15466/A Bad Moon Rising

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A Bad Moon Rising
Date of Scene: 13 August 2023
Location: Bludhaven Safe House
Synopsis: Helena wakes up after Red Hood whisked her away from yet another attempted contract hit. When she wakes up, she and Jason finally talk. By most standards, it's a pretty good talk. No new blood was shed at least.
Cast of Characters: Red Hood, Huntress

Red Hood has posed:
The hit attempt on Helena Bertinelli went spectacularly wrong. Not just for the Galente family behind the attempt but, let's face it, also for Helena and Jason-as-Red-Hood.

The fact that Batman has decided that their train wreck has raced out of control toward the station for far too long.

There were dead bodies left behind. That won't make him any happier with the two of them. Though in Red Hood's defense he didn't.. no. No there really isn't any defense at this point. He has poured his fair share of gas on the open flames then warmed his hands with the heat.

Then there is the fact he tasered Helena and schlepped her into his car and took off before Batman caught up with them. Because that works every time, right? It's clear he chose let the two of them go, Red Hood reflects with a scowl behind his mask as he drives out of Gotham and across the bridge into Bludhaven.

Eventually he pulls around the back of the barely surviving Laugh A Minute Comedy Club. He steers his car inside a dilapidated looking storage shed in the back alley. The doors close automatically and after tapping a code on the dash display, the floor begins to lower to take the car and its passengers undergrown.

The safe house isn't large - A repair space with enough room to pull the car off the lift (which returns to it's above ground position), a small living/sleeping area with a small kitchen and a very small version of a Red Cave with a number of screens, computers and Red Hood gear to restock from in emergencies.

Taking Helena out of the back seat, he carries her to the bed and lays her there to wake up on her own.

Pulling his helmet off, he drops into the chair at the computers and begins pouring over the stolen intel from his raid (that was really a trap), some 36 hours ago.
Huntress has posed:
While most of the stolen intel is coded and unlabeled -- there's probably some kind of code book to indicate exactly what the numbers mean -- a level of pattern matching and repetition will allow him to follow the flow of money. There are large sums that correspond with imports arriving at the Gotham docks on a semi-regular basis: good bet that it's guns, drugs, or some combination thereof. There are regular, repeating amounts going into a variety of numbered accounts: payoffs, probably. In time, he can probably trace these to Gotham Police members, a variety of people within the bureaucracy of the city, and even the Mayor's office itself.

Why the accountant, and all this valuable information was still there when this was an expected trap is the real question.

It's at least an hour before Helena even stirs. She wakes to pain and unfamiliar surroundings.

Neither of these circumstances are precisely new, but neither are they at all welcome. She sits up -- tries to sit up, hissing in pain when the pressure pulls on her shoulder. Whatever painkillers she was given in the mafia doctor's surgery has long since worn off, and judging by the red stain of the bandages underneath her layers when she stretches the edge of the sweater to look, that might need some attention, too.

With a hissed breath, she slumps back onto the bed, just breathing for a moment as she turns her head to take stock of the room she's in. The moment her gaze lands on the Red Hood, seated at the computer, her heart constricts. And then her face tightens as she realizes just how she must have gotten here.

"You /shot/ me." Familiar, incredulous fury.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd makes a series of notes for himself, in his own code while he lets Helena sleep the slumber of a woman who has been shot, then had surgery to repair the wound, then shot with a taser round, tossed in a car and driven across city limits to a vigilante's safe house.

He studies the data and ponders that very thing - why was the accountant there, indeed.

He hears her stirring and the hiss of pain. Some of it was caused by him.

"Would you have come with me willingly if I'd just asked?"

Jason - not Red Hood - stops taking notes and turns around and looks at her a moment. His mask sits beside him on the desk.

"How're you feeling?"
Huntress has posed:
Would Helena Bertinelli have come with Jason willingly?


It's apparent in her expression, in the narrowing of her gaze as she struggles to pull herself into an upright, seated position. As she struggles to hide that struggle, and fails. That, as much as him, is the cause of her fury. She hates being -- appearing -- weak. And she's all too aware that's what she is in this moment.

