Do they know it's Christmas in Gotham?

Characters: Pepper sofia Bruce Clea Wanda Linda
Rated: PG-13
Summary: Holiday parties are all the rage this time of year, and who better to get money for causes from but the 'idle' rich? Those 'not so idle' rich, however, use the opportunity to talk briefly away from (mostly) prying eyes and ears.
OOC Date: 12/08/2017
IC Date: Dec 8, 2017
Where: Swanky Hotel

The first week of December, of course, brings with it the Wayne Industries Christmas party. Officially, the creme de le creme get invites. Unofficially, they aren't in the habit of turning people away. It's the Holidays after all! Besides, anyone who tries has to deal with Sofia. Or Alfred. Or both. And they happen to love Christmas. It's best not to make them angry.

The ball room of the grandiose hotel is decorated to the nines of, course. A huge tree stands in the far corner of the room, the decorations meant to reflect the sheer amount of 'money' in the room. In other words, they're gaudy. Tables line the walls, filled with foods of all types, champagne fountains and 'rivers' of spiced cider. The center of the room has been left free to mingling and dancing. And small orchestra sits off to the side, their skills filling the air with old time Christmas melodies.

There's a soft but constant buzz as people mill about. Gossip always happens at such things. They need rumors for the upcoming year after all. if one knows how to listen, they'll hear the less than happy plots of take over and rebellion hidden behind the veil of polite talk, thin smiles and bit of joking.

And where is the host of this evening's festivities? Milling about somewhere, undoubtedly. Too many wanting attention for much time to be in a single spot for too long.

~

Bruce keeps the conversation light and short wherever he can. He pushes off anything more serious by not engaging at business during a party. He puts off any more serious socializing by insisting he must attend to business obligations. Those too difficult to put off, too insistent on subsuming his attention, well, that's what Alfred is for, smoothly intervening and helping his master to disengage.

The only person who gets repeated attention is, of course, Sofia, to whom he returns again and again, like a desert traveller gaining strength at the oasis, before re-entering the sweltering heat of the unalloyed sun. In this case, the draining, beating pressure comes from all of these damned people. Bruce Wayne is good at manipulating people, tricking them, understanding their minds and predicting their actions. But he does not, as a rule, enjoy them and will be much happier once they're all out of his damned house.

~

Holiday parties. This is the time of year that Pepper gets stood up more than others. It's when the 'see and be seen' doesn't want either.. that is, her elusive employer. Once again, therefore, Miss Virginia Potts, 'Pepper' to her friends (damn that nickname stuck!), is the representative for Stark Industries. Much to the chagrin of many a young heiress. Sorry ladies. Each time the door opens to allow yet another visitor in, necks turn and crane to see if it's 'him'.

Nope.

Pepper, however, is holding a small clutch with her evening dress, and once her wrap is left with the coat check, she's walking across the floor, her head up and green eyes searching. A hint of a smile appears; she's found her 'quarry', as it were, and she approaches both Sofia and Bruce, now that he's headed to his oasis. "Good evening," sounds properly and genuinely cheery. No need to shout; the small orchestra isn't overbearing. Her voice lowers again, "I'm sorry Mr. Stark couldn't make it. He's working." A hand extends even as she leans in to give Sofia a warm 'air kiss', though the gesture is a little more muted for Bruce. Not one of the 'girls', sorry!

~

A tallish woman with hair so platinum-blonde it is almost white has been wandering the room. Probably no one noticed her arrive, but neither did she just pop into existance. Still, she's here now and breezily fluttering from place to place smiling at people and chatting easily while she mingles. Better, there are drinks and nibbles and Clea takes advantage of these as well.

She's dressed in a long-sleeved silky gown to her knees, imperial purple that clashes a bit with her violet eyes. She's worn her hair up, kept on top of her head with combs and pins of silver with sapphire and blood rubies. At her throat is a cabachon star emerald depending from a silvery chain.

~

Bruce Wayne takes Pepper's hand and smiles, "I'd say all work and no play, but, quite honestly, I can't imagine all work and no play. It sounds dreadful and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone," he says. This is, of course, perhaps one of the biggest lies Bruce Wayne's ever told in his life, but he does so with a charming smile and bit of a laugh.

He takes a sip of the glass Alfred's been refilling, nothing but watered down grape juice in the guise of wine. "I hope you got the chocolate boxes we had sent over upon our return home. The customs fees on those are disgusting, by the way, I might have to buy a congressman about it," he says.

