It's Bad
Roleplaying Log: It's Bad
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Jim Gordon, Frank Castle, and Dick Grayson all cross paths in the hospital waiting to hear news on Barbara Gordon.

Other Characters Referenced: Dinah Lance, Helena Bertinelli
IC Date: November 19, 2019
IC Location: Gotham City General Hospital
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 21 Nov 2019 04:09
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: Barbara Gordon as Jim Gordon
Associated Plots

There has been a shooting in Gotham City. Not all that unusual to hear, but the targets makes it headline news. Lincoln March and Barbara Gordon have been shot.

It's all the newsfeeds and radio waves are talking about after the shooting at City Hall. What had been a victory speech for March's win over Sebastian Hedy turned bloody when a sniper opened fire on the podium, shooting both the new Mayor of Gotham City and the daughter of former Commissioner Jim Gordon.

It has only been two hours, and both Barbara and Lincoln are still in surgery. Jim Gordon stands in the hallway just beyond the waiting room, staring blankly up at the ceiling. He's washed his hands, but his coat is still blood-spattered. He does not seem to be attentive to the bustling around him, just lost in the waiting game.

* * *

Dick had just managed to get home, was about to go on patrol in fact as his masked alter ego…when he saw the news. His eyes go wide, his heart actually falls into his stomach. When moments ago he was filled with calm, relaxation, and utter confidence - now its just replaced by fear.

Immediately, he drops what he's doing and races to his motorcycle, slinging his jacket over his shoulders and just shoves his foot as deep into the gas pedal as it could go. Yes, he's breaking laws.

No, he doesn't get caught. He takes the roads less traveled or where police activity is the least. When he finally arrives at the hospital, he finds a spot for the bike and practically speed walks into the hospital, where he approaches the emergency desk. "Barbara Gordon?" He waits for an answer, but he's fully intending to go into some kind of surgery waiting room or wait out in the hall until a doctor tells him she'll be alright…or won't.

* * *

The trip from New York to Gotham should take more than two hours. It should take significantly more than two hours. Frank has learned the ins and outs of the commute, and he's also disdained speed limits to make the trip. It's a dangerous thing to do with one of his go bags in the back, but at least it's hidden in a compartment between the interior of the van and the armor plating that Babs helped him install. He was getting updates from ALTHENE via GAARD the entire way down, until they took Babs's phone away from her. Now he's driving on radio silence, and it does not do anything good for his state of mind. He parks the big black van with its tall light-bar in the parking garage and sprints for the nearest door of the hospital, pulling a ballcap low over his eyes. As much as he wants to just force his way into Babs's room, he knows he can't do that, not at be allowed to stay. He ducks away from Nutshot — Officer Jake Toreldo — as he spots the big blonde with an unrequited crush on Barbara, and blows straight through the waiting area and into the hallway beyond. A nurse comes out to halt him, and he reaches out for her arm, his fingers grasping tightly as he grates, "Gordon. Barbara Gordon." But there's Jim, just ahead, and Dick not far behind him, neither of whom he noticed right away. Now he does, however, his feet shifting under him, his fury and fear having driven him straight through sense and into a default fight reaction.

* * *

The stern, older woman at the desk looks up at Dick Grayson barely over her spectacles when he leans in to demand a name — a name that goes with a room number or another location. She glances over her monitor that holds all that information now digitally, and whets her lips before saying, "Surgery ward eleven, but you're not gonna be let in there, hon. Best just — hey!"

That hey is delivered to Frank Castle's back as he blows past the waiting area, but this is Gotham City and no one else looks up. The woman just huffs a sigh, looking back to Dick to give him directions to the exact same place Frank is going and where Jim is waiting.

Jim doesn't notice Castle anymore than Castle notices him, but then someone is coming through the large swinging doors at the end of the hallway and Jim pivots toward the surgeon that is heading his way with a resolute stride. Resolute is good, dedicated is good, fast is good. Slow and meandering is nothing but bad news.

* * *

Frank isn't the only one. As soon as Dick is told she's in the Surgery ward, he's on the move. He notices Jim Gordon, and Dick is suddenly grieved. He's not angry and in immediate fight response like Frank is, he's just purely afraid. He puts a hand on Frank's shoulder -nice and firm-. "Surgery Ward, room eleven." Its said in a tone that says 'now let the nice nurse go.

