5456/Hanging in the Cave

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Hanging in the Cave
Date of Scene: 06 March 2021
Location: Batcave
Synopsis: Sparring takes place, and Steph has to cook a meal for Dick as the result.
Cast of Characters: Dick Grayson, Stephanie Brown

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson is sitting in the main chair in front of the Bat computer. He's kind of kicked back, feet up on the console, though carefully away from any of the controls. The display is just showing a normal display of Gotham, with indications of police and emergency calls. It looks like he's only halfway paying attention, also letting his attention wander around the cave pretty randomly.

As Batgirl enters the cave, he turns the chair to look over at her and smiles, "Heya Steph. You know, this place still had a draft? You'd think Bruce would figure out a way to fix that."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The water crashing down from the waterfall cuts off, opening up a passage through which a purple and black motorcycle zooms. Not a Batcycle, but the motorcycle that Barbara gave Stephanie at her high school graduation party last summer.

The motorcycle pulls into the vehicle bay and Stephanie climbs off, removing her helmet and leaving it on the bike. She begins walking through the Batcave towards where Dick sits, ruffling fingers through her hair before pulling it back into a ponytail and securing it with a scrunchy. "Draft, want to talk about drafts? I got up to 90 in that straightaway," she says. It's not a very long straightaway. But half of the group keep track of how fast they make the trip.

She walks over and rests a foot on the steps up to where the Batcomputer sits. She puts her hands together, stretching her arms and then cracking her knuckles. "You sure you want to do this?" she says in a teasing voice. "I mean, I know you're starting to get up there in your years and all..."

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson grins at her, "Oh, really? You're almost getting up into the big leagues then. But then, you have to graduate to a real bike first" he gently teases before continuing "As for my age, _young_ lady, it just means I have the benefit of experience. So I'll turn it around. Are you sure you want to do this?"

He reaches up to grab the top of the chair back with both hands, drops his legs from the console and then kicks up, rising into a handstand balanced on the back of the chair before pushing off just hard enough to rotate through one flip to land on his feet behind the chair. "Shall we play?"

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie pulls her phone out of her pocket, leaving it on the computer's console. She flashes a grin at Dick Grayson, blue eyes bright with the anticipation of sparring with him. "Oh yeah, twinkle toes. This is going to be fun," she says as she motions with her head over to one of the training areas with a thick mat, and also a few obstacles like a pole, a wall, a horizontal bar overhead. More of street conditions than just an empty mat.

She wore tights which are good for such a workout, and removes her jacket, leaving it on the chair, and pulling off a t-shirt to leave her in a spandex workout top. Stephanie walks over to the mat then. "So, we should probably this a little more interesting. I think that's the term for it isn't it?" she says, apparently proposing some sort of bet.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson is already in a simple GCPD T-shirt and shorts, so simply walks over to the training area and picks up two lightly padded batons. He flips one end over end, catching and reflipping as he thinks, "Interesting, eh? Ok, I'm game."

He stretches right and then left, adding a twist to loosen muscles. "So, it's your suggestion, what shall we bet then? It's got to be something we wouldn't want to do, but nothing too bad. If you lived here, I'd suggest something with chores instead of letting Alfred do them." He shrugs, "I dunno, nothing springs to mind. Maybe I am getting old." He chuckles a little and looks over to Steph, "So what's your suggestion?"

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie moves over to the wall, pushing against it as she leans forward and stretches out her calves. "Hmm, what would be a good one?" she says as she gives the matter some thought. She switches to the other leg, giving it a long stretch, and then sits down to do some more stretches. The former gymnast is flexible to pretty much lay her torso right down along one leg, and then the other, and pretty much all the way to the ground between them.

"Ok," she says after getting an idea. "The loser has to cook a meal for the winner. Say... four courses?" she tells him. "After that burger was so good, I figure you can probably come up with a pretty good meal," she teases as if sure she's going to be the victor.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson considers for a moment, then nods, "Sounds good." He looks over at her and smirks, "But as a starving college student, do you actually know how to cook anything besides ramen?" he teases. He actually also drops into some more serious stretches, showing that he's pretty much as flexable as she is - no real surprise, considering he's also a gymnast and acrobat.

