15262/Family Ties

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Family Ties
Date of Scene: 25 June 2023
Location: New York City
Synopsis: Following the kidnapping and rescue of Helena Bertinelli by the Red Hood. Jason drives Helena out of Gotham to get away from Family Eyes. He takes her to NYC, Washington Heights for something to eat while the two have a thinly veiled conversation about what happened, why, and what the next steps are to get to the bottom of this dangerous situation in the Gotham Mob families.
Cast of Characters: Red Hood, Huntress

Red Hood has posed:
Getting away from Gotham and the mob, more specifically from the man that is claiming to be Pino Bertinelli? That was the plan. Get someplace safe and quiet where Jason and Helena can talk about the situation and try to come up with a game plan.

Racing north on the interstate, Jason looks over at Helena. "How are you feeling? The sedative wearing off finally?" he asks quietly. Looking back to the road, he turns off the interstate, taking the exit to the Holland tunnal from Jersey into Manhattan.

"I've got a few ideas for where we can lay low at least till morning. Try to figure this all otu."
Huntress has posed:
Helena makes a non-committal noise as an immediate response to the question from Jason, like she's taking stock, eyes still closed. She's not asleep though. "I really want to shoot something, and I don't want to throw up anymore, so I think I'm past the worst of it," she finally reports. "I really need to find someone who can come up with a good counteragent to that. Maybe just a straight adrenaline shot?" Doesn't seem particularly healthy way to deal with it, but the woman hates being helpless, and reckless /is/ her middle name.

Her eyes open, just as they head off the exit -- and she's turning to look at Jason. "Secret stashhouses all over New York?" she guesses, half teasing. And half not, because: "I really ought to do that. I had a place here in New York I'd stay at occasionally, before I left, but it's been rented out."
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd shrugs. "Not like Batman or the others. Nightwing's got them probably all over. Given my.. history... when I first came back I never stayed in the same place two nights in a row" he admits with a quick glance to her. " I was sure Batman was going to find me." As they disappear into the tunnel under the Hudson, he focuses on the traffic, weaving between cars as he continues his usual break-neck driving style.

"Having a few place to lay low when being hunted or to heal up is a good idea" he agrees.

As they emerge out of the tunnel into Manhattan he looks to her. "So. You said dinner? Your treat?" He slowly grins, "Your purse is still in your penthouse. How're you gonna pay, Ms. Moneybags?"
Huntress has posed:
Helena gives a rueful little smile when Jason mentions Nightwing probably having places all over. "He had at least a couple in New York that I remember. Monitored though, or I'd suggest we crash." She doesn't dare even voice doing so to Batman's hideouts. That's just an invitation for him to join and ask many unanswerable questions.

"He probably knew where you were the whole time, once he became aware of you," Helena says, of Jason's hiding from Batman. "He does seem intent on giving people space to make the decisions he wants them to." Like voluntarily going to see him.

"My treat," Helena's repeating, but then he catches her off guard with the awareness she has nothing. No purse, no smartwatch, no phone. Just the gold cross on the chain around her neck, not something she'd willingly part with. "My plan," she says, slowly and deliberately, "Was to distract you, steal /your/ wallet, and pay without you knowing. Which you've totally ruined the surprise for. Why do you always have to ruin the fun things?" The narrow-eyed glare of indignation doesn't really hold weight when coming on the heels of a self-confessed future crime.
Red Hood has posed:
"Oh I have no doubt. He was studying me, trying to figure out who I was. Once he knew. Well."

He smirks, "Voluntarily compelled to see him, yeah."

As she admits she was going to try and steal his wallet, he laughs. "I'd almost pay to see you try that.." he challenges. Glancing back to her as he slows down for the surface roads, he murmurs dryly, "I recall being a lot of fun last time.."

Looking away from her as he turns a corner, heading north toward Washington Heights, well away from the obvious parts of Manhattan.

"But... since you're faced with a current.. funding issue.." He glances back with that puckish grin, ".. I've got a place in mind for something to eat and a place to crash that'll suit even your discerning tastes, I think."
Huntress has posed:
"Voluntarily compelled," Helena laughs readily, because it's true and apt. "Yes."

Jason's challenge draws an annoyed /tsk/ from Helena. "You say that like you don't completely know I'm down for any particular challenge." It has nothing at all to do with a terminal need to prove herself, nope, not at all. Helena's perfectly well balanced emotionally.

And then her eyebrows go upwards, because while Jason's proposition is intriguing, it's also kind of alarming. Because she does have discerning tastes, and it's been a long, long time before she's slept on anything less than a super-comfortable bed.

