Not Mary Poppins

Summary:
December 1, 2014: Oracle finds the perfect groundskeeper for the Titans

The Titans' Castle
It now has a groundskeeper!


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


After Midnighter left, Keith had some time to rest and fall under the effects of the painkillers. Presently, an hour or so before the sun sets, he is laying down on the couch with his Starkpad nearby, playing some nondescript new age piano piece or another. The initial impact of the drug has lessened and now he is conscious, albeit not exactly sharp.

He stares at the garden in between bouts of 'I just need to rest my eyes for a little bit', and finds it rather strange that the light changes every time he opens his eyes again.

As Oracles avatar appears on Vorpals starkpad, she hears those last words. "I somehow don't think that's going to be possible Keith… you know how you asked about someone to help you keep the Castle clean… I'm sending someone you're way. Knowing them, they're probably just about there." In the Clocktower, Oracle has a smile on her face, poor Keith - no rest for the ahhhhh Vorpal.

Jay's never cleaned a *castle* before. Sure, she's cleaned some houses and some rooms that had enough things in them to be considered 'castles' of a sort, but never an actual honest - to - goodness castle. So she's zipping along, sitting side-saddle on a somewhat blinged-out janitor's broom, fully clad in the custodial armor of the truly prepared.

Well, at least as much as someone of her somewhat diminutive frame could manage.

She's humming to herself and zipping along without a care in a world when…

BZZZZZPEW

Oh, that was kind a burny. That was kind of ow. She sort of crash-lands about twenty feet in front of the door and lays there for a moment or two.

"Oooh. Castlehasteeth!"

Keith's eyes open when Oracle speaks up, and the young man slowly sits up. Slowly, because of ribs. "Um… who exactly did you sen-"

The noise and the sound of crashing outside makes him halt. Grabbing his StarkPad, he stands up slowly and says "Um… Oracle. Something just crashed outside. I'm all alone here in the castle and injured… just in case it's someone without good intentions…" he heads towards the security station hidden in one of the pillars to take a peek through one of the cameras, "Be prepared to send out an alert. Just in case…"

The woman in the Clocktower nods, not that Keith will see that. "Acknowledged Vorpal, keep talking. I'm sure it's Jay, she's ummmm quite enthusiastic, shall we say." The voice goes quiet but Oracle remains alert.

It would seem that the fortress has a lot of security features, given its origins. One of those almost charmingly and cheerfully puts up a message on the security terminal that Vorpal is looking at.

"Intruder Eliminated!"

OKay, that's a bit too perky and probably needs a bit of work at some point.

As the injured fellow goes through the cameras, he will catch sight of a somewhat smouldering crumpled figure and a broom-handle stuck in the ground, almost like an impromptu radar-array. Wait. That figure is moving. But very low, and unlike any sort of crawling that the observer may have seen before… is her body kind of scooting along the ground towards the broom?

The security system isn't tracking her movement, though… perhaps she's found the sweet spot in the sensor coverage?

"This… am I still getting hit by the meds, or is this actually a thing?" Keith mutters. He dials the combination and takes down the defense systems for now, and goes to open the door, not quite thinking about the potential of being attacked. When you're on drugs, you don't have the best judgment…

A diminutive elfin girl pulls herself up by the broom, the smouldering largely stopped as she straightens up, then dusts herself off.

"HelloCASTLE! IamheretocleanyouandIwon'ttakenoforananswer. Youshootingmejuststiffensmyresolve. TellyourmasterownerI'mhereandtobereadytodeal!"

Okay, that woman needs to really lay off the coffee… or maybe Keith does have some really awesome drugs?

The redhead stares at the girl for a few seconds and wonders, briefly, if this is how Alice felt.

"…"

He tries again.

"Excuse me… could you try that again. This time with punctuation?"

Oracles heard that interaction… "Let her in Keith, that's Jay… the one I sent to you. Just ask her to slow down when she speaks." The redhead is enjoying this exchange…

We're all mad here, right?

"Hello, Castle-personwhoislookingtoDealonCleaningyourCastle! Areyouthemasterofthedomain? Ortheirdulydesignatedrepresentative?"

And, for the record, she is using punctuation, though her word spacing is a bit… spurious to say the least.

