Battered and Broken
Roleplaying Log: Battered and Broken
IC Details

Frank wakes up from his beating at the hands of Agent Orange, and he and Babs plan for the future.

Other Characters Referenced: Max, Agent Orange, Dinah Lance, Helena Bertinelli, Nightwing, Curtis Hoyle, Billy Russo
IC Date: September 18, 2019
IC Location: New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 18 Sep 2019 22:49
Rating & Warnings: R for language and oblique mention of nudity.
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It has been two days since the death of William Rawlins III. The news has not reported on his death yet, and there's been no further sign of retaliation from whoever else had been in Rawlins inner circle. In a little rundown hotel somewhere in Manhattan, Frank Castle rests on a queen-sized bed in freshly cleaned sheets. An IV trails off his arm to the fluids bag that hangs on a nail recently hammered into the wall. Everything is clean around him — no signs of bloodied clothes or bandages. He is naked beneath the top sheet and his bandages are freshly changed. There's two weights against his body — one curled between his legs with a heavier weight on his right thigh, and the other is a longer, more delicate weight against his right side.

Max chuffs out a hard breath while he sleeps, almost sighing against his owner's leg as he remains curled up on Frank's lower half. He has a bandage around one leg, but that leg tucks easily against his side. Curled up beside Frank, the redhead sleeps peacefully with her head tucked near, but not actually against Frank's shoulder. Her bruised face is shadowy in the half-light of the late afternoon sun streaming in through the windows. Her bandaged wrist rests against his chest, her fingers having found a safe space to create skin-to-skin contact. There's a fading smell of fast food wafting from the cooling bags of McDonalds on the near-by table.

Frank Castle fights his way up through the warm haze of narcotic darkness and finds himself in an eminently domestic scene — if it weren't for the IV in his arm and the bruising across a significant portion of his body. His eyes open for a moment, and then close again, feeling pain sink through the drugs flooding his system with every breath, every movement. Still, he laboriously reaches down to put a hand on Max's head, the faint shifting of the IV nothing compared the the muted screams from his shoulder and chest at the movement. He grunts as he lifts up his right hand, dragging it slowly up his body to fall down atop the smaller hand resting so carefully on his chest. His stomach growls softly, but for a moment, Frank just relishes the connection to Babs and to Max, the knowledge that he's alive, that the man responsible for the death of his family is not just dead, but dead and ruined.

His first movements stir the redhead. She can hear as Max's tail thuds gently against the bed the moment Frank's hand brushes against the bristly space between his ears. Barbara turns her bruised face into the pillows and sheets as she sucks a breath through her nose, only to wince at the pain that comes with the pressure against her cheeks. She lifts slowly, achingly, up to look down at Frank. Her smile softens at the sight of him waking, though there is the smallest wrinkle of worry at her forehead. "Hey," she says in a soft, almost whisper. Her hand shifts gently under his, curling her fingers gently against his skin. "Take it easy, Frank… Curtis says you've been to Hell and back, and he will kick down this door if you push yourself too hard."

Frank's voice is even more gravelly than usual after being utterly unused for two days and rasping between swollen lips, "Like to see him try with his gimpy leg." At least there's a little humor there, amidst the pain and the narcotic blur. He tries to open his eyes, grunting in pain as he manages to force them slightly open between the lumpy bruising that has painted his face in truly spectacular shades of black, blue, purple, and green. Squinting up at her own bruised features, he sighs out a breath, "Thanks, Red. Saved my life." The fingers atop hers shift painfully, stroking the back of her hand, and then he starts scritching Max's ears too, a slow, laborious motion in his current state. "You okay?"

"Respect your corpsman, Lieutenant." Now Barbara's voice softens again despite the humor in those words. She turns her lips against his shoulder to kiss at unbruised skin. She starts to ease up more, squeezing his hand as she does. His squinting look stops her, and she offers a tight, but relieved smile. "You knew I was going to be there." Then she draws her hand gently away from him as she nods. "Nowhere near as beaten up as you, Frank. I'm okay." She killed William Rawlins. She eases off the bed, and when she un-occupies that space on the bed, Max hauls himself up to carefully navigate up so he can settle into that warm spot that Babs had once been — closer for scritches. He licks tenderly at Frank's shoulder before offering a little whine. Babs limps to the food bags, grabbing them with a crinkle of paper. "I took you to Curtis, and we set up here. He worked on you for a long time, and kept demanding I take you to the ER. He only relented after I promised you would start going to group at least twice a month." She cuts him a little smile before she starts back to the bed. "Think you can sit up?"

