a trip to the loo
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

Archive Warning:
Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
F/M, M/M, Multi
Batman - All Media Types
Alfred Pennyworth/Martha Wayne/Thomas Wayne
Alfred Pennyworth, Martha Wayne, Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne
Additional Tags:
Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics, Canonical Character Death, Hurt No Comfort, Grief/Mourning, Survivor Guilt, Self-Esteem Issues, Power Imbalance, Undressing, not in a sexy way tho, Scents & Smells, Angst with a Happy Ending, barely because theres still no comfort lol, Character Study, Mating Bites
Published: 2023-03-10 Words: 2,042 Chapters: 1/1

a trip to the loo


Alfred probably needs a therapist, but can’t afford to let the Wayne’s secret out.


Rated M for the topic of death, mental self-flagellation, and a few (faintly) sexual references, but could be a T depending on who you ask.

Edit: Punctuation fixed as of 231214. (also no longer anon)

a trip to the loo

With young Master Bruce finally relaxing into his afternoon nap, Alfred shuffles into the small servant’s water-closet, stuck between two of the deep inner hallways of the Wayne Manor.

It is four months, to the day, since the death of his employers, Thomas and Martha Wayne. In the chaos and numbness following it, namely the ensuing struggle of protecting the young Master Bruce’s fortune from the ravages of his distant blood relatives, there is never a spare moment to take a mirror-glance at himself, at least not beneath the protective fabric of his bespoke morning dress. His face, of course, has to remain in tip-top shape to stand under the scrutiny of his plea for guardianship.

But now, with the dust settling upon the abrupt change to the Wayne’s now-scarred legacy, Alfred is ready.

Or not, the dust seems to have settled upon other places also.

Alfred sighs, wiping across the stone sink with a rag, gently carving out a place for his restocking basket of fresh toiletries and cleaning supplies.

The room is small, windowless, a quick place to relieve oneself before carrying on with one’s duties, a remnant of the manor’s less than kind times, a bygone era.

To Alfred, it’s a safe place, his own scent a permanent fixture with barely any ventilation, born from the panic across countless hours in this hidden nook, from calming himself the first day on the job, to the night on the eve of Master Thomas’ wedding, and every subsequent, embarrassing breakdown henceforth.

“Well, I’m glad you’ve been busy,” Alfred mutters, staring flatly at the rat, innocently peering up at him, from behind the artificial, tall, succulent in the corner.

A gift from Mistress Martha, on the account of not wanting to burden him with more extracurricular work than necessary. He maintains their conservatory too after all.

Or young Master Bruce’s conservatory, now at least.

Alfred glances back towards the open door, tugging at the gentleman’s valet until it’s wheels, (a modern addition, but helpful nonetheless), catch enough friction to bring itself over the threshold, he squirms closer to the lavatory, polished oxfords uncomfortably close to the old porcelain, and reaches over the valet again to shut the door behind it.

His coat comes off first, hanging over the wooden beam with an efficiency born up over the past few months, nights with nothing but near silence, the knowledge of Master Bruce’s cries, too far from his quarters to disturb his own waking nightmare, hanging like a guillotine over his head.

“Please don’t climb on that.”

The rat scampers away from the base of the valet, a paw’s breadth away from scratching the fine wood, as Alfred sits on the lavatory lid to remove his shoes, unlacing and placing them on the flat board above the wheels.

He doesn’t dare to place his shoe on the lid, despite the ease to his back it may allow him.

Reaching for his coat again, Alfred swiftly tugs the silk handkerchief from the pocket as he stands, inhaling sharply at the fading scent before opening the drawer in front of the beam to place it in. And with it, he cushions the cufflinks, unfastening them as far from his nose as he can.

The Wayne’s signet symbol, an engraving hidden without a hint of contrast, gives away nothing but a near-blank, silver sheen to any who may glance as he pours their wines, champagnes and waters.

Or likely orange juice, for the time being.

He turns toward the mirror again.

Raw fingers, pick down his waistcoat, tilting just right to avoid catching a blister on any edge of the buttons. The tie expertly comes loose with one hand as he shucks off and hangs the waistcoat with the other, pocket watch jingling all the while.

And finally—

Alfred lifts a shaky hand to the single button of his detachable, pale, collar, a change to his uniform so unnoticeable not even their gossip of a gardener will ever take a second glance at.

He removed it with carefulness, placing it down opposite to the basket on the sink, its stiff, starched, structure moving not an inch beneath the involuntary clench of his thumb, turning the wings to face him.

The edge of a black seam stares back at him through the glass, its body resting hidden under his shirt.

Alfred flinches and closes his eyes, unbuttoning the remaining barrier before his mind can back him out of it, he slides it down his shoulders and tosses it over the coat.

And slowly, slowly, his lids flutter open.

The two bite marks on either side of his neck are a dead, black, fixture of despair. A far cry from the pink, smooth lines surrounding his glands that he has come to revere over the years, after the initial pain of realising the satisfaction of a fully mutual return of his affections is impossible.

Everyone’s body, well, ordinary humans at least, can take two mating bites, an extra space granting desperate relief for widows seeking future mates to bond with.

(And an unfortunate sentence for those less inclined to stick with the mere limits of a threesome of partners.)

The Wayne’s took each other’s bites twice, either side.

It’s a romantic symbol, written about in plays and by poets every moment of history, the fate of a pair so desperately in love, with a destiny of death together, a suicide pact to account for the pain of a permanent separation. It is a symbol of their undying love, unconditional surrender even under the duress of death.

But unbeknownst to them, their future of mutual interest in a certain respectable employee will struggle in turn over that decision.

