Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

That Good Night

That Good Night

by Mara

Summary: Alfred has an unusual visitor for tea.

CONTINUITY: Oh, sometime between War Games and Multiple Crises in Infinite
Disasters or whatever it’s called.

NOTES: Hmm. This story might go against a specific piece of canon, but I can’t
tell you what without ruining the story. Here’s the deal: If you promise not to
quibble and just go with the flow, I promise to give you a short character
ficlet. Okay? This is for Fanfic100’s challenge #21, Friends.

* * * * *

Alfred set the table with his usual precision–two teacups and saucers, a small
plate of fresh lace cookies (with coconut rather than nuts, just the way his
guest liked them), napkins folded just so.

The clock showed he had a few minutes left, and he poured the rapidly boiling
water into the teapot and set it to steep.

When he looked up, the other seat was occupied. “Hullo, Alfred,” the dark-haired
young woman said with a smile.

“Good afternoon,” he said, sitting opposite her.

“One day,” she said, laying the napkin across her lap, “I will startle you by
doing that.”

“Of course you will,” he said politely, and she laughed. “I’m glad you could
find the time to visit,” he said.

“For you? I make the time. Not literally, of course. And besides, I seem to
spend more than my fair share of time in Gotham.” Her eyes were sad.

“True.” Alfred poured the tea. “And how is your family?”

“Still fractured, I’m afraid, and more than a little insane.” She inhaled the
scent of the tea with a blissful smile. “Nobody in this country makes tea the
way you do. And how is *your* family? Happily, I haven’t heard a peep from them
in months.”

Alfred sighed and took a sip of his own tea, staring into the cup. “Still
fractured and more than a little insane.”

The woman took a cookie. “Yes, I can imagine. I was so very sorry…it was hard
for me to do.”

Leaning across the small table, Alfred patted her hand. “Of course. You know I
don’t blame you.”

“That’s one of the things I find so refreshing about you.”

She ate her cookie and they chatted of inconsequentials for a few minutes until
footsteps could be heard in the hallway.

“That would be Master Bruce,” Alfred said.

“Well, it was more than time for me to go anyway.”

“Please, take another cookie with you.”

“Thank you!” As her pale hand took a cookie off the plate, her ankh necklace
swung free and glittered in the light. Like the Cheshire Cat, she faded away
until only the necklace remained, and then she was gone.

“Alfred,” Bruce said as he came around the corner, “I wanted to check if–I’m
sorry, were you having company?”

“Not any longer,” Alfred replied as he began to clear the table. “She didn’t
have long to stay.”

Bruce smiled. “Will I ever get to meet her?”

Alfred’s hand shook and the teapot rattled. “I’m afraid so. But you’ll find her
pleasant company. Now, you were looking for me?”


Author’s note: I’m kind of assuming that you figured out that Alfred’s guest was
Death from the Sandman series, and yes, I seem to recall that it was stated that
she took human form one day a century, but a) I don’t remember if it was said
she couldn’t do so at other times, and b) even if that were true, Alfred is the
exception to *many* rules.

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