Raising her eyes from the plate of syrup, the remnants of the breakfast she was now swirling with her fork, Stephanie looked at her mother, who was staring at her expectantly.
“Hm? I’m sorry, Mom, I didn’t hear what you said. I was… somewhere else.”
Crystal pursed her lips slightly, and stood.
“I asked if you were finished.”
“Oh, yes, thank you. Sorry.”
Taking the plate, Crystal moved across the kitchen, putting the dishes on top of the others in the sink, before pushing up her sleeves.
“Leave it, Mom, I’ll do them.”
Turning to stare at Steph, she shrugged, and made a ‘be my guest’ motion at the sink, before moving and making coffee, as the younger Brown rolled her eyes and moved to the sink, running hot water onto the dishes. Once the sink had water enough in it for Steph to wash the dishes, she started, dipping her hands into the straight hot water, Crystal watching in concern.
“It’s fine, Mom. I don’t have a whole lot of feeling in my hands. Relax.”
Seeing this as probably her only opportunity to get Steph to talk about her ‘work’ without a flare up from their differing stances on the costumed life, Crystal took the opening.
“Is that from when you… died?”
“Mostly… I have a lot of nerve damage from that one actually. I have the pictures if you're ever up for it…”
She absently cleaned the plate. Pre-coffee and autonomous work was a good way to get Steph to talk, apparently. Being close to her probably helped.
“... but you know, also punching people in the face all the time probably doesn't help either…”
“Stephanie, why would you have those pictures. Thats ghoulish.”
Crystal gasped, horrified. With a nonchalant shrug, Steph continued.
"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
“Because sometimes, I have to talk people out of trying to do the ‘dress up and try to be a hero thing’
too, and a tortured to death teenage girl does that pretty quick. They don’t need to know Batgirl and Spoiler are the same person.”
A pause. The coffee maker, and Stephs scrubbing the only sounds.
“That makes sense, I suppose… But. With your dad gone, why do you still do it?”
Setting the second plate in the draining rack, she turned to face her mother, frowning slightly, as if thinking.
“Well. Just because our problem is solved doesn’t mean there aren’t others I can’t solve. Do you stop helping a doctor the second your shift is over, or do you stop helping when you're done?”
Crystal Brown, trauma nurse, nodded, following what her daughter was saying.
“This city might seem bleak, and grimy. But I believe in the people in it. People are good. Can do good. Look at… Bruce Wayne. He could be a broody, people hating shut in, after what happened with his parents. But all the charity work, and good he does for the city. He believes in it. And adopting a small army of bad luck boffins, just like him? Basically, Mom? You don’t give up on Gotham, and it won’t give up on you.”
“You always do try to look for the good, don’t you, Steph?”
“It’s that or I’m angry about everything. That’s what I got going for me. Sickening positivity or righteous fury. Is that coffee ready yet? I got like, twelve minutes of sleep last night.”