Not The Best Place For A Talk

Summary:
March 28, 2015: Midnighter and Talia meet. They talk.

An alley in Gotham that smells like piss.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


For a change, Midnighter isn't killing anyone. He's not even beating anyone up. He's not in the middle of tracking down information, or threatening criminals. He's just hungry. And he comes out of a Chinese restaurant carrying one of those ubiquitous white containers and eating lo mein out of it with chopsticks. He's in costume and both the good and bad citizens of Gotham are giving him a wide berth. Unlike some costumed vigilantes who dress in black and hunt the night, he's not shy about being in public.

There is a difference between shy and careful. Talia al'Ghul leans nonchalantly against an alleyway wall. It's a very different demeanor and dress than Miranda Tate. Her business suits have been shed for dark, comfortable clothes. She has no mask, nor does she feel the need for one. Dark eyes watch Midnighter as he moves through the crowds, the wide berth of space bubbled about him. While she did not come here specifically looking for the man, seeing him there gives her the opportunity to observe. For now, she feels no need to approach. She'll, instead, follow at a healthy distance.

Midnighter walks casually down the street, eating his noodles and seemingly paying little attention to anything else. Of course, that's not the case at all as anyone in the 'business' would expect. He does pause by a homeless man to dig out a handful of bills from his coat and drops them before continuing on. Crime doesn't pay as they say and he makes sure of it when he can. Turning down an alley, he gets to about the halfway mark, moves another few feet to avoid the puddle of piss on the ground, then leans against a wall and waits as he eats.

The figure of Talia silhouettes in the light of the alleyway entrance. Though the light behind her flickers - as is usual for this rundown area of Chinatown - she cares very little about approaching a man who by all intents and purposes is considered a dangerous man. She shows little surprise that Midnighter seems to be waiting for her as she approaches. As the light adjusts and she comes better in to focus, the daughter of the Demon gives a smirk as a greeting.

"A nice evening for a walk, is it not?"

Midnighter studies Talia as she draws near as if he's appraising her and making guesses about what she can do. Which he already did in the first couple milliseconds and it wasn't guesswork. "Not bad." he agrees, after he finishes his current bite of lo mein. "Except for the smell of piss. What do you want? I already gave at the office."

There are quite a few things that Talia can do, perhaps Midnighter can guess them all, but she's betting on him missing the few that don't have to do with dark alleyways. Stopping a respectable distance away, also expertly swerving to not step in the piss puddle, she rests her hands on her hips in relaxed gesture. "Honestly, I do not wish anything from you, Mr. Baker. I was merely curious and wished to observe. It became obvious, of course, that it was impossible to do so without a meeting and so I followed you. I am not from the office, I assure you."

Being called by his Gotham identity doesn't get any reaction from Midnighter. It's not like he's obsessively paranoid like Batman or some rich billionaire like Bruce Wayne that people knowing who he was would be disastrous. "Good. I don't like anyone at the office." They're either officious bureaucrats or untrustworthy agents. Or worse, both. "Well, I'm flattered but you're not my type. Got a brother?"

If Talia is put out by not getting a rise out of him, she declines to show it. The al'Ghul's are masters at revising plans. While she knows the effect that such a declaration would have on Bruce, she also can immediately see that this is not a similar figure. "Yes, I am quite aware of that," she responds, the smirk never leaving. "But, I have no brothers." Something her father would lament ever since her birth. "My propositions do not tend toward the bedroom. You are a man of many means." As if he didn't already know that.

"Shame. I like the exotic." Midnighter sticks the chopsticks into the container, leaving them standing upright among the mass of noodles. "So who are you then? Your current alias will be fine. I'll get the others later once the computer nerds do their thing."

"And I'm sure those men love to be called 'the exotic.'" Talia tilts her head just slightly, studying Midnighter, amusement plain on her face. It's clear she already has been been observing him before this, so it must just be of emphasis. "Ah, and why would I deprive your nerds of a true challenge of finding out who I am? While, I am sure, a man who holds such aliases as you do can appreciate the cat and mouse chase, I have found it can be tiresome. I could narrow the search of both you and your colleagues by saving the hassle and introducing myself. I am the daughter of the Demon's Head."

