Part One: Introduction
Chapter One: High Society
party dragged on for hours. Despite the fact that all the guests were
distantly related and none of them actually knew each other, none of
them had objected to the chance to attend the party at the large manor.
The huge chandeliers were glowing brightly and radiated an illuminating
sheen onto the high pearly white marble walls. Large staircases were cut
off, but still their elegant design were marveled by those who had not
been to the manor recently... or at all. The designs held a rare beauty
that came from the mid-19th century. They were taken care of ever since
the Wayne brothers of Solomon and Zebediah had purchased the manor.
building itself had been updated as time had passed. The latest
security systems had been added to protect the old manor and its
contents. But it still held a castle-like state and was surrounded by
vast and beautiful gardens. Farther out was a cliff, but people never
went there, unless they wished to write up their will and final words.
The other astounding feature of the manor was the view of one of the
largest cities in the United States. It even gave New York City a run
for its money.
Gotham was large and growing. Over three vast
islands and three smaller islands were apartments, business enterprises,
a mono-rail system, a couple of parks, port systems, a game stadium,
and of course a police department that never turned off its lights. An
airport was on the outskirts on the main land, and pilots would savor
what they could before their next flight, which was probably very soon. Despite the grand description of Gotham, it was nothing like Metropolis,
because its grandeur was fading. The slums were getting worse. The old
gargoyles were breaking away at points, making them look even more
deformed. And criminals walked around the Narrows and many other places
in broad daylight.
Gotham had once been a large part of the
industrial revolution. But now, many years after the depression, people
were still homeless and the government seemed corrupt. And it was. Yet
it was still comparable to the NYC and Metropolis downtown. The
structures shot up from the ground in diamond and silver fashions. And
still, the manor was one of the only things that had barely changed...
well, mostly. It was still in possession of an heir to Gotham's "First
Family". And the Prince of Gotham was still single...
There was a
punch bowl in almost every room, but the contents were all the same.
Lemon-Lime soda flavored with cherry syrup, making Shirley Temples.
Around each table were cookies, little brownies, fudge, chocolate
covered strawberries, chocolate fountains, sweet (and steaming) rolls,
shrimp, and tiny plates for the guests. Only the best.
came through the crowd, serving tiny hors d'œuvres and caviar. Their
host was frantic and was trying to keep the party running smoothly. He
had agreed to it after all. He had been the one to propose the idea of a
family reunion here, anyway. It didn't make much sense. There were few
people that actually knew each other very well and if they did know each
other, it was only because they did family history.
None of them
were really in close contact with each other and none of the guests,
save for one, were really in the immediate family which generally
included parents and children. Beyond that were a few grandparents,
aunts, uncles, great-grandparents, and cousins. Even then, that was
under 20, maybe even 15. So branching out even farther, were second
cousins, third cousins, aunts and uncles of their families, and the even
more distant relatives. Overall it took several tries on-line to find
enough people to really call it a party at Wayne Manor.
Out on the
patio was dancing. The sun had set a couple hours ago and the bright
moon and stars (away from the bustling city) shone down and provided
what light the torches did not. There was a sparkle to the water that
could been seen far out by the cliff. A young man in his mid-teens was
standing by one of the torches twirling around what contents were left
in his small party glass of punch. Not very amusing, but then he hadn't
been one of the guests all too thrilled to come anyway. Then again,
neither had been the host.
The boy had ebony black hair that had
been smoothed back by a decent amount of hair gel. He wore the tux. He
wore the cummerbund. He wore the black shoes. He wore the bow tie. He
wanted to go back. There were very few younger children here and many of
those who were didn't even qualify as pre-teens. The boy had been
reluctant to come, but had traveled back home for the occasion.
he was one of the few that could call the place a home. Ever since he
had been eight years old, he had been a resident at Wayne Manor. It's
not that he didn't like the place. He knew every twist, turn,
corner...and every other place that there was to find. He had even seen
the 'basement' of the place. His blue eyes looked upon the dancers.
one he knew was dancing there. His blue eyes directed themselves up to
the stars, where he kept them longingly for a couple minutes. He sighed
when his neck became strained and walked back inside. The bugs weren't
out, but he needed to get back in and 'socialize'. Ha, as if. Who would
he talk to? When he reached the main entrance, he looked up the stairs
wishing that he could just run up to his room to get his iPod. But, no.
