Whats Friendship without Fangs or Feathers?

March 19, 2018:

(Language Warning) Following the bounty on Catwoman she confronts the Penguin. A deal is made. (NPCs spoofed by Taskmaster)


NPCs: The Penguin, Candy, Tracey, Penguin Henchies

Mentions: Batman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Two-Face


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The Nightbird Security Firm is one of the many cover fronts for the Penguin's illegal activities. This is not common knowledge, not even GCPD confirmed but there are those with their ear to the nooks, cracks, secret crevices and whispers that trickle through the underbelly of Gotham's very deep rooted criminal network.

First and foremost these years the Penguin has been applying a heavy hand in information broking, that doesn't mean he is still not making his press here and there, his gangs turf ever expanding through portions of the Diamond District, several companies are owned by the bird loving little miscreant, popular growing ones like the Iceberg Lounge, a novelty that in the past flopped because of outside influences but, due to that its also grown sort of like old clubs that Al Capone visited. Then there is the Bird Cage, a strip club… the list just goes on. The Penguin likes to have his flippers out there.

The recent undertakings have been arms, to sell and equip his expanding territory, arms recently demolished, a big penny, a punch to the coin purse and who is at fault?


She of East End, a near mythical cat protector of her own right and night creature of more illicit deeds, her haunts have been littered with bodies lately, a trail of them. Furry ones. A message one and each. Those seen leaving them behind? Nightbird Security personnel, they've been rolling on up to Catwoman's frequent haunts, tossing them out and departing, an obvious trail, an intentional one. Those who know the game, know the faces and they know how to get one another's attention.


It began innocently enough. Catwoman's channels alerted her to arms deals going down, some of which had led to increased crime and shootings in the East End. That area happened to be where she generally called home, and those in Gotham's criminal underbelly /knew/ she was trying to keep some of the more dangerous elements of what they all did out of there.

She was a contrast, really. Two-Face himself might appreciate the dual sides of the same coin that existed for her. There was Catwoman the master burglar, all but peerless when it came to infiltration and thievery, yet there was Catwoman the philanthropist and protector, looking after those who needed an extra set of eyes watching their backs. Sometimes, she did her work through a fake name. Others, as Selina Kyle herself, only taking care to keep separate the civilian identity and the costumed one.

All seemed to be going well until the arms deal in the cove. That one went badly, leading to an explosion larger than she'd expected. It also led to Penguin coming after her, not him specifically - he wouldn't be foolish enough to confront her directly - in sending thugs and goons after her, even to try to kill her. They weren't very competent, to say the least. She toyed with a few, sent others back with some cuts and scrapes, a broken bone or two, just a lesson.

Only, Cobblepot didn't get the hint. If he wanted her attention, something he seemed set on getting, the cats were a good way to do it. The first one or two annoyed her. It was hard to believe he'd go to such a length, but by the fourth or fifth she'd had enough. It was time for a little visit, for better or worse, and see about putting a stop to this. Perhaps cooler heads would prevail. Perhaps not.

Knowing he was frequently to be found at the Iceberg Lounge, she staked out a spot across the street as evening set in, watching and waiting. If the people after her had an idea of where to go to spot her, she had the same way of getting to him. After the car he took let him out and left, she took note of the security outside and, after making her way to the street, sauntered her way up toward the doors. "Hey, boys. I'm here to see your boss," she spoke with a smile, claws and a hand resting against a hip near the handle of her bullwhip. "I'd like it to be without any bloodshed, so how's it going to be?"

Time to find out.


The men at the Iceberg Lounge's doors are waving wands over people, checking for weapons and letting them through. The better dressed, wealthier and more recognized, they get a short cut to the front and on in, the rest. They get to wait.

Catwoman showing up in this fashion gets looks, the two men exchange a glance and one motions her in, even giving her a cover story to the line of customers waiting, "New dancer. The Boss is trying out a 'costumed' theme night." A grin, he is proud of that, he feels smart.

Inside is the typical set up of this place as to be remembered, wide open, bars flanking each wall, a inside arctic set up with penguins and a seal, fish filled aquariums everywhere, plastic that's lit up and ice stylized lining rails, chandeliers, etc, the VIP lounge as a second floor, overlooking it all through iced-smoky spots in the ceiling meant to be like water holes but not really as there is thick glass.

The Penguin is above, near a jazz-swing band, two locations to be played, upstairs or down below, when its late like this, past hours and the slow trickle happens its usually only above that something is going on, let the rest below just WISH to be part of it.

The loud signature "weh weh weh" laughter the biggest noise in the place, Cobblepot's voice unmistakable.


