The Punished Punisher
Roleplaying Log: The Punished Punisher
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Frank brings Max down to visit Dinah and Babs, even though he shouldn't be moving.

Other Characters Referenced: Matt Murdock, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Tony Stark
IC Date: January 08, 2019
IC Location: Lance House, Gotham
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Jan 2019 04:04
Rating & Warnings: R for language
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's 2:30 before Frank and Max arrive at the Lance-Gordon household, but at least Frank sent a text to them both at quarter-to that simply read, 'Be a bit late. Getting a taxi.'

The reason for said taxi (besides the presence of the dog) becomes clear when it pulls up in the driveway and Frank hauls himself out ever-so-slowly. While Max pulls on his leash and tugs this way and that, investigating all the new smells, Frank limps slowly from the taxi toward the front door, keeping his right leg as straight as possible as he does. He winces as he pulls his backpack up onto one shoulder, and his heavy features are home to several gnarly bruises too, including a black eye and a bruise that extends from there down over his cheek. There are several small slashes here and there on his face and hands — in short, he looks beat to shit, more beat to shit than either of the women have seen him, including after he and Owen took on the Whispers and got their asses handed to them. Still, he smiles a little as he approaches the house, lifting his leash-holding right hand up slightly in greeting, his left arm tucked in close to his chest.

* * *

Dinah's sitting in what could generously be described as a parlor, her blonde hair visible in the bay window that faces the walkway to the property. The house is a vain struggle against the encroachment of denser urbanization, apartments rising and a train trestle within eyesight of the front yard. It's at least far enough away that she doesn't have the E-train rattling past her home in the wee hours.

The sound of the creaking gate gets her attention and Dinah twists in her seat to look at the person coming down the walk. "Huh. Hey, Frank's coming up the walk," she says. The blonde puts aside her cell phone, pausing the clip playing on it. "Looks like he brought Max!" She sounds quite excited by that prospect, getting smoothly to her feeet. "Guess I'll go let him in, huh?"

* * *

"Well, if he brought Max, you should definitely let him in!" The teasing call comes with taxi drives up, and Barbara is turning away from the upstairs window when the door pops open to let out Max and then Frank. She misses the first sights of him in his damaged limp, the way his gait betrays just how hurt he is. She is throwing a book in her duffel bag that is topped with clean clothes to restock her laundry in the Belfry, and then is turning to exit the bedroom so she can bounce down the stairs.

"We spoil that dog too much, Di, and Frank's not going to bring him back."

* * *

"Thanks, mom," Dinah grouses— but heads to the door and unlocks it. Old house, but good sturdy oak door with heavily reinforced framing means it takes a grunt of effort and a few tugs to open it for Frank. "Frank! C'mon in," Dinah says, beckoning him inside.

* * *

"Siiiit," Frank warns Max as Dinah tugs on the door open, the New Yorker not even having to knock on the door. He offers a half-bruised smile to Dinah — up close it looks like it might be a boot-print on the left side of his face — and then he looks down again, "Go for it, Max." And the dog practically leaps for Dinah's waist, whuffing and chuffing a welcome in between trying to lick her hands. Frank just lets go of the leash, hobbling past the threshold and taking in a slow breath as he lets the sheer 'hominess' of the house to sink in over him. "Dinah. Good to see you." The sound of boots coming downstairs draws his eyes in that direction, and he adds, "Babs."

* * *

"Maxers!" Dinah catches the dog and immediately tousles his ears with both hands, making kissy noises in his face. "Howsa boy, whoosa good boy?" She looks around the tiny stone-floored foyer with a frown. "Huh. I really should keep dog treats around here."

Wearing an oversized Boston College hoodie and gym shorts, Dinah's wandering around the house in her socks and with a scrunchie holding her hair back from her face. Clearly, a casual day here.

"Christ, Frank," she says, squinting at him. "You look like you got hit with a truck. Hope the other guy got worse in return. Drink?" she offers, uplifting her chin at the bar.

