Library Chatter

February 12, 2017:

After the attack in Area 81, Barry meets with Lara Croft about the undersea mission and Stephanie comes looking for him after a troubling text.

NY Public Library

A library with a lot of books.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Batgirl, Melinda May, Peggy Carter, Aquaman, Queen Mera

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

After checking through the roster to find someone that fits the profile that Aquaman put before him, Flash found a pair of capable candidates within SHIELD for a mission. The scarlet speedster zips through New York, looking at a picture of Lara Croft, recognizing her from his work with the elves - and slipping on her pen in the Headquarters.

He can't really show up at SHIELD headquarters and talk to her - that would be an issue that would cause her to start to wonder.

So he runs, on the off chance of catching her. He already knows she likes museums and libraries, so that's where he's starting his search for her.

Lara was located in a quiet part of the New York City Library. She'd found a table in a seculded corner surrounded by bookshelves and it was on this table that she had a series of boxes open, all pertaining to the Yucatan Peninsula.

Dressed in a black tshirt, pale brown janes and some new hiking-style leather boots, Lara is walking around the desk where she has all her research material and she's talking quietly into her phone in her hand. "Eight kilometers west from the city of Chichen Itza. The ground has given away into a sub-surface tomb at the foot of a Toitec Temple. This was the home location to the Enchantress' statue."

Lara pauses and walks to her table, setting her phone down she spins a book around on its spin and opens it up to a saved location, her right hand pointer-finger scanning text upon the page.

As Flash arrives at the library, he slides to a halt out front. He can't really go running inside to see if Lara is located inside. This brings up an interesting problem, as he looks at the library, and makes up his mind. There's a quick lap around the library, and the red suit is gone, and coming out of the alley next to the building is Barry Allen.

Slipping into the library, he looks around, and then finds the woman settled in the back. "Hey." he greets the woman, a friendly smile offered. "I was just in the section and.. okay, that's lame. Mind company? I think we need to talk."

Of course, the way he makes it sound, he could be making the 'hey, you're hot, want to go on a date?' talk, and not at all what he really wants to suggest as he tucks his glasses back up on his nose, dressed in a University of Central City hoodie and blue jeans.

One thing that Lara inhereted her father (aside from wealth and a noble family title back in England, with all the troubles that go with such things) was an overwhelming ability to get lost in her work. So when Barry suddenly arrived and spoke, it took Lara a few seconds to even stop what she was doing…

"Oh, Mister Allen." She said when she finally did stop though, she'd been pacing with the old leather book in her left hand/arm, nestled up against her elbow. "H-How are you?" She asked, trying to get her mind out of the Yucatan and back here into reality. "Company is fine, though I'm deep in my work to help solve the problem of a close friend of mine. What can I do for you though?"

"Well.. I have this friend." Barry says as he takes a seat across from her as he draws in a breath. "Okay. Wrong approach. How's your computer?" he asks, trying to figure out how exactly to deal with this. He's nervous, it seems, the way he keeps starting and reversing his course. "Oh, problem for your friend?" he starts, and considers.

"Well.. I don't want to add on to your problems.."

Lara's laptop was sitting off to the side of her, its screen was on and it was showing the map of the Yucatan jungle taken from a satelite, with some hand written notes (presumably from Lara's own hand). She glanced at the computer when he mentioned it and she smiled at him. "Its fine, thank you." She told him, her eyes going back to him and she shook her head gently a single time.

"Its no problem." Lara then said, taking in a breath of air between her lips. "If there is something I can help you with, then please just let me know. I'm happy to assist people on this new team of ours." She then showed a faint smile.

Drawing in a breath, he considers. Barry then offers a chuff of laughter. "Well, you know I'm working on the mutating Mists project." he says with a grin as he folds his hands in front of them. "I spoke with someone in the Justice League. They're planning a mission down to the ruins of Apokolips' lab to try to find out if there is any recoverable samples of the original mists. I was asked to find someone in SHIELD I can trust with the mission to go as a liaison."

