Country: United States
August 14, 2018
11/24/2021 07:40 PM
[Super Power: Drabble]
Yeah, and who do you think you are?"
So maybe she should have interfered in the mugging in her suit. She didn't think. She just did.
Dropping her book bag to the ground she half smiled, rolling her shoulders to warm them up.
"Me? I'm nobody. Don't worry about who I am."
She was the forgotten, the replaceable, the fill in.
The never as good as the others, the perpetual failure.
The one that had to work twice as hard for none of the recognition.
And that was OK.
Being nobody was an asset.
Stephanie Brown was invisible.
That was her super power.
11/03/2021 09:17 PM
[Study Chatter: Drabble]
“Hey, what do you see.”
The nudge to her shoulder brought Stephanie out of the intense staring at the same line of her internal medicine textbook. Blinking a few times, she frowned and tried to cycle through the last few minutes of whatever was going on in the group to have context to the question, hoping her ears had actually caught it, while she was totally brain dead there for a minute.
“I’m sorry, Francisco, I wasn’t even here. I was on Planet ’Oh God I’m Totally Gonna Flunk This Next Paper’, what were we talking about?”
Beside her, Jordana snorted a laugh. It took all her self restraint to not give her a sharp boot to the shins. Flunking was no laughing matter.
Shooting a quick glare to Jordana, Francisco gave Steph a small smile before catching her up with what they had been talking about.
“Fear gas. Everyone has been hit with at this point. Jor got dosed with Thrill that one time too. So, what do you see? I see snake monsters.”
Raising a curious brow, Steph didn’t press the issue, and simply turned her gaze to Jordana.
“Let me guess. Is it a broken nail, Jor?”
“Go jump, Freakshow.”
Jordana, however, didn’t have Steph’s self restraint. Or her aim. Francisco let out a yelp, leaving Jordana looking immediately apologetic.
Steph’s small smile quickly faded though, as she started picking at the corner of her text book. She couldn’t believe she was about to tell them this. She wasn’t sure this was even in her file And between B and O she was sure they had everything about her on file.
“I, uh… I see myself...”
05/22/2021 09:54 PM
[Tranquillitas ante tempestatem : Drabble]
Letting the bags hit the ground at the end of the console, Stephanie shrugged herself out of her jacket, before dropping to a seated position. She then flung open the bags, starting to sort the contents into different piles.
Turning her chair to look at the blonde, Wendy raised a brow curiously as the various hard covered (some of them rather old looking) books just seemed to keep coming from the duffles.
"Did you rob Zatanna or something? What's the deal?"
Without even looking up from her task, squinting at one of the book spines, trying to decipher what language she was looking at, Steph snorts.
"Don't be stupid. As if someone trying to fleece Shadowcrest would get out alive and or in one piece."
Wheeling herself over to the growing piles, Wendy just leant forward on her knees to try to work out what Stephanie was up to.
"...right. So where'd you get them all, smart ass?"
Taking half the stack that looked to be in Latin into her hands as she stood up, Steph rolled her eyes, moving to start scanning the pages of the books slowly, tediously into the system.
"The library, you know, that place I work, duh. Why does everyone always assume I steal everything."
Without missing a beat, Wendy bent to look at the smaller, English language pile, scooping them into her lap.
"Because that's what you do. Wait, no, sorry, it's 'borrow without permission'. My bad."
The corner of her mouth tweaking into a smile as the system beeped, indicating the page was done, she flipped to the next one to keep the scanning going, Steph shrugged a shoulder.
"That's what libraries are for, Wendy. Borrowing. They'll all be back before anyone notices anyway."
Wendy just rolled her eyes and shook her head, looking at the titles in her lap. 'Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside', 'The Undead', 'Investigating the Unexplained: Compendium of Mysteries of the Natural World' and 'A Modern Look at Monsters' definitely stood out as strange. Even for what they did. Raising her head to look at the blonde, still focused on her physical to digital transferals, Wendy watched her face closely as she next spoke.
"So… these are some… interesting
books you've got here… you wanna talk about it?"
Steph's periwinkle hues, focused on her current task of creating what looked like a labyrinth of folders within other folders, all named for the Rogues, narrowed ever so slightly at Wendy's words.
"Honestly? I was hoping you weren't here yet, so you could have plausible deniability."
With a few blinks of surprise at the words, Wendy watched Steph organising the scanned in pages into the new folders in a way that would only make sense to her.
"...o...k? But what does that have to do with the books? Or what you're doing now?"
With a groan, hanging her head, and turned to face Wendy.
"I'm looking for answers. Clues, even. I'm good at clues. I can work with clues. But most of these–"
She motions to the stacks in annoyance.
"–I can't read. So…"
Wendy waved the copy of 'Investigating the Unexplained: Compendium of Mysteries of the Natural World'.
"This is gonna help? C'mon now. Tell me what you're looking for, and we can do this together. Team Batgirl all the way, right?"
Snatching it from her with a scowl, Steph folded it under her arms.
"You never know. It might. Don't mock. But this isn't a Team Batgirl thing. This is a Steph thing. This is my trip to Nanda Parbat, Wendy."
It felt like a gut punch to hear Steph of all people to say no to Team Batgirl. She was the one that started the stupid name, after all, but with a small nod, Wendy put the rest of the books back down on their pile, before wheeling herself to the lift to street level. It didn't bother her. Not at all. If this loser wanted to read crackpot books and struggle with translations by herself that was a her problem.