* * *

"Frank!" Barbara is taking those last few steps in easy bounding, and she takes three or so forward paces before she realizes that Frank is not in the same state she saw him last. Her expression changes into delight to a shocked look, color draining from her normally peach and warm expression. "Holy crap, Frank." She steps forward, letting Dinah handle Max in all his exuberance. She nods in agreement with Dinah. "You look — " As bad as I'm ever seen you is probably not complimentary. So, she swallows down her critical examination of Frank and instead looks to Dinah. "I'll get the frozen peas." You know the ones — the bags that were bought back in '08, and have only ever been used to ice injuries. They probably should replace those, or just pray that you remember which is the new bag and which is the old.

* * *

Max clearly adores the attention, his tail whapping Frank in the legs — and drawing a wince. There might be a few square inches of the man that don't hurt, but only a few. The dog whuffs again, clearly answering that he's a good boy, and he's just fine.

The reaction of the two women to his current state — and they can't even see the bandages under his stocking cap, wooly-pully, and jeans. At least his feet don't hurt in the new combat boots Babs got for him. "Don't worry, Babs, I got all stitched up, and Curt got the bullet out." There was only one still in him. He consider's Dinah's hope and question alike, "They were all alive when I left." By the grumble behind his gravelly voice, he's not entirely sure that this is a good thing, despite his claims to be trying to limit body count. He limps over to the couch, "And yeah, I'll take a drink. You gotta beer? Or am I goin' for the hard stuff?"

* * *

"Beer it is, but we can switch to bourbon if that doesn't do the trick." Dinah heads to the liquor cabinet while Babs heads to the kitchen. That's because the emergency meds are stored in the old glass-fronted bureau, and she comes up with a few un-labelled prescription bottles. A little printed tag indicates their contents and she walks over to Frank with a few in hand. "I've got Tylenol-3 and some cannabis extract," she says, setting both out next to him. "Friend from Canada sent them to me — " She abruptly holds an index finger imperiouisly in Barbara's direction, " — I know what you're going to say, don't even," she says, with a rueful chuckle. "We've got some spares laid in if you don't have some in your stash at home." She walks over to Frank and reaches out to tilt his head back so she can get a better look at the shiner he's sporting. "Are those *boot treads*?" she remarks, one eyebrow quirking upwards.

* * *

"Bullet?" The word escapes her in a sharp, startled snap. She didn't mean to say the word quite so loudly, and then she at least has the heart to look apologetic. The news just surprised her, that's all. And perhaps angered her a little, but that anger is not directed to Frank. She is turning back toward the kitchen to get the bags of peas, and only emerges a short time later with them and three beers. She sets the beers down on the table, and the bags of peas are handed to Frank so he can pick his worst of it. She says nothing about the cannabis.

The news that some of the bruises look like boot treads has Babs's expression shifting again into something deeply worried, and she sits down in a chair. "Frank, what happened?"

* * *

Max follows Dinah over to the drinks cabinet and then trots over to Babs as she comes back from the kitchen, shoulder-bumping her in an attempt to get some attention himself. Another dog might have flinched back from the loud word from Barbara, but Max doesn't, just sitting down and looking between the three humans.

Frank groans as he lowers himself onto the couch, pausing a moment as he's down, and then settling back. Probably some bruised or cracked ribs too. "I took some Advil on the way down." He winces as Dinah tilts his head up, "Yeah. Boot to the fuckin' head." He takes the peas in his right hand, and keeps lowering his head back, letting out a little hiss of breath as he sets the peas over his head. "Was lookin' for a third Hellraiser to talk to night before last." He shifts slightly in his seat, taking the beer bottle and twisting it off with his left hand — wincing of course as he does. "Found an ambush instead. Seven guys, six with automatic weapons, one with a demon skull." Actually, one of them was a woman, but they're all 'guys' to Frank. "Ex-military. Black Hawk for exfil." For pickup. He takes a sip of the beer, careful to avoid spilling with his head tipped back as it is, "Thanks, Dinah, but I don't do that shit." Cannabis, apparently. "Hornhead showed up too. Took down half of 'em." Maybe more. Things were confusing there for a while.

