Q:Both Tim and Cass have just met Steph and are discussing their thoughts on her XP
With a twirl of purple cape, the girl was gone.
"Well then," Robin said, rubbing the back of his neck. "That was…" He turned his gaze over to Batgirl who, of course, said nothing. "She seems…"
Robin nodded. Her technique was sloppy. She broadcast her hits like a sports announcer. And she talked. A lot.
"What? No." Tim bristled under the assumption. Cass could read people but that didn’t mean she understood them. Right? Besides, he had a girlfriend.
Spoiler went after her father without hesitation or regrets. And she wasn’t great but maybe she could be. Tim could see that but he was worried.
"She’s too…" he couldn’t find a proper word to capture her spirit. She was angry and powerful but she wasn’t like Batman. She teased. Flirted even.
"Maybe." He sighed as the sun began to rise over the city. "Well, I guess we should-" he turned back but stopped. "What?"
Batgirl didn’t say anything but he thought he saw a glimpse of a smile under her mask.
Q:Tim Drake - Cold, Dark, Alone
The batcave homed more than just its animal namesake and since Tim had uncovered Bruce’s secret, he had first looked at it as a base and then as a second home. The lights fought away the heaviest shadows on the main floors.
But after Bruce’s death, the cave had never felt more like rock and shadows. Tim lingered in the silence left by Dick and Damian, trying to discover what was missing.
The halls of the manor were dark with only echoes of light from the large living room washing the walls. Despite the early season, a fire had been lit to fight off a cold that would never truly warm. The doorbell rang at strange intervals as visitors came and left to pay respects or confirm the news. The family was gathered in the den where the TV was ignored in favor of mourning.
"And that’s when I realized I had the comm on the entire time," Stephanie said with a airy laugh as the story concluded. "I felt so stupid, he finally gave me a chance, I must’ve talked his ear off. But he just said ‘It’s okay. I like the company.’" She smiled into the warm cup of tea Alfred had handed to her ten minutes prior. She hadn’t taken a drink from it and it was starting to get cold. "Looking back, I don’t know how he could stand me. Well, I guess he often didn’t."
She glanced over at Tim who sat on the far side of the couch. He hadn’t moved, hadn’t said anything since the hospital. She couldn’t imagine how it felt, to be left orphaned a second time, and couldn’t find any story to help lift his spirits.
The other Wayne kids were in a similar mood. Dick was haunting a corner somewhere, painting a strong face on whenever someone found him but hiding so it wouldn’t become an issue. He stayed for his brothers, to keep an eye on them, to be there for them.
Cass hung close to Stephanie on one side, listening to all the stories of her adopted father with interest, fighting against an uncommon enemy of loss like this. Last time he left, she had orders to follow and that had helped. But this time it she was alone to decide her actions and she wanted very much to see how her new family went about it.
Jason hung to Stephanie’s other side, starting a story long forgotten until that moment. Stephanie was glad he was talking, was scared of him shutting off like Tim. She couldn’t take care of them all, couldn’t help all of them at once.
"But why is she /here/," a sneer came from behind and Stephanie turned to see Damian glaring at her. "She should be with the others, those impostors calling my father friend. Why is she here with us?"
"Damian," Dick tried, his face cracking slightly to reveal the pain. "We’re all family-"
"We are not! My brothers and sister may have proven ourselves but she hasn’t. She didn’t know him, Grayson, not like we did."
Jason’s hand tightened around Stephanie’s but she rose. “It’s okay,” she said. “Yeah, I’ll just be around if anyone needs me.”
"Steph-" Dick tried but she saw his exhaustion and she didn’t want it to be a problem. Offering a smile, she reassured him it was fine, Damian was right, she’d go see if anyone was lurking in the cave and left.
It’s easy to forget.
All the betrayal and choices made that hurt you as much as it hurt him and all the fights we pretended not to have but the looks were just words we’d never apologize for. We’d tried to pretend that everything was alright because it’s easy to forget what I’d done to him when my life wasn’t my own and I wanted someone to make those choices for me. When every choice I made was worse than the one before it. A string of bad luck and poor judgement and he tries to reason that he should forgive me for that as I try to reason I should forgive him for the cold words and the bad attitude. Like I deserved his respect as we fought over the people in our lives that made it worse.
It was easier to forgive Bruce and I don’t know why when every time I think back on those times I grow so angry until I need something physical to take it out on. I still have anger issues and maybe some guilty ones too. I don’t know who I blame more for the things I’ve done, Bruce or myself. Or Tim.
