The late hour didn’t bring the comfort of sleep that it should have. Nor did the barely dodged bullet of meeting the scientist’s alter ego or locating the young girl — finding her unscathed and just as unaware as her babysitter for the evening. Even the recovery of Bruce’s gadgets and the knowledge of the quick escape they offered didn’t ease in the way it should. Anxiety lingered like an unwanted second hand smoke as she sat with her back pressed against the wall. Almost intentionally seeking it out for it’s discomfort to ward off even the possibility of sleep. Positioning herself as if she were standing guard of both the empty loft that they had claimed and it’s current occupants. From real world inquiries and the ones that they brought with them. It was okay really. She slept enough as it were. Three weeks at a time — and she’d only just gotten here. Dropping her chin, bionic fingers swept across the soft fur of the smallest one of the dogs. The ones who had been as just as big a part of her rescue mission as the equipment and who in spite of learning their names long ago still referred to them based on their stature. The biggest. The middle sized one. The smallest. The steady beating of the tiny heart and breathing pattern offering a reprieve from thoughts that replayed the scene of the maze. The ride afterwards. The damn near whole day delay it’d taken them to come to of which she’d only now had the time to consider. The crease between her brows forming in the darkened empty space illuminated by a lone camping light. Not enough to draw attention but to prevent them from bumping over each other in the dark. Enough to allow her a clear view of the young girls curls poking out from the pile of sleeping bags and blankets — her would be signature pair of plastic shades abandoned in deep slumber but nearby, making the corners of Misty’s mouth twitch upwards a little. For a split second almost smiling until the resting pup lifted it’s head and crept from the tops of her thighs. The sudden movement and disruption of silence by the pads of his paws against the floor echoing in the empty space prompting the detective to catch her breath. Only briefly mistaking the scene to be some fault of her own — too heavy handed with the petting or some other bionic hand offense, before focusing on his path to the large windows and pushing herself up to follow. Ruined blood splattered party attire swapped for less inconspicuous gear, denim, boots and a t-shirt that exposed the crudely bandaged human arm who’s burn and tingle was only now noticeable. Later when things settled more, she’d have him check her for rabies — which by peering out the glass frames and down at the street below at the staggering figure in the dark she had no way of knowing would still be some time off.

The all too human physical exhaustion of literally dodged bullets and metaphorical ones had been meagerly staved off since earlier in their eventful evening, halfway hulk transformations a taken toll that had Bruce barely hanging on thin threads of conversation and consciousness before he'd succumbed to quite the untimely slumber on the second-floor loft's lone piece of furniture. More lost hours passing on that couch to what was sure to be his chagrin once he'd wake -- as if the week-long interval of existence wasn't limited enough; as if the additionally missed day wasn't already yet another disconcerting slight that was, as always (and from the perspective of his annoyance), targeted specifically against them...

She didn’t have spider senses to rely on like some web slinging supers but her gut had managed to notify her of more than just the disagreeable late night take out meal. That and an inherit knack for paying attention to detail. To sniffing out bullshit when someone attempted to dish it her way. For spotting all the ways a picture simply didn’t sit right with collected evidence and her internal warning bells were currently ringing as the staggering figure suddenly not only stilled but seemingly looked up at the window. The act so deliberate, it unnerved and in spite of her better judgement Misty took a step back out of view. Re calibrating the scene in which she had clearly misjudged her own visibility, citing the boldness of the stranger to be perhaps possessing some sort of true ownership to the building. But then she found herself drawn to look again, unable to make out any true distinguishing attributes besides an suspicious frailness though even that she couldn’t be certain wasn’t a trick of the shadows. “... what the fuck..” Barely audible thoughts out loud muttered after a long moment before tearing her eyes away again to meet those of the less disturbing dog who had alerted her in the first place. His tilted head matched by a roll of her shoulders as she headed to the occupied couch to pluck up the leather jacket draped along the arm. The choice not made with any particular fashion leanings but for it’s easy concealment of gun holster and the weapon it held. The one she so rarely used — but kept close by, it was even notated in some secret online forum she’d once read about herself. As she covered her arms, choosing to leave bionic fingers and rightful weapons of their own exposed instead of gloved she exhaled in looking upon the sleeping scientist. Hesitating in the choice to disturb and risk pulling him from some sort of peace to what could very well be a drunken homeless person. Weighing it against the risk of him waking on his own and finding her gone without warning. Recalling her own annoyance at the terrible state of affairs that was his goodbyes — or lack thereof, she eventually crouched and reached for his hand to squeeze and whisper. “ Ey, doc. Wake up for a sec..”

