5696/Birthday Presents

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Birthday Presents
Date of Scene: 23 March 2021
Location: Lady Lovelace
Synopsis: Dick opens his birthday presents the morning after his party with Sara on hand eating breakfast.
Cast of Characters: Stephanie Brown, Sara Pezzini, Dick Grayson

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The birthday party for Dick Grayson's 27th birthday aboard the docked passenger Lady Lovelace had been a success by most measures. Plenty of people attended. The drinks flowed. There was good music and dancing, and many of the guests seemed to be enjoying themselves. Perhaps it was a little higher profile than the birthday boy might have preferred, especially the fireworks. But it was fitting enough for a Wayne celebration, particularly after the coverage in the papers about Dick having returned home to Gotham in his transfer to GCPD from Bludhaven.

Now it is the next morning. The staff of the ship turned floating hotel and venue have cleaned up everything. The presents that were collected are put on a cart and wheeled over to the room that had been set aside for him. Also, a second card, this one with a covered tray containing breakfast. The man bringing them over to the room raps softly on the door, at a volume that might fail to wake someone deep asleep, but would likely be heard if they are already awake.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The morning after. There was nothing greater than the morning after a fantastic party and... sheet wrestling. Sara emerges wearing a complimentary robe, or perhaps it was Dick's robe, in either case she was not about to get herself back into that beautiful outfit just yet. Her long chestnut hair is damp, having just showered and exited the bathroom as the knock sounded at the door.

"Excellent, coffee..." she murmurs quietly to herself, not entirely certain if Dick is awake yet or not. The sun peeked, she was awake, bad habit that she hated.

Dick Grayson has posed:
After a short pause, Dick opens the door and nods to the man, "Good morning. Ah, breakfast, thank you." He spies the second cart as well, "And gifts, lovely. I'll take them in, thanks very much." He sets deed to word and wheels the breakfast cart in, a moment later coming out to collect the present cart.

He wheels both into the stateroom and smiles at Sara, "Good morning, beautiful. Yes, we have coffee. And actual food, if you're into that sort of thing in the morning." He honestly doesn't know, this being the first morning he's spent with her.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The porter smiles and tells Dick, "Good morning Mr. Grayson. If you'd like anything else from the kitchen, just let us know," he says. He gets just a glimpse of Sara in the robe before he's turning to head back down the hallway to the kitchen. Thinking, lucky, lucky bastard.

Beneath the tray cover are two plates with omelets, sausage and bacon. Additional plates have assorted fruit, and there are two short stacks of pancakes, as well as toast. Plus butter, jam, and syrup.

Two cups of steaming coffee are set near the little containers of creamer and sugar, and there are is also a coffee pot in the room along with a selection of gourmet coffees.

The presents are numerous as one might expect, and many are professionally wrapped, as one might also expect from a high society gathering like last night.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
There is no hesitation to this woman, coffee is required. Sara slides right over to the cart, but before collecting the cup, she places a soft kiss in Dick's cheek.

"Morning handsome," she offers, then a second kiss but this one is brushing lightly across his lips. "Coffee first, then food usually. Sometimes I will attempt both at the same time, but I can't promise I'll be neat or tidy about it before I have a caffeine in my system." She offers him a soft smile, emerald eyes sparkling. "Did you sleep well?"

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick lightly returns the kiss and gestures to one of the coffee cups, "All yours. And yes, for some reason by the time sleep rolled around I was quite exhausted." He adds creme and sugar to the other coffee cup, then picks it up and takes a sip. "How about you?"

He picks up a sausage off one of the plates and bites off half of it before turning to the second cart, "Now to see what people have managed to some up with for someone who already has everything he needs." he chuckles. "These can be amusing sometimes, you never know what some people think is appropriate. Let's see... Ah, here's Sue's gift, let's take a look." He unwraps the cloth her gift is inclosed in, then opens the laquered box and displays the contents, a lovely authentic sushi set for two.


Stephanie Brown has posed:
As Dick is opening up one of the packages, his phone gives the tiny chime that indicates an incoming text message. It's from Barry, one of his circle of friends in Gotham from when he was in his early twenties, the both of them children of wealthy Gothamites:

> Great party Dick. Great to have you in town again. Let's meet up some night.

