Title: Words of the Soul
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 09 June 2008
Fandom: DC Comics
Pairing: Cassandra Cain/Stephanie Brown (Batgirl/Spoiler)
Word Count: 831
Summary: Spoiler came back, and now Batgirl's there
Continuity: Comics, Post Robin 174
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DD08
Disclaimer: Belongs to DC Comics
The hardest part, Steph had thought when she came home, would be reuniting with her mother, with telling the woman she was alive and well. Maybe the second hardest would be the judicious snooping to find out just how her little girl was doing in her foster home. She could not have been further from the truth if she had tried.
The real gut-wrenching, soul-breaking reunion hadn't been Tim, even if she had been flattered at the kiss he gave her. It hadn't been her mother, with the tears and the talking and the explanations.
It was Cass.
Stephanie had really expected to have more time to prepare for this. All the time she'd spent healing, getting her life back in order, she had been worrying for her friends and loved ones. But when she decided it was time to return, none of her worries had prepared her for the horror stories of reality. And where Tim had been caught in the safety net of Nightwing and Batman and others, Cass had been left to suffer on her own, falling prey to one of the sickest villains out there.
Steph had been saved, had been spared more pain, but Cass had been through grieving her and then faced hell all on her own. It made Steph feel small, more of a coward for letting Leslie take her away. From the moment she saw Cass walking across the cavern floor, Steph felt the ache of that pain building, flaring hot enough to make her eyes sting with the effort to not cry.
The use of code-name when her mask was off shocked Steph into a semblance of self-control.
It felt...wrong. Steph just wanted to call her friend's name, to reach out and try to explain it all, to make her flimsy excuses, and try to find a way to redemption in Cass's eyes.
Eyes that were even now measuring her with solemn dignity, the same dignity that had set Cass so far apart from them. Cass had the eyes of someone who had looked into the blackest pits of her own soul, and decided that she could be at peace with what lay there.
"Come." One word, and then Cass turned away from her, walking toward the deeper cave, where some of the training mats were. Steph could only follow, her thoughts in an uproar, even as her body did just what she wished by walking steadily, betraying nothing to either Tim or Batman.
She had not forgotten that Cass could read bodies like other people read books, though, and knew this conversation was going to be harsh and painful when Cass spoke to her. Steph could not quite stop herself from bracing for a solid confrontation when they were on the mats farthest from the two males in the cave.
Cass turned slowly, just looking at Steph for so long, until Steph just had to break the silence.
Just like she always had been the one to talk first.
"Cass, I can, well, not explain, but..."
Steph's words trailed off as Cass touched her fingers to Steph's lips firmly, a shake of her head stopping the words that were breaking the story of her body. When Steph was silent, the fingers slid over a strong jaw set in frustration, down the side of her neck that was corded with worry, along a shoulder set with resolve, and down the arm that trembled in a lack of understanding.
Then Cass's hand caught and tangled in Steph's, before the Asian girl leaned up and brought their lips together softly. Steph froze like so many of Gotham's victims, completely taken off guard by those two simple gestures.
Cass pulled back, her eyes soft now with her love that had survived grief and trials both.
Steph caught Cass's other hand, moving even closer, so that she could hug her friend tightly. It meant letting go of her hands, but that was okay, because Cass's hands were on her back then, and pulling her in.
"Together again," Steph breathed.
"As should be," Cass agreed.
Steph knew when to shut up, even if she could barely believe Cass was taking her back with no questions. How long they stood there like that, Steph never could have told anyone. It took a cough from closer to the computers to make them part some, but Cass's hand went right back in one of hers, and Steph did not need to be a good body reader to see what Cass was telling Batman silently.
Cass was defying the older man, daring him to separate them, while making a clear claim on what she regarded as hers.
Steph was almost positive she saw a faint smile touch Batman's lips, but the distance and lighting might have been enough to fool her.
"You two have the harbor tonight," was all he said, and that suited Steph to a tee. She had her partner back.