#MelindaMayIsBatman

February 27, 2017:

A friendly gathering turns into a wall climbing race.

Shield HQ

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NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

11:38AM - SHIELD HQ.

The phone on Barry's desk rings from the front desk. He has a visitor in the lobby.

It's Stephanie. She's sitting as far from the front desk and elevators where all the agents are moving through as she can manage. Her body is turned a bit away from everyone, eyes out the window. Or so it seems. She's caught somewhere between starting outside and watching the reflections of the movement behind her. And she's chewing the end of a lock of hair. Her backpack, a bright pink thing with bright rhinestones and two My Little Pony keyring stuffies dangling from a zipper pull (Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash), sit sin her lap. Her left arm is curled around it, almost protectively… or almost like she's hugging it. It's hard to tell. Her left foot bobs in a frantic little bouncing rhym.


When the phone buzzes, Barry's deep in some research on the Mists, and at a point where he can't quite leave his desk. Glancing up as he looks around for some way to figure it out, he notices Lara walking by and waves at her. "Lara! Need a favor. Uh.. my girlfriend's down in the lobby. She's signing an NDO for me and wanted to visit. Mind showing her up?" he asks with a smile behind his gold rim glasses. With his sweater vest and bow ties, one can only imagine what type of girlfriend he'd have. "I'd appreciate it!"

Lara had just returned from a trip to South America to help her friend June find answers on the situation plaguing her. It had been an eventful expedition and she'd returned to Manhattan with a new set of bruises and injuries. A bandage was over her right eyebrow and her left hand was wrapped with white medical gause.

She stopped and looked over to Barry. "Show her up?" She asked. "As if I'm better at signing those than she is?" Yes, the British woman was capable of joking, sometimes anyway. She offered a smirk and a nod toward Barry. "Sure, I will."

So, dressed in a SHIELD uniform of dark blue and logos on the shoulders, she would turn and make her way to the lobby where Stephanie was. She remembered the woman from the Library so it wasn't terribly hard to spot her. Lara approached her, offered her non-injured hand to shake. "Stephanie, right?" Lara asked. "Barry's waiting for you upstairs." She'd smile even, but her lip was cut and bruised like she was in a terribly abusive relationship or had just won/lost a prize fight.

"Its good to see you again, as well." She'd add further.


The not Barry voice started her from her introspection and casued her to jump with a tiny squeak. Blue-green eyes turn up to Lara as her right hand flicks the hair away from her lips.

"Umm.. Yes. Hi. Uh… Thanks. It's… good to see you too. Umm. You okay?" the blonde cheerleader is asking as she stands, backpack clutched to her chest. She has to get it checked for security reasons. There's no bombs in there. Just two phones, notebooks, pens, pencils, a calculator, a small bag of makeup, protein bars…. She's so very nervous about it.
It's a short trip up the stairs to lead Stephanie back to Barry's lab. She told him to stay off his feet, and he is, his legs well-bandaged as he waits for the pair to arrive. When they do, he can easily pick up on her nervousness and offers his hands to Stephanie with a smile before he finally catalogues Lara's injuries. "What.. happened?" he asks in confusion, furrowing his brows, that small pile of what happened to Lara Croft settling on his shoulders firmly.


Lara nodded her head to Stephanie and tried to smile again, but she really preferred not to at the moment. "Oh yes, I'm fine. Really." She'd reply. It'd been the twentith time (or so) that she had answered a similar question tonight. She didn't really go any further into detail for Stephanie. "He seemed eager to see you." She said, in regards to Barry while leading the woman to Mister Speedo's office.

Once arrived, Lara knocked on the doorframe with the bruised knuckles of her injured hand. "I present to you, your wayward girlfriend, Mister Allen." She'd say to Barry then, apparently in good spirits. When he inquired about her status she nodded her head a single time. "Things got a little messy on my trip… I'll be fine though." She gave a lopsided smile now, the side of her lips that weren't busted up.


Seeing Barry sitting down eases some of Stephanie's tension. Nt all of it, just a tiny tiny bit. Seeing his hands being offered, Stephanie is quick to move over, backpack slung over her shoulders, fingers curling around his palms and near his wrists. A squeeze and Stephanie looks to Lara as she explains what happened.

Her mission. Looks like a patrol gone so SO wrong. She worries on the inside of her lip a moment, staying quiet.


"Where was the trip, Western Afghanistan?" Barry asks with a lift of his brow as he draws in his breath and squeezes Stephanie's hands. "You know you could call me Barry, Agent Croft." he says with a little shrug of his shoulders as he smiles up at Stephanie. "Shouldn't you be in class?" he asks, a frown touching his lips as he glances towards the clock.


Stephanie tries to smile, but the nerves block it from warming her eyes fully.

