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caught up with the fact that life will be dark, but can we handle being kids

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Emily should have known that Van was going to ruin her day as soon as she walked in that morning because he immediately ran into her and spilled her coffee all over her new blouse. He then insisted that she pay for his laundry bill because a drop had landed on his sock. Nevermind the fact that she had woken to 20 texts that morning requesting her to come in half an hour early (nevermind the fact that she always comes in half an hour early). She made it in an hour and 15 minutes early, toting the overly caffeinated and expensive coffee that wasn’t even from a Fair Trade company that Van had requested.

 

Jackie was already at her desk, tapping away at her keyboard with her earpiece in place. She didn’t look particularly happy to be there, but that was a normal occurrence. Ruby was finally back at school, so Jackie looked at least a little more rejuvenated.  

 

Surprisingly enough, Teddy, Ron, and Wendy were also already present. Maybe not so much for Wendy since Emily was sure the other woman lived out of her car in the parking garage during the work week as to actually be on time. Wendy was eating her bathroom Ramen, while Ron and Teddy snacked on days old popcorn that she was sure Van had made the week before but then forgot about.

 

Emily was still puzzled on why she had to come in early (or how Van was awake before she was) when she spotted the so called emergency she had been called in for. She remembered Van lamenting family reunions that he supposedly had to suffer through, and how he was always made to sit at the kid’s table. And how he found it so unfair that Kate Kane- Bruce Wayne’s maternal cousin, that she was seated at Bruce’s right hand.

 

Emily followed the sounds of screaming to Van’s office, and found that it was Van himself. He had deserted her as she went to blot her blouse in the restroom. Van was sitting on top of his desk, pushing away a child with his thousand dollar umbrella. The child was snarling at Van, throwing anything within his reach. Luckily for Van, that was just bobbleheads and pens.

 

“What’s going on?” Emily asked, stopping in the doorway. She crossed her arms and stared at the scene unfolding. Van seemed to be panicking as the child got closer and closer to him. The child was a black haired youth with blue eyes with lightly tanned skinned. He spoke with an accent, one that Emily determined to be Hispanic. Surrounding him was a slightly older youth, also with black hair and blue eyes. His skin was a shade lighter than the first boys, but darker than Van’s. On the floor sat two younger children, both with East Asian features. The boy was quite petite, but seemed to be keeping up with the girl’s blows as they played some sort of sadistic game. The oldest child was holding a toddler, a dark skinned boy with vibrant green eyes and the same black hair. The toddler glared at her with distrust, pulling himself closer to the boy holding him.

 

“Oh good.” Jackie said as she came up behind Emily. Her voice was the same deadpan as always. “You’re finally here.”

 

With that Jackie shoved an infant into Emily’s arms, the baby snuffling as she snuggled into Emily’s neck. Jackie also transferred another toddler’s hand from her own to Emily’s. The new toddler, a black boy who seemed to be about two, hummed quietly, going towards Emily without protest.

 

“Bruce Wayne!” Van yelped from his desk, kicking at the boy who had apparently stolen the umbrella that Van was using. The child immediately grabbed upon Van’s pants leg, tearing the seams of it.

 

Jackie sighed next to Emily, darting forward and grabbing the boy by his wrists and making him sit in Van’s chair.

 

“Van, here, told our good friend Bruce Wayne that he’d love to have some family bonding time if Bruce was in Charm City.” Jackie explained, giving the boy a harsh look as he tried to stand up and dart towards Van again. “Bruce Wayne is meeting with investors today, and we are watching his children.”

 

The toddler holding onto Emily’s hand grunted, and started wiggling. All the older kids looked unsurprised but also disgusted. The smell wafted up towards Emily’s noise.

 

“Oh.” She said faintly, “Of course we are.”

 

 

Emily should have known that when Jackie said “we” she truly meant “Emily”.

 

After getting the children settled in one of the boardrooms with pastries and juice packs (compliments of Teddy). She went through their names again. Dick, (stop giggling Wendy) was the oldest, at 14, and had lived with Bruce Wayne since he was eight. Jason, who was 12, was the one who had viciously been trying to attack Van. He had been adopted by Bruce when he was nine. Timothy, one of the children on the floor, had been adopted by Bruce when he was six, just months after Jason had moved in. Cassandra came next, and Emily had mistakenly believed that she didn’t understand English at first. The others quickly told her how wrong she was and that Cassandra just preferred to be quiet. Both Timothy and Cassandra were 9 and were apparently often mistaken for twins. Damian was Bruce’s first biological child, dropped off by his mother at 18 months old. He didn’t like anyone other than Dick. Duke was two and had been the child of one of Bruce’s employees who had passed tragically. Helena was Bruce’s second biological child, at only four months old. All in all, Emily would do a headcount every ten minutes to make sure she still had all seven kids with her. Teddy and Ron weren’t much help with the damage control, seeming to scared to grab Bruce Wayne’s kids as they attempted to escape or even verbally discipline them.