In every world that Bruce Banner had the bizarre luxury of visiting over the course of his existence, sleep tended to be the last of his chosen comforts. More of an obligation, really, than even the rarely noticed necessity that could often take days before being observed when his attentions were deep into some physical project or metaphysical dilemma. Post-halfway hulk transformations be damned, as his lights flickered on as starkly as a flipped switch -- eyes open and adjusting immediately to the dimness of their temporary hideout, brows already furrowed -- followed by the near-robotic sudden rise of his bare torso from the falling blanket of a cotton hoodie. "How--" How long had he been out?, his secondary thought after the knee-jerk paralysis of how bad was it this time? The aftermath of damages from a Hulk's rampage consistently his first waking thought; habitual more than rational, given all the time and relative peace that had since passed from those old nightmares. The alertness of his dagger-holstering glance across his surroundings only softening as his line of sight passed over the small bundle of a sleeping bag that tucked in a familiar little girl on its quiet return to hers. Pieces of the prior timeline before his submission to sleep returning just as quietly, the hand that had instinctually drawn away reaching back like an apology. "What.. What is it..?"

His swift rise and instinctual alarm gave her immediate regrets. Obligation or not, wherever he’d been with his eyes closed it’d looked relatively peaceful. At least more than he did now. Noting the natural inclination to worry first, the necessity to be on guard whenever jostled at such an odd hour. No doubt the same she might have presented had the roles been reversed but as she watched him adapt and re familiarize himself with the scene it was with a bit of sadness. That a nudge in the middle of the night couldn’t have been delivered with lighter intentions. A bid for him to scoot over to make room for her rather than alert him to potentially bad news. Patiently she waited, a small smile briefly offered before she nodded in the direction of the windows. “ There’s someone out there. Just standing in front of the building. Don’t know how long for. Probably just a drunk…but shit’s weird. Don’t like it. I’m gonna go check it out. ” The declaration sounding a bit stupid once confessed. Stupid and unnecessary and she shook her head, self consciousness propelling her to backpedal. “ I shouldn’t have woke you. Go back to sleep. It’s all good — I got this.”

As far as Bruce was concerned -- or as far as he could reasonably aim for, at least -- their hosts were the ones with the benefit of drowsy scootings in the middle of the night and waking with less alarm than they did. That was, after all, part of what being superheroes entailed, wasn't it? Bearing the darker burdens so that others might have the chance whatever it was that they did in the light. Frankly, every waking moment he'd been spending with her seemed too much of a blessing for complaints of any nature; content in ways he'd never been before, so much so that the noted flash of regret across her composure stirred a strangely juxtaposing guilt of his own. Defenders, down to the very last straws and their very last fibers-- Bruce shook his head slightly with a soft sigh, a softer smile, his hand on hers clasping a firmer hold. "I'll go with you, I.." Another scan of the room collected more clues of what had presumably occurred in the hours he'd already wasted with sleep: the satchel in convenient reach on the floor just by the couch; a fresh change of clothes on its arm behind his shoulder; what looked to be a first-aid kit beside an opposite wall, which spurred the redirection of his gaze for her now-covered arm and the wound he knew her jacket hid. "I still have to take a look at that," his chin nodded a more pointed gesture, only the slightest groan shifting his feet to the wood-paneled flooring while the hoodie in his lap was tugged on without a shirt. If he'd been conscious at some point in the past few hours to have changed out of his host's ruined pants into the clean pair of charcoal khakis he now wore, he couldn't recall it in the least. The curiosity shrugged aside as he stood, "Ready when you are?"

" You coming with me is the opposite of I got this. " Attempting to hush her already low tones — the previous silence making everything else seemingly amplified. " In fact it kinda implies that I don’t got got this. " The banter was light — almost teasingly suggesting the prospect of a bruised ego to be behind her reluctance for him to accompany her and not a lingering concern. Stepping backwards as he stood she let her gaze drift towards the window. Too far away to take in the figure and yet almost still feeling the same strange tingling on the back of her neck and chill trickling at her spine as if she could. Misty didn’t easily get rattled — or at least that’s what she told herself when her shoulders rolled backwards again and she blinked swerving her body to face his direction. " Ah — really though Bruce. What if’s not .. a drunk? What if it’s something that.. aggravates you? Triggers the other guy. I mean we just worked that out. No need to tempt fate again soon — ya dig? " A singular brow hovering as she looked to him. Hoping he did in fact dig. " Plus someone should keep an eye out on things in here. " A tilt of her head given towards the sleeping girl whose rest she didn’t also want to be responsible for cutting short. " You can keep an eye out from up here? If I need help .. I’ll ah throw up a signal. " To demonstrate she lifted a bionic hand in the air middle finger extended while the others curled in — a smirk simultaneously spreading as she closed the space between them. Reaching for the front of his hoodie to grab loose handfuls of. " Stay. It’s ok. "

