Black and White
Roleplaying Log: Black and White
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Dick Grayson visits Barbara Gordon. An intense argument is had between them and emotional revelations are given.

Other Characters Referenced: Punisher, Red Hood, Batman, Agent Orange, Jim Gordon
IC Date: October 03, 2019
IC Location: Gotham City - Old Gotham - Clocktower
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 03 Oct 2019 06:34
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* OOC Time: Wed Oct 02 18:03:07 2019 *

* * *

Gotham City.

As grim a city as there ever was, perhaps the city with the MOST crime on the eastern shore of the United States, the weather seems to not quite be so criminal as the element that resides there at night. Though it is dark out, in to the late hours as a cold breeze blows itself through each passing wind, requiring heavier clothing to be worn.

Dick had just finished his patrol as Nightwing, deciding to call it short in order to have a conversation he probably was NOT going to like, but it was a conversation that needed to be had in the worst sense of the term. There were a few things to fill Barb in on…and a few things to get off his chest and a few things to confront her over.

It was gonna be a long-ass night.

So, Barb might be surprised that she has a visitor coming up the elevator in her Clock Tower! If she looked at the cameras, because Dick knows she has cameras EVERYWHERE, he's giving a piece sign. "Can ya buzz me in already?"

* * *

To be far, Babs is only surprised for a few minutes after ALTHENE announces that Nightwing's authorization was used to activate the elevator. She's standing at the computer consoles, still dressed in her prototype costume even with the cowl tugged off to reveal her full face. At Dick's call to be let in, she rolls her eyes slightly. "Let him in, ALTHENE."

"Of course. Should I ask him to wipe his feet?"

Babs casts a smile up to the ceiling as if that's where the AI resides. "That's okay." She taps the touchpad on the console, and the computers go black with the yellow and black Birds of Prey emblem on the screens.

She pivots toward the elevator as it hits this level and doors open to reveal the sprawling upper floor of the clocktower with the glass windows and gears of the clock face at the far end of the space. She arches a brow at Dick. "You know, crashing a secret lair is kinda lame, Grayson."

* * *

Dick is still just standing there, whistling a tune for just a solid minute before those doors open at the access granted message from ALTHENE that allows him entry into Oracle's base of operations. "Yeah, well, then you should've broken the 'going up' button on the elevator door." Dick smirks. "I could've gone in the long way, but I didn't want you to get jealous of my climbing abilities."

Does he know of an alternate entrance? He's been in the Clocktower enough times that its reasonable. Or he's outright lying for the sake of humor.

Whichever comes first.

"How you doing, Barbara? Its been a few weeks."

* * *

"That's why I have an AI who scans and identifies everyone who enters that elevator. If you weren't on the approved list, then the button wouldn't have done anything." Babs smirks a bit toward Dick before she settles back in her seat, spinning in it briefly before she glances back to Dick.

"And I'm rarely jealous of any of your abilities, Grayson." She flashes a smile toward him before she folds her arms along the console. "I know. I've been splitting my time between here and Jersey City." Which means she's been splitting her time between here and Frank Castle.

* * *

"Yeah, well….I could probably hack this." Dick says with a bit of a smile on his face, its one of amusement and perhaps a challenge of the future. "Be like old times. You make a program, ask me to test the firewall…" Dick seems to enjoy the reminisce.

"Yeah. Here and one Pete Castiglione." He pulls up a chair, and gestures to it as if asking politely if he can have a seat. He knows his friendship with Barbara is thick as thieves.

"Figure its about time we had THAT particular conversation." Because Grayson cares….and he has this bad feeling that Barb's gonna go down a dark road.

* * *

Babs rolls her eyes a bit more dramatically before she glances aside to him. "Sure. I'll let you give it a try. I'll ask ALTHENE to go easy on you."

But, then Dick takes a seat, and… she pivots toward him with an arched brow. "You're here to talk about my romantic life? Dick… I'm not sure why you think you need to talk to me about this…" But she knows he's going to talk about it anyway, so she turns toward him with a short sigh.

