It was hard to hear anything over the bustle and noise of the various different arcade games, each of the machines bleeping and flashing to catch a passer-by's attention. It almost screwed with ones senses, creating too many movements and distractions to concentrate on, which - if you're one of those people who like to rely on their senses to get them through the day - can be somewhat disorientating.

And for most of the part, this generally tended to be Dick Grayson's view on busy arcades. This and the fact that each game was merely a scam, created to con people out of their money.

So with this in mind, it was a puzzle even for Dick to decipher exactly why he was presently stood smack-dab in the middle of a busy arcade, fishing his pockets for pennies for the old Jurassic Park game. He supposed it had something to do with the fact that Tim was eager to go in, and believe-it-or-not, he was quite fond of the kid. And besides, he'd tried reasoning, arguing and even begging, but that Drake kid was extremely persistent.

"Tim," Dick smiled sweetly, pointing to a particular machine filled with overstuffed toy animals, each one a different shade of pastel colour. "Win me a bear!"

Tim stared for a long while at his 'brother', only breaking the eye contact to look distrustfully at the metallic claw inside the machine. "You're kidding,"

"No, I want to see you do this," he grinned. The game was fixed, and it never ceased to amaze him how angry it made some people. When he and some of the Titans had tried that particular game, all those years ago, it would have resulted with Roy breaking into the thing had he and Garth not been quick to hold him back.

Tim, unaware of the almost sadistic grin his friend had adopted, fished around his jeans pocket, pulling out a quarter and inserting it into the slot. The lights behind the windows suddenly came to life and ear splittingly monotonous music started to loop. Tim angled the joystick, successfully grasping a toy when the claw dived on the first try. The claw then made its way back to the front of the window to drop the prize. Tim was about to flash Dick one of those 'I-told-you-so' kind of grins when the cuddly bear started to slip from the claw's grasp. The machine started to play computerised 'loser' sounds, almost like it was mocking the player. "No! That isn't fair! I had that!" Tim protested when he came out of the game empty handed. Dick just laughed.

He shot him an angry look and emptied some more of his change into the machine. This time, with a lot more force than the first, he angled the claw to grab at the nearest prize. Once again, on its way back to the front, the toy slipped. Refusing to be beaten, he played another time, and a time after that with pretty much the same results.
"Tim, ease up. It's a game."

"No, it's a scam! I saw that thing open. You can't win!"

"You can't win," Dick corrected, thinking better of it only once he had already said it.
The younger man's face turned livid. "I'm gonna get that stupid thing!" He strode purposefully towards the machine, and swung back his left foot. Dick interjected at the last moment, grasping his younger 'brother' by the shoulders and steering him away before he could boot the thing. "Alright, alright, it's a set-up. Man, you're as dangerous as Roy around those things."

It had taken three rounds of Tekken and an ice-cream to cheer Tim up even slightly. He was still sulking.

Dick rolled his eyes. "You're like a child, Drake."

"I am a child, Grayson."

"No, you're a sore loser," Dick stuck out his tongue, remnants of Mr Whippy and all.

Tim glared at him. "Grow up," he shot back, but proceeded to giggle despite his tone.

"Make me."

"Well that's an original comeback if ever I heard one."

Dick narrowed his eyes at the kid next to him, seemingly thinking of a witty comeback. Failing this, he settled for the next best thing and gave Tim a hard shove.

"Hey!" He shoved Dick back with slightly more force, knocking the cone from his hands.

"My ice-cream!" Dick protested.

Tim shrugged. "You're too old for ice-cream, anyway."

"There's no age limit on ice-cream-" another thought struck him. "Hey, I'm not old!"

Tim smiled patronisingly. "Of course not."

"But I'm not! I'm..." He searched his head for a way to finish that sentence. "I'm in my early twenties. That's not - I'm not old!"

Tim laughed. "Okay, keep telling yourself that. I'm going back into the arcade."

Dick took one last grieving look at the remnants of his ice-cream before shrugging and following Tim in.

He was stood by a circle of machines filled with dimes. There were two floors inside the machine, the highest of which moved backwards and forwards rhythmatically.

"Ah no," Dick moaned. "Those are the ones where you put in dimes to push the others out, right?"

"Yup. Want to try?"

"No way, kid. I despise those things. Lose a lot of money on them, you know."

"Hah! You're loaded! Like that bothers you."

"Well I'd rather my money went to a better cause. And besides, Bruce is loaded. I get by on a Bludhaven Police Department salary, I'll have you know."

"Oh, yeah yeah." He rolled his eyes. "Spoil sport." He scanned the area around him for something he could convince Dick to try his hand at. So far he'd been the one spending all his money and it would reflect badly if Dick came out without blowing cash on something irresponsibly.

His eyes stopped suddenly at a game in the corner of the room placed near the pool tables. It was pretty perfect, actually, sitting there and blasting out the monotonous beats that all machines seemed to do at that place. He knew Dick would go for it, eventually.

