Crayon Plans

March 05, 2018:

Harley shares her elaborate set of plans to retrieve her stolen babies Bud and Lou with Owen.

Gotham Arms - Owen's Apartment

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Amanda Waller, Taskmaster

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Owen should be used to strange sounds at his door by now. Most of the time, it is because his uh—not girlfriend? sorta-kinda-girlfriend? girlfriend?—whatever-the-heck-Harley-is-to-him-today is at the door.

Today only continues that pattern.

There's a kind of ripping, and then a rustling sound at his door. Followed by a piece of paper, torn out of a spiral notebook sliding underneath. On it, scrawled in purple crayon: Mercer. Then a second page, with more purple crayon: MeRcEr. Then a third: MERCER.

And the longer he waits to answer the door, the more ripping there is going to be. And the more paper under his door.

*

The sound outside of his door often doesn't get noticed right away. Especially tonight as the TV is playing some Die Hard movie, one of the middle not so good ones. Owen is seated on his couch, with a notebook in front of him, with a couple cell phones in part of him.

Eventually though he does realize something is happening. He looks over at the notes coming in under his door and he grins. He waits for a few more to come in before slipping the notebook and cell phones into a bag and walking to get the door. He takes one of the notes and grabs a pen to scribble back.

NEW PAPER. WHO DIS?

His joke only stands for a few moments before he opens the door.

*

And there is Quinn, sitting cross-legged on the floor of the hall beside a box of 256 selections of Crayola's best, mid-calligraphy of a new note. She's in baggy red pajama pants with snowflakes all over them, and a thin ribbed white tank.

She looks—again, keeping with trend—patently ridiculous sitting there.

The door opens and she looks up briefly with a wide grin before slowly lifting up her half-done handiwork to set it atop her head like a hat so he might easily see her three letters. 'IDK.'

*

Head tilt. Look down. Aahh, of course. Owen smiles and laughs holding a handful of papers. He gives her a quizzical look waiting for an explanation that he doubts will be forthcoming.

"You coming in, or are we coloring in the hallway?"

Coloring in the hallway might actually be where he draws the line. There actually might be some things that even Owen wouldn't just go along with! But then he might just have a few drinks and go with it. He offers her a hand, to pull her up to her feet hoping to avoid coloring in the hall.

*

"Where's yer sense of adventure?" Harley asks, uncrossing her legs and pulling her notebook and crayons into a protective places against her breast before setting her other hand in Owen's own and taking the assistance to her feet. "Don't you know that adult coloring is all the rage now? All the cool kids are doing it…"

She waits until she's on her feet, looking up at him with a look of mock indignation on her face, eyes narrowed to slits as she continues with solemnity. "Are ya really gonna tell me that yer too cool for Crayola? I'll have ya know that Crayola rocks. They told me so."

*

"I would need … all the alcohol in my apartment to get into coloring. Now granted, I'm not saying no. I'm just saying lots of booze involved."

Owen grins and shakes his head realizing that yes, Harley could even get him to sit down and color if she asked. He narrows his eyes and looks closer at her, "But are you sure you came here because you wanted to color with me?"

He leads her into the apartment and sees one last burner phone and a sheet of paper sitting out that he apparently missed in his first cleanup. With a glance back at Harley, he speed blurs to grab those last few things, throw them in a bag and stuff that in the one closet. He is back before her in the blink of an eye offering, "Sorry. Want a drink?"

*

As Boomerang sprints forward with only the strange rush of air and sound that moves beyond her easy perception, the clown princess's features ghost an expression of confusion and suspicion too slow by an eternity. She's not certain what just happened, however, and so she lets it go.

"Uh, yeah! A drink would be great," she tells him, looking to perch on whatever comfy surface is closest, fold her legs back under her, and set her things in the nest it makes. Foot of bed. Couch. Doesn't matter. "Everythin' alright, Mercer? I ain't interruptin' nothin', right?"

*

Owen plays it off easily, thankfully. He's not great at any of this covert type stuff, obviously but he's a pretty darn good liar. He moves to the fridge and pulls out a bottle of whiskey. He pulls down two glasses and puts in ice from the freezer. Hers gets a healthy dose of sour mix, his is just straight whiskey on ice.

"Me? Yea, I'm good. I'm feelin' good, fully recovered and all that. What about you?"

He makes his way over to her, handing her the drink. He can't help but look around for anything else that he might have left out, which of course makes him look shifty eyed.

*

As Harley's thin fingers take the glass into her possession and set it against her unpainted lips so she can drink, her lower lids lift in a lingering, unspoken doubt as she looks up the even wider distance between their faces. She doesn't answer right away, but she plays it off like it's the drinking that stops her.

