After An Argument With Dick
Roleplaying Log: After An Argument With Dick
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Babs gets her argument with Dick off her chest, Frank tells her vampires are real.

Other Characters Referenced: Dick Grayson, Blade, Max
IC Date: October 03, 2019
IC Location: New Punisher Keep, Jersey City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 20 Oct 2019 02:54
Rating & Warnings: R for language
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's Friday night, and usually Barbara is already in the warehouse in Jersey City for her weekend stay with Frank. This has become a strangely domestic ritual of four days living her life in Gotham City and Metropolis, sleeping in her childhood bedroom and having morning coffee and evening dinners with her dad. The Birds of Prey's core team has almost settled on an apartment in Burnside, but it will take a few more weeks before it's even available. So, Babs has found a new routine, and tonight is the first break in it.

The garage opens at GAARD's whim when the sleep motorcycle pulls into the warehouse at almost 1 AM. She sits back on the bike's saddle, shaking her braid loose once she's unseated the helmet. She sets the helmet in her lap, looking around the open sprawl of the warehouse for Frank and Max. "Sorry I'm late," she calls, but her voice sounds tired and a bit flat.

Frank isn't staying up like a worried husband. Nope. He's brought several pistols downstairs from the makeshift armory and is perched on the edge of the kitchen counter, cleaning the weapons. He looks up when the motorcycle pulls up outside, staying where he is until she's pulled in, "Yeah. Bad night?" Some men would rush over to her, and Frank watches her worriedly, but he still reassembles the weapon with quick, sure motions before he leaves the kitchen. "Got leftovers in the fridge." Speaking of domestic. Crossing the warehouse, he studies her closely. "Hey Max…" and the dog comes trotting over from his bed to snuffle at Babs.

"You could say that." The worried look is not registered as Babs is too busy unpacking the duffel she brings every Friday from the panniers. She should just start keeping clothes here, but neither of them are ready for that yet — considering if she starts unpacking her closet here, it will leave too many easy excuses to stop finding a closet to unpack her clothes in there. She looks up as he crosses nearer to her, and the greeting to the dog distracts her as she squats down to give the rottie-mix some deep ear scratches and rubs. She looks up briefly toward Frank, but there's something in the way she doesn't hold that moment of contact that perhaps betrays more than she is currently letting on. "I'll go unpack my bag. What kind of leftovers?" It's a good question, but lacks genuine interest as she shoulders up her duffel and starts toward the corner of the warehouse that keeps their bedroom.

Frank may not be the most sensitive tool in the drawer, but he's also not the dullest. His heavy brows draw together as he watches Babs's avoidance of him, stopping a few paces away and letting her past without any more interruption. "Fried rice." Homemade, most likely. It's not like he eats anything anywhere near that low bar of fancy if he's buying things for himself to eat. He doesn't follow her, instead turning back to the kitchen to pack away the pistols and the cleaning equipment and then get out food. When he hears Barbara's steps again, he speaks up, "Want a beer while we talk about it?" Because Frank's good at not letting things go unsaid — almost as good as he is at leaving things unsaid himself.

"Sounds good." Again, there's a distracted quality to those words. She's in the room now, unloading her clothes into the dresser that will serve her for the next few days. She finds a couple balls of socks waiting for her from when she was here last weekend. She rolls them quietly into the drawer before she starts to undress. Off goes the leather jacket to be placed on an old chair, and so do the boots to be tucked beside it. She strips off her jeans, wincing slightly at where she brushes an enormous bruise on her hip from her recent patrol. She tenderly pushes her fingers around it, testing the depths of the bruise; it is decidedly deep, but not unlike wounds she's dealt with before. She eases on a pair of loose, soft PJ pants and her socks guard her feet against the chill of the warehouse floors. Winter isn't that far away, and October is already chilly. She's back out of the bedroom just as Frank gets the food out of the fridge, and she's almost in the kitchen when Frank offers up the beer. She hesitates for just a fleeting heartbeat before she nods. "Yeah. A beer would be great." She sinks down into one of the kitchen chairs, tucking one knee up at her chest.