Keith hears what Oracle says, and then slowly turns from his Starkpad to Jay, and says:

"Please, slow down. I am heavily medicated and you are currently giving me the impression I am moving slower than everybody else. It's irritating."

"Please come in." He says, and steps aside to let the … elf? She's sort of elfish, pass.

Jay blinks a few times at Keith. Her nigh-feline orbs observe the medicated fellow and nod.

"My apologies. I just heard you needed a lot of cleaning around here and that sort of thing is what I do and you were looking to Deal so I'm very eager to see what you need Cleaned and ready to get to it if you want me to do that today or wait a few weeks or whatnot I am very flexible and fair in what I expect and what I offer and yes."

She sort of 'floats' in, about four inches above the ground, holding her broom carefully so as not to injure anyone on her entry.

"I'm Jay Donohue, and… hi!"

Entirely too perky. Like the defenses.

Keith is too muddled, too drugged to tap into the Cait's knowledge easily, but there is something about the girl…

"Are you of the Fae?" Keith asks as he leads her into the parlor. Thinking like this is like trying to swim through molasses, but he's making an effort.

Jay squints at Keith. Is that a hint of a smile crossing her face? That's… kind of a scary thin smile.

"No. Absolutely not. And I'm perfectly normal so let's just head that off at the pass. I just have different ears and eyes and I'm good at cleaning!"

There's that slight 'twinge' again. Really good drugs, it would seem.

"Hmm. Who has been cleaning in here? Or, rather, who hasn't been cleaning in here? It's dusty and a bit oldish? Is this the only room that needs cleaning, or is there more?"

She takes a cloth and wipes the top of an end-table that looked perfectly fine, and comes away with a dustcloth full of dust and dirt, leaving the end-table almost sparkling clean to prove her point.

Right. She was perfectly normal. And the Chershire cat was just in stories. Nevertheless, Keith is not one to pry- Oracle vetted this girl, and he trusted his… her… their better judgment.

It was a little unnerving not knowing who Oracle was, but mostly because they were a virtual avatar on his screen…

Wait. What if… what if Oracle didn't actually exist? What if they were a robot?

"Whoa." Keith says as the thought assaults him. Batman could make a robot, couldn't he?

He shakes himself off the thought and looks at Jay's demonstration, looking at the sparkling table as if it were a grilled cheese sandwich sporting the likeness of the Virgin Mary.

"Er, nobody has been cleaning here, outside of maybe me, and my boyfriend whe he has time. Do you…er… do you know who we are? The owners of this castle, I mean?"

He asks that question to find out whether Oracle has told Jay the nature of this place, or whether Oracle expects him to be the one to spring the surprise.

Then again, she just got blasted by the castle and didn't seem to think much about it. Most lijkely, she knew.

The voice floats though the tablet "Keith, Meet Jay… she comes highly recommended through my circle of contacts. She knows nothing more except someone who requires extreme confidence needs her services. I don't know who exactly she works for… I'm sure you understand how that works."

"No."

Well, that was pretty definitive?

"'Someone said that you might be looking for someone to help you clean your castle and I thought hey, I've never cleaned a castle before so it seemed like it would be a neat sort of challenge!"

She rubs her side a bit.

"I don't think she knew that it had teeth. It was kinda bitey burny and not in a good way."

As if there was a good way for those sorts of descriptors?

"I'm VERY good at keeping things in the bounds of a proper Deal. But like I've told others be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it, and that sometimes isn't the best thing. But yes, do you have more places to show me that need cleaning?"

That smile has faded yet her tone is still upbeat yet not quite as annoyingly gratingly so…

Upon introduction, Jay will offer a polite nod. "Jay Donohue, Custodial Expert and Cleaner Extraordinaire." She does not offer a hand to shake, though.

"It is nice to meet you, Mister Keith!"

"Mhm… I see." Well he trusted Oracle's judgment. "Before we talk about your contra-" pause. "Did you call it a 'Deal'?" that rang some bells, alright. "Before we speak of that right away, I should mention that the position encompasses the full castle as its caretaker." A pause. "Are you good with gardening as well?" he asks, with a little bit of hope.

"Yes. Deal. Lot cleaner and easier than the weaselier lawyers who try to make a Deal then sit there and burn down a forest to finish it up, and they can't even commit it to memory because they put too many words in it and they have to burn down another forest every time they add to it. Very inefficient!"

Well, she's very confident on that, at least.

