Steph looked up from her pile of notes, pen in hand, in time to see Jordanna let go of the empty water bottle, followed by Francisco, and Michael.
The gang's all here, apparently.
Catching it with a raised brow, she sat it down neatly next to where her paper coffee cup sat, before taking the coffee to her lips.
Frowning at her 'prank' being foiled by reaction times, Jordanna leant over Stephs notes, glancing down at them.
"You need a break. They turned the dorms into a haunted house, you're coming with us. I'm not taking no for an answer, Brown."
Sighing into her mostly empty coffee, Stephanie looked between the boys, silently reading their faces, then back to Jordanna, before stacking her notes and starting to put them away.
"One, you should accept people saying no, Jor. Two, these two are scared to, and you want more back up, is what I'm hearing."
With the silence that hung between then all, Steph shook her head slightly, grinning to herself, getting to her feet.
"Alright, alright, let's go…"
Jordanna seemed genuinely surprised. Steph simply nodded her head, and shifted her book bag to her shoulder, catching the appreciative glance shared between Michael and Francisco. Clapping them both on the shoulders as she started to lead them from her once secluded study corner of the campus diner, she nudged Jordanna.
"I didn't take you for a scardy cat, Jor."
"I'm not scared! I just-"
"It's alright to be scared, Jordanna. I don't like haunted houses much, if I'm being honest.
"So why did you agree…?"
By now, the girls had gotten a little ways ahead of the boys.
"Other than you not taking no for an answer?"
She raised a brow, deadpanning Jordanna, who shoved her in response.
"I'm being serious."
Stephanie shrugged a shoulder, tucking her hands into her pockets.
"I really did need a break. And I wouldn't mind seeing what people consider scary now."
Jordanna eyed her curiously as the boys jogged to catch up, Michael draping an arm over them both.
"Ok, but, enquiring minds need to know, ladies, what are the plans for Halloween."
Jordanna acts first, shoving his arm off with a huff, reflexively moving towards Francisco.
"Probably the harvest festival, like usual. And Old Lady Brown there will probably stay in and study, like she has been doing every time I call her."
Steph's elbow caught Michael in the ribs, but she didn't miss a beat otherwise.
"I love Halloween. The costumes, the parties, everyone getting to be someone else for a night? Greatest time of the year. I've got my costume ready, and a family thing to go to."
She was hit with two questions simultaneously; Michael and Francisco
"When you say family, you mean boyfriends family right?"
"A mermaid, and yes. Assume whenever I say family, it means the Wayne's, alright?"
Jordanna swats Steph on the arm.
"About time you came out and said it. When are we invited?!"
Steph instead pushed into the dorm building, which was all done up, actually quite well, for Halloween.
"Oh hey look, how spooky, we're here!"
"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Jordanna scowled at her as she lead them through the first set of rooms, but as the first 'scare actor'
jumped out, and made three of the four yelp in fright, the brushed off question forgotten.
Steph continued leading them through the halls and done up rooms, each with a different theme, zombies, mummies, vampires, generic monsters, all eliciting an eyeroll from Stephanie, who had, at some point or another, had a run in with most of the beings, for realsies. The life of a Bat was weird sometimes.
The higher through the dorm they went, the less hokey, less juvenile, the 'scare rooms'
got, some even done up like in the theme of some of the Gotham Rogues.
Looking into the Scarecrow room, and the others made disgusted sounded, Steph spoke up brightly, looking over her shoulder, offering her other arm to Jordanna for the umpteenth time, after 'Doctor Crane'
jumped out at them, to get feeling back in her hand for a bit.
"You know he went to this school? Some of his notes might still be around here somewhere…"
"Don't even joke. That's not funny, Steph."
"I never joke. I'm not a funny person…"
She says as flatly as possible, trying to stifle a grin.
Backing out of the room, 'Scarecrow' cackling behind them, she lead them to the next room, one with a black skull mask on the door. Her stomach immediately dropped, but she pushed on. Slowly turning the door handle, she then nudged the door open with a finger, and tightened her jaw.
Stephanie Brown wasn't an idiot, contrary to popular belief, and her gut instinct was usually on the money.
This 'fear room display' was indeed Black Mask, complete with fear actors, 'Roman', and victim, being tortured.
"That's just messed up…"
Michael says from behind her, as Steph has to remind herself where she is. That she wasn't the one on the table. That it wasn't really him.
"That's what Black Mask does. You should see what he does with a power drill..."
She mutters, trailing off, shutting the door with more force than she intended, before leading them back to finish the house, focusing on Jordannas nails in her arm.
It took a few rooms for Steph to realise her shoulders were still tensed.
By the time they were back down to the goofy scares, with Corpse Brides, and sheet ghosts with glasses, Steph had eased up, mostly.
Back outside in the brisk, fall air, the others flushed, adrenaline filled, giggling messes, she smiled faintly at them.
Jordanna grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her.
"How messed up did your dad make you?! You didn't even jump once!"
Francisco ran his hands through his hair and laughed nervously.
"I wish I was that stoic! That's so cool. You don't get scared at all?"
"Oh, no, I get scared. I get scared a lot. Stuff in there spooked me. I just learnt a long time ago to not react to it. Because-"
"Because your dad messed you up!"
Jordanna shook her again, causing her to finally crack a grin, letting the shaking throw her around exaggeratedly.
"Something like that."