* * *

Dick smirks. "You're gonna let the virtual intelligence go easy on me? You're so very kind. I'll make you a better one if ALTHENE can't make the cut." Cue sassy quip from the disembodied voice -here-. But Dick takes his seat and despite Barbara's very clear skepticism about what he has to say about her romantic life.

"Considering how often you got involved in mine, call it 'equal exchange'." Dick looks her in the eyes then.

"I extremely disapprove of Frank. I think he's dangerous to you and practically everybody you care about. Sure, he's a nice guy. But he's a killer, Barbara. At least 38 recorded people can tell you that firsthand." Dick looks her in the eyes.

"Are you -absolutely- certain that this is a good idea? I frankly - no pun intended - think he's going to lead you down a path you are not going to be able to come back from."

* * *

"I don't want wound your ego."

Then Barbara sinks back in her chair, and she folds her arms at her chest. Still in her suit, she cuts an intimidating look as she glares at Dick. "Thirty-eight that they know of," Babs cuts under her breath. But then she looks up at Dick. "You don't think I know that, Dick? You think I just let myself get all moon-eyed at someone the newspapers and media outlets calls The Punisher without having a clue about what he's about?"

Now she sighs out a breath, lifting one hand to rub at the space between her brows. When Dick mentions that dark path, she huffs out a sharp breath that is almost a laugh. But there's something else there. "I know that, too, Dick." Her lips press together. "He knows the rules when he's here, Dick…"

* * *

Dick looks at her as she glares at him. He's stared down more intimidating figures but…Barbara was a friend. An ally. Once upon a time, a lover and a first of many for Dick. He respects her more than anyone, but he knows when he has to be there for a friend. "Oh no, I know you know that. But honestly, you've made your mistakes before…" he could probably bring up a list. "At many points, I think I was one of 'em."

Dick was being serious about this.

"See, thats the key words arn't they? 'When he's here'. You think he follows any kind of rules when he's in Jersey? Or New York? He has bullets with names on them, Barbara. I get it, I really do, he sees this as his own personal crusade against the bad guys. But he can't fight crime by being exactly the kind of person he's fighting against. And either he'll drag you down with him at the end or he'll just break your heart. I know his kind."

Dick looks her in the eyes. "and they don't change."

* * *

Babs's expression tightens at those words, and she looks aside to the monitor that still has that rotating Birds of Prey emblem. "You had your moments," she says through tight teeth. Then she sighs out a quick breath and presses her head back into the chair while she closes her eyes.

I know his kind. That draws Babs's eyes back to his, and she stares into those blue eyes for a long moment before she looks away so he doesn't see that moment of weakness. She rubs slightly at the edge of her jawline. "I know that he does his thing when he isn't in Gotham. Changing Frank Castle isn't going to happen overnight, Dick."

She frowns to herself. "Look, he isn't wrong though, Dick…" She twists her lips a moment. "Sometimes, the Punisher solution is all we have… how many times have people broken out of Arkham and just… murdered dozens of people before they got dumped right back in?" Right as those words leave her mouth, she knows she shouldn't have said them. So, she rubs at her mouth. "I'm not saying he's always right, but he isn't always wrong. Take that dirty CIA agent. You think that he wouldn't already be out of jail if he wasn't dead? And he didn't just kill a couple people… he descrecrated the dead, he killed people just for knowing a hint of what he's been up to… he had Frank's family murdered, and he tried to kill me… twice. Some people cannot just be thrown in prison, Dick."

* * *

Dick stares Barbara down for a moment. "Its not going to happen -ever-. Once you start, you never stop and you never look back. Do you think Jason will ever change? Doesn't matter who he's dating or who wants to help him. A killer is a killer, you can't fight crime by becoming a criminal yourself."

Yes, some Batman doctrine, but one that Dick has taken truly to heart. "Maybe he isn't." Dick seems to allow Barbara to have that one. "So tell me this: How are we any better than the people we're trying to stop if we leave bodies in our wake? We're no better then them if we're putting bullets in people's heads."