~

"Bruce," is trilled playfully from behind as Sofia steps up and leans in to greet Pepper with a small hug and an 'air kiss' in return. "I'm so glad you could make it. Hopefully, we'll be able to convince him to come visit a different time."

Cerulean blue eyes almost seem to dance as the hostess reaches out and snags a glass of cider to hand over to Pepper. "It took Alfred and I ages to get the spices just right," is whispered to her friend before she straightens. Her 'part' in tonight's act is slightly different. They've been together for too long for people to think Sofia is just the flavor of the week any more. Yet she still has to appear somewhat… flighty and seem to have a wandering eye. Much like her counterpart.

Dressed in a deep crimson gown, the bodice is snug, as are the long, sheer sleeves but the skirt is made of many layers of sating trimmed in gold silk, adding an almost fanciful feel to the holiday gown. gold, diamonds and precious stones drip from her neck, wrist, and ears as well as being pinned in the long, black hair so it shimmers as if dusted with snow.

Sofia had done her job before stopping to talk with Bruce and Pepper of course. She had mingled and smiled sweetly, gave idiots hope and flirted. and now, she stands at Bruce's side, her free hand now holding a glass of cider that she'll barely sip at all night and all the while, her eyes scan the room.

Her hand on Bruce's arm tightens slightly and her back straightens just a little as she tenses somewhat, her eyes having caught a glimpse of the almost silver haired woman in purple. "It can't be," is muttered, her 'mask' slipping for a moment.

~

Pepper laughs in all the right places, though it truly is genuine. She is the consummate actress, or rather, the 'politician', but with these two, it's a moment when she can breathe and truly be herself. (Though, there are times when even Pepper isn't sure who that person is anymore!) "Neither can he. His work is his play.. he actually truly enjoys it. It's hard enough to drag him away from his lab for even something like this. But," and here her expression turns a bit fonder and she chuckles, "even he finds those moments to relax. Like.. for five minutes."

As she's handed the cider, Pepper softly thanks Sofia, "Oh yes.. yes I did. I did get a note in the mail," is given to the pair. Who does that nowadays?! "I think that should be our next position for lobbying Senator Kierych in Washington. Cheaper import for chocolate."

Now, Pepper's back to Sofia, and she laughs a bit ruefully, "Sometimes, not even engraved invitations work. Perhaps next time, I'll mention there's a giant bit of alien technology sitting in the middle of the room and someone needs to come look at it.." No. But it's a thought? She takes that first sip and nods her head quickly, adding, "Oh, that is good.." is replied just as softly. "You look amazing, as always."

With Bruce and the amazingly dressed Sofia, Pepper's looking a little more plain; she's a girl from Connecticut.. not made of money but sent to boarding school.. and even though she's been in the rarified circles for almost a decade, it's not natural for her. She wears a gown of green, splashes of red at the hip, the bodice with a pair of deep gold and emerald hanging earrings, and a somewhat 'simple' gold necklace with a matching emerald surrounded by diamonds.

"It can't be.. what?" Now Pepper's a touch concerned, but she doesn't want to look…

~

"No, I don't believe we _have_ met." Clea tells a plump, slightly inebriated Gotham city councilman. "I am Clea Strange, it is a pleasure. No… I'm certain I would remember you, sir." she says to him, smiling as she gently removes his paw from her arm. "Won't you have another drink? I could swear I heard someone say that Wayne was opening some of his Scotch reserves at the far table. Do go have a snootful, won't you?" and as he turns to look for this fabled treasure the blonde slips into the crowd. Social butterflies kow how to fly away when it's necessary.

It's not difficult to notice where the host and his coterie are - the focus of the room tends to be on Bruce Wayne and his lady friend. Despite the knot of people surrounding them, Clea makes her way towards them, drink safely in hand despite the jostling elbows. "There's alien technology in the middle of the room?" she asks, that for Pepper as she overhears the comment. "This sounds terribly interesting."

A smile for Sofia. "Darling. Is this your doing?" she asks pleasantly, making a motion with her free hand to encompass the room and the party.

~

Bruce Wayne does his best to seem nonchalant, but a quick bit of eye contact with Alfred draws the butler in to draw his master away, "Pardon me, Master Bruce, a question about the wine cellar. Something in regard to a Chateau Mont Blanc 69 and a gentleman from the Hellfire Club?"

"Ladies, if you'll excuse me," he says, kissing Sophia on the cheek and giving a wary eye to Clea before he withdraws, "A pleasure, I assure you. We'll have to chat more later."

