Breakfast Blues
Roleplaying Log: Breakfast Blues
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

2019 is proving to already be a great year — except not. Particularly in the Lance-Gordon household.

Other Characters Referenced: None
IC Date: January 02, 2019
IC Location: Sherwood Florists
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 03 Jan 2019 06:59
Rating & Warnings: R (Language)
NPC & GM Credits: None
Associated Plots

There is no honeymoon period for the year of 2019. The dawn of the new year afflicted Barbara Gordon in ways she hasn't fully unpacked, leaving wounds — both physical and emotion — she tries to hide beneath a long-sleeve thermal shirt and casual levity. It is late morning, and she's making pancakes. Don't get too excited — it's from a mix rather than from scratch, but that doesn't necessarily diminish their quality.

She rubs at her shoulder and neck beneath the fall of her braided red hair, tracing the line of her muscle that lines her vertebrae. The griddle is already filled with six pancakes, and she's waiting for the bubbles in the batter to let her know it's time to flip them.

There is a pot of coffee in the machine, freshly brewed, but her mug cools on the counter beside her. She is staring off into the middle distance while she waits — or perhaps she's forgotten what she's waiting for. It has been a long night.

* * *

Thump. Thump. Thump. Dinah drags her way down the stairs, listless, her feet barely lifting. Her blonde hair is a tangled mess, barely pulled into array from the rake of her blunt nails. She's wearing a well-worn babydoll tee that's faded to 'rosmi' and a pair of mostly vanished wings, black gone grey after many repeated washings.

She drags out a chair, sits, and drops her forehead onto the table with a *thunk*. "How are you even up," Dinah mumbles into the wood-topped table. "My head feels like it's packed with cotton."

* * *

Aside from some rather profoundly impressive dark circles under his eyes, and a nasty headwound that's hidden well, now, beneath tousles of blonde, John at least -looks- less worse for the wear than Barbara. He's barely slept, but it's likely even Babs isn't quite aware -how- little: and there's coffee. It's this mug of pitch black that the magician toasts Dinah with when she makes her appearance, a simultaneous greeting and explanation for how anyone is even up.

The rakish warlock wanders across the few steps seperating his lean into the counter from the redhead, ostensibly to eyeball the oh-so-sweet smelling cakes of the pan, but his agenda actually seems to be to rub her shoulders with a patient attention to detail. Possibly just to bring her back to reality before she burns breakfast and gets madder, to the great risk and detriment of all.

* * *

Two things snap Barbara back around to the present — John's hands on her shoulders, and the solid thunk of Dinah's head hitting the table. She blinks, glancing slightly aside toward Dinah first despite the close proximity of Constantine at her shoulder. She's seen plenty of his tired mug this morning. "Di, you alright?" The question is asked, and it is so Barbara to avoid saying a word about how shitty she's feeling. Deflection, reflection — a keen Gordon trait.

She catches a whiff of the air, and yelps a bit before she's turning over the pancakes. They are… quite a bit beyond golden brown, but not burnt. There's small victories everywhere. She flips them all, and then leans back a bit, sighing as she does.

Then she's gesturing back to the coffee pot: "You need some coffee, Di?"

* * *

Dinah just sticks an arm out across the table, wrist up. Tap her for an IV, open it up all the way. Let the caffeine flow into her veins.

"Was doin' shots at MacReedy's until two," Dinah mumbles. "Bar fight. Whole Breaker bike gang showed up. Me'n …" she mumbles. "Man, I don't even remember who it was. But it's all just a blur of bikers and gin and … I think Patron shots."

She drags herself to prop her head up on her elbows and pulls her hair back from her face with a clumsy hand. "You two look like you had an innerstin' night," she yawns.

* * *

It hardly takes the redhead's focus to tell he's gotten her attention, and John conjures a quirk that almost forms half a smile. It's about as much as his tired ass feels like managing, just this minute. Barbara's backwards lean is propped with firmer kneads, and he nods with satisfaction at the not-charred food. Mission accomplished. "We're all kinds of interesting." The magician notes with a self-amused snerk, as if there were something inherently funny about the comment. He's probably just tired and off his mark. He retrieves a mug, though, stepping in beside Babs to pour another cup off coffee, and freshen up both of theirs.

"We should have done shots at MacReedy's until two am." He observes without looking up from his work, with entirely skilled levels of feigned remorse… and a touch of genuine regret. "Black as night and twice as bitter for you, too?" He inquires with a sidelong glance and an arch of one eyebrow towards Dinah, the levity only drifting through fatigued eyes. But Constantine does wander her way with the fresh cup, so he's a saint.

* * *

The slap to Dinah's wrist for her IV of daily caffeine prompts a tired smile from the redhead. She settles in just a bit more against John before he steps aside to get coffee. This lets her focus on the pancakes. Just to make it all even, she undercooks this side, flipping pale-sided cakes onto a plate. She shakes her head ruefully at the sight of them, but accepts it. So is her morning so far.

When she picks up her coffee to find it a bit warmer, and fuller, she casts a thankful smile to John as he meanders past. Then she's ducking her head, taking a sip, and then committing herself to six perfect cakes. She lobs out the batter in lopsided circles.