"I would have to see the full castle, and I need to know what your definition of 'caretaker' is. I'm not a very good surgeon, and while I don't mind cleaning up after old people, I can get kind of distracted and I wouldn't want them to die waiting for me to feed them? But if your garden needs cleaning and arranging, I might be able to do something for it?"

And hey, if that doesn't work there's always rock gardens, right?

"… right. Well." What a strange little creature this was.

++Almost reminds me of someone…++
~I thought you were conked out by the meds?~
++Who is to say that it is not you who is conked out and dreaming, and I am walking around in your place?++
~Always so reassuring~

"Well, then, this castle consists of three towers. A living room, a study, a kitchen slash utilities, and twelve bedrooms, out of which only…" he pauses. "Five are used full-time by me, Garfield, Zatanna, Bunker and Raven and Robin…" he pauses.

"I mean four." He blushes. "Gar and I share one room. But anyways… this, Jay, is the secret hideout of the Titans. It is only because of Oracle's recommendation that I entrust this information to you. Your job will be to keep the castle in order and tidy, the garden tended to- and that's about it, outside of keeping the existence of this place a total secret from the public and anyone outside the superhero community. What exactly are your requirements and your terms? Special holidays, etcetera?"

"Are the personal rooms considered personal space and thus the job of their occupants, or do you want them cleaned as well? If so, what does and does not get cleaned in each one? And I don't care about who lives with who, only if I do clean something up, you don't go and make a huge mess of it right after I'm done. That's not cool and I won't be very happy about that. I'm here to help and support with Cleaning, not to be a slave."

"Secrets are that way for a reason, and if you want it confidential, that is part of a Deal. What sort of requirements are there for cleaning, are there any allergies, any things I should be aware of in terms of things that folks are sensitive to, and how fast do you need the place cleaned on the initial go?"

Wow, for not wanting boilerplate she's alreadygot a lot going there….

Keith gets a mental image of Jay coming into Raven's bedroom. And talking to… at Raven. "Personal rooms are their occupants' responsibility, yeah." Wise decision, because otherwise… he wasn't sure what the Snarky Robin would do, either…

"I don't think anyone has any particular allergies. All of that can be filed away later a needed."

"Am I allowed to talk to the occupants of the residence? What sort of cleaning resources do you have on hand — how much do I need to bring in? Are there any hour restrictions when I can or cannot work? Would it be expected that I reside here full-time, or only on days when I work?"

Huh. For all of her crazy, she actually seems to have a firm grip on some of the ideas and concepts?

Keith tries to stifle a yawn, and to stay awake. "Alright… um… you are allowed to talk to anyone you want, although I'd recommend not irritating Raven. Resources… just your regular cleaning stuff, really, you're free to bring anything else you want. There are no hour restrictions, although it's better if you don't work at night when everybody is sleeping… as for living here… it's up to you. Now… we need to negotiate your pay." Because money is important.

Oracle smiles… this is similar to the discussion Babs had with Jay. There's no need to interject at this point, Keith and Jay are doing famously.

"I can work very quietly but I will respect that people need to work in the morning and to keep it quiet."

She nods energetically then considers some more.

"OKay, pay.. Sight unseen, given the scope of the place and the general feel for duties as you've presented them, one meal per day I work no less than three thousand calories, transportation to and from a secure designated location of your choice to preserve your anonymity, and since you are a hero team, if something happens to me, you will use every resource in your power to set things aright."

Huh. Pretty light terms, actually? Wait. No money?

"Wait… you want to be paid in… food?" Keith asks very, very slowly to make sure that he heard that right.

"Well, as part of the Deal, yes. Growing body has to eat and all of that? Would prefer not to have hot dogs every time, but if that's what your kitchen staff makes…"

And she's so casual about it, too.

"Of course, both parties reserve the right to re-negotiate depending on circumstances and termination of the Deal can happen within ten working days of announcement of end of Deal?"

Alright, yes, there was no passing this up, no matter how drugged he was.

"I see." Keith says slowly and deliberately. "There is one last thing about working here."

He pauses, for dramatic effect.

"Do you object to, say, working where the Cait Sidhe lives?"

The red head in the clock tower stirs restlessly. "Jay… " the voice through the tablet addresses the young woman directly "How do you go when people are handling masks?"