"Well, it could also mean that I'm a giant scaredy-cat, afraid to be left alone without you.. Separation anxiety and whatnot..." His toneless end of banter or none, he'd already reached for the satchel and then within its unusual depths, the non-Misty version of a lifeline and escape plan strapped routinely back onto his wrist -- optical tech not far behind in being slipped with a few blinks into his eyes without much other ado. Nodding to her concerns of another episode, he shrugged the only honest response he was frankly capable of. "It's a possibility. Though it's also highly possible that.. Well, I haven't really been triggered all too easily lately... What happened earlier--" He paused, making an effort to focus on the eye-contact that he a little too commonly tended to avoid. "What happened earlier could likely have been an unfortunate fluke. The other guy isn't especially fond of being attacked.. Or traps... And.." His brow-furrowed expression could've almost seemed mildly pained as he struggled to convince them both of hypotheticals that currently had no procedural backing. The heart of the hypothetical quite plainly being her, her not having been the security by his side, but he struggled with the precise words for that too. A struggle that was distracting enough to avert his more formulaic thoughts from proposing they deploy a couple of SpyBots for the drunk while they both stayed to keep an eye on things inside. Instead his sighing nod and another shrug simply agreed, caught a little off guard by the prompted chuckle at her signal. "Yes.. Yes, perhaps that's.." To cloud matters even further, she had him quite literally by his clearing throat. "Yes, that should do the trick. Just don't aim it in my direction-- Has the propensity to deliver quite a mixed message."

Perhaps if he’d posed such an idea aimed at the spybots doing what they did best and allowing them the opportunity to determine the scene for what it was without an initial encounter, she would have agreed. Since she had stumbled across another lost signal almost quite literally under her nose she had been drawn to the proximity. His awareness to the strange nature of their predicament, addicting in the way his theories with their possible solutions eroded her convictions of a demnation. Inspiring her to abandon that comfortable chair in the corner to brood in and giving her at times, rarely spoken of dreams of a future where she had once not chosen to look beyond a handful of hours. Misty didn’t know much about how their time together would continue on -- the continued delayed starts that neither of them spoke at any real length about breeding uncertainty, but for however long they had she wanted to spend it with him and was in no rush to leave his side. But she had set this particular mission up and to back out now even if the thought had simultaneously occurred to her wouldn’t have been her style. She’d see it through. And she’d be quick about it. Tugging on the hoodie again she leaned in close, holding her brow against his. “ I’m down for some mixed messages when I get back if you are. ” Sexual innuendo aside, she closed her eyes for a long moment for the first time since she’d gotten back. They had a rough start but there was still time to make up for it. Letting her lips press softly against his, her grip grew loose and her hands dropped dropped to her side. Releasing him with a smirk as she stepped around him. “ BRB, doc.”

Innuendo, sexual or otherwise, was frankly a tough one to casually cast aside, the scientist's versatile and more playfully creative energies tending to latch rather quickly onto puns and other such frivolous semantic novelties -- at times even a little self-indulgent with his appreciation for them; and it wasn't uncommon that a snicker or gleam in his eye silently betrayed some silly humor that'd been noticed in some formation of words or other. One hell of a way to flirt with his particular sensibilities, that was for sure. Coupled with the way she had one hell of a knack for halting his common senses in their tracks, the result was often a bit of a suspended stasis. Almost intimidating in that it left him without a clever comeback, and scientists always had clever comebacks; certainly inspiring in that it left him with an undoubted taste for more, more of her and more from himself. With all of his clumsy ego, his aversion to teams and his multiple personalities to boot, he'd kind of never preempted actually stumbling upon someone of whom it'd come easy to him to refer to as his better half. Yet there he was, letting her out of his sight again. In a secret parallel, perhaps, to the various ways that their evolving relationship -- with its calmly exploding affections -- had over its course obscured parts of its origins; talk and theories of escaping this foreign world taking an obvious backseat to the recent inclinations of settling down, making a life and a home within this foreign world's limitations. A certain sort of false comfort, perhaps, despite nothing about it feeling falsified in the least. Felt more like trust. A very ironic and unfamiliar trust. In that particular moment, the trust in her ability to fend for herself; although in general it was far more profound than that. Possibly bordering on a line of faith. Or madness. His eyes trailing behind her exit till the elevator door in the foyer softly sounded its opening, casting its illumination gently across the floor of the studio almost to his bare feet. Had he not even told her to be careful, safe? That he loved her, was in love with her, and sincerely dreaded the prospective thought of every moment that would come after her. His hand raised a weakly gestured wave, ridiculous for so many reasons and soon gesturing vaguely to the row of windows that overlooked the street. He'd watch. From upstairs. For signals. Lost or mixed messages.

