5797/A Very Wayne Birthday

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A Very Wayne Birthday
Date of Scene: 31 March 2021
Location: Family Room - Wayne Manor
Synopsis: Bruce Wayne's birthday brings out his family and friends for a quiet celebration. The cake was a hit. Dick got an unexpected cupcake. Bruce's heart grew three sizes that day. But then he put it in the dryer to shrink it back down.
Cast of Characters: Stephanie Brown, Jason Todd, Cassandra Cain, Bruce Wayne, Valeria Richards, Carrie Kelley, Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe, Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne, Reed Richards

Stephanie Brown has posed:
It's a small birthday gathering that starts up in the family room at Wayne Manor. Alfred has set out refreshments and has wheeled a drink cart in with beverages for those of age, and otherwise. With Alfred as the chef, of course the food is top rate.

A few decorations have been added, but it's been kept low key compared to the party thrown for Dick's birthday and to welcome him back to Gotham after he'd moved from Bludhaven. Alfred has hung a banner with Happy Birtjday on it, and there are a few balloons. A cake sits over to the side of the rest of the food, decorated to depict what is obviously Bruce plus his four sons. Despite the renderings being done in frosting, it is easy enough to recognize the identities of each.

A smaller table next to the one with the food holds people gifts until it's time for Bruce to open then. There's soft music playing when the first people arrive.

Jason Todd has posed:
The '68 Mustang hardtop roars up the driveway to Wayne Manor, and Jason makes sure to park VERY close behind the first parked car he recognizes. He tries to box them in, in fact. He glances over at Valeria and then glances in the rearview mirror. The young man is dressed in battered, tight jeans, a faded shirt that says 'GOTHAM WATER PARK', as well as a logo for a very defunct amusement park in town, and a Gotham Knights baseball cap. Fancy. "So, I uh...well. I apologize for 'em. None of them are as cool as I am," he states with a clearly teasing grin. He leans across the front seat to give his girlfriend a deep kiss. He's trying to distract himself and procrastinate, but he finally sighs. "Okay. Let's...let's go see Bruce."

He climbs from the car and produces a wrapped package. The wrapping paper is cheesy Halloween wrapping paper covered in cheesy cartoon bats, with a black and blue ribbon tied around it. He thought ht was -hilarious-. He turns to make his way up to the front door, knocking and heading in once invited.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Scouting the location. A smallish person peeks through the door to see if folks are coming, checks out the windows, the latches, the doors. She looks under the tables just in case, and ducks back out one to see if anyone is hiding there. While this may not be a surprise party, the girl-in-black-dress looks like she's expecting assassins.

Cassandra vanishes as fast as she arrived, checking the entire house one room at a time. Just in case, just in case. She's never certain if the silly electronic alarms are to be trusted. After all, she could bypass them, why wouldn't someone else?

Of course she is quite visible in her work, she isn't hiding from YOU. Or you, or you. Well, maybe you but you know who you are.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
As part of his effort of being a little easier to deal with, to being a little more supportive of the rest of the 'family' Bruce always took it as a given that he would be attending events like these. That he would have to make a little more of an effort to make birthdays. That they would have to try to get together for special occasions. Really, he doesn't even mind. And certainly having the 'family' together at CHristmans or the like makes Alfred very happy indeed.

However, he did not bargain on the fact that his birthday would be included in the deal. The deal that is getting worse all the time.

Still, at the very least Alfred didn't have to cajole him to even make an appearance. That's progress of a sort. Either way, the Master of Wayne Manor has retired to his study for the moment, pretending that he doesn't actually know what's going on in the other room.

Valeria Richards has posed:
    Val has decided to match Jason rather than contrast with something more dressy, just a faded Fantastic Four t-shirt, really more of an artful fade than true use, and a pair of newer jeans and pristine sneakers. She eyes the present for what feels like the hundredth time and mutters softly, "I really don't think it's -his- lack of humour that's why he's not going to like that wrapping paper, Jason." She shakes her head with a mock wince, shielding her eyes. "And come on, Bruce is perfectly nice. All the press releases say so! I mean, he's -got- to be nicer than my Godfather." Still, there's a spring in her step as she follows along. Time to see how -other- super family get togethers go.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
Did she teleport in? She probably teleported in. Or she's gotten VERY good at sneaking in and out of the window of her room. Either way, down the stairs -- coming from the direction of her room at least -- is Carrie. She is dressed up for the occasion in a sleek looking dark blue dress. Her face is made up, she has her hair done up as well. Apparently she's making an attempt to be presentable. She glides down the stairs, carrying a small box under her arm, looking all the world like she's been here all the while, and not that this is her first appearance in the mansion in months. She peers around for a moment -- half expecting to be confronted by Bruce off the bat -- and not seeing him, makes a beeline for the drink cart. One of the advantages of finally turning 21. She pours herself something strong, and takes a gulp.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Meanwhile. At the Clocktower.