The fae-ish girl squints a bit as she listens to the buildup from Keith and blinks a few times as he mentions something about a Cait Sidhe. She blinks a few times, then shrugs. "If she's willing to abide by the Deal, then shouldn't be an issue. She makes airs of trying to treat me like chattel, I'ma gonna get upset."

Nope, no clue there. Or far more cunning than she looks.

"Oh, right, yes, that's very important to know."

She pauses as Oracle brings that up — Oracle must know Babs, like really know her.

"I get agitated when folks are hiding themselves and trying to disguise things. I see the real thing. So you might want to let folks know. I'll try to not get too angry about it, but…"

That… is probably as concise a description as she can provide short of an extended explanation.

"So you can see their real faces, even behind the masks?" Keith asks, suddenly realizing that that could be a Very Bad Thing with two Robins in the house.

"Yes. I know sometimes people have to do it because they're scared or they don't trust people. If they are here then they would be occupants and held to the Deal, too, right?"

Which would basically mean that Jay's saying that despite the knowledge, it'd still be kept in confidence…

"Well, there's going to be a problem there. Mostly because Robins are Robins, and beholden to Batman, and Batman never allows anyone's identity to be known. At all." He looks at the Starkpad. "Oracle knows what I'm talking about, right Oracle?"

He looks to Jay. "While we keep our secret identities from the public, or at least Bunker does, the Robins and every single Bat-person keeps their identities secret from everybody who isn't a bat-person. Is there any way to inhibit this gift of yours? For example, if the Robins lined their masks with cold iron?"

Because he knows. He knows the Fae have a thing against that. Granted, if the masks were lined, the she wouldn't be in any danger of coming into contact with them.

"It's not that I do not trust you to keep it secret. It's the fact that we have one Robin who's basically going into a paroxism of a mental breakdown over the fact that Batman disapproved of him telling his secret identity to the girl he liked. And the other Robin who trusts no-one. Neither of them would be okay with you just knowing their identity, even if you are bound by the compact. Because they are Bat-people, and Bat-people are… strange."

"Iron, cold or not, doesn't mean much to me, honestly. You're not trying to suggest I"m some sort of Fae, are you?"

That thin smile is starting to creep back…

"Easiest way would be for them to wear bells when they're around the Castle, so like a cat I would know where they are at, and then I could simply avoid them. But failing that, you have a security system, right? Maybe if you just let them know what room I'm currently working in, so they can go somewhere else while I"m around?"

She can't say she isn't trying to come up with some sort of solution.

And admit it, the idea of the Robins running around with bells on is kind of funny.

"We're… going to go with the security system." Because Keith has tried to think about that mental image, and while Non-Snarky-Robin might be game, the other one? Yeah, dream on. "Alright… so now all that's left is you having a talk with Gar about your responsibilities and…" he yawns "You'll be set to start. I'm only suggesting Gar because I'm getting pumped with really, really good painkillers, and my thinking isn't terribly clear. I may have missed something important and not known it."

"Okay. Do you want me to give you my phone so you can take my number and he can call, or do you want me to wait here while you get him and then he can show me what else I need to do? And that's part of why we have the negotiation in there, because we're not like those old-time folks who made Deals then were too stupid to play fair or nice."

Keith looks at Jay and considers saying something… but he decides not to. This wouldn't be the first fairy in the closet that he's met, after all. "Gar's out and about. I'd normally go and get him, but since I am injured I am not allowed to change shapes and Rabbit Hole around. Gar would yell at me. And then Oracle would yell at me. So go ahead and give me your number and I can have him call you when he gets home."

Jay hands over her phone. It's actually a pretty durable piece, not quite Stark, but durable enough.

"Given that you're medicated, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to leave a number with you, so perhaps you should dial yourself on my phone, then you'll have it?"

Keith does so, and once he has the number, he hands the phone back to Jay. "Right, then…" he yawns. "I'll contact you when everything's ready. Please excuse me if I don't show you out…" he says, slowly sitting down on one of the couches in the living room. "But I'm about ready to take my drug nap."

Oracle nods with great satisfaction as she listens to the deal being negotiated "If you two no longer require my assistance, I'll take my leave. Well done. Keith do let me know how it all goes." The avatar on Keiths Starkpad fades and the redhead in the Clocktower moves to make herself a nice cup of tea.


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