All characters in this fic are owned by DC comics. I do not have permission to use them and do so only for enjoyment, not for any monetary gain. This has probably been done before, but I haven't read anything like it, and the idea just wouldn't leave me alone. Please review. Thanks, krtshadow.
Looking back it seems so obvious. I had always known that he was hiding something. I just assumed it was something personal, and when I finally figured out that Richard Grayson was the millionaire Bruce Wayne's adopted son, I thought that I'd figured it out. I could actually understand why Dick would want to hide his roots, since he was a dedicated and honest young man who obviously didn't find the social whirl attractive. I admired him for being willing to have a real job and a real life even though he could have bought and sold my well mortgaged house 50 times on the interest from his bank account alone. I was positive from the news coverage of Bruce Wayne that Dick could have had anything he wanted. There is no doubt in my mind that cars, a mansion, and a Vice Presidency at Wayne Corp could have been his for the asking. Women he wouldn't have to ask Daddy about, I imagine with his 1000-watt smile they would flock even if he weren't filthy rich. So, once I discovered that information about my rookie partner, I stopped probing him, thinking that I had figured him out.
Ha, was I ever wrong. Let me tell you a story…
My understanding of Dick Grayson leaped exponentially one lazy autumn day. We had the night shift and were cruising around our assigned section of downtown Bludhaven. I don't even remember what we were talking about, just making small talk, as people will when they are spending hours together on the job. I think I mentioned something about him looking tired and he replied something about staying up to late watching movies. I think he asked about my kids and I said that they were doing fine. This type of conversation continued on as we endured yet another night on the job, this one mercifully quiet. So far.
This quiet was shattered by gunfire from a small convenience store about a block away. As Dick radioed in and got the go ahead, I put the petal to the metal and pulled up beside the store.
We both had our guns out as we approached the entrance. I motioned for Dick to find a back entrance and he nodded his assent and left. One part of my brain noticed how quietly he moved and made a mental note to compliment him on it later. Rookies always need encouragement, keeps them wanting to do better. I looked inside the front window cautiously, making sure I could not be seen from the inside of the store. Chaos met my eyes.
I cursed inwardly at the sight of an unmoving body behind the counter. I couldn't see the head or shoulders of the downed clerk, but the blood pooling on the floor told me all I needed to know. I also noticed that the two security cameras had been shot. I shifted my position slightly to see if I could get a glimpse of the perp. There he was, waving a sawed off shotgun and threatening 3 young men and a teenaged girl. I waited until he had turned partly away from the potential hostages and burst through the door, gun in hand. I moved between the counter and the perp, gun staring him in the face as I yelled, "Put the gun down NOW." My peripheral vision caught sight of Dick in back of the gunman, gun held lightly in hand, ready to back me up. I inwardly sighed in relief, he wasn't freezing up, and he was helping and backing me up. Now I need to get this guy to drop the gun.
That's when all heck broke loose. All of a sudden I felt a gun to my head and I saw Dick's eyes go wide and then ice cold. A hand from behind me yanked the gun from my grasp. An absolutely inane part of my brain thought, "Don't think I've ever seen Dick mad before." I realized that we had been set up as the 4 'hostages' pulled guns and started laughing about how they were gonna kill a couple of cops. My mind raced as I realized that the 'murdered' clerk was the one holding me at gunpoint.
The guy behind me yelled at Dick. "Put the gun down or I waste the chick." I mentally urged Dick to save himself. If he kept the gun, I'd probably get shot, but he'd be able to take down the rest of the gang, or at least enough to get to cover. If he put it down, we'd both die. This gang was high on something nasty and obviously had a huge hate for cops. Even though I was holding perfectly still, I managed a tiny shake of my head and a blink at Dick. This was supposed to communicate to him that he should not obey the gunmen, and to put up a fight and forget about me.
My heart sank when he slowly put the gun on the floor and took a step closer to the five perps on this side of the counter. I felt the gun at my head move slightly and I closed my eyes, hoping that my kids would be taken care of. Then I opened them again, because I had heard Dick move. Move? He was like greased lightning, reaching behind his back and pulling something dark and thin from behind his back. He threw it right at me, missing my face by not even an inch, as it hit the gun at my head. As soon as I felt the gun move away I turned and belted the guy. Desperation must have given me extra strength, because the guy crumpled.
I vaulted over the counter, scrambling frantically for my gun, which had been knocked to the floor. Finding it, I whirled, fully expecting Dick to be shot for his effort to save me. He had no cover and would be a sitting duck. All of this went through my mind in the time it took me to turn around.
Dick was not being shot, in fact only one of the perps still had his gun, the rest were scattered around on the floor. Dick was moving again, punching two of the young men at one time. They crumpled to the floor as he flipped… flipped?… backwards to avoid the bullets of the one with the gun. Then almost nonchalantly he executed a perfect side-leg kick to get rid of the gun and a karate chop to the neck to get rid of the gunman. The girl he dispatched with a nerve block punch, leaving her slumped on the floor. The final perp was trying to show some brains and run, by this time realizing what I was realizing, that this was no ordinary cop, but Dick effortlessly caught up to him by vaulting over an ATM machine and slugged him in the face. Five people, all armed, down in less than a minute. He wasn't even breathing hard. I realized that I had just been standing there with my mouth open.
