Rabid Dog
Roleplaying Log: Rabid Dog
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Frank and Babs talk about Jason Todd, and the Barbara Gordon Rehabilitation Program for Rabid Dogs.

Other Characters Referenced: Jason Todd, Harley Quinn, Batman, Dick Grayson
IC Date: November 09, 2019
IC Location: Burnside, Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Nov 2019 05:31
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The newly gentrified brownstone stands on Cherry Street; it has just enough green-space just past the iron-wrought gate to be called a front yard, and either the apartment management like to look after climbing vines and flowers, or someone who lives in the building is a green thumb. It might surprise some of the residents to find that the vines are not the only things that like to climb the rough facade of the building because with the dawn's light just starting to glow at the horizon a figure is scaling up to an open casement window on the topmost floor with a flutter of a scalloped cape. It isn't the wisest call that Batgirl has made, but she still hasn't found a replacement to the Belfry in Burnside, and so she has to come home after patrol instead of to a safehouse.

She pops in through the open window to her bedroom, trying to be quiet as she steps over the window sill and onto the soft carpets. She left her date night with "Pete" abruptly after an emergency alert hit her phone, and she promised she get back home as soon as she could; fulfilling that promise at dawn was not her intentions. She quietly starts to close the window, letting it shush on its hinges.

Frank sits with his back against the newly-built IKEA bed that he insisted on after waking up with more aches and pains that he wanted to admit to after Halloween Night. Machined parts are scattered on a piece of newspaper on the carpet in front of him, the internal and external workings of a simple 9mm pistol — plus a silencer and an extended magazine. Most importantly, however, his phone sits next to the newspaper, a map displayed with a softly blinking dot right at the brownstone's location. Clearly, he was tracking her progress. Looking up, he studies her closely, offering up a faint, momentary smile in his sweats and long-sleeved t-shirt, "You keep leavin' dates, I'm gonna start leavin' a bag under the bed, Red. And the nosy idiots in the neighborhood are gonna start thinkin' there's thieves around."

Barbara was not sure how she would find Frank when she got home, but to see him on her bed with the parts of the gun disassembled has her looking amused. She quietly finishes shutting the window, and only once its locked does she peel off the cowl to reveal her pale features and vibrant red hair, the latter slicked back. She takes the extra time to unzip and tug off her boots; she sets them aside beneath the window sill, and then she's crossing the soft, plush carpet toward Frank on the bed. She grounds a knee on the bed's edge as she leans in to press her lips gently to his cheek. "Thieves, huh?" But then she laughs wearily. "Sorry… always a risk, but… bag under the bed, huh? So it's easy to get back to the warehouse?"

Frank begins reassembling the pistol as she climbs into the window, leaning forward to accept the kiss on the cheek, his fingers still moving easily over the parts, snapping the slide back into place as he leans back again. "Who else'd go sneakin' into someone's window?" A rhetorical question, of course. "Naw, bag under the bed so I got somethin' more than a peashooter if I've gotta come out to back you up." Rubbing his hands on his thighs a moment, he reaches up to brush his fingers across her cheeks, a faint scent of gun oil coming with him. "How'd it go?"

His oiled fingers leave a smudge on her lightly freckled skin, but she still smiles as she looks down at him. "Just another night, to be honest." She rubs at his hands on her cheeks briefly before she starts to disengage. Babs steps back to cross toward the adjoined bathroom. Her fingers slip through the seal of her suit, peeling it open down the midline of her torso so she can start to roll out of the taut, high-tech synthweave material. She has fresh bruises where something hit her hard while she was out tonight; Frank might have even got the blast of medical data from the hit, but then the reassurance that she was okay. She steps into the bathroom as she speaks over her shoulder. "Being so close to Chinatown means I have new patrol areas, but I'm sticking to Burnside… protecting college kids and gentrification." Now she wiggles her hips out of the suit and peels it off her legs, checking over her bruises carefully.