Oh yes, this is goign to become an argument. "You think I didn't want to put down the Joker when I could? Think I didn't want to take down Two-Face or Ra's al Ghul for good? Do you think for a moment that these guys might have families of their own? We can't fight monsters by becoming monsters ourselves. If we do that, we become what we're trying to end, righteous cause or not. and in case you missed it, we're vigilantes. Now we have an entire city after us."

He looks her in the eyes. "Don't help Frank Castle give them a reason to be right to hunt us." but his eyes narrow.

"But then he's already indoctrinating you into his line of thought, isn't he?"

* * *

Dick mentions Jason Todd, and the redhead sets her mouth hard at the name. When she speaks next, she feels a bit of a tension in her shoulder where Jason stabbed her almost a year ago — a knife with her name on it. "When you draw that line, Dick, you tell people like Jason and Frank that they are just as bad as the ones who kill without prejudice. Jason and Frank can be shown alternatives… maybe they will never follow Batman's code, but they could at least be shown that not everyone needs to be on their hit lists."

Oh yes, this is becoming an argument. "Frank Castle is not a monster." Those words are sharp, but not quite a shout or snap. "He's a soldier who came home from a terrible world and mission, guided at the hands of a monster, and that monster killed his family, and tried to kill him. He came out of a coma to everyone gone… what would you do, Dick? To wake up to find us all dead? Are you trying to tell me you wouldn't try to seek some kind of justice."

Now Dick uses that word, and Barbara is out of her seat. "I'm my own person, Dick! You think I haven't had this argument with Frank? You think that I don't tell him that he has to consider alternatives?"

* * *

"And who -does- deserve to be on their hit lists, Barbara?" Dick counters her. What kind of people deserve to die? "What kind of people deserve to be an added reason of why either of them become the next criminal serial killer? Because if they're hitting the right ones, they're doing a good job of life in prison, or flat out execution. Murder is murder, Barbara."

Then when she questions him on if he lost everything and everyone he cared about was dead. "I already lost everything. Flying Graysons ring a bell?" Oh yes, that silent rage in Dick's eyes. He's already been through everything. More than once he's lost it all too. "So, you want to know what I would do? Take a gander at my chronological history. I'd become the goddamn Robin at goddamn nine years goddamn old. I'd do it the right way."

Then she stands up, and he rises too. "See? There's your problem. You're giving him the choice, an allowance. You really think he'd listen to you if you told him to stop the killing? For a fraction of a chance? Sorry Barbara, you're beautiful and your kind, but you're not going to change someone who doesn't want to change."

* * *

"And what gives us the right to make those calls, Dick?" Barbara's words are sharp. "Tell me… if The Joker was standing over me, about to slit my throat, would you actually stand there and try to figure out how to stop him without killing him, even if it meant that he might kill me? You can't stand here and tell me that everything is black and white, that this world does not have shades of gray. Because at least I can convince Frank that not everyone deserves to be six-feet under if they wreck havoc on someone's life… but I can't convince you that maybe there are times when The Bat Way isn't the answer."

She turns away from him, particularly when he mentions the Graysons. She runs her hands back through her red hair. "There is no one right way, Dick." She says this without turning around, and the words are a bit too soft.

But then she flares back up, and she turns back around to him and even advances a step forward to close the distance between tehm. "He has listened to me, Dick. He has heard me out, let me explain my reasonings, and changed his course." She is close now, standing just a few inches from Dick in what is usually a comfortable closeness. "But there are times that I cannot win that fight, nor that argument."

* * *

Dick is quiet while he listens to Barbara, but then she gives him an ultimatum. A choice. If the Joker was standing over her, about to slit her throat, Dick looks her in the eyes. "I'd shoot him in the shoulder. Maybe even take out his knees to cripple him." Then his eyes narrow. "But I wouldn't kill him." Yes, apparently according to Dick, there is a LOT of wiggle room here. Hell, he's used knives before in nonlethal situations and has probably caused no small amount of brain damage in the past, but he's never outright killed someone. Even as a cop where he's had to pull the trigger, always non-lethal locations.