"Been thinkin'," she says. Which is never good.

But she turns her head down to start flipping through pages - the front half of the notebook is a mess of scribbles and the unintelligible scrawl so stereotypically medical, if a little bubbly. Those front pages are an organizational wreck, crammed to the edges with content and not - if first appearances are to be believed - any semblance of easily consumed order. "Satan took somethin' of mine away. Some ones. And I want 'em back."

*

Taking a small sip of his drink, Owen frowns and looks down at the scrawl on the pages. It's times like these at that Owen has a hard time thinking of Harley as quirky and unique as opposed to straight up mentally ill. He knows that she has stuff to work out, but it always worries him when it leans away from the manic fun side towards the kind of creepy like crayon scribbled pages.

"Oh yea..?" He waits for her to explain. "Satan…. did?"

He again is not doing a great job of not looking guilty at the mention of Waller. He clears his throat and takes another drink. "What did she take?" Some ones? That.. wait what? Owen looks a little nervous waiting for the answer.

*

The blonde misreads the discomfort, and waves a hand as she sips from her glass. "Don't worry," she tells him assuringly without looking up, not knowing she's comforting the wrong fear. Finally she gets to the page where she has tucked a polaroid. She pulls it out, and then holds it out to Owen to view.

Two angry hyenas snarling through the bars of a cage.

"My Babies," she growls, lower jaw jutting out. "And I want them back. But, fer all the cheese in France, I can't figure out where she sent them."

*

Oh damn those are ugly. Owen takes the picture in his free hand and looks down at it, racking his brain for something to say. How do you tell someone their babies are ugly? He tilts his head and says, "Yer babies? I don't see the resemblance Harl."

"When did she take them?"

How could he help? Does he want to help? How could he appear to be helping without actually moving her towards regaining these .. things. Owen runs through a list of options in his mind.

"And I'm guessing just gettin' a puppy or two ain't gonna be the same thing?" Because hey, maybe it's worth a shot? Probably not.

*

One of Harley's eyes squints as she peers up at Owen, frowning. "No, Owen, it ain't the same thing."

Looking back down at her notebook, she continues to drink, gulping the rest down and setting it into the nest of her knees, too, just underneath. "She took 'em when I went on my sabbatical. I had this all on print outs from the library, but, Oh Em Gee, Ivy lost 'er mind when she saw all of her friends on the floor."

She looks up to her drafted co-conspirator, eyes wide. "But it's okay. Because THEN I got the idea to start organizin' it, yanno? Prioritizin'"

She starts pointing at scribbles, one here, another a few pages in. "The purple's the private zoos. The orange, cities and counties. The red, not sure. Been callin' for weeks to see if Bud and Lou might've showed up in the last few months. A few at a time, so the phone doesn't look weird." A pause, and then a shrug. "Well, except for those few days a couple of weeks ago when I just… I missed them."

Everything held in by her knees is squeezed up together as she curls in for a moment, burying it all briefly in folds of red and white. "But she ain't said nothin', so really. Ya don't have to worry. I don't think Satan knows I'm lookin' ta get'em back. I mean… that seems like somethin' she'd bring the hammer down on if she knew, right?"

*

When Harley starts to explain her system, Owen visibly relaxes some. See? It's not sheet after sheet of 'I love the Mr. J! I'm going to murder Mercer while he sleeps!' or anything like that. No, she's putting together a plan. In color coded crayon.

"Yer right. Of course it's not the same. These are your babies." See? He's getting on board. It just took him a little, that's all. "And that's a good plan. She wouldn't keep them." The fact that she is evil enough to have just killed them is not spoken out loud, but certainly filed away in Owen's mind.

He hands back the photos and looks over the notes. "She is probably monitoring wherever they ended up. But only passively. And I bet if we do the grab right we could come up with something clever to cover our tracks." Because he's already thinking this is going to involve stealing the animals back. Though where is she planning to house these things…? Boy that's not something he wants to think about.

*

Well, not all of the notebook is purple, orange, and red, but at least this part makes sense. Isn't that what they tell you about relationships, anyway? Not all of the crazy on the front end?

But what does that mean for now?

For now, it means that Quinn holds her cup and gathers her things and his glass tightly to her as she rocks up onto her knees so that she can get her face as close as she can to Owen's own. Inches if she can. Her pale eyes are manic wide and desperate as she searches his without reservation or apology as she searches his. "So you'll help me? Does that mean you'll help me get them back?"

