By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
Steph had arrived and had immediately been found by someone who had known her during her last time in this world. That was how she was given her phone back and the basics of family - not too much on that subject because her friend didn't know too much as Steph kept plenty close to her chest.
Just enough to make her feel a little less lost.
With phone in hand, she had contacted Batman and Selina, considering they were the 'parents' of the Batfam, and then waited once Bruce had told her to stay and he'd pick her up. Since it was autumn, she was drinking a pumpkin spiced latte while she waited, trying to quell the knot of nerves in her stomach.
Bruce had been surprised when he'd gotten a text from Steph's phone, but the moment he knew it was her he was going to bring her home. He chartered a car to bring him to her so he can pick her up and bring her home. A lot had happened since she vanished but he could explain that on the way back to the house. He pulled up to where she was staying and parked, leaving the engine running since he wanted to get her home quickly. He approached Stephanie and smiled wide when he saw her he wrapped his arms around her and gave her a squeeze. "Stephanie, I'm glad you're back." He pulled back just enough to get a good look at her. He wondered if she remembered anything. He had to ask her when they got somewhere private and could properly speak about mask situations. "There's a lot of news I have to tell you about. Selina and I have the house ready, you're room is still ready and Ace should be happy to see you. Are you hungry?"
There were things he wanted to ask her about...like if she'd seen Damian or Cass. He'd been holding out hope but now he was all but certain they'd been taken as well.
Steph couldn't really sit still, wanting to move to help rid any nerves.
It didn't take too long before a vehicle was coming closer and she knew without even looking that it was Bruce. That was confirmed when he exited the car and went towards her, and she held onto him tightly. "That sounds good." Steph's eyes were bright, "I'm starving." She added, having not eaten for a while, not to mention how strange this place was.
"Take me home," home was where her family were, and she wanted to be there rather than standing on the streets.
Bruce nodded, smiling at Stephanie and leading her to the car, he still had hid engagement ring on his left hand. Sure the public didn't know about Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle's engagement but the kids sure did. He could make her something at home while they talked things over. He was just glad to have one of the missing kids back. "Do you remember anything Stephanie? Anything of how you disappeared or how you got back? Cassandra? Damian?" He didn't want to lump all that on her at once but he had to know what she remembered and what she hadn't. Selina would be better at this....she knew how to talk to kids, lost ones, she was better at this in general. But he knew about Stephanie and father figures, she didn't have the best one growing up, he supposed in her world he'd stepped into that, whether he intended to or not. But was he really much better than having Cluemaster as a dad....yes but only at the fact he wasn't a criminal...or Cluemaster. He reached over his left hand, keeping the right on the wheel and squeezed Stephanie's hand.
"So there's...something you should know, obviously me and Selina are living together, she's been working with the family but there's something else you should know....we're getting married."
"I remember nothing. The bits I do know came from a friend when I arrived." Said friend had vanished soon after, preferring to keep to the shadows which the young teen understood even if it was a tad annoying. "I'm sorry." She felt like she was disappointing him by not knowing, and that hurt her heart more than she was willing to admit.
"She always is family." Steph commented and then paused as the words actually sunk in and she bolted upright in her seat. "No way, married? I'm so happy for you guys!"
"Don't be sorry." Bruce reassured her, although he was disappointed she couldn't give any more information, it was just he so wanted to learn more about Damian and Cass' whereabouts. Still he squeezed her hand. "I know if you knew anything you'd tell me Stephanie." He turned towards Wayne Tower and let his words sink in, a smirk pulling at his lips at her reaction. He chuckled at her and nodded. "Yes, we're getting married, things are...I'm changing, trying to. Listen I know that I haven't...I can at times not show any of you how proud I am of you, but you have to realize I know you're my family...all of you, I know your history, I know why you look up to me, I don't want any of you to be like me, look at Jason, do you think I wanted him to be like he is...he's I care about him but I failed him, I haven't failed any worse, than I failed with him."
Bruce parked the car in the corporate parking lot and twisted the keys to shut off the car. "I'm trying to avoid that with the rest of you, to make up for what I put him through."
Steph was glad he was getting married because he was more than just the Bat, more than a symbol of fear and justice.
"I know it's hard for you." Steph nodded in response about him not showing them how proud he was. She couldn't hold that against him, not one bit. "We have to make that choice for ourselves. Some of us might have never had a chance at a better life without you. Some of us would have gone into law enforcement anyway. It's a risk and that sucks."