* * *

Dinah exhales levelly at Frank, waving off the explanation. "Who are you, Nixon?" she asks Frank. "It's a low dose of codeine and the cannabis is an anti-inflammatory. I know your Army guys are all about pushing through the pain," she says. Dinah reaches for a churchkey and helps de-cap the bottles in Barbara's hands. "But the cannabidiol will help reduce the inflammatory reflex and it'll improve your recovery time."

She swings her beer, and looks from Frank to Barbara and back. "What? Why do you think Michael Phelps smoked pot? It's safer for you than the beer is. Whatever," she says, waving it off. "Be in pain if it makes you feel better."

She moves to a massively oversized, high-back reading chair and folds her legs under her to sit on it. It was clearly meant for someone in her distant family who was Frank's height or better. "What's the word on the Hellraisers now?" she asks of Frank. Trying to distract him from the owies. "Did you drop #3 or are we expecting Cenobites for Valentine's Day?"

* * *

"Some are refuting being part of it," Barbara says automatically to the question about what a Hellraiser is. "That they're being framed." Though, by her tone, guilty until proven innocent in Babs's mind. Barbara watches Frank settle into himself, the way his wounds cause ache and pain through his body. She glances toward Dinah, and her expression is clear this is big. She clears her throat, exhaling softly as she does. "Dinah, Frank did covert-ops before he retired." She looks apologetic, knowing that this part of Frank's story has not been readily shared. "The guy who killed his wife and kids was Frank's commanding officer." When she looks back at Frank, her blue eyes are worried — and wearied. "Frank… is this maybe… could this be retaliation for Schoonover?"

* * *

"Still used to bein' piss-tested," Frank answers Dinah's question of who he is, but at least there's a little chuckle behind it. He pries his eyes up off the couch at the query from her, "What the hell's a Cenowhatsit? And fuck Valentine's Day." At least for this year. He gestures toward Barbara with his right hand at the first part of her explanation, "They're shitbirds, but I don't think they did Jennings' party. I don't think they do magic. Still pieces of shit though. With connections. The one I turned in died in custody. I didn't hurt him that bad." And then Babs is explaining more about his past. The mention of his wife and kids causes him to close the non-pea-covered eye and take another swig of his beer. But there's a question there, and he lets out a little breath, grudgingly noting, "Maybe. Figure it would've been sooner if it was. But maybe." He shifts slightly, his mind turning to the carefully-hidden CD in his apartment, but he keeps his mouth shut for now. "But I'm supposed to be here for doggy therapy. How's the new job, Babs?"

* * *

Dinah gives Frank a look that is skeptical and impressed. "You're shot, beat to hell, can't walk without limping, and *you're* here to help Barbara out with some puppy therapy?"

She's petting Max already without realizing it, and looks down at the dog. "Hey, you're terrible at this. Go cheer Barbara up," she scolds him. "She's the one with the stressy new job in the *corporate sector*," Dinah says, baiting Babs with her tone. "And I'm totally not at all envious."

* * *

"I'm not convinced it is magic," Barbara says in a low, almost absent-minded note. She's not sure what it is, but she's not convinced it is magic. She settles into the chair, resting forward with her weight of her elbows on her knees, hands collected her cheek and jaw in a gentle brace. She looks at Frank, steadily, watching the subtle changes in his expression. She sees some hint there, that perhaps he's holding something back. The change of subject helps with that suspicion. But, Frank keeps his mouth shut, she doesn't put pressure on it. Instead, she shrugs her shoulders slightly. "Not really started much beyond a couple days. There's still a lot of construction." Then she flicks a gaze toward Dinah, smiling at the casual denial of envy. "You want to come be my sexy lab assistant, Di?" Then she looks to Frank. "You should tell Dinah to let me pay her more rent. She won't accept it."

