He wasn't certain what drew him to the small apartment this night. With the rain, wind, and thunder most would consider it a horrible night to visit, especially as he was wearing his full manta armor. But he was here anyway, dragged by some magnetic force . Kaldur'ahm crouched on the balcony of Roy's apartment, and gazed inside the window. The only light in the room was from a small table lamp and a plug in heater. The room was modestly furnished, with only a table, a chair, and a crib. Lian Harper slept in the tiny crib. She stirred and opened her eyes, turning her head to look at Kaldur'ahm. She gurgled and reached out to him.
Entranced, Kaldur'ahm moved to the window. He used his abilities to manipulate some rainwater. A stream of the water entered the window through cracks in the frame; it turned the window's lock. Kaldur'ahm then opened the window and climbed into the house, as silently as he was able. He stood over the crib and Lian gurgled again. The child would grow to be a terror, he thought. She did not seem to be afraid of him, even with the glowing red eyes of his helmet. Kaldur'ahm reached into the crib, then drew his hand back quickly to catch the sai that was thrown at him, it was aimed at one of the few joints of his armor, guaranteeing a hit if he had not caught it.
"Back away!" Jade Nguyen-Harper stood at the room's door, wrapped in a robe. She held her other sai loose and ready in her hands.
"I mean the child no harm." Kaldur'ahm raised his hands into the air and dropped the sai. He backed away from the crib.
Jade's eyes widened, recognizing the voice through the static of his helmet. She had never dealt with the young Atlantean much, but she had met his father, and no one could forget the darkness that radiated from that man. "What do you want?"
Kaldur'ahm did not answer.
Jade rushed to the crib, and grabbed her daughter, still holding her sai at the ready. "Did you not hear me? What do you want?" she asked again, raising the volume of her voice.
Kaldur'ahm chuckled ruefully. "I am not certain myself."
Jade gave him a look. "So…you are not here to- "
"You know how this works. If I were here to harm you, or your family, I would have attacked already."
"She is very beautiful." He gestured to Lian.
Jade instinctively held Lian closer. "You need to explain yourself. Now."
"It is merely a whim." He approached the mother and child and reached out his arm. A necklace dangled from his fingers. The chain was gold. The gold backed pendant attached to the chain was a triangular, light green, jewel. The color of the jewel as pure as clear seawater.
Lian reached out before her mother could stop her and took the necklace. She immediately placed the jewel in her mouth and gnawed on it. Jade took the necklace from her daughter. She inspected it to find that the chain was made from the purest gold. She looked at the back of the pendant to see that a willow tree was etched into the gold backing. "A willow," she said, hesitantly, " For Lian… Why?"
"It is belated…but I felt the need to congratulate you two."
Jade shifted Lian to her hip and gave Kaldur'ahm a cocky gin. "I thought that you didn't approve of us?"
"I do not."
Jade laughed. "Is that all?"
Kaldur'ahm untied a pouch that hung at his hip. He tossed it to Jade's feet. It jangled once it hit the ground, and tipped over, spilling some of its contents. Within the bag were jewels and gold coins.
"Pirate treasure Fishsticks?"
"My father has awarded me much for my services… The wealth is mine to do with as I wish."
"I see-" Jade was interrupted by the sound of the back door. Roy had just arrived home from patrol. There was a loud slapping sound as he dropped his wet slicker onto the ground.
"Jade?" he called out, his footsteps echoed through the halls coming closer to the nursery.
Kaldur'ahm made his way to the window and exited it as soon as Roy entered the nursery.
"Who!" Roy ran to the window. He growled as the figure retreated.
"It was your fish friend," Jade informed Roy.
Roy climbed out of the window, ignoring the wind and the rain.
Jade rushed to the window, but Roy was already on his way. She watched his retreating form. "Men," she muttered.
Roy tracked Kaldur'ahm through the storm. This is crazy, he thought. Chasing a villain with the power to control water and electricity through a thunder storm…Great thinking, Harper. He wondered how long it would take for assistance to arrive. The closest heroes were Green arrow and Black Canary. He quickly squashed the idea of contacting someone. He'd deal somehow. Even in the rain he knew Star City like the back of his hand. He took a short cut and cut off Kaldur'ahm from the front, his bow armed and raised.