"I do not think shots until two A.M. would have been any better than single-handedly beating the crap out of every low-life in the Narrows." That's just a quaint little preview to her night. She leaves the colorful language to the Magician and her loyal Black Canary. She's too tired to even press a PG-rating at this point.

* * *

"Don't care, need caffeine," Dinah tells Constantine. She makes grabby hands for the coffee and takes a few quick sips. Despite her earlier words she starts pouring heavy cream into the coffee and stirs it until it's a light chocolate shade of brown.

This lets her get her nose into the feedbag and she takes several long, heavy gulps of the coffee. Her blue eyes flicker from Con to Babs. John always looks like he got run over by a truck, but Dinah knows well the signs that Babs is nursing an injury and pretending she isn't. "Looks like you two skipped dinner and went straight to the evening party. What happened in your neck of the woods?"

* * *

Every perfect circle has inconsistent diameter; it is known. John's hardly going to make a fuss over /imperfect/ bread to slather with butter and jam, though. … he'd probably eat burnt ones right now, with only minorly elevated levels of grumbling and mockery. Small victories, indeed.

"It would have been bloody better than wandering snow-blind through Father Christmas' cocksucking hangover tantrum." The magician retorts, a bit obliquely! If maybe not more /necessary/. Secretly being occasionally responsible is a real burden. He unhurriedly paces the distance back towards the stove and plants his ass against the countertop anew, leaning there within arm's reach of Babs and plucking his own coffee back up. With the myriad scars from various beasts and nasties peppering his torso here and there, a hostile train might not be out of the question.

"What happens in the Narrows stays in the Narrows." John sarcastically snarks, though not without merit: so many of Batgirl's worst stories come from the most shit-on span of Gotham, not that that's anything unique to that locale. There's no bite to the words: not trying to shut down her answer, but rather giving her a dry out to talk about it or not. That, and he avoids answering the question himself.

* * *

Barbara can't help but smile at the monomaniacal focus of her friend. The flow of conversation allows the redhead to stay focused on the pancakes, grounded in the various turn of phrase and commentaries from the pair. She gives John a sidelong look as he settles into the space at the countertop beside her, and without breaking eye contact, she flips her six new pancakes. These are perfect and golden brown. "I don't even want to know," she states dryly at the idea of Father Christmas's hangover tantrum. Then she looks back to her work as she waits for the other side to be done. She breathes out a slow exhale, the sarcastic snark causing her shoulders to lift.

In some obviously blatant attempt to shrug off her night, she just tells Dinah, "Long night is all. Too much in my head… just… took the whole street justice thing too far." She smiles wearily toward both John and Dinah. It's bullshit. Who is going to call her out on it? She hopes they'll just accept the answer, and let her go back to stewing. She flips the pancakes — and then drops the new six disks onto the plate. "Eat's up," she tells the pair. "I'll get the last batch."

* * *

Dinah narrows her eyes at John over her coffee, which she clutches as if it's her sole lifeline to the world. John's evasive. This isn't new. John's always evasive.

Barbara, however, is being shifty. And that smile is more wan than knowing, or amused. It looks exhausted. And Barbara sounds like she's in pain.

"Gosh, I love waking up in the morning and getting a steaming shitty pile of evasiveness," Dinah tells the duo. Her voice is creaky and hoarse, but firm. "What the shit went down?"

* * *

"Damn right." Nobody wants to know. John doesn't even want to know. Some stories just aren't fun to share, and it's that element that forestalls pushing Babs for hers, himself. At least so far; she knows by now /that/ never lasts forever. The last tale the redhead had to tell when she came back this distraught and shaken from patrol runs over and over through his head, and not for the first time.

"Pancakes, coffee, but noooo, it's all about the shit sandwich. Vicarious as fuck." Constantine turns his snark on Dinah when the blonde decides to be the one to call Barbara's evasion out, ignoring the pancakes a moment to slip a hand along her stomach, then an arm around her waist, and squeeze her soundly via her opposite hip long enough to offer her a brief, gentle kiss.

He spends the initial explanatory phase fixing a plate of pancakes more or less where he's at at the counter, emphasis on the butter, augmented by a few flavors of jam they dug out. Thickened sugar-water just doesn't have anything on it, unless the pair have real maple in the house. It keeps him busy, and momentarily not grousing; John even offers over the first bite to the cook, if she maintains an appetite long enough. /Saint/.

* * *

And here where John casually steps into the odd paradox of the female vigilante who is going through a crisis of faith: she is glad that John didn't needle for more details, but she's really mad that John didn't needle for more details. Barbara didn't want to share, but she would have shared just to get it off her chest, and then probably glowered at him for making her talk about it. No one said this was going to be easy, mate.

