'The Wall For The Fallen'
Steph knew it existed. It was constructed fairly quickly after her death, after Leslie had already taken her from the country.
She could never bring herself to step foot anywhere near it, because any of the names on it, the faces, were there because of her.
The wall, built under the suggestion of investigative reporter Aaron Black, of all people- 'Real slick alias, Dad. A B named color. No-one will ever see it. Great work. Absolutely genius.' -stood in the plaza out the front of town hall, covered in faded photographs, small brass name plates, flowers and candles in various states of life laying at it's base.
Gripping the straps of her backpack with both hands, setting her jaw and swallowing the nerves? bile? three cups of coffee threatening to vacate her stomach? Steph took a deep breath, and slowly started looking at the names, at the faces in the pictures.
As she moved along the wall, looking at the faces, seeing the names of people who had died because she couldn't… just grow up. Stop trying to… prove something.
With stinging eyes, and a tightening throat, determined to see this through now, Stephanie kept moving along the wall, until she saw a face and name plate that filled her with anger, in prominent placing, dead center of the wall.
With pictures of her in her Spoiler and Robin suits.
Blinking furious through the confused tears, she reached up to grab the poster sized photo, but froze at movement at her side.
"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
"Did you know her?"
Asked a small, feminine voice. Flattening her hand against the wall, Steph bowed her head, cleared her throat and gave the most honest cover lie she would ever give to date.
"She helped me out of some sticky situations, yeah…"
"She saved me once. When I was younger. Her and the scary Batgirl. Not the one we have now. When she was Robin, not the purple, cloak one, uh, Spoiler."
Turning her head to look at the younger girl, Stephanie's eyes widened slightly in recognition, straightening off the wall. Taking the motion as interest in the story, the younger woman continued.
"My dad used me to run guns for Penguin. Robin exploded at Penguin. And the guys. And my dad. She was really cool. I wish more people got to meet her. But. Ok, you might think this is crazy. But. People have seen Spoiler back in Gotham since. Just for a bit. Do you think it's a new person?"
With a lopsided smile, Stephanie looked up and down the wall, before shrugging slightly.
"I don't know if I'd be a fan of someone who got this many people killed, kiddo…"
"Bull. Stephanie didn't kill these people. Sure, ok, she made a mistake. I watched that news special a million times since, but you know what? People die in Gotham all the time. And it's people like Stephanie, like Robin, Batman, Batwoman, the Batgirls, who help keep us safe. We would be worse off without them."
Smiling softly at the young woman, Steph wiped at her eyes, and shook her head slightly, before crouching to look at the flowers laying under the poster she was still planning on tearing down.
"Do you bring these?"
"A few of us do…"
Glancing up at her with a raised brow, the young woman shrugged, also crouching.
"A girl saw Batman do it, so we just kinda keep doing it."
Blinking in dumbfounded silence Steph turned her attention back to the flowers, absently dead heading them.
"Batman. Left flowers. For Stephanie Brown. I feel like that's some sort of joke."
"No, she swears up and down, he came out, Batmobile and all, in the day, with white lilies and pink roses."
Only murmuring in acknowledgement, Steph wedged her elbow onto her knee, resting her hand on her chin, looking back up at the sun bleached photos, sighing. After a moment, the young woman straightened up, at the honking of a car horn and looking down at Stephanie she extended her hand.
"It's been nice to meet you, but I gotta go, that's my mom. Maybe I'll see you around. I'm Sarah, by the way."
Straightening up herself, Steph shook her hand, and smiled softly.
"The pleasure is all mine. It's nice to finally have a name to go with a face. I'm Steph."
Sarah turned and started towards the car briskly, before stopping and turning back to the wall, realisation sinking in, but the blonde was nowhere to be seen.