~

"Not what. Who," Sofia responds to Pepper before finding her mask again so that by the time Clea comes forward, she's wearing that bright smile again.

"No. This is the Wayne Industries Holiday party. The company put it together." She takes a moment and motions to Pepper. "This is Pepper Potts of Stark Industries. Miss Potts, this is Clea Strange… My mother."

One introduction slips into another. "Of course, this is Bruce Wayne." No reverse introduction needed since he was present when she announced who Clea was to Pepper. The appearance of Alfred has Sofia pausing in her speech before she nods. "Of course." His cheek is kissed in return and she withdraws her arm, letting him go.

Once he's disappeared into the crowd, she turns her attention back on the women with her. "We might not see him the rest of the night." She won't elaborate on why. Nor, clearly, is she going to comment on the alien technology comment.

"It's good to see so many in attendance." Because with what's been happening in Gotham, there was a chance many wouldn't come.

~

Pepper draws in a breath as she watches her now friend find that 'place' once again, and she inclines her head at Bruce's apologies and subsequent errands. A quick glance is given to Sofia, one that that is more than a little sympathetic and understanding, though at least Bruce wasn't leaving the party all together in an iron suit. Standing shoulder to shoulder now with Sofia, Pepper extends a hand to shake, "Ms Strange, a pleasure." There is a moment before she realizes that she'd been overheard before, and corrects herself, "Oh no. I was just saying that I might use that as a lure in the future for my employer, Mr. Stark. It might get him away from work for a little while."

~

Clea inclines her head as the introductions come. She looks far too young to be Sofia's mother, the blonde can't be over thirty years old. She smiles and accepts Pepper's hand, squeezing it gently. "Ms. Potts. No, the pleasure is mine." she says in return. "Oh, no interesting unstable isotopes other than whatever is in those curry puffs on the table?" she asks, a touch of a pout coming to her lips for a moment. "A pity."

Her light manner drops a moment as she looks again to Sofia once Bruce is out of earshot. "Something here is troubling. This city in general is a pit of darkness, but it seems worse. You've felt it, no doubt?" she asks Sofia, perhaps this is cryptic for Pepper. "Ah, well. A discussion for another time." and she smiles again. "I suppose we should enjoy while we are able."

~

That subtle move by Pepper earns the woman a gentle smile from Sofi and a nod of thanks, her free arm linking with Pepper's just as it had done the first night they met. Idiot men.

She can't help but chuckle softly. "Both so fond of the new, shiny things," is said of Bruce and Tony. It's true but for different reasons. "Well, you tell him if he doesn't come see us, then you'll just have to take up the job offer from Wayne Industries," is said slyly and with a wink.

Her eyes snap to her mother and the laughter dies. "Not here. that's a separate part and doesn't belong in this room, please." Which, yes, is her subtle agreement. She knows things aren't right in Gotham and she's working on it but she doesn't mix that work with this work. Her life is quite the precarious balancing act.

A glance around the room, a soft murmur as her fingers tap against Pepper's arm and then she's motioning Clea and Pepper to a side door, leaving a bit of magic in the room to mask their departure and make it seem as if they're still milling about. Just 'glimpses' caught and never able to pin down.

"Shall we?"

~

Pepper shakes her head, "If by 'isotopes' you mean 'extra calories', then yes," is quipped. "Beyond that?" A gentle rise is given to her shoulders in a light shrug. "I'm afraid vegetable oil is simply not all that exciting."

Pepper's arm links with Sofia's; two ladies and two powerful men, though Sofia at least isn't quite so seemingly unrequited. Pesky men. "Oh I will.. and then he'll ask me what Mr. Wayne has that he doesn't.. and I'll give him a list." She's joking, her tones airy. She won't leave him or the company. Didn't she say that she hated job hunting?

Now, though, there is talk about some darkness, and Pepper is a touch confused. Sure there's crime, which is why she has a driver.. and such. When Sofia offers a side room, she moves along easily, walking with the two other ladies… not even missed.

~

Clea follows along. "Don't let me interfere with your enjoyment, darling." she says to Sofia. "Your young man is very handsome, Sofia. I think I knew that already, but seeing him up close is something different. He's a very impressive specimen. I think I approve."

~

Once in the side room, Sofia relaxes slightly and the alcohol is set aside. She takes a moment to pick up the phone and quiet speak into the receiver, gently requesting some tea be brought in.

