February Drabbles, One-shots, and snippets
At least one a day for 28 days
February 3rd 2011, Yes I know I am late posting it. I'm always late. But since I haven't slept yet it's okay.
Disclaimer: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is property of Joss Whedon. “Batman” is property of the DC comic's franchise. I claim no ownership of either “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Batman.”
Authors Note: Edited, 02-05-2011 with the suggestions of Shieldage. I am really sorry for the errors that appeared in the orginal version. But it was a good lesson on why one shouldn't post a story after being up 36 hours.Willow Visits the Circus
Twelve year-old Willow Rosenberg sat alone in the the reserved club box seat at the Gotham City Circus. She was slightly miffed that her parents had decided not to attend the circus, despite having promised before dragging her to yet another boring psychology convention. Willow was almost used to the fact that her parents would rather talk to some schmaltzy foreign psychologist than with her. So, although she was miffed, she was more angry with herself for believing her parents' promises again than at her parents themselves. After all, they were only behaving how they always had.
Willow looked up as a tall, black haired, brown eyed, businessman entered the box, followed by a dignified older gentleman. The black haired man looked quizzically at Willow alone in the box. He quickly presented Willow with one of his most charming smiles. “Hello, my name is Bruce Wayne,” he said, taking a nearby chair.
Willow softly responded, “H-hi,” stuttering a bit in nervousness. She lightly worried her teeth at her lower lip and looked away from Mr. Wayne. She wondered why the name Bruce Wayne seemed familiar.
Bruce gave an inaudible sigh and exchanged a speaking glance with his manservant and surrogate father figure, Alfred. Alfred merely sent a pointed look toward the young redhead. Bruce waved Alfred to sit down and turned towards Willow’s small frame.“You must be from the psychology conference. You're very young to be a guest speaker,” Bruce said, humor infusing his words.
“I-I-I'm not!” Willow looked up at Mr. Wayne's amused face. “Err, I mean, I'm not a speaker. My mother... Mr. Wayne how do you know I'm from the conference?”
“Bruce, please,” he requested.“All the club boxes are owned by Gotham City's affluent. Most of those donate or sell those seats to charities when they don't plan on using them. I happen to have donated my seats to the psychology conference's guest speakers.” Bruce had spoken in a manner designed to put the girl at ease; softly. Inside, the Batman stirred at the girl's obvious distrust of people and contemplated where her mother could be..
“Oh, I'm Willow,” she said, relaxing slightly. The three circus goers spent a few minutes in quiet as more patrons shuffled to other seats around the auditorium. “Oh!,” Willow exclaimed suddenly, causing Bruce to tense with the Batman's hard won combat skills. Alfred simply relaxed more fully into his chair. He had recognized the tone as one of happy revelation. “Oh, I just remembered where I know your name from,” Willow addressed Bruce. Bruce relaxed his muscles from the Batman's combat readiness. “You're the CEO of Wayne Industries. You just released that new central processor unit.” Willow continued to chatter on for several minutes about the products and technologies Wayne Industries produced. Bruce smiled at the happy babble, while the Batman was impressed with her knowledge of Wayne Industries. “So, are you going to apply the technology to a dedicated processor within a video card?” Willow finished brightly.
“I don't know, Little Tree. I leave most of the decisions up to the engineers,” Bruce said in a seemingly distracted manner.
“That's too bad, computers really are fascinating.”
“I am sure they are.” Bruce looked around a second like he was searching for someone. “Is your mother joining you for the performance?,” he asked in an off hand manner, steering the conversation to the source of the Batman's and Alfred's unease.
Willow sighed softly and looked a little despondent as she answered, “No, my parents were going to come but they got invited to an absolutely fascinating
debate on early childhood development. They decided that the frivolity of the circus was far outweighed by the intellectual merits of such a debate.” Willow looked more then a little upset by her parents' disregard for her. She sighed again and continued, with a sad little smile, “I'm kinda used to them canceling on me for their colleagues and sudden meetings. It's not so bad this time since I sort of expected it. And they still let me walk to the circus from the hotel. At least I'm not stuck in there with nothing to do. I am actually really looking forward to the Flying Graysons. My friends and I saw a TV special about them a few months ago and since then Xander and Jesse have been practicality devouring anything to do with them. They will be really happy that I'll have got to see them live. I got them both pictures of the Graysons from the souvenir booth.”