* * *

"People talkin' about guys hulkin' out, no mention of blue eyes, and talk of people gettin' chopped up in the hall? Sounds like magic bullshit to me." And then Frank looks back to Dinah, "I'm here to help Babs and you with some puppy therapy." He takes another slug of beer, then just lets it rest in his hand. "And Dinah'll let you pay just as much rent as she's comfortable with, Babs." He snorts, peeling open his non-pead eye to watch Dinah, "Besides, the commute'll kill your day so hard you won't be around to be worth rent. But maybe you can pick up dinner." He's watching the blonde, not the redhead, studying her reactions.

* * *

"I don't *need* puppy therapy, I'm completely fucking self-controlled," Dinah says, voice heavy with irony. She ruffles Max, then propels him towards Barbara. "There, go love on Babs," she scolds him.

"I don't need charity," she affirms, stubbornly. "Babs needed a place to stay and I had an empty bedroom. If she was a *booze moocher* who *brings weird guys home*," she says, leaning waaaay over to bait Barbara with theatrical overstatement, "then I might consider it."

She blows Barbara a kiss just so the redhead knows Dinah's teasing. "Plus, if anyone needs a sexy assistant, it's me. I've got a thousand pounds of topsoil to move from the shipping bay to the storage shed. All I'd do in a nerd lab is… I don't know. Play with beakers? I'd need glasses. I don't even *wear* glasses."

* * *

"There's all kinds of bullshit." Barbara looks toward Frank. "Let's not jump to assumptions, or then we're going to need to get some seriously new consultants… and I'm still trying to figure out what has the Whispers all warlocked up." She sighs out a breath before she offers out her hand to Max, and clucks her tongue. "Come here, boy… before Dinah starts putting peanut butter on my toes." Once Max has come here way, she starts to ruffle up his ears fondly. The comment about booze and weird men does cause her to shoot a glare her friend's way. Good naturedly.

Then she looks at Dinah with a half-wry smile. "Stereotyping much?" Though, if anyone is going to look like she belongs in a lab, it's going to be bespectacled Barbara Gordon.

* * *

Max looks up at Dinah with big, brown doggy eyes when he's ruffled and pushed, but he goes over to Babs willingly enough after that, swatting her knees with his tail as he tries to mooch some pets over there.

"Dinah, you're givin' charity right now if she ain't payin' rent." Beat pause, "And I know you ain't callin' me weird." Frank knows she's at least half talking about John. He shifts a little on the couch and grunts, "Just need bigger guns." That may be Frank's solution to everything. "You guys work the Whispers, Snow White'n I'll work the Ball. And I still don't believe Babs wears glasses."

* * *

"Babs has been my personal charity case since she was 17," Dinah tells Frank, with a lofty assurance. "*Someone* had to explain hair conditioner to her. She's also saved my life six or seven times since then, so it'd be bad karma to charge her rent."

Dinah leans sideways a few inches. "Also, we get free cable and wifi," she mutters, sotto voce. Frank gets a knowing nod.

"You think the Whispers and the Hellraisers might be in the same line of work?" she inquires, switching back to shop talk. "Or if not working together, then… competitors, maybe?"

* * *

Barbara looks up from squishing and ruffling up Max's face to narrow a glare at Dinah. "Excuse me, I've been your charity case?" Now it is her turn to be a bit ruffled, even if it is all in good teasing. She then shakes her head, looking down to hide her smile as she continues to show true affection with the dog.

The mention of the Hellraisers and Whispers working together has her frowning abruptly. She… hadn't thought about that. In fact, it distracts her from getting all annoyed at Frank. She glances to Frank, brows worked together. "Maybe…" She finally concedes.

* * *

Frank turns his one good eye between the two women, "Don't friends let each other feel in debt, do they?" That might even be for the both of them at once. The suggestion that the two gangs are working together draws a grunt, "Or the Whispers could've done the Ball and made it look like the Hellraisers to make them look like shit." Shifting in his seat, he adjusts his right leg, "Oh yeah. I got a new job. Line cook at Luke's." It's less important than their nighttime work, of course, but it's also good news, which is always part of doggy therapy.