"Your name is on a very short list to join the King of Atlantis on the mission."

At least it wasn't asking her on a date?

In her young life, Lara hadn't ever even been on a real date before. She'd been setup to go meet 'boys' with her friend Sam back in their college days, but that had been more just to appease her friend rather than actually go out on a date. Lara yet remained, socially awkward about such things.

"This is in regard to the Nuhumans?" Lara would ask him then, her brown eyes resting on that of his own. "With the… King of Atlantis being involved in this directly?" She was well researched in the lore of Atlantis, so to go anywhere near to it would be quite enjoyable for this bookworm adventurer.

"Yeah. The Terrigen Mists, as they're called. As for how the Atlanteans are involved.." Barry gives a small smile. "While SHIELD holds jurisdiction over the ruins of Apokolips' former lab, the fact that's in the waters of the Atlantic puts it firmly in the hands of Atlantis. We discussed the idea, and I still need to speak with Agent May, but a team of Justice Leaguers is going to explore the ruins because of the dangers that may be involved with the site, but I was able to convince them that SHIELD still needs to be involved." he rubs the back of his head. "I can't really go myself.." Because he's already tapped as a certain scarlet speedster. "…but I was asked to find a couple of agents I could trust as my proxy."

Lara sat back in her chair after hearing all of this. She contemplated it for a moment and tapped her thumb gently on the edge of the dark wooden table that they were seated at.

"It sounds like a wonderful opportunity." She told him, her accented voice was soft and calm. "I would, however, loathe being considered 'in the way' by members of the Justice League. I would have to imagine that they might consider a non-super empowered person to be a liability to their goals. But if I am wrong in that, then I think it would be a great experience and would be eager to go as soon as I possibly could."

"Lara Croft, self-depreciation is not your strong suit." Barry teases her with a small chuckle. "They asked for a liaison. Your name popped into my head. Thank you for accepting it." he says with a warming smile as he considers. "You know, most of them want to be treated like normal humans. They have secret identities for reasons." he points out to her. "If any of them try to put you in the 'in the way' category, I have little doubt you will carry yourself in a manner that will prove them wrong."

A smiled showed on Lara's face then, soft and distant, but still a smile. "I have a lot to learn about working so closely with people who possess such amazing abilities. But at the same time, I hope to show that I'm quite capable, even without any." She tapped her thumb gently against the table a few more times before she nodded her head toward him once.

"So yes, just tell me where I need to be, when I need to be there and I would happily represent SHIELD as a liason on this excursion into the dark. Hopefully there are none of these, mutating mists, still lingering when we get there."

"That's one of the hazards to be considered, yes." Barry admits with a sigh. "Bring a hazardorous conditions suit with you just as well, to be safe. There's still one other person I need to speak with, but I'll have the information for you as soon as I can." he promises her and gives her a confident smile. "And you're an Agent of SHIELD. And an adventurer. That makes you pretty darn special already." There's a wink offered to her before he starts to rise. "I should get back to my afternoon walk. Have to keep this down." Patting he stomach, he laughs. "Though if you throw down a pen everytime I get a full plate of food, perhaps it would help."

Lara would then grin to these words from the man and she'd look down at the table just in front of her, somewhat uot of embarrassment for having done that to him at all. "I will try not to do that. I am sure exercise is the ideal way to maintain a trimmed waistline." She'd reply in a quiet voice. Her eyes would then glance over and up at him. "Thank you, by the way, for recommending me for this. Its right up my alley, which makes me have more confidence in being useful rather than interrogation sessions, or evidence examinations in murder mysteries." She sat forward in her chair again, back straight though.

"Certainly happy to learn about those sides of SHIELD, but they definitely made me feel more than a little out of my element." She showed another soft smile then.

