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Nora had a long day, there were some days at the office where everything went smoothly and she really felt like things were progressing and their products were bringing good to the world and then there were days like today, days where she sat at her desk, half buried in paperwork she needed to read only to be delivered the news that the release of their most recently prototyped product needed to be delayed by a month thanks to an issue in the supply chain. It took everything in her not to shoot the messenger or whack her head against the table in frustration. She knew it was a part of business and not every day was going to be a successful or feel fulfilling but really was a suck on her energy.
Eventually, after staring at the 5th contract page she’d reread because she wasn’t paying attention she’d decided that 4 pm was going have to cut it for the end of her work day today because she was actually going to go insane if she spent any longer here. If she couldn’t make a difference as COO of Everectronics today, she would have a good evening out on the streets to make up for it. She was always like this, taking her frustrations out on the criminals in Evermore city, it was somewhat therapeutic she supposed and it meant a safer environment for the people of Evermore. She pushed to her feet, grabbing her things and headed down the familiar route to exit the building. She didn’t even look up as she passed reception, headed out of the massive corporate building and climbed into her car in the parking lot.
She took one moment to look at herself in the rearview mirror and tucked her hair behind her ear and then pulled off. They had a remote building across the city that she’d been using as a base of operations, the only person who questioned her being there so far was Emilio and she had just explained to him that she was planning on redoing the place so they could use it once more, he didn’t say anything more on it and knew she had the money to renovate the place. When she pulled up outside scanned her pass against the security barrier and then pulled up underneath the undercroft. It only took her a few moments to lock up and head up from the basement into the lower ground floor of the seemingly abandoned building.
Flicking on the lights though, she was met with the familiar layout of her base of operations, it was equipped with computers, weapons, training areas, lab space and pretty much everything she could possibly need to conduct her operations. It was a big space for her alone and she wasn’t an expert in using it all but it was definitely an improvement from the basement in her home when she first used. She deruned her bow so that it was visible once more and set it down on the desk before going over to the computer and turning on the screens, looking for her target for tonight.
Tapping his highlighter against the table, Aaron peered over the rows of texts in front of him while his free hand held the landline to his ear. He was on hold with a company for over an hour and had decided to utilise the time to go through his study material. However, his brain had other plans. The male found his train of thoughts constantly coming back to his boss and what he had uncovered about her. His boss, the uptight brunette lady who occasionally asked for his help with gadgets had a secret life made so much sense. But what made even more sense was the fact that he was indirectly helping her with her crusade. It felt like he had a meaning in life beyond working his ass off to pay for his mother's medical bills. It made him feel like what he was doing mattered.
So she decided to talk to Eleanora Nordstroem about it. He had thought of doing it just after work so she wouldn't have an excuse to avoid the conversation but when the male watched the co-owner walk out of her office at 4 without warning, he quickly hung up and packed his things into his bag. He would have stopped her but she seemed like she was in a hurry so he decided to follow her instead in his car. It was oddly exciting following the Scarlett Archer, the woman he had been reading about for days, catching sight of her in newspaper clippings, but now in real life and as her car stopped in front of an abandoned building a part of the male knew he had perhaps come across the vigilante's secret lair.
He waited for her to get inside the building before pulling up his car in front of the gates, stepping out with an inquisitive look on his face. He looked around to find a way inside but realising he needed special access, he knew he was doomed. A cackle of thunder made the male jump as he realised he had little time and so decided to wave aimlessly at the camera hovering over the gates, hoping to catch the attention of the female inside. The camera panned to face him and the male jumped up and down a little, waving for attention.
After a few desperate attempts, he pulled out his phone and rang the number he was given to contact Eleanora if there was an emergency with the gadgets he was helping her out with. He waited for her to pick up and once she did, the male smiled at the camera, "Uh hi, so. I'm outside." He spoke, "It's Aaron by the way, the reception guy? Kinda cute but really good with gadgets." He knew he was blabbering but he wasn't sure what he could say to convince the literal Evermore version of Batwoman to let him in her Batcave. "I promise I'm not stalking you." He chirped and then added in the same breath, "Though that's exactly what a stalker would say but I promise, I mean no harm. Can I please come inside?"
