|It's a Graves thing (soundofwings) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2013-11-08 11:44:00
|Entry tags:||catwoman, death, door: dc comics|
Who: Muerte and Selina
What: Unexpected meetings, tentative okay-ness
Where: Muerte's funeral home
When: Now? Ish?
Warnings/Rating: Talk of childhood death.
When Selina threatened a comeback, this wasn't what she had in mind.
The plan had been a good one, but Selina had never been much of a planner. In her Gotham, Gwen had planned all her complicated heists. If there was more to it than getting in, out, and breaking into something uncrackable, then Gwen dotted the Is and crossed the Ts. Selina was good at executing, but she didn't have the patience for planning. Jumping without looking, that was the kitty cat's forte. And getting out of the messes she got herself into? She was pretty good at that too. Of course, in her Gotham there had always been a Bat there, waiting with a strong gauntleted arm. Here, she couldn't count on that. But who said she needed it? She didn't think she did.
But Selina hadn't realized how much she depended on the swish of a cape when she was out of her depth, not until the night before. Back home, she'd even made a habit of appropriating the batsignal for her own. Hey, a girl needed to be able to call her caped crusader somehow. But things were different here, and she'd still been stinging from Damian's insistence that she'd gone soft. Gone soft? She'd show him just how soft she wasn't.
That had been the plan, and it hard started off promisingly. The orphanage that Selina had grown up in was owned by the Egorovs, and it was a three-story building that overlooked Arkham City now. She knew what that orphanage was like. She knew it inside and out, and she knew what the children inside had to endure, and she knew what happened to them once they became too old to be controlled within the orphanage walls. The plan hadn't been to steal diamonds, and it hadn't been to steal famous works of art. No, she'd intended to steal children. And she'd almost gotten it right.
Almost, which is how Selina found herself at the door of the funeral home at the crack of dawn the morning after the body of a seven-year old boy had been delivered there. She'd heard of the funeral home, and it was the memory of its name that had caused her to give it to the older boys that had dropped the dead boy's body off in the darkest of night. The dead boy had been thin, sick, beaten black and blue, and there wasn't even a hint of information to come along with his battered body. And in the gloom of early morning, Selina rang the bell, dressed in black slacks and a grey sweater, a black trenchcoat cinched tight at the waist and her long hair loose down her back. Her sunglasses were dark, and the bruising at her jaw was vivid, and she rang the bell again, impatient.
Though she kept herself as human as possible and did her best to keep her thoughts to herself, Death was still too much a part of the greater universe to be able to ignore things completely. Specifics, yes, she could avoid those in her strange voluntary humanity. The sounds and comings and goings of living things no longer pressed in upon her without end. When she was her “greater self”, she couldn’t stop the awareness of everything else. She lost that, spending her time vulnerable and human, but sometimes the world shivered around her and she knew that something was going to happen. Especially if it was something that would require her attention. And though things weren’t always easy to coordinate with Iris, they did their best. So she had made it a point to be through the door in Gotham by early evening the night before, awake and waiting when the boys brought their morbid delivery to her. They didn’t give names or details or how they’d known to bring their comrade to her, and she didn’t ask. She offered them something to drink (as she did for everyone through her doors), didn’t blink twice when several of them asked for something harder than children should drink, and at least tipped it into a mug of hot chocolate instead of giving it to them straight. She added cookies on the side, and managed to press sandwiches into their hands before they fled from her warm rooms.
She knew, with the way they skittered off again into the night, that there would be no service for the boy. There would be no family coming to claim him and mourn him before placing him in a grave with an expensively sorrowful headstone. He was a child of Gotham, with no one to mark his passing. So she would do what she did best - respect him enough to treat him well in his death and she would mark his passing as well as she could. She had begun her work on him immediately, a strange-looking figure moving around the workroom with no official coat or uniform. She knew that she didn’t fit the bill for “mortician” in people’s minds. Jeans and a faded grey tanktop, no shoes or socks, hair pulled back in a twist with a simple bronze comb that was older than the city she worked in. No cat-eared headband this time, thank you very much.
When the bell rang, the strange outfit was accompanied by a pair of black latex gloves (more tattoo artist than undertaker), but she pulled them off with a snap as she crossed the room to the small intercom she’d installed shortly after opening her doors. With a press of the button, her quiet, slightly distorted voice carried to the small speaker outside the front door. “I’ll be right there. Please come in.” For of course, the door was unlocked. She had no fear of anyone coming in to vandalize the place. Not since she moved in.
