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Fic: New Cat Old Problems

Title: New Cat Old Problems
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Tumblr Request: Alfred the Cat dies. Damian is distraught. He takes out his feelings on everyone, family and Gotham thug alike. Tim suggests getting a new cat, but Dick worries about replacing a beloved pet. Jason suggests dumping Alfred the Cat into the Lazarus Pit. Tim drags them both to come with him to the animal shelter. Things don't go to plan thanks to a supervillain.

Tim thought it was bad for the few hours that they just thought Alfred the Cat was missing, but discovering him dead on the manor grounds was infinitely worse. Tim was never allowed to have pets, but he knows that losing Alfred the Cat is akin to losing any other member of the family to Damian, which is why they’ve all done their best to endure his grief and misplaced aggression with minimal chastisement. However, it’s been nearly two months now, and Damian’s attitude is showing no signs of improving. Tim would normally suggest allowing Damian to have all of the time that he needs to grieve and adjust, but he’s not entirely certain that Gotham, the criminals, or their family can endure much more.

Tim sighs heavily as both Dick and Jason stare at him as though he’s lost his mind. “Look, all I’m saying is that another cat might help him process and deal with his grief in a more constructive manner than maiming criminals and attacking all of us. It’s something to consider, that’s all. We would obviously make it clear that we’re not trying to replace Alfred the Cat, but that we’re trying to help give a new cat a good home.”

Dick shakes his head. “I don’t know, Tim. I just don’t think that he’s ready for another cat. It’s only been two months. He needs time.”

Jason shrugs. “Dick might have a point, but what if it wasn’t another cat, per se?”

Tim raises an eyebrow out of confusion. He’s not entirely certain that he likes where Jason is going with this, but he’s making a concerted effort to actually hear Jason out. “What do you mean?”

“What if we just dumped Alfred the Cat into a Lazarus Pit?” Tim’s and Dick’s eyes widen as they both open their mouths to protest, but Jason cuts them off. “I mean, I know I’m usually the first one to caution against this kind of shit, but Baby-Bird is right…things can’t go on like this. I don’t think any of us can take much more. It’s the most sensible option.”

Tim rolls his eyes and does his best to stay calm. Surely, there is a rational way to explain to Jason that using a Lazarus Pit is never the sensible option. However, to be fair, Tim feels certain that Jason is the last person that he should have to explain this to, but such is his life now-a-days. “I really don’t want to consider all of the ways that that can go wrong. I mean, do we even know if the pit works on animals, and what exactly does pit rage do to felines? No, no, there are far too many variables, least of all being Ra’s himself, so thanks, but no thanks. We’re just gonna go to the animal shelter and bring back a cat, because that’s actually the most sensible thing to do, Jason. And no, Dick doing nothing isn’t an option. You saw what happened last night. It’s one thing for Damian to lash out at all of us, but Alfred is another story entirely, so go get your jackets. We’re leaving in five minutes.”

“Sure thing, mom.” Dick laughs as he leaves the room.

Jason, on the other hand, is just glaring at him. “You’re just going to go get a cat. Why do I need to come?”

Tim huffs out a breath of annoyance. “Because the cat is going to be from all of us, so we should all have a say in it, and because I can hear Damian moving around upstairs.”

Jason shoots out of his chair like he’s been electrocuted. “It’s not that cold outside. I don’t really need a jacket. You know what? I’m gonna get the car started. You go hurry Dick up.”

Tim would laugh if it wasn’t for the fact that he actually can hear Damian moving around upstairs and he really doesn’t want to be here for today’s episode. He silently runs and gets his own jacket, and even pauses to grab Jason’s along his way, but that’s mostly so that he doesn’t have to hear Jason whine about not having his phone, cigarettes, or something else later. Tim passes Dick on the stairs and gestures for him to silently make his way out to the car before following him.

They leave without a single Damian sighting, and they’re all gracious enough not mention their collective sigh of relief. Jason’s driving surprisingly slow, but Tim figures that he’s probably just trying to kill more time. After all, none of them are exactly in a hurry to return to the manor anytime soon. Tim spends the car ride contemplating the various outcomes of this particular plan, while Dick sings with the radio and Jason mocks him for it.

