Alfred is just constantly sighing

audreycritter  asked:

I'm on mobile, and I don't know if this is where you usually take prompts, but I'll request Tim and Bruce. Bonus points if it includes the line, "One of us is going to have to sleep eventually."

This is officially my favourite thing I have ever written. Thank you so much for the prompt :D

They’re at a stalemate, have been for days now. All because Bruce had dared to suggest Tim stop drinking coffee and get some sleep. A reasonable suggestion, Alfred had assured him, since Tim is, after all, only fourteen years old and much too dependant on caffeine to keep him going than anyone should be. Unfortunately, Tim hadn’t seen it that way.

No. Tim had slowly lowered his newly-filled coffee cup from his lips and stared at him until Bruce had shifted uncomfortably. Then he had smiled sweetly and asked mildly, “Are you going to take your own advice?”

And that’s where Bruce went wrong, Alfred was quick to point out six hours later when he came down to invite them up for breakfast. Because he should have just said yes, poured his own coffee down the sink and gone to catch a few hours sleep between his thousand-thread-count sheets. But he didn’t. Because Bruce is a grown adult dammit. And more than that; Bruce is the goddamn Batman. He couldn’t just give in to the sass of a teenager, even if that teenager is a sleep-deprived, more-caffeine-than-blood Robin. 

His second mistake had been saying something of that effect to Tim, who had rolled his eyes and taken another gulp of coffee before stating that he wouldn’t stop drinking coffee, nor would he sleep, until Bruce did so as well.

So here they are.

Three days later.

And Bruce is beginning to regret his entire life.

(“Nothing new there,” the painfully Jason-like voice in his head snorts.

Bruce reminds himself hallucinations are normal after forty-eight to seventy-two hours with no sleep.)

“One of us is going to have to sleep eventually,” Bruce sighs. He runs a hand through his hair, looking sidelong at Tim’s equally mussed locks.

Tim takes a pointed sip of his lukewarm coffee. “I vote you.“ 

From somewhere in the depths of the Cave, Alfred sighs and mutters something about stubborn fools. Followed a moment later by a louder rumination about good role models. Bruce chooses to chalk that one up to auditory hallucinations; Alfred generally prefers to give useful yet sarcastic advice to his face.

"Don’t you have school?” he wonders in Tim’s direction, sure the boy had vanished form the cave for several hours each day but not entirely sure that’s where he’d gone. “Don’t your teachers ever question why you look so exhausted?”

The teen glances up from the case files he’s poring over to give Bruce a flat stare - he wears the expression so often Bruce is beginning to think it’s just his resting face. (You know, if he ever rested.) “Yes. And I tell them it’s because the hours I should be spent sleeping are spent running across Gotham’s rooftops in tights,” he deadpans.

Bruce blinks.

Tim blinks.

Alfred sighs. Bruce knows it’s definitely real this time because he’s suddenly standing behind them with a tray “More coffee, sirs?” he offers drily. “Or have you seen sense yet?”

Tim takes a mug and sniffs it warily, nose crinkling in disgust before he hastily sets it back on the tray. “That isn’t coffee, Alfred, it’s decaf.” He sounds so outraged that Bruce laughs. It may or may not be a touch hysterical.

“I’ll have you know, Master Timothy, that you’ve been drinking decaf for the last two days.”

“Hah!” Bruce points a mocking finger at his young partner. “Alfred wins.”

“I wasn’t aware I was even playing,” Alfred comments over Tim’s indignant, “You’ve been drinking it too!”

That makes Bruce pause, his sleep-deprived mind working over the facts of the Case of the Decaf Coffee. He frowns into his near-empty mug as realisation washes over him. “We both lost,” he tells the unfaithful liquid. It ripples ambiguously.

“I’ll just get a blanket then,” Alfred is saying, “Perhaps a pillow as well…”

And when Bruce looks up, blinking sluggishly, several minutes have passed and Tim is fast asleep, as though the very suggestion that his bloodstream had no caffeine in it was enough to knock him out, head cushioned on his folded arms, an errant sticky note stuck to his ear. Bruce reaches out to poke him just to be sure he isn’t foxing, but his hand doesn’t quite make it, flopping onto the table and brushing Tim’s fingers with his own. Then his eyes slide shut and he too is asleep.

(They find out several hours later - at a more reasonable hour of the morning - that not only did Alfred win, he cheated. The last mugs of coffee were laced with a mild sedative. Bruce can’t even bring himself to be more than a little irritated because at least Tim finally slept.)