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I'm begging you to keep on haunting me

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"She's dead." Cassandra (Not batgirl, not right now; she was in a purple hoodie and red sweatpants, sitting on a rooftop near a Wafflehouse she had never entered, and she was Cassandra) whispered to herself, voice nearly silent, inaudible over the busy Gotham night.

It had been days since she was told, a week since it had happened. The words still didn't sound right.

"Spoiler is dead." Batman said, voice gruff and body screaming of guilt and grief. His voice- she still wasn't the best at telling what the different ways people said things meant, 'tones' Tim had called them, but she was getting better- His voice sounded strong. Maybe there was a tremor to it, but she couldn't tell, so maybe it wasn't fair of her to be so angry that Batman didn't sound like he cared. She knew he did, but only because she could read the things he said without saying them. Body language, Oracle had called it when she asked for a name for the way she understood people. She didn't understand why Batman was- no. No, she understood why Batman was trying to pretend he wasn't upset. She just didn't like it.

'Spoiler is dead' echoed in her head, brain trying to link the words to each other, but they sounded wrong. This was all wrong. It wasn't just spoiler that is dead now.

Robin is dead. She hadn't been robin long, and Batgirl knew from the start that it wouldn't last. It was sad, and it could work, if Batman would let it. She really hoped he'd give Robin a chance. (She knew he wouldn't.) But now another Robin is dead, and Batman can't even say it. He can't admit that he failed a child he claimed as his own. Spoiler is dead, but so is Robin.

No, no that wasn't quite right. Robin wasn't dead. Robin couldn't die. Tim had said that enough, repeating it like a prayer and a promise. No, Robin couldn't die, like how Batgirl and Batman couldn't die. But A Robin is dead. And Batman wouldn't even say it.

Stephanie is dead. That's what it boiled down to, and that sounded the closest to right. Spoiler wasn't dead, because Spoiler wasn't a person. Spoiler could die, unlike Robin, but Spoiler didn't have to stay dead. Robin wouldn't stay dead. Stephanie would. Stephanie is dead. dead, dead, dead, dead-

"She's dead." Cassandra whispered again, forcing the words together. If she said it enough, mayne it would sound right.

"She's dead, She's Dead, She's dead, She's dead, She's dead, She's dead She's dead She's deadShe'sdeadShesdead!" Cassandra repeated stubbornly to herself, forcing herself to accept it. Words were still hard, and these words were even harder then most of them.

She stopped suddenly, words louder then she could remember ever talking before (was she yelling?), and her voice hurt hurt hurt, almost enough to distract from the hurt in chest.

Cassandra was used to things being hard, even more used to pain. But this wasn't a pain she'd ever felt before, wasn't anything Cain could have ever prepared her for, something she was angry and happy at the same time that he hadn't even thought to prepare her for (angry angry angry because she didn't like it, didn't like being faced with a hurt she didn't know when she thought she knew all of them, when hurting was all he bothered to teach her and all she did and all she was good at- happy because she couldn't imagine having to go through anything like this a second time).

She opened her mouth to say it again, and again and again (because it still didn't sound right, not even close), but no words came out. Instead it was a shake of her shoulders and a wetness in her eyes and a shake of her entire body that sent her to her knees. It was her arms wrapping around herself and fingers and Nails digging into her skin and her toes curling enough to hurt the arches in her feet. It was screaming 'She's dead' to herself, in the language only she and Lady Shiva really understood.

And finally it clicked with her, that (SpoilerRobinStephanie) She's dead, that she's not coming back. Cassandra sat on that rooftop and wallowed in her pain like Batman wouldn't let himself, because she didn't know this hurt like he did. She sat there and screamed with every inch of skin and twitch in posture and pathetic sound that came out of her.

(She sat like that, embracing pain, until she felt the featherlight touch of arms around her from someone she hadn't heard, which couldn't be right. She sat like that until something, someone, that couldn't be there whispered with a sad wisp- "wanna go for waffles, now that I finally got you down here?")