Frank folds the pistol up in the newspaper and sets it down on the floor by the bed, watching her peel herself out of her protection, "Just another night." The concern is clear in his gravelly voice, but he doesn't make a thing about it. Her being on the front lines, even if it's just college kids and gentrification behind her, is one of the things that drew him to her. "Was that a baseball bat or a tire iron? Or were you testin' how bulletproof that thing is?" His eyes flicker downwards as she frees herself of the last of the suit, "Back of your left thigh too." He pauses, "That one might be a day or two old though." Pushing himself up off the bed, he follows her to the bathroom, although he just leans against the outside of the doorframe, "You got ALTHENE translatin' for you? Or you speak Chinese," he probably means Mandarin, "and you just never told me?"

Babs can almost hear the concern in his voice, but she doesn't acknowledge it as much as he doesn't expand on it. She's standing in the frame of the opened bathroom door in her sports bra and plain underwear. She brushes her hands up along her cheeks and temples as she gathers up her red hair as she twists it into a hair-tie, leaving it messy on the top of her head, but smooth along the sides. He calls attention to her bruises, and she looks at the deep purpling wound at her hip and top of her thigh; she tenderly presses her fingers around it while she winces. "Pipe, actually." Now she looks down at the bruise that Frank notices, and she frowns at it as she puzzles where it came from. But he's catching her attention, and she looks up to him. "Both. I can speak Mandarin alright, but nowhere near I should… I actually have always wanted to go to China." And maybe in another life, she would have. But today, she stands in her bathroom with her violent vigilante boyfriend looking in on her. She smiles casually, leaning her unbruised hip into the counter edge. "I'm sorry… I really wanted to enjoy that burger and beer tonight."

"Jesus, nobody plans ahead anymore," says Frank of the use of the pipe. Of course, he's the one who gets most of his weapons from his foes, and doesn't hesitate to use rocks, ladles, or anything he might find in arm's reach. He points across the bathroom to the little vial of whatever crazy bruise-restorative lotion Dinah got for her (probably wild yam or something like that), "Gimme." He blinks slightly at the response that she can speak Mandarin, and stares at her for a moment, "Seriously?" Shaking his head in bemusement, he shrugs a little, "We got a couple beers in the fridge. Can't help with the burger, 'cause you got shit for food here still. But you should eat somethin'." He's given the lotion, or reaches out to grab it himself, and pops it open to get some on his fingers, "There anywhere you didn't want to go growin' up, Red?"

With an oblique, amused look, Babs hands him the lotion. She steps closer to him, turning to show him her side while she tucks her elbows out of the way. "I mean, I'm passable. Let's not have me enter any kind of high-level negotiations or anything, but I can hold my own at the street level. Then she turns her head to him, and her blue eyes easily meet his darker gaze in this closeness. She feels a small smile edge in, and it has a bit of intimacy to it despite her bruises and the scent of sweat still clinging to her. "Um. Jersey City?" She teases him easily enough before she turns her head aside to watch him see to her bruises. "You don't seem to understand the travel desires of a kid who hasn't seen anything outside of the Tri-Cities." She then hooks one hand behind the back of her neck. "And once I was mixed-up with the Bats, vacations weren't exactly easy. Ditching the cowl to go to college was the craziest thing I ever did."

If one person isn't going to mind bruises and sweat, it's Frank Castle. Actually, it's most of the vigilantes out there, but he's one of them. He snorts at her teasing jab even as he warms the lotion between his hands before leaning down to carefully work the sweet-smelling medicine around the bruising. "Hey, you put me there, Red." He pauses a moment, then nods slightly, leaning his shoulder against hers as he uses both hands to spread the lotion over her bruised skin, "I get it. Never left town until I enlisted." His fingers work over the unbruised skin surrounding the discoloration, then settle back over the bruise, "I remember though. Jonesing for librarian conferences in New Orleans. You know there's shit goin' down outside of the Tri-Cities, right? Can find plenty of good to do in China or Paris or New Orleans or wherever the hell you wanna go."

