[𝚄𝚛𝚋𝚊𝚗 𝙻𝚎𝚐𝚎𝚗𝚍]

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October 22nd, 2020




Gender: Female

Age: 20
Country: United States

Signup Date:
August 14, 2018


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10/12/2020 05:33 PM 

[The Pull - Drabble]

attention: | mentions: The Pullwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
The voice kept calling to her. Loud enough to be picked up by the shotgun audio receivers of the cowl, too soft for her to pin down exactly where it was. It felt like it was all around her, pulling her where it wanted her to go.
Stephanie wasn't a fan of being told where to go, or what to do at the best of times, but this felt… different. Like a guiding force, pulling at her very core.
It was magnetic. A faint voice, muffled in the back of her mind, frequently ignored, Stephanie Brown's voice of reason tried to plead that she shouldn't do this. What ever this was.
But Stephanie Brown and 'Shouldn't' never had the best relationship. Why should that change now?
Extending her gauntlet covered hand, she pushed open the familiar rusting door, looking down the set of stairs.
She knew this place. She knew this place far too well.
It haunted her nightmares, and on her bad days, her waking moments too. Yet the tug at her core came again, boots slowly making their way down stairs she had pulled herself up, half alive.
Why was she here?
Slowly her head turned, guided by unseen hands, to her place of torment. It took Stephanie a moment to realise what she was looking at, before it registered in her mind.
Strung up in the shackles that had left scars on her wrists, was her murderer. Her lips parted in a dry, reflexive laugh, taking a half step towards the table laid out between them, craning her neck to inspect it. From where she stood, it looked like it was all there.
The knives, the scalpels, the hacksaw, the drill… oh, the drill...
Before she knew what she was doing, her fingers had closed around the handle of a paring knife, her eyes on the wooden mask, slowly dragging the blade along the dark surface.

"I've thought about this for so long… it's probably a little unhealthy that I remember everything you did, but it's ok… I know why I do now… you might be spared the gum scraping, but maybe I can get this thing off. We never established how 'fused' fused with you is really anyway."

With a sweet smile that didn't reach her eyes, she drove the blade down into his clavicle.

"Consider yourself lucky, Roman. That was glass for me…"

Slowly, all the tools had their turn. She took her time. Recreating every single moment. Unresting. Unfaltering. The whirring of the drill didn't even cause a flinch for the first time in years, as she exacted her revenge. The three worst days of her life had now been vindicated.
It felt… good. It felt… right. Why was she letting other people's morals stand in her way of this feeling?
Unfastening her cape, letting the mass of black and her signature eggplant drop to the bloody floor, she turned to make her leave. A tugging, almost in her spine stopped her, nudging her towards a desk.

"Oh, right. How could I have forgotten."

Unlike her, however, Roman hadn't been left alone to have the opportunity to try to escape, so the finale wouldn't be a perfect recreation, but Stephanie should have done this the first time anyway. Sliding the drawer open she revealed the awaiting handgun. Checking the slide, she loaded a round into the chamber and fired, through his chest. Almost out of robotic habit, she dismantled the gun, tossing the pieces in opposite directions across the warehouse and exited her personal hell, a dazed smile across her face.
At the top of the stairs, hanging on the door, she found a replacement for her cape. It was really much more her. Original Steph, even. Draping the cloak around herself, she didn't even mind the green clashing with the purple panelling down the sides of her suit. The tugging in her core told her that wouldn't be a problem for much longer.
Rolling her head on her shoulders as the cowl and belts melted away, the gauntlets slimmed and became talon like, and any trace of purple and the sunshine yellow was enveloped by black, she knew what she had to do next.

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Aaron Black – Arthur Brown – sat at the desk in his cell, scribbling away on paper he shouldn't have had, with pens he wasn't allowed to have access to. But that was ok. Stephanie was going to fix it.
She slipped into the cell like a ghost. She always had been a sneaky one like that. Slowly enclosing her fingers around his throat, she leant her sallow face over his shoulder, whispering.

"Batman isn't here to save you this time, Dad…"

The new talons made gripping against his struggling so much easier. She didn't even mind that she was making him bleed all over his stupid little plans.
Driving her knee into the center of his back, she pressed her weight into him on the desk to exhaust him faster.
Arthur had it coming.

Who was next?

Snapping bolt upright, panting as if she had just run cross city rooftops, Stephanie reflexively felt around for her phone.
How long had she been asleep for?!
Finding the phone, tangled in her pillows, she swiped the screen awake, blinking against the sudden brightness.
4:46am.
She had only been out for about a half hour.

"Jesus… props for the new direction, I guess…"

Kicking her legs free of the covers she stumbled out to the bathroom, flicking on the light and splashing water on her face. There was no way in hell she was going back to sleep tonight. Maybe head down to the lab or something.
It was only now that she raised her head to look at her reflection, her sallow self already grinning back at her. Squeezing her eyes closed, she willed it away. Willed it to be some sort of… sleep deprivation hallucination, dream remnant... thing.
Raising her trembling fingers to her face, she prodded around her mouth, feeling it pulled into a very tight line of concern. Taking a few slow, measured breaths, she dared to open her eyes, seeing a very shaken Stephanie Brown looking back at her.

"This is what you get for always running your mouth. This time it came back to bite you in the ass. Stupid..."

Scolding her reflection, herself, she moved back to her bedroom, flicking off the light as she went. She didn't bother putting on real people clothes, simply pulling shoes on with her pyjamas, snagging her suit bag and flinging open her closet to grab a jacket. She eyed her well worn, well loved green down jacket wearily, snatching her overcoat and barrelled down the stairs.
She did have a lot of green clothes. Maybe she needed to burn them…

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

10/04/2020 11:30 PM 

[Hot Night On The Town: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: Hot Night On the Townwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
"Batgirl."

Raising her head in reflexive response to the voice in her ear as if the speaker were in front of her, her pen going to her lips.

"What's up, Prox?"

"Put your damn puzzle away, Diesel is at it again. And your buddy is trying to play hero."

Already starting to get to her feet, refolding the clipped crossword from that morning's newspaper, tucking it into one of her back pouches with the pen, Steph frowned slightly.

"Surprisingly, that doesn't narrow it down."

With a heavy groan as her reluctant supervisor began sending her the address, Proxy's sheer 'done-ness' with Stephanie was almost always audible.

"Detective Pretty boy."

Nick. However. Steph had an opportunity, and she wasn't one to let them pass her by. Taking off at a run, movements urgent, her tone stayed fairly light.
A special talent? Maybe. Or maybe it was from years of disguising trauma with jokes.

"Y'know, that still really only narrows it down to like, three people."

With a quick ihateyou before Wendy was the one to close the line, not in the mood to deal with Stephanie right now, Stephanie was left with no-one to appreciate her horrible jokes, and forced to move faster.
She had tangled with Diesel before. A dummy meta with accelerant for blood, pyromaniac tendencies and no concept of good fire based puns. He did his thing by spraying his blood everywhere. It was gross.
Ultimately, she could handle him easy though, what with the icerangs, since freezing him worked well last time. Granted she also froze a Gremlin, but that was his fault! He was trying to SLASH THE FIRE BLOOD CREEP WITH A SWORD AND WOULDN'T LISTEN, OK?!
But she worried for Nick. What did he think he was doing?
Dummy Head Diesel chose another apartment building to hit. What did he have against people having a home? But what struck her immediately as she swung onto the scene was Nick had lured the dimmer than the embers he left behind himself meta onto the roof.

'Not the worst plan. Allows for evacuations. I see you, Gage.'

But the Detective wasn't cut out for the cat and mouse game for much longer. Lining up her final approach swing, Stephanie drove both her feet into the pyromaniac metahumans arm lining up the detective for a spraying, sending the arc wide of him.

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
"You boys out here playing together and forgot to invite me? I'm almost insulted."

From behind her as she rolled through her recovery, sizing up Diesel, Nick Gage muttered softly.

"You took your time."

Lips tweaking into a grin, fingers slipping into her belt pouches and flinging three icerangs at the meta for good measure she cocked her head slightly as he roared in fury.

"Quips on you, Mister Police Man. And if you say 'Freeze' again, I'll—"

BOOM

Her admonishments of poor quip form were cut short by an explosion, blowing her off her feet, and towards the edge of the roof.
The building's gas tanker had been in the line of fire of the arc that went wide.
Frantically looking around for Nick and seeing him nowhere, Stephanie scrabbled to her feet, looking over the side, seeing him plummeting. Her body moved before her brain could kick in. She threw herself after him, head first, grapple in one hand, a green pod centred batarang in the other.
Pointing her body as straight as an arrow, she caught up to his flailing faster than expected, but two bodies falling was still going to hurt. Slapping the hand with the green pod rang – a gooparang – to Nick's chest, encasing her entire forearm to his chest, as he gripped at her she fired at the building she came from, turning them and trying her best to pull the panicked detective into a protective tuck, so she took the brunt of the incoming glass impact.

"Close your eyes. This part sucks!"

Was all she managed to get out before the shattering of glass, the two bodies crashing into the office building. Luckily, no desks were there to 'help' break the fall. After a moment of trying to untangle themselves, and the solvent for the goop being dug from her pouches, Stephanie looked out the shattered window to the building still ablaze, then back to Nick, who, other than a few nicks didn't look any worse for wear.

"Raincheck on the quip. I still have work to do…"

He suddenly looked very tired, and simply nodded, watching as the Batgirl swung back across the way.

"Thanks for saving my life, Batgirl. 'Oh, you know how it is, Nick! Swing in, do a thing, swing away!' These Bats. This is why Commissioner Gordon is so gray."