As he's looking over the sushi set, another soft chime. This one from Matt DeLuca, who is Dick's new partner at work at GCPD:

> Thanks for inviting me. Took home a to go box for Michelle and the kid and now I'm Dad of the Year. Great fireworks too.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The ritual begins. A hint of cream, stir to see the color, just a touch more and stir. Perfect. Sara lifts the cup to her mouth for a sip, surprised by the rich, deep flavor of the coffee. She expected something more commercial tasting, but then again she was in the lap of luxury and should have known better.

As Dick answers her question, a playful smile dances across her face. "You know, I just can't figure out why I was so tired. You would think that I got a /lot/ of fantastic," she uses that word rather approvingly loud. "exercise before sleeping, and then I slept very deeply, none of my usual odd dreams."

Collecting a piece of fruit, she steps around to watch him open the first present. "Oh that is just lovely!" She nudges him. "I'm almost jealous, but then for me sushi is usually out of a to-go container and I'd have no use for something like that."

Dick Grayson has posed:
He set the sushi set aside carefully and reaches over for the next gift at random. He eats the other half of the sausage and then takes a sip of his coffee before settling into a chair between the breakfast cart and the gift cart so he has access to both.

The gift he's chosen is Stephanie's, and he smiles as he begins to unwrap it. Yes, he's one of those. The paper is not torn, rather tape is carefully freed from it before the wrapping is removed.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara settles herself into a chair near this show. They may not be her presents, but there is still an inherent joy to watching someone else open their presents. The piece of fruit is nibbled a little, but primarily it is sips of coffee as her brain wakes up.

"Really?" She comments, one brow lifting. "You're one of those? You realize that the paper is just going to get recycled, whether you've shredded it or very tediously taken it off slow as a seven year itch, right?" She offer a grin, her tone filled with the tease that it is.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Dick's phone chimes again. People apparently waited long enough they figured even he'd be up before sending messages. This one is from a girl he used to date, Melanie, on the invite list for family connections rather than because they dated.

> Great seeing you again. Give me a ring sometime!

The gift that Dick has chosen has a small envelope attached. Inside a little card that says, "Hope you have the best of birthdays. - Steph"

The box itself is medium-sized wrapped in a deep blue shiny paper, and wrapped with a silver lace-patterned bow, the edges of the lace a brighter silver that catches the light.

Within, the box is filled with a piece of foam, cut to fit the box. In the center of it on top a little hole has been cut to make room for... a USB stick. Just a simple one that probably came from Best Buy or Gotham Electronics Depot.

There's a nice sized TV on the wall of the stateroom, and it has a USB slot on the side.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick raises an eyebrow as the USB stick is revealed, saying mostly to himself, "Now what are you up to, Steph?" He stands and collects the TV remote, turning it on and taking the USB stick over to the TV and inserting it. He returns to the chair and uses the remote to choose the play option when the menu pops up, reaching over to collect another sausage from the plate.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Turning slightly in the chair, Sara finishes the piece of fruit as she watches Dick open the box and find the USB stick. Seemed odd to her, but she didn't know Stephanie well enough to comprehend the implications or concepts of such a gift.

As Dick moves to the television, her eyes follow. "Should I leave you alone to watch your present?" She offers, remembering the reactions of the girl last night and wondering if perhaps, just maybe, this was some sort of romantic gesture to express it... or maybe just nudes. "I can always take a morning walk."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The video file on the USB stick starts playing after a few moments, unless Dick pauses it. It starts with a video shot from up in the air above the Gotham end of the suspension bridge that connects Gotham City with Bludhaven. The camera slowly zooming on Bludhaven, before letters appear on the screen: Dick Grayson's 27th Birthday

After a moment the video cuts to someone sitting at a desk in a cheap suit. Sounds in the background are instantly recognizable to both Dick and Sara: the interior of a police station. And Dick knows the person featured. Arnold McHenry, one of the other detectives who sat close by to Dick in Bludhaven and knows him well.

"So they tell me that it's your birthday, Grayson," Arnold says. "It's about damn time. You running around looking like a damn teenager out there makes the rest of us look old." There's laughter from off the camera and Dick will recognize the voice of another detective calling over, "That's because you -are- old McHenry!"

Arnold grins off to the side before turning back to face the camera. "Happy birthday, Grayson. Wish you the best over there in Gotham."

