Dinner as always was a complete delight not only for Bruce Wayne but to the special guests he had invited over for the holiday feast. He rarely if ever hosted Christmas dinner, so Alfred and the kitchen staff went all out to make sure it was one both Master Wayne and his guests would never forget. The hope was that maybe if everyone enjoyed themselves enough, they might want to try it again maybe within the next decade. The turkeys were perfectly cooked, all four of them each with all the fixings. Nothing was held back as countless bottles of luxurious champagne were broken open, each course was made with up most care and even the vegetable spread was crowned with Beluga caviar. Everyone was enjoying themselves and having a great time, something Alfred hadn't seen in a many holiday seasons, making his and the staff's effort all worth it. It seemed to the old man there was nothing that could spoil this evening's festivities, but it turned out fate had a very sick sense of humor... one almost as sick as the uninvited guest who decided to crash the party.
Things started to go haywire just as some of the guests were helping themselves to a second go at the main course. They assumed one of the waiters was walking into serve them, but dressed in the help's uniform was the smiling and very sadistic face of the Dark Knight's arch nemesis: The Joker. Before anyone could do anything to react, he took the waiter in front of him and put a rather large automatic weapon to back of the lady's head, "Now, now, people… the party is just getting started." Said the man with the twisted face as he strolled deeper into the room. "This is no time to bail on Brucey and I apparently need a moment to get to know some of you. I have to tell you Mr. Wayne, I'm a little disappointed here."
"Is that so?" Bruce called from the other end of the long table. "What have I done to crush your warped expectations?"
"Well just look at this pathetic excuse for a Christmas party!" the Joker called as he waved his arms around wildly, "I came here expecting to see the something more extravagant. I thought there was going to be a grand ball and about a hundred people sipping champagne and eating crackers. And what do I see? There's barely enough people to fill this table!"
"Sorry to disappoint you Joker." Bruce said with a hit of sarcasm, "But this is a private dinner, invite only."
"Well, I have a bad habit of not waiting for mine to show up in the mail. You know how slow those public workers can be." He waved the gun around and started to stroll around the table, "It's one thing to have a small shindig, Mr. Wayne but there's no way this is some secret meeting of the uber rich or anything. No offence here people, but you don't even qualify for the E list. Have you, Mr. Wayne, fallen that far off the 'It list' that no one wants to attend your Christmas parties anymore?"
"I'm very picky about the company I keep." Bruce replied, keeping his answers brief.
"Either that or you're running some sort of help the poor reality show I've never heard of. I mean come on! I've never seen such a bunch of losers in all my life." The Joker let go of the waiter and continued to wander around the table, "The only person I really recognize here is Mr. Queen, who I guess is the only socialite who also didn't have anything else to do this holiday season. Rich brats of the world unite!"
Oliver Queen was about to stand up and have a word with Joker, but Bruce raised his hand and motioned him to return to his seat. Oliver didn't seem happy with the idea but did so without mumbling a single word as the Joker just giggled with delight, "But from here the rest of the table is pretty much a blur." He pointed to one man who was sitting on he opposite end of the table, "Here's a good example: you with the green sweater... who the hell are you?"
"My name is Jon."
"Well Jon, how on earth did you manage to land yourself here at this lavish party?"
"That's none of your business." One of the other guests said as it was evident he was beginning to lose his patience as well.
The Joker turned his attention to the young man who seemed very eager to get his attention, "And who might you be, young wiper snapper?"
"Well golly gee there, Wally! Nice to meet ya. Now sit down and shut that big yapper of yours or I'll cut you a new smile that not even your momma will love!"
Wally looked like he wanted to take the Joker on himself, but the Joker was used dealing with these John Wayne types all the time but most of them back down. Wally eventually took his seat and the Joker continued to air out those who were in attendance, and pointed to the man who sat at the end of the table on the same side he was browsing through. "You... poindexter! What's your story, morning glory?"
"The name is Kent, Clark Kent."
The Joker stopped for a moment as his brain processed the new information, "Wait a moment, I do know you. You're that reporter from the Daily Planet! I have Harley read your articles to me when I have trouble sleeping."
"Glad to be of service." Kent replied as he adjusted his glasses.
"Well, well." Joker said with a ghoulish laugh, "I didn't realize this event was being covered by the press. I would have dressed up a little more. But then again at least we have some ladies here to keep our eyes distracted." He walked over to a lady that had been relatively quiet during the whole ordeal. She didn't even stop eating and was just minding her own business. Joker seemed a little irritated by that and walked over to get her attention, "Excuse me there pretty girl." The Joker said as he playfully tried to fix his hair for her, "But you might want to stop for a moment to realize you've become my hostage."
The lady stopped and put her utensils down, "What did you just call me?"
"Diana." Bruce called from the other side of the room, "Don't."
"No, no Diana… please do." Joker said as he backed up, pointing the gun at Diana's head only four feet away from his target.
Then the gun disappeared.