"Yeah. I'm more used to handling the murder mysteries - it's good to branch out on occassion." Barry responds with a small chuckle. "How's the two elves anyway? I'm not sure that they're innocent of what they did, but their motives.." he sighs. "I think that they just need to talk to Agent May about it all." he admits with a sigh.

Lara drew in a breath when he asked this question about the elves. She gently shook her head side to side before responding. "I don't know why they're here, I don't know what their motives or desires are, I don't trust anything they do or say because when I look into their faces I see nothing but contempt for our world and our people." She'd then look over to him. "I think they should be sent back to their world, or at least, wherever it is they originated from. Because, you see, if I went to their home… I would be courteous to their people and not resist, as they resist to us. The way that they act though?" She gently shook her head again. "They're not the kind of people who should be galavanting about freely. At least in my opinion."

+MEET: Stephanie Brown has arrived via +meet.

Barry is standing up while talking to Lara at a quiet corner of the library as the sunlight comes in through the windows and the young man is patting his stomach with a chortle, before the conversation becomes more serious. "If it were so simple." he says as he considers. "If they are from the realms, as they claim, then we don't have any authority, and probably fall under that of the All-God, which means having Thor perhaps talk to them of their behaviours." he says with a sigh as he sits back down. "Perhaps the manners are different, but there is some basic rights we have to realize. There's others that can perhaps talk to them as well." He shrugs his shoulders.

"Anyway, there's a lot of ground to cover - my suggestion for coming with you to explore the wreck site would also to be with Peggy Carter. She has some strong ties to the league." he admits as he finally pulls back his hood on his hoodie. A small bandage is wrapped around his head, a thicker bangage just above his ear and grazing along his temple.

Lara gently nodded in acknowledgement of Barry's words. "I suppose you're right." She quietly replied to him, seated in a chair at a desk that was covered in open books all related to the Yucatan Peninsula, and her laptop which was displaying a satalite map of Central America.

"Well." She said then. "I will hope for the best with them." She smiled softly and looked at Barry. "I like Miss Carter, she seems very dedicated to her wor—" Lara cut herself off when she saw the bandages. She'd turn in her seat and move to rise up. "My god, I didn't do that to you with the pen did I?" She asked, concern laced in her accented voice.

The last text between Barry Allen and Stephanie Brown was Barry saying he had gotten shot. The phone received the message at nearly 2 in the morning. Stephanie didn't receive it until closer to six. She had just gotten showered and had chnaged in the locker room. She sat on the little bench infront of her locker, checking the messages on her freshly charged Hello Kitty phone when she saw Barry's text: >2/13 1:45AM Barry: Yeah. Got shot. It missed. Barley.

What happened next is purely a by product of being a batling and nothing else.

And Stephanie being stubborn. And impulsive, and an over-achiever… and more than a little too much Bruce and Tim. Using her black phone, Spoiler hacked Barry Allen's number. She's watched Barbara and Bruce do this. She can figure it out. Hourslater, long after when she should have gotten on with her day life or perhaps taken a nap, Stephanie had found Barry's GPS. Workout bag grabbed, Stephanie got into her car and took off.

It was will power only that had her going the speed limit and following normal traffic laws. It was the day time hour that kept her in her purple and black exercise clothes.


Stephanie walked in, gym bag over a shoulder, black phone in hand, tracking tracking batling-stalkering until she heard his voice just around the nect book shelf. She waits a moment, turning the screen off and tucking the phone into a pocket of her bag. He hs to be talking to someone.

A woman's voice? British by the accent.

"My god, I didn't do that to you with the pen did I?" Lara's voice had asked. Stephanie rounded the shelves.

"Not unless your pen shoots bullets," states the blonde, voice not quite growlly, but… definitely unhappy bordering on upset. Here eyes glance over Lara before they focus on the bandage.

"Care to fill me in on the details?" she asks of Barry as she closes the distance between them.

