Times Past: Merry Christmas, Mr. Batman! (ch. 11)
- It was shortly after eight o'clock when an former school bus painted
in the blue and gray of the Gotham Police Youth League pulled up in
front of Wayne Manor. The front door of the grand old house opened,
spilling light on the snowy driveway. Bruce Wayne stepped out,
followed by his daughter Helena.
"Come on now, let's get you all inside where it's warm. We have a
fire lit in the den, to your right as you go in," he said to the
folks coming off the bus. "We've got rooms ready for all of you, or
nearly ready, but first, let's get you all something to eat."
Helena marvelled as her father took charge of the situation, guiding
over two dozen people into the house, making each of them feel as if
he was doing this just for them. She helped a woman guide her four
children into the house, the same woman whom she had led up to the
roof of the burning building less than two hours earlier. Patty
Ingram carried her youngest girl, and guided another by the hand.
Her husband was helping their neighors, the Dillons, off the bus as
Helena took the hands of the two oldest Ingram children, Laurie and
James, and led them into the house.
"Is this a hotel?" asked Laurie, looking up at the large, tudor-
"No, this is my dad's house. His family built it a long, long time
ago, when this was all a big farm around here."
"Do you have horses?" asked Laurie.
"She said it used to be a farm, it isn't anymore," said James.
"Actually, we do have a couple of horses for riding," replied
Helena. "Maybe you can meet them tomorrow."
Ed Swanson, with a bandage wrapped around the back and left side of
his head, walked slowly up the steps, with a heavy-set young man
standing by his side. "Thank you, Greg," said Ed when he reached
the top. "Where are the kids?"
"They're already inside, Ed. Just be careful, the doctor said you
very nearly got a concussion."
"Commissioner, do you want us to stay here?" asked one of the police
officers who had accompanied the victims of the fire on the police
"No, Lieutenant Jenkins, I think we'll make out all right," replied
Bruce. "But before you go, there's a couple trays of food in the
kitchen that I want you to take down to the precinct house when you
return. Something for the on-duty officers tonight."
"Thank you, sir," said Jenkins, waving two other officers over.
Moments later, in the den, Bruce stood by the door looking over the
assembled group. "What do you think, Hel? Have we got enough beds?"
"Depends on if you want the kids in the rooms with their parents.
Not enough bedrooms to split up the boys and girls in each
family,unless some of the kids want to bunk together." Helena
tilted her head for a few seconds, lost in thought. "Say, Dad, did
you ever get around to converting the loft into a train room like
you talked about?"
"No I didn't. Haven't been up there since you went off to college,
Helena grinned. "I know how to make this work." She stepped into
the room and spoke up. "Okay, girls, here's the deal. You can
sleep in sleeping bags in the rooms with your parents, oorrrr, you
can sleep up in the loft with me, and we'll make it a slumber party."
Five of the eight girls in the room jumped up at the idea, the other
three being too young to be interested in a slumber party.
"Boys, we have a room for you, bunk beds, and we'll bring another
bed in there. And folks, that leaves rooms for each couple or
single for the night,"
"Mr. Wayne, I, that is we, don't know how to thank you," said Mark
Ingram, speaking for the group.
"Don't worry about it. For now, let's see about getting some food in
you, those who want it, and we should have some sleepwear arriving
shortly." Bruce waved everyone towards the adjacent dining
room. "We've put things out in there. But if you'll excuse me for
a moment, I, um, I have a phone call I need to make." With that,
Bruce walked out of the room.
- Excellent story, Cat. It was good to see this side of Batman. I also liked the little peek inside of Alfred's world of domestic mastery--it was great to finally find out how he kept track of though he took care of.
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