It was the last thing she saw before the door closed. His wave. If the world only knew how adorable Bruce Banner could be. Leaning her shoulders backwards during the descent she almost forgot her reason for leaving in the first place. Ridiculously preoccupied with her delayed reaction and the fact that she hadn’t waved back. Too cool for it obviously but not to cave to the temptation of trying to give him a faux Mohawk with shampoo every time they took a shower. It was only when she was on ground level that she reclaimed her senses with a literal shake her head while maneuvering through hallways before cautiously stepping out of the building. Her first impulse being to further canvas the scene while still shrouded at an angle that felt less exposed. To consider the trap she could have walked into if the intentions were to be lured out by an impulsive curiosity. Actions that were never really set in motion because her focus became fixed on the stranger who hadn’t appeared to move since discovered. Only difference being that now instead of looking at the window, it -- or rather she was looking at her again. Misty could make out more of the features now. Features that struck her as familiar and had her taking an instinctual step forward. “ Do I … do I know you..?” She called out loud enough to be heard in spite of the distance between them only to be met with the same unnerving silence. The same sort of stillness. “ Did you follow us here ? Did someone send you..?” More questions destined to be unanswered followed along with another step, and then another, like some sort of moth to a flame. Curiosity becoming increasingly all the more reckless in her need to see beyond the shadows that concealed the rest of the picture, leading her closer until she could make out the splatter of red on the stranger’s short sleeved dress. The jagged rip across the torso that suggested a terrible hidden wound so jarringly obvious that she’d almost asked her if she had been at the party too. If she’d barely escaped and had been led to them here. Almost offered the doctor’s assistance but she didn’t have the chance. When her gaze lifted from the clothes to the face something inside of her broke. Snapped. Became free. Blinking Maya struggled to find words. Struggled all for a second to figure out if she was dreaming or not but deciding almost immediately that it didn’t matter and throwing her arms around the other woman. Not caring that she didn’t smile or hug her back. Not caring that her once caramel glowing skin in spite of bearing no evidence of her untimely end still seemed gray. That her body was cold and frail. “ I missed you so fucking much…” She mumbled with her eyes closed not seeing when her dead mother opened her mouth and tried to bite through the leather that covered her shoulder.

"Shit--" The crude utterance escaped his lips like a verbalized shudder, immediate via the scientist's hyper-connectivity of thoughts and simultaneously an interruption to them. Motor functions on a similarly sudden stand-by. Bruce had always fallen somewhere closer to that end of the spectrum, naturally inert and far more so than physically reactive -- an ironically stark contradiction, of course, to the physically transformative effects of seemingly trivial triggers as had been betrayed mere hours ago. From the window upstairs, he had watched. Lulled by seductively suggestive hazes in addition to the evening's remnant aftermath of a certain languid fatigue tainting both body and mind -- not to mention the regular detachments with which he tended to stoically approach most situations -- he had even spared a few moments on checking if Simone had a blanket snugly wrapped to her chin for the loft's draftiness, before making his way to one of the overlooking windows to peer down in search for the street's potential disturbance. At that point, still presuming in false comfort and blind faith and inexplicable madness that whatever it was that had gone bump in the night was merely that -- a bump in the night; one of the city's countless homeless occupants, or a drunk, or an insomniac house-hunter who'd seen the building's still-public listing. Surely, Misty Knight was just shaking off some of her own remnant nerves from what she'd witnessed of his near-episode; surely, she'd only woken him -- for the first time he could recall -- out of principle and their past unspoken promises that there'd be no wandering off from either of them in the middle of the night. Surely, the back of his mind wasn't simply preempting excuses for the how's and why's that would come crashing in accusations as soon as the distinguished detective began approaching the dully obscured figure in the darkness. The slow unfurling of her gesture and its seeming intention itself enough cause for alarm. Because...she knew better. Misty Knight...knew better. Something in her gait noticeably off. Her posture too comfortable, too at ease, Before she paused. Before he was certain he saw her flinch. Before there were no flared signals fired whatsoever that could've given him any jump on what followed. The wholly unexpected hug, then the shuddered utterance as time in his mindscape froze whereas in real-time... Relatively speaking, everything sped up. A spinning dizziness that had slammed the heel of his palm impulsively against the murky window pane before the window's latch was dislodged from its lack of intended use, the single panel of glass flung outward along with his torso as -- sleeping child or street, be damned -- he was calling out an abrupt hey! His tone unfortunately warbled more than aggressive, despite the stern knits of his brows; his ultimate loss for a more calculated or decisive course of action doubly crippling to his know-it-all sensibilities. "Hey!" he heard himself call out again, hands gripped to the windowsill as if they were either preparing to vault him from that second-floor ledge or preventing it--