Frank pulls out the requested beer, twisting the top off with a pop and tossing it into the trash. He delivers the beer, then returns to the kitchen proper, dumping the rice into a pan and starting to reheat it. "Bad night, and you're all up in your head." He gives the rice a little stir and then gets out his own beer, popping the top and taking a sip. "You want a distraction first — not that kind — or you wanna talk 'bout it first, Red?" Despite his insistence, he starts things slow, easing Babs into whatever's eating her up inside. Turning the rice down as low as it goes, he crosses to the table, propping his hip against the kitchen table a little ways in front of Babs.

"Yeah." The word is sighed as she takes the beer. Then she remembers something as Frank comes near, and she stands with beer in hand to reach for his hand to tug him closer to her. "We're still really bad at this." She presses up through her heels to press a kiss to his cheek unless he turns his lips to meet hers instead. Then she sinks back down in her seat, and she stretches out her arms in front of her a bit, hands curled around the bottle of the beer. "Dick came by to talk to me…" She glances slightly up at Frank. "About how you're going to take me down a dark road… somewhere I can't come back from…" Her lips press together.

Frank shakes his head a little as she mentions how bad they are at this, his inertia resisting her tug for a moment before he steps close, ducking his cheek to meet her kiss and then turning his head to return the favor with a kiss to her cheek. "The little shit don't matter, Red. You're here with me, and I'm here for you. That's what matters." Still, the kiss to his cheek cleared a little of the knot gathering between his brows. He shifts in his lean against the kitchen table at her words, and they bring back the full force of his frown. "Yeah? And what d'you think? You think I'm gonna take you down a dark road you can't come back from?"

"I know, but there's something about taking a break from everything else to make sure that we acknowledge this… in the simplest of gestures." Then Babs takes a sip from the bottle before she licks at her lips. She rolls the bottle between her palms before she glances back up at him again. "We got into it… about where the line is, and when does the line have to be crossed. He doesn't get it… he doesn't get that sometimes there is no choice. I knew you were right about Rawlins… we drop him off at the FBI, NYPD… he's out in less than twenty-four hours, and now ready to hunt you down with a new dedication." Her eyes drop. "He knows I killed Rawlins. He knew before I said anything… he must have assumed if we cut the tape to not show Rawlins getting killed, then it had to be me."

Frank nods at the first statement, accepting it, agreeing with it silently. The rest of it, he nods again, taking another sip of his beer and resting the bottle on the table beside him. His eyes flicker aside for a moment, checking their surroundings, and then lock in on her, listening silently and intently. He stays quiet a moment before finally speaking up, "I danced 'round it. Figured it was up to you if you wanted to say anythin'" He shrugs a little, "But hell, kinda hard to hide shit from you Bats. All that detecting shit." Taking another pull of his beer, he turns the full weight of his attention back to her, "So what's that mean? He gonna keep givin' you shit? He gonna tattle to the Big Bad Bat?"

Babs casts him an almost apologetic look, but then she starts to shake her head. "No. He's not going to tattle." She picks at the label of the beer bottle before she takes another drink. "He knows that, that would have worse consequences…" She lifts a brief glance up to him. "What I did… with Rawlins… that was a calculated choice. I knew the moment he had you… that I needed to get in there, to stop him… and I saw no way to stop him from killing you, and worst yet, I saw no way to stop him from getting out from under the charges we could leverage against him. We could have his own confession, and it wouldn't matter." She continues to pick at the label. "Dick argued against it, the whole time… but he knows that it wasn't a throw-away choice… I did it to save you." She looks up at him now, blue eyes searching his. "But, he's going to wait for me todo this again… because, cross the line once…"

Frank nods at her read on Grayson, "Good." But he listens silently to the rest, nodding again, "Yeah. It's clear he's never been in the service. Because if he was, he'd know you trust the guy with his boots in the mud." Setting the beer aside, he rests a hand on her shoulder, squeezing lightly before he gets up to go stir the fried rice. "It's easier for some people." A quick stir, a quick bit of silence, and then Frank's back, pulling out a chair and sitting down in it with his legs wide, one forearm on his thigh, the other hand reaching out for her hand as he meets her gaze directly, "I don't think that's you though. Don't know why he can't see how rough it's been on you. Me, I've been tryin' to give you space, but I know you're torn up, Babs."

