1965-02-08 - Father Figures
Summary: A trio of friends meet at the Candy Shoppe.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
stephanie-brown peter-parker mary-jane-watson 

February. For the love of god, why is there February? It is cold. It is damp. It is generally miserable, even in New York City. It is also hell on a person who is obligated to spend nights on rooftops, watching over the city. And in her own personal vendetta, Stephanie Brown feels this obligation.

But it's not nighttime. It's late afternoon, and while the sun will set before long, Stephanie is not dressed yet in her dark purple raiments. She's huddled in the doorway of the Candy Shoppe, counting her change. Because it has been one of those days. School was fine, of course, but there was a call from her father, demanding that she come home, followed by one from her mother who was drunk or stoned. And right now, before she faces these people, Stephanie Brown, the much-feared (maybe) L'Aubergine, needs a milkshake.

Date night! There hasn't been many of them as of late as Peter and Mary Jane were bogged down with school, and more so with Peter's other life. "So I hear you're performing this weekend?" the photographer asks the redhead that he's walking with as the pair are cozy for the moment. "…I mean, there were fliers at the school. But really, fronting for some hocus pocus?" Of course Peter Parker is going to sound incredilous about that.

Just don't ask Spidey his thoughts on the matter. There's a dissertation about Mysterio in there someplace. "So. We're having dessert first? Is this opposite night?" he asks with a lift of his brow as he notices the blonde outside the Candy Shoppe and raises a hand in greeting.

MJ grins, "She's not your typical magician, Peter. And besides, a paying gig is a paying gig…" She pauses at the candy shoppe, and chuckles at Peter, "Well, we could, no reason why no…" Then she sees Stephanie at the doorway, and waves to her, not calling out in case she doesn't want to be noticed… but if she does, well hey, there's a wave!

Stephanie catches sight of motion and glances up sharply, but relaxes when she sees who's there. MJ and Peter. She puts a smile on her face that she's not really feeling — she likes them both, but this is a day when she must deal with her father — and returns the wave. "Hey guys," she calls, not too loudly, but loud enough to be heard. Nothing more than this. It's just a greeting, and she suspects they're on a date. She'd hate to intrude.

Intruding? Let's go down the list…

Friday night? Electro.
Saturday? Doc Ock.
Sunday? Dinner with Aunt May.
Monday? Rhino…

… sense a pattern there? Intrusion and Peter are like peanut butter and chocolate. Peanuts and coke. Ice cream and cake. You get the idea. "Hey, Stephanie. Not interrupting, are we?" he asks with a lift of his brow, glancing around. Like she might have a date or something.

Mary Jane smiles over at Stephanie, seeming to get that vibe from Steph as she tilts her head, "Hey, Steph… everything okay?" She gives the other girl a worried expression, "Did you want to come in and have a shake with us, just to unwind a bit?"

Steph raises a pale brow at Peter's question, a faintly wry smile coming to her lips. "Really? You interrupting?" Those two are attached at the hip. If anybody's interrupting around here. "I was planning on getting a shake," she tells MJ. "I was just making sure I had the money. I do," she adds quickly, then pulls open the door for the pair of them.

"Okay. You two grab a table. I'll go order the shakes, and find something on the jukebox. Beatles, right?" Look at that, Peter Parker knows when to get out of the way to allow that thing called 'girl talk' to happen. And not be attached to Mary Jane's hip.

Mary Jane kisses Peter on the cheek, "You're a doll, you know that?" She grins, and walks over to a booth in the Candy Shoppe, sitting down across from Stephanie as she lowers her voice, "First off, you're a friend, you're never interrupting. Second, you've got problems, and you look like you need to talk about them. Or about anything, really. So hey, good thing we're here?" With that, she winks at Steph, waiting for her to talk.

Stephanie takes up the seat opposite MJ, pulling off her coat and pushing it into the corner of her bench. "Good thing you're here," she agrees, "but I do hate to interrupt your dates. Feels like I only see you when you and Peter are on a date." She pauses a moment. "Or when we're protesting nuclear weapons," she adds. "Anyway… my dad, you know? He's the worst."