It's not in her nature to admit that, though.

"Fine," Helena lies, in the jaw-tensing way that says she's most definitely /not/ fine.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd rises up and walks over. He offers her a hand in silence so she can steady herself as she sits up. Or not of course.

Whatever the outcome, he turns, ignoring her ire but certainly not oblivious to it. He walks over to the kitchen space and pulls out a bottle of sport aide. Walking back he offers it to her. He picked her favorite flavor.

"You're going to need the energy to heal."

He drops into a chair facing her. Rocking back onto the rear legs he balances and watches her in silence.

"Whatever your plan was" because he still hasn't been told, "..you need to revise it. He's involved now. Whatever you want the outcome to be, it isn't going to be as easy as pushing me away, now." His voice is quiet. Calm even. It feels like an odd dichotomy given her current ire.
Huntress has posed:
The concession that she needs the help comes when she takes his hand. And a realization, too.

His touch is warm, steady. She's missed it. She's missed /him/. Some of that might be visible for a moment in her expression before he releases her hand and goes to get the drink. By the time he's come back she's drawn herself up to lean against the headboard, mastering her own face.

Mostly, anyway. Not even she has the skill to hide the grimace when references him.


Helena looks down at the bottle, not at Jason; recognizing it's the flavor she likes best. She opens it, takes a deep draught, uses the excuse to try and compose her thoughts. It doesn't help, though.

"He makes things difficult. But only in as far as the need to accelerate things before he... gets too close." Her finger traces a line on the bottle; still avoiding his gaze. "I only need a little more time." His calmness, oddly, seems only to incite her anger further, frustration evident as she exhales sharply. "There's rumors you're working with me. It's made things worse. What do I need to do to get you to stop, Jay?" Only then does she look up at him, dark eyes cautious.
Red Hood has posed:
Tell me you don't love me. Tell me all of this was a mistake.

That's the first thing to come to his mind. But he doesn't say it. Because she'd lie to his face just to get her way. Sure, she'll tell herself it's to protect the both of them.

"You should have considered that before you let things get this far, Helena." He keeps quiet. Forcing himself to stay calm.

"Red Hood stopped the first attempt that Benny made to kidnap you. Red Hood blew into his business and took you from his grasp. Red Hood said you hired him in front of Benny to try and keep the reason for our connection hidden. If they're thinking he works for you now, it isn't really a surprise, is it?"

He meets her gaze. "You said you were using me, because everyone uses you. That you've really gone back to the family." No capital on that word. It isn't the real one after all.

"I don't believe you. If it were true I'd already be dead and you'd have dumped my corpse at Batman's doorstep."

"So if you aren't really back, you owe me an explanation. No lies. No deflections. The truth."

He'll continue to meet her gaze till she chooses to break it and look away.
Huntress has posed:
The truth. Impossible.

He's right, in one thing. Helena should've considered this before. She should've guessed, accounted for Jason's potential actions in the aftermath -- but she realize the depth of his potential feelings for her. Not until that aborted, not-quite admission, and by then it was too late, for both of them.

Helena takes a steadying breath.

And immediately chickens out. The excuse is easy, believable: necessary, even. She's not feigning the expression of pain as she shifts, it's real and present. "Will you help me change my bandage, first? I think I pulled one of the stitches."

It buys her time. It implies there will an after; an answer, a reckoning.

She just isn't sure what that looks like, yet.
Red Hood has posed:
The impossible is made possible every day when it comes to vigilantes.

The breath. Buying time.

Staring at her in silence for several heartbeats, he nods and falls forward till the chair's legs thump on the concrete floor. Not the most homey of places. But hide outs aren't supposed to be the Waldorf.

Walking to the bathroom, the only private room in the safe house, he returns with a small medical kit. "Let me see." He sets down the kit and begins to set out the expected supplies.
Huntress has posed:
Helena will probably need help, getting out of that sweater, leaving her in a thin camisole top. It sits loosely over her bandaged shoulder, and she pushes off the strap of it as she glances down, mouth tightening. The bandage is stained red -- bright enough to be fresh.