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

09/03/2020 09:57 PM 

[How The Turns, Tabled: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: Luca Weimann How The Turns, Table...www.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
Wandering up the stairs, Steph was ready to just not do anything for a while. She was beat. A whole ass patrol the night before, full day of being 'Mild Mannered Stephanie Brown blah blah blah' with all the lectures (the higher education, working her ass off to pay for kind, not the Batman, roll her eyes at kind) and study halls that entailed, along with a dumb bet with Wendy about how long into the week she could get without completely crashing and burning without coffee had her entirely.
The joke was on Wendy. She could get a great many things done on pure spite and a desire to prove someone wrong about a thing.
One hundred percent ready to fall face down onto her bed and just cease consciousness for a few hours, a brow quirked as she reached out to push her door open from it's slightly ajar position. Taking a step into the room and letting her bags slip from her shoulders, a flicker of movement caught her eye before they hit the ground.
Her lime green curtains wafted in a breeze, slipping in through the cracked window. Narrowing her eyes slightly, her certainty that her bedroom door was properly closed when she left this morning came back to niggle at her. The usual suspects of room crashers weren't currently here, and they usually left some sign they had been. A case file, a pillow nest, their sleeping body. Y'know. Something.
Stephanie wasn't what one would call a cautious person, but she was growing suspicious, and didn't much like the unknown, especially in her own space.
Continuing with the motion of setting her bags down, and slowly stretching as she straightened up, Stephanie quickly scanned her space for anything out of place.
Impossible to say anything was out of place with the war zone she called a desk, her closet door was ajar, her bed — the covers were flicked up on one side, like someone had been looking under it.
Or was still under it
To avoid the potential of raising suspicion to herself while she trying to run through ideas, she moved around the room, to her drawers, all while listening for the slightest hint of sound.

'Alright, who knows about the window being a free pass to the house, Steph. Work it out.'

Pursing her lips, keeping an eye on the room behind her in the mirror, she ran through the list.
The 'Family'. Some friends. Dad. ….Dad.
She resisted the urge to let out a growl, biting down on the inside of her cheeks. She could flip the bed and –

'And what? Get another face full of Black Mercy? Go back to coma land, only this time not have the added benefit of the Super Girl Gang getting your gang getting your dumb ass out of there? You don't even know IF anyone is under there. Let alone WHO. Be smarter.'

As much as she hated to admit it, the inside voice was right. Couldn't confirm if it was Suckassmaster or someone he just put up to the task, hoping they'd get lucky, when a cult, and a bunch of pseudo-metas couldn't get the job done last few times. Or anyone at all, and she wasn't just spiralling down a very Tim-like path of paranoia.
Assuming it was Arthur or a Blackgate available crony, and she ignored the fact he orchestrated all that other bullsh*t, they'd still buy the 'Stephanie Brown is a dumb blonde' routine that she had skated thought life on, right?

'One way to find out.'

A plan started to form. Bumping the draw by her hip closed and whipping out her phone, starting a playlist, any playlist, loudly, she started off toward the bathroom, 'oblivious'.
Shutting the door behind her, she had to move fast, ignoring the feeling of stupidity that this could all be for nothing. Taking out yesterday's clothes from the hamper and changing her shirt, in the event she was being watched from under the bed, she dropped the dirty jeans, balled up layered shirts and left them in a pile on the floor by the shower. Setting her phone blasting Echo and the Bunnymen on the side of the sink, she readjusted the showerhead to point it straight towards the wall, turning on only the hot, the room rapidly filling with steam.
Stepping in behind the thankfully dark shower curtain, at the opposite end of the tub from the shower head, she waited, practically holding her breath, ears straining over the running water and music.
She had been waiting long enough to start feeling like a complete idiot when the temperature in the room dipped slightly, the shower curtain billowing as colder air from the hall outside rushed in. If she had actually been showering, she probably wouldn't have noticed that.

'No time for vindication now, dipsh*t. You're about to get attacked in the shower. What was the next move?'

Inside voice was kind of an a**hole sometimes, but was worrying needlessly. This was the part she was good at.
After what felt like an eternity, with Steph having to remind herself to breathe a few times, fingers poked around the side of the curtain. Bare fingers. As it slowly peeled back, she quickly took note of a knife in the would be attackers ungloved left hand.

'Is he even trying anymore, or is he just trying to get my attention…?'

 

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Yanking the curtain the rest of the way back herself, seeing the surprise on the hapless 'attackers' face, the words were out of her mouth before she could stop herself.

"Are you looking for Stephanie Brown, or Marion Crane?"

To say there was a fight would be an understatement. There wasn't even a struggle. A foot to a face, an inexperienced, ungloved idiot cutting his own hand in an attempt to defend himself, very quickly breaking down into sobs. Rolling her eyes, she almost felt bad for him. Almost.

"Tell me everything, and I'll save you a hospital trip."

It was both a threat, and a promise. Speak, or I'll start breaking things. Tell me what I want to hear, and I'll even stitch your hand for you. Aren't I nice.
The easiest interrogation she's ever done. And to think she could have just flipped the damn bed… "Ok! Ok! A guy in Blackgate paid me! Told me you'd be an easy mark, and a good start for some street cred!"

Rolling her eyes, starting to toss his pockets as he froze like a deer in headlights, she huffed.

"Lemme guess. Burn scars, glasses, kind of an a**hole called Aaron Black?"

"Stephie?! Is everything OK?!"

'Great. Mom is home. I need more pieces to this puzzle…'

Narrowing her eyes and pointing a finger at 'Norman' as she started shutting off the water, the bathroom door flinging open, Steph sighed.

"Yeah, Mom. Just work stuff. Don't even worry about it… I guess I'll be heading out early tonight…"

Slowly looking around the steam filled room, with music blaring, a man with a bleeding hand, and Steph in yesterday's clothes, she just shook her head. At this point, as long as Stephanie wasn't the one bleeding, she didn't ask further questions. She wasn't likely to get an answer further than 'Bat-stuff' anyway. Turning away she made her leave, but not before shooting 'Norman' the dirtiest of looks. The kind that Steph reserved for ex boyfriends about to be punched in the face, causing him to flinch, and Steph crack a grin while shutting off the music, and typing out a quick text to her more trusted GCPD connection (sorry not sorry Commish) shooting it off

'Got a little job to do tonight. Need an arrest made at my place, and then you get to be roped into some guano. Fun!'

Setting the phone back down she took out one of the first aid kits they kept stocked and shoved 'Norman' to sit on the side of the bathtub, kicking the knife away absently, always mindful of its location. She was keeping up her end of the deal, but she didn't have to be nice about it, after all. Inspecting the cut and determining stitches weren't ideal after all, she sighed, cleaning it. After a good few minutes of her working quietly, and him watching, he spoke softly.

"I came here to kill you… and you're taking care of me… that's ridiculous…"

Raising a brow slightly, but continuing her work, strapping the wound firmly after dressing it, she shrugged a shoulder.

"Oh honey. You couldn't kill a mouse… besides. It's not that ridiculous. I try to help people who want nothing to do with me all the time. Call it a flaw."

"Who is out to get you now, Blondie?"

Luca had been let in by Crystal while Steph was being Bat-Doctor, apparently, and had coffee with him. A small pout passed over her features as she got to her feet, cleaned up after herself and made note of what had been used, washing her hands.

"Same old, same old. We'll talk in the car. Let me get the bag."

Jerking her thumb over her shoulder to 'Norman', as left the room, she huffed.

"Read him his rights for attempted murder."

After dropping 'Norman' off at the processing cells, and Steph doing a quick change in the back-seat while Luca buried his face into the steering wheel, doing his best to pretend she could just do things like a normal human, or something, Batgirl climbed into the passenger seat, en route to Blackgate.

"Ok. Storyline. Dad sent the dipstick to try to kill me to get my attention? I guess? Mom doesn't know Dad is still alive. And I'm not playing his games this time. So YOU are going to go see what he wants."

After a beat of trying to work through what was just said, he shook his head slightly.

"Right. Ok, hold on. Why me, Blondie? Why not one of your other creepy friends."

Breaking into a grin, she pointed.

"Because they're higher up the totem pole than I am. He doesn't get to be escalated. He doesn't get to deal with the Bat. He's a nobody. I'm all the validation he gets. I'm taking that away. He's getting only cops now."

"Gee, thanks."

"Shut up."

"What am I meant to be doing exactly?"

"Find out what he wanted. Push his buttons. His ego is so massive, he won't know what to do if you act like it's a chore."

"Blondie, hate to break it to you, but it is a chore."

"How do you think I feel?! It's been my entire life!"

Pulling into the Blackgate visitors lot, Batgirl didn't bother waiting for a pass, or the paperwork. She just strolled through, yelling for Luka to keep up.
Just off the the side of Aaron Black's high security cell, Steph gave Luca's arm a reassuring squeeze, whispering

"If he tries anything, I'll break every bone in his body."

Before giving him a wide grin. Luca rolled his eyes slightly, before motioning for the cell door to be opened, taking a casual position in the door, as Steph leant against the wall next to the door.

"Black."

Steph could hear the shifting of fabric. He was likely laying on his bed.

"Not the visitor I was expecting…"

Arthur sounded calm, but Steph knew well enough that he was thrown. The smug was missing. A grin started crawling across her face.

"Yeah, well. You know how those Bat folk be. Too busy for common criminals like you."

More rapid shifting of fabric, the thudding of feet to concrete.

'Oh, he mad.' "She wouldn't be anywhere without me."

That very familiar hiss. It might have been years since she heard it but it immediately took her back. Luca however, had no connection or attachment to it, and shrugged a shoulder, hands in his pockets.

"Sounds more like you're nothing without her, Aaron. Let's just stop wasting my time. How about you just write a letter like a normal father, and maybe I'll make sure she gets it."

'Ooh! Yes, Skittles! Right on in there. Press those buttons!'

It took more self control than she knew she had to not jump up and down, slapping Luca on the shoulder after that one. After what she could only assume was a stare off, with only being able to see the side of one participants face, there was a frustrated growling, a habit Steph was all too sad to say she had inherited, and the shuffling of papers.