Charlie is sitting reluctantly on the couch a phone clutched in her small clawed hands. She is furiously typing into it.

<<Steph, is this really okay. Are you absolutely positively certain I should pop over?>>

She is only sort of looking for an excuse to hide. Yeah most everyone has been super nice about it but this is still very awkward and there has to be some people she hasn't run into since the...


Big sigh. She pops up off the couch and stalks into her room getting a baggy wonderwoman hoodie and pulling it on, hood up. Lesson taken from Cass.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick is dressed in what could be called 'work clothes' for a GCPD detective. It's a nice suit and tie, nothing too pricey or tailored. He comes in with a nicely wrapped package which he sits on the gift table, then moves over to the beverage cart and collects a soda.

Looking around he notes that Bruce has not quite made it to his own party yet, and looks around for Alfred, knowing that the faithful retainer will certainly know where his boss is, and indicates that it's time for the guest of honor to make his appearance.

Jason Todd has posed:
"Whaaaaat? He'll love it," Jason offers to Val. Once they are inside he glances about. "Well, Val, welcome to Wayne Manor. I...well, I didn't entirely grow up here but I did spend a good bit of my formative years here." He was also buried out back, but he doesn't bring that up. "I really want to meet your Godfather, some day, by the way. Just to say I did." He winks playfully at her before he finds somewhere to set the bat-wrapped package.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown is running late, tapping on her steering wheel as she waits for the gate to open, then roaring The Compact down the long drive to the Manor house itself. She pulls into a spot, jumping out of the car and starting for the door.

"Crap, present," she says, turning back around and grabbing the small wrapped box from the seat of the car. She turns again, heading for the front door as her phone chimes.

With all the skill of a teenager, she juggles the present and her phone, unlocking the latter and checking the message. Alfred opens the door before she can get to the door handle. "Hey Alfred," she says, beaming a smile at him. "Charlie wondered if it's ok for her to come. She's... you know," Stephanie says, waving at herself in a way that seems to suggest something to do with her body.

"I believe everyone coming would be alright with seeing her like that, yes, Miss Stephanie," Alfred tells her. "Great, thank you!" Stephanie tells him, and leans over to give the butler a kiss on the cheek before scurrying down the hallway towards the gathering. Leaving Alfred to close the door and smile a little bit before he follows.

Stephanie taps out a message back to Charlie:

> Should be safe. Everyone's friendly to such things.

She walks into the Family Room, grinning at the people there. "Charlie's coming, I think," she says. "Just so no one worries at first glance at her." Stephanie takes her gift over to the table and sets it down, then looks about. "We ready for Bruce to arrive?" she goes over to the drink cart. Giving Dick a tiny bump with her shoulder as she gets a soda as well.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
The figure which most likely is our ninjette Orphan appears in a window for a moment, then dashes off to one side. Apparently nothing is going to go wrong with this party and she's going to ensure oh hey cake!

A small piece of cake vanishes into her maw as she looks under the snacks area, nobody having told her that you don't touch birthday cake before it gets cut. There may be a small bit missing when the time comes, but you can always fire her right?


Alfred comes in with a knife and does his best to hide the damage, sighing in the way that he does, and then goes back to his normal duties. The life of a butler is never easy it seems.

Cassandra uses the time to finish the details on the food she's been trying to prepare, much to the horror of anyone who looked in. Who knew she was interested in baking?

She passes by Carrie with what looks like a cupcake in her hands and looks at the redhead with a smile. SMILE!

Then she goes to check the closets. Could be anything hiding in them after all. Stephanie would arrive to see her halfway in a closet holding a broom worriedly, like she's uncertain what to do with one but it makes a lousy baton.

Valeria Richards has posed:
Val huffs out a little sigh and rolls her eyes, "Everyone -always- wants to meet him. I'm telling you, meeting one of his robot doubles is really pretty much the same. It's all 'Blah blah, Richards will rue the day!' 'What do you mean your gaming chair does not have a death ray? How do you smite impudent fools?!'" She shakes her head and sighs heavily. Still, she does her best not to look -too- wide-eyed with curiosity, trying to put on an air of 'Seen one high tech skyscraper, or legacy family mansion, seen 'em all'. Sure, she's -failing-, but still, she's putting the effort in.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Charlie glances down at her phone and fidgets a bit with it.

<<Okay ::sad demon emoji::>> where did she emoji, did she make it, she has had a lot of time on her hands lately.

The thought of cake, probably cake made by Alfred though is definitely a really good thing though. Motivating even.

Big sigh. Biiiig breath. It is slowly becoming harder to be optimistic. But. Cake.

Puff of breath out and she teleports, crossing the distance between the Clocktower and the entry hall of Wayne manner in the time it takes to finish breathing out. It isn't the usual pink and purple smoke job though, this one leaves a faint scent of brimestone.

