4951/Demon Claws Are Not Nice Things

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Demon Claws Are Not Nice Things
Date of Scene: 31 January 2021
Location: Batcave
Synopsis: Bruce has a social event to be seen at, but first he helps Alfred and Leslie Thompkins check out some demonic clawings on Stephanie that are starting to fester, courtesy of Felix Faust.
Cast of Characters: Stephanie Brown, Bruce Wayne

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Saturday evening would be a good time to be out patrolling. Or if not, for a college coed freshman like Stephanie, a time to be out trying to make friends and mingling with her fellow students. Or even just doing her homework, knowing she'll be short on time thanks to the aforementioned patrolling.

Instead, Stephanie's motorcycle pulls into the Batcave. It's the bike that Barbara gave her for her graduation present, while the Batcycle she uses is there in a vehicle bay in the Batcave. Stephanie parks the bike and climbs off of it, removing her matching purple and black helmet. She's wearing a pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a Gotham U sweatshirt, with a heavier jacket over top. Because motorcycles in winter are cold!

She unzips her jacket and removes it, moving a little gingerly in the way that an experienced eye would thing is a rib or other injury in that area of the torso, given her wince as she turned. She leaves the jacket over her bike and walks towards the medical bay where a pair of people are waiting for her.

Alfred, and Doctor Leslie Thompkins. Alfred normally is able to handle of the most bruises, stitches and minor sprains and breaks. The pair are having tea together but look up expectantly as Stephanie approaches them. "Thanks for making it out here, Doc Thompkins," the blond coed says as she walks over to them.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
All things considered Bruce would very much like to be getting ready to head out on patrol for the evening. It is a little earlier then he normally would of course. Much of Gotham is still mostly civilized at this hour, people having all manner of reasons for being out and about. Of course it's not like the city ever just flips a switch and then is suddenly dangerous.

So yes, despite the relatively early hour Bruce is not yet girded for his nightly crusade. Instead he has donned the uniform in which he wages his other war -- his tuxedo. Of the two he would much rather be in the kevlar/nomex mix of the Batsuit but unfortunately it is just not considered suitable for some occasions.

He will be out there, attending some event or another soon enough, keeping the general populace -- at least those interested -- that Bruce Wayne is nothing more then an a slightly eccentric billionaire. But a generous one. For now at least he can put it off for a little while longer.

So instead he lingers in quiuet discussion with Alfred and Leslie. No vapid or even pleasant smile down here, out of the line of sight of anyone who is not clued in on the big secret. He really doesn't look that different then if he had donned his preferred evening attire really, serious and intent in his discussion with his pair of substitute parents, glancing up only when Stephanie walks in, dipping his head slightly in her direction and giving her a once over. The wince is not missed of course. But then it is pretty rare when he overlooks anything, no matter how small. "Stephanie," he offers up in quiet greeting.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie nods back to Bruce. "Hey Bruce. You're looking really dapper today. What's the event?" she asks him in a casual enough tone. Alfred recognizes it as forestalling though, and makes a gesture with his finger for Stephanie to get things underway. "You said those claw marks were festering," he tells her in his proper accent. "Let us have a look at them," he says, setting down his tea.

Leslie Thompkins does the same with her tea cup and she rises from where she was seated, moving over to the exam table. Stephanie moves over there too, wincing as she removes the sweatshirt. "It was ok at first. And I followed the instructions on the ointment," she says. When she gets a raised eyebrow an Alfred, the blond girl says, "I really did, no fooling. It was ok at first. But after I got back from Russia... well, here," she says.

Beneath the sweatshirt is a t-shirt. That is peeled off as well, leaving her in the sports bra she normally wears beneath her costume. And along her side are four ugly red gashes. Starting to turn a little purple in one or two places, and in one spot the purple seeming to start to follow the path of a vein an inch or to.

Leslie pushes her glasses up on her nose. "Oh my," she says with concern. "What did this again?"

Stephanie replies. "Demons of some sort. Summoned by Felix Faust. Little short ones." She looks to Bruce. "Ah, do we know demon species?"

