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A/N As promised, faithful reviewers! A piece of fluff that takes place between Nestling and Dark Horizon. I hereby proudly present part one of

Blithering Bats, It's Halloween, Batman!

Back from taking Miss Angelique Kegalaar, the hottest new singing sensation to hit Gotham's clubs, out to lunch, Bruce nearly tripped over a stuffed black cat that had mysteriously appeared in the side hall. Kicking puss into a corner, he moved on, staring at strings of glow-in-the-dark plastic skulls that dangled from the ceiling and the jack-o-lanterns that rested on every available surface. Pushing through a curtain of black crepe paper into the kitchen, he found Alfred dipping apples into a gooey caramel mixture and carefully wrapping them in waxed paper.

"Good afternoon, sir, did you have a nice time with Miss Kegalaar?"

Bruce snorted. "Are you kidding? The woman is a total…" He paused and selected a descriptor appropriate to the seasons. "Witch. We had a fight in the parking lot, and she slapped me." He touched his cheek gingerly.

"Of course she had no provocation."

"I might have kind of told her she looked like Boris Karloff."

"I see."

"So it must be Halloween or something," Bruce said, changing the subject.

"It is, in fact, the thirty-first of October." Alfred batted away Bruce's hand that was reaching for the caramel bowl. "No germs, these are for the children's party."

"Dick's going to a party?"

"Yes, the neighborhood is having a supervised trick-or-treat, followed by a party at the community center."

"It's funny, but I always forget we have neighbors." In fact, other houses weren't even visible from Wayne Manor, sequestered as it was in its extensive grounds. "It'll be good for him to be with some other kids for a change."

"So I thought, Sir."

"So where am I going?" Bruce asked, certain there was something he'd be required to appear at, although he hadn't foggiest idea what.

"You're going with Dick, sir, as one of the parent chaperones?"

One dark eyebrow quirked upward. "I am?"

"Yes, Master Dick was pleased when I told him. He was a bit nervous about going with a party of strangers."

Bruce mentally compared a children's costume party to one of Gotham society's usual affairs and decided there wasn't much to choose between the two. "Why not? When does this thing start?"

"At six o'clock. Your costume was delivered this afternoon. I put it on your bed."

"My costume," Bruce echoed.

"All of the other chaperones are going to be dressed up, and I didn't think that you would wish to stand out."

"Of course not," Bruce sighed, reluctantly relinquishing the idea of slouching around in jeans and a hoody. "What am I going to be?"

"Ah, Master Dick picked out the costumes, sir. You and he are a matched set."

"Well, if Dick likes it, it can't be too bad. Darth Vader, maybe?"

"Perhaps you'd like to see for yourself, sir."

Bruce shrugged. "Okay." Snatching a caramel apple off the tray, he ambled out of the kitchen.

Alfred kept an eye on the clock. Three minutes to get up the stairs and into his room, thirty seconds to open the box…

"Alfreeeeeeeed!" The anguished howl echoed through the august halls of the Manor.

Depositing a wrapped apple in the place of the one Bruce had stolen, Alfred went upstairs. "Yes, Master Wayne?"

Bruce was staring in mingled horror and disbelief at an object that dangled full length from his fingertips. "Alfred, what is this?"

The butler made a show of examining the item. "It appears to be a Batman suit, sir."

It was indeed, complete with a long black cape, a flashy gold belt, and a padded chest sculpted out of foam with a bright gold bat logo in the center.

"It's spandex."

"One size fits all," Alfred said brightly.

"If you think for one nanosecond that I am going to…"

Dick bounded into the room, dressed from head to toe in his own Batman suit, plastic cowl clutched in one hand. "Look, Bruce, our costumes match!"

Bruce had to admit that his ward looked adorable, but he couldn't quite think of a comment to make about his own situation.

Dick's face suddenly grew anxious. "Alfred said it would be all right. You know, that people wouldn't think someone who dresses up as Batman would really be Batman."

"Oh, yeah, he's right," Bruce managed. "I mean, this obviously doesn't look like anything the real Batman wears."

Dick looked down at his own costume in satisfaction. "It's still pretty good, though."

Over the boy's bent head, Bruce shot Alfred a poisonous glare and made a violent slashing motion across his throat.

"Did you see the bloody hand we put on the front door?" Dick asked eagerly.

"Not yet," Bruce admitted.

"Come on!" Dick darted out the door. "It's so gross!"

"You're fired, Pennyworth," Bruce hissed as he stalked past his butler. "Fired!"

Alfred smirked.

To Be Continued

A/N This was supposed to be a one-shot, but I have to go to bed. I have student/teacher conferences tomorrow, and for the first time in my life, I'm the teacher! Ack!