1964-06-13 - A Chance Meeting
Summary: Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul meet at a Gala in Japan. Prequel to Current Bruce and Current Talia
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
talia-al-ghul bruce-wayne 

Galas in Japan are different than the United States, especially these days. Women still really aren't welcome other than servants, but there is a fleet of lovely, pale faced ladies that move through the room like silent wind, carefully removing cups, refilling drinks, pouring tea for a few groups in corners and, otherwise, being a part of pretty decorations in the room. There's a side of the room for gambling, a master chef cutting sushi in one corner, and quite music. People are polite, massive, world changing business decisions are made, and business men are getting slowly but exceedingly drunk over the night. It's a typical function.

Except, tonight, a woman has managed to secure herself an invitation to the party. She may be half Japanese — definitely not purely white but mixed with something that would be considered exotic — but she's all the more stunning for it. She steps into the room about midway through the evening, to the grumbling of a few men who do not know her but the quick, respectful greeting and bowing of several that do. She's wearing a skin tight red gown, hugging down the curves of a toned, hourglass frame and exposing one long leg as she walks. She speaks perfect Japanese, bowing in turn. Something she says illicts a few nervous, too-loud laughs from the small group that gathered around her, before she makes her excuses and heads towards the little bar opposite the sushi station.

An American man is present in the high class gala as well, his own presence only slightly less rare to see than the appearance of a woman. He stands out, among the see of Japanese men. Standing taller than most of the dark haired men, his complexion is tanned from numerous hours in the sun, his gray streaked hair swept back neatly, even though his jaw is unshaven. He wears an expensive looking and hand tailored suit that drapes perfectly across his broad frame.

Leaned against the bar that Talia is heading toward, the American is in conversation with a mustached Japanese businessman, a smile spread across his face as he communicates with the fellow in fluent Japanese. He says something, causing both men to laugh loudly over the drinks held in their hands. The American lifts his own glass, filled with a fine quality of scotch, and takes a drink, his bright eyes turning to peer over the rim at the approaching woman, holding there and examining her silently. As his glass slips lower, he aims a confident smile her way followed by an acknowledging dip of his head.

Despite the fact that she looks like a very pretty piece of work, Talia is sharply intelligent. She may be carrying on side conversations, but her black eyes scan the whole room, looking for anything new or out of place. Bruce is definitely both of those things, though he navigates the room as well as she does. Talia walks closer to that bar, a slight smile stealing across her wine dark lips as he bends his head in her direction. She does the same respectfully, clearly acknowledging him, but she doesn't flock to his handsome side yet. In fluent Japanese, she murmurs to the bartender. ~Scotch, please… something decent, 24 or 36 year. Single malt. I know you have it hiding back there.~ And a moment later, she is getting a golden beverage poured for her.

For just a moment, she sniffs it. Most might think she's testing it's quality but, in truth, she's checking for any telltale scent of poison. She knows what this scotch should smell like. Then she's turning back towards the man Bruce is speaking with, an amused smirk crossing her lips, ~Mr. Shurida, I do not think you will sweet talk this man into investments, if you haven't already. I know that smile.~ The man shrugs with a half laugh, admitting it was worth the try.

Bruce does not look perturbed at the interruption the beautiful woman represents into his conversation with Mr. Shurida. Quite the contrary, he had been toying about with the man, dangling the possibility of a business deal with the fellow only to require more and more from the man to make the deal work. It was a game he played at these types of gatherings when there were so many rich men, hungry for a chance to get their fingers on Wayne Enterprises in one way or another.

Looking from Shurida to the woman and back again, Bruce inputs in perfect Japanese, ~Mr. Shurida, I believe she has your number! I guess you have tried this ploy on more people than just me at these events! Now I just don't feel special!" His eyes, dancing with mirth slip toward Talia and he extends a surprisingly calloused hand for one of such a refined life, "Bruce Wayne. Pleasure to meet you, miss…?"

While Mr. Shurida doesn't look thrilled that he's been caught at his game, he also doesn't look angry. It seems it's a usual dance. He echoes back to Talia: ~You are no fun, Miss Head. Why else do we invite Americans to these things?~ And that gets a harder look from her. Not exactly protective of Bruce, but also not letting the man get away with the mix of casual racism and superiority so many of the Japanese feel constantly.

~You invite them because you all realize every time Japan has tried to stay on it's little island alone, the world passes it by at best and, at worse, someone eventually comes in to try to take over. The Americans and Europe are the way of the future, you know this… So it does no good to insult them, even if they are playing with your hopes.~ Oh yes, Talia can recognize the game Bruce has been playing as much as the other. She then turns dark eyes up to the silver streaked man, studying his tanned features curiously for a moment or two before she offers her free hand. "Talia Head. And, of course, I know who you are, Mr. Wayne. You will not endear yourself to these people either by playing on their hopes and upping the money. The Japanese are a proud bunch. Many would rather withhold business than feel they have been mocked at a table. But… you probably know this." Her English is accented, just slightly, a mix of heritages, the strange accent of someone who grew up speaking half a dozen languages and probably had as many tutors.