He wasn't allowed to do that during the party. Not anymore. He was a
teenager now and expected to put up with parties like an adult.
He turned to get his seventh glass of punch when he ran into an old friend, "Dick, how are you?"
"Fine, Clark." He feigned happiness.
"Party getting dull or did it do that a couple hours ago?" Dick laughed at the comment
"You really can see through people." Dick said to Clark.
was probably the closest thing he had to an uncle, even though they
weren't related legally or by blood. Clark had dark black hair too, but,
was by no means a teenager. He was actually more around Dick's
guardian's age (which was what? early-mid thirties?). Clark Kent lived
out in Metropolis as a reporter for the Daily Planet. He was a good
friend and didn't hesitate to come. While he would never say it, he did
agree with their butler in that neither of the residents here did a good
job socializing. Well, Dick did an okay job, but not Bruce.
"How's that Jump Private School treating you?" Clark asked.
Dick smiled. "Fine, most things are running smoothly."
was, Dick didn't attend a private school out in Jump. That's just what
the press had been told to cover up for his absence in Gotham. That had
always been a bit odd to him, that the press would care about where he
was or what he did, but he had accepted it after the first three years.
Dick was living on his own with four good friends. They lived on a
distinctly well known piece of property, though nobody in Jump knew that
Richard Grayson, ward of Bruce Wayne, lived there.
Speaking of Bruce... "Clark, how's the party treating you?"
had a similar build to Clark. Both were very strong men and with broad
shoulders. The difference was that Bruce really had to work out for his
muscles. Clark could take it easy, the farm boy. Bruce made the duo of
black haired heads a trio. His was also smeared with hair gel like
Dick's, but he had a pair of startling gray eyes instead of blue.
"Do you really have to ask, Bruce?" Clark responded, dully.
"Yeah, I know. Listen, Clark, you can leave if you want," Bruce told his friend.
"And I can't?" Dick asked, as though accusing the man of something.
"You live here," Bruce retorted, leaving no room for an argument.
"Not much anymore," Dick mumbled which was rewarded by a hard glare. "Fine, I'll go and 'socialize'... like you do."
found it hard to ignore Richard's sarcasm and shook his head. Clark
gave him a look that just read 'Really?' and Bruce rolled his
eyes...which landed on a lovely Selina Kyle coming their way. Selina
Kyle was another good friend and was not related to Bruce or Dick. She
and Bruce would run into each other on many occasions. Not that either
Clark or Richard liked her too much, but Bruce... well he was undecided.
In situations such as these, he put up his act as always. What Clark
could never figure out was if it wasn't totally an act or not...
"Bruce," she smiled at them with pearly teeth, "Clark Kent, right?"
Clark nodded and she continued, "Clark, would you mind if I borrowed Bruce from you, now would you?"
at all, just return him," That was another thing about Clark. He could
crack a joke and Bruce could barely crack a smile. Bruce looked at Clark
to excuse himself with a nod and Clark nodded back. As Bruce went off
with Selina, Clark decided to head for one of the refreshment tables
again, thinking about home and wondering how Lois and Jimmy were. They
had been working on a story that he would have helped out with, but this
party conflicted with it.
Dick walked around just looking bored.
After refilling his glass of punch again (he had already needed a few
bathroom runs), he went into the lounge that was full of couples. He
leaned against the doorway just thinking, 'Wonder what the guys are
doing? Hope they're handling Jump City alright.' He watched the people
move about and talk to each other. Most of the older women would pass
and he'd smell the strong scent of perfume that made you think that they
had had the perfume since their first date at sixteen. The older men
would sit around and talk philosophy with nothing better to do then
politely counter each other.
Of course there were others. He
looked over at a refreshments table where he saw two women, one short
and plump, the other tall and a stick. They looked like the number ten
standing next to each other. A man came over and interrupted them. They
began to chat as though they were long time friends. Which they weren't.
Dick knew that. A woman with brown hair up in a bun came by and walked
around to get a drink. She bumped into another man, also with brown
hair, and spilled the drink over his shirt.
