Brothers

September 23, 2018:

Barbara calls Luke to get him to help Frank.

Phone Call

Various.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Frank Castle, Owen Mercer

Plot:

Mood Music: Hey Brother


Fade In…

Barbara Gordon sits on the edge of her bed, the last vestiges of sunset fading from twilight to night. She's half-dressed in her Batgirl suit — lightly armored pants, yellow-soled motocross boots, a black tank top. The cowl and chest armor sits beside her, cape spread out across the bed behind her. She should be ready to hit the streets by now — meet up with Tim or Kate, or go it alone.

But there's something she has to do first. She looks down at the phone in her hand, turning it over and over again slowly. Then she flicks out the small card where Jess had scrawled down Luke's number, and she swipes open her phone. She quickly dials the number, not slowing down enough to perhaps think twice about pressing the green call button.

She tucks the phone to her ear under the loose fall of red hair, listening to it ring. Her right knee bounces nervously as she listens to each tone in her ear.

*

Luke has reopened his bar, not with a bang but a whimper. Now that Fisk has been taken down and Jess is out of her coma, what the big man needs is a little normalcy. A little routine. So he's pulling a pint for a renewed regular when his cell phone starts vibrating in his pocket, needing to let it go to the third ring before he has a chance to step away and fish it out. He frowns at the unfamiliar number, but hits the accept button before lifting it to his ear. "S'up." That's all the greeting the caller gets as he winds his way out from behind the bar to the back hall where it's quieter and he can hear who's on the other end.

*

Barbara is stalled with that casual greeting, and then she clears her throat. "Um, is this Luke? Luke Cage? I'm… I'm Barbara Gordon. I'm a friend of Jessica's." She shifts a bit on the bed, tapping her forefinger against the back case of the phone. "She… she gave me your number."

*

Luke's eyes narrow when she asks confirmation of who she's dialed, but the expression eases when she drops Jessica's name. If Jess gave this woman his number, it was for a good reason. Of course, that doesn't mean that someone /knows/ to drop her name, just to get their foot in the door. "Look, if this is a reporter, my official statement is 'No Comment'. You can contact my attorneys, Nelson & Murdock if you have any further questions."

*

"No… no, I'm not a reporter." Barbara tilts the phone down for a second, closing her eyes for a second. She breathes slowly out her nose before she says quietly, "She said I could call you if I need some help. And… I need some help." She does take note to the fact that Luke is a client of Nelson & Murdock. Stupid Matthew Murdock, how does he end up getting all these clients?

*

There's a long exhale from large lungs that's audible in the microphone of his phone. Luke leans against the wall, resting his slung and casted arm against his chest, ignoring the unfamiliar ache of pain. "So what can I do for you, Barbara Gordon." He relents, of course he relents. Who is he to refuse a woman in need? That's probably why Jessica gave her his number in the first place. Because she knows her boyfriend is a sucker.

*

"I have a friend," Barbara starts, voice kept quiet despite the fact she's the only one home. Alysia is off at her job, and it's just Barbara and her cat. Alaska is curled up on the chair, snoozing with deep, purring breaths. She rubs at her thigh as she speaks, feeling the lines of her armor. "His name is Frank. Frank Castle." In a tight, matter-of-fact tone, she starts to go through the facts, trying to keep the nerves out of her voice. "Back in April, there was a shootout in Central Park between three big Kitchen gangs. Frank's wife and kids were killed. The shootout was arranged by this guy named The Blacksmith. Jess… she said that you could help him."

*

Luke is very careful at first to not let it show in his voice that he knows a Frank Castle, waiting until the details start to flow about the shoot out and the man's family. "With what exactly? Look, I'm not trying to be a hard ass, ma'am, but I'm not about to start giving my word over the phone to a woman I've never met without knowing what I'm getting into. I've got a home, a family, a job…hell a neighborhood I'm trying to protect."

*

Barbara rubs at her cheek, and then she breathes out a slow exhale that sinks her down into her seat. She searches her own hand for a second before she nods to herself. "I'm reaching out because… we're all trying to help people. We're all trying to save something in this world." While she doesn't right-out confirm that she's Batgirl, there's definitely a hint there at another life she leads. "I've tapped Owen Mercer to help, and Jessica says he's good for it, but she also said I should ask you. You don't have to give me your word, or even do anything beyond this call. I'm just trying to help a man get through his grief, and maybe see something else on the other side."

*

There is a long moment of silence on Luke's part on his end of the phone. If it weren't for the noise of the jukebox in the background, she might think they lost connection entirely for the span of time it takes for Luke to answer. Then there is a low growl of noise, the sound of a man giving in. "If the brother needs my protection, he's got it. Shoot me a text with the when and where I need to be, and I'll be there."

*

All the tension built in her drains out, and Barbara nods slowly. "Thank you," she whispers. "I'll be in touch." She hesitates. "Give Jess a big hug for me, okay? I'll come visit again, soon." And maybe she'll actually meet Luke this time around.

*

There's a noncommittal, "Mmph." From Luke before he simply hangs up and the big man gets back to work, muttering something about 'goddamn dog'.

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