"Respect the fuck outta him." Frank pauses for a painful breath around his growl, "Still can't kick in a door." His fingers curl against his chest when Barbara withdraws, his eyes closing again rather than try to track her across the room. Max pulls himself into that space, however, and Frank turns his attention to the dog, patting the rottie-mix's ribs and then leaving his hand there, "Hey boy." There are hidden depths to those two words. Max is the first member of Frank's new family, really there even before Babs herself, and the veteran Marine is clearly relieved that the dog seems okay. His eyes squeeze shut a moment as he contemplates getting up, and instead he buys himself time by growling, "I'll be okay." In a couple of weeks — or more likely months. But he's been given a challenge, at least in his mind, and he tries to get an elbow under him, to sit up, but those broken ribs stab at him, and he sinks back into the pillows with a groan of pain. After a half-minute of quick, shallow breathing to try and control the pain, he admits, "I'll need some help." Only then does he swallow painfully and breathe out, "Group." His eyes closed, he considers the deal she made for him for a long time, and then nods slowly, "Maybe it's time." The admission isn't just quiet, it's hushed, the verbal expression of his vulnerability even more clear and obvious than the physical manifestation of it.

Max also thinks that Frank would be better served laying down, but he shuffles aside when the big Marine starts to sit up. He flops off the bed, limping slightly on that injured leg as he crosses toward the big bowls that were recovered from the Keep. He sinks down beside them, laying down to eat because… life's hard. This gives Barbara all the space she needs to set the bags aside on the nightstand before she maneuvers to help pull him upright. She's quick padding and packing the pillows so he has something to lean against when he sinks back, giving relief to his muscles and bones. Now she sits down beside him, and her eyes soften. "Just give it a try. Curtis says you can just sit in the back if you want, but he thinks you need to hear at least what's being said. Maybe see if Bill will go with you." Now she digs into the bag, pulling out a double quarter-pounder with cheese and fries. "Carbs, protein, fat… lots of fat." She hands him the wrapped burger. When he reaches to take it from him, she touches his hand. "It's over, Frank…" Her eyes meet his. "You've ended it."

It takes some doing to get Frank upright, or even partially upright, although he certainly wouldn't admit it, stifling his groans and grunts of pain as best as he can. He presses a hand to his chest as he struggles not to breath hard enough to cause his ribs to scream any louder than they already are. "Yeah." He's quiet for a long moment, but nods, "Don't think Bill'd ever go, but it might be time." The second repetition is more sure. He doesn't so much reach out for the burger as open his hands for it, still not moving a great deal. His split lips curve into a faint smile as he starts to unwrap the burger, but it fades and his movement stops as she meets his darker eyes and speaks up. His eyes close for a moment, and then he nods, "Yeah, you did." The alteration is clear and definitely intentional, and his eyes open to search out the emotions behind her blue gaze, peering from underneath puffy, bruised brows, "For Zane. And my family." There's a brief pause, and then, warily, worriedly, "How you doin' with that, Babs?"

The pain rips through Frank, and all Babs can do is support him as he finds himself upright enough to eat. She watches him as he unwraps the yellow and orange wrapper to reveal the burger and it's cheesy goodness. She settles down beside him with her own burger, her back half turned to him as she starts to eat. It gives her somewhere to look as he starts to take stock of her and what she did. Her eyes close briefly as she chews through the first bite, and then one shoulder lifts. "He was going to kill you. He was going to kill you, and even if he lived to breathe the next day, I'm not sure that he would have stopped until he killed you." She looks aside to him now, blue eyes meeting his dark brown. "I made a choice, Frank… I'll live with it." She then turns back to her burger, taking another bite, though she chews halfheartedly through it.

