Disclaimer: Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal, oh baby telephone and tell me I can play with the things that I don't own.
A/N: This is part of the CATverse. Timeline which can be found at www. freewebs. com/ catverse (delete the spaces, if you please). I...have no idea where this one goes. It was originally a scene in Playing Cupid For Dummies but after further consideration, it just doesn't fit in there all that well and stands better on its own. I suppose you could put this pretty much anywhere after Bright Nova's Catfight. I'll figure out where it goes exactly eventually and tell you so (once I banish this nasty asthma attack I'm having because the entire contents of the file for the story Hungarian Rhapsody are gone), but for now, just enjoy the fact that the muse is back with a vengeance after an extended 'mental health day'.
If there was one thing that Jonathan Crane had learned during the many years he'd been saddled with three women (let it be said he'd learned a great deal more than just one thing, but that none of those other things pertained to his current situation), it was that when he found one of them crouched outside a doorway doing her best impression of a ninja fly on the wall, the inescapable conclusion was 'There's dirty work afoot'.
This time, it was Techie that he found crouched near the ground, peering around the corner of the kitchen doorway, her lips curved upwards oddly and her head tilted to one side like a bemused dog.
It was rare that he got such an opportunity to startle her by catching her off guard, and he took it.
He snuck up behind her soundlessly and dropped his head so that he was a disconcertingly close distance from her ear.
She, as expected, started rather violently, but somehow managed to keep herself from flailing in the direction of the occupants of the kitchen, thus keeping her presence and spying activities a secret.
That didn't stop her from turning her head ever so slightly after she'd recovered from her initial startle to glare at him and hiss, "Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"
He was glad of the half light in the hallway, since it went a long way towards covering his self satisfied smirk. "It is one of my higher ranking goals in life."
"Above or below giving Al a heart attack?" she asked, without missing a beat.
"Below," he replied somewhat condescendingly before moving to stand up straight once more and resume his journey towards the refrigerator.
Techie grabbed his sleeve and yanked him back before he took half a step. "Don't you dare."
"I happen to be hungry."
He looked at her suspiciously. "I can't recall a time when you or your fiendish cohorts have ever tried to keep me from eating."
She jerked her head in the general direction of the kitchen. "Captain and Edward are in there."
"They need time," she replied, acting as though she made perfect sense and he was the one being dense.
She swatted him harmlessly on the arm, though he was sure that if he'd been anyone else she wouldn't have shown such restraint. "No you dummy, to fall in love."
His eyelids slid to half mast and he looked down at her with barely contained distaste. "Do you mean to tell me you've deemed yourself matchmaker?"
"Nobody else is doing the job." She jabbed a thumb in the direction of the kitchen. "Look at them and tell me, what do you see?"
He sighed as though he were the most put-upon man on the face of the earth and glanced at Nygma and the Captain, both of them chattering with each other and drinking tea contentedly.
Crane felt disgust rise up in him with the word he uttered as his reply: "Domestication."
She looked at him like she wasn't surprised in the least. "Leave it to you to find a way to equate togetherness with livestock ownership."
"I'm a closet romantic, my dear wife," he answered wryly, knowing that bringing up the fact the only way he'd found himself married was due to a farce of a ceremony of convenience would drive his point home. "And apparently, so are you, if you've decided to aid those two idiots in matters of the heart."
"It's got nothing to do with me being romantic," she snapped irritably, annoyed that he was insinuating she was soft anywhere but in the head. "It's the thrill of the manipulation, the chase, the hunt..."
"Well I'm not about to sit here and be your faithful bloodhound, I want a sandwich." He snatched his arm from her grasp and straightened his sleeve. "Besides, I would think you'd want to observe your handy work and gloat."
She gave him a look he couldn't interpret. "The hunt is always better when the prey doesn't know it's on the menu."
He dismissed the idea that she was referring to him (because after all, that would have been a suicidal course of action on her part; besides the fact that a. he was already married to her and b. the only other person in the lair to pair him with was Al and even Techie wasn't stupid enough to try that). "I don't care about your hunting strategy unless it involves an elephant gun. I'm getting a sandwich."
Techie put her hands on her hips, staring him down with her best serious face and said sternly, "If you go in there, I'll never forgive you."
For one insane moment, Crane pictured her as a very irate housewife. The sort in a billowy dress from the fifties, an impractically pretty apron that conveniently matched her pearls and a rolling pin in hand.
The idea amused him no end. He barely contained the urge to laugh or make an offhanded remark about sending her Wham! Bam! to the moon.
"I'll find a way to get over it," he said dismissively, once he got over the urge to cackle, and started towards the kitchen again.
As he crossed the threshold, he heard her hiss at his back, "You're a horrible husband."
He turned aside and tossed over his shoulder in an unnecessarily loud voice, "You're an equally horrible wife."