Frank leaves to get dinner, and that gives Babs a moment to just close her eyes and take down a full swallow or two of the beer. She puffs out her cheeks a bit with a sharp exhale. She looks up at him when he comes back, and the change in his posture has her turning more toward him. He reaches for her hand, and she offers it out for him to take in his large, rough paw. Hers is soft from wearing those gloves, but there's other callouses and nicks from working with computer hardware. She rubs her fingers with his. "It isn't me." She looks up at him after a moment's silence, and her smile is fragile at best. "I wish you wouldn't give me space. All I ever need from you is to not give me space." She squeezes his fingers. "I killed him, Frank. I make it sound like I did it in the heat of the moment to stop him from killing you… but the moment you left me that message, I knew what I was going in to do. I was going to kill him."

Frank takes her hand, lacing his fingers with hers and squeezing tight. "I'm here, Babs. I'm always gonna be here. You don't want space, I won't give it to you. I'm gonna get you fed, then get you a bath. And you can talk 'bout it, or I can read whatever book you're readin' that I won't understand at all." He leans forward a little, his head close to hers, "Red, you ever need to talk about somethin', you don't even gotta ask. But I'll try to ask you too." He draws in a slow breath, his gravelly voice rough and throaty, "You made a choice. I heard he was behind it all," not just Zane, not just the shots at him, but his family too, "I tried to do it myself. Just… just couldn't do it. You saved my life, Red. Flat out."

Babs turns away from the table and her beer, settling instead into gathering their hands together in a tight clasp. This also lets her easily lean forward that last little bit to press her forehead against his. "Dinner and a bath." She then slowly nods in agreement, barely interrupting the press of their foreheads. Her eyes close as she listens to his graveling voice, the rough confirmation that she had to do what she had to do. Her head turns aside against his slightly before she's looking down at their feet. "I wasn't going to let him walk out of there, Frank… I couldn't. There is nothing that would have stopped him from going after you, and me… he would have unraveled us both, taken us apart… and he was about to kill you in that chair." She looks up at him, and her voice becomes rough and firm. "And no one is going to take you away from me like that. No one."

There's a fierce surety and determination behind those words, and Frank draws back just a little, studying the expression of the ferocious woman in front of him. "Damn, Red." He sounds impressed. After a moment though, he frees one hand to press his fingers to her scalp, just at the back of her ear. The cupping pressure shifts slightly, to draw her close to a fiery kiss that speaks far more eloquently than he can about how much that statement means to him. When he settles back again, he lets out a little breath. "No shitstain dirty CIA agent's gonna unravel us or take us apart, Barbara. Can't do it. Kill us, sure, but nothin's gonna unravel us." His fingers tighten at her scalp again, and then he glances over to the kitchen, standing up to take her food off the stove and bring it over to her, "I'm not gonna let you go either, Red. I'm not goin' through that again."

The tightness against her scalp causes her eyes to close briefly, but before she can open her eyes again, she catches his lips with that sharp, emotional kiss. She pours herself into it despite its shortness. Then she sits back a bit as the kiss breaks, and his words are almost breathed against her lips. She nods slowly despite the hand at the back of her head. "I know. But he would have tried." But then she looks up at him in this closeness, and then she is sitting forward again to touch her lips gently against his before he's standing up to see to her food. When he sets it down in front of her, she glances up at him. "You won't have to."

Frank nods at her words, his brow brushing hers lightly with the motion. He smiles faintly at the gentle kiss, but he settles down opposite her again, nudging the fried rice bowl toward her. "Damn right. Now come on. Eat up. I can tell you all about vampires." He pauses, brows lifting lightly, skepticism running through his words, "Oh yeah. They're real, apparently. Met a guy with fangs who says the nerds," there's a little grin at that, "call him a Damn-pire," not quite, "which is like a half-vampire, half-human, and he kills vamps and they turn to dust."

The brush of their foreheads is met with a small smile, and then she's leaning back away from him to turn to her meal. Babs is just picking up her fork as Frank lays that one on her — about vampires. She stares at Frank for a wordless moment, and then she purses her lips a bit. "Vampires? Dust?" She scoops up a bite of fried rice. "Well, I dated a warlock and almost got destroyed by a demon shadowy sentry, so I should probably be less surprised." Which says nothing about the whole demonbrood in New York City. She finally eats that bite on her fork, frowning. "A damn-pire? That doesn't really sound right… like vampire but with a 'D'?"