Frank can't lean into her like he might have if he didn't have several broken and cracked ribs. He looks at her back and shoulder, the fall of her hair, and he can see the pain radiating from her despite the words. He grimaces as he lifts his right arm out to rest his hand on her back, "He was." Going to kill him. "And you did. And you will." Make a choice and live with it. His fingers curl against the cloth covering her back, "Question is, Babs… you gonna tear yourself apart for it?" His rough voice is quiet, and not just because it hurts to talk. "And are your friends gonna be assholes and tear you up for it?" There's a pause, and then he offers, "I'm here if you wanna talk."

The touch of his hand to her back turns her back toward him once more, and she searches his muddled, bruised expression for a long, almost breathless heartbeat. "Of course I'm going to tear myself apart for it." Her words are soft, but there's a tension to them. "I don't… kill people, Frank." But she has. "And I walked right into that, knowing that I was going to kill Rawlins if you hadn't." She closes her eyes as her body slumps slightly, but that slump rights itself almost immediately as her ribs complain at the compression. She sucks in a tight breath. "If anyone finds out… I don't know. Probably. You should have seen Nightwing when we were first out there, and I almost crossed the line." Lacking the indoctrination as the Robins, it is no wonder that Barbara is having a crisis of code here and now when part of her is so sure she did the right thing.

"You ain't a killer, Red." Somehow, Frank's rough, quiet voice makes the nickname more personal than her actual name this time. "You killed someone, but you ain't a killer." The 'like me' is unspoken but implied. He breathes for a moment, shallow, quick breaths that still tighten his blackened eyes, "Anyone gives you shit, they can fuck right off." Anger actually sparks behind his words, anger that he didn't know was left in him after his furious rage of two nights before. "I'm alive because you did it.You try to knock him out, that shiv goes in my eye." The anger drives his words too fast, and he winces, shifts against the pillows, hugging his left arm (burger and all) tight against his abdomen, then starts again, "Nightwing can take a flying fuck at a rolling donut if he gives you shit. You don't do that when someone you're close to is hurtin'."

"I don't regret it, Frank… you're here, and he's not. It's that simple." Barbara pushes her hand gently back against his shoulder so he rests, pushing back against his anger. Then her hand reaches up to gently touch the bruised line of his jaw, ghosting her caress there because he's too hurt to actually feel it. "I know." Those words are whispered gently to him as she remains close to him, her burger forgotten. At the whole rolling donut thing, Babs actually breathes out a short laugh. When she looks up, she traces her fingers lightly along his bruises, along his pains; then she sinks forward to lightly touch her lips to his. "I don't want to think about that right now." She leans back then. "How's the pain? Curtis left me with some pain killers."

Frank subsides a little huffily, shaking his head and grumbling, "And I'll tell that to anyone," a breath, "who gives you shit. With worse language." The caress he can see more than he can feel — and that's saying something with his shiners — subdues him the rest of the way. He even manages a painful little smile at the light kiss, shifting forward just enough to press back against it before he grunts and sinks into the pillows again. She asks about his pain, and he responds as only Frank Castle can: complaining about the solution, "I feel like I'm wrapped in goddamn cotton." Fuzzy, hazy, impaired. He looks down to his burger again, but just slumps over a little to lean his arm against hers rather than starting to eat again, "I feel like shit," which he really must, to admit it, "but I'll be okay." There's another pause, "You got class today, don't you?" That was yesterday. He's missing a day.

Barbara touches the edge of his arm when he leans more into her, staying connected even while she takes another bite of her burger. She chews through it while he talks, and she's got her cheeks full of patty and bun when he asks about school. "Yesherday," she slurs out before she finishes her bite and swallows it down. "Yesterday. I skipped it. I stayed with you." Which is becoming a… thing. Schooling, work, life. Everything has been put aside as they got closer to Agent Orange. She sets down the rest of her burger, and starts to stretch out beside him on the bed. She tucks in close against his frame, but still cautious of how he hurts. "You want the weak stuff?" She looks up at him. "I have some asprin, too."