When she turns back to both women, her eyes stray to Clea. "He's dear to me. He and Alfred are … family."

Her attention turns to Pepper and softens a great deal. "Miss Potts … Pepper … There's things about me you haven't learned yet. Things that can make you a target. You're a friend and I have precious few of those, so if you don't want to know, I won't hold it against you if you choose to walk out now. If you choose to stay, your opinion would be very valued."

Chairs are motioned to, indicating they should sit and make themselves comfortable. "Tea is being brought up." She really doesn't drink much. "And scones." And clearly isn't above tempting people.

~

Right now, all Pepper truly sees is that her friend is distressed. Truth be told, she has precious few friends herself; her lifestyle, her work pretty much precludes 'going out with the girls' anymore. So, whatever moments that she gets at some of these soirees, well.. "Yeah," she counters, "Me too." She reaches out to touch her friend's forearm before she releases and moves to sit down. She makes a point, however, to turn to look at Sofia, and Clea before, "I'm staying." There's resolve in those tones. Once that's out and she's cast her lot, she pulls a seat out and sits down slowly and deliberately, ready.

~

Clea smiles softly. "I thought as much. There is nothing wrong with that. It's good to have an anchor like that, something to keep your head out of the wider realms. Stephen sometimes forgot that there were people here too that were his charges." She sits in one of the offered seats, crossing one leg over the other and smoothing her skirts. She nods once in approval at Pepper's choice. "Excellent." She adjusts a stray hair from out of her eyes as she peers at Sofia.

~

The look Sofia gives Pepper is one of warmth and gratitude. It means a great deal to her that her friend is staying. More than she thought it would. It's something she'll think about later certainly.

"Stephen put his position as Sorcerer Supreme above all else from what I've seen." Clearly something she doesn't plan on repeating. And no, she didn't refer to him as her father. "Knowing me puts them in danger. I can best protect them by staying close but I won't let it interfere or consume me."

There's a pause as tea arrives, brought in by Alfred who gets such a sweet and affectionate smile from Sofi. "Thank you, Alfred." And ever the formal one in front of guests, Alfred simply bows and then turns and leaves.

A deep breath is taken and Sofia looks over at Pepper. "I'm… Not entirely as I seem. It's a very long and complicated story that I will go into details about another time but, at the moment, it's easier to say, I'm a Sorceress and it's my job to protect this world from threats of the supernatural and magical kind. Before me, it was my .. father's … But given that he has disappeared…" It now falls to her since she was trained to take his place.

"Something is very wrong in Gotham. Something very dark and very very old is stirring… And it's influence is reaching even those that don't harness magic…"

~

Pepper's expression says it all. There's that moment of 'oooookay' that crosses her face, but it passes to something beyond, something that is probably one of those things that endears her to Tony. Curiousity. In science, there are things that are simply understood as 'laws'. They don't have to be proven over and over.. they're immutable, and everything is built on top of them. Theories, hypotheses.. and right now, the fact that Sofia is claiming Sorceress (she can actually hear that capital 's' in there!), well… Pepper is using that as a base. She may not understand it, she may not even believe it, but everything that is coming out builds upon that basic 'law'. Rule. Fact.

Her head is tilted up at her friend, green eyes searching and studying, looking, but there isn't any doubt. No fear. It's a need to learn more. "Something wrong in Gotham." So Pepper's moved on to that. "Dark and old… does-does-does that mean just.. people, or are we talking.. more of that.. that.. magic?" She's not feeling it, and she'll be more than happy to say as much, "Because I'm just not, I'm not feeling anything strange."

~

Clea is not shy about taking up a cup of tea and a scone, but she isn't greedy or grasping about it. She waits her turn but does have something. Sitting back again she watches Pepper intently with her violet eyes as Sofia explains herself to the redhead. "Keeping them close reminds you why you fight rather than locking yourself in a hidden city or a sanctum to contemplate your navel for eternity."

~

A voice carries from back near one of the doors. "Seriously? It's a holiday party. Of course I brought presents. I figured if nothing else there would be a charity toy drive. So I brought a few dozen of the latest StarTech watches, with data plan gift cards. And a little red wagon full of other toys. Just put them wherever, OK?"

Should anyone bother to look in that direction, a tall woman with short blonde hair artfully styled is outside the door to the room, dressed in a festive green gown with scarlet trim. Whether or not anyone recognizes Linda Danvers is another question. But she was on the guest list, somewhere.

