Disclaimer: Not mine. :D
A/N: Thanks to balletangel19 for all the info on Wally's family life. Enjoy the story, everyone! :D
Summary: Wally invites the Justice League to his house for Thanksgiving. Set in JLU.
"Hey!" Booster Gold shouted, trying urgently to catch Skeets as the little robot was spun away in the strong breeze.
"Watch where you're going!" Huntress cried. She had come up to the Watchtower to visit her baby doll. Who cared if J'onn had banned her?
Gypsy shrieked as her long green peasant skirt was blown up into her face, and she frantically pawed at it, trying to hold it down.
"Slow down, it is too dangerous for thee to act this way around others!" Shining Knight called out his advice.
"Cut it out!" Stargirl tried to hit the culprit on the head with her staff as he passed.
"Slow down, hot shot!" GL exclaimed, emerald eyes wide.
Flash was racing through the corridor of the Watchtower, leaving a blast of air behind him. All anyone saw of him was a streak of bright crimson, then he was gone. He finally reached his destination after the multi-second journey, bursting into the control room. "Hey, guys! What's up?" He tapped one boot nervously against the floor, making a metallic clanking sound that echoed throughout the entire room. Several Unlimited members glanced curiously over at him as they passed.
Mr. Terrific was typing on the main computer, seemingly absorbed in his work. Shayera was sitting in one of the chairs, also working. Batman was doing bat-ish stuff at the farthest computer. Probably so no one could see his top secret files and research, as was typical.
"Hello, Flash," Mr. Terrific responded cordially, barely looking up from the keys as his fingers flew across them. "Happy Thanksgiving." The big computer screen he was working at was divided into nine parts at the moment, showing nine different missions, so it was plainly obvious that he was very busy.
The Scarlet Speedster grinned. "Right back at you, dude." This was his favorite holiday, because he had an excuse to stuff himself with food while with the family, and no one got very suspicious. They all thought he was a bottomless pit, anyway.
"Hey, Wally," Shayera said. She brushed a strand of hair from her face as she glanced over at him, offering a small smile.
"Hey, Shay. Happy Thanksgiving!"
The Thanagarian sighed. "I don't really get why you people are so into this holiday. From what I understand, you only sit around and eat food with your family, then watch men in tights kick around a ball and grunt at each other." She didn't really care for football, or many other sports for that matter. She preferred fighting. Though she did like tennis, though. It sort of resembled her mace, only hitting a ball instead of somebody's head.
"That's it, Shay! You've got it down perfectly!" He was still tapping his foot at super speed. "That's just about everything!"
"Really." She raised her eyebrows skeptically. "Then why is it a holiday? You stuff your face every day."
"Ha, ha. Very funny," the redhead replied sarcastically.
"And why is it called 'Thanksgiving', anyway? It should be called 'Football and Turkey Day'," Shayera pointed out sensibly. "Or in your case, 'Turkey and Stuffing Day'. It would be all about the food for you, probably."
"Uh…" he began uncertainly.
"The holiday started in 1621, after the Pilgrims came over to America on the Mayflower," Mr. Terrific said, still concentrating on the keyboard. "They had a feast, and invited the Indians, who had been helping them with their harve-"
"Is there something you need?" Batman turned around in his chair to stare at Wally with his eyes in ominous slits.
He gulped. "Um…I'm just waiting for the meeting to start," he squeaked out. The Original Seven were having one of their monthly meetings in the big conference room to discuss League business, which was the perfect excuse.
"It's on the other end of this deck. Can't you go on without us?" the Dark Knight demanded through gritted teeth.
"Actually, I thought I'd wait for you." He winked at Shayera, who just shook her head.
"Someone has a death wish," she muttered under her breath, typing a final sentence and then closing the window on her computer screen. Everyone knew that Batman hated Thanksgiving. Every year, he always became more gruff and angry than usual, and stayed away as much as possible from all of them, even Diana. No one had ever had the courage to ask why.
The black-cowled hero abruptly stood from his chair, turning his back to Wally. He swept dramatically from the room, cape floating out behind him.
"That probably wasn't the smartest move, Wally," Shayera said, standing as well.
