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When Damian is three his mother comes to visit him. He's never met her before, but he thinks (with all the logic a three-year-old can) that she's the most beautiful person in the world. And when she hands him a child-sized sword, he wreaks havoc on the ninja brought in to face him. Then he looks at his mother and smiles, baby fat making him look precious, even with the blood covering him.

His mother smiles back at him, though her eyes don't change from being cold and calculating. Then she turns around sharply, hair swinging, and marches away. She's there watching him train the next day. And the next. And the next.

Finally, after nearly a month, she speaks to him.

"Wonderful, Damian."

The next day, she says the same. This goes on until about a month later when she asks him a question.

"Would you like to learn something new, Damian?"

"Yes, mother," he replies instantly.

She draws a knife from her side and circles. Damian follows suit. Then she lunges at him, and his sword goes flying.

"Tomorrow we will be working on keeping it in your hand," she declares before sweeping away.

Another month passes, and Damian starts to talk to her. Not without being prompted, of course. But they engage in debates about the merits of so-called 'superheroes'. They discuss what will become of the world after his grandfather rules it.

And one day, when Damian is quite sure she won't mind, he asks his mother if he can have long hair like her.

She turns away, hair swishing. He doesn't see her again until he's eight and all memory of those encounters are gone. But something about her hair always makes him happy and sad, all at the same time.

Talia is worried about her son. She calls in telepath in to look through his mind and find out what's so different about him. Talia regrets it the moment the telepath tells her what she wants to know. Damian cannot be a daughter.

"Wipe it," she orders harshly. "Make him forget that. Fix him."

The telepath flinches. "My lady, that is not how the mind works. No matter what I do it will always be there, just harder to find. I cannot to much more than hide it."

"Then hide it," Talia snarls, feeling ashamed of herself at this moment. She always hated being put below men, and now her own child who is a girl will be forced to live as something sh-he is not.

"Yes, my lady." The telepath bows to her and leaves the room.

"Kill the telepath tomorrow morning," she orders the assassin standing behind her. "We can't have a word of this reaching my father."

Damian Wayne is ten and his father is dead. His mother is gone. And he's stuck with an uncouth circus brat he wishes would just keel over and die. Grayson is not his father and doesn't deserve his respect. He must earn Damian's respect.

And he does. Weeks upon week of working together as partners. They become real partners. And Grayson earns Damian's respect. The others, Drake, Cain, Todd, Gordon, Brown, they don't, at least not as quickly as Grayson.

He wishes everyone else would just die though. He and Grayson are the only required ones. Drake is gone, and that makes it better. Todd is locked in Arkham Asylum. Gordon works as Oracle giving them information and hacking whenever they ask, so he supposes she's not so terrible. Cain isn't awful either. She was raised as an assassin, so she understands him more than even Grayson. But the one he hates the most is Brown. Brown with her long hair and girlish figure. Her blue eyes that remind him so much of his father.

His father comes back. His father becomes Batman again. Grayson leaves him, and Damian is mad. Grayson just left, as if Damian was a toy to be thrown aside or their time as partners was unimportant. He hates Grayson and misses him all at once in a confusing emotion.

Father isn't what he expects. Father doesn't understand him, and sometimes Damian swears his father hates him. He knows it's not true, well, it's not true according to Grayson. But it doesn't matter, because as much as he hates Grayson for leaving him, he wants him back as Batman again.

Damian dies. He's pretty sure his mother ordered it, or if she didn't, she's okay with it. Why else would her creation have killed him? Her perverse attempt at having some semblance of control over him?

Whatever the case, Damian dies. Then he wakes up in his father's arms. Alive. And something inside him breaks.

There's something he should remember. Something important. Something about himself. It's on the tip of his brain, but it just doesn't seem to want to be revealed. And that frustrates him endlessly.