~

"There's a chance you may not realize you're feeling it. That sense of … Unease, of depression and shadow that surrounds Gotham… It's tied to it."

Sofia offers a cup of warm tea and a scone to Pepper with a faint smile. "I know magic seems… out there. and I will show you if you need it, Pepper. I understand, truly."

Settling back in her seat, she picks up her own cup. "There have been murders in Gotham lately… Blood magic being worked to summon. Bloodlines being targeted." And Very Bad juju. All spelling Trouble for Gotham. "The work is sloppy though… Bodies being abused before the ritual is undergone. It looks like someone without knowledge is being influenced. They know just enough to make them dangerous."

The voice from the other side of the door draws Sofia's attention for a moment and she smiles. It's nice to see someone thinking about the children. The response to her from a nearby staff is quick in coming. "Of course, Ms. Danvers. Please, help yourself. I will try to find Mister Wayne or Miss Strange and let them know you have arrived."

The ball room is decorated to the nines of, course. A huge tree stands in the far corner of the room, the decorations meant to reflect the sheer amount of 'money' in the room. In other words, they're gaudy. Tables line the walls, filled with foods of all types, champagne fountains and 'rivers' of spiced cider. The center of the room has been left free to mingling and dancing. And small orchestra sits off to the side, their skills filling the air with old time Christmas melodies.

~

"Why don't I just wheel them under the tree?" Linda inquires. She's friendly, polite, but definitely doesn't play the high class game the way others do. Most attribute it to the fact that she came into all of this as a science and tech mogul, not coming from money, and not really interested in money except as it offers her a way to change the world, supporting science and technology. She's not quite the technological visionary of a Tony Stark, but she's also not an alcoholic - recovering or not - and has never been a womanizer. Or a manizer. Or whatever that would be called.

"Thanks." Linda offers, lifting a hand so one finger can push up her StarTech Glasses, a feature that has been common with her for the last several years. They're always the latest of her designs, and distinctive. "Are we also contributing checks for donations?"

Kara Zor-El's hearing is excellent. And she just picked up most of that. Enough that she knows she should be concerned. She usually stays out of Gotham. And she's not great against magic. But there might be something she can do to help. She should pay attention.

~

What Clea says brings Pepper's attention around quickly, and her gaze lingers before she exhales a breath that she wasn't aware she was holding. She's heard something like that from Tony from time to time, and it only reinforces the discomfort of everything that it entails. She's got that stone in her stomach now, as she looks back at Sofia. The smile had drifted a little, but it rises again in thanks for the tea and scones, remarking, "This is the famous Christmas scone..".

She shakes her head, "No, no, you don't have to. It's like.. it's like science, when you get to the upper levels. There are just some laws that you have to accept as fact, and then build on that. You don't need to show me anything. It's okay." Her hand rises to ward off 'proof' as she claims that it's not needed. The sanity of her friend is not in question, nor is her veracity.

It's to the murders then, and Pepper considers, "Gotham has always had a .. feeling, but I always figured that it was because I'm from New York?" It's the ages old NYC versus everyone, and she is honestly aware of it. "You know, any other city is bad because it's not New York sort of thing?" Though blood sacrifices, murder, torture before death.. that's not good. "What is the police doing about it?"

The discussion beyond the door really isn't of her concern.. not yet, anyway.

~

Clea nibbles her scone delicately as the other two ladies talk for a moment, then she speaks up. "The police will be in the way, but then they usually are. Sadly, for them. Likely some of them will end up as victims of this one way or another." She sets the half-eaten scone down and has a sip of tea. "I am more interested in what the less-official sorts will do, how much they should be involved." and she looks at Sofia. "Have you discussed this with any of them?" she wonders. This seems to remind her of something. "Oh. I really should have you meet my dear friend Wanda… this will be something she needs to know about."

~

"They do what they can, of course. To them, it's some crazy or part of some cult that's recently started up and is staking claim. If they catch who is doing this, the source will move on to another. I wouldn't be surprised if it others don't start showing signs soon anyhow," is Sofia's response to Pepper's question about the police.

"No. It's not a New York thing. It's Gotham specific. The city is … for lack of a better term, and believe me I hate the cliche attached to it, cursed. It's old magic but something has recently triggered the source of it all. I'm just not sure what. Or who."

A hand is run through her hair, the diamonds falling to the floor causing Sofia to frown before she kneels to pick them up, having clearly forgotten they were there. "I'm researching Gotham's history and Lore. Tracing back the founding families. So far, the targets seem to be entirely female and from the original families. It wouldn't surprise me to see it move on to males soon as well."