Flash frowned. "You're probably right. Great," he added sarcastically. "Now he won't want to come to-" He broke off suddenly.
"What was that?" the Thanagarian asked suspiciously, narrowing her eyes.
"Nothing!" Wally squeaked. "See you in the conference room!" He disappeared in a streak of crimson, presumably towards the conference room.
"He's up to something," the winged warrior said.
"I think you're right," Mr. Terrific agreed. He brought up a giant crossword puzzle on the screen now that Batman was gone, and frowned in concentration.
Shayera waited thoughtfully for a moment, then followed in Wally's wake towards the conference room.
Flash was the first person to make it to the conference room. He twirled around in his chair and played with a straw as he waited, twisting it into strange shapes as his fingers tried to block out his nervous thoughts. What if this is a big mistake? And more importantly, what if none of them even say yes? He was very worried that his teammates wouldn't accept his coming offer, because he really wanted them all to say yes.
He bit down hard on his lower lip, humming some mindless tune under his breath.
"…that business on Guantopia," Superman was saying loudly as he strode into the conference room, red cape billowing behind him. "I think that we need to make precautions for that kind of thing in the future."
"Absolutely," Diana agreed solemnly, her pretty face serious. She sat down near the head of the table, and Superman sat beside her. The others also gathered around, GL and Shayera sitting on either side of the fidgeting Wally.
"Let's begin," the Man of Steel said. "First order of business, the chaos with Booster Gold and Elongated Man last week."
"I still can't believe they did that," Diana said with a frown, glancing worriedly at J'onn.
"It was wrong of them," the Martian said darkly. He munched gravely on an Oreo from the package he had carried into the room with him. He had been carrying one everywhere these days, ever since the black day when his whole supply had been mysteriously stolen.
"We need to discus what punishment they should receive," Clark said.
Flash shifted uneasily in his chair. He had also been one of the brains behind the prank, but hadn't yet been discovered. Supergirl had wanted to rat him out, but he had threatened to tell her cousin the fact that she had been one of them, too.
Batman stared at him for a moment, noticing the movement, but said nothing.
"Maybe we should give them extra monitoring duty," Lantern said. "That should keep them from pulling anything for a while."
"I don't think so," Shayera argued mildly. "That's hardly a good enough punishment for what they did. I think we should-"
"Uh, guys?" the Scarlet Speedster interrupted suddenly. He couldn't take it anymore, he had to ask them!
"What is it, Wally?" Diana said.
"Well…uh, I was hoping…to ask you guys to…come…" He paused nervously, not really sure what to say.
"Spit it out, hot shot," John encouraged him.
"I was hoping that all of you guys would come to the Thanksgiving dinner thing that my mom is having today. We never spend any time together outside of League stuff anymore, and I think that we should, you know? I want us to all be friends, not just teammates," he blurted.
There was a dead silence.
"That's all?" Superman asked with some surprise.
"Yeah, I think so," Flash said, nodding.
"I can't come. I'm having dinner with Kara and the folks," the Boy Scout said apologetically.
"Mari wants to go out," GL added, making a face.
Shayera glowered dangerously at the mention of Vixen's name.
"I am free," J'onn murmured softly, stowing another Oreo into his mouth.
"I would love to come, Wally," Diana said generously. "The Amazons don't celebrate this holiday, and I would enjoy learning more of the customs of Man's World."
"Sure," Shayera answered with a shrug. What's there to lose? she thought to herself. John's going out with her, so there's nothing else for me to do.
"No," was all that Batman gave as a reply.
"Alrighty, then," Flash said to break the surprised silence following the blunt refusal of Gotham's protector. He grinned widely. "I guess I'll tell Mom three more for dinner. Is six o'clock okay for all of you?"
"Sounds great," the winged warrior said.
"Great. And we can all get together later tonight and just hang out at my place, after we're all done with our plans," he added hopefully. He blinked pathetically at them all, bottom lip trembling.
"I'm there, man," John agreed.
"I'll be there," Clark added.
"Good," J'onn declared.
"Let's continue," Superman continued, clearing his throat. "Punishment for The Oreo Incident…"
Wally glanced over at Batman, trying to look like he wasn't. The Dark Knight was staring down at the tabletop, seeming lost in thought. He didn't even appear to be listening, like he usually did. Something was obviously bothering him. Hmmm. What the heck are you hiding, Bats? he wondered curiously.