While he stretches, he continues, "So you've been training with Barbara, but has anyone else been showing you anything? It can be handy to have a variety of styles at your disposal, that way you can always surprise people who think they know how you fight. Especially since we seem to have some of the same problem children pop up over and over."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
A soft laugh is given by the blond. "Not only ramen. Just... mostly ramen," she says. "But I promise, if by some twist of fate you should win, there won't be ramen on the menu."

She leans back and then does a kick to leap to her feet from having been flat on her back. "I've done a little training with others, but primarily Barbara, yes," Stephanie confirms. "And she encourages me to learn anything from anyone. Anywhere I can," the young woman says as she moves over towards Dick then, checking to see if he's ready to go. "So I would appreciate any feedback, tips, or anything else of the sort."

If Dick is ready, Stephanie shifts her weight into a ready stance. That, alone is an improvement over the style that Spoiler used. Which was largely sheer athletic ability and some natural talent and lots of enthusiasm over technically sound fundamentals, seeing as she'd never been taught before.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson rolls backwards, pushing up onto his arms and dropping his feet to the floor. He moves into a stance as well, "You still impress me with what you did as Spoiler without training, but actually having technique helps a ton."

He looks her over for a moment, eyes gone into an analytical mode, seeing her stance and not the young woman herself. After a moment he nods, "Ok, that looks pretty good. Let's give this a try." With a grin, he extends his hand and goes the Matrix 'bring it' fingerwave.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie grins as Dick has the Morpheus moments. "See now if you were Jason you might have opened with, 'We need guns. Lots and lots of guns,'" she tells him. Though her eyes move over him quickly, noting his stance and balance, and then her eyes settle on his torso, the best place to focus to spot someone's movements as they begin.

The blond coed doesn't waste time then, stepping forward on the attack. Though the first few strikes are just feeling Dick out, not expecting any of them to go through. There's a definite deliberateness to how she attacks each area to get a sense of his defenses, of how he blocks each before she begins earnestly trying to land blows.

Dick Grayson has posed:
For the beginning moves of the combat, both batons stay in his right hand, moving to block and deflect her blows since they haven't gotten serious yet. He's already analyzing her movements and attack patterns, recognizing a good deal of Barbara's style in use. He returns the grin and replies, "Yeah, but all the guns tend to make actual sparring a little hard."

On a high block he suddenly releases one of the batons to drop into his left hand and presses an attack of his own, not at full power or speed, but moving to put Steph into thinking of defense as well as her probing attacks. At the moment, he's matching her in just feeling out her style, getting a better idea of the level she's at.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
While both versions of Batgirl may have a little flamboyance to their fighting, a skilled fighter can recognize they are grounded in defense more than offense. When you are smaller and weaker than your opponent, you need to avoid taking damage and pick your spots. That was a central tenet of the style that Barbara has taught Stephanie. And it is quite a big difference from launching into things with little regard for herself that Stephanie had used before.

After those probing attacks, Stephanie drops into a more defensive set. Every attack by Dick is treated like an opportunity to counterattack, but the blond is showing discipline to only seize on the ones affording her the best chances.

Stephanie blocks the baton with her arm and then spins forward into Dick to throw an elbow, aiming it at his chest since they are sparring though in a real fight it would have gone for his head.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson smiles and turns his body to let the elbow graze his chest instead of hitting, then with a chuckle tosses his batons over his shoulders to land on the mat several feet behind him. He suddenly shifts his feet, moving into an honest to God Bruce Lee stance, and slightly speeds up his attacks. Kiais and shouts match the style as he presses the attack on her, testing her defenses against a style he's fairly sure none of the other Bats have ever used against her.

He's still not going for the quick win like he would on the streets, but he's turning things up a notch from the early testing attacks. Time to start playing a little more seriously.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The style isn't one that Stephanie has faced before, but she intuits enough of it to adapt her stance and strikes in a way to more efficiently counter it. She beings a lot of circular motion, staying on the move around Dick to make him keep having to shift in response, and in so doing slow his attacks or cause them to lose some power.