Barbara's eyes close, looking away as he works the lotion through the bruises and surrounding skin. She winces slightly now and then, but otherwise she keeps a steadily closed-off expression even while she nods her head with his words. Then she starts to huff out a quick laugh, and her eyes open to look at him. "You trying to tell me to take my game international?" She brushes her fingers across his brow and temple, and then down along his rough jaw. "I don't know… that would mean being okay with whatever happens here without me… with Dinah and Helena. Dick and Tim." She may have slipped Tim Drake's identity, or perhaps just connected him to Dick as another one of Bruce's wayward wards. Her lips thin a bit. "Jason. He's back around again…" Her breath comes in sharply. "But, if you came with me, I'd go on a working vacation."

The touch to his face draws Frank up, and he lets his hands drift to a stop at her side, "I'm tryin' to tell you that you don't have to stop the work if you wanna travel." He snorts softly, "I'm not sayin' that you ain't doin' the most of all of 'em, but I'm pretty sure Gotham could live without you for a week. It's still got the Big Bad Bat, the Birds, the Little Bat, and all the other capes." His brows draw down, some of his humor leeching away for a moment, "Maybe after you make sure Jason doesn't fuck things up too bad. I remember him from the Hellraisers. What kinda idiot gives me a pistol?" Okay, not all the humor's gone. One hand rises up to her cheek, lifting her features to his so that he can press a light kiss to her lips, "You might be able to manage if it's a workin' vacation. Pretty sure you'd go nuts without doin' somethin'."

"I ran into Jason at the Punchline, after Harley Quinn's hyenas got loose," Babs explains, almost reluctantly. "He's got something in the works, and I've already let Batman know… I'm not sure that I could stop Jason from doing whatever he thinks he needs to do." She curls her fingers gently against the underside of his ear. "I don't know… suddenly the idea of taking off for a week sounds tempting. Really tempting." Her chin tilts up to look at him in this closeness. Her smile comes all the easier until she is leaning in, pressing her lips to his cheek again. "I'm going to take a quick shower. There's some stuff in the kitchen if you want to make some semblance of breakfast."

"Harley… Quinn's… hyenas?" Frank really, really needs to look at more details about Arkham's Finest. Shaking his head, he leans against the counter for a moment, his eyes nearly closing at the touch of her fingers under his ear. "Well, figure out when you wanna go, and I'll get time off, pack a bag." There's a little extra weight to the statement, the idea that the bag he packs probably wouldn't just be clothes. Opening his eyes fully again, he studies her features, so near to his own, "You know the best way to slow him down, right? Get his ass arrested." And he can't help himself, because he adds, "Or shoot him in the leg. Leave him healin' for a month or two." Still, he nods at her plan, patting her unhurt hip and then shifting back, "Breakfast. I can probably manage that."

"Best if you don't ask," Babs encourages. But thoughts of Harley Quinn and her hyenas fall away as she presses her forehead briefly against his, and her smile lifts a bit. "Sounds like I need ALTHENE to work on getting you a passport." She had already given him an airtight identity, what's a passport on top of that? Her smile thins a bit as he gives her a suggestion of how to handle Jason Todd. It does not comfort her, and she glances slightly aside toward the door as if she might find something beyond the bathroom to help her understand what to do. Instead, he's patting at her hip, and she's turning toward him slightly. "Good. Breakfast." Then she presses her lips briefly to his in a soft kiss before she gives him a delicate shove for the door. Then she turns so she can see to a shower, leaving Frank to see to breakfast.

Frank shrugs slightly, "I was just gonna go into the crappiest passport photo place I could and then do the actual paperwork." ALTHENE, of course, is way easier. He accepts the silent not-quite-rebuke about his tactics without any ruffles. Patting her back as she turns, he closes up the lotion and sets it on the counter, "I'm startin' to think you keep me 'round 'cause I cook," he teases over his shoulder as he heads out to scrounge up tater-tot hashbrowns, some sort of former leftovers for a main course, and coffee. Lots of coffee. When she comes into the kitchen, he speaks over his shoulder before looking, "Lemme guess, you're still goin' to work, right? On no sleep?"