The weapon had vanished right out of Joker's hand in the blink of an eye. The Joker stood there for seconds looking at his hand and where the gun used to be, in mere amazement at the phenomenon that had just occurred. The gun had literally disappeared into thin air. He quickly spun around to look around the room but no one had moved from their seats. The Joker immediately pulled out another gun that was much smaller than the predecessor. He tried to point it at Mr. Wayne this time but just as his arm had extended to full length... the other gun also disappeared, vanishing right before his very eyes. He looked around the room in a violent fury, but everyone was still sitting in their seats. He clearly looked frustrated, "What the hell is going on here?" he screamed as he stamped his feet like a ten year old.
"Do you really think I would leave this manor exposed for just anyone to walk in?" Bruce answered rather casually as if he knew what was going on, "This place is guarded by the one of most sophisticated security systems on the planet. Any weapon you try to use will be neutralized before you get a chance to pull the trigger."
The Joker didn't seem to believe any of it but this time he pulled out a knife from his jacket but it wasn't a matter of seconds before that weapon also vanished and was no longer in his possession. He growled for a moment before turning back to face Bruce Wayne. "I don't need a weapon to take care of you!"
"You'll need one to take care of me."
The Joker spun around to see that standing at the door, ready to take him on was the Batman. The Joker backed up a few steps, "How the hell did you get here so fast?"
As the Batman slowly strolled into the ballroom, he held up a small piece of paper. "I was invited. Sorry I'm late Mr. Wayne."
"No problem." Bruce said as he drained his wine glass, "Your timing is quite impeccable actually."
"I can see that." Batman said as he tossed the invite onto to the table, "Time to go back to Arkham, Joker. Your holiday break is over."
"I'm not going back that easy!" Joker pulled another knife from his jacket and quickly picked Diana up from the table and held it to her throat, "Anyone moves and the pretty girl makes an early exit from dinner."
"You really shouldn't have said that." Batman said as he cracked a grin.
Before the Joker could respond, Diana had finally snapped as she drove her elbow into her supposed captor's stomach and then slapped the knife out of his hand. The knife wasn't in the air for more than a second before it too had vanished into thin air. The last thing Joker saw before blacking out was the glimmer from Diana's steel bracelet before she drove a hard fist that solidly connected with his jaw. Everyone at the table watched in awe as the Joker flew back, crashed into the wall and then fell to the floor, crumbling down like a piece of paper. Joker was out cold and was no longer a threat to anyone. Diana turned around and looked at the rest of the table, "The next person that calls me 'girl' is going to be put through that wall. We clear on that?"
The whole table nodded and didn't even dare question that command. Even Bruce knew when to do as he was told and followed the table's lead. Everyone knew not to mess with Wonder Woman when she was in a foul mood. A few seconds after the Joker was knocked out cold, the Batman morphed to reveal his true form to the rest of the guests. Martian Manhunter walked over to the Joker and checked his vitals, "He should be fine but he's going to have one massive headache when he wakes up. Do you want me to take him in?"
"That's okay J'onn." Clark said as he stood from the table, "It's my turn to take over the watchtower, so I'll haul him in. You stay here and enjoy yourself."
"And you." Bruce said as he turned to Wally, "Where did you put the Joker's stuff?"
"It's in the liquor cabinet." Wally replied, "I had to stash it close by so I could get back to my seat without him noticing that I had left." He paused for a moment and looked back to Alfred, "Does this mean I get to have more turkey?"
Alfred turned to Bruce who nodded and then back at Wally with a smile, "Of course."
"Do you really need a fourth helping of Turkey?" Oliver asked from the other side of the table.
"You have no idea how many calories I burned off getting rid of that guy's stuff." Wally said as put the napkin back around his neck, "I'll take two more legs Geeves, and can you bring out some more stuffing?"
"I'll get right to it, Master Wally." Alfred said, "Will you be needing the salad bowl?"
"Not until dessert, Geeves." Alfred had been kidding, but Wally wasn't and with that the butler left the room in clear frustration while Bruce and everyone else in the room erupted with laughter.
A few moments later Bruce stood up and held up his glass to make a toast. He quickly looked around the room: Clark had dragged the Joker out of the room and had already left to fly him to the police station, Diana was back at the table and feeling a little better, Jean Paul had taken a more normal form to not freak out the kitchen staff and was now sitting down to eat and Wally was packing away as only he could. They had all realized that Bruce was a man of few words so for him to make the toast of the evening was something out of left field for him as well, "Merry Christmas everyone." he said as he raised his glass. Everyone raised their glasses and gave them all a polite cling and then resumed eating. Bruce knew a holiday dinner with the Justice League was bound to be an eventful evening, but even he didn't expect it to be this chaotic.
Jon was the next to raise his glass, "Here's to what I can clearly say has been one of the most interesting dinner parties I have ever attended."
"No kidding." Wally said while chewing on a new turkey leg, "We should do this again next year!"