"The professor cancelled class. I knew I had to be back here and.. I wanted to see you…" Stephanie says, her voice growing so young at the last, a light blush touching her cheeks. "But if you're busy!" she's so quick to add.


Lara drew in a breaht then and released it slowly. She watched the two of them, eyes going from one to the other before she looked back to Barry and she exhaled sharply in a light little laugh. A headshake later and she replied. "No… nothing like that." She said. "Not entirely anyway. There were… people, at a site that I was sent too. Three days ago." She was being purposefully vague. "They weren't very nice people. But they learned their lessons in the end."

The woman crossed her arms over her stomach then and she nodded to the science guy. "Barry it is then. I don't like to over-step myself when it comes to names." She looked then to Steph and nodded at the woman. "Don't let me interrupt you two though, I was just going to go do some rock climbing in the training room." With an injured hand? She's probably a nightmare patient to whomever is her doctor.


Releasing Stephanie's hands, Barry laughs. "It's lunch. I don't mind having more visitors." he says with a smile as he reaches over to save his work and lock his computer. "But you know, Stephanie's an avid climber. I can't really go walking around, but if you two want to see who can challenge the other up the wall? You should see the training facility, Stephanie. I doubt Agent May will mind."


Hand releases, Stephanie smiles again at Barry's laugh, stepping away and not looking at his computer screen. Lara's mention of going climgin has Steph nodding even as her eyes track to the bandaged hand. She really should rest to heal it and yet as a batling, Steph is well aware of needing to train and push while still slightly injured.

Her eyes cut back to Barry at the thought, and her lips press together for a heartbeat before his words get to her brian and she sputters faintly.

"Wha? Me? Umm.. n-no..? I mean… occassionally? I… challenge.. training.. Are you SURE?! I mean, I havent met with her and… are you sure sure? I don't want you in trouble because of me and I've already made a mess of things from this morning and…" There goes Steph's mouth a rambling with her internal guilt. Is Barry fast enough to catch it?


Lara leaned back against the doorframe of the room and she listened to the both of them with arms folded. "May seems to be a fan of almost everything." She teased dryly again. "So I would be certain that she'd be alright with it… I'm joking, of course."

She would look to Steph then. "I'm glad to meet another fan of climbing then. Its a wonderful way to stay in good shape and challenge your mind while doing so, rather than simply… jogging in place on a treadmil." She lifted her wounded hand up then and flexed the fingers that ere poking out of the wrap. "Though this might slow me down some. I'm not sure I'm at the top of my game at the present."


"And what's wrong with jogging?" Barry asks with a smirk. He jogs! At 600 miles per hour. As Stephanie sputters and goes on. He catches something, and before she can respond, he moves to give her a hug and kisses her cheek. "We'll talk later." he promises her quietly as he starts to gingerly walk. "But today, I'm just going to be watching the two of you climb." Nevermind that he could run up the wall.


Stephanie starts to try to relax when Lara says that ay would be okay with it, only to tense as she continues with having only been joking. Her mouth opens to start to decline, find a way to just slide out and go back outside and… and… drive back to Gotham because she really should go into the DA's office. It's exhausting being there too, but she signed that she would work there and… then Barry's arms are about her and he's pressing a kiss to her cheek. Stephanie leans into him slightly, frame giving a tiny shudder.

"Ok," she says, moving to walk with him. "When did you eat last? Have you had lunch? Can you get something? I have a power bar in my bag…" Back to ramble Steph.


"Jogging is fine." Lara told Barry with a little smirk. "Jogging in-place is odd." Lara then stepped out of the lab after them and she followed along with them as they moved and talked.

When they arrived in the large training area, she'd move toward the racks that had the climbing gear and she'd start to sort out her harness and ropes. She did a lot of free climbing, but with an injured hand she didn't want to risk a fall here today and needlessly make herself any worse-for-wear.

"When did you start to climb, Stephanie?" Lara asked the other woman then, looking back toward her while she put the harness on over her SHIELD bodysuit.


Moving to drop into a seat, Barry takes out his smartphone and starts to make notes. Apparently, he had still planned to work while the two of them train. "Nothing wrong with cardio in place in the dead of winter when it's freezing out." he points out with a chuckle. "But I understand your point. When I jog, I usually pick the park, or if indoors, the track."


Seeing Barry into a seat, Stephanie takes off her back pack and offers it to him.

"Snacks are inside and… my phone too," she says, so very serious about the last one. a little nervous still, Stephanie goes to get on the harness over her tshirt and jeans.

"Umm… I dunno. Five years ago?" Stephanie replies, the answer likely clueing Barry in on just how YOUNG Stephanie was when she started with her night time activities. She seems famliar enough with the gear to get hooked in properly.