After a good while, Luca shifted to shoot a glance out to Steph with a shrug, who returned a 'yeah, I got nothing' expression, Arthur had finally finished his… whateverthef***. Snatching it from his grasp before the D-List 'Dead Man' could get near the door, Luca folded it up blindly and stuffed it into a pocket.

"Right. Now. Stop with the sh*t. Your little 'hitman' stunt will be ensuring you get shifted to solitary for a good while."

With a grunt, there was shifting, and the creaking of springs. Luca rolled his eyes, slamming the door shut as he left. Passing the piece of paper to Steph as they made their way back to the car, she screwed up her nose, considering tossing it, but a girl was never free of the games, and her curiosity was killing her.

'Stephie. You're never too busy for your dear old dad. Or your mother. And your dad needs some help. Or you become an orphan.'

"SON OF A BITCH!"

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

08/31/2020 08:20 PM 

[A Little Chaos: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: A Little Anarchywww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
'Remember, clothes you won't mind getting entirely trashed one way or another. And don't bother with jewellery, Jor. Trust me.'

That was the last message Stephanie had sent to the group chat. She may or may not have thrown a minor tantrum about Jordanna always getting to decide the night out plans, and the uptown brat threw down the gauntlet for Stephanie to plan the next night out.
So she did.
Stephanie Brown style.
Francisco and Michael seemed ready to roll with whatever shenanigans Steph had cooked up. But Jordanna… Jordanna didn't like Steph responding to her constant questions with only emoji reactions. Especially when the most frequently used was the smiling devil face.
Of course, the night out wasn't just for fun. Of course there was an ulterior motive to her plans.
Y'see, where Steph was dragging the poor unfortunate souls was to a rave she knew for a fact members of the Penitente cartel would be at.
Why was Stephanie Brown going in, with three completely unwitting civilians, instead of having Batgirl crash the place? Well she thought about that. Then she thought about it for a second longer and realised that Stephanie Brown could lift a phone from a small fry to catch a bigger fish, and have a night out.
Two birds, as it were.
Plus, she hadn't been to a rave since…Dean she was like, fifteen.
She sort of missed them, what with being a semi-responsible (hahaha) adult these days.
It was going to be totally fun!
She just had to make sure she taught the others the rules first. Oh boy.
So, when the time came to actually go pick up the gang from Princess Jor's place, Steph found she was actually more stressed than she expected to be. She couldn't stash weapons on her person, thanks to the… snugness of the very purposely chosen outfit (not that she really needed them, but it always felt comforting to carry something sharp, or a stick that became a bigger stick to beat people with). She wasn't going to be taking a bag, and even though she scoped the place out earlier in the week she didn't like the idea of trying to stash something, then having to try to find it DURING A RAVE.
No weapons. And hoping the gang listened to her instructions. Super.
She wasn't stressed at all.

"I think I might owe some people several apologies for my past behavior if this is even a fraction of what dealing with me is like."

Muttering to herself, unlocking the Compact and setting off the round off the crew.
As they packed into the purple Mini Cooper with black racing stripes (Blame Batman. He gave her the thing. She didn't decide on the paint job), the guys sitting fairly comfortably in the back, Jordanna riding shotgun, she took note of the outfits, did her best to commit how they looked right now to memory in the event she had to find them in a hurry, slipping an easy grin onto her face.

"Ok, I've tortured you enough. It's nothing horrific, I promise. Just a rave."

At those words, Jordanna visibly relaxed, having somehow imagined something horrific from Steph, while Michael scowled.

"People still have raves?"

Steph's grin widened as she threw the Compact into gear, hitting the road out towards the currently unused Port Adams shipping container yard.

"Oh, yeah. Absolutely. If you know where to look. A few little… guidelines though. Since I'm willing to bet this is your first rave."

Shooting a look around the cabin of the vehicle and getting confirmation nods and murmurs of 'yeah', she continued.

"Stick together. Do not wander off alone. Especially you, Jor. Dance with people all you like. But stay close to each other. And don't touch the blue cups. You will not have a good time."

Hearing the silence from them, Steph shot Jordanna a look, grinning broadly.

"C'mon, you guys. It's not that bad! I was doing this sorta stuff from when I was like, fourteen! Relax!"

After a beat, leaning between the front seats Francisco piped up.

"Yeah… but… to quote Jor… you're kinda a freak, Steph."

Snorting a laugh, bobbing her head in agreement at the sentiment and guiding the vehicle to the impromptu parking lot that was growing on the outside of the chain link fence, she simply shrugged a shoulder.

"Not entirely inaccurate. But you guys need to experience more of what Gotham has to offer than those sterilised and homogeneous nightclubs, where the profits benefit the one percent, and the music is the same sh*t in every club. These are for the people, by the people, my friends."

"Girl, aren't you friends with like, literally the richest family in Gotham?"

Micheal huffs as he starts shooing Jordanna out of the front seat, so he could get out himself. Cackling in response, climbing out and freeing Francisco and winked, shot of her dork fingergun and clicked her tongue.

"And I give them just as much sh*t for it too. Don't you worry about it."

Leading them to where she knew she could get them through the fence, peeling the chain link back enough for them to crawl through (she did warn about getting dirty, this was just a start) before scooting herself under, brushing her hands together.
Leading them towards the warehouse that was thrumming with trance music and just color, everywhere a giddy wave of excitement passed over Steph.

'No. Focus. Do the job. Get a Penitente phone without getting caught. Then you can party like you used to.'

Looking to her friends and seeing Michael and Francisco warming up to the idea, she held out her hand to Jordanna, grinning.

"Remember, stick together. No blue cups!"

With the brunette taking her hand and returning the grin with an excited one of her own and snatching at her boyfriends, who in response grabbed the front of his best friends shirt as Steph skip-lead them inside.

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
It took exactly ten minutes for Stephanie to break her own rules. She let them get a feel for the place, get used to the lights, the noise, the glitter that seemed to rain from nowhere, the dry paint bombings whenever a beat was dropped. And then she was gone. Off into the crowd to find one of at least three potential marks.
She worked her way through the bumping and grinding masses, her shoulders absently swaying in time with the beat, wishing she had an eye in the sky with her right now, that it would make this part so much easier, when a hand firmly grabbed her upper arm.
Whipping around, prepared to introduce whoever it was that thought being that familiar with her was a good idea to her fist, she stopped, seeing the familiar face of Lonnie Machin. She still considered throwing the punch anyway, but restrained herself, not wanting to draw unnecessary attention to herself. Yanking her arm free of his grasp and scowling at him, she shouted to be heard over the music.

"What are you doing here?!"

An amused smirk crossed his feature as he looked her over, responding at the same volume.

"I was about to ask you the same thing. This doesn't look like a 'work' appropriate outfit, Steph."

Growling in frustration, standing up on tiptoe and looking back in the direction she came from to see if she could spot the gang, or more importantly, they could spot her, and failing, she roughly grabbed the anarchists wrist and dragged him to the outskirts of the crowd, away from most of the speakers. Huffing, and folding her arms, she snarled.

"Not everything I do has approval, and YOU should know that. Don't screw with my job, Lonnie."

Raising his hands in mock defensiveness, looking on the verge of laughter, he shook his head.

"I cannot take you seriously while you're covered in glitter. Listen. I'll stay out of your way, you stay out of mine."

Sighing slightly and blowing a tuft of currently powder blue hair from her face, she shifted her weight from one leg to the other.

"...your way has something to do with the Penitente cartel, doesn't it…?"

Folding his arms, he said nothing. She perked up slightly.

"I only want to get a phone, to get to bigger fish. If that helps you in anyway…"

She trailed off, waiting to see if he would give her something to work with, take the bait, anything. After a moment of watching him visibly weighing the pros and cons, Lonnie raised his chin slightly.

"They've been jacking penicillin shipments, and reselling them for three times the price. You lot haven't been doing anything, and I'm going to get the medication to the people who need it."

Staring at him blankly, she could have smacked him right across the face. Could have launched right into a tirade about her clearly being invisible right now. But she smiled tightly instead.

"Here's the deal. Help me get the phone. And I'll ignore this, I won't kick your ass again, and I'll help you with the penicillin."

Lonnie scoffed, shaking his head.

"I don't need your help."

Stephanie raised a brow, just staring at him. After a moment he broke his gaze.

"Ok fine, I'll take your help. Whatever."

Cracking into a self satisfied smirk, she began leading Lonnie back into the crowd on the hunt for the memorised faces, when something caught her eye.
The flickering of red and blue lights cast upon the wall, getting brighter.

"Sh*t…"

She hissed. Getting her friends arrested wasn't part of the plan tonight. Darting away through the crowd to where she left her friends, hoping they hadn't moved, finding them all still dancing with a group of new people, but still together, with red cups, painted, coated in glitter, having fun, she felt a wave of relief.
Busting into the little circle, she grabbed at them all to get their attention, she shouted.

"Alright. Time to go!"

Jordanna pouted.

"But why?!"

Instead of trying to shout her answer, Steph simply pointed out the door, towards the good dozen GCPD squad cars drawing closer, gumballs flashing. The motion drew the attention of some of the other ravers.
Within seconds, chaos had ensued, as people were rushing for the exit, the music killed.
Grabbing Jordanna and Michaels arms, counting on Jordanna to grab Francisco, she shoved towards the wall, away from the crowd, then down towards the back of the building.
She had thought about this.
As she was guiding her friends to the back exit, a pang of guilt hit.

'Just leave him. He'd leave you…'

"Ah, God damn it all to hell…"

With a heavy sigh that trailed off to a groan as she shoved open the back door, hidden behind a shipping container that was being used as a lounge not five minutes earlier, she let out two sharp, shrill whistles, both not expecting Lonnie to remember the code, or to get a response. Receiving two back, she let out a longer whistle, then poked her head out from behind the container. After fifteen seconds, the blonde male appeared through the scattering remnants of the crowd.