~

In the ballroom outside the door of the room where Sofia, Pepper and Clea are gathered, the young man who had been talking to Linda nods. "I am sure there is something we can arrange if that's what you'd like to do, Ms. Danvers." So quick to appease those who promise money. "If you'll excuse me a moment, I'll find one of them for you." And off he goes.

~

Finding Bruce is impossible, of course but people swear they've seen Sofia 'just over there' talking to Clea and Pepper. Looking, however, proves pointless since none of them are really there and those sensitive to it will feel the magic hanging in the air that makes those glimpses possible.

In the other room, Sofia shakes her head. "I've spoken to some of the victims," Sofi offers to Clea. "They couldn't tell me much. I've decided not to include others yet until I can give them something concrete. Wouldn't do for all of us to be chasing ghosts. I will advise you to keep your senses open though. Without knowing who or what, yet, there's always the chance this could spill into Metropolis or New York."

~

Speaking of witches, it might just be an odd coincidence, but Wanda Maximoff shows up at the door, wearing a dark red dress that clings to her in a flattering manner. Glancing around, she smiles a little as she spies out Clea, though she doesn't recognize the others as she makes her way over, her attention mostly centered on Clea.

~

"Does anyone else hear the jingling of silver bell…" Clea begins, tilting her head up as if listening to something just beyond perception. "Oh." she says with a smile. "She's here."

The blonde rises, stepping towards the door to the private room she, Pepper, and Sofia were talking in. "DO you mind terribly if another joins us? She's one of us." she asks, but she reaches for the doorknob, still, there's time for Sofia to tell her no.

As Wanda will soon see, Clea is dressed in a long-sleeved silky gown to her knees, imperial purple that clashes a bit with her violet eyes. She's worn her hair up, kept on top of her head with combs and pins of silver with sapphire and blood rubies. At her throat is a cabachon star emerald depending from a silvery chain.

~

"Just do me a favor, and let me know when you find Mr. Wayne, or Ms. Strange, and let me know what the charity of the evening will be." Linda offers, with a nod. "Thanks again, for your help. It looks like a really awesome party. Hope you get to enjoy it." That said, Linda lets the harried young woman do her job, and heads towards the party, keeping her Kryptonian hearing tuned to the conversation about Gotham's woes, as she tries to think how she can help … in either guise.

~

The 'less official'? Oh.. no.. and Pepper gets a look on her face that looks very much like an 'oh no', and she shakes her head. "If Tony gets wind of this..". While it's not up his alley, as it were, if Pepper is the least bit involved, it might pull him in, and…

Pepper rises from her seat, and she looks so very apologetic. Wasn't there something about protecting by keeping one close? "If you'd like, I can look up the families. I'm sure I have access to some databases and such that you may not?" She doesn't say that in an elitist manner; it simply is. They've got JARVIS, and thus access to pretty much the world's repositories. "I'm sure relationships can be found, links, maybe?" She just so doesn't want Tony to get involved… or hurt in all this.

Though now, she should really go. Leaning over to Sofia, she whispers, "Call me later, please? We'll do lunch." And that's not even a 'have my girl call your girl' thing. That's a 'we'll talk later!' thing. "Ms Strange, a pleasure.." but she even leaves her tea and scone behind!

~

"Actually, I've got you up to date so it is likely a good idea if we return to the party itself," Sofia's already pushing up as she sets her tea aside. "Some of the ones gathered will insist on attention soon and I need to be there." She has more than one job to do this evening after all. "I'd be more than happy to meet whoever it is, however."

Bright blue eyes slide to Pepper and linger before she smiles genuinely at the woman. "That you'd do that, Pepper, means everything to me but I know what it risks and so, for now at least, I'm going to decline." Because she knows she wouldn't ever want anyone else putting Bruce at risk.

Pepper's hug gets returned and she nods at the whisper. "Definitely. Tomorrow. No shop talk. I want you both far away from this unless there's no choice. Go make sure he sleeps." She gives her friend a wink and wave, seeing her out.

Once out in the main room, the magic Sofia had placed on it disappears and suddenly, she's much easier to find. It has the young man making his way back to Linda's side and pointing towards one of the side doors. "Miss Strange is just there, Ms. Danvers."

~

Wanda arrives right at that moment, having homed in on the magical sensations since that seemed the most likely place. She smiles warmly at Clea, "Clea! Sorry I'm late, but I had to talk to a few students…" Shaking her head, she then glances around, "I hope I'm not interrupting anything?" Her eyes flicker curiously over to Sofia.