Stephanie parries an attack, blocking it aside and then another. She launches a leg kick at Dick's thigh, but takes a shot to her shoulder in doing so. The nimble, smaller young woman dances back, grinning at the exchange and then moving back in, though sticking with letting Dick attack first and letting her own strikes come out of counterattacks.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick drops into a leg sweep that she doubtless avoids, as it's pretty telegraphed, but when he comes up, he's switched to a different stance, this time into a classic Snake stance with darting hand strikes, body swaying to throw off the opponent's read on his movements. He continues to press the attack, giving Steph plenty of chances for counterattacks, even taking a light hit to his upper arm when she slips past a block.

He nods with a smile, "Barbara's been doing a good job with you. And defensive isn't bad when you're a little smaller than a lot of your opponents, but remember that drawing things out also means they might get in a lucky hit on you while you look for your opening." Again he switches, this time to more of a street fighting form, probing for weaknesses in her defenses.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The pair circle each other, Stephanie landing hits on Dick, pulling the punches an appropriate amount to only sting rather than potentially do damage, but not so much she gets in the habit of holding back. Another lessen learned from the original Batgirl.

"My issue has more been the opposite. Learning to hold back took awhile," Stephanie says, her heartbeat accelerated but the young woman in shape enough she could keep fighting like this for quite awhile. "But yes, that's one of the dangers she's drilled me on," she says.

She avoids the leg sweep, hitting Dick and then in a moment he might have expected her to drop back to a defensive posture, she instead attacks further, getting a leg behind his to try to take him down and climb on top, working to wrap her legs around his arm and get it into a submission hold.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson feels the leg behind him, and rather than stepping to avoid, simply throws himself into a tumble backwards, moving with it instead of falling so that she can't follow up with the hold she's going for. He comes up to his feet several mat sections back from where he was, then moves forward to attack with a snap kick followed up by a quick combo of hand strikes, one or two slipping past the young woman's defenses to strike in generally non-vital areas.

He suddenly smirks, feints left and dodges around her to the right, arm wrapping around her upper chest to pull her against him as he goes to tie her up in a grapple. As her slim form is pressed tightly against his, he seems to pause for a fraction of a second before releasing her almost too quickly and suggesting "So, weapons?"

Someone may have just noticed that Stephanie Brown isn't a little 15 year old anymore.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The mats soften the falls, not that they are likely to even notice as Dick uses the momentum instead of fights, escaping from Stephanie's attempted joint lock. She too rolls to her feet, turning about to face Dick as he launches the kick and strikes that make her give ground, blocking with arms and a leg.

Stephanie goes for the feint, swinging her arm hard to block only to find his punch was pulled back. The momentum is a small thing, but enough advantage for Dick to tie her up in the grapple.

The lithe young woman tries to rotate one direction, but it is just to give herself more room to rotate. Just in that moment that Dick is letting up she grabs his arm, pushing her behind back while bending forward to flip him over her body and slam him down onto the mat.

She gasps. "Ahhh, you stopped fighting," she says, wincing. "Um, sorry about that, expected you would flatten out to stop it," she says, having thrown a little extra into the move to try to overcome resistance that wasn't there. She reaches down a hand to help him. "Sure, weapons," she tells him. Once he's on his feet, she turns and goes over to get her staff, not having worn her utility belt for the spar.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson chuckles and gets up from the mat, "No worries, that was on me. Shouldn't have tried to switch gears while I still had you in a hold." He's covering for what was a flat out moment of complete distraction. He picks his batons back up and moves back into a ready position as Steph collects her staff, taking a deep breath and centering himself again.

Once she has weapon in hand and comes back to the mats, he attacks first, batons weaving through a fairly basic attack pattern as he starts feeling out her skills with her chosen weapon.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The 'staff' is only as big as Stephanie's hand, a tube of golden metal. As Dick advances with the batons swinging, she hits a stud and the device that Tim Drake once made her telescopes open suddenly into a full size bo staff. It clangs against the first baton, blocking it while the staff is still in motion, pivoting so the other end blocks the second attack.