 

Wendy was on her second helping of bathroom Ramen and didn’t seem inclined to help her out anytime soon. All of the children stared at Emily imploringly, so Emily pasted a smile on her face and hoped for the best.

 

“So,” she smiled at them, clapping her hands together, “What do you kids like to do for fun in Gotham?”

 

 

What was fun in Gotham, was most likely not legal in Charm City. They insisted on going out to the balcony, and pulled out lunches out of what seemed like thin air. Dick had also passed Damian to Jason (a very unhappy occurrence for both boys) as he walked Duke to the bathroom to change his diaper.

 

The other kids pushed the circular tables together and spread out their lunches. Tim immediately took the fruit snacks from everyone else’s lunch, though none seemed to protest. Tim passed his apple to Cassandra and sandwich to Jason. Dick came back with Duke on his hip, sitting down at the table and setting Duke in his lap. Cassandra automatically handed Dick a banana which Duke screeched at as Dick peeled it for him. Out of nowhere, Jason tugged on the bottom her blouse, holding a warm bottle out to her. Helena took it happily, patting towards Jason’s face as if she knew he was the one who made it for her.

 

After lunch was over, with a few more trades and bickering, the real chaos began. Dick climbed onto the balcony wall, doing a handstand and giving Emily a heart attack.

 

“Hey, bud.” Emily called out gently, so as not to startle him. “How about you come down from there?”

 

“It’s okay!” Dick called back, flashing her a grin that Emily was sure he learned from Bruce, “I grew up in a circus before Bruce adopted me.”

 

Emily was familiar with the story, as she read Bruce Wayne’s wikipedia page while the kids were distracted. If the gossip rags were true, he had another kid on the way.

 

Emily’s heart seemed like it was going to bound out of her chest due to her anxiety, “Yeah, I’m gonna have to ask you to come down, whether you’re experienced or not.”

 

And like a horror movie would play out, a strong gust of wind pushed Dick off balance and he toppled over the side.

 

Emily screamed, waking Helena and causing her to cry. Jason also screamed, running to the edge to look for his brother. Tim and Cass both jumped up on the edge of the balcony, and like a avenging angel, Jackie came up behind them, grabbing them both by the waist and yanking them back into her. Damian let out a war cry, trying to rush for the wall. Wendy had wrestled him to the ground, having come out to investigate what all the commotion was about. Duke seemed disinterested, walking up to a shocked Ron and lifting his arms in a silent demand to be picked up.

 

“Oh, hey.” a familiar voice said, a head of green hair appearing from under the balcony with Dick safely in her arms, “Did you lose something?”

 

Green Fury grinned at Emily, and caused her heart to beat wildly for a different reason.

 

“Oh, Oh my God.” Emily said, trying to get her anxiety back under control. Green Fury placed Dick firmly on the ground and the young teen sank to the ground as his siblings rushed him. Green Fury had never looked more beautiful than in that moment. Her dark red lipstick looked especially faltering that day.

 

“We would have so been dead.” Jackie spoke, reminding Emily that she and Green Fury weren’t the only ones there.

 

Helena reached for Jackie, so Emily pushed the infant towards the older woman. There was nothing maternal about Jackie but maybe her deadpan ways reminded the infant of someone.

 

“All in a day’s work.” Green Fury said with a shrug of her shoulders.

 

Emily was the one to rush forward that time, grabbing Green Fury by her face and bringing her face close so that their lips could meet. Green Fury tasted like a mixture of fruity gum and the chemicals of her lipstick. Emily lost herself in the other woman’s embrace as she began to respond, hands landing on her hips and a warm body being pressed against her.

 

“You bitch .” Teddy said from behind her, breaking Emily’s focus and reminding her that she had an audience.

 

Emily giggled, looking into the other woman’s deep brown eyes, “Guess you’re not going to go on a date with him?”

 

Green Fury grinned back, pushing her green hair out of her face, “I have my eye on another WE employee.”