Aquaman Pays A Visit

December 14, 2014:

Arthur visits Babs to speak about Rowan.

Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Babs relationship with Rowan continues to grow. They are friends, but perhaps… just maybe… there's a little more to do it but only time will tell.

For her part, Babs loves spending time with Rowan, he ''gets'' the super secret stuff she does and doesn't press to know everything that's going on in her life but he is also considerate enough to check in when she goes dark for a period of time.

Having met Mera at the Beach cookout Rowan had arranged several weeks ago, Babs is not surprised to have just received a call from one Arthur Curry (aka Aquaman) asking to meet her. She's arranged to meet him at her local coffee shop, just around the corner from the Clocktower.

Babs is at the Coffee Shop now, dressed smartly in a long dress, knee high boots (that are covered by the dress) and her hair is loose around her shoulders. She's sitting at a table, a coffee by one elbow and her tablet in front of her. It looks like she may have been there for awhile already.

"Is this seat taken?" asks a pleasant tenor, the words crisp and clean. The man is blond, bearded, and is wearing a slightly puffy winter coat (because Gotham winters aren't to be sneezed at), jeans, work boots, and generally looks like the most normal working class schmo in the city. Superman's been doing it for years, the simple disguise. Everyone knows what Aquaman looks like, he's regal with a big golden trident and shiney shiney armor and a crown circlet and … this is not that man. His body language says 'guy on his lunch hour' and decidedly not 'Sovereign Of The Seven Seas'. People only see what they want to see though, so it's an extremely effective disguise for all it's simplicity. "I'm Arthur, we spoke on the phone?"

The redhead smiles at the man in the puffy winter coat. "Oh… " she says as she shuts down her tablet, placing face down on the table.

"Arthur, Arthur Curry… of course," Babs offers her hand to the man and gestures with her free one to the spare chairs.

"None are taken… the wait staff should be around in a minute or so for your order. I'm Babs, Babs Gordon. Thank you so much for agreeing to meet me here."

Aquaman offers a small smile, "Hardly the oddest place I've ever met someone in fact, in my line of work this is refreshingly subdued."

Arthur's been 'out of the closet' as far as any secret ID goes since he was 16 years old and a scientist told the world his name and his lineage and broadcast it on CNN. He doesn't have to play stupid about who he really is, which he finds refreshingly freeing.

"Hows the coffee here? One of the main reasons I'm on the surface so often is coffee." because that's not exactly an 'under water' sort of plant.

That does have Babs smiling, in a relaxed sort of way, and she shrugs.

"The coffee is not bad, but it's not the absolute best I've had. If you had mentioned that when you called, maybe I would have suggested something else."

The wheelchair bound woman smiles pleasantly at Arthur, no judgement and no fan-girling here.

Aquaman smirks, "If I wanted the best coffee I'd have just flown you to this little place in Italy that I'm fond of. So long as it's not awful you won't hear me complain."

He pauses before taking his seat fully, carefully settling himself into the artsy wrought iron chair. "I imagine you have some questions…"

The smirk is noted and Babs grows slightly more tense. As Arthur takes a seat, the server arrives and asks what they would like. Babs orders another cup of coffee, just a cappuccino. She looks to Arthur for his order before replying, in a pleasant tone, "Well given you requested the meeting, not particularly."

She could ask about Rowan, but what… and honestly he'd given her no room for concern there.

"Let's assume this is your meeting your meeting," and the redhead raises an eyebrow.

Aquaman chuckles and orders the same thing she does and waits for the server to leave.

"When someone like me asks a random person to meet, there are always questions. I learned that a long time ago, but if you prefer not to ask that's fine, maybe this'll move more quickly then." he folds his hands lazily on the table top, "Rowan has been spending a great deal of time with you, which usually wouldn't spark my interest as he's in no way beholden to me. However…"

His face becomes a little sad.

"I worry anyway. When I'm around he doesn't see me so much as he compares me to someone else he knew before. Our conversations are reserved generally, business like, and while that's socially convenient it doesn't help alleviate my concern. I called you to see if you could shed some light on how he's adapting here."

Babs nods. "Fair enough." she sips what's left of her first coffee whilst waiting for the next lot to appear. Over the rim of her cup she watches Arthur…. she get's it, understands it but still. Loyalty, cuts.both.ways. Rowan doesn't question what she does… and no matter how much she knows about Arthur Curry/Aquaman… should she speak of Rowan?

Babs smiles at Arthur, it's genuine and full of concern before she sighs.

"You're asking me for some very personal insight. Insight that may damage a relationship, friend or otherwise," the young woman replies. "How would you feel if it was Mera," and here Babs is displaying some extent of her knowledge "being asked the same of you?"

Aquaman smiles slightly, "Mera is my wife, your analogy is flawed at it's foundation. You are not Rowan's wife."