After the meeting, most of the Leaguers went their separate ways. J'onn remained at the conference table, happily munching his Oreos.
"Hey, J'onn?" Wally said, shifting awkwardly on his feet. He glanced quickly over one shoulder, trying to make sure that the others were a safe distance away.
"Do you have any idea what's wrong with Bats? He's acting weird. For him, anyway."
The Martian's eyes shone brightly as he stared the masked redhead. "I do not think I should tell you what is on his mind. It is private, and he would not like it if I told any of you. He has already warned me."
"Oh, right. Well…I guess I'll see you tonight. Remember, six o'clock."
"I'll be there," J'onn assured him calmly.
Flash took off in a blur of crimson, his mind racing as fast as his feet. I need to find out what's eating Bats, he mused. Something's up with him, and I will find out what it is. He smirked, continuing on towards the cafeteria.
"One for transport, Mr. T.!" Wally called up to the hero standing at the transporter controls. He sped over to the teleporting pad and then waited impatiently. He was dressed in his civilian clothes, having abandoned his costume in his quarters until he came back on-duty.
"Have a good Thanksgiving, Flash." Mr. Terrific punched in the coordinates for Wally's mother's house, copying them from the speedster's official file.
"Thanks, dude. You, too!" He raised one hand vanished to wave, just as he vanished in an explosion of brilliant blue light. He appeared just outside the front door of the West residence, blinking rapidly to clear his vision.
Getting that feeling that you often do when someone is clearly watching you, Wally quickly glanced over his shoulder. A little kid in the yard across the street, who had previously been playing with a plastic truck, gawked at him. The toy had fallen from his hand, clattering against the dirt. Wally swallowed hard, chuckling with embarrassment. "Uh...hey there, kid. How's it going? Boy, the subways are really getting fast these days, huh? They just…spit you out of manhole covers now." He threw open the door and quickly retreated inside.
"Wally?" came Mary West's voice from the kitchen.
"Yeah, it's me, Mom." Wally hurried into the kitchen, shaking his head. Better not think about that when J'onn is around. If Supes or Batman find out, they'll kill me. And make that GL, too. And even Shayera. Okay, everybody would kill me!
"Did you invite any of your friends like you said you were going to?" Mrs. West wiped a hand across her sweaty forehead, leaving a faint trace of flour. She straightened up from her bent position over the counter, leaving behind an enormous mound of sticky bread dough that took up space there.
"Yeah. They're, uh, Diana Prince, Shayera Hol, and...John Jones," he said. "So...what should I do?"
Mary looked up at the clock above the stove before answering, and her face went pale. "It can't be 4:00 already!" she gasped, eyes widening with horror.
"It is," her son said gravely.
"I have to get ready. Do you think you could finish up some things here?"
Wally stared at the mess littering the counters and kitchen table, and swallowed hard. "Sure thing."
"Okay, um...let me think." Mary frowned with concentration. "I need you to get out the turkey out of the oven when the timer goes off, make the mashed potatoes, set the dining room table, tidy up a bit in here, do something about the pies, and make some drinks. Can you do that?" She gave her son plenty of work to do, knowing that he would easily get it done in time.
She shook her head with a sigh, then raced frantically out of the room, throwing her apron off behind her as she ran. Her feet could faintly be heard clomping up the stairs to her room.
"Okay, Wally. Let's see," he said to himself once she was gone. "She said to do the pies. That should be easy enough." He hurried over to the cleanest counter, seeing his mother's recipe box. It was open, and four smudged and stained index cards were spread across a sprinkling of flour.
He picked them up, and squinted at the haphazard writing. One card said, 'French Apple Pie' across the top, while the others announced, 'Vanilla Cream Pie', 'Banana Cream Pie', and 'Cherry Pie with Spiral Crust'. They were Mrs. West's famous pies, and she made them for every holiday and family gathering. Everyone always claimed to enjoy them immensely.
Right, got it. This can't be too hard. Mom makes these things all the time, Wally told himself with determination. Besides, if I mess up, I can always run to the store and buy some pre-made pies to replace the ones I burn. He swallowed hard at the mental image of rage spreading across his mom's face at the sight of the blackened pies, then turned back to the recipes.
