Run, Rabbit, Run
Roleplaying Log: Run, Rabbit, Run
IC Details

Barbara and Frank corner Bennett so that Babs can tap his phone and find out who is behind the drug-trafficking in Afghanistan.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: August 08, 2019
IC Location: Somewhere in Upstate New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 31 Aug 2019 02:44
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: Frank Castle as Morty Bennett
Associated Plots

Finding a place to meet with a scum-sucking, drug-dealing, slimeball of a REMF is difficult. Particularly when you want it quiet enough to not endanger civilians if things go sideways, but also want it public enough to not be suspicious. Frank and Babs searched for a while before finding the right location — a small Starbucks at a small mall just a mile away from a larger mall and larger Starbucks. And the best part is that there are two multi-story buildings overlooking the Starbucks. One of them is a mostly-full apartment building, and the other a mostly-empty office building. The former has better sightlines, but the latter less chance of interruption. And so Frank lays on a conference room table left behind by some tech company that folded. He's been there for an hour, the door behind him wedged shut, a rappelling harness about him with a line already prepped to the window, and a marksman's rifle tucked into his shoulder, the scope up to his eye. "I like the scarf, Red." It could be a note of levity, but there's next to nothing in his voice, his brow furrowed as he scans, "Here he comes." And his knuckles whiten as he works his hands on the bipod-braced rifle, tightening his lips enough that he drives the blood out of them.

For her part in all this, Barbara Gordon has put far more focus into playing the part of an eager young reporter she's pretending to be, looking to get the right exposé on Billy Russo, ANVIL, and how vets find their place in the world once their tours are done. Choosing which Gotham Times journalist to pose as didn't take that much work — there's only one redhead on the paper's staff who Babs can passably pretend to be — Vicki Vale. So, 'Ms. Vale' pitched it to Bennett because she needed someone connected to Billy Russo who would give her some insights on what it was like Over There(TM). It took some convincing, some endorsements from her editor that the request was legit, and then she scored the interview. She didn't even have to hack his calendar.

She sits at the Starbucks in a quaint and cozy table for two with a lovely view of the street below. She's in a flattering pencil skirt with a cream-colored blouse tucked into it and a blue belt that matches the scarf about her slender, long throat. It's just weeks from the first of December, making the air crisp. She is sipping her coffee, and at Frank's compliment, she slants a casual glance outside with a hint of a smile at her lips. It's a silent thank you. Then Frank is giving her a heads up, but she doesn't look toward Bennett until he's actually there, and then she's out of her seat to shake his hand. "Colonel Bennett, hi." She goes for professional, but sweet as she smiles her full smile. "I'm Vicki Vale, Gotham Gazette."

Young and sweet isn't exactly Morty Bennett's thing, but it's hard to deny the adorability of Barbara Gordon. He's wearing his uniform, and trying very hard to look cool despite his balding head and big nose. He tucks a pair of decidedly non-regulation aviator's sunglasses into his pocket and takes Barbara's hand, a little bit of sweat on his palm as he gives a little smile that's supposed to look confident, "Nice to meet you, ma'am. Any relation to the Nantucket Vales?" There might not be any Nantucket Vales.

Frank keeps flexing one muscle group at a time, a careful exercise to keep from cramping up. "What a fucking…" whatever Frank things Morty is, he lets it trail off. But he manages not to start up the nursery rhyme, despite the surge of anger that seeing Morty through the scope caused. He drops his eye back from the scope, looking alongside it rather than through it to avoid tunnel version.

Babs is beaming as she shakes his hand, and then she's swooping her hands down her skirt as she settles back into her seat. "Nantucket? No. I'm from Gotham born and raised." She smiles easily as she opens her notebook — quite old-fashioned compared to the laptop and tablet generation. She hears Frank, but she keeps her features warm and open. "Thank you again for taking this interview… the Times really wants to put together a story about vets and how they establish themselves after tours of duty, and Mr. Russo is really a hallmark of that. You worked alongside him overseas, right?"

That office building that Frank has claimed is not as empty as he may have intended. There's five of them — none of them have any kind of insignia, but perhaps the lack of it marks them as ANVIL. They have arrived just ten minutes ago, and if by chance, they are walking down the hallway that shares doors with the one Frank has barricaded.

Morty sits up a little straighter — if that were possible — and issues a correction, "He worked for me overseas, yes." A slight difference in wording, but an important one — and not really an accurate one. "I'm not surprised that Billy has done so well for himself. He was an extremely capable subordinate. It's usually the senior officers that end up in big business. You know I've had offers myself. Mostly board positions."

Frank shakes his head, "Jesus Christ." He'd forgotten what a tool Morty Bennett is, as well as a spineless scumbag. The imprecation is muttered, and if he had a camera to watch his six, he would have noticed the approach of the team. As it is, he's still focused on the scene below, tapping his phone to send an innocuous text to Babs, an excuse for her to get her phone out and start the cloning.

At the correction though, Barbara nods her head in apology. Then she's taking another sip of her coffee before she settles into some notes. When Bennett mentions his own offers, she starts to smile. "But you enjoy continuing to serve our country?" Then her phone buzzes, and she looks apologetic as she takes it out. She furrows her brow. She taps something back, and then smiles back to Bennett as she sets it down, face down, just in front of her notebook which means it's more in Bennett's side of the table. With the face down, it starts to pair with Bennett's phone.

The five-man team stride toward the door, one hefting his own sniper rifle. There's the sound of a door opening, but it's slightly muffled because it's the room just next door. The door closes with a click, and there's muffled voices. In these tech companies, there's some obsession with windows in walls and a sense of open layout, the walls are movable and it makes it easier for Frank to hear what the men are saying: "We're just listening. Anything starts to sound odd, we call in the team to grab him and get him out. Girl, too, if she hears too much."

Bennett nods at the detail provided, scooting his chair closer to the table. He waves off her silent apology, waiting until she's set the phone down, "Of course. There's nothing like the strict discipline that comes with being part of the world's greatest military." He seems to realize that this sounds a little too grandiose, and so he hurries to add, "It's an honor to serve, and there's really no challenge like it in the world. Having a thousand men looking to you to tell them what to do and when to do it…" his shrug is supposed to look humble but it isn't.

Frank looks up with the sound of the door, tensing sharply and muttering, "Shit. Found his backup." He pauses, carefully climbing off the table and holding the heavy, scoped rifle in one hand as he tips the table over to put it between him and the other room, lowering it down carefully to the tight carpet. The muffled words come through the wall, and he winces, "Up here. Next door. Watch your words, Red." The rifle is going to be shit this close, so he slings it carefully on his back and draws a 9mm pistol with an extended magazine. No one else up here, no reason not to use the pistol.