Selina didn't come to places like this. Sure, she'd had her share of dead things over the years, but she'd always left them for the Bat to find. She thought monsters deserved burials just like everyone else, and she'd taken to leaving corpses by the batsignal in her Gotham. But this wasn't her Gotham, and she didn't have a system, and she wasn't going to involve the Bat in this until much, much later. No, more to the point, she wasn't going to involve the Bat at all. It was Bruce Wayne who would be receiving a little delivery of children under six. Because, to her surprise, the orphanage hadn't even reported the children missing. She knew that meant something, but the kitty cat wasn't a detective, and that wasn't her reason for ringing this bell so early in the morning.
When she heard the voice usher her in, Selina considered leaving. She didn't really want to have a conversation with a mortician, but she wanted answers. No, she wanted absolution, though she would never, ever admit as much. She pushed open the heavy door, and she kept the sunglasses down over her eyes. She looked around, and she wondered who ran this place and how long the old house had served this purpose. Standing there, in the middle of the foyer, she looked every bit the Gotham socialite. Somewhere along the line, the kitty cat had grown up, and she'd grown up well, despite her very unimpressive beginnings. She dragged her finger along a flat surface, expecting to bring up dust that would serve as a testament to the age of the house. Somehow, it felt ancient, and the kitty cat knew to trust her gut when it came to absolutely everything.
No, Selina thought, this wasn't just any funeral home.
Jeans and tank top were slipped quickly off, and a simple black dress took their place (long-sleeved, conservative, appropriate for the proprietress of a funeral home). She still kept her hair pulled up with the comb, and she slid her bare feet into a pair of simple flat shoes. With the dress falling only to mid-shin, it left some of her legs and feet visible, the skin there milk pale and (with the right fall of light) covered in lightning-patterned scars, the sort of silver that betrayed decades of fading age. She smoothed a hand over her hair one more time before making her way toward the front of her house.
The house itself was indeed old, but well cared-for enough that no dust showed on surfaces or in the corners. The wood gleamed warm and soft, and the rugs covering the floors were well tended. She knew that the home was built soon after the city sprouted, and other buildings in the neighborhood had filled in around it. Since she'd taken over its ownership, much of the old spookiness and foreboding had faded along with the vandalism, replaced by something that was at least peaceful, even if people still didn't especially want to spend a great deal of time there. She understood. The first floor was a series of interconnected rooms, parlor and sitting room, kitchen and a small office where she could sit and speak with families. A simple door near the back entrance lead to the basement and the room from where she’d just come. There was a larger room, the “living room”, which ironically was where many of the services were held, especially when there was to be no church service. And a staircase with polished wooden banister leading upwards, blocked with a braided silk rope and hung with a sign that simply read “Private”. The furniture in each of the rooms was comfortable, chairs that invited rest, shelves with relics and artefacts that wouldn't necessarily have an explanation were someone to start asking how she came by them. Some so ancient and strange that they would make a historian’s nose bleed. But overall, the place was quiet and still in a way that wasn't overly oppressive.
She walked through one of the open archways that connected some of the rooms, and began to speak before looking too closely at the well-dressed woman standing near her front door. "Come in. Please. Can I offer you something to drink in the parlo--oh." She'd finally caught sight of Selina. Even in glasses and years older than the last time they met face to face, Death still recognized her. She stopped and after a moment folded her hands together, letting them hang, clasped loosely in front of her body. "Hello."
If there was anyone Selina wasn't expecting to see, it was the woman who was standing in front of her.
Oh, it had been seven years, but Selina never forgot the face of someone she disliked. And Death had gotten off on the wrong foot from day one with her little mysterious games in the middle of a very, very stressful night.
But Selina wasn't there for small talk, and turning around and leaving wasn't an option. What was she going to do? Ask the woman to take the little boy off the slab of cold metal that he was surely on? No, leaving wasn't an option, and Selina consoled herself with the fact that Death had fallen far indeed. A funeral home? She wondered if this had anything to do with that little mess with Eddie and Stephanie, and that made her feel a hint of sorry. After all, she couldn't imagine the fun that came with trying to get between the little green man and his blonde bat. And the kitty cat knew a thing or two about loving where she shouldn't.