Hmmm. For the vanilla cream one, I need…flour, salt, shortening, cold butter, ice water, milk, egg yolks, vanilla… He read through the rest of the ingredients at super speed, then whirled around the kitchen grabbing them from various cabinets and the fridge. He then read over the directions of the other three recipes, and threw everything else onto the counter with the vanilla pie's ingredients.
Next, he got out all six of the bowls that he found actually clean, and tossed them onto the counter as well. Flour fluttered everywhere, and he barely dodged it in time. It floated lightly down to the kitchen floor, making an even bigger mess for him to clean up.
He took a deep calming breath, then started throwing several different things at once into the bowls, trying to decipher the strange code that his mother had written the instructions in. A pinch of salt? How much is that? What's a garnish? What the heck does 'add sugar and lemon zest to the apple puree' mean? I think I missed something back there! And did the big T mean tablespoon? Or was it teaspoon? Or does the little t mean teaspoon?
Wally's frantic fingers twined together strips of dough, and he squashed them roughly down onto the crust, teeth gritting together as they kept falling apart into a gooey mess. He finally gave up and used his fists to pound the supposedly-decorative design into the limp crust. He tossed all four pie crusts into the oven at once, brushing his hands against his jeans. Finished with the first task, he practically flew around the room as he mixed up tea, lemonade, and red punch, and crushed boiled potatoes with the mixer. He mixed up the pie fillings, and even dug out the fancy dishes used for special occasions. He then set eleven places on the table in the formal dining room.
"Wally, I'm going out to pick up some cookies for Don, since I didn't have any time to make them this year." Mary seemed to appear from nowhere to Wally as she spoke from the doorway. She had changed into a green silk dress and high heels, and had curled her red-blond hair elegantly around her face.
"Okay. And...can you get some Oreos this time, too?"
"Oreos?" she said.
"Yep. One of my friends really has a weakness for them." He smirked as he imagined J'onn's reaction to seeing the cookies.
"Well, all right. Can you handle the rest of this?"
The speedster barely held in his squeak of terror. This was just too hard! How did she do it every year? And what was with the flour? It was worse than Joker's laughing gas. It was getting everywhere! "Sure. Everything's great, Mom," he said aloud, voice deceptively cheery.
She smiled, then headed for the door. "Be back in a few minutes, Wally!" she called over her shoulder.
The oven went off then, and Wally whisked the pies out. Hands burning through the too-thin dish towels he used to pull them out, he tossed the pies down and ran to the sink. After washing his hands off with a stream of water, he then headed over to survey his creations. He was horrified to discover that the inside of the cherry pie was black and crispy. Groaning, he quickly slopped the two cans of filling, almond extract, and sugar into the crust. He spread it out wildly, covering the pie's black bottom as best as he possibly could.
The timer for the steamer went off, signaling that whatever Mrs. West had put inside earlier was officially done. Wally spun around to get it out, and the huge bowl of corn and green beans slipped from his still-dripping hands and dropped to the tile. The wet mess splattered all over everything, covering the room with slime-like juice.
Wally sighed in defeat, shoulders slumping.
Mrs. West came in the front door of her house at exactly 5:34, carrying a plastic sack of sugar cookies, Oreos, and oatmeal raisin bars. She felt a slight breeze as she closed the door, coming directly from the kitchen. Se set her mouth in a firm line, wondering what had happened this time, then marched into the kitchen. Reaching the doorway, she stopped in utter shock at what she saw.
Every surface of the room was polished and clean, and all the food that she had made or started to make was sitting neatly on the proper trays. Wally was calmly pulling a tray of rolls from the oven, and grinned when he saw her.
"Wally, it looks amazing in here! How did you do all this?" She held up a hand, interrupting him before he could even begin. "Wait, don't answer that." She knew that her son had more that likely had a few incidents and had used his speed to clean everything up before she got home. She dropped the bag onto the counter, and grabbed her apron from its hook. "Let's finish up in here."
The doorbell rang at ten minutes until six, and Wally went to answer the door. His mother's brother, Edgar, stood there with his wife Charlotte. Both were informally dressed up for the holiday. "Hey, guys," Wally greeted them.