As Dick dragged the last perp over the others I ducked down behind the counter and found the black object that he had thrown at the gun. It was obviously some kind of ninja throwing star. It reminded me of a batarang that one of my friends on the Gotham PD kept in a desk drawer as a good luck charm. The light dawned. Moves like that, a variation of a batarang, how silently he moves, how tired he always is, the occasional weird bruise he explains away… it's all beginning to make sense. My rookie partner is the vigilante Nightwing. The one that recently 'adopted' Bludhaven about the same time that Dick said he'd moved here from Gotham.
I stood to my feet and faced my partner, who had handcuffed the perps and stood facing me. He had changed, confidence was in every move of his body, and his gaze was disconcerting in its clarity. He looked from my eyes down to the throwing star in my hand and back to my eyes again. He must have known from the look in my eyes that I had him figured out. As we stood staring at each other, my mind raced. I should arrest him. I know I should. What he does is illegal. But I can't. It may be illegal, but it is right, and Bludhaven needs him. Who am I kidding? I couldn't arrest him with a swat team. He could take me out with one hand behind is back. Heck, probably with two hands behind his back. Blindfolded. But, would he? I don't know, but I think that he wouldn't hurt me.
My mental reverie is interrupted by his voice. "Well, make your decision?" He waits. I don't think that I would normally notice this, but he's holding his breath, waiting to see what my reaction will be to the news that my rookie partner is a world famous vigilante.
I had made my decision. I blinked at him, "What decision?" I looked down at the throwing star in my hand as Dick looked at me, still waiting patiently for the verdict. I looked him right in the eye as I stated clearly, "Good thing that vigilante guy… what's his name? Nightbird or something… just happened by. No question, he saved our lives." I nonchalantly wiped the throwing star on my shirt. "I'll have the lab go over this for fingerprints, but there won't be any. He was wearing gloves. Blast, catching that guy would look good on the record. Maybe someday, hmmm?"
Dick changed back into Dick, and grinned at me. "Yeah, maybe someday." He took the throwing star from me gingerly, holding it by the edge, and put it in an evidence bag. He gave me a rather pained look. "And, I think it's Nightwing, not Nightbird. Or," he shrugged, "so I've heard."
As Dick looked around for the real clerk, I radioed in to HQ and got a team on the way to pick up the gang members. The clerk happened to be tied up in the back storeroom, unharmed. Soon, there was an evidence team sweeping the whole store, looking for some kind of evidence that 'Nightwing' may have left as he saved my… er…our lives. I was in the middle of being questioned by two of the most senior detectives on the BHPD. Dick had already told them that he had not seen the vigilante, as he had been ducking for cover. Detective Jancec, a pompous jerk of a man, who considered himself heir to Sherlock Holmes himself, asked, "So, Officer Rohrback, did you see Nightwing? Can you describe him?"
"Well, I got a pretty good look at him, but he had a mask on, and he was moving really fast."
"Describe his build, and any thing else you can think of that we might be able to use to identify him."
"Um, well, when I first saw him, I thought that he looked a little like Officer Grayson here." Dick went just slightly tense. "But Nightwing was more muscled up, and a little bit taller, say 6'4". And longer hair, and obviously, a mask. He moved really fast. Other than that, I was either fighting for my life or trying to find my gun, so that's about all I can tell you." Dick relaxed again and shot me a reproachful look when Jancec had his back turned. I sent him a very unrepentant smirk.
Meanwhile, the perps were on their way to jail via the police wagon. Only one of them regained consciousness before the wagon came, and he pointed to Dick and yelled, "He hurt me!" Dick did an excellent double take, and one of the police officers waved him away, stating that they were all so high that they probably thought Elvis was the one who took them down. I knew that the comments of the perp would be disregarded. Good old Bludhaven PD, never take notice of evidence when you can overlook it. At least this time it worked out for the better.
After finally getting back to the station, and filling out the mounds of useless paperwork about the evening's escapades, I was finally ready to head home. Just in time to kiss my kids good morning and head to bed. What a night…
I almost ran into Dick, who had been waiting for me outside in the walkway to the parking lot. I was slightly surprised, since I had thought that he had left almost an hour ago. He fell into step beside me as I walked toward my car. I was tired, still shocked over what he was and what he did, and for the life of me I couldn't think of a single thing to say to him.
I was also feeling rather intimidated. In the process of filing all of my reports, I had been subjected to the life story of Nightwing. I hadn't realized how famous he was, that he was considered one of the top ten martial artists in the world, and that he was the leader of a team of superheros. I had read about how he and his team systematically saved lives all over the world. I had read first person reports of people in Bludhaven who owed their lives to the quick fists and brain of the man walking beside me. I was having trouble relating all that information to the man who cracked stupid jokes in the middle of boring patrols and the rookie that showed such promise of being an honest officer in a PD desperately needing them. This man had become a platonic friend of mine, despite the difference in age and background. Now I felt uncomfortable, unsure of what to do or say.