“That was really nice of you to do that. I am sure they'll both like their gifts very much. Would you like me to arrange autographs for your photos?,” Bruce asked politely, while inside the Batman determined to talk to Willow's mother about the disregard shown for her daughter's safety. Gotham city was no place for a young girl to be walking around on her own after dark.
“Really? That would be awesome!,” she enthused and looked as though she might hug Bruce for improving her gift for her friends.
Bruce smiled at her and gave a strong nod in assent.
Alfred rose from his seat and headed towards the club house, “Master Bruce I'll go procure some refreshment for the show.”
“Thank you Alfred,” Bruce said.
“And for you Miss Willow?” Alfred asked. The young miss would certainly need refreshment during the show and there was no reason why she should miss any part of it to procure said refreshments.
“Ah, nothing please,” Willow said with a slight blush, all of her parents talks about not taking advantage of someone's kindness and against accepting charity forcing her to reject this gift.
“Alfred, just get her a soda, a hot dog, and some cotton candy,” Bruce intervened. “Would that acceptable?”
“Um, I'm not allowed to have soda after six. And I am Jewish,” Willow responded.
“No worries then, I'll get you Lemonade and something that is kosher,” Alfred said in a no nonsense voice. “The show is starting,” Alfred directed both Willow and Bruce's attention to the center ring where a spot light illuminated the figure of the Ringmaster.
Willow thoroughly enjoyed the circus. And could hardly wait to tell Xander and Jesse all about it when she got home. The highlight of the performance was the Flying Graysons,; she was wholly impressed with their youngest son, Dick's performance. She would never be able to leap through the air like that, it was amazing. But, despite the performance being the best thing she had ever seen, her favorite part of the evening was actually meeting the Grayson family. They signed the pictures for her two bestest friends and then insisted that she should have a picture with them and Mr. Wayne. The Graysons and Bruce autographed her picture and she and Mr. Wayne prepared to leave.
As Willow turned to walk back towards her hotel, Alfred called her back. “Miss Willow, where do you think you are going?”
“I am just going to walk back to my hotel, thanks for everything, it's only a couple blocks away,” Willow said in a semi-rush as she realized that it was getting close to 11 o'clock and her parents had expected her back by ten. Not that she really thought they would even notice she hadn't gotten back yet.
“Willow, it is quiet late, why don't I give you a ride back to the Wyatt? It is very dangerous to be wandering the streets so late at night by yourself,” Bruce said reasonably. He held out his hand for her to take.
Willow thought on it a moment then took Bruce Wayne's hand. “I don't really understand, it doesn't feel anymore dangerous here than in Sunnydale and I'm always walking to and from friends' houses after dark.” The Batman filed that information away to use in his conversation with the little tree's parents.
During the car ride to the hotel, Alfred engaged Willow in a discussion on her favorite aspects of the show.At the hotel, the staff nearly bent over backwards to be of service to the Prince of Gotham, but he just waved them off. Alfred walked with Willow, continuing their conversation from the car, as she led them to her parents’ two bedroom suite. Just as they opened the door to the suite, Willow's parents exited a room further down the hallway.
“Willow, it is way past your bedtime. The deal was you could go out as long as you were back by ten,” Shelia Rosenberg addressed her daughter in a cool voice showing obvious disappointment. She dismissed the presence of the two strange men. Willow blinked at her mother's tone, not quite sure what verbal response would be suitable.
“Mrs. and Mr. Rosenberg, allow me to apologize,” Bruce smoothly stepped between Willow and her parents. Alfred calmly directed the girl to enter the room and prepare for bed. He entered the set of rooms to prepare drinks at the kitchenette would be appropriate for the meeting that was about to take place.