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Why would I want you to leave? Not like it's my girlfriend making me a sexy movie, that would be from you." He grins as he recognizes Arnold, then settles back in his chair to watch the video, finishing off the sausage before he takes another sip of his coffee.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara hmms and nods, taking another sip of coffee as her eyes shift from Dick to the scene. Videos weren't her style, she much preferred live performances, but that was another matter entirely. Dick may have just turned twenty-seven, but it was officially obvious that in some things, the boy was clueless.

"Whose that?" She asks softly of Dick about the man on screen. "Clearly he's a cop."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
After Arnold, the video cuts to another man, this one wearing a patrolman uniform. Ernest, another friend of Dick's in the precinct. He'd had his life saved by Nightwing on two occasions, though of course he didn't know who that really was. "Dick, can't believe you're turning 27. Just mark my words, I'm going to make detective and younger than you," Ernest says. "Happy birthday man."

Next is a woman who works in CSI and caught a lot of the cases that Dick worked. Angela is sitting at her desk, rests her hands on it as she smiles at the camera. "Is it rolling? Ok, hey Dick. Sorry to see you go but hope things are great for you over in Gotham. Happy birthday to you. We're going to miss your smiling face around here," she says.

Next the video cuts to Dick's former boss. "Dick Grayson, you are one of the finest detectives I've had the pleasure of working with. Sometimes you may cut corners, and let's face it, you deserve getting yelled at," Captain McCluskey says with a soft chuckle. "But you got the job done. Our loss is Gotham's gain. Happy birthday."

Dick Grayson has posed:
He nods, gesturing to the screen, "These are all folks from my precinct over in Bludhaven, before I transferred back to Gotham. This was really sweet of Steph to do, I wonder what gave her the idea?" He's got a big smile on his face seeing his former co-workers sharing their birthday wishes.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara falls silent for now, letting Dick enjoy his gift with a small, coy smile on her face. Well played Stephanie, well played.

Collecting another piece of fruit, she is content to watch the video while nibbling, sipping her coffee as well. It didn't matter what city you were in, or where you went, a cop was a cop. It was nice to see so many who thought well of Dick and where going to miss him.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The video keeps going. Friend after friend of Dick's from the Bludhaven police force wish him a happy birthday. Somewhere around nine or ten, the pictures cuts to a big group, it looks like most everyone on Dick's floor from the precinct. "Happy birthday, Dick Grayson. Don't you go forgetting us now!" one of them says and then everyone breaks out cheering and calling out happy birthday.

The video slowly fades out to black, the sounds of them cheering fading. For a moment there's just black, and it probably seems like the video is over. But then another picture fades in. On the screen is a black girl of about ten years old, in ponytails.

She looks off to the side with a questioning look, and then back to the camera. "You may not remember, me, Detective Grayson. My mom was one of the people taken hostage in the bank. And you told me not to worry, that you were going to get her back and she'd be safe," the little girl says into the camera.

The screen pans back a bit, showing the girl's mother is sitting is next to her. "I never thought anyone would be able to talk those men into letting us go. But you did," the woman says, putting her arm around her daughter. "Thank you, Detective Grayson. Thank you so much," she says, her lips trembling just a little bit as she and her daughter smile at the camera.

The pair that he helped two years ago fade from the screen, and an elderly woman comes into view. A very recent case, Dick won't have any trouble remembering her.

Dick Grayson has posed:
He picks up and takes a sip of his coffee when the screen fades, smiling over to Sara and starting to say, "Well, that was nic.." when the next part of the video starts. Upon seeing the little girl and her mother, the coffee cup goes back on the tray ands he leans forward a little, intent on the screen.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara was just about to say something when the screen went black, she even looked away from the television and back to Dick, but then the child's voice is heard. For one moment her eyes return to the TV to see the girl's face then go right back to Dick. She got it, she could understand fully that intent. Many times she wondered what happened to the people she'd helped, both as a detective and through other means. Some she could check up on, other's not so much. Dick was getting a moment of the lives, their thanks, though certainly they did so when it all occurred, but it was different. To be remembered and thanked again after so much time passes... it was a rare, and special treat.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The old woman has a little bit of a constant tremble to her. Though, she seems in control of her mental faculties. From the background it looks like it was recorded in the woman's kitchen, and Dick may recognize the room. "When the man cleaned out my bank account... I thought I was going to lose my house," she says. "But you caught him. And the people you got me in touch with. They helped me get by until they gave my money back. Thank you. I thought it was all gone. But you and your partner saved me. Happy birthday, Detective. Thank you so much."