In the SHIUELD training room, Barry is seated like a lounge lizard, Lara and Stephanie are equipping wall climbing gear. Lara recently returned from the Yucatan and is beaten up pretty solid, but has already been through medical. She has a bandaged left hand and whomever is her doctor would probably not like seeing her strapping on climbing gear.

With the gear equipped over her person, Lara nodded at Stephanie's response to her, having no idea that this woman was a member of the Batfamily… but then again, Lara Croft might be one of the few people who didn't even know who Batman was. "You're probably better at this than I am then." She said to Steph with another restrained smile.

Lara's eyes went to Barry then and she smirked at him. "Who said you can just sit there and do nothing?" She asked him, teasing. "I think you should climb, and Stephanie and I should judge you from the comfort of a chair."

"The bandages on my legs mean I get to sit down. At least until Agent May finds me to make sure they work." Barry says as he pokes at his phone, adjusting his glasses on his nose as he does so and then smirks faintly.

"Plus climbing? Totally not my thing. Not since I saw that one movie with James Franco where he had to cut off his own arm and that sucked."


"I'm voting with Barry on the no-climbing, no-running, no-doing-much-of-anything for a while," Stephanie says. Because her vote matters. She's the girlfriend here. Her vote counts double. One for each life she's leading, right? Right!

"Ugh, thanks for the visual," Stephanie grouses lightly, smile retruning to something more typical, more warm, as she moves to the wall and peers up at it, find her path.

"And no video, please," she quips.


Lara placed a helmet over her head then and put the chinstrap in-place. "I've actually seen that movie." She doesn't get to see many movies. "They showed it on a flight I was on. It was based on a true story, I believe… Horrible thing, that." She gently shook her head at the thought of it, but those were not good thoughts for a woman in her line of work to hold on to.

"Point taken, though, Barry." She told him. "I'd, for whatever reason, thought your healing was as fast as your run speed. That was misguided of me." Croft exhaled then and turned to the climing wall to approach it and link her harness to the rope there. The wall's hand/foot holds were changed every few days, so the experience of climbing was never the same.


Agent May arrives quietly, as per her usual. She watches the trio considering the climbing wall as she walks up behind Barry.

"Have you been by Medical yet?" She says from almost directly behind him.


If it's one thing worse than a nosy girlfriend, it's a nosy boss. "Yes'm." Barry says as he pokes at his phone. "They said I'm good to return to duty." though as Lara mentions his run speed, he winces. Stephanie wasn't supposed to.. sigh. The speedster ducks his head a little before he adds, "And Stephanie also signed the non-disclosure agreement as promised."


While speaking up from behind Barry, she reaches over to snag Stephanie by the scruff, and then looks at Lara sharply before relenting and nodding toward one of the safety helmets on a rack near the climbing wall. "Good," she tells Barry.

Stephanie's head is totally exploding right now. Figuratively. Not literally. With Lara openly chatting about Flash's abilities in front of her like it's nothing and now may Batmanning up behind her, grabbing her shirt, and wordless directing her at the rest of the safety gear, the blonde straigthens up, grows somber, and moves to collect the helmet…. like a scolded little batling. WHich means she never does turn to look at Barry about Lara knowing about his speediness. She just gets her helmet on and clips to the wall to start to climb. Ohmygodmelindamayisbatmom.


Lara hadn't expected to see Melinda in the training room so after hooking herself to the wall she saw the woman grab Stephanie out of the corner of her peripheral and it made her freeze a bit and turn around to face her esteemed leaderly type.

Lara DID have a helmet on, but her bottom lip was busted like someone hit her square in the mouth a few days ago, her left hand was bandaged up and she had another bandage over her left eyebrow.

"I will be entirely honest with you, May… I'm not supposed to be doing this." Honesty was always great, right? Lara gripped the black rope with both of her hands, leaning on it a bit as it hung down from above.

She had no idea that she'd spilled any beans over knowing Barry's powers. To her that was some kind of SHIELD-wide thing that everyone knew about, especially Barry's girlfriend.


Barry will not openly point and laugh at Stephanie.

Nevermind the little snicker that escapes him when she gets Batmom'd.

However, he knows those cold SHIELD eyes are on him as the speedster finishes his notes and puts his phone away. He's still in his nerd clothes, after all. See the bowtie. "I guess this is where you say you're Missouri and you want me to 'Show Me'?"


"No. This is where you go sit on those mats and time these two to see who is faster reaching the top of this wall." Yes, May just 'volunteered' the two younger women to race to the top of the climbing wall.

Go.


Moving towards the mats, Barry suddenly shifts and in a couple of lamb's tail shakes is sitting at the top of the wall, kicking his legs over the side idly. "Stephanie, if you win, I'll let you pick the next date."