Her mouth sets, resolutely, as she begins to unwind it, hiding her discomfort behind determination.

There are -- were -- six neat and tidy stitches beneath the bloody gauze, holding closed the bullet hole and the precise knife cut used to get and presumably extract the bullet beneath. It was good, clean work, only she's pulled two of them, probably when she was leaping from the balcony. Or maybe after, when she was grappling with that hitman.

Helena's face is a pale beneath her normal olive skin tone. She carefully doesn't look at him.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd helps where she needs it, keeping silent and focusing on the wound.

Helping to peel back the current bandage, he sees the torn stitches and works to clean the wound as carefully as he can.

Moving to the medical kit he pulls out a few more items and looks again at the wound. "It's not bleeding actively any more." Which is good. He looks at the stitches. "I'm not good enough to do this cleanly like the doc did." He studies the stitches and then pulls a small 'gun' that he inserts a tube into. "I can seal the wound." The device has the 'WayneTech' logo but it certainly isn't something out of the 'public' catalogue. He holds it close, noting absently as he focuses, "This is going to sting." THen he begins applying a clear liquid that has the scent of superglue. Carefully applying a thin layer of the gel, he waits for it to begin to dry. "It'll need a few layers to seal properly but it'll stop infection and should keep the rest of the stitches from tearing. As long as you don't get into any arm wrestling matches."
Huntress has posed:
It hurts, that much is apparent. She bears it well enough, but Helena Bertinelli isn't a machine. Her teeth are pressed tightly together as he cleans the wound, her exhale when he's done apparent. Her, "Do what you need to," is husked with pain and determination both, fingers clenched and an unintentional flex of her body as the liquid hits the wound, biting down on the muffled noise of pain that follows.

It takes a moment before she can answer his teasing. "I don't plan to." Funny, how that sounds a lot like 'I don't want to fight.'

She rests her head back against the headboard as the gel dries, breathing deeply, eyes closed. It's a long stretch of silence before she speaks again.

"I'm sorry I said that. That I was using you. I didn't. I wasn't. It was just-" Helena swallows, visible in the long line of her throat, head still tilted back. "-I knew you wouldn't leave. And I didn't want you involved in what was coming."

Helena should've known better. He told her himself, months ago. /I don't do things halfway./ But then she's so used to working alone -- so used to not having anyone to rely on, trust in -- that it only seemed the logical conclusion.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd listens. It should go down in history as a public holiday. The day that Jason Peter Todd actually listened to someone. The world will end if he over actually takes orders reliably. Don't get greedy.

As he finishes replacing the bandage and helping Helena get dressed again, he cleans up the medical kit and sets it nearby just in case.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he looks at her silently.

"That's more honest than you've been with me probably.. ever." Is it full honesty? In this life, honesty and trust have to be taken on faith most of the time. He wants to believe it is.

"You're right. I wasn't going to leave." He looks to her and adds honestly, "I still won't."

"I get that you are used to doing this your way. Not having more moving parts to consider." He shakes his head, "Thing is, you're not alone any more. You haven't been whether you realize it or not." Then again he's made his presence pretty effectively known the last few weeks so there's that.

"I didn't say it before. But now I realize the chances I will get to say it some other time are getting smaller the longer this all goes on."

Quietly, his gaze falters a moment before he tries to look back at her.

"I love you Helena. I can't sit by. Not then. Not now or ever. You can say I'm an idiot. A fool. And I probably am. It won't be the first time someone's said that. But it doesn't change the truth. It doesn't change -why- I keep coming back. Why I haven't blinked once at helping you when you've needed it. And whatever you say, even if you tell me that I'm the only one feeling this way, it isn't going to make me walk away."

"I'm in this. And I'm not going way. You need to tell me what is going on and what the plan is. So all of this.. mess.. can be finished." He pauses. "Before he steps in further and finishes it for us."

Huntress has posed:
Helena pulls the sweater back on with his help, less belligerent about needing the help this time. Probably has a lot to do with how pale she is; how readily she leans back when it's done, fighting to keep her breathing even.