Barbara flashes a wide smile, and then she's folding her hands in front of her while her pen is braced along the webbing between forefinger and thumb. She is just about to say something but then her ear is buzzing with Frank's gravelly voice. She clears her throat, glancing slightly aside before she draws a bit of red hair back behind her ear with a smile. "Sounds like command is really a good fit for you. Did you always know that you wanted to become a career military man?" Her eyes tick slightly toward the window.

"You hear that?" This voice is low and serious compared to the more casual voice from just a moment ago. There's a long pause, and then the sound of footsteps. "Thought we got the all-clear for this floor. You miss something, Tucci?" There's then quieter voices, and the sound of the door opening again, but not closing. The door knob into Frank's roost turns, but the door just gives a little noise of resistance with Frank's barricade.

Morty Bennett preens a little under the attention of the redhead, "It is. It's an awesome responsibility, but the worthy have to shoulder responsibility where they can." But there was a question there, and he nods slightly, "Well yes, I did. It's not easy to get into the US Military Academy, but it's the best education you can get. And the perks of command are awesome." That's not the colloquial 'awesome,' that's the 'exceptionally large' 'awesome.' Finally, finally there's something suspicious that flickers through Morty's beady eyes, and he asks, "Have you spoken to many people who served with Russo for your story?"

Frank grimaces, looking up at the tops of the walls and then back down. Thinner than he expected. But if they're pros, they'd have checked the rooms on either side anyhow, so it was probably just a matter of time. He pictures the room on the other side of the wall, the two broken-down desk chairs and the pile of old beanbag chairs all gathered in the one room. No real cover. They were in the back left corner, so that means there won't be anyone there. Just the guy by the door, Tucci, the one at the door of this room, and… three more? Probably three more. Hold off on the guy by the window, he's probably got a bolt-action rifle like the one on Frank's back. He mutters into the mic, "Shit soon." As in, the shit is going to hit the fan soon. The wedge won't hold against a really dedicated boot, or rather, the door won't, but he has cover right here, and an exit out the window if he needs it. He brings up the pistol, aiming first for the man behind the door.

Babs makes a couple notes on her notebook, but her pencil pauses above the paper when Bennett asks that question. She looks up at him, pen flicking back away from the paper while staying balanced in her knuckles. "No. I tried to poke around that, but most of that is all top secret, isn't it?" There's a warm smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "But you know, if you have any suggestions of where I could poke around a bit more successfully?" Frank's words are speeding her heart, but she tries to use that panic in her chest to give an air of flirtation. She catches the time on her watch casually, and now wishes she had come up with a way to tell Frank how much more time she needs… she needs a minute. Sixty seconds. "I mean, I don't want to push this interview from zero to sixty, but…"

The door rattles in its hinges with a bang of a shoulder. Then there's louder voices, and their intentions are clear. They're aware something is off and someone is coming in. The door rattles again, and this time there's a brief moment before the door explodes in with a kick just beneath the door knob. There's a flash of a silhouette in the door's remains — a man, fatigues, and a gun.

Bennett can't help but puff up again, "It was very important work, but definitely all dark. I don't keep up with most of the men — there's a divide between officers and men. Very strict." He pauses then, shaking his head a little and more worry filtering into his eyes. After all, the other officers in the unit are Colonel Schoonover, Billy Russo, and Frank Castle. One of them is dead, one of them he disdains (and fears), and the third he just fears. Recovering a little, he tries to clue in on her further words, "Zero to sixty? I command a thousand men, Ms. Vale. I think I can handle a few questions."

First thump, and Frank hefts the pistol, but then Barbara is asking for sixty more seconds, and he bites off a curse. Shoving the pistol back into its holster, he comes around the table, and has just gotten his shoulder into the wall when the door explodes inward. As the man's recovering, Frank reaches out with his right arm, looking to haul the poor bastard into the room where he can strip the firearm out of the man's hands with a wrist-lock, an elbow-strike, and a slide of his forearm down the other man's arm.

Barbara laughs softly, and it hides more of her nerves as she hears the sound of the door getting kicked in through her earbud. "Sounds like you've handled a lot more than just a few questions," she says with a smile that touches her eyes. She opens her notebook to a fresh page, and leans forward on her elbows. "What can you tell me about the men that you commanded in Afghanistan? You must have seen some amazing things." She hesitates a moment, and then she looks at her watch again. It ticks over to the next minute.

Across the street and upstairs, things are getting heated. Frank grabs the first of the five men preparing to enter the room. He goes flying into the room, stumbling right into the wrist-lock. The elbow-strike cuts loose a scream, and then he's trying to get loose just before Frank gets him to a knee. The next two guys are coming in, and the shouts are getting louder. Barbara can hear them in her ear, and she barely notices that there's a man headed for the pair.

"Do you think that you will ever go back overseas again?" There's a quiver in her voice as she asks it, and she tries to swallow that down.

"That's what you have to do when you're in charge of logistics for a large unit," Bennett states with only the slightest trace of modesty — all of it false. "Even more so when you're in command." But there's the question about Afghanistan, and he looks shifty again, nervously moving about in his seat for a moment, "Most of them were the best of men, I can tell you, but there were clearly some bad apples. There always are in those black projects. When they can be controlled, they can do great things, but without someone to guide them, they go completely out of control." As for overseas, "In the Special Operations world, Colonels don't usually go overseas." Especially not logistics officers. "It's unfortunate, but I'll do my best supporting the men from here."

Here's where Frank could put two into the man's chest, right down the collar of his vest, but that would be loud, and even across the parking lot, Morty would hear that. So instead he reaches down, slapping the quick-release on his harness so that the rope drops free of it, and then reaches down, grabbing the front of the kneeling man's vest and hurling him back upright, toward the two coming at them. He follows after at a charge, swallowing down a roar of anger and frustration so it just comes out in a growl and a sneer. His heavy trenchcoat billows open as he comes into the hallway, showing the white-painted vest beneath. The Punisher barrels straight into the tangle of limbs in the hall, aiming a short, sharp series of forearm blows to the nearest guy's head, then grabbing him up to haul the hitter up between the door with the rest of the team in it and himself.

Barbara's secured her sixty seconds, so she crosses her arms in front of her and her pen seems like an afterthought. "Black projects? You mean like the ops that Ray Schoonover lead?" She can hear Frank's sneer, the barely contained roar. He has then distracted, so she asks the questions that she needs to. "Frank Castle and Billy Russo both served under Schoonover." She holds her eyes steadily on Morty now. "Gunner Henderson, too." She lets that sit there for a heartbeat before she smiles lightly. "Three very different outcomes for veterans. How did you support Castle, Henderson, and Russo when they were serving under Schoonover?" The questions are all dropped, and just as the man in casual attire, but the way he's moving tells Babs he's packing, ends up at their table.