"Do you have a name? Death seems gauche here, don't you think?" Selina asked.
Death may not have been entirely certain why Selina Kyle had suddenly graced her rather strange doorstep, though she wouldn’t be surprised to learn it had something to do with the young boy currently in her care. She turned her body just enough that her shoulder pointed toward the parlor. She took half a step as well, shoe sinking into the thick-pile rug, one of many that covered the house’s original hardwood floors. The turn and step was the sort of unspoken invitation that most people through her door tended to respond to. She smiled, though, laughed so quietly as she nodded, amused at the question. “Most people call me M these days. Some think it’s Em,” the tone to the “letter” was somehow different with the extra E, “as if it’s short for Emily. Some realize it’s an initial, they just don’t know for what. Not recently, at least. I think things have gotten toned down enough that even my Spanish speaking families don’t realize who I am and that it stands for ‘Muerte’.”
Another pause, light eyes curious on Selina’s face, but not pushing forward with any sort of question into her motives for suddenly appearing in one of Gotham’s funeral parlors. Hers in particular. “Tea? I have a selection. Water? Hot chocolate?” Her head tipped just slightly, the hint of a frown between her brows. “Something harder? I keep scotch in the kitchen, if it’s needed.” Good scotch. Old. The kind that went down with a warm slip past the back of the throat. She’d found that sometimes those that remained behind needed something extra to mark the passing of their loved ones and continue on with their own lives. She took another step toward the parlor. Her usual sorts of guests would already be sitting, telling her about friend or family member, nervous about what the accommodations and services might cost them. Selina was, most obviously, not one of her usual sorts of guests.
Muerte, which was what Eddie called Death, and Selina thought that was taking the whole unrequited love thing a little far. But then she'd never seen the appeal in the green man. Oh, he was one of her best friends, when she wasn't busy hating him in the way that all of Gotham's rogues hated each other. But sexually? No, thank you. She always imagined him crying during sex, and wasn't that an unfortunate visual? Not that the kitty cat was getting any lately. But she definitely didn't share Death's and Stephanie's taste in tiny little nerds. No, give her the strong and silent type anyday. But to each their own, and she looked up from her slide of fingers on wood. She hated funeral homes; she couldn't remember actually being inside one, but she hated them all the same. Death was a constant in Gotham, and it was always the wrong people that died. The people that deserved to be six-feet under never made it to these quiet old places with wooden floors and echoing walls. The thought made Selina feel old, and she blamed that stupid party for that. If there was one thing members of Gotham's underbelly didn't need it was an eye-opening boat experience, thank you very much.
"I'll take that scotch, Em," Selina replied.
Drinking hadn't been on Selina's list of intended activities when she arrived, but a drink sounded surprisingly good just then. Being drunk wasn't something the kitty cat did, because it just wasn't conducive to being a fugitive in Gotham, but one drink couldn't hurt. After all, it wasn't like the feds were going to come looking for her in Death's secret funeral home. "Mind telling me how you ended up here?" she asked, because the old adage about cats and curiosity was very, very true. She mirrored that step toward the parlor, and she figured she'd wait until she had that drink in her hand to start talking; it wasn't like there was any rush, which was a strange thing for her to think when she was standing in Death's entry foyer. But it was a strange kind of day. She considered asking if Death was going to run to the Bat with stories, but she realized that she really didn't care. Anyway, there would be questions to answer when she dumped a bunch of preschoolers on his door, and it would all lead back here anyway. Unless Death was hiding. Selina's mossy green eyes focused on the woman in the black dress, wondering what the story was.
Even with the sunglasses blocking her eyes, Death could watch the thoughts skim across Selina’s face. Unlike in the past, though, she didn’t make any attempt to pry into them, didn’t try to defend herself from whatever it was that Selina was thinking. Had she asked, Death would have replied that even concepts could shift and change. Often due to things outside of their control. Her own sister had become Delirium from Delight; shifting simply a name she used because of the first friend she’d had in time longer than most anyone could recall was hardly as large a step as that. Especially since the entire Spanish speaking world called her that as well. The emphasis held a weight to it that only made Death sigh quietly to herself, but she nodded as she turned toward the parlor. She gestured a hand toward one of the comfortable chairs there as she passed through, leaving the sliding double pocket doors open as she moved into the kitchen.
