Author: Kizmet PM
Side stories for "Muddling through Grey". Ch4: Owen's first day at KindergartenRated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Family - Chapters: 4 - Words: 10,687 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 30 - Follows: 24 - Updated: 11-12-11 - Published: 09-14-11 - id: 7383337
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Characters and premise are the property of DC, I'm just borrowing them for a little non-profit fun.
Summary: Catwoman stops by Central to verify certain rumors.
Selina wrinkled her nose distastefully, Central City was so... plebeian. Completely lacking the gothic grandeur of Gotham or even the fierce modernness of Metropolis. It was a sprawling, working city, grown-up over the years without any sort of guiding vision. It was also too low and spread out for swinging from roof to roof. Selina found herself reduced to skulking through alleys to get around.
She was almost ready to pack it in as a bad bet when a red-headed teenager in green and white polka-dots stomped past. Selina shrugged and followed him, slipping from one pool of shadows to the next like the cat she'd taken her name from. She trailed him back to a warehouse along the river front.
While the boy went in, Selina scaled the building as if walking up a staircase. She let herself in through a skylight just in time to hear a stereo flipped on to something loud and angry.
"Damnnit Piper! I just got Owen settled down!" an Australian accented voice shouted, to no effect.
"Missy, you're certain easy on the eyes, but most guests come in through the front door."
Selina turned to see a tall, husky man in a blue parka pointing a sci-fi looking gun at her. She smiled charmingly. "I didn't see a wire. That must be some security system."
"Temperature sensor, picked up the variation when you let the air conditioning out," Cold explained.
"Mmmm, clever," Selina replied. She shrugged, still laying on the charm since the gun was still pointed at her. "I was coming to talk with you, but I do like making an entrance. You understand."
Selina frowned. "I heard a rumor the Rogues went straight? That can't be right."
Cold grimaced. "Fresh new pardons, no reason to be in a rush to invalidate them."
"But, don't you find it... confining?" Selina shuddered delicately. "You were free, living by no rules but your own."
Cold started to reply but Selina went right on without giving him the opportunity to get a word in. "Now you're volunteering to let them put a collar on you. Agreeing to play by their rules. To be limited.
Len rolled his eyes, holstered his weapon and leaned back against the wall to wait out Selina's rant.
"Alright, not killing is a choice I made for myself. And yes, there are challenges on the vigilante side of things. But it's not the same. It's so... reactionary. Our side always gets to lead the dance. And there's nothing to replace the thrill of seeing a pretty-shiny and scheming to make it yours just because you can and they can't stop you. Aren't you afraid you'll be bored?"
A harsh bark of laugher escaped Cold. "Bored? Woman, I have kids." He glanced toward the mirror. "Speaking of which, Evan! Why the hell do you have an arrow stuck in your rigging?"
"Because whatever I did that ticked Little Miss Arrowette off, weren't bad enough for her to actually shoot me?" Evan shrugged. "Maybe she's on the rag."
Selina rolled her eyes, "Charming," she muttered.
"Anyway, Tricks and Baby-Flash are fighting. Thought you'd want to know. It went all out about a minute ago," Evan finished.
"Oh for the love of..." Cold exclaimed. "Well, let's get over there."
Selina invited herself along, stepping through the mirror after Cold. They emerged through a department store window, just in time to get hit by a paint-balloon Kid Flash had deflected. It was clearly far from the first such missile to be launched. Both Kid Flash and Trickster himself were sporting a rainbow of paint splatters. And the Flash looked more bedraggled than either of the boys, he'd had the misfortune to get caught in a cross-fire while trying to break up the fight.
"Somehow, this is your fault," Flash accused Cold as he skidded to a stop beside them.
Selina scaled the nearest building, not eager to become collateral damage. Robin joined her a few moment later, he had popcorn. Thoughtfully he offered to share.
"You grab yours, I grab mine?" Cold suggested. For a moment Flash looked ready to argue terminology then he nodded.
Flash waited impatiently while Cold worked his way closer to Trickster. Then when the other man was in position Flash slipped in and yanked his nephew out of the fight. Trickster tried to use the interference to his advantage but found his arms twisted behind his back.
"You pull a job?"Cold asked the younger Rogue.
"No, gave my word to be good."