"Don't say a word, or I'll punch you in the throat."

With that, she took off at a sprint back across the field, outstripping her friends, yanking the chain back for them.
Once the now five of them were piled into the Compact, and tearing away, all nervous laughter and adrenaline, it was two miles down the road that Francisco said something, being one of the ones crammed against the stranger.

"Hey uh… who's this guy?"

Glancing from Lonnie, who gave her a questioning look, shut down with the smallest of head shakes and brow creasing ('Do they know?' 'No, they don't, and it's staying that way.'), to Francisco in the rear view mirror.

"Oh, that's Lonnie. He's… well. My ex. Couldn't let him get pinched either, y'know?"

"Yeah, she's not all bad. That temper though…"

Lonnie sank back into the back seat, looking around the car.

"You wanna get out and walk? I can dump you on the side of the road right now if you want. Just try me!"

At least four of the five occupants of the car found that funny.

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

07/28/2020 09:07 PM 

[Ghosts of the Underground {part ten}: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: Ghosts of the Underground {Part Ten}www.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
Looking at the satchel being handed to her, she sighed heavily, hanging her head. Reluctantly, she looped the strap over her head, and cautiously adjusted the pouch to sit against her hip under the cloak. She couldn't bring herself to say anything. She felt sick to her stomach.
Why was she agreeing to this?

"You're clear on the plan?"

Raising her head enough to give dear old Uncle Eddie the dirtiest look she could muster, before pulling her cowl roughly on, and flicking the hood up, he held his hands up defensively.

It had taken him two days to make the 'goods' she would be delivering today, likely from the same damn sh*t she handed him to begin with, and now here she was, about to–

'Don't think about it right now. Just get in. Place them. Get out. Maybe you can find a fire alarm or-'

Not even her internal monologue could push through with that line of thought. She was in some deep sh*t.
She knew the Whale cut all the corners possible. There weren't proper fire safety standards in place for that building. There weren't appropriate exits. So did Eddie. That's why the plan was–

'Maybe his crew will spontaneously desert? Maybe you won't have to–'

Balling a hand into a fist and pushing herself from the apartment, the base of the horrid planning and pouring over blueprints, she made for the Whale's restaurant, cloaking five blocks out.
All she had to do was get in, plant the devices in the spots that had been drilled into her (maybe drilled was a poor choice of word, considering the current climate and potential outcomes should she fail) and extract. Reset to the skylight – seriously, Gotham, get rid of your skylights if you don't want Bats crashing through them – and await the signal.
She didn't have to worry all that much about potential contact with people either, because there was the cellar entrance.
Easy peasy, right? So what was the problem?
Bringing a building down on people was the problem. Sure, they were scumbags, but. So was she. What if they were only trying to get by? What if they had no choice.
Already slipping into the cellar, creeping with her back along the wall, she could barely move.

 

'You have a choice. You could not do it.'

Shaking her head at herself, teeth gritted, normally, she would argue aloud with herself. This time, she had to make do with the inside voice being inside.

'I don't do it, the people I kinda know die and it's my fault. I do do it, people I don't know die, and it's my fault. Either way. This is all my mess, and I should clean it up…'

With hands shaking only a little, she started placing the devices, trying not to listen to gathering voices above her.
Once they were all in place, and still tuned to the frequency of the detonator, like Riddler showed her, Steph made her way slowly, reluctantly, to the roof.
Sinking down next to the skylight, she looked down on the standard. A 'Family Gathering'. A lot of talk about Johnny Stitches and Intergang, offing the traitor Stitches, killing Penguin and ending the Masks, which didn't exactly line up, since Penguin didn't wear a mask, but since when did criminals in Gotham make sense?
Wearily taking her phone from her pouches, she rang through to Penguin's number. It was, however picked up by new night man, that she never bothered learning the name of, passing the phone off.

"Phone call, Boss. It's… Her."

"I take it everything went according to plan and all preparations have been made?"

God she hated this. Steeling herself, she simply huffed

"Yes."

Some shuffling of paper. He was looking at something. She felt uneasy. More uneasy.

"I expected no less, coming from you. But remember what I said… not a word about what you learned regarding Intergang's imminent arrival to the others. I don't want them distracted from tonight's bit of business. Interbank is your agenda and your agenda alone… beginning with the assassination of Johnny Stitches."

Closing her eyes under the lenses of the cowl she ended the call silently, bile rising up her throat.
She had to move. Things were about to start. Deal with the Stitches situation when she wasn't on a building that was about to–
A white sedan flew through the wall of the building. She was falling behind.

"Sh*t…"

Six of the fellow New Rogues stood outside the restaurant, in their hand chosen suits. Launching herself over their heads from the roof, cloaker still in play, she could hear behind her the voices saying.

"So… The Penguin sends only six costumed peons to face my army? I truly hope Cobblepot can muster a better showing than this, or our war will be a short affair indeed."

"And I truly hope Spoiler did her job."

Hanging her head, she activated the detonator.
The explosions were simultaneous.
Spoiler dropped the receiver and ran.
As the dozens of other New Rogues decloaked and began to swarm on whatever remained, if anything remained, of The Whale and his crew, she wasn't going to stick around and be a part of it. She wasn't cleaning up her mess. She was just spending it everywhere. Again.
She couldn't breathe. She couldn't think. What was she doing?!
Not that far behind her, really, the sounds of struggle broke out. Then the true gut kick.

"Batgirl!"

She almost stopped.

'Oh god Cass. She deserves better than this. Than to still be cleaning up my mess.'

Instead, she kept running. Her mind made up.
Fear? Guilt? Self-loathing? Maybe all of them. They pushed her back to the Lounge. Writing another note, this time only containing three words, 'I'm sorry. Spoiler' and handing it to No-name-night-man to give to the Boss before taking off, her plan to… do something. She didn't know what.
She was on the verge of breaking down into frustrated, desperate tears, with the city about to, no, already plunging into another gang war, this time with 'supers', Batman AWOL because she stopped the brains of the operation finding where he went because she selfishly didn't want to get caught fo–Batman just grappled between those buildings in front of her.
She didn't even want to start thinking about how he wasn't in Blackgate right now. She was so done. Just done.
She was out. No more capes. The more she tried to help, the more she made things worse anyway. She was just… better off staying away from it.
She retreated to the hotel with her tail between her legs, closing the curtains tight.

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
If Steph had a dollar for every time she said she was out, she'd be as rich as… well, maybe not the Wayne's, but she'd be getting close.
Of course she wasn't out. She was never out. The suit sat idle in the closet for two days maximum, while Stephanie tried to function. But then someone made the mistake of trying to hold up the convenience store on the same block as the hotel.
She didn't even think about it. She just did.
They even tried paying her off with wads of cash.

"Why would I want your money?"

  Was out of her mouth before she even thought of it. She didn't want money. She never wanted money. That was so… Dad of her. Doing things that were right though? Actually right?
She could handle that. Maybe doing enough good…
She had been buzzing so much on the doing good high all day that she had been sloppy in her cat and mouse game at school. She didn't keep her head down long enough in her locker.
In her peripheral vision, Stephanie saw Tim's head whip around in her direction. Keeping as casual a pace as she could manage, she pushed through the masses in the hallway and out into the stairwell, spinning and tucking herself behind the door, pressing herself into the corner as tightly as she could.
Apparently she moved just fast enough, because the door burst open, and through its little frosted window she could see the warped form of a dark haired male look up the stairs, then down the stairs, pausing as if thinking then returning back into the class hall.
Letting out a heavy breath she didn't realise she had been holding, she left down the stairs, deciding to cut the rest of the afternoon. What were they gonna do, call her mother?
The close calls with the ex-Boyfriend Wonder weren't confined to the school halls though.
A case, her first case back, you know, from the Dark Side, seemed to also be his case.
Because of course.
Except he was getting stuck on the girl, and not the money. And they were walking into a trap.

'God damnit…'

The freezer. The same freezer she not long ago thought she was going to be locked up in and go missing permanently was going to be where where she got caught because she had to go and save her dumb ex because he's dumb when it came to do with anything about girls.
If there was anything that summed up Steph's life more accurately…
Dropping down onto one of the crates, she straightened up slowly.

"Come on Robin. You're smarter than this."

The look on his face said otherwise. He just looked hurt, and confused.

"Spoiler…"

Behind him, the other girl, the case they had been working, a thief going by Violet tried to make a break for it. Steph wasn't having any of it, launching her boot into her face.

"It's the girl, right? Always a blind spot for you."

While Violet was gathering herself from a crate of ice, Stephanie looked at Robin, expecting him to start moving.

"Robin, you followed little miss attitude here into a trap. There's a lot going on here that–"

That seemed to stir some life back into him. A snarl crossed his face, pointing, closing in on her.

"That I don't like. I don't want to hear it. Not from you. What gives you the right to wear that outfit?"

'Oh here we go.'

"We don't have time. We need to get out of here."

"I'm not listening to this!"

Robin hissed. She could feel it. The urge to find a brick was strong.

"You have to!"

The roller door sprang open, car headlights illuminating the figures of men standing there.

"Great…"

Then the melee began. A wild clash of Steph definitely not listening to Tim, Tim not listening to Steph, threatening her, both having to save Violet's dumb ass, and a South Korean Mafioso attempting to stab the Red Bird – repeatedly – lead to a fantic, separated escape.
Robin with Violet thrown in Red Bird, Spoiler taking off on foot.
Pulling herself back through her window, she was tired, and sore.
Moving to start taking off the suit and return it to its daytime home of the closet she started to unwind. She just wanted to sleep. She–
Got bugged. Staring at the tracker on her shoulder she could see, now she had taken her cloak off, she groaned. At some point during the fight, Tim must have slipped it on her.

"Damn."

"I told you this was your last time. Whoever you are, this ends tonight."