As they settle in, Frank grimaces a little, shifts his shoulders, and then lets out a little breath, leaving his left hand with the IV in his lap and eating slowly with his right hand. "These are really shit burgers." There's amusement behind the griping, however, and he's stuffing his face with admirable efficiency, considering that opening his mouth that wide hurts, chewing hurts, swallowing hurts, and breathing hurts. "Damn. Lost a day." He nods just a little, thinking. His eyes fall on the food and water bowls for Max, and he nods again, "You went back for some stuff. Good." Then he lets out a little breath, "I'll take the weak stuff." It might be hard to tell which of them is leaning on the other more (spoiler, it's Frank, he's leaning more), but he doesn't seem to mind the trade-off between closeness and pain. He's working up to something more serious in his mind that killing someone, "You gotta get back on track now that he's gone, Babs."

"Well, you are in no condition to cook, and I think we're now both homeless." Barbara just leans back into the pillows and cheap headboard as she rests beside him. She looks aside after a heartbeat, and she nods slightly. "I got you to Curtis and then headed back to recover everything I could… I grabbed most your gear, and cleaned out the dresser drawers, and grabbed a few books. I got at least the cast iron skillet out of the kitchen, but I didn't think cleaning out the fridge was worth the trouble." She's talking at a steady clip, though her eyes have closed. Then she opens her eyes as she looks at him. Her lips tighten. "I know. We don't have anywhere to live, and we both have to recover all our furniture and…" Her head sinks back as she feels frustration build within her. "We're starting over."

As if he senses the tension building on the bed, Max hops back up at their feet and climbs over their legs — their least injured limbs — and flops down bodily across them. He chuffs out a breath as he drops his head back on Frank's thigh.

Frank nods just a little at the mention of them both being homeless, but the mention of grabbing his books and skillet draw a tiny smile, only to have her sink in on herself. Setting his burger down on the waxy wrapper, he winces as he turns his head toward her — only to have Max slump over their legs. He gives out a little oof, then draws his burger a little further away from the dog's voracious maw, "That's mine, buddy." Letting out a little breath, he looks back to Babs, "Red, that ain't what I mean. Shit, gettin' a place ain't gonna be hard." He's… not exactly picky about where he hangs his hat, "Gimme a day or two and I'll be able to get up and get us a crashpad at least." Gingerly, he reaches his right hand out for her left, looking to squeeze her fingers lightly, "I mean your life. You shut it down for this. You gotta get back on track with school and work. You can crash wherever I find until you get a place with Dinah and Helena." He assumes she's going to room with them again.

Max whines a short breath up at Frank before his brows lift slightly, glancing up at Frank from his flop. Then he butts his head right into Frank's knee and curls back up around their legs like a monstrous cuddle bug.

Babs brushes her hand down along Frank's arm before her fingers trace over his. Then she slips her fingers between his so that they are just gently holding hands. "You're just trying to get me comfortable so I end up living with you at this point forward." She tilts a smile toward him. But, then he's pointing out what he actually means and she sighs a breath as she closes her eyes. Slowly, she starts to nod. "I've been thinking about that… taking a break from the vigilante thing…" She killed William Rawlins. "Spending more time with Dad, more time at the University, at the lab… here." She looks aside to him, waiting for his input.

"You got your own food, mooch," Frank admonishes Max fondly, but his attention settles back on Babs quickly even as his fingers curl slowly, carefully, between hers. Frank shrugs slightly at her suggestion that he's baiting a trap, "I know you'll always go back to Gotham, Red." There's something a little resigned about that, but somehow still amused too. But then she's putting forth her suggestion, and this time, his grimace has nothing to do with physical pain. "I think that's a mistake," he admits quietly. "I get that you're all kinds of freaked out and torn up, but I think if you give it too long a break, that's just gonna settle in." His brows furrow as he looks down at their entwined hands, grunting softly, "Tell you what. Why don't you just go on a couple patrols with Dinah instead of doin' all your own thing?" Or going out with him. "Just a couple over the next couple weeks. Enough that you don't get rusty." Or decide never to go back to it.

Max thumps his tail against the bed.

