Breakfast for the Birds
Roleplaying Log: Breakfast for the Birds
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Frank cooks breakfast for Dinah and Babs.

Other Characters Referenced: Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Helena Bertinelli, Harvey Bullock, Jim Gordon, Larry Lance, Carmine Falcone
IC Date: June 17, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 18 Jun 2019 05:59
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 for language
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

This isn't the first time that Barbara has brought a boy home, but this is perhaps the first time that there's one actually cooking breakfast in the kitchen. The redhead is sitting on the countertop nearest the sink with her hands curled around a mug of coffee. She's in her classic PJ look — an oversized t-shirt and flannel pants that are spotted with sleeping cats — and she's barefoot with her second and third toe on her right foot taped together.

She's watching Frank with fascinating as he moves around the rather sparsely-outfitted kitchen. "Are you sure cooking in here is safe? There are some toaster strudels in the freezer."

* * *

"You're not eating toaster strudel for breakfast, Red." Frank is adamant about that, even as he tries to fry up some sandwich ham into something approaching bacon to go with the pancakes and — did he break up tater tots to make actual hash browns that he's now frying up alongside the ham-bacon? Yes, yes he did. He also hasn't burned any pancakes yet. His own coffee rests on the counter beside the stove, and he moves easily enough in dark jeans, no socks, and a simple white a-shirt that shows off the chain around his neck holding dog-tags and a gold wedding band — and the numerous scars that decorate his upper body. "I know you haven't used the burners since you moved in," there's a flash of a little grin to his lips, "but they still work. Totally safe."

* * *

Dinah shuffles into the kitchen. Loose, brief sleeping shorts in pink and white vertical stripes, and a midriff-baring blue tee so faded with the years that 'Stark Expo '15' is faded to nothing. Low ankle socks are worn like slippers, her heels exposed. Dishevelled, hair a tousled mess, she shuffles past Barbara with a coffee mug in hand and a bleary expression on her face.

"Coffeecoffeecoffe," she mumbles, beelining for the coffeemaker. Frank's in her way, and she peers at him with a blearily owlish expression. "Move. Need coffee. In my way," she says, poking him in the ribs with her empty coffee mug.

* * *

"That's not true," Babs gasps. "We cook canned soup at least three times a week when it starts getting chilly outside. And I can at least do jarred spaghetti sauce when there's time." Which there usually isn't. She looks up toward the ceiling when she hears Dinah shuffling, and the redhead just takes a sip from her cup while she watches Dinah maneuver through the kitchen. She watches her friend with a tiny, amused smile on her lips, waiting for the blonde to clue in.

* * *

Frank flips a series of three small pancakes in one pan, then 'oofs' as he gets a coffee mug in the ribs, "Ow." There is no actual pain in the statement. Without putting down the spatula, Frank reaches out with his left hand, swapping his cup for the coffee pot under the drip filter and then turning about to pour for Dinah, "Rough night on patrol?" He's going to assume she was out late. Look, he doesn't know the routine at the Lance-Gordon-Bertinelli household. Cup filled, he swaps the carafe back out with his own, then narrows his eyes at Babs, "That's not cooking." His voice does not improve with morning sunlight, still that gravelly hash that sounds like a lifetime of a pack-a-day habit and a fifth of Jack every night. "That's heating."

* * *

Dinah peers blearily at Frank. "No patrol. Finals," she mumbles. "Did day patrol so could study last night. Now—" she reaches up and puts a hand over Frank's mouth. "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," she soothes, and sluuurps down her coffee. The blonde makes a face and moves to her fridge to add cream and sugar to it, then shuffles over to the table and curls around her coffee mug like she's dying of exposure and the heat of the mug is keeping her alive.

"Babs why is there a boy makin' breakfast in my kitchen," she mumbles, and pushes ragged blonde hair away from her face to squint at the redhead. "Makin'… food. Stuff."

* * *

Barbara reaches out for Dinah, tugging on her t-shirt's shoulder before she draws the blonde in for a hug. She presses a kiss to her temple before she offers her almost cat-like cuddles against her head. She's just making sure you smell like her, Dinah. Then she brightens at your friend. "You got this. You're going to obliterate those finals like a punk in the Narrows."

Then her eyes drift toward Frank at Dinah's question only to answer with a small, almost abashed note that, "I took Frank out dancing last night. Apparently it isn't his scene. I knew you were studying, or I would have dragged you out with us. He's doing that thing where he cooks for us now because he assumes we're only eating Fritos and Cheez-Wiz when he's not around."

