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alderwitch

Pink Panther [IC]

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Bombshell - no, Natalya Browning - was having such a day.

"I really do have somewhere to be," she said for not the first time as she curled her fingers around the iron bar of the prison cell and eyed the detective with acute dismay. She didn't know him but she did know his father (or perhaps grandfather. It was hard to guess if he was a 'Jr.' or a 'III') but his family, apparently, had made it a quest to put the thief behind bars. It was most irritating today, as she hadn't actually STOLEN anything.

Now, of course, it was a small jail cell and would have posed little to no problem to get out of, but that would have only made her look guilty. That might not have given Talya pause but they had a bracelet of hers - a very dear bracelet - and she wanted it back.

So, instead of sneaking out and taking it - which was tempting - Talya held onto the bars and made a stab to control her temper as the contents of her little evening bag were upended on the desk and poked at. Thank heavens she'd gone for subtle and not worn the matching necklace. Date an ex-Pharoah and one got the most outrageous of Christmas gifts. The diamond bracelet however had been too stunning not to pair with the slit-to-there shimmering evening gown and strapped heels. With her golden hair piled high, she'd been ready for a night on the town.

At least, she had until the over eager detective had decided he was going to ruin her night. Talya decided that she disliked the new improved version perhaps more than she disliked his father. Or grandfather. The whole bloody family.

"Hey, Inspector Clouseau," she spoke up when he poked her bracelet for the third time with the tip of his pencil. Like that was going to somehow tell him if the diamonds were fake or not. The blank look told her that her little barb had entirely missed it's mark. "My phone call? I do still get a phone call, don't I?"

It took a bit of wheedling and two very large and rather uncomfortable looking cops who did not have a family's hatred of one (more or less) ex-thief mumbling things like 'due process' to get her way but eventually, Talya closed her fingertips around a phone, "... Hello, sweetie. I don't suppose you're available to come post bail? Oh, and do you happen to have a tux?"

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Roughly fifteen minutes later, the doors opened and a scowling Latina woman in a wheelchair rolled into the room, quickly picking out the detective who had detained Talya and calling out in a crisp shout, "Hey, tonto, what's the matter with you?!"

Although the reformed thief didn't recognize her, it was easy to pick out the familial resemblance to the athletic young man you followed her into the room, a suit bag slung over his shoulder. With the officers otherwise occupied, the swordsman Talya knew as Jack wandered over to her cell, his free hand in his pocket and the expression wry. "Hey, pretty jailbird. I may be poor in bail money," he admitted with a broad smirk, "but I am rich in ass kicking women."

Before she could respond, the voices at the other end of the room rose again. "You know what, Evans? I'd like to say your daddy woulda been embarrassed by you, but I worked with the man, and he was a pendejo too!" A few more minutes passed before a chagrined detective walked over to open Talya's cell, mumbling something under his breath about being free to go.

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Talya blinked at the exchange before slowly smiling. It wasn't the smug smile that she normally had when getting let out of a jail cell. It was with abject relief and no small amount of affection. "You, are a lifesaver," she informed Jack sincerely as she was let out of the cell, reaching out to cup one cheek with her hand and press a quick kiss to the other one. She stepped with quick grace over to collect her effects, signing them out with a hurried scrawl and slipping the bracelet back in place around one slender wrist carefully and dumping the rest of her things back in her evening bag before turning back to him, her voice sober and even, "Thank you. I know you don't like mixing things but this was very important to me. I'll explain. Later."

She kept her mouth closed, as Talya had long ago learned that saying nothing to the police was the wisest way to go when she was short on time. In short order, she was back on the right side of the desk and turned to face the woman who could only be Jack of All Blades mother to offer one hand and say quietly, "Thank you very much. If there's anything I can do... you've done me a great favor tonight and for that you have my thanks."

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The woman in the wheelchair looked to be in about her mid-forties, her features slightly rounder and darker than her son's, though the propensity for athleticism clearly ad not come solely from his father's side of the family. Her grip was firm as she shook Talya's hand and leveled her with an appraising look before turning to wheel herself back outside. "Don't worry about it, dear, Evans has his head up his--"

"Mamá, jeez..." Jack interjected, wincing as he held the door open for both women and shifted the weight of his suit bag over his shoulder once again.