While things sped up for him they slowed down for the once detective turned wondering artist. The accosting teeth, unable to tear through the tough material and the even tougher Vibranium that lay underneath, evoking an almost snarl too close to her ear. A noise almost simultaneously sounding just as his overhead yell and she jerked back. The motion and strength required to free herself sloppy and she stumbled backwards once freed falling flat on her ass. Stunned, she bent her knees to stand but instead ended up doing some awkward backward crab walk reminiscent of her childhood recess days. “ What the ..fuck. What this …” Fortunately in spite of the confusion she was back on her feet before the next advance. Fists -- both human and otherwise, balled and yet she was still merely dodging and side stepping. Not attacking. Her aches and pains hinting less and less at the nightmare that she so very much wanted to wake from but an alternate reality. “ Mom. Mom stop.” Her steps leading her backwards, leading her growling mother away from the building and allowing her a view of the open window and him -- at least what she thought was him. But only a glimpse could be spared before she was being lunged at, holding her arm out of strange instinct but instead of merely serving as a brace for an attack, triggering a blue glow. Gasping, her eyes were wide. Not sure what she was more taken aback by, the unwavering brutality aimed her way or the shield that suddenly protected her from it.

Of all the things he could've done and could've done wrong, his sorely unpremeditated holler from the window was starting to rank pretty high on the list of worsts. Its purpose unclear even in its trailing wake as the distressing -- distraught -- turns of events continued to clamor into his panic-hazed view from the sidewalk below, effectively indifferent to his presence and involvement. At best, it may have served as a distraction; but when the figure flinched none in terms of paying a single glance in his direction, let alone any mind -- whatever mind it could've -- the so-called distraction was just as arguably a potentially grave mistake. Could've distracted her, could've cost her that split second that was all Misty Knight would've needed in handling a solitary staggering husk of shadow on her own. Hadn't he seen her in action a few times enough to have had it smacked into his subconscious if not his present mind? The woman could take fuckin' care of herself. Undoubtedly more equipped than even he was, his efficient but clumsily passive tech no match for her street smarts alone. Yet in the same fraction of a moment that it took for those acknowledgements to arrive in the twitched tension of his wrists on the windowsill, on the second-guess of his next intuition, Misty Knight had hit the ground. A groggily meek voice just as suddenly an additionally jarring rift that further fractured his currently limited attentions. Mr. B? That you? His neck spun with his thoughts to the little girl in florally speckled pajamas. The too-oblivious innocence of the child just standing there in the middle of the unfurnished darkness striking at strange undertones. Now that you back, my game will come back too, huh? His returning glance out the window saw Misty on her feet again, confusingly on the defense -- what the hell was going on out there? But there was no time for hypotheticals. In the five strides it took for his feet to cross the floor to the child, he had explained, "You need to stay put for awhile, alright?" In the blink that was him and a half-asleep six-year-old in a suddenly lit cave, he'd told her to get into bed; they'd find her 'game' once he and Misty were back; they wouldn't be long. "If you're hungry, there's cereal." In the next moment, he was on the sidewalk, just a few paces behind a glowing blue shield.

