A/N -Alfred the Cat is female for the purposes of this story.
Dick was passing by Damian's room when he heard voices coming from behind the closed door. He didn't mean to eavesdrop, really, but a sentence caught him off-guard. "I'm upset that she won't sleep with me."
The man stopped suddenly in the hallway. That had been Damian's voice.
"It's not a big deal." Tim, this time. When did the two of them get close enough to have a conversation like this?
"You wouldn't understand. And since she won't sleep with me, I've decided to sleep with him instead," Damian said.
"I'm not surprised. You like him better anyway," Tim said.
Dick was floored. He had hoped that one day, Damian would come to him for advice on dating and love. But for some reason, he was talking to Tim (the guy Damian had sworn was his mortal enemy just last week), who apparently already knew that Damian was into guys.
"I wanted to sleep with both of them," Damian continued.
"Well, it looks like you can only get one at this point. I'm surprised you aren't insisting on sleeping with-" Dick missed the end of Tim's sentence because of a noise from downstairs. He glared down the hall at whoever was making him miss out on this unreal conversation. He pinched himself. Not a dream. Had he been exposed to drugs recently as Nightwing?
"Don't be absurd, Drake. She's a cow!"
Dick felt indignation rise up inside of him. He thought he had done a good job helping raise Damian, and one thing he was unmoved on was that Damian needed to show respect to women. That comment was going to get him an earful from Dick.
"I know she's a cow, Damian. I just thought-"
Damian cut him off. "How did we get on this topic anyway?"
Dick couldn't take any more. He opened the door violently, causing the room's occupants to look up at him. Damian was sitting crosslegged on his bed, and Tim was on the floor stroking Titus. Alfred the cat had been sleeping in the corner of the room in a patch of sunshine, but she decided she was offended at Dick's loud entrance and walked haughtily out the door.
"Do you need something?" Tim asked dryly.
"This is unacceptable! Damian, you are ten years old!" Dick exclaimed.
Damian narrowed his eyes as he usually did when someone reminded him of his biological age. "Yes? And?"
"That conversation was inappropriate."
His two younger brothers gave him an odd look. "Were you spying on us, Grayson?" Damian asked.
"That's beside the point. You are too young to be sleeping with anyone, boys or girls!"
Damian continued glaring at him, but Tim smirked. Then the smirk became a giggle, which turned into him rolling on the floor laughing. Titus moved away from him and jumped on the bed next to Damian.
"I don't think that this is very funny," Dick said, his face flushed with anger. "And don't think I didn't hear you bad-mouthing some girl. You don't call people a cow, Damian! And Tim, you..." Tim now had tears coming down his face. Dick finished lamely, "...know better."
Damian snorted. "I should stop being surprised at the stupidity of some people in this house. If you are going to eavesdrop, at least get the whole story."
"I heard you talking about sleeping with-"
"My pets," Damian finished for him. "I was talking about how the cat didn't want to sleep with me, and Drake reassured me that at least I had Titus."
Understanding dawned. "And when you were talking about a cow..."
"I was referring to Batcow."
Dick's face turned red from embarrassment. Tim's face was also red, but for a different reason. And it was quickly turning purple from lack of oxygen. "It's not that funny," Dick muttered.
"You are correct. It is not funny that you listened in on a private conversation. You should know better, Grayson," Damian chided.
After being scolded by a ten year old, the only thing for Dick to do was slink out of the room.
Tim wiped tears from his eyes, but he was far from done with his mirth.
"Calm down, Drake. Only a fool would think it was that funny."
"Sleeping with-" Tim started, then dissolved into giggles again.
"I am surrounded by idiots," Damian told Titus. The dog woofed in agreement.
"I should head home," Robin said.
"Hey, why do you have to run off right now?" Red Hood asked. He had run into Robin on patrol, and the two of them had teamed up to take down a street gang threatening an older couple passing by. It wasn't anything that Red Hood couldn't handle on his own, but having someone watch his back meant he walked away without any injuries. Red Hood decided that he wouldn't mind patrolling with the pipsqueak for another half hour or so, but Robin apparently wanted to call it a night.
"Alfred's pregnant," Robin replied.
"Alfred is pregnant," Robin repeated.
"That's what I thought you said. What does it mean?" Red Hood asked. Was this a new code the family hadn't thought to inform him of? Figures.