Tim has already discussed it with Selina. If Damian rejects the cat, then at least it will have a home, but he’s really hoping that this does help Damian, for all of their sakes and Gotham’s, too. When Dick’s and Jason’s bickering reaches a level that could quickly descend into actual fighting, if they aren’t distracted by something, Tim decides to step in. “So, the way I figure it, we can go one of two routes here. Either, we try to find a cat as similar to Alfred the Cat as possible or we can try to find something completely different. I personally think that we should attempt to find a cat that is the utter opposite of Alfred the Cat, that way Damian doesn’t think that we’re being insensitive and trying to replace Alfred the Cat outright.”

Dick hums in agreement as he turns in his seat to look at Tim. “Yeah, that’s probably for the best, but I still don’t think that this is going to end well.”

Tim merely shrugs. He’s well aware of how poorly this could end, but well…he really doesn’t know what else to do. “Well, it’s Damian, Dick. The chance of success was always below average.”

Jason snorts as he parks the car in front of the animal shelter. “Let’s get this over with.”

Tim planned for a lot of things to go wrong today. He made contingencies for every single one of them and was ready for the worst outcome he could possibly think of. Tim, however, did not plan for this outcome, because this was not part of the ‘ways getting a cat for Damian could end poorly’ planning. He should have known that Gotham has a way of complicating even the most simplistic plans.

They enter the shelter, find a female grey cat with big green eyes almost immediately, and absolutely fall in love with her. Tim decides to leave Dick and Jason in charge of handling all of the paperwork and getting her into the cat carrier, while he puts down towels on the back seat to keep the carrier from sliding across it while they’re driving home. Though, if Tim is honest with himself, he knows that Dick is going to insist on letting her out once they’re on the road again, and the towels will help with that too.

He has everything placed perfectly when he turns back around and comes face to face with a frail looking old woman, holding a wand. Tim has had enough run-ins with magic users to know to take this seriously. He forces the tension out of his shoulders and smiles politely. “Is there something that I can help you with?”

The woman steps closer, backing Tim up against the car, and glares as she taps her wand against his chest. “Cats deserve better than to be treated like mindless pets. See how you like it.”

There’s a sudden flash of shimmering gold light and the sensation of his entire body being lit on fire. There’s a loud scream, which he’s fairly certain is his own, but it’s abruptly cut off when Tim hits the ground. The next thing that he knows Dick and Jason are racing out of the shelter, towering over him and looking all around. He can only assume that they saw everything from inside the shelter through the giant glass windows facing the street.

Tim tries to speak, but all that comes out is a weak meow. Jason lifts the cat carrier to his face and stares inside at the grey cat they just purchased, but Dick glances down at the ground to where Tim is trying and failing to stand. “Um, Jay, I don’t think that sound came from our little lady.”

Dick gently strokes a hand over Tim’s head, and the size difference is disorienting, but the physical contact is soothing, so Tim doesn’t bother trying to duck out from under Dick’s hand. He hates animal transformation spells. They always leave him drained…not to mention the whole process is terribly painful. Tim nudges his head against Dick’s warm hand when it stills and purrs.

Dick smiles as he scoops Tim up into his arms. “You know, Timmy, when I said that I didn’t think that this would end well…I didn’t exactly anticipate this.”

Tim would scoff if he could; as it stands he halfheartedly swipes his claws at Dick’s hand, still stroking his head. Jason, on the other hand, merely rolls his eyes at both of them. “Fuck magic users.”

Tim can’t help but agree as Jason opens the car door for them. The only upside to all of this is that now that Dick has to hold Tim in his lap the entire ride home, he won’t let the new cat out of the carrier. Tim doesn’t look forward to discovering how well the two of them are going to get along for however long this last. Tim huffs out a breath as he starts to fall asleep on Dick’s lap, while Dick’s petting him. Yeah, fuck magic users, indeed.

The End