Whipping around to see Batman and Robin standing at her balcony door, she felt a wave of anger. Puffing up indignantly, she ripped the cowl off.

"Who ever I am? That's you all over, isn't it? Always so sure you're right."

"Stephanie?"

Tim breathed.
Batman was in stunned silence.
She glared, hands on hips.
Until Tim scooped her up and kissed her, which rightly shocked her from the indignation. Being set back down she half smiled at him.

"Slow down there, Tim."

"Oh."

"I'm glad to see you too, ok?"

"Um…"

He shuffled backwards slightly, rubbing the back of his neck. Batman spoke.

"I have a lot of questions, Stephanie."

"I'm sure you do. But will you answer one of mine first?"

She doesn't wait for a response, pressing on. She's already been found out. It's too late now.

"I'm back, but am I welcome back?"

"If you want it."

"I want it."

She blurts, before it can be taken away from her, a grin spreading across her face.

"Maybe some time to think—"

"I've had all the time I need."

She cuts Batman off. But now she notices Tim looking between the two of them.

"Wait… you knew Steph wasn't dead."

"I suspected. Everything about it felt wrong, and until I had done enough digging… now you know why there's no memorial in the cave."

'Yeah, OK, Bruce. Whatever you say…'

She rolls her eyes.
On the return to the cave, the official return, was definitely worth it.

"Dear lord… Miss Stephanie! I never imagined–"

The clatter of the tea tray and breaking of china stopped Steph from hearing anything else, breaking into a wide grin, linking her hands with Alfred's.

"Good to see you too, Alfred."

"How is this possible?"

"Gotta say, it's worth coming back to see you lose that British cool. But you're keeping it together better than some of us."

She grinned slyly in Tim's direction, who refused to make eye contact with her.

"Leslie faked your death. Why?"

Trust Bruce to ruin any form of fun.

'It wasn't–Whatever..'

Just as blunt, she fired back

"To protect me. To get me away from all of this. Doctor Thompkins thought I'd suffered more than enough. But I kept feeling like I'd run away, and if I didn't come back to Gotham, those feelings would own me."

Tim speaks softly.

"And your mother?"

She pauses, bringing her arms around herself, shaking her head.

"No… that one's going to be tough…"

When it reached reasonable people hours, functional human hours of the day, and the vigilantes had changed, Stephanie, with a moral support Tim, went to the hospital, to find Crystal.
Seeing her wheeling a medication cart though the ward, Steph waited for her to be by a row of guest seats before approaching.

"Ok Steph, there's no easy way to do this… Mom..?"

As predicted, Crystal immediately collapsed into the seats, looking, appropriately, as if she had seen a ghost.

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

07/26/2020 02:01 PM 

[Ghosts of the Underground {part nine}: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: Ghosts of the Underground {Part Nine}www.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
Everything was fuzzy. Her head rang.
Something had definitely hit her. She was certain of that much. But what?
Blinking slowly, she tried to take in details of her surroundings. She was on the ground. Standing around her was Robin, Barbara back in her chair, and Wildcat.

'Oh. That'd do it… Man hits like a truck.'

"–Kooky, Alien-looking tech I found there has somebody other than just you two interested. Like Little Miss Creepy over here, fer instance. Any idea who the hell she is?"

Suppressing the desire to vocalise her discomfort, or to give any sign that she was even conscious, her breath caught as Robin, as Tim's, bloody face drew closer, as he was kneeling back towards her.

"Yeah… Spoiler… but she can't be…"

He reached for her cowl.
Fingers catching on the fabric.
Taking grip, prepared to remove it.

"...can she?"

She had to act. No time to think.
Flicking her fingers to the belt switch and praying that the short out was a momentary disruption from the blow over a permanent issue, Robin gave her the answer, recoiling as she faded from sight.

"Whoa! Where—?"

"Damn… she pulled that Claude Rains routine again."

Rolling away from their legs, and staying low, in the event of wild blows, she began digging through her pouches for an out to the situation.

"Whatever she uses to cloak, not even my sensors are picking it up."

She could take her time with that information. But she didn't really have time. She didn't want to fight Wildcat if they cornered her. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

'Right.'

Fingers landing on a round stinger grenade, she lobbed it in the direction of the vigilantes, Robin spotting it.

"Wildcat– look out!"

With the boxer catching it, Stephanie wasn't going to wait and stand around to watch whatever happened to him.

"Got it! Huh? Geez! It's disappearin' to!"

"EVERYBODY DOWN!" Robin yelled. Of course, Spoiler wasn't going to listen to Tim. Especially not in something she caused. Stephanie was already running across the Clock Tower as the explosions, and shattering sounds, started. He must have ditched it away from them.

'Good, no permanent harm done then. Probably.'

 From somewhere behind her she could hear,

"I can make her out in the smoke… she's getting away!"

Spilling out of the stairwell, into the street outside, she couldn't think. She just destroyed any hope they had of finding Matc–Batman and getting his stupid ass back on the important task at hand, the gang bullsh*t. And she attacked her bo–ex boyfriend, and mentor. As well as another vigilante. If, no, when they do find her, she would never live this down. They would never forgive her.

'Fall apart later. You can't do it on Oracle's doorstep. More backup is likely to arrive any minute. Move.'

Pulling herself along hazily, head still spinning, her gut instinct was to go lay low in Leslie's clinic, only to stumble, both physically and from the emotional hit she just gave herself with the reminder that Leslie wasn't there to help her. That she also couldn't just walk in there, considering she died there. The emotional support that would have come from Leslie countered the trauma wasn't going to be there.
  She held her head in her hands, confused, nauseated, trying to focus.

'Suck it up. You aren't even hurt. You got hit in the head. Cass used to throw you around like a cheap toy all the time. You just need some ice. You know a place with ice.'

"Right…"

Mumbling to herself, straightening up slowly, she made her way across the rooftops wearily back to the Lounge. Not seeing 'Dinardo' on the door, after the briefest of stakeouts, she enters through the front, giving Reggie a curt nod.

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Snagging a hideously oversized, pompous coat from the coat room, she tied the cloak around her waist, tucking the cowl into her belt, and covered it all with the coat, before telling the poor put upon check lady to take it up with the Boss.
Finally making it to the bar, she got herself water, and ice. Holding the glass to the back of her head, her sulking was interrupted really rather quickly.

"While you were out, Ozzie's dinner went poorly, and several masks were shot down. Thought you might like to know we're expected to work together now."

Riddler slid into place next to her, leaning back on his elbows against the bar. With a glare she may or may not have picked up elsewhere, before leaning over the bar to the ice bucket and loading up her cowl like a cold compress, replacing her glass of water with it, she sighs heavily.

"Oh goodie. Just what I always wanted."

Nudging her elbow with the almost ever present cane, Eddie craned his neck, trying to see past her hand, the ice bag-cowl, her hair and the coat, his ever demanding curiosity a weakness.

"Lose another fight with gravity?"

Groaning, pinching the bridge of her nose and hating the fact she grew up with this man in and out of her house, of her life, hearing her curse her arch enemy – gravity – at the dinner table likely more than once, she considered saying nothing. Her mouth had different ideas, however.

"No. Wildcat. I–I messed with Robin, Oracle and Wildcat."

"You WH-"

Whipping around and clamping her hand over his mouth she shakes her head.

"I don't want to hear it. They were after Malone. They had footage of things that happen in here. They were too close. I couldn't. I just couldn't. Ok? They had to be stopped."

Lowering her hand slowly, Eddie fixing his hat that had been knocked askew, Steph returned to trying to nurse herself.

"So what are we meant to be doing?"

After inspecting his niece-by-circumstance for a while, Riddler sat down, tapping in front of himself, motioning for a drink.

"Well, since you know where the Whale holds up, I'm meant to build you some nice little bombs for you to dance on into the place so it can get lit up."

After a long pause, in which Eddie had received his drink, and was sipping it quietly, watching the floor behind them in the mirrored back board of the bar, Steph turned to him.

"...while it's… empty? Right?"

Her only response? A pat on the shoulder.

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

07/25/2020 03:05 PM 

[Ghosts of the Underground {part eight}: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: Ghosts of the Underground {Part Eight}www.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
Why did she have to call it Whale Watching? That sounded interesting. Tobias Whale was by far the most boring wanna be kingpin Stephanie ever had the misfortune of 'knowing', and she had been a glorified assistant for someone who did most of his business behind a desk, and tortured – physically and mentally – for three days to the point of death by the previous Gotham Kingpin. So she knew a thing or two about sh*tty Gotham gangsters.
However, the Whale over there had spent the last three hours eating, and doing nothing remotely interesting at all. Her stake outs of her useless, washed up father were more interesting.

'Why don't you just… go home? Nothing is happening. He eats. You know where he holds up. That's probably more than Ozzie expected you know.'

Stephanie let out a low grumble of reluctant agreement, however she hadn't lowered the binoculars, still watching the gathering, taking in snippets of information as she read the lips of the mouths visible. Even in her time away, that skill stayed sharp.
Developed early in her life as a necessary survival skill, to know what her fathers 'friends' were talking about before she entered the house, it turned out that reading lips came in handy while on surveillance duties too.

"What we need to do is take out a bunch of the masks. Penguin just created a bunch more. Gotta level the playing field."

'...oh. Hey, that's pretty important. Glad you stayed for that.'

"Gun down any mask you see."

Having 'heard' enough, Spoiler made her leave, activating her cloaker to give her the added security, just on the off chance the Whale threw a security detail out while he was eating. She wasn't in the mood to check if this suit was bulletproof yet. Or really any time soon.
Getting back to the bike with no issues, aside from finding that her foot went to sleep while she was sitting there, she returned to the Lounge. Not wanting to deal with the numerous issues like walking through the crowds as Spoiler, Matches on the door and having the potential to pop in at any time, or wanting to change again today, or weaving through the patrons while cloaked, she wrote a note in the kitchen, and slipped it onto the plate bound for the bosses office. Watching it get taken out, she took her phone from the reorganised belts, her time on the roof spent doing something of use to her at least, and waited.
As the phone rang, Stephanie slipped from the kitchen back out to the alleyway, taking up a position in the loading dock.