When he accuses her of honesty, she blinks, quickly. It's true, though: she hasn't been honest with him, or herself. It's safer that way. A default, defensive mechanism, that is somehow dismantled by the honesty he offers in turn. The assurance that he won't leave, even after everything she's done, and all the mistakes she's made.

"Jay," she starts to say -- without any idea what will follow it, but it falters into silence as he continues, as he makes that confession; her dark brown eyes are wide, wider as she suspects what he's going to say. Before, she wouldn't have been ready to hear it. Even now, her first instinct is to shut him out, to run from the potential those words create.

But he keeps talking, and keeps refusing to do anything other than be there. To be something she hasn't had in decades. A bedrock. A fixed point. Something she can always rely on, no matter what.

Helena takes an unsteady breath, and it comes out in a rush, with a stinging at her eyes. "Camurria! You /are/ an idiot," they agree on that much at least, but even as she says it, she's leaning forward, her fingers touching his jaw, sliding past to his neck, pulling him -- urging him -- closer to her to her lips so she can utter the Sicilian against them, soft: "M?ammanchi, ti vogghiu, m'amore."

I miss you, I want you, my love.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd is ready for the 'You are an idiot' part. That part is inevitable in all of this. Love isn't just blind sometimes. It's fucking stupid.

He watches and waits, trying hard again to listen to her. Even when she doesn't say much. Her eyes, her expression says enough.

He inclines his head as she confirms his idiocy. He can't argue it nor will he try. This time at least, he's the right kind of idiot.

He leans forward as she reaches for him, sliding closer to ease the strain on her arm and wound. He kisses her deeply then whispers after she finishes.

"You know I don't speak Spanish."

Not an idiot. He just has zero of self preservation even as his gray-blue eyes flicker with mischief.
Huntress has posed:
Sometimes truth burns. And sometimes in doing so, it cleanses as well.

Weeks of frustration, of misplaced anger, of fear for him -- all of that is thrown into that kiss, a well spring both of desire and desperation. Helena doesn't even care that it pulls on her shoulder. She needs this moment. She needs /him/, even if she's struggling to admit it even to herself. She's content to lose herself in it.

Then Jason Todd has to go and be himself.

She recognizes the mischief in his gaze, the teasing tone; in just the same way as he undoubtedly recognizes the storm of Sicilian she unleash on him -- inventive and crude at times -- as true and honest part of herself. Her hand slides upwards from his neck, feathering into his hair, and she lets out a slow breath when the storm passes.

It must be awkward, uncomfortable, the way she leans forward to drop her forehead onto his shoulder, but it's the nearest she can get without climbing into his lap. It also stops her having to see his expression -- his face -- as she murmurs, "Pino... Benedict. After you dropped him back with the Cassamentos, Santo Cassamento, the don of dons, had me brought to him." She doesn't explain how that happened; he can probably imagine. One doesn't refuse a don an audience, vigilante or no. Certainly not a born-and-bred member of a mafia family.

"He told me what Benedict said was true. That I wasn't a true blood Bertinelli. Franco is not my father. Santo Cassamento is." Helena won't look at him as she says this; she practically radiates shame.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd weathers Hurricane Helena as she unlesses the storm of colorful words for him and he can only do one thing - grin like an idiot. Because he does understand her. And sarcasm is a coping mechanism for when shit gets too real and difficult.

Sensing the discomfort of their angle on her shoulder he says quietly, "You're right. On all of that. But that's also why we are perfect for each other." He isn't about to back down from her ire. And he -is- going to look after her.

Gently he picks her up and shifts so she can sit sideways in his lap, her good arm against his shoulder. Then he listens.

The implications of it all hit him. No he doesn't get the nuance from growing up in that life. But he knows what being a bastard child is like. What it means.

