The Bat family had had many traditions. On the rare occasion that none of them had patrol, they would gather in the living room to play a board game. Birthdays meant brunch and three movies of the birthday person's choice. If you asked Dick Grayson, the best tradition was Date Prep. Whenever a Bat child had a date, their siblings would help them get ready for it.
Dick went on his first date when he was fourteen. Barbara Gordon had agreed to watch a movie with him in the manor's home theatre. Dick stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He went straight to his closet and started shuffling through his clothes.
He jumped, pulling the towel up. "Jason?"
His eleven-year-old brother was staring at him.
"Dude... can it wait? Until I have something on?"
"I guess." He disappeared. Dick pulled on shorts and a tank top. Jason had just recently started to initiate conversations with him and Dick didn't want to discourage him.
When Dick came out, Jason was lying on his bed, fiddling with the corner of Dick's comforter. Dick sat down next to him.
"What's up, Jay?"
"You still want to hang out with me, right?"
Dick was surprised. "Of course! Why would I not?"
"Because you have a girlfriend now. You spend more time with her than you do with me."
Dick wrapped an arm around Jason's shoulders. "First of all, she's not my girlfriend. And even if she was, that wouldn't cut into our bro time."
"She already is!" Jason wailed. "You don't patrol with me; you'd rather patrol with her."
"It's true that I've been spending more time with her, but I didn't realize you felt like I was spending time less time with you. To be honest, I wasn't sure you liked spending time with me."
"Well, I do. I like having a brother that plays video games and kicks butt with me. And now you've let some girl ruin everything."
Dick frowned. "Hey, I get that you're upset, but you're being ridiculous. Barbara isn't ruining anything. She's important to me, and so are you. You always will be. And I'm willing to make up our lost time to you. Starting now."
He pushed himself off the bed. "Help me get ready for my date."
He started rummaging through his closet. Jason followed him. "Are you sure?"
Dick nodded. "Yeah! Brothers help each other get ready for dates. If they don't, they should."
Jason grabbed an arm full of polos. "Maybe pair one of these with khakis?"
Dick nodded and grabbed a maroon polo. He slipped into the bathroom and stepped out a few minutes later.
"You look really nice" Jason said. He grabbed a bottle of cologne. "Now you have to smell nice."
He sprayed Dick's wrists and neck and massaged the cologne into them.
Dick laughed and pulled away. "That's enough dude. I don't want to suffocate her with my scent."
Dick stood in front of the mirror. "So how do I look?"
"Really good" Jason said.
Alfred Pennyworth opened the door. "Excuse me, young masters. Master Dick, your date has arrived."
Jason grabbed Dick's arm. "You'll tell me everything, right?"
Dick smiled and squeezed Jason's hand. "Of course!"
Sadly, Dick never had a chance to help Jason get ready for a date. He died and when he came back, he was a jaded beast who wanted nothing to do with the Bat family. So the next Bat kid to partake in the unofficial tradition was Tim. He was sixteen years old and had asked Stephanie Brown to prom the day after he got his driver's license.
Tim was nervously sitting in front of his bathroom mirror while Dick ran his gel-covered fingers through Tim's hair.
"Don't be so nervous Timmy" Dick said. "It's a major turn-off."
Tim rolled his eyes. "Easy for you to say. You're not about to go on a date that will make or break a relationship."
"Stephanie is crazy about you" Dick said. "It's obvious. You have nothing to worry about."
Tim gulped and nervously tugged at the hem of his undershirt. "I hope you're right."
"When have I ever been wrong?" Dick smirked. He slapped Tim's hand. "And stop playing with your shirt; you'll stretch it out. Just sit here a few minutes so the gel can dry while I select a few shirts for you."
Tim sighed heavily and leaned back in his chair.
"Have you picked out a corsage yet?" Dick called.
Tim nodded. "It's on my night stand."
Dick came in with a blue shirt. "Don't forget it. It's very pretty."
He helped Tim shrug into the shirt.
As Tim buttoned the shirt, Dick went through Tim's ties. "Or maybe a bow tie would be better?"
Tim grabbed a white tie. "Definitely a tie."
He looped it around his neck. "Er, how do you do this?"
Dick smiled. "It's easy Timbo. First, you cross this wide end over the thin end. Then you run the wide end under the tie, pull the it through the center, loop through the knot, and tighten it. And boom! A perfectly tied tie."
Tim turned back to the mirror. His shirt complemented his piercing blue eyes and went well with his mocha-colored khakis.
Dick laughed as he walked up behind Tim, a gray suit jacket draped over his shoulder. "Yeah, you look super handsome. But" he said as he draped the jacket as Tim's shoulders "you can check yourself out later. You have a young lady waiting for you. But first."
