The door opened exactly 3 seconds after Steph had knocked on it. She probably shouldn’t be surprised anymore since speedster .
“Hey, come on in!”, Wally smiled at her. He looked tired and worried.
Steph hugged him: “How is Dick doing today?”, she asked as she released him.
“Better? The same?”, Wally rubbed his face. “I don’t know. He’s in the study.”
Steph put a hand on his shoulder in passing but didn’t really know what she was supposed to do. So, instead, she just went to the study and knocked on the door.
“Come in”, Dick called.
Steph opened the door and looked around. There were a lot of papers flying around plus several mugs and empty plates. Dick was still sitting in the wheelchair he’d been using for the past two weeks.
“Hi”, Steph said standing in the doorway.
Dick smiled at her. He looked a bit like Tim did when he had been working on a single case for too long but the smile was actually reaching his eyes. Steph felt herself relax a bit.
“Come on in. Sit down”, he gestured to the unused office chair that had been rolled to the side. Dick maneuvered the wheelchair a bit to the side, so Steph could sit at the table.
“What did you want to talk to me about?”, she asked once she had settled into the chair.
“Well, I’m retiring and I know you’ve been thinking about making your own ID and giving Batgirl to…”
Steph interrupted: “Hold on, you’re retiring?”
Dick threw her a look: “Steph, I’ve been doing this for twenty five years, I fell off a building because of joint pain and Leslie told me if I don’t stop now, I’m going to have none of my original joints in five years.”
“What…”, Steph really wasn’t sure which question she wanted to ask first. “Who did you tell about this?”
“Just Wally. I wanted to talk to you first.”
Steph’s brain blanked out. She wasn’t really sure why he wanted to talk to her first .
Dick smiled at her: “I want to offer Nightwing to you.”
“Why me?”, Steph asked. If anything, she would have thought Nightwing would go to Damian when Dick was through with it.
“Has Kara ever told you about the Kryptonian legend of Nightwing and Flamebird?”
God, couldn’t he be at least a little less cryptic? Steph remained silent.
“Ask her about it and then come back to me.”
Steph called Kara that evening and went back to Dick and Wally’s apartment the next day.
“So?”, Dick asked with a grin on his face that said he knew her answer already.
“So, I want to talk about costume design.”
Dick’s grin widened: “I’m all ears.” He pushed aside some of the papers and pulled out a sketch pad and a few pencils.
Steph dropped into the seat next to him and watched him draw a female silhouette: “I’ve always wanted finger stripes...”
“...and I think I want to keep some kind of Bat.”
“You got something in mind?”, Dick asked holding out a pencil.
“An idea. I don’t know if it’ll work.”
“Let’s try it.”
When Wally knocked on the door a few hours later, Dick and Steph had already gotten to a pretty good design. They had sketched out the basic design on paper first and then scanned it so they could use the costume design software Tim had developed at some point. The door opened carefully without either of them answering and Wally apparently not wanting to disturb their work.
Dick’s head immediately turned to the door and he grinned at Wally: “Come in, we’ve got to show you the design.”
Wally was behind them in a second, the door slamming shut in his wake: “Oh, wow. That’s really cool.”
“Tam, I need to tell you about something”, Steph called out as she threw her bag down next to the door and pushed her shoes off her feet
“I’m in the kitchen, babe.”
Steph jogged the few steps and saw Tam spoon Nutella from a jar. She let out a loud laugh: “Girl, that’s not healthy.”
“Hey, fuck you. I had to yell at Tim today.”
“Did you have to or did you just want to?”
Tam snorted: “You know, I don’t really know but I think it’s both.”
“You got a second spoon there?”, Steph asked.
Tam held one out and Steph grinned at her, then took it and gave Tam a peck on her cheek.
“What do you need to tell me about?”, Tam asked once Steph had gotten around to eating her first spoon.
“Dick’s giving me Nightwing.”