Quietly, he tries to talk supportively, "So. He's holding it over you. Power to make you outwardly do what he wants.." As he talks and listens, he strokes slowly along her spine.
Huntress has posed:
The way Helena burrows into him as he rearranges them creates a picture of intimacy and need so clear that it seems impossible that she was denying her feelings for him; impossible to believe she was merely using him. There's trust in the way she relaxes as his hand trails down her spine, even as she speaks, quiet and intent. "Yes," she agrees. "He told me had had proof of it. Not just DNA, but a written letter from my mother. Letters. He threatened to out me. Not just take away the name Bertinelli -- you," she takes a breath, "You can't understand what it would mean. It wouldn't just be the money. The Bertinelli name gives me protection, here and in Sicily. That would all be gone, if it was found out I was a Cassamento -- if Santo refused to extend his protection over me. And he would refuse. He said as much."

There is anger -- distant, because she's had weeks to process, but still burning hot. "He told me to take control of the Panessa family, by any means. They were making waves for him, and this was a way to solve it, to keep them under the thumb. Through me, he can control them." Her eyes narrow and her voice hardens. "Of course, I don't intend to let him. I need to find these letters, the proof. And then I plan to kill him."

A beat.

"After I tear apart the Five Families."

A noble ideal, except doing so is spilling over into Gotham, which is why Batman is now very much judging her methods -- them both. But she's not the sort to back down.

"It's not enough merely to kill him. I need to dismantle everything. Pit Galante against Cassamento -- that's close to fruition. That idiot nephew of Galante's practically handed me the keys to that ever-increasing rebellion. It's all boiling over, Jay. I just have to hold it all together while it does." Control the uncontrollable as it all burns down around them. It's fine, right?
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd listens. "No, you're right. I can't understand exactly. I can try to imagine, Hels." He kisses her temple. "But I don't need to understand it to know it would affect you."

He listens to her words. The details.

And the details are beginning to tell him something he, himself, doesn't want to hear.

"We'll find the way to take him down." Of this he's convinced.

"I.." he hesitates. Knowing that after all the progress just made about being honest? What he is about to say is probably going to go over like a lead balloon. "..I'm not sure that killing him is going to solve everything. Anything." He looks at her, quick to assure he has more to say, to discuss on it with her. "Huntress told me that killing wasn't me. What I wanted. I have to believe the same is true of her. Of either of us." He offers a weak smile.
Huntress has posed:
He can sense the immediate response in Helena, the tensing of her posture within his arms. It's hard when he's throwing her words back at her; she meant it then. It wasn't what he wanted. For her? She's not so sure.

"How else?" Helena exhales, the anger unguarded in her voice. "We both know there's no point putting him in the system. He's got the best, highest paid lawyers, and everyone in the city who would need to sign off on even charging him bribed and under the thumb. Even if he does go to jail it won't stop him. I don't see there's any other way through this." Which is not strictly true; it's truer to say that killing him is, for her, the most expedient, simple way.

But it's not the only reason. In fact, it's the least reason to do it. It's personal, too, apparent in the tense line of her posture, in the tightness of her jaw as she speaks, eyes fixed somewhere away from him, though Jason can see every nuance of Helena's pained expression.

"I looked my parent's killer in the eye. He made a conscious decision not to kill me. It wasn't about me being a child, because he killed Pino. It never made sense to me, but it does now. The only thing different about me? I wasn't actually Bertinelli blood. I was Santo Cassamento's child. Only he would've known that."

Which could mean only one thing: Santo Cassamento was responsible, indirectly or not, for the murder of her entire family.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd feels her tense in his arms and he doesn't try, he just holds her and continues to hold her and stroke along her spine.

"I don't have the answers yet Hel." He kisses the top of her head. "I know he needs to answer. I don't intend to let him get away with it or try to convince you of anything like that."

He shakes his head. "Going to jail isn't going to solve it, you're right." He considers a moment. "We need a way to publicly discredit him beyond any ability to wriggle out of it. I'm sure there is some dirt that'll leave him in bad standing with the rest of the Dons. With things back in Sicily. Make it so he can't do anything again for fear of his own life."