Which is to say he views marriage as a far more intimate relationship then whatever it is Rowan and Babs possess. It also hints he wouldn't be having this discussion with her if she was married to Rowan.

"And yet" Babs raises an eyebrow but sighs. "This is a two fold test, Arthur. You are testing my loyalties as much as testing Rowans 'settling in'. Marriage or friendship, it doesn't matter. Trust is the underpinning foundation."

Babs finishes the dregs of the coffee she was drinking when he got there and looks at the cup before returning her attention to the blonde.

"If he were here, or he had given me leave to speak, I would." She reaches for something to give Arthur "He is very considerate of me and the work I must do, if that is any indication."

Aquaman nods his head as she speaks, "That is an admirable quality in a friend, loyalty, but not one I can condone. I am beset with diplomatic envoys and threats of war or worse due to the actions of Namor, Lemuria's Prince or King or whatever he's calling himself these days. Rowan's link to my kingdom is more direct and should he make a mistake, understandable or not, it will not effect only him. It will effect my realm. I cannot allow that."

His eyes harden a little bit and there's a set to his jaw Barbara has seen entirely to often from other men of extraordinary will.

"I am not asking because I fear for his safety. There is little that the surface could do to Rowan that would harm him. I ask because if someone tries and he responds… energetically, it will endanger my people. I need to know how he's adapting from you, because if you do not tell me then I will be forced to see the matter looked into in other ways. Ways I am not comfortable deploying unless absolutely necessary. I respect your skills, I've heard good things, and so your professional assessment of him is something I could put faith in."

He sips from his coffee, his expression softening slightly, "I'm not asking as his friend, I cannot be his friend, I am asking as a King to a people ignorant surface dwellers will incorrectly associate with Rowan's actions."

Babs green eyes harden as Arthur speaks. Yes she's used to this approach from the men in her life and it does not set well on the redhead. However, Arthur's words have an impact.

The server arrives to deliver their coffees' and Babs fall silent whilst the cups are placed on the table in front of them. Her jaw set tight, breathing slowly and deeply. As the server leaves, she closes her eyes and takes her time to collect herself before looking back to Arthur.

"I understand you fear for your Kingdom, I do." Babs murmurs quietly. "He fits in well here, I can tell you that much. With the metas and supers around, no one would notice him."

She pauses to take a sip of her coffee.

"But he is displaced and his experiences have taught him a more direct approach to problem solving, that he is working his way through. I don't think you need to worry about him endangering your people. He respects Mera, and yourself, too much for that."

The redhead pauses and looks at Arthur.

Aquaman is quiet as she talks and his gaze is piercing, intent, unreadable, much like those same 'other men' she knows. They must by their expressions wholesale from the same stores because if Batman were blond… But when she's done he seems to relax around the edges a bit as he sips at the coffee again, nodding ever so slightly.

"Good," he says as if that were all he wanted to hear. "I prefer you keeping an eye on him to my having to dip into other resources for this sort of thing. With Namor's terrorist-like actions I'm a bit busy managing damage control, I didn't want to see another fire crop up for me to put out."

Babs laughs softly. "I'm not Rowans keeper, I'm his friend and he does not require me to 'keep an eye on' him."

Blowing out a breath, the woman, cocks her head and watches Arthur over the rim of her cup.

"However, if I'm concerned about anything I see, I will let you know. As part of that though," she pauses.

"I will expect assistance in helping Rowan. He's a good man, and his heart is in the right place. I would hate to see him hurt in anyway."

Aquaman sets the coffee down slowly, "He isn't one of my subjects, but he is one of my people. He knows if he required anything he need but ask. As for you," he shrugs, "I have a friend that trusts you and I trust him, so you'll do just fine. Like I said, my options were you or an entire surveillance package and that sort of thing is just … too much. I want to know he's okay, I don't want to have people invading his life." he hand wobbles a bit like a set of scales, "Fine line that."

Sitting back in her chair, holding her coffee cup in both hands, Babs listens impassively and then snorts slightly "So nice to know that you think I'll do just fine."

She smirks slightly before sobering. "It is a fine line. Balancing surveillance and privacy."

One that Oracle runs every day.

"I will do what I can."

Her green eyes rest on his face.

"How do I get in touch with you, if I need to?"

Aquaman grins impishly at her, "You're a child of the millennium, aren't you? I assume you have my cellphone number from when I called you to set up this little meeting. Give it a jingle, I'll know."

It's not exactly USB compatible, but Atlantis' tech is extremely advanced, getting a surface cell phone rigged to act as an answering service for him was almost fun for his people.

"Rowan already has my emergency beacon should that need arise."

As does Bruce of course. It's prolly in a pretty little glass case in the cave somewhere with a wee brass plaque knowing him.