Bruce Wayne's attention has seemed to drift almost completely from Shurida by this point, perhaps revealing just how little interest he ever had in the little Japanese man, and the little effect that the man's racial superiority had on Wayne, given that truly the man doesn't even deign to acknowledge it at all. Instead, he turns more fully toward Talia, angling his body casually from where he leans on the bar to present his front toward her. "Talia Head," he muses thoughtfully, his eyes not leaving the woman's, nor the charming smile leaving his face. "I can't say that I am familiar with the name, though to have gotten in here you must be someone. Why don't you join me for a drink?" he says, his voice revealing perhaps that given the way she handled Shurida that she has at least gathered Wayne's interest for the time being.

"I have no wish for people to know my name. The spotlight comes with as much disadvantage as it does advantage. More, I find. Better to be effective and silent, than flocked with those who wish to ride coat tails." Talia gives the most subtle of nods in the direction of Shurida, meant for only Bruce to know. While she schools the men here often, she will not insult them openly. That also closes doors. She gives Mr. Shurida a small bow and a warm final smile, ~Mr. Shurida, let me have some time with our American friend…~ And the man happily leaves them.

Talia takes her scotch and nods towards a low table in the far corner, not yet occupied by drunks or tea. There are many of these private-ish spaces around, made for more important business deals. They even have slender, delicate paper screens that can unfold in front of them. Everything has been thought of here. Talia does not take his arm, but confidently leads the way to the position. She either has no fear of putting her back to him, or doesn't realize how dangerous it might be. The back of her dress slings low, the gown open, fabric pooling just at the very crest of her hips. There is surprising strength in that back, all toned muscle, not some delicate slip of a thing where you can count rib bones.

Bruce's eyes move to very briefly mark the face of Shurida where he gives the man a cursory nod as he departs. He does not seem overly surprised as Talia simply leads the way toward the private table, nor does he seem insulted as he steps into place behind her. His eyes do inevitably find that expanse of bare back, and his eyes do hold some honest appreciation for the musculature found there. Upon reaching the table, Bruce offers Talia a smile and gestures for her to be seated first while his free hand casually slides the screen into place. Lowering himself opposite the woman, his eyes gaze across the low table into Talia's for a moment, not shying away from the small touch of intimacy found in that contact, nor the few seconds of silence before he tips his head to indicate the space beyond the screen. "That was brave what you did out there. Walking in as a woman in this world and calling it like it is," he says.

There is still some of that grace that the other women share here. The motions of wind, as poised and quiet as possible. Making no more sound than breath, that is the way Talia Head moves. But there is almost a danger with her motions. Like they are on the edge of a blade. She elegantly slips down onto the pillows, no awkwardness of Americans who did not grow up learning to sit upon the floor. Her legs stretch out to the side, lounging there, scotch resting on the table in front of her.

"That was necessary. If I did anything different, I would never gain respect here, deserved or not. They know what I bring to this place, I will not act anything less. If I did, I would become of the servant women. Nothing but pretty decoration." And there were times for that also, but not tonight. She takes a quiet sip of her scotch, a faint twist of curiosity crossing her mouth. "…What is Japan to you, Bruce Wayne? You keep returning here. There are other countries with much more business to be had. China's production numbers alone…"

Bruce eases himself down onto the pillow with less grace than Talia, his American heritage no doubt screaming out in protest of sitting on a pillow to the gaze of Talia, but she would also note an ease that belies a natural grace and athleticism of the 40's man. He rests his elbows on his knees easily, leaning forward as he crosses his legs to assume a comfortable sitting position. He nods as he listens to Talia's words, though there is a sort of admiration in his expression still, for her willingness to show strength in the face of a male dominated society… likely reminding him of someone back home.

Her later question earns a smile from Bruce, and a helpless sort of shrug. "That much is true," he says honestly, "China does out produce Japan by obvious numbers, though honestly my visits have been more personal in nature than business. I come here to pass the time and occupy my mind, but my trips to Japan have had very little to do with Wayne Enterprises. I enjoy the heritage here."

The one impractical thing about pillows is sitting in a dress. Talia should do it the traditional way, knees together, legs bent beneath her, but she does not seem entirely a traditional woman. She lounges to the side, looking no doubt too casual, something intimate about the position she takes on the pillows, even as her dark eyes meet his without fear or intimidation. She just sips scotch and relaxes, as if they are old friends.