Still a short hoodied figure pads along holding a phone. Just sort of lurking by the door to the room now quietly.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
Carrie Kelley continues to sip quietly at her drink, giving Cassandra only a slightly odd look as the girl passes by on her way to inspect the broom closet. She then slides up to Steph and murmurs to her, "Hey." Very high energy from Carrie tonight it looks like.

Damian Wayne has posed:
     Damian had made his way into the family room. Most of his time was spent away from the Manor, unless he was sleeping. But...this was Father's birthday and apparently most families enjoy these times instead of attempting to kill the other in this day, thanks Talia.

  The scion of the Wayne family was dressed in a dress shirt, grey with a black tie, and black slacks. This is how he liked to dress, not what normal teenagers wear. Almost immediately when he sees the amount of people here, he just rears back out, but Ace the pup butts his head into Damian's calf. No escaping.

Jason Todd has posed:
Jason chuckles and shrugs before he puts an arm around Val's waist. The smell of brimstone makes him look around curiously before he clears his throat a bit. "Uh, hey. Everyone? Not everyone has met her, so...this is Valeria Richards. She's my girlfriend." Yes, Reed Richard's daughter. He seems pretty proud of the fact, even hugging her to his side a bit. Whoa, wait. Did Jason just smile? And NOT about hurting someone?

Bruce Wayne has posed:
A small frown rests on his face as he taps into the Bat Computer down far beneath the foundations of the historic old Manor, reviewing the data that scrolls across the screen. Yes, he is one of those people who will read at a party. Especially his own party, where he doesn't have to put on any pretenses. Besides, even with the door to the study shut, even with the sometimes cavernous halls of the Manor he is pretty sure who all has already gathered.

He's pretty much impossible to sneak up on too. It can be really annoying.

Adding a few more notes to the latest case file Bruce finally gets up from the desk, moving to the doorway and cracking it open just a touch to peer out into the hall, to try to catch a glimpse of Alfred and see if he is aloud to come out and mingle.

It might shock some, just how much authority Alfred truly wields in this household. But then if anyone had ever met Alfred they might not be surprised at all.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown gets an excited look as Carrie comes over. "You're back!" she says, tossing her arms around Carrie unless the latter is fast and does some martial arts to fend it off. A hug is administered. "Going to need stories later," the blond tells the redhead, wagging a finger Carrie's way as Stephanie lets her go from the welcome-back hug.

Alfred, meanwhile, greets Charlie. "So good to see you, Miss Gate," he tells her. He spots the surreptitious check from Bruce Wayne. The butler glances towards the Family Room. "I believe Master Bruce may be arriving shortly," he says.

Stephanie looks up at this news. She has more greetings to give! But they'll have to wait. All but one. She spots Charlie and moves over to her. A big hug is given, making sure Charlie knows how welcome she is there. "Glad you came," she says, giving a motion with her head for Charlie to come the rest of the way in. "Like we're going to surprise him, but certain ancient traditions must be followed," she says with a grin.

Dick Grayson has posed:
He smiles at Steph as she bumps him, then takes stock of the situation, Jason, Damian, surely that's Tim lurking in the shadows over there. Cass is doing... Cass things, but she's here. Carrie as well, good. And there's Charlie, lurking outside the door. She gets an encouraging little wave, then he nods.

Crossing over to Jason and Valeria, he says, "If he's a butt or anything, just bonk him, or let one of us know and we'll do it." He winks to the young couple as he teases his brother, then turns to the room in general, "Ok, looks like most everyone is here, so I think we can get started. Alfred, could we get Bruce in here?"

Carrie Kelley has posed:
Carrie Kelley returns the side hug from Steph and murmurs something to her, before her attention is caught by Jason's announcement. She looks at Valerie and has one word of advice, "Run." It's delivered in a very deadpan manner. Is it a joke? Hard to tell. She then seems to notice the smell of brimstone, and looks around, before spotting Charlie. She studies Charlie for a few moments through her glasses, and then crosses an arm under her chest, before she goes for a refill.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Cassandra returns the broom to the closet and reclaims the cupcake she's been holding on to. It may be a bit the worse for wear now, but it's still recognizeable. She peers at Carrie, then beams at her...and the girl goes off for a refill, which is a perfectly reasonable conversation in Cassandra-land.

She peeks around at Valeria, an asian girl in a black dress that she wears as if it was meant to have leggings, and tilts her head with open curiosity. But then she's next to Stephanie, and glancing smiles at the girl. Yes, you can do that.

She turns suddenly toward the doorway though, as if waiting on something she's heard, or felt. She knows. There is a feeling in the air, of something about to happen.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Charlie nods to Alfred, provider of dinners for her and Barbara. One of Authority <tm> in Charlie's life as far as she is concerned. "Good to see you too Alfred." which well the news about an incoming Bruce Wayne is enough to spur Charlie to come in to the room way faster than Dick's friendly wave.