Yes, this is what he was doing. Observing people doing acts of no value whatsoever.
found himself going back out to the patio where a crowd was surrounding
the dance floor. He pushed his way to the edge of the crowd and what
met his eyes was, well not surprising to say the least, but not really
welcomed either. In the center of the dance floor was Bruce doing a
fancy waltz with Ms. Kyle. And Dick came in just in time to see Bruce
twirl Selina in and dip her down, smiling. Being the rich playboy was a
talent of Bruce's that he had refined to be very convincing, but Dick
could see when Bruce was acting or not...normally. Right then, Bruce
looked very happy.
Dick knew that it wasn't true. He wasn't.
He'd never be. That's how it had always had been and Bruce made no
effort to change it. Ever. Bruce wasn't this guy who spent his weekends
in hotels spending time with actresses and models. Bruce didn't stay at
home, either. He'd go out at night and try to stay out until the crack
of dawn, where he'd come back to the Manor and fall asleep on his bed.
would do that, too. Or at least, he used to do it all the time when he
was younger. Now that he lived out in Jump, he didn't get to do it that
much anymore. Dick didn't need to, actually. His friends told him to
rest and go to sleep. Like he would. Dick would stay up late. He'd read
over files and try to piece together the parts of puzzles that never
seemed to end or had missing pieces to them. If he slept at all at
night, he'd get about three to five hours.
Richard walked back inside and found Alfred standing at the doorway, "Getting tired, Master Dick?"
never got out of the habit of always greeting him or Bruce by 'Master
Wayne, Master Bruce, or Master Dick'. While at parties, Dick would
always insist that people called him Richard, but he didn't mind when
close friends like Alfred or Clark called him Dick, though. His mother
and father had. Had. They weren't around anymore...
"No, not really," Dick responded.
"Well, you're getting tired of the party, are you not?" Alfred asked.
was the old butler of Wayne Manor and had a fine British accent. He had
been around for a long time and had known Bruce ever since he was born.
He had known Martha and Thomas Wayne, Bruce's parents as well. Dick had
never met them. Alfred also knew the manor inside and out as well as
several skills that had saved their lives on occasion.
kinda... no offense, you know how to throw a party, but the violin music
is something I'd only enjoy if I had a date, Alfred. And you know that
Bruce would choke and die if he heard I had a date," Richard said.
laughed at the remark of Bruce's opinions, "True, true. Do you wish to
go to bed or just go up to your room for the rest of the evening, then?"
"If I can't do anything else," Dick told him.
knew that he wasn't ready for bed. He knew that while Dick's room was
full of things that any teenager would die for, he wouldn't be
interested in them. Dick had not come back to Gotham City for the party,
not really. No way. He was here to keep the paparazzi at bay, but if he
could get something out of it, like being in Gotham for a night, it
would probably be worth it.
"I'm afraid Bruce would want to leave
the manor now as much as you would, but it wouldn't be the best idea,
Master Dick." Dick looked disappointed at Alfred's comment, yet he had
expected his idea to be rejected.
So instead, Dick sneaked
upstairs through the kitchen and up to his room. It was large, but just
as he remembered it. It was painted a bright red with a white ceiling.
The floor was made with mahogany wood and the bed was positioned
directly opposite the door. It was a queen-sized bed, but didn't have
the frills that most queen-sized beds had. Red and black sheets lined
the bed and pillows were covered in red as well. The bed was a lush
cloud to lie on at night and was ready for its owner's head after being
untouched for so long.
To the right was a TV system with games,
VCR/DVD/Blu-ray players, DVDs, Blue-ray disks, videotapes,
gamestations, stereo, surround sound, and full quality cable access all
neatly placed into the wall. To the left was a large walk-in closet with
suits, day clothes, and tons of gym clothes also waiting for use. In
the far right corner was a doorway to the bathroom that had a marble
white sink, Jacuzzi tub, a shower, fluffy white and red towels, and
other luxuries. Lastly, it held a small container of his favorite hair
gel. Spoiled? One could have called Dick that, except for the fact that
half of those items had remained untouched since they were brought in
because of lack of interest, and they were never asked for in the first
Dick walked in and closed the door. He looked out the
windows that were on either side of the bed and saw once again the view
that always mesmerized him as a kid. It was a magnificent view of Gotham
City bustling about, never sleeping. He sat down on his bed and eyed
the small compartment under his bedside table. Hesitantly, he pulled a
key out from inside his pillow and opened up the compartment. Inside
were two round electronic objects. One was black and turned off. The
other was also off, but was goldish yellow with black marks on it and
had a black "T" in the center.