The sound came of cupboard opening, a glass clicking heavily but carefully onto the countertop, and the careful pour of liquid into it. It paused at Selina’s question, but finished as she answered. “I needed a place to go, and enough people need what I can offer here that it seemed to make sense.” Everything went silent for a thoughtful sort of moment, and then her voice shifted into something a shade quieter. “For now, at least. I assume time will come when I’ll move somewhere else.” Her expression was calm when she slipped back into the room, crossing close and holding the glass out carefully toward Selina. “I would offer you something to eat, but I haven’t been through enough recently to get to the shop in a while and I somehow expect breakfast might not be something you’re interested in having here anyway?” The turn up of the question was subtle at the end, but enough to be noticeable. She looked up again at Selina and wondered what might be going through the mind behind those green eyes. And then, as if she hadn’t taken that aside into formal politeness, “I suppose I could ask you the same thing. You’re not exactly who I expected to find on my doorstep this morning.”
Selina didn't live in a world of concepts. Concepts were for people who had childhoods that involved imaginations and dreaming; Selina's childhood had been one of greed and planning. No, she didn't do concepts, and she tended to think of Death as flesh and blood, reaper or mortician - it didn't actually matter. And she didn't take that chair when it was offered. Sitting down was the same as letting down a guard or two, and Selina wasn't inclined. She'd felt out of sorts since the ship- No, she'd felt out of sorts since Arkham, and sitting down in Death's parlor wasn't going to help her feel any more like herself. She leaned against the entryway, arms crossed over the designer black of the trench coat she'd stolen from the Manor before leaving. All her tangible things were still gone, taken when she'd been arrested, and she hadn't felt the urge to set down new roots. It all seemed pointless, and the kitty cat hated wasting time on things that felt pointless.
The glasses clinked, and Selina listened. "Why did you need somewhere to go?" she finally asked, after deliberation about whether or not she cared enough to ask. She didn't, really, but she needed the woman who slipped back into the room like a thief. The thought made Selina smile a little, and she took the glass and swished the golden liquid. "I'm not hungry," she assured, taking a sip of the whiskey. She considered downing it, but she didn't drink often enough to want to waste the burn. Another sip, and she regarded Death over the rim of crystal with the same deductive interest the woman was looking at her. She wondered if Death was noting the differences; Selina certainly wasn't the loud-mouthed and brash girl of their previous encounter. But maybe that didn't matter as much as Selina had once thought it did. "The boy they brought in. What killed him?" she asked, guilt around the edges of the words, sharp as a knife that had recently been swiped against a stone.
The symptoms had all been clear - starvation, beatings, dehydration - but Selina needed to hear it, and the fact that she needed to hear it was bare on her face. She would have hidden it more as a young kitten; she wasn't as good at the facade these days, and she made up for it with more bite and more distance. But neither were present just then; she wanted an answer, and she finished the whiskey in one swallow.
After passing the glass off, even if Selina wasn’t inclined to accept the offer of a chair, Death crossed the room and helped herself to her favorite chair in the room. It was wide enough that she could slip off her shoes and tuck her feet to the side, more of the silvery pale scars on show until she straightened her dress to cover them. She smiled then, less amusement and more of a wry twist of bitterness at things gone well out of control. “I can’t keep out of anyone’s business when I’m like the way I used to be. For the sake of privacy for people I know, I have to either not come through the door at all, or choose to be something else when I’m here.” She watched Selina frankly, eyes intense even if she wasn’t quite staring. She gestured at herself. “So. If you’re human, or even close-to, you need somewhere to go. And Gotham had a distinct lack of respectful after-life care that could be obtained for a reasonable price.” It was frank and honest, and if it happened to have been a secret up until that exact moment, perhaps it was only due to the fact that there had been no one to tell.
Was Death noticing the differences in Selina? Perhaps. But she simply accepted it, not overanalyzing, not trying to figure out why. It was obvious that more years had passed for her than for anyone else in the city, even those with a connection to the other side of the door. She likely would have been just as frank were Selina still young and standing in her parlor. She caught those edges of guilt with the question, though, and she simply studied Selina for another moment.
And the boy? Death could see the need for answers easily enough on Selina’s face, so she delivered them honestly and with very little fanfare. “Gotham killed him.” More specifically? “Neglect except where the attention was negative. If it had been just one thing, he likely would have been alright for a while longer. But the combination was too much to overcome.” Then, though it was hard to pinpoint exactly how, her expression softened just a hair. “I’m taking care of him. I’ll treat him well.” She glanced at Selina’s now-empty glass, eyebrows raising just slightly in question and offer but no judgement. There was still the bottle in the kitchen if Selina desired it.