Babs casts a glance over her shoulder toward Frank at his grumble, but she's all smiles as she says, "Cooking and sex." Then she starts to pull up the bra, rolling out of it with her back turned to him. Her thumbs hook on the waist of her underwear before she turns toward him slightly again. He might be left with that look before he retreats entirely, leaving her to her shower. She takes a long shower, but not long enough to threaten cold breakfast. When she finally comes out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, she's wearing loose PJ pants and a shirt that might just be one of Frank's. At his question, there's an obvious pause, but then Babs says something that might surprise Frank. "No. I'll let the lab know that I'm not coming in today. I can afford to take today off."

An acceptable addition, if Frank's amused snort — and lingering look — is any indication. When she comes back out, Frank starts to slide a plate of breakfast down the counter, stopping to look over the distinctly-less-ferocious look of Barbara Gordon. That means that he almost misses her statement, but when he does catch onto it, his brows lift sharply, "Really? When was the last time you played hookie? Senior Skip Day in high school?" Granted, nearly every day was senior skip day for Frank Castle. "You're talkin' takin' a day off, takin' a vacation? You sure you didn't get hit in the head?" Even as he asks the question, he comes away from the stove, leaning in close to take her head into his hands and check her over — probably jokingly — for a head wound.

Mention of that ever-famous Senior Skip Day has Barbara smiling almost sheepishly. "I worked in the school library on Senior Skip Day." The redhead collects her plate, and is just picking up her fork when Frank closes in, and gathers up her head with its still-wet red hair in his heavy, calloused hands. For that moment, she forgets the steaming food that he's prepared with what little crap they have in their not-yet-stocked kitchen. She lets him inspect her for a heartbeat, but then she catches his wrist with her own strong grip. She anchors herself up through that grip, and her lips find his in what is perhaps the fullest kiss since she came home; it is warm, if not a little smoldering at the edges, and her eyes close as she just savors that warm moment. Then she drops away to look up at him with searching blue eyes. "Can't a girl want to get away for a little while, even if it just means calling in sick?"

"Of course you did," Frank confirms about her senior plans. But then he's being grasped and kissed rather properly. His lips curve into a momentary smile beneath hers, then one hand tightens about her undamaged scalp and the other shifts to lace his fingers together with hers, enjoying the connection, the silent reassurance that she is indeed fine. When she drops back down to her heels, he flashes another brief grin, shaking his head in amusement, "Yes. But when she actually does something about it, I start to worry if there's somethin' more goin' on." The hand laced together with hers looses, and he turns about to nudge the plate toward her again, lingering close for all that he gathers up his own, "What'd Jason want?"

The comfortable tightness of Frank's fingers against her scalp, and she tilts her head back all the more to savor Frank's lips on hers. But then the kiss ends, and she sighs out a quick breath. "I'm okay. Just… tired." It is a feeling that she's been having more and more lately — feeling tired. But she settles into her food with a pivot of her heel. She nudges around some of the tater tot hashbrowns before she takes a bite, glancing up at Frank as she chews; then she shrugs slightly. "To kill me." She pops a bite of food in her mouth, chews through it soberly. "I was at the Punchline to help the police clean up after someone let Harley's hyenas loose — which is strange all on its own because Harley would never leave her babies, never. Jason must have heard the call, too, and showed up… but when he couldn't kill The Joker or Harley, I was the next best thing." Her lips press together. "Something happened, Frank… I don't know what it is, but something happened… he died, but he's back. Something brought him back."

The weariness in his girlfriend settles a frown onto Frank's brow, but the response brews up a thundercloud on his features. He drops his fork onto the plate, pressing his knuckles against the countertop to prevent him from grabbing or hitting anything. "Somebody's got to talk to that asshole." He's got to talk to that asshole, his tone says. Shaking his head, he growls, "He's comin' after you, he's lost his way. I don't care what the hell happened to him, that shit don't stand." Anger still ripples under his words, his hands shaking a little and his right index finger twitching, the breakfast forgotten for now. "Or you think if we deal with whatever brought him back, that'll deal with him too?"