After a pause at the doors of it, she called over her shoulder to the blonde.
"You know people missed you while you were gone, right? And are worried about how you're currently acting?"
A slow, almost exhausted sounding sigh was her answer.
Getting into the elevator, a realisation hit her as the doors slid closed.
When did Steph close that distance between them to take that book? Had she always been that fast?
04/18/2021 06:22 PM
"Nah, you're totally wrong. There's definitely been more than two Robins. How else do you explain the fact Robin was a kid like, fifteen years ago, and is still tiny now?"
"Bro, you can't judge someone's age based on their height!"
"Oh my god…"
This very loud, three person conversation was what drew Stephanie out from the depth of the stacks. The head of the GCU Library was quite accommodating with Steph dropping off the map from time to time due to 'work', so when the blonde just showed back up after a few months it wasn't treated as anything unusual.
And it gave Steph a chance to readjust to the land of the living. Better than she did the last time, at least. Y'know, not becoming a New Rogue and working for Penguin or whatever again.
Eyeing Francisco, Jordanna, and Mike bickering about the topic of Robins, she rolled her head on her shoulders and braced herself.
To them, she had just… gone away somewhere, after all. It wasn't a 'hey, I'm back from the dead' talk. She could do this. Totally.
Making her way over to their table with her well practiced soft-footed movements, she went unnoticed until she leant down by Jordanna, speaking softly.
"You know this is a library, right? You three do have inside voices, right?"
Jordanna reflexively whipped around, spooked, swatting at the blonde, who pulled back easily with a lazy grin. Francisco laughed at the reaction, while Mike slapped his palm to the table, library rules be damned, happy to have someone else around that would weigh in on the matter.
"Steph, settle it. More than two Robins, right?"
Francisco however, no longer cared about that argument, slugging him in the shoulder.
"Forget that! Where the hell have you been?!"
'Ah hell. What lie are you gonna go with here, dipsh*t?'
With an awkward laugh, Steph ran a hand backwards though her hair, pushing it away from her face, before snagging herself a seat and dropping into it, propping her heel up under herself, legs crossed. Before she could start to blurt out some default crap about exchange programs or work experience, she heard the gasp from Jordanna from beside her.
Glancing at her to confirm the suspicion, she saw Jor was, in fact, staring at her neck.
'Yeah, you might have to invest in turtlenecks or something, genius.'
Deciding to roll with it, Steph put her palm over it and forced what she hoped would come across as a sheepish grin.
"So… it's totally lame. But I got mauled by a dog, alright? It took me ages to recover. Get shot in the head, mostly fine. Throat gets all bit up, takes ages. Who knew? They should put that in my text books."
Francisco was already nodding. He was buying it. He was there when she got shot in the head, after all. Jordanna was frowning. She didn't like blood at the best of times, so that made her a little queasy. Mike though, didn't seem convinced.
"Wouldn't we have heard about a dog attack?"
Letting out an almost bitter laugh, Steph straightened her leg against the table, pushing her seat to balance on two legs.
"A dog attack in the news? In Gotham? Are you serious? Not even on a slow news day, man. We have almost daily chemical attacks, man-bats, and alligator men. Also, there's been four Robins. And the girl one. But no-one counts her."
She already had the easy distraction for him, she might as well use it. Slamming his hand on the table he pointed at Francisco in victory.
"Ha! I knew it! Wait–how do you know that?"
Steph shrugged a shoulder.
"Different suits. Different stances. Saw them close enough when they were dealing with my 'super villain' dad, you know, The Cluemaster and super villain 'uncle'–"
The use of air quotes around the words super villain and uncle were for no-one but herself at this point
"–The Riddler. You know. Whatever."
Jordanna rolled her eyes as the boys settled whatever bet they seemed to have going over the Robins, and shifted Mike's attention enough from the topic of whether or not people were or were not attacked by dogs.
"So, you're… good? Like. Healthy, right?"
"Sure…? Oh. No… Jor. No. I'm really not up for going out again yet…"
Steph saw the glint in Jordanna's eye too late. After she had already started to answer. She knew how this was going to go.
So that's how Stephanie was found in one of the many nightclubs of Gotham. To 'celebrate her getting well'.
Any excuse was enough for Jordanna.
While Steph didn't object to partying, she wasn't mentally prepared to be thrown into so much noise, so many bodies so soon. Not after coming back.
Her plan was to use school, and the earlier lectures to slowly reintegrate.
Sure, she could have said no. But she didn't. She wanted to just… be fine.
Pretend like nothing was wrong. Because to them, nothing was.
The bass was beating through her, off rhythm, and it all just felt… unnatural.
Everything about being here made her feel sick. It was so loud.
Usually, in the before times
she would have been leading the charge to the dance floor with Jordanna, making it her mission of the night to embarrass the little princess beyond all belief.
Yet here she was, in a borrowed dress, being dragged out into the masses reluctantly.She should have said no.
This was too much, too soon. Too many people. Too many bodies
. So much noise
. Were clubs always this loud? It hurt her head.
After a few skull pounding songs in the middle of the dance floor, Steph needed a minute, or ten. Breaking away from the group, she slipped over to the bar, doing her best to get attention on what seemed to be a busy night of service.A girl just wanted some water.