"I do not like that smile of yours," Helena declares, with a narrow-eyed look. "Not at all. Where are you taking us, Jason Todd?"
Red Hood has posed:
"Well with that pessimistic attitude, I'm not sure I'm taking you anywhere. Me? I'm going to that amazing Moroccan restaurant. Because the lamb there is incredible." He looks at her with an indifferent expression, "I guess you can just wait in the car - that doesn't belong to you - or wait outside and watch me eat through the window. I'll even make yummy noises and gestures to make sure you know how great it all is."

Picking on the recently kidnapped-and-rescued woman. It seems like a fair trade for having been to one to have rescued her.

Rolling to a stop on a side street, he taps the computer display and the car changes colors again, this time to one of the iconic colors from 1967 - an ivory color. The license plate switches as well, making it yet again a different car.

Shutting the engine off and activating the vintage dash panel he looks to her. "But if you start being nice to me, I might even take you to dinner - and - for dessert before we check into the homeless shelter I have reserved for us.." there's that wicked look again. He just can't help but tease her.
Huntress has posed:
There is nothing quite like fresh, home made pasta. And while Helena undoubtedly will mourn the remnants left on her kitchen floor, the idea of Moroccan lamb is definitely appealing, visible in the slight widening of her eyes and the brief parting of her lips. She's so terrible at playing it off, but she tries. "You are the absolute worst person," Helena declares, authoritatively.

Sure, she could remind him she was recently kidnapped, and reminded of the brutal murder of her family, and confusion over the possible return of her long-dead brother. But it never occurs to her to use those things. That's real, and this is... this is...

"Fine." Helena looking suddenly so determined should be a warning sign. "I'll be /nice/. I can be really /nice/."

One might have doubts, if just because the vehemence with which she states this.
Red Hood has posed:
"The worst of the worst, it's true" he agrees with her, seriously. "It's what you risk hanging out with a convicted felon. Murderer even."

When she says she'll be nice, he smiles brightly. "See? That wasn't so hard, was it?" Yeah he's enjoying this almost too much.

Getting out, he walks around and opens her door - because he's nothing if not a gentleman. Right?

He offers his arm, "Shall we, Ms. Bertinelli?" This time the smile is genuine, the offer serious and with thoughtful intent given her ordeal.
Huntress has posed:
Helena merely gives Jason a knowing look. "You aren't the only one in this car." Murderer, that is. She's never been convicted of anything.

It's an effort not to immediately roll her eyes when he humors her with that /not so hard/. He can practically see her seething with the effort to play nice. At least it serves as a good distraction, which might well be his intention.

Elegance though, she can do without thought. She lets him open up the door and help her out, and takes his arm. She must sense the genuineness in his smile, because as she does so there's a little squeeze of his arm.

She's not precisely dressed for high end dining -- she was relaxed and in her own penthouse when she was taken -- but even there she adheres to a style that while not the best, is not entirely out of place in New York: long tan pants and matching slippers, a brown button up shirt that clings to her curves. No jacket, but they hopefully won't be out in the cooler night air for long.
Red Hood has posed:
The restuarant is casual dining. Or at least not high end attire required. It's nice, but a small neighborhood place.

Heading inside, he talks to the hostess for a moment and they are led to a private table in the back. He'd picked it out the moment they came in. Apparently he knew what to say to get it without raising suspicions. It gives them privacy but a view of the kitchen and outside doors and most of the windows. As secure as they'll get. Really no one should know them here anyway.

After looking at the menu a moment, he looks over it at her. "I'll stop with all the teasing." He'll meet her gaze. "I'm more than a little concerned about all of this. I know that you are." Obviously.

He leans back a little and goes quiet. Talking too much wasn't going to help with things.
Huntress has posed:
Helena gives the hostess a pleasant smile but otherwise leaves the negotiation of their table to Jason. She clearly approves though, especially the sightlines to ways out of, and into, the restaurant, and once she's seated her shoulders seem to slump into something relaxed.

Helena's looking at the menu, but not. Just kind of staring through it, until his words rouse her to focus. Her brow quirks a little as he declares he'll stop teasing, as if to imply /can you actually though?/ but she doesn't voice it. Her exhale rattles out a moment later, voice pitched low, "If he is who he says he is... it will mean chaos for the families." Even quiet, she's discreet enough not to name the Cosa Nostra. "And you know I'm not against that, but it will be the bad kind of chaos, the one where entire families are put on the line -- it means people will be willing to break the normal rules about civilians, to keep their place on the top."

Her fingers drum against the menu for a moment. "And it means I'll lose a great deal of the Bertinelli fortune. That's less worrying than the other, though." She chews at her lower lip for a moment. "A simple DNA test will show whether he's my brother or not. If he isn't... I can't see what his game would be."