He walked over towards them, his older friend tagging along behind with more than a hint of suspicion. "What have you seen?"

"Nothing," Tim replied, sounding as disinterested as he could. "I just thought perhaps this would be the kind of thing you'd be interested in." He pointed to the game.

Dick raised an eyebrow at the machine. The overhead title 'Motorcycle Madness' (which was awful enough in itself, he thought) was in luminous blue, with LEDs positioned behind it to flash in time to the hideous tune. Below the overhead sign were two separate screens adjacent to each other, both flashing with a demo play and the price for a tournament game. Below them were what Dick regarded as the final insult; two black motorbike simulators, which looked to him more like those 'raging bull' machines he'd seen in western-style bars in countless movies.

If Tim seriously thought he was going to try that, he had another think coming.

"So?" Tim asked expectantly.

Dick laughed. "Uhh... no. I'd actually rather try those dime machines," he nodded his head towards them. He then added, under his breath: "or try gauging my eyes out with a rusty fork."

"Now, see that would hurt. This, I believe, would be relatively painless."

"Hah, well, I beg to differ."

Tim sighed, annoyed. He went up to the machine, examining the 'bikes'.

"Look, if you want a go, go ahead. Just don't expect me to join you."

"That would defeat the point," he murmured. "Besides, I thought you were always up for a challenge. The want for risk and competition must come with being a trapeze performer, right?"

Dick made his way to the faux cycles, staring at the screen. "Oh come on. It won't even handle like a real bike. These kinds of games are just ridiculous."

"Yeah, alright. I understand you know I'll win."

Dick grinned. The kid was relentless. "You can't pull that reverse psychology stuff on me, bro."

Tim shrugged. "Well, whatever. But you know I've been picking up a few things on the Nightbird, and if that puts you off..."

"Hey, don't be so confident. There's no way you could rival my motorcycle skills."

"Oh, yeah, and a few years ago, perhaps I would have agreed. But, you do seem to be slipping a bit in your old age, and you know-"

"Wh-?" Dick interrupted. "I'm NOT old!"

"Care to prove it?"

"Oh, you're so on!"

"Great." The two took their separate artificial 'bikes and got ready to start. They both knew full well that they were as stubborn and competitive as each other (such qualities appeared to be a necessity in the Bat-Clan) and this could go on forever unless they settled it there and then.

As soon as the 'announcer' on the screens counted down to one and the race started, both Tim and Dick had diverted all their concentration to the task at hand. In contrast to the rest of the people playing the computer games, they did not display any amusement or fun; both their faces were set to serious masks.

Tim had the upper hand at first, being more skilled in the area of computers and games. While he was setting himself a good pace, swerving at the right places and dodging the upcoming diversions, Dick was having a little trouble getting used to the machine. It was not even close to what he was used to and the jerky movements of the pixels on the screen in front of him only served to distract him more.

About half way into the race, however, he started to get a little more used to the screen and the movements he made with his 'motorbike' were increasingly becoming more natural. At the same time, the game started to get harder, with more swerves and things to dodge, which Tim was having a harder time with. Before long, the race was pretty much neck-and-neck.

After three laps, the first race in the tournament had ended with Tim in the lead and Dick not far behind. Some of the computer counterparts were relegated and the next race started with fewer players than before. Still, the Bat Brothers refused to give in, and went through the second race in pretty much the same manner as the first, still as competitive as ever.

A few more rounds later and the computer's players had all been knocked out of the tournament, meaning in the final race it would be Tim Vs Dick. By this time a crowd had joined the boys; most people didn't even get past the first round, yet here were two people easily beating the computer with no obvious signs of difficulty.

They both carried on, seemingly unaware of the small show they'd made of themselves, or simply not letting it distract them. Dick's mouth set in a grim line and he flexed his fingers. His knuckles were white from grasping at the 'handlebars'. Still, beating Tim at this game had proved to be a lot more difficult than he had first anticipated and there was no way he was going to let the little squirt get the better of him.

At the same time, Tim chanced a quick glance at Dick, who was turning out to be an equally worthy opponent. He had felt sure that he wouldn't get used to the game so quickly but apparently he'd underestimated his rival. Still, he wasn't going to go down without a fight.

The screen counted down in big, bold numbers, the start of the race.

"5, 4, -" Tim spared one more look at his opponent before turning back to his screen, ready to roll.

"3, 2, -" Dick flexed his aching fingers again before taking a firm grip on his handlebars.

"- 1, GO!" And so they did.

On Tim's screen, he was in the lead. The background behind the road was of hilly countryside, and there were a lot of trees around the sides of the road that were just asking to be crashed into. For now, though, Tim had control of his character and was having an easy enough job of keeping him on the road.