*

As usual Owen doesn't pull back when Harley gets up in his space. He does narrow his eyes unsure of what she has planned, as always, but isn't that a big part of why he's with her in the first place? Because he loves the unpredictability. Because the thought of a basic girlfriend makes him want to punch himself in the face? So as she gets closer, a small smile creeps on his face.

"Sure. If this is important to you. Then yea. Let's do it."

Breaking two hyenas out of a zoo? Sure. It's harmless. The kind of harmless fun that he is looking for right now. It beats going back to the actual crime life and as for going straight, that nearly got him blown up. So harmless fun is the name of the game and if that means hyena-napping then so be it.

"Another drink?" He takes the two glasses from her and heads back to the kitchen. "And do you have next steps?"

*

"If ya don't mind?" Harley relinquishes the cups for a refill and then… then she settles back onto her heels as she watches Owen go. The view gets a tilt of her head and a smile before it fades beneath the weight of planning. "Try to figure out where the hell that bitch would have wanted to send them before I have to call every zoo in America."

Turning her attention back down to the polaroid she's got, fingers lightly stroking the film. She kisses its edge, and then tucks it in her notebook.

"I mean not that I wouldn't, but it would take me a while when I can only do two or three at a time. I mean, I know you weren't around when she took 'em, but she never said nothin' to you, right? And depending on where they are, I dunno. See if I can coax a job out of her nearby or somethin'. Gone and back before supper's cold. Maybe talk to Tasky."

*

Heading back into the little kitchen area of the apartment Owen remixes drinks. He tilts his head back and forth a few times trying to think if he ever heard anything about it. It's unlikely, it's not like Waller to idly chat about her plans with the squad, even those oddball few like Owen who actually volunteer. Not that anyone on the squad besides Waller knows that he's not the usual case, at least not any more.

"I doubt she would want to spend much money on it. So likely it's close to where ever she grabbed 'em from. I can't see her spending a ton of dough to ship 'em across the country."

He walks back and hands her the glass with a wink. "So, assuming they were in Gotham when she grabbed 'em… And chances are she ditched 'em off to a place with an existing hyena … pack?" How many zoos have hyenas? When was the last time he went to a zoo? Hunh. Owen realizes the last time he visited a zoo was a school field trip where he was too busy sneaking off to smoke cigarettes to notice what animals did or did not have exhibits in the Gotham City Zoo.

*

"Bud and Lou can't be in jes' any pack! They are accustomed to a very particular lifestyle! I mean, who's gonna feed 'em steak and scratch behind their ears?" A hand lifts up as Harley moves to twirl one pigtail. "But yer right."

Quinn's fingers work through it, suddenly anxious and gaze unfocusing as she thinks, to herself. "One of the handlers might, right? One of the guys who's been around."

Pushing up onto her feet, the blonde starts worrying her lower lip as she rocks back and forth on her bare feet. She's only getting more and more worked up about the possibility of getting those two back in her possession, and it's hard to stay still. "There was a guy who was there when I had to leave 'em. God… What was his name?"

There's a dark mutter to herself as her fingers weave into her hair a little harder, starting to pull. "Nrgh! What was his name, Harl?"

*

Bud and Lou… Hunh, somehow he expected more themed names. Owen sips at his drink as she explains that he's right… about something. He's not sure what, but he does like being told he's right so he let's her continue.

When she starts getting worked up Owen grimaces softly. "Hey. Hey…" He comes closer to her, setting his drink down on a side table. He invades her space and wraps his arms around her. "We'll figure it out. Maybe not tonight, but soon. We'll get yer jackals back." Yea, Owen, never good with keeping animals straight.

*

He may not keep 'em straight, but Owen does get Harley to stop the neurotic pacing. To stop the myriad of intrusive thoughts that make driving impulse sound siren-loud in her brain.

When he wraps his arms around her, she calms and gently lays her head against his shoulders and breathes him in to recenter.

And then he calls her Babies jackals.

"Hyenas," she corrects, ripping her head back up to stare at him with a furrowed brow. "They're hyenas. You know, the laughin' kind? Like Scar's little friends in The Lion King? All lookin' for the quid pro quo?"

Because Owen looks like the kind of guy who watches Disney films. Mm-hm. Yup. That'll definitely clear it all up from now on.

*

"Oh. Yea. Hyenas…" Those are not the same thing as jackals? And why is called the Lion King if it's about Hyenas? Are Hyenas the kings of lions? Disney is so weird.

Owen at least has the good sense to look chastised by the correction. He then suggests they put the heist planning on pause to have a couple more drinks and finish watching John McClain save the world.

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