Robin sighed heavily and repeated it a third time. "Al-fred. Is. Preg-nant."
"That old guy's got some secrets, that's for sure."
Robin blinked at him in confusion, then realization hit him. "No! Not Pennyworth. Alfred. The cat?"
"Your cat is pregnant?"
Robin delivered a look that indicated he was unsure if Red Hood's IQ exceeded the average person's life expectancy. "That's what I said. Three times."
"Well, it's not my fault you named the cat after the butler. Your female cat after the male butler."
"In my defense, I did not know she was female when I named her."
"Great excuse. When you spread the happy news, you might want to make sure people know who it is you're talking about."
Robin glared at him. Then he sighed. "Understood."
Bruce was working in his study when he heard footsteps in the hallway. He considered pausing his work to see if someone needed him for something, but Lucius really wanted this work sent to him within the hour. The other man had cut Bruce a lot of slack over the years, and Bruce wanted to show he deserved that trust.
"No, really, how many?" Tim said.
"Forty-five." Jason replied.
"You did not kill forty -five in a minute," Tim accused. Bruce paused in his typing. Jason knew how much it upset him to hear discussions of killing, especially in his own house. He gave the Batglare in the direction of their voices, hoping it would be felt through the door.
"Yes, I did." Jason sounded proud. Bruce's hands clenched into fists. Jason had been doing so much better lately. The young man hadn't taken a life in just over three months, to Bruce's knowledge. So why was he bragging about his kills to Tim?
"There is no way," Tim said. They were right in front of his door now. Soon, their conversation would be out of hearing range. Bruce stood silently and headed to the door.
"Maybe not for you, but I'm me. Here's what you do: You shoot into the air to attract their attention. Then you hide and wait for them to come. They're not very smart. When they can't find you, they just stand there. When enough have gathered, you stand up and pop 'em off."
"If you use a machine gun, then it's not fair. You can just 'spray and pray.' "
"Where would I have gotten a machine gun?" Jason asked, sounding annoyed. "No. One shot, one kill. Forty-five in sixty seconds. I'll show you if you don't believe me."
Bruce reached the door and opened it, just in time to see the two boys entering the den. He almost called out to them, but decided it would make more of an impact if he went to them. He stepped into the den and fixed his glare on both boys.
"Hey, Bruce," Tim started to say cheerfully, but his voice trailed off when he saw the man's expression. "What's wrong?"
"Jason." Bruce said, using the gravelly Batman voice. "We've talked about killing before, haven't we?"
Jason cocked his head to the side. "Only several times a week when I was Robin, and several times a day before patrol since I've been back. I've been good for three months, B. What's this about?"
Alfred's voice appeared in Bruce's head, reminding him to praise his sons for their accomplishments in order to build a better relationship with them. Bruce forced himself to take a breath to calm down. "I recognize that it's been three months, and I am-" he couldn't say proud, the word stuck in his throat, "-glad. But glorifying killing to your brothers is unacceptable."
Jason looked confused, but realization dawned on Tim's face. "Oh, no, Bruce, you've got it wrong-"
"You walked right by my study. Did you think I wouldn't hear?"
Jason finally caught on. "B, for the World's Greatest Detective, you sometimes jump to conclusions without the facts."
Tim, worried that Jason would drag out the explanation and cause unnecessary friction between the two of them, stepped in. "We were talking about zombies. In a video game." He held up the controller that was resting in his lap. Bruce turned around to see the words "World After Zombies" on the TV screen.
"So, you didn't kill forty-five people in a minute?" Bruce asked, at a loss because he was geared up for a lecture and the reason for the lecture had disappeared.
"Nope. Just zombies. Which is funny because..." Bruce braced himself for a zombie joke. It didn't come. "I haven't killed anything outside of video games in three months."
"I see." Bruce tried to think of a way to save face. "Well. Just remember how I feel about killing."
"Couldn't forget, boss. I know zombies are supposed to be brainless, but if I hear something five times a day, it does tend to stick." There it was.
"I have work to get back to," Bruce said and did a tactical retreat. Lucius really did want that report in the next twenty minutes, so it wasn't fleeing the conversation.
As he walked away, he heard Jason say, "You think if I start talking about eating your brains, Timmy, Bruce'll think I'm actually a zombie and, you know? Take me out? Does the 'no kill' directive apply to zombies, too?"
"Just play the game, Jason," Tim said with a sigh.