Dick was close behind. He could see his pixilated rival just in front of him and tried to gain more speed. He was so concerned with over-taking Tim, in fact, that he hadn't concentrated enough on the 'road'. His jerkily-animated character swerved and proceeded to collide into the cliff on the right.

The crowd behind them all let out moans of disappointment, but neither of the Bat Kids appeared to notice or care. There was a crudely animated explosion with the words 'BANG' in block capitols in the centre of Dick's bike, followed by a few seconds delay before he suddenly started back on the road. By this time Tim was confidently in the lead and didn't even appear on Dick's screen.

Now it was even more important for him to catch up, and he was going to.

Tim let out a deep breath, trying not to get distracted by his position. He had been doing too well so far and knew it was only a matter of time before something happened to screw up. And it was most-likely going to be him. He could just as well forget Two-Face or The Joker - this was probably one of the most nerve-racking fights he'd ever participated in. Not that he was going to let Dick know that. He would just accept victory with a grin, like it had been inevitable all along.

Seemingly out of nowhere (but more likely to be on account of his occupied mind), a tree had appeared in the centre of the screen. Tim slammed the breaks suddenly, watching with a sinking feeling of dread as he lost virtual speed. It was too late, though, and his bike suffered the same fate as Dick's had mere minutes earlier. The crowd let out another moan, this time louder and more collective. Tim growled under his breath at the delay.

Spotting an opportunity, Dick sped up, swerving skillfully at any of the corners the game threw at him. It wasn't long before he had caught up to his friend and they were pretty much level-pegged with each other.

There was only two minutes left of the game now, before the finish line would draw near and the crowd all waited with baited breath. They had split down the middle - both literally and metaphorically speaking - some on Dick's side rooting for him and others cheering Tim on.

The boys were both indescribably frustrated at the fact that they were drawing, and would probably have preferred it even if they were the ones lagging behind, as long as someone was in the lead. Neither would admit that to the other, however, as they were also both indescribably stubborn and competitive.

Then Tim did something which surprised Dick (although he couldn't deny that he was considering doing the same himself). He tilted left, which would have rammed into Dick's bike causing him to crash had he not moved at the last second. His surprise was dismissed extremely quickly, however, as he grinned slightly manically at the gesture.

"Alright," he murmured, too quietly to be heard coherently. "If that's how you want to play..." He turned a sharp right, a move which Tim had seen coming and easily evaded. He growled at the failed attempt but would not be put off.

Neither of them noticed for what seemed to be a long time the black and white chequered 'Finish' banner that was quickly approaching. And when they did they both immediately forgot about each other and concentrated purely on the one goal: winning.
The crowd, who had been chanting seconds before now fell silent for the last time, chocked with anticipation. Even the background noise of the flashy arcade games and the digital jangle of the money machines seemed to grow quiet. It was as if a ground-breaking event was about to take place, and, with a certain stretch of the imagination, it could be argued that it was.

The still silence - which seemed to those present to last a lifetime or more - was broken suddenly by a loud cheer on the left side of the motorcycle racing game. Dick threw his arms up triumphantly and let out a victorious "Yes!" as the metallic-blue word 'WINNER' flashed onto his screen. His and Tim's times were displayed underneath - and, sure, he'd won by less than a second - but the point was, he had won, he was successful and more to the point, he knew Tim would be so irked that he probably wouldn't talk to him for a few days.

Tim got off the motorbike substitute slowly, turned to Dick -who was hooting and generally just making a spectacle of himself - and just smiled. "Oh well. Good game. Nicely played."
Dick jumped off of his bike, too. His grin faltered slightly at Tim's words. "Yeah. I told you there's no way you could rival my skills,"

Tim shrugged and smiled. "Guess you were right, then."

He was a little put-off by this. He didn't want to have bothered with all that rivalry and competition if there was no room to gloat. It just didn't seem right. "Yeah, but- you were really..." he sighed. Here was a kid who wanted to kick the crap out of an arcade machine because he'd lost the chance to win a teddy bear (which he hadn't even wanted anyway) just half an hour earlier. "You're taking this a lot better than I expected," he admitted.

Tim shrugged again. "Well, what can I say? It's only a game, Dick, no big deal."


Tim looked at his friend with pity in his eyes and shook his head solemnly. "I can't believe you got so worked up about an arcade game," he said. "It really is about time your mental age caught up with your physical one." With those words of wisdom out, he walked away, pushing through the slowly dispersing crowd who had apparently lost interest now the game had finished.

"Huh? Me?" Dick protested in a high-pitched voice. "You were the one- wait-hey! I am not old!" He ran after his friend who was stood waiting at the pool tables. He was about to point out the minor age difference between the two when he turned to look behind him. He pointed at the large crowd of people moving away from the outer edges of the motorcycle game. "What was happening there that was so interesting?" he asked Tim.

Tim just shrugged. "Beats me."