Barbara glances to Frank, lifting to tuck a bit of red hair back behind her ear. "I don't think it's a mistake." She searches his dark eyes in their closeness. "I think that maybe it might be okay… to let it settle in." She looks away then, looking out at the window with its late afternoon sunshine. It takes her a long time to look away from that play of light and shadow. She takes a deep breath, and then shakes her head before she looks back to him. "Alright," she offers to his suggestion. "I'll do that." But there isn't much heart to her words. She shakes her head as she starts to sit up straighter. "I'll get you some Asprin." And before he can object, she's starting to ease off the bedside.

Frank nods his grudging — and pained — acceptance of Barbara's disagreement, but he doesn't look away when she does, watching the expressions shift on her fair, bruised features. "Do what you think's right, Red. I just think…" He grunts, hefting the half-burger a moment in his left hand, but then she's starting to rise, and he tries to squeeze her hand to keep her there beside him. But with as much pain and bruising as he's experiencing at the moment, she can likely pull away without much trouble at all, "…like fallin' off a horse. Ridin' a horse. Whatever. Gotta get back up. But I ain't tryin' to tell you what you gotta do. Just givin' my suggestion."

He squeezes her hand, and she looks back to him with tight eyes. "I know, Frank. Just… give me sometime to think it over." Now she lets go his hand, and she presses up through the bedside so that she can ease up to her feet. Then she's crossing toward the bathroom so she can fetch the meds and get Frank a glass of water. She rubs slightly at her shoulder, trying to not worry about the stiffness still in her aching body. She shuts off the faucet before retreating back to the bedside. She hands Frank four Aspirin and the water glass.

Frank actually chuckles at her request, a dry, quiet sound that quickly fades into a groan as it tugs on his ribs. "Not like I can do much about it anyhow." His fingers loosen from around hers, and he watches her walk through eyes that are still partially swollen shut. "You do somethin' for yourself yet, Babs?" He takes the aspirin and the water from her, swallows the pills and washes them down, "Aspirin? A bath?" Looking down to his wrist, he lifts it lightly, "And did Curt say I could pull the IV?" Evidently he's at least feeling hungry, because he sets the water down to get back to his burger.

"No, not much you can." Babs casts him a rueful smile before she settles back down at the side of the bed. His question draws her eyes away again, and she thinks through her answer carefully. "You're a pretty demanding patient." Then she looks at his wrist as he lifts it, and there's a hint of laughter in her eyes despite the tiredness. "He said I should keep it in if I think you're going to do something stupid. Castle on a leash." But then she shakes her head. "He said as long as you're eating and drinking." Then she glances to him. "You want to take a bath?"

That's permission, right? That's close enough for Frank to take it as permission, at least, and he pulls the IV out of his wrist with a grimace, "Hate that shit. Always gives me a funny taste in my mouth." Dabbing at the little dot of blood that follows the removal of the thick needle, he shrugs, then gets back to eating his burger. "You can't leash Frank Castle, Red. Come on." There's a weary smile behind his words, although it fades a little at her question, "Yeah, I do. But gettin' into the tub's gonna be a piece'a work." He draws in a shallow breath, then smiles a little, "But I meant you should soak the bruises some. Especially since if I get in there with you, I'm gonna end up aching a hell of a lot worse."

"Well, you were unconscious for two days, and Curtis was against dehydrating you." Barbara's words don't cut very deep despite his complaints. Now she starts to wrap up what's left of her own burger — a strange sight considering how much food Barbara usually eats in one sitting. She glances back his way just as he answers her question, and her smile takes on her own weariness. "Yeah, I know." She curls around just enough to press a kiss to his forehead in the wake of his last comment. There, she murmurs, "I guess that was half my hope." Then she smiles down at him. "There's fries in the bag. I'm going to go see if the tub in there can even handle a bath. If you change your mind, standing invitation." She presses another kiss to his brow before she starts to ease back up to her feet.