Steph would have. Even if Batman didn't exist, that would have been her path. Anything to stop the Cluemaster.
"As a family, we need to stick together, no matter what."
Bruce was touched by her response, he’d never realized how much he meant to her. He leaned over and kissed the top of her head. One arm wrapping around her in a quick embrace. It felt like what his mother and father would do. He took her through the garage and to the elevator. As the doors slid open he stepped out, Ace came barreling up, hopping up and licking at his fingers before turning to lick at Stephanie, whining and jumping up and down on his hind legs. The large Black Dane-mix was excited to see her once more. Bruce smirked and stepped past as the dog continued to beg for Stephanie’s attentions. “Selina we’re home! I’m going to start dinner.” Bruce moved into the kitchen and started looking through the fridge. Deciding on something Alfred had made for him quite often. He got out chicken, dahi yogurt and spices. He started in marinating the chunks of chicken and then he’d work on the Marsala sauce for it.
“Stephanie get comfortable, food will be ready soon, if you want to check the room, I’ve left it exactly as you had it last time you were here, it’s down the hall past my office to the left.”
Steph was pleasantly surprised by the hug, yet she returned in easily enough and felt herself getting a little bit teary eyed - managing to just keep those tears from falling, the craving of love and acceptance she had desperately wanted from him had been given to her.
Part of her felt like she didn't deserve it. Ace's presence stopped her thoughts from spiraling too much and she knelt down to rub his neck and give him all the attention a good doggo deserved. She did thank Bruce, and then headed to see her room with Ace following - she had no idea she was missed that much, though she appreciated the company and made sure to keep petting him when she was able to.
Selina had felt unreasonably nervous when Bruce had informed her he'd be going to pick Stephanie up and bring her home. Maybe it was the fact he was doing what felt like something a parent would that put her on edge. Or how things had developed between the two of them since Stephanie was gone and the endless thoughts of how she would likely react. Chiding herself for such worries, Selina had taken to petting Ace on the head whilst they both waited, supposing the four-legged friend perhaps senses how on edge she was feeling. The fur that ran beneath her fingers did help a little bit, but the rush of anxiety returned as soon as she heard Bruce announcing their return.
As Ace rushed off to say his hellos first Selina lingered behind for a moment, smoothing her hands out over the front of her blouse before the sound of her heels clicking against the flooring announced her appearance. "There's going to be nothing left of you if Ace keeps licking the way he does, Stephanie." Selina's voice was smooth, calm, portraying none of the slight nerves she felt. With Ace heading off to follow his nose to Bruce and the food, Selina waited for Stephanie to straighten up before pulling the young woman into a hug, smiling as she couldn't help but feel the anxiety she'd felt just... melt away when she did so. Stephanie had been kind to her the last time she was here, spoken to her, trusted her - more than could be said for some of the other kids.
"Welcome home."Selina murmured, squeezing the girl in her arms before she wound an arm over her shoulders and steered her closer to where Bruce was busy making food. "It'll be so nice to have another woman around again."
Bruce heard Selina from the kitchen as he was putting the chicken tikka in the oven to roast up. Then he got work on the sauce, tossing some paprika, ginger, chili pepper. He let that simmer while he put tomatoes through the food processor to get a good puree to add into it for color and base flavor. Alfred had drilled in the importance of making the dish right, a national treasure was what he’d called it. He didn’t know what was more grueling, learning to balance the spice and flavor in a masala sauce, or having to fry a chicken just right for Ma Kent to approve. All while Barry and Clark kept making comments with Rich Boy thrown in. He smiled at Selina, he was glad she was already getting along with Stephanie, he knew it could be hard to come into a family like theirs but they already cared about her. They trusted Bruce and he trusted her and for most of them that was good enough. At least he hoped that. He was working with Jason more, he hoped they were making progress. He knew that with some time he could be one of the best of them.
“If you need a costume Stephanie there should be a spare in the cave.” Bruce took the chicken out and started dumping them into the sauce to finish up.
"Is that a good thing or bad thing?" Steph teased in jest while Ace must have understood because rather than keep licking at her hands and face, he just wagged his tail and followed his nose towards the food. Talk about betrayal right there!
Once she stood up, she was immediately pulled into a hug which she returned gladly. She trusted Bruce and so she trusted Selina, not to mention her number had been in her phone so she must have known her sort of well. Which meant she was able to look past any past criminal status(which she did with a lot of people to be quite honest) and when she looked at Selina, she didn't see a criminal or former criminal.