Never, for a second, does she consider the man might just want to reconnect with his own family. It says a lot about Helena that it just never occurs to her.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd listens. He hasn't got a family life or memories he really wants. None of them were good. Hell even being adopted by Bruce ended up being more about what -he- could bring to the table as Second Robin than it was, really, about Bruce taking pity on a good kid in a bad situation. Then again, Jason wasn't a good kid to begin with so his perspective on the motivations of his 'rescue' and adopt are obviously skewed. Less so than they once were, perhaps.

With a nod, he sighs. "Yeah. All out .. conflict" because talkig about war in public would be foolish, ".. that's going to be bad." He pauses. "Maybe he's legit? I don't trust many. But suppose he's on the level. Of course that will require a lot of good explaining about why he tried to nab you on the street once and then came to your place."

He sighs and leans back. "I.. don't think it's a good idea regardless for you to stay by yourself for a while" he looks at her seriously.
Huntress has posed:
"If he is who he says, and positioned where I think he is," in a rival family, "It would make sense. He'd want to keep his distance?" Helena speculates, though she's frowning as she says it. "He could've asked but-" a sigh expels from her. "-I suppose I've never been good at doing what people asked."

Yeah, she's admitting drugging her for a conversation is probably the safest course of action. She's at least honest about herself.

It's the last that brings her dark gaze up, opening her mouth to tease him... at least until she takes in his serious expression. It's so rare that it catches her off guard, leaves her without words for a moment, surprisingly quiet for the normally outspoken Italian woman. "I suppose that's logical," she ventures, carefully.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd nods. Asking would have made more sense. Even as stubborn as she is. "If he's in a position in another .. organization.. it doesn't make sense. There has to be more in motion here than either of us is seeing."

Pausing as the server brings a fresh pot of Maghrebi tea. He nods a thanks and pours two cups, sliding one to Helena.

"I think you'll like this. It's mint, spearmint and some sugar. It's a green gunpowder style tea" he says with a faint smirk.

Looking at her again, he reaches over to touch her hand. "I get that this is your fight. But I'm not going to watch you take this on alone. Even if you knew exactly what you're up against, going at this solo isn't a winning hand."

He pauses to sip at his tea then glances at her, perhaps to judge her reaction. "Might even need to consider bringing in some additional.. consultants." Quickly he adds, ".. ones willing to do things your way."
Huntress has posed:
Helena's troubled look says it all. She agrees, but whatever the pieces they're missing right now, she can't see them. The woman falls silent when the server brings tea, nodding a wordless thanks. She makes a faintly amused noise as Jason describes the tea. "I can guess why you like it, and I imagine it's not solely for the taste." She sips, carefully, and the shift of her brow suggests it's not terrible indeed.

Setting the cup of tea down, Helena goes still when Jason touches her hand. It's not that it's unwelcome by any means, but it surprises her, and it brings her gaze back up towards him, as he probably meant it to do. He can already see the stubborn set of her mouth when he gets to the /but/ of that speech, and her mouth is set in a frown by the time he's at the end.

She loathes the idea. It goes against every fiber of her being. She's used to flying solo -- both in family, in business, and vigilantism. It's only in the latter case she's started to get used to working with Red Hood -- not relying on him, exactly, but it's sure nice to have a backup to call now and then. There is nothing in her posture that suggests she's in any way acquiescing on this, but she does at least ask: "Who are you thinking?"
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd pauses, "Actually, my global knowledge begins and ends with knowing that it's a description of the preparation of the leaves for drying. I think it goes back to China. But the leaves are rolled up and when dry they're supposed to resemble gunpowder." He grins. "It's a fun name if nothing else."

The fact she hasn't tossed the tea in his face is progress. Baby steps are something he knows all about.

When she asks for his short list of names, he pauses. "I don't have a list, yet. But off hand, I can think of one possibly two from Gotham. Otherwise they'd have to be asked to come in from.. out of town." It's as much as he wants to say in public for obvious reasons but she should be able to realize he's considering vigilantes from other cities with more.. flexible morals than Batman and most of the Batfamily.
Huntress has posed:
"That must be a fun fact for parties," Helena notes with a faint smile. It doesn't last though, because she's still considering his latter words.

She really does not look pleased when he mentions one or two from Gotham. It's only when he adds out of town, that she trusts they might actually be on the same page for this. This is her life. Maybe her family's, too. If she'd burn down her own, devote all her energy and money to destroying the Cosa Nostra to avenge them, what wouldn't she be willing to do to save one of them?

The answer is in her resolute expression.

"...as long as they're willing to do it my way. But I don't want anymore than one or two. Otherwise it gets messy."