"Hold it Manta Junior!"
"How dare you show up now!" Roy yelled over the rain.
"I only came to visit."
"Visit? Visit who? Me? I know that you have no business with Cheshire."
"I..I had heard you had a child."
"The Light is not getting their grubby hands on-"
Roy's eyes narrowed. "That's pretty tacky…You killed her Aunt. You don't have the right to even look at her. I aught to turn you into a pincushion for even considering it."
Kaldur'ahm's shoulders slumped. He removed his helmet. "Take your best shot." There was no challenge in Kaldur'ahm's voice. No arrogance. The lightning flashed giving Roy a full view of Kaldur'ahm's face. His eyes were blank and his mouth was drawn into a tight line.
"Damn it Kal!" Roy squeezed his eyes shut, releasing his arrow, it missed Kaldur'ahm, grazing him on his right cheek.
Kaldur'ahm just stood there limply.
"Don't you dare! Don't you go looking so fucking dead inside. You're not allowed!" Roy fired again, the second arrow grazing Kaldur'ahm's other cheek.
"Roy…" Kaldur'ahm took a step forward.
Roy fired another arrow. It landed at Kaldur's feet, halting the Atlantian.
Kaldur'ahm looked from the arrow to Roy. Lightning flashed again and when the sky had darkened Kaldur'ahm was gone. Roy stood in the rain, he lowered his bow, still gripping it tightly. His arm shakeing. He tilted his head back and closed his eyes, letting he rain wash over him.
Jade sat in the nursery chair, feeding Lian. She did not bother to look up when her soaking wet husband entered the room. "Back so soon?"
Roy just gave her a look as he set down his water logged quiver. "Why are you so calm? The man who killed your sister just waltzed out of your window."
"I noticed," she said calmly.
"Don't you care!" he yelled.
Jade gave him a stern look. "If I had my way I would poison the oceans just to get him and his fish friends."
Roy' sighed and scratched the back of his head. "You can't punish everyone for…"
"And why not? Manta and his troops live under water. Atlantis is under water."
"You would effect the entire planet not just the oceans. And Atlantis? They are my, our allies."
Jade scoffed. "They let that traitor just travel the world as he pleases. In my book they are just as guilty. I wouldn't mind it if the entire water breathing humanoid population just bloated and floated to the surface."
Jade tickled her daughter. "That's right! Just like a bunch of dead goldfish!" she said in a babyfied voice, "They can all just die off!"
"Okay…If you are so adamant about his death, why are you so okay with him running off?"
"There is a time for everything, even revenge. I would not leave Lian alone just to satisfy that craving." Jade handed Roy the necklace.
"With your track record I'm surprised that you didn't just take her with you." Roy inspected the necklace. He looked to the window as if he had a mind to go after Kaldur'ahm again.
"Give it up Harper. Not even you can track him now."
"I just don't understand."
Jade shrugged. "He's her Godfather."
"What!' Roy's voice rose. "You can't make someone like him Lian's Godfather!"
"I was going to start taking application's for the position anyway."
"And you settled on Kal…"
"Have you met my family? My desire to kill him for Artemis' death and him being a part of Lian's family are not mutually excusive. Mayhem, Madness and Murder is in our blood."
"He was very convincing." Jade handed Roy the bag of treasure. "It's better than some of your goodie goodie friends, or that mentor of yours."
"Ex-mentor." Roy examined the contents of the bag. He lifted a jewel and held it to his eye.
"Whatever. Fish boy's loaded. If something were to happen to us Lian would live like a princess."
Roy scoffed. "Yeah… of a submarine."
"But she would rule the submarine," She blew a raspberry on Lian's stomach making the girl laugh. "And once she was old enough Uncle Kaldur will get her one of her own, fully loaded with enough missiles to wreak havoc coast to coast!"
Roy shook his head at his wife's statements, holding back a smile as he imagined Lian in nautical gear, with a sword raised in triumph. "We can't keep these."
"We can and we will, "she commanded. "Now grab a seat and start sorting."
Roy just stood still.
"Go on!" she waved at him. "And adjust the heater a bit before you sit dear. It's cold in here."