Disclaimer: Batman belongs to DC Comics and Warner Bros.

A/N: This was written for the "Dinner With The Family" theme at batfic_contest on LJ.

Dinner in Gotham


The clock on the wall of the hideout turned from 6:59 to 7:00 just as Harley looked down at her plate and frowned.

"Greens again, Red?"

"Vegetables are good for you, Harley."

Harley poked a carrot with her fork. "I don't get it, Ivy. You're all for saving the plants. Heck, didn't you try to kill Two-Face once because he stepped on a flower or sumthin'?"

Ivy sighed, ignoring Harley's mangling of past events. "What's your point, Harl'?"

"If you love plants so much, how come you're a vegetarian?"

Ivy stared blankly for a few moments, perhaps perplexed that her friend had actually asked a somewhat reasonable question. "Because I refuse to contaminate my body with disgusting meat. Plants are pure."

That seemed to be a fair enough answer for Harley, who returned to prodding her vegetables. "One more thing," she said, holding up a Brussels sprout stabbed through her fork.

"What's that?"

"Pass the dressing—and lots of it! That's the only way I can eat this for the seventh night straight."

"Don't complain. Can you imagine what we'd be eating right now if we were locked up in Arkham?"

Harley sighed, and mumbled, "At least the orderlies gave you a Snack Pack."

"What was that?"

"Nothin', Red." The memory of Snack Packs had put a new thought in Harley's head. She munched wistfully on a celery stick. "It's too bad my poor Puddin' got caught last week. I wonder what he's doing right now."

"Hopefully annoying the living daylights out of my no-good ex-beau."


"Seven P.M.," said an orderly outside the cell. "Feedin' time."

A plastic tray with rounded edges slid through the slot in the door.

"Ooh, I do love room service!" the Joker quipped as he picked up the tray and brought it to his cot. He grumbled at the one utensil they had given him, a plastic spoon. That was all he ever got since the incident involving a spork and an unlucky nurse. He chuckled in spite of himself. Good times.

"What 'chu laughin' about, Clown, that they're tryin' to pass this gunk off as food?" a familiar gruff voice echoed through the wall from the cell next door.

"What's the matter, Harvey?" Joker said. "Can't appreciate Arkham cuisine? The meatloaf's made of soy, the hot sauce is ice cold, and the green beans are turning brown. Why, the chef's got a more twisted sense of humor than I do!" The Joker cackled uproariously.

Two-Face banged on the wall with his fist. "Can it in there, Clown! I have a hard enough time tryin' not to vomit from the smell of this garbage without havin' to hear your disgustin' laugh."

"Ah, I do so enjoy our little family dinners, Harv," Joker said, patting the wall affectionately. "Wanna trade Snack Packs?"

"No!" To tell the truth, Two-Face was quite happy with his chocolate/vanilla mix.

"Sheesh, suit yourself," Joker said, peeling off the lid of his tapioca. For once, he wished that Harley were holed up with him. She would have traded Snack Packs, no questions asked. The tapioca's gooey white lumps reminded him of his pummeled face the last time he'd encountered the Bat. "Say, Harv, what do you think ol' Batsy's doing right now? You think he and Birdboy are eating delivery in the 'cave? Or maybe he decided to make the Boy Blunder jealous and took Batgirl out on a night on the town!"

Two-Face growled. "Quit yer yappin'. The last thing I care about is the Batman's choice of dinner partner. But the freak's a loner at heart. If you ask me, he's dinin' alone tonight."

For a few minutes, Joker was silent. Two-Face was thankful the clown had finally shut his trap. Then came the familiar grating voice.

"Are you suuure you don't wanna trade Snack Packs?"


Bruce stood outside the apartment and glanced at his wristwatch. It was exactly seven o'clock. Now was as good a time as any. He rang the doorbell, hoping she was home, and was startled when a blonde woman appeared at the door.

"Selina," he said. "Usually your assistant greets me."

"I gave Maven the night off, Bruce."

"Oh, I'm sorry…" Bruce glanced behind her awkwardly. "Am I interrupting anything…?"

"Just having dinner with the family."

"Oh, I didn't realize your relatives were in town."

"They're not," Selina said with a smile. Suddenly Bruce felt something rubbing against his leg, and Selina bent down to pick up her cat. "This is my family."

Bruce laughed, relieved. "Hello, Isis," he said, rubbing the cat's head. "Mind if I come in, Selina?"

"Of course, Bruce. What's that behind your back? A bottle of wine?"

"Didn't want to barge in empty-handed."

"You could have called beforehand, you know."

"True, but then the chances were greater you'd reject me. May I stay for dinner?

"Bruce." Selina put a hand on his shoulder. "I like you, but I don't want you to get the wrong idea…"

"That's not why I'm here, Selina. Tonight, I just need a friend."

"Is something wrong?"

"No, it's… well, tonight is my parent's wedding anniversary. Would have been their 40th."

"Oh… I'm so sorry, Bruce." Selina ushered him to sit down at her table as she got out a corkscrew and wine glasses.

"It's okay. When I was a kid, my father always made a big deal out of it. He'd take me and Mom out to the fanciest restaurant in town. Then he'd raise his glass and proclaim a toast to her. He'd toast the day he met her, say he was the luckiest man in Gotham." Bruce opened the wine and poured two glasses. "Every year on their anniversary, I like to carry out his tradition. This year I didn't want to do it alone."

Selina put her hand over Bruce's and regarded him thoughtfully.

He raised his glass. "To Thomas and Martha…" he said.

Selina smiled, and raised hers.

"To Thomas and Martha."