Usual disclaimers. Unbeta-ed. If you hate it—I'm not sorry.

Love Gone Afowl

Stunned, Spoiler stared down at her knees. Her head felt like a beach ball, swollen and battered. Her behind hurt from hitting the ground so hard. "What the heck did you do THAT for?" she asked Batgirl angrily.

"Tough love."

Getting her shaky legs beneath her, she grabbed onto her bed and pulled herself up. This was all she needed—for her mom to open her bedroom door and find her, in her Spoiler costume, being hit by a Batgirl with a raw chicken. "You're obviously demented," Spoiler informed her.

"Tough love," Batgirl reiterated again, holding the yellowed, stinking chicken aloft.

Spoiler pulled her mask off, then began wiping chicken slime off her mask with a tissue from the bedside. "You have issues. I just want you to know that."

"Issues?" Batgirl asked, tilting her head to one side. She took the chicken and held it behind her back, beneath the cape.

Stephanie sighed, shaking her head. "Issues—it's like—never mind." Batgirl was new to the talking world, and sometimes she just didn't know what a word meant, sometimes she 'lost' words between her head and her mouth. Sometimes, Spoiler thought bitterly, she swore Batgirl just pretended like she didn't know.

"YOU have issues," Batgirl informed her proudly.

"Look. You're messed up. You're a freak. Now leave me alone." She'd had a long night. She'd had to walk all the way from the cave, dragging her blown-out bike, Batman hadn't been around in like… days, and Black Canary was running hot and cold on her. What she needed was some sleep. What she needed was for Batgirl to get the stinking chicken carcass out of her room. "And where the heck did you GET that thing from," she asked, gesturing to the chicken only half-hidden behind Batgirl's petite form.

"Friend of Batman's. He used tough love on Batman."

Spoiler began choking on air. "Someone hit Batman with the chicken?" And they were still alive? Must have been a damned good friend!

Batgirl nodded proudly. Whoever it was, Stephanie could tell Batgirl admired them greatly.


"Batman dumb. He not say stuff he have to say. You dumb too. Talk too much. Tough love."

"HEY!" Stephanie cried in protest. They'd been getting along so well there. For like five seconds. "What's your problem? What did I ever do to you anyways?"

"You dumb."

"THAT is why you hate me?"

Batgirl shrugged innocently. "Hate you cause Robin like."

"That's the lamest reason I ever--" Spoiler had only glanced down at her slimy, stinking mask for a moment, but when she looked back, Batgirl was gone. So, was Batgirl in love with Robin, or something? Or was she just seriously demented? "Freak."

"Heard that!" Came a muffled reply from outside her window.

Sighing, Stephanie stripped out of her costume and got in the shower. She scrubbed extra hard to get the stink of raw meat left out too long in the open off of her. When she was satisfied that she smelled like peaches instead of chicken, she washed her hair with the shampoo Robin liked—green apples. Twenty minutes later, she stepped out of the bath tub, smelling like a fruit salad, and she was happy that way.

Who did Batgirl think she was, anyways? Just because she could kick the entire world's ass.

Finding her fluffy slippers, Stephanie kicked her stinking costume under the bed. She'd deal with that after her she rested a little and got the ache out of her head, and her muscles didn't feel like lead. Everyone was acting funny. Oracle had her off doing the weirdest stuff, BC was… well, Black Canary, and you never knew how she was going to react. Robin was STILL not talking to her, and Batgirl had been so nasty lately.

Batgirl had been acting weird, she realized, since the pointy-eared vigilante had caught Robin and her kissing on a roof top… months and MONTHS ago. Before Stephanie had known Robin's name.

Batgirl was jealous. That was it.

It gave Spoiler comfort to think that someone as perfect as Batgirl couldn't read, and suffered from petty emotions like jealousy. It helped her sleep at night.

So if Batgirl was interested in Tim, why did she give him vicious noogies every time she saw him?

Sighing, Steph curled up on the bed for a few minutes. There were some mysteries she'd probably never have solved.

Steph had never felt herself drifting off, because she must have—she was startled awake by her mother flinging opened her bedroom door—redfaced, and holding out a strangely familiar, still-stinking chicken. "LOOK what I found on the lawn! I hope none of your friends--" she stopped talked and paused, then sniffed the air in her daughter's room.

"WHY does your room smell like CHICKEN?"

Stephanie's hand covered her eyes as she sat up. When her feet touched the floor, she pushed the costume further under the bed.

Her mother's face contorted even more in an angry, disappointed frown. "You're grounded. I hope you know that."

A sigh escaped the girl's lips. The things she did to maintain a secret identity. "I know."

Her mother waited until she stood, then tossed her the dead chicken. Stephanie had no choice but to catch it, and got its smelly slime all over her hands and robe. "Good. Get rid of this. And then get the disinfectant spray, and take care of the stench in your room."

Sighing, Stephanie complied. Life was so not fair.