He watches her turn away when he mentioned his family, and its in that moment where Dick puts his hands on his hips as he lowers his head. He still remembers. Vividly. Frank Castle is not the only one who lost it all. Dick and Frank are two sides of the same coin, just one isn't military.

"So you turn a blind eye to it. Hell, you probably celebrate with him when he comes back, clean him up, maybe even tell him where to point the gun." Dick is making assumptions now, because he KNOWS Barbara. "So tell me, how did Frank escape him? How did Frank escape his torture and how did Rawlins die?" Because he knows that Frank either would've told Barbara….or she had a hand in it.

Deductive reasoning at its finest.

* * *

Barbara shakes her head, and despite her advance on him, the closeness… she takes a step back. She lifts her fingers to her nose, pinching at it. She looks away, showing Dick her tall profile rather than looking at him. "You don't know if that would save me, but it would save him."

Now Dick asks the question that spoils her stomach, and she looks away. "I had no choice." Her lips press together. "There was no safe shot, no way to only hurt Rawlins and not kill Frank in the process. He had beaten Frank, and was on the verge of killing him." She looks back to Dick now, and the remorse is clear even while she holds her jaw tight. "Sometimes it isn't just black and white, Dick."

* * *

Dick never minded the closeness. It reminded him of what they used to have. How close they used to be, how close in some ways they still are. But then she backs and looks away. Dick looks at her with determination. "I wouldn't put your life at risk. If I had the shot, I'd take it to take him down, but not for -good-. I won't kill, Barbara."

Dick is firm in his conviction, but then she reveals her revelation.

He sees the guilt on her face. He sees the regret and the fear of telling him. "…you killed him."

Dick's eyes are wide, like he couldn't believe it. He's a -police officer- and a vigilante. Dick actually takes a step back, in shock of what he just heard. "Barbara, he was a government official. If word ever got out…you'd be hunted and not by people in capes." Dick stares at her then. His eyes are still wide. Oh god…

What would Jim think if he knew? He'd probably understand. What would Jim think about ANY of Barbara's situation?

* * *

The righteousness of Dick Grayson infuriates her, and it shows in the way she holds herself. She has so much to say about how he would never take the shot if it meant he would spare The Joker. She knows he's right, too. He would do anything to not cross that line.

Barbara rubs her hand across her mouth, eyes closing as she stands there. "I know." Her throat closes around the word. Then she looks over at him. "I know what would happen if word got out… but it won't." She takes another step back, as if to give him space from her.

* * *

The righteousness of Dick Grayson infuriates everybody. Its why they usually shoot at him first unless Batman is present…but lets be honest, they want to shoot Grayson WAY more. But Dick was just born with that 'I'm a hero. I'm gonna do what heroes do' kind of mentality. Its old school. Its outdated. He doesn't care.

He sees her though. Her reaction. Her eyes closed as she put her hand on her mouth. The shock gone, like he didn't want to believe it but its the harsh truth. He looks almost angry for a minute before he exhales.

"…I knew he was going to put you in a situation where you thought there were no other options. I can't say whether you did or didn't, because I wasn't there. He forced your hand and made you cross the line…the line that we don't cross." Dick approaches Barb then, so close that it was the mere inches that existed between them before, but this time Dick is making the motion.

"I could tell the entire world, and you know I could find the truth too. Are you willing to kill me to make sure that doesn't happen?" Oh yes, he's going to question her convictions. He's going to see if the Barbara he knew, the Barbara who wanted to help her city, the Barbara who he trained and grew up with was replaced by Barbara the vigilante and partner of the Punisher. A starting killer.

But then he exhales. "….I won't tell anyone."

Wait, what?

"Not your father. Not Batman. No one." Because at the end of the day? Barbara is still Barbara Gordon. His best friend. The woman that he hurt when she got back from college. He keeps his eyes on her. For reaction.