He picked that one up and flipped
it open. He was about to turn it on, when he realized what he looked
like. Throwing his hand to his head, Dick messed up his hair so that it
was spiked up in a way that would make some of the older guests down
stairs faint out of the shock of teenage styles today. He dug farther
back into the compartment and pulled out an opaque white mask with black
rims. He placed it over his eyes and just breathed. Man, he loved the
feeling of the mask on his face. It was like being without clothing on
sometimes when he didn't have it on.
Now, he turned on the device.
It lit up and a large room appeared in front of him...along with his
four friends: One half human/half robot Cyborg, one half human/half
demon Raven, one Tamaranian, Starfire, and one green changeling, Beast
He smiled, "Hey guys! Guess who."
Beast Boy turned his head to seem him on the huge window sized screen, "Robin, dude! How's Gotham?"
Robin laughed, "Ever been to a party meant to bore you to death?"
"Sorry, Miss Lane," Jimmy responded, as he pulled himself up from the ground.
got up and unconsciously rubbed her bottom. She had been standing on
his shoulders, attempting to hot-wire a camera on the outer wall of the
building. It was late, but she had to get this story. Perry expected it
"I almost had it!" She said as she bit her lip in frustration.
"Miss Lane? Don't you think Luthor would have a back up, anyway?" Jimmy asked.
"Olsen, that wouldn't matter if we could just get in there." She told him, "This party of Luthor's is big. That party list wasn't even released to the security guards."
to say, they were not on the guest list. Jimmy watched as Lois started
to look around once again for some means of getting in. If there was
anything, she'd find it. There were a couple street lights on and they
were clearly visible to anyone who would pass by. But then again, not
many people were going to pass by LexCorp at night. There wasn't much
need to and there were not many people (including employees) who even
Jimmy sighed, "Miss Lane..."
"Lois, Jimmy, call me 'Lois'. It's not that hard." She told him.
what she always had told him to call her and yet he never could manage,
or at least, not without reverting back to 'Miss Lane'. Lois had on her
work clothes of a peach-pearl suit with running shoes. She was a
natural beauty with black hair and finely toned skin, and if she
actually wore make up to work, well, all bets were off that the new kids
would start to flirt with her. Unfortunately for them, Lois never
tolerated that. And only the new kids would do it because they didn't
know of her little... crush. She was there to work and that's what she
would do. And she could do it well, even if a bit of danger happened to
get in the way.
"Lois," he repeated and continued, "Why do we care what Luthor's doing? He's just going to get away with it like he always has."
"Not always, Jimmy," Lois answered, while scanning the building.
normally was all for catching Luthor in some criminal act, but when it
cut into his beauty sleep and his chances of getting a good picture were
one in a billion, he wasn't totally up for it. Especially when they
could possibly find evidence later.
Jimmy let out a snort,
obviously irritated. "He gets stopped by the Man of Steel and gets out
of jail three months later? Tell me how that's not getting away with
"His reputation gets chipped away at, that's how," Lois responded.
truth, that had just happened and she didn't blame Jimmy for being mad
about it. She was, too. And then to see that the mild-mannered one,
Clark, had been furious, well that was rare in itself and was enough to
give anyone a free pass at being mad.
Finally she sighed in what sounded to Jimmy like defeat, "Well, I guess we can always just stake out the building."
Jimmy's eyes bulged. It was already eleven, "Um, Miss La, Lois, don't we need to sleep?"
go sleep you big baby. Give me the camera, I'll stay," Lois said, while
grabbing the camera from around the young photographer's neck.
smiled. That was Lois and he wasn't going to argue. If he had to be
called a 'big baby' to get some sleep by Lois, so be it. People who
didn't know Lois might, but he wouldn't. The Chief, er, Mr. White (as
Perry would tell Jimmy to call him) would have a story in the morning,
no doubt about it.