* * *

Frank is shushed, even as the mention that Dinah was in studying last night sinks into his brain. His dark eyes flicker over to Babs, and then his head drops a moment. Thankfully, the ersatz hashbrowns need to be flipped, and the pancakes evacuated to a plate, and there's a long, thin ribbon of ham to be added to the plate, crisped up not-quite-bacon-stiff. "And toaster strudel," gravels the Punisher, looking like a line cook at a diner, which isn't far off what he is for his day job. There's a pause, and then he adds, "What's the class?" It's the question of someone for whom school was something to get through not something to enjoy.

* * *

Dinah grumbles and moans and complains and generally loves on Barbara as she's hugged, and kisses the ginger's cheek when she's released. Barbara's an exception to the Morning Murder policy, but it's still a gamble to address Dinah pre-caffeine. Dinah's /not/ an early riser.

"Dancin'. Uh-huh," she mumbles at Barbara. Suspicious!

She narrows her eyes at Frank when he asks her a question, and chugs down more coffee before settling her forehead back on a forearm. "Uh… Correctional Theory 302. Barbara, your boy is talking to me," she complains, mumbling into the table. "Make him stop talkin' to me."

She wiggles her empty coffee cup in Frank's direction again, though.

* * *

Barbara reaches out to gently pet Dinah's head. "There, there, Super Student. You're doing great." Then she looks at Frank with a little smile easing into place. "Frank, you might need to get her hooked up to an IV." Then she is slipping down from the counter, slinging her arm around Dinah's shoulders to press another kiss to her temple. Only then does she starts to get out plates for the three of them. One thing that Babs does not refute is whether or not Frank is her boy. He might, though! Who calls Frank Castle a boy? Dinah Lance, apparently.

* * *

Hashbrowns get added to one of the plates Babs gets out, along with pancakes and ham, and Frank delivers it to Dinah, then doubles back for another cup of coffee for her. The cream and sugar are set on the table next to the cup, and then he's back to the stove, pouring out more pancakes and shutting the heat off under the ham and hashbrowns. Amusement flickers over his features as he's called 'her boy' again, but he doesn't protest, "Uh… criminal justice?" It's a guess, and then he grunts thoughtfully, "In your blood, you'll do great, Blondie." He starts doctoring two more plates with food for himself and Babs, watching the pancakes as he goes. "She's worse than you in the morning, Red. Pretty sure she's worse than half the Marines I know."

* * *

By the time she's chugged down cup #2, foods' served and Dinah's looking vaguely more alert. "Can't keep planting flowers for a living my whole life," she tells Frank. "Don't know what I'm gonna do with it yet. Gotham PD is always hirin'. Might go in as a forensic detective instead of doin' it dumb like the Dads," she says, wiggling a fork between herself and Barbara. "As a patrol officer. I think Jim didn't even make detective until he'd been on the force for ten years," she remarks.

"Fuck me, these are /good/," she exhales, and almost plows facefirst into her meal of ham and hash.

* * *

"Then we'd have an inside man," Babs chirps helpfully. She's back up on the counter with her own plate, settling into it with ease. She doesn't quite plow into her food like Dinah, but instead takes her time. Her eyes flicker over to Frank with a little smile before she's back to considering her dad's history in GCPD. "Yeah, but Dad spent time working outside of Gotham before we moved here." Little fact that Babs's birth certificate does not list a Gotham hospital as where she was born. "I think he went up the ranks faster in GCPD — maybe because of Uncle Harvey." Or in spite of if rumors of Harvey Bullock's early career can be believed. She nods all the same. "I think it's a good fit for you, Di." Which is similar to what Frank said. When he comes by, she does give him a little kick for the morning comment.

* * *

"Why not?" It might be a blunt question from Frank for this (relatively) early in the morning, but it doesn't stop him from asking. "Your day job's not your real job, right?" He flips out more flapjacks for Babs, delivering them to her plate and getting a kick in the ankle in response. "Ow." He looks down, over to her, frowns, then turns back to cooking himself a batch of pancakes — or more likely a second back for Dinah. "I thought Gordon was a fixture at GCPD, Red. You tellin' me now that you're not Gotham born and raised?" Still, he looks back to Dinah briefly and nods, "It'd be real useful. Like Grayson up in New York." Because that's all Dick Grayson is to Frank, a slightly-oblivious in with the NYPD.