Catwoman's eyes narrow behind the red-tinted goggles she wears, paying enough attention to the lying security guard to reach out with a hand to lay her palm against his cheek, stroking it once in an almost affectionate manner. Almost. "Aw, that's such a sweet story. Actually, I'm Catwoman. Nobody else makes this look as good as I do." Those behind her in the line, which she's naturally cut her way to the front of, have a few seconds to see what she means before she moves inside, letting them believe her or not. It doesn't matter.

The interior is one she's seen before, for it /is/ a pretty damned good place for some fish and at least in that, cats and penguins share something in common. She stops to listen to about ten seconds of the band that's playing, eyes sweeping side to side. If his guards have orders to kill her, surely they won't risk causing a scene with wealthy patrons around? How important is it to him?

Then, she hears /it/ - a shake of the head following. "I'd know that laugh anywhere. So you're upstairs, above the rest…or so you think," she muses to herself, strides taking her toward and up the stairs.


"Yu… yuh, yeah I know." He says in a delayed slow manner, his cheeks heating at the touch. A hand rubbing the spot she leaves behind and he grins at his friend, "She touched me."

They are left outside and the stairwell leading upwards is hers to ascend, glass, transparent, more with the theme that strikes this place and she sees the Penguin, half leaning over the largest table in the VIP section, flanked by two guards in black suits, glasses, hands folded. They look like Secret Service agents but they're not, they're thugs, high paid and loyal Penguin thugs.

"Weh weh, I win, you should have known better." The sheathed cigarette in his teeth hops as he taunts the aged heavyset man across from him, the man has the face of an old darkened Italian, scrunched up and glaring with overlarge eyebrows, irritated obviously as the Penguin pulls his winnings across the table, adding it all to a stack of chips, a watch, keys, the like.
A blonde and a brunette next to the Penguin begin packing his winnings away around his gloating, stashing them in a briefcase.

The blonde in the pinstripe black suit with skirt looks up and slides around the table, stopping before Catwoman, "Hold up, pussy cat. Mister Cobblepot is busy an' you can wait in line." Her accent thick, that Gotham accent at times easily confused with a Jersey one.
"Tracey, let her through."


"Bitch, please."

This is Catwoman's primary response to Tracy when she comes over to bid her pause, hands planted squarely against her hips as her posture takes on a look that says 'just try me.' "This has nothing to do with you, honey, so step aside before I change my mind. I'm here for him." A thumb is jerked Penguin's way around the time he's speaking up, and she takes that as her invitation to come forward as eyes turn her way, making her very much the center of attention for the moment. That may be good, or it could be bad. Time will tell.

The cat burglar clucks her tongue a few times. "My, my, my. You're having quite a run of good luck, aren't you Ozzie?" she practically purrs, back to sauntering her way around the table until she gets as close as his guards - or he - will allow. "I think you know why I'm here. Why don't we go somewhere a little more private for a few minutes?"


There is a noise from Tracey, a look at Penguin and back at Catwoman. One full of malice but she fakes a smile, steps aside with a jut of her hip and motions the feline onwards, "Whatever, skank." She whispers quietly.

Penguin sits back and his glare on Catwoman turns in to a wide overly proud of himself grin, reaching up to move his cigarette out of his lips as Candy finishes putting the rest of his winnings away.

"I'm done with you Ronnie boy." He tells the mobster, the man in the red suit with the face of a bulldog, he stands up, adjusts his jacket and looks at Catwoman in passing, "Yeah, this time Cobblepot." He says while excusing himself.

"I'm always having a run of good luck these days, Pussy cat." The man says back, his umbrella clutched tighter to his side under the table.

"Except when my toys get blown to hell but thats another day and another problem, right?" Baiting, staring, "We got space right here." He motions Candy aside who slides out, her white suit a contrast to Tracey's dark, its the hair variance too.
The booth is cleared and he points at his two big burly suits, "You two. Draw the curtains and take a walk." A short distance, he doesn't trust Selina one bit.

They abide though, walking a distance away as Candy steps over to Tracey, that suitcase between them and the curtain around the 'kings booth' starts to close around the table center, his umbrella swings up and sits on the table, threateningly, on display. "You're on a timer and they hear any noises that shouldnt be, you're Nine Lives are going to be tested."


Catwoman brings a hand up so she can give Ronnie a small wave, waggling her fingers in the process. "Toodles." She's already studying his body language, believing she knows him as the type of person to hide a lil' sumn sumn in case he thinks he needs an advantage. By coming into his place like this, she's already stepped into the birdcage so to speak.

