Bruce Wayne and a Daddy’s Girl
A/N: This is a sequel to “The League of Extraordinary Women”. It will make a lot more sense if you read that first.
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. If you want details on ownership and all that jazz, you’ll want to read the appropriate intros in “The League of Extraordinary Women”.
His first impression was that she was a daddy’s girl. Selina had told him that the Buffy Summers she knew had been a vapid daddy’s girl before she was Called. Before she was forced to fight a master vampire with inadequate training and inadequate backup. Before her father refused to believe her, and slapped her in an insane asylum. Before her father abandoned her and her family and moved to Spain with his much younger secretary. Before she ended up having to fight things that even a lot of the Justice League would have trouble tackling.
But this Buffy Summers hadn’t gone through trials like that. Granted, this Buffy had a father who had abandoned the family while she was in her teens, and had moved all the way to Spain as an executive of Lexcorp Europe. With a mistress. But this Buffy’s father hadn’t ignored her and her mother, forgetting birthdays and such. This Buffy’s father had died in a traffic accident on a Spanish road, leaving Buffy’s mother with a massive insurance policy and leaving Buffy with a small inheritance. An inheritance she had used to live the good life and meet older men. Wealthy older men.
Selina took his arm and led him toward the man who had Buffy Summers hanging on his arm. Lawrence Hailey, a fifty-something dotcom billionaire who had ducked out before the dotcom bubble burst, and had then re-invested his money in computer network infrastructure, so he was competing with WayneTech on internet business.
Selina smiled and purred, “Bruce, this is Larry Hailey of LHNet.”
Bruce shook Hailey’s hand and grinned, “I know Mister Hailey. We’ve sat across the conference table from each other a couple times.”
“Larry, please. And this lovely lady is my girlfriend. Buffy Summers.”
“Hi!” Buffy extended her hand and gave him what could only be described as a perky handshake. “I know you’re Bruce Wayne. Everybody
knows who you are. Larry says really good things about your company.” She turned and looked at Selina. “Ooh, those heels are gorgeous! Are they D & G?”
‘Larry’ smiled at his petite girlfriend and said to Bruce, “I know from experience that the clothing conversations will be… extensive.”
Buffy grinned up at him mischievously and pretended to slap him on the arm. “Ooh, you! I know you’re not interested in shoes. Go talk that computer stuff I don’t understand.”
Bruce said, “While the ladies are discussing areas of interest, why don’t you tell me what LHNet’s up to with those city-to-city microwave links.”
Larry leapt into the topic, quickly getting into highly technical areas that no one else in the room would understand, much less want to hear about at a party. Bruce had to pretend that he was getting lost, even though he thought Larry had some really good points on phased microwave transmitters. WayneTech researchers were more focused on sticking with the WayneTech satellite communications network, but Batman knew that network had weaknesses that someone like Lex Luthor could exploit. On the other hand, a phased microwave broadcaster powerful enough to send a signal from Gotham City to Metropolis could probably also be used to burn a hole through a Gotham City skyscraper, so Batman was going to have to watch for that sort of threat.
But… speak of the devil, and he shall appear. Lex Luthor strode into the room, Mercy Graves on his arm. As usual, Ms. Graves was evaluating the room like a bodyguard, not like arm candy. It had taken Batman a while to work out how to pose as ‘playboy Bruce Wayne’ and yet properly size up threats around him without anyone noticing. Ms. Graves hadn’t learned that, and didn’t appear to be interested in learning.
Bruce watched surreptitiously as Luthor studied the crowd. Since Luthor was sizing everyone up, Bruce pretended to down the drink he had emptied earlier, and immediately went in search of another. Then he walked back to see how Selina was doing, while simultaneously watching Luthor out of the corner of his eye.
Luthor had already dismissed ‘playboy Bruce’. That was good. Mercy Graves was watching Selina carefully. That was potentially a problem. Luthor had to know Selina was Catwoman, and had to have alerted Mercy well before the party. So Mercy might just be keeping an eye on a possible cat burglar, or she might be looking out in case Selina’s appearance meant another supervillain was going to crash the party, or she might be watching to see if Luthor’s next plot was unfolding as planned.
But Luthor didn’t make a move toward ‘playboy Bruce’ or Selina. Luthor carefully stalled for a while, chatting with Marcus Halliburton about tech exchanges, while eyeing the room.
What was Luthor up to? Bruce sauntered back to Selina, who was deep in discussion with this Buffy about… jewelry. Buffy was apparently interested in acquiring some substantial emeralds that would match her eyes, and a proper matched pair to have made into earrings. She seemed to think that Larry would buy her anything she wanted. Given the diamond she was wearing on her pendant, that seemed likely.