She saw a family member.
"It's good to be home." Steph nodded, "it's good to be back with family." She stayed by her catmom's side and looked at Bruce, "thank you. I'll be sure to utilize it."
"A bad thing. I can't have you disappearing as soon as you've arrived." Selina added, feeling perfectly happy when the hug was returned without question. Stephanie seemed at ease and less than troubled by what she knew of Selina and her background, making it a whole lot easier to be around one another. Turning to face Bruce as he spoke about suits and borrowing them, she folded her arms over her chest, watching his back as he moved about the kitchen and cooked - far better than anything she could ever make.
Feeling a nudge at her leg, the woman looked down to find the dog bugging her for treats, making the woman narrow her eyes at the canine before crouching to talk to Ace. "Of course you're bugging me. I've spoiled you too much, since when were dogs my things anyway." She mumbled under her breath, shuffling over to one of the cupboards and fetching one of the treat bags, shaking them slightly before making Ace sit and feeding him one. Holding up the bag, she gestured for Steph to feed Ace too, her other hand drawing circles in the air, causing their four-legged friend to roll over, looking expectant after.
Bruce smiled, the family was slowly knitting itself back together, and close to the holiday season even. He smiled as he scooped the chicken and sauce onto some plates for them, sliding them along the counter and ladling some extra sauce over the crispy chunks of chicken. Usually he'd serve it with rice like Alfred wood but he didn't want to take the time getting both things ready. He just wanted to get Stephanie something to eat and get her settled in. He smiled at Selina playing with Ace and stepped over, kissing her on the cheek. "I knew you'd love him eventually." He motioned for them to join him at the counter. "It's chicken Tikka, Alfred would make it every now and then, a British national dish he always called it." If only Alfred was here, he'd be able to get Stephanie settled in much faster than Bruce could. He was getting better but he was still better at being a vigilante before being a father.
"Pandora's not exactly the same as home but there's enough similarities that falling into the routines like back home, just let me know when you're ready and I'll start taking you out to show you the routes around town."
Dogs were dumb and loyal, cats were smart and loyal. Dogs had masters while cats had slaves and it was far too true to even try to deny. She gave Selina a warm smile before taking a few treats to give to Ace once he'd done a few tricks.
When that was done, she headed towards the counter where the scent of food was far stronger and her stomach rumbled. Even if Bruce didn't think he was doing well as a father, Steph would argue against it. He was much better at it than he gave himself credit, especially back home. "It smells delicious, thank you!"
After taking a bite of food, which was just as delicious as its scent, Steph looked up at him. "I'm ready whenever. Though probably not today considering."
"Is that a mentality you shared about how I'd feel over you too?" Selina asked as her fiance pressed a kiss to her cheek, the woman's eyes drifting from the man back to his dog and shaking her head softly. She wanted fondly as Steph had made Ace do a few tricks to earn his treats, the whole thing feeling so homely it was unnatural for the woman who thought she had moved on from the idea of family a long time ago, before she'd even really properly had once herself.
Pandora, Bruce and his kids apparently said otherwise.
Selina found herself smiling beside Bruce as she saw Steph try his food and genuinely seem to enjoy it as well. Giving the man's hand a small squeeze by their sides, Selina soon joined in with grabbing herself some food, leaning against one corner of the counter she stood and ate whilst listening to the both of them.
Most people would be horrified at the thought of their child going off to be a vigilante after arriving so soon into this shoe box of a world. But then, none of them were normal. Selina knew Steph was in good hands with Bruce, and she would have the others to help out whenever she needed them as well. "Not that I think you would, but if you ever do need my help, then I'm just one call away too."
"We'll set up a patrol schedule I promise." He squeezed Selina's hand, it was strange, this was a proper family dinner. Not just eating quick food while on a stakeout or in the car on the way to the. They were all sitting around the house. He smiled a little, this was a good morning, a good way to get one of the family back in the fold. Steph was a special part of that family, it was like no matter what she was the happy one. The one who that held it all together at the darkest times. He reached over and squeezed her hand as well. "I'm glad you're here Stephanie." Pandora was a dangerous place for people like them, you never knew what a criminal was going to pull out. They had to rely on each other more than ever and seeing Selina volunteer made his smile wider. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her in closer. "You have our support Stephanie. always, don't forget that."
He supported each of them now, they needed him, looked up to him, emulated him sometimes too much and he had to live up to that. He'd learned from Jason, he was going to do better.