Which means she meets the hug, returning it. There is a chuckle at what Stephanie says about surprising him. "I mean.. I Think I could maybe sometime but it wouldn't go well for me.. probably turn into a lesson."

Still she is in the room now. The studying from Carrie gets a look in return. She blinks those eyes a couple of times then sighs and glances sidelong to Stephanie "Alfred made cake right?" glancing around for it.

Cake makes everything better. Even if it isn't time yet.

Valeria Richards has posed:
Val manages to bite her lower lip and resist a grin at Dick. Well, for a moment... there's some lip twitching. Carrie's advice earns an involuntary little snort that turns into a soft, almost wheezing giggle as she fights to hold it back, glancing up at Jason, "Well, these are just... -ringing- endorsements."

She slips a little wave Cassandra's way, eyeing Jason again. "So... are you the Johnny? It -kind- of feels like you're the Johnny of the family." And then she's perking up to be a little less taunting as Bruce arrives, and it hits her... is there going to be singing? Oh no, there's probably going to be singing.

Jason Todd has posed:
Jason Todd offers the other family members grumbles, mostly, for their trouble. He looks back to Val and shrugs a shoulder. "Johnny wishes he was the -Jason-," he quips...but he's not really feeling it. Instead he shuts up for now and leans in to kiss the girl on the forehead.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Given Alfred's comment he is going to choose to take that as permission to start making his way out of the study. Just about everyone should be accounted for by now and it's not like this is a surprise. Surprise parties in their particular family would be rather laughable affairs really. It's almost enough to make one want to try and pull it off eventually. A suitable challenge at the very least.

Pushing open the door to the study, he steps out into the hallway, the sounnd of conversation providing all the direction he needs to track down everyone. That faint whiff of brimstone in the air is something of a surprise, though not an unwelcome one and unsurprisingly Charlie is the first one that he sees. "Glad you could make it," he says rather matter of fact, the circumstances that would make it difficult ignored for the moment. One more problem that needs solving. But not at the moment. Unless a sorcerer suddenly becomes free. That would be a pretty good reason to cancel the party.

Of course he would also have to endure Alfred's subtle -- or perhaps cutting -- disapproval too. Maybe not.

Slipping through that arched doorway he nods about to all those gathered. "Glad to see you all," he offers up. Not exactly the boisterous, cheerful display that htey would likely garner at a public function, but likely more sincere.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie nods back to Charlie. "Yep, Alfred made the cake," she confirms. "And everything else. I'm so making a plate once Bruce-" she says, before she names the Dark One and he appears, to use a little Wheel of Time terminology.

"Happy Birthday!" the blond says enthusiastically when Bruce enters. It's not a surprise, but that's what you do at birthday parties, right? Even Wayne birthday parties.

Which tugs at a memory for Stephanie. She looks around and finds Cassandra and moves over to her, arm going around the young Asian woman. "So, no stabbing people at this one," she says quietly, but smiling at her friend. And, just to be doubly safe, Stephanie looks over to Damian nearby. "Ah, same, right?" she says, though her tone is teasing to the youngest Wayne.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick looks over at the doorway as Bruce comes in and raises his glass, "Happy Birthday, Bruce. Glad you could make it, I think we have most of the family in attendance here tonight." He motions around the room, "Unfortunately a few people couldn't make it, but we all know how that goes, I think."

He gestures to Bruce, "So, do you want to say anything, or should we move on and inflict the singing on you? It'll at least be mercifully quick."

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Cassandra allows herself to be chived into not attempting murder this visit, though she doesn't make any promises about after midnight. She does grab a small piece of something from the fruits table and flips it into the air. She's aiming to land it right on top of Jason's head. He might stop it, but that's up to him.

She doesn't wish Bruce happy birthday, but she also has yet to actually say a word of any type so it's likely not personal. She does however spot Charlie by the door and gives an odd half-smile, still worried for the girl/demon.

She returns Valeria's wave. She gives Dick a thumbs up. Then she goes back to anxiously waiting to present Bruce Wayne with a homemade cupcake she made her self.

Bat-antidote is in the blue cabinet, btw.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
The arrival of Bruce gets her to raise her absolutely nearly full second glass and she probably says 'Happy Birthday' but she's not particularly loud. Rather, she seems to move within the crowd in a way that she's never DIRECTLY in view of Bruce, as she heads to get a light bit of something to nibble on from one of the other tables.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Charlie ducks her head nodding back to the greeting. I mean she .. is a teensized demon in a hoodie right now and all. The big thug smash form turns out is optional. "I heard there is cake." she notes helpfully towards Bruce

He and Damian are not the only attendees a bit reluctant.

"Happy birthday!" then she looks at Dick a little startled. Singing. Didn't seem like the vibe, though she is probably game for it.

Also to be fair if Barbara called and said Zatanna was available she would risk Alfred ire and be gone faster than someone could ask what the call was about.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Is this how he would choose to spend his time? Probably not, though it is an immense step-up from what a more public affair would surely entail. At least he doesn't have to pull that Bruce Wayne mask on for the entire world to see. He might have gotten used to it, but that doesn't mean he particularly enjoys it.