"Hi, hon." Charlotte gave him a one-armed hug, then walked past to join Mary in the kitchen.
"Hey, Wally. Did you actually get a date to bring this year?" his uncle teased, ruffling his hair with one hand.
"Nope. I did invite some friends from…work, though." He just didn't mention the fact that he didn't exactly mean his police station work.
Someone knocked on the door, and Barry Allen opened it and peered around the edge. He grinned when he saw Wally and Edgar, and strolled over. Iris and their twins Don and Dawn were right behind him. "Hello there, Wally, Edgar. You're growing like a weed these days, Wally," he noted.
"Yeah, I guess." He shrugged modestly in the direction of his favorite uncle.
Iris moved around the group and into the kitchen as well. She carried a brown bag that smelled pretty good along with her.
"Hi, Uncle Edgar." Dawn hugged her uncle, then smiled up at him. She grinned over at her cousin, who winked back.
"Did Aunt Mary get those cookies I like again this year?" Don asked every Thanksgiving, though his aunt always made or bought them. It was a tradition since he's been four for him to ask, and for her to say that she'd forgotten every single time.
"Go check," Edgar laughed.
"I think I will." He disappeared around the corner.
"That boy of yours," Edgar chuckled. "He cracks me up, Barry."
"Well, I don't-" Barry started to say.
The doorbell rang yet again.
"Who could that be?" Dawn asked with confusion. "Isn't this everybody?"
"Wally invited a few friends from work this year," her uncle said.
Barry exchanged a secret look with Wally, guessing what work the young hero really meant.
Wally went over and opened the door. Diana wore a blue dress and string of what appeared to be real diamonds, and J'onn was in his usual human disguise. Shayera looked smaller than normal, her wings completely gone. She wore a bulky gray coat over her pale pink dress. Wally gaped at her, eyes wide.
"What?" she hissed defensively, folding her arms across her chest.
"Where are your…you know…ings-way?"
"Folded down," she said through gritted teeth, looking over Wally's shoulder with a brilliant smile at his curious family members. "Hi, I'm Shayera."
Introductions were made all around, then Mary, Don, and the other women came out of the kitchen. "Let's eat, everyone," Wally's mother declared brightly.
The table was laden down heavily with every food that you could imagine, including a twenty-pound turkey. Every inch of the table's surface was overflowing with vegetables, meats, salads, breads, desserts, and drinks, and some extras still remained in the kitchen.
"Wow. This looks great, Aunt Mary," Dawn said.
"It sure does," Barry added.
"Especially those cookies. I thought you didn't make any this year," Don joked.
"Yes, I decided to shake things up, since I never have cookies for you on Thanksgiving," Mary teased him.
"Right," Charlotte said, rolling her eyes at her son's antics.
"And actually, Wally made the pies and potatoes," Mrs. West said.
"I'll be sure to stay away from those, then," Shayera said.
"Most definitely," J'onn agreed.
Everyone laughed at Wally's mock-hurt expression, then Edgar announced, "Let's eat."
The group gathered around the table, Wally sitting across from Diana and with J'onn and Shayera beside him. The rest of the Wests and Allens also took their seats, Barry at the head of the long table.
"Barry, will you do the honors?" Mary asked him.
He nodded, and bowed his head. The rest of the family and friends did the same, and he began, "Dear Lord, I thank You for all the friends and family here today, and for everyone that couldn't make it to celebrate this holiday with us this year. Thank You for this wonderful meal that has been prepared for us by Mary and Wally, and please bless those that aren't as fortunate as us. We wish that there was some way we could…"
Shayera kept her eyes open, watching those sitting around the table with her. Their eyes were all closed, and their heads were bowed solemnly. They were very serious at the moment. She turned her face towards Wally, surprised to see that his face was solemn, very unlike how it was when he was in costume. He seemed genuinely happier now, as well.
"…and in Your name I pray, amen," Barry finished.
Everyone started helping themselves to the meal and chatting amongst themselves. Their faces were full of happiness and love for one another.