She leaned forward on the desk, her elbows resting against the table top as she traced back the current flow of the drug trade she knew so far. It was a personal vendetta for Nora and one that felt a lot like a losing battle considering for every thug she seemed to take out, another got in line. She pulled up the gang members she knew were pushing dreamshade and pursed her lips deciding who might be the easiest to track down. Unfortunately, the answer always seemed to be the small fry which wouldn't achieve much. She gave a long and drawn breath of frustration just before the proximity alarms went off.
At first she was completely confused by the noise because it was the first time since she got here that they’d ever gone off and she furrowed her brow as she pulled up the cameras on the screen hoping it was just a stray cat or something that had triggered the motion detectors but instead what to saw made her part her lips in surprise. What the hell was he doing here? She panicked a little, looking from side to side at all the things around her. Well, there was no way in hell she was going to be able to hide all of this from him. How did he get here? How much did he know? Questions were spinning around in her head and she didn’t have the answer for any of them.
She was staring angrily at the screen before she heard her phone start to ring which again surprised her and she stared down at it for a moment, no hoping he was here and didn’t know she was then. She sighed heavily and answered the phone, the moment she picked up she saw the smile on his face and furrowed her brow. “Yes Aaron, I know who you are” she repeated when he rambled about who he was, she’d gotten his help on a few more tricky sciency things, she hadn’t wanted to get any of the technicians involved because they’d ask more questions than she could answer but Aaron had seen her struggling with an old laptop and helped her get it up and running and it had some really crucial information on it.
“Absolutely not, this is a secured building for a reason” she scolded him but right at that very moment the heavens decided to open and the rain started pouring down in sheets, she could see it on the camera, even fogging up the view a little and she felt bad for leaving him out there, especially when he didn't seem to be giving up despite the adverse weather “How the hell did you find this place?” she commented but did relent and pressed the release button on the gate which would allow him in. She didn’t wait for his answer, just ended the call and began her own panic about what she was going to do or say. She did the smart thing and hid the more incriminating pieces of evidence, namely her suit and she re-runed her bow so that it was invisible against her. She’d done a lot of background on him before deciding to work on him. The main reason she had let him inside was because she couldn’t afford to let him walk away without knowing how much he knows.
In the hindsight, showing up to Scarlett Archer's Batcave wasn't the best idea but in Aaron's defense, he had thought he was simply following her home. Now standing in front of the gates, trying to catch her attention on the off-chance that she'd let him in felt like a very stupid idea. Nevertheless, he wasn't ready to give up. Knowing how his gadgets were being used, he wanted to continue helping her because it gave him a purpose and he enjoyed himself for the first time in a long time.
As soon as the cameras panned on him, Aaron stopped jumping around and resorted to only waving with both his arms in the air, trying to catch the attention of the female he had no doubt was watching and once she answered his call, he couldn't help but let a breath of relief. "Oh good you remember me!" He chirped, quickly adding without a second thought, "I'm glad to know I'm special enough to be remembered." He regretted the words almost as soon as they came out, mentally smacking himself for always being so forward.
Her hesitation was obvious, Batwoman would never allow an absolute nobody into her Batcave. "I promise I'm not here to steal or blow up the place, you can even put me through that security scanner." He spread his free arm wide, as if trying to show her that he had no explosives or weapons with him, "I'm as safe as safe can get." He told her, continuing to plead to be let in. That was when a few drops of rain splattered across his jacket and before he even had the time to register, it was pouring cats and dogs and Aaron had to squint through the water droplets to see properly. "I, uh." He started, hesitating for a second before speaking, "Remember when I said I'm not stalking you?" He let out a nervous smile, "I followed you, but only because I needed to talk, I promise I'm NOT a stalker." He repeated before watching the gates open.
