Yep. Enjoy the product of my procrastination! :D
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Title: The Agreement
Characters: Alfred, Jason
Word Count: ~820
Summary: A quiet night in the Manor is disturbed by a half-expected visitor.
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Alfred looked up from his book. The library was dark beyond the soft glow of his lamp. He glanced at his watch; it was past midnight. Bruce was out on patrol. The boys were gone. The house should have been silent.
Alfred set the book aside and got to his feet. He winced as his knees popped. He took a moment to stretch, cursing his old joints, then shuffled toward the door.
His shoes clicked primly against the hardwood floors as he entered the main hall. He straightened his suit jacket and cleared his throat before opening the front door, and his eyes widened when he caught sight of the man on the porch.
“Master Jason…” he said.
Jason slumped against the doorframe, breathing heavily, his eyes half-lidded. Blood ran from the corner of his mouth, from a gash on his arm, from a wound in his stomach. He clutched at the stomach wound with one hand and flashed a crooked smile.
“Hey, Alfred,” he rasped.
Alfred’s eyebrows drew together and he stepped aside.
“Come inside, sir,” he said, sounding slightly disappointed as he reached out to help Jason limp over the threshold. “Let’s get you patched up.”
Jason let himself be led into the library, where Alfred’s lone lamp still glowed, casting a faint golden light in one corner of the room. Alfred lowered Jason gently into the armchair he had just recently vacated, then headed for a cabinet across the room.
“What was it this time, sir?” Alfred asked as he pulled out a hefty First Aid kit. “Gangsters? Supervillains? Ninjas, perhaps?”
“Two-Face,” Jason grumbled, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“I see.” Alfred pulled a chair up beside the armchair and settled in it. He held out a hand expectantly, and Jason glared at him for a moment before extending his injured right arm. Alfred grasped it carefully and pushed up the torn sleeve so he could see the oozing wound. He reached into the First Aid kit for some iodine.
They did not speak as Alfred began tending Jason’s wounds, medicating and sewing and bandaging as needed. Jason fidgeted just as much as he had when he was young, his eyes never resting on one point for more than a moment. He glanced at Alfred’s book, at the neat line of stitches in his arm, at the grandfather clock in the corner and out the darkened window.
“You look thin,” Alfred said as he frowned at the gash on Jason’s belly. “Have you been eating properly?”
“Depends on what you mean by ‘properly.’” Alfred looked up sharply, and Jason flushed. “I eat fine,” he said.
“Mm.” Alfred eyed a needle, ready to stitch. “Even so, I will send some leftovers with you when you leave. Master Wayne will not miss them, and perhaps they will help to pad your protruding ribs.”
Jason looked away. “… Thanks.”
A few more minutes ticked away in silence, broken only by Jason’s soft hisses as Alfred stitched him up.
“How is Bruce, anyway?” Jason asked. He blurted the question too casually and too fast, as though he had been waiting ages to ask. His cheeks burned red again.
“Master Bruce is busy, but well,” Alfred said. He clipped the end of the last stitch on Jason’s stomach and leaned down for a bandage.
“Oh. Good. That’s good.” Jason paused. His knee jiggled and he gnawed at his bloody lip. “But he’s… happy?”
“I believe so, sir.” Alfred gently pressed the bandage over the stitches, smoothing down the edges with careful fingers.
“I saw him tonight, you know,” Jason said. “He… looked good.”
“I’m glad to hear it, sir.” Alfred took Jason’s bandaged arm, presumably to check his work before he let the man go. Jason’s hand was clenched. Alfred patted it, then reached into the First Aid kit and produced a wet wipe. He held it out but Jason made no move to take it, so Alfred sighed lightly and leaned over to wipe the crusted blood from Jason’s lips and chin. He then proceeded to clean up Jason’s bruised and dirty forehead, his cracked and bleeding knuckles, his swelling left eye. Jason said nothing during the ministrations. He kept his eyes averted, focused on the window.
“There we are,” Alfred said once he was finished, crumpling the wet wipe and putting it with the rest of the bloodied materials. He smiled and patted Jason’s knee. “Good as new.”
“Thanks, Alfred.” Jason stood and rolled his sleeves down again, already heading for the door. He paused at the threshold, glancing back. “You won’t tell Bruce about this, right?”
“Of course not, sir,” Alfred said. “That was our agreement, after all.”
“Yeah. Okay.” Jason flashed him a quick smile, then disappeared into the darkness.
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Okay, now I should really do something productive. Tootles, all!