"Colonel, we have an emergency situation."

Barbara reaches for her phone.

The injured man is thrown into his two comrades, and they all stumble back into the opposite wall. One pushes the first at Castle while they careen off to give some space. Apparently these guys have zero issues discharging their weapons, and the short, soft fffhew noises of silences zing off as the fourth behind the cluster open fire, two slamming into Frank's chest, the others going wide. This is all they can get in before Frank is twisting himself up in their space and their weapons lose their effectiveness. Then there's nothing but brawling in the hallway as they punch and try to get their limbs around Castle to hold him down.

The fifth just manages to get over his comms that, "It's Castle!"

Even before he's warned by the walk-up, Bennett is starting to get distinctly uncomfortable by Barbara's questions, and when she lists those three names, he pushes back from the table, "I think we're done — " but there's the man in plainclothes, and Bennett looks up at him in surprise, "Wandersly?" Evidently, he didn't know the man was nearby. "What's going on?" Standing, he glances around, as if expecting explosions and automatic weapons fire. There's nothing like that, at least not yet, and Bennett looks back to Babs, "I don't know what kind of 'Gotcha journalism' you think this is, young lady. But if a word of this gets printed, you can believe that you'll regret it." Now that just makes you look guilty, Morty.

Always in the chest. As much as Frank's ribs complain, it's better than the alternative. He takes the two impacts, staggering for a moment, grabbing for the back of the collar on the man shoved at him. "Fuck." While the man's fighting for balance, Frank twists him to the side and shoves him straight at the frame of the door. But then the other four are on him. He takes a blow to the side of the head, one to the thigh, a third to the shoulder that makes his arrow wound scream in agony and draws a painted grunt to his lips. But then the last one reports in. Time's up. However little they want to fire their pistols, afraid to hit their fellows, Frank has no such compunctions. He catches a kick toward the groin with his forearm, slamming it aside, and then draws his pistol and puts two into the man's thigh. The reports are sharp and loud in the hallway, and muffled but still distinct to a knowledgeable ear through the partially open door to the room Castle was waiting in. Two more bullets go into another man's chest, and then Frank bursts out of the cluster in the hallway, bolting back into the room he just evacuated and firing blindly through the thin wall toward the areas he thinks the men are standing in. The rounds rip through the drywall at waist height, and he grabs the end of the rope, headed straight for the window.

Morty hasn't heard a whole lot of gunfire, despite all his ribbons and awards and rank, so it takes until the fourth or fifth shot before he looks up in surprise, then ducks down like he might be under fire.

"It's only gotcha journalism if I got you, Colonel." Barbara is standing up, grabbing her phone to tuck into her bag. She stares after Bennett, and if he looks back, he will see the face of a woman who isn't wearing a mask. It's set, tight, and her blue eyes carry a level of wrath that are perhaps scarier without the cowl. Now she's moving, quick on those tall heels she's paired with her skirt. She's grabbing up her jacket, and her bag, and both are slung on hap-hazardously. She doesn't touch her ear, even if she wants to, and she breathes into the air with a turn of her shoulder, "Frank, I got it. He knows you're here."

Upstairs, Frank has the upperhand long enough to secure at least one kill and plenty of wounds. There's shouting as they chase after Castle, or at least the two able to run. One grabs the door just as Castle is heading for the window, and he snarls, "Castle!" Then he's opening fire, and the glass shatters around the other window frames and graze past Castle's legs and hips.

Barbara is already out of the Starbucks and headed for the first turn in the tiny mall they've chosen to do this. Her heart is racing, and only once she's out of sight does she kick off the heels, shove them in her bag, and start to run. She isn't the only one as others realize that something violent is going down. She knows where to meet Frank, and now she has to hope he will get there in one piece.

Bennett snarls a little, shaking his head, "You don't have anything, missy!" If only he knew. At the very least, his snarl trails off into something fast-approaching a yelp at the blue fire he's faced with when he looks back to Barbara, and he staggers a little, grabbed and hauled back upright by Wandersly. The two hurry off, the plainclothes man nearly hauling the uniformed one.

Frank would dearly love to have the rope attached to his harness right now, but he's got more important things to do. Ducking his head low to protect his throat, he hurls himself backwards out the partially-open window, pistol emptying toward his attacker in one hand and the end of the rope wrapped around the other. This is going to hurt. Bullets strike the glass first, shattering it before he goes through, and that actually helps a little. It means that while he gets cut and sliced by the glass, he doesn't have a full-back bruise to go with it. The doubled-up rope jerks him to a halt halfway down the four-story drop, and he grunts as his shoulder gets yanked in its socket. Biting down a cry of pain, Frank struggles to holster his pistol, twisting midway down a rope as people on the street below start to realize that chaos has broken loose above them. The weapon put away, he comes quickly down the rope, hand-over-hand, until he can drop the last story and take off toward the nearest alley, limping a little on a painful slice to his calf.

Frank Castle goes careening out the window, and there's plenty of gunfire following after him. He leaves behind several men, groaning and trying to get themselves upright. Only one is bleeding out due to a failure in his vest. The one shooting after Frank gets to the window's edge just as he hits the pavement. He stares down at Frank with those serious eyes and half-snarl on his lips. Then he's gone, turning back around to get his men and get out of the building.

Barbara is rushing down the allies, having taken a moment to get into her flats and hiked up her skirt high enough to give her a longer stride. She presses her fingers against the side of her head, speaking in breathless tones, "Frank. I'm almost to the van. Do you need me to pick you up?" She comes to the end of the alley that has a parking lot behind it. There sits the Punisher Van. She slows her steps, and she hikes up her bag as she begins a more casual approach to the vehicle, and she pops open the passenger side to set down her bag, and then she's climbing into the back.

Frank has no time or inclination for feeling bad about the hurt or dying he leaves behind. They weren't wearing uniforms, they were operating on US soil, they were working with Bennett or Orange. Three strikes. One alley, then a quick cut across the street with people screaming at the Punisher vest and the rifle on his back, and he's in another alley, "Two blocks out." The pain is clear in Frank's voice, but so's the anger. "Tried to keep it quiet." He moves quickly despite the limp, blood washing down one side of his face from a cut at his temple, and his breathing short from the impact of two bullets to the vest. "You get him?"

There's some soft noises through the earbud, and by the time Babs is opening the back doors to the Van, she's dressed in lean jeans and her blouse has been opened to reveal the pale pink camisole with lace trim. She's changed into simple t-shirt with rolled cuffs and a midriff-crop that shows off the edges of her ribcage; the sneakers give her a casual chic look that looks nothing like Vicki Vale. "I got him." She hesitates for a heartbeat before she confesses, "Frank, he knows I know about Cerberus. Or at least that I know he was stationed with you. I needed to get him to jump." She pulls out her phone, tapping over to her vOS. With another tap, she brings up the app she's coded up that has cloned and linked her phone to Bennett's. "You want me to come get you?"

