HAHA SO THIS REALLY SNOWBALLED AND I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER ABOUT IT. Hope you enjoy, ma chérie!
"D, this isn’t going to work unless you give me your hand," Stephanie deadpans, because honestly. He hides it well, but his neck and the tips of his ears are just beginning to flush with embarrassment, or, quite possibly, irritation.
He doesn’t move toward her.
"I-" he starts, feeling very much the fool, a little bit flustered, a little bit exasperated. Palms raised at his waist level in hesitation, and Stephanie seizes this opportunity to snatch his wrists and position him correctly: One hand grasped gently in hers, the other arm twined around her waist, hand on her lower back. Damian’s cheeks are in real danger of catching fire entirely.
Stephanie struggles to hold in a small smile.
"Never danced with a girl before, have you?" she asks.
"Don’t be ridiculous. Of course I have," Damian snaps, but with a little less vitriol than she might have expected.
His grip on her waist tightens, nearly imperceptibly, and she dives into the first step. During the hour or two of instructions that follow she watches his face, trying to get a feel for how much he doesn’t want to be there. Testing the waters, of sorts, but Damian’s outer demeanor has reclaimed its stoicism and she can’t really begin to puzzle him out just yet. A semester abroad kept her out of Gotham for lengthy stretches, and falling back into the Batgirl-and-Robin dynamic has not been as smooth as she would have hoped.
In between steps, he darts his head up suddenly and catches her eyes on him.
"What?" he asks, immediately. Brassily, off-kilter and overcompensating.
"Nothing," Steph replies easily. "You’re taller, that’s all."
"I grew several inches when you were away," he informs her flatly, but there’s a curious inflection under away.
She hums in agreement, and their mouths go still, bodies moving through the motions in the quiet. Every small step twists the scent of lilacs toward Damian -some kind of flowery deoderant, maybe?- and it’s faint but punches him in the chest with recognition nonetheless. He would have recognized it anywhere, but it’s particularly potent when she’s standing so close. He feels his chest knitting itself together, thoughts roiling, and suddenly it’s too much. The proximity, the smell, the clear-color in her eyes when she laughs him through the next dance step.
"I must go," Damian says, all of a sudden. Breaking eye contact and dropping her hand. "I have forgotten- I have a meeting with Father."
Steph’s brows draw together. “I- Okay,” she says, perplexed, and her eyes follow his back out of the room. He’s practically running, but she knows for a fact that Bruce is out of the city today. She also knows, however, that pressing Damian will only push him farther into himself.
So all she says when she folds her arms -right hand a little bit warm- and calls after him is,
"Same time tomorrow?"
Damian hesitates. “Tomorrow,” he agrees, and doesn’t look back.
I suddenly intensely want an au fic based on Roman Holiday where Stephanie Brown is Gregory Peck’s character, and Damian is Audrey Hepburn.
Watching the sibling interaction in The Lizzie Bennett Diaries has made me realize how much I totally want a Batsib vlog in my life.
Can’t you just imagine?
Tim: My name is Tim Drake, and this is my-
Damian: Really, Drake? Your life isn’t even compelling enough to be of interest to those of us unfortunate enough to be part of it.
Tim: Will you stop ruining my video?!
Dick: Okay guys, break it up…
oh my God. I would kill to see Damian’s impression of Stephanie.
I could see Cass being like Darcy, in that she doesn’t show her face until late in the series, but the entire fandom flips their shit out of joy when she does.
It doesn’t matter which universe they come from, they all have a soft spot for musicals.
Artemis has a special super secret place in her heart for Rogers and Hammerstein. One of her only good memories of her family being together involves them watching a Rogers and Hammerstein marathon on tv. She hopes that no one ever finds out, because she’s a little embarrassed that it doesn’t fit the image she projects, but even more because she’s ambivalent about how her love of R&H relates to her relationship with her family.
Of course, Dick found out about it, and did his damnedest to con Artemis into being part of Gotham Academy’s production of Oklahoma! He failed, but in the process he did manage to find out that Artemis practically swoons when she hears “Some Enchanted Evening”.
Now, Jason knows every single word and lyric to Singin’ in the Rain. It was Catherine’s favorite movie, and they wore out their vhs watching it over and over again while she was sick. Sometimes he’ll start whistling songs from it without realizing what he’s doing, and (thanks to A Clockwork Orange) people get really nervous when he whistles the title song.
When Bruce took him in, Jason was secretly disappointed that his life didn’t turn out more like Annie.
It’s a well known fact that Stephanie loves Disney movies, but those were just her gateway musicals. The fact is, she’s a full blown drama geek. Her Spoiler costume? She used skills and materials she got from drama club to make that thing (which really explains a lot, when you think about it). Her superhero gig ate up all of her time (and resources), so she has never really pursued theater.
Still, she has an extensive library of movie musicals and cast soundtracks that she’s built over the years. Her favorite shows are My Fair Lady and Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, but “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha is her jam, y’all.
This might make no sense and be absolutely flawed, sorry, but here we go.
Now, I love Barbara Gordon as a character. I love her as Batgirl and I love her as Oracle. She’s fascinating, particularly because as Oracle she was able to stare down Batman and win. She could subvert him at every turn. She was smart, capable, and willing to learn from her mistakes and the mistakes of others. She could tear down empires with her clever twist of mind alone.
And she still can. But I think that as Oracle, she was more threatening to the status quo than she is as Batgirl. At face value, anyways. As I said, she could take down Batman without throwing a blow. Her team didn’t just go about beating up villains until internal stresses tore them apart forever—when she saw that one method of leadership didn’t work (the subplot with Helena comes to mind) she had to use compassion and mindfulness to regain trust. She wasn’t just wickedly powerful. She was adaptable. Not only that—she had the ability to make other heroes adapt. And I think all of that—Her compassion, her bravery, her strength of mind and her willingness to change—made her dangerous.
Because what is more dangerous to a patriarchal set-up where burly, grimdark superhero fellas reign supreme than an all-knowing, veritable powerhouse of a woman spreading her influence all over the globe? Where the ultimate patriarch—Batman—has to shut up, listen, and take a slice of humble pie from said woman? Where he respects her as an equal—or rather more. And the fact that Babs was disabled played more of a role in her threat to this system than almost anything.
As Oracle, she was…dare I say it? Toxic.
Better that Oracle disappear, then, that Batgirl return with a safe, less imposing title (and a miraculous cure for her paralysis) that gives one the illusion that she isn’t as dangerous as she once was. And if you compare the three Batgirls and try to find the one who is the least “toxic” in terms of being threatening to the powers that be, then Babs is the one.
Cass is toxic because of her race and her strength and skill. Steph is toxic because of her pregnancy and the resulting “bad girl” stamp of disapproval, as well as her class. They are also marked down because of their vocal following of women and POC. Such fans are not the type of people DC is looking for. Babs’ Batgirl has a devoted following of men as well as many women—but we know which group DC really cares about.
So in my mind, Cass and Steph being called “toxic” means that they pose a threat to a system that fears them (and the people who love them) so much that they must be branded poisonous. It means that Cass and Steph are characters who are as dangerous, as powerful, as influential as Oracle was. The toxic characters are the ones who are going to fuck shit up. They’re the ones who are going to challenge the way we think about heroes, about people, about our perceptions of people. You say they’re toxic, DC? Good. That means they’re worth supporting.