Dick sprayed his little brother with a cologne. He brushed a faux tear from his eye. "Look at you. My baby brother is all grown up. He can drive, he can rock a suit, and he's in love!"
Tim blushed. "I'm not in love! This is just one date."
Dick grinned. "That's what I said about my first date with Babs. Who would've thought we'd be still be together six years later?"
Dick pushed Tim to the door. "But tonight is about you and Stephanie. Remember to grab the corsage and text me when you get to Stephanie's house. Oh, and send me pictures!"
Damian's first date wasn't technically a date. It was arranged by Bruce and Jekari and Khalim Watts- Rhodes. Jekari was the head of the accounting firm that handled Wayne Enterprise's finances. His husband Khalim was a partner in his law firm. The two of them had just adopted a girl named Tim'mearra. She was fourteen, almost a year younger than Damian.
Every June, Bruce hosted a gala to raise funds for LGBTQ charities. This was the first year Khalim and Jekari would be attending. They both agreed to give speeches but were reluctant to leave Tim'mearra by herself. Bruce had suggested that Damian keep her company.
"Why do I have to do this?" Damian whined. "And stop pulling so hard Drake!"
Tim rolled his eyes. "I'll pull as hard as I need to, twerp. And can you try to not be a total jerk? This girl has had a lot of new thrown at her; new parents, new city, and now she's being thrown into a gala. The last thing she needs is her date treating her like crap."
Dick nodded as he buttoned Damien's mint green vest. "And also, you should be a nice human because it's the right thing to do."
"That too" Tim said. "Ok, your hair is good. Is your breath ok?"
"My breath is fine, as was my hair before you suffocated it."
Tim inhaled sharply. I will beat his ass. I will not beat his ass. I will not beat his ass.
He made eye contact with Dick, who smiled at him and shook his head.
"Why don't you brush your teeth, just to be safe" Dick suggested. "Oh, and wear tuck a napkin into your shirt. We can't have you getting any toothpaste on your vest."
Damian groaned but did as he was told. Alfred opened the door.
"Are you ready, young masters? The gala begins in five minutes. Miss Tim'mearra is waiting for you, Master Damian."
Damian scoffed. "Let's get this over this."
Muttering obscenities under his breath, Damian sulked out the room. Alfred turned to the other two.
"I cannot thank you two enough for getting him ready. I know that is no easy task."
"It was no problem" Dick assured the old man. "I was just happy to continue the tradition."
A few months later, Bruce adopted his first daughter, Cassandra Cain. She had a rather rocky adjustment to life in the manor. It was strange being the only female in the manor. The only person who had a period. The only person who didn't have a significant other. That didn't have anything to do with being female, but it did add to her loneliness. But all that changed when she encountered the Red Hood. They shared a brief sparing match. Nightwing came up behind the Red Hood and subdued him. The next day Cassandra was approached by a tall, muscular man in the street. Jason. Bruce's disgraced son. He nervously asked her on a date. She happily accepted.
Now she was in her room, trying to pick an outfit. There was a knock on her door.
"Not now" she said.
"You decent?" Dick called.
Cass looked down at her t-shirt and sweatpants. "I'm wearing clothes."
Her door swung open and her three brothers swiftly entered.
"What are you guys doing?" she asked. "I'm trying to get ready for my date."
"That's exactly why we're here" Dick said. "Let's start with your outfit. What were you thinking? A dress? A skirt and blouse?"
Tim started sifting through Cass's closet. "Where is Jason taking you?"
"We're going to get coffee and pastries and enjoy a stroll through Gotham Park."
"Definitely a casual dress" Tim said. He pulled four sundresses out of her closet.
"Why did you only select sundress?" Damian snapped. "Why not have more variety?"
He pulled four more dresses out.
"What is going on?" Cass asked.
"This family has a tradition" Dick said. "We've always helped each other get ready for our first dates."
He guided her to the bed. Tim and Damian joined them, carefully putting the dresses on the other side of the bed.
"Cass" Dick began, "I know it's not easy, being the only girl in the Manor. You feel alienated. You can't relate to the rest of us. Getting ready for dates look different for you. For us, it means ties and cologne. For you, it means make-up and heels."
Tim walked to Cass's vanity and grabbed a nail file. He took Cass's hand and began to file her nails. "You have no reason to feel isolated, Cass. We accepted you as a sister the day Bruce brought you home. Now we have to hurry; Jason's going to be here in a hour."
"Where is he taking you?" Dick asked.
"We're going to have sushi at Nom Sushi Izakaya" she said. "It's downtown."
