15669/Midnight Visitor

From United Heroes MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Midnight Visitor
Date of Scene: 03 October 2023
Location: Apartment 1A, Meldoff Building
Synopsis: Helena and Jason make plans to extract the former from the mafia.
Cast of Characters: Huntress, Red Hood

Huntress has posed:
It's just after midnight in the Bertinelli Mansion. While there's guards wandering the grounds and some of the hallways most of the night, most everyone else has gone to sleep.

Not Helena Bertinelli, though.

She's in her office, dressed in loose linen pants and a camisole top, her hair hanging loose as she regards the map on top of her desk. It's familiar -- a detailed overhead map of the East End, tightly controlled and contested by the various Cosa Nostra families. Small colored disks lie on various buildings, marking either current occupation or intention. None of it looks good, really: while things have sort of settled down a little more now that Helena and Jason have stopped baiting them, the Galante family is still unhappy with Cassamento's leadership, letting to more subtle but nonetheless dangerous tit-for-tat exchanges, focused on the businesses protected by the various families.

It's otherwise quiet in the mansion. The office itself has floor-to-ceiling windows opened during the day onto the balcony but currently closed. It's a way Helena often sneaks out. It's not hard at all -- not for a talented vigilante, coming or going.
Red Hood has posed:
It had been a few weeks since they'd last spoken in person at the coffee shop. Jason knew things were on a different trajectory than they had been. Batman knows what's going on. Even if it rubbed Jason wrong that they had to go to him for any part of this. But it happened. Now things had to move toward a resolution. Red Hood was still wanted by the Families as current enemy #1. That has to be addressed in the process.

As the night remains surprisingly calm, Red Hood makes his way onto the grounds and then into the mansion. Avoiding the guards and security, he stands in the doorway of Helena's office looking ather as if it were the middle of a business day and he was here for a scheduled meeting.

"You play the strangest board games these days." It's quiet and unmenacing, almost teasing.
Huntress has posed:
She hears the subtle, almost inaudible creak of the floorboard outside her office. It's one of the primary reasons this /is/ her office, and she has to quell the instinctive want to reach for her crossbow.

Helena Bertinelli doesn't use those.

When she recognizes his voice, there's a slight curve of her lips, posture relaxing from the ready tension, fingers easing away from the pistol she has underneath her desk. "I have had to... entertain myself... a lot more of late. It does lead to strange outcomes," the Italian woman acknowledges as she lifts her head and looks at him.

Drinks him in. Catches herself doing it, with a narrowing of eyes, as she stalks towards him. Dangerous and alluring both, it could as readily be one or the other, given who she is. Since he's in his uniform, she can't really grip his shirt, so she hooks a hand around his neck and pulls him forward, turning to shut the door with her foot. "Dangerous to come in that way. You couldn't use the balcony like a normal vigilante?" she asks, chiding.
Red Hood has posed:
It was a two-way street. He had heard the floorboard's noise as one of the guards made his rounds. He wasn't trying to surprise her so it worked as a forewarning of a visitor.

As she all but tugs him inside, he shifts to let the door close, his hands moving to her waist.

"I'm the black sheep, remember? I never do things the right way." He verbally jabs back easily. He's relaxed. "Besides. Your indoor guards have a predicatable routes. You need to tell them to change it up every time if you want them to actually be a layer of defense before anyone can reach you.." It isn't a rebuke; he's trying to offer some tactical advise. If he could get past them and feel casual about it? Well.

Glancing from her to the desk covered with the map and markers. "Are we winning?" Another easy question and a glance toward the large windows to confirm they're shuttered and curtains are closed fully before he turns back to regard her through his mask's lenses.

After a moment's pause, he reaches up. Unlatching the mask, he removes it so he can more easily talk with her and she can see his face.
Huntress has posed:
Helena's, "Of course you don't," sounds somewhat exasperated, but it has a hint of amusement to it, too. "And I know they're predictable. It makes it easy to slip out for me, also. And it makes it easy to guess when someone might attack." So it's deliberate for a couple of reasons. "It's not like I'm helpless. I'd welcome another shot at the next assassin Galante sends my way."

Given the last one had supernatural powers this is probably a great deal of bravado carrying that sentiment.

The moment Jason references the markers her expression hardens. "Winning, in this life, is holding a stalemate." It has the ring of some old sentiment. Maybe something her father said in passing years ago that she internalized and finds to be true.

The hardness in Helena's gaze eases when he takes off the mask. Maybe it's easier for her to relax when she sees his expression; maybe, these days, she just finds it harder to keep a harder mask around him, too. Her gaze ticks over his features like she can read how his week has been just from looking.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd, sans mask, looks well enough. He's clearly trying to hide that he's tired. It has been stressful the last four months and it's taken a toll. But he's here and he just smiles when she fires back that she has predictable guards for many reasons.

"Good." It's all he really has to say about that. There's no argument to be made or worth having there.

"You look good" he offers with a smile.

"So.. stalemate. Is there a way to break it?"
Huntress has posed:
Helena's hand lifts up, reaching to touch his face, her fingers gliding over his cheek as she unabashedly studies him. "You look tired," she says, quietly. "The Queen and her brood keeping you up at night?"

She knows that's not why, but it's easier than addressing the real issue.

It does make the Italian woman smile when he compliments her. "Perhaps being a Mafia Donna suits me?" her smile is rueful, and she looks at desk. "The ways I know are the ways I was trying. Destablize the Cosa Nostra internally -- pit them against each other. Take their leaders out and give them time to settle their power structure." Her fingers tap thoughtfully. "One thing I didn't try was attacking their power structure. That takes more effort and firepower than I can muster alone."

