2020-03-24 - Shiny dress, Shiny car, shiny...boy?


Discussion of humanity versus being a hunter

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Mar 24 17:08:57 2020
Location: Verdant

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With the many disasters that have befallen New York in recent years, and even in recent weeks, there's no shortage of people in need of a little help. As such, Oliver Queen has responded by doing what he does best. Throwing parties.

These parties are a little different from his average soiree. Rather than the mimosa and bloody mary spread that customarily dominates the bottom floor of his club in the mornings, the bars have been set up with decanters of coffee, juices, tea, and cocoa. Long tables are heavily laden with sizzling pans of bacon and piles of biscuits, along with line cooks working over hot plates to crank out stacks of pancakes and mountains of scrambled eggs. Friendly servers move through the crowd, refilling drinks and handing out bottles of water.

No one is turned away and no one is charged. Each day the doors open at 8AM and service continues until 2PM, when everything is reset for the evening's business. While it's never been explicitly stated, this is clearly a service designed for the less fortunate and those feeling the weight of difficult times. A few wealthy patrons are here, some of them having donated to the cause, but they've all chosen to stick to the upper level.

It's not uncommon for Ollie to be behind the downstairs bar, but by 10AM he's taking a break from making coffee and squeezing orange juice so he can relax and have a drink of his own. A French press has been prepared and is brewing; meanwhile, he's sipping from a flask, overseeing the event, and praying his executive chef is keeping track of what to order for tomorrow. The young CEO is as invisible as he knows how to be, dressed in comfortable slacks and a simple, forest green shirt with the sleeves rolled back and the top two buttons undone.

Ollie's least favorite non-sidekick has heard word through the grapevines that she's entangled with, and she can't help but come check it out. Strawberry blonde hair is pulled back from her face, hanging loose in the back. Her sinple button down blouse is slate blue and has a faint satiny sheen, loose over black pants paired with comfortable black ankle boots. Eyes that match that shirt are lightly made up with liner and mascara, lips a natural hue.

She will smile at a few friendly faces that are eating heartily, her heart giving an odd thump to see them being able to eat until they are full. But once her gaze finds Oliver, it's almost a direct beeline his way. "Good morning to you. Something tasty in the flask?"

Oliver is in the middle of another long swig when he's approached, leading to a quick abort and a brief cough, along with a smile. "Hey," he says, saluting with the careworn family heirloom that he's rarely without, then offering it. "Go ahead, it's whiskey. I was feeling something Canadian today."

It's the work of a moment for him to rustle up a second coffee cup. He gives the French press an inquisitive glance before deciding it's had enough time and starting a slow push on the plunger. "Dark roast?" he inquires. "Or if you're hungry, I'm hiding some fruit back here. Pancake line is a bit long."

She will reach out for that flask, to try and take a quick swig while looking directly at him. "Never a bad day to feel a little Canadian." If there's a burn, she's not coughing or giving it a second thought.

She will glance at the press. "No, thank you. I'll just snag a glass of juice. If I have coffee right now, I might vibrate through a wall." She will flash him a smile. "No, I'm not hungry, but thank you again. I just came to see what I could do to help you with your delightful breakfast venture." There's a glance towards the upper level. "Though I likely haven't the funds of some."

There's a quick wave to dismiss all the polite talk, but not unkindly. "Help yourself. And don't sweat it. I'm backing this, of course, but donations have just sort of… showed up. Small businesses from the neighborhood offering to sell me things at cost. Stuff like that. Turns out that every little bit does help."

All in all, it's a small thing to do. The money spent could possibly be stretched thinner to help more people in more ways. None of this seems to be bothering Oliver, though. "There have been a few critics, but sometimes having a nice breakfast and somewhere to eat it means an awful lot to people," he says, shrugging and pouring himself some coffee. "They seem happy."

"I could possible get you some more people to help sell things at cost. Produce, mostly. I know some smaller retailers that would love to help people in the community that need something." She looks away from Oliver, over the people. "Sometimes a meal and somewhere to sit and eat until you're actually full - it can do more than improve your day. Some might say it could even change a life." She sounds a little philosophical, expression distant, before she blinks and looks back to Oliver.