Didn’t Buffy Summers realize she was talking about expensive jewelry with one of the most notorious cat burglars on the planet?
Larry Hailey walked back to his girlfriend. Bruce recognized the look on Larry’s face. The man wasn’t comfortable at a party like this. He was using Buffy as his buffer. As his social graces. Maybe the role Buffy played in his life was more important than the role he played in hers.
Buffy gave Hailey a brilliant smile when he stepped by her side. “Larry! There you are. I missed you!” She took her hand that wasn’t holding a flute of champagne, and curled it around Hailey’s elbow. She beamed, “You know the emeralds you were talking about? Selina knows a marvelous jeweler in London. And you were going to take me there for the big tech expo in July, right?”
“Of course, honey,” he smiled back.
“That’ll be perfect,” she cooed. “And I want you to tell me about that computer chip stuff again, so I can go to the expo parties with you. Okay?”
“Sure thing, honey.”
Bruce watched as Buffy strolled off with Hailey. As soon as Buffy and Larry were on their own, Luthor made a subtle maneuver to ‘bump into’ them. Bruce turned and looked past Selina. There was a mirrored wall there that he could use to keep tabs on the interaction without revealing that he was even interested.
Selina murmured, “Even I’m not that crazy about jewelry. Or shoes. She has an entire Dolce and Gabbana shoe collection, a pair of all their classics from the last ten years.”
He smiled like she’d said something funny. “She is a lot shorter than you. She probably needs really high heels, maybe to compete with women like you.”
Selina smiled back. “Hailey really likes her in high heels. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her legs when he was walking up to us.”
He said, “But she wouldn’t obsess about them like this if she was only wearing them to keep him happy.”
Selina looked past his ear and said, “That’s not good.”
He looked into the mirrored surface and agreed, “It’s what I expected.”
Lex Luthor was making smalltalk with Buffy and Larry. He was very obviously bringing Mercy Graves into the conversation, so it wasn’t about anything technical, and therefore probably not work-related.
Bruce watched Luthor’s eyes, and his mannerisms. Luthor was talking more to Buffy Summers than to Hailey.
Selina plastered a fake smile on her face and said, “Does Hailey even realize the danger he’s in right now? If Luthor is focusing on Buffy like that, he may decide that Hailey is in his way.”
Bruce said, “The question is whether Buffy’s ready to jump ship for someone a lot richer. If so, Luthor will just be charming and persuasive. If not, then things will get… problematic.”
“Is that the new word for ‘deadly’ around here?” Selina asked quietly. “I’m not exactly impressed with this world’s Buffy, but I wouldn’t wish Lex Luthor on anyone.”
“Not even this Buffy?”
“Not even this Buffy. She may be working Hailey for enough bling to live on for the rest of her life, but Luthor? Eww.”
Bruce said, “After seeing the other Buffy Summers, I had hoped for… more.”
Selina reluctantly told Bruce, “She’s not the girl we met. She’s nothing but a venal little daddy’s girl.”
* * * * *
Buffy rode home with Larry. She kept the smile on her face, and she let him keep his arm wrapped around her waist, but she was worried. How stupid did people have to be not to recognize an international jewel thief like Catwoman? And if Selina Kyle was taking an interest in her, or in her Larry, Buffy might have to show her hand a little earlier than she planned. That wouldn’t be good.
Not now, when Lex Luthor was going out of his way to run into Larry ‘accidentally’ whenever Larry was out with Buffy. Not when Lex was already unveiling the famous ‘Luthor charm’ when he spoke to her. And poor Larry hadn’t noticed yet that it wasn’t his internet infrastructure that he needed to start guarding from Lex. But Larry wasn’t a social creature. If he didn’t have Buffy to help him, he would be a fish out of water at these sorts of parties.
She was pretty sure Lex already had surveillance on her and Larry, and she couldn’t afford even one mistake when playing a game like this against a threat like Lex Luthor. It had taken her five years to find out what really happened to Hank Summers, and she knew it was all Lex’s fault. Lex Luthor had had her father murdered.
But she was playing for the long game, and that meant being a blonde bimbo for long enough that Lex came to her instead of the other way around. And once Lex ‘stole’ her away from Larry and made her his latest conquest, she was going to do whatever it took to reveal his criminal activities and put him in jail. Forever.
She was pretty sure Lex had arranged to have her dad murdered because her dad tried to blow the whistle on LuthorCorp dealings in Europe, so she knew what was at stake. She might not survive the effort. But it would totally be worth it if she got revenge for her father.
Just as her mother had said plenty of times, Buffy always had been a daddy’s girl.