Frank's breath comes short and quick as he goes through another alley and across another street. Police are undoubtedly already on their way, and he's generating impressions as he goes. No doubt there'll be another story about the Punisher taking another shot at Barbara Gordon. "Almost there." He's at the mouth of the alley now, pushing his way down, "You better drive." There's a pause, "I'm okay, just don't look so good if we go past the cops." And there he is, looking her over, "He knows I was there too. He'll be running now." He lifts up one hand, brushing his knuckles across her cheek and then flopping into the back of the van, "Straight to Agent Orange."

Barbara is feeling the pressure of anxiety as she waits to spot Frank. Then there he is. She's moving forward quickly, but Frank closes the distance between them quickly. Her breath is tight in her chest as she looks him over, and she touches his skull-emblazoned chest just as he brushes his knuckles up along her cheek. "Yeah. He will be. Straight to Agent Orange." Then she steps back and lets him flop down and once he's in, she slams the doors shut. She moves around the van, pulling herself into the driver's seat. She looks behind her once to make sure Frank's settled in. "First aid kit, Frank. Once we're out of the city, I'll pull over and help you patch." Then she's turning on the van and checking her windows and mirrors before she's pulling out into the quiet traffic — quiet for now. She props her phone on the dash.

"Hey." Nothing more than that. But there's weight behind Frank's one-word greeting. It's a chastisement for the anxiety gathered around her eyes, a reassurance that he's okay, and an acknowledgement that he is beat to crap. He safes the pistol and rifle first, then gets out the first aid kit. After he takes his own study of his wounds, and gets the bleeding stopped on the head wound, he speaks up again, "Some cuts. Bruises. I'll be fine in a couple'a days, Red." He works his wrenched shoulder, wincing as he does, but doesn't mention that, "You were pretty damn good down there, you know. You want another career change, you might have a future as a reporter." There's a hint of lightness to his words, but it's underlain by the tension of a taut violin string, an instrument of violence waiting its turn to play.

Her eyes lift to the rearview mirror, and she offers him a tight smile. Then she's getting on the freeway which is still quiet, though there's plenty of police cars whipping past, sirens blazing. They haven't gotten a blockade up, but they will. Babs guns it, taking the van through the onramp and onto I-87, heading south for New York City. She shakes her head slightly, and a bit of amusement tights at the corners of her smile. "Dad didn't want me to be a cop. There was a time I thought journalism might be the next best thing." Plus being a vigilante. She turns her head slightly toward him, her expression holding a nervous energy. "You going to tell me how you're actually doing now, or wait until I'm back there to find out for myself?"

"Plus vigilante and asskicker," Frank speaks her unspoken words. He's leaning back against one wall of the van, swaying with turns, braking, and acceleration. The vest is off by the time she gets on the freeway, and he's poking at his ribs, "Nothin' cracked." He's got bandages on most of the cuts, one leg of his pants rolled up and the other hip pulled down to expose another slash. "One of the assholes hit me in the fuckin' nose again. Why's it always the nose?" Apparently, that's rhetorical, because he keeps going, "I'm thinkin' he holes up for a bit, but you saw his eyes. You think he's gonna go runnin' for daddy right away instead?"

Nothing cracked is good news, because that means she's not going to have to set anything and wrap him up so he's immobile like she did when he dislocated his shoulder. Not that he kept the damn wrappings on more than a day. Only once she's on the freeway and up to speed does she settle into a more sedate driving style. She glances back at the rearview mirror at his rhetorical, and a little smile eases into place. Then she shakes her head. "If things hadn't gone south where you were, I think he would have laid low. But now? He's going to panic. He's going to run. I give him 24 hours." Which means they have 24 hours. "He's going to want to know if I actually know anything." Her lips press together.

Frank nods slowly as he catches her smile in the mirror, "Should'a known they'd have overwatch too. Wonder how things'd have gone if they hadn't set up there." Grunting softly, he adds, "They were pros. Ex-mil. Probably Rangers. Young, one or two enlistments. Didn't check the floor right away," which was the first thing he did, "but they did it." He finishes taping up his wounds, except for the small ones around his face and hands, and sways forward to drop into the passenger seat. Buckling up, he reaches out to nudge her arm with his knuckles, then works his shoulder again, "Yeah. Once the shit went down, I thought givin' the asshole a little fear'd speed things up." He curls himself into the corner of the seat against the door, turned toward her with a grimace as it puts pressure on his shoulder, "They're gonna be lookin' matchin' your description, Red. And pretty soon, they're gonna figure out that wasn't Vicki Vale. We're gonna need to lay low for a while."

"So, like every other team we've been running into since you got jumped in January. And probably like the same team that killed Zane." Speaking her friend's name has her jaw tightening, and her fingers work at the steering wheel. Her eyes lift as he nudges at her shoulder, and then she fights past that anger to give him a small smile. "I think we took care of that okay." Scaring Bennett, that is. When he climbs into the passenger seat, she makes sure she holds the van steady, and only once he's buckled in does she look over at him. The bandaged wounds do not alleviate her worries; in fact, she frowns worriedly. "Frank — " Then she takes a breath, and nods. "Yeah. We shouldn't go back to Gotham, maybe not even New York." She takes a breath, drumming at the wheel. Then she asks, "How do you feel like a night over somewhere? Yonkers?"

Frank nods at her statement about the intent of the other team, a frown of concern heavy on his brows. His name causes him to look down, frowning a sec, then back up, "I went through a window. I'll be okay." That could be it very easily, but instead he looks down again, admitting, "Think I fucked up my shoulder. It ain't outta the socket though." The suggestion of a night away from the city causes him to frown down at his hands, "Yeah. Probably." Drawing in a breath, he takes a step back from the immediate, from the tactical, and reevaluates the question. He smiles up at her from beneath his brows, "Yeah." It's different, softer, and he gives a little shrug with his right shoulder, "Some downtime'd be good, Babs. As long as we can keep an eye on the phone."

When Frank mentions his shoulder, she whooshes out a hard sigh in exasperation. She looks over at him, frowning reproachfully. "Frank." She shakes her head as she follows the highway until she spots some signage that gets her off the highway that is about to become a tollway and onto the smaller highway that hugs the nature preserve on the right. She glances at him at his first response to her question, but this is just in time to catch the smile and hers softens the same. "I know. You won't really take a break, but at least we can lay low while watching the phone."