Then again it might be a fair question to ask just what he does enjoy.

He manages a brief smile as that gaze circles the room, flashed briefly to all -- even Carrie as she does her best to hide -- before his gaze flickers back to Dick and Alfred for the moment. "I think we can cover the high points. One more trip around the sun. Glad to see you all here. Etc, etc." he offers up with at least a trace of amusement. He does avoid pointing out the number and types of crimes that will inevitably occur in Gotham during this celebration. It's the sort of thing he probably would have flatly done a few years ago. This is progress.

"I suppose that means that singing is called for. So long as there will then be cake."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     Damian and Ace made their way to the group. Before long, Bruce entered as well, and Damian gives him a small smile. Despite sometimes being...prickly, he did like his family, Tim not included.

  "Happy birthday." He says in his own Damian way. He was not, however, going to sing.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown picks her drink back up now that a few greeting hugs have been administered. She moves past Dick as he mentions singing, grinning slightly and patting his back as she makes her way over to Jason and Valeria. "Hey there. I'm Stephanie," she offers to Valeria. "We meet a couple of months back at dinner here, though I don't think we got to talk that night much," she says. "Nice of you to make it out," Stephanie offers with a friendly smile, wanting Valeria to feel welcome.

Alfred moves over to put a number of candles on the cake and light them. "I'm glad the fire insurance isn't watching this," the butler says of the sheer number of candles, his eyes going to Bruce with a jesting expression. He slides the cake forward to the edge of the table where it will be easier for Bruce to get at. He looks to Dick then. "Will you lead us, Mr. Grayson?" he asks of the singing.

Valeria Richards has posed:
Val continues to mingle, and... definitely gets the vibe that Bruce is the Doom of the family. Oh, probably not in the megalomaniacal world domination way... he'd be more like her dad in that way. He'd do it accidentally with good intentions.

She smiles to Stephanie and bobs her head, "Yeah! Well, I mean, that's life right? If it's not aliens invading, it's... robots, or... something!"

And then she's drawn to the cake, eyes widening. Oh... now -that's- a cake. It's going to be delicious, and she's going to owe her gym like, two extra hours this week.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick looks around the room, then moves over by Stephanie, as he's sure she at least, will also sing. He's pretty sure Damian won't, and most of the others are a big question mark. Still, once more into the breach and all that.

Nodding to Alfred, he breaks into the traditional birthday song. He's got an ok voice, but singing is not one of his main skills. "Happy Birthday to you..."

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Which is when Cassandra freaks out a little. She backs off a step from Dick, not sure what he's exactly doing and not having heard anyone sing Happy Birthday before, and lobs the cupcake at his face.

She doesn't think, she doesn't take a moment to plan. She just reacts and sends the confectionary projectile weapon at him with all the speed and force of a hand grenade.

With icing.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Holy Crickets.

The Singing.

It is seriously really happening. She figured that was all joking. Gosh this is super strange.

Still Charlie is totes here for this, and after Dick starts to sing she is just about to join in. The moment of birthday...

Then Cass throws a cupcake right at Dick's face and Charlie stops and stares stunned.


Damian Wayne has posed:
     From the floor, sitting down, Ace starts to howl around the 'to you' part of the song. Damian's eyes flare open in surprise to this behavior, but doesn't stop the young dog from joining in. Then...a flying cupcake to Dick's face gets Damian to start chuckling...then laughing...then howling with laughter. He's doubled over, just laughing. "She got you, Grayson!" Still laughing, from the belly.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
This might be the best part of the whole birthday affair. Everyone else has to sing. But not Bruce. No, this is their awkard moment. Sure, he might be the center of attention, but he's used to that. They're the ones that actually have to sing.

Though really, he's a pretty decent singer when he wants to be. Surprise, surprise. Accumulating skills seems to be one of his many gifts. And one never knows when the ability to carry a tune will come in handy. So very practical.

Is he in the spirit of things when he actually pretends to conduct them all, his own little private choir? Or perhaps just playing his part. Either way, he is holding to that unwritten, unspoken compact of being a little less of a downer at these sorts of affairs. "I can't hear you on the right," he says, singling out Damian. But he does not dwell, nor actually try to coax him into song. He can definitely sympathize afterall.

Which of course when the cupcake comes into play. Not very much catches Bruce offguard. But that actually might have. "I'm going to take that as commentary on your singing," he says mildly to the first of his protegees.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown does indeed join in the singing, grinning over at Dick and joining her voice in an energetic way as if she's in a great mood. "... happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Bruuuuce. Happy birthday to you."

Alfred of course joins in, singing quietly. His one-time ward has made it another year, for which Alfred is grateful. And seeing the family that Bruce has formed around, all gathered together, does the gentleman's heart good. As he sees the attempted assassination by cupcake, he moves to clean up the remains before it gets ground into the floor.