Then again, maybe it's just the fact that Grayson is dead. His Batman is dead. Damian tries not to be hurt by it. He is a cold-hearted assassin, as Drake seems so fond of telling him. He should not care about a measly life. But he does. He cares because Grayson is the only one who understands him, and he's dead.

Then Grayson is alive, and Damian is too relieved to be furious with either his father or fool of an older brother.

And for a while, everything is as it should be. Nothing is wrong or out of place. But Damian should know better. Should know that he breaks everything around him because he is crumbling. He is alone and nothing fits anymore. The happiness of Grayson being alive only serves to emphasize the hole in his very being.

Grayson, being Grayson, sees that something is wrong, and when he confronts Damian about it, Damian shoos him away. Says it's nothing even though he screams that it's not. And the worst part is that Grayson believes him. Or at least decides to leave it alone.

It hurts, because even if Grayson did know what is wrong with Damian, he doubts his elder brother would have been able to help. The pervasive feeling of wrongness is entwined so deeply into his very being that he doubts even a telepath could help him. So he does the only thing his small, ten-year-old mind can think of. He pushes the feelings of wrongness to the back of his mind and pretends they don't exist for a very long time.

When Damian is thirteen he meets Superboy and starts to work with the Teen Titans. Superboy is infuriating in the way only a Kryptonian can be. He's young. Stubborn. And impulsive. He despises him so very much.

The Teen Titans are hard to be around too, but at least they're teenagers like him. They know who his grandfather is. They understand at least some parts of how he grew up. And when he spends time with them, he finds himself staring at them too.

West and Logan are not terrible. They make immature jokes and for some reason assume that he's not smart enough to lead them. Though they do attempt to include him in some of their activities, he usually doesn't join. Video games are not for him.

Raven and Starfire, their another story. And he finds himself staring at them more than is appropriate. Not because they're beautiful, though they certainly are, but for some other reason that raises an indecipherable feeling in his gut. Jealousy?

So he pushes himself away. He becomes unapproachable most of the time. It's easier that way. Better for both him and the rest of them.

After he starts to work with Superboy, Damian begins to notice things. Things that just don't make sense to him. Superboy is taller than him even though he is three years younger. His eyes are an amazing shade of blue. And Damian thinks he's falling in love, which is not… entirely unpleasant, but is not supposed to happen. Superboy is younger than him and he can not fall in love with a Kryptonian.

So he fights. He argues and is rude to Superboy. He treats him worse than he should, but as time passes, they do become friends. Damian curses himself even as he calls Superboy 'Jon'. He can't be defeated by a silly crush. And this crush isn't helping the slowly growing ball of wrongness that is his very being.

Raven notices Damian's struggling, of course. She's an empath, so it's not that surprising. Still, Damian is surprised when Raven confronts him late at night as he's hunched over a computer, going over a case for the millionth time.

"Damian," she says. That's it. Simply his name. It sends a shiver through his soul.

"What is it, Raven," he asks, clipped. Succinct. Precise. He doesn't have time to allow his feelings to control him, especially in front of an empath.

"You're not okay," she says gently. "You really aren't."

Damian laughs, surprising her. "No, I suppose I'm not."

Raven seems… not surprised, but a little off-guard at his easy admittance. He is too. The feelings have been dogging him since he was a young child facing off against trainers and assassins alike have been hidden for so very long that he has almost convinced himself they don't exist. Almost.

"You need to make peace with yourself," Raven tells him. "Otherwise you will die."

"I have work to do," Damian deflects. "We can talk later."

Raven purses her lips. "You need to leave and figure yourself out. You deserve to know."

"And you can't just tell me what's wrong?" Damian asks, throwing his arms out and whirling around to face her.

Raven looks at him, face caught somewhere between sympathy and determination. Her eyes close as if she's finding strength.

"No," she proclaims softly. "It is for you and you alone to find out. I will not."

Damian glares at her, but the argument about to spring forth dies on his lips. Something in him crumples very, very small. And he lowers his head.