"And all the demons up here." A little further north, actually, but there's no way Frank is going to admit he's not in New York anymore if he can help it. "Yeah. I'm still pretty skeptical, but I dunno. Kinda hard to say somethin's impossible anymore, right?" He pats her knee lightly, then starts to lean back in his chair a little, gathering up his beer again and taking a sip, "Guy's spent some time in the Corps. Apparently he can walk in the sun because he's a D-pire," he smirks a little at that, making it quite clear that he doesn't remember exactly how it's pronounced, "I asked about the Owls — strong, fast, don't stay down, but they didn't turn to dust, so apparently they're not vampires. Oh, and garlic and crosses don't work, but stakes do. So he says we should play like what's-her-name. The blonde on TV."

"Buffy." No one is surprised that almost thirty-year-old Barbara Gordon watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer at some point. She turns to her food, settling into the consuming part of dinner despite the conversation. "At least he sounds like an ally then." She glances slightly back up to Frank with him close by, working through his beer. There's a casualness to that glance that carries a warm affection. She then takes a drink from her own beer and settles back into her bowl. Her knee presses up against his under the table. "I don't think the Owls are vampires… they're definitely something though… something has extended their lives."

"Yeah, that's it," Frank agrees, "Yeah. He's a little intense." Frank Castle is saying this. "But I think he's okay. Didn't out anyone to him, but… he's lookin' for the person who killed his mom and half-turned him. Apparently it's a little harder than trackin' down street scum." His knee presses back against hers, and he reaches down to squeeze lightly there before he takes another drink, "Oh yeah and next time you and Dinah go to Noir, watch out. Apparently Brooks ran into a couple of vamps there." He shakes his head in wonder, "Jesus Christ. Vampires and demons and all this. What the fuck is up with that?"

The pressure of their knees together and the squeeze from his hand draws a look up to Frank before she chokes out a short sound of surprise. "God, in Gotham? That's all we need." The words are half-groaned before she shakes her head, reaching up to rub at the back of her neck. "I don't know… but between bounty hunters, vampires, demons, warlocks… I'm about to say that we need to go back on that road trip again. Maybe we need to go further west." Her hand still on the back of her neck, she looks up at Frank. "You ever been to Michigan?"

"And Talons," Frank puts in. He's definitely not an optimist. Her suggestion to go on a road trip draws a snort of amusement, and then he looks up from his beer, studying her features to see if she's serious. "I missed it on my grand tour," of killing (and not killing!) mercs at Billy's careful direction. "Pretty sure I don't want to go anywhere that's called the Yupe." He pauses a moment, then puts in, "Don't forget that I'm still right in the mob's way here, registration's still crackin' down up in New York, and you got midterms comin' up pretty soon, right?" Just a ray of sunshine. "Kinda makes all your other problems not seem quite so big, doesn't it?"

"And Talons." The words are sighed out, and the redhead stirs about the bottom debris of her bowl. Then she looks up at him, and a small smile cracks across her otherwise serious features. "I don't know. I bet it would be worth the adventure." Then Frank starts to layer all the realities, and she reaches up to pinch at the bridge of her nose again, rubbing there; then it's time for another swallow from the beer bottle. "Everything just keeps piling up." In that moment, she looks tired — so very tired. She rests her chin on her palm, looking out across the warehouse floor where Frank is starting to settle in again, turning it into a home. She folds her arms together then, looking away and down at the table. "So, no vacation until Winter Break." Which means that something will come up, something that will remind them that their life is not their own to dictate and control. Maybe it will be Billy Russo, maybe it will be The Joker, or maybe a magician will toss the entire eastern seaboard into an eternal winter.

Frank chuckles wryly as she pinches at the bridge of her nose, lifting up his bottle in a little salute and taking a swig. "You'd go crazy if you weren't busy." He pauses a moment, then admits, "Hell, I probably would too. Don't know, never really have slowed down." He looks at his beer, finds it empty, and gets up, taking it and Barbara's bowl over to the sink. "So yeah, probably no vacation 'till Winter Break. We could take a cruise… except we'd both hate it, and people'd scream seein' me without my shirt on." He's got a lot of scars. Coming back, he puts his hand on her shoulder, "Whaddya think? Nice long, hot shower?"