"This will work. It's private enough. Funny thing, too. I came here to chat about just that very thing. Oh, and a few other ones. I'm sure I don't need to go into all the dirty details, do I?" By now the woman in the black catsuit has taken Candy's spot, a quick glance made in her way as she whispers as if she's sharing a grand secret with Penguin, "What a hot piece of ass, am I right?" The pause lingers just long enough before she adds, "She must have been sitting here for a while."

Once the curtains are pulled shut, the umbrella comes to face her. Or not, depending. She gives it a disdainful look and feigns innocence as she slides a clawtip toward it so she might nudge it a few inches away. "That almost sounded like a threat, Oswald. Well, then. Let's not waste any time here. Whoever you sent after me obviously stinks at their job, and I'm tired of finding dead cats in East End. I want you out of my hair. Whatever happened, it had nothing to do with you." She starts with that.


"Candy? A true treasure. A real professional hot piece." The Penguin confirms, "Woman knows her way around the books and then some. Some of the best employees Ive had in a long time." He chortles but he changes the hand placement on his umbrella, pushing it further from Catwoman, fingers rested on it still.

"They were intended to stink, I dont want you dead pussy cat, just frazzled. I want to know what went down too. Why my toys got ruined, why you were involved in the first place, that is none of your business and we both know it, so you were out of line, off your turf, bad kitties get punished."


Catwoman tries to act as if she's interested in what there is to be said about Candy, but she just can't pull it off at the moment. She stops short of yawning, but she makes a show of examining a few of those metallic-looking claws she's got.

When he's the one to seek more from her, she snorts. "You didn't want me dead? Maybe you should have let some of your boys know before they tried shooting at me. Or are you going to tell me that's not what you ordered and they got a little trigger-happy?" Her eyes narrow upon him when she asks this, a skeptical expression forming.

"Why I was there /was/ my business, because there have been more guns finding their way into East End lately and I'm not happy about it. I also happened to be there because I heard there'd be something there of interest to me, but Batman showed up and there were a couple others doing some crazy crap I didn't want any part of."

A hand waves dismissively. "So I may have found a grenade and I was curious enough to see if it actually worked. The warehouse? That was /not/ what I had in mind." She sits back in her part of the booth, crossing her arms. "You'd like to give this kitty a spanking, wouldn't you? Before you get your hopes up, I'm not Candy, or Tracy, or one of your dancers." Then she shifts to point a finger at him. "Killing cats is out of line, too. If you wanted to talk to me, all you had to do was ask."


Cobblepot eyes her warily as much as he does with appreciation, "Well," A grin, "Maybe at the time, you must understand I have a temper it gets away from me. Long term no, not at all dead." He grips down on his umbrella and puts it to the side of his body, off the table, well in hand though.

"Your business was messing with my business. The Bat and you canoodling in my affairs is a step over the line." He chides. At the give kitty a spanking remark he wets his lips, "Don't tease me pussy cat, your games dont work on me. Not tonight, not after what money you cost me, a few dead cats doesnt yet make the count and it got your attention, made you about as mad as me so I think it worked out just fine."

"But you still cost me, you still owe me a difference in damages. I can overlook the Batman coupling, I wont tell the others about it as a matter of professional courtesy this time but you owe me."

"Or more strays, more men, more not so friendly between us."


"So in a fit of rage, you put a bounty on my head. Let's not pretend it was anything other than that. Even a little dead is still dead," Catwoman explains, adding, "And I'm not usually one to kill. I like to find less..permanent options, though maybe a few of your pals are going to have a story behind some scars. I hear women like that in a man. It shows he's tough." While the words may be playful, the tone is not.

She clarifies, the music still coming in from somewhere on the other side of the curtain, "I didn't go into it trying to screw you, and it looks like you're doing just fine in spite of that. Ronnie looked a few hands away from going home in his birthday suit. But I mean it when I say I don't want a bunch of guns in East End."

The Feline Fatale's black-toned lips draw thin at the mention of Batman. Penguin may have just foiled an ace in the hole of hers, whether intentionally or by happenstance. "I don't know what you've heard, but he and I are not a thing. I came here to settle this between us without dragging anyone else into it. We've scratched each other's backs before, but don't forget: cats and birds both like fish, but cats also like birds."


"A fit of rage, you got to understand lovely. My rages are a overflowing and thoughtless thing, a cry for attention and you're giving it." Cobblepot leans back, hsi thumb caressing the beaked head of his umbrella, "They'll learn. Scars are the trade of Gotham. The real trade."

"Ronnie is only alive because hes a made man, he'd be long dead if his cousins weren't important." He looks Catwoman over, slow, glaring but also smiling, its a twist of his mouth that remains, makes him look more like a 'penguin' somehow.