Of course, she's not alone /now/, but that thought is still her first and default.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd snorts quietly. "Thanks?" he asks with only a little sarcasm at her observation.

"I'm in my prime. I can be tired when I'm old." He pauses then adds, "Like 31 or something.." the flicker of impish teasing in his eyes seems to pull away from of that tiredness. Or maybe it's that he has a chance to see Helena in again in a non-adversarial way.

"You were never alone." It's quiet but true. Even before he though of her as more than just an ally and friend.

"We've been told the direct method isn't.. acceptable." No more gang wars. "Were you able to get that information on Santo? If so then the idea to have Batman pressure him.." grates on his pride and hers, he knows. But it carries more influence than either of them solo or combined.
Huntress has posed:
Helena's fingers still touching his cheek give a little a soft tap in warning. "I'll have you know I'm in my sexual prime. And enjoying it very... much."

When Jason reminds her she was never alone, there's a little twitch, but she nods. She knows it, on some level. Acknowledging it is another.

When he mentions Batman though, Helena frowns. "Attacking their power structures isn't direct. And even Batman can't claim that destroying gun and drug shipments are bad.. right?" Someone's bored with the playing the Mafia Princess role. She wants to be //Huntress// again.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd doesn't flinch from that tap. "Oh yeah? Your man-harem here is being good for you, is it?" he zings back with a smirk, followed by leaning in to offer a kiss.

"No, that won't be a problem. But this working from the inside.. it's served its purpose. It's time to work on getting you out. So you can help track down those shipments. That's why we have to make the play to control Casamento and get him to remove the pressure on you."
Huntress has posed:
"Sometimes," Helena drawls out, with a knowing smile. "Though he pushes his luck whenever he references my age."

Even so, she has absolutely no intention of resisting that kiss. Quite the opposite: she can't pull at his clothing, since his uniform is made to make it difficult for his opponents to get a grip, so she settles for sliding a hand behind his neck to pull him deeper into the kiss.

It's a pleasant moment, perhaps overshadowed by a less than pleasant proposition.

"Helena Bertinelli will never be safe," she says, quietly. "Cassamento is one thing, but he's not the only one gunning for me."
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd leans in to kiss her, his hands on her waist. Finally pulling back he smiles. "Maybe he likes to live dangerously. Besides, age is just a number." Resting his forehead against hers for a moment he pulls back and shakes his head.

"That's not true. And it won't be true. We're going to keep them away from you for fear of just what damage we will do to them if they even think about it." His voice reflects the level of determination. He's already gone far in this endeavour. He has no reason to stop now. Even if the level of bloodshed has been dialed back.
Huntress has posed:
"You keep saying that, right after you keep bringing it up," Helena says, half-threatening. But he knows her well enough by now to know she doesn't mean it; her eyes half close as he rests his forehead against hers. Her fingers feather into his hair.

It's in the Italian woman's thoughts -- and obvious in her expression -- that she wants to protest his protective declaration. Not because she doesn't want it, because it puts him at risk: ties him to the danger she stepped into willingly and knowingly. Accepting danger is all very well when it's just your own life on the line. It gets much murkier when others -- especially someone she cares about -- is involved.

"That sounds a little too close to treading the line we promised we'd avoid." The promise they made to Batman. At least she isn't saying no. "I can put my second in command here. He's... not the worst person in the world. He'll keep the business running but is a proponent of minimal bloodshed." Sometimes, the devil you know is the best choice.

"We don't have anything on Galante though. Unless we give back his cousin." Helena's distaste suggests she very much does not want to do that. The man tried to arrange her assassination, against the rules of the Cosa Nostra. It would be weakness to let him live.
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd grins. "I just like to see your chin lift in defiance. If anyone will defeat aging and remain beautiful forever, it's you."

With a nod, though, he thinks a moment, "That.. idea. You said he wants you to bring the Red Hood to him. Right?" He reaches up to gently brush his gloved finger along her dark hair. "What if we give him Red Hood? And when he unmasks his prize, it's his cousin? Think that would be an effective message to him to back off?"
Huntress has posed:
It's super hard to be both angry at and pleased by such a compliment. Helena sure tries though, making a displeased noise even as her fingers at the back of his neck tighten for a moment, then release. "Don't think that's something I have to worry about." Which is a little dark, but given their lifestyle, not exactly surprising.

"It was Cassamento but..." Helena pauses to consider the implications of that. "If we can do it with both Cassamento and Galante in the room, omerta would demand that his blood be taken. Galante knows I have his cousin -- but he wouldn't be able to admit it without confessing to everyone /why/ -- that his cousin tried to bump off a Don without approval." Which in itself is a death sentence.

"You know, Jason Todd, we might just make a Mafia Don out of you yet." Which, in anyone else's mouth might be a criticism, but coming from Helena is a compliment. There's a familiar look in her eyes, too. "You're staying." Statement, not question.
Red Hood has posed:
"You better worry about it. I'm not getting old by myself" he fires back easily.

A hand gesture, "One of them. They all look the same to me" he says sarcastically with a smirk. "I've run my own gang before, remember?" He grins wolfishly. "Not so different. Just the level of infrastructure and zeros behind the bank account."

"So you deliver Red Hood after a fight. To them both. And it turns out to be his cousin under the Hood." He pauses. "If we have to involve Batman further then we will. But I think this sounds like a good plan to get them all to give you a very wide berth and you can get back to life in whatever manner you want." Meaning as Huntress and possibly as a teacher again if she wishes to.

As she declares he's staying, he doesn't hesitate, "Of course I'm staying. The Lady of the house always gets her way.." he adds with a bit of a smile.