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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-CenteredbatzulgerFR1387,5154318,40830 Jan 106 Feb 10Yes

All Satin and Velvet Skinned.

The party had begun.

I was in long black satin, and my Slayer was wearing blue. I can honestly say, we both looked terribly stunning. Mister Osbourne's quartet was playing Mozart on guitar, violin, viola, and cello. The buffet line was busy, and very important people, who thought they were even more important than in reality, muttered their cries of dominance and territory at each other.

I chatted with varied peacocks and their suitors and smiled, saying as little as possible to keep my madness leashed, and depending on the wardings to blunt whatever speech I made. Miss Emma had stepped into the role of assistant with aplomb. Her slayer's competitive drive supplanted to organization had proven awfully effective, and now she flitted hither and yon chatting with the guests and making sure all was well.

Renee and Kate arrived, both flaunting convention in their dress as was their usual. Kate in a black and hot pink sleeveless shirt and tight black leather pants, and Renee in a severely tailored, charcoal gray pinstriped men's suit. I scurried over them gratefully and gave them each a hug. "My dears, I am so wonderfully happy you're here. Some of these...people...are fouler than any demon in their heart of hearts."

Renee snorted, "I hate to think what you could see in the upper crust of Bl├╝dhaven. Some of those folks, make Gotham street thugs look like amateurs, " Kate nodded in agreement as Clement announced the next guests.

"Mister Bruce Wayne and friend."

The Dark One's false face strode in as if the party was being held solely for his benefit, an exceptionally gaudy peacock preening and cooing on his arm. As he entered the puffer pigeons and assorted peafowl sent their not inconsiderable attentions in his direction. I listened on the periphery as banal exchanges commenced, and marveled at the detail and depth of his mask. His peacock billed and cooed, and was obviously quite oblivious to the actuality of the Dark One's true character. At the moment, I envied her blindness as my little dead mouse heart was attempting to flee my chest in terror.

Renee was looking around puzzled and touched me lightly on the arm, "Dru, is it my imagination or are my senses being screwed with here?"

Grateful for the reprieve from glancing at the Dark One, I quickly responded, "Oh no, it's not a dream. There are means provided to allow certain slips in my behavior to go unnoticed."

Kate looked impressed, "You can do that?"

I shook my head, "For one or even a small group, I could perform something much like it. But to provide such an effect over such a large area I had to rely on my solicitor's firm. The Wolf, Ram, and Hart are quite proficient at these types of diverting wards."

"Wolfram and Hart did this? What are they Dru?"

"The oldest solicitor's firm in all the dimensions silly, " I cut off my response as the Dark One had shorn himself of fluttering budgerigars and his peacock and was walking over to my small group. My heart uttered one last squeak of fear, and then attempted to hide itself behind my liver, only taking small peeks over the top to see if he had left yet. I steeled my face and offered him my hand.

"Lady Dru! Wonderful party!" he took the proffered fingers and gave them a formal kiss. "Kate, Renee! So good to see you two as well, " those two he greeted with brief hugs and pecks on the cheek.

"Why thank you Mister Wayne..."

"Just Bruce please, Lady Dru."

"...Bruce. I'm glad you could make it. The wind howled about duplicity tonight, " I don't know where that last came from. Only that it was a true statement, and that he stiffened almost imperceptibly upon hearing it.

"Really?" he seemed casual with his response, but I could see the honeyed snakes writing on his tongue, and could feel the Dark One's presence building within him. Driven and ready to burst from his false face and spread terror and vengeance upon the deserving. I also felt, and this strengthened my little mouse heart, that this rage of justice was directed at Janus, not I. Unfortunately I could not stay my madness imbued voice from continuing.

"Oh yes, here tonight, facing unexpected predators, rage driven by chance, " as I spoke I heard Renee whisper, "Two-Face, " to herself in tones so low no other could have detected it.

"Sounds like the wind is pretty chatty Lady Dru, " his artificial bonhomie was laying only on the very surface of his skin, and could have been popped like a soap bubble it was so fragile. Inside he had completely stripped off his wig and make-up, and begun cladding himself in his dark armour.

"Oh it is, but never nearly so noisy as the stars. It is almost impossible to make celestial bodies be still, with all their whirling 'mongst the heavenly spheres."

"Ah yeah, well it is a wonderful gathering," he actually seemed slightly puzzled by my last outburst, but his true face never revealed itself, "I should be getting back to my date." With that he he smiled and returned to his peafowl where he began engaging in animated conversation.

Kate spoke up, "Dru, how accurate are your visions?"

"I see the truth even though I frequently don't know what it means."

"Okay. Is there anywhere that Renee and I can change?"
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