Movement next to her caught her attention. Something small being dropped into one of the two filled glasses on the counter in front of the man beside her. Alarm bells immediately set off, and Bat mode set in (not that it was ever really turned off. Maybe on standby at best)
Quickly leaning back, then forward onto the counter to check who was around them, seeing a few other women that could be the potential target in the immediate vicinity, she bit back a groan, rolled her eyes and called on all the St Hadrian's training she had, before she may or may not have blown the place up. She will not comment on the topic at this time.
Resting her elbow on his shoulder, Steph broke into a smile, hoping beyond all hope she was hiding all her disgust she was feeling.
"You were buying one of those for me, right?"
Seeing his slimy little grin made her smile wider.
Hook. Line. And sinker.
It wasn't long before she was leading him out though the back for some 'privacy'.
When she came back in, she was confronted by the group before she had even gotten back to the dance floor, with Jordanna grabbing her shoulders. Apparently they had had enough of Steph's group ditching during group outings, especially after being MIA for months.
"What the hell what that?!"
Straightening the dress, and pushing her hair back out of her flushed face, Steph shrugged a shoulder slightly. Before she could even answer, Francisco, who looked like a wounded puppy just shook his head at her.
"Steph… I didn't think you were like that…"
'OH! He thinks we–! Roll with it.'
Letting out a sigh, Stephanie just shrugged again.
"Sometimes, it's something that happens. What can I say."
Before the lecture about how much of a disappointment she was to them right now could continue, she held up a hand, frowning slightly. Sirens. She could hear sirens. All her instincts told her to bounce and suit up.
"Hate to cut this 'Steph sucks' lecture short, but the police are on the way. If something happened, we're gonna wanna leave, unless you wanna spend the night waiting around to give statements for no reason."
Mike, scowling at her, as she starts to move away folds his arms.
"And how would you know anything?"
Whipping around to stare at him pointedly she gave him a beat before saying
"Cluemaster. Lots of useless police interactions. What part of that is difficult for you to grasp?"
That did seem to spark reluctant movement in them, leaving the club, and splitting up in their different directions to head home.
Or in Steph's case, to suit up.
The squad cars blocked off the alleyway behind the club to cordon off the crime scene. Detective Gage was on the scene.
Because of course he was.
With a soft sigh she hunkered down on the club roof and fished around in her belt pouches for their paperclip, that had been twisted around into a vague bat shape, and lobbed it at his shoulder. The little metal shape interrupted all instruction giving and hand waving the detective was doing, trying to conduct his crime scene. Silence fell over him as he bent to pick up what had bounced off him, and held it in his palm, before clearing his throat and speaking to the crime scene technicians.
"Give me the alley for a bit, fellas."
Any tech worth their salt in Gotham knew that usually meant a detective was going to be visited by a Bat. Veteran techs had to drag new techs off site, but the alleyway was cleared quickly.
"I heard you were dead…"
Nick says, looking up in the direction of the cowled mass.
'Of course he did. Just be cool. It's fine. It's chill.'
Dropping herself into the alleyway, careful to avoid markers set out by the techs, she forces a small smile, taking the paperclip as it was held out to her.
"Reports of my death were greatly exaggerated."
Gage laughed darkly, hand moving to his hips.
"Mark Twain? Really?"
"I am a woman of… well, stealing things from other people, if I'm honest."
Shaking his head slowly, Nick moved to a body slumped up against the wall at the back of the alleyway.
"Well. At least you're honest about it. Good to see you back. What do you make of this?"
The victim was male, face contorted in a scream of silent terror, missing from below his left ear to his clavicle. The entirety of the left side of this throat was torn out, with jagged tearing motions. Yet the scene was entirely bloodless. The wall above him was cracked.
Swallowing hard, Batgirl sank into a crouch next to him, looking around him on the ground, avoiding looking at the deceased.
"I have a hunch..."
Hearing Nick shifting around behind her, most likely his uneasy pacing, she closed her eyes.
"Great. Don't suppose you're gonna share that with the class though."
With a soft laugh she hung her head and straightened up, the sound movement on the roof above them catching her attention.
"No, it's not show and tell time. Besides. Don't think the GCPD is equipped for the supernatural anyway. Leave this one to us. I'll see you 'round, Nick."
With that, she grappled her way back up to the roof, seeing the vigilante the sirens had drawn out.
"You've gotten sloppy, Hellboy. I could hear you down there."
She didn't give him a chance to respond immediately, instead nodding towards a rooftop further away from literally the GCPD and an active crime scene for a catch up.
As both sets of feet touched down on the new rooftop she was shoved lightly.
"The first thing you're gonna say is 'I've gotten sloppy'? F*** you."
It should have made her laugh. Usually it would have. Instead, she sank down to sit on the edge of the roof to look back in the direction of the red and blue lights.
"I made a joke when I saw Chomps too…"
She spoke softly, head tilted slightly. Feeling Payne studying her, he eventually sank down next to her.
"I knew you'd come back, you know. You're too stubborn to stay dead."
The corners of her mouth twitch upwards slightly, causing him to shove her again. She wasn't reacting appropriately and he knew it.
"Ok, is this about what's going on over there? I heard the call in. Trying to work out how to cover up for your boyfriend or something?"
With a small shake of her head, Steph just drew her cape around herself.
"It wasn't Chomps…"
She led him out the back. He wanted to hurt people? Get off on their agony? Cause fear? He picked the wrong night. The wrong club. The wrong city.
