Reply to Unforgiven From a kiss
And if you had told Karen that she would find love for a man whose life represented nothing more than becoming an avatar for vengeance, who had used her at points to get to the men who had killed his family. A vigilante who had come to her in confidence to acquire very delicate information that he knew could help him put that plan into motion and knew she would never tell a soul. Who revealed her the vulnerability and pain that he was going through at his worst moments and then showed her how protective he felt for her safety because of his actions and the actions of others. And then there was his breaking from the PTSD that he had brought home with him and that was further exacerbated by the war that continued to pound at him once he was away from his foreign war.
That fact, that he had entrusted her with all the parts of him that he should be sharing with the love of his life; the precious family that he lost only partially through actions of his own. Karen would have never imagined that she would see through this shroud that was placed upon him by society of that of a monster. Where she genuinely knew the light and darkness that encompassed his whole being and that reflected parts of herself back to her. A few years prior, she probably would have scoffed at the notion but here he was...this dichotomy, that she appreciated intimately. A man that she should deny him as everyone else in her small world seemed to have already done. Yet, even now, she has not, would not, shall not. Did that cause her to be a bad person herself? She could not resolve that question because she did not feel bad about any of it, at all.
Karen was increasingly willing to surrender the life she possessed presently for Frank because she didn't see the bad in it nor in him. She couldn't always reconcile his broad actions, but she could thoroughly grasp them and identify them for what they genuinely were...the justice that most people would never obtain because the system they constructed their lives upon was well and truly broken and corrupt.
People believed that it was he, Frank, who represented the corruption and danger. Nevertheless, Karen saw him for what he truly was; an avenging angel that took all the worlds injustices upon himself. He chose to protect the disillusioned and the put upon by punishing the system that felt just in pressing their boot heel onto the necks of those people to restrain them down; kept them broken. That was a lot of pain to willingly take upon oneself and he, just like any other, required the light, the comfort, the caring that any other person in great pain deserved. Karen wanted to be that bubble, that guardian angel.
Karen experienced the tension from him, of him not wanting to give in, give up, get lost again in his basest feelings and needs. It troubled her heart every time. Seeing that this big, bad Punisher was always so willing and able to punish himself the most.
She sympathized, knowing it came with the territory. Usually when the darkness won, it usually radiated from oneself first and foremost and then that pain; like tendrils of smoke, edged out and wrapped around the air surrounding you. The acrid air affected all by clinging to your skin, your lungs, the walls and ceiling and muffled your ability to breathe. Through that smoke, you tried finding your way but because it was so dark and stifling; all you could achieve was flail about and pray you can ultimately gather yourself to fresh air and clear sight. Most times, the sole way that can happen is if someone willingly cast their own life and safety aside to come into that smoke and tow you free.
That kiss to his cheek, she hoped would be that guiding action that would help to pull him free of his jumbled thoughts and chronic pain to once more see the light that he could grab ahold of and never let go until he could break free of that stifling darkness.
Karen ultimately revealed her eyes to observe him; all of her feelings for him had been poured out into the ether in the hopes that it would be acknowledged in kind. She regarded him carefully as he fought with himself to argue with it; with her. Trying to thrust her away once again and her heart dropped. Swallowing thickly, she let out a trembling breath and experienced the fear of rejection suddenly lay over her like a wet blanket. But then, she could see his resolve begin to falter and his fighting words die on the vine. Suddenly, he leaned in and kissed her lips with quiet yearning.
Karen gasped deeply at the touch of his tender lips pressed against her own. Freezing in place for a moment, Karen lost sight of what she should do? Was this a wakened fever dream? Was this authentic? At that moment, the feel of his stuble; the warmth of his breath on her mouth and the sweetness of the kiss itself suddenly woke her up and her first instinct was to wrap her hands in his hair to pull him in close and with urgency. Karen turned that kiss a bit more fierce, intense and passionate. Pouring all of her pent up feelings for him into action by demonstrating to him just how much she felt for him with that one simple action.