All disclaimers etc in Part 1
~ Gotham City. Gotham City Airport. ~
Willow is staring at the architecture. I think it's the first time we've flown a commercial flight into Gotham so seeing the inside of the Airport is a bit of a novelty. I'm trying to find Bruce who is supposed to be meeting us here.
I can't see him but there is Alfred. "Miss Summers."
I smile broadly. "There you are Alfred. You remember my friend Willow?"
Alfred smiles. "Miss Rosenburg. If you will follow me, the car is this way. Allow me to take your bags."
"That's ok Alfred. We only have our backpacks and these small carry-on bags."
"As you wish." He opened the door of the limosine and I started to laugh, reminded of that scene from The Princess Bride.
"A limo?" Willow squeaked. "Just to pick us up from the airport?"
"With Master Bruce's apologies. He had intended to meet you himself but was unexpectedly called into the office. Master Dick is on his way from Bludhaven and Master Tim is at school for another hour."
"There's no hope of you just calling us Buffy and Willow is there?" I asked. He smiled. "Have to go and get Robin the First." I jogged over to an information desk as was told where I would be able to find my dog. He was so excited to see me that he tried to stand up in the little cage and wag his tail. He had to sit back down and his tail kept hitting the wires of the cage but he kept wagging it anyway. I wheeled him, cage and all, on a trolley through the terminal and as soon as we were clear of it and to where Alfred waited with Willow and the limo I attached his leash and opened the cage door. Just as I expected he started to jump around me excitedly. I managed to herd him into the car and Willow and I climbed into the backseat and sat down.
I'll assume Alfred managed to fold the cage away and put it into the trunk with our luggage.
Robin was almost impossible in the confines of the car but with a few treats I had stashed in my handbag I managed to get him to a low level of excitement, what might be considered calm for a dalmation.
"Wow huh?" I finally said to Willow.
"I'll see your wow and raise you an 'Oh boy'," Willow giggled. "Beats Giles' old Citreon."
I began to giggle too. "I think the Citreon would fit in the trunk."
Alfred sat in the drivers seat and started the engine. We pulled out of the parking space and into the traffic. "There is to be a party tonight at the Manor. It is an annual affair to which you are both invited."
"Bruce didn't tell me. We have nothing to wear... He is in so much trouble."
"Master Bruce is waiting at the office for us now. I believe he is taking you both shopping for suitable attire."
"Milllionaire Bruce Wayne is taking *us* shopping?" Willow asked."Buffy..."
"It's no use Willow. Bruce won't change his mind. Alfred?"
"What sort of party?"
"The regular sort Miss."
"Somehow I can't imagine Bruce blind drunk and dancing the funky chicken."
Willow started to giggle.
"That's the regular sort of party for us. I don't imagine it'll be anything like that."
"No Miss. Just a moment please." He stopped the car and stepped out. The door beside me opened and Bruce stepped in. I grabbed at Robins collar a nanosecond before he made his escape. I'm *so* glad for Slayer strength when it comes to controlling him.
"Hello Buffy, Willow. Hello Robin the First."
Willow was still giggling. She controlled herself long enough to say, "Hello Bruce. You're right Buffy. I can't imagine him doing the funky chicken either."
"Excuse me?" Bruce asked, completely confused.
"Alfred told us about the party. We asked what sort it was and he said it was the regular sort. I told him that I couldn't imagine you blind drunk and dancing the funky chicken, which is the sort of party we are used to."
"Uh... no. But if you're really smart about it you may be able to get Dick drunk enough to dance the funky chicken. Tim, Babs and Cassandra will be there too and a few others you've met Buffy as well as shareholders, business partners, the Mayor and Commissioner Gordon."
"If you had told us we would have brought party dresses."
"I'd forgotten actually and as it was my error I will pay for new dresses for each of you." We stopped again and the door opened. "Hello Barbara," Bruce said as he climbed out of the car.
"Bruce. The things I do for you. Hi Buffy. Hello Willow. We'll be taking you shopping with Bruce's money so spend up big. He won't miss it."
"I'm pretending to be used to spending the money he gives Dick. They insist on big bucks don't they?" I said looking around at the expensive looking stores. "I have party dresses. You should have told us," I chastised him.
He just shrugged and started to get back into the car. "Alfred and I will take Robin the First back to the Manor and unleash him on the gardens before returning to you." Bruce tugged at Robins collar to bring him back into the car and the door closed with a quiet click.
"Well that was a waste of a potentially *big* argument. Where to first?"
"Why don't we work our way round from here?"