Whether he does or doesn't, Dick however, sees the surgeon and pauses in his tracks. Please be the surgery doctor please be the surgery doctor.

* * *

Frank shrugs at the hand on his shoulder, loosing the nurse's arm — with some relief on the woman's face — to try and knock the arm aside. Words gather in a snarl behind Frank's lips, but he bites them back when the fourth man enters the hallway that's suddenly crowded (with egos if not with people). His fingers go white as he clenches his hands into fists, but he nods something that might be acknowledgement or thanks to Dick, then turns toward the surgeon and the father, stepping up to Jim Gordon's left side.

* * *

Dick gets a second, "Hey!" Then the woman drops down to her seat with a huff of a breath, shaking her head as she turns to the next person in line. Someone else can deal with those two—

The nurse scurries off with a thankful look to Dick, but doesn't look back toward Castle as she turns a corner down another small hallway. This leaves the three with the surgeon who is glancing between Frank, Dick, and Jim before settling his attention on Jim. "Commissioner," he says, and doesn't even bother correcting that Jim is the former commissioner. It sets the tone, aligns the doctor with Jim. "She is stable, but the damage is severe. As of now, we can't repair the damage to her spine." He keeps his voice even, measured. With an outward gesture of his hands, he goes on, "She will need a few more hours in surgery. If you wanted to head to the cafeteria — "

"I'll wait," Jim says firmly.

The surgeon nods, and turns to head back to the wards. It is only then he realizes he has two people standing behind him, and he turns slightly toward Frank. His eyes widen, and suddenly he's reaching for Frank to throw him into the wall with all the strength of a man who cares deeply about his physical body. "If this is because of you, Castle," he snarls under his breath with a father's anger darkening his eyes.

He hasn't even noticed Dick. Yet.

* * *

Dick hears the words from the surgeon and he immediately feels his breath go from steady and calm to literally shaking. He just takes a seat and rests his elbows on his knees. Shit. Its bad….they can't fix her spine. Or atl east they can't fix it -yet-. Does that mean she's paralyzed? how bad? questions he wants to ask and the ones that the detective in him wants to figure out, but he doesn't have the heart to ask it.

So instead, he waits.

But then Jim recognized Frank and is about to throw some hands, Dick lifts his head and stands up, ready to stop a fight but knowing a father's anger isn't something thats easily stopped.

* * *

The fury pours out of Frank like a bag of sand with the bottom cut out at the report from the surgeon, his shoulders sagging and a short breath leaving his nose. He's already shaking his head at the offer to wait in the cafeteria, and then Jim turns on him. Frank's shoulders are driven back into the wall and he brings both hands up between Jim's forearms, twisting his shoulders outward to try and split the older man's grip even as his anger flares up again — and then settles to a low simmer. He doesn't push away from the wall, just straightening up and squaring his shoulders before he gravels back, "If it's because of me, you won't have come lookin'. I'll clean it up and turn myself in." His eyes flicker past Jim to Dick, and then back to the mustache-bristling-one, "What the hell happened, sir?"

* * *

Jim had geared himself up for a fight, and Frank gets the hold loose but there's a good chance that the Commissioner might throw a punch before he realizes himself. His breath comes in sharp and ragged as he throws his hands back at Frank, as if he might be releasing him even his grip is no longer on the man's chest. Frank's words receive a hard look, and firm nod of his chin. Then, He turns toward Dick, finally realizing he has an audience. Jim's mouth sets, and he takes a moment to rub his hands on either side of his mouth. "Grayson," he murmurs.

Then he glances behind him toward Frank. "She was shot. The bullet was for me, but she… she must have tripped, or something. She got in front of me, and took the bullet instead." The words are quavering things of a man just holding it together.

* * *

Dick just seems to fume for a moment silently when Frank starts to fight back and he takes a single step forward before Frank and Jim both cool their heads. This is a hospital for Christ's sake. But Jim explains. And Dick's mind is already calculating.

Trajectory, position of the shooter, the skill and model of weapon required to pull off the shot, the direction the shot came from, the indented gravel of the set up.

When you're trained by the World's Greatest, the detective switch immediately turns on when something like this happens. "Sir." He tells Gordon when he greets him.

He runs his hands through his hair. He takes a deep breath. He gives a straight glare though at Frank when he states what he'll do if it is indeed because of him. "Pray it isn't." Dick is serious. Then, the Boy Wonder just sits down in the chair again, resting his head on his knuckles as he taps his foot repetitively on the floor.