"Interesting… and you must understand the culture well enough to be welcome here. Many Americans make utter fools of themselves within the first trip, so much so they are not welcome back. It cripples Japan and it's pride, so much money coming from the US, but they are an old people and they are permitted their proclivities." Talia states with a half sigh in her accented English, bare shoulder rolling in a bit of a shrug.

Bruce does not miss the almost intimate or sensual shape that Talia presents as she reclines on the pillow, but neither does he oogle the woman. He presents, instead, an air of honest appreciation that does not dip into the realm of disrespect as his eyes remain locked with Talia's.

"I am not certain how interesting it is. Having a respect enough for Japanese culture to collect old swords and suits of armor to sit on display as decorations in my home might come across as insulting to some of the older Japanese families who would not wish their ancestors possessions in the hands of an American."

That gets a little touch of a laugh to her lips, "Yes, most likely. People are picky about what they consider flattery or appropriation." Talia makes a small, dismissive sound in her throat, casually waving the whole conversation away before she takes another sip of her scotch. "So, tell me a little of yourself, Bruce. Not what the paparazzi shows, everyone knows that. I… do not imagine that is the whole story. You'd be horribly boring if it was." Talia admits with a flash of white teeth in a warm, daring sort of smile.

Bruce leans forward and there is a brief flash of intensity in his eyes that is not unfriendly, quite the contrary he might be resdonding in kind to that daring smile as he takes a full swallow of his scotch and offers Talia a smile of his own. "Ahh, the paparazzi are correct in some of the things they report… I do many of the things that they publish, but as you say that is hardly the entire truth. I simply have a healthy respect for life and living… and all of the things that entails…"

A deep smirk crosses Talia's wine dark lips and she slightly shakes her head, "Oh, Mr. Wayne, I did not doubt that you did any of the things they reported. Of course you did, the outlets I read are not in the habit of completely making things up. They simply…" SHe gives a slight chuckle, rolling her shoulders in a careless sort of shrug, "Also probably do not bother to look much deeper. I am certain there are things beneath the surface. So… Share with me. Count me curious. Nothing shall leave the ricepaper, I promise." SHe motions teasingly to the folded screen.

"You are being awful forward, Miss Head," Bruce says just as teasingly, a grin tugging at his lips as he allows his eyes to skirt to the indicated screen before they move back to Talia, examining her, the way she reclines, briefly before hmm'ing to himself. "What have you revealed of yourself to me in return for my secrets? Would you have me just bare myself to you without something in return?" He takes another drink of his scotch before a dark brow lifts and says with an easy grin, "I came here to train, as a start."

Another slight, throaty laugh, "You may ask. I will answer. You did not ask." Talia states with another, simple shrug. "You could also tell me no, you have no wish to have this conversation. But I suspect there is something in you that longs to be more than the playboy on the news covers… Or the big business man. But that is what people see. If you wish to remain simply that, I shall not push." Talia states so casually, seemingly putting no pressure on him what so ever. THen he comments about training, her brows arching. "…Training? I do not suppose you mean in business. THere are better places for that…"

"No, not business," Bruce admits with a smile as he listens to Talia's perceptions of his desires. "There is a martial arts here that I enjoy going to when I can. It is a small affair, owned by a Master Wu. Have you heard if it?" Taking another sip of his scotch, Bruce then asks, "What of you? Who are you to be at this place? What is your story?"

"Ahh, yes. I know Master Wu. He is greatly respected. A good choice." Talia bows her head, though there is a glint of more interest in her eyes as she looks him over, searching beneath that suit for the muscling that must be there. How good is he? How dangerous? That intrigues her more than anything, though she does her best to keep it off her face. As he asks that question, she allows a slow breath to escape her. "My father traveled much between the US and Japan, among other places. But he has a loyalty to this place, so I partially grew up here. Learned the language. The customs. Now, I am in securities… " Business securities, right? That seems to be her implication. "I do much work here. I suppose it is nostalgia, as much as anything…"

The truth of the matter is that Bruce Wayne has spent many years in Martial Arts dojos, not just that of Master Wu. That being the case, he can easily enough recognize the discerning gaze Talia regards him with as she sizes him up. His brows lift in amusement as he listens to the rest od what she has to say before, "And how long have you been training in martial arts? Perhaps we can spar sometime… there is a roof you know…"

He only serves to further interest her as he dares ask that question. Talia's head tilts, dark eyes daring him to call her on the carpet about her next statement. "And who said I have ever trained in the Martial Arts? It certainly would not become of a woman to do such things. We are to allow the stronger, more capable men to fight such battles." She bows her head in his direction, suggesting he might be one of those men.

Bruce chuckles at this, leaning even closer to the table as he says, "Let's not play that game, Miss Head…" His tone is teasing, interested, low, "I have spent enough time in the dojo to recognize the gaze of one who is considering the challenge in another. Why not see for yourself? I cannot say that it would not be more fun than this…" He offers a glance toward the screen.

