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How Sweet the Taste of Certainty

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‘Take Your Kid To Work Day’ was an annual event at Wayne Enterprises. Bruce liked the idea of his workers putting family first, and what better way to bond with your kid than to bore them to death with meetings and paperwork? In Tim’s humble opinion, the day was stupid. Not a lot of work got done because the only kids that were brought in were toddlers and the very rare teenager looking to get a job or internship in the company. 

For Bruce, ‘Take Your Kid To Work Day’ was every day.  He and Tim drove separately, but they always met up as soon as they got to work to spend a few moments together before being pulled into separate directions. They’d both wake up some more with their cups of coffee while they looked over their schedules. After no more than ten minutes of that, they would split up and maybe meet for lunch on the off chance that a meeting got canceled and the times lined up (it usually didn’t). Then they would finally head home, often at different times. 

Tim expected this morning to go no differently. They would sit in relative silence as he downed his coffee, and then Tim would get through the day with a headache that resembled an angry gorilla banging at his skull rather than the usual gaggle of annoyed geese. He’d go home, drink some more coffee, down a few painkillers, and go over some paperwork before he needed to be out on the streets. Not the ideal day, but still easy enough.

 He had his to-go coffee cup (one that Bruce gave him when he started the job, it read “Don’t Ask How Many Times I’ve Refilled This”) and his briefcase, both of which he expertly held in one hand as he used the other to turn the knob on Bruce’s office door. “So, I was thinking. Mrs. Robinson brought her three-year-old, and so did Mr. Cole, so maybe if we move the meeting early enough, we can catch them before the kids get tired and minimize tantrums. That way-” Tim cut himself off mid-sentence when he spotted his family. His whole family congregated around Bruce’s desk. They were all dressed in business suits, holding the newest Wayne Tech tablets in hand. From what Tim could see over Damian’s shoulder, they were all looking at the same hourly planner that Tim and Bruce used to organize their day.

“Hey, Timmy!” Dick greeted with his blinding smile. Tim looked between his siblings warily before his gaze landed on Bruce.

“B, I don’t think ‘Bring Your Kid to Work Day’ is supposed to be an excuse for you to get all of your children in one room. Really, how did you all get out of work? And school? Doesn’t Damian have exams today?”

“Tt. Principal Simmons would be idiotic to deny me a day at my father’s company. Learning about the job I plan to pursue first hand is a much more productive way to spend my time than on useless math equations.” Damian spoke up with a huff. 

Bruce gave Tim a bored look. “I talked to his teacher to see if we could move it up. He took his exam last week.”

“Last week?” Tim questioned, voice just a little higher pitched than usual. “How long have you been planning this?”

“Weeks,” Duke supplied. The bags under his eyes and the Monster in his hand showcased just how tired the kid was. (Tim, after a bizarre conversation at 3 AM, knew Duke only ever drank energy drinks when he was so close to crashing that it’d be a good idea for someone to follow behind him with a pillow at the ready. Just in case he goes down.) “He’s made all of us look at hours worth of power points so we won’t somehow destroy the company in a day.”

“I’m just here for the food,” Jason spoke up from where he was sitting in one of the chairs that was supposed to be facing towards Bruce’s desk. Instead, it had been pulled to the opposite side of the room, and his legs were propped up on one of the filing cabinets. He wasn’t wearing a tie, and his suit jacket was completely unbuttoned, along with the top few buttons of his shirt. 

“The food is the best part,” Steph agreed. It was true that the food was always excellent on ‘Take Your Kid to Work Day.’ Bruce brought in caterers and set up a buffet in the lunchroom with food geared towards the kids. Tim always looked forward to the mac and cheese.

“Steph, what are you doing here? You’re not even a part of the family!” She sent him a look that could kill. “Oh, you know what I mean!”

“Two words. Hot wings.” She tapped the side of her head then pointed to Tim like he was stupid for not having figured it out earlier.

“Wings are nice. Good.” Cass nodded.

Tim shook his head, mentally preparing himself for a much longer day than he’d initially thought. He had a feeling he’d be taking the largest amount of Advil humanly possible (without killing himself, hopefully, but only time would tell) when he got home. “Okay.” He sighed and took his usual seat, which had miraculously been left untouched. “Like I was saying, I think if we move the twelve o’clock appointment up to ten, then we might be able to get some things done…” Tim looked up from where he was pulling his tablet out of his briefcase. “Why is everyone looking at me like I’ve grown another head?”

“You didn’t tell him?” Dick asked Bruce.

“Tell me what?” 

“Of course he didn’t. It’s Bruce! What did you expect?” Jason piped up. 

“Weren’t you supposed to tell him yesterday?” Duke asked.

“Seriously, Bruce? Oh my god!” Steph barked out a laugh.

“What am I missing?” Tim’s voice boomed above everyone else, the same way it did in a board meeting when people would forget Tim’s position and begin talking over him. He might be seventeen, but he’s an adult (okay, fine, not really, but essentially!), and as a CEO, he had to demand respect. All of his siblings looked at him again, waiting for the silence to be filled. Tim sighed and spoke once more. “Bruce, what did you forget to tell me?”

Bruce laced his hands together, placing them on the desk in front of him. “Neither of us are working today.”

A beat. “What the fuck?” Tim asked eloquently. “This is one of the most chaotic days of the year, Bruce. We both need to be here.”

“That’s why we’re here,” Dick supplied.

“Father deemed it fit that you two go on a ‘bonding’ excursion. I do not see how it is necessary, but it does put me in a position to prove that I am much more suited for the company than you are-”

“Damian,” Dick spoke up in a warning tone, to which Damian gave a huff of annoyance. “Tim earned his position, just like you will once you’re old enough to work here.” 

Bruce decided to interfere before Damian could say more. “Your siblings have graciously agreed to act as us for the day. I thought it might be nice for us to do something together. Just the two of us.” Well, that’s not something Tim would’ve seen coming. Honestly, he would’ve thought the probability of an asteroid hitting was higher than that of Bruce taking him on a father-son outing. Was it even that? Or was Bruce just wanting an excuse to get away from little kids? Tim couldn’t blame him if that was his excuse, but it still raised the question of why Bruce wouldn’t just cancel the day. It was a big event, but not nearly as significant as most of the other things going on in the company at any given moment.

“...You’re sure?” He asked hesitantly as if a camera crew was about to jump out and shout that he’d just been punked.

“He better be,” Duke warned. “I didn’t sit through two hours worth of ‘boardroom etiquette’ for nothing.”

“The likelihood of you even being needed in a meeting are slim to none,” Jason pointed out to which Duke groaned.

“I didn’t sign up for this. I wish I’d known what I was getting into when I joined this family because I would’ve politely declined.”

Jason snorted. “Wouldn’t we all?”

Miss Caroline, Bruce’s secretary, took that moment to step into the office. “I apologize for the interruption, but we need to iron a few things out before you leave.”

Bruce nodded. “Of course. Tim, why don’t you head home and change into something more comfortable. I’ll meet up with you as soon as we’re finished with this.”

Tim took a second to study Bruce’s face. He was serious. Absolutely, 100%, not bullshitting him. “...Okay.” He snapped his briefcase back shut and grabbed his coffee before quickly exiting the office. 

He prayed his siblings made it through the day.