~

"Don't crowd the woman, I'm sure she's busy. Just let her know I'm here, and that I was asking about whether there's a cash donation plan for tonight." Linda offers, and smiles to the young man who has apparently taken over for the young woman who was helping her earlier.

In surroundings like this, Linda doesn't garner nearly the attention of some, but women who are six feet tall don't exactly just blend. Thank goodness she doesn't bother with heels! The best part, though, is the way she visibly uses the StarTech glasses to prompt her through social gatherings; facial recognition and data fed right to the glasses. So she makes her way around the crowd, meeting and greeting. And her skill at this has not a thing to do with Kryptonian memory.

Seriously, stop blowing her cover! Too bad the magicky talk is over for the evening.

~

Clea beams as Wanda calls out to her. "And there she is." She takes Wanda's hands as she arrives. "Darling." Though Sofia is about to get mobbed by partygoers, Clea makes the introductions. "Wanda, this is Sofia Strange, my daughter. Sofia, this is my dearest friend Wanda. She's a teacher at that interesting school… I believe it's in Westchester."

~

Sofia's blue eyes flit from where Pepper disappeared over to Wanda. "Not at all. We were just -" She doesn't get to finish because there's suddenly a young man at her elbow, whispering in her ear and nodding towards Linda which has Sofi's gaze landing on the woman before moving back to the help and nodding. "Show her over, please," is murmured in return. "I'll happily talk with her."

Her attention goes back to Clea and Wanda as Wanda is introduced and Sofia nods her head politely. "Nice to meet you, Wanda. Welcome to the Wayne Industries Christmas party. I hope everything has been to your enjoyment so far."

Without a sidewards glance, she reaches out and takes a glass of champagne from a passing tray. It's brought to her lips but those who watch very very closely will note that she doesn't actually take a drink of it. The glass is just a prop. It helps push forward that mask of flirty, almost flighty woman who enjoys her boyfriend's money and has a wandering eye.

~

Wanda smiles warmly, "I… yes, it is a lovely party." She glances over towards Clea, and gives her a wry expression, as if doing the mental math on Sofia being Clea's daughter, and then she chuckles a bit, "Well, it's a pleasure to finally meet you, Sofia. Clea has mentioned you quite a bit, and yes, the school is in Westchester." She smiles and leans in, placing a kiss on Clea's cheek before glancing around, "Definitely an interesting party… much bigger than the Christmas party we have planned at the school."

~

Guided, the tall blonde tech mogul makes her way over to the rather interesting group. "Ladies." Hmm. How interesting. One of these three doesn't come up in her database. Linda pauses and nods to Sophia. "Hi. I'm sorry to interrupt. I really am. But I thought there was going to be an arrangement for charitable donations. I wanted to go ahead and make out my check." She glances around the room visibly. "A really beautiful party. I hope you'll tell Bruce I managed to make it."

~

Clea beams at the kiss. "I'm glad you could find me, dear." She nods. "Yes, this is a lovely party." A smile for Linda. "You're hardly interrupting. Welcome." she adds.

~

There's not even a flick of emotion across Sofia's features in concern to the statement of being mentioned. "Nice to know," is the comment regarding it. "Which school might that be?"

Attention drawn to Linda, Sofi smiles. "I'm glad to see you were able to join us, Ms. Danvers and I know Bruce will be disappointed that he missed you." As for the charity. "We have set one up, yes. The donations will be split, evenly, between the children's hospital and wards and the orphanages and group homes." The latter hits very close to home for her and Bruce for separate reasons. "The check can be made out to The Wayne Children Charities." Once the check is made out and sent along, Sofia gives Linda a small nod of her head before the other woman disappears.

She turns back to Clea and Wanda. "I'm glad you're both enjoying yourselves. The company does tend to go all out."

~

Wanda smiles, "Oh, it's the Xavier Institute. I'm certain that you've heard of it, yes?" She glances over at Clea, then back towards Sofia, "That's definitely for a noble cause. I'm glad I contributed what I could… admittedly, it isn't much. Schoolteachers don't make much, even for private institutions."

~

Sofia sobers for a moment at Wanda. "Donate some of your free time to tutoring and lessons to the kids on the streets that won't get a chance to learn any other way and that is more than enough. Trust me."

Half her champagne is downed.