Another quiet laugh escapes her lips, "Ah, yes, but that is simple interest. No doubt you have me outmatched. You train with Master Wu. Besides…I am clearly not dressed for such activities. I do not bring my keikogi to a gala…" Talia seems content to concede the point he may be a better fighter than she is. A strange game she plays, but perhaps she really is that demure in certain things.

Bruce shakes his head, though his expression reads as amused, his eyes drifting over Talia openly before he says, "You know what I think? I think that there is quite a bit that you keep hidden about yourself… and perhaps that is exactly the point. But I also do not think that I am wrong about your training, or the look in which you examined me." He shrugs his shoulders, the expression almost an afterthought as he says, "Perhaps I would best you, perhaps not. That is hardly the point… there is a thrill in the attempt, at least in my opinion. In the sweat and muscle strain, in the pitch of the spar."

"I could say the same for you… concerning that which is kept hidden." It takes one to know one. Talia recognizes, all too well, the careful dance of words. Just enough to reveal the truth without any details that could give someone away. She takes a final sip of her scotch, draining the glass, no look of the flush or intoxication in her features. Her legs stretch a bit, crossing at the ankles. "You are correct in that much. There is a thrill in a proper challenge. I will have to find a clutch big enough to pack better clothes next time." She flashes him a teasing smile.

Mouth spreading into a wide smile which gives way to a healthy laugh, Bruce nods his head in reply to that teasing smile and says, "Yes, I guess you will… but I think those that you have on are quite nice. You do look beautiful." He shrugs his shoulders and leans back a little, relaxing his body on the seat cushion into a more comfortable position. "I hardly think sparring in a suit is the best attire myself, but… that is the purpose of the training, right? To be ready in any situation to defend yourself?" Bruce's left brow lifts curiously, his eyes watching the woman across from him closely.

As he's commenting on the suit and being ready in any situation, Talia's smirk deepens a bit. She shakes her head slowly to him, "Keep this up and I might think you are desperate for a proper fight. Yes, that is the purpose of training, of course. But that does not mean you need to destroy bespoke tailoring in a non-emergency situation. Besides, if we disappear together, there will be miserable amounts of rumors flying. You will be another American womanizer and I will be some swooning flower who could not hold her own against the American powerhouse of the week."

There is a silent 'ah' expression from Bruce and a nod of his head in reply to Talia's comment, even a lift of his finger from the hand holding his scotch as he says, "That is true enough. The press and these… professional elite will try and hold onto anything to use as a weapon against you. I learned that early enough." He gazes across at Talia for a moment in silence, taking a sip of his drink before he says, "You're lucky you know. You mentioned your father sending you to these events. I guess he has taught you a lot when it comes to navigating these types of events. Maybe my own reputation would be better if my father had been around to teach me."

One last sip of her scotch is taken, totally draining the glass without any haziness to her eyes or heat to her cheeks. For being slender as she is, she can certainly hold her booze better than most women. But then, she seemed more capeable that most women in a lot of areas. She sits up a bit straighter, no longer half lounging, though all her hair is kicked over one shoulder now, baring the other and the long line of her throat. "Yes… I suppose I am lucky to still have him around. He's a quiet man, but… a good one." Her dark eyes search his a few heartbeats, considering the best words to say here. "I… remember the news about your family. I know it was a long time ago but… no one should grow up alone. I am sorry for that. Your reputation does not suffer for it, though… I suspect your father would be quite proud of the man you've become."

Bruce nods his head slowly along with Talia's words, though the discussion turned toward his parents does seem to draw the man inward more so than any other topic has this night. His brow furrows a touch deeper than it had before, his face seeming a touch distant. He finally nods and lifts his glass, draining the contents completely himself before he offers a distracted sort of smile and a shrug. "Yes, well… adversity presents itself to all of us in one form or another. I suppose it is that very thing that makes us into who we are." He trails away, his thoughts still seeming distant before he says, "Miss Head, I do believe I am going to head back to my hotel. I think the day's training is wearing on me more than I thought it had. If you are ever in the States, do feel free to look me up." With that, Bruce lifts himself to his feet and moves to stand. Turning and sliding the screen aside, he offers one last look toward Talia, his eyes closely marking her features, as if forever cementing them into his memory before he leaves never to see the woman again. Then, a final nod before the man turns and moves back into the crowd.

The woman blinks as she takes note of just how severely talk of his family makes him pull inward. Surprising. A bittersweet smile crosses Talia's lips as she stands, at least respectfully seeing him out. "Of course, Mr. Wayne. It was… a true pleasure meeting you. I hope this won't be the last time." She calls after him, but he's already disappearing into the crowd. Talia stands at the edge of the screen, watching him go, her face a strange array of slightly confused emotions. She almost runs after him, but stops herself. Tonight is not the night… this is not the place.

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