"Alright, good luck, Miss, Lois. Hope you have
Clark's luck," He said, leaving the other star reporter of the Daily
Planet standing at the bottom of LexCorp waiting for the opportunity to
grab her story.
Jimmy only glanced back once, but his thoughts
were mainly on falling onto his bed as soon as possible. He waved once
at Lois and went home. Lois waved back as she watched the plaid-dressed
boy went back home. She sighed and looked up to the top level of the
building where inside the lights were lit and taunting her. And yet,
even if she knew who was inside, that wouldn't exactly deter her from
getting in. Actually, it was more likely that she'd try harder if she
did know. The same night that Clark was gone at that Wayne party... He'd
better have a story about that for Perry, too.
Lex Luthor's party
was similar to Wayne's. The fancy food, the music, the works. Barely
any kids and only a few teenagers who were mostly nineteen. Yeah, it was
restricted, big time. And for good reason. And by that, it's really a
good reason for only Luthor and his guests. Unlike Wayne's party, the
guests were... different. Not family, thank goodness. But they were all
odd in some way. Some without manners to begin with. Some sick minded,
others who couldn't get enough of rare steak because of the juiciness.
Yet some were quiet well composed.
They were here from everywhere.
Some used magic. A few were from other continents. Others were trained.
Some were just plain crazy. The Calculator drank punch while Talia Al
Ghul avoided him. Brother Blood talked with Madam Rouge about France.
Brainiac fought with the Riddler over who was smarter. The Silver Swan
was flirting with Ares. Cheshire talked with David Cain and Poison Ivy.
The Society reborn. Larger, but without purpose.
Joker looked at
the pie in front of him thinking about the waste it was and wondering
why he had come here. Pathetic. This man didn't know how to through a
party. And the freaks here. Sheesh! Did the man have a problem or
something? And where was Luthor, anyway? What was the point of having
them all here? If it had anything to do with Superman, he didn't care.
He looked around to see if there was anyone that wasn't as... creepy to
talk to. He spotted a man down the table. He was tall, muscular, and his
blond hair had some gray in it. Normal enough.
"Hey buddy? What
do you think of all the freaks and freakesses here?" he asked and
strolled up to him with light hearted insanity in his voice and laughter
as he draped an arm over the taller man in the blue suit.
turned to look at him. Well, that was it, that's what had made Luthor
invite this guy. He was missing an eye and his other one was staring icy
daggers at him. It even made Joker lose his grin.
"I don't think I quite understand what you are saying, Joker. I find the guests delightfully entertaining."
Joker smiled again insanely. He liked this man; he had a sense of humor, "Humor! Love it! What's your name?"
he never got his answer. Someone came up to the two and dully (which
Joker despised) stated, "Luthor would like to talk to you in his office,
The man nodded and followed, leaving Joker to pout over
having no one to talk to again. The office was dark with only the
computer to light up the room, giving it an artificial feeling to it.
The door closed and the guest looked at the chair which was facing the
"You're the one that they call Deathstroke, the Terminator?"
"I am." He took a seat as Luthor spun around to face him, the computer light brightening his face up like a ghost.
"Call me Slade, Luthor, Deathstroke has become more a ... title." Slade told him.
they all had them. But at least this man was modest enough to
acknowledge it. Luthor smiled. So far, he liked this man. "I have a
problem that I would like you to solve."
Slade leaned back in his seat. "What kind of problem, Luthor?"
Purely business. This person has been a thorn in LexCorps' side for
years, even while being stationed in a different city," Luthor said,
calmly and in hushed tone, "I've had it. I have a couple... projects
that I want to finish. Their owner, he won't comply. It's simply the
Slade sighed for a moment as he thought, but finally spoke, "Luthor, I'm sure that you know that I don't really do
that anymore, I can, but... I'm sure that you know about my work in
Jump. I can't exactly just leave that unattended and I don't really need
to get a job to pay my rent."
"I'll pay good money for it with added supplies and I'll give you all the time you need, as long as it doesn't go over a year."
"Untraceable money?" he asked, stroking his goatee in thought.
there any other? Plus benefits," Luthor countered, "I don't care how
it's done really. As long as they're out of the picture."
"So you want an assassin to pull out that thorn?" Slade asked calmly after a moment of silence.