Stephanie shakes her head. "Cass!" she says. She turns to Dick, wincing slightly, and gets him a napkin. As she does, towards Bruce, Stephanie says, "I don't -think- there's anything around that will grant wishes. But best think of a good one just to be safe," she tells Bruce as it's time for him to blow out the candles now.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick is interrupted in his singing by a ninja cupcake attack that strikes without warning (as ninjas are wont to do), but laughs and picks up the tune for the end of the song. With a smile, he takes the napkin from Stephanie and cleans his face off, watching as Bruce is urged forward to blow out his candles.

Behind Bruce's back, he sticks his tongue out at Damian, but he's still smiling.

Valeria Richards has posed:
Val joins in the singing... well, until the cupcake attack. Then she feels entirely justified in losing the tune as she's reduced to helpless laughing. Also, she's totally stealing that move for -her- next birthday. And moving Cass up a few notches in the rankings of 'Best vigilante'. Cupcake attacks are worth bonus points, it seems.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
There is just much staring at the end there and then she shakes her head "I.. did not see that coming." there is humor in her voice. She is somehow managing to not laugh, it is probably because of the sheer shock.

"Now cake?" she asks because well singing is done, oh wait. Candles.

There is now staring at Bruce. He stands between everyone and cake.

Meanwhile the hoodied demon goes to get a drink from the snack area. No booze though.

Reed Richards has posed:
Reed Richards comes in during the singing, with a bemused grin. He joins singing in while slipping into the background, watching the controlled chaos fondly. He winds his way through the cloud making greetings and winds up next to Bruce,"Many returns of the day, Old Salt."

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Cassandra Cain becomes a sadness. She looks mortified at Dick, across the room and sans the gift she brought to present to Bruce. She seems to be even quieter now than she was a moment before. She looks at Stephanie, eyes wide, then to Dick. Then to Bruce. Then she just takes a step back.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
This, this is power.

Nevermind terrifying Gotham's underworld into wetting themselves. Or striding side by side into battle with some of the mightiest beings in the galaxy. No, this is true power. Until he blows out those candles they must all wait for him, wait for him to act, to finish blowing out those candles. And until does not a one of them can sample Alfred's always perfect baking. He can just stand here, indefinitely, keeping them all hostage to his whim.

Or he might just lean in and blow out the candles too. He is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a surprise.

Does Bruce have a wish in mind when he leans in and blows out those candles. He doesn't exactly seem much like the wishing sort now does he? Much more likely to take the world as it is then what he wishes it would be. But who knows. Even Batman was a child once.

The candles are blown out, not even one remains before he straightens. He flashes a brief smile as he sees Reed slip in, more emotive then most of the time for his old teach. Cassandra also gets a sympathetic smile. "Don't be embarassed. You most definitely livened up the affair. It's probably a good thing to keep Dick on his toes," he points out, glancing archly in Damian's direction. Not to mention it is not often that sound is heard in this house -- or anywhere else for that matter.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie claps as the candles are blown out. "She was probably just trying to feed you. Stop you from wasting away," she says to Dick in a teasing tone.

After, Stephanie moves over to Cass. "It's ok," she tells her friend. Stephanie glances at the remains of the cupcake, the parts of it on the floor already cleared away by the efficient butler. Stephanie leans over to whisper something into Cassandra's ear, at the same time as she motions towards the table with the presents, and then moves her index finger to indicate Cassandra and herself.

She pats her friend on the back and then goes to the table and picks up the present she brought, bringing it over to Bruce. "This one is from Cassandra and I together," she tells him, looking over to Cass to give her a warm smile and a wink.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Cassandra, doing her best to not freak out and ruin things any more, is looking around as Stephanie whispers to her. She glances up as Bruce speaks, then follows his gaze about the room. To Damian specifically, where her eyes pause. And maybe, just maybe, a smile barely tweaks her cheeks.

Then she's looking back at the gifts. She nods at Stephanie, though she glances at the gift as if trying to guess what's inside. Then she winks back at Steph, but maybe just a bit obviously.

Lessons in social interaction are progressing smoothly it seems, though she does glance back to Dick. She put work into that cupcake damnit!

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick raises an eyebrow at Stephanie and comments, "Well, I have been burning a lot of calories recently. Never hurts to keep your strength up." He smiles over at Cass and gives her a little wave, he's not upset at all.

As Steph announces the gift from her and Cass, his eyes go to the cupcake being cleaned up and he nods, understanding why the silent girl had a cupcake with her.

He takes a drink of his soda and looks over at Bruce to see what his first gift turns out to be.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
With the candles blown out Alfred will no doubt begin to attend to the cake, insuring that it's sliced up and distributed. And in the mean time Bruce can attend to the presents. He can't be the easiest individual to shop for. But at the same time that has to be partially mitigated by the fact that he has absolutely no expectations on that front.