Babs nods and her interest in Atlantis tech has now been piqued.

"Noted and recorded."

Sipping her coffee she considers, "I will tell Rowan we've met. How much I share of this discussion, I just don't know. But he will know some of it."

Gotham's Information Goddess continues, "Was there anything more you wished to discuss?"

Aquaman nods his head.

"I suspect he'll be surprised it took me this long to check in on him," he says evenly, clearly not worried about her sharing the meeting with Rowan.

"He'll understand the need, he's a soldier."

He leans back in his chair a little, though not to much, and considers, "I don't know. Do you have a way to cut the rancid pollution of Gotham's water ways to nil in extremely short order? If so I'm all ears, otherwise I think we're down to seeing if you have any questions left."

"Reduce pollution in the waterways?" Babs frowns slightly, "I'm in IT, not environmental, but I suspect that addressing it at the corporation level is the way to go…"

She shrugs an elegant shoulder.

"And I further suspect you have that in hand."

Biting the inside of her cheek, Babs pauses as she thinks, and asks, "What do you know of Rowan, his origins and any of people here?"

Aquaman shakes his head, "I do not have that in hand. It would stun you to realize the amount of crap people up here pump into my oceans, just in metric tonnage alone. I don't even like swimming here, I can taste the toxins on my skin."

He makes a face.

"While I'm not a huge fan of Namor's methods I do understand his motivation. I've considered closing off all of your city's water dumping before, just to see how quickly Gotham fills with filth and how much it's citizens like it."

He sips his coffee. "For like 10 seconds. It was a happy little fantasy," he sighs. "That is the one good thing about a monarchy, if someone were polluting in Atlantis and it hurt others, we could just tell them not to and if they continued I would just take away all their toys. Something to be said for that level of simplicity in government."

You should see the mess that resulted when he even mentioned democracy to them as a potential form of governance. There were riots. Literally.

"I do know of them. What has he told you of his past?"

"Maybe I can help you with the Corporations approach."

Oracle would have access to all sorts of information as to what is being dumped where. Babs shrugs a little, "He came through some form of rift, lost a large part of his memory, which is slowly returning. He thinks he has found a settlement where he may have family, but recognizes no one."

She looks a little sad.

"I couldn't imagine it, not at all."

Aquaman looks back to his coffee slightly troubled.

"Yes," he says, his expression guarded but clearly hurt by something. "Where he's from things are very different. It's why he's fascinated by the surface world here and why I need to make sure he's okay."

Arthur is not dressed as Aquaman, if anything, he looks like any other Gothamite in winter, jeans, boots, poofy green winter coat, and he's clearly sans his usually regal bearing. In short… he's Arthur, not Aquaman. Mera's seen this side of him before when they visited his childhood home in Maine, but he's usually not out like this. Of course, he's also usually not in Gotham, which he's made clear is /not/ his favorite place. Polution in the water around it is ridiculous after all. He and Babs are sharing a small table drinking coffee and chatting.

"You aren't telling me something…" Babs murmurs as she watches Arthur.

"I know it's different, he speaks of it. The nameless, the war, the devastation… not often, but when I ask he answers."

She's sitting in her chair, holding her cup in two hands, her attention focused on Arthur, the coffee forgotten momentarily.

Aquaman grins a bit as he pushes his chair back and gets to his feet.

"You're right," he says, offering that easy smile before polishing off his coffee and setting the cup down lightly, "I'm not."

He pulls out a wallet and drops a hundred on the table with the carelessness of someone who doesn't understand the value of money and tilts his head to the side.

"Where he's from is what I fear we will become. That is his story to tell however, not mine. I suspect you'll find a way to wheedle it out of him however, interrogation techniques likely run in your blood."

He turns his head and looks off to the side as if he can see through a wall and his smile softens considerably.

"My wife will be here shortly. Maybe you can squeeze something out of her, but I wouldn't count on it. She holds onto secrets better then anyone I know. Sadly, I have to go. There's a meeting of ecologists in Metropolis I'm scheduled to be at and we need all the good press we can get these days."

"We've had discussions around that topic."

Babs watches as Arthur gets up to leave.

"I can see how that may come to pass too."

Nodding to Arthur, she watches the money drop on the table and shakes her head slowly at the carelessness. Someone's getting a good tip.

"If I can be of help with the corporation side of things… let me know."

Aquaman nods as he tucks his chair back into place.

"I forget how bulky this coats are, feels like I'm walking around wrapped in a marshmallow," this is said mostly to himself as he fidgets with it for a moment, adjusting the thing more comfortably.

"And I will send up a flare, corporation-wise, once my schedule allows. And I'll even try not to think to seriously about that whole filth back aflow issue we were discussing."|

A grin shows he's just kidding. Sorta.

"Take care Ms. Gordon."

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