"Fine," he whispers. "I'm going home. You and Starfire are in charge while I'm gone. Keep Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Beast Boy out of trouble."

Going home apparently means he spends time with Superboy testing his flying speed and seeing their new secret base. It means finding out he's going to school in Metropolis. He despises that aspect of it, but at Jon's hopeful face he sighs deeply and resigns himself to it, though with protest.

After he is shown their base, he is brought home by his father. He's not sure what he's supposed to be doing. Raven pretty much ordered him to find out what was wrong. But how can he do that?

He finally settles into a familiar lotus position on his bed and closes his eyes. Meditation has always helped him clear his head, even if it's not in the way Raven thinks he should. He's pretty sure that he'll never find out what is wrong with him anyway. Not when whatever is wrong with him has been a part of him since he was a mere child who still looked at the world in wonder.

Whatever the case, Damian meditates. And it goes… surprisingly well. Normally he can meditate, but it's always been hard for him to quiet his mind. To not have his thoughts rush in so many different ways. But today it's simple. That surprises him.

The next day his mind wanders into the unfamiliar realm of girls. Something he's never really thought about. He's had a few stray thoughts about them, but never in the manner he's thinking now. It begins with Brown.

She waltzes into the Batcave in a flowy skirt that Drake is quick to compliment. Damian glances up from his book and notices it, thinks about it in a small way, but he doesn't pay any attention to it until later.

He's in his room and thinking laying out his clothes for the next day. It's a habit that he formed while in the care of the League. He never knew when to expect an important guest, so he always had proper clothing laid out in case someone came in the middle of the night. And as he sets a simple brown shirt out, he finds himself idly wishing for a skirt like Browns'. It terrifies him.

He is a boy. He cannot wish for a skirt. He cannot want to wear one. He cannot. It goes against everything that his mother's instructors instilled in him from a young age.

Still, as he pulls the sheets up to his neck that night, he can't help but wonder. And he tries using 'she' in his head, quietly. It fits in a surprising and terrifying way. Something snaps away and everything makes sense.

Once she is back with the Titans, Raven gives her a small, hidden smile. No one else sees it, no one except for Damian. It makes her feel warm and fuzzy inside in all the right ways. Ways she's never even known she could feel warm and fuzzy.

School starts, and Jon is making friends with a girl whom Damian hates. She hates that Jon is making friends with the girl, and that the girl isn't insulted by any of Damian's insults, and it feels like Jon is being stolen away from her. She refuses to believe that this has anything to do with her possible crush on the Kryptonian, and that is has everything to do with how the girl Jon plays with is obviously evil.

And this means she's in a bad mood for most of the school day, which just leads to trouble. Like getting the rest of her class assigned 200 pages of reading. It makes her feel better for a bit, but also paints a target on her back, a target Jon is quick to point out.

She shushes him, and they find her mother waiting for her under the bleachers. Her mother demands she return to serving as an assassin, or else. Damian has an idea what the 'or else' entails based off the knowing look Talia is giving her.

That night as her and Jon thwart the attempt on Jon's mother's life, Talia and her fight, and her mother snarls: "Does your father know yet? That you're broken? That you came out wrong? Not as a son, but a daughter?"

Damian's silence is answer enough.

Her mother laughs. "You think he'll still love you after he finds out?"

Damian trembles and throws the shattered remains of the dagger at her mother. Talia catches it and is gone. And with her, Damian's hope of her father's acceptance.

Superboy lands on the roof finally and thanks Damian, something that makes her stomach flip around. She squashes that feeling down and instead banters with Jon in a familiar manner. It's nice, calm, and something she will always cherish.

She needs to tell her father. She knows this. She's ready for it. Or, she thinks she is. Something along those lines. Hopefully.

She actually takes time out of her schedule just so she can tell him, but at the last moment chickens out and escapes to Brown's dorm room. It's locked, but a simple lock can't stop her. She breaks in easily and sits on the bed. Loath though she may be to admit it, Brown is nice to talk to, at times.

