Author: Kat Lee
Dedicated To: A very happy, if late, birthday to my darling Captain, Drew! (I love you, baby!!!!)
Character/Pairing: Batman/Catwoman, Alfred
Warning(s): Future Fic
Word Count: 1,207
Date Written: 16 January 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
“Thank you, Alfred,” she says softly, her words sounding like a purr as she waves a graceful hand through the air, “for all of this.”
“It is your birthday after all, Missus Wayne,” he replies humbly, pouring her another cup of pure cream. He can practically see her tail waving happily in the air behind her though she has none.
“I love it when you call me that,” she says, and this time, she does purr. It’s a warm, resonant sound that easily fills the entire kitchen.
Alfred sets the antique, silver pitcher down onto the table in easy reach of her though he once would have worried that would still the pitcher that had been in the Wayne family for so many generations that even Thomas Wayne’s mother had not been able to fully recall when exactly it had come into their possession. “I,” he says gently, still humbly, and so softly as though he is sharing a secret with her for indeed he is, “love what you do for him.”
She beams down at her husband at the other end of the table, then laughs as Bruce seems extraordinarily interested in the actual text of the morning newspaper -- not the words but the letters that seem to lift up at him as his fingers pounce on their typeface. She laughs, and Alfred, to her surprise, laughs with her. “I knew you laced that cake with catnip!”
He shrugs. “I know how you like it, and I honestly did not think Master Wayne would have such a reaction!”
“It won’t hurt him,” she promises.
“I know. You would never hurt him. You are good for him, Selina. Why do you think I kept after him for years to make things right with you?”
“You did?” she asks in surprise, looking up at him through widened, green eyes.
“You certainly did not think he got his mess together of his own accord, did you?” he questions. “Why, it took years for that man to even let his night job alone long enough to ask for a date in the daylight when he wasn’t going undercover to some event!”
She laughs. “He’s always undercover,” she admits, toying with the edge of her cloth napkin, “in one way or another.”
Alfred nods sagely, understanding what she means. “We are the only ones who see the true man himself.”
“We, the Batbrats, and the kids,” she corrects gently, waving a hand at the cats who fill nearly every available inch of the kitchen floor as they dine on the finest of cream and the second cake Alfred had made for her birthday celebration.
“Not even his children,” Alfred whispers, “see him as clearly as we do.”
“Really?” she asks, looking back up from her furbabies. Their eyes meet, and she sees a depth in his unspoken meaning that surprises her. “I always thought . . . “
“That they meant more to him than you do? Never.”
“No, but I did think . . . Well, I thought that at times, but I also thought he trusted them more than he does me.”
“I dare say the only three people he trusts entirely any longer are in this very room.”
“I worry sometimes, Alfred,” she admits, glancing down again at Bruce and making certain that he is still completely oblivious to their conversation.
“Over what, my dear lady? That he will change his mind? This is your fifth year as a married couple. He’s not backing out now!”
“No, but . . . I do worry sometimes that he may send me back to Arkham.”
“Give him a reason to,” Alfred says dryly, “and he will, but I don’t think you’ll be giving him a reason to do so ever again. You have no need to steal anymore, Selina. The Wayne family possesses more wealth than even you and your hordes of children could ever spend.”
“And he does let me spend it quite freely,” she admits, gazing fondly at her husband who is now gazing intently at a fly buzzing in the early morning air.
“Of course now that he understands your true mission.” Alfred shakes his head. “I often think that, if the two of you had merely been honest with each other, you could have been happy decades ago.”
“Purrhaps,” Selina acknowledges, “but not everyone understands how important feline lives are.”
“I myself didn’t at first,” he admits, “but you’ve made a cat lover even of this old man.”
“I have?” Selina asks, looking up in surprise again.
“Why do you think I clean their litter pans, cook for them, and never once complain?”
“Honestly, because I thought he had added it to your job description.”
“Ha!” It’s rare that she gets to hear laughter bark out of the old butler who is so very much more to her husband and has become one of her dearest, and extraordinarily few, trusted friends. “Selina, I see how you are with them, and how they are with you. They truly are your children, and they bring you and Master Bruce such comfort. Yet I hasten to admit that it’s not only that. They bring me joy too, and I’ve seen the differences that program you started with Miss Barbara has brought in the children, the elderly, and the handicapped. Cats have souls. There is no one on Earth who can convince me otherwise, but I dare say I could convince any naysayers otherwise if they were to simply accompany me to one of the foundation’s many outings to the hospitals, retirement homes, or orphanages.”
“And a few of them are finding lasting homes there, too,” Selina nods. “I gave up there was any good left in people long ago, Alfred, until Bruce touched my heart. There are still times when I doubt it, especially with everything that is constantly happening in this city and in this world today. But whenever I do, I merely have to look at him or even yourself to be reminded that there will always be good in this world.”
Alfred nods. “There will always be evil,” he says, “but there will also always be good. There is no doubt in my mind, Missus Wayne, that you and your children are a very important part of that good, which is why it is such a honor for me to wish you a very happy birthday and to help care for all those you care for too.” Including yourself, he thinks but does not dare voice aloud.
Sudden movement grabs their attention and startles several of the cats into running. Selina shrieks with laughter as Bruce catches the fly, but just as swiftly, Alfred catches his hands, pries them apart, and removes the fly. “Alfred!”
“You are not about to eat it, Master Bruce! You may have developed some feline habits, but that is one I absolutely will not tolerate!” He departs swiftly from the room, carrying the swatted fly with him and leaving Bruce to pout -- and to smile at Selina when her attention is once more distracted by her kitties. Catnip may have an affect on him all right, but she won’t know exactly what it is until he takes her back to their bedroom to give her his present for her!