On-Time Departure
Roleplaying Log: On-Time Departure
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Babs and Frank leave for Hong Kong.

Other Characters Referenced: Tony Stark
IC Date: February 27, 2020
IC Location: Gotham to Hong Kong
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 28 Feb 2020 05:54
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: None
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Morning light streams in through the broad windows of Barbara Gordon's Burnside penthouse apartment. With her salary at Stark Unlimited, she could have scored a impressive apartment anywhere in the Tri-Cities, but Babs has chosen to stay in Burnside—a Burnside that is becoming its own hipster gentrified new-tech neighborhood with each passing day. Downstairs, the old convenience store is now a coffee house with local beans and in-house pastries; it neighbors a pretty amazing taphouse that includes a burger menu that is to die for. On the corner is a new consignment store that offers some of the best secondhand clothes in town, and that is just within walking distance to Babs's Gotham digs.

The girls have parted ways, leaving the apartment empty save for when Frank comes in to town. Empty save for Alaska, who has curled up on Barbara's shins as if he knows those unfeeling limbs still need his warmth. Sometimes, she thinks she can even feel his weight—perhaps just a ghost memory. As if to aide this whole illusion, Max has also taken up refuge against her legs, back pressed along the outside of her thigh, occupying the space Frank had exited not too long ago. She's sitting up in bed, computer on her lap as she answers emails and does some remote work with the labs in Metropolis. Her large, fashionable glasses are nudged up with her palm.

Frank comes back from the elevator, jerking a thumb over his shoulder as he comes back into the room, "Van's out front. Not too late for me to ask Curt to watch Max. It ain't that I don't trust your friend to check on 'em…" it's just that he didn't see Max and Alaska coexisting for several weeks while he was mysteriously gone gallavanting around the fucking Arthurian legends. Look, Frank's life has gotten weird at times. He stops in the door of the bedroom, leaning his shoulder against the doorframe and looking over the nerdy picture that presents itself: Babs in her glasses hard at work, Max with his head perked up studying Frank, and Alaska entirely ignoring the interloper into his human's life. He pushes around the dark ring on his finger with his thumb, a hint of a smile touching his lips, "I'm 'bout ready to bring the bags down. You ready, Red?"

"Just let me… finish… this… email." Each pause in her words are met with more rapid finger-tapping against the keyboard; then she taps her keypad and off that email goes. She looks down at the pile of fur that is keeping her from easily getting up, and she huffs out a soft breath. "I don't know… do I look ready?" She gestures broadly out at the pets. Then she closes up the laptop and tucks it into the backpack beside her pillow. She has been mostly packed since last night, and this is just the last bit of work before they leave. So, she's giving Alaska a valiant shove before she throws aside the blanket and starts her shifting and lifting to get herself situated. She reaches for her chair, pulling it around so she can get herself into it. She's then handing her backpack to Frank so he can get it onto the back of the chair.

Frank nods patiently as she types, making a slow circling 'yeah yeah, come on' gesture with one hand. But it's good-natured, and he shakes his head, "No, you don't. You look like you're thinkin' 'bout stayin'." Nodding slightly, he adds, "But I know you are, Red." A little pat on his thigh causes Max hops off the bed to come get some ear scritches from Frank, and gives Babs the space to get herself off the bed without Frank 'interfering' to help. He crouches down to give Max the love he so desires, and then looks up again as she shifts around in her chair, nodding, "Now you look ready." Tucking his head against Max's for a moment, he stands up and takes the backpack, hanging it in place, "Don't eat the cat, boy."

"I'll be okay once I get there, Frank… I just wish Tony could have done this." That is, representing Stark Unlimited at some melding of the minds with tech industries all around the world. But, Barbara Gordon is going instead. Any other day, she would have pointed out that she has priorities—an entire city to protect. But she's not Batgirl. Cassandra is. Between Casandra, Dinah, and Helena, and the rest of the Bat Family, she's not needed. Not really. "You ever flown international before?" She pushes her chair forward, but just enough to be stopped by Max for all the love in the world, rubbing around his ears affectionately. "I'll miss you. Don't let the girls get you fat. We still have a lot of work to do." Then she kisses the top of his head. "And don't eat the cat." Max's tail wags emphatically.