While the social compact of birthday parties might be a little lost on Bruce, he is willing enough to play along for the moment if it helps to set Cassandra at ease, accepting the gift with a grave little nod, one shared with Stephanie, before unwrapping it.

As the wrapping paper comes off Bruce freezes for a moment, looking at the box. It is a simple enough thing, but recognizable immediately despite the many long years since he's looking on this particular container and he shoots a look back towards Alfred for just an instant. The man very deliberately does not make eye contact with him. By the time he looks back to the two young women a faint smile has at least appeared on his face and he holds up the box. Cinnamon rolls, from a local bakery. "These are from a little shop close to where I went to school. We..." he begins before catching himself. "I used to have them Sunday morning. Someone's been telling tales," he says, just a little gruffly though not looking at Alfred again. "Thank you Cassandra. Very thoughtful," he says gravely, though dipping his head Stephanie's way as well.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown watches as Bruce opens the present, the young woman moving back to Cassandra's side after passing the wrapped box over to Bruce. She slips her arm about Cassandra's waist as she watches Bruce.

The result brings a soft smile to Stephanie's face, and especially that expression lives in her blue eyes. She does glance to Alfred, giving him a grateful smile whenever he does make eye contact with her.

Her smile is her reply to Bruce, along with a tiny nod back to him. Stephanie gives Cass a side hug, tightening her arm briefly before letting her go so she can take a slice of cake from Alfred. Stephanie takes a bite of it. "Oh. Oh. Oh oh oh. -How- do you make it so moist!?" she asks Alfred, just getting a smile from him in return. Some secrets are meant to stay secrets.

Reed Richards has posed:
Reed Richards places a pair of packages into the scrum of gifts and moves to interact with Ms. Gage. "Hello, Ms. Gage, I also have a gift for you." He produces a small square device. Turns it on and his form is replaced by the image of Charlie's true form. He turns the device off and hands it to Charlie, explaining how it works.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Mental note.

Alfred knows all.

Charlie will need to remember this for next year. Because this year, well there was no concept of shopping for a thoughtful present for a billionaire. She didn't even realize she would be going to a party until Stephanie pried her out of hiding in the Clocktower. It has been home schooling (no video), patrols, and hiding.

The fact Cake is about to be served though, so mcuh focus, which is how Mr. Fantastic manages to catch her off guard there and ... okay this whole thing, an image inducer distracts her from Cake. That is how serious this whole situation. When he uses it to look like her she yelps a litltle.. "Gosh!" then well grabby hands when he gives it to her. "Like this?"

When the button is pressed Charlie is there in a hoodie, not a demon. "Did it work??"

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Cass watches Bruce's face when he opens the gift. Then she watches the complex conversation that occurs in the room, her eyes traveling about, and leans into Stephanie's hug almost distractedly. She hugs in return, but she is looking about every which way. Stephanie's own body language seems to have developed so very much. She's learned so well, the 'voice' she uses so much clearer of late. Proud teacher watching her student speak in subtleties, among her peers.

But she looks back a moment, toward Charlie. As she is released, and given cake, she looks with worry at the young woman. She has yet to really forget how much being what she isn't meant to be hurts the girl. She can see through the form to the woman beneath, and worries.

She gives what she thinks is a heartfelt hopeful smile to Charlie, but it's not exactly her forte. She lies poorly, even without words.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick gives Charlie a thumbs up, "It's working." He doesn't go into more than that, moving forward to collect his gift from the table and present it to Bruce, "Here, a reminder of a friend who helped make you who you are today. I hope it brings good memories."

He accepts a plate with cake from Alfred and steps back to watch Bruce open the gift. Hopefully he didn't misjudge what kind of memories this will bring up.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown moves over nearer to Charlie to see what the result is. "Wow, that's pretty amazing," she says to Reed Richards. "It worked. You look like Charlie," Stephanie says, flashing a smile to the younger girl's image.

The blond girl looks over to the elder superhero in the room. "Really nice of you to do that, Dr. Richards. Thank you," she tells him, giving him a smile before moving out of the way then so others can see.

Stephanie drifts over beside Dick, looking as he has passed his gift on to Bruce. She still has her plate full of cake in hand, taking another bite of it, and glancing over to the oldest of Bruce's wards. She gives him an encouraging smile as if she senses in Dick what she felt watching Bruce open her present. Hoping that she'd gotten him something that he'd like. It's difficult to get presents for a man like Bruce.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
On the whole Bruce does not usually indulge any sort of sweet tooth. Which is perhaps not surprising. So much of what he does is driven by his crusade. So he very much tends towards eating practically, fueling his body like a machine, worried more about nutritional content then taste.

Apparently he is willing to make small compromises when it comes to Alfred. And a few other select choices. One would imagine the cinnamon rolls will fall into that category too.