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Look, it's hard to look bad in a tux. It's one of the reasons why fashion trends have not significantly changed in that respect for a good, long time. And certainly Bruce gets plenty of opportunities to don his. More then he would like really. But sometimes just cutting a check does not meet the bare minimum, not in his eyes. And he's never really been a 'bare minimum' sort. Besides, these events do serve multiple purposes afterall. And he is very big on multitasking.

"Charity event. Gotham Youth Hostels," he offers up quietly. Which certainly helps to explain why he would agree to attend. As important as the Dark Knight is to Gotham, in some respects the Wayne Foundation is even more so. He's not blind to that. He knows very well just how much good he accomplishes through the Foundation. If he was entirely honest, it is probably more then he does as Batman.

But when the Joker shows up you definitely want the Dark Knight there, not a giant, oversized novelty cheque. So there's that.

His eyes narrow as he takes in those wounds that look distinctly on the sickly side. Not the sort of thing you want to see in any circumstances. But when those claw marks are made by a demon it's a little more troubling. It strays into the realm of magic, and magic is unpredictable. Especially in how it will react to more earthly, more scientific solutions. Like good, practical medicine. It could just be an infection of course -- it is always a risk, given the number of wounds they tend to collect. It could be.

"There is a file on the Bat Computer. A partial file," he says, the line of his mouth twisting just a little. This is Bruce. He likes being the authoritive sounce of information on just about everything. But there is no denying he is not when it comes to types of demons or anything in the supernatural world. He knows more then most perhaps, but he is far from what he would consider an expert. "Sounds like it could have been an imp. They're smaller. Tend to hurl fire, but have nasty claws like most of the rest of them. If we can't find an image or likely description in the file we can always call on an expert just to be sure. Zatanna perhaps," he suggests before one corner of his mouth gives a twitch, words following with just a hint of reluctance. "Or even Constantine."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie sits on the table while Doctor Thompkins takes a closer look. "It... could be an infection," she agrees quietly, though there's some doubt in her voice. "Though usually it would be a bit redder all around by now before we'd start seeing this kind of discoloration," she says, motioning to where the bit of deeper purple looks to be following the vein.

The younger woman looks down at it, Stephanie leaning her head out to the side as best she can to see it. "Well, I mean at least it's matching my color scheme, right?" she says in a light-hearted tone. Though the way the blue eyes are searching the faces of Bruce, Alfred and Doc Thompkins, there's a little underlying concern being hidden behind the jokes. "So what's the diagnosis? And remember, bikini season is around the corner. Don't want to mess that up," she kids.

Leslie turns to look at Bruce, letting him read more from her expression than her words. She's concerned. "I'll give her some additional antibiotics, and flood the area around it with injections of Rocephin. If you have someone more familiar with this sort of wound, it would be good to consult with them, Bruce," she tells him.

Stephanie lets out a soft sigh. "Imp, that sounds about right. A couple of them, all throwing fire. I'll check the file," she says, glancing at Alfred. "When I'm allowed."

Alfred looks over the wound. "A good way to treat such a wound, Miss Stephanie, is never to take it in the first place."

The comment gets an exhalation from Stephanie that blows some stray blond hairs away from her eyes. "Ok, now I know where Jason gets that comment," she tells Alfred. "I didn't have a lot of options for maneuverability. Had to stay between the trio of demons and the teacher and schoolkids or else they'd have a straight shot at them." Alfred nods back to her, resting a hand on her shoulder in a comforting way, which seems to garner a positive reaction from Stephanie.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
For his part Bruce tends to be an excellent font of information. It would amaze most who are not in the know just how extensive his fields of interest truly are. And while some like criminology and psychology only make sense, he has become an expert in any number of fields due to necessity as well. Yes, in most circumstances it is pretty much a given that he has all the information.

Just don't necessarily expect him to share it unless he deems it appropriate.