* * *

Dinah just sticks her tongue out at Barbara's faux outrage. Thbbt. It's juvenile and immature, and never fails to provoke a laugh from the blonde.

She turns her attention to Frank, throwing back the rest of her beer with a few swigs. "Good for you. I expect free chili fries next time I swing through there," she tells Frank. "*good ones, too."

"I think it's prudent to look for criminal connections in weird places, is all," Dinah comments. "It might be nothing. It might be they've never heard of one another. But criminals in Gotham sometimes do some clever stuff. I'd feel better if we knew for sure the Hellraises and the Whispers never crossed paths."

* * *

"I'm just going to set up a direct deposit into your bank account, Dinah, and you'll have to try to shove cash or a check in my hand to make me take it back." The threat is said without real malice, but there's also something else there — buried. "Please, Di? I'll be making good money…" Don't make me beg to pay rent.

Then she breathes out a slow exhale, and finally takes a sip of her own beer. There's a small weight that gathers around her shoulders, and when she looks up toward Frank and Dinah, she frowns a bit. "You're not wrong," she says quietly to Di about the connections. She glances toward Frank slightly, then back to Dinah. "Guess we need to do our part and continue looking into the Whispers…"

News of Frank's job has her tilting her head toward him, and she smiles with an arch of her brows. "Frank! That's great. No more construction, and Luke already gets your whole Vest thing."

* * *

"I'll add that to the intel list," Frank grimaces. He's put in his two cents on the subject of rent, which is exactly two cents more than he should have. "Connections between the Whispers and the Hellraisers. Or any time the Whispers might've gone to New York." He rubs at the center of his forehead with the heel of his right hand, then works that hand, trying to work out the bruise there, "Yeah. It's good. Still gotta finish puttin' in the walk-in chiller and the stove." He grunts again, "And the menu. Chili-cheese fries are a good idea. Fryer and crockpot, that's good." He shifts his beer into his right hand again and drains off the last of it in a couple of heavy swallows, setting the bottle aside. "My whole Vest thing? That like your Cape thing and her," a nod to Dinah, "Mask thing? I'm still me when I've got the Skull on, Babs." He pauses a heartbeat, suddenly questioning some of his actions lately, then forges on, "Just usin' the rep."

* * *

"I don't have a 'mask' thing," Dinah retorts. "I just don't want criminal lowlifes knowing who I am. A mask helps."

"A little work's a good thing, Frank. Helps to keep things… grounded, I guess," she clarifies. Her nose wrinkles a little. "You know? Meet people. Remember that there's a fun side to life. Hook some friends up with some free chili fries. Man, now I'm hungry," she complains, to both of them. "Do we even *have* any fries? I'd settle for frozen tater tots."

* * *

"I added snaps to the cape," she adds casually. Then at Dinah's complaint about hunger, Barbara's eyes tick slightly toward Frank, and she holds a warm smile as she casually notes, "I think we have some Doritos in the pantry, Di. There's cheese in the fridge." Then she takes another swallow from her beer before she gets to her feet and more honestly complains that, "I'll preheat the oven while Dinah tries to convince the Punisher that maybe all he needs is a boys night out." AS she heads for the kitchen, she asks Frank over her shoulder, "How are Jess and Luke doing?"

* * *

"If I got a Vest thing, you got a Mask thing and she's," Babs, "got a Cape thing, Dinah." Still, he nods to Barbara, "Decided on those after I pulled you down by the cape?" And then Babs mentions her culinary plans, and Frank groans, as if that pains him as much as his wounds do, "Oh fuck. Don't do that to me." There's another question there, though, and Frank shrugs his right shoulder, "They're doin' good. Doin' some investigatin' on their own outta town." That doesn't sound like a double entendre. At least not an intentional one. As Barbara heads for the kitchen, trailed eagerly by Max, Frank pulls himself upright and leans painfully forward, lowering his voice, "You gonna be okay when she's gone all day and just around to patrol, Dinah?" The concern is clear in his voice, even through the pain. "And don't give me the bullshit tough-girl response."