She waits impatiently for Brown to get back from her college classes, fidgeting. When Brown does enter the room, she seems surprised by Damian's presence, but takes it in stride, sitting down on the bed next to her after throwing her books onto the floor. There is no talking for quite a long time.

"I need to tell my father something, but I'm scared," she finally admits.

Brown puts a hand on Damian's shoulder but doesn't say anything.

"I don't want him to hate me or think me weaker," she says.

"Bruce loves you. He loves you a heckofa lot more than he even likes me. I think you're safe, kid," Brown reassures him.

Damian looks at her sharply. "That's not true. He just doesn't tell you that he finds you endearing."

Brown smirks slightly and shrugs. Somehow I doubt that, but sure. Anyway, Bruce will still love you no matter what you tell him. And if you're worried, you can always stay with me tonight to put off saying anything."

Damian shrugs and looks away.

Brown doesn't stand for that and turns Damian back towards her. "Damian, you're his son-"

Damian flinches. Brown notices and pauses in whatever comforting sentence she had prepared. She's a Bat, after all. She's smart enough to pick up cues.

"Oh," she gasps, bringing a hand up to her mouth. "You're not, are you?"

Damian blushes and looks away. She tries to find something to say, to tell Brown she doesn't know what she's talking about. That she's wrong. But she can't force herself to say anything, and simply glares at the floor ferociously.

"Damian, it's okay," Brown says comfortingly. "Your dad won't be mad at you or anything. I promise."

"Mother said that father will no longer love me if I say something. She told me that I'm broken."

"That's not true, Damian," Brown says, sounding like she'd quite like to punch Damian's mother very hard. "Your dad went to the ends of the Earth, literally, for you. He loves you more than life itself. And you are not broken. One of my exes was kind of like you. Everyone thought he was a girl, but he wasn't. It's not even being born in the wrong body, it's people being dumb. If you don't want to be a boy, that's okay."

"What happened to him? Why did you break up?" Damian asks because any way to get the attention off of herself is good.

Brown smiles bitterly. "Being Batgirl makes it hard to be on time for dates. We're still friends though."

Damian considers this. "Why did this have to happen to me?" she asks, quiet voice tremulous with emotions she's concealed for years. "I was bred to be perfect."

"Damian," Brown says softly, pleadingly. "You are perfect. You're as perfect as anyone can be. We're all only human. And while humans make mistakes sometimes, being yourself will never be one."

"It feels like it is," Damian whispers.

"I promise it never is," Brown says, pulling her into a hug. "Not if you're surrounded by those who love you."

Brown drives her back to the Manor that night, after an afternoon of quiet pleading from Brown for her to tell her father, and stubborn refusal from her on the same matter. Brown rings the doorbell, and Damian holds back a scathing comment about how it's her house and she doesn't need to knock.

Mere moments after Brown rings the doorbell, her father throws the door open, looking to be caught somewhere between exasperated and angry. Her father looks between the two of them for a few moments, then his eyes narrow.

"Where did you find him?" he asks Brown.

She shrugs. "My dorm. Came to talk to me."

Bruce's eyebrows raise in surprise and disbelief. He doesn't believe her. To be fair, before today, Damian wouldn't have either.

"Anywho, I'm gonna head out, okay D?" Brown walks towards her car and winks at Damian while giving her a salute.

Damian nods in return and turns towards the Manor, carefully avoiding her father's curious gaze. She takes a step inside and waits for her father to close the door. When he does, he sighs and rubs his forehead, then he turns around to face Damian, who has already begun to walk upstairs and to her room.

On the thirteenth step, her father stops her with a gentle hand on her shoulder. She looks up at him in surprise.

"What's wrong, Damian?" her father asks kindly. "You can tell me."

She hesitates, then steels herself, prepared to ruin everything. "I do not believe that I am a boy."

