Bruce Wayne paced the floor nervously. The time was quickly coming when young Dick Grayson would need certain things in life made clear to him and it only seemed right that Bruce do the honors. After all, he'd taken on the responsibility for the boy after the death of his parents and it was his duty to fill in the gaps left by them.
Like explaining the facts of life to a curious eleven year old.
Bruce shuddered at the thought, but still his sense of honor and duty drove him to make the decision and sit the boy down for a long, hard chat.
It would have been easier if he were older himself, but at twenty four, he was hardly old enough to really be Dick's father and he never felt that he took that role in Dick's life; maybe the annoyingly strict and serious older brother, but not 'father'.
Still, the boy needed to know the 'ins and outs' of sex. No, maybe that wasn't the right way to put it?
Suddenly the door opened and Dick Grayson breezed into the room. Already tall for his age, he was shaping up into a fine young man. He had an incredible capacity for the physical side of being Batman's 'sidekick' but unfortunately a little more reluctance for the academic side. Oh Dick wasn't stupid, not by a long way, but he was slightly wild and lacked a little discipline, a side effect of circus life for sure.
"Dick!" Bruce smiled uneasily and immediately the boys face changed into a wary frown.
"Bruce. What's up?" he asked as he dropped onto the leather sofa with a thud.
"Nothing, I just thought we'd have a 'chat'."
"If it's about that window, I said I was sorry and I'll help Alfred with the laundry to pay for it."
"No, it's not the window."
"I was just teasing when I woke you up this morning wearing the Bat cowl and my Superman tee shirt." Dick pleaded.
"No, Dick, it's not that."
Dick suddenly flushed, "Bruce, I was just fooling around with Sally..."
Bruce stopped; maybe the boy was ahead of him? "What about Sally?"
"Er...well...I drove your bike around the grounds with her on the back," Dick mumbled.
"Oh. Oh well, that wasn't it, but you shouldn't have done that, Dick."
"So, what is it Bruce? What did I do?" Dick gazed up at the big man in wonder. Big blue eyes, wide and youthful set in a pretty face, framed by dark hair, elegantly trimmed with just enough long strands on top to fall into his eyes when he looked up that way.
"I...er, I wanted to talk to you about...erm...about..er.." Bruce felt the heat rush to his face. He slipped a finger into his collar and loosened it.
"Yeah?" Dick's eyes seemed to open even wider.
"Um, about...er...your body."
"Oh Bruce, I'm doing the extra training schedule, can I help it if I'm skinny?"
"No, Dick. I don't mean that and you're not skinny," Bruce sighed, digging his hands deeply into his pockets, "I mean, erm, that you're growing up now and your body is changing."
"Oh yeah, while we're on the subject of growing, can I have some new sneakers? Those Reeboks don't fit now."
"Already! They're only six weeks old!" Bruce gasped.
"Hey, I can't help it my feet are exploding."
"Yes, very well, we'll go out tomorrow and pick up some new ones."
"But, I'm getting off the subject," Bruce straightened up and took a breath, "About you growing up, you're becoming a man. Changing and er you'll soon be er...'feeling' things."
Dick stifled a giggle, "What kind of things?" he smirked.
Bruce peered down at the smiling boy, his eyes narrowed and he wondered if he was the one being tested here. "You'll, erm, begin to get certain er...'urges'," he tried to explain.
Oh this was going so badly.
"What, the urge to eat sensible things for breakfast instead of Coco-pops?"
"No, no," Bruce knew that his face had just gone through seventeen shades of red, "I mean..um..girls."
"Oooh," Dick gasped, "*Girls*, riiiighhht." The boy nodded and sat back, crossing his arms, "What about girls, Bruce?"
An hour and another twenty-seven shades of red later, Bruce finished the detailed and toe curling explanation of everything to do with the act of sex between an man and a woman. Dick had sat before him nodding and 'Uh hu-ing' taking it all in his stride like only a pre-pubescent boy can.
"So, there you have it. If you require any further information, feel free to ask," the older man said at last, thanking any number of deities that this was finally over.
"Okay. Er, Bruce?"
"So what happens when boys prefer other boys?"
Dick had finally skipped off to play football, leaving Bruce slumped in his chair exhausted and drained.
Suddenly Alfred appeared with a drink. "I thought you might require this, Sir," he handed over the half-full glass, which Bruce downed in one gulp.
"Alfred, that was the worst thing I ever had to do. Give me homicidal maniacs any day, but God spare me from ever having to explain the facts of life to a young boy again!"
"Yes Master Bruce, I seem to recall that it was a harrowing duty," Alfred hid his smile well, but Bruce noted the humor in his voice.
"No way was I ever that bad," Bruce shook his head.
"I beg to differ, Sir. I seem to remember you asking how to spell everything so you could 'take notes'."
"That was just being conscientious!"
"No, Sir. It was being a little rotter."
Bruce leaned his head back and laughed, "Well, they do say that what 'goes around, comes around' don't they? And 'little rotter' is mild compared to what I'm thinking Dick Grayson is right now. I swear that the little monster knew exactly what I was trying to tell him from the beginning, and then he asked about 'boys who like other boys' I thought about strangling him on the spot."
Chuckling to himself, Alfred poured another drink and handed it over, "Dinner won't be long, Master Bruce, I trust you will have calmed yourself sufficiently by then?"
"Yes, Alfred, I think so."
Dick Grayson sat back in the chair, tears trickling down his cheeks at the memory, "Oh, that was so funny," he hooted, "You were beet red and I thought you'd pop an artery when I asked you what happened when boys liked other boys!"
Bruce 'humphed', "You were an appalling child!" he growled with mock annoyance.
"I was not, I was kinda cute."
"But you didn't tell me that you already knew the facts of life, did you?"
"Bruce, you didn't ask, you just swept right into your spiel!"
"You could have saved me the humiliation," Bruce insisted.
"Oh what? And miss all of that fun? Man, that kept me amused for weeks, but," Dick tipped back the coffee mug, swallowing the last mouthful, " I was very impressed with your knowledge on the subject though."
"Oh yeah, very detailed, very thorough, very 'Batman'," Dick deepened his voice to mock Bruce's 'bat voice'.
"Hmm, well. I like to be informed about most things."
"Yeah, I'm sure all of that detailed information was in the bat-dictionary!" Dick's face broke into a wide grin.
"So, I 'researched'."
"Oh yeah, who with?"
Bruce tried on his Bat glare, "Don't you have a patrol tonight? It's almost eight p.m."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm going. I just thought it would be nice to drop in and share a coffee and a nostalgic look back, that's all!"
Narrowing his eyes for a moment, Bruce nodded, "And bait Bruce just a little, huh?"
"Well, there was that angle, yeah," Dick grinned. Placing his cup on the table he climbed to his feet and stretched, "Better go get the bad guys. See you Bruce!"
The younger man turned in the doorway, "Yeah?"
"You're still a brat!"
A quiet rap at the office door barely drew Bruce's notice, but he mumbled 'Come' and waited. There was a noise; a scuffle and the sound of voices just outside then Tim appeared, seemingly hurried into the room by an unseen force.
"Yes Tim?" Bruce looked up at the boy with a puzzled frown.
"Er, I just wondered if I could ask you something, Bruce? It's something kinda...er 'personal'."
A tightness gripped Bruce's chest, but he cleared his throat and continued, "Of course, sit down."
"Well, it's about sex."
The heavy tight feeling grew more intense and Bruce could feel his ears turning pink. "Yes?" he croaked.
"What do boys who like other boys do?" Tim asked wide-eyed but with a twinkle of mischief.
Bruce's eyes rose from the boy before him to the sound outside of the door,