|What: Roy takes Aspen out on a date. Aspen... makes waves.|
When Roy moved, he moved quickly. So it was a pretty simple move - get Lian set up to have dinner with the Stepfords, set up some ground rules (which were likely to be ignored, as what the princess wanted, the princess gets,) and a relatively nice, simple shirt and pants. Although the restaurant required a tie, which meant he was -stuck- with the only tie he owned, one that Lian gave to him.
So never mind that Roy was wearing what appeared to be a nautica paisley tie... at least he was trying to look reasonably well-dressed, making a nice simple and cheap order for himself, and commenting...
"... and Lian's doing well in school."
Aspen told Roy that she'd meet him at the restaurant instead of picking her up since she wasn't entirely sure if she'd be coming directly from the Embassay or from the Hall of Justice or what. And if it were the latter he'd probably be stuck waiting outside or going through security checks and... yeah. Easier to just meet there.
Dinner out just seems to require a Little Black Dress, so that's what Aspen has on. She's still wearing the choker that she had on the last time that he saw her even though it perhaps doesn't quite go with the outfit. She's listening to him attentatively, trying not to get too distracted by his tie when he mentions Lian. It has to be the tie's fault when she blinks at him and says, "I'm sorry, who?"
"Oh... my daughter." What, when he was talking about what was going on in his life as it stood now, did he avoid the subject of Lian? It's not usual for him, and Roy pulls his cell phone out, clicks to show a picture, and smiles. "She's five years old. There's, uh... a long story behind this, but her mother's ... way, way out of the picture. Sweet kid, and a lot of the reason why I do what I do these days."
Well single parents, and single fathers too are more common these days. Still, Roy does get a bit of a look as Aspen reaches over to take the phone because he still looks rather *young* for a five-year-old. Her expression eases into a smile as she looks down at the image, though. "I was sort of raised by a single dad too." She says, still looking down at the image of the smiling girl. Finally she hands it back to him. "He was in the Navy," Versus Roy being in SHIELD. "He was away a lot. But then I was away a lot too, I suppose."
"Yeah, well, I aim to be there for Lian, the way my dad was, before..." Roy says as he shifts to a different picture of Lian, this time held by the three Cuckoos. "Anyway, he was saving lives, but uh... well, anyway the Navajos took me in after that. Then after I won some contest, this rich guy decided he wanted me to be his ward, till I turned 18. After that..." A shrug. "I might have gone to hell, but Lian gave me a reason to get myself out of that mess."
Aspen gives Roy a soft smile as he trails off, not pushing for what are clearly painful details. She does look somewhat bemused at the whole 'rich white guy' bit. "I think these days someone would have cried foul at that." She says with a light laugh. "Captain Matthews took me when I was found on a cruise ship with no memory of who I was when I was about nine. He's been the only family I've known."
"So... that's how you managed to not know exactly what your country was for years," Roy comments, shaking his head. "You've got family... Lian's been the only family I have for... well, a while now. So yeah, basically, we're a package deal. She's a sweetheart, though." He does grin a bit. "Even if she has bad tastes in ties."
Aspen gives a wincing sort of expression. "That *does* sort of explain a lot." She says, trying not to laugh when she looks at his tie again. "Yeah, I didn't find out that I wasn't human until recently when they came looking for me. So I still get a bit confused sometimes on who counts as 'we' and who counts as 'they'." She wrinkles her nose a bit, passing Roy back his phone. "Well, it's obvious that she makes you happy."
"Yeah, you think I'd pick -this-? I'm just not a tie kind of guy," Roy comments as he takes the phone back. "Although I guess I should pick out something more basic for work if they ever put me on desk duty or something. Or make me attend formal events." Tucking his phone back in his pocket, Roy eyes Aspen. "It's the United Nations. It's not like they're asking you to hand over the government to them, no matter what crackpot idiots think. There's just... well, everyone." Flashing a grin, Roy leans back. "You still see your old man a lot?"
Aspen laughs and shakes her head. "No, I mean when I'm talking about the Blue and well, humans. Or Americans. I get the prononuns mixed up constantly. I'm lucky that Blue aren't as media-obsessed as Americans." See? The trick is to not claim *either*! She shakes her head at the question, but doesn't seem too dismayed by it. "We talk a few times a month. It was like that growing up, too. He'd be on missions, I'd be off for training or swimming meets... But I never felt like I wasn't provided for." She just few up very independantly.