Damian gathered all of the sundresses and two of the dresses he selected. "These are definitely out the question. A sundress won't keep you warm and stripes would be tacky. Perhaps that blue one."
Cass picked it up. It was navy blue and a little short. She noticed the spaghetti straps and grabbed a strapless bra on her way to the bathroom. Dick began to gather makeup.
"Let's see, mascara, blush, lip gloss..."
Cass stepped out of the bathroom. "How do I look?"
Dick looked up. "Absolutely stunning."
Tim nodded. "You look amazing."
"Far too pretty for Todd" Damian said. "I think a belt would look good." He selected a black belt with round gold buckle. Cass wrapped around her waist and adjusted it. The demon spawn was right. It did look improve her look.
Tim led Cass back to her bed. "I need to finish your nails. What color should we paint them?"
"Her nails aren't are as important her hair" Damian said. He began to brush it gently. "I suggest a high ponytail."
He began to hold her hair up and secured it with a black scrunchy. He pushed Tim away, allowing him to move the in front of Cass. He arranged some tendrils of her hair on either side of her face. Tim glared at Damian and got started on her other hand.
"When Tim's done with your nails I'll get started on your makeup" Dick said. "Damian, why don't you start looking for accessories?"
Tim mouthed 'thank you'. Dick smiled at him and winked.
"So Cass, what color were you thinking for your nails?" Dick asked. "Perhaps the same color as your dress?"
"That's too much blue for my liking" she said. "It should definitely be a dark color though."
Tim put the file down on Cass's bedside table. "Where do you keep your nail polish?"
"In the top left drawer of my vanity" she said. "I don't have many colors, though."
Tim opened the drawer. "There's a mint green, bright orange, and a dark red. Well, that's an easy choice."
He grabbed the dark red bottle. "You should sit over here, Cass. I'll lay a hand cloth down to minimize the mess."
Cass sat down at her vanity and Tim slowly brushed the polish on her nails.
"You're really good at this" Cass remarked.
Tim grinned. "Thanks. I've done Stephanie's a few times."
"Now that Tim's done, let's get started on your makeup" Dick said. "Now close your eyes."
Cass obeyed and Dick carefully drew thin lines on her eyelids. He had her blink multiple times as he painted her eyelashes with black mascara. Using the eyeshadow palette Bruce had bought her for her birthday, he gave her subtle smokey eyes and finished her makeup with a lipstick that matched her nails.
"Alrighty" Dick said. "We're done. You look lovely."
"Just a second!" Damian cried. He tossed a black leather jacket and a gold bracelet at his sister. She shrugged into the jacket and slid the bracelet on her wrist.
"Now she's ready" he said smugly.
"Miss Cassandra?" Alfred said, poking his head in her door. "Mr. Todd has arrived."
A nervous Jason appeared behind Alfred's shoulders. "Hey Cass. Gentlemen."
The three boys nodded.
"I'll be ready in a minute" Cass said. "I need to select shoes."
"We will give you some privacy" Alfred said. He guided the boys into the hall and shut the door.
"Master Bruce needs me in the Cave" Alfred said. He walked off.
"How have you been Jason?" Dick asked.
Jason looked down at his feet. "Well. Yourself?"
"Can't complain. Recently got engaged to Babs. Are those daisies for Cass?"
Jason nodded. "Congrats on your engagement." He cut his eyes to Tim. "How are you and Brown, Replacement?"
Tim rolled his eyes. "Stephanie and I are great."
Jason turned to look at Damian. "What does your love life look like, Bat Brat?"
Damian glared at him. "Not that it's any of your business, but I have a girlfriend."
Jason raised his eyebrows. "You shitting me?"
"I was just as surprised as you are" Tim said. "He's been dating Rachel Roth for two months now."
Jason nodded curtly. "Good for them."
"So are you and Cass... a thing?" Dick asked.
"Not yet. I want to see how tonight goes" Jason said.
"Well, for what it's worth, I hope she says yes. You guys would be good for each other" Dick offered.
"Thanks" Jason muttered.
Cass's door swung open. "Sorry it took so long. You look great, Jason."
He nervously tugged on his dark green polo. "Thanks. You look really pretty. The combat boots are a nice touch."
She eyed the bouquet. "Are those for me?"
"Huh? Oh, right!" He nervously thrust the bouquet in front of him. "These are for you."
Cass smiled. "Thank you. They're lovely."
Dick took them from her. "I'll put these in water for you. You two have fun."
He glared at Jason. "Just don't have too much fun and be home by eleven."
Cass kissed her brother on the cheek. "Whatever you say Dick."
She grabbed Jason's hand. "I'm ready when you are."
Jason squeezed her hand. "Right this way m'lady."