Wishes and Cats

October 24, 2017:

For once, Grymalkin speaks the truth and makes Catwoman an offer she considers refusing.

Apartment, Gotham City

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Batman

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Evening in Gotham City. Selina Kyle is dressed casually, a few containers of Chinese takeout on a wooden tabletop, the table itself having seen better days. It's got a crooked leg that's been screwed or nailed back in place a couple times, and there's a bit of folded-up paper between it and the floor to keep everything level. The top has a few old stains in it along with numerous marks from knives, and there's an assortment of paperwork, magazines, a book, some money, and a few pieces of jewelry that's been pushed together at the other end to keep an eating area mostly clear.

The apartment itself is a brick one-bedroom deal, very industrial-looking in form and function with a few sets of open shelving coming together at right angles to separate the small kitchen from a living area that has a couch and a couple chairs that mostly match, plus a shabby coffee table with a glass top and wooden frame. Pipes and ducts are visible in the ceiling, the wall facing the street made more of cinderblock than brick with a wide arched window in a few sections. There's a 60" flatscreen TV hung on the wall above a dirty fireplace, low shelving to either side of it with a couple lamps, some books, and currently a few articles of clothing left behind.

Also against a wall is a clothing rack the likes of which one would find at a department store, an assortment of clothes and costumes hung up or draped over it. The bedroom is on the other side of a door that's partially open, and a black cat comes sauntering out of it.

"Oh, hello Isis," Selina says, the cat offering a friendly greeting in return before it - a she - gives a rather disdainful yowl at the sight of the new statue Selina's got sitting on an open area of shelving near the table. "What's that?" she asks before tracking down what the cat is looking at. "Don't tell me you're jealous."

"We are territorial, after all." Comes a familiar tone of voice.
Should the Catwoman at leisure decide to look back to the very statue she viewed just a moment before.. A second black cat is sitting there. Perched on his haunches on the shelving, his mismatched eyes and too-well-groomed fur help him stand out from the other feline.
Cat eyes look upon her in brief before moving to the Chinese takeout then slowly looking about the very apartment he's dwelled in for a day or two. Huffing with a disappointed sigh the hirsute wizard mentions, "You said it was a simple apartment.. I didn't believe you until now. Ugh. You could do so much better than this. Dark Knight be damned."

Musing as he stands up, stretching out forward then back before hopping onto the table proper. Circling the edge and negotiating the kludge that makes the journey treacherous, yet he navigates with perfect grace.
"I wish I understood you, Miss Kyle.." His tail slapping a carton of food, threatening to knock it over only for it to wobble back into place.

Isis, she with the yellow eyes, ends up with her tail poofing out in surprise when there's suddenly another cat by the statue. There's a hiss before she retreats to the bedroom and, most likely, under the bed where that low yowl can be heard again.

Rolling her eyes, Selina says, "You're going to have to get used to that sooner or later!" More under her breath, she adds, "Just like I will," then in a more normal tone she remarks, "You could at least give me some kind of warning before you appear out of nowhere. You might have caught me in a lot less than what I've got on." She eyes the talking cat in a way that practically dares him to issue a comeback to that.

"And would I lie to you?" Selina practically purrs after he's observed the apartment and given his review of it. "Anyway, I told you you'd never guess Gotham City's most successful thief lived here. It's the perfect cover." Emphasis on 'purr.'

She instinctively reaches out to stabilize the food container as it shudders, then she repositions a second chair nearby and points to it. "If Isis isn't allowed on the table, neither are you. I don't want her picking up bad habits from you. Now, is there a reason you haven't shown yourself since I got back here?"

"Oh you mean like in the shower, like earlier?" Grey replies with something akin to a smile creasing his feline lips. Whether or not he's bluffing or if she was actually in the shower or not is irrelevant to him.
He continues circling the edge of the table as he replies the second question with, "Why would you tell the truth? The truth is a messy business, usually far too painful for people to deal with. Probably why I enjoy telling it the most."

Perhaps by way of apology he obeys her direction.. This time. Hopping from the table and onto the seat, again returning to his haunches as he looks up to her, answering the final question.

"I've been thinking. And watching. And I have come to a decision." Eyes shifting to and fro, specifically looking back to the bedroom where Isis occasionally yowls. While he looks and feels completely as a cat.. He does not smell like one. It may be some time before Isis ever trusts him.
He draws out the pause a moment as his tail curls around his paws in rest, finally answering, "I'm going to offer you a deal."

Selina's eyes narrow at the bait, but that's as far as she goes when it comes to taking it. Instead, she plucks out a piece of meat along with a few noodles from one of the containers, using a pair of chopsticks, transferring it to her mouth without dropping anything.

"Some say the truth sets you free, and in this case it keeps me free. There are a lot more places like this to call home than places in Crest Hill, and it makes it so much easier to get out and about when I don't have to twiddle my thumbs while a security gate is opening up. No security cameras here for anyone to hack into, either." A ghost of a smile follows as she explains, "Trust me, I know the area well. You know what they say: nice place to steal from, but I wouldn't want to live there."