"Hnnh... you're luckier than I was, then," Roy says, tilting his head. "I think if I had stayed with the Navajo, I would've been in better shape. Then again, I probably wouldn't have Lian, or ended up working for SHIELD, so..."
Flashing a grin, Roy shrugs. "Everything happens for a reason, right?" Taking a bite of neglected food, Roy arches a quizzical eyebrow. "What's it like down there, with the Blue?"
"Sometimes it's better not to regret the choices that we've made, or the events that have happened in our lives, because there's no guarantee of how things might have gone. And the things most important to us might have been missing. More than that though... We wouldn't be who we are. And I think that's the most important thing." Aspen says before taking a bite of her own dinner. The question gets a smile as she chews, but he has to wait a bit of her answer as she thinks on how to explain. "They're very... focused. They have some technologies that are leaps and bounds beyond that of the US but there's still a very... old feel to them. They still extoll a warrior culture with ideals of honor. They seem to have more sense of community as a whole, than most cities here."
"Hnhh..." Roy wrinkles his nose, in a 'I get what you're saying, but...' way. "Well, always better to create new experiences, anyway," Roy grins, as he works on eating while Aspen talks. "You know, if it's such a warrior culture... why are they thinking of making peace out there first instead of fighting first?"
"I said warrior culture. Not warring culture." Aspen corrects with a grin and lifts her shoulders in a shrug. "I've only known them a few months so you're only getting my observations, too. The fact that they're greatly outnumbered might play into it a bit." Her smile is a bit forced, though.
"Huh... but who would they even war with, if they've always been down underwater all this time?" Roy wrinkles his nose. "Or is it that everyone just... trains so that they'll never have to use it?"
With a straight face, Aspen says, "Giant squid."
"... so your -greatest- foe is... calamari?"
Aspen ducks her head, grinning. Her shoulders shake a bit with contained laughter. She lifts a hand to cover her mouth as she still can't suppress a giggle and shakes her head. "You'd be surprised what's down there, really. We're not even the only known humanoids beneath the surface.
"Well, probably... I've seen National Geographic... well, sometimes. I look at it for the articles," Roy says with a smirk. "But yeah, I've seen reports about giant squids and stuff, but... really." There's a grin. "Do they take visitors?"
"It hasn't really come up before." Aspen admits. "though we're undoubtably going to end up having a US and/or a UN group visiting one of our cities soon." Aspen says, folding her hands neatly in her lap. "I don't think we're likely to develop tourism, however."
"Yes... well, if you're not the only known humanoids, are the others going to come visiting anytime soon too?" Roy asks. Finishing off the last of his meal, he leans back a bit. "You like desserts?"
"We're probably going to be entering some negotiations with the Atlantians, yes." Aspen admits. "I do. What's your favorite?"
"The Atlantians... oh, like the guy who talks to fish?" Hnhh... actually, Roy shouldn't joke like that about the King of Atlantis, but old habits and all. "And I just usually get ice cream on the way out. Might as well make a spectacle out of myself anyway, if I'm going to be wearing my daughter's present." A slight flap of his tie, and Roy grins.
"But you shouldn't get ice cream *on* it." Aspen points out, and then shakes her head. "And you didn't answer the question. What's your favorite dessert?" She quirks a brow at him, waiting with a suppressed grin.
"But how else am I gonna make sure I never wear it again?" Roy leans forward and whispers in a conspiratorial manner. "So long as you don't tell my daughter. And help me pick out a better tie than this."
Leaning back, Roy considers the question. "... uh... blackberry pie. Yeah. I think. I've gotten mostly ice cream these days... the little princess demands it. Course, I have to make sure she gets her teeth perfectly brushed."
Aspen seems to consider that. "Blackberry pie, hmm? Interesting." She chuckles at the commentary about Lian. "I don't know. I think if you ruin it she should definitely be the one helping you to get a replaceemnt."
"Can't help it... you stick with what you remember from childhood. It's that or watermelon," Roy grins, as he flaps the nautical paisley tie. "Don't hold back, what do you think of it? I know you were eyeing it all through dinner."
"I was trying to figure out what you were trying to say to me via tie-code." Aspen admits. "I mean, you asked me to dinner but then try to scare me off with a tie?"