So it’s easier not to think about and we say time heals all wounds as we run along rooftops and bicker like old times. But then something catches his voice and the words come out harsher than he intended and he looks up after like he’s sorry there’s a grudge still there under his skin, like he owes you that apology. And he does but you don’t blame him because there’s still the unease whenever you’re with him, whenever he uses that voice, the same one he did before he left, before he was this new grown bird of a man, before when he said I wasn’t good enough to help anyone. I find myself waiting for a punch or something equally physical like the only way I can cope with being yelled at is when it comes with something I can actually fight back about. I don’t like thinking of my father when we fight, because Tim is everything he wasn’t, everything I needed and that isn’t me being romantic.
It’s easier to pretend it didn’t happen, that we’re friends again, that I still pine for him but some nights I see behind the curtain. The emotion will always be there in the back on his mind just like it is in mine and you can never truly wipe away a fight with someone you loved so deeply. You’ll always be worried it will spring up again, that it’ll be worse and you’re so scared of still having them in your life you wonder if things would’ve been better if you had never met.
And the thought makes it worse so it’s easy to forget and you hope it is for him to. You hope he looks at you when you aren’t looking at him and sees something besides the girl that broke his heart, that hated him the same she loved him, that isn’t so completely sorry for everything she did that she’d forgive him for everything he isn’t completely sorry for either. You hope the gap doesn’t stay and sometimes it’s gone completely and you can picture yourself kissing him, wrapping your arms around his neck, smelling his aftershave and spiritgum as he combs through your hair but other nights the gap is as wide as the rooftop and you don’t dare go closer because he’s not the boy you fell in love with and you’re not the girl who fell in love with that boy anyway.
It hurts. Some nights more than others and maybe it always will and maybe it’ll disappear eventually. You wish you could wait for him but you can’t and you don’t know if the wishing is because you still love him, truly love him, with a bursting heart and desperate for approval or if you’re lonely and he’s the only boy in your life that seems to care. You don’t want him just to have someone. You want to want him so you can have him, the best boy detective that grew into a man too cold for his own good with plenty of reason for it that you’ll never fix.
Q:Batfamily. Early morning rush.
At 5:30 the first morning smells began drifting through the Manor. Coffee beans hit the grind as fruit blended with Alfred’s choice of protein in the kitchen. Tim woke at 6 on good days with three hours sleep and made his way tot he gym where Alfred met him with his shake.
Damian’s curtains were drawn at 7 whether the boy was awake or not and required the more durable platters for the days he chose to test the butler’s nerves. An unfortunate steel bowl held the regular oranges, bananas and other fruit in season to lure the boy from his training while the hot breakfast stayed in the kitchen, warmed by the stove until the young master cared to consume it.
Bruce took coffee whenever he made his way back to the cave and Alfred paired it with turkey and avocado sandwich. When he retrieved the dishes around ten, it was chance whether he found them untouched or dusted with crumbs.
As Tim went through his morning exercises and Damian mocked him at every turn, Alfred started the baking for the day. On rare occurrences when Miss Brown wandered down from the upper rooms - from numerous circumstances over the years - she kept him company with chatter and endearing, sometimes crude, jokes.
Dick slept well into noon and awoke with a hunger Alfred found only matched by Cassandra’s. While he ate half a box of cereal, the young lady consumed most anything Alfred provided as a breakfast-lunch feast.
There were occasions, though, those mornings when internal clocks altered by injury and schedules pressed together that brought them down at once. Dick preferred to cook during those moments of chaos, flipping pancakes onto plates and burning eggs. Tim forgot dietary benefits and Damian’s taunts were stunted by fatigue. Bruce ventured in at the smell of coffee and food disappeared at the turn of a back to the delight of a black bat.
Those days Alfred had very little to do at all, really, except enjoy the feeling of movement within a very still house and clean the spills a family made.
Q:Stephanie coaxes Tim to watch MLP with her. :3
Tim stared at the screen for a few long moments, waiting for the joke to end. But of course the joke wouldn’t end. This was Stephanie. Who else would literally download every episode of animated ponies prancing around singing songs on the bat computer. And then somehow convince him she wanted to watch something for training.
She flopped to her seat next to him, a big bite of her protein bar gone. “Er ‘onna luv dis,” she said through a full mouth.
"You have got to be kidding me. Training, Steph. You said training.” He gave a sigh that said he should’ve known better and yet he was still disappointed.
"This is training," she said, almost as if she believed it. She elbowed him as the show started. "Seriously, this little clan needs to learn about the power of friendship. And Bruce loves this show."
Tim rolled his eyes but lounged back on his elbows, already tagging the bright pink pony as his own eggplant talking hyperactive. At least Twilight Sparkle seemed to have some brains.
"I highly doubt that."
"Tim," Stephanie said, giving him that all-knowing look, "I’ve had this on the computer for months. He hasn’t deleted a single episode.”