"Pretty sure from what you've said and I've seen on TV, Tony ain't gonna do nothin' that he don't have to." And then Frank adds grudgingly, "Besides try an' save the world." But then she asks if he's ever flown internationally before, and he laughs dryly, shaking his head in amusement, "Uh… yeah, Red. I mean, it's always been on a C-17 or a C-5, so I guess that ain't quite the same, but yeah. Had to get to the 'Stan somehow." He points to Max to emphasize the instructions from Babs, giving the dog one last pet, the cat one last nod, and then heads out of the bedroom to collect their bags, slinging his own duffel and gathering her bag as well, "Feels strange not to be bringin' a seabag with me. Guess it's a good thing my girl's really good on the computer, or I wouldn't be able to make it through the airport." Turning back toward her, he spreads his arms a little, showing off his plain jeans, combat boots, hoodie, and canvas jacket, "this ain't gonna get too much attention, is it?"

Barbara's smile softens, and she exhales her next words with a laugh, "Yeah. He definitely chooses his actions very wisely." There's a touch of casual dryness there. Then she is wheeling forward with a push that glides, and she turns — almost drifts to a stop by the door while she waits for Frank. The presentation—the spread of his arms and glance along his body—has her smiling warmly. "You look like a New York boy about to go on an international adventure." She then wheels closer to him, tilting her head up while pushing her body up just a couple inches to invite him to lean down to her, to kiss her. She murmurs softly up to him, "Gets my attention." Then she smiles with a hint of mischief once their kiss is done. "Come on. We got a plane to catch."

"Good." Frank responds easily to her push, one hand slipping beneath her arm to help support that rise so that he can share that kiss, to follow it up with a press of his brow to hers. He scoffs a little at her mischievous words, "Pretty sure that ain't the point, not on an international flight." Of course, being Frank, he doesn't have a carry-on, just a heavy paperback shoved in one pocket. "So I get why you gotta go, but why'd you end up decidin' to go?" Because someone from Stark Unlimited having to go is different from Barbara Gordon agreeing to go. He gives her chair a little nudge, reaching past to open the door so that he can follow after her.

One thing that Barbara Gordon has let go in the months since her accident is Frank's chivalry. She lets him open doors, even lets him guide her now and then; the physical labor of her different-ableness is taxing, even if she knows, with time, that will become less of an encumbrance. She pushes along once they are in the short hallway that leads to the lift. His question hovers there between them before Babs reluctantly admits, "White River Nanogenics is presenting on hybridization of nanites and nerve cells that might be able to bypass acute spinal injuries." Like hers. "They're starting early trials on individuals who are either still in recovery or have injuries that haven't fully scarred." Also like hers. "I wanted to ask their research and development lead about that team's research, and maybe," she sucks in a breath, "see if he could do something for me." Her gaze flickers down as they enter the elevator. "So, selfishness… that's why decided to go."

Despite his best intentions, Frank starts to glaze over at 'hybridization of nanites,' because he's just not that guy. But 'spinal injuries' snaps his attention right back, and his eyes widen slightly beneath his heavy brows, and he listens very intently indeed. "Then it's a good idea to go." He pushes the button for the ground floor and leans back, studying her intently. "That ain't selfishness, Red. That's takin' advantage of an opportunity." Shifting the duffel pinned between his back and the wall, he frowns thoughtfully, "So you see if this treatment'll let you walk again, an' if it can't, you let 'em study you too so maybe it'd help someone else."

"Pretty much." Babs glances over her shoulder to him. "Either way, it might mean something… in the end. Or it might mean nothing and I can just do some glad-handing for Stark Unlimited and go home back to the way things are now." A recently-acquired bitterness slips into her words, and then she swallows it down like bile into her belly. She takes in a sharp breath, tightening her shoulders back. "So, we're going to China." She smiles up at him after a moment, and the ding of the elevator opens up into the simple foyer of her apartment building. She pushes out into the hall, and then toward the ramp that takes them out the door and outside. "And I'm ready to see something other than Chicago or the Tri-Cities, too."