"He's -going- to answer. But it should be something he has to face daily for the rest of his life..." trying to steer things toward a worse fate than a bullet or crossbow bolt. He's trying to do better.
Huntress has posed:
Diverting the anger of a betrayed Sicilian is no small feat. Even as he's kissing the top of her head, Helena's mouth is still pressed into an angry line. It's not until Jason continues to talk, musing over ways to deal with Santo, and he talks about getting dirt on the man in turn that that anger becomes something else.

Helena is a true Sicilian. She doesn't believe in the whole 'revenge is a dish best served cold' thing -- she wants immediacy and satisfaction both. And Jason's idea? Certainly plays into both.

"Blackmail him in turn?" It's an idea that has merit. "Put the Don of Dons in /our/ pocket?" Helena's quiet, as she considers the potential implications of that. And then she smiles -- not a warm thing, exactly, but with dark anticipation. "He isn't going to like it." Batman.

She does, though.

"Not so much an idiot," Helena says, as her fingers trace a line over his jaw.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd continues to stroke along Helena's spine. It's a thing he's missed. Just having someone to care about. Who cares in kind. It hadn't started out that way but fate had other plans clearly.

He laughs softly as she touches his jaw. "Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a nut, they say." He gently hugs her, mindful of her shouler and wound.

"But yeah.. we either threaten him with sharing damning information. Or we do it and leave him on the run. He's used to the cushy job of bossing others. Not having to look over his shoulder."

He shrugs again. "Seems like blackmailing him in return is the more poetic and vicious thing to do. But he'll try hard to manipulate facts to make anything we hold on him no longer have any impact or effect at some point. But..maybe we can stay ahead of him in that game."
Huntress has posed:
That physical contact is just as much cherished by Helena. It's apparent in the way her gaze on Jason transforms when he hugs her -- despite the faint amount of discomfort it generates, there's no concern for that. Just an all-too-apparent warmth in her dark eyes, not trying to hide it as she laughs, quietly.

"I'd rather have him here. The devil we know, and under our thumb. It would make it even easier to pit the rest of the families against each other, keep them focused on each other." Which might not help so much with calming things in the city, but that's not really Helena's focus right now.

Even if it should be, given Batman is back.

A game though? That she looks forward to. "Not all of it has to be real, either. Just the hint of being a rat is enough to ruin reputations in the Cosa Nostra. If we can get someone, maybe Barbara, to mock up a SHIELD file on a Confidential Informant..." now that would be powerful.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd relaxes more as he feels her relax. It's a serious conversation with deadly consequences depending on how things unfold. But just having someone to talk about things makes it instantly easier.

"Then we look for ways to nail him and then keep him under our thumb." He considers. "Barbara can probably dig up something or yeah write something up. If it's for a good cause anyway."

"I don't think Batman is going to care that we are manipulating the mob. It's the killing and open war he's taking exception to. We show that we can do this at least 'more' his way. I think he'll leave us alone." Not that Jason wants to kill any more than a soldier does. It's just war of a different kind. But finding ways to get the same result without the escalate has a level of logic and safety to it.

"We're going to figure it out."
Huntress has posed:
"So what I heard you say is you're volunteering to front Batman and convince him this is a truly fine and good proposition?" Helena asks, clearly teasing. Or maybe not so much.

She sighs. It /is/ good to have someone to talk this out with -- this stuff she's kept bottled up for weeks, going around in circles, trying to keep all the plates spinning. And failing as often as not.

"He sounded frustrated, with... us both. If you don't see him soon, he'll come find you." And her, but Helena might well be hoping Jason can distract him. "We just need to buy enough time to pin Cassamento down, and then we can enforce peace through him."
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd snorts. "Sure. Start a mob war and make -me- deal with the principal."

"I think we need to get some evidence. Then we can show him that we have a non-deadly solution to this situation. Which probably means getting dirt on the Galente's as well. They're gunning for me and because of me, you as well. We get enough to pressure them both, it seems like the source of this firestorm will burn out quickly. Batman doesn't want 'his' city in chaos or danger. This solves that. But we should probably talk to him together."
Huntress has posed:
"He's never liked me. Tolerated me, maybe." Certainly that's one way to see it. It's how Helena sees it. Then again, she doesn't see how similar they are, in reality. How violent Batman could become if he let himself cross the line like she does. "But it's different with you."