"What the hell's that movie with the pirate laid out on the bed who's mostly dead? That's kinda how I feel." Frank groans, finishing off the burger and chewing as he considers how much pain he's in, considers the idea of a hot bath, the idea of a hot bath with Barbara Gordon. He reaches up with one hand to clasp hers as she presses the kiss to his brow, gives a little tug to prepare her, and then hauls on her arm to get him more upright than buried in pillows. He weebles and wobbles in his sitting position, bracing himself with his other hand, then takes a breath. Frank Castle has some peculiarities, and one of those is a disdain for asking for help, even if he's willing to accept it. "Ready?" The strain in his voice is clear, even as he draws the sheets off his lap, revealing just how bruised and battered he really is. She no doubt saw it when he was tucked into bed, but he hasn't seen it before, and the effect is impressive, black and blue across the front and sides of his body pretty much from mid-thigh to his temples. "Let's see if I can stand for this invitation." He might still be a little brain-fuzzed from the painkillers.

"Um." Babs tilts her head, thinking — but that thought process is interrupted as Frank starts to get up. She almost protests, preparing to push him back into bed before he's easing upright with groans of pain and weebles in his frame. She holds his shoulder gently until he's stable, and then he's drawing aside the sheet to show the world — or at least the hotel room — his battered body. She has seen it, and still, it takes her breath away. She tilts her head down toward his, pressing her lips together. "Frank, don't — " But then he cracks a joke, and her expression slips into a bit of laughter. When she says his name again, she sighs it. "Frank…" Now she eases her arm around his shoulders, preparing to help him get to his feet. It's a painful process for her, too, as he puts pressure on her ribs. She stands, slowly, and then she's guiding and helping him stand as long as his body does not protest.

"I've had worse," Frank rasps in response to her little intake of breath. He hasn't, certainly not in a long time. The ambush in January involved gunshot wounds, but certainly not as much sadistic delight in applying as much pain as possible with gloved hands alone. He starts to say 'you should see the other guy,' then bites it back. The laughter is worth the pain of the wavering, and he carefully gets his arm around Barbara's back, using his mostly-functional legs — and far more pressure on her shoulders than he'd like — to get to his feet. His body definitely protests, and he groans, starting to sink back, but instead he leans his weight forward and takes a couple of shuffling steps forward to brace himself against the wall as well as her. "Jesus Christ." With them actually braced semi-securely, he leans the side of his head against hers, "I said 'thanks,' right?"

Barbara remembers the last time she saw Frank this bad — at the doorstep of the house with Max because Dinah and Babs were feeling blue. She holds onto him tightly, even when he wavers into the wall for more support. She doesn't leave his side, but instead gently curls her arm around his waist so she can hold him closer to her while he gets his footing again. She rests her head back against his, eyes closing to just be in that quiet, supportive moment. "You don't need to." Then she starts to ease him forward, guiding him toward the bathroom. "Good news… old hotel, big tub." Bad news, the bath tub is pretty much the sole fixture in the bathroom. It's old and enormous with this sense it might just swallow them both whole. She brings him to the side of it, letting him lean there while she works the taps and gets the water hot so that it rushes in a great steamy gush into the wide, deep porcelain basin. Even while it fills at a rapid clip, she steps up to Frank's side. "Ready?"

Max watches his humans stagger around the room, but decides that the bed is a perfectly fine place to stay. He aches too, after all, but he does wag his tail and grin a doggy grin at their capering.

"I know I don't need to." And Frank still hasn't said it. At least not until they get around the corner and onto the tile, "Thanks, Barbara. Knowin' you were comin' helped." He leans back against the cool wall beside the bath as she moves to start it filling, "Torture… it ain't about pain, it's about time. Knowin' there's a limit to how much you gotta take? I ain't gonna say it made it easy, but easier." He studies her intently then, as if trying to sear her features, her expression, even the bruises on her face, into his memory. "Yeah… I'm ready." It takes some doing, and maybe even a near-slip, to get Frank into the tub, but he lets out a low groan of pleasure as the steaming water starts to pour down around his legs. "Shit yeah. That's great." There's a pause, "Probably helps the smell too." He noticed that. A couple of days in bed will do a number on a guy's scent.