"Yes. Your pen was a murderous thing." Barry starts to say, and then chuckles. "No, not your pen.. I posted a report about it. Sniper took a shot at me in Area 81." he says, reaching up to touch the thicker bandage. "One of those heroes you mentioned earlier prevented it from killing me. Just nicked me a little." His brow furrows a little. "Another reason that I'm not being allowed to go on the undersea mission."

He starts to say more when he feels a familiar presence - as in - the feeling of concerned girlfriend approaching. He waits for her to get closer before his hand reaches out to settle his hand on Stephanie's elbow after rising from his chair for a moment to greet her. "Stephanie, I thought you were going to sleep in on your day off.." he says, oblivious to the idea that he may have upset her just a little. He /did/ say it only nicked him! "Lara Croft, may I introduce my girlfriend, Stephanie. Stephanie Brown, this is a friend of mine from work, Lara Croft." Introductions handled, he considers. "Where did you want me to start, then, I suppose?" he asks, then grins. "I take it you're taking me on a run later?" he teases Stephanie slightly.

Lara would look over to Steph when she literally appeared miliseconds after she asked that question about the badnages. She listened to both of their responses and she gently nodded her head. "Oh. I'm… sorry to hear that. I am glad you're okay though, and that the sniper wasn't a very good shot." She smirked faintly then and nodded softly to Stephanie when she was introduced.

"Its a pleasure to meet you, Miss Brown." She told her, smiling and offering her right hand. "Mister Allen here was just informing me of a job opportunity that sounds very exciting." She'd look between the two of them as they traded words.

Area 81. Stephanie will look that place up tonight. Or text it in and ask Babs to do it. Hearing that Barry won't be going on the fact finding mission under the sea, has Stephanie breathing a little easier, even if she's still upset that he GOT SHOT. Hand on her elbow, Stephanie looks up at Barry, eyes still angry.

"Hard to sleep in when I get a text saying you got shot," is the retort. Anything more is cut off for the moment as Barry attempts to redirect her with his coworker. For a moment, it seems as if Stephanie isn't going to be nice, not with the lines of tension on her athletic frame, almost making the end of her ponytail shake between her shoulder blades. But then Barry teases her and she looks back over at him in a moment of complete and utter confusion. Her brows pull together, one quirking… and then she glances down at… normal workout clothes and NOT the nomex uniform.

Oh sweet Lord in Heaven… had she really gone full Batling on him, during the day, in front of a…

"Likewise, Mr. Croft. Really, it's very nice to meet you. I'm so sorry to have just busted in like this. I…. was just worried… about… Barry," Stephanie says as she turns to face Lara, and takes the offered hand to shake. Gone is the harsh angry expression, replaced with a light blush and a girly almost teenaged like smile, and a bounce to the balls of her feet, like a cheerleader would do just before pivoting into a new routine.

"Job opportunity? WOw. Yeah, I hope it's not… as dangerous sounding as… " Stupid blonde moment, Stephanie! Just.. stop… talking! Can't guarantee she knows what he can do. She's a SHIELD person which means she might get nosy and if you don't act like juat a dumb blonde, maybe high school.. NO! not high school. Barry said GIRLFRIEND. College… student. then she might… AH! Halp me Obiwan Kenobi. This isn't the batling you are looking for!

"She's helping out some companions of mine on a mission involving those mutating mists I told you about, sweetheart. You know, the ones in the news?" Barry feels bad immediately, but he knows that Stephanie wants it played down how really smart she is and right now she's in hot blonde mode. Well, crazy hot blonde, but still, hot blonde. "He was a terrible shot. But fortunately Starfire was on patrol in the area and was able to help me." he admits with a little blush as he grins.

"Lara was the one I told you about the other day when I came home and my suit was ruined - her pen tried to assassinate me." he winks between the two, the humor used to try to difuse the situation further as he captures Stephanie's hand in his once it's removed from Lara's grasp. See, he's just fine.

"Miss Croft works in archeology, Stephanie. She's been to some of the coolest places on history tours. Stephanie's a student at Gotham State."