Selina noticed those silvery lines as she watched the woman fold herself into the chair. She listened, because good thieves listened to more than the snick of a safe's locks clicking into place. "So you were getting too involved in Eddie's life? Is that it?" she asked. She'd heard a thing or two, of course. She and Eddie weren't seeing eye-to-eye on the world lately, but that didn't mean Selina and her favorite redeemed rogue didn't talk. She'd heard the tale from Stephanie, too, and none of it had surprised her. Love could do strange things, even to concepts, it seemed. "Here's some advice, Em, from me to you. Those two? Not even death is going to keep them apart." There was bitterness in her voice, but fondness too. She'd accepted when she was very young - no older than the boy on the slab - that she wasn't made for happily ever after. "Better find yourself a new toy, though I don't know what any of you see in Eddie's skinny, nerdy physique." Ah, there, and it was so easy to slip back into the facade. Catwoman, Selina Kyle, her creation. Biting and bitter and sharp, and no soft places for anyone to worm beneath, even dead little boys on slabs and handsome gentleman on ships.
The response about the boy's death made something sad flicker across Selina's features, but it didn't stay long. "That's Gotham for you. Either you learn to survive, or you don't make it long enough to grow up to become a villain." It was a cold statement, and there was no ice in the words. Sadness, perhaps, for the boy with the curly dark hair and the sad eyes. She didn't believe in any afterlife, and she wanted to convince herself that the boy was better off, but it was hard; Damian was right, she was getting weak.
Selina reached into the pocket of the trenchcoat, and she pulled out a roll of bills, which she set on the nearest table. It wasn't enough for anything elaborate or memorable, but it was enough for something; there hadn't been time for more. "You'll take care of everything," she said. It was a statement, not a question. She knew this place had a reputation for not asking questions, and now she knew why. "Somewhere decent, and maybe some old and useless man in a black cassock saying some old and useless words." That her claws were out was obvious. Everything from the straight line of her shoulders to the unforgiving red of her mouth said don't ask. That lift of eyebrows went unacknowledged; she had work to do after this, and she couldn't afford the lack of focus that would come with a second drink.
Death had caught Selina's glance down at the scars, and (though she made no frantic show of it) was certain to cover every last bit of that skin on show. Self-consciousness was a strange and new thing for her, and those scars were the one thing that really drew its sharp attention. She pushed it away and focused on the way Selina still threw that weight onto the initial that functioned as her name for the present time, trying not to roll her eyes at it. The "advice" raised her eyebrows though, and it took her a moment to keep herself from simply pressing on with a reply before Selina was even done speaking. She held her silence for a moment longer even after Selina was done, eyes focused on the woman, but she finally nodded.
"You know..." A pause, choosing her words. "I get how it looks now. And that you're not going to believe me because of how it looks. But I never wanted him the way people think I did. It's pretty much impossible for me to want someone like that, unless the hotel is switching Gotham around or throwing us into parties where we're made into something else. And though I was sticking my nose places it wasn't wanted, simply because it's nearly impossible for me not to unless I make myself human, it was never to try to pull them apart." There was no push back against Selina's bite, no rising to the sharp bait.
But she watched as the topic shifted to the boy, saw the flicker and listened to the words that were different than the emotion hidden behind them. She didn't push for the truth, because the words were truth. Even if they weren't the complete truth. She didn't know what else Selina was dealing with, but she'd learned enough to know that pushing would bring nothing but claws.
"You don't have to. But you probably know that," she said of the roll of bills. But she didn't insist that Selina take it back; she simply nodded. "I'll see that he gets a service as well. ...the church likes to list dates and times in the paper, even when there’s no one to attend." She didn't say that Selina should come, didn't invite her downstairs to pay her respects there. But she offered that information. Just in case.
