Christmas time in Gotham. Less sunlight, longer, darker nights, colder winds, slick roofs and City hung decorations on every building to watch out for on patrol.
It was always fun.
And that was genuine, that wasn't sarcastic in the least.
It might have seemed it, but Steph genuinely enjoyed the extra challenges December brought.
But today's Christmasy challenge wasn't 'Can Batgirl navigate the reindeer she didn't know were hung up along this stretch of street without breaking her neck and losing the grapple'
or 'How many rooftops can Batgirl run before hits an ice slick she didn't spot'
, no, today's challenge was 'Can Dork Supreme Stephanie Brown get through the tree lighting ceremony without making an ass of herself'.
A mighty challenge indeed.
The plan was to meet one Richard Grayson there, look at the lights, see the sights, and if all went well, she wouldn't turn into a pumpkin when the clock struck midnight.
Throwing her messenger bag into the passenger seat of the Compact, she set off for the meet up.
With streets shut down to street traffic for several blocks in every direction around City Hall, for 'security'
, after many years of tree lighting mishaps, finding a park was a bit of a chore, honestly, she could have done the ol' rooftop hop in her civvies and gotten around faster at this rate, but eventually, the Compact was parked.
Shooting herself a final look in the rearview mirror, adjusting her purple (what other color would it be?) knit cap on her loose waves, scooped up the bag, got out of the car, locked her baby up, armed the security, then the security,
adjusted her jacket, and started her two block trek to meet up with her date.
It wasn't long before she found him. Or rather, he spotted her first, waving her over with a warm grin, holding two coffee cups.
"Please tell me you wore the purple hat to make it easy to spot you."
With a grin of her own Steph shrugged.
"Sure. Let's go with that."
Shaking his head slightly and passing her one of the cups, he retorts.
"You're a disaster. How much purple do you own? Even the car, Steph. Even the CAR! That was hot chocolate, by the way, might just be chocolate now…"
Poking his chest lightly, turning to start moving towards the City Hall steps, she mock pouted.
"One, not enough purple. I need more purple. I don't have enough. Two, Bruce got the car. The car being purple was on him, not me. Blame him. Three, don't throw stones about colors when you live in a glass house, Little Boy Blue…"
Taking a sip from the cup she grinned at him.
"Hot or no, chocolate is chocolate… thank you."
Acting as if the poke was a stab, falling in step next to her, holding his chest, he gasped exaggeratedly, then laughed.
"You're welcome, Blondie. But if you show up next time in all purple I'm going home."
Raising a brow at the statement, a half smirk on her lips, she shook her head, not wanting to bring up the Spoiler suit, instead, she looked ahead, towards the top of the tree that would soon be lit.
"Ten bucks says a rogue crashes the party…"
Shaking his head slightly, he nudged her.
"Just because it's a public gathering in Gotham doesn't mean something bad is going to happen. Have a little faith."
"Is this how I usually sound? Sunshine and positivity? Man it's weird being the downer."
She grimaced, before raising both brows and pointing with her cup.
"Still. Ten bucks. Happens every year."
"If it happens. IF! We're already here. So it's win-win either way."
Grinning at her, draping an arm over her shoulders, causing her to shake her head and grin into her cup.
Up ahead of them, a troupe of performers clad in various states of mixed red, white and green made their way across the stairs, their makeshift stage, to get into position, microphones in hand, one figure in all green, with dashes of purple slid across behind them.
Straightening her relaxed posture, frowning, and tapping her date on the chest, who had followed her movements, already following the train of thought, they were ready when The Riddler snagged one of the performers from behind, cane across their throat, gun in hand, snatching up the mic.
"I come with many colors, so beautiful and bright, I turn so many houses into a beautiful sight. What am I?"
"Ha! Told you! ….Dammit!"
"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Steph quickly went from jubilation from being right, to being annoyed that she had to work and didn't have time to change to her suit. Huffing, setting her cocoa down on the ground, surely to be lost forever to trampling, she unrolled the lip of her knit cap and pulled it down over her head, revealing it was a ski mask in disguise. Reaching into her bag, and fumbling around in the belt pouches for a moment, she flicked him the grapple, and snapped out her bo staff. With a casual 'what can you do about it' shrug, Grayson reached into the inner pocket of his jacket, pulled out a domino mask and put it on, zipped up his jacket, caught the grapple, and took to the air, while Steph used the staff to vault over a fleeing crowd.
"Do you even try anymore Eddie? The answer is lights!"
She yelled as she got to the stairs, the barrel of the gun now levelled at her, over the poor terrified performer.
Good. Steph could handle that.
"Oh. It's You. Don't you have other things to go spoil?"
Riddler hissed, immediately recognising the blonde and purple. (OK, so maybe there was a small flaw in the plan.)
"In a shocking turn of events, Eddie, today, you're spoiling things. Aren't you meant to be rehabilitated?"
From the roof of Town Hall, a well aimed snowball collided with the back of Nygma's head, followed by a cheery voice.
"I've got one for you. What's green, distracted, and black and blue all over?"
As Riddler whipped around to find the voice, almost waving the gun wildly now, Steph slipped in, grabbing the performers arm and pulled, twisting to put herself between them and Edward should he redirect his focus again, as her partner in crime (fighting) dropped feet first onto Riddler's shoulders. Seeing the opportunity, sweeping his legs with the staff, ensuring Nygma would hit the ground, pinned, motioning for the performer to make a break for the on coming GCPD, she grinned as Grayson batted the gun away, and motioned for something to restrain him with.
"Oh, I think I know this one too! Riddler, right?"
Fishing out the zipties kept in one of the belt pouches, and tossing them to Grayson, she quickly scouted the crowd for an estimate on the timeframe they had to work with, seeing the performer being briefly comforted by Commissioner Gordon, who was directing GCPD, and barking orders.
"Got it in one. Time to go…"
Straightening up, moving over and looping his arm around Stephs waist, firing her grapple off at the roof, to make their getaway before the GCPD could collect Eddie.
Stuffing her ski mask into her bag before they rejoined the crowds, his domino mask safely stashed away again, they watched as Commissioner Gordon now stood on the stairs, stoney faced, mic in hand.
"Just one year I'd like this to go off without a hitch. The song and dance routine isn't going forward, and we aren't rescheduling so another manic can try again. So. Just me this year."
With an almost apologetic shrug, he sat down the microphone, as a medley of Christmas carols started up over the loudspeakers, and Gordon pressed the oversized button with an awkward pause. After a moment, the lights flickered to life, from the bottom of the sixth foot tree to the top, finishing with the star at the top, twinkling brightly.
D*ck wrapped both arms around Steph from behind, resting his chin on the top of her head, she held onto his arms, smiling softly.
"You still owe me ten bucks though…"