Lara moved to start gathering up her books and put her laptop away into the messenger bag that was on the back of her chair with her jacket. She smiled at Stephanie. "Of course. I'd be horrified to find out that my boyfriend had been shot. I would likely bust right through anything to find out if he were well and safe." She showed a soft smile then.

"I'm eager to get under way on this expedition. I haven't done anything related to the ocean in quite a few years… since my first semester at college. So it should be a nice change of pace, if perhaps a bit chilly." She showed another small grin then.

Lara hooked her messenger bag over her shoulder and crossed her torso with the fabric strap. She went to put her leather jacket on then over it. "Let me know if there's anything I can help with on prepping for the trip too." She'd say then to Barry.

"I hope college is treating you well too, Miss Brown. I certainly loved those years of my life. But then again, I'm kind of a bookworm nerd." She would grin tnen and scoop the books she'd been reading up into a stack in her arms. "I best get these back to their proper places… It was good seeing you both. I hope the wounds heal up fast Barry, and I'll do my best to keep pens away from you." She'd make to leave then.

"Yeah. Those things. I'm …glad you've got help with that, since you know. I'm just me and can't really…do much.. of things… sometimes," Stephanie stammers a bit, then giggles nervously, blondely. Her fingers curl tightly about Barry's when he takes her hand. She nods at Barry's reminder, blue-green eye returning to Lara.

"Yeah. Exactly. I didn't realize how exciting his life was going to be when we… well, yes. Umm.. Nice meeting you too, Miss Croft," Stephanie rambles a bit, cheeks still blushing.

At least Stephanie didn't come busting in all 'PUDDIN, WHERE ARE YOU, I WANT TO PLAY YAHTZEE!'. As she giggles, and she starts to stammer and stutter, Barry considers, feeling her pulse in his fingers as she grips down on him. "..things happen. I didn't expect it either. I'll make sure to bring back up next time." he offers with a frown as he draws in a breath.

"I'll let you know the details when I get them all down, Lara." he promises, watching her leave for a moment as he moves to open his travel bag and pulls out a Snikcers bar for Stephanie. "When did you eat last? May I treat you to lunch, and you can get the whole story, promise." he says to her with an encouraging smile.

Don't be Harley, eat a Snickers. You're not you when you're hungry.

Stephanie's pulse is sluggishly angry beneath Barry's fingers. She just looks up at him, smilng and nodding up at him, trying to look like that is all she needed to hear. She too watches Lara go, bottom lip bitten by her teeth.

"Eat? Umm… I don't remember. Umm… It was… earlier… five? I think. It's fine. I'm fine," she's saying, unheld hand reaching up to rub at her forehead when the candy bar is offered. Ooooh chocolate. She reaches for it, eyes focused suddenly on the brown wrapper.

"Yeah. Lunch is great. And the story. Starfire? What hte hell were you… Over lunch. Let's go."

"Sounds good, on both counts." Barry says as he takes the young woman's hand and tucks it firmly in his as he rises. So maybe getting shot made him appreciate her all the more as he stays close to her. "You were asleep at the time, or I'd let you know. I have something I need one of your friends to go over." Friends. Batlings, probably, as he walks with her.

Arriving at the library cafe, he leads her over to a table, pulling back a chair for her before he moves to take his own. "So, where do you want me to start/?"

'Asleep'. Sure. Let's go with that. She sits with him, taking a bite of the Snickers before twisting it closed and storing it away in her backpack which she's dropped to her feet and tucked against herself to prevent it from getting stolen.

"Sure. Anything …they can bhelp with. Start… at the begining." Stephanie says, head starting to pound as the adrenaline fades, taking the last of her body's ready and available blood sugar even as her brain is recognizing the taste of it on her tongue and it preparing for the spike.

"Steph?" Barry knows the signs. He sees it in his own hypoglacemia. "I need a fruit juice, right now." he says to the attendant, taking one from the cooler and heading directly to her as he comes back quickly to her, opening it. "Drink." it's not a suggestion. "Short sips, don't gulp, you'll make yourself sick."