"Keep it that way. You get questionable, not just be me making dead pussy cats show up around East End, you think you got it on lock, you're just a convenience, pretty kitty."

"Things are moving, parts always moving, its Gotham and you dont make friends well, Im the best friend you can ask for because I do. So, how about we scratch, you scratch good enough and give me some thing juicy, I'll take the bounty off of you."

"I mean real juicy, not just a weh wank of some rich idiot who is about to inherit and sloppy, I got maybe a job for you, just maybe, if you're serious about being friends."


The thief's mind is working now. Penguin is not much of a physical threat. No, his talents lie much more in the mind, in plotting and scheming. "You have a funny way of making a cry for attention, you know that?" Catwoman states evenly, eyes sharp on him no matter how much he leers at her. Talk of scars, of Ronnie? Ultimately unimportant.

The thing about Penguin is she likely trusts him as little as he trusts her. In fact, her distrust of him may even surpass what she's felt about Batman lately. "Is that what this was all about? Get my attention, draw me here, then spring a job on me to balance the books? You /are/ a clever one, Ozzie."

She makes as if checking her wrist, though there's nothing there except for the usual when it comes to her outfit. "Where are we on time? I wouldn't want to keep you from your fun."


"You throwing grenades at my plans. No but these things, lovely, they have a way of working out so maybe the rest. We'll see won't we." A pat of his cane and a lift of his cigarette, he inhales and puffs out. A quiet chuckle escaping him as the Penguin keeps his cautious gaze upon Catwoman.

"How about it, pussy cat? We got a deal?"

"Time is money yes but I made the overhead to compensate. Why spoil my fun when you can be part of it?"


"We might," Catwoman replies, as far as what they'll see goes. She keeps her expression neutral at the puff of smoke; she knows that's a thing of his. "I don't get into deals I don't know anything about, and if your idea of fun is feeding guns into different neighborhoods, I'll take my chances some other way."

Now, she moves as though she's going to reach for the curtain, beginning to slide herself toward the booth's exit. "If that's what it's about, unless we can come to a truce another way, it sounds like it's time for me to go." But, he has the chance to go in another direction, somehow. Maybe it isn't about the guns?


"Hold up, cat." The Penguin's voice rises as shes about out of the curtain, that umbrella aimed at her backside.

"You don't get to just waltz in here and strut right on out without some give and take, you see, you broke my toys, put a bump in my road, slowed progress, cost me coin and hurt my boys."

"This is why you don't make many friends, you don't know how to work this. You're not just free to go, pussy cat, not until I say you are. "You're doing this job for me. You understand? This is me being civil, merciful, you only get one more mark before I consider you a lost cause. May wanna hear a bird out."


Now to her feet, there's just enough room for her to stand within the booth without brushing against the curtain. Barely enough room. If the umbrella comes too close to her hindquarters, it will be guided elsewhere with as much subtlety as she can muster.

"Give and take? Give and take is not demanding I do as you say or else. First you have to tell me what you want me to do. If I say no, we find another one. That's how this works." Honor among those in Gotham's underworld? Not exactly, though of that group, Catwoman probably has more morals than most.

She gestures toward him, trying to maintain some sort of level playing field even if he's got a claim to her owing more to him than the other way around. "Cats aren't really good at the whole friend thing, in case you forgot. But I want East End safer, so..go on. Talk."

"Ahh, thats much better." The Penguin says, the umbrella is drawn back to set between them on the table again, angled towards her still at the tip but it's not aloft and threatening. "Bounty removed, East End steered around with my shipments and no talk of you and the flying rat even in the same sentence, these we can work do, if you play along."

"How do you feel about getting in to some politics?" A grin, wider now, ambitious as always and Cobblepot always has his eyes on the great towering 'royal' spires of Gotham.


Catwoman remains on her feet. Arms cross again. The potential conditions draw a slight dip of her chin, then an incline. A tentative nod.

"Hate them," she, however, says of politics. "Why? Do I look like the kind of person to go out campaigning for someone?" She sure doesn't think so. Yet, the prospect of making East End safer remains a thought on her mind. She could just go to Batman about it…right?


"You're thinking too direct, too small, short term. See, you got all the right tools to make someone go out and campaign, the talents to make men and women forget they lost something, dear somethings, you get me? You don't even have to hurt nobody, at least anywhere it counts." A shuffling noise outside and the curtain pulls open, one of those security men with the Penguin logo checking in, getting a nod from Cobblepot he backs on out.

"How about it? Politics, some acquisition and informational collection, whats a little lying, lying around and thieving going to hurt your sterling reputation?"