We reached my car without speaking. I turned and leaned with my back to the door. I let my self relax a little, letting the fatigue show in my face and posture. This night had been way too long. Dick obviously had something that he wanted to discuss, and I thought that he probably wanted my word on keeping his secret. The parking lot was totally empty of people, so we'd be able to speak freely.
I was surprised when the first words out of his mouth was an apology. "Listen, Amy, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry." He looked uncomfortable and ran a hand through his hair. "I never wanted to put you in a position to have to keep my secrets. I know that you're an honest woman and I didn't want you to have to make that kind of a decision. I, I just couldn't think of another way…"
I interrupted, my intimidation forgotten. "Dick, you saved my life. I had my eyes closed, and I was praying that somebody would look after my kids. Don't insult me by apologizing. Honesty is relative, especially in this town. I had no reason to tell you before, but I got into police business because a vigilante saved my life once before. I'll forget that I ever knew anything about your night job, because I know that you'll keep fighting the good fight. It doesn't matter that you use unorthodox methods, you still save lives and I wouldn't want to be responsible for stopping that." I paused to take a breath and realized that Dick was staring at me with his mouth open. I pointed my finger at him as he started to speak. "No, be quiet, I'm not done yet. What you do is not legal, but it is right. This town is very messed up, and it needs someone to clean it up. I thought for a while it might be me, but I'm bound by my kids and the fact that I need my job. Making waves was what permanently got me the Officer title, instead of the Detective that I could be. Bludhaven needs somebody like you, and the fact that you have knowledge about the scum that run this town under the name of government will only help. I realize that you don't need my help, but if there's ever anything that I can do…" I realized how stupid I probably sounded, offering my help to a detective of Nightwing's caliber, so I shut my mouth and turned back towards my car, unlocking and opening the door.
Dick grabbed my shoulder before I could get in the car. I turned to look at him again. "Thank you, " he said. He seemed to be fumbling for words. "I, uh, I guess that I tend to forget about normal people and what they must think about me. I might take you up on that offer for help sometime, I can use all the friends I can get. And we are still friends, right? I would hate for anything to ruin that."
I managed a smile. "Of course we're still friends, rookie." My face hardened slightly and I stood up straight and got in his face a little. "But, so help me God, if you ever start killing or hurting innocent people in your "line of work" you'd better stick me at the top of your list, because I will take you down. I don't care what I have to do. I don't care that you could kill me in ten seconds or less. I don't care how many of your super-powered friends you have along, I will find a way." Ulp, way to go Amy, just imply he's going to start killing people, that's real good. I'll be lucky if he doesn't belt me one. But I don't care, I meant every word.
To my surprise he starts laughing. "Amy, I would expect nothing less of you, but if that ever happens you'll probably have to get in line. I've got way too many friends and family members that would beat my head in if I ever even thought about crossing the line. Did you say that you got saved once before? By somebody in my line of work? Sounds like a story I'd like to hear sometime."
I grimaced, that had not been one of my better days. "It really wasn't all that much. I was visiting my sister in Gotham about 7 years ago, and since I was fresh from the suburbs, I was stupid enough to go wandering around after dark. Just to the corner store, but 5 guys jumped me and I was in deep trouble. Then that kid, the one that works with Batman, y'know the one with the green short pants? Well, he comes out of nowhere and sends them running. While making really stupid puns. I never got a chance to thank him, but I was making a career change at the time and the experience kind of pushed me towards law enforcement. I don't suppose you know who he was, do you? I know it's been a while, but I'd like him to know that I said thanks."
Dick gave me a small smile. "I know, and I'll make sure that he gets the message. Well, I need some sleep." He yawned and stretched. Now the fact that he has a body like a gymnast and muscles like a weight lifter makes some sense.
I nodded at him and climbed into my car, unable to stop the yawn that threatened to split my face. Too many hours, not enough sleep. I was about ready to shut the door when Dick leaned in and said, "Thanks, Amy."
"No, thank you. And keep your head down, y'hear?"
"I'll do that."
I look down to find my keys and by the time I look up, he's gone. I mean literally, nowhere in sight. I shrug mentally. Time to get home and sleep.
Amazingly enough, things went back to normal the next day. We both showed up for work and patrolled like normal. I had a little more respect for what he was capable of, and I got the feeling that he didn't have to hide as much about what he knew. We haven't really talked about it since, but occasionally I take a particularly interesting case file and leave it in the car while I get coffee or something. Particularly interesting usually being defined as something that will be covered up or ignored by the powers that be in the PD. Amazing how some of these things miraculously get resolved. Also, when Dick's rookie training was over, I requested him as my permanent partner, after asking him first. Since he was enthusiastic over the idea, the partnership of Rohrback and Grayson is still going strong.