Tam grinned at her: “Are you serious?”
“Yeah! We spent the whole day designing my costume. Wait, I’ll show it to you…”
Steph threw her spoon in the sink and sprinted to the couch table she’d left her notebook on the night before. On the way back she forced herself to walk much more slowly as to not pull a Tim and break her hand with her laptop.
When Steph reentered the kitchen, Tam was sitting on one of the bar chairs and had pulled the other one out for Steph. She waited patiently as Steph searched for the email with the design and opened it.
Tam didn’t say anything for the first five minutes. She threw Steph a questioning look once to determine whether she could currently deal with losing power over her own computer, then pulled said computer closer and looked at the costume from all angles.
After the five minutes, she started shooting questions at Steph: “No cowl? Won’t your hair get in the way?”
“I’ve been thinking of maybe cutting it. It’s literally always in the way.”
“No symbol on the back?”
“We had a few versions with one but decided it looked better without. I can ask Dick to send a few of them over, though.”
“No, I think it looks good this way”, Tam went silent for another moment. “It’s a beautiful design. Have you thought about the ramifications of not having a cape, though?”
Steph smiled: “I’ll train in the new suit for a month before I use it on the street.”
“Good, I like you in one piece…”, Tam threw her a meaningful look: “I also like my sister in one piece.”
Steph instinctively pulled up her shoulders to hide between them: “You know I only got her to stop the first time around because I promised to train her when she turns sixteen.”
“I know. I just wish she wasn’t so insistent on becoming a vigilante. Babe, I worry about you and your siblings every night. It’s hard enough to worry about you and Tim. When I got the call because of Dick, I thought: ‘This is it. My girlfriend just died.’”
Steph pulled Tam close. Tam buried her head in Steph’s shoulder and they both just sat there for awhile without either of them saying a single word.
When Steph and Tam walked into the main living room in Wayne manor for family night, most of the others were already there. Jason was sitting on one of the big chairs that easily fit two people, Cass was on the floor in front of the couch with Tim giving her a massage. Duke was in a chair on the other side of the couch asking Jason about some kind of weapon.
Steph had already seen Bruce and Alfred in the kitchen, still gathering snacks and drinks for the evening and Damian would probably show up in a few minutes. Dick and Wally always tended to be late, so no surprise that they weren’t there yet.
Steph snorted: “Where are Harper and Kon?”
Cass opened one eye and looked at her: “ Harper has a case she needs to take care of. She might come by later. Kon is in Metropolis.” Her hands moved quickly and then patted the couch next to Tim.
Steph followed the offer and sat there. Tam settled down there as well and pulled her feet up, letting her shoes drop to the floor.
“You look... happy”, Cass said after a few moments of looking at Steph from the corner of her eye.
Cass looked at her a little longer but when Steph didn’t elaborate, she turned back to the front and seemed to focus on Jason and Duke’s conversation.
“Steph?”, Tam asked her quietly. “Are you going to…?” She let herself drift off but Steph knew what she meant.
She shook her head: “Not really mine to tell.”
Tam wrapped her arm around Steph’s waist and leaned against her.
The rest of the family entered the room together about five minutes later. Dick was at the front.
“Dick, you’re out of the wheelchair!”, Tim called excitedly.
“First day”, Dick said proudly and let himself fall on the couch next to Tam. “Hey, guys.”
A round of hellos was heard. Wally took Dick’s crutches, placed them against the wall and then sat down next to him. Once the rest had settled out as well, Tim cleared his throat: “So, what…”
Cass shushed him and gestured to Dick. Everyone turned to look at Dick as if expecting him to grow another nose.
Dick took a deep breath: “I’m retiring from being Nightwing.”
“Thank god”, Jason burst out before any of the others in the room seemed to process it.
Wally let out a laugh. He looked so much more relaxed than he had the week before.
Steph felt Tam poke her side and cleared her throat: “I’m going to take over.”