"Not that you need me to tell you it's a good thing you're doing. I… I try to help, but it can be hard to keep all the… facets from being exposed." Oliver will likely know what she means. "I help and heal a lot of people, quietly. Most of the time with actual first aid supplies. People that have nothing, can't see a doctor, things like that. So seeing this.. it means maybe one less person needs me for something, and I might not be there."

"Any help would be appreciated, of course." There's a pause, with the French press hovering in the air for a moment before Oliver sets it down. "We've seen a lot, you and I," he acknowledges. "Too much, maybe. We know what it's like to hurt as much as they do. Sometimes, if all you can do is make a few people hurt a little bit less, it's worth whatever it costs."

There's a smile, but it's the expression of a young man who's holding up well while being spread awfully thin. Not that he's ever slept much, but he looks like he's been getting less than usual. "It's why we do all the things we do, isn't it?"

Thea reaches out, a hand on his arm. Oliver might feel just a faint warmth, an uptick in his natural chemicals - a sort of minimal refresh, a boost to his biological battery so to speak. But her eyes? She looks haunted, guilty even. "Sometimes I'm not sure what it is I'm doing. But I suppose that's normal, all considered. I mean… everyone feels that way at times, I hear."

Her hand will fall away, as she bites at her bottom lip in an uncommon glimpse that something is roiling under that polished surface she tends to always display. Eyes look away from him. "It's hard, sometimes. Doing the things I do. How do you keep your empathy, when everything tells you to armor yourself up deep, you know?"

"I don't." It's a dark, dangerous realization. One that Oliver has rarely spoken aloud.

There's a quick shiver as the burst of energy runs through him, then he elaborates. "What we do requires more fortitude than most people could imagine. Not just the doing, but living with it afterward. That's why me and him…" there's a dramatic gesture, indicating a costume change. "We have to be distinct. Separate whenever possible. Oliver Queen can't be a killer. He can't torture suspects for information, or make decisions that make sacrifice innocent lives for the greater good. He throws parties and gets drunk at ten in the morning and tears through female celebrities like he gets paid each time he's in a clickbait article. That's my armor, and it's a better disguise than the hood ever was. But being human? Really human? I gave up on that a long time ago."

Thea fixes her eyes on him. "That sort of splitting yourself in two can be a danger in and of itself. " She says softly. "But maybe it's better than my method of being… just me. All these different slivers of who I am jammed together, rubbing against each other and setting off sparks." There's a hint of a smile, just a tug upward at the right side of her mouth. "Maybe I need to get a costume. Embrace my father's lifestyle, become his debutante daughter and run around with pretty boys like you. Get my picture in the gossip pages."

A hand lifts, as if to fiddle with her hair, before it drops down again. "Get some ridiculous sports car, wear incredibly poorly designed outfits.. Maybe that would make some things easier." There's a dark little smile. "I'm not human, if you ask some. I like to think I am. That I still have a heart. And you know.." There's a tease that rises in her tone, lightens her eyes. "I'm always available for helping you get information out of people. I have fabulous methods that are out of reach for most."

"So do I," Oliver replies, raising an eyebrow and curling a half-smile. "But mine are less civilized. I don't know, I didn't set out to end up like this, but it works for now. Can you think of a less likely vigilante? That alone is worth the trouble."

He takes in a deep breath and sighs it out. "Seriously, though. For me, those sparks were too much to handle. That's why I had to divide myself. As for you, I wouldn't worry too much. If you still care enough to preserve your humanity, you aren't too far gone. It's when you give up, when you know you've gone too far to come back, that's when things get dangerous. So have some fun. Get a shiny car and a shiny dress and a shiny boyfriend. It can be entertaining."

"Oh, I don't know…" There's a wickedness to her smile. "I mean.. I can do things to a person's insides without laying a finger on them. It's very, very effective." That darkness peeks out of her eyes for just a moment. "Does anyone ever end up the way they set out to be? I mean… look at us. You changed by your years on an island. Me changed by years of manipulation. But here we are."