* * *

"No money in flowers," Dinah explains to Frank with a catlike yawn. "Not as small as my operation is. I can't compete with FTC or the warehouses where they can store them in bulk or maintain indoor growhouses during transit. It's not an industry for moms-and-pops anymore."

She sips more coffee. "We were… uh. Fourteeeen?" she hazards, squinting at Barbara. "My dad had just made Sergeant and Jim came in from out of state. They hit it off fast," Dinah explains. "Didn't even know they were partners though. She was this dorky new girl at school," she tells Frank, looking up at Babs with fond affection. "All braces and no hips and baggy shirts. Shoe-in for the AV club," she teases, the cheerleader in Dinah coming out a little.

* * *

"Our real jobs don't pay the bills," Babs informs Frank, but there's something else there. Dinah's reasons are not Barbara's to tell, so she worries about her own food. She looks up once or twice as she eats, mostly to drink her coffee. She misses Frank's frown, looking up only when he mentions the Gordons. "Oh, well… we moved here when I was young, after my parents divorced. Dad's from Chicago. He was, um… his first case was the Waynes murders." That's when Babs doesn't look at Dinah like she might give something away. "That's when it all took off, I guess. I was just a scrawny nerd then. Dinah and Dick were the first people who noticed me. Helped that our dads both worked together." Then as Dinah starts to describe the young Babs, the redhead starts to blush. "Di… cm'on."

* * *

Dinah holds up two fingers in parallel. "Beanpole," she whispers at Frank.

* * *

"Nothin' is," Frank grouses about the loss of the cottage industry. "I'm just sayin', as long as it pays the bills," he gestures over to Barbara with the spatula, but then Dinah is painting a new picture of Barbara Gordon for him, and his brows rise sharply, "She came out of AV Club?" Dinah was the cheerleader, Frank was the bad boy, neither of them likely thought highly of AV Club. He grunts thoughtfully, then looks down at Dinah's stage-whisper, pretty clearly of the opinion that that has changed, and just as clearly not going to mention it directly. Thankfully, he saved by the need to scoop up more pancakes, offering them out to Dinah before pouring in a batch for himself — or more likely a second batch for Babs. "That's those rich people who ran Wayne Tech before they got shot, right?" He's still not up on all the details of Gotham society. "Yeah, that'd make your career, if you could close it." He leans back against the counter alongside Babs, eyeing the pancakes and his plate with ham and hashbrowns waiting for syrup-delivery-system-goodness, then looking back between the two women, "Lucky you found each other. And that you didn't have to hide shit from Grayson for so long."

* * *

"Ohmygod," Dinah says, agreeing with Frank with an extravagant eyeroll. "I mean, everyone thought Dick was hotter than sliced bread. I mean, that /ass/," she seethes, and grips the air.

"But then Babs comes back from summer to start our junior year, and the boobs fairy visited her or something," she explains. Barbara's distracted and blushing, so Dinah unrepentantly steals some ham from Babs' plate and looks up at her while chewing insouciently.

"Then Dick starts charming her up and we're all going 'what the shit'," she quips. "He totally went for Babs 'cause I dumped him, though."

The polar opposite of the truth, actually. "But then that summer we busted the tights out and…" She shrugs at Barbara. "Here we are," she says, unable to hide the happy note in her voice.

* * *

"I was not in AV Club!" But then there's a long, quiet pause before she mutters a bit, "We renamed it to Tech Club like my freshman year." She doesn't make eye contact with Frank or Dinah, eyes flashing between the two. "You do know that I can make both your lives Hell if you keep picking on the nerd." Then she is shaking her head before she dives into more of her pancakes, not at all perturbed by their consumption despite her grouching. Watch her avoid any talk of Grayson! And his ass. Then someone is stealing her ham, and she manages to avoid talking about the boob fairy. "Yes, that's it." She smirks. "I was his rebound." Then she pops another bite of pancake in her mouth, and she nods in happy agreement with Dinah. "Dad never closed it though — the Waynes case. Still unsolved."

* * *

"Why would I pick on the hot nerd?" Wording is important. Frank finally gets his own pancakes and shuts off the heat, leaning back against the counter alongside Babs again. "So what you're saying is that Grayson is the smart one. Got it." He nods slowly and thoughtfully as he starts to feed himself, "That explains Wayne." Bruce, that is. Or at least the mask. "And why his ward joined the NYPD." The 'here we are' draws a laugh, and he nods slowly, "Weak guy goes all playboy, his smart ward goes cop. I get it."