"Nah, this basically says, 'It's the only tie I own,'" Roy grins. "I don't usually go to places like this, but..." Eyebrows arched, the SHIELD agent motions all about. "I mean, I'm more a meat and potato guy, you know? Besides, if you don't scare off with a tie chosen by my daughter, then you're definitely worth knowing."
"For having a kid, you're missing the vegetables in that dinner." Aspen teases. She gives a shrug, smiling. "It does take a *little* more to scare me than an awful tie. I'm not sure they'd let me on the Justice League with a weakness that easy to defeat me with."
"Oh psh... what are you going to do, tell Lian?" Roy grins. "Besides, I get more than enough vegetables with the meal. Lian's got babysitters who seem to like making sure she has -everything-. I'm not sure how they convince her to eat her vegetables, but they say she's in just about perfect health."
The Justice League causes Roy a wide grin. "You'd be in -really- big trouble if you were confronted by Pinky. Or some villain dressed like a mad mod or something." The smirk cools a bit. "What do you think of the League?"
Aspen watches that humor slide away and gives him an amused look. "Not a fan?" She asks, folding her hands beneath her chin to watch him.
"Oh... er..." Scratching his chin, Roy admits, "I admire just about all these people. They do tough work..." There's a small shrug, before Roy asks, in what is clearly an attempt to seem dispassionate, "Is Green Arrow still on the team?"
"Well, I haven't run into him but as far as I know he is. A lot of the League works independantly and are... available to be called, I suppose. It's not like we sit around together waiting to go out and do things." Aspen says with a chuckle. "Which is why i can do my ambassadorial work. They also tend to pull other resources if something comes up in say, Arizona." Because yeah. Not a lot of water for the aquatic lass.
"Hmmmph. Well, if you ever see Green Arrow, tell him Speedy said hi." A small shrug. Lots of history there, and probably just a bit of annoyance, but there's a wistful look on Roy's face at that, before he quickly grins. "So basically you can kick butt on like 75 percent of the world, but not the other 25?"
There's a glint of speculation at the message and his tone, but perhaps she doesn't feel like digging into that quite yet. "I just have to be more creative on the other twenty five percent." Aspen says, giving him a wink and a grin. "I think you're perfectly aware you don't need any special powers to kick butt, hmm?" Her lips purse, trying not to smirk at him.
"Oh definitely," grins Roy. "I haven't shown you any of my tricks now, have I? I can hit just about anything you want."
Aspen can't help it. Both brows go up and she's very clearly trying not to burst out into laughter or giggles here in the middle of the restaurant.
"... I meant, with a projectile. Archery or darts or..." Giving up, Roy just waits for her to go ahead and say it, making a motion of 'go on, get it over with' gesture.
Aspen shakes her head, making a dismissive gesture with one hand. "No, no." She says, still trying hard not to giggle. She does let out an amused sigh, dabbing at her eyes a bit. Don't want to tempt even 'waterproof' mascara. "So it sounds like you really have your hands full, with a UN job and a daughter to raise."
"Well, not as full as I'd like them to be," Roy grins. "How about you? Your hands full with the League and the UN?"
"Meaning not enough time at work, or not enough time with the daughter?" Aspen asks in reference to his hands and then chuckles. "Sometimes yes... sometimes no. Most of the time it seems like everything is taken care of and I just need to show up.. and then I need to be like, a dozen different places at once. I'm still getting the hang of being both a diplomat and a 'hero'."
"More like I'd love -other- things on my hands," grins Roy, waggling his eyebrows just enough to make the inference clearer, before he sits back, tilting his head. "Isn't that what personal assistants are for? Just hire one, sic 'em on organizing, and you're all done. Oh wait... you mentioned one earlier, did you?"
"I'm not sure if you're amusing as to be adorable, or moving beyond that into creepy." Aspen teases Roy before dipping her head in a nod. "I do. She makes sure I'm where I'm supposed to be when I need to be. That doesn't mean I always feel confident about what I'm there for."
"Hmmm, let's go with adorable, and stop right there," Roy grins, as he leans back in his seat. "Yeah, well, the thing about this business? Never let 'em see you sweat in public."
Aspen gives a mock worried look. "I am *wet* a lot." She points out. It's kind of like sweating!