Since the moment Maya had woke to discover her body was not that of her own anymore she had spent her time hiding the truth. From herself when she couldn’t quite wrap her head around it. Convinced at several points that what she was experiencing was the result of a tumor pressing into her brain or the lasting effects of an untreated already established mental disorder like her great uncle Matthew who people said was ‘never quite right’ to explain his preference to sleep outside with a helmet. Then later, when the acceptance finally set in she was still keeping things secret. From the public with her long sleeves and gloves. From her family, avoiding their hugs and close proximity out of fear that they would notice. From the therapist who she’d only seen once for her plaguing nightmares but had to be selective with what she shared. Even from the man she loved, her shift confession incomplete because in its entirety she feared it to be a bridge too far. Had there been an openness she might have known what the arm that she spent so much time thinking of as a burden was capable of. How the protective glow, easily mistaken for nothing more than an curious flashlight kept her from being mauled by the woman who pounded against it in verocious vain. The tips of blackened nails breaking against it without so much as a flinch of self awareness though it made Maya’s stomach churn. An unfortunate up close view of a horror show, wanting to run before whatever triggered the shield suddenly stopped leaving her without a barrier but her feet were frozen. Bones chilled to the marrow. How many times had she wished for another minute with her mother. Another chance to see her. To smell her. Silly fantasies no less realistic than the ones about winning a billion dollars or discovering a cure for cancer or establishing some sort of true equality among gender and race within the world. It had never been like this though and her eyes stung. “ ..Stop. Please.” This wasn’t her mother. A part of her already knew that. This was something differently entirely and yet it didn’t stop her heart from breaking. His appearance behind her noticed only when she took a few steps backwards suddenly and bumped into him. Whirling around partially in surprise with steps far more smooth than any she could solely be responsible for. Her weaponized limb stretched out to ward off the thing that wore her mother’s face while the human one had in one swift motion reached inside the jacket to clasp onto a gun to aim at his chest. The reaction only occurring in the span of a couple seconds, like some choreographed scene from an action flick where the lead was suddenly up against the wall and vastly outnumbered. Her twist intended to enable her a view of both dangers only the sight of him brought relief. The glock lowered she shook her head in an apology. “ What is this … I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to stop it.”

I got you. This time the utterance escaped like a sigh. A breath -- a hair's breadth -- ahead of the stride that in the next blink would reach him forward, walking him right into her gently colliding path. His hands already mid-extended at waist-level, one palm in grazed support of her leather-clad ribcage before the whirling flash of her eyes struck him like a memory he hadn't been present for in its making. A woman and a little girl the focus of its vivid scene; a living room in Boston, a book bag being packed with a few camping essentials, his presence unseen from the quietly chanced vantage at the foot of the stairs. Not the woman whom Bruce knew, but a woman almost prophetically recognized just the same; the little girl's camping qualms reassured in a mere three words that just as simultaneously collapsed the memory into another that was more specifically the scientist's own. The woman he knew. A text-message in the wake of an unfortunate incident in Paris, asking if he knew some very stupid thing. His immediately inspired realization that perhaps a scientist really hadn't known anything about anything till it'd been so plainly, so abruptly, spelled out for him. The words that had presently just slipped from his lips though were in echo of the former memory, words to a little girl usurped perhaps a few blinks delayed from when they'd been needed in the cave. A separate realization now arriving as a gun pointed his way, and his hands were suspended at a waist-level mid-gesture of unarmed surrender, and the soulless dead stare of an ashen reflection of both women pressed on with its arms cumbersomely outstretched in seemingly singular focus. "M- Maya--?" The creature flailed, at the moment haplessly behind the bionic arm's grip. Time probably of the essence, yet the moment seemed stalled at a precipice-balanced standstill. Bruce's palm tentatively extending to lower the gun the rest of the way, to a side. "Let's.. Let's not be pointing things we don't know what to do with. Yes..?" Their last meeting hadn't exactly gone smoothly; he wasn't planning to break any news while a potential meeting with his other other guy was on the table. "On the count of three, you let--" Eyes that had been keeping the groaning figure only in peripheral view darted a pointed glance for reference. "On the count of three, let go." Contact lenses interfaced with his watch in preparation for the calm countdown; with Simone at the cave, it was hardly the best option, but if things went well, the containment chamber being coordinated as their destination would be an unnecessary precaution as well.