She lets that hang out in the open while the other black cat actually obeys the gesture to the chair, a simple wooden one like what she's in, and she dips an egg roll in sweet and sour sauce before holding it between thumb and forefinger as he mentions a deal. "Ooh, do I get to pick between the little box or see what's behind door number two?"

Grey patiently listens as she describes her mastery of the local terrain. An advantage he can appreciate as he bobs his feline head in acknowledgement, even if specific names and locations mean little to him here. He's never set paw in Gotham before.

There is no look of jealousy or hunger as she eats, completely uninterested in her morsels beyond timing his words for when her mouth is otherwise occupied. To that remark he answers with a small laugh, "Aaaah. I think I get that reference.. Something about a gameshow yes? No. Let me start with the truth you think is so freeing."

Clearing his throat in an all-too human gesture, lifting his paw to awkwardly pat his throat with the back of it as he does so.
"My real name is not Grey Malcolm. The name I've gone by in this century is the same as the last.. Grymalkin." A beat, "Your western stories have translated the word for my kind as 'Genie'." Another beat as his eyes roll upwards, "Yes the same kind Aladdin had. Though he was something of a bore."
Continuing on from his tangent, "But yes. I do grant wishes and I would offer you the position of my master."

There comes a slow nod to the question of the game show, a mildly approving look with an 'Mmmhmmm' to accompany it.

That's it from Selina as she studies the use of the paw in such a way that one would expect a person to act instead, a brow lifting slowly as he explains what he is. "A genie? And that statue is your lamp, huh?" She /has/ already more or less rubbed it, but he said he was aware of her presence from the moment she picked it up.

"Hold on. What about the guy who had the statue before? I'll bet he's pretty pissed off right about now." Still, she has to repeat it: "Wishes?"

"Aaaah yes, my previous.. Or current master that is." Grymalkin chuckles. His tail lashing to curl the opposite way about his seated paws. "Don't worry. He and I have an .. understanding. The question will become if we have an understanding as well."
The feline head tilts in a more canine gesture than feline as he continues, "As you may have guessed it isn't all so easy as that. But yes."
"Wishes."
Letting that linger in the air before continuing, eyes following her in that careful inspection as he did before in the safe house several times over. "But you present me with something of a quandary.. After all." His gaze sweeps over the apartment then, "What need have you for wishes when you seem to have everything you want already, hrn?"

Selina reaches over for a piece of lemon chicken next, but she pauses with it a couple inches from her lips. "And what understanding is this? I thought whoever has the lamp.." A silent gesture to the cat statue as if to say 'Or that,' and she continues, "..has the control, power, whatever you want to call it. Let me guess. That's not how it works in the real world, is it?" Here she is, talking about matters of magic as if it's commonplace for her.

The chicken is dealt with as silence lingers, the cat/man/genie raising the question. "Let me turn it back around on you. Are all wishes world-altering ones? Who says I have to do big things all the time? Maybe I like earning my money after a dishonest night's work."

"No. It isn't." Grymalkin is cagey around this point, feeling no obligation to divulge any more information on the subject. It's enough for her to know she is not currently the master and can't give him any orders.

Certainly the Catwoman has seen plenty of supernatural events, Gotham is not without its wizards and strangeness after all.
He lets her eat in peace, not particularly feeling a need to hurry her along. She IS the one dying of old age, after all.
On the subject of what kind of wishes, he chuckles, "No. I can't alter the whole world on a whim. But I can do plenty." He rolls backwards a bit, just enough for him to reach up with his hind foot and scratch his chin with it, jostling his voice as he does so, "Once I built a palace on a mountain top for a homeless man. Took me three days." Lowering his foot as he then lowers himself down, making himself comfortable in a loaf configuration as he furthers in a matter-of-fact tone, no hint of bragging.
"Once a wheat farmer asked me to burn down the crops of his rivals. I set fire to an entire country. Aaaaah.. The days before these fire fighters."
His tail swishes.
"You want a thing, I can find it and get it for you. Of course.. That takes the fun out of life for a cat burglar such as yourself." Grym chuckles, "I can make enchanted finery. I'm no Uru Smith but I can make a number of useful things. I once made a goblet that fills itself with wine." His ear twitches, "Drank himself to death, poor fellow. Who knew?"

He may not tell Selina much, but he's probably going to have to tell her he's not going to tell her, for she wonders, "How does it work, then? What happens when someone has that?" She points back to the statue without need of looking its way. She knows where it is.

Food is consumed at a reasonable pace, most of the containers folded back up to shut them. Leftovers will follow later.

Isis picks that moment to yowl again.

After a few prior wishes are given as examples, she squints briefly. "So, you can create and you can destroy. You can do things that will kill someone, or is it more that he couldn't stop himself from drinking too much? And what's this about enchanted finery?"

The genie certainly has cat mannerisms and positions mastered, that's for sure. She looks in the direction of the clothing/costume rack.

"I am not telling. Not yet." Grymalkin blatantly tells her the obvious as she keeps pressing for information on the statue. To know how to activate the statue is the last card he has to play and it seems he's been very careful about it.