* * *

Babs doesn't open her eyes for a long moment, perhaps to shield her eyes against the tears that build behind her lids. When she finally looks up at him, she's melted into that moment of self-loathing and the pain that comes with it. "He didn't put me in that situation, Dick. In fact, he did everything he could to give me a way out… to disassociate myself from everything that was going on. He gave me outs. I didn't take them."

She brushes the back of her hand across her eyes, now turning back toward Dick in this closeness. "But if I had left him there, he would be dead… and Rawlins would be alive… and he would be set up to continue doing all the terrible things he's been doing for years, maybe decades… killing Afghanistan cops, smuggling drugs in the bodies of dead soldiers, killing families, and friends. He killed Zane, Dick." Zane being one of Babs's nerd friends from high school. "He killed Zane because Zane covered the Punisher."

Dick promises that he won't tell anyone, but that doesn't seem to give her any relief. She just smears the heel of her hand beneath her eye, starting to turn away.

* * *

Dick looks at her as she clearly seems to not have enjoyed the kill whatsoever. It was down out of necessity…maybe even anger. But he can tell she hates herself for it. He watches as she just reveals all to him behind her tears, which she expertly blocks with her own eyelids and the motions of her hands. Dick just stares on, not a word leaving his mouth.

Even Zane was dragged into this mess?!

Dick sighs. "God, Barbara…"

Then she starts to turn away and he reaches to take her by the wrist, not in violence, but he intends to pull her into a tight hug if she didn't resist his efforts.

"I'm sorry."

* * *

Barbara is ready to finish turning away until Dick steps up and pulls her in for a hug. She immediately turns into him as her arms curl into his chest and her with them. She takes in a breath and just settles into the hug with tears streaming down her face. She doesn't sob, but just lets the tears flow with her eyes closed.

She stays like that for a long moment before she takes a breath, nodding her head slowly. "Nothing to do…" She brushes her face against his chest before she pulls back a bit to look up at him. "Can't go back to do anything about it."

* * *

Dick just let her cry it out. He knew she was too tough to sob, but she might feel his hand calmly stroking and straightening out her hair by hand. Massage the scalp, help distract, help her take the pain away.

When she looks at him, he cups her face and he smiles at her, but he doesn't make any advance on her at all. "No. But we can be better than we were yesterday. No more tears, okay?" He knows its hard for her.

But he know sthey both needed to talk about this.

* * *

Her eyes look up to meet his in this close moment, and she offers him a watery smile that does not hold any mirth. She reaches up to grab onto his forearms to squeeze at his arms gently, and then she takes a tentative step back.

Barbara brushes the back of her hand under her nose, smearing away tears and snot. She looks up at Dick after a heartbeat. "Look. I'm heading to Jersey City tonight… I'll be back in a few days… we can talk more about this then."

* * *

Dick puts his hands in his pockets then, apparently not minding that he has more than a few blotches of tear stains on his shirt from Barbara crying on him, but he does let her go when she steps back. He knows respect and well, times have changed.

But maybe they haven't.

"Yeah, that sounds good." Dick says with the charming smile that he usually wears on his face. "Travel safe, okay?" He then heads off towards the elevator. She probably needs to do finishing touches and all that anyway. He stops and turns at her.

"…and try to stay out of trouble."

* * *

Just before Dick Grayson can turn away, Barbara reaches out to touch his arm. She steps closer to him just for a moment so she can press a kiss to his cheek. "I know you're looking out for me." Then she takes a step back.

She looks down for a heartbeat, and then she offers him a quick smile. "I'll stay out of trouble if you stay out of trouble."

* * *

Dick looks at Barb then in that instant as he's stopped then kissed on the cheek. He blushes for a quick second and he makes it to the elevator. Her words get him to grin at her as he pushes the button. "I'll try if you'll try."

They're adorable.

He gives her a wink. "Promise." he eventually agrees, but what do they define as 'trouble'? Bats were always hard to pin down in that sense of the word.

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