2019-07-17 - Minutes of the July 2019 Scary Dad Club Meeting


Helena needs advice on boys, so she goes to a Vegas magician who regularly walks around with no pants.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Jul 17 04:00:13 2019
Location: Shadowcrest - Interior

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Rich people are always talking about how weird their lives are, and how it isn't easy. That goes double for Waynes. Helena, raised in the madness, is usually pretty balanced about all of it, but sometimes…Sometimes she just needs another perspective on things. Often she'll talk to one of her brothers about it, but this isn't really a boy talk sort of thing.

So she sent a text to the most trusted, least parental female almost-adult she knows: Zatanna.

« Hey Zee, grl talk? »

That Zatanna is still an 'almost-adult' in her late twenties is a testament to what showbiz does to people. It has its own set of life-enweirdening problems, to say nothing of adding MAGIC to it…

« cmon by the house. since I bet $ ur dad has a way 2 read this. hi Bruce lmao »

'The house' is, of course, Shadowcrest, a mansion nearly half as forbidding and antiquated looking as stately Wayne Manor itself. The front door will open itself for Helena, and the lady of the house is hanging out in the foyer, a glass of red wine in hand. She's dressed fairly casually: a t-shirt saying SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH that's had its sleeves cut off, what looks like a fishnet unitard underneath, and high-waisted black pants made of something like linen that billow outward and mostly conceal the shapes of her legs. "Hey, kiddo. Sorry, I opened the bottle without you. Everything okay?"

It didn't take Helena too long to get to the manor, rolling up to the front door in the low-slung sports car that was her birthday present. In jeans and a tank top, she's looking pretty casual as she steps inside, looking around with a hint of a fond smile. She has foggy memories of this place, of afternoons or evenings spent under Zatanna's eye while their parents discussed business.

"Heya, Zee," she greets, coming over to offer a hug. "Yeah, no, everything's cool. I just…" Her smile settles a little deeper, crooked. "Okay, there's some other weird stuff, but I think Dad's still working on it, so I probably shouldn't talk about that."

Stepping back, she shakes a hand through her hair and gives the wine an amused look. "You're back in the US again, Zee. I'm not actually old enough to drink. But I am old enough to have a boyfriend, and to not want to talk to Mom and Dad about it. Because, you know. Mom and Dad."

"Who says I was offering you some anyway? Giving Bruce Wayne's child alcohol? I'm not SUICIDAL," Zatanna says with a smirk. She's using her stage mannerisms, to an extent. Keeping things light and self-deprecating and just charming enough to get by.

Zatanna sets the wine down for a proper hug, and then picks it back up afterward. "It's okay. I'm used to not being able to talk about weird stuff. No need to sweat that. But… boyfriends, huh?" Zatanna rubs her chin while looking Helena up and down. It's obvious that she's hamming it up a bit. "Now, that's the weirdest stuff of all. What do you need, advice on how to make him dump you? Because kiddo, I have a book I could write."

Zatanna grins brightly, to show that she's (probably) joking. "C'mon into the sitting room, we'll talk." The house is… actually probably exactly how Helena remembers it. Zatanna hasn't changed a thing, or at least, she hasn't changed anything big enough to be immediately noticeable. Like she's keeping it all as some kind of preserved exhibit…

"Hey, if I don't get any, there's no need to apologize for starting it without me," Helena laughs, hands in her pockets as she follows after the older girl. That's an old habit, drilled into her repeatedly before she was ever allowed in the house. Don't touch anything without permission!

"And no, I'm not trying to get him to dump me. Honestly, he seems terrified that I'm going to dump him." She sighs, shaking her head. "Boys are complicated."

The sitting room is big and spacious and probably meant for a family to occupy instead of a lone woman in her twenties. There are cigarettes in an ashtray by one of the couches — odd, because as far as anyone knows, Zatanna doesn't smoke. But there are couches, plural. And chairs. And bookshelves and a fireplace and just about everything one could want in a family room except for a TV. A few show posters for early Zatara — as in, John — events are in frames, behind glass.