"Boss."

"This isn't the most conventional, Spoiler."

"Nothing in Gotham is. Just a little news for the night. Found the Whale's dumpy base. All he does is eat and talk about his family. Did you know they were founding fathers of Gotham? Because he never shuts up about it. And he's planning on shooting up any masks he sees on sight. So keep any of your important friends off the streets, or whatever."

After a pause, in which the Penguin seemed to be mulling over the information dropped on him, the sound of a lighter flicking to life, he let out a soft chuckle.

"You work fast. Faster than I had hoped. You're counted as a mask too now you know."

"I figure that's what the cloaking is for. To get around being shot. And spotted by Bats."

Another chuckle, the cigarette holder clicking against his teeth.

"You found that out already, huh?"

Turning to look up in the direction of Penguin's office window, she smiled bitterly under the cowl.

"I'm pretty good at my job when given the chance."

Hanging up before Penguin could respond, she decided to head back 'home' for the night.
Going through the lobby of the hotel in the Spoiler suit wouldn't be the weirdest thing she's done. She could do it being cloaked too, if she wanted to. Get no attention.

'Note to self. Start leaving the balcony door open so you can come and go as you need to at night.'

Getting in, Stephanie didn't realise the emotional toll the day had taken on her until she sat down to start taking off her boots.
Struggling to fight the waves of exhaustion off for long enough to take the suit off, turning on the television to give her something to focus on. Fighting a losing battle, very quickly snoring away on the couch to the sounds of late night kaiju movies in the room that had become her home.

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Waking to the sounds of her own groaning as she tried to shift, getting her foot, still in the boot wedged in the corner of the seat she untangled herself from what could have been a very disastrous situation. Flinging the boot across the room she rubbed at her eyes and sat up slowly, stretching out her back, trying to work out what time it was.
After a few bleary blinks, and a reluctant huff, wiping the crud from the corner of her still closed eye, she shifted her body to face the the television, hoping the Sunday news stream would give her a time soon.

"More arrests made across Gotham overnight in relation to the gang violence. At this rate, the GCPD–"

Stephanie turned out her eyes on the footage of the newest detainees being escorted into Blackgate, with Matches Malone –with his stupid sunglasses still on his stupid face some how – among them.

"No. Nonononono. You…"

'Take a breath.

"YOU STUPID SELFISH SON OF A BITCH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO ACCOMPLISH IN THERE?! DO–"

'Stephanie, stop.'

Lowering her voice to a hiss, she began pulling the suit back on, the time irrelevant.

"Odds are he hasn't told anyone sh*t about whatever the hell this plan is. They're going to come looking for him. And they'll find me. There is no 'Stop'. I need to go. I need to get ahead of this. I need to move, now."

For once, she didn't argue with herself.
Storming through the Iceberg Lounge, she wasn't surprised to see Penguin with his eyes narrowed at the television in his office, or Riddler in there, but to see Bane? That was new.

"Ah, Spoiler, my dear. I assume you saw this mornings news too."

Penguin waves her in. With a curt nod, she looked between them all, the motion hidden by the full face cowl, before taking up a seated position on the arm of the lounge in the office.

"I thought Matches was some sort of carer guy, real slick."

She throws out wearily, as Bane laughs.

"He thought he was slick. Until he started poking around about the Suicide Squad."

'Dad… why is Batman looking into that now? What is he doing?'

Realising that Crissy Brown should have sort of reaction to what was just said, she shakes her head.

"Sorry. What?"

"Exactly, we know nothing about anything around here."

Oswald, who clearly knew more than he was letting on, and trying to avoid parts of his business overlapping, he shook Bane's hand and ushered him out of the room, before turning back to Riddler and Spoiler.

"It's fortuitous the two of you are both here. I have a job that will require skills you both have, in dealing with the Whale, should my dinner with him later not go to plan. Be ready."

Stephanie sat in confused silence, while Eddie simply folded his arms, shaking his head slightly.

"You may go."

Seeing Riddler get to his feet, Steph waited, only for him to stand at the door and motion with his head to follow.

'Today cannot get any weirder…'

Yet, it did. Being lead to one of the balcony tables, he leant in, hands folded, trying to read anything through the black fabric.

"What did you notice, Spoiler?"

'Are we really gonna play these games right now?'

To answer herself, she ripped the cowl off to the side and sat it on the table between them, leaning back in her seat.

"Bane and maybe even Penguin had something to do with Matches getting arrested."

With a satisfied nod from Ed, Stephanie looked out over the quiet floor of the Club.

"Odds are some of Matches 'family' will come looking for him."

Riddler narrowed his eyes at her from behind his domino mask.

"What do you know about Malone?"

With a snort she scooped up her cowl again, just to have something to play with.

"What do YOU know about him is the more important question."

Leaning back in his seat, resting his arm on the railing, he mulled the question over for a moment.

"As far as I know, only the Cat and I know. And you now."

Grimacing at the fact that she was now one of the rogues, the 'New Rogues', Stephanie turned her attention to the voices now on the floor.
Spotting a dark haired male that went to the Matches Malone school of disguise – cheap suit, thin facial hair, tacky sunglasses indoors, toothpick – making small talk with Reggie, the same sort of small talk she tried to make when she was trying to get in, she was immediately on guard.
Getting to her feet as casually she she could, with Riddler watching her, and likely connecting dots on his own, she crammed the cowl back on her head.

"Here's hoping we don't have to do that job together."

Before speed walking to the end of the hallway and climbing out the window.
Subtle? No. Never. Not a word in Stephanie's vocabulary.
Setting up a perch across from the office, where it was likely Whatever The Frick His Name Was Going To Be was going to be led to, Steph sat, and waited.
She waited so long that Eddie came back into the office and they talked about some plans or something. Eddie just being curious.
She waited so long it got dark.
She was almost ready to give in, to say she was wrong when Reggie interrupted the conversation, and Steph caught movement in the corner of her eye. Catching the name Dinardo. He could wait. Ozzie could handle that for now.
Whipping her head to the movement her stomach dropped to see Robin. A very different suit to what she was useful, but she would know that profile anywhere. Hunkering down lower, the panic began to set in. They were too close. They weren't looking for her, but at this rate, they were going to find her. If it meant slowing the search for Batman… then so be it. Should teach him a lesson in telling people his plans.

'Shouldn't you have been a lesson in that?'

The little prod from herself was all it took to tail Robin once he began to move.

'He isn't watching his surroundings. He should have found you by now. Everyone is worried about Batman. Do you think they were like this about you?'

Hissing in response to herself, and activating the cloaker as Robin entered the Clock Tower, she cautiously followed, holding her breath, waiting for the security systems to be tripped.

'Huh. Either Penguin set you up for life, or they never bothered removing the biometrics of a dead girl from the system…'

As Stephanie stood behind Robin, back in the Clock Tower, she looked at the dim glow of the screens with images of the Penguin,the Whale, supers fighting, and Matches at the door of the Lounge. A picture of Johnny Denetto, Johnny Stitches.

'Oh god, they have footage. Nonono.'

She shifted, bumping one of the keyboards off the main system, causing a loud beep, Barbara's head whipping around. Panic set in.

"Someone's here."

"What? But I don't –"

Stephanie drove her fist into his face. And again.

"Hang in there Robin! I'm activating the self-defence system!"

'Nonononono, I'm sorry, not today…'

Swinging a leg around to disrupt the reaching for the console, she turned her attention back to Robin, not feeling the greatest about knocking Barbara to the ground.

"Ok, so you're invisible! Let's see how you do when you don't have the element of surprise on your side! Come on."

She almost laughed. Seeing Robin, seeing Tim of all people try to square up to something he couldn't see was, well, funny.
Jabbing him across the jaw, she simply stepped to the side as he took a wild swing to where he thought she would be. Jabbing again, she snagged the front of his tunic–
And saw stars, crumpling, stunned. That blow would about do it.If she wasn't so hard-headed.

"Looks like I got here just in time, huh kid?"

With his legs tangled in a heap with hers, the cloaker shorted out from the blow to the back of the head, Robin could see the assailant.

"Thanks, Wildcat. And is that… it can't be… Spoiler?!"

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

07/22/2020 07:15 PM 

[Ghosts of the Underground {part seven}: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: Ghosts of the Underground {Part Seven}www.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
With her forehead against her knees, curled in on herself, something cut through the haze of mixed emotions. 'Let them think another one has come back to haunt them.' Sniffing sharply, she honed in on that thought, on something else to focus on for even a moment.

"What did he mean 'another one back'?"

After a long, almost droning silence in her mind, there was a sudden spark of inspiration.

'The suit in the cave… the Robin between Nightwing and Tim.'

Shaking her head at the crazy, impossible thought, pushing herself to her feet, she started moving towards her bike, no destination in mind, just the need to be moving.

'Why not? Cass killed Shiva and brought her back. You died are here. What even is death at this point, around these people?' "Yeah but – it doesn't make any sense."

Slipping her helmet on over the cowl, something she hadn't missed doing at all, and kicking the engine to life, she started to drive.

'Neither do you. What's your point? Nothing you do, nothing you have ever done, makes any sense. Roll with it.'

With a heavy huffing, she checked out, and just drove, trying to outrun her emotions, the new responsibilities, the bullsh*t theories she was both building and trying to ignore simultaneously.
Stephanie hadn't even realised she had crossed the bridge to Bristol County until she felt the change to the gravel road beneath her tires, far too lost in her own need to escape. Pulling herself back into focus, skidding the bike to a stop, she looked around, frowning.
Her autopilot brain had been taking her to the Cave.
No. Nonono. She had to turn around now.
Or… it was broad daylight. On a Saturday. Middle of the day. Odds were they'd all be out having to fulfill regular, civilian identity duties. She could just… take a peek. For old times sake.