Overall, she feels like her father reacts quite well. He isn't disgusted by her. He doesn't believe she's broken. And most importantly, he lets her decide what she wants. Within reason, of course. No hormones until she's sixteen, although puberty blockers are allowed.

She's absolutely giddy, well, as giddy as she can be. And it just feels like magic. Everything in her life is perfect. And it will be forever, or at least that's what it feels like. Now she only has to tell the rest of the family.

Father has them all come over for a simple dinner. He's been very supportive, but her father is an awkward person in general, emotionally, and where he used to treat her with exasperation, he now seems unsure how to act. He's a little off, though it's in the best way he can be off. Damian thinks it's because he's as mystified by the idea of a daughter as she is at being a girl.

Maybe he expects her to like skirts and dresses covered in lace. Or the color pink. Or sappy love songs. Or texting. Or romance movies. But really, she doesn't. She's quite happy dressing as she always has and acting as she always has. She doesn't want to become a porcelain doll. She wants everything to stay the same as before with the exception of her gender.

Everyone is there for dinner. Even Jason, a feat in and of itself. She doesn't know how her father managed to get the wayward middle child to agree to come, but she suspects it has something to do with Alfred's cooking. The dinner is nice, filled with small talk and jokes. Everything is so perfect, and she really can't bring herself to say anything.

Brown starts to shoot her long stares more and more frequently as the meal goes on, and Drake being Drake notices, but he keeps quiet and re-engages with the conversation around the table. At the moment, everyone is focused and poking jabs at Dick's newest fashion monstrosity, which Gordon gleefully joins in.

After everyone is done eating, she still hasn't said a thing. Brown walks beside her and as soon as everyone else has entered the Batcave drags her to an empty living room. Cassandra trains behind them lazily, as if she already knows what's going on, which to be fair, she probably does.

"Are you planning on telling everyone? Did you tell B? How did he take it?" Brown hisses quickly.

"Yes, of course I'm going to say something," she scoffs. "And of course I told father. He was accepting, as expected."

Brown shakes her head fondly. "You're something else, Damian, you really are. Isn't she, Cass?"

Cassandra doesn't seem confused by the female pronoun. She takes a step forward, kneels down, and hugs Damian to her. Damian stiffens, and ever-so-slowly wraps her own arms around her elder sister.

"You will be a good little sister," Cassandra says into her ear gently. "Glad you know now too."

She releases Damian, and now Damian can't help but wonder how long Cassandra has known what took her ages to figure out for herself. Both older girls start to walk away and towards the Batcave. Damian runs and beats them to the bottom of the stairs. She grabs her uniform and changes into it as quickly as she can.

With an unusual surge of bravery, Damian stands next to her motorcycle and announces quite loudly: "I'm a girl."

She jumps on and starts to zoom out right after, but she doesn't get away fast enough to miss Jason saying: "Shit, now the girls really outnumber us."

Overall there aren't many changes. She doesn't want to change her Robin uniform. A skirt would get in the way and what does she care if some common criminal notices whether she's a girl or a boy? Besides, crime-fighting as a boy is in many ways safer than it is as a girl.

At home, she doesn't change much either. She doesn't start to wear bows or anything frilly. She doesn't wear make-up. No one outside the family knows. It will be something that needs to be said eventually, for school purposes and such, but her and father have agreed it's best to wait until the starts of the next school year and not part way through this one. The only real change to herself other than puberty blockers is the decision to grow her hair out.

She will have to tell the Titans eventually. She wants to be seen as a girl by some of her best friends, not that she would ever admit that to them. She's still slightly nervous about what their reactions might be. She knows logically that Jackson is gay, Starfire is possibly pansexual, and Raven is a mystery to everyone. She knows they'll be fine with it. Garfield is really the only wild card, but then again, she's seen how he acts when people are discriminated against for anything, from skin color to sexuality to religion. He becomes ferocious.