Q:Tim/Kon, re: Pregnant!Steph
Tim could feel his eyes on his back. Supervision sometimes felt like it had a weight attached to it and it was clearly on his back.
Tim huffed and turned around. “What?” But of course he knew “what”. He knew too much about “what”. He had already heard too much about what.
"Are you gonna…?" Kon threw his hands up, like he didn’t know what to do with them at first. Then he settled on a rocking motion with them, cradling the air.
Tim sighed and turned away again.
"Well?" Kon demanded.
The silence that came from flying over didn’t sound the same as angry stomping. Tim imagined angry stomping until Kon had him face-to-face.
"Because," Tim said, meeting Kon’s gaze with a firm disposition. "It’s mine too."
It was all that need to be said, for now. It would come back, Tim knew the subject wasn’t closed. The subject would never be closed. But he had made his choice. The rest, well, he’d deal with that as it came.
Q:Tim/Janet; "First Steps"
Tiny fingers wrapped around Tim’s. Big eyes, the blue almost eclipsed by the large black pupil, stared at him while Janet’s mouth hung open in a squeal. Tim opened his own to mimic his daughter, forgetting himself in the moment.
Janet reached up with one of her hands, grabbing at his nose and he laughed at her light touches. He still couldn’t believe how gentle his daughter was. He had seen Stephanie withstand the worst and he wasn’t such a push-over himself. But this little girl, this tiny human being was as soft and gentle a creature that he could barely comprehend the processes of human life. It opened up wonderment to the paths of life and the choices made to create people and make them the way they are. But this little girl, she didn’t have a past. She was new. Brand new.
Janet bounced as she hung on her father’s hand, giggling when he smiled. “Dada goo,” she mumbled and giggled again when he kissed her forehead.
"Tim, phone," Stephanie called from the kitchen.
"Alright, honey," he called back. He looked back at his daughter and held up a finger. "You stay here. I will be right back. I don’t want you sneaking out any windows, got it?"
Janet stared back at him, completely oblivious to his words. She threw her arms up and fell back landing on her bum. Tim watched her, wondering if tears were coming but she only clapped her hands and laughed again.
"You are way too cheerful to be a Wayne," he mumbled, and got to his feet. "Speaker phone. Go."
"Hey, Timbo, it’s Isaac," the house speaker said and Tim sighed, already moving across the room to his desk in the corner.
"What now?" he asked, already irritated. Sometimes he was the only one that had any sense in the world. He looked over at Janet who sat in her same spot. She was still staring at him, watching him as she sucked on her fingers.
"So the project’s not going to be done by the end of the month. More like… June."
"June?" Tim rubbed his eyes as Isaac spouted facts and excuses, rambling off on a tangent about milk that had nothing to do with telecommunications. He wondered why he even bothered working with anyone at all. Bruce had the right idea, working alone-
Janet giggled. When he looked over, she was standing with her arms out like a tight-rope walker. “Dadadada!”
The stress melted away as she looked down at her feet, turned slightly inward on each other, then back at him.
"Can you walk?" he asked.
"Walk?" Isaac asked. "Tim, I’m not sure-"
"Not you. I’ll talk to you later. End call." The house beeped with the disconnection. "Walk to daddy, Janet."
Janet mumbled again, looking back at her toes. Her bangs fell back into her eyes where it had pulled from the pig tails on the side of her head. Dark, messy hair that stuck out on the light carpeting.
She took a step and swung her arms and took another boldly before falling back. Before Tim could move to help her, she was straightening herself out again. “Dada, goo. Me. Me.”
She took another step. Then another. She swung her arms and kept falling but Tim didn’t dare help her. After a few minutes of hard effort, stumbled into his arms. “Dada!”
Tim cradled his daughter against him, kissing the top of her head as she giggled.
"I’m so proud of you," he told her, meaning every word a million times. He looked back at her smiling face and tapped her nose with his finger. "Never tell your mother about this. She’ll kill me if she knew she missed you first steps."
Janet put a finger to her lips and loudly Shhhhhed.
Q:Swallowed In The Sea; Coldplay
The water gave relief as the sun beat down mercilessly through cloudless skies. The waves licked the sweat from her knees as the breeze took her hair and threw it over her shoulder.
Firm hands grasped her waist and she instantly twisted to break away. Tim laughed as he countered and soon they were tumbling into the bay together.
"You’re trying to drown me," Stephanie laughed as the current stole her hair and dragged them towards more open waters.
Tim traced his fingers over the curve of her body, holding her tight. “Never.”
"Better tell the ocean it can’t have me then," Steph said, trying to get up. Tim protested, pulling her back on top of them, water splashing laughter.
"You belong with me," Tim said as he kissed her, finally understanding just what they had. "Not swallowed in the sea."