'This is how you get yourself busted. This. Right here. You're an idiot and I hope you get punched in the face for it.'

"Hey! I used to sneak in all the time!"

Dismounting and walking her bike off the gravel road, into the thicket, laying it down and stepping back to the road, looking to see if it was visible from any direction, she tucked her helmet under a bush, stopping to adjust the ill-fitting belts and started continuing her journey on foot, in the shade of the trees beside the road.

'Yeah, sure. If you think you ever got in unspotted, you're deluded…'

Reaching the cave entrance, or at least the one she knew of, Stephanie hesitated, a quick mental image of a laser grid and being shredded to death by beams of instant heat, before she pushed onwards, slowly, hugging the wall.
As she moved inside, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that the lenses of the cowl were functional, adjusting to the dark quickly. Holding down the murmur of surprise, Steph pushed herself to the edge of the entry tunnel, before stopping dead, seeing movement.
On the central platform, bustling around with what she could only assume was the worst cleaning duties in the world was Alfred Pennyworth.
Not quick enough in moving to stifle herself, the Butler's head turned, searching for the soft sound. Eyes passing over her, barely in the shadows, before shaking his head and returning to wiping down the glass on the case he was in the process of cleaning. Stephanie stood frozen, both in shock, and utter confusion.

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
'He looked right at you. Is – is he going blind? He must be going blind. That's what's happening.  Must be.'

After standing motionless while Alfred finished his duties and disappeared back up the stairs she was never allowed up, Steph moved up onto the central platform. If she was here, she might as well get the name of that other Robin. Moving towards the cases that held the suits she stalled, something not quite right, before she looked to the suits in the cases.

'Batgirl. Robin. Another Robin. Both scaley. No skirt. ...I never was Robin. He lied to me…'

Drawing herself in closer to look at the name plated under the suits, she looked up the suits again, before it clicked. What was off finally hit her.

"Holy f*** I'm invisible!"

Clapping her hand over her mouth, looking back towards the stairs for signs of movement she waited. And waited. And waited.
After seeing she was fine, she turned back to her lack of reflection, a bewildered grin she could only feel under the cowl. Waving her arm to confirm she couldn't see herself, she had to refocus. Work out how she did this later. Get the name and get out. Get mad about being lied to on her death bed later.
Running her fingers along the bronze plate, tracing the letters to herself, she looked back up to the first of their kind.

'Alright, Jason. Dead Robin to dead Robin. What do I do? Do I come back to them? Or do I keep doing what I'm doing? ...Maybe asking the first one of us that died for advice isn't the best idea. God what am I even doing.'

Resisting the urge to trash the place in her frustration, knowing it would fall to Alfred, who never really did anything to her to clean it, Stephanie made her leave at a jog. Once back at her bike, she hunkered down against a tree, more emotions added to the pile, with a dash of betrayal added to the mix now.
Again trying to redirect focus, anything but think about feelings, she had to work out how she was invisible. What did she do? She… got off the bike? Then. Fiddled with her belts! The belts!

"Oh, Ozzie, you fishy son of a bitch… you're making me almost like you."

After uncloaking and heading back into Gotham proper, she decided to get to work on the Whale watching.
The internal debate raged while she set up a position on the roof across from the restaurant the Whale had taken up as his base of operations.
Regardless of whether it was for Penguin, or if she was going to turn it over to the Bats, or hell – maybe she'd just start selling information to whoever paid best – she had skills. Why shouldn't she use them for her benefit?

'Because making decisions while you're angry about something else doesn't make for good life decisions. That's how you became Robin and got you in this mess to begin with. Stop. Think. Call Leslie. Be responsible. Be the person you needed when you were younger. Hold it together. One more lie in your life doesn't mean everything needs to fall apart. You knew he was lying. What does it matter.'

"It matters because I thought I mattered. Just for a minute, I thought I mattered…"

Stephanie whispered to herself, lowering the binoculars that had come in one of the belt pouches, trying to reorganise them to a more intuitive state while on her stake out.

'Oh, honey. You never mattered. When are you going to learn?'

"I never learn anything. Not if I can help it."

Sniffing sharply, she shifted her knees, and hunkered down for a long night.

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

07/20/2020 07:28 PM 

[Ghosts of the Underground {part six}: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: Ghosts of the Underground {Part Six}www.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
Slink around school. Alienate herself in class. Hide her head in her locker when applicable. Hotel rooftop workouts. Go pick up jobs. Occasionally get called in for 'special deliveries', or escorting duties when Oswald didn't trust the 'Lady Friend of the Week' to make a drop off to the bank herself. Less fights than she hoped, yet more than Leslie would have wanted.
This very quickly became the norm for little miss 'Crissy' Brown.
The ache to reach out to those she loved tempered by the daily reminders that Stephanie Brown was dead. That they were better without her. That she wasn't missed. No-one cared. What she was doing was… getting her by.
However, it was a Saturday. There was no school on a Saturday. No hallways to play a one sided game of cat and mouse in. She could do anything she wanted. Anything at all.
Anything that meant she wasn't going to be left sitting alone with her thoughts.
Which of course meant she was going to the Lounge.
She had been accepted and welcomed into a family. A very messed up family that made her question everything about herself, and what she knew, but a family nonetheless.
She had never felt cared for '– Leslie –' or accepted '– Cassandra –' before. Everyone else had told her to quit. That she was useless. That no-one wanted her around.

'Are you not listening to me?! Cassandra and Leslie! Toe that line. Gray is fine. I'm ok playing in this weird gray zone we've been playing in. But don't let go of them. Penguin isn't family. He's only using you, just like Batman did! Don't fall for it. He's just giving praise, instead of making you work for it. You're smarter than this. Come ON, Stephanie!'

"I know… I'm not stupid. But it's nice to be useful. Even if I know it won't last."

Groaning, she took a few minutes to get herself out of bed and started moving for the day, the daily ache back to being normal, before scooping up her stuff and heading out.
Coming in through the kitchen out of habit, even though it was daylight, frowning at the cluster of people in the middle of the room. Spotting Reggie standing by some crates, she moved towards the familiar face, immediate curiosity taking hold. Spotting her approaching, the bouncer nodded in greeting.

"Yo Crissy. What's up?"

Pointing a thumb back over her shoulder to the good two dozen people loitering about in the middle of the club, sitting on the stairs and the split level divide, she raised a brow.

"What's the deal?"

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Before Reggie could respond, Penguin began loudly calling for people to make way, get out of his way, as he came down from his office. You could always hear him before you could see him. With room being made, Cobblepot spotted the blonde standing with Reggie, and motioned for her to join the masses. Glancing up at the muscle, who responded with a grin, Stephanie simply shrugged, and moved over to them, taking up position on the stairs, leaning against the railing.

"You are the lowest of Gotham's low."

Penguin began, motioning at them with his cigarette holder. Frowning slightly, Stephanie raised her chin, and waited to see where this was going.

"You are her drug addicts and her alcoholics. Her homeless. Her runaways and her prostitutes. You are the gang members no gang will take. You are the mobsters without a mob. Noone wants anything to do with you."

'Hey, c'mon now. I know what I am. But I sucks hearing people actually say i–'

"Except me. Maybe it's because in you I see myself."

Cobblepot motions for the crates, which Reggie, and another of the muscle move over.

"Maybe it's because in the past, I too have been overlooked. Ridiculed at times. Dismissed."

'It's not genuine, it's not real. Don't buy it… don't. Just…'

"But no-one's dismissing me anymore. And after today–"

Cracking the lid off the crate to reveal parts of costumes inside, before stepping back, as people, Stephanie included, moved forward to look –to claim – he continued, with a predatory grin.

"Neither will they you."

As people began pawing through the items, the weapons, the artefacts, one man drawing out a wand, Penguin chuckled.

"Look, enjoy, but don't get too attached to anything. We'll determine who gets who based on ability and skill set."

As Stephanie began to reach further into the crate, a sword calling her name, she was tapped on the shoulder, by the Boss.

"A moment, my dear?"

Straightening up, she didn't have much of an opportunity to respond before her began to lead her away towards the storage area.

"I've seen a lot of you in the short time you've been here. You're not like the others."

'Why does this feel like a trap? This feels like a trap. I want to run. If I run, am I springing the trap?'

Remaining silent and looking down at the Penguin, he continued.

"You're smarter than most of them. Well trained, resourceful… which is why I have something special in mind for you..."

Pushing open the employees only door, and flicking on the light to reveal what he kept aside special for her, a grin of what she could only interpret as pride on his face. Following his gaze into the room, her blood ran cold.

'How? No. It's not possible. He can't tell, can he? Oh god.'

Swallowing hard, she put her hand on the door frame to steady herself, then spoke softly.

"Where'd you get all the suits?"

Clapping her on the back, he laughed, shoving her into the room.

"If you're worried it's the one Mask killed that kid in, it's not."

Unable to take her eyes off the peaked hood of the cloak hanging off the hook the entire time, she swallowed and nodded absently.

'He's right. It's not your suit. This one is magenta, not eggplant…'

"What's the job…?"

She asked softly, taking a few steps towards the hanging fabric, taking the hem between her fingers.

"I want you to be my eyes and ears. Be ready to ruin plans, as it were."

"Spoil."

It was reflexive. It happened before she could stop herself. Picking up the full face cowl and putting it over her hand, looking at the white eyes, she shook it at Penguin behind her.

"Y'know. That's who she was, right? The Spoiler?"

After a brief pause, in which she could practically hear Oswald narrowing his eyes at her, she heard him turning to shut the door.

"Well, I'll give you time to work out the suit. I'll see you in my office for your new job debriefing."

