bruce's trust, and training, you have to realize that fighting dirty isn't the way.
Joseph: You fight dirty.
Dick: When I have to, not all the time.
Barkley and Titus wander in. Sam strokes Barkley behind the ears.
Dick: Besides, this keeps your skills somewhat sharp.
Joseph: You say that like I'm slipping.
Dick: Well you kinda have.
Joseph: What do you mean?
Barkley wanders over to a mirror and starts "shadowboxing" with his reflection as Sam watched and giggles.
Dick: *off panel* Well, both you and Sam have been kidnapped a bunch of times and we've had to save you two.
Dick: So, your skills tended to work when you were in costume back in New York because you relied heavily on your gadgets. In a fight, without them, you have not been as great.
Joseph: Now you're sounding like him now.
Dick: Yeah, but I'm nice enough to not hold you to unwritten goals to give you a bit of a self defense tune up. Come up, start again.
Damian: When Father hears about this....
Dick: He probably knows already and doesn't care, Damian.
IV. Teasing Tim
Joseph is working in his office when Tim rushes in and slams the door.
Joseph: Can't you make an appointment, Tim? Only Bruce and Lucius get to pop in unannounced.
Tim: Hide me!
Fangirl: *outside door* Oh Mister Drake.....
Tim gives a sign to stay quiet. Joseph goes to the door and pokes his head out.
Joseph: Sorry, you got the wrong office.
Joseph: You are also trespassing. SECURITY!
Two guards show up
Joseph: Please show this young woman out.
Fangirl: Can he at least sign my---
He closes the door and turns back to Tim.
Joseph: Gee, I thought you Waynes relished the attention of the opposite sex.
Tim: Well my luck hasn't been great; plus the only relationships I had before I dated Steph were caused by Trigon's influence.
Joseph: Oh sure, you get lucky, albeit by demonic possession, and I'm stuck being the dateless wonder.
Tim: You're a workaholic....
Joseph: With high standards. Meanwhile, you keep claiming you're innocent when we know you probably relish the attention.
Tim: No I don't.
Joseph stares for a second.
Tim: I mean it.
Joseph: Cassandra Sandsmark?
Tim: Sure, she's attractive but....
Joseph: That Solstice girl....
Tim: Again, Trigon's influence....
Joseph: Tam Fox?
Tim: Long story.
Joseph: Ms. Brown?
Tim: Well we are dating.
Tim: That...that was a weird adventure that I do NOT want to discuss.
Joseph: Cullen Row?
Tim: He's stalking me!
Joseph: Again, you get attention; I do not.
Tim: Dude, you do get attention, you're just too blind to see it.
Tim goes to leave
Joseph: Try the service entrance, your fangirl shouldn't be there.
Tim goes to leave
Joseph: ...Cullen is there though.
Joseph: I have a link to the security cameras in case persons of interest show up.
Tim: What do I do?
Joseph: Go out the service entrance, tell him you just want to be friends, and take him out for a cup of coffee and get to know him as a friend. Yeesh.
Tim: And you should ask out that secretary in R&D
Joseph stand flabbergasted as Tim leaves, smirking.
V. Oh no, not you!
Ronin is taking down a bunch of thugs, who are on a combo of Venom and Monster Man formula
Ronin: *narrating* Don't you just HATE it when someone gets an idea from another supervillain? Some wise guy saw that Bane-Cop that weird ancestor of Bruce's cooked up and now is making himself a small army of these bozos.
Ronin flips backwards to dodge a massive fist, grabs another thug, and tosses him into his attacker.
Ronin: *narrating* Just ONCE I want my powers to work so I can go toe to toe with these bozos and knock the stuffing out of them! Hate being the little guy surrounded by a bunch of lumbering idiots.
Ronin snap kicks a thug in the gut followed by a hammer blow to the neck
Ronin: *narrating* At least this little guy is stronger than he looks
Ronin takes out a few throwing knives and tosses them, pinning a thug to the wall. He hears a growl, he turns and sees a thug lifting up a car and preparing to crush him
Ronin: Oh crap.
BANG! The thug is shot in the head and falls backwards. The car crushes the corpse.
Ronin: What the--
Red Hood: *off panel* Hey, Batman would be pissed if his latest lackey got smeared by a common goon.
Ronin turns to face Red Hood.
Ronin: Oh no, not you.
Red Hood: Last I checked, we had a truce.
Ronin: Doesn't mean I have to like you.
Ronin sees the pinned thug about to free himself and punches the man in the face, knocking him out.
Red Hood: Shame, I got a present for you. It's on my bike.
Ronin: Better not be a grenade or a crowbar....
Red Hood: You want to know who is making himself an army of Banes; well I got someone who said he's more afraid of being roughed up by "that new guy in the fedora"
Ronin raises an eyebrow and follows Red Hood. To his surprise, it is Alexi Vassily, who is tied to the back of the bike and looks roughed up.
Vassily: Oh no, not you!
Red Hood: Funny, he said the same thing about me.
Ronin: Vassily, funny seeing you again. Out on bail and already in trouble. My "friend" here tells me you can tell me who is providing that little steroid cocktail you're so fond of to your fellow idiots. Who is it?
Vassily: Look, he'll kill me....
Ronin: Look, see the guy in the overcompensating helmet? I may beat you up...he will shoot you.
Red Hood obligingly points a gun at Vassily's head
Ronin: It's probably safer to tell us, we can at least give you the option to live.
Vassily: It's Penguin, he's partnered with Bane to make himself a new army.
Red Hood: Guess plain Venom thugs and Talons don't cut it.
Ronin: Cut him loose.
Red Hood: What?
Ronin: Do it.
Red Hood obliges
Ronin: You have 24 hours to leave Gotham. If you're here in that period, or come back, I will hunt you down and make that thrashing in the amusement park feel like a warm up to what I'll do to you.
Vassily nods and runs off.
Red Hood: "Overcompensating"?
Ronin: Well it is overly large.
Red Hood: Well the ladies don't complain. At least I've BEEN with a girl.
Ronin: Watch it, Hood.
Red Hood: Still, kinda impressed that you at least got one guy scared shitless about you. *gets on the bike* I'll be in touch; maybe I'll take you to a club and get you laid, that might make you more fun to be around.
He zooms off
Ronin: Eh, he may be a murdering asshole, but he might be a better guy than I give him credit for....