Though, Alfred never truly gave that question of voice, and now they can never answer. Perhaps the real struggle was in their endeavour to entice him into breaking etiquette.

Perhaps they want him, suffering in the wake of their untimely demise, another sadistic game, in vengeful wrath of his failure to protect them and their awe inspiring love.

He has spent more than enough time wallowing in the pain of his existence as a flower, blooming too late, reaching out for the twin suns, far brighter and stronger and further than he can ever hope to reach.

Two bites.

Only two bites.

Alfred gently trails a finger along his late Mistress Martha’s mark.

Their mating bond will stay incomplete. Forever.

He knew this, going into it, but it seems all the more painful with the rapidly deteriorating scents among the gifts left for him.

Only young Master Bruce can retain their smell, the familial bite at the back of his neck makes sure of it. Alfred would not dare to override it, hence the struggle over his guardianship.

“Perhaps I should have requested they override my own,” Alfred says, grinding teeth with a glare to himself in the mirror. “God knows how undoubtedly inappropriate our relations were on their own without it.”

The rat chirps back in confusion.

“I shan’t be entering a nursing home just yet, don’t worry,” He huffs with a glance to the floor, socks wiggling in gesticulation. “I’m far too young to be talking to myself like this, but then again, I am also far too young to have…”

Alfred shifts his resting hand to rub against Master Thomas’s opposing mark.

Their hold on him will stay on throughout all his life, and eternity beyond that, whether he leaves his own marks on others, or not, they can never be made mutual in turn again.

He will crave them, forever, but they will never feel the draw of him like they do to each other, as they drift beyond the veil.

At least, according to most legends.

Alfred isn’t sure if he wants to maintain the libraries’ steady intake of them into the household collection anymore.

Perhaps, if he doesn’t pass away untimely himself, he can give Master Bruce a message to be passed along when he, too, passes to the beyond.

Alfred grips the sink with paleing knuckles as the thought flashes by. He can’t even protect his employers, his lovers, and yet here he stands, fantasising of the death of their son in a selfish hope of at least giving one last word to them?

Hunching until his head touches the cool stone, he lets out a distressed, nasal exhale.

“Bollocks. Damn damn you both, I am so s—”

The weak bond connecting him to them is broken, never to be seen again, but the tiny thread trailing behind it, to the young Master Bruce through his familial mark, still exists. The path to it, a confusing twist of damage beyond comprehension, twisting to the void and back, is feeble, but, it’s enough, and Alfred knows he will stay fighting to keep their last parting gift to the world healthy and alive, beyond the handkerchiefs and watches given to him in the fever of courtship and wandering arms.

He feels the patter of rodent paws over his feet and onto the wood more than he can hear it.

“I didn’t really mean to damn you two, I’m sure you know.”

Alfred blindly reaches above, patting around until he grasps shirt collar, fastening it back over his naked chest to tug frantically at it, a haphazard attempt to soothe the ache in his flesh as the thoughts of eternity and secret tea parties loom in his head. He whines softly. It works, a little, until the reminder of Master Thomas’ hand around his neck morphs, again, into the pain of its permanent separation from him.

No matter, Alfred exhales once, twice, and stands from floor, bumping the gentleman’s valet as he goes.

So be it, if this is to be his punishment, he will take it with as much strength as he does in their bed, unflinching and grateful. A second chance he will never waste again. Maybe this is by their design, the snap of their incomplete bonds, a dull thump in his hindbrain, like the silencer on the gun they saw with their last breaths. The screams of their son, a faint noise behind the rushing of blood behind their ears.

Do they think of his failure in their last moments? Likely not, leaving behind a child is fairly easy to stay at the forefront of one’s mind, even with bullet wounds. But in their final sleep, sinking into the beyond, do they look down on him in disappointment?

He can almost imagine it, Mistress Martha’s disapproving huff, an annoyed roll of her eyes as she studies the disarray on his face, her ghost turning to find her son. Master Thomas’ frown, the twitch of his thumb reaching towards his glass of whiskey, drinking away the newly found discovery of his disappointment of a butler.

Nevertheless, disparaging thoughts aside, his job remains the same.

He is to serve the Wayne estate, the legacy, their wishes, for however long it may last, or however large it may get. Hopefully until his dying breath, and perhaps even beyond it, he’s sure he can find a way.

Their titles to him are a standard degree of respect, just as it is to all those who employ the likes of him across the industry. They are masters and mistresses of the house, yes, but his fellows are salaried workers, not slaves.

But now, to him, in the quiet parts of his mind, he knows their ownership of him goes beyond that, they are his Masters. Before their teeth, before their whispers behind the curtains, before their honeymoon, before stepping through the gates on his first day. This future set itself in stone from the very beginning of time.

Fate is a cruller mistress than Martha can ever hope to pretend to be, in the master bedroom late into the night.

Thumbing over the shirt collar, one last time as his Mistress Martha’s perfume disperses into the blue, Alfred wonders what fate is left in store for his young master, sleeping away in the alcove next to the kitchen window, bundled under the late sun, and the tiny sliver of half-bond-in-law connecting them.

He hopes, dearly, that it will work out for the better.

Turning, he picks up the rat.


End Notes

For your good conscience: I would imagine that Thomas & Martha's ghosts are hovering over him and panicking the entire time, being half-able to sense his thoughts even when he doesn't speak, despairing over their own failure to remind him of his importance to them during their time alive. Maybe in a few decades or so when Batman encounters a real medium, poor Alfred and his lovers will finally get the peace they deserve. But who knows!


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