MJ nods, then grins a little, "Hey, it's okay, can't protest nukes all the time, right?" She grows a bit more serious, "Your dad, huh? What's going on?" She leans forward, listening to Steph as she looks a bit concerned.

Stephanie considers Mary Jane for a long moment. "You know he's a criminal, right?" she says at last. "I mean, serious, 'I want to be the next Don Carlo' mobster."

Mary Jane nods slightly, "You mentioned it a bit, but I didn't know how serious it was." She frowns a little, "What's going on?"

"He's not very good at it," Stephanie observes, "but it's what he is. He told me to come home. Some big lecture or something. He might be trying to make me leave school… but I'm eighteen and he's not paying for it, so he can't do that." She shakes her head slightly. "I don't know. I don't like it. He got mom to call me at the dorm, too. And she's… not precisely sober." Stephanie raises her hands to rub her face, palm heels to eyes for a moment — no tears, just frustration and worry and well concealed anger.

MJ nods slightly, sighing a bit as she listens. Then she says, "Damn. I had no idea Steph… I mean, I knew there were some problems, but nothing like that. And you better not drop out of school, who else can I bounce applied physics questions off of?"

"I'm not planning on it," Steph replies. "He doesn't have that kind of hold on me, no matter what he thinks. I've been independent for a long time." Maybe she's used his house and food and money, but she could manage on her own if he pushed the issue. "I'm worried he's got something else in mind, but I don't know just what. And I won't know 'til I get home. So I'm procrastinating."

Mary Jane smiles, "Good. If nothing else, well, knowing there's a trap is the first step in evading it, right?"

Well, let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she acts and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool, her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there…

As the Zomies start to play on the jukebox, Peter returns to the booth, carrying a small tray with three strawberry milkshakes. "I swear, they had to go out back and milk the cow. What'd I miss?"

Stephanie chuckles softly. "At least they didn't have to grow and harvest the strawberries too," she says. "Don't worry about it, Pete. The place makes good shakes." She claims one of the shakes in question, dropping her change on the tray — and she's not going to take it back, so don't try to make her. "I was just telling MJ that my father is a bad man with sinister plans for me. I'm not sure what they are yet, so I'm having a milkshake while he gets good and steamed."

"Well. If you need someone to go with you so that you don't get in trouble.." Peter frowns. "I'd suggest meeting in a public place, maybe." he offers up as he prods his straw at his shake thoughtfully.

Mary Jane Watson hrms, "Or else we could make sure to be there with you, or both really. He can't do that much if there's witnesses around, right?" She looks at Stephanie, no small amount of concern on her face.

Stephanie hesitates a moment. "Guys. My dad wants to run a crime family. They aren't known for keeping witnesses alive, you know? And unlike the Italians, he is not terribly keen on that whole honor thing. He's not going to hurt me." Pause. "I'm pretty sure, anyway. I don't want him deciding you two need to be put in harm's way. Anyway, I don't think his nefarious plans are quite -that- nefarious. Probably wants me to do something that'll result in him getting a few thousand dollars to do something stupid."

"And I take it the police aren't exactly being all that cooperative." When Mary Jane excuses herself for a moment, Peter frowns, looking thoughtful. "of course, we're also in a city with the highest civilian to hero ration in the world. Surely one of them would want to take up your plight?" he asks curiously.

Shush, Spidey.

"Oh, there's this girl in all purple who's already on his case," says Steph. "I think he ate her gerbil or something."

Dear Diary, Peter is smart. I am playing with fire. Shut up, Steph.

"Ooh, the Avenging Eggplant?" Peter asks curiously. "Maybe he'll put her in a bit of a pickle." he offers with a slight smile. He's so proud of that pun. Finally taking a drink of his shake, he adds, "I know that there's some folks that work this area. I mean, there's one of the Batpeople type things. A couple of spider types."

"I think she calls herself 'L'Aubergine', or something like that," Steph says casually. "I'm pretty sure dad doesn't have a clue that there's somebody watching him, though. And yeah. I know Spider-Man's around here a lot. And the woman in white and webbing."