Zatanna motions for Helena to take a seat wherever she likes. The wine bottle is lurking nearby for refills. "That they are, kiddo, that they are. I can pass along what arcane and forbidden knowledge I've gleaned in my years, but even I don't have the complete picture. Nor, I think, does anyone." Sip of wine. "So start at the start. Who's the boy? How'd he become the friend? And how have things gone that have you seeking ME out?"

Helena picks out a couch then drops into one corner of it, tucking one foot up beneath herself and pushing her hair behind her ears. "Peter," she answers first, the corners of her eyes crinkling to give the lie to her faint smile. There's genuine affection there, at least. "Peter Parker. I've sort of known about him for a while, because he's pretty much always at the science fair finals, but we met this year at the fair, and he asked me out to dinner after. And we talked about our projects."

Because this is what passes for romance with nerds.

"And then he asked me out again, and a few other times, and we've been out several times since then and…we're dating." Her smile slips crooked, warm. "He's really great, Zee. He's smart, and he's kind, and he's sweet. He's just…just a genuinely good person."

Zatanna does hood her eyes a bit at the meet-cute story. She refrains from comparing and contrasting this experience with any of her own. "…I mean, he must be, if your dad hasn't dangled him off a roof by his ankles yet."

Zatanna pauses, then adds: "Your dad HASN'T dangled him off a roof by his ankles yet, right?" The way she says it makes it seem like this is an actual concern she has.

"So… okay. He's smart, he's kind, he's sweet, he likes science as much as you, he hasn't gotten Dick or Jason or anyone leaving threatening messages burned into his lawn… yet… Kiddo, did you call me up just to brag?" Zatanna has a little wry smile as she winks, sitting on the other end of the couch, butt on the armrest and bare feet on the cushion. She sets her glass behind herself for a moment, out of Helena's view, when she takes it back, it's been refilled.

"Yes. Obviously." Helena reaches a lanky arm over the back of the couch, resting her chin on it with a small smile. "No, of course not. Although I could. He's pretty great. I mean, there's just…Okay, there's two things."

She shifts, just enough to make sure she's facing Zee with a serious look. "Promise not to tell anyone? Mom and Dad included? I mean. Especially Mom and Dad."

Zatanna is calm throughout the request for such a promise. In fact, it rather might seem like she's been in this position before. Either being the one receiving such a request, as she is now, or being the one making it.

"Kiddo, I'm not gonna tell a soul. There's a reason you called me up and not Batgirl. I mean, I'm not a genius detective, but even I have a little intuition about these things." Zatanna gives a smile — one meant to be reassuring, without being maternal. The last thing anyone wants is maternal right now. And even then, Zee isn't very good at making 'maternal' look sincere, anyway. "I promise."

And if you can trust anyone's promise, it's the people who deal in magic. They know what happens when you break promises.

Helena lets out a breath of relief, leaning forward. "Okay. I haven't told anyone, and I can't say anything more than this, but…Peter's also part of the…you know. Night life. He told me before we even really started dating, and I just-"

She scrubs a hand over her face, shaking her head. "I mean, I told him it was a terrible idea to tell anyone, let alone a girl that you barely know, but apparently he had trouble with a girl before because he didn't tell her and then he'd miss things because, you know, the life, and…And he said he didn't want that to happen with me. Which is sweet, it really is, Zee, but…"

Zatanna raises both eyebrows at the mention of the 'the night life.' Well. That DOES complicate things. "You know you told me his full name, right?" Because if magic people know one thing better than the power of promises, it's the power of knowing what something — or someone — is called. "Just checking. So you don't let slip with what his, ah, night-life name is."

After all, Zatanna has enough decorum to not want to have someone's secret identity be outed at her without their express verbal or written consent. "So… he's in the club. Not your dad's club, I assume, but THE club. And he's a little more cavalier than he should be with revealing his secrets to pretty girls. Which… I mean, could have blown up on him pretty badly if you were a more rotten kid, you know? But it also means he's probably not gonna be able to keep any OTHER secrets. Which is a nice change from MY dating history, Scott being the pleasant exception…"

"I didn't tell you his middle name," Helena points out. "But, you know. I figure you're probably not going to curse him. Please. I would appreciate that." Her smile quirks again before it fades away.