"Right…"

As the door clicked shut, she slumped into a heap on the boxes, clutching at the cowl, holding in the overwhelming urge to scream. She had to not lash out for once. She had to keep herself under control for long enough to get through whatever bullsh*t meeting was going to happen, then she could go… scream, or cry, or punch things, or scream and cry while punching things all she wanted.
But at least she wouldn't have to control her facial expressions.
Looking to the full face cowl that was almost her cowl, but not quite, she sighed, and began to change.
The suit was almost her suit, but not quite. The belts weren't in the right places, it sat funny, the legs were too long. She could fix that.
The utility belts didn't have the right toys in them, or even in intuitive places, but she could fix that too.
...was she warming on having a not quite right Spoiler suit? Yes. Yes she was.
Stuffing her street clothes into her backpack, she climbed up the stairs to the office two at a time as Reggie was handing out outfits and gear while consulting from a list.
Letting herself in to see Riddler standing by the window, looking out to the pier, Penguin sitting behind the desk, he grinned broadly at her.

"Ah, finally. Now, let's get to business. Crissy, if the New Rogues down there are to succeed, we are going to need as much information as we can get, especially on The Whale's crew. Do you understand?"

'He knows. There's no way he doesn't know. He's gotta know. I'm done for.'

Instead of responding, she nodded. Riddler turned his head to look in her direction.

"Keep your head down, Spoiler. You don't want to bring the Bats down on yourself in that get up."

With a honk of a laugh, Penguin rocked himself in his seat.

"Nonsense! Cause them some trouble while you're at it! Let them think another one has come back to haunt them!"

'Excuse me? Another what?'

Grateful for the cowl, her frown set in deep now, she saluted lamely.

"The Whale int–information. You got it. I'll see what I can find."

Before backing herself out of the room, eyes on Riddler the entire time, trying to work out if he just tried to tell her she wasn't as screwed as she thought she was, or if she was overthinking everything.
Once outside, she was hit with the wall of emotions all at once.
Panic, fear, guilt, excitement, self-loathing, anger, confusion.
Unable to process even one emotion that wasn't anger at the best of times, she sunk down next to the dumpsters, and sobbed into her cowl.
Of course the thing she made to save herself would end up like this. Why wouldn't it end up being used for the opposite reason she made it.
Was it too late to go back to Africa?

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

07/19/2020 04:43 PM 

[Ghosts of the Underground {part five}: Drabble]

attention: | mentions: Ghosts of the Underground {Part Five}www.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight
Warm, tight hugs.
Cassandra always squeezed her half to death whenever she hugged her. A firm hand gripping her shoulder. Turning to look, she saw Batman. Tilting her head at the small gesture of reassurance, Stephanie looked around, searching for the others. For Barbara, for Dinah, for Tim. She wanted to tell them all so many things–
Head snapping up at the sudden, and very intrusive ringing, Stephanie coiled her limbs in under herself with a groan, pushing herself up to reach for the phone, trying to see through the curtain of tangled blonde waves, frowning at the puddle of drool that had gathered on her pillow.
Picking up the receiver and cutting off the ringing, she began to feel the familiar 'morning after' aches. They felt the same, no matter how long it had been.

"'llo?"

"Good morning Miss, this is your six thirty wake up call."

Sinking back onto her knees, running a hand through her hair, she let out an almost defeated breath.

"Mm... 'K. Thanks… same time tomorrow please."

Hearing the faint 'of course, Miss' as she moved to sit the receiver down, she groaned again and untangled herself from the sheets, moving gingerly, rubbing her face slowly.
She now saw the importance of the pre-patrol workouts.

"I am never saying that to his face…"

Murmuring to herself as she moved to find something not entirely freak label worthy, or eye catching for her first day getting around school. Not only was she going to have to learn her own class schedule, but someone else's as subtly as possible to take different routes, and ensure a different lunch period. Not to mention avoiding his friends.
"Why is crime easier than school?"

'The question all of Gotham asks for five hundred, Alex.'

Groaning at her own bullsh*t, it being too early even for herself, she hit the shower, hoping the hot water would ease some of her aches.
Not wanting to deal with the mass of waves today she brushed them back into a ponytail, then twisted that into a bun.
Simple. No fuss. Don't draw attention.
Jeans, blue long sleeve shirt to cover her scars arms, white tee layered over the top. Did people still layer? She was going to layer. Stuffing a dark green army surplus jacket into her newly acquired backpack, along with her phone, and a few of the bills, for some of the school supplies and the helmet she needed to pick up for herself, she rinsed out the remnants of the hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles, rolled up the notes tightly and tucked them inside, before laying the bottles at the bottom of her luggage, throwing her clothes in a pile for washing, stacking the bags on top of each other, the one with the 'toiletries' at the bottom.
Satisfied she had done enough for now, and that she was ready, Steph moved to hit the morning commute.
It was weird to say, but she had missed traffic. She had missed hearing the stupid sh*t people would yell at each other in bouts of road rage. Some of her favorite things to call people were things she had overheard in traffic.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on whether you wanted more insults added to an already vast repertoire or not, she eased the bike to a stop, and set up her nice little white and black sports bike in the students parking lot, still quite early, before a lot of the other students were there. Letting out a sigh of relief in not seeing the Red Bird, she smoothed down her windswept bun, before a moment of panic hit.

'What if it's not the Red Bird anymore? What if you don't know what it is? You're here expecting no change in a year? Good work, genius.'

Groaning softly to herself, she got off her bike and hustled inside, to get to the office and get her information all finalised so she could stake out the parking lot, hoping whatever the Signal was lit for last night would keep the one she needed to avoid most running just that little bit behind. That things hadn't changed too much in her time away.
Picking up her schedule from the office, with the list of supplies she would need, she was led to her assigned locker. It was… problematically positioned, to put it lightly. In the middle of the hallway, across from the faculty lounge, the nearest escape the stairwell at the end of the hall, unless she wanted to try to dive through the lounge windows.
She could work with this.
Probably.
She was going to have to.
Given the go ahead to either stay and participate in classes for the day, or go collect the supplies necessary to be a fully functioning student and return tomorrow, Stephanie went with option two.
Backtracking to the parking lot, now much more lively than when she came in, she didn't have to look hard to see it. It was still the same after all.
The Red Bird.

"Stupid name for a car…"

She muttered to herself, the small smile creeping onto her lips betraying her fondness for it.

'Means he's here. Inside or outside though? Do you want to risk walking out there in broad daylight if he's sitting in the damn thing still?'

Sinking back, taking up a seated position on the floor off to the inside of the door with a line of sight to the outside, Stephanie propped her bag in her lap and leaned into it, as if it was just too early for her, and waited.
People passed by, paying her no mind. The first bell rang, and the masses moved together. The doors of the Red Bird opened, and two exited. One she knew immediately, and a very pretty girl.

'Of course. It's natural. You're dead. It's better this way, remember?'

"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Pushing her face down into the bag, she decided she didn't need to see them pass. She would be satisfied with hearing it, knowing the coast was clear for her to leave. To get out of here. Get away. Far away.
Hearing the voices pass, especially one voice she would know anywhere, that she had missed so much, the owner was right there and she just…

'Keep it together. This is life now. You wanted this. You wanted to be home. What did you expect? You're dead. You're nothing to these people. They never wanted you around to begin with. Count to ten. Get up. Then go make yourself useful somewhere.'

Taking in a slow, shaky breath, she held it for the ten count as the voices faded, then exhaled. Not bothering to look around, she got to her feet and walked out the door, and trotted to her bike.
Kicking it to life, she wiped her eyes on her sleeve, trying to work out if the Lounge would be operating yet.
After picking up her helmet, and rolling around to the Iceberg Lounge she found that it was not, infact open yet.
Most Gothamites that dabbled in Nocturnal dealings usually slept late, apparently. Which she apparently missed the memo on.

"Well sh*t… do I have to be a responsible student and pick up my supplies now?"

'Weren't you talking about good grades just yesterday?'

Not bothering to argue with herself, because everyone knows there's no winning when you argue with an idiot, Stephanie set off once more, gathering her supplies and cramming them into the backpack, putting on the jacket to make more room for them.
Taking it all back to the hotel and dumping it in her room, she didn't stay there long herself. Stephanie refused to sit still. She had just spent a year being forced to do minimal, to 'rest' even long after she was physically recovered. She couldn't take it.
Heading onto the hotel rooftop, between the water towers, she ran herself through old gymnastics routines, just to see if she could. Then pushed for the drills Babs ran while she was training alone as Robin.
Everything hurt.
It felt right.
Looking up at the tops of the water towers, trying to judge the distance between them, then the distance to where she stood on the rooftop, she began to climb the girderwork leg of one, not for the first time in her exercise outing cursing not changing from her jeans.
Once up on the roof of the tower, absently brushing her hands – now with newly acquired rips to go with her busted knuckles, her hands almost back to how they were before she left – on the backs of her legs, she looked over the edge back down to where she just was, beginning to bounce on the balls of her feet.

"C'mon. If you miss, it's not that far. You've fallen further before. Just to see if you still can. You can do it. You can do it!"

Backing up a few steps and taking off at a run, pushing herself off the side of the tower, just like Batgirl taught her, Stephanie extended her body, eyes ahead.
For one sickening second she thought she hadn't pushed with enough force, but seeing the edge of the other water tower approaching her face rapidly, the thought vanished quickly. Dipping her shoulder and rolling though, not quite as neatly as perhaps she would have once done, Stephanie allowed the momentum to carry her through to her knees, before splaying herself backwards with a laugh.
Untucking her legs from under herself after a moment of hyper extending her tendons, she folded her arms behind her head, and let out a sigh.

"No capes. No caves. I made a promise. That's not who I am anymore. Leslie didn't give up everything for me just so I can do it all over. I can't go back. I can't."

But that little voice prodded with a very important counter argument.

'Is becoming your father any better though?'

"I'm almost fifty percent sure nothing could go wrong."Stephanie Brownwww.roleplayer.me/DorkKnight

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