* * *

Dinah blinks at Frank's earnest concern. She glances after Barbara once, reflexively, processing his words before focusing on him again.

"Frank, I'm a big girl," she says, dryly. "This was a temporary thing 'cause of that mess in New York. It's not the first time we've had to crash together. I've also been living here by myself for like, five years. *I'm fine*," she assures him, quietly. "And Barbara is fine, too. 'sides, it's better to move out BEFORE WE START GETTING ON EACH OTHER's NERVES, BARBARA," Dinah says, raising her voice deliberately. Babs has sharp hearing and she's kinda nosy!

* * *

Okay, Barbara was listening in. Her fingertips touch her brow wearily as she stands near the oven, and then she sighs out a breath. She calls back toward the front room: "I'M NOT MOVING OUT." Then she finishes tapping in the temperature on the oven before she pads to get the frozen tater tots out of the freezer. With a doggo moving with her, she pops open the fridge and gets a hot dog from the opened container in the meat drawer. She passes it off to Max with a small smile. "Don't tell Frank."

* * *

"That's the one," Frank snarks dryly himself. Still, he nods, "Well, if you need anything, lemme know." He looks over at the kitchen at Barbara's call, "Nosy-ass Bat. No, you're just gonna be commutin' the whole time after workin' Stark hours. I'm assumin' Stark works crazy-ass hours. And sneakin' into a library you don't work at anymore to go crime-fightin' after workin' and commutin' all day." And then he slumps back on the couch with a grunt of pain, "No goddamn bacon for Max, Babs. And yeah, now I'll butt out."

Max devours the hot-dog with love and enthusiasm. He's not tellin' nobody nothin'. Except, you know, with his hot dog breath. And the way his tail is wagging a mile a minute.

* * *

Dinah rolls her eyes expressively. But the smile on her space speaks volumes about her current state of mind. "FINE! I DIDN'T WANT YOU TO!" she shouts back at Barbara. Her voice is a screeching pitch reminiscent of Every Brooklyn Couple having a shouting match with each other over something stupid. "ALSO WHERE ARE WE ON THOSE DORITOS?"

"Speaking of charity— you're in no position to be offering help, Castle," Dinah scolds Frank. "Don't worry about me and Babs. We're good," she says, holding up twined fingers. Tight. "You, on the other hand, need to stop living on Advil and Hot Pockets. Yeah, yeah, I know, 'painkillers make me slow'," she says, getting ahead of him. "I went to the Pan-Am gymnastics, twice," she tells Frank. "And once for international Judo. Painkillers are meant to help accelerate the healing process. Otherwise you're so twisted and inflamed that you start moving wrong and inflict *more* damage on your muscle groups."

* * *

Then Barbara appears in the threshold between the kitchen and dining room, leaning into the portal. She has her arms crossed, her expression lightly scowled. "Hey, Stark mentioned something about an inter-dimensional portal thingie." The thingie part is the real technical piece of language. "And he said I could do work from here if I wanted… I would just need to update the internet and probably take over another one of the spare bedrooms."

She hesitates a moment, and she looks at Dinah. There's a shared moment between redhead and blond, and then she looks back to Frank. "You're staying the night, Frank. We're not letting you travel all torn to hell, and my guess is you still got all those guns sleeping in your bed, so you're going to sleep in a goddamn bed, and if you even start saying no, I'm going to throw something at you." She thumbs to the kitchen behind her. "And I have lots of options of things to throw."