"It was that or fight my way through five pros in a hallway." Frank rolls his shoulder again, "It'll be okay, Red." Her response, however, causes him to crack a momentary smile, "I won't take a break? Come on, Red, you can't shit a shitter." He settles more squarely into the seat, watching the trees start to come up along the roadside, "Like you ain't gonna have your computer out and be pokin' at that program the moment we stop." He reaches across the cabin again, but this time it's just a slow touch to her upper arm, letting his fingers linger there, "Find some little motel or cabin or some shit where they won't look twice at cash and just crash out?"

"Oh, shut up," is all Barbara's reply to his smiling words. He touches her arm, and she looks toward him with a casual warmth in her smile. "Yeah. That's what I was thinking." Then she is looking back out at the road as they whip by the trees to the left and city and suburbs to the right. Then she's taking an exit that features a billboard: BARNEY BROOK CABINS. It's just five miles from the highway to where there's a lovely clearing surrounded by trees with six cabins on the exterior, giving them some seclusion while also a clear view of the open grass. A main cabin is centered at the parking lot where Babs pulls in. She unbuckles her belt, and glances over toward Frank. "Stay here, I'll get the keys. Then you tell me if the kitchen is worth a damn, and I'll do a store run."

Frank rides along in silence, his fingers sliding down to her forearm and then just resting there. It hurts his shoulder to keep his arm stretched out, but it's proof the thing isn't busted or dislocated, and the connection is nice. He nods at her choice, his eyes flickering about to track angles and escape routes, and then he brief chuckle rises to his lips, "Red, anything they got'll count as 'good enough.'" His good humor fades, "Don't know if it's a great idea for either of us to go out, but we'll need food. And that'll give me time to really get cleaned up. Just watch for cameras, yeah?"

Barbara looks over at him, and she smiles gently. "I know." There's so many things those words answer, and she doesn't clarify. Instead, she just leans in across the console to gather Frank's cheek lightly in her palm and press a light kiss to his lips. It lingers for just a moment before she's easing back. "I'll go get the keys." Then she's climbing out of van, grabbing her wallet to tug out ample amount of cash. She's inside for just about five minutes to small talk, smile, pay for a cabin for the night, and then get the keys on a huge nylon diamond keychain. She's given a copy of their rules, signs some documents as 'Dinah Lance' and then she's heading back out to the van.

The turn into the kiss draws a little hiss of pain from Frank, but he still turns willingly, smiling against her lips. He closes his eyes a moment when she turns to duck out of the van, settling back into the van for a moment before he pushes himself out of the seat and into the back of the van again. Now that they're settled, he reloads the pistol and tucks the vest and the rifle into a big duffel. When she returns with the giant diamond on the key, he shakes his head, "Guess we won't lose that." He makes his way slowly out of the back of the van, bringing his duffel and hers out in his left hand and coming to meet her and let her lead the way to the cabin. Walking alongside her slowly, they're halfway to the cabin before he reaches out to put his hand on the back of her shoulders. "I may be a Hell's Kitchen boy, and you might be a Gotham girl, but I kinda like gettin' outta town."

"Oh no, I bet I could lose it if I tried really hard," Babs teases as she hoists up the keys. Then she's shouldering up her messenger bag with her various journalist stuff in it, and she doesn't try to fight him for her duffel. Instead, she just walks alongside him. When his hand comes to her shoulders, her eyes turn aside to him. "Yeah, I like it too. Wish I did it more as a kid." Just in case Frank forgot how little she got out of her various hometowns — Chicago and Gotham both. She steps up onto the porch of Cabin 5, and she unlocks the door to yield a classic New England cabin. It has hardwood floors softened with nondescript rugs and plaster walls with hints of the wood framing beneath. There's a corner kitchen that is pretty well setup, a small sitting room, and then beyond it through an archway is the single bedroom and adjoining bathroom. It's chilly inside, and it appears the only heat might be an old wall heater and a fireplace. "Get me a list and I'll go shop, and you clean-up. Then we will huddle in."

"Not until we're inside." Frank's able to joke, even this close after action. He pushes open the door and holds it for her so that she can duck under his arm and step inside. After scanning the room closely, he nods, "Yeah, that'll work." Nodding slowly, he adds, "Yeah. I never got out much either." There's a bit of a delay there, a hesitation as he thinks about the fact that he never got a chance to with Maria and the kids, but he grimaces a little and shakes it off, heading back toward the bedroom, "Whaddya think about just grilled cheese and…" he drops off the bags and head into the kitchen to dig out cupboards, "ham or turkey with," yes, they've got a steamer, "Broccoli or asparagus. Butter, garlic, cheese, bread." He looks around, then leans back against the fridge, looking over to her with another momentary grin, "You wanna learn how to make grilled cheese?"

As Frank starts giving her a shopping list, Babs grabs a notebook from her messenger bag to start jotting things down. Any other time she'd put it in her phone, but she turned it off once they were on the highway. So, instead she lists everything off. She's not looking his way until he asks about teaching her to cook, and she looks up at him with an arched brow and lopsided smile. "I know how to make grilled cheese," she objects, hesitating before she follows up with, "I just burn it every time." She tucks the pencil back behind her ear, her red hair gathered over one shoulder. It's a quaint reminder that not too long ago, she was a librarian. She steps up toward him, tucking her notebook against her side, and when she's in close, she presses a kiss up against his lips with a slight roll through the balls of her feet. Then she drops away, and she smiles. "Too bad it isn't cold enough for a fire." Then she pecks a shorter kiss to his lips. "I'll be back."

Frank arches a brow as she claims to know how to make grilled cheese, and then he shakes his head, "It's about controllin' the heat. Way easier on a range than over burning C4." Yes, that's a thing. The explosive actually burns very well. Without even exploding. The pencil's home behind her ear draws an amused chuckle, but before he can accuse her of being a nerd, she's stepping close and rolling up into a kiss, which promptly reminds him that she's a hot nerd. He's smiling by the time she settles back onto her heels, although the expression fades away quickly, "And no bear-skin rug." He nods at her response, one hand catching for hers to squeeze, "Be careful, Red. I'll get cleaned up while you're out." Since he still has blood on his face from the cut to his scalp.

"Over burning C4?" Babs would ask more, but then she's settling into an easy smile. Her fingertips trail just under his clean jaw, and then she nods. "I'll be careful." She leans in to press another soft kiss to his lips, murmuring as she does, "I prefer the bare floor anyway." There's some mischief to those words, and then she's heading for the door to cross the grassy courtyard back to the van.