"Way too cavalier," she agrees, rolling her eyes. "Way. Way. But it's his choice." She raises her hands, absolving herself of responsibility for it. "I told him it was dangerous and not a great idea, but it's his choice. But I…can't tell him."

Grimacing, she shakes her head. "There are too many of us. You know one, and you've got a thread to pull on. And he's too smart not to follow that thread back to everyone else. And he wouldn't do anything awful with it. Not on purpose. But he's not one of us. Which means I can't trust that he's got all the same precautions, you know?"

"No… no, I get you." Zatanna looks down at her wine glass and for a moment, seems lost in thought. Whatever she's thinking, though, she keeps to herself. "This IS a tricky one, huh?"

Zatanna looks up, and gives Helena a somewhat muted smile — like she's trying to be reassuring, but can't deny the gravity of the situation. "So the options are… let him know and risk the Wrath of Bat coming down, or worse, the Joker or someone using him against you all… intentionally hide it from him, and if he ever finds out he'll feel betrayed and might never get over it… or… hope it never comes up?"

Zatanna has a very long sip of wine. "I thought this was gonna be simple stuff like sex advice, kiddo, jeez." Zatanna gives a rueful little laugh. "I mean, so, I'm dating this guy, Scott. And he's… he's got his secrets. He's got a whole thing going on… I guess you could call it work. But he's up front with me about it. 'There's some stuff I can't tell you, there's some stuff I can't talk to you about.' Because, at least as far as he tells me, it's not his call. Which, I mean… if I didn't trust him, that's usually code for someone cheating on you. Any time you can't go to someone's house it's usually because his wife and kids live there. But I'm getting off track."

Zatanna breathes out. "I mean, it's one thing for adults to say… look, you have to trust me, there's stuff I can't talk about… like, I do the same thing to him, with some of this magic stuff. But… no offense, kiddo, but you two are teenagers. I think if I was your age and someone did that to me I'd go nuclear. I hope he's a more level-headed kid than I was…"

Helena blushes. "I was working up to the sex advice part." Because secret identities are easier to talk about. She nods, though. "That's more or less what I said. I told him I appreciated his honesty, and in the spirit of that honesty, I needed to tell him that there were things I couldn't tell him. He seemed to take it okay."

She falls silent for a moment, then lets her head fall back, staring at the ceiling. "I just…feel bad, you know?" she sighs. "Here he went and took this big leap telling me his big secret, and here I am not telling him mine. And logically it makes sense. But it still feels gross. And I can't really tell Mom and Dad because I can't tell them anything unusual about him without Dad being Dad, but I just really needed to tell someone."

"Well, it's not like you MADE him tell you. Because THAT would be gross, if you played him into telling you and then held back yourself. Take it from someone who's played both sides of that game, kiddo, you sound in the clear to me." Zatanna finishes her wine glass and sets it behind herself again. Perhaps the looming need to advise a child of Batman on the birds and the bees requires more wine in her system. Though usually bottled courage comes in whiskey form.

"But yeah. It does feel bad. When I was younger there were times where I thought I would EXPLODE if I couldn't tell people I could do magic for real. Because… it's something to be proud of. Even if you don't want to necessarily run around SHOWING OFF who you are, like… it's a cool thing to be able to share. I get it."

"It would also make it easier in general." Helena wrinkles her nose. "It's hell keeping what Helena knows separate from what Blackbird knows. But that's on me. I just…need to work on keeping the two apart. Carefully."

She folds her arm over the back of the couch again, setting her chin down on her forearm. "So, uh. About the…other stuff." Blushing, she looks away. "I mean. We're both kind of. Uh. So, we've, like…made out and stuff. But we haven't. You know."

Zatanna reaches behind herself. The wine glass is gone. It is, in fact, a crystal tumbler of whiskey. No ice. "Right. The other stuff." She raises both eyebrows, as if in mock accusation.