The elder family member responded by pointing a warning finger at him. "Figures I only get to meet any of your work friends when you need something." Glancing back over her shoulder at Talya, she nodded approvingly. "I get it though. She's a hottie." Jack could only respond by smacking his hand solidly into his face. "What? You don't say 'hottie' any more? I'm not hip to the slang?" She addresses the recently released ex-thief again, her tone knowing. "Not even surprised. Blonds with accents; silver bullet for this family."

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"I absolutely adore your mother," Talya informed Jack, beaming at the woman in question with all of her not inconsiderable charm. "To be entirely fair, madam, I am not exactly the most respectable choice when introducing a lovely lady such as yourself to our rather colorful comrades. For example, there are likely few individuals in our unique careers that would need a rescue from the wrong side of a jail door. I have been many things, but very rarely the one you bring home to meet the parents. Still, the pleasure is indeed all mine."

Her eyes twinkled with self deprecating amusement as she added to the matriarch, her gaze on Jack, "If I were not on a rather tight time table, I would suggest we all head out to do dinner. Perhaps, though, you will take a rain check?"

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"Pfft, you think I don't read the Ledger?" Jack's mother scoffed, waving Talya's self-effacing comments away blithely. "Know more about what's going on in this city than somebody, because he never listens," she elaborated with a pointed look at her son.

The swashbuckler simply blinked and looked over as though he had been distracted. "Hmm? Sorry, what was that?"

The older woman pursed her lips. "Oh, you're a comedian now. Should have your own show, like that nice robot friend of yours."

"I really should," Jack agreed glibly. "And Vince isn't technically a robot, he's--"

"You knew what I meant, sabihondo," she interrupted before turning back to Talya. "My point is that we've got enough problems in this neighbourhood that we oughta be too busy to give people who've served their time grief. Anyway." The trio reached the bus station and pulled up to the edge of the sidewalk. "You take care of whatever you've got to do. And you pick up a phone, huh?" she added for Jack's benefit.

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"More or less, served their time," Talya agreed, her eyes twinkling at that with utter amusement, "I will admit that I took more 'day trips' than was perhaps an acceptable average but I did always return in time for lights-out. Considering my trial was a sham, I rather thought it ended up a fair trade."

She turned that laughing smile up to Jack, "And you really should make sure you stay in touch. Cell phones. They really are a wonder. I never leave home without mine. Sometimes its hard to find a place to put it never let it be said that I am not creative."

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"And you wonder why everybody wants to frisk you," Jack drawled to Talya, waving briefly as the pneumatic platform raised his mother's chair into the bus before the entire vehicle drove away. He really didn't love the idea of getting his family even tangentially involved with the part of his life the ex-thief inhabited, but with his sister accompanying him on patrol more often than not and his mother in on his secret identity, Jack had to admit that perhaps it was time to admit that battle had been lost. "So, why did I have to bring the monkey suit?" the fencer asked, lifting the suit bag over his shoulder slightly.

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"Because you can't wear jeans to a wedding, silly boy. At least not one that's not held in a backyard." Talya responded with a slight smile, lifting her hand as well to raise it in farewell to Jack's mother. She turned to face him, tossing her bangs out of her face with a quick tilt of her chin so that both bright blue eyes sparkled at him. She wore less makeup than usual and it made her look younger. Talya had a tendency to use dramatic bold colors to make the angles of her features stand out. Tonight, however, the touch was softer and the age she'd been frozen at less masked than usual. "It seems only fair. We have rules, you and I. Our relationship - whatever it is - is with masks and rooftops. I broke those rules tonight and I always pay my debts. So, if you'd like, you have an invitation to join me to my event tonight. There's no case, no thieves or heroes. I have an old promise to keep and you're welcome to join me. But we do have to hurry if you're along for the ride as I'm running just a touch late."

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Jack blinked a few times, a little surprised by the nature of the invitation, and by Talya's suddenly earnest demeanor. "Well, hell, already dipped into the closet the old man left behind, might as well," he blustered nonchalantly with a small shrug. "And, ah, y'know. Might be nice, yeah?" he added more quietly, studiously looking elsewhere before coughing slightly and raising a warding finger as he asked, "Just to be clear, I'm not the one getting married right?"

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