Stephanie whirls in a circle, the staff swinging about her as her hands spin it from the middle. She blocks his batons aside and then goes on the offense, extending the staff to increase her range beyond that of what Dick can reach with his batons. The staff is slower like that, but it gives her extra room to protect herself as she swings the staff towards Dick's side.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Batons blur to block incoming attacks, Dick surrendering the offensive to Stephanie to see what she's got when she's not playing the defense game. Having two weapons is a pretty good foil to a staff, since there's one to block each end as she whirls and spins through attacks. For several minutes, he continues to parry, deflecting blows and circling on the mats, watching her footwork as well while he analyizes her style and reach.

Finally he twirls the batons around in his hands and steps into her space, moving on the offensive with a fast pattern of strikes, high, low, high, right, left, trying to overwhelm her defense with a flurry of staccato strikes ringing off her staff. So far he's matching himself to her, his attacks fast, precise, but defendable against as long as she's paying the correct amount of attention.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie keeps herself moving, trying to keep from letting Dick close in where his batons can get inside the range of her staff and negate her reach advantage. The two are flowing, strike and counterstrike, the baton and staff hitting each other with metallic clangs and sometimes even little sparks that illuminate them.

To a watcher it could almost be thought a dance rather than a fight, the footwork so precise one could think it was rehearsed. Woman moving in response to man moving in response to woman. But the blows of the metal weapons make it something more than recreation. One of the batons lands a blow on Stephanie's hip. She takes the hit to deliver a stinging slap to Dick's thigh, but takes a hit on her other arm in doing so.

If Dick were a Gotham street hood, or even many of the opponents they fight, Stephanie's skill might be enough to carry the day. Though he's had a decade and a half of training to her eight months, and his superior skill shows.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson grins as the dance goes on, those incidental blows on both of them barely mattering. He's interested in testing her skills, not just winning a bet, so his attacks stay at about the same speed and complexity for a few minutes, making her work to block, but also offering small openings here and there to see if Barbara's training has really taken hold.

He's smiling now, "Ok, Barbara's been doing good work with you. I'm impressed how far you've come so quickly." He chuckles, "Ready to move up a step? Let's see what you can do." He shifts slightly, then speeds up his attacks while taking a little more advantage of any opening he finds in her defenses.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The young woman bats aside the attacks from Dick, and then she gets a little unconventional. Mixing a little Spoiler into the training from Barbara. She slaps an attacking baton aside, just a few feet from a wall that is one of the obstacles set out for use while sparring. Stephanie uses her speed to dart at it and run up it a few steps before crouching her legs to push off.

She flips overtop of Dick, as graceful as a diver, blond hair swirling. Blond hair, and a golden bo staff that darts down to try to land blows on Dick from above as she loops overtop of him to land on the other side from where she started.

Dick Grayson has posed:
As Steph goes over, batons move up to cross over his back to defend against any blows coming from above, and he spins to face her, ready to continue the fight as she lands from the maneuver, "Sorry, but I use that move myself sometimes" is offered when the maneuver fails to score on him.

He returns to his determined attacks, still pressing her to the best of her abilities. Any time he does slip through her defenses, he offers a short comment as to what she might have done to block or avoid the hit. "Don't feel bad, you've got a lot of skill and ability, I've just got a pretty big headstart." He takes a stinging hit from one of her counterstrikes and grins, "And you've got a good base with Barbara's technique and your natural abilities."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The two continue to fight, trading more blows. Most of them are blocked but some slip through. For every one that Stephanie manages, Dick lands nearly two. Though she is giving him a go of it, and is skilled enough he would need to be wary of a fortunate blow turning the fight her way if they weren't pulling punches, it's quite obvious that Dick is the better fighter of them.

Stephanie accepts she's lost long before she gives up, her blue eyes bright with the exertion, and giving more laughs or other joyous sounds than groans of pain at being hit.

Finally as she parries a a blow from Dick, she suddenly and unconventionally tosses her bo staff to him. Not at him. To him. It's so out of place in a fight the natural reaction is to try to catch it. Which just that slightest flinch is enough for Stephanie to jump, wrapping her legs about Dick's shoulders and flipping over in the air to knock him down on her back and land on him. He could easily bash her brains in from this position even if she is on top, and it's clear she knows it. She gives a laugh and says, "Ok, I concede. Before you leave me a bunch of bruises to remember this by." She hops up and grabs her staff, which Dick can hold onto so she helps pull him back to his feet as she intends.