"I think it was me…"
04/12/2021 10:34 PM
[Rez Sickness?: Drabble]
Searing, blinding pain.
That was all she could remember
no it wasn't
before sitting bolt upright.
It took her a minute to remind herself to breathe
This… wasn't the Museum of Natural History. No. It was her apartment.
She was home.
But… was she? This could be another trick. Another game.
She had to be weary. Think about it now.
She could hear the thrumming bass from the nightclub down the alleyway, the distant honking of traffic. The familiar, comforting weight of her cape around her shoulders.Oh hell.
sob escaped her as she tumbled from the bed, a tangle of sheets, cape and limbs that hadn't been moved for… quite some time. Untangling herself, she threw herself into her bathroom, slamming on the light, blinking away the brightness with a scowl.
She took a few minutes to take in her reflection. Covered in her own dried blood, hair matted with it, supposedly protective suit torn open from the neck. The parts of her skin she could
see, that weren't covered in the maroon, cracking with every movement, dried blood, looked like they hadn't seen sun in months.
She looked like death.
Laughing at herself, almost hysterically she pulled the cowl from her head, letting it drop to the floor.
Her reflection hadn't done the same.
All laughter died quickly, Stephanie stiffening.
The cowled reflection smiled now.
"Remember the deal, little bat."
Stephanie's legs almost gave out from underneath her, relying on the sink to hold her up, staring at herself, but not her wide-eyed.
"I don't – what deal?!"
Her own laughter returned, the reflection tapping a finger against the glass, Steph watching in horror as her hand moved up to mirror it.
"You'll know what to do when it comes. Have fun~!"
To hear her own voice mocking her so blatantly filled her with so much anger. So much ra–was the reflection still mocking her? Grinning at her getting heated like that?! She wasn't above smashing a mirror.
Ok granted, she would have to explain to Mr Gracia what happened and –
Oh. No. It was just her. She was the one that–
That complicated things maybe a little.
Her spiralling down the landlord train of thought however made her snap to attention, fishing around in her belt pouches for her phone. Not to call her landlord, that would be dumb.
Her last call was not… usual, for her. And she needed to know what happened.
Finding it she tapped at the screen for no response. It was dead. Damn smartphones never holding charge. Figuring it would have enough juice after she had de-crustified herself after a shower, she could deal with everything then.
After the several lots of shampoo and conditioner run through the hair, and just scrubbing at herself
until her soul felt clean, there was just no more hot water for Steph to use as a shield to avoid confronting serious emotional situations that she was, inevitably going to have to confront.
So instead, she just looked in the steamed up mirror again, having cleared herself a spot to see herself.
She looked better. The lack of blood did a world of good. But now with her hair up in a towel to not drip everywhere, there was no avoiding seeing it. The right side of her throat looked… well, like she had been mauled.
Grimacing at it, lightly brushing her fingers across it, she moved back to her phone, now fully charged on the nightstand. After staring at it for a good minute, she realised the date, snatching it up.
"APRIL?! Are you kidding me?! I come back to life the same damned month I DIED in the FIRST TIME?!"
'That's your problem? Not that you were dead for like, five months and now you have to explain how you're miraculously back to life?'
Grunting at herself in annoyance, she absently held her stomach. It ached. She was so hungry all of a sudden.
"Well, I haven't eaten since last year. Ha!"
It was probably good she was dead around new years, because Spoiler Alert, those kinds of jokes are a staple in her house.
But if she was gone for five months then nothing here was going to be edible.
She can kill several birds with one stone then. Get food, start seeing people and doing the 'I'm not dead tour', and pick up her other suit.
Be less of an a**hole with this one, probably.
She was already doing better with it, honestly. She was planning on going to see people pretty quickly, instead of going and working for one of the Rogues. A big improvement, actually.
Piling her ruined suit into her trusty messenger bag, her head snapped up, looking around at her still half unpacked apartment, covered in a layer of dust.
"Who the hell has been paying my rent?!"
'Figure that out later, genius. If you don't start making a move on this food thing I'm going to chew someone's Goddamn head off.'
Gotham night air always hit that little bit different after being away from it for a while. It was the pollution. She could smell the oncoming storm.
It was going to be a great night, she could feel it.
Even though it wouldn't be the craziest thing done in Gotham, she refused, on principle alone to skip her merry little way down the block to the hotdog stall. It would be something she could eat on the 'I definitely need to make sure my legs are working, and I'm totally not stalling in any way' walk to Barbara's apartment building.
Or more accurately, to the Firewall.
Suit and find out where everyone was, right? And maybe run into some people. A slim chance. Like, what are the odds that Wendy was still working in there, right?
Apparently, the odds were high.
Asleep at the console, in a manner very similar to several of the other Batfamily that came before her, slumped Wendy Harris.
All of Steph's building excitement immediately melted away. To shame, guilt, fear, embarrassment and a surprising amount of nausea.
It was decided on the spot. Steph wasn't going to wake her to tell her.
Thanking all the training she had, she moved silently, cracking into the covered case, returning the drop cloth into position.
Slipping the fresh suit on, she threw the empty belts and her street clothes into her bag and clasped her packed belts around her waist and thigh. Restocking missing 'rangs and picking up a new staff, she looked from the crumpled cape in the bag, and the clean, crisp cape on the floor. Making her movements light, but deliberate, she draped the new cape around Wendy like a blanket. Looking up to the holographic display, Stephanie grimaced and closed the vitals monitor panel, before tucking her bag up under the 'rang tortilla press, and heading out into the city.