"You don't know that." Yes, he does. Barbara looks up as he clears her bowl, and then she contents herself to finish her own beer; she pushes up to her feet to cross to set down the brown bottle on the counter. She looks up as he steps back up to her, and the weight of his hand on her shoulder relaxes tension she didn't know she was holding. She turns into him, slipping her arms around his middle. "How about just a quiet beach then?" Her fingertips slip up along either side of his spine. "Pretty sure it's a good idea." She takes a backward step, pulling him to fall into stride with her. "You think that you're going to care about people seeing your scars?"

Frank snorts at her clearly false statement, then shakes his head. His thumb rubs at her shoulder, then his hand slips aside when she turns into him, returning the embrace. Frank's eyes close at the caress of her fingers up his back, and he lets out a little breath. He's a half-step behind her, following quite willingly. "Adults? Naw, they can go fuck themselves. Kids? I don't like scarin' them unless they really need it." A few steps catch him up with her, and he wraps his arm around her shoulder, "A lecture from the Flatfoot and finding out that fuckin' vampires are real. That's a hard day all around."

His arm wraps around her shoulder, and Barbara draws in several steps closer to him despite also pulling him backwards toward the bathroom. "Unless they really need it?" The question lingers between them before she shakes her head, her smile curling up in amusement again. "I imagine you can be scary to a kid if you need to be." But then her brows arch high over her eyes, opening her expression into first surprise and then a low laugh. "Did you just call Nightwing a flatfoot? Frank…" Her voice is chiding as they continue their backward dance, her fingers curling tightly into his back and gathering up his shirt in the process. She tugs it up just enough so her fingers can find bare skin, and there she glides along his scar tissue and smoother skin.

"Look, sometimes kids are just little shits and need a little scare to wake them up." Frank was a pretty good father, but definitely not a perfect one. Her reaction to the nickname causes him to shrug a little helplessly, "Hey, you're the one who just said he was a cop. He's the one who pulled the not-really-very-smart routine." And Frank's the one who fell for it. "I stand by it." His arms enfold her, one rough thumb brushing against her freckled cheek, the other looped low at the small of her back. The touch of her fingers to his skin draws his eyes close, and then slitted open again so that he can duck his head, turning it to press a kiss to the side of her neck.

"Why do I get the strange feeling that you were a little shit, and so that was your advice to yourself?" Barbara's voice is warm and subdued as their world contracts and tightens around the simplicity of just being together. The world outside the warehouse falls away, and she turns her head first into his as he settles his lips against her neck only to then turn away again to stretch open that long length of skin and pulse. "I won't tell him you called him that…" is all she murmurs back about her ex-boyfriend before she is instead consumed with the presence of her boyfriend — her lover, her companion… her friend. She is almost to the bathroom door before she sinks blissfully into the wall just beside it so that Frank just looms over her while she draws him down to meet her in a deep, low-burning kiss.

"I coulda used a whole lot of scaring when I was a kid," Frank agrees with a momentary flash of a crooked grin. He breathes in the scent of her, taking in her presence. "Why? I did it to his face." His lips press to her throat again, and his eyes close, trusting her to draw them close to the bathroom without any input from him. As she settles against the wall, he sinks into her, standing close enough that the can touch from thighs to lips, one hand curling up along her throat to settle his thumb along her jawline and his fingers behind her ear, the other slipping beneath her shirt to spread out across the soft skin at her sacrum. His lips play and tease with hers, parting to share breath as well as heat. His lips rise a bare heartbeat from hers, and he murmurs, "You ain't me, Red. And you're never gonna be. If he thinks you will, he doesn't know you anymore. You and me, we know who we are, but we ain't the same. That's why we work."

"I can't even imagine," Babs muses in the wake of that crooked grin just before she is turned up into the kiss. Her eyes close and she melts beneath him just for a heartbeat before she arches up through the balls of her feet to press her lips more surely against his. Her hands tighten at his lower back, drawing him against her in such a way that their hearts beat in symphony with one another. Her lips part to welcome him in a slow, graceful dance that spurs that fire onward and upward to a feverish burn. Her lips are tender when he finally lifts that breathless bit from her, and her eyes just barely open to look up into his rough features. "I know." Those simple two words are all she needs to say before she is lifting back through the balls of her feet to touch her lips along his jaw and bottom of his ear.

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