"Come the end of it, maybe you'll even have some new powerful friends outside of East End."


Catwoman's eyes shift toward the curtain, a momentary tensing of her body along with it as if she's priming for sudden action only for that to pass just afterward as she returns to watching the one she ought to be.

"Let me go out on a limb here and take a wild guess. You want me to get you some blackmail on somebody, is that it? Why? Are you running for Mayor? City Council Member? Overseer of All Things Most Fowl?" she questions, unable to help herself with the last one.

"You say I'm thinking too direct. How about you be more direct about this?"


"That is as direct as I need to be until you agree. You forget who wronged who first my felonious feline friend." The word friend is drawn out and he is glaring again. "I'm doing you a service, who is going to have your fur if I decide to string you up for mucking up my transactions? Nobody. Not a soul in Gotham gives two fucks about your whiskers, Catwoman. I'm willing to turn the other cheek, look the other way and be your new best friend."

"Now, let me ask you again, are we going to scratch one another's back or am I going to stuff you in a garbage bag and drown you in the Gotham Harbor with every stray cat my boys can find in a twenty mile radius?"


Catwoman's eyes narrow. This is not going the way she probably wanted it to, given the subtle and not so subtle threats being sent back and forth. "Oh, so am I just imagining the rise in guns and shootings in East End, or was that someone else running guns?" She can't help herself in adding, "No. Guns. No. Boom." Arms spread out to punctuate the point.

"Think a little bit, and you might remember who some of my friends are. One can do nasty things with plants when she's of a mind. Another is a clown who knows a clown, and both of them just /love/ chaos. You and I?" She gestures between them with a hand. "Yeah, we've helped each other before, but we are /not/ friends. The way I see it, you started this, not me. Your little flippers were dirty from the word go, and you went and had innocent cats killed just to spite me. Usually cats leave dead birds for people as a way of telling them they're shitty hunters. How would you like it if you found a box full of oven-roasted penguin, just because?"

Then, likely pushing her luck, Catwoman's hands come to rest against the tabletop of the booth, a smile that's a little too wide showing. "Ozzie, I've been there, done that with the whole 'drown in a bag in the river' thing, and I'm still here. But this is bigger than me. Like I said, I want your guns out of my neighborhood. If this is what it takes to get there?"

A gloved, clawed hand is given a long stare, a good five seconds although it seems like more, then it comes for Penguin…

…to offer a handshake.


"Your friends don't scare me, I can nip a bud and broil a clown any given day with a phone call."
"You forget too, I got eyes out, I been watching all the players and you three, your delicious trio, you three not been seen running together like you used to. That speaks volumes to me." A wave behind him, "So don't up and think you got clout compared to my flock, I got more toys, more friends, more ambitions and a lot less feelings about the toes I'm dancing these flippers on."

Cobblepot's grin turns more sour, furrow at the threat of roasted penguins, "I'm getting right tired of this conversation and that overhead is getting spent, so this handshake, it says you're in, you hear me?"

The umbrella pulled back in, angled up so the tip is facing her direction while he extends to accept the shake.
"Play your cards right, there will be a nice place for you in the Empire, you hear? I can always find a place for my friends."

"BOYS send the cat on her way. Tell Candy to bring the car around."


Catwoman, this time, manages to refrain from taking the bait when it comes to who holds power, whose friends are 'better.' She is a cat, as much as one can be without actually being one. Therefore, she is superior by default. And cats? They're damn sure better than birds.

She's just got to find a way to spin this to her advantage first. There must be a way.

The frown she spots is enough for her to draw a modicum of satisfaction from. "I'm in. Get in touch with me when you're ready to tell me more, and in the meantime the guns stay out of East End and you leave the cats alone." Here, she tightens her grip just enough for him to be aware of the claws against the back of his hand. "And don't double-cross me or set me up. If you do, it will come back around on you, I promise you."

Releasing his hand, she turns to throw the curtains open with both her hands, lifting g her nose up toward his goons. "Don't worry about it, /boys./ I was just leaving. I'll see myself out." The strut is back, if for no other reason than to keep appearances up.

Inwardly, she's wondering how this might have gone differently if she and Batman were actually on better terms.


Penguin snares his hand back on release, feigning a smile still, "Weh weh weh… I knew you'd come around. Now we don't need to test any of those remaining Nine of yours and just maybe, maybe we can make you some new friends. More reliable ones." His voice rises higher as she gets further away, "You can thank me later, Catwoman!"

Once Selina is out of visual range Cobblepot furiously rubs his claw pricked up hand, glaring with a hidden, stifled rage after the thief.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License