And then she realizes she's actually drinking, frowns, and sets the glass aside entirely. One might think she's got a problem if they didn't know her well.

"Have you two been in Gotham long? If not, I'd definitely suggest a visit to the Wayne Botanical Gardens before you leave. Even this time of year, it's absolutely beautiful."

And look! Passing chocolates. The waiter is halted and the tray waved to. "Please try a truffle. Bruce and I were able to bring some back with us from the Alps. It's the best I've ever had. They're filled with a ganache and liqueur mix."

~

Wanda nods, "Why, certainly. Thank you, Sofia." She mmms and takes a truffle, nibbling on it and smiling in appreciation, "I actually do quite a bit of volunteer teaching in Mutant Town, but I suppose I can find my way over into Gotham to help with a few things." She also radiates chaos like a cloak, magic energy swirling around her in a way that few could sense… save, perhaps, the two ladies that she's currently with.

~

Clea does take a chocolate. "Thank you! I don't mind if I do." She has a bite of the morsel and smiles. "Mmm. That _is_ excellent." She shrugs a shoulder at the the question about Gotham. "The gardens do sound lovely. Something to do while I snoop around." A look to Wanda. "WHich reminds me… I need your advice about my new idea."

~

Sofia's head tilts and she studies the woman in front of her for a moment, eyes flicking to Clea and then back. "That's kind of you." The woman should be careful though. The magic that radiates from her will paint a huge target on her. "Don't snoop too much. Gotham tends to protect its own and I don't want to see anyone get hurt." A subtle warning. "Just … Be careful. And steer clear of Batman if possible."

She takes one of the chocolates herself and a delicate bite is taken. The mention of a new idea has her arching a brow. "Please… Don't do anything that will draw attention here. Especially right now."

~

Wanda looks wryly at Sofia, "I am /always/ careful." She smiles and flickers a glance over towards Clea, "Oh, a new idea? Dare I ask what… aside from visiting the gardens together, which sounds perfectly splendid."

~

"Mmm, we'll talk about it sometime, Wanda. I need your expertise with colorful friends." Clea says. She nods to Sofia, though. "You won't even know I'm here."

~

A small nod goes to her mother and an accompanying smile to Wanda. "Good. Gotham is a little rougher than most are used to."

She's about to say more when Alfred shows up, informing her there's an issue that needs her attention and nods towards the other end of the room where someone has had just a bit too much to drink.

"Oh. Excuse me, please. I hope you enjoy the rest of the party." And then she's weaving her way through people, disappearing into the crowd.

~

Wanda gives Clea a sly grin, "I didn't realize that Sofia was… well." She hmms, and tilts her head, "She's very nice. You should be quite proud of her." And she means it, since… well, she knows Clea isn't from Around Here, so age isn't exactly a concern.

~

"Oh, I am. She doesn't believe I am, though. It's a bit complicated." Clea admits. "I am well-preserved, aren't I?" she teases. Once Sofia has taken her leave Clea gives Wanda a mischevious smile. "You know quite a bit about costumed criminals, yes? Fighting them and such? Being a mystery… a vigilante?"

~

Wanda makes a bit of a face, "Yes, I know a little bit about them, being with the X-Men." She grins, "But I've never really worked in Gotham before… what were you thinking, love?"

~

"I want to do that." Clea says. "It seems so terribly interesting and exciting. Sofia says that someone is murdering young wealthy women, so it seems like something I should investigate. But, I need a costume and some gadgets, don't you think? I need a special name, too."

~

Wanda smiles, "Well, do you really need /gadgets/? I mean, you're a sorceress after all. I just have pouches for things with my costume." She chuckles softly, "But as far as names go, we could come up with something appropriate for you… hm."

~

"It doesn't seem fair, though. I feel sorry for the poor insane criminals in Gotham if I use my magic." Clea says. "the gadgets are just for panache, right? After all, the important thing is punching the criminals, yes? Isn't that the point of costume crime-fighting?"

~

Wanda laughs quietly, "Well, the point is to stop crimes and criminals. Whether by punching them or using magic to subdue them. Just doing it without killing them, is the important part. Justice must be served."

~

"Hmm. Well…" Clea considers. "Let's have some more champagne on the Waynes and then go somewhere and discuss this some more, hmm?" she suggests to the other lady. "You'll have to tell me everything about the business."

~

Wanda smiles, "I'm not sure how much I /know/, but I'll be glad to tell you what I can love." She hmms, "And more champagne would be delightful. Let's sample a few things and slip off then."

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