She had some tests to run before B realised she was back and decided to test her too.
Or at least that was her plan. Before she reached the subway exit and proceeded to lose her hotdog.
Wiping her mouth on the arm of what was her new, clean suit, she groaned.
"Never should have gotten the hotdog. They never agree with me…"
A clicking in her ear, soft whining. The comms link activating.
Of course it was Wendy. Hanging her head in defeat, Steph couldn't help but smile at the desperation in her voice.
"How many times have we had this conversation about names over the comms, Proxy?"
She wished she could pull away from the screaming that came through the ear piece, that was followed by the clicking of more lines being activated. If Steph didn't know any better, she would say it was all of the Batfam lines.
"This better be important, Proxy."
Of course the Gremlin would be the first to be snarky. Turning to make her move back into the Firewall to wait for the inevitable, Stephanie couldn't help but grin, despite the sinking feeling in her stomach.
"I dunno if I'm what anyone around here calls important but uh. Hi? I'm uh, I'm back, I guess."
What she wasn't expecting was everyone to explode at once. She couldn't pick out individual words.
"Guys, I have no idea what anyone just said. But I'm at the Firewall… so…"
She heard Wendy from the other side of the door and over the comms.
As the door slid open, Steph closed the distance between them, but stayed far enough back, as Wendy stared at her in a mix of abject horror, and confusion, while shutting off the comms link.
"You really are here."
With a small smile, Steph just nodded, trying to swallow the lump that was growing in her throat.
This time, the blonde shook her head with a shrug.
Wendy slowly wheeled over to Steph, who sunk into a crouch to be level with her, the two women embracing. One breaking into the sob laughter of someone getting some form of relief, the other immediately tensing up and having regrets of physical contact with another, squeezing her eyes shut in agony.
God she was so hungry again. But that hotdog was the worst.
"Wendy, I really don't want to be here when B or the others get here. Not right now. B likes to run tests on people when they… you know… Come back from the dead. And I am starving. Cover for me, for like… and hour or so? Please? I can't deal with them all if I'm hangry."
Letting her go, Wendy looks at her incredulously.
"You're back five seconds and already starting sht. You're definitely back."
Shooting her the most sunshiney smile she can muster at this particularly icky feeling moment, Wendy simply shakes her head with a smile.
"Go. But you better come back. They will hunt you down."
Steph didn't doubt that for a second. But there was someone she needed to see. For a lot of reasons.
Sometimes, she hated cliches.
But times like this? Made her life easier. So ok sure, she was making use of the back-door she left herself in the super-satellite to find his location via GPS in his phone but that wasn't the point.
Rainstorm, dead (or at least, as far as he knew) girlfriend, and the hero type that took everything to heart? Of course he would be at her grave.
We're just going to ignore that she had never been buried in it. If it made him feel better, which she doubted, it was most likely a self flagellation session, but – regardless.
It wasn't abnormal for capes to wander around the Gotham cemetery, especially at night. Might have been a stranger sight during the day. Investigations sometimes brought them out here though.
Moving through the cemetery, she felt an odd sort of peace wash over her. Everything was mostly quiet, aside from the rain, and a hushed voice up towards one of the hilltop
her graves. She didn't want to focus on the words. Just listen to the rain. The rain on the stone and grass.
She put a great deal of effort into not moving quietly. Moving and making sound. It went against everything she knew, all her learnt and developed survival instincts, but Stephanie tapped her heels on the stones as she passed them, flicked her cape behind her when there was no stone. When she got to the
her grave, Michael just knelt before it, motionless, his head hung, shoulders slumped. He had to have heard her, right?
'Maybe that's why he's quiet now…'
Slowly she moved up next to him, holding her cape out over him like a makeshift umbrella, even if it was too late for that. He was soaked. What her mind formed, and what her mouth said were two very different sentences.
'I didn't mean for any of that to happen and I'm so sorry.'
"You'll catch your death out here like this you know…"
04/06/2021 07:18 PM
[The Ghosts of Wendy Harris; Drabble]
Head snapping up with an alarmed grunting, Wendy Harris immediately groaned.
She had done it again.
"You know, you do have a bed you could sleep in, Wend."
Leaning back in her chair, trying to roll out her aching upper back from falling asleep at the Firewalls console, she ran her hands over her face.
"I didn't mean to fall asleep, Marvin. I was–"
Her eyes flicker to the open vitals monitor, still, always registering nothing. It wasn't going to ever register vitals again, because the body was gone. The suit was ruined, the spare in a covered case just feet from her. She couldn't look at it. Not yet. She looked from the permanent flatline before shifting her gaze to the open casefiles.
"–trying to finish these up. Ste–she did all the leg work, the big guy demands notes, and she babbled endlessly about nothing, every night, so it should be easy to follow her thought process, right?"
Tilting his head, hands tucked into his pockets, the deceased Titan shrugged a shoulder slightly with a wry smile.
"Or maybe they'd be easier to follow if you slept."
Both fists slam onto the console, her head snapping around to face him.
"Don't you understand? I can't sleep! Every time I close my eyes, I hear that stupid idiots last words. If it's not hearing her, it's seeing you die, feeling myself get mauled. Every night, someone dies and I couldn't do enough to help. I can help here."
