Let’s talk OTP, tumblr.
My friends are sometimes perplexed by my dedication to Dick x Babs, but you’ve gotta understand, I’ve shipped them as long as I can remember. They might be my very first ship, idk. And do you know why I’m still dedicated to them?
Because they work.
At every angle and pass of their relationship, they work. And we’re not talking lovers, here, we’re talking human beings. From Batgirl and Robin to Oracle and Nightwing, they’ve always had a spinning, sparking synergy that makes them work. The first night they met in costume, Babs flipped him to the ground and knocked the air out of his lungs, and Dick has been struggling to breathe ever since. He was just a boy when they met, you know? And here comes this young woman who is so utterly insane, who does not have millions of dollars or years of training or dead parents or a mentor with all these things, who only has a room in her dad’s house, a glue gun and impossible recklessness, this beautiful young woman who up and slaps the bat symbol on her chest and goes out and fights crime because she can. Can you imagine what a revelation she was? What a goddess he saw? Babs awakened Dick’s sexuality. She was the first woman he ever truly saw.
Dick’s levity woke something up in Babs. That first ledge jump she took, Dick caught her. They went careening through the city together miles above the street, and that’s the way their relationship worked. In those early years, it was bright lights, crazy dives, noise, danger, adrenaline and a sort of madness they could only share with each other. Bruce isn’t the Batman because he likes it; it has to be done. But Dick and Babs were young. Gotham was their playground. They loved it, that they craved it and risked everything for it, and when the masks were on, they were themselves in a pure and undiluted way. The best and worst of themselves. And that’s how they know each other - the very best and the very worst.
It’s no secret that I think Babs has the best development of any character in comics, let alone of any female character, but I won’t get into the gender implications of her arc. The leap from Batgirl to Oracle is a huge one, but Babs matures into the woman she’s meant to be, you know? There’s a freedom in her limitations, and it teaches her how to be the person she is, rather than a knockoff of other heroes. When Dick matures, he becomes less sure of himself, lost without Bruce to help define him, but Babs moves in the opposite direction. In her stillness there is certainty. I think that’s what Dick needs. He can’t keep up with himself, can’t sit still; he’s this never-ending flurry of motion and thought that never turns off, and Babs is the calm little center of the universe. His quiet place. She grounds him. She gives him something to turn to, something to believe in, something to count on. Babs is Babs forever.
For Babs’ part, as much confidence as she gains finding the strength to step into her role as Oracle, the transformation still rips the sexuality and femininity from her former self. This is partly necessary for her to master herself, but to have that taken from you will still leave a gaping emptiness, you know? Dick is the one person in the world that never looks at her and thinks, damaged. Broken. Fragile. It never enters his mind, because how could it? It’s Barbara. Barbara, that blew into his life in a flurry of madness and red hair, that goddess on the jump line. It never changes how he thinks of her, and even when Babs is feeling numb and desolate, sexless and alone, here’s Dick Grayson, this.. this wall of charisma and energy that has evolved so much, become so much more potent, and it’s like sunlight punching through cloud cover. He knows the real her, and she can build up all the walls she likes, but Dick makes her Feel Things. Dick Grayson makes her feel alive. He makes her angry, he scares her, he turns her on and he makes her happy, happy happy, but above all, he makes her feel so completely alive. You can’t run from something like that.
Babs challenges Dick. She makes him nervous, puts him in his place, and doesn’t fall all over him like every other woman on planet earth (and possibly Mars.) Dick reminds Babs that life is good and it’s right to laugh. Lovers or not, they’re best friends first and always, and that’s the kind of person you want to spend your life with. In any capacity.
And I think, for me, it really boils down to.. they make me want to believe. My life changes all the time, and I know what it’s like to be seen and to be invisible, and sometimes I think I can’t trust anybody to be there when I call. I want to believe that two people can know each other, and that it goes beyond whether they’re together or not. It goes to the core of who they are. Dick and Barbara are bound. And they make me want to believe connection, friendship, strength and love are real.
So I do.