PART #: Part 3/12
ALL DISCLAIMERS etc in Part 1
It's nice not having an alarm. Alfred's gentle tapping on the door and soft voice are much nicer than early morning radio.
Bruce sat at the table, reading the paper, when I joined him after I had showered and dressed. He smiled and folded the paper, putting it on the seat beside him. "Good morning Buffy."
"'mornin'," I mumbled.
He chuckled and watched me chug the coffee Alfred gave me. I was quickly given another. "Thank you Alfred."
"You are welcome Miss."
"You aren't allowed to be cheerful in the morning Bruce. It ruins your broody reputation you know."
"Would you like cereal Miss?"
"No thanks Alfred. I'll get a bagel or a croissant or something on my way to the office. I can't stomach anything else most mornings. Besides, I like pastry..." I grinned.
A plate with a croissant appeared in front of me. In stunned amazement I said to Alfred, "You really are my hero." I looked at my watch. "Where is the nearest subway station to here Bruce?"
"I will drive you to work Miss," Alfred said.
"But... surely you have other things to do..." I protested.
"Not until 10 when Master Bruce is to be driven to Mr. Luthors offices. Master Tim and Master Dick have no engagements today and will not need my attention until they rouse themselves from sleep."
"So I get your attention early today," Dick said, sleepily sliding into a free chair.
"I thought you'd sleep till two or three this afternoon," Bruce commented.
"And miss the opportunity of seeing my girl at breakfast and taking her to lunch? Not in this lifetime."
I blushed. When did he start thinking of me as his girl?
Bruce smiled at Dick's sleep-fuzzled confession of his feelings like the proud parent he was. "Will you go with her to the office too?"
"Yup. Just gotta find a clean shirt." He stood up, kissed me and walked out again.
I bowed my head toward the table and kept eating my croissant trying to ignore the two older men smiling at me.
I finally managed to control the blush by the time Dick reappeared.
"Time to go?" I asked Alfred. He nodded. "See you later Bruce. Don't hurt Lex. That's my job," I grinned. He chuckled and waved goodbye.
In the limo Dick held my hand and smiled at me. "Have I got food on my face?" I asked trying to find a mirror in my purse.
"No," he chuckled. "Just thinking how nice it is being with you."
"Oh," I said and the smile spread rapidly across my face. "Oh, Alfred, I had an idea. Does the Wayne family have a crest or something?"
"Do you think we could have it put on the cover of the photo album for Bruce?"
"I will make enquiries today Miss. I brought the photos with me to show Master Bruce. I will give them to Master Dick for your lunch date Miss."
"Thank you Alfred but it won't be necessary. Can I see them when I get home? Oh, and will you still mention bringing Willow out with Bruce?"
"Of course Miss. I will have him call you when he has made his decision."
"Thank you." The vehicle stopped and Alfred got out of the car. Dick kissed me full on the mouth in the time it took Alfred to reach my door and open it. I blinked several times at Dick before I realised I was at the office. "Um... I'll see you at lunch."
He grinned. "Sure thing."
"Uh... bye..." I got out of the car and thanked Alfred before vanishing into the Daily Planet building and the safety of its elevator.
Lois grinned and nearly jogged across the office when I came in that first day. "You have your own desk!" she smiled, leading me over to it. If I sat up tall in my chair I would be looking at the top of her head. "I'm assuming that those are from Dick," she pointed at a bouquet that was almost identical to the first bright bouquet of daisies, gerberas and sunflowers that he first brought to me at the office.
I plucked the card out. "And the lady wins a prize! What have we got for her Clark?"
"A wet kiss," Clark laughed, grabbing Lois and delivering said prize to Lois' giggled delight. "The others," he indicated the posy of dark pastel coloured flowers, "Are from us."
"You guys are so sweet," I smiled at them.
I whimpered. "He sounds like my ex-High School Principal..."
"What happened to him?" Lois asked.
"He got eaten by a demon," I said dismissively. "Good morning Mr. White. What am I working on?"
"Follow up on your human traders article." He slapped a folder on my desk. "Tomorrow and Wednesday you're working the late shift with Lane," he announced and walked away.
"Good to see you too Mr White." I looked at the folder and sighed. "Suppose I should get to it huh?"
"The late shift starts at 11 and finishes at 7," Lois said.
"Will I be able to take lunch at 1 today?"
"Is Dick taking you to lunch?" Clark asked.
"Yes he is spyboy. What is your issue with him?"
"I just want you to be aware of..."
"Of who he is and what he does?" I interrupted. "Kal," I said gently, "I'm not so different from him, from any of them except that no one knows about me so they haven't labelled me a vigilante... err..." I said, realising I'd said that while Lois was listening.
"I didn't hear that Buffy," she smiled.
