Welcome all! Time to begin Part 2 of "Unpack Your Heart Chronicles". I really don't need to set this up any further because this isn't any different from the first installment. Again, there's no set limit and I will primary focus on stories that take place after "Good Life". However, I might include a couple of stories that take place during the original trilogy. We'll see.
But for now, welcome to "Unpack Your Heart Chronicles Part 2"!
SYNOPSIS: Bruce requests Max and Sally to leave Grace and Stevie with him for an afternoon. Drabble. Post-"Like A Star".
Bruce was in the Cave, finishing up some last-minute program updates for the Batmobile, the Nightbike, and Hayate's skyboard. Once the updates completed, Bruce checked the time. Just around 3:00 PM. Time for one of his hardest missions ever.
Bruce got up, with Ace right behind him, and headed back into the house. Bruce walked into the common room, finding Max and Sally with the babies; Grace was sitting in her bouncer while Stevie was in his stroller. Max and Sally looked up at Bruce, a bit nervous. "Bruce…" Max said, anxiously.
"We're not going over this again, Max," Bruce preempted.
"But you don't have to do this! Mel's at home! And…"
"And she watches the kids plenty. Besides…" Bruce sat down in an easy chair, Ace sat next to him. He gave a slight shrug, "…maybe… I should give this grandfather thing a shot."
"Bruce, you're not fair!" Sally said. "Whenever you say stuff like that, I gotta cry!"
Max giggled. She studied Bruce. "How much of this was Diana's idea?"
"Slight more than half of it," Bruce answered.
"It's one afternoon, Max. I promise I won't turn them into the next Robins."
Max shook her head. "I'm not worried about them. I'm worried about you."
"I'll admit to being out of practice," Bruce shrugged. "But… I would like to give this a shot."
Max stared at Bruce for a few seconds more. She looked over at Sally, who simply shrugged.
Max let out an exhale, "Okay! We're gonna meet up with everyone and we'll… see you tonight."
Bruce nodded. "Have a good day."
"And our phones will be on!" Max said, insistently.
"Completely understood," Bruce replied.
"Thanks, Bruce," Sally said.
For the rest of the day, Bruce watched over Grace and Stevie. Grace had already begun walking, even without her bouncer, so Ace had the job of making sure she did fall or bump into anything. Despite some awkwardness, Bruce found himself having fun with the infants. They were a bit messy and fussy, but Bruce couldn't help but feel happy being around them.
While Bruce was feeding the babies in the kitchen, he stared into Grace as she sat in her highchair. "You have your mother's eyes," he said to Grace. "Let's hope you have her spirit. Your father's too." He looked at Stevie, in his stroller. "Same for you." He finished feeding them and sat back. "Your parents… are the people I wished I could have been. Your fathers… found wives who… understand them… because… your fathers were open and honest about who they are and what drives them. The good. The bad. The worst." He thought for a while. "I'm trying that again. With Diana. But… even I have to wonder if I can make it last." He fell silent again. "But… Clark was right. It's never too late. Even for someone like me." He smiled a bit. "Maybe… I can even be a good grandfather. Your great-grandparents… and Alfred… would loved to have seen this."
Grace smiled at Bruce. Stevie giggled.
Bruce chuckled. "And if you are already laughing at that irony… I can't say I blame you."
Bruce picked up Grace and pushed Stevie in his stroller back to the common room. Bruce set the stroller and sat Grace on the couch. He walked over to the bookshelf and pulled a thin book out of the rows.
He walked over and set the book on the coffee table. He retrieved Stevie from the stroller, sitting the baby on his lap, and picked up the book.
"I want to read you both something," Bruce said. "My mother used to read it to me. She said started reading it when I was about your age."
"Yes, that was a very long time ago. You didn't have to point that out, Grace. I see you have your mother's sense of humor. She's always been smarter and cleverer than your father."
"You can tell him I said that," Bruce smiled. "Anyway. It was written by Margaret Wise Brown and called Goodnight Moon. I have to admit… the pictures are nice, too."
It was a few hours later when Max and Sally came back to the Manor. Night had set in and Terry and Basem had already headed out to start patrol.
"He's gonna kill us!" Sally said, worriedly.
"No, he's not," Max laughed.
"Max! We said we'd be back around 9! It's after 10! We left him with our kids for, like… ever!"
"It's been seven hours!"
"Seven hours with Stevie is forever!" Sally replied. "He's got half my genes, I know how crazy that kid is!"
Max laughed. They walked into the common room but stopped, silently gasping, when they saw one of the greatest sights they had ever seen.
Bruce was asleep on the couch, with a fast-asleep Stevie sitting on Bruce's lap and his head on Bruce's chest. Grace was tucked underneath Bruce's other arm, asleep against his side. Even Ace was asleep at the fireplace.
"Oh, my God…" Sally whispered.
Max immediately pulled out her phone and took several pictures of the sight.
Sally swallowed the lump in her throat as tears formed. "Max, if you don't send me a copy of that…"
"Already done. To you. And Terry. And Basem. And Diana. And… I'll figure out everyone else later." Max sniffed and wiped a tear away. "I'm going to cherish this for the rest of my life."
Sally took a few deep breaths. "Should we wake 'em?"
"Not a chance!" Max nudged Sally, "C'mon. Let's just watch TV in the other room." They quietly headed for another room.
"What about Basem and Terry?" Sally asked.
"They've got the hang of this hero stuff, I think. Pretty sure they can go one night without Grandpa Bruce."