The difference between the mechanic and the scientist weren’t as glaringly obvious as they would have been under the casual circumstances. The ones where she might’ve been allotted the luxury of the time to observe without the threat of danger and the haze of confusion still clogging her brain. They were always meeting at such strange times…Unknowingly in the same position the detective had found herself in mere hours before - both suffering from the horrible timing of switching worlds in the middle of swiftly escalating chaos. Leading her not only to not doubt his identity but any concerns regarding his sudden appearance on the street with her only a few beats from where she’d distinctly heard him calling from the warehouse window were unsurprisingly not even a minor consideration. Her trust proving to be unconditional in spite of the way she fought against an instinctual urge to shake her head in disagreement. Not even certain if she had the nerve it would take to let go. Frightened more of what she might have to do rather than the physical onslaught that could occur. The effort was not easy in spite of her hardened hold. The strength of opposition was stronger than it looked, pure in a way the way her fight wasn’t. Driven by a violent singular goal without any of the confliction or pain. If she let go …. if she let go.. Her jaw clenched as her incredulous questioning eyes met his again at the start of the instructed countdown. Remembering a long winded description she’d once spontaneously used in reference to the sort of faith she held in him. The sort that would flee a house without question simply because he said they needed to. Confident the details would be filled in later. That he operated with her best interest in mind and so it wasn’t necessary to reiterate all the ways her letting go could go terribly wrong. Nodding, Maya waited for three before forcing bionic digits to uncurl against the laws of self preservation, simultaneously disengaging the shield.

He remembered it too. Somewhere in the duration from the suggested countdown to the incredulous look that then wavered in her eyes, he'd heard her words replay in his mind -- felt an entire moment weigh like a feather in his chest -- as clearly as if the sweetly tender hypothetical had been initially confessed to he himself. As if he'd been there, been the one who'd sat back staring at a message in his palm with a swoon trapped in his lungs and a smile stained across his face, the world hushing around him for an impact to fully sink in. Some epic sense of flattery, some stuttered hesitation from not knowing what he'd even done to have earned the privilege to the sorta faith she'd so perfectly described. The soon immediate fear, of course, of whether he deserved that truest honor; if there'd ever come a time when circumstances might dictate one of his recurrently epic failures -- a time when he might let her down. Bruce quite nearly snickered aloud, seemingly countless divisions collapsing from memory to memory in the hanging split beat that it took before he mouthed more than spoke, "You can trust me." His voice hesitatingly stuttered despite the math having been formulated with a scientifically insignificant margin of error. He had enough time for it, between the count of three and the projected trajectory of a flailed clawing arm and the instantaneous of some zapping. How he was going to explain it all once they were on the other end of it, though... Well. In an instant, it was time to worry about that bit, the cavernous walls of the containment chamber suddenly their surroundings, murkily dim and lit only by the light that flooded in through the large gaping entranceway. His palm still held over the gun and a little more deliberately by then.

At three her eyes gave in to a childlike temptation to succumb to closing her eyes. Face frozen in a scrunch with furrowed brows and molars grinding in inevitable anticipation. Like jumping from a cliff without a parachute — or rather a parachute she couldn’t see. Just one she believed was there because of trust. Catching the words on his lips before shutting everything out. The change from outdoors to inside barely detected from one instance to the next. Acknowledged only when impatient lashes twitched to open — the new surroundings evoking another series of blinks and uncertainty about her reality resurfacing. Fingers with a loose grip on the gun started to tremble, the effects dulled by the covering of his hand. " What — this? " An echo of words spoken already during her brief traumatic ordeal. Trapped between wanting to cry or scream. To be scared. To fight. The script as unclear as the dimly lit room she found herself in.

This was when the faiths of a moment ago would falter beyond the scrunching of a face, when the façade of a loved one's appearance was revealed to be more than had met the eye. After all the sentimentally attached memories that had just been spurred, its effects still raw in his chest, it was with a noted quirk that Bruce realized the deep breath he was taking to brace himself. Not for the gun pointed his way again -- the arm he hadn't bothered to secure probably more likely to be the one causing spontaneous hulk-outs. Not for having to deal with another breakdown from the essential child who was already betraying all the nerves and confusions that had rather rattled their prior meeting. Frankly, he may have just gotten a little too used to her visage not staring daggers his way and otherwise approaching him like a total stranger. Silly, he knew. It wasn't her whom he'd be detached from. Then again, the reverse was true as well. It wasn't him whom she'd so fully trusted; it wasn't him she'd believe. And nonetheless, at least for the moment, he needed her to. "We've met..." He cleared his throat, removing his hand from hers more instinctually than the ill-advisory that his mind channeled. "I'm a friend of Misty's, Simone's in the next room, I can't bring your fellow back, and I have to ask--" He took just the one breath after getting the basics out of the way like ripping off a Band-Aid and imagining it less of a shock. "--who was that? That woman on the street?"