Trying to read his expression is probably an exercise in futility at any time and even without the cape and cowl he is pretty much a cipher. Or perhaps a rock. A cipher could be solved in theory. Who knows what a rock is thinking? He simply looks over the wound, apparently disapassionate as he meets Leslie's searching gaze levelly. "I can certainly refer it. One of them can likely get back to us with any risks and as needed we can draw them in to consult," he agrees, his tone neutral. He probably trusts Zatanna -- as much as he does anyone. Constantine... there's probably a grudging respect there. Very grudging.

"Lets see how she reacts to the antibiotics. Magic is unreliable at the best of times. It would probably be best that we don't accidently turn her into a literal bat-girl," he says. Is that a joke? Or maybe he's being entirely genuine about the risk. It could be there's a reason he doesn't much like magic. Well, maybe reasons.

"Always best to avoid it. But it's not always an option," he agrees quietly. Alfred might beg to differ -- though he has more then his fair share of scars too. But sometimes there isn't the luxury to dodge, not if you know that there is someone stuck behind you that will be left to take the blow in your stead. Then all you can do is bite the bullet. Sometimes literally.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown sits up a little straighter at the mention of being turned into a literal bat-girl. "Can we do that?" she asks in a voice with slightly too much excitement. It's hard to say whether she responds to the look from Alfred, or Leslie. Or Bruce if he gives her one, but whoever, Stephanie slouches back down a bit more and says. "I mean, right, that should be avoided."

The young woman clears her throat. "I got faith in you, Doc," Stephanie tells Doctor Thompkins as the woman is going over to the cabinets. She comes back with a vial of antibiotic suitable for injecting. And a BIG needle. "Ok, maybe faith is too strong a word. Does the magic require needles that big?" Stephanie says, her inner monologue making its way into the world as it is prone to doing sometimes.

Doctor Thompskins draws some of the medicine. "It will only hurt... a moderately great amount," she assures Stephanie. Though there's a glint in her eyes that speaks of a joke.

Stephanie winces and leans back on her arms to steady herself for the upcoming shots. "You do look great, Bruce. Taking a date to it?" she asks him.

It wasn't all that long ago that Stephanie was banned from the Batcave as Bruce tried to get her to stop being a crimefighter. But she stubbornly continued on alone, until Barbara had taken her under her wing and brought her back in from the cold. On that occasion, Bruce had been stern when Stephanie had had to ask him if that meant she was allowed back with the rest. Chided her for not trusting Barbara's judgment that it meant she was. It took time, Stephanie walked on eggshells for quite awhile. And it was clear she felt like an outsider for months still.

But now? Now she's asking Bruce about his dating life.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Hey, he can always refer her to Kirk Langstrom about some of the trials and tribulations of being an actual anthropomorphic bat vigilante instead of a figurative one. No doubt flying would be nice and convenient but the rest of it might put a real crimp in her life style. But certainly Bruce doesn't seem unduly concerned about her injecting a little levity into the moment. He might tack in that direction himself but he certainly gets it enough from the rest of them. So she only needs to avoid that 'look' from Alfred. Though as he is British it might be all the more withering as a result.

"No matter how intimidating it might look just remind yourself that it is better then having to do it yourself," Bruce murmurs quietly. No one is a big fan of needles, but having a trained professional administer it is a whole lot better then trying to manage it yourself. He's done it often enough out in the field. It can be... tricky, depending on where it needs to go.

It's possible that his lips twitch slightly when Leslie gets her revenge with her own light hearted jibes at Stephanie's expense. The seniors in the Bat Family are more then capable of holding their own, something it would do them all well to remember.

If anyone can respect a little prying into one's privacy it would be Bruce right? He literally keeps files on everyone. There is almost no doubt that there is a file on Stephanie on the Bat Computer. If she asks Barbara nicely she can probably get past the security and bring it up for her to review. Though there might be a paper one that even Barbara would be hardpressed to get to. He knows his vulnerabilities. Either way, the question doesn't seem to bother Bruce. Then again, his 'personal' life is pretty much lived out in public anyway. And so little of it is genuine. "Yes," he says simply. But then he almost does. It's easier to give the press something to talk about then have them start to pry. "The DJ. Vesper Fairchild," he adds absently. "I trust you are taking the night off however," he says, more a statement then a question, especially given that it is accompanied by Leslie's firm nod.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie doesn't actually make a noise, but her eyes go a bit wide and her hands tighten on the exam bed slightly. "Good lord, Doc, where did you get your degree from, Transylvania?" she asks Leslie.