Frank shrugs a little helplessly at the first question, but her murmured statement against bear-skin rugs causes him to chuckle a little huskily, returning the kiss with interest and then shepherding her off with a hand between her shoulder-blades. While she's gone, he takes a quick shower — although he does soak his aching, wrenched shoulder under hot water for a couple of minutes — and then redoes his bandages and puts on some clothes that aren't bloody and/or torn up. Finally, with just a little grin to his lips, he starts a kindling fire in the fireplace. It won't last long, not with the little, mostly-decorative branches feeding the crackling flames instead of split logs, but it also won't turn the cabin into a sweltering heater.

As promised, it takes Babs only thirty minutes to get to the store, load up with food for dinner and breakfast, and get back to the cabin. She's knocking before she unlocks, giving him a head's up that it's hers with the same knock she did at the warehouse before she installed GAARD. When she steps inside, she's got a shopping bag full of actual food to be cooked into meals and a paper cup carrier with some fresh hot coffee from a Dunkin' Donuts. There's ground coffee in the bag, but she knows Frank needs caffeine. Her eyes dance around the cabin until she spots the fire, and then Frank, and laughter bubbles up in her throat. "We're going to be back here come December so you can make me a proper fire, aren't we, Frank?"

'Come December.' It's been a while since Frank had any plans more immediate than 'kill these people,' and it shows in the slight lift of his brows in response to the words. He considers as he rises to his feet and crosses from the fireplace to greet Babs — and perhaps more importantly, the coffee, taking the cup-carrier from her and taking the cup that just smells like coffee from the carrier. "Yeah. Or somewhere like it." He's still bruised and battered, a full-on raccoon face forming where he got slammed in the nose again, but for a moment, there's a lightness to his expression. "Hell, we can build a fire most anywhere. But that'd be nice." His forearm crosses hers for a moment, a hands-full connection gently forged, and then he turns toward the corner kitchenette, "So you wanna cut up the veggies while I get the rest of the stuff ready?"

The always-perceptive Barbara misses this one. He raises his brows, considers her words with silence, and then crosses to her. She presses her forehead against his, and looks over his bruised features. She traces the edge of the darker raccooning, and then she leans back to smile at him. Then she remembers Krampus, and she hesitates before adding, "Just maybe no ski resorts." Now she steps after him into the kitchen with her own cup of coffee. She blinks at the question, mouth parted a moment, and then she huffs out a laugh and she nods. "I got broccoli." She waits for him to hand her the heavy bunch of florets, and she starts to poke around the knife block. "I figured you wanted good cheese and not American slices." And indeed, she wasn't sure what kind of cheese to get, so there's cheddar and havarti and gouda and… is that brie?

Frank starts laying out cheese and meat and butter, looking back over his shoulder to her at the hesitation and a little frown gathers up his brow, only to clear away at her little laugh, "You still gotta cut broccoli, Red. And yeah, American melts fine, but it doesn't taste the sa — " he stops as he pulls out the brie and looks at it. Slowly looking back to Barbara, he lifts a brow, "Really?" Chuckling that off, he puts the brie in the fridge, then passes off the broccoli to her and gets the water going for her. He's assuming that she's capable with a knife, because despite all of his experiences, he continues to disbelieve just how little interest the ladies of Lance House have in cooking. "The other cheese'll work real nice." Putting together the sandwiches and heating up a pan, he looks over to her, "Next Christmas? Maybe you'll actually get someone to cover your beat and we'll get outta town?"

"I'll cut the broccoli," Babs says with a little grump — halfhearted grump though. She picks up a knife that probably hasn't been sharpened in a year, and then a cutting board. He holds up the brie, and she shrugs her shoulders haplessly. "I don't know… isn't brie a thing?" She really just has no idea, does she? It's kind of cute. Right? She starts to cut off the stem with a hard crunch, and then she starts to break off the florets without discrimination. He looks over to her, asking about Christmas, and she turns her smile toward him with a little brightness in her blue eyes. "Yeah… I think we could do that. You know that Christmas is a thing, though? Dinah gets really into it." Really into it. "Will be nice to have Thanksgiving dinner, but maybe you could cook at our place instead of the warehouse?" Plans. It feels… odd. It suggests things that Babs hasn't considered. Longterm, lifelong.

It's definitely cute, and Frank shakes his head in amusement, only to shake his head as she starts to break off florets, "You've got knife right there, Red." Turning off the heat under the skillet, he comes around behind Barbara, wrapping his arms around to take her hands, wrapping one around the knife and putting the other on the broccoli, "Curl your fingers up so they don't get cut," He has to stand rather close, of course, to help demonstrate the knife skills, "Cut low down, right by where the stems split, so you actually get some stem." Then they're discussing plans, and he nods alongside her head, "Yeah, I could tell she goes all-in for Christmas. Everybody's gotta have a favorite holiday, right?" He nods slightly at the suggestion that he cook down at their place, "Pretty sure I'll have to dust the oven first," he knows that they use the oven way more than they use the stovetop, "but yeah, I can do that. And 'cause I like Dinah, I won't even make anything with kimchi." There's something off about the question, however, and he tilts his head to one side, "What's up, Babs?"

Then Frank is sinking in behind her, placing his hands with hers so. She leans back instinctively against him, but also follows his directions like a good student. Her smile turns upward with genuine warmth, and she starts to cut the florets as directed. She also tries to get them to be the same size — she saw something about that on one of those Food Network shows. The pressure of his head against hers is a welcomed comfort, and she presses into it for even more togetherness. "She loves it." Then she's turning slightly to him at the question, and she offers him an almost wary smile. "Just… been a long time since I made plans with someone… someone who I thought would stick around. Feels a little… strange, and — " Her throat tightens a bit. "I don't want to see those plans fall apart." She turns toward him now, setting down the knife. Her hips rest back against the counter as she looks up into his dark eyes. "You know what I mean?"

Frank nods as she halves some of the florets to make them more even sizes, letting his hand fall aside from her knife-hand as she turns slightly toward him, drawing his head back far enough that he can study her face. The words that accompany her wary smile, however — he draws back further, so that his hand slides up from hers, settling at the small of her back so that he can stand beside her in the little kitchenette. "Yeah. I get it." He meets her serious gaze steadily, "We don't gotta make any plans now. We're just talkin' about what could be nice." There's a little resignation behind the words, but no complaint. "The last plans I made were a little over a year ago." But he doesn't hesitate on that note, instead going straight on to, "But unless somethin' happens to me or you before then, I'm gonna be knockin' on your door Thanksgiving morning, Babs, with a turkey in a bucket."

"In a bucket?" There's amusement in her voice, and then she leans forward; her brow presses against his shoulder and there she lingers while she takes in his scent — the soap and laundry detergent and his musk. "I want to make plans," she murmurs against his shirt. She lifts her eyes to meet his, and there's a lingering softness there. Her hand comes up, cupping his cheek and jaw. "I love you, Frank." It is not the first time he's heard those words, but there's something lingering — longterm. "I want to plan Thanksgiving and Christmas, and New Years. And maybe this New Years you won't be headbutting people at midnight." Though, let's be honest — probably pretty likely.