"Hey. Knock that shit off." If anyone can recognize bitterness, it's Frank Castle. He takes his hand off her luggage to squeeze her shoulder, "The way things are is pretty good. You got your shit with the girls, I got my shit, an' we got each other." Even if she can't walk or use her legs at all. When the door dings open, he lets her shoulder go and takes up the luggage again, following after her and not even trying to race her to the automated door. "I know. You an' your wanderlust." It's said fondly, "You sure we couldn't get a connectin' flight through the Big Easy so you could get some beignets?" Now he's just teasing her, as dry as it is. "I… uh, I brought nice clothes, in case you wanted me to come with. But if it'd be better me sittin' back, doin' the guy-in-the-chair thing…" something about Frank Castle being The Guy in the Chair is hilarious, but he seems earnest about the offer, "…you're gonna have to gimme some pointers."

Babs wheels out on the sidewalk before she pushes her chair to where the van is parked in the handicap spot. She spins back to him easily, wheeling backwards now like a pro. "You know, maybe we can come back through New Orleans… make this into a real adventure." Then she stops just short of the door into the van. Her smile warms at the news that he brought nice clothes, and she tilts her head to one side. "Yeah? That suit you got with Luke?" She reaches out toward him with one hand, drawing him closer to him as she looks up. "You should be there with me as much as you want to be, Frank. You're just going to have to remember that you're Pete while we're there."

"The one I got before Christmas." The off-the-rack one that he wrecked in the kitchen. "I got it fixed up." Frank shakes his head as she wheels backwards ahead of him, "Showoff." Still, he catches up her hand, closing on her as they reach the fancy black minivan taking them to the airport — another Stark Unlimited perk. "I'll be there then. And," his own bitterness soaks through a little, splashing about as he admits, "I'm gettin' a little used to the mask." The door opens from the inside, and he stretches that mask across his features, spreading them into a little grin, "Alright, Babs. Let's get you on up there, and I'll haul my ass in too after I put this shit in the back." Even Pete gets to curse, thankfully. After a moment, he adds, "Pretty sure Luke don't get to buy his suits off the rack. Dude's gotta get 'em made to order."

"Hey. Knock that shit off." There's a wryness in the quip, and it accompanies a gentle, and understanding smile. "I know, Frank… I know." Then she is smiling at the driver who has come around to help the pair into the van. She reaches up to Frank so he can help get her up out of her chair, because the chair will get folded and put in the back. Once Frank hauls her up, they get into the van without much trouble; though, Babs lingers just long enough to give kiss on his slim, but somehow soft bow of his lips. Then she leans back to brush her nose against him. "Come on. Now the boring part— getting to the airport and through security." She squints at him. "You kept all your conspicuous toys at home, right?"

"Yes ma'am." Frank sets down the luggage, opening his mouth when the driver collects the two bags, but subsiding. He's clearly not used to having 'help.' Instead, he scoops Babs out of the chair and carries her into the van, kneeling down so that he can get her settled into one seat of the middle row. Guess he's not going to have to go around back with the luggage. His eyes close at the touch of her lips to his, and he lets out a little breath, rocking his head forward to press his brow to hers. He digs the book out of his pocket so that he can sit down comfortably in the seat next to her. The question causes him to grunt sour agreement, muttering, "I feel fuckin' naked."

It takes time to make it to Gotham International even when you're in a car with someone else driving, but eventually they pull up and the driver even manages not to laugh when Frank folds a couple of bills up in his hand to slide him a tip. Stark Unlimited covered the tip too, of course, but… well… some guys. For all his worry, Pete Castiglione makes it through security with no problem — keeping his head down and being polite but not too polite really helps with not drawing attention. "So where we goin', Babs?" Because Frank has learned — as himself and as Pete — to trust Barbara to make plans just just follow along, improvising (violently) as needed.

It helps when your girlfriend is in a wheelchair and is Gotham's favorite daughter—or at least Law Enforcement's favorite daughter. She knows about a third of those working the TSA counter and lines, and she engages in easy conversation. It distracts them from Frank, perhaps because Jake Toreldo already ran down the records on Pete Castiglione. Good thing Barbara Gordon is an A+ hacker, considering Pete also just passed security and will not even get stopped in customs once they get to China. Now they are in the terminal, where the air is a bit more relaxed and they can talk freely again.