She also needs to tell Jon, but that's… harder. He's her best friend and she doesn't want to ruin anything. Jon is the most kind-hearted, open-minded person she's ever met, so she knows he would never bat an eye, but still.

When she finally gets the nerve to say something to Raven, it's when they're alone again at night. She'd been working on updates to some of the computers and Raven had phased into the room again, reminding her of what began this self-discovery.

"I suppose I should thank you," she finally says, never looking away from the computer once.

"For what?" Raven asks.

Damian sighs deeply and punches in a few more strings of code. "For helping me be me. I'm a girl."

"I know, Damian. I'm an empath. I can tell the difference between boys and girls."

Damian feels a wave of frustration well up. "Why didn't you say anything to me?"

"You needed to figure it out on your own," she says calmly, and Damian feels the frustration disappear as quickly as it came. "Besides, I know how much you hate being told stuff about yourself unless you figure it out on your own."

"I suppose," Damian grumbles. "Thank you then, Raven. For everything."

"Are you going to tell the rest of them?"

Damian ponders this for a moment. "Breakfast tomorrow."

Breakfast goes as she expects and yet not as she expects at all. Jackson is as welcoming as she expects, Garfield says something snide about her being the one girl he'll never hit on because she'll kill him. Starfire welcomes her to sisterhood and asks about the meaning of a word. West nods along and goes back to giving puppy eyes at Raven.

She's so thankful for friends such as these, and sometimes she can't help but wonder what she did to deserve them. It must have been something good in a previous life. Now she only needs to tell Superboy. Her father was given permission to tell the elder Kents of her situation fist, so they could give the okay for her to share with Jon. Better safe than sorry. Her father tells her they are completely welcome to the idea of her sharing with her best friend.

Her hair gets longer. She doesn't want to cut it. It's only just begun to grow out, so it's much too short to do anything with other than either slick it back with an obscene amount of hair gel or leave loose and shaggy. It just barely brushes the base of her neck.

Superboy asks her about it after a mission. Why she's letting her hair get so long. She doesn't know what to say. Luckily, someone attacks them and she doesn't have to say anything.

Next time Jon asks her why her hair is getting so long is on lunch break at school. A group of taller teens come over and tease her about her hair when they overhear Jon asks. They tell her she looks like a girl. She ignores them with a practised ease. Jon though, who's never been able to stand bullies, stands up, ready to defend her or throw a punch, whichever comes first.

She tugs on his sleeve and forces him to sit back down.

"Yeah, listen to your girlfriend, Kent," the leader sneers before marching away, his lackeys close behind.

"Listen, Damian," Jon begins kindly. "You shouldn't have to listen to them teasing you about having long hair. Sorry for asking."

Damian shrugs. There are things she could be more bothered about. Being called a girl, even if it's not in the exact context she wants, isn't the worst thing in the world to happen to her.

"No, really," Jon intones. "It was wrong of them. They shouldn't have made fun of you at all. Maybe we should go to the principle."

"It's fine, Jon, I'm not bothered by it much," she assures him.

"It's still wrong of them to treat you like that," Jon argues.

"Jon, it's okay."

"No, it's not." Jon sounds distressed.

She nearly groans, then looking around carefully to check if anyone's in range for hearing, she says: "Listen, Jon. I wasn't going to tell you this today, but I am a girl. Not born one, Just…"

Jon's face stays surprisingly level. "Oh, you mean like that person on TLC." He snaps his fingers. "Jazz Jennings, right?"

Damian nearly laughs in relief. "Yes, like Jazz Jennings."

Jon groans. "I'm so sorry, D. I feel like a jerk. I haven't been very-"

"Shut up, Kent," she snaps, although she feels very happy. "I don't need special treatment. I'm still Damian. Now be quiet and eat your sandwich. We have patrol tonight."

Jon smiles. "Yes, ma'am."