“And who, sir, are you?,” Ira Rosenberg demanded.
Bruce straightened his spine and gave a charismatic and predatory smile. “I am Bruce Wayne. You don't mind if we have a conversation,” he said, not giving either adult the chance to respond as he sauntered into the living space of the hotel suite, shedding some of his playboy persona. Ira and Shelia followed the billionaire into their rooms confused about why this powerful man would wish to speak with them.
The only reason Shelia could come up with was that Willow, in her youth may have said or done something a bachelor who had no experience with children would take offense to. “Mr. Wayne, I know that you don't have children but I assure you whatever Willow said or did was not meant with any malice. We will of course make any recompense necessary. After all, she is just a child.”
“And that, Mrs. Rosenberg, is precisely the problem,” Bruce said, accepting a drink of what looked
like strong alcohol from Alfred as Alfred laid a tray of drinks on the coffee table.
“I am afraid, Bruce, that Shelia and I don't understand what you mean,” Ira said taking a sip of brandy.
“Mr. Wayne, please,” Bruce said taking a sip of his masquerading drink as he let a little more of his playboy persona fall. “The problem is that Willow is just a child - yet you left her unattended on the streets of Gotham after dark,” Bruce voiced in a dark tone.
“Mr. Wayne, while Ira and I are very grateful for you returning our daughter to us, it was her own decisions that had her dawdling past her curfew,” Shelia retorted to Bruce in a glacial tone.
“Shelia, unfortunately, it is my fault that Willow is beyond her curfew. I...” Bruce began in a dangerously light voice, his eyes darkening when Ira cut him off.
“What do you mean it is your fault my daughter missed her curfew,” Ira's tone slightly sharper than necessary, due to the perceived insult of Mr. Wayne using Shelia’s first name when he had not been allowed the courtesy of using Mr. Wayne's given name.
“I arranged for her to get autographs for her friends after the show, and it took longer then her curfew allowed,” Bruce continued as though Ira's interruption hadn't happened.
“Thank you, Mr. Wayne, that was very thoughtful of you, but you did keep her out later then she was allowed,” Shelia remarked in a slightly warmer tone than she had used previously.
“This may be so, Mrs. Rosenberg, but the fact remains, either way your daughter would have been on the streets alone after dark,” the Batman retorted with only the thinnest veneer of Bruce Wayne's playboy persona. Ira and Shelia Rosenberg looked taken aback by the harsh tone coming from the notoriously superficial Wayne. Alfred left the living area to distract Willow from the tension filled talk
in the next room.
“Yes, Mr. Wayne, Willow would have been out after dark but she is very mature for her age. Also, Gotham really is no more dangerous than Sunnydale,. Willow walks home from her friends after dark all the time.”
The Batman filed away the tidbit about the dangerousness of Sunnydale, as he spent the next ten minutes completely chastising Ira and Shelia about their neglect and disregard for Willow's safety. He carefully overturned all of their protestations to wrongdoing and concluded with the threat of legal action if it ever became apparent that their actions were intentional.
Batman gave one more predatory glare at the Rosenbergs before he stepped into the second bedroom to wish Willow a good night. After which, he and Alfred left the suite. Willow lay in bed, falling asleep to dreams about circuses and flying. Meanwhile, in the living area, Ira and Shelia slowly sipped on brandy in an effort to get over their shock.
Ira and Shelia Rosenberg decided to leave the conference early the next day. It was the first and only time they had ever left before a conference was over. Willow was extra excited to go home early since she was sure to have the best gifts ever for her friends.
After Shelia and Ira Rosenberg returned home with Willow, they never again took her to another psychology convention. They had been thoroughly chastised by the seemingly laid back Prince of Gotham. In fact, if pressed, they might even say they had been scared of him. Although they left her alone at the house more often than not, they were always careful to have Shelia's assistant check up on Willow everyday. It was not ideal but Willow was more prepared to deal with the dangers in her home town than anywhere else.