When Alfred got through the security gate it wasn't hard for him not to fail to notice the lack of Police presence once again around the ruins of Wayne Manor. The normal police car was gone and if the older man wasn't in close contact with the Police Department's Commissioner he would think it was time to call in private security to watch over things. As it were Jim would call him well ahead of time before that happened. The lack of presence was due to something else. Or should he say someone else? He didn't know how the vigilante(crime lord?) did it. None of the those assigned to watch the crime scene had shown up dead. Once Jason was gone they returned.
Alfred drove around to the garage, reaching up to hit the automatic door opened before he was close to it. The garage still had power and the door opened effortlessly becoming fully open just before Alfred's car slowly drove through. The door slid close behind him, but the door opening had activated the lights to give him full view of the large garage and all its contents. As long as he or the car were moving they would stay on. In the light he could see his son's predecessor leaning on a Harley that was not part of Bruce's collection. The arms covered in the teen's brown leather jacket were crossed yet relaxed. Alfred wasn't fooled. He knew the young man would spring into action the second he needed to. After parking the car in its usual place Alfred made his way over to where the young man still stood. "Morning, Jason. Did you think about what Mas...Bruce asked you to do?"
The soft smirk that formed from the teen's lips reminded Alfred of times past when the boy had just been a street kid that was a friend of Bruce's. Back before he knew who Batman was and before knowing Batman had gotten him killed. Here just the two of them he did appear relaxed, much like his age instead of the boy who had to grow up too fast into a killer. "If you mean dress up like a flying rodent at night," The teen spoke with light amusement, "you don't need to worry about it. I'll do it."
Alfred wasn't sure how he felt about that. He was proud of the boy for taking that step, but part of him wondered if this was just a play? Jason had returned to Gotham as a villain. He was damn sure there was more to what he was doing that just what he had done in Gotham. He had his contacts working on checking on some leads, but he already knew there would be more to the story that Bruce would have wanted to know. There was also a part of him that felt grief at the news of the boy willing to be Batman. He wanted that costume retired. Destroyed for good. Not taking the life of someone else he was once close to. "Very good." He faked it. This was something that needed to be done despite his personal feelings on the matter. None of them were going to stop what they were doing and maybe bringing them altogether could also heal Jason. Turn him into the man Bruce thought he could be. "In that case Mr. Fox and I would like to speak with you on an urgent matter. Since you are here would now be a good time?"
"I'm meeting someone." A quick glance down at his watch told Jason it was almost three. He would be needing to leave soon to meet Terry in the woods around the manor. If they younger teen even showed up. "Terry."
Terry? The name rang no bells in the old former Butler's mind. Ra's was the name of Jason's girlfriend and they were pretty public so he wouldn't be sneaking around to see who, so who was this Terry person. Was he using the Wayne grounds to meet some of his contacts. If that was the case Alfred was going to have to put a stop to that now. Jason may be Batman now, but that didn't mean he could bloody do what he wanted. "Terry? Who the blo..." It hit him. The conversation all those years ago. What he had to do to insure what had seemed right for everyone at the time. Bruce's short term girlfriend in High School. She had a baby, but neither him or Bruce had learned much about it beyond that it was a boy and its name started with a T. He had tried finding out more of the years and hadn't been able to. Had Bruce found them? "Terry. Bruce's son? You found him?"
"He lives in Gotham with his Mom and brother. He heard what Bruce said and wants to join." Jason uncrossed his arms and stood up straight as he got ready to leave. The kid could park anywhere in the woods so he had to be ready for him. "I just thought I should give you some warning before I just show up in the cave with the kid."
Alfred turned away from the teen and slowly took a few steps towards the hidden stairs that would take him down to an elevator. This was too much. In a short time he had lost his son, regained a Grandson he thought was dead, and another he thought he would never know. Now both were on the same path that got their Father killed. It seemed like an endless cycle. How many others in their family would follow it? The man had managed to keep his grief inside only showing it in a bit of a stumble. Within seconds he felt a hands on his arm steadying him followed by the teenager asking in a worried voice, "Are you okay?"
"You are all pigheaded and foolish. You should be chasing skirts and pretending to go to college. Not shooting people and trying to control the underworld." There was no venom behind his words. A bit of anger, but not at the boy or any of them really. His anger and his memories flashed back to what started this all. The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. If they had lived it was possible none of this would have happened. They all could have lived as safe of lives as someone could in this world. They could have been happy. His thoughts were interrupted by a laugh behind him and the teenager letting go of his arm.
"Can't deny it. Things are the way they are."
"They shouldn't be. All it would take..." There was a familiar presence behind him now. One he felt many times over the years. It had happened silently without effecting anything around it. If Alfred wasn't used to it he probably would have kept talking to the young man. Jason was gone, slipping into the shadows and disappearing to go to wherever he was meeting Terry. The same way Bruce would have.Chris