"... oh." Clearly Roy hadn't thought about that, and now he's actually thinking about it, which probably means now would be a good time to get him to pay and get out.
Aspen ducks her head and coughs. "Sorry. Ahem. Maybe we'll skip dessert hmm?" She says, starting to stand up and collect her purse.
Shaking his head, Roy stands up, already pulling out his wallet. "Right, let... let me... man should never ask a lady out unless he's prepared to pay for it," he adds as he pulls out a credit card.
"That's kind of old-fashioned of you, hmm?" Aspen notes, though she doesn't try to put up a fight about it. She'll wait for him to settle accounts and then head out of the restaurant with him. "So since you're the veteran on 'this business', what's your favorite and least favorite things about it?"
"Ummm... yeah, guess so. I never really thought about it till I had a daughter, and now I have to pay more attention to it." What, exactly, Roy doesn't explain as he pays off the bill, before falling in step next to Aspen. He actually seems to be taking a minute to be serious about the question, before answering, "The people I help... and the people who hurt others."
Aspen is quietly thoughtful as she mulls over Roy's answer. "I suppose that's a definite drawback. The front-row seat to some of the worst that humanity has to offer, hmm?"
"Ehhh... but the best too," Roy comments as he walks along. "Though a lot of time, I'd question any 'intelligence' that comes to Earth and see what we've done. Might be easier to just chuck it all and go, except... well, you want to leave something positive for the next generation, no?"
"Which weighs especially heavily for you, now that you *have* one, hmm?" Aspen guesses. She winces and then pauses. "Sorry. Just... don't mind..." She reaches out for something to help her keep her balance so she can reach down and take off her heels. Stepping barefoot onto the ground she gives a sigh of relief. "Better."
Holding his hands out to offer to carry the heels, Roy shakes his head. "Well, yeah." He shrugs briefly. "But that's why we're in this business, aren't we?" He grins.
Aspen seems amused by the offer, but hands off the black, strappy heels to him. "My parental rolemodel growing up was a soldier. Service is kind of a thing." She points out, still smiling easily.
"Mine was a millionaire playboy turned hippie," Roy grins, as he picks up the shoes. "Though my father was a forest ranger, so... maybe it's from -him-."
"Yeah, I think it'd a bit violent for the 'hippie' outlook." Aspen says with a laugh. "So you were raised by Navajo you said?"
"Well... he's..." Roy shakes his head. No, he wasn't explaining Green Arrow's background. "Yes. At least till the millionaire playboy picked me up. I got to be his ward for a while." Tugging his tie free, Roy starts to lace his tie through the heels, setting up a short sling that he tosses over his shoulder to walk along. "But the Navajo time was the best. My name was Lost Arrow."
Aspen looks over to him, "'Was'? I mean, I know you're 'Roy' but... you don't use it at all anymore? Even if you're visiting or something?"
"Well... they said I couldn't stay and be one of them, that my destiny lies somewhere else, so I had to go with Ollie." Roy rubs the bridge of his nose, as he keeps walking. "Besides, I wasn't a brave yet, so I never got my brave name."
Aspen chuckles. "That scans funny in English." She muses. "Implies you only had your cowardly name or something." She shakes her head and looks apologetic. "Sorry. Sometimes my brain just goes off on tangents." Her expression eases into a frown. "Does it still bother you?"
"Heh... no, that was a child's name. A warrior's name, a brave's name... that's probably something I'd have to go back and get." Roy shakes his head a bit at the next question, before growing thoughtful. "I wanted to honor them with the Navajo tattoo I had, so... I don't know if it really bothers me." He shrugs, displaying an 'don't really care air' that might not fool Aspen for a single moment.
"You said it was the best time in your life." Aspen says, her tone kept purposefully light. "And they told you not only that you couldn't stay, but that you couldn't be one of them." There's a pause. "And how old were you at the time?"
"... uh... pretty young," Roy answers, not quite sure where the line of thought was going. "But I got to be the ward of... well, I worshipped him at the time." There was a rueful grin. "Things change."
"That kind of percieved rejection can be heard on someone that young." Aspen says, without actually saying it might be an issue. When he says things change? She gives him a sideways look and a faint smile that seems to say 'and maybe it doesn't.'