The elderly woman fades away, and a man of about thirty-eight fades into view, with a baby girl held in his arms. "Detective Grayson, it's Miguel Lariano. I was the cook at the Cosmic Diner. Year ago last January, with the gang shootout outside? You dragged me to safety and kept me alive until the ambulances got there," he says, his voice cracking just a little bit. "This is my daughter Maria. She wouldn't be here without you. Thank you, Detective. I heard you moved to Gotham. I wish you the best there. You're a good man, sir. A fine damn man. Happy birthday. And thank you."

Another three video testimonials and well-wishes for Dick's birthday follow. A woman and her son who had been kidnapped by the boy's father until Dick and his partner tracked them down all the way down in South Carolina. A business man who Nightwing was putting a case together on, when his Maggia cohorts had tried to kill him, only to be stopped by Dick in an official capacity. He'd turned over a new leaf and speaks of how he was working with a charity in Bludhaven.

Last but not least is a kid of sixteen. "Detective Grayson. It's Angelo. You arrested me for dealing. But you didn't just let me rot there in the cell. I want you to know, the talk you gave me, it made a difference. I cleaned up my life sir. I'm going to school again, and if I finish summer school the next two years, will even graduate on time. Thanks. I know it was just a matter of time before I'd have ended up another body in the streets. Thank you for giving me a life again. And, and happy birthday to you."

The video finally fades to black again. Just one last thing, words appearing on the screen: Happy birthday. You've always made a difference.

Dick Grayson has posed:
He just sits there for a minute after the video ends, then looks over at Sara with a big smile on his face, "That was.. unexpected. Like, seriously. I mean, the stuff from the other cops was great, but I don't believe she tracked down all those folks I've helped out. This must have taken her a hell of a lot of time and work. It's awesome, but I wonder what motivated her to do all that. I'm going to have to do something really nice for her."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara slowly looks away from Dick to her coffee cup, taking another sip before setting it down. She had a pretty good idea what motivated Stephanie, in fact it wouldn't take a detective to figure it out, but apparently it did because Dick was still clueless.

"How long have you known Stephanie?" She asks, pulling herself out of her thoughts and offering him a smile. "If she's known you for any amount of time beyond a week, then she knows how good a man you are and what your work means to you. Add more time to that, and it's not that difficult to come to a decision like this," she gestures toward the TV. "And yes, you should do something really nice for her."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
At some point during the video, Dick's phone chimes softly again as a text message comes through from Alfred.

> I hope you enjoyed the festivities, Master Grayson. I have left the red sportscar you like in the parking lot.

There's another text as well. This one has a bunch of pictures from the party, sent by one of Dick's friends who attended. Most of them are his group of friends, and some of Dick and Sara looking utterly killer in her JVD dress. There are also some of his family, the Richards, and one that has Gwen and Stephanie with the members of the Titans who came.

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Oh, got to be about 3, almost 4 years now. She was a friend of my brother Tim when I met her, she's kind of been unofficially adopted by the family. She's a great kid, always positive and happy. Helps me keep a little balance when the world starts looking dark. I mean, I do pretty well, but she just lightens up any room she walks into." He takes a sip of his coffee, looking over to Sara with the smile still on his face.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Taking another sip of coffee, Sara slides Dick's plate closer, "Eat, you have to keep those muscles I'm so fond of." She comments with a chuckle.

Now she got it, she understands why Dick was clueless. He met her when she was a kid, still calls her kid, he doesn't see her for the woman she has become. Hell, even Sara saw her for the woman she'd become, Stephanie was beautiful.

Taking more fruit to nibble while she runs things around in her own head, using it to explain why she was quiet. There was that little part in the back of her mind, the same part that drove her to become a police officer, that wanted to help make this right, the way it should go, but at the same time she really liked Dick. There was another voice in her head as well, one that screamed in incoherently, a nagging that pulled at her, trying to keep her focus off Dick and in another direction. It had to have something to due with the loss of her memories, but until she was certain, she tried to keep that voice silent and enjoy Dick's company.