Stephanie raced along the rooftops, grinning like a mad woman. Tonight would be her first time patrolling alone.
Pops had told her that even though she was allowed free reign, she was only to beat up common criminals and possibly a few gang members. Villains on the other hand, were an entirely different story. Batman may think they were the devil incarnate, but Stephanie and the rest of her family welcomed them into their ranks with open arms.
Sure, they were supposed to be heroes and all, but could one truly be called that if they didn’t try to understand the other side? That's how the Harper-Todd's managed to get a handful of honorary aunts and uncles. All of which were in Batman's Rogue Gallery.
Her first stop of the night would be Dr. Crane’s 'apartment', which was really just an old building he set up shop in. After the Joker’s death at the hands of her Pops, Dr. Crane as well as most of the other villains decided to tone down on the crime, or in some cases, stop all together. With the clown prince gone it was no longer survival of the fittest. They could finally do whatever they wanted without constantly having to watch their back for the lunatic. He had terrified them all into submission. For most, the only reason they had kept up their crime spree for so long was to keep the Joker off their back.
“Hey Uncle Crane!” Steph greeted, climbing in through one of the propped open windows. Said uncle gave a distracted ‘hello’, his body hunched over a table, furiously writing in a notebook.
Circling the table, Steph eyed the various beakers filled with strange colorful liquids and equipment that looked like it was taken right out of some mad-scientists lair. Though, if she thought about it, Dr. Crane could be considered a mad-scientist. “So~ Whatcha doin’?”
Crane paused, looking up at her from behind wire-framed glasses. There were bags under his eyes, not that that wasn’t unusual. The man did have insomnia after all. “Ah, nothing too strenuous. Harvey’s burns have been bothering him as of late so, I’m trying out a new formula for a more effective burn cream.”
Steph frowned, wondering why she was just hearing about it now. “When did it start bothering him?”
Crane sighed, bringing a hand up to rub the bridge of his nose. “As I’m sure you’re aware, your Uncle Harvey can be as stubborn as a mule when it comes to asking for help. So, for how long it’s been acting up I haven’t the faintest. It was only brought up to me by Jervis yesterday.”
Steph shook her head in exasperation. Of course, Harvey just had to be stubborn. “If you want, I can ask Aunt Ivy to stop by and help?”
The spindly man gave a weary smile. “I would appreciate that, child.” With a thumbs up and a promise to visit again soon, Stephanie set back out again—this time in search of her favorite uncle, Uncle Eddie.
Jumping from rooftop to rooftop, with the occasional flip here and there, the young vigilante made her way toward her uncles last known hideout. However, a few blocks from the hideout she spotted her green-suited uncle being chased by the Batman.
"Hey!" Spoiler shouted, landing a few feet away from the Dark Knight and Edward. "You can't arrest him! He promised to help me with my math this weekend!"
Batman glared his signature glare. “Move. This man belongs in Arkham.”
Spoiler scoffed, crossing her arms. As if she’d be intimidated by that. “Oh yeah, and what’d he do? Make some elaborate puzzle for you to solve?”
“This doesn’t concern you.” Why did she even bother? Of course, Batman wasn’t going to tell her shit.
With a roll of her eyes, Steph turned to the man formally known as the Riddler. “What happened Ed?” she asked softly, having noticed the slight muscle twitches and shaky hands.
“They wouldn’t give me my meds!” Edward paused to take a deep, shuddering breath. “I need them Spoils and they wouldn’t give them to me. So, I tried... I tried to take them...”
It broke Steph’s heart to see Eddie like this. “Why don’t you go to the safe house. Pops made sure to have extra meds for all you guys just in case.” Eddie gave a shallow nod, staring down at the cracked pavement. “Maybe think about spending the night. You look like you could use some sleep.”
As the former criminal ran off toward the Harper-Todd's, Spoiler turned back to Batman, who she had been ignoring for the entirety of the conversation. He didn’t appear to be attempting to give chase again, instead he was just staring at her.
So, she stared right back. “What is your problem?” She couldn’t help being annoyed with the older vigilante.
“Do you have any idea how freaking stupid you are? I mean seriously . Did you even think to ask Eddie what happened before you decided to chase him down and arrest him, maybe even beat him up a little if he resisted?” Batman was silent. “What you should be doing is investigating why those pharmacists refused to give him his medication. The man has diagnosed OCD, autism and possible ADHD for god’s sake! What do you think happens when he is off his meds? He starts acting like he did as the Riddler, that’s what! Why do you think he's been off the grid for so long? That’s right, he’s been on his medication! Just like Crane, Tetch and the rest of your punching bags. So, stay away from him or else.” Turning on her heel, Steph deployed her grappling hook, leaving a speechless Batman in her wake.
Stephanie was still fuming from her encounter with Batman as she made her way downstairs from the roof access.
In the living room, Jason was flicking through the day's newspaper when Stephanie entered. “How was it?” A grunt was all he got in response, so he let her be. It was best to let her talk when she was ready. After all, Stephanie in a mood was something no one wanted to mess with.
Throwing herself onto a nearby armchair, Stephanie blurted out— “Why does Batman have to be such a dick?”
Jason set down the newspaper with a sigh. “What he do this time?”
Taking a deep breath, Stephanie hugged her knees against her chest and began her retelling of the night’s events. “I was on my way to visit Uncle Eddie when I saw him being chased by Batman. I couldn’t understand why. Eddie gave up being the Riddler a few years ago after we got him on his meds.” Jason nodded in agreement as his daughter continued. “Once Batman stopped, I asked Eddie what happened... Pops, they wouldn’t give him his meds. I’m not sure if he attacked them or not, but he clearly wasn’t in the right mind. He was starting to relapse, but instead of trying to figure out what was wrong, Batman still went after him. He didn’t even try to understand the situation.” Tears were rolling down her cheeks by then as she hid her face in her knees.
Jason pulled her against his chest in a comforting embrace as she released all her pent-up frustration. He already had a sense of what had happened when Edward came rushing in earlier, but he had thought it best for Stephanie to get the encounter off her chest.
God dammit, Bruce. Why do you have to be so blind?