Shayera frowned as she thought this over. Maybe Thanksgiving wasn't really just about turkey, football, and stuffing. Maybe it was about being thankful for the things that you had, and about being together with family. She was starting to see why Wally had been so enthusiastic about it.
"Shay? You okay?" Wally was looking at her with concern.
"Fine," she smiled.
"How 'bout some turkey?" Don offered from across the table. He generously held out the plate of cut-off slices of meat as it was passed around the table.
The disguised Thanagarian looked with disgust at the pieces of turkey, and Wally snorted at her expression. A bird eating bird. How weird would that be? he thought with amusement. Like, totally cannibalistic.
J'onn stared blankly over at him, hearing his thoughts, and Wally quickly cleared his throat.
"No thank you," Shayera said stiffly, reaching instead for the salad bowl.
"This is quite lovely, Mrs. West," Diana told her politely. "Everything looks wonderful."
"Thank you, Diana. And how does your family celebrate Thanksgiving?" Mary made polite conversation.
"Oh, my family doesn't. This is a very unique experience for me." Only Hera knows just how unique, she added silently.
"Oreos!" J'onn looked very pleased at his discovery. He grabbed a whole package and dumped most of them onto his empty plate. Wally's family tried not to stare as he happily began munching them.
Wally took a bite of cherry pie, wincing as it crunched darkly in his mouth. Huh. I didn't do half bad on this, he thought, pleased with himself.
"Oh, yes. He invited a few more of our friends, but they were busy with family today." Diana answered some question that Wally hadn't heard.
Wally frowned, forgetting the (mostly) perfect food on his plate. He put his fork down beside the burnt crumbles of pie. Batman is all by himself today. He doesn't really have much family, except for Alfred. I know that Dick is out of town with Barbara, and Tim is probably with the Titans. He didn't like the thought at Bruce brooding all alone in his dark cave of a mansion, thinking depressed thoughts.
He sat up straighter, pushing his chair back as he made the decision.
"Wally, what are you doing?" Mary said.
"Uh, I just thought of something that I forgot," he replied easily. "I'll be back later, okay?"
"But, Wallace. This is Thanksgiving. And your friends don't want you to run off either, I'm sure."
"No, we do not mind," 'John' uttered in his deep voice.
"Right." Shayera followed J'onn's lead.
Diana nodded, face curious as to why Wally was leaving like this, in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner.
"See you guys in a little while." Wally strode towards the front door, then ran around to the back door again. Letting himself silently into the kitchen, he grabbed the paper bag that Iris had used, and filled it with extra food. He made sure to add turkey and a couple slices of a different pie that he had made.
"…could I have forgotten the butter?" Mary walked into the kitchen, talking over her shoulder to one of the others.
Wally sped outside before she could see him, and took off for Gotham. It only took him about ten seconds to travel forty miles. He stood on the front porch of the Wayne Mansion and knocked.
Alfred opened the door. "I'm sorry, but Master Bruce isn't taking visitors today," he said.
"Hey, you know me, Jeeves. When do I ever play by the rules?" Wally grinned disarmingly. "Besides, I have something for Bruce." It felt kind of weird to call him by his civilian name and not Bats, like he usually did.
"He gave strict instructions not to be disturbed today, Master Wallace."
"I brought him some food," the young hero pleaded. "I just want to give it to him, since he seemed kind of depressed today. And call me Wally, remember?"
Alfred smiled the smallest of smiles. "All right, Master Wallace. Follow me, please." He opened the door all the way, letting the speedster into the mansion.
"Don't you get tired of calling everyone 'master'?" Wally asked bluntly.
The elderly butler closed the door with a soft click, choosing not to answer him. "Right this way, sir." Alfred walked down the hallway, towards the kitchen. Wally gaped at the amazingly expensive furniture and paintings that never ceased to amaze him. Once arriving at their destination, Alfred took the bag. "Thank you. I'm sure that Master Bruce will enjoy your generosity."
He doesn't sound very convinced, Wally observed. "Don't you guys celebrate Thanksgiving?" he asked, seeing the lack of evidence of a feast.
"Master Bruce forbids it."
"Oh." Wally was silent for several seconds. "Hey, Jeeves. Can I ask you a question?"
"That depends on what you wish to ask, Master Wallace."