"Hong Kong." Babs pushes her chair alongside Frank, keeping pace with him. "It will take us about sixteen hours to get there." She glances up to Frank with a wry smile. "Stark tried to get me to take a private plane, but I wanted to at least feel like I'm doing this like a normal person. So, we got First Class instead." Which is not at all like a normal person, considering international flights are almost like being in a flying, high-end hostel. She shakes her head as they push their way toward the end of the terminal. "You might need another book."

Frank's honestly not used to showing his passport when he goes anywhere. It's a new experience, and it's a distinctly uncomfortable one, his feet shifting while the TSA agent looks it over and checks over his downcast eyes. The chatter from Barbara definitely helps, and it loosens some of the tension in Frank's shoulders as well. He chuckles at the first response, "I mean, I know that, Babs." Evidently, Pete doesn't use 'Red' as much. "I meant private terminals or…" he glances up at the reader board and then points to the appropriate concourse. "Yeah. I looked at first class tickets once." For a trip he never took with Maria. "Pretty sure normal people can't afford 'em." He chuckles, settling behind the wheelchair to push her along for a little while. Might as well take advantage of the fact that he doesn't have a carry-on, "I'll get some shut-eye. An' I figure that even if you're gonna be nose-deep in your computer, I can entertain myself." If he only knew. "You don't gotta worry 'bout me, Babs." Except for getting himself hurt or killed doing something insanely dangerous.

"We haven't been normal people for a long time, baby." It is odd using a diminutive with Frank, but she tries it on to see if it fits. Babs hasn't decided yet. But she smiles wryly up at him from her chair, rolling back and forth while he checks over the terminal board, then he takes over pushing her along, and she doesn't put up a fuss. Soon enough, they're going to transfer her to another chair, and she will have to leave this one to be put down in the belly of the plane. "You mean you don't want to see if we can be as quiet as we can in the little not-rooms they put us in?" She's teasing of course, though she waits for his reaction with an up-tilt of her chin. Then they are arriving at the gate, and there is just five short minutes until the call for first class seating.

Frank gives her a little side-eye at the term of endearment, then snorts and shakes his head. But he doesn't complain. Her teasing causes him to choke a little, looking down at her and narrowing his eyes, "Don't tempt me, Red." The words are quiet enough that he doesn't feel the need to skip the nickname. Still, he lets out a little breath and shakes his head, "They really have little rooms? Or not-rooms? Huh." Look, not many people out of Hell's Kitchen get to fly international first class. At the gate, Frank sets the brakes on the super-chair, but he doesn't pick Babs up to shift from one chair to another. Instead, he just kneels down between the two and offers an arm so that she can transfer herself. He's going to let her demonstrate her own strength in public.

"Babe? 'Babe' feels better than 'baby.'" Then Babs slows at the gate, glancing aside to Frank at his narrowed look; she's still grinning, but there's a hint of pink just at the height of her cheeks. Then she is shaking her head at his actual question. "They're like little… I don't even know how to describe them. The seats can be folded down into a bed, and there's a privacy door. But the walls are thinner than your boot soles." She drifts from this topic for now, and instead worries about the chair transfer. She huffs out a short breath as they move from her super-chair to the more mundane airport chair. Her show of strength is mighty, because she gets to the chair with little help at all even with Frank's arm offered out to her. She settles into it, and finally inhales again. She casts a smile up at the attendant, and then to Frank. Their conversations are on pause while they wait for that call, and then they are headed down the jet way and onto the enormous, comfortable plane. It is mostly empty since Babs gets first dibs with her disability. The attendant rolls her to their seats, and as described, it is a pair of seats, nestled together, in what looks like the private car of a train, but brighter with its semi-translucent doors and pair of oval windows. The seats are in the upright position, and Babs claims the window-side seat.

Frank shrugs a little at Babs's question, then nods a little, accepting it that 'babe' is better than 'baby.' The description of the 'seats' draws an impressed grunt, "I've had quarters worse'n that." He glances down at his boot-soles, but doesn't respond immediately. One hand shifts from the chair to Barbara's shoulder as they weight, just resting there to have that connection. Now that they're through security, he glances around, watching the people around them. They descend the jetway, and the closeness of the location sets an itch between Frank's shoulderblades, something he tries to shrug off. Looking at the little cabinette, Frank shakes his head. Even prepared as he was, it's a shock, "Jesus Christ." There's some disgust there, even if he's going to be very glad to have a place to rest quietly over sixteen hours. He mostly stays out of the way when she gets into the seat, and then tucks their things away and settles in alongside her, his knees splaying aside a little before he leans over to help her adjust her unfeeling legs to a position that won't twist them up. It finishes with a press of his lips to her temple, a brief affection before he settles in to watch the passengers coming onboard from beneath his lowered brows.