Aaron ran through the driveway and into the building, half-soaked. Finding his way into the room Eleanora was in, he shook the water off him, running his fingers through his dark locks to free the strands from the droplets, he gave her a cheeky grin. "Thank you for-" That was when he noticed the decor of the place, the score of monitors and gadgets on display. "WOW." The male gasped, walking further in, "This is so cool." He said excitedly, laying his hand on one of the gadgets only to find it send a shock through his body. "Ouch. Excuse you too." The male grumbled at the piece of technology before pulling his attention back to his boss. "You're really doing something great here, you know?"
The way he sounded so bright and chipper despite the very serious situation he had put himself in just seemed fitting and yet for her, very frustrating. Nora took what she did very seriously and she didn’t really trust anyone else with it, no one knew how to do this better than her with all the practice and work she had put into it. And yet, she found herself in this situation where she was completely off guard, she had no idea what he wanted or why and that really unnerved her. She bit her lip as he continued rambling “Yeah well don’t expect me to remember your birthday” she commented and frowned a little. This was tricky.
A part of her was seriously tempted to leave him out there in the rain, she watched as he positioned himself in the camera to show that he didn’t have any weapons. She’d already done enough research on him to know he was a decent person though, worked a hardworking and pretty humble life, always seemed to be doing every piece of work that came his way and squaring away money, she wasn’t sure for what but he seemed pretty ambitious. “Sounds like something a stalker would say” she responded to him in a dry voice watched as he stood out there in the rain. Well, he didn’t seem like he was going to give up easily and she couldn’t bring herself to leave him out there getting completely drenched “You have my number for talking” she protested a judging eyebrow lifting despite the fact he couldn’t see her.
The warehouse was completely flat and open, everything she had was laid out in one corner of the room where she was currently leaning against the desk by one of the many computers. She looked visibly uncomfortable and she felt it took, she always thought if she ever told anyone who and what she was it would be on her own terms. Aaron was smarter than she had perhaps given him credit for to put all of this together, if he knew what she did in her other life. She raised a finger much like a teacher would scold a child when he gave her a grin “Don’t thank me yet, I’m still debating throwing your ass back out in the rain” she spoke sternly but she didn’t actually move to do so, nor look all that threatening at all.
He was too busy being distracted by all of the inventions she had in here to even notice, mostly the same tech they gave to the organization along with a few bespoke items she used to make sure criminals didn’t get away. He looked kinda cute, eyes so full of wonder as he looked at them which had her confused, so he wasn’t here to call her out? She was about to speak when she saw him go to touch one of the devices “Hey don’t touc-” she didn’t manage to get it out before it went off “That” she finished as she crossed the room, arms folded as she positioned herself between him and the gadgets “Or anything” she warned him, the last thing she needed was him setting a fire in here or something.
His words really surprised her though, so much that she went into silence, her lips parting as she looked up at him “Building technology for the organization?” she asked, she still hadn’t fully gauged what he knew “Someone has to protect this city from those who wish it harm” she spoke, that could have a double meaning, the organization and their company did that in the light, she did that alone in the dark. She cleared her throat “Well you weren’t lying about not being armed, so what did you want to talk about?” she definitely felt out of her depth, but she was very good at hiding it.
Aaron wasn't someone who could easily get nervous in unknown situations. However, a part of him did worry if the Scarlet Archer had a temper and ended up being one of those vigilantes he saw on tv who would torture intruders and then wipe their memories clean. Shaking the thoughts away from his mind, the male brought his focus back on the conversation and without thinking twice added, "That's okay, I'll log into your google calendar and add it." He said, referring to Nora not remembering his birthday. Though quickly realising what his words implied, the male back-tracked fast, "Not saying that I have ever hacked into your google account, or phone, or computer..." He trailed off, slapping his forehead before taking a deep breath and looking back up at the camera, "I'm not helping myself am I?"
However as the pleading began, Aaron knew he was playing a difficult game. Eleanora didn't know him outside of their work and it would take a whole lot of trust for her to invite him inside her bat lair. "I do have your number." The male nodded his head, "And come to think of it, a phone call would have been easier but this feels too momentous to be talked about over the telephone." He shrugged, his eyes glowing like a child at his favourite comic book convention.
