Reflections of Spring
by Pirate Turner
Seeing a flash of red, he looks out and smiles as he spies the first robin of Spring. Yet there is a sad glimmer to the old man's eyes even as he smiles for he knows what else this majestic bird will bring. The thaw of Winter may begin to melt away with the tiny bird's coming, but with Spring will also come memories both good and bad.
He looks up as his master enters the room and quickly sets back to polishing his tea pot. "Alfred," Bruce questions, always able to detect the slightest change in his best friend, "what is it?"
"What is what, Master Bruce?"
Bruce's lips quirk into a grin. He looks out the window for himself. His smile falls as he sees the robin and thinks of the three boys he's loved as his Robins, only one of whom still has an active role in his life today.
Still polishing, Alfred turns to him. "If I may be so bold, sir, I shall arrange for the new flowers for young Master Jason's grave, but I would like to think you may want to make another call yourself."
Bruce determinedly watches the robin, but the bird takes flight again, leaving him with no recourse of distraction. "What call would that be, Alfred?" he asks, though he already knows.
Alfred smiles. "I am quite certain you already know, Master Bruce. You do, after all, have the lad's number on your speed dial."
"You're getting cocky in your old age."
"Not at all, sir." Alfred at last stops polishing the pot and meets his accusing gaze. "Is it too much to ask for an old man to want his family to be happy?"
Bruce sighs again. "No," he admits. "No, I suppose it isn't."
Alfred places the pot down on the stove and tenderly touches his ward's muscular shoulder. He gazes into his eyes. "Take it from some one who knows, Master Bruce," he pleads softly. "Time is far too fleeting to allow determination or stubbornness to stand in one way's of happiness. It passes almost as swiftly as the snow is disappearing now. Please do not allow the Spring to catch you with ice still around your heart."
"Alfred -- "
Alfred pulls away with a nod. "My apologies, sir. I know I have overstepped my boundaries again. I shall make that other call now and leave you to your peace."
Yet there is no peace without Dick in his life, and both he and Alfred know it. Bruce shuts himself away and at last picks up the phone. He smiles at the sound of the young voice caressing his ear. "Dick."
"It's been too long." It's as close as he can come to saying, "I miss you."
"Yeah, it has." The unspoken translation brings tears to both their eyes: "I miss you, too, but I'm not coming home." They talk nonetheless, and it is good to hear each other's voices again, even if they know things can never be the same as they once were.