* * *

This time, Frank just takes the impact of the ex-Commissioner's hands into his chest, rocking back into the wall again. It might leave bruises, but he's had worse — far worse. He takes in the rough, quavering words from Jim, and his eyes widen slightly, a little tic touching just beneath one eye. Frank's left hand tightens, but more worryingly, his right index finger gives a little twitch, as if yearning for a trigger to pull. "So you were the target? You and what-the-fuck-his-name-is? The new mayor?" Mayor-elect, technically. He looks down the hall in the direction the surgeon departed, his shoulders leaning in that direction, making his desire to go to Babs clear, but then he looks back to Dick, his gravelly voice sharp as broken glass, "Easy, kid. You can wait in fuckin' line." To kick his ass if he's to blame. Focusing back on Jim, he draws in a ragged breath, "She's… they said she's gonna live though." Focus on the only lifeline leading out of a spiral — twice in two years is something Frank would not come back from.

* * *

"We haven't found the shooter," is all Jim says to Frank's question. It's a cop's answer — there's no speculation, no guesses. There's no evidence. Jim does not seem content to sit, so he stays standing even as Dick sinks into a chair. He glances to the pair of them, frowning. At some point, he'll remember that both of the these two men are here because of their connection to Babs, but for now, he just focuses on Frank's words.

"She's alive." There's a silent for now unsaid.

Hours pass. At some point, Harvey Bullock comes by with coffee. He lingers just long enough to shoot Castle a few looks, grunt something at Dick, and then give Jim the hardest shoulder squeeze ever recorded.

At the eight hour point, the surgeon finally returns with his news. Babs is in recovery. They were able to stop the internal bleeding. As for the spine? It isn't good news. Someone will be by to give Jim more information.

That's all given in a stream before the three are shown to post-op where they are then shown to a room. Jim goes in first, leaving Dick and Frank in the hallway.

* * *

"If its on you, I'll make it easy for everyone else." Dick retorts to Frank, staring daggers into his eyes. There's a million threats that Dick could give. Make sure he never pulls a trigger again, paralyze him from the neck down, poison him in his sleep…but thats childish at this point. He's not here to spit words at Frank, so Dick just falls into silence. When Bullock arrives, Dick just gives a nod his way.

Then of course, there's someone to lead them to the Post-operation room. Dick takes a breath, but he lets Jim go in first. Post-surgery can be tough on the mind, only a few people in at a time. But he stands there. His hands are clenched so tightly his palm will probably start bleeding in a second. She's alive, thats what matters.

He'll go in after Jim.

* * *

Frank snorts at Dick's threat, already pulling out his phone, "GAARD, start trackin' contracts out." It's not exactly 'hey Siri,' but he doesn't give more information, not there in the hallway outside the waiting room. Harvey gets a nod despite the looks shot in his direction — once you've ridden in a man's car, you know him, even if he's never actually exchanged words with Uncle Harvey. "Detective." There, that's one word exchanged.

Frank Castle, however, is not good at waiting. He paces back and forth in the hallway, he scowls at Dick, he scowls at the doors the surgeon went, he scowls at the doors he came in, he scowls at his phone. He also murmurs to it now and then, reading information from the screen as it chimes and beeps. At one point he slams his fist into the wall alongside one of the doors, flexing his fingers as he does his best to shake off the frustration. When the surgeon returns, Frank turns on him, his frustration at a boiling point. He starts forward on Jim's heels, and then realizes that Dick is doing the same. Anger flickers over his features, but he pulls up, reaching to grasp Dick's shoulder and stop the other man as well, nodding to Jim's back. The delay distinctly does not help his mood that he's in.

* * *

Frank and Dick are left waiting outside for just another thirty minutes before Jim finally steps back out. He looks more threadbare, tired. He doesn't even look up at the pair as he intones that he will be going to find Barbara something to eat. The door is left slightly ajar for the pair with the dull, rhythmic beeping of medical machinery inside.

The room is dim both in light and ambiance. Rain pelts the windows in a soft staccato, and shadows stretch long into the room from the lights outside. Barbara lays on the inclined bed, hooked up to all kinds of machines that track her vitals and connect her to an IV bag. One hand is curled around a little trigger connected to the morphine, but she hasn't clicked it yet.