We’ve met. The start of the familiar bad joke sinking in and chipping away at the small shred of stability she still had left in this walking nightmare. A sense of loneliness spreading though she didn’t have it in her to be angry at the intruder. In fact there was very little she did have left in her at present, exhaling audibly in a way that seemed to leave her aching shoulders just a little bit hunched. As if breathing was just another burden to maneuver through. As she was as worn and ragged as she felt. Maya didn’t bother picking up her argument from their last encounter, her staunch refusal to believe that Brandon couldn’t be freed in the same way she seemingly had if allowed. That he wouldn’t willingly leave her alone when she needed him the most. She didn’t even want to think about it. About a world where he was kept away and she couldn’t allow him passage. Unable to take on even an ounce more of heartbreak she swallowed around the growing lump in her throat and bowed her chin to look at the weapon in her hand feeling a strong sense of ownership even though she had never purchased one. Her opinion on firearms as complicated as her feelings towards cops after so many years of almost becoming one. An eyebrow danced up at the mention of the six year old as she put the gun back in it’s hidden holster. “ She was .. she looked like.. my mother. But my mother has been dead for ten years now. ” Mother. It sounded so cold. So informal. “ She tried to bite me.” The similarities between the displayed actions and those within the horror films she liked so much still not quite connecting. No less ridiculous than everything else in her life and yet still oddly seeming to be too far fetched even for her. “ What is this place? Where are we? What happened to her..?”

Bruce nodded to the provided information, his suspicions perhaps a little needlessly confirmed regarding the uncanny visual resemblance between the two women and what had from there been the most easily drawn conclusion for what likely ensued on the sidewalk -- how it had come to be that after an entire three-week's interlude, and on yet another untimely occasion, the waking respites of affectionate mid-night banter had been somewhat rudely interrupted; his solely allied partner in this world, the entirety of his team, missing in action and replaced by a stranger. A stranger whom he had trouble looking at, unattempting any eye-contact as his blinks at a corner-bound angle checked on the younger girl asleep in the cave's main chamber, and in modest synchrony dispatching a drone from Oakland to the SoMa district. "At the moment, I wouldn't begin to conjecture what.. What seems to have afflicted your dead mother..." Internally, he begged her pardon. He sounded cold, too formal. Almost darkly, comically so. The emotional repercussions of what this girl had just been through like an elephant in the room, though Bruce for one preferred to keep it that way. At very least, it'd help them focus on the more pressing issues; and if the scientist knew anything about the weeks of their arrivals, he knew time was always in short supply. "I'm.. I'm sorry for your loss," he found himself murmuring despite himself, turning from Maya to proceed in the direction of the chamber's entryway -- from there intending to lead them through the connecting tunnel into the cave's central hall. The invitation to follow hopefully a given, as he continued without a glance behind, "This is where I.. Operate. My base of operations, you might say. Colloquially, it's been referred to as my 'hideout'.. Hideout B-733. More or less akin to 'the Batcave,' I suppose, though I should mention -- I'm not that Bruce."

She wanted to go home only she didn’t know where that was anymore without him. The next best thing being New York where she wouldn’t be able to explain what had just transpired - where she wouldn’t even try though an explanation would ultimately be unnecessary. All she had to do was show up and arms would be ready for her to collapse into. Arms that wouldn’t try to rip her apart. The juxtaposition of the woman she had loved and the one she’d let go of on the sidewalk so wildly at odds though in spite of the distinct differences the similarities were hard to detach herself from. Not unlike the man with his condolences ten years too late. He might not want to tear her apart in the way she suspected had been the other strangers ultimate plan had she allowed it. May not have even meant to mean her any intentional harm and yet it was still a betrayal to the senses that she hated. That she wanted to hate but couldn’t. Her feet dragged, the wobbly after effects making the space seem all the more unstable as she trailed behind him several steps. Following that eerily familiar and very wrong voice that he operated though the sound of her racing heart proved louder. The small quick inhales of air and constrictions in her chest mimicking that of a quiet panic attack, lowering her gaze from the inner workings of just Bruce’s but not that Bruce hide out to look at her upturned palms. The human one with the visible split life lines and the one void of any human details. The one that didn’t belong to her. Something in her stomach lurched and her lips moved to mumble an repetitive incomplete request under her breath. “ Bathroom. Bathroom. I need ..” Thoughts of her dead mother coinciding with the way the back of her throat burned and a hand clamped over her lips in an effort to either contain or prevent the looming threat of vomit.