There was a long silence, before Roy flashes a crooked grin. "Ahh, what's past is past. Just need to make a new future. Besides, I'm -done- with the whole pimply-faced awkward phase."
"Well, you should go around showing the rest of the world how that's done then." Aspen teases, still with that soft smile on her lips.
"Oh I have, I have..." grins Roy. Maybe just a bit too much. "How did -you- survive your pimply-faced awkward phase?"
Aspen ducks her head a bit. "Well, trying to avoid people. I'd just had the whole Olympics scandal and so I spent a lot of time surfing. The ocean is an amazing listener when you're mad at the unfairness of the world."
".. I've never really been in touch with the ocean. With everything we've done as the Navajo, the ocean never really came in play much," Roy muses. "But you ever figure you have such an affinity for it because that's where you came from, right?"
"In hindsight, definitely." Aspen says, nodding. "When I was found on the Paradise, I was nine. I still only have a few fractured memories of my life before that, but deep down I'm sure I knew I was Blue. I couldn't hear the ocean the way I used to, but I suppose I could... sense it? Everything I did involved water. I was either on it, in it, under it or looking at it through a microscope."
"Used to...? And you can see it now?" Roy chuckles. "-Everything-?" Eyebrow arches, followed by a grin, as Roy offers an elbow. "So you like water parks, do you?"
Aspen tilts her head in a nod. "It's hard to describe. Like the ocean is a... something. Not something so small as a person but... like a *presence* you can feel." Aspen says, giving the elbow an amused look before hooking a hand through it and resting the other one on it. Without the heels, she's shorter. "And water parks are alright. I prefer the real deal."
"'But they won't have the -slides-, Daddy'" Roy mimics in a little girl's voice. "Unless you know a way to make the ocean less scary and salty. And sandy."
Aspen gives Roy an arch look. "Doesn't have *slides*? What do you think waves are? Also? A water park has nothing on me." She points out before giving Roy a level, if amused look.
No, she did not -just-... yes she did. Oh yes she did. It takes Roy a moment of stunned silence before he grins widely. "I'm -sure- a water park has nothing on you, babe, but I'm talking about something a five-years old could ride. Although I suppose if I could get a preview of the ride..."
It's mostly Roy's whole biting back his amusement that has her smirking over at him, one brow arched. "I'm sure that I could give you a preview." She says, tone dry and perhaps just a bit too calm about the whole thing.
"Well then... lead on," Roy grins, perhaps just a bit -too- eagerly. "I'm looking forward to this ride."
Aspen grins broadly and pat's Roy's arm as she steers him towards the boardwalk that the restaurant is near. She makes for the sand, the surf breaking softly further down, looking back at him as she wiggles her toes in the pale stuff. "You might want to take off your shoes." She points out. Then grins even broader. "And depending on how much you like the suit..."
"Hey now..." Roy begins, before the wide broad smile from Aspen appears, and the agent knew he'd been -had-. Shaking his head with a rueful grin, Roy pauses long enough to take off his shoes, his socks, and quirks an eyebrow. "I think I'm keeping my suit on, thanks," he grins as he arranges the bundle on a rock somewhere, before following. "Although this ride seems pretty... G so far."
"Why would it be anything else?" Aspen asks about the rating, walking backwards towards the ocean so she faces him. The breeze coming in off the water blows her hair around her face in a dark cloud. She pausse as she hits the waterline, the gentle waves lapping at her feet. "You're sure about the suit, huh?"
"Uh huh. Not in public," Roy says. Although looking at her, one can practically picture a voice in Roy's head going 'think clean thoughts, chum', before he lowers his head and rolls up his pants cuffs, about to go wading -just- a bit.
Except that Roy said that he wanted a preview of the ride! Water rushes in and instead of just washing back out, more flows forward, lifting Aspen up, her legs from the knee down immersed in water. And then another arm of it sweeps forward and rushes around Roy, forming a whirlpool that lifts him up before carrying them out on the next wave. "So you like rides, huh?" She asks with an impish grin. She gives him a wink and then dives into the water. The whirlpool around Roy pushes him up into the air in a water spout a good ten feet and then he's falling down towards the water. And yeah. His suit is soaked.
There was only a -glub- as a reply before Roy finds himself up into the air. Taking a minute to try and find his breath before he's diving back into the water, Roy comes back up spluttering. "... I was thinking of a -different kind of ride-!" he splutters back.
