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Croquet Without Hedgehog or Flamingo

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This story is No. 4 in the series "An Ode to a City". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Being the Second Part of our Heroine's Adventures in a Wicked Place

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Batman > Drusilla-CenteredbatzulgerFR1387,5154398,76630 Jan 106 Feb 10Yes

A Great Shadow Entering

I was roused the next morning by a tapping on my door.

"Yes?"

"It's Clem, Drusilla. I thought you'd like some breakfast."

I wiped away the smuts caused by my tears, and ran my fingers through my hair, "Thank you Clement, could you bring it in?" I attempted to put a smile on as he entered.

Clement had found himself a morning coat and bow tie, and was carrying a bed-tray with a pitcher and a mug. He walked over to my bed as elegantly as could be desired and placed the tray across my lap. Then with a flourish he poured me a nice warm mug of what smelled like okapi or perhaps giraffe. "There you are Dru, enjoy!"

My smile couldn't help but turn sincere at his performance, "Oh Clement! Thank you!"

"No need. You and Spike were always good friends to me. He pretty much was my best friend and I still owed six tabbies and a tortoiseshell to him. This is the way I'm gonna pay my debt, if that's I'll right with you of course?"

"You have no debts with me any more, but I am still more than willing to hire you at a good wage. Miss Emma is going to need some help and you have all the qualifications I could ever ask for in a major domo. Besides, “ my voice lowered to a conspiratorial tone, “ I think the wind may be up to something and I’ll need you to help keep an eye on it…”

“Uh right Dru, no problem, glad to help. Plus this is a nice place, beats the old factory or the crypt all to heck.”

“Clement, I’m very glad you’re here, did you know that I’m Lady Lune now? It’s oh so very exciting. Do you know if that means my dolls are nobility also?”

“No clue there. Well, I’m helping Emma with organizing that party so I’d better be going.”

“Oh yes, that’s quite important, “ he turned and left; shutting my bedchamber door quietly behind him. I drank my breakfast and felt much better with a full tummy. Rising, I performed my morning ablutions and after pulling on a pair of slacks, a sleeveless turtleneck and my gloves, made my way downstairs just as the doorbell rang.


“I’ve got it! My Slayer bellowed like a wild thing as she raced through to the front hall. I heard the front door open and traces of a low conversation. Then the front door closed. A moment later Miss Emma met me in the salon.

“Dru, You have a visitor, ” she was trembling with excitement.

“Oh? Did they give a name? The moths don’t speak to me in the daylight.”

“Didn’t need to. It’s Bruce Wayne.”

“Oh…” I replied in a small mouse voice.

“So Dru, should I show him in?”

“Yes? Yes, of course and have Clement bring us some lemonade, “ I began to steel myself as my beast laughed at the internal tumult I was experiencing.

She left and then He entered. I could feel his raptor eyes peeling my body back first skin, then muscle, then organs and vessels, and finally to the cores of my very bones. Layer by layer, judging each fragment of my insignificant frame He encountered, and each layer found wanting.

“Good Morning Lady Drusilla, when we first met I didn’t get your title, “ his voice was, on the surface, warm and friendly, but I could see the viper’s lash just under the sweet honey. Every syllable was controlled. Every phrase planned.

This was the Dark One’s false face, unlike Kate and Renee who wore theirs when they stalked the night, the Dark One used his to meet and chat and ingratiate, much like I.

“I really don’t use it much, Oscar stood firm on ceremony or anything else really, “ though I was shaken to the core I tried my very level best to sound pleasant and engaging, “So what inspired this visit, were the cuckoos raising too much of a fuss? I tell them to be still, but they never listen.”

He seemed puzzled by that response and I realized that the Dark One was a creature of logic, rules, and rationality. He would not believe anything that could not be absolutely proven, so I gave my madness voice.

“I saw the moon flit across the water and land in a pond last night. I wonder if it can swim. It would be an awful shame if it couldn’t you know. How would the stars see to read then?”

“Beg pardon?” I could feels tendrils of confusion waving behind his eyes, he was skilled enough to tell I was not prevaricating my mental state, and it placed him off guard.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I am not at all well in the brain you see. A terribly traumatic situation in my youth. That’s why Oscar and I got along so famously, as he was madder than I.”

“Ahh, I see. I’m sorry, “ he actually sounded sincere and apologetic, and I began to relax slightly.

“I’ve gotten used to it over time. I can function somewhat normally, however I do try to keep myself and my eccentricities away from the public eye as much as possible. So as not to bother anyone you see.”

“Yes, yes I do.”

At that moment Clement entered bearing pitcher and glasses, “Lemonade Mr. Wayne, Lady Lune?”

“Thank you Clement, please leave them here, I’ll pour.”

“Very well, “ he left with my visitor staring after him.

“He’s not human is he?”

“Clement? Of course he is. Aside from his birth defects, he’s far more human than most. He has been a close friend of my family for years. You should be ashamed of yourself!” Amazingly, as my tone became more intense, the Dark One began to seem…embarrassed?

“I am sorry Lady Dru…, “ emboldened I pressed a gloved finger to his lips to cease his speech.

“Please call me Drusilla or Dru, all my friends do, even the clouds, but not the grass…” I looked pensive, “Grass is always so terribly formal, don’t you think?”

“I’ve never actually thought about it Dru. Anyway, I came to visit to welcome you to the neighborhood and to present you with a housewarming gift, “ Reaching into his jacket he produced a elegantly wrapped package about six inches long and four wide. It was quite heavy for its size, and I could feel it contained more than what was obvious. I unwrapped it and found a silver horseshoe quite brightly polished.

“For luck upon this house.”

“Oh thank you! I shall haveClement place it above the front door immediately!” then my mouth continued while my mousy brain looked on in horror, “You must come to my housewarming party! I insist.”

“Well, certainly I’d like to come, when is it?”

“I’ll have Miss Emma deliver you a formal invitation to your residence, ” at that point my voice was returned to my aghast brain’s control.

“Excellent, well Dru, I must be going. I have some business in town I have to attend to.”

“I understand and don’t forget your galoshes for it will rain.”

“Yes…I see, ” I rose and walked him to the hallway where Clement waited to open the front.

“Good bye Mr. Wayne.”

“Please, it’s Bruce and goodbye to you too Dru…Clement…Miss Emma,” with that he departed and I sighed internally as his dark presence slowly faded from my senses.

“Dru?”

“Yes, my dear?”

“Do you want me to run his invite over right now?”

“Whenever you have time Miss Emma. I’ll be in the doll room, talking to my friends.”
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