"Then why the hell are you two fighting?"
In a heartbeat both Wally and James were shouting out their grievances.
Len and Barry shared a grimace as they made out something about: "Saw her first." "Likes me better." "Does not!" "Does so!"
While the two boys shouted their audience grew.
"Who's the young lady in question?" Selina asked Robin curiously. "And which one does she like? Or is she just playing them against each other?"
"Ms. Martian," Robin replied. "I don't think she's noticed them fighting over her. She's too hung up on Piper's boyfriend... Have you thought over what Bats asked?"
"Don't rush me, Boy Wonder," Selina snapped.
Down below James and Wally's shouting had almost escalated back to blows. Len put two fingers in his mouth and whistled piercingly. "The two of you are fighting over a girl?" he asked in disgust. "Do you know how stupid that is?"
James smiled brightly. "Like when you and Rory got caught... By the police no less, after the two of you knocked each other out over that one hooker?"
Len scowled. "You're too old to sound precocious when you make cracks like that anymore."
Barry groaned. "I knew it. I'm getting sucked in by your bad karma," he complained to Len.
"She's not just a girl," Evan offered from the sidelines. "She's a shape-shifter. 'Till M'Gann showed up for practice today I never considered the fringe benefits of dating a 'shifter."
"And the blond girl with the bow who looks around ready to start making pin-cushions?" Selina asked.
"Artemis, the other girl on the team," Robin said. "The one the guys aren't fighting over."
"Ouch," Selina said. "And you aren't involved?"
Robin wrinkled his nose. "I'm fourteen, Arty's seventeen and M'Gann's something like forty technically. Sure that translates to late teens in human-years but she's into Conner and while he's technically thirteen months old he's sort of more like seventeen too. Anyway, you see how dumb those two look? No thanks."
Selina smiled. "Give it another year or two. You'll have to beat the girls off with a stick... and you won't want to bother." She ruffled Robin's hair fondly.
Down below Len was wrapping up. "And this paint sure as hell better wash off."
Trickster scuffed his toe and grinned shame-facedly. "I got got too," he offered as compensation.
Barry sighed. "That's another costume down the drain. Seriously James, you need to stop reusing security dye packets in your gear."
"But we've got, like, hundreds lying around," James pointed out. "Hart's aces at disarming them."
"Please don't remind me," Barry groaned.
"We're being good now," James said virtuously.
Barry took James by one should and Wally by the other and slowly turned them around to view the collateral damage caused by their fight. "If this is being good..."
Meanwhile Len had noticed Conner standing on the sidelines watching him with a combination of hopeful, worried and embarrassed that Len was learning to recognize as a prelude to questions that, in Conner's mind, absolutely had to be answered by Len and no one else. He sighed waved Conner over, no point in putting off the inevitable.
"So?" Len prompted.
Conner hesitated then blurted out. "Do girls get strange mind effecting powers from being..." He paused, apparently searching for a suitable term then settled on "top-heavy?"
Cold bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing.
"Decided to shift her body-type to one based on Power Girl?" Len theorized.
Conner thought about it then nodded. "And, well, Wally and James kept getting weirder and weirder until-" he gestured toward the aftermath of their fight. "And Hart stormed out of practice the third time M'Gann wanted to ask me something. And Arty got mad and started taking shots at Evan 'cause she says he's a perv..."
"That's right," Len interrupted, his tone serious despite the desire to laugh. "Girls being 'top-heavy' can have a deleterious effect on the thought processes of people, particularly guys, in their vicinity. Now why don't you go tell Hartley that you're immune and spare the rest of us suffering through his sulking-music?"
"That will make him not mad?" Conner asked.
"I think so," Len replied and Conner took off with one of his block-long leaps. Len glanced back at the fight scene and saw Barry had James and Wally sanding down the walls they'd left splattered with marker dye. He decided he was just as happy leaving the hero to play disciplinarian for the hormonal brats and made his own exit before anyone could rope him into helping.
Selina dropped down from the roof beside Len. She stared at him for several minutes, her head tilted to the side for better study. "You're happy," she declared, clearly puzzled.
Len thought about it for a moment. "Hn, suppose I am." He shook his head. "Generally I'm too busy rising herd on this lot of nutcases to notice."