The press of Frank's knuckles to the countertop has Babs turning toward him, head half-tilted and smile thin and mirthless. "This is a lot bigger than a talk." But then she tucks another bite into her mouth despite not having much appetite as they talk about Jason. She chews through it as she looks up at him. "We have to care about what happened to him, Frank — I cared about what happened to you, about understanding that you were more than just some murdering asshole trying to clean up the gangs of Hell's Kitchen." She nudges at him. "Why do you think I let you cuff me to that pipe?" Barbara being unconscious has nothing to do with it. But now she brushes her hand across his knuckles of one hand. "We figure out what happened, and why the Bats are his targets, and then we go from there. Target him, but keep it nonlethal."

Frank rocks a little at the nudge, but his scowl of anger doesn't budge. "Why do you think you ended up cuffed to that pipe, not dead, Red? Because I wasn't a fuckin' rabid dog. I had a list of shitheads, and I went through that list. Someone's targetin' you, there ain't no good reason for that. That means they are some murderin' asshole." His nostrils flare, lips working to try and smother his almost desperate anger. After a long moment, he turns away, stalking three short paces to the stove to clatter the pan from the stove and into the sink, although he doesn't do more to clean it yet, whirling back on Barbara, "That's some Gotham batshit, Red. Flat-out batshit." Some of that desperation slips back into his voice again, for all that he struggles to keep it quiet, "Someone comes gunnin' for you twice," he points up toward her shoulder where she took Jason's knife around a year ago, "They should be six feet under."

Frank's anger builds and froths, and Babs lifts her chin slightly in the face of it. She watches him stalk off those short paces, and the clatter tightens her shoulders briefly, but not in fear, but instinctive readiness. Her jaw slides forward tightly when he whirls on her. "You weren't a rabid dog, Frank, but people thought you were. You don't seem to understand what I faced when I decided not to oppose you outright. And I have to believe there is some reason that Jason is gunning for the Bats." The use of the word batshit has a total different connotation in this moment. The shit that Bats fling around, that's batshit in this moment. Even she knows it, but she doesn't back down. "Jason used to be a Robin, Frank. This isn't like some friend of mine that has gone dark; Jason was taken in by Batman after Dick became Nightwing, and then the Joker killed him. And we thought he was dead. He was dead. Something brought him back, and maybe he came back wrong. So, Jason has been six feet under, but he wasn't like this his whole life."

"I wasn't a rabid dog, because I wasn't killin' anyone who got in my way. Not you, not Hornhead, not Snow White." Frank's anger burns bright, even when he's keeping his voice low. He can't keep the harshness out of it, however. "But you still tried to stop me. Stoppin' him from gunning down," the added word is important, "the Bats comes first. Then tryin' to figure out why. Because there's no. fuckin'. way. I'm lettin' you get turned into a ghost." He might have issues. Lots of them. "And you mean to tell me the Joker killed a Robin, and the Bat just locked his ass in Arkham again? Jesus, Red. How much you gotta see to see that this is the wrong way?"

"I didn't call you a rabid dog," Babs snaps back as Frank stokes up her own anger, frustration. "I said that people thought you were." The redhead is ready to keep on this firing back and forth as the frustration builds up. Then he drops the word ghost, and she cools slightly. Her mouth sets in a hard line, and she looks aside, food forgotten and unappetizing despite Frank's genius ways to doctor tater tots. She turns back to the counter, poking and prodding at the food disinterestedly. When he says the words wrong way, her jaw sets and her fork clatters to the plate. She has nothing to say, her jaw set again.

"And those people were wrong," Frank growls. "But attackin' a Bat 'cause the Joker or Harley Quinn weren't there… that's fuckin' rabid." He clenches both hands into fists, hefting them like he's going to punch the counter, but instead he just presses his knuckles against the flat surface, looking down at the forgotten plate. "I know I ain't ever gonna convince you, but Jesus, Babs." At some later point, he'll start connecting dots between what else Dick Grayson and Jason Todd have in common, but right now he has no time for that. "The Clown kills his kid sidekick, and he doesn't do shit?" Squeezing his eyes closed as he struggles with his anger, he snarls wordlessly a moment, "Fine. Shit. The Big Bad Bat pussyfootin' around ain't what's important now. So Todd's back, and he tried to kill you, and you want to just keep away from him 'till you figure out why the hell he's doin' what he's doin'? And what the hell he's doin'?"