"White Widow." Peter rolls his eyes at that. "I mean. Why that name? It's not like she was ever married. I imagine. Maybe she's some withered old maid under the costume."

"I sort of doubt that Black Widow's a widow either. Though she's probably older, granted," Steph says mildly. "And there was a Red Widow around, too. They're both Russian, though. Anyway, I don't know about the White Widow, but Spider-Man seems decent enough. No matter what the news says."

MJ grins and returns to the table at that, "Well, he saved me a few times, so I'm inclined to think highly of him." She glances over at Peter, "Now, don't get jealous." Winking at him, she looks back to Stephanie, "Well, don't look at me, I don't know much about the whole hero thing. I'm just trying to get through school and maybe have a successful band."

"What, pictures of him pay the bills." Peter snorts a little at that. "Though I'd rather take pictures of other things - but then JJJ is all 'SPIDER MAN'." he gets a gruff tone in his voice, it sounds terrible on him. "That wall crawling menace is what sells papers! I don't need fluff pieces about the latest real news, I need Spider-Man stealing a baby's piece of candy!"

Steph utters a sigh. "I worry that the way the Bugle sells papers, others are going to try to get in on the act. What's next? 'Captain America: Secretly a Nazi!'" To MJ, then, "You're in Gwen's band, aren't you? Isn't she… a little avante guard?"

Mary Jane chuckles, "Maybe a bit, but we definitely have an edge to our music. Feels pretty good to sing it, honestly." She grins over at Peter, "Well, he does kinda pay the bills. Sortof. Though he means well in his gruff, irritating, acidic way, I guess." She wrinkles her nose, then looks over at Stephanie, "Ugh, don't want to even take a look at THAT universe."

"Oh, no, Captain America is the stalwart man that Spider-Man is secretly subverting. Everyone should be like Captain America." Peter blows out his breath at that. "I mean, yeah, he's pretty awesome." he has to admit, "And yes, he pays the bills so I can keep going to school. And your band is gonna take off, and your poster will be all over young men's bedrooms."

Steph nods to MJ. She's not sure the world is ready for that particular edge, in this world where the hardest thing around is the Beatles singing 'Help!', but she'll let them figure that out. "Let me know when the record comes out."

MJ grins at Steph, "You got it, and yeah, Peter, I'm sure that's something you're really looking forward to." She chuckles, "I think people are still weirded out that we aren't singing about how we long for that boy just to notice us, or something."

"I don't need the poster, I'm dating the lead singer." Peter says with a swift grin. "And trust me, that boy did notice you." he winks at Mary Jane, before Peter turns his attention back to Stephanie. "When is this meeting with your father supposed to happen/"

"Oh, probably ages ago," Steph says with a sigh. "He just said, 'You get your ass home, Stephanie, or there's gonna be hell to pay, you hear me?!'" She does a passable imitation of her father — he's not stupid, but he's definitely an angry man who feels the world owes him something. "I'm letting him stew. The angrier he gets, the easier it is to manipulate him."

Mary Jane nods a bit, flashing Peter a smile before giving Stephanie a concerned look, "Sure you don't want us nearby, though? We can run interference if you need us to."

There's a nod of agreement from Peter to Mary Jane's proposal. "Especially if he's waiting for you at home." Spider-Man doesn't generally do home invasions, because you know.. wouldn't want to be that kind of special.

"Really, guys," Steph says. "I'll be fine. Please, don't worry about me. Dad's awful, but I do know how to handle him. I just… really don't want to hear what he has to say, okay?"

MJ nods, "Alright, if you say so. But if you need a place to vent about it later… breakfast at the cafeteria tomorrow?" She gives Stephanie a smile, "No worries, but you don't want to keep everything pent up either."

"Breakfast sounds good," Steph agrees. "And I'll stop by your room on when I get back to campus. I can leave you a note, at the very least."

"I have an extra bed in my room. But, yeah, that'd be too weird, unless I went and stayed with MJ." Peter smirks slightly at that. "For now then, how about I pay for the burgers, and we just talk about the homework in Professor Richard's class.

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