The Dead Robins Club @robin
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It wasn't often that they'd all come together like this, but when they did, it was because it was necessary. Stephanie would usually be the one to round them up - she'd give Jason a call, who would give Dick a call, who would let Damian know exactly what rooftop to meet them on, and then they'd sit down, dressed in civvies, legs hanging off the edge and gazes either trained on the skyline or the street below.

At first, it would be quiet, the silence between the three of them only breached by the sound of Jason taking a drag from his cigarette or by Stephanie tapping away at her phone. Damian was the only one who made no noise, and Stephanie thought that made sense - he'd snuck up on her enough times to cement his place as a little assassin, constantly melting into the shadows and shit.

But then Jason spoke, promptly putting his cigarette out, the smoke no longer wafting around them, and Stephanie put her phone away, and it began. They talked and talked and talked and talked - about their lives, about patrol, about being Robin, about being Spoiler, about being the Red Hood, about death. It was rarely somber between the three of them, despite the largely jarring subject matter. Stephanie would often joke, drawing laughs from Jason, whose usual vitriol was replaced with achingly familiar energy. The wound was too new for Damian to fully participate, and his older siblings understood that - they gave him the space to process, to feel.

They'd talk about waking up to know that the people you loved no longer had a space carved out for you in their lives. About having to reassemble yourself, your identity, all the reintroductions, and the complete discomfort of having to squeeze your way back into the fold. Jason and Stephanie knew it well - they knew the process, the sting of being cast out, deemed too aggressive, too volatile, too unfocused. The two had arranged for this in the first place to prevent Damian from going down that same path, and Dick, recognizing the necessity of the task, had extended his support.

They'd talk about waking up to know that the people you loved no longer had a space carved out for you in their lives. About having to reassemble yourself, your identity, all the reintroductions, and the complete discomfort of having to squeeze your way back into the fold. Jason and Stephanie knew it well - they knew the process, the sting of being cast out, deemed too aggressive, too volatile, too unfocused. The two had arranged for this in the first place to prevent Damian from going down that same path, and Dick, recognizing the necessity of the task, had extended his support.

And then Damian leaned back, and spoke with certainty. "I'm going to stay with Gordon tonight. I need to get away from the Manor."

Stephanie bobbed her head, a little concerned, and Jason grimaced.

"I need..." Damian clenched his hands, "some time to myself. Away from him and the... expectations. Away from it all. I can still patrol, but..." He left the rest of the statement unspoken, allowing it to hang in the air for a few moments.

"I require..." Damian clenched his hands, "some time to myself. Away from him and the... expectations. Away from it all. I can still patrol, but..." He left the rest of the statement unspoken, allowing it to hang in the air for a few moments.

"I understand what you mean," Jason offered, and Damian nodded in quiet appreciation. "It's real fucking tough, Dami. Just... a lot of pressure. Especially for us dead robins."

Stephanie grinned at the nickname, something she'd come up with a few months ago (much to Dick’s distress), and echoed Jason's sentiments. "He can be really weird sometimes, and if you need to get away from that, Babs is great to hang out with for a while. She was always there for me when I first became Spoiler, and I stayed with her more times than I can count when I was Batgirl. She's a lot easier to talk to. And she won't judge you, I promise."

"Can't count the number of times she's patched me up," Jason said, bracing a hand against the rooftop. "B has nothing on her, not gonna lie."

Damian looked forlorn, a show of emotion far beyond much of what Stephanie had seen from him. She reached out, brushing a hand against his shoulder in a silent question, and he inclined his head towards her. With that acceptance, she pulled him into a tight hug, leaning her cheek against his dark hair. His breathing was choppy, and it hit Stephanie that he was just a kid. It wasn't often that he accepted physical affection, but they'd grown close over her time as Batgirl, and she knew he needed it every now and then.

"I'll pick your stuff up from the Manor," Stephanie murmured. "Jay can let Alfred know in advance. I'll swing by Barbara's place with it tonight, okay?"

"I can inform Richard," Damian said, and that was that.


Alfred left a duffel bag for her on the balcony outside of Damian's room, and she swung upside down from her grappling line and made a grab for it. He'd left a scrap of paper on top of it - in his elegant cursive handwriting, he'd written a note that began with Dear Miss Stephanie and politely requested her presence at dinner on Friday. She paused to scribble back a reply, agreeing to attend and doodling hearts and a Thanks, Alfred :), and then she was off, into the city, touching down on everything from fire escapes to rooftops as she headed for the Clock Tower. When she arrived, panting and the bag successfully in tow, she drummed her knuckles against Barbara's window and slid her way inside when it opened.

Barbara greeted her with a smile, pointing at the other end of the room where Damian was leaning against a wall, drawing on a tablet before wheeling back over to her holographic array of computer screens. Stephanie slipped her mask and hood off and handed Damian the bag.

"Let us know if you need anything," she said, watching as Damian zipped the duffel open and retrieved his toothbrush.

"I will," he responded, and Stephanie gave him a dramatic little salute before slipping out of the Clock Tower and swinging back into the city.

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