In the meantime, he's already starting to look back at the counter for the sandwich selections. "I'll tell you as soon as you're on the level again, darling."

The bag just wasn't sitting against her the way she wanted. The candy was put in the front pocket, but not hte one with the phone. Where is her phone? Her name, as a question, draws her gaze up. Brows pulled together and a light frown on her face darkens when he immediately turns his attention away from her. She huffs lightly and goes back to digging around in her back pack.

"I'm not thristy," she says, stubborn streak being stubborn against the not suggestion.

"I'm fine! God. Just.. I can't find my phone."

"Drink. We'll find your phone in a moment. Take a sip at least first." Barry asks, a frown at his stubborn girlfriend as he returns to the counter. As he starts to walk away, he snags her backpack, keeping it with him as he gives her a look of his own defiance as he heads to the counter to order their sandwiches.

It's only because he's fast and cheated! That's what Stephanie tells herself as the reason Barry got her backpack, leaving her alone at the table with nothing but the juice. It's a stubborn pout that she graces him with, before she huffs, turns away, and takes a drink of juice. Her eyes move away from him, head hurting. Stephanie reaches up to rub a temple, taking another sip of juice. Brain recognizing the fast sugar source and demanding more.

Of course he's fast. That's why he's who he is. Barry returns with a couple of sandwiches, chips, and water. "Now. Your phone. Did you leave it back in the library?" Because she obviously had it with her. And searching for the phone keeps her off the subject of what happened to him as he gives her a little smile, reaching back to rub at the back of his neck.

OH! Food. How I love thee Let me count your calories. Stephanie accepts the offering though her eyes track back to her backpack.

"No. I put it in my bag before I walked up. They're both in there," she adds, ripping open a bag of chips to crunch on one. Oh God. Sour cream, onion amazingness!

"Do you want me to go looking for it?" Barry asks, because he's not going through her backpack without her permission as he gets an idea. Taking out his phone, he presses redial for her number and waits for it to ring on the Stephphone.

"If you want. I couldn't find it. I thought I dropped it in there before I left, but… idefk where it is right now!" Stephanie… cursed… in Twitter-speak. With her mouth full. As she picks up a sandwich to take a bite. Ugh. Not as yummy as an Alfred sandwich. In the pack, there's a soft vibration and should Barry open it, a light glow from the bedazzled Hello Kitty phone.

No sandwich is ever going to be as yummy as Alfred sandwich. Opening the pack after he dials the number, Barry sees the glow and sifts through, fishing out the Hello Kitty bedazzlement and sets it on the table for her. "Tada." He's not going after her other phone. He knows better than to do that. "So. Area 81. Formerly the resort area of Metropolis. Until Apokolips' attack."

"Why were you there?" Stephanie asks as she looks at that phone, then holds her hand out for her backpack, not realizing that her tone's edging back toward Spoilery.

"Got a call from a burner phone when I was at work. A lab tech at Cadmus claimed she had heard of my research on the Mists and was offering to give me their information, because they have been gathering information longer than I had. She offered to meet me at one of the ruined resorts to give me the information." Barry explains as he considers the situation. "Before I left, I called Starfire, because something felt off. When I got there, she was waiting for me. And had a flash drive. When I reached for it, I heard the shot and moved." Just enough to make it believable that he was hit.

"Starfire had brought her crew of her ship with her, and they lept into action. Captured the lab tech and the sniper and took us all into Earth orbit." Yep, he's been under the sea and in space this week.

Stephanie hffs around her food, not realizing how like Batman's grump she sounded.

"What did the drive have on it?" she says, also like Batman in how she follows the information. It's not that she wasn't worried, because she was. But that sitting across from him, she can see that he's fine. It means that it's stupid to worry about his health. She's still worrying, she's just trying not to act on it.