Turning her head back to the massive holographic screen that made Wendy Harris Proxy, her eyes fixed on the vitals panel again. After a long silence, she spoke softly.
"I wasn't even there. I was in a different state. And that idiot was still more worried about someone else than herself while she was–"
Kneeling next to her chair, absently prodding with one of the spokes of her wheel, Marvin offered a small smile.
"You know, it's not going to kill you to admit you liked he–"
Cut off by his sister swinging through him, he reformed on her other side, prodding the back of her head.
"–that you liked her. Too soon for the dark jokes? She would have liked it."
With a sharp sniff that turned into a reluctant laugh, Wendy just shook her head, still facing away from him.
"...yeah, she would have thought that was the funniest thing. She was weird. A good weird. It's why I liked her. Even if she did make me want to knee cap her every night."
As she spoke, Wendy's head tilted curiously, eyes narrowing on a paper coffee cup she was sure she didn't put on the console. She had only noticed it while turning to try to smack her non corporeal twin around.
She knew better than to put cups of any kind on the console of the one of a kind multi million dollar supercomputer built by Oracle, technically for Oracle.
But someone else had an awful habit of doing it while working on her cases.
"I know what you're thinking, Wend. But that's not possible. The talk of Steph was just getting to you. You're tired, and need to start seeing that guy Doctor Thompkins recommended again."
Slowly rolling herself the few feet towards it, Wendy didn't take her eyes off it.
"Why can't it be? You're here–"
"–and she's come back from the dead before. They all have."
The concerned tutting from her dead brother forced her hand. Reaching out to the cup with shaking fingers she hesitated for just a second, before pressing on. For a second she was positive her fingers were going to find purchase on the corrugated cardboard, only to feel – nothing.
Leaning back again, she wasn't sure if it was disappointment, or relief that washed over her. Marvin voiced the emotion for her, though.
"I'm sorry, Wendy…"
Running a hand though her cropped hair, she let out a heavy sigh. She hadn't been around long, and may have missed most of the dramatic prerequisite Batfamily orientation, but she picked up the coping mechanisms quickly.
"Don't be sorry, Marv. Help me finish the case."
She didn't dare actually make a conclusion on it herself, instead deciding to compile all of the evidence gathered, and substantial leads that the GCPD had apparently missed, according to the notes, and just… take the lot to Detective Gage. Steph trusted him, they had been working the case, maybe he could finish it with the work she had done.
"Great plan, Wend. Are you just going to roll up to him, hand him the folder, and say 'hey, I worked with Batgirl, but she's dead now. Finish this!"
"Is this how I sound when question plans–"
"–anyway, yes. More or less. Without the, y'know, gone part. Probably."
It was a great look for Wendy, to be rolling along the sidewalk, talking to herself. But in Gotham – the sky was red, people spoke to themselves, and there were man sized bats. Just another day.
Rolling into the precinct, and asking to speak to Detective Gage was the easy part. Waiting for him in his office was the painful part.
It took all of Wendy's self restraint to not go poking around for the bugs she knew were in there somewhere. When Gage walked in, looking every bit as tired as Wendy felt, she offered a tight, sympathetic smile.
"He's still pretty though. I get it."
Marvin, making himself comfortable on the desk, and testing Wendy's eyeroll response. Nick offered his hand in greeting to her, before taking his seat.
"Sorry to keep you waiting. It's been a long night."
Not sure how to approach the situation delicately, Wendy simply reached into her bag and dropped the folder on the desk.
"I think this might help. With one of your problems. A mutual friend of ours probably would have done that a little more… professionally? But she's uh… unfortunately indisposed."
"Real smooth, Wend."
Shooting a quick glare at Marvin that wouldn't be noticed, Nick was too busy flicking through the information almost literally dumped in his lap. Without raising his head, he speaks softly.
"I heard crazy stories about what happened in New York. ...That she was there. That would explain why Gotham has been blonde bat free lately."
Wendy's gaze sunk to her knees, absently picking at the seam of her pants. She couldn't even think of a cover story or lie. After a moment Nick tuts loudly, gesturing at the papers.
"How'd we miss that connection?"
Her response was almost automatic.
"Because connecting dots and seeing patterns were her whole deal. I guess that'll be enough to help with the case?"
With a nod, Nick looked up, a small sad smile on his lips.
"Thank you. This helps more than you know."
Taking herself back to the Firewall, Wendy didn't feel any better. She felt worse, if anything. “ImsosorryWend–AH”
Was it because she felt like she was somehow taking credit for someone else's work, even though that's not at all what just happened?
As the elevator doors slid open, she rolled over to the console to see what else she could try to pick apart. Maybe the Titans could use some back up?
No, they didn't need her, they had Cyborg if they needed anything technical done.
The Birds of Prey had the OG, they didn't need her either.
The Batfamily would call her occasionally, sometimes, but that happened a lot less since– well.
She was just going to try to finish these open cases here. And let that totally real and not at all phantom coffee sitting in her peripheral vision stay there.
Jerking upright again she groaned loudly, hands absently grabbing at the weight around her shoulders.
Blinking in confusion, it took her a few seconds to run over that thought again. Looking down at her shoulders, she pulled at the fabric she gripped, her frown growing.