Self-consciousness wasn't one of Selina's friends. Until she'd ended up here, older than nearly everyone she'd known, she hadn't felt it at all. But there was nothing like looking an eighteen-year-old in the eye and knowing he was going to make an age crack, and she understood a little more than she would have months ago. She didn't say anything about the scars. Instead she listened as Death tried to wave away her little thing with Eddie. "Please, you can desire a man just like anyone else. You can desire friendship too. Just because you don't have a definition for it, a point of comparison, that doesn't mean you don't feel it." No way was Death going to convince her that the thing with Eddie had been anything other than what she already thought. "Maybe you didn't want to pull them apart. That I'm willing to buy," she said truthfully. But feelings? Please, Selina was an expert in feeling unwanted things, and she knew that was all over Death. "If there's no room in Eddie's and Stephanie's lives for you, then you should find some nice little members of Gotham society who don't have possessive lovers." It was honest advice, even if it did come with a bit of a smirk.
"I know," Selina said of the bills not being required. She'd heard that when she'd heard the name of the strange funeral home where no one asked questions. "I want to pay." Maybe she could have kept her little roll of money. It was, after all, all she had to her name just then. But she could find more, and she wanted a service, and Selina liked taking things, but she didn't like asking for them. "I think his name was Joey," she said of listing names and times. "He doesn't have a last name. He's not anyone that anyone will miss." And she knew what that was like, and maybe she would come to the service. It depended on how quiet it was, how empty, how she was feeling when she rolled out of bed that morning; she hadn't made up her mind yet. As for going down and paying respects, she'd held the curly haired boy in her arms while he died; she didn't need to say goodbye. She'd already done that.
With a regretfully lingering glance at the empty glass, Selina pushed away from the doorway. She looked around the parlor, as if she was really seeing it for the first time, and then she looked back at Death. "It's not a bad place. I can send you some help, if you want. Empty your garbage cans or help carry the heavy things." She didn't explain that she was thinking of Jason's boys, the same boys that had carried the body over here for her in the middle of the night. Good boys, but they needed to do something more than steal, to learn that there was more to life than that, and that was hard in Gotham; no one knew it better than she did.
Death actually smiled, something small and amused. “Maybe not just like anyone else. There’s other things that come into play.” She paused though, and after a thoughtful moment to think and turn the idea over in her mind, she nodded. “I’ll agree about the friendship though. You might be onto something there.” Acknowledgement and thoughtfulness and maybe just a bit of a peace offering for Selina, admitting that Death had been wrong about something. And then her smiled widened, just a bit more, and she lifted one hand to take in the expanse of the building around them. Members of Gotham without lovers? “The people I meet now tend to be past that sort of possessive thinking.” Morbid humor, yes, but you couldn’t completely blame her. “Or did you mean people that arrive on my doorstep unexpectedly, early in the morning?” She knew that wasn’t it, but one eyebrow quirked as she held her smile, and then faded when she looked away and stood from the chair again. Feet slipped quickly back into her shoes, and from there she did her best to ignore the way she longed for a different, longer skirt or some thick tights to cover the marks. But she tried to push past that - she could be stronger than that, even when everything else about her was miles more vulnerable than it used to be.
She knew that Selina wanted to pay, to contribute something. She didn’t push for an answer as to why - she could guess well enough at that, knowing what she did about the woman and the way she used to be. Even without letting her awareness spread and take in things that had and would happen. And there was no way that she would take that need to help away from her. So the money stayed on the table where Selina had placed it, and she nodded with a small smile at the boy’s name. Even as she kept herself now, she knew about the boy: his name, how he had died. She hadn’t searched out more details than that, but those came even without her bidding as she cared for him. “Even so, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve the respect of a burial and a service.” She was heartfelt about that, serious. It was one of the things that brought people to her door - the knowledge that no matter their place in life, those that had passed on would receive the care they deserved even after death. Sometimes more care than they had received in life.
The assessment of her building, the strange sort of home for those no longer living, owned by one that needed to use a strange definition of “life”, for herself made her smile, soft and true. It was a compliment that she appreciated, more than she might have appreciated any other. “Thank you. I’ve tried.” She tried not to make a big deal out of it, but she knew that receiving such words from Selina, after the hostility of their first meeting, was more than she had ever expected, and it warmed her inside. “I don’t have much that needs doing, I tend to take care of most of it. But I’m sure I could find some things.” She didn’t make any comments on whether the boys would behave or where even they would come from, though she did have her suspicions. She just nodded. “It would be nice.”