The first time she wears anything remotely girly is on a mission with the Titans. They need an undercover agent. She protests is greatly, tries to convince them to use Raven or Starfire, but they argue that someone younger is much better suited to the role. And loath she may be to admit it, but she still looks quite young. She agrees with many sighs and death threats.

She grumbles and puts on the skirt, glasses, and sparkly headband that makes her still short hair look somewhat acceptable. The mission is over fast and no matter how impractical, she likes the skirt.

Next time she's in Gotham, she has Oracle buy her a handful of long, flowy skirts and several colorful, girl shirts. She likes them, though she still likes her regular wardrobe of sensible slacks and plain black shirts too. Gordon throws in a pair of heels with the order. Damian sneers at them and throws them in the back of her closet at first. Two hours later she changes her mind.

At school, she sticks to a boys uniform. Her father promises her she can switch over to the girls now if she really wants, but she's content waiting. It's safer too. Besides, once she's in a girls uniform, the world will know Bruce Wayne's only biological son is a girl. She's not quite ready for that yet.

Time passes.

When Damian turns fourteen she's not really that much taller than she was when she first turned thirteen. She doesn't really look different either. Her face and basic shape are the same. Her hair is really the only difference. It's long enough to qualify as a bob now. To celebrate her birthday, she even gets it cut into a nice bob, not the shaggy thing she had before.

Jon is still taller than her and all the girls her age are starting to change. She's thankful for the puberty blockers. She doesn't dare to imagine how horrible it might have been without them. She is sick of waiting though, and she demands her father let her go on hormones. She wants all the soft curves and parts that come with being a teenage girl. Her father stands his ground and reasserts sixteen as the age she can start them.

She agrees, albeit halfheartedly. She finally comes out publicly, or at least, her father has the PR people do it. It's a trending piece of news for a few weeks that summer. When school finally starts again, Jon is the only person that talks to her. She's glared at a lot by everyone else, even some teachers. She enjoys the girls uniform.

Once she overhears one of Jon's friends ask: "Why do you hang out around the Wayne freak? My dad says he's only saying he's a girl for attention."

"Well your dad is dumb then," Jon snaps. "Damian's super nice. You just need to give her a chance."

Right then and there Damian resolves to try to be nice to anyone who tries to become her friend, if only for Jon's sake. She owns it to him with how he's sticking up for her.

"Then why does he still call himself 'Damian' if he's a girl?" the voice sneers.

"Maybe just because she likes the name," Jon suggests thinly.

"Or maybe because he's just a fa-"

Suddenly the harsh word cuts off with a howl of pain and a loud crack.

"You punched me!" the voice screeches thickly, sounding muffled. "You punched me!"

Later, Damian finds out Jon's suspended. His parents don't punish him. They're proud he defended Damian. She acts nicer to him than normal for a week after the incident. She never hears about that specific friend of Jon's again.

Her fourteenth and fifteenth years pass in a blur of normality. Nothing major happens for once and she can't help but be grateful. Her sixteenth birthday she gets her first hormones. They come in a small bottle. She takes the first one carefully. She gets a few gifts from the Titans. Jon gives her a book shyly. She's proud to say that she's grown out of her crush on him from when she was thirteen. Although sometimes she suspects he might have one on her.

School has become better to the point of being monotonous. She has a few people she can call acquaintances, though Jon is still the person she sits with at lunch every single day. Her real friends are still and will always be the Titans, and of course, Jon.

She looks very much like how she's always wanted to now. Her face is just a little softer. She has curves in the right spots. Her hair is very long and fine. It's a wavy dark brown that makes her look like her mother. She sometimes wonders if her mother still loves her, or if she ever did.

Brown, Gordon, Cass, and her host an annual monthly girl's night where they watch action movies, do nails and hair, and gossip. It's almost always at Brown and Drake's apartment, and sometimes it will be at Gordon and Graysons'. Life is perfect.