"Well, first things first, he'd better be a lot less cavalier about keeping it wrapped up than he is about keeping his mask on. Not to sound like your folks, but — that's just how it is. 'It loses all sensitivity' and that stuff is bullshit, trust me. But… also, don't rush it. Don't feel like you have to. Don't let him make you feel like you have to. Don't overthink it, don't let it take over your brain — I'm saying this about teenagers, so I know it's kind of a lost cause, no offense. But — just relax about it and have fun when it happens. It'll be awkward and stupid and you'll feel like a fool for most of it but once you get past that it's pretty fun. Sort of like your first time running around a rooftop in a black bodystocking."

Zatanna grins behind her whiskey glass. "And if you tell your folks I put it like that, I WILL put a hex on you."

Helena's cheeks are bright red within moments. "Yeah, uh. I don't think that's going to be a problem. Peter being…uh. You know. Pushing for things. He actually told me the last time we were making out that, uh. Well, basically that he wasn't going to go any further than that until or unless I asked to."

Boy, could she use a drink. Or something.

"I just…how do you know when it's time for that?"

Zatanna gives a very slight frown that's not so much born of displeasure as just having to speak a truth. "Well, if you want to, ask him if he wants to. And if you both want to…"

Zatanna spreads her hands, though one hand is still holding a glass of whiskey, so it loses SOME (but not all) of the effect. "I mean, I hate to be the one to break it to you, Helena, but it's really just that simple. That's what adults don't want young people finding out." Zatanna's expression returns to a sly smile. "You'll know. And if you feel like you're not sure, then it's okay to be not sure, until you ARE sure. I mean, I can give you five hundred examples of the wrong way to do things from my own life alone. But some of it really is that simple."

Helena gives Zatanna a long, dry look. "You know, I feel like there's been a very serious conspiracy here, about all of this. You realize I know how to get on the internet, right? I can just…look up some porn. And google things."

That's probably a more effective threat with parents than with magicians. "It's probably moot anyhow," she sighs. "Between the two of us and all five of our lives, chances of us even having time to get to that are pretty slim."

"Yeah, and if you look at that, you'll come away thinking people actually do reverse cowgirl because they want to, and not just because they're trying to impress people by copying porn." Zatanna sips her drink just as dryly as the look she received. "That stuff'll rot your brain. Like I said — it's more simple than it seems. You want to? He wants to? Make it happen. Figure it out as you go."

Zatanna then chuckles. "If your dad found time for it, kiddo…" She can't stop herself from flashing a little grin. "Sorry. Couldn't resist. I don't want to think about that, either."

"I don't evne have to just think about it," Helena groans, pressing the heels of her hands into her eyes. "Mom and Dad are not shy. I've walked into more stuff than anyone needs to think about their parents doing." She pauses, sighing as she drops her hands. "I mean, I'm a nosy kid, so I accept at least partial responsibility, but you'd think for a couple of extremely secretive people they'd be better at locking doors.

Falling back into the corner of the couch, she smiles faintly, rueful. "So it's just that simple, huh? Nothing to think about, no tricks to learn. Just…trust yourself."

Zatanna scrunches up her nose but still laughs. "Ugh, now I'm almost GLAD my mom wasn't around," she says, briefly turning one of her own weird family-history things that she never talks about into a punchline, and then seeming to feel bad about it for a second.

"Well, tell you what. I'll help you turn the tables. UPS on over to Wayne Manor copies of, I don't know, the Kama Sutra, some of my books on tantric magic, all that stuff. I'll even inscribe 'em. 'To Helena — the kid I used to babysit. Have FUN having sex. Signed, Auntie Zee.'" Zatanna pauses, and then breaks, unable to stay deadpan. Through a grin she says: "And then he can kill us BOTH."

Helena snorts a laugh. "God, please don't," she says, rueful. "It'd be easier if he actually did kill us. Instead he's likely to give us both some sort of really awkward lecture about responsibility or boys or…God only knows."

"He'd be convinced I was going to try to get married and have babies or something." She shakes her head, rolling her eyes. "We're still just kids. I like Peter. A lot. He's incredible, and I admire him and…yeah, he gives me those little butterflies and everything. But I'm not going to think that just because I like him now, we're destined to be together forever or anything."