Stephanie undoes her ponytail and ruffles her fingers through the golden locks. "No ramen. This is going to be tough," she jokes.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson is smiling back at the girl as they trade blows back and forth, enjoying the workout. He's been solo in Bludhaven for a while now, and so pretty much, if his batons were out it's because he was actually fighting someone. Sparring for fun hasn't happened for a while, and he's kind of missed it.

He actually manages to not catch the staff, mainly because he's holding a baton in each hand. Were his hands empty, he might well have grabbed it. Of course, that would have just been arming him. Still, his hesitation as the staff flies to him does give her the opening she was looking for, and he ends up on the mats with Steph on top of him.

He accepts the assist and stands up, stretching out his shoulders before walking over to drop the batons back with the other practive equipment. He slicks his hair back into place with his fingers and grins, saying, "Yep, four whole courses without ramen. Should be interesting."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie moves over to where a little cooler contains water, gatorade and energy drinks. She pulls out two waters, jostling one to get Dick's attention before tossing it over to him.

She moves back over, grabbing a hand towel on the way to dab away some perspiration before opening up the water to take a long sip. "That was probably a little unfair of me. If I'd won I'd have been treated to some gastronomic paradise. But you winning, you're probably going to be concerned about food poisoning," she tells Dick, blue eyes lit merrily as she takes another drink of her water. "Ok, I'll figure out what I can put together and let you know when," she says.

She hits a stud on the bo staff, it contracting back down to something only a little larger than fits in her hand. Perfectly sized for being attached to her utility belt.

Dick Grayson has posed:
The water is snagged out of the air deftly and opened. He takes a long sip before looking back over to her with a smile and a tilt of the head, replying, "I think I trust you to not poison me Steph. After all, you're still here, so you must be able to feed yourself safely. Just let me know, my schedule is pretty open."

He also collects a towel to dry off after the workout, ending up with it hanging around his neck. "You've gotten some good skills, Steph. I've got one or two things in the works that I just might call you in on now that I know you can hold your own." He takes another sip of water and just looks over at her without saying anything, eyes very slightly puzzled.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
"Hey," Stephanie says, "I'd be happy to help." She takes another sip of her water and smiles to Dick. "It'll be nice having you around. If you'd like to train together, just let me know. Happy to anytime I can make it," the blond girl tells him.

She dabs at herself with her hand towel again, gathering up any new perspiration as the water is helping cool her off. "I should probably go get cleaned up. We can work out when is a good time for me paying off the bet later," she says, smiling over to the original Boy Wonder. "Did you get everything moved in ok?"

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson nods and offers, "Anytime, it's nice to actually get to train now and again instead of it always being life or death. And it gives you a chance to face off against some different styles too. So I'll be seeing you down here fairly often, I think."

He sips his water again, then answers, "Yeah, once all the boxes were up there, unpacking is the easy part. I've got things set up pretty much the way I want them up there. You're welcome to visit whenever you like."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown heads over towards the locker room and changing area portion of the Batcave. She pauses to look back to Dick. "You know I was wondering. I don't know that I've ever seen a swimming pool here. Is there one? Out back somewhere that I haven't been yet?" she asks.

Or more likely an indoor one. Quite possibly even more than one if you just count hot tubs, lap pools, or even fountains. Not that Alfred would probably like anyone swimming in a fountain.

Stephanie takes another sip of her water. Up above a bat drops from where it was hanging, wings extending and flapping around in the air a dozen feet above them. After doing a few circles it flies off, heading for one of the small crevices the bats use to get in and out.

Dick Grayson has posed:
His eyes follow the bat for a moment, then return to Steph, "Oh yeah, there's at least one actual pool up there. Um, main entry hall, take the hallway towards the kitchens, third door on the left if another hallway, second door right is the pool. Heated and everything, and a hot tub in the room also.

He doesn't follow her over, since she might want to actually change out of her workout clothes. Instead, he tosses the towel into a small laundry bin by the edge of the workout area and calls, "I'm going to head up to my room for some clean clothes."