Roy's left spluttering to himself, as Aspen is nowhere to be seen. Well, if he could see in the dark waters, then it's likely that he could see her. He feels something brush his foot, and then the sound of someone surfacing behind him as arms come around him. "Hold on." Aspen says playfully and then the world seems to tilt as the water pulls away, forming a *hole in the ocean* that starts to spin aruond and Roy and Aspen drop down.
It's only moments before they hit the water, caughtin that unnatural current and projected forth at dizzying speeds as if it were a roller coaster underwater, down and then up. Darkness gives way to the sparkle of lights and Roy can make out the blurry images of Metropolis through the water as they're shot high and then back into darkness as they speed faster and faster into the darkness. There's no danger of him drowning through, his head always in that pocket of air that the water moves around.
And as soon as he gets -used- to it, there's a wide grin as he settles in for the ride. "Talk about taking a guy for a -ride-," Roy quips, trying not to shift too much in her hold. She was -deceptively- strong. Although if she could hear him through that air bubble, he wouldn't know.
Aspen's light laughter sounds in Roys' ear, eerie from the echoes off of the water. There's a hard dive, and then it pulls up sharply, water filling in behind the tunnel they've been travelling in and then *shoots* them upward into the air by a good thirty fee--wait. Where'd Aspen go? Roy's suddenly by himself, falling... but then he sees the water billow up beneath him and catches him in a surprisingly gentle landing and then ferries him back towards shore so he can get his feet under him.
Taking a moment, checking his dripping wet suit, Roy shakes his head ruefully as he looks back out towards the ocean, already removing his jacket. Well, he -wasn't- going to remove his pants, not with -those- little heart patterns (don't ask) on these boxers of his. "Hey, Aspen...?" he calls out, looking for the aquatic lass. "Hell of a ride. Lian's gonna love that one."
The water bubbles and rises and starts to take Aspen's shape... and then resolves into the woman herself as she lifts both hands and slicks her hair back from her face, watching him with mirth. "Water parks. Fooey." She says teasingly as she walks out of the water. Her dress is soaked but, like she said. She spends a lot of time wet and so it holds up surprisingly well, if a bit more form-fitting.
"I'm convinced," Roy laughs, as he offers the jacket, for modesty's sake at least. Even if it was wet, it would at least offer her enough protection in case it fell. "Just go easy on Lian, though, she's only five." Even if she could swim like a fish.
"So tell me," Aspen says, swinging the jacket around her shoulders and managing to look perfectly normal even though she's dripping wet. "Do you do it on purpose, on accident, or are you just that cocky?"
"Do what on purpose?" Now Roy returns a quizzical look. "I could probably say it was me being -that- good, except I have no idea what you could possibly be referring to."
"Assuming that one, I'd go out with you and two, it would be with your daughter." Aspen points out. "So either you're cocky and just assumed I'd say yes, or you're manipulative, bringing your daughter in so I'd feel like a heel if I were to say no, or you're clueless. And you, Roy Harper, don't strike me as exceptionally clueless."
"Hmmm... I really don't know," Roy muses. "Although I suppose I assumed if you were willing to give a preview, then the matinee show would be good. I -could- leave Lian with the babysitters." There's a grin. "Or I could just offer to show you -my- speciality."
"Which as I recall is hitting your mark." Aspen notes, stepping over to him and smoothing his now-wet tie down with a hand. She lifts her gaze from it to his eyes and her brows arch some. "So what were you aiming for tonight?"
"Just getting the feel of the range," Roy responds, returning the gaze as if to see what the feel would be. "I rather like it. Think I can come try my luck again?"
"Clever tongue." Aspen observes with a chuckle and steps back, her hands falling away from his tie. "You should take your daughter to the beach. Before the last of summer slips away." She shrugs out of his jacket and holds it back out towards him and then heads back towards the ocean, turning to look back over her shoulder at him as she walks away. "I'm sure Jill will let me know when I have a free afternoon in my schedule." The water surges against her feet, then crashes against her knees as she wades in deeper and deeper.
"I will," Roy grins, taking the jacket and watching her go, before quirking an eyebrow at her shoes. Well... he couldn't just leave them there, and whistles, heading home. "Hell of a ride, that one..."