have been studying.
have been nose deep in those textbooks, reading until she went cross-eyed, scribbling notes until her finger tips bled… or something.
Instead, her brain was roughly thirty-three minutes away, and she was trying to balance a pen on her nose, while humming along to the music playing from her beat up laptop (No easy feat, when she kept swaying her head in time with the beat).
As she gets it steady, an amused grin spreading across her face, her phone begins to vibrate in a call notification on its perch on the keyboard. Swearing, snatching up the phone and hitting the spacebar to silence the goddess that was Marina in a relatively slick series of movements, managing to keep the pen in place, she held the phone above her face to see who dared, already preparing a torrent of bat related puns should it be Broody Boots.
Seeing Jordanna, again, she frowned, and answered.
"Jor? Everything alright?"
There was a brief pause, as if the line was dead, before spoke.
"You're gonna make fun of me…"
Sitting up, letting the pen fall into her hand, Steph frowned slightly.
"I highly doubt that. What's wrong…?"
A sharp exhale, and Jordanna spoke rapidly.
"Well, I like Francisco, and earlier today he told me that he and Michael were gonna start going to the gym, and I just sorta said I would go too. But I don’t want to go alone, I don't know anything about the gym!"
Steph narrowed her eyes, chewing at the end of the pen absently.
"I dunno, Jordanna, I'm in the middle of study right now… what makes you think I know anything about the gym anyway?"
The response was swift.
"Girl, one, I've seen your arms. You definitely lift. Two, please? I’m asking nicely?"
Snorting a laugh, Steph shook her head slightly.
"Who are you, and what did you do to the real Jordanna? Yeah, ok, ok. I’ll be there. Lemme guess. It's like, soon."
"Yeah! Don't wear anything weird, ok?"
Rolling into the campus gym, the first thought Steph had was quaint, before realizing in very sudden horror that she had gotten too used to the swanky Bat adjacent training facilities, with their high tech equipment, shiny machines and non-existent dude bro B.O. stank.
Glancing around she noticed a few upperclassmen she had seen around at the weight benches, before spotting Jordanna, Francisco, and Michael just sort of… loitering around the elliptical machines.
The boys in gym shorts and tees, Jordanna in yoga pants and a cropped tee. Going for cute, but not trying too hard. Feasible for the gym. Not bad, not bad. Steph was in well worn sweats, complete with matching zip up hoodie, gym bag over her shoulder.
"Sorry, are you waiting for me?"
She says as she approaches, Jordanna looks her over, shaking her head slightly. Michael speaks first.
"Long time no see! Just trying to work out where to start, honestly…"
Steph gives him a look of utter pity, before adjusting her ponytail.
"I see why Jordanna called me now. You dummies would have hurt yourselves… you start with a warm up."
"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Leading them away from the ellipticals and sitting on the ground, she motioned for them to follow, putting her feet together, knees out to the side.
"What makes you such an expert, huh?"
Michael fires back, the last to sit, Jordanna glancing between them nervously.
"I like to keep fit."
She shrugs a shoulder, which seemed to be enough for him, before leading them through a warm up. After Steph had decided they were safely warmed up, to regular, non Bat levels, reminding herself she wasn't prepping them to undergo her training from Bruce or Cass, she shooed Jordanna and Francisco off to use the elliptical together, at a low resistance, she offered to spot for Michael.
"Hey, I didn't mean to sound like a douche before… it's just-"
"You were starting to feel emasculated in a gym?"
"Not even the most douchey thing I've heard today. But cut the sh*t."
By this point, Steph was taking off her hoodie so her sleeves wouldn't be potential hazards, leaving her in the sweats and a cropped sports top. After a few bench press reps, Michael speaks, Stephs focus still on the weights.
"That's a lot of scars, Steph. I think I've only ever seen you with sleeves on…"
"It's either sleeves or cover up makeup. I didn't think I'd end up taking the hoodie off…"
She mutters, frowning slightly. He set the bar on the rack, and sat up to look at her, which she took as her queue to step back.
"How did you… you know, get them? If you don't mind me asking."
Glancing over at the other two, who were facing the other way, and who seemed to be having a great time, she grabbed her water bottle from her gym bag, took a sip, and sighed.
"Well, y'know how my dad is part of the costume criminal freak squad…"
She started, which seemed to be enough for Michael. Nodding, he raised his hand, lowering his head.
"Ah! Say no more. I had an uncle that got killed in a Joker gas incident… He's not one of the big ones, is he."
Raising his head, almost nervously. Laughing lightly, she shook her head.
"Not even close. A second string underling, wanna be Riddler type. The Cluemaster... f***in' lame name."
She rolled her eyes, downplaying the fact he kept his identity off the Bats radar until she handed it to him, or how many people he killed, before being taken down by his fourteen year old daughter. Clearing her throat and shaking her head slightly before laughing softly, trying to lighten the mood, as Michael looked uncomfortable.
"Relax. He can't do anything. He's dead. And even if he had any 'buddies' around still, they wouldn't be able to touch me. Not while I'm dating a cop, at least."
'Sure, it's the boyfriend that's stopping them. Not the fact you can kick the crap out of them.'
He let out a soft yelping, pointing at her, jumping to his feet.
"You have been dropping clues!"
In a strangled, almost wounded voice, she yelps in response, recoiling in disgust at the thought of inadvertently leaving clues.
"WHAT? I HAVE NOT?! Have I?"
"Maybe not intentionally. But Jor's been keeping track… we have suspects. And you just gave it all away! You go, Stephanie Brown."
She wasn't really listening anymore. She was stuck on the fact she had been APPARENTLY LEAVING CLUES?!
Maybe the apple doesn't fall far from the tree after all...