His thanks is met with a smile that just gently warms her eyes. She reaches to touch his wrist just above where the zip-ties had cut into his skin. It's all she offers in return before she's turning back to the tub. "I would have been there sooner if you hadn't told me to wait." She realizes then that he's watching her, taking her in. She looks over at him with a slight tilt of her head. She doesn't say anything about the intensity of that look even as she steps up to ease him into the tub. Only once he slips down into the water and smooth tub wall does she feel confident in releasing him. She looks down at his bruised, swollen face, her fingers gracing across his cheek gently. "You were getting a bit ripe." She smiles gently before she steps away just enough to start to strip out of her own clothes — the t-shirt and joggers that deserved no recognition besides being her clothes. She's quick to naked, and her bruises do not compare to his. Her ribs are bruised across the left side where Rawlins slammed his fist and there's other bruises across her arms from her fighting with Spiny. She kneels down beside the tub as it fills, letting him get the first few minutes to the hot water alone.

The warmth in her eyes, however minor, is a relief to Frank, and it takes some of the tension out from around his eyes. Granted, it comes right back as he has to work his way down into the tub, and he has to lay back against the incline to get his breath back in more of those short, shallow breaths. Strangely enough, it's not too bad once he's down and leaning back against something solid. There's not much damage to his back. He turns his head to chase the touch of her fingers, and then she's starting to strip out of her clothes, and he watches with interest, his right arm shifting a little so that he can settle the back of his fingers against her arm as she kneels beside the tub, "Those look pretty nasty too, Red." There's a pause, "How far you think the footage we shared'll spread?"

His fingers brush across her skin, and she leans into it so that her head rests down against her arm and this close to his caress. She breathes out a short exhale, sinking into the cool rim of the tub. She glances up at him after a moment. "They hurt… but it was just a punch." Not repetitive. Now she takes a breath, and his question tightens her brows. "I put it on the Dark Web. It will spread fast… they've already hit the warehouse." The police. "Right now, they don't know if you're dead or not." No surprise there. She starts to stand slowly, pushing up. "Sit forward." Once he does that, with her help, she starts to slip into the tub behind him. She sinks her legs around his middle and she rests her back against the hard, warming porcelain against her spine. This lets his uninjured back can rest against her chest. She cradles him there gently, sinking down into the hot water with him. "Relax, Frank."

"Just because you're not dumb enough to get yourself tortured," Frank might just be poking fun at himself, but his deadpan game is strong, "doesn't mean they don't hurt like a bitch." He's still thinking about how far the footage might spread when she calls on him to sit forward, and he squeezes his eyes shut, groaning as he pulls himself forward with both hands, his arms shaking a little as he holds himself upright, still a little hunched forward around his ribs. Once she's settled behind him, he slowly lets himself back, letting out a held-in breath as he tries to hold some of his weight up and then just gives him, letting his head roll back onto the space between her chest and her shoulder, "Ain't the first time I was presumed dead. Probably won't be the last either." Her direction to relax is met with a slow intake of breath and then an equally slow release, "Just one problem with this." He pauses a heartbeat, "Means I gotta turn the thing off with my feet." There might even be a little bit of pained laughter behind the words.

"Wouldn't be too sure I won't one day be where you were, perhaps under different circumstances." Babs's voice is soft against his ear. She settles in with him, feeling his weight press her against the side of the tub while she holds gently onto him with delicate, soft, and loving hands. She looks at the water that still pours out of the fixture, and she laughs at his words. "Yeah, um… guess I should have turned off the water before I got in." She presses her head gently against his, and her eyes close. She just soaks there for a long heartbeat until her lips touch his temple and she murmurs, "We need to get you healed up." She tightens her arms gently around his shoulders before she relaxes again. "You're safe here, Frank."

Frank shifts beneath the rising water, grimacing just a little, and then sinks back against her, doing his best to let the heat of the water and of her skin soak into him. "Yeah. Let's try to avoid that." Which is in its own way an acknowledgement that they might not be able to. His eyes shift to the pouring water, and he give an amused little grunt, "Think I could shoot it off?" There's only a moment's pause before he adds, "Pretty sure I can get it." It's going to hurt, but he can get it. The pressure of her limbs around her, the warmth of the water, and the touch of her head to his, her lips to his temple, it all has a soporific effect, relaxing him into her embrace. "Just takes time, Babs." His words are a gravelly murmur even rougher than usual. For a wonder though, her claim of his safety is met with a very secure-sounding, "I know."

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