"Nanda Parbat," Leslie fires right back at Stephanie, quick enough that it gets a grin of appreciation from the blond. She administers no less than twelves shots around the slashes, and after the first one Stephanie takes them like a trooper with little emotion. "I'll give you some oral antibiotics as well. Four times... no lets go five, a day. And spread them out evenly if that means setting an alarm to get up and take them. We'll do another round of shots tomorrow," she tells Stephanie as she goes over to get the pills.

Stephanie begins applying more ointment from one of Alfred's jars, while he goes to get a fresh bandage to cover them with. "Thanks," she tells the gentleman's gentleman before looking back to Bruce. "Wow, nice. Pretty. seems kind of interesting too, more than most DJs."

At the comment about her plans for the night, it's immediately obvious from Stephanie's expression she was, in fact, not planning to take the night off. "I suppose I could... study," she says with a sigh. Doc Leslie turns back and says, "No alcohol while on the antibiotics either." Which gets a mild enough reaction from Stephanie that someone like Bruce could gather the college freshman is very rarely drinking then. "Maybe get Cass to come by. You know, she's starting to talk a little bit," Stephanie comments to Bruce.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
It's a lot of shots. But then this isn't the sort of thing you mess around with, not the least of which is because they really don't have any idea where demonic claws might have been. They definitely do not want to take any chances there. Of course, given his druthers, Bruce doesn't really leave very much to chance at all so that certainly stands to reason.

Even still, that's a LOT of shots. It is possible that it is not just a health precaution. It is possible that Leslie is subtley reinforcing Alfred's point that it is much better not to let the little firey demons scratch you up in the first place. She might not be entirely above that sort of behavior if she decides it is what is best for her patient.

"Mmmmmm," he offers up to her commentary on his 'date' for the evening. Lots to be analysed there. He's practically an open book. "She is certainly a better conversationalist then some of the women I've been matched up with," he agrees, shooting Alfred a brief look. Not that it is the elderly gentleman's fault. If Bruce wants better matches for some of these functions he attends, he probably would be better off taking a greater interest instead of letting his butler arrange half his dates.

Though in some ways it is probably easier if these isn't a whole lot there to attract his attention. Vesper is up to a half-dozen outtings. She is interesting. She is also intelligent. Which probably means that the clock has already begun ticking to the point where Bruce will become unavailable to return her calls and the tabloids will have new fodder to print.

"Studying is never a bad idea," he agrees quietly. It's not an order per se. But it is a good use of forced downtime as far as he's concerned. "Even light training. But no patrolling," he adds, his tone making that come much closer to sounding like an order. He does tilt his head slightly when she mentions Cassandra. "Good. Combat skills are certainly not a problem with her. But what we do is much more then that."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie gives a little nod, suppressing any groans, sighs, or disappointed look as the verdict is given on patrolling. Maybe it's not fair to say that Stephanie lives for it...

Ok, yes. It IS fair to say she lives for it.

She takes it well though. Which probably suggests that it's more painful than she's let on. "Yes, she's becoming more social. I think the kitten helps too," Stephanie comments on Cassandra.

Alfred begins applying the bandage, Stephanie trying to take it and do it and getting a look which does receive her soft sigh as Stephanie pulls her hands back to let him do it. "Well, if you ever need a hot date for one of those. Dashing young blond to really get the tabloids talking? Because, drawing media attention to like the only member of the team who doesn't already get it is such a great idea. Then yeah, I'm your girl!" she says, giving Bruce a white, toothy smile that even manages to glint. She is a pretty girl, even if she never has really accepted that fact herself. The lack of positive parental input, and the outcome of her poorly developed group social skills, having always dominated Stephanie's opinion of herself.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
He can sympathize. He really can. He spends a disproportionate amount of his time patrolling the street and rooftops -- and occasionally sewers -- of Gotham City. He has also become extremely gifted at ignoring the same advice/order that he just gave her when it comes from Alfred or Leslie or anyone else for that matter. Of course it is complete hypocrisy to expect her to do as he say not do as he does. But that doesn't mean that he will take a different approach. Bruce has never been real big on the idea of 'fairness'. That might be why sooner or later he always ends up in disputes with his Robin's, no matter who takes up the mantle. It is inevitable that he is going to sideline them at some point when they don't feel like they should be.