Selina merely quirked a brow when Death said other things came into play. She didn't buy that, but she let Death have the defense. After all, the kitty cat knew a thing or two about hiding feelings. And that acknowledgement about friendships, the kitty cat knew it was meant to be a balm. So be it, let Death issue her little balm as well. She'd said what she needed to say about Eddie, and the kitty cat didn't like to muddy things up with statements of clarification. Either Death would see herself in the statement, or she wouldn't. It was as simple as that. But the morbid comment about lovers, that made Selina laugh a quiet, quasi-respectful laugh. "That wasn't what I meant, and you know it," she said, and it was almost as if she didn't dislike the woman then. Maybe there was something about mortality - skin deep or not - that made a person more likeable.
That the money wasn't returned was a good thing. The kitty cat wasn't in the mood to fight about it, and she would have been offended if Death insisted on refusing her payment. "My thoughts exactly," she said of a decent burial and service for the curly haired boy. Gotham created monsters, but even monsters had childhoods once. The boy hadn't grown into a man, but he still deserved a child's burial. And in Gotham, children died often enough that no one batted an eyelash at the notion. But the kitty cat needed to stop thinking about those things. She still had a dozen children to get somewhere safe, and that would take a little creative thinking.
Selina smiled a genuine smile when Death said she'd try to find things for the boys to do. If there was anything that could win her over, it was kindness to the kids that called Gotham's streets home. "I'll let them know," she said, which actually meant she'd let Jaybird know. But she didn't want Death spooking and she wondered if Eddie even knew about any of this. She considered asking, but she kept it to herself. After all, she wouldn't be breaking confidences if she didn't know they were confidences. She gave Death a final nod, and there was a lingering glance toward the stairs, which she assumed led down to that cold slab and the little boy who'd lost his life. It was a moment, just a second's hesitation and goodbye, and then she finally lifted the sunglasses and regarded Death with her mossy green gaze. "Stay out of trouble, Em," she said, tease and taunt once more, and she turned on her heel. "I know the way out."
Whether or not Death agreed with Selina’s assessment of her, there was no outward sign of it. She held her own opinions about what had happened between her and Eddie, opinions that likely didn’t completely mesh with anyone else’s but also opinions that may have shifted since dedicating herself to her new place in Gotham. Even with limited time through the door and a busy schedule of care, there was still enough time for introspection, and she’d had plenty of it. She wouldn’t make any more comments on it, not unless specifically prodded. And a laugh was not prodding, not in the slightest. She actually grinned in return, something wide and brighter that was more reminiscent of what she’d been like at the very beginning of her time as someone through the door. A passing hint of someone that had a twisted but funny sense of humor, someone that hadn’t had a friend before, but who could make one. It was a smile that hadn’t been seen by anyone in far too long, even on the timeline of someone with an unending timeline. It faded again a bit as she shrugged, the amusement still clinging to her lips, but not spread across her entire expression. “Wasn’t it?”
She finally curled her fingers around the money, lifting it off the table. She still smiled in response to Selina’s, and nodded. Had she known Selina’s thoughts, about Jason’s presence in the kids’ lives, about the question of if Eddie knew where she was, the smile likely would have faded faster and more completely. She tried not to roll her eyes at the continuing taunt, nodding instead, and turned herself to go for the kitchen, money in hand, as Selina showed herself out. But in the silence as she stepped, her voice came softly. “There are bedrooms upstairs.” Her back was already turned, and she didn’t visibly acknowledge that she’d said anything at all, but she knew the outcome of the prison break that had come before her shift to what she currently chose to be. She knew there were a few of those Vegas-tied in the city that might have nowhere to go. No one could do anything to her or the house, not with the way she’d woven herself around and through it as best she could, and in the face of everything else, it was an offer to Selina. Not that she thought the woman would take it, a funeral home being less that desirable real estate for many and pride pushing her feline self away, but at least the offer was there.
Selina's step slowed, stopped, and then picked back up again. She didn't acknowledge the offer, not verbally. But she didn't refuse, either. She wasn't desperate enough yet, but she might get there, and it was always good to have safe places to rest her paws in Gotham, even in this Gotham. Just one night, maybe, she told herself. First, she had children to relocate, and that would involve more than just finding a school bus to sneak them onto. Her step hurried, and she left the parlor behind, wishing for some more of that very good booze. She glanced toward one of the particularly old artifacts as she crossed the foyer, and she smiled that lush Cat smile. Well, if worse came to worse, she could always steal something valuable. And even if she wouldn't really do it, not here, the thought made her feel all Cat for the first time since that stupid party - and that was a very, very good thing.