"Galante shouldn't be a problem. You can help me question the don's nephew. He hired a New York assassin to have me taken out. I have him stowed in a box outside the city." Does Helena mean a literal, or virtual box? She isn't specific.

When Jason suggests they talk to Batman together, she tenses, jaw clenching and releasing, and finally relents with a sigh. "Fine. But you pick the location. Somewhere he can't trap us." Is there anywhere in the city that can't happen? Unlikely. It's Batman's city, after all. But Helena knows there's almost always an escape route, especially if one is willing to explode things.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd hugs her gently. "He doesn't like anyone. Well maybe Nightwing and New-Robin. I'm just the failure he has to keep looking at and deal with. Guess every 'family' needs a black sheep."

At the mention of a nephew of Galente, "How many nephews does he have left?" Considering Jason, uh, ventilated the head of one already. There are two it sounds like anyway.

"I'm pretty sure everywhere is a trap if he's there. But if he knows we're being honest then I believe he'll be willing to listen. Maybe not write us out of the will."
Huntress has posed:
There's a quietness. It's unusual enough in Helena that it's notable, especially when followed up by her soft tones, "I think you're wrong about how he views you. It isn't just responsibility, or guilt, or he wouldn't keep trying." Then again, there's something to be said for stubbornness. Speaking of which.

"Too many," Helena says, of Galante, with a wrinkle of her nose. "Big families are default for us. That my parents only had myself and Pino was unusual. Or-" a pause, as she realizes. "Maybe not so unusual, if my fath- if Franco realized what was happening. If he suspected I might not have been his." It's difficult, reassessing one's relationship in light of new information. How much of his distance was because of his job, what he did, and had to do, and how much of it was any kind of awareness of their true relationship?

Jason talks of them being written out of the will, and Helena snorts, amused. "I'll settle for leaving us to finish off what we started," the Italian woman says. It's wishful thinking, though. No chance Batman will allow that given the collateral damage the internal warring -- and Red Hood's personal war on the mafia -- is causing Gotham.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd hugs her again, more firmly this time.

"Maybe. I don't know. Feelings are evil in that Family. Just keep a stiff upperlip and all that." He shrugs and buries his face into Helena's hair. Just the smell of having her against him, her shampoo, is keeping him amazingly calm where he would usually be a raging ball of anger.

"I think he'll let us finish this if we can do it without killing or burning down the city." He kisses her shoulder. "As for Galente, we'll do what we need to. If one thing is certain, those who start or build something are more committed than those who are born into it. I bet we can lean hard on his nephews and get the leverage we want. Or insight into where else to apply pressure."
Huntress has posed:
"I am terrible at pretending, Jay. You know that." This time, Helena recognizes that the tightness in his hug is not for her, so much. As he buries his head in her hair, her hand comes up to stroke the back of his neck, amusement felt as much as heard through her chest. "And even worse at holding my feelings close. Can you imagine, if you brought me to Thanksgiving...?"

She can't. As much as she's fond of Alfred, Family -- the Bat version of Family -- is too complex and too fraught for someone like her, used to surviving on her own.

"Do you think if we ask nicely he'll just let us burn down a little bit of the city? Just in the East End." Where the Mafia stronghold is. No, she doesn't think he'll agree, but she says it anyway, because negotiation is a part of how the mafia deal. "Mm. I have an idea for what we can trade him that might work. Set up a meeting?"

Is she going to share with him? Not by default. Think she wouldn't learned her lesson by now.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd snorts. "Well no time like the present to learn.." he teases about holidays with the 'Family'. "Even I don't have a lot of fun. But I make it through." He reaches up to comb through her dark hair.

It's a mess. And it could be so much less of a mess with communication. It's just as bad in the Bat Family. Maybe worse. But Jason is trying to go against the trends. Has to if any of this is going to work.