As Reed provides Charlie with a means of at least looking the part of a teenaged girl no matter what the reality might be beneath that projections, Bruce dips his head towards his old teacher in appreciation. Her current circumstances might not be all his fault, but until a solution is found, one way or another, it is one more ounce of guilt that he likely lays upo9n his scales.

Dick's present is unwrapped next, looking it over for a moment and another of those brief but genuine smiles lights on his face before holding up the framed photo of a much younger Bruce and... is that Harvey Dent? "Another blast from the past. I almost think you're trying to remind me of my age," he says drily. "Thank you," he says quietly, dipping his head towards his first protegee.

Apparently they are all conspiring to try and give him a case of the feels.

Damian Wayne has posed:
     Damian steps up, holding a rather tall present, it's thin though, and he is able to lift it no problem.

  "Happy birthday, Father." He says, before offering it up to Bruce. The teen's green eyes looked up, and gave a slight smile. He knew his own skills were great, but this was probably the first time Bruce would have seen his son's artwork.

  Damian had thought long about what to give the old man for his birthday, but after conversing with Alfred, the two settled on this.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Charlie makes a happy squeekie noise really. Ace might be sad honestly.

"Thanks Mr. Fantastic." and yes. He gets spontanious huggings!

Then she bounces away full of chaotic energy. She then scampers under the hologram to get her slice of cake from Alfred finally. Very happy chaos muppet energy now.

Reed Richards has posed:
Reed Richards smiles and nods to Charlie accepting the hug graciously, "I apologize for taking so long." He smiles to the recognition. "Thank you all." He produces a card, titanium in FF blue with the ubiquitous branded logo cut into it and Reed's name and contact info inscribed. "You're problem is not my area of expertise prescisely but I may be able render some degree of aid."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown looks over to Dick after seeing Bruce's reaction to the present. She smiles at him and leans nearer to whisper, "That was a nice one." She smiles to him and then goes over to grab another soda, looking to see if anyone else is need of a refill. If so she gets extra drinks and brings them around.

She moves back over, looking with curiosity at what Damian has gotten for Bruce. The package itself precludes it being most of the things she might suggest as a joke, so for now she just stays quiet about it as she watches, but she does flash a smile over to Damian.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
The shape of Damian's gift alone is makes it relatively obvious just what his present is, but that doesn't lessen any of the curiousity. Bruce probably is not alone in that of course. There are probably only a few who have seen this side of his son's talents. Still, he is careful in the unwrapping, setting it on the floor once the bottom half is cleared away before tugging off the rest.

Again, as the last of that concealling paper comes off and the present beneath is revealled Bruce pauses for a moment to take it in. He doesn't freeze anymore at the sight of old pictures, or the thought of them, but these circumstances are a little different. His gaze lingers on the portrait and while his expression might be unreadable for a change his eyes might not be quite so indecipherable. "Thank you," he says quietly to the youngest of his 'sons' before finally turning the painting around. "My parents. You're getting quite good at this Damian," he says, maybe, maybe just showing a hint of emotion in his voice.

Alfred too comes around to take a look, laying a hand on Damian's shoulder, his own eyes glistening in quite un-British-like fashion. But then he hands another of the presents to Bruce. "From Dr. Richards," he explains. And again Bruce digs into the package, quickly revealling the bottle of wine -- which again Alfred in particular seems impressed with -- along with just a hint of a very particular costume though no doubt made of even more advanced particles then WayneTech is capable of. Something resembling a wry smirk is directed Reeds way. "Sometimes I think you're determined to be a tailor," he comments while Alfred cradles the bottle of wine like he might a Wayne heir. "An excellent vintage Dr. Richards. And one missing from our wine cellar since Master Thomas was still with us," he comments.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Charlie watches all of the unveilings with a mouthfull of cake.

Yeah she has totally moved on to a second slice. For some reason she is a bottomless pit these days even more so than usual.

"That is a really good painting Damian." yeah she has to admit, she had no idea he was a painter. Hidden depths. Hidden depths. Books covers. All sorts of wise sayings here.

Mostly she hopes her lack of anything but herself isn't going to be an oddity.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick watches Bruce unwrap Damian's present. After seeing it, he smiles and nods at Damian, "Very nice." His little brother is talented, as evidenced by the family portrait he's now got hanging in his room.

He smiles at Reed's gifts, nodding in agreement with the tailor comment, possibly because he's wearing something quite similar. "Nothing wrong with a little extra safety, as far as I can see." He's contemplating a second piece of cake as well, cause well.. Damn can Alfred bake.

Reed Richards has posed:
Reed Richards smiles and nods, taking a slice of cake, "Not at all, Alfred. it was my pleasure. He chuckles quietly and shrugs, patting Alfred on the shoulder, "Well, Iam in rerefied company if that were true and my personal favorite tailorwas also a giant killer." Reed winks, "Though most of all keeping you all safe is an honor and a privilege. Happy Birthday.,Bruce."