Dinah calls her out, John leaps to her defense. She cannot really help the little unnerved twist in her stomach, and also cannot decide why it twists to begin with. Her eyes lid briefly to return the kiss, and then she's frowning. The new six dollops of pancake batter are the worst of her attempt at honoring the sacred ratio of Pi. She turns toward Dinah, back to the pancakes, blue eyes locked on her friend. "I was just raging out. I was tired of the creepers, and abusers, and all the other shit that oozes itself out of the Narrows. I just wanted… to make some of them hurt." The words are clipped, hard. And poor John is just a couple seconds too late to offer her a bite. She shakes it off. "I'm alright, Dinah. Or I will be. Can we all be satisfied by that?" She steps away from her pancakes, bringing Dinah a plateful of the not-quite-burned pancakes. "No one died," she reassures her friend.

* * *

Dinah flips John the bird at his snide analysis of the situation. Which is all the courtesy she offers him— her eyes remain focused on Barbara, concern furrowing her brow.

She takes a bite of her pancake, not really tasting it. She goes for the syrup and butter, applying liberal measures of both to her shortstack.

"Okay. Long as you didn't kill anyone," she concludes, her voice carefully neutral. Her face neutral. Dinah's got a pretty good poker face when she needs one. Well— it's not hard to tell that she's *unhappy*. But it's difficult to tell where she is on the spectrum of 'mildly put out' to 'inconsolable rage'.

* * *

John hadn't called her out /yet/. There's time for solace, and for venting the lingering rage and hurt with or without confronting its source; trust him, he's super healthy and masterful at coping. Case in point: the dichotomy of appreciation and agitation doesn't really seem to scratch his paint, much less actually bother the magician. It's been what, almost one entire week to the day since he nursed that same paradoxical mix of feelings right at the redhead, and he's not even a female vigilante.

"Oh, yeah, as long as we didn't cross the arbitrary line set by the traumatized man in pajamas who thinks maiming, threats of maiming, and the imminent risk of maiming are fair ways to get what he wants, I'm sure everything's on the level and making shit better and not worse." Drip. Drip. Drip. It's not syrup in the warlock's retort. Look— the cat's out of the bag, now. He didn't do it. How long can anyone reasonably expect John Constantine to shut up, exactly? He was doing /so well/ too.

Really, though, it's an outrush of sarcasm born of /concern/ for Babs… and still being entirely unconvinced, for his part, and not particularly inclined to pretend. "Way past satisfied you're gonna make it through, though, luv." He does append in softer, sincere tones; it's /almost/ to apologetic. His sacrifice of pancake beauty to Barbara unappreciated, John is simply forced to eat them himself; it's horrible.

* * *

The love that her roommate and boyfriend share is really great; perfect, in fact. Her blue eyes just dart between the two before she sighs, rubbing at the back of her neck through the fall of her loose braid. She wants to let it all slide, but she knows that Dinah won't let that dog lie — long at least.

Her blue eyes flicker back toward John with a half-tilt of her head. She gets what he's saying; she hears it; she kind of wants to punch him, which is definitely not the measured or appropriate response. He's trying, give the poor guy that. Combined with Dinah's impossible to read anger, and she's just sighing. "You two are really adorable." The words carry a bit less mirth than she really intends, but there you have it.

When John offers his vote of confidence that she is going to be just fine, she hits him with a look… and then her nostrils catch the smell of the pancakes. She sighs and crosses toward the griddle quickly, aiming to flip them before… too late. There's the burn that the first batch managed to avoid.

* * *

Dinah shifts uncomfortably. There's a flickering look of impatience on her face that shifts to uncertain concern, even trepidation. It's a little story of emotions playing across her face that are complex enough that even a legendary detective might not get the full gist of it.

"Yeah. Well… I'm glad you're ok," she says, a bit stiffly. She moves to the fridge and gets a glass of milk, then swings the door shut with her hip and heads back to the table. She smoothly collects her plate. "I'm gonna go eat upstairs and go back to bed," she says. "You two enjoy… whatever. Yourselves. Thanks for the shortstack, Babs." She blows an airkiss at Barbara, gives Constantine a suspicious look, and pads back up the worn oak steps of the staircase towards her end of the house.

* * *

Yep, Dinah's definitely got mad love for John, it's been evident from their first meeting. Some people (see: Barbara Gordon) have an unhealthy soft spot and affinity for the magician's askew charm and endless eccentricities. Others? Well. It's kind of the opposite. It's a thing Constantine has learned to expect… if not always to avoid taking personally. "Oh, we will."

John offers back to Dinah in consciously, decisively conspiratorial tones. He even tosses her a lazy little salute that's not properly executed for any god or government on -this- green earth, just a half-assed approximation of a half-dozen of them. John doesn't comment on the smell of burning, he just slides his place down the counter between himself and Babs, where it appears he's fixed just about every pancake Dinah didn't take while trying to shut his mouth by buttering, jamming, and stacking. Which isn't a sex thing. Right now.

* * *

"Dinah — " But then she's padding out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Her eyes follow after where she's gone for a long moment, and then the redhead is sinking into the counter beside the griddle. In fierce, a bit angry movements, she flips the pancakes onto her plate. They are definitely the worst of the batch, which in Babs's little dark hole seems only fitting.

She plucks up her plate, but can't will herself to go get the butter. Instead, she looks at John's stack of buttered and jammed pancakes, and she looks up at him with a serious frown settling into place. "Who the hell puts jam on a pancake?"

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