Kittens, huh? Bruce only arches a brow at her suggestion, but he certainly doesn't dispute it. Positive reinforcement isn't really his strongest suit. "If it's working, all the better." Given his own fighting prowess, it's easy to forget that where he truly excels is as a detective. If Cassandra is going to develop her skills there she needs to be able to gather information effectively. That means speaking, it means blending in. It sounds like she's finally making progress there.

Oh, wouldn't the tabloids have something of a field day with that one? Gotham City's First Son, raiding the local university for his latest dates. It might be that toothy grin, but Bruce even offers a faint smile in return. "I will keep that in mind, though as a general rule I try not to throw people I like to the wolves," he notes drily. "If you think missing patrol is hard to do because you're recovering from an injury, try it because you need to make small talk with Gotham's richest and most dull," he adds. He just spends a lot of time telling himself that it's for a good cause. "You might also wreck the intelligence curve," he adds. A disproportionate number of the women who and up attending these functions tend to be far better noted for their bust size then their intelligence.

Again, he doesn't really have anyone to blame but himself.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The comment about Stephanie throwing off the IQ curve of Bruce's dates draws him a huge, bright smile from the college code. "I would hug you for that if not for-" and Alfred's look is already being given at the notion of doing so while he's bandaging her side, and Stephanie gestures to the expression, "That," she finishes.

Which gets another look from Alfred, but Stephanie leans up to press a kiss to Alfred's cheek. Yes, that's right, run and hide disapproving look, as Alfred tries to keep from breaking out in a grin as he shakes his head. "Miss Stephanie, you will be either the death of us all. Or our salvation." Which earns him one of those big bright smiles as well.

Leslie Thompkins sets the bottle of pills on the exam bed by Stephanie. "Alright, I'm going to get back to my clinic. Stephanie, I want to see you... if you'll send me photos of it every 12 hours, then I'll see you in two days. Otherwise, every twelve hours, your choice."

Double finger-guns are given Leslie's way. "Asking a teenager to text photos of herself? Like I'm going to say no to that," Stephanie kids.

Leslie turns back to Bruce and moves over to him. "You do look nice tonight," she says, reaching up to straighten his tie which doesn't need it. He gets a soft clap on the shoulder before she moves to head for her car.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
There are always exceptions of course. Vicki. Silver. Now Vesper. Women who rise above the typical arm candy expected for men who cultivate the kind of reputation that he has worked on. But that brings it's own string of problems and complications. Which is why at some point that countdown inevitably begins -- until they walk out of his life or he walks out of theirs before they can get close enough to find out the truth. For someone who is an expert in soooooo many fields his personal life can certainly take a variety of interesting turns.

"Another reason to use the next couple of days to study," he points out drily. "And yes, try not to disturb Alfred. I'm sure I'd take the blame for it," he says, a fond note buried in his words for the elderly gentleman that manages his home -- and so much of his life.

Glancing down at the watch encircling his wrist he gives a quiet sigh and turns away towards the long, stone staircase that climbs back up to the Manor proper, pausing only to be fussed over by Leslie. "Thank you," he says simply, laying a hand on the good doctor's shoulder. "Thank you for coming. If it doesn't show any signs of improving let me know and I'll reach out to some of the people I know in the magic community," he says lowly, shooting one last look over his shoulder towards the blonde Batgirl. "And do what you can to make sure she does actually rest," he adds.

She might. Who knows. He's not holding his breath. In the end none of them in this family are very good at staying off the streets. Either way, he turns away and starts off for his evening out.