"Yeah, I'm seeing it too…"
Marvin sat where her head had just been resting. Letting the black and purple cape drop from her fingers, torn between throwing it from her form and holding it tighter, she looked to her brother, then the covered display case.
"Marvin… I'm touching it. It's real. She–"
"Maybe you're getting worse. You're talking to your dead brother that was mauled by a demon dog, after all. Appointment time. Hell, maybe another trip to Nanda Parbat."
Pushing herself to the case, with held breath, Wendy pulled the drop cloth away as hard as she could. If she was going to be wrong, then she'd need to face it eventually anyway. The case stood empty.
03/18/2021 06:55 PM
"IS THIS ALL A JOKE TO YOU?!"
Detective Gage barked at the blonde Batgirl. Stephanie had been butting heads with him the entire time on this case, but this was a breaking point.
Whipping around, she rounded on him faster than he knew how to react to, his anger almost flickering away in his surprise as the 5'5" vigilante snarled at him, snagging him down to her eye level by his tie.
If any of the other Bats that ran around the city were around, they would have known Gage had now entered dangerous waters. Stephanie never pulled you in to yell at you. Get all up in your face, yes. But this? She had entered the rarely touched 'composed rage' stages of her self righteous fury.
"Don't you DARE presume to know me, or my coping methods, Detective. I either make my jokes and try to pretend that I didn't just walk out a shipping container that I was knee deep in human remains in, or I completely lose my sh*t and beat people to death, you don't get to make arrests, only pick up more remains. Which do you prefer?"
Letting go of his tie and shoving him backwards as punctuation on her biting sarcasm, Steph didn't give him a chance for rebuttal.
She had a human trafficker to go beat to unconsciousness.
03/13/2021 10:43 PM
[Uncle Dave: Drabble]
She didn't like it. Didn't like any of it.
Her mother's younger brother, Dave had rocked up to the house unannounced, and decided he was staying for a while, because he was 'between jobs'
Sure, whatever, Crystal loved her little brother. But something was just… off about him. How do you come to your sister and nieces house, with a plush crocodile for a child and actually say the words 'I been away so long I didn't realise you grew up, Stephanie'
What sort of mental deficiency did Dave have?
Did he not understand how TIME
. So maybe Steph was being a little defensive. She had not long managed to get her dad some serious time after all, her mom was starting to come good, she didn't want anything messing with that.
And Uncle Dave was a major loser.
While she was trying to compose her thoughts, scribbling away to herself in her journal on her bed, a figure filled her doorway.
"Little Stephie, all grown up."
Hearing 'Stephie' leave his mouth set her teeth on edge. The only person that got away with calling her that was her mother. Closing in her journal and shifting to sit up, Uncle Dave continued.
"Guess you're old enough to drop the 'Uncle', huh? How 'bout you just call me Dave."
He threw in a wink, for good measure.
Narrowing her eyes and folding her arms across her chest, as red flags started being raised, Stephanie chose her next words very deliberately. Growing up around world class jerks that liked to play games sometimes had its advantages after all.
"How long are you staying, Uncle Dave?"
Leaving her doorway, with a snap and shooting of finger guns, Dave gave a promise (or what felt more like a threat to Steph).
"Don't you worry. We'll have plenty of time to spend together."
Returning to her journal, only absently drawing circles in the corner of a page, dread started to set in.
Uncle Dave used to idolise Arthur. With that sort of role model, he needed to be watched. She wasn't going to deal with that in her house again.
Uncle Dave bought the three of them dinner. Way too much dinner. That also meant there were the three of them gathered around the kitchen table.
"You shouldn't have bought so much food, Dave!"
"S'ok, sis. I'm loaded right now. And plenty more coming."
'But, didn't you say you were between jobs, Dave?'
Trying to keep the squint from her face as she decided to start her probing, Stephanie adjusted her grip on the chopsticks.
"You win the lottery or somethin', Uncle Dave?"
She hadn't have bothered trying to keep her face neutral. They weren't looking at her. Dave too busy trying to open the champagne he bought with dinner, Crystal too busy being proud of her brother, for some reason.
"Naw, but I have some pals I'm meeting up with here in Gotham later tonight. We're gonna go into business."
Crystal beamed at him, prompting Steph to roll her eyes.
"That's great Dave! There's so many opportunities now that the city is open again."
'Mom's lie detector is malfunctioning again. This could be Dad at the table…'
Dave moved to pour the bubbly into Steph's glass, a motion that was swiftly shut down by her covering it with her hand. What was he thinking?!
"I don't drink. Mom doesn't drink anymore either."
"You gotta loosen up a little, Stephie."
That was it. She was about to throw a fit. Getting to her feet, abandoning her half eaten meal she stormed from the kitchen.
"I don't feel good. I'm just going up to bed."
Crystal turned in her seat, concerned.
"Maybe I should stay home from work?"
"It'll be OK…"
Stephanie didn't go to bed, however.
She used the time she had of her uncle spinning bullsh*t downstairs to raid the spare room, where he was staying.
He only had the one bag, so it wasn't hard to go through everything and put it back.
Uncle Dave had a brown paper bag full of cash, and a rubber gorilla mask in that bag. But no gun. Which meant if he had one… it was on him.
She didn't like that at all.
She thought about confronting him as Steph. But that probably wouldn't pan out too well. But if he wanted to 'start business in Gotham'... he should learn what happens to crooks in Gotham.
