She is two years old. Arthur has lashed out at them all again. Crystal is coping with pills and drink. Stephanie cowers behind the couch, her 'cape' snatched from her, laying on the floor. Whether they realize it or not, actions have been set in motion that will change them all forever.
She is six years old. Arthur has locked her in the closet. Crystal is coping with her drug induced stupor. Stephanie's mistake? Sneezing. Making noise while Arthur was reliving his 'glory days', rewatching his tapes. The lesson taught? Be angry at things you can't control.
She is nine years old. Crystal is no longer coping in ways Arthur deems acceptable. The options are rehab, or he kills her. Crystal choses rehab. Stephanie is left with a 'friend' of her fathers for a week. She learns how to run, how to hide, and that grown men cannot be trusted. This last lesson sticks with her for a long time.
She is ten years old. Arthur is in jail again. He couldn't stop leaving clues. Crystal is coping by going to work. She doesn't seem to be falling off the rails. But Stephanie is watching for the signs. And waiting. Maybe she should learn aikido?
She is fourteen years old. Arthur is out. Rehabilitated, he says. Crystal isn't coping. The downward spiral begins again. She knows what she has to do. 'To the Spoiler belongs victory'.
She is fourteen years old. She isn't coping. She wasn't smart. Stephanie is pregnant. Crystal is supportive. Crystal tells her she's proud of her for how strong she is. They both agree; Arthur will never know. The baby will be given up for adoption.
She is fifteen years old. Arthur Brown is dead. Died for the government, they said. Crystal is coping well. Stephanie is not. She is reckless, more so than usual. Baiting the Birds of Prey into leading her to Uncle Eddie. She has so many questions…
She is sixteen years old. This cannot be happening. Is she actually really Robin right now? 'Not bad for the daughter of a failed banker robber'.
She is sixteen years old. This CANNOT be HAPPENING. This is all her fault. The city. All those people. Orpheus. Stephanie isn't coping. Stephanie is dying.
She is seventeen years old. She can't stay away. The ghost of Spoiler haunted her long before Spoiler returned from Africa to haunt the Batfamily. Or Stephanie returning to Crystal in the hospital. None of them are coping.
She is almost twenty years old. Arthur Brown is dead, but 'Aaron Black' isn't. She won't let him hurt people anymore. Hurt her anymore.
Stephanie is Batgirl. She copes with her cape and cowl. ’There's room in our line of work for hope, too.’template credit.