"Sounds like a plan to me," Willow agreed, "Although I'm hoping I won't have to go into any more than one store.
I like shopping but even this was a bit much. I don't like stores where the sales assistants behave as if it's a bother to have you in the store. A few semi-stern words from Babs had the assistants scurrying away, and they didn't return while we chose and tried on the dresses we liked.
Sighing I pulled on yet *another* sheath of hideously expensive fabric these people called a dress. "I'd much rather be wearing leather," I grumbled as I stepped out of the little booth-type room to look at myself in the full length mirrors in yet another gown.
"I'd rather you wore much less but here isn't the place for that sort of suggestion."
I squeaked. "Dick!" I covered myself with my hands as if I were naked then realised I was doing that and dropped my hands to my sides. "What are you doing here?"
He shrugged and walked around me, inspecting me. "Very nice."
"It would want to be for the price of it."
He shrugged and said, "You get used to it when it's expected of you."
"That's terrible. You shouldn't have to..."
"I know Buffy. Remember that I choose to live in Bludhaven to escape it."
I blushed. "Oh yeah."
"But I don't know how Bruce keeps it up."
"It must be tiring to always be considered some sort of idiot," I said as I returned to the changing room.
"I guess. I don't think he thinks about it really. It's always been that way. I think the only person who thinks he has any sort of brain outside of 'The Family' is Commissioner Gordon and even then I'm not sure how much Jim thinks is in Bruce's head."
"What about that Fox person?"
"Lucius? No. He's completely convinced that Bruce is only playing at owning the Wayne Corporation, though Bruce occasionally has a good idea, and has always had a very good heart, which I think Lucius respects."
"Fair enough," I commented as I emerged from the little mirrored room in my own clothes. Let me tell you that that was an odd experience. I don't think I'm unattractive or anything but I certainly don't need to see my near-naked self reflected in several mirrors as I'm changing clothes. I only have four dresses in my arms, three of which I return to their racks. The fourth is the same shade of blue as the sapphire jewellery Dick gave me at Christmas, which I am always wearing. I carried the strappy shoes that matched my dress in one hand. "How're you doing Willow?"
"Waiting for you. What do you think?" She held the jade green dress up against her body.
She grinned. "Think Kyle will like?"
"Very definitely. Hey Babs. What are you buying?"
"Just some jewellery. Need something new."
"Red, Cass?" Willow asked when the young woman joined us at the counter where a sales assistant, still nervous from Babs' earlier lecture waited.
"Barbara said I had enough black in my wardrobe and that I had to choose a colour. I like red."
"I think it'll suit you," I said to which Willow nodded her agreement.
"Thank you," Cassandra smiled.
We laid our purchases on the counter and waited for them to be put through the cash register and placed carefully into tissue paper filled boxes. Before Babs could lay her seldom used Bruce Wayne funded gold card on the counter Dick offered his own gold card. The assistant took the gold card and ran it through the machine. Noticing the name on it, she looked up and smiled sweetly at Dick. "Mr. Grayson..."
"Eep!" I said suddenly, realising from the look in the girls eye exactly where her conversation was going and not liking it at all. I slayed a lot of bad guys to deserve happy time with a good guy. I'm not giving up his attention without a fight, not that his ever drifts from me for long, at least that's what Tim and Alfred say.
"What's wrong?" he asked me with a tinge of panic in his voice.
"I was just wondering if I had the right underwear for that dress. I mean it does very thin straps..."
"What about what you wore under the little black dress in Gotham?"
"Umm..." I pretended to think. Of course I had brought a strap-less bra with me. I had actually anticipated having something like tonights party sprung on us but hadn't thought to bring a dress as well. "Yeah I have that with me. I'll be fine then," I smiled up at him, taking his hand in mine and turning a cold glare on the girl. She gulped, blinked then finished the sales transaction and we left. I don't think Dick realised any of what had gone on. Judging by the giggles I heard from Babs, Willow and Cassandra I knew that they did.
I sighed with relief. "Only one store. Thank heavens."
Dick chuckled. "I thought you liked shopping."
"Only when I feel like going. I want to shower and take a nap. We did just fly across the country."
He chuckled. "Very true. I have to get Tim from his dad's house before I go to the Manor. I'll see you there."
When Dick kissed me goodbye Cassandra made gagging noises, Babs noisily cleared her throat and Willow giggled. Dick threw them his most gorgeous smile and shouting a cheery greeting to Alfred before climbing into his car, which was parked behind Bruce's limo beside which Alfred waited. Babs and Cassandra came with us back to the Manor where they would use the study, with its own en suite, to prepare for the party.