Leaving the spare room, Steph made a beeline for the garage, the voices still coming from the kitchen.
'Jokes on you, Mom. You might have found the one in my room, but Robin taught me to have a spare handy.'
"Need help looking for something?"
Uncle Dave's voice sounded from the door behind her. Pivoting, tucking the suit bag behind her, she just word vomited the first things that came to mind.
"OH! I'm getting along fine, Uncle Dave."
Leaning against the door frame, he leered at her.
"You sure are Steph. You sure are."
More red flags. She didn't like that look on his face. She had been here before. She needed to get out of here. Her only way out was past him. Keeping her head up, she moved towards the door, towards Dave.
He leant out to her, lifting her chin with a finger.
"Y'know, your mom's gone 'til morning and I'll be back in a few hours…"
Her temporary reluctance flared to anger, and disgust.
Barging through him, she made for her room, to suit up, his voice following her.
"See you later then, Stephanie."
The first time out since the baby was born, her first time out in a year. She felt a little rusty, but it felt good.
And Uncle Dave was a nice easy target to get back into it again. He didn't know to watch his back. He didn't know to watch the skyline or rooftops.
He and his 'business associates' were a bigger losers club than her dad and Uncle Eddie, and that was saying something.
Watching as they gathered outside a liquor store and stopped to put on their masks, she couldn't help herself as she got in position behind some trash in the alleyway.
'Smells like armed felony. Let's do this. Three armed men, twice my size. Surprise is all I've got.'
The Spoiler launched her attack. Pelting them with puker grenades (a gift from Robin), she moved fast, her cowl protecting her from the super supreme stink bomb.
Goofy mask got a kick to the knees, ending up face first in the cloud of gas. He took himself out, gagging and retching.
Pikachu mask? A gut punch, winding him, forcing him to take in deep breaths of the puker.
Gorilla mask? Uncle Dave? He was a little smarter than she gave him credit for. He moved out of the cloud of gas.
'Can't outrun gunfire. Work in close. Just like you were taught.'
Darting at him, Spoiler slipped up under his arms, twisting behind him and sweeping his legs from under him, grabbing his wrist that held the gun and twisting it back, hard, until he dropped it. For good measure, as he dropped in elevation, Steph drove her elbow into the side of his face from along his arm repeatedly. A little aikido plus a little Steph flair goes a long way.
With the growing approach of the sirens, Spoiler fled the scene, switching on her terribly cobbled together scanner to listen to the report.
Turns out, Uncle Dave had a record. And that was his third strike. An automatic fifteen year stint up the river for mom's little brother.
What a shame.
Stephanie may or may not have sent him a little gift in jail. The little crocodile, and a letter.
'Thinking of you'
03/10/2021 11:35 PM
Stephanie Brown, sat beneath a tree on campus, her internal medicine textbook and notes around her.
Some of the runaway leaves of note paper were pinned under her coffee cup, others under her leg or foot. As unconventional as the set up may have been, it worked for her. If she studied at home, she was going to fall asleep. No doubt about it.
But out here, she was in the open. Exposed. Vigilant.
Even if she never looked like it.
From here, the pre-med student takes the cap of her pink highlighter between her teeth and gets to work, striking through lines of text, head bobbing absently in time with the music blaring through her headphones.
Watching her (by the point)
familiar study ritual while they ate their lunch from the benches, Jordanna nudged Francisco.
"Five bucks says it's boy bands. She's definitely a boy band kinda girl."
With a derisive snort, Francisco pointed at Steph (who was now awkwardly contorting herself to hold the free paper down with one hand, the highlighter wedged against her cheek and shoulder, all to take a sip of the coffee without losing her place) with his spork.
"Nah, nah! Are you forgetting that rave she dragged us to? It's some sort of EDM. Definitely."
They were both wrong in this instance.
She was prepping for this upcoming test the same way she prepped for sparring with Cass.
Hyping herself up, with a little Powerman 5000.
12/28/2020 01:09 PM
[Nightmare Predicament: Drabble]
Toes curled and flexed against the side of the cliff face. Usually, falling was fun for Stephanie Brown.
But there was nothing usual
about her current predicament.
Leaning forward she let herself drop, eyes closed, arms by her sides. She missed the sound of her cape flapping behind her, instead only being whipped across the face by strands of her hair.
She knew the fall time by now.
Opening her eyes to watch the stained ground come hurtling at her, the bone crunching thud and the pain no longer bothered her.
It wouldn't last anyway.
Feeling him watch her sink into unconsciousness for the… well, Steph lost count of the falls after deciding to 'switch things up'
and dive head first, she opened her eyes.
Flexing and curling her toes against the side of the cliff face. She was back to the top of her leaping platform.
"You can't escape like that, Little Bat…"
The laughter in his voice. He still hadn't figured it out. Figured her out.
"What? Not the falling for you that you wanted?"
'No, bad. Dumb. This is what gets you in these situations. When are you going to learn to keep your mouth shut?'
Finally turning her gaze to the massive form of her keeper, her lips tweaked into a small, tired, but defiant smile.
"I'm not trying to escape. This is just better than your alternative."
Dropping backwards from her falling point, Stephanie didn't manage to fall far before the tip of a fingernail pierced her from beneath, exploding through her chest.
Weakly laughing the closest approximation to a laugh without functioning lungs before it all went black on her again, Steph shook her head slightly.
'It was nice while it lasted…'
View All Posts