Aaron was pretty sure the female had caught on what he was talking about by the time he entered the warehouse. Shaking the water off his jacket and running his finger through his wet ebony locks, the male walked up to the corner where all the gadgets and gizmos were laid out. He was too mesmerised by the technology to truly pay attention to the female's clear annoyance. "This is so much better than the ones in the TV shows." He said, leaning forward to touch an object only for it to electrocute him. Aaron huffed out a breath and stepped back, "Okay maybe a little more dangerous than the ones they show." He added as an afterthought, "And a bit more real. Holy shit, that's an actual AMD Ryzen 7 2700X." He tried to peek as Nora stood between him and the gadgets, tempted to reach out a hand to touch the sleek CPU but realising this wasn't the best time to piss off the Scarlet Archer, he decided against it.
By the time he finally addressed the elephant in the room, Aaron was sure Eleanora would know what he was talking about and so, her dualty caught him by surprise. "No no, not that." He said, waving his palm around dismissively. "The whole...." He made gestures of putting on a mask and aiming at an imaginary target with his imaginary bow and arrow, trying to get her to catch on to what he was saying. "Scarlett Archer thing." However almost immediately he put his hands up in the air as if surrendering, "Yes I know but please don't erase my memories, I love them too much." He closed his eyes in defense, cowering a little, knowing there's only two ways this could end, either she accepts that he knows and they make some dark shady deal, signed in blood which guarantees him his life, or his memory gets wiped clean. He waited for a minute for the impact before slowly opening one eye to see the female's response.
Nora had to admit, this all felt pretty surreal for her, she had never had anyone pry into her business close enough to figure her out like this, much less show up at her base of operations, she was good at choosing her words and things she asked people to do, she tried to get the information she needed from them without giving away her identity too obviously but it seemed in this case, she was sorely off the mark and that frustrated her no end. The mentions of hacking made her raise her brows and let out an annoyed breath “Absolutely not” she responded to his words. Still, with the question hanging in the air of how much he didn’t or didn’t know she needed a definitive answer now and with him knowing this location she couldn’t risk him bringing anyone else here.
It took a big leap for her to press that button but she could hardly let him walk after everything he knew, she needed to make sure he understood the seriousness of what he had managed to piece together whatever that is “Well at least you do understand the basics of security, even if privacy has completely slipped your mind” she commented with an annoyed shake of her head and she waited for him to come through into the room, ending the call abruptly so she could prepare herself for the conversation that was to come.
She remained with her arms folded as she watched him explore his way through the warehouse, his eyes lingering on all the different gadgets and weapons she had in there, it made her considering just how screwed she’d be if any kind of authority got in here. Though admittedly, he hadn’t managed to bypass the security she had in place, he’d just begged her to let him in. “Show?” she asked confused, what kind of TV shows was he even watching, either way, she placed herself between him and then things on the bench “If you electrocute yourself to death then I’ll be held liable” she grumbled as she shook her head at him “Not to mention it's very expensive” she warned him, as in more than he probably had expensive but she didn’t want to patronize him.
Okay, maybe playing dumb wasn’t the best move she could have gone with but she wasn’t exactly versed in revealing her secret or protecting it either because no one had ever challenged her directly before. She did almost crack a smile at him when he acted out putting on a mask and shooting a bow but she reigned herself in because she knew what it meant. “Oh” she swallowed for a moment and averted her gaze as she got a handle over her emotions and try and process what she was supposed to do next. Before she could say anything she saw the way he cowered away from her and bit her lip softly, was that the impression people had of her alter ego? Of her? Perhaps it was. She leaned in closer to him, studying him for a moment, he almost looked like he was in pain waiting for her to do something and when he opened his eye she tilted her head “You look like you’re having a seizure” she commented bluntly and then moved back a little, a hint of amusement in her eyes.
She leaned against the countertop and blinked a few times, still a little stunned herself “So if I am hypothetically who you say I am” which was her way of not directly admitting it in case he had any kind of recording device on him “Why are you here?” she was still trying to figure out his motivation for being here.