She's duller — hair a muted orange-red, skin a pallid freckling. Her cheek is scraped up from where her face hit the sidewalk ('Lucky she didn't crack her skull,' someone had told Jim). She's staring out at the window with the residue of tears on her cheeks. A heavy blanket is laid across her lap and lower limbs, and she rubs at the side of one leg absently.

* * *

When Frank puts a hand on Dick's shoulder, He stays where he is, almost as if ignoring the hand. He lets the door close in his face, and his forehead just drops against it. His breath is shaky, though he does move his hand to push Frank's hand off his shoulder. He moves away from the door then, hands on his hips as he stands there for a moment. Not pacing, not moving. But then Jim walks out and tells Dick and Frank about what he's going to do. "10-4." He tells Jim, taking a breath and getting out of the former commisioner's way. Since the door was left partially open, Dick opens the door now.

and NOW he enters. He should've been respectful of the father before, but…Dick's on instinct right now. Fear mode 101. He enters the room and slowly approaches Barbara, giving more than enough room for Frank to maneuver and probably just bump past him if he's in a rush. She looks awake…if but extremely heartbroken. either that, or its just the kneejerk reaction to the pain.

"Hey."

* * *

Frank doesn't linger with his hand on Dick's shoulder any longer than necessary. He doesn't want that connection any more than the other man does. Where the former acrobat stays still, the veteran Marine paces, and paces angrily. He checks his phone a couple more times, responding briefly to whatever information the AI connected to it has for him, but mostly he scowls at the door Jim went through, the door with Babs on the other side of it. When it finally opens, he steps aside for Jim to depart, actually reaching out to clasp the older man's shoulder for a moment. He knows the pain that Jim's going through, or at least some version of it. His hand touches his chest again, the chain that hangs beneath his shirt, and that delay allows Dick to get into the recovery room first. Frank does step aside to flank the redhead, circling around the far side of the bed as Dick claims the near side. No matter his clear frustration at the other man being present, he apparently doesn't want to start a shoving match here in Barbara's hospital room. Instead, he circles quickly to Barbara's side and reaches for her hand, leaning in to press a kiss to her forehead. "You're gonna…" his gravelly voice chokes to a halt. She's not going to be alright, not if the report from the Surgeon is accurate. "I'm here. We're here."

* * *

It takes Barbara a half-second too long to look at Dick. When she does, it takes her even longer to focus on him. The hand around her morphine button loosens and clenches, but still doesn't tap. She takes in a shallow breath that exhales with a watery smile. "Hey," she says, voice hoarse. "You guys just lining — "

Then her words fail her, and she looks at Frank. For him, her expression tightens with a desperate attempt to hold it together. Her lip quivers slightly as Frank comes in to take the hand trying to create sensation against the side of her thigh. She curls her fingers around his. Her eyes close as he kisses her forehead. "I know." Then, she licks at her lips as she looks back to Dick. "Dad told me. He tried to dance around it, but he's got two left feet. So, if we could all not also dance around it, I'll feel a lot better." Her lips tighten, and again her thumb brushes over the pain-killer button, but doesn't compress it.

* * *

She is definitely not okay.

Understandably so. Dick doesn't give Barbara the sob story. Thing is, she's really freaking smart and understands reality when it hits like a bus. Telling her she'll be fine is a falsehood to someone who's been in the field and mobile for a long time now. He doesn't come close to the bed to give the lovebirds their time. But Dick is almost seething with rage.

He keeps it buried though, like a certain member of the Bats.

"You know I'm bad at dancing." Dick tries to be humorous, but it will probably fail. Not the time. "Its bad." He tells it to her straight. But since she already knows…

* * *

The squeeze at his fingers is a relief, some reassurance that the fighter is still inside Barbara's broken body. He looks up to Dick at the other man's joke, then turns his attention right back to Babs, "We don't know shit yet." Another look to Dick, a bit of a scowl behind the words that follow, "We ain't gonna know shit for a while." His jaw tightens, and his eyes close for a moment before turning to settle on Barbara's, "I know guys," his words trail off, demonstrating that he's as bad as Jim Gordon at this sort of thing, "they got some good shit, Babs. PT, chairs, vans, all that shit. Whatever you need." He's been with subordinates who had this sort of news delivered to them before, but this is different. It's a lot harder. GAARD chimes in his pocket, but he ignores her, focusing on her creator instead, "There's gonna be someone here the whole time." It would probably be more comforting if he'd said he was going to be here the whole time. But like Dick, his fury is boiling just beneath the surface, he hides it a lot worse, his cheeks twitching and jaw clenching, and it needs a constructive outlet before it finds one that's less constructive.