"No burning.." he laughs quietly and then he bumps her with his temple. "Hel. No secrets. It almost destroyed Us. I know it isn't easy. But we have to." Of course they -don't- but the outcome of that seems to be pretty dismal.
Huntress has posed:
Helena Bertinelli /actually/ wrinkles her nose. "No. Ugh. I like you," okay, more than that, at least if her earlier words are to be believed, "But I do not do meet the parents, or family dinner. Not even for you." Of course, there are ways she could be convinced. She does, for example, very much seem to enjoy when he combs his fingers through her hair, eyes half closing. But that's definitely not enough to make her cross the line on that particular rule.

When he encourages her to share, she goes quiet. It's just not her default habit, but mostly, the reason for her reluctance becomes obvious. Because she knows he won't like it.

Helena lifts her eyes, dark gaze on Jason's as she says, "I'll offer to leave the city when we're done. I think he'd be willing to trade short-term chaos for having me gone. He's kind of the big-picture guy."
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd grins at the comment about not doing the Meet the Family thing. "You know most of them anyway, it's fine." He isn't going to push.

He continues to comb through her hair but she can feel him tense when she does mention her idea. He remains quiet for a moment. Trying with everything he has to not start an argument. "That's.. not a solution." He very much means more than that. He kisses Helena's head, "If he doesn't already know about your lineage" because he certainly could, "If it's explained, he'll see why we're doing it and seeing it through. If we give an actual solution. Then if he refuses, it's his fault not ours. No one is leaving" and he feels that very strongly.
Huntress has posed:
Helena's all too aware of his tension, but he's quiet, trying to master herself, and she's quiet, trying to do the same.

"Jay," her voice is soft, when he says it's not a solution, and her eyes close when he kisses her head. She's silent as Jason speaks. "If he refuses... what else do we have to offer him? I can't let this go. I won't." She can her the strength, the certainty in his statement that no one is leaving.

It's almost inaudible. "You could come with me."
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd kisses her neck. "I could. But we shouldn't have to" he counters.

"I said I wasn't going away. That was the truth. If it comes down to that. If there are no other options left - nothing other than killing - then we will seriously consider that." He hugs her again. "I'm not losing you. You're not losing me. This is a hot mess for a lot of reasons. But -we- are in this. Together. I meant that."

"You need to rest though. We can lay low here for a while. We both need a bit of a break." He hasn't told her about his broken ribs yet. Not that she couldn't guess from how he moves.
Huntress has posed:
Helena's breath rattles out, and she seems to accept his words. Both the declaration that it's a measure of last resort, and the fact that they are in this together. That she's not alone. Isn't, and won't be. Her fingers trail a path over his cheek and jaw as she studies him, and he can see the moment she yields to his words.

"Stay with me? Until I fall asleep?" She's aware he's hurting, too. It's some part of why she asks, but not really the reason. She needs him, right now. And she has a kind of suspicion that goes both ways, as terrifying a thought as that is.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd carefully shifts her back to the bed and with a drawn expression as he shifts around and moves those ribs, he lays back so she can rest her head on his shoulder, keeping wounded shoulder upward.

"I never intended to do anything else, Hel." He offers a small smile. It's almost shy. Awkward. It isn't like he's had a lot of role models for healthy relationships. He's trying his damnedest to keep everything from unravelling while not tryin got hold too tightly. How does anyone ever figure this stuff out?

It's like being on some sort of heady drug - while tap dancing on a land mine.
Huntress has posed:
There are moments where Helena catches her breath, as they're rearranging. Little pulls on that wound that aches even when there's no pressure. She manages to get comfortable, settling her head on Jason's shoulder, and it feels familiar, and comforting. Her hand settles on his chest, feeling it rise and fall, the repetitive, comforting motion of it.

In the same way he's struggling to figure things out, so is she. It's not exactly like she's had any healthy rolemodels either -- and the ones she did have, dead in front of her eyes at the age of eight -- have now turned out to be the unhealthiest of relationships and the most damaging to her, even after all these decades.

They are, truly, two broken people trying to make things work. But maybe they can figure it out together without destroying each other, or themselves.