* * *

"Aw hell, I'm not offerin' money. Just someone to talk to. Hit things with." Frank pauses a moment and then admits, "After I'm not full'a holes." Still, he lets that die with a shake of his head, "But you guys are good, and you're gonna be good." He listens to Dinah's chastising, then chuckles a little dryly, "Yeah, you're a badass, and you've been hurt lots. I'm still takin' the advice of the best damned corpsman I've ever met." And he's met a lot of them in the line of duty. There's a pause, "But I'll keep takin' the painkillers. The little ones. Advil and shit." The shared look between the women bodes ill for Frank, and he knows it. He finally reaches up to pull the mostly-thawed peas off his face and toss them toward Barbara, wincing as he does. "There ain't guns on my bed anymore. They're in the closet." Beat pause, "And under the bed. And in the kitchen cabinet. And under the sink." Okay, he has a lot of guns. Studying the mouth-licking dog behind Barbara for a moment, he grunts, "Fine." He must be more hurt than he's pretending, if he's agreeing that easily. "But you get the nasty-ass farts from whatever the hell you just fed Max."

* * *

"Haha, busted," Dinah accuses Babs, gleefully. Of course she has Barbara's back the second she divines Barbara's intentions about Frank crashing in Gotham. Frank is, for all his faults, also Good People. A stay in a proper bed would do him good.

"Hey, if I can bill *Stark* for rent, I'll do it in a heartbeat," Dinah tells Babs. "He can throw me a few bills a month for a … uh, remote… lab… thingie." Hey, Dinah wasn't exactly a STEM major.

"Anyway. You can take my room for tonight," she tells Frank, tilting her head towards the master suite around the corner. "You won't have to deal with stairs. I'll bunk with Barbara (and put up with her snoring)," she mumbles.

* * *

Barbara catches the bag of pea, and she bounces the bag lightly in her hand. She doesn't turn away yet, waiting for Frank to take offer. He does, and Barbara nods firmly. "Damn straight." Then she turns back to open the freezer, toss in the peas, and then work on getting the tater tots into the oven. As taught by Lorelei Gilmore, Babs just shakes the bag out onto a cookie sheet, and the shoves the sheet into the oven and sets the timer. "I'll bill him for part of the rent if I go that route." The news that Dinah will be bunking with her causes her to laugh, ducking her head slightly. "Great. Dinah snores."

* * *

Dinah's glee causes Frank to note blandly, "You know if you're bunkin' with her, you suffer dog farts too, right?" The solution to bill Stark has Frank nodding and gesturing between the two women. The perfect solution, bill the billionaire. And then the roommates are accusing each other of snoring, and Frank takes the brave, bold, and stupid route, "You two ever considered that maybe you both snore? So damned unattractive in a woman." That line is delivered with enough sardonic amusement, and a little grin despite his battered state, that it's clearly a joke. "I can make it upstairs if there's another room up there, Dinah. So I don't have to put you out. And if this is a sleepover, what gossip am I missin'?" That's just totally sarcastic, Frank snorting to make it clear he doesn't want gossip.

* * *

Dinah whips a throw pillow at Frank. It's done remarkably smoothly with zero telegraphing of the attack. "Don't be a pig, or Max will get the bed and *you* get the shed," she informs Frank, with a haughty warning.

"It's the usual stuff. Boys, fashion, makeup, shoes. Naked pillow fights, some light makeouts to practice kissing. Then bedtime by ten so we can show up to school and look respectable and dream about all the guys we live to impress," Dinah tells Frank. Sarcasm drips from her voice. "Because our world revolves around men and what we think about them." She rolls her eyes at frank with withering derision and glances over to Barbara with an exasperated sigh.

* * *

Barbara presses the cool glass against her cheek, and she glances down at her phone to watch the timer as it ticks by the minutes needed to make delicious tater tots. She glances toward the front room after a moment, half-listening to what's being said now that she's back on tater watch. "What Dinah sa — what! DINAH. We do not practice making out." This is all shouted from the kitchen in that perfect Odd Couple voice that the two have mastered over a near decade together. She huffs a breath, takes another drink of her beer.