"It's gotta brine," Frank explains before she curls into his shoulder and he wraps his arms around her. Running a hand down her spine, he lifts it again to start gathering up her hair, stroking it softly time and again. "Then let's make plans." Not that they didn't already. He turns his head into her caressing hand, kissing the heel of it, and then looking back to her, "Love you too." He starts to smile, just for a moment, "What's wrong with headbuttin' people at midnight?" Frowning just a heartbeat, he leans forward, ducking his head to press a light kiss to her lips, "Or you got other ideas for midnight?" His hand slips up to the back of her neck, thumb brushing along the side of the long, graceful arch, "We can plan Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, birthdays, and whatever else you wanna plan, Red." His fingertips caress her scalp, "I'm gonna be right here, with you."

The kiss to her palm, and then the kiss to her lips all has her pressing up against him readily. Her smile warms as she looks up at him, red hair cascaded free from her pale, freckled features. Her fingers tighten around the sides of his shirt, balling the fabric in her knuckles; then she releases him, and she nods. "Good." She leans up to press her lips gently against his before she falls away, and nods to the hot pan. "Food, and then we can curl up." She bites softly at her lower lip as she smiles. "I have some paperbacks in my bag." There's a TV, but that doesn't appeal to her as much as books might.

Frank's eyes close as she presses close against him, accepting the little ache to his ribs that comes with it. The water is boiling beside them, and he chuckles faintly, opening his eyes and nodding to the boiler, even as he keeps his eyes on her features, "Put the broccoli in and set a timer for five minutes?" He pushes away from the counter reluctantly, turning on the heat under the other pan again and putting the first sizzling sandwich into it. "You're always prepared, aren't you, Red?" He'd like to claim that too, but honestly, his preparations tend to be along narrower lines. He reaches over to put a hand at the small of her back, nodding back to the pan, "You've gotta listen to the sizzle. You don't want too much, or it'll burn before the cheese melts. You don't want too little, or it just gets soggy."

"How do you set a timer again?" Her expression brightens with a playful smile, and then she's pushing off the counter so she can collect handfuls of broccoli and drop the into the boiling water. She's laughing at his comment, and she casts him a look with her chin almost resting at her shoulder. "Always bring a book." Then she is tapping the timer on the oven to five minutes. That done, she hauls herself up onto the counter beside the stovetop with her ankles crossing together. Her hands latch onto the edge of the counter on either side of her. She listens to his instructions, watching him work; her eyes drop down to watch the sandwiches. "Just the right amount of sizzle, got it. I figured you always needed high heat to melt the cheese. Also… impatient."

"It's a computer, ain't it? You should know better than me," Frank teases right back. He lowers down to nudge the sandwich around in the pan with one hand, "You, impatient?" After nudging the heat down just a touch, he looks up, his eyes crinkling in something just shy of a smile. "I'm pretty sure that the only things you aren't impatient about are coding and books." The sight of her perched up on the counter with her ankles crossed is just too all-American-girl, and he shakes his head in wonder. "Red…" there's just no words though, and he just smiles fondly and reaches out to squeeze her knee before he flips over the sandwich, letting it sizzle away with new-melting butter.

"Are you saying that I'm not patient with you, Frank?" There's a hint of heat — low and simmering — in her words. Babs then tilts her head at the utterance of her name — Frank's name for her — and she smiles with a touch of bemusement. "What?" Then she's looking away, glancing at the timer that is just halfway through. When her blue eyes lift to alight with his once more, she settles into an easy smile. There's no need for words as she looks over at the sandwiches, listening to them sizzle.

Frank shakes his head at her question, smiling tightly for a moment and then chuckling. The heat behind her words settles into his chest, warming him. The sandwich is evacuated from the pan, and he passes the plate over to her, setting the second sandwich to sizzling. They lapse into silence, sitting there as the timer counts down and he moves the sandwich around with one hand, the other resting on her knee. Words are superfluous for a time, the veteran Marine looking up to her frequently as he makes sure that the second sandwich doesn't burn either. The timer goes off, and he turns the broccoli off, then slips the second sandwich onto a second plate. He turns off the second burner, then steps over to Barbara, leaning in to press a slow kiss to her mouth, drawing on that simmering warmth he stored away. "That." Another smile touches his lips, and he pops the top off the boiler, nodding toward the broccoli, inviting her to it.

Now, Babs is custodian of a grilled cheese sandwich with a lovely golden crust. She brings it up to her nose to take in its scent, and then she's setting aside the plate so she can slip off the counter and evacuate the broccoli. Or at least, that's what she was going to do before she has a Frank nestling up toward her and meeting her lips with a kiss. Her eyes flutter shut and she savors the taste of him while her fingers brush up along his shoulder before they hook lazily behind his ear. The kiss lingers until he's lifting away from her lips. "That," she agrees. Then she slips off the counter. She grabs a spoon, heaps broccoli on her plate, and gives him space to get his own. A water bottle is tugged out of the grocery bag as she crosses toward the little table and it's four chairs. She settles into a seat, glancing once out at the darkening lawn and surrounding trees. Once he sits, she looks up to him; she is about to say something, and then the phone on the counter gives a sedate little buzz.

Frank dishes himself up broccoli too, just settling down on her right, his back to the wall, when she starts to speak. He leans forward to hear what she has to say, only to be interrupted by the buzz of the phone. His eyes widen slightly, shoulders tightening. From romantic cook to drawn arrow in less than a second. His fork is poised over the plate, but he just looks from her to the phone, "That just a text, Red, or does that mean he's on the move?" His index finger taps on the handle of the fork, his eyes intent. There is at least one downside to being with Frank Castle: he's only a heartbeat away from being on-mission at any given time.

Babs quietly puts down her fork and pushes herself up out of her chair. She crosses toward the phone she left on the counter, glancing at it like it might be a bomb, and picking it up just as gingerly. She glances up to Frank. "Bingo." She steps forward, resuming her seat beside him. "They must have turned his phone off during his extraction." Look at her using those military terms. She really has been hanging around Frank too long. "His phone just came back online. I got his location." She taps on the screen of her phone, and then she's back out of her seat to grab her laptop. Her food, for now, is forgotten about.

Frank starts to stand up as well, but she's already coming back. "Huh. So he ran right away after all." He scoots his chair over so he can look over her shoulder, grinning slightly at the use of the military terms. He glances toward the duffel bags they brought in earlier when she rises to her feet, but instead of going for them he pulls his plate over and starts tucking in rapidly, chewing his way quickly through the grilled ham and cheese. Never know when you'll get a chance to eat next. "So. Where is he? It's been… an hour and a half? That's not too bad. Can't have gotten that far."