Wally reached past the butler as he opened a cabinet, and looked inside for a moment. He finally selected a silver tray, and sat it on the counter. He reached into the bag he had brought. "Well, why does he always get so angry at everyone this time of year? It's like he gets extra cranky." He started putting food onto the tray.
Alfred watched the young man as he worked for a moment, then answered, "As you know, Master Bruce's parents died when he was eight years old. They died one day before Thanksgiving."
Wally gasped as he got the meaning of Alfred's statement. "So you're saying that this is the anniversary of their deaths?"
"Yes, Master Wallace. I believe that Master Bruce feels that he has no friends and no one that cares this time of year."
"Do you have some paper I can borrow?" Wally asked suddenly.
"Yes, Master Wallace." Alfred opened a drawer and pulled out a pad of paper and a pen, not seeming to mind the sudden change in conversation.
Wally took it and scribbled something. Then he tore off the page and folded it in half. He sat it on the tray, beside all the food. "Thanks, Alfred," he said with a smile. "Just give that to Bruce, okay? And there's extra food in the sack for you."
"Thank you, Master Wallace."
"Happy Thanksgiving, Alfred." Wally vanished in a bright streak of green and blue, and the butler smiled.
Bruce Wayne sat in a chair in his pitch-black library, holding the last photo ever taken of his parents. He was staring blankly at it, as he had been all day long, ever since getting off shift from the Watchtower. He sighed deeply, blinking to keep his eyes from tearing up. He was Batman, and the Dark Knight never cried. Not when he had criminals like the Joker to keep under control. He couldn't afford to seem softhearted, not even when he was alone.
Also, not one of the supposed 'friends' he had in the League cared to ask him about why he was so angry around Thanksgiving. They just gave him a wide berth and basically ignored him. If they really cared, they would do something. That's what real friends did.
Not that I even have any real friends, Bruce thought angrily. No one will get close to me as Batman, and as Bruce Wayne, everyone is sucking up to me for the money. He felt a hard scowl come to his face. But I don't care. Who needs friends, anyway?
A soft knock sounded on the library door.
"What is it, Alfred?" he demanded sharply. He immediately felt guilty for being so cruel to his elderly butler, who had taken care of him for so many years. He didn't feel guilty enough to apologize, though, and looked back towards the framed photo in his hands.
"You have received a tray, Master Bruce," Alfred murmured through the door.
"A tray?" His eyes narrowed.
"Would you like me to bring it in, sir?"
"I guess." He slumped back into his chair again, without any real enthusiasm.
The door opened, and Alfred walked over. He sat one of the silver serving trays onto the coffee table before Bruce's chair. It was covered with pie, turkey, lemonade, rolls, salad, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and two round Oreos.
"I thought I told you not to make anything," Bruce barked.
"I didn't, sir, if I may be so bold." Alfred walked out of the room, closing the door. He left Bruce alone once more.
The Bat disguised as a billionaire reached for the white sheet of paper that was sitting beside the Oreos. He scowled, noting that it was from the pad of paper kept in the kitchen drawer beside the silverware, then unfolded it. It read, in scrawling handwriting, Hey, Bats. Happy Thanksgiving. I brought this food to you, and hopefully Jeeves got it in. Please don't throw a batarang at him. Bruce's scowl lessened a little as he read. It was already obvious who had written the note. He told me why you act all cranky and sad around this time of year. Jeez, I'm really sorry. I know what it feels to lose your parents. Well, just one for me. My dad left my mom after finding out about my powers. He's currently off somewhere working with an agency fighting against metahumans, people like me. Bruce frowned again. Even he hadn't known that about Wally. Why had he never mentioned it?
I just wanted you to know that we do care about you, Bats, the letter went on. And that you shouldn't have to be alone like this, wading in your own self pity. The invitation for the party at my place still stands. Be there or be square. And enjoy the food. Near the bottom of the letter was a little note. Also, watch out for the pie. Guess who baked it? W.W.
Batman read the letter over a second time, feeling his mood lightning a little bit. He refolded it, then pushed it into the pocket of his slacks. Then he took one last look at the photo gripped in his hands, and set it upright on the coffee table. With a smile at the faces of Martha and Thomas Wayne, he grabbed his fork.