* * *

PAFF. Frank takes a pillow to the face. He doesn't even get a hand up until the pillow has already fallen into his lap. He's definitely a bit out of it. "Ow." Lifting up the pillow, he tucks it under his head, leaning back against it again, "I didn't ask for the schedule. I've seen Animal House. And Grease." He has to explain the second one, "A teacher called me Danny Zuko in school." He points two fingers at the kitchen door even if Babs can't see the gesture, "Not like Nutshot." Looking back to Dinah, he notes, "It's the making out that she objects to. Not the pillow fights."

* * *

"It's only practicing if you're a lousy kisser, *BARBARA*," Dinah shouts back. She drains her beer and scowls at the empty bottle, as if it personally let her down in some monumental way.

She shifts on her chair, unfolding and refolding her legs under her. Frank gets a quizzical look, head tilting a little and a pensive frown furrowing her brow.

"I'm sorry, I don't get any of those references," she tells Frank, with a little apologetic concern. "Are those movies? Or… were they, like, old historical stuff like the Berlin Wall?"

* * *

"I object to all of it, Castle!" Then the timer dings on her phone, and she opens the oven before using mitts to tug out the tray. She dumps the tots on a plate, grabs the ketchup and mustard from the fridge, and then nudges Max to follow her back into the main room so she can hand Dinah her tots, putting down the bottles next to her. "Brat," she says to her friend.

* * *

"Ow. I'm dying of old," Frank grumps at Dinah's brutality. "Goddamn, how young are you two? And if you haven't seen Animal House, it's a classic." He pauses, thinks, "Or maybe don't. It's got some issues." He might have thought about a little bit of that when he realized his daughter was going to be a teenager soon. He shifts in the couch again, "You guys got any painkillers that won't make me loopy?" Max comes over from following Babs around in hopes of getting another hot dog to rest his jaw on Frank's leg, and Castle scruffles up his ears with his right hand, "You realize havin' me stay over means you've gotta put up with my ass for hours before you run off to patrol, right?"

* * *

"Eeee, thanks!" Dinah wiggles happily in place and accepts the plate carefully. She beams up at Barbara, fairly simpering. She is a simple person, deep down. "You love me," she taunts Babs. She takes two of the tots and sets the plate where Barbara can easily reach it.

"Castle, if you've got a bullet wound, there's nothing over the counter that's going to do anything but give you expensive pee," Dinah tells him. "C'mon, be reasonable about this. It's not like you're remotely in fighting condition right now anyway. So you don't lose any readiness by getting a solid night of pain-free sleep. You'll feel like a million bucks tomorrow," she assures him.

She looks at Barbara with a frown. "Are you on the clock tonight?" she inquires. Dinah's a free agent, sure, but more often than not the duo hit the streets together. Safety in numbers.

* * *

"Do you really want to know? It will probably make you feel even order." Then she takes up a tater tot, pops it in her mouth, and then settles into a chair. When Dinah pushes her goods on Frank, she leaves it up to the Punisher to decide. Though, the reminder that Frank has a bullet wound changes her expression into something deeper, and worried. She pops another tot in before she looks to Babs. "No. Not on the clock tonight."

* * *

"I don't got a bullet wound, Dinah. I got six. And four more to the vest." That's not counting the boot to the face, the glass cuts to his hands and face, and the burned bruise on his temple from a hot gun barrel. Really, Frank probably shouldn't have come down to Gotham to begin with. He probably shouldn't be moving at all. But he's definitely stubborn. He shifts his shoulders painfully at Dinah's insistence, but he shakes his head, "Naw. I don't like feelin' loopy. I'll manage. Thanks though." He looks between the two as they talk about the evening's plans, but leaves it up to them. Not like he's going to be helping tonight.

* * *

Dinah rolls her eyes. "Friggin' masochist," she grouses, sourly. "Suit yourself, you're a big boy. I'm gonna go make the bed up for you," she says, getting to her feet. She picks up a tot and flicks it into the air before catching it deftly in her mouth. "If nothing else, you're gonna sleep on a bed you didn't get from the Salvation Army," she says with a scolding tone.

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