There are still hard times. There always will be. Soon after her birthday, she begins to work with Oracle, learning the way of the computers. After a particularly brutal night and argument with Drake, she takes her katana into the yard and kills a few bushes, all the while yelling about Drake and stupid patrol.

It's not the best anger management lesson, but she feels better afterwards, so. She isn't aware of the pair of eyes following her every move and taking note of her every word.

After she goes inside, the doorbell rings. She's the only one home/out of the Batcave, so she answers. Standing outside is a boy who can't be older than ten.

He waves cautiously.

"Hi, my name's Peter Burke. I'm lost. Do you think you could help me get my parents?"

Damian takes in the small child, sees that he's not lying, and opens the door wider.

"Come in," she says politely. "Do you know their number?"

Peter nods.

"Good. Can you tell me?"

The small boy recites it dutifully, looking around the kitchen with wide eyes. After she's gotten a hold of his frantic parents, she grins slyly.

"Would you like a cookie?"

Peter nods eagerly.

It's only about fifteen minutes later the doorbells rings again, revealing a pale woman who doesn't look at all like Peter and a man who could be an older clone with more of an afro and glasses. They apologize profusely, telling her all about the bus system messing up his drop off. She waves it off and tells them it's fine.

She doesn't think about Peter Burke again until he shows up on the doorstep to Wayne Manor one year later when she's seventeen and tells the whole family about how he knows who they are and he wants to help track down his parents' killers.

Drake and Brown take a liking to the boy who reminds Damian of a younger Drake and adopt him. He doesn't have any family alive beside his mother's sister who is in jail for fraud. A few months later, Damian gives him Robin and retires to a position at Oracle's side. She only patrols with Jon and occasionally the Titans, though now she's mostly support there too.

The craziest thing is, she's happy. Her life is amazing and she's pretty sure it can't get any better until Peter starts to call her 'Aunt Ninja'.

Damian steps onto the grounds of Gotham University when she's eighteen. She has her degree completely planned out. She's going to be a veterinarian. She's going to buy a farm on the outskirts of Gotham so Batcow, Titus, and Alfred the Cat have plenty of space.

It feels like everyone is where they're meant to be. Drake is acting CEO of WI. Todd, while still legally dead, is actually running a car shop on the side with one of his fake IDs. Grayson is a police detective. Gordon is a computer scientist. Brown is a doctor working at the same clinic as Leslie Thompkins, though she's on maternity leave after having her and Drake's first biological child. Peter is enjoying being an older sibling. Her father is working as Batman and enjoying his expanding family. Cassandra is having a good time as a physical therapist and ballet teacher on the side.

Everyone still works as heroes at night, though again, Brown is on leave for now. Her and Drake's daughter is worth taking some time off, Damian thinks.

Damian graduates from college a year early, and at the age of twenty-one, she buys a veterinary clinic. It's never really that busy, but she doesn't mind. It pays the bills, lets her buy her farm, and gives her plenty of time to work alongside Oracle as tech support and with Jon as Flamebird (she blames Dick for the name).

One day, Jon runs into the clinic looking sweaty and nervous. He's just turned nineteen last week. She turns twenty-two in a month. "Hello, Jon," she drawls. "What is it?"

"Doyouwantotgoouttodinnerwithme," he blurts out.

Damian blinks and takes a moment to translate. She nods her head. "Sure, why not.

Jon gapes.

"Wha-just like that?"

Damian smiles sweetly and tightens her ponytail.

"Why not? Just let me finish stitching the cut on this dog's leg."

Jon looks around and finally seems to notice the small pug. He blushes a brilliant red.

"Oh. Oops."

"Make sure we go somewhere your father won't be able to see or hear us," she tells Jon absently.


"If your father finds out, he'll tell my father, and my father will tell my siblings, nephew, and niece."

Jon pales. "How does Japan sound?"

Damian laughs. "Sounds good."

Damian Wayne and Jonathan Kent get married on a warm summer afternoon. She is happy.