The announcement of such is not meant for him to suddenly know her. The League of Shadows are the League of Shadows exactly because they are each very good at keeping their head's low. "Do you prefer I call you Midnighter? Or Mr. Baker? Mr. Trent? Or, perhaps, any of the other nom de plumes you have assigned yousrelf?"

"I am the Midnighter." he answers. All those cover identities are just suits he puts on when he needs to blend in somewhere. "So which al Ghul are you? I'm told there's more than one." By being cryptic, he assumes she didn't expect him to recognize the reference and smiles. "You forget, I assume you know, that I knew Ibn al Xu'ffasch." He pronounces the Arabic perfectly. "He did mention me, I hope? We were so close." He didn't actually try to find Damian after the boy threw a tantrum at Batman. But he does also know some of those who did try and was curious enough to ask. "I know what choice he made."

At his question, Talia crosses her arms. The amused expression continues. "Ah, so you know of my son. It is good for him to make a name for himself. He made no mention of you whatsoever." Of course, she does not keep in much contact with her son other than dealing with the power struggles, but that is something for another here an there. "Yes, most who knew him know of the choice he made, which, I believe was the entire point it."

If he knows Damian, then he will know of her and perhaps even the relationship she has with her son. That is, not much of one. "Though, I must question the closeness of such a friendship that you would not know the cause of his separation. And, of course, the past tense description of your relationship toward him."

"I'm crushed." Midnighter doesn't sound at all crushed. But he does regard Talia more appraisingly. The mother of the 'son of the bat'. "He had potential." he tells the boy's mother. "But he was obsessed with following the dictates of his father." He shrugs in a clear 'what can you do, kids today' shrug. "He could have done a lot of good without being in the Batman's shadow. That he ran to the League after he decided he was being rejected isn't surprising though. In our few conversations, he didn't mention your name." Or her, really.

"I am sure you are." Talia is used to people suddenly revising their opinions of her when learning a few choice pieces about her past and her identity. Midnighter's sudden interest in her when learning her to be the mother of Damian is no different. It means nothing to her. "As all children have potential, but he, unfortunately had too much outside influence and believed the whims of his father were worth more than they are. He thought the vision of his father reflected what was good for the world, despite the warnings any might give him."

As for him not mentioning her, it does not phase. It's better to not be mentioned than to be spoken ill of, and for that she will be grateful. "He would not. His father long ago thought me of little use. And, so it was with him."

And Midnighter gave the boy his own warnings though he regarded it as advice. It also went against what the Batman taught and insisted on. "And your name? Or are you happier being known as someone's daughter and someone else's mother?" And not a person in her own right. "Whatever the case, you got your look. Was there something else? I'm not looking to switch orgs."

"I thought you wanted your computer nerds something to look over. I just made it easier for them by narrowing the search perimeters." After all, she does have a sister. Though, as far as she knows that sister doesn't have a son with Batman. Though, who knows with the al'Ghuls. They're a secretive bunch. "Who people know me by doesn't define who I am. You, of all people should know that." Meaning, if he really cares, he'll find out on his own.

"I didn't realize you were so loyal. To be honest," or as honest as Talia gets in an alleyway meeting, "I was curious about you and, of course, your ties." Realizing that this meeting is perhaps not so slowly reaching an end, she starts to back away. "I am sure you have heard the saying before, but there is much to be offered. Even on a single job, no need for a fulltime position."

Then the computer nerds will indeed have something to do. "Loyal?" Midnighter doesn't really need to consider the word. "They serve a purpose. And while others could do it just as well, I am not a hired assassin." Depending on how you define the term, of course. He switches to Arabic and says "I kill to make the world a better place not to make myself rich, mother of the son of the bat." That it's fun is just a bonus. As Talia starts backing up, he pushes away from the wall, glances at his lo mein which now smells like piss too, and tosses it into a dumpster.

"Who said anything about killing people?" Talia raises her eyebrow at the Arabic, perhaps surprised that he speaks the language. While it's never off the menu, there are far more things a man with Midnighter's talents could do. Her own reply remains in English. "And all that is offered is not gold. Though, I am sure such things could be arranged. What interests me is justice. Nothing more and nothing less." She continues to move away from him, though she only turns around once she's at the mouth of the alley. "I hope we meet again soon. Perhaps in more pleasant surroundings."


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