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Christmas Present

Part Two



by Darklady

Disclaimer: Shook out the boxes - and still no Bruce-in-a-bow. SO I don't own.

Rated: C for Clark.



The buzz interrupts my thoughts.

"A Mr. Kent to see you Mr. Wayne. From the Daily Planet. Normally I'd call public relations, but...."

"He's on the A list. Not a problem, Shondra." She's new and needs reassurance. " Clark is a personal friend. Send him in."

I rise to greet him at the door. His hair is dry, so he probably didn't fly here. Therefore, nothing serious.

"Bruce."

"Clark."

I don't need to be a detective to notice the large box at his side.

"From Martha? I must be back at the top of her sweater list?"

"Don't you ever wait to 'open' a present?"

As if he never peeked. I'd never believe that much of a myth. Even about Superman.

"I will. But I do enjoy her sweaters."

I take the box and lay it carefully on the couch. Tonight I'll put it under the main tree. And I won't open it until Christmas. Even if I would enjoy wearing it now. Control is everything.

I wave him to a chair.

"So Clark, is this work or work?"

A bit of both. Willis needs some quotes on the 'Wishes in Wartime' deal, and since I was in town I said I'd pick some up.

That sucks the joy out of the day. Disgusting bastard, Peter Crandon. Director and founder of 'Wishes in Wartime'. Ran a 'gifts and goodies' program. The type with fancy barrels in all the malls. He got a big grant from the Wayne Foundation to transport the toys to Kosovo. He didn't bother. Locked in with a couple of stores. They'd sell the gifts, his 'volunteers' would collect them for the 'homeless children of war' , and the toys would be back on the shelves before morning. Batman busted him. But Clark want's a quote from Bruce Wayne.

I think while a pour him a cup of coffee.

"The usual, then. You write better for me then I do."

I pour another for myself. "Does it ever bug you?" I really want to know.

"Does what bug me?"

"The creeps. The scams. The constant demands. Superman must get endless requests compared to Bruce Wayne."

"Superman doesn't have an office address."

I smile at that, thinking what Lucius would say if I asked for an unlisted office.

"And Lois and Clark go back to Kansas and remember that there are a lot of good people out there who don't make the news. We help where we can, and after that - let it go. You can't save the world, Bruce. Not even when you're saving the world."

I consider that more a moment. It works for Clark. But who of us is Clark. I change the subject.

"If we've covered work, what about the other work?"

He waits until I'm back at my desk. Which means it really is business. I click the security button. Clark twitches a bit. He can hear the sound baffles start.

"Cover personnel for the holidays."

"I didn't think the JLA recognized Christmas. Or me, for that mater."

"Some of us do. But right now I need someone in Dresher for the 22nd."

My problem with Clark is he sees when I hesitate.

"Hanukkah, Bruce."

"That I knew. Who have we got in Dresher?" Ops. Watch that we. I am currently officially pissed at the JLA.

"Ragman."

"The soul-eater. Is he still active? I don't hear much from there." I think about that for a moment. "That must mean he's doing a good job."

Who do I have? Huntress, no. Not now. Azrael, hell no. Not after that hand bit. Although, come to think of it, it does have a bit of an old testament ring to it. Lets not start another crusade.
Cassandra? Too young. She's missed enough of the holiday as it is.

I glance at my calendar. No major parties.

"The twenty-second? I'll take it."

Which surprises Clark. Am I really that cloistered?

"At least it's better than another party."

Still not the End






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