"Told you," Babs says casually in the face of his mild disgust. To perhaps Frank's surprise, she doesn't immediately take out her laptop. She settles into the chair now that her legs are tucked out of the way. A fuzzy blanket is draped over her legs, keeping them warm as if she might feel the chill. She leans her head back a bit, looking more out the window than at the passengers that pass them by. It is a wide-range of people. Some young, some old, quite a few families, but also a handful of singles.

One has a large black backpack that bumps awkwardly into the person behind him when the cluster of passengers stops. He glances behind him with a grunt, narrowing his eyes — or eye, considering one is just a solid white orb of a glass eye — at the kid who he bumped. "Watch it," he growls under his breath, and the girl — maybe eleven — huffs out a breath with a fearless narrowing of her own eyes. The flight attendant who is just behind the girl gives her shoulder a nudge. "It's alright. It's busy in here," she reassures her as they walk past.

Frank's the type who doesn't buckle his seatbelt until the last minute. He glances to Babs, waiting for the computer to come out, but it doesn't, and after a moment, he reaches out with his left hand to take her right. Most of the passengers get only a passing glance, his attention dropping away again, but there are a few people who catch his attention, including the bigshot and his clear bodyguard sitting behind them and across the aisle, a lean woman who moves with just a little too much violent confidence, and the asshole with the glass eye and the black backpack. What's the best way to Frank Castle's heart? A strong young woman standing up to someone bigger than her. He gravels quietly, "You could take 'im," and then gives a faint shrug with an amused smile. "One knuckle," he makes a fist, one knuckle extended to demonstrate, "inside the thigh, then go for the throat." It's good advice, but also terrible advice.

The girl looks up at Frank, and she flashes him a broad smile. It's an easy grin that comes to a girl who is undoubtedly fearless; she still has a bit of dirt on her nose as if to prove it. The flight attendant moves her along a bit hastily past Frank, leaving Babs smiling in amusement at the man. "You are really great at making friends," she murmurs to him. Then the rest of the passengers get onboard, and there's the clear sounds of the plane getting ready for takeoff.

Another flight attendant comes through with hot moist towels and offers of drinks. Babs just gets a coffee without the cream, but extra sugar. Then the attendant, without asking first, closes the privacy panel on their little cabinette. Babs puts her coffee in a cupholder. Then she stretches, using her hands to adjust her hips legs with a slight roll of her hips; it is there that Babs has held onto the most mobility, and where she has focused on her strength. "Do we set a timer?" She flashes him a smile. "Sixteen hours and counting."

"Guy doesn't have to be an ass," Frank explains to Barbara, squeezing her hand. "Coffee, black, ma'am." Taking his hand back from Babs, he collects the cup and then blinks as the privacy screen is closed on them. "Guess she thinks we're gonna hit the mile high." She mentions a timer and shakes his head, "Jesus no. We set a timer, I'm gonna keep lookin' at it and know how much longer I'm gonna wait. That'd drive me fuckin' crazy." Adding a little more coffee to his caffeine system, and then sets the cup down on the little tray in front of him. "You wanna know just how much longer we got down to the second, don't you?" The shift of her hips draws his attention, and he shrugs a half apology, going quiet as he listens to the sounds outside, gauging just how sound-muffling the privacy screen is.

Babs angles an amused look up at Frank. But she doesn't say anything at first as she enjoys the first few sips of what is a surprisingly good cup of coffee. She savors it, holding the hot cup between both her hands. Then she shakes her head. "You can't hit the mile high until we're a mile high, Frank Castle." She murmurs his full name without much worry about someone overhearing them. She doesn't set a timer, though she does lean forward a bit to take out her phone, setting it down alongside her cup in the little holder that they have along the fuselage wall. She rests her head back now. "I actually am good not knowing, just enjoying the flight. I haven't been on a plane in a long time." She doesn't catch his look, too busy looking out the windows.

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