She pauses, moving to snag a glass of juice, sipping at it with lashes lowered for a moment of breathing. "It's hard. Trying to care, trying to heal… when there's a side of me that more than balances it out that's doing the /opposite/." She will toss her head, shoulders pulling back. "The car and the dress are easy. I just need a shiny boyfriend that I can work with. You know anyone?"

There's a chuckle and Oliver holds out both hands disarmingly. "You don't want my advice on that. I think we've established that relationships are well outside my area of expertise, unless you want tips for a twelve hour rendezvous with a gymnast or a foreign movie star."

Forgotten, his coffee has started to cool during the conversation, but that doesn't stop him from taking a sip, pouring in a bit of the whiskey from his flask, then having a proper swig. "Meaningful connections are difficult in our line of work. My current theory is that it takes complete trust, full disclosure, and a bunch of other things that are incompatible as hell, at least for me. You never know, though."

"I'm sure you know someone willing to go on a few dates somewhere popular and high profile. I know I clean up well enough." There's a grin there. "I'd be willing to hear your sage wisdom about marathon rendevous. Beyond stay hydrated, of course. I just don't have many connections with the sort of fellow I'd need to establish Thea Harman, the politician's socialite daughter. I figure you might be able to find someone to point me at."

" Oh lord, I don't want a serious sort of thing. Just something surface. Some flash, some splash, something shallow. Something that lets me still… well, you know. Take care of my other interests." She sips her juice. "This? You and I talking around things, while knowing things others don't about each other? This is kind of as meaningful as it gets for me, currently. Sad state of affairs and all that, I know. But.. who can you trust?"

"If you're smart, the fewest number of people possible." Ollie picks up a spoon and gives his coffee an idle stir. "I'm not sure I'm the best person to talk to about any of this, honestly, but I'm glad to give you an ear. I probably play things too close to the vest for my own good. I can find you a shiny boy to wear on your arm, though. I went to a bunch of prep schools, I ought to be able to do at least that much."

There's a self-depricating smile. "If you decide to split yourself down the middle, try to have fun with one half. It gets tiresome once it becomes a character to play, but sometimes it's a nice change of pace. And hey, if you get lucky, you might meet a well-adjusted person someday who can handle all of you."

"Agreed. I mean… look at us. I still don't think you trust me at all, and I'm not sure how much I trust you. But I feel like I must a little, because here I am, and you haven't run off at the mouth to anyone about me." There's a shrug, before she takes some real swallows of the juice now. "A shiny boy. Oh lord. What am I doing?" She mutters.

Blue eyes lift to him. "I want to have some fun. Truth is, I think I am in desperate need of it. I don't remember the last time I felt any sort of thrill from anything but… well, you know what I'm talking about." There's a chuckle. "How about we get me started on learning how to date, before we talk about me meetign someone well-adjusted to handle all this crazy life I lead." There's a pause, a hint of a smirk. "I figure you have tips on socialite dating, at least."

"Oh, do I ever," Oliver admits. "We'll get there. And hey, I trust you as much as I'm able to trust anyone who can't read my mind. That's something."

He takes another draw from his coffee cup, then coughs into his fist. It's clearly an affected gesture while he collects his thoughts. "Look at it this way," he finally starts. "You know who I am. If I didn't trust you, at least a little, I'd have done my best to kill you by now. I know it doesn't sound like a compliment, but it is. We're friends, right? I mean, I know I don't ever want to be looking down an arrow at you."

"Give me some time, I might learn to do that too." She jokes, when he talks about someone reading his mind. She shifts her weight, holding that glass of juice as if it is a flute of expensive champagne, completely appearing at ease.

There's a lift of a brow. "And you know who I am. And if you trying to kill me, I think we would both end up very, very messed up. And of course it's a compliment. It goes both ways, you know. If I didn't trust you a little… well, we know what could happen. And I never want to have to try to take you out." There's a wink. "Be a shame to waste that pretty face."

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