"Well, good, because… I mean, you're probably not. Just… statistically speaking. Who knows, maybe you'll defy the odds." Zatanna has a sip of her drink. "I'm not saying that to be a bummer or anything. Just giving you a spoiler or two on how life might go. MIGHT. You already have like one of the weirdest lives on the planet, and that's coming from ME."

Zatanna rests a hand on her own knee. "This is the time to not worry about that stuff, though. If you feel the little butterflies? Chase after 'em. It'll be a lot harder when you're thirty and have who knows what else going on in your life, and you don't wanna look back and go 'jeez, I shoulda' about things. No matter HOW scary your dad is. Because trust me, you aren't the only member of the Scary Dad Club sitting in this room."

"Right? Weirdest." Helena's smile quirks again, this time a little more mischievously. "You know. Can I be one hundred percent honest?" She doesn't really wait for an answer, leaning forward. "There's a really small part of me that's keeping track of how long Dad can not know about Peter's whole.. thing. Is that terrible? It's just that he always knows everything and you know, for once, it's kind of nice for him not to know something. Especially about someone who's…mine."

"He chose to live by the sword," Zatanna says, lifting up her glass as if in mock eulogy — it has a little whiskey left in it, but only a little. "Nah, it's not terrible. And I bet you're not even the first second-generation Bat to feel that way. I'm sure Dick has stories he'd never tell either of us, let alone Bruce. If your dad gets all… your dad about it, call me. I'll talk to him. I mean, he might not listen to me, but I think I have a better shot at explaining to him what it's like to be a teenage girl wanting SOME normalcy because I'm someone ELSE's daughter." Zatanna winks.

"You make an excellent point," Helena chuckles, shaking her head. "I'll keep that in mind. But mostly, I'm just working on keeping it to myself. Seems like Dad's got enough other stuff to deal with right now." What does she mean by that? She doesn't seem like she's going to share, at least for now.

"So…what about you?" she asks, head tilting. "You mentioned a Scott? Someone you met on your tour? Or someone who's been back here at home?"

If Helena doesn't share, Zatanna doesn't ask. It doesn't even sound that odd to her. Why WOULDN'T Batman have other things to deal with? That's basically his lifestyle.

"No, we've been seeing each other a few months now. We actually met ice skating. If you can believe that. Ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza. Like something out of a movie." Zatanna finishes her whiskey and puts the glass down — on the floor, not behind her, so no more magic unseen refills. She seems a bit flush in the face as it is. "He's… he's great. I mean, all the stuff you said about Peter, honestly. He's smart, he's kind, he's reliable. Neither of us are normal, I mean, like anyone is, but when we're together… it FEELS normal. It feels right." She breathes in. "I really don't wanna fuck this one up, kiddo."

"Sounds nice." The corners of Helena's eyes crinkle with her smile. "Especially for you. I don't…think I've ever heard you refer to a guy by name with any sort of actual feeling behind it. You're not getting soft and sappy in your old age, are you?" she teases.

"Well, it's been a while since I've HAD an actual feeling to put behind it," Zatanna says, in a moment of candor that possibly betrays how potentially bad she is at being a romance advice-columnist. "But… I dunno. Maybe. And if I am, you'll take that secret to your grave," Zatanna adds with a big, sly grin.

"I dunno, that's a long time," Helena grins. "I mean, I'm obviously going to live forever. If literally anyone in my life has anything to say about it," she adds with a roll of her eyes. The struggle of having people who care abou you! "I promise not to threaten to beat anyone up for you unless you ask for it, though," she offers. "Out of solidarity."

Zatanna reaches out for a fist-bump. "And I promise not to hex anyone into periods of confidence-destroying impotence," she says, "unless you ask for it."

"That's why you're my favorite." Helena reaches out to bump her fist lightly against Zee's, smile crooked. "Thanks, Zee. I'm sure you've got better things to do than listen to a teenager talk about her boyfriend, but I appreciate it all the same."

"It's nothing," Zatanna says, straightening back up, as much as someone can look straightened-up while sitting on the arm of a couch. "Like I said. Veteran of the Scary Dad Club here. I would have chewed my own arm off to have a me to talk to." She laughs. "Anything you need, kiddo, anytime, I'm here."

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