Hand on the first part of the wall, Stephanie double blinks as May voluntells her to race her SHIELD agent who is injured. Blue-green eyes widen as she looks over her shoulder at May as if to see if she was joking.

She wasn't. It was the same sort of 'voluntell' that Batdad…

Cue Barry offering a prize, and Stephanie turns to the wall with a determined little not-quite-scowl.

"Oh, it's on." #LikeDonkeyKong Stephanie quips as she starts up the wall with a batling's efficiency.


Truthfully, Lara had expected to get told she wasn't allowed to climb in the condition she was currently in. But when it went the complete other direction, Lara was rather surprised… She looked from May to Stephanie only to see Stephanie moving toward the wall and starting her climb.

Lara jumped into action and was just a few paces behind Steph as she too started her climb, hands and feet working the holds on the fabricated climbing wall, she was up for a good challenge even if it wasn't her at her top-game!


Remaining at the base of the climbing wall, May watches the two women climb. It's either because Stephanie is younger, she's not injured, or because she's Bat-trained, but she is visibly moving faster and more confidently than Lara. She did briefly consider racing them herself, but opted not to.
Barry glances down from his perch at the top of the wall, looking down at Stephanie and Lara. But not too much, because someone would smack him about cleavage peeking. Not that he had any reason to wear safety gear at the top of the wall he ran up as he continues to kick his feet idly and waves down to May.

Oh, Stephanie's injured. She's just had a week to mostly heal from caltrops to the bottom of the foot and one to the back of an arm. It really is the bat-training, since there are a few times where instead of reaching for the next one, Stephanie leaps up for it, skipping a few pieces on her way up to meet…

"Barry?!" her vioce is surprised, for she clearly hadn't caught his movement UP the wall. She finishes the climb, ending in a low crouch next to him before smacking him very lightly on the back of hte head.

"You are not to be running. Ohmygod. What is wrong with you?" Stephanie chides before she turns and settles down next to him on the top of the wall, shoulder bumping then resting against his own. Not hard to imagine the number of times this girl has sat on the top of a wall like this. She looks down at May.


It was about half way up the wall that Lara's left hand went from mild pain to a hot and burning paining which made her visibly slow down in her ascent. She wasn't a quitter, however, so she kept going up one rung at a time, but it was almost painful just watching her scale like an injured dog trying to get to his food dish.

By the time that Lara reached the top, her competitor was already seated and relaxing and when she hauled herself up onto the same wall's top she was wincing and sighing in disappointment. Her hand however, was bleeding through the bandages on the palm, her stitches across the palm had clearly ripped open again.

"You're a tough match, Miss Stephanie." Lara said with a forced smile upon her busted lip.


"I did run. I climbed. With my feet." Barry says matter-of-factly as he sets his shoulder against Stepahnie's with a grin, before he breaks away as he leans down to offer his hands to help Lara up to the top. "We're going to have to get that fixed." he murmurs softly. "Are you alright?"

And now May is frowning as she calls up after the trio now at the top of the climbing wall, "Croft. What did Medical tell you about that arm?" She turns and appears to be walking away, but she's only going as far as the first aid kit kept in the room, like every room in the Triskelion.


Stephanie rolls her eyes at Barry, gaze turning to Lara only for her eyes to widen.

"Ohmygosh! I am so sorry. This was a horrible idea. Ohmygod, can I help you down? I can rewrap it.. Here, I'll grab your harness and we can drop together and…" As she's speaking in a ramble, Stephanie is moving to drop down the wall enough to be at Lara's side, clinging to the wall much as she had when Joker exploded a truck with a confetti bomb. (Don't ask. it was Joker. Nothing makes sense when it's Joker.) She is favoring the left foot as she perches.


Barry points bluntly at Stephanie as he looks at May and gestures to his foot. If she didn't see it, he's totally tattling on his girlfriend.


Lara had accepted Barry's assistance in rising up the wall and then had noticed the blood through the bandage which made her sigh. "Thank you. Its fine, don't worry about it… High pain tolerance." She said to both he and Stephanie up-top.

The archaeologists eyes went down toward May then and she called down to her "Uh… to 'stay away from straining exercises', I believe… were her exact words." Which essentially indicated that she'd gone entirely against said orders.

When Steph offered to help her down, Lara smiled at her. "Down is significantly easier than coming up. Almost as if gravity is trying to tell us something, no?" Lara turned and started back down though, using her right hand on the rope and her perfectly non-injured feet, her left hand was balled up into a fist as she descended back down to the floor. "It was fun though, the race." She told Steph on the way down. "Usually I'm racing up them to avoid death, never for for 'fun'. I wwould prefer the fun angle to be the more-often scenario though." Sometimes she could ramble a bit too.

END

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