* * *

Dinah and Babs very carefully don't make eye contact. Hopefully Frank reads it as some latent competitive tension over Dick Grayson and his Amazing Ass…ets.

"Dick was funny that way," Dinah says, finally. "He's got more money than God and could have gone to any college in the country. He's… well. He's Dick Grayson," she says, but that wry note is shared with Barbara. It was a common enough refrain in school: 'Celebrated overachiever'. "We thought he was gonna go get an MBA or something, marry a trophy wife. He went into GCPD as a flatfoot and now he's a full detective. He's gonna be a chief of police someday. Or a comissioner."

* * *

Babs is very interested in her plate until they ease past the talk of Bruce Wayne and his playboy ways and how Dick Grayson totally chose a different path. Totally. She clears her throat once before she moves on very casually. "Dick has always wanted to help people — protect people." She edges around Nightwing carefully. "He's liking NYPD though." She finishes off her plate — with Dinah's thieving help — and then she's leaning over to place it in the sink.

"Alright. Breakfast is done. Frank, is this when we tell Dinah about you going after Carmine Falcone." She takes a casual sip of her coffee while looking at Frank Castle.

* * *

Frank looks between the two women, but doesn't directly clue in on the subterfuge. "He's gonna need to sharpen up some. If I wanted to hurt him when I met him, I could've pretty easy. Hell, some gutter-punk could've." Shaking that off though, he's as dedicated as you figure, he'll do it though. People go one of two ways after tragedy, I figure. He went the right way." And then Babs is outing his plans, and he shrugs a moment, then nods, "Someone set me up right in the middle of Falcone territory in Jersey. I got a line on the underboss who's running the area, thinking of trafficking metas."

* * *

"Falcone," Dinah growls. "He's a tough one," she allows, nodding at Frank. "Not because he's dangerous, but 'cause he's smart."

She puts her dishes in the sink. "See, there's this rumor Falcone's got a safe deposit box. Dirt, on all of Gotham's power elites. Judges, city council members, you name it. If anything happens— /anything/— the box gets emptied and the contents get mailed to the news agencies."

She washes her dishes slowly, absently. "I'm all for taking down the bad guys. What Falcon's got could take down the city. Hundreds of civil servants compromised. Imagine trying to elect new judges and commissioners and council members and all the court cases that'd come from their indiscretions being shared. It'd be chaos."

* * *

"Yeah. Someone." Babs smiles toward Frank before she shrugs her shoulders. "We can't take down Falcone. It's that simple. But we can go after his underlings to get him to move out of New York and stay in Gotham — where we can at least manage him." Babs starts to bus up dishes and pans to take to Dinah to clean. When she passes by Frank, her fingers hook lightly in the edge of his front pocket before she drifts back to her chores. "Frank's got a lead on one of Falcone's Lieutenants. Zama di Palo — she runs that club downtown." She shrugs at Dinah before she smiles a bit. "Want to go party?"

* * *

Frank studies Dinah as she mentions Falcone's failsafe, his brows knotting. "So someone smarter than me," he looks from one woman to the other, "has to deal with that. I can deal with Falcone," and any bodyguards he might have, suggests his tone, "But not that." He finishes up his own breakfast, "Pretty sure there ain't anything you two can't do, you put your minds to it." When Barbara's fingers hook into his pockets, he half-turns after her, then rocks back against the counter, "Noir. I bet I'd hate it." There might be a grin behind those words, but it's a long way behind them. "I've got GAARD running down her paper-trail. Logistics and resupply. Find out where she lives, where she eats when she's not at the club."

* * *

"Ooh ,I haven't busted out the fishnets in a while," Dinah says, and claps her hands in glee. "This time, I get to pick the outfits. You're not allowed to do disguises anymore, Miss Manners," Dinah chivvies Babs.

She gets to her feet, eyes Frank. "You, though. Not sure what to do with you. I think you might need to figure out something. You're not gonna blend at Noir very well, not with a shirt on. And those scars give it away pretty fast. You sure you can keep up with us, old man?" Dinah teases.

* * *

"Miss Manners!" Barbara scoffs. "Whatever." She folds her arms at her chest now that she's piled on the dishes. "Fine. You pick the outfits, but try to remember that we're there for recon for Frank, not to pick-up boys." Then she smiles over to Frank as Dinah hones in on him. She lets him handle the teasing from Dinah while she takes over washing the pans that Frank used for breakfast. "You'll hate it." Then she's taking Frank's dish from him so she can wash that, too. "GAARD will track down what you need." She smiles to Dinah. "You know, Di, I can get you a fancy AI too. But if the vOS is working for you, you probably don't need one."