"Oh. I can't kill anyone. My enslaver made sure of that." The black cat muses quietly, feline eyes half hooded as he adds, "Not that I would imagine you'd want to, but I can't kill The Bat for you." His head nods as his eyes roll to the ceiling, "I could break his knees though. That I can do." Letting her catch the drift.

As her gaze goes to the wardrobe he follows it, "Oh yes. For a poor waif I once made a grand hall filled with dresses of every stripe and fiber. I enchanted a gown that would sparkle in the moonlight and demand the attention of every noble she'd meet." He furthers, "Weapons too. Oh yes. I suppose a thief needs her tools."

Grymalkin is the recipient of a mildly pouty expression from Selina when he maintains the secret of the statue.

"You're right. I'm not going to wish for anyone to die. If there was someone I hated that much, I'd make him suffer enough that /he/ might wish to die instead, or I might just rob him blind. As for the bat..no. How would he be able to try to stop me if he couldn't walk?" She asks this as if it's impossible for her to comprehend. Now why would that be?

Soon, she gets back to the crux of the matter. "You mentioned offering me the position of your master. What is the actual deal, then? Does it have to do with these wishes? The whips come from a very good manufacturer, but knowing something won't break would be comforting." She considers from afar a few things on the rack again as well, from catsuits to clothing.

Grymalkin seems to understand her meaning as she states she'd prefer the Bat whole and fully capable of hunting her down. Simply chuckling as he lets the matter stand.

As she questions the nature of the deal, Grymalkin's tail lashes behind him, "Simple. If you want a magical outfitter I could make such things for you. The price.. Is my freedom." He glances over towards the statue in brief, "To be clear, I'll never be free of that prison. But! You can allow me to roam free. Only call upon me when you need something and let me walk the streets of my own volition. The less you try to control me.." His eyes narrow, "The more I will be interested in doing what you ask without.. complication."

Selina's fingers begin to drum back and forth on the tabletop. She's gone into thought mode, evidenced by a set, firm expression on her face. "I am..curious about what you could make. It'd save me some time and let me spend more of it on what I do best." There /is/ a sewing machine in a corner of the apartment, along with a few scraps of cloth near it.

"But what happens when a genie is turned loose? It sounds like if I didn't do that, you might make a wish go unexpectedly for me. Would you trick me, then?" she wonders, resting her arms across the tabletop now, leaning forward a few more inches.

The cat burglar goes on to say, "Obviously your current master has not set you free, otherwise you wouldn't even be here right now, would you? If you're always tied to your statue, how can you really be free?"

To the first, Grymalkin does not answer. He's already said enough on the wonders that he could potentially craft for her. Ultimately, the only way to convince her further would be to actually make something for her.. Which he can't do unless bidden it would seem.

As for the second, the cat just licks his chops in a vaguely bored.. Or perhaps hungry motion. "Until you took the statue I have been roaming New York for months. My last master also gave me a .. long leash let us say. I assure you he's no worse for wear and it's not like New York has suffered some catastrophic emergen-" He pauses, "… I didn't do it anyway." Clearing his throat again.

The third matter? "Oh. I can't." He states without a hint of remorse, anger, or any of the expected emotions.
No. He's been a prisoner for so long he doesn't even seem to care anymore.
"But you would be amazed how much you miss simply walking the roads and seeing people when you spend centuries at a time in a statue."

Selina sniffs. Not for anything related to a scent, though Isis is still the only actual feline in the place.

Yowl, again from the bedroom.

"I don't believe in caging a cat, even if you're just doing a very authentic imitation of one." Maybe in that sense, Grymalkin has just the right type of look for someone like her. Perhaps it's her general attitude about prisons, as well.

The quick denial over whatever happened in New York City is met with a look of scrutiny, but that's as far as it gets with her. "I've got to think more about this, first. Go do whatever you were doing the last couple days, and the next time we talk I may have an idea or two for something to test this.." A hand makes a circling movement, like she's searching for the right words. "..let's call it a possible partnership for now. But, my bedroom and bathroom is off limits whether I'm here or not. Are we clear on that?"

Once again that too-human chuckle from feline muzzle. Grymalkin rises from his loaf configuration smoothly, "I'm glad we've an understanding on that point."
As she requests more time he simply hops down to the floor, pacing over towards the shelf once more as he answers over his shoulders without looking, "Fine, fine. Take as much time as you want. I have all the time in the world."
He then continues walking.. Right up the side of the shelf in blatant defiance of gravity, "You're the one who's dying in a few decades. Assuming some Gotham maniac doesn't carve you first."
Reaching the statue he pauses to look back upon her fully, "A partnership then! I suppose I shouldn't be spying upon my partner in the shower then. A pity." Understanding the order even if his answer is not.. Perfectly clear. He then disappears into the sleek black marble cat again, leaving Selina to clean up her meal in silence.

Well.. Except when Isis returns to complain about that faux-feline in what is unquestionably HER apartment.

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