* * *

It's bad. Her eyes close briefly as she rests her head back against the pillows. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, she nods. Then she licks at her lips again, constantly feeling their dryness despite the moisture on her tongue. Frank's rage draws her attention back to him, and with a strange if not steely calm, she tells him, "We know enough." Now Barbara starts to smile, but it doesn't make it to her eyes. "I know." Her voice is a bit less steady, tears swimming through her eyes. "Frank. I know." She starts to sit up, like she might be ready to comfort Frank as much as she needs comfort, but pain shoots up her spine and she collapses back with barely strangled noise of agony. She finally compresses a button, and her eyes droop closed.

Then she takes a breath through her nose, turning toward Dick. "I need you to check on Dinah, okay? I haven't heard from her yet, and she might already be out taking matters into her own hands."

* * *

Dick looks at Frank when he tells everyone they don't know anything for sure yet, but Dick shakes his head. Dick and Barbara at Bats. Its their job to know when shit gets bad, or at least bad enough that they need to take a minute. Dick keeps his attention on Barbara as she speaks, his attention on her as he approaches her bedside and puts a hand on the railing of her hospital bed.

"Thats my next stop after this, I just needed…" he takes a breath. "To make sure you were still alive."

* * *

Frank's other hand goes up to Barbara's shoulder as she tries to sit up, but the pain of the recent surgery is already doing his job for him, and instead he ends up with one hand clasped tight in his, and one hand on her shoulder. He nods slowly to her, glancing over his shoulder as she speaks to Dick. His lips press together a moment, but he nods, his eyes narrowing in thought for a moment. He glances to the nearest window, then nods again, settling something in his head. "You need rest, Babs. I might be out and about a bit," he's definitely going to be out and about a bit, "but someone'll be here. And," his throat tightens a little, but he pushes on, "I ain't goin' anywhere." It's a long-term promise, not a short-term one.

* * *

Barbara presses a tight smile at Dick's words. "Alive," she reassures him, but her throat is tight around the word. Pain still reflects in her eyes as she tries to relax, to settle, even while the morphine floods her bloodstream. Her eyes close for a moment, face going a bit more slack. Then she takes in a sharp breath through her nose before she looks back to Dick. "Someone was gunning for Dad and March. I'm sure of it, Dick. Maybe it's connected to the fire." Another unsolved case on the Birds of Prey crime board. She licks slightly at her lip. Then her attention drifts back to Frank. Maybe those words to Dick were the last ones she could get in before the fog starts to settle again. She nods slightly. "I'm going to rest," she says, paired with his words.

* * *

Dick keeps his full attention on Barb. "Yeah." he takes a breath. "I'll figure it out. For now, just-" yeah, rest. He chuckles for a bit. He reaches down to give her forearm a gentle squeeze. "Don't worry, everybody will do their part to keep the place clean." until she gets back in action, anyway…which won't be for a hot minute. After that though, Dick closes his eyes. "Text if you need me. I'll visit when I have a lead." and with that, Dick makes his way out of the room, not even telling Frank goodbye.

Because now he was on a mission.

* * *

…after he checks on Dinah, of course.

* * *

The fire. Right. Another thing for Frank to track down. Now that Babs has mentioned the possibility of a connection. There's so much to do… but what he needs to do right now, what Babs needs him to do, is stand there with her while the morphine floods her system, while her senses go mushy and she drifts into unconsciousness. It's the one thing that hurts the most to do, the inaction of it. He looks over to Dick, eyes hard, features set. "Good luck." It's rasped out, and then he focuses his attention on Barbara as she fades from consciousness, settling in awkwardly there with his back to the window, facing the door. He lets his hand slide down from her shoulder, clasping her hand in both of his, and waits. Impatiently. Anxiously. Letting the crackle of anger in his belly turn into a blaze. There is going to be pain to dish out when someone else is there to sit or stand at Barbara's bedside.

* * *

Barbara has drifted asleep — or perhaps unconscious is a better term. Her fingers still close around Frank's hand, even if her grip is softened. Good news for Frank, Jim will be along soon enough to unknowingly let the Punisher out into the Gotham City streets.

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