* * *

Frank hands over his plate easily, offering Babs a little flash of a smile and a touch to the back of her shoulder as she goes past. He watches the byplay between the two and shakes his head in amusement, "I'm not gonna blend in with my shirt on?" He grunts amusement and shakes his head, "Yeah. I'd hate it." His eyes narrow slightly, "Unless it's one of those places where Hollywood's fulla shit?" He doesn't sound too hopeful about that, however, and he shakes his head, "I can wait outside. Be overwatch." He looks back from Barbara to Dinah again, "Because yeah, I'm pretty sure I don't wanna keep up with you two at a club like that. I know my limits. With age comes wisdom." He chuckles at that, reaching over to give Babs's shoulder a little shove.

* * *

"I wouldn't say no to some overwatch," Dinah agrees. A brow lifts at Frank's casual jostling of Barbara. "Nero's… uh… kind of wild," she tells him. "Hedonistic. It's a great place to get intel but it's where a lot of the spoiled rich kids of Gotham end up. Drugs, booze, sex, you name it. It's a hell of a place to party," she says, cheekbones pinking. "But if you're not used to the culture you'll stand out like a sore thumb."

* * *

Babs doesn't seem abashed by the jostling, and she flashes Dinah a quick smile before she shrugs her shoulders slightly. "Dinah and I can be there — but we're going to be the cop kids who are going rebel. Overwatch will be good." Her throat bobs a bit. "And we got to make sure the Dads don't find out." Then she is looking back at Frank. "If you think you can do overwatch, that would be the best." Then she is grinning over toward Frank. "You did your best," she says encouragingly.

* * *

Frank's eyebrows lift up sharply at the description of the club, eyeing Dinah first and then Babs, "And you two'll just fit in fine." There's a hint of a question there, especially when Dinah blushes. He nods his reassurance that he can manage overwatch, "I'll just be some place quiet outside, loaded for bear, in case I need to come in and give you two a distraction for getting out." Babs's grinning words cause him to narrow his eyes, "'Did my best?' What did I do not quite well enough, Red?"

* * *

"Aaaand I'm out," Dinah says, gathering her coffee as Babs and Frank start eying each other in dangerous ways. "You two have fun, play nice. No screwing around on the table, house rules," she admonishes them.

"Thanks for breakfast, Frank," she tells the Punisher as she heads up the stairs to the second floor. "We'll get this sorted out and figure out a plan of attack. Soon," she says. "Tonight. Babs, I'm picking out outfits," she yells down from the landing. "We'll head out early— around ten PM!"

* * *

Dinah announces that she's out, and Barbara leans forward and shouts after her roommate, "What are we going to do to the ta — " Then she clues in fast and a hot blush reds her cheeks. "Dinah Lance! You're terrible!" Then she is looking at Frank, and she looks sheepish. "Um. Sorry."

The last call about outfits and time tables has her sighing out a breath. "Today's going to be a long day." She flickers a glance over to Frank.

* * *

Frank blinks at Dinah, "What?" He looks a little confused, and then looks down at the mention of screwing on the table, "I'm not gonna…" he trails off, realizing he's only making it worse. He snorts with amusement, "Why are you sorry, Red? I served in the damn Marines." It's clearly not the first time he's heard spicy suggestions. Even if he looks a little bashful himself. The mention of working tonight draws a grimace and a shake of his head, "Not tonight. Gimme a couple days. Thursday. I gotta work." But Dinah's gone, and he looks back to Barbara, "Or was that just to pick out clothes?" He snorts faintly, then adds, "You sure you're glad to be stayin' here? You still didn't answer, by the way."

* * *

Babs shakes her head as her friend retreats. "She's such a pain in the butt." Then the redhead is leaning back up against the counter, rubbing slightly at the back of her neck. She smiles a little bit. "I'm happy here, Frank. Dinah and I are like two peas, and I think Helena makes a third." Then she goes back to doing dishes while she glances up at the stairs. "I'll hold her off until Thursday." This promise is to Frank while she sets another plate onto the drying rack. "You should probably get going soon — you want a ride to the train station?"

* * *

Frank gives her shoulder another brief nudge, "I know you are, Red. I'm givin' you shit." Leaning over, he presses a slow, solid kiss to Barbara's temple, "Yeah. I'll get my shit." His shirt, his boots. "A ride'd be nice."

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