I sighed gratefully. "Thanks Lois. I'm a big girl now Clark. I really can take care of myself. Dick is sweet and kind and wonderful and all sorts of things you really don't want or need to hear. Even if for some reason you can't trust him, trust me."
"I do trust him. Just remember the cape and cowl and that he's part of that legend."
"Who says I'm not part of that legend Clark?" I winked.
"You aren't going to..."
"Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies... or in this case I won't tell you the truth."
"Clark. I'm not superhuman," I whispered, "Well, not like you are but believe me when I tell you that not even mind control can make me do something if I don't want to."
"Mind control?" Lois asked, interested.
"Well..." I looked up at Perry's office. The door was still closed. "Ok so last year Dracula rolled into Sunnydale and decided that I deserved his attention. He did the mind control thing and for a while it worked, until I decided I didn't want it to. It's all pretty simple," I shrugged. Ok so I'd over simplified the story and it wasn't really that simple but they didn't need all the gory, bug-related details.
"You know Buffy," Lois said, and I swear I could see the hamsters turning the wheels in her head, "You should write about popular myths. With what Clark's told me about your past you'd have a unique perspective..."
"Who would publish that sort of thing written by someone of extremely limited experience?"
"I think Perry would be interested. Write a short column of say, 300-500 words about demons, something general but that could be carried over into several articles and we'll take it to Perry with our idea later."
"Lois..." I started.
"I think it's a good idea," Clark said, nodding as he thought about it. "I think you'd make it interesting... and you could keep writing even when you go back to college. I'm sure, though small, the income that you'd get from it would be welcome."
"You're sure that Perry will agree to this?" Ok so I didn't believe them but it was worth a go if it would get me money throughout the rest of my college career. Mum would definitely appreciate the extra money.
"I think so," they both said nodding.
"Ok. I'll get started on this follow-up first, try to get an outline or something cause I know that Perry will want something by the end of today."
Thick folder full of research by someone else. Perry had stuck a note to the inside of the cover. It read 'Olsen gathered this for you.' I sighed.
"What's wrong Buffy?" Lois asked.
"I have to find Jimmy."
"To thank him for gathering this research in my absence."
"It's not that bad is it?" she chuckled.
"No. I just wish I'd been able to do all of this myself. It's hard coming and going..."
"I suppose it is."
"Not that I'm not grateful because I love being here."
Clark chuckled suddenly. "Have you checked your email yet Buffy?"
"No," I said as I quickly clicked on the mail icon and waited while it retrieved my email.
"Open the email from BigBlackBat@T..."
I obeyed waiting for it to open. I blinked and read, Lois and Clark crowding around me. 'Clark, stop being a prude. Leave Dick and Buffy alone. They are grown people. They're even legally allowed to vote and drink alcohol now.'
"When did he get a sense of humour, dry though it is?" Lois asked.
I shrugged. "I think it hid behind his insignia," I said and kept reading.
'Buffy, I hope your first day is going well, again.
'Alfred asked about Willow as he said he would. If she wants to come out let me know and we can arrange the jet for her.
'Dick and I will be by at 1 to take you to lunch. I'm sorry to do this but I'm going to use it as an excuse to get out of the meeting with Luthor.
'Also, I have further information on the slave traders for your article and agree with Lois and Clark that Perry will like your 'modern mythology' articles.
'Lois. Forget you read any of this.
I stood up and picked up my jacket from the back of my chair, laying it across the table and carefully looking over the dark brown fabric. I ran my hand lightly over the fabric as well as searching visually for the tiny bat-shaped instrument I knew had to be here somewhere.
Lois picked up my ringing phone. "It's for you."
"Got it," I muttered before I took the handset from her. "That's a dirty trick Bruce... Of course I figured it out... Have I ever actually shown you how strong being The Slayer makes me? ...I haven't? Let me show you..." I picked up the little microphone between thumb and forefinger and crushed it. "I hate bugs. Did I ever tell you about the time Spike sent assassins after me and one of them was this Latvian bug guy? He was *SO* gross. He could appear human but he broke down into these little sluggy type bugs... What happened to him? Oh, Cordy and Xander made him come after them in his buggy bits under a door and on the other side was all this glue so he got stuck in it then they squished all the bugs. It was ishy... You can't appease me with promises of violence to Luthor... Oh alright you can. Just make sure I get to see it... Sure thing. Have fun with the jerk. Oh and ask him if he remembers me and tell him hi from me and Spike... Bye." I handed the receiver back to Lois who returned it to its cradle.
Perry's door creaked open and his voice bellowed across the office. "Summers! I want a draft outline by 5 o'clock today." The door slammed shut.
"Told you so," I said, sitting down again and sifting through the paperwork.