"It isn't about convincing me, Frank… you don't think I know your solution is the right one? You don't think I know that if we had just killed The Joker all those years ago, we could have changed the lives of hundreds? I know that, Frank. I'm not denying your logic, but I'm part of a group and that group has decided on a code, and as long as I'm a Bat, I follow that code." There's heat in her voice, but it's been caged for now. She hooks both hands behind her neck, closing her eyes. But then she starts to nod slowly, and her nostrils flare with a sharp exhale. "I will try to save him the same reason I decided to try to save you — he's a good person, was a good person." She works her knuckles with one hand in a habit perhaps she's picked up from Frank over the last year. Now she looks up at Frank, almost searchingly.

Perhaps that should have mollified Frank, and truth be told, there's some of the beginning part that does, but the last point? It doesn't help. His scowl deepens, his hands flexing open and closed again for a long moment of silence before he growls, "He tried to kill you. That ain't somehin' a good person does. He might've been one, but it damn sure doesn't seem like he's one now." His hands curl again, but he scowls hard at her, "Look, I ain't gonna shoot the guy in the face if I run into him. But that don't mean that I'm happy lettin' him wander 'round, and that I don't think it'd be be a damned good idea to put one in his leg and find out what happened the easy way."

"He tried to kill me," Babs repeats. Now she reaches for him, and she presses past the scowls and ill-temper to set her hand on his forearm and then up to his elbow as she tries to open his frame to her so she can sink in toward him, becoming a barrier between him and the counter. "Alright. We can agree that if you run into Todd, you have my permission to go for nonlethal shots." Which may also give him permission to take his frustration out on the Red Hood.

Frank's frustration and anger lasts through the touch to his arm and the slip of her hand up his arm, but he still turns easily enough when she pushes on his arm, his shoulders squared off and broad. The permission, however, causes him to snort in amusement. "Yeah? That how it works in Gotham now? I get permission to leg-shoot someone?" Closing his eyes, he breathes out a sharp breath, reaching up to rub his hand along his jaw, feeling the stubble of his sleepless night. "Shit." Opening his eyes again, he studies her freckled features closely, "I've been through this once, Barbara." The gravelly voice is quiet, but still too close to his anger to be truly soft, "I'm willin' to do pretty much anythin' to keep from doin' it again."

He opens up, and Barbara slips herself in between him and the counter fully as she settles into that sandwiching between him and the hard edge of hard countertop. He snorts his amusement, and she smiles apologetically. For once, though, she spares him comment on such permissions. Now she takes in a breath, and both hands settle on his arms just above his elbows. Her mouth thins, her smile fragile at best. His words touch a soft, hurt place in her heart, and she slowly nods. "I know," she murmurs. "I can't promise you that I will always be safe out there, Frank." Now she slides her hands up to gather his stubbled jawline. "But I promise you I will do all I can to spare you from that path again."

"I know." This is the difficulty for Frank — he loves her because she takes matters into her own hands, but that threatens her with pain and death every time she goes out. "And you're doin' everything you can to make sure that if you need backup, we can find you." Which may not have actually been her intention with all the tech in her suit, but it's certainly something Frank appreciates. She gathers his face in her hands, and his eyes close again, ducking into the touch. "I'm not losin' you, Babs."

"Not for a long, long time," Babs promises. Her fingers tighten briefly behind his ears; then, she pulls him down toward her as her mouth meets his and that kiss carries depths of emotions — soft sorrow, gentle affection, and warm need. There's food still on their plates, but the redhead is too busy savoring a different kind of sustenance — a way to feed her heart and her soul. She presses back against him, abandoning the edge of the counter as her feet pace along with his.

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