"Haven't opened it yet. Still have it. Figured you'd have a contact that would know more about encryption and all that then I would." Barry says as he takes out the small, non-descript thumb drive and sets it on the table. He meets her eyes for a moment and smiles at her. When he's sure noone's looking, he lifts the bandage just a little. The wound is little more than some pink flesh at the moment.

"Anyway, the lab tech was actually.. some type of agent. She took her own life instead of giving any information. The weird part was that she was wearing a nametag for Agent May at SHIELD." he says as he sighs. "They still have the sniper."

As if reachign for Barry's hand, Stephanie reaches out. She does take his hand, using it to palm the drive up into her sleeve. She smiles too. It's a smile that turns into one of giddy relief when he shows her the 'wound'. Meta-human. Heals fast. That relief makes her so dizzy that it takes a moment before she straightens, smiles at Barry again, and then withdraws her hand to collect her phone and drop it and the drive into her back pack.

"But your contact was from Cadmus?"

"That's what she claimed." Barry isn't sure. The whole thing could have just been a trap. He frowns as he looks up at her. "SHIELD isn't going to let me go out alone on missions anymore when it comes to the Mist." he says with a shrug. "I guess I'll just have to be more careful." he admits as he puts the bandage back in place. "Let me know what your friend finds on it?"

Stephanie presses her lips into a thin line, drinking down some water and meeting his gaze.

"You're lucky I'm goign to let you go out alone on missions," she quips. Because a tracker on him isn't a half bad idea anymore.

"Yes. On both accounts. Being more careful and what my friend finds out," Stephanie replies, knowing exactly who she's going to talk to.

"You know, I can take care of myself." Barry says with a small smirk as he catches her hand and squeezes it as he draws in a breath, tracing the top of her hand and nods as he starts to work on his sandwich. "So.. if you're not busy tonight.. I could still use a little of TLC?" he asks her with a playful lift of his brow and a small blush on his cheeks.

"Don't push your luck, Allen," Stephanie quips, though she's blushing and grinning and biting her lower lip. Hmm… food in tummy… missed nap time. Stephanie sighs into her smile before she yawns and shakes her head to force herself back to more awake. "I'm not busy now. But I might be busy tonight, so… now or later." Because it will never be never.

"My place is closer, and you can get in a nap." Barry says, a little frown. He doesn't want her to be too worn down for her nighttime activities. And like her, it will never be never. "Apparently I'm not the only one that needs a little attention. Sorry for scaring you, hon."

"A nap sounds wonderful," Stephanie says with a nod, moving to take a final bite of her sandwich. She ate it fast… for her. "And. It's fine. I…" She slumps now, the fatigue much more visible now that her body is moving into shut-down-and-digest mode. "I just didn't get the text right away. And when I saw it I was just gettin gin so my head was…" she motions to the backpack as if that would explain things, maybe it does "…and I just… I should have called. Does she know? Your coworker? Croft? Does she know about…?" Stephanie waving her hand a little bit.

"No, noone in SHIELD knows. That's our secret. Becuase like you said.. we have to figure it out." Barry says with a little sigh and shakes his head. "I was a little headachy and wasn't thinking when I was hurt. Just wanted you near." he realizes how needy he sounds and his lip is bitten down on worriedly.

No one in SHIELD knows, so no one in SHIELD can connect the two just yet. That's …good news. Stephanie puts her once waving hand over one of Barry's.

"Next time, text the other number? I'll still be worried but… I could have replied. And… gotten here sooner." Instead of freaking out and hacking his phone and …yeah.

"I'll keep that in mind. Just didn't want to interrupt your work." Barry says before he moves to stand up and tugs her hand. "Come on, we can get back to may apartment and you can get some rest before you have to go in." he suggests with a warm smile.

On her feet, back pack in hand, Stephanie smiles and turns her arms about the young man, pressing her cheek to his chest.

"Your well being is never an interruption. And besides… what if I had been near by? Next time, just send me a message."

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