"Shh." Babs holds up a finger to him as he asks her questions. "Eat." She points at his food which he's already scarfing down, but that's besides the point. She has her laptop open now, seated back beside him. She starts to tap away after plugging her phone in, and she's starting to run some quick dark net searches. Her eyes skim over the data as it flies past. "Got the coordinates of the location, but it's just empty land according to initial search. She taps several more times, bringing up satellite data. A few more careful taps, and she's furrowing her brows together. "It's a CIA safe house just outside of Albany. It will take us two hours to get there." She cuts a glance toward him, blue eyes uncertain beneath furrowed brows.

Between bites, Frank chews, swallows, and points out, "You better eat too, Babs." He puts the fork down, looking from her to her computer to the doorway to the bedroom, and then back to her. Reluctance flashes behind his dark eyes, but he doesn't hesitate more than a moment, "If we're gonna be on the road for two hours." Because theoretically, there will always be more time away with Barbara, but there's only so long that Morty will be with Agent Orange. "Because it sounds like he's with that shitbird Orange right now. And I got a high-caliber rifle in the van." He has no compunction about going to a CIA safehouse, apparently.

Her mouth sets, her brows gaining a tighter frown. She shuts her laptop now that she's passed all the details to her phone. Then she resigns to what lies ahead, and she pops a few broccoli florets in her mouth before she picks up half of her sandwich. "I'll get changed and we can go." There will be no respite for them tonight. She's getting out of her chair, carrying her sandwich with her. She's done this before — eating on the run. She pops the sandwich in her mouth, holding it between her teeth as she opens her duffle and starts to get out the third outfit she brought with her — black fatigues, a tight-fit long sleeve shirt, a black motorcycle jacket with stab plates, and the neck cowl that she will tug up over the bottom of her face when the time comes.

Frank reaches out for Barbara's wrist as she crosses behind him, "Eat first. Then get changed." He doesn't bother with the fork when he goes in for the broccoli himself, "Or you can eat in the van. I can drive now." Now that his face isn't a mask of blood from the bandaged cut on his scalp. His shoulder is wrenched, slashes on his hip, calf, shoulders, hands… but that's never stopped him before. "If you can get me satmaps while I"m driving, I can work on a plan when you take over." His finger is still twitching, eyes flickering about as if expecting an attack here and now. He licks his lips slowly, looking up at her, "We got him, Red. We got him."

He catches her at the wrist, and she looks down at him. She takes a breath that settles her a bit, and she reaches up to take away her sandwich from her mouth. She sets down the sandwich, using her free hand to wipe away the crumbs and melted butter. She leans down over him as that hand then slides down along his cheek and she presses a kiss to his forehead. "I'll get changed." Then she's stepping away from him, turning away as she strips off her shirt, revealing her own bruises and cuts from the battle in Kentucky. She's stepping toward the couch so she can set aside her clothes and begin to change into the persona of Red.

Frank's hand slips to Barbara's waist as she leans over him, and the kiss steadies him, stills the tapping of his finger. "Okay, Red." He takes in a slow breath, lets it out, and then goes back to eating. The fact that he's planning to go kill someone in two hours does absolutely nothing to stop him from turning his seat with a little scrape of wood on wood so that he can watch her change. His eyes take in every cut and bruise, and he shakes his head slightly, "We probably won't have to go in. If it's a crowded place, we'll wait for 'em to come out. If it's quiet, I'll take the shot from way off."

She pulls on that long sleeve shirt, tugging her hair free from the collar. "But we might have to go in." She turns slightly toward him just as she loosens the button and fly of her jeans. She stands there for a long moment, meeting his dark eyes across the length of the room, and then she's looking away to strip loose from her jeans and go for the fitted fatigues. "If we have to go in, or wait for them to come out, I'll be with you." Another redhead at his side. Babs is playing with chance. The dots are going to start getting followed, and they will lead Agent Orange straight to Barbara Gordon.

Frank nods at her statement, "Yeah. We might. Especially if it's quiet but no windows." He grimaces, "And I didn't bring a carbine or shotgun either." Not that that's going to stop him. He doesn't look away from her bright gaze, "Yeah. I know you will be." His brows furrow slightly, but he nods slowly, "And I'm glad that you'll be there with me. You, Bill, and Curt. No one in this world I'd rather have with me when I've gotta do somethin' hard."

Babs tugs up the pants, fastens them, and then threads her belt with a tug. She starts to snap on her belt various pouches, and finally secures the thigh bag. She glances toward him then, and she stops in that quiet moment to smile at him. "I'll be here with you whenever you want me to be." Then she's tugging on her jacket and her neck cowl, and then she turns to him. Her eyes then glance around the cabin, and she feels a little pang. She wanted a night, but it evaporates with that buzz of a phone. She stuffs her bag. "Grab your stuff, Frank. We should get on the road."

Frank stands from his chair, gathering up both of their plates and taking them over to the kitchenette. Her sandwich is tucked into a paper towel, and delivered to her. He pauses there, one hand brushing over her cheek. "We'll come back, Babs. Promise. Or find another place like it." He leans in, resting his brow against hers, "First… first we deal with that asshole, then we can take a day off." Even if he knows that she'll need it more than him will if she helps kill someone. Pressing a kiss to her brow, he steps back, turning to get his gear bag.

Her brow rubs against his gently as he presses into it. She takes a breath, feeling the weight gather around her shoulders. Then she nods. In this moment, she knows that Bennett will be moving soon, and that Agent Orange may already be there with him. If they don't get on the road, they could miss them. But something in the back of her mind feels a twang of weary — and then guilt. This is for Zane. He killed Zane. Her jaw tightens and she grasps him at the back of his neck briefly before her nostrils flare. She then releases him, letting him go get his gear while she shoulders up her own duffle and grabs her sandwich. She heads for the door, leaving the key on the counter.

The resolution that hardens Barbara's young features receives a nod from Frank, and the hard grasp at the back of his neck closes his eyes. But there's no hesitation when he heads over to get his gear, including the tactical gear from the last fight that he has to shove back into his duffel. It only takes a minute though, and then he's headed back out to the main room, glancing over to the still-crackling fire and the dirty dishes on the stove and in the sink. Then get a shrug, and then he offers his hand to Babs to lead her toward the door.

Something about taking the Punisher's hand to go kill a dirty CIA agent has an almost uncanny feel. Ask Barbara a year ago if she would have done it, she wouldn't be so sure. But now she grips his fingers, squeezing, and lets him lead her out into the grass and pathway back to the van.

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