Another Way

By Alekto


Circumstances beyond his control force Dick Grayson into making a decision he never wanted to have to make.


DC and Time/Warner own Nightwing, Batman, Oracle etc. I'm just borrowing them for a little while - I'll give them all back when I'm done.

Author's notes:

I know next to nothing about proper US Police Procedure or martial arts - please be kind and bear this in mind when reading! A big thank you is due to Sandra for the time she put in beta reading this fic.

Rating: PG-13 for violence and language

On a roof in Gotham, after the earthquake, Batman and Nightwing talk:

"I figure if I could become a cop.."

"Great minds think alike. I've been using a police disguise myself lately."

"Not play at being a cop. Become a cop. As Dick Grayson."

"I'm not sure I like that idea."

"It's worth a try."

"It's dangerous."

"More dangerous than this?"

"You'll be blurring your two personas."

"What personas? Dick Grayson isn't a masquerade. Not like Bruce Wayne is."

"Exactly. You're already a master crimefighter. You'll stand out in the rank and file."

"I can tone it down."

"And deadly force? You'll be wearing a gun. How will you tone that down?"

"I'm working on that one..."

-from Detective Comics #725

Chapter 1

Broadly speaking, I'm not a morning person, at least not without several cups of coffee. I guess it's just a natural result of having spent so many nights out patrolling - first Gotham, and now Bludhaven. Trying to get by on just a few hours sleep doesn't help matters either.

That morning I was standing in line at the bank, thinking longingly of the next cup of coffee. I'd got to the stage where even the lethal brew that regularly lubricated the BPD seemed attractive. In front of me I could see the bank tellers' disinterested faces, bored already by the morning's routine. The only time I'd seen a flash of interest had been back when I first went in to check the balance on the account that had been administered for me since my parents' death. The fact that the teller started to address me as 'Mr. Grayson, sir' might give you a clue as to what that balance was. I think, to be honest, I was no less surprised. I should have had an idea, though: Lucius Fox, CEO of WayneTech and the man who had administered the account, was no slouch when it came to money.

The line inched inexorably forward. I stifled a yawn. Only hours before I'd had to have a very strong 'discussion' with some guys who'd figured that the 'Haven would be an ideal place for their particular brand of very illegal merchandise. Said 'discussion' had left them unconscious and tied up should the cops deign to arrive, their merchandise at the bottom of the bay, and me with a few more cuts and bruises than when I'd started. No one had ever suggested that being a vigilante was a safe career choice, but I'd managed to avoid broken bones or getting shot up this time around. On that thought I made a mental note that I needed to get the costume repaired after the kevlar had stopped a couple of bullets that I hadn't quite been able to dodge.

I yawned again and rubbed my hands over my face. My mind drifted and I could imagine one of those patented disapproving: 'what have you been doing to yourself' looks that I'd doubtless be getting from my partner - Amy Rohrbach - when I did get in to work looking half asleep... again. Even she would be forced to admit that half asleep was better than drunk or stoned, I mused, recalling some of what I had seen of Bludhaven's finest. I'd told Bruce that I wanted to deal with Bludhaven's problems of corruption from the inside, that there had to be a few good cops in the 'Haven. There were some good cops here, but precious few. I was lucky enough to have one of the best of them as a partner.

"NOBODY MOVE!" The screamed order jolted me from my reverie. I turned around, berating myself for my inattention, and took in the incipient bank robbery that I'd been too tired and distracted to have spotted. I grimaced, knowing that I was *so* going to hear it from Batman when this little slip got out - as well as from Tim, Babs, Roy, Amy ...

"DOWN ON THE FLOOR!" a second voice shouted, cutting through the cries of fear and alarm.

Another bellow followed: "EVERYONE GET THEIR HANDS UP! NOW!"

People were getting down on the floor. I could hear a child start crying, other voices murmuring, praying 'Oh God, please let me get through this', 'Oh God, I don't want to die'.

I looked around, my mind assessing the scene almost automatically. Years of breaking up robberies will do that for you. There were three of them - all armed. The bank's own security guards had already been disarmed and were on the floor, being covered by a kid who could scarcely have been older than Tim, holding a submachine gun on them. The other two were chivvying the bank's customers into a huddle near the back wall. I tried to keep my head down, to stay unnoticed until an opportunity arose for me to act.

It didn't work. The leather jacket I'd thrown on over my uniform against the morning's chill wasn't much of a disguise - it was never intended to be. I was pulled at gun point from the rest of the customers.

Damn. So much for anonymity.

"You gonna arrest us, man?" one of them joked, the barrel of his submachine gun pressed under my chin forcing my head back. That close, I couldn't escape the stench of sweat and stale beer on his breath. There was the smell of something else as well ... Crack? He giggled. I took in his pale skin, the crazy, too-bright eyes. "You wanna arrest us, pig?"

He was flying so high, he was in orbit - somewhere probably around Neptune, if I had to guess ...

"No one needs to get hurt here," I said, trying to reason with him, the presence of his gun making it difficult to talk. I had to be careful. I was Officer Dick Grayson here, not Nightwing.

"You ain't listenin' to me, cop!" he spat. "You ain't in control here. We are! You ain't nuthin', you here me? Nuthin'!"

"Quit screwin' around, Carl!" I heard one of the others snap at him. "Get his gun and cuff him - we don't have all day here!"

Carl muttered some imprecation under his breath at the order, then turned his attention back to me. "Down on the floor, cop," he smirked. "Face down!"

I paused a moment, considering the situation. Carl, the one holding a gun on me, I could take down in a matter of seconds, no problem. The kid covering the security guards was on the other side of the bank from me, and had a Heckler Koch submachine gun. Between the customers and staff, there were about twenty people in the bank and if he opened up, some of them were going to die. There was no way I could guarantee getting to him before he fired. The third man, and apparently the one in charge, was busy emptying the contents of the cash drawers into a bag. For now, I had no choice but to play along. The rest of the customers and staff sat quietly, watching. I caught a couple of sympathetic glances from some of them, but mostly I got the idea that it was relief that I, and not they, was the target of Carl's dislike.

Carl took exception to my delay in obeying his order, grabbed my collar and dragged me to the floor. Moments later he'd taken my gun and cuffed my hands behind my back. He stood back up, muttering: "Shit-for-brains cop, you don't hear real good, do you? I tell you what to do. You do it!" As if to emphasize his point he slammed his foot into my side. Hard. I gulped back the instinctive gasp of pain. He kicked again. "You hear me, cop?" Kick. "You hear me?" I coughed, fighting to breathe. He reached down, grabbed a handful of hair and dragged my head up. "You hear what I'm telling you?"

"I hear you," I managed to gasp back after a few seconds. He grunted in what might have been satisfaction and let my head drop back to the floor.

Carl turned his attention to the guy I figured to be in charge. "You done yet, Marty? We gotta go!"

I heard rather than saw Marty return. Five minutes more and they'd be gone. The only casualty would have been my pride, and that I could live with, especially as I'd seen their faces and had two names for Oracle to work with. Carl, Marty and their quiet friend could expect a visit from Nightwing in the very foreseeable future.

Then I heard the amplified voice from outside. "This is the police! You're surrounded - there's no way for you to escape. Come out with your hands up!"

There was a moment's silence inside the bank. On the faces of the customers I could see cautious glimmerings of hope - hope that faded to fear with Marty's next words.

"Make sure the doors are locked, and get those blinds closed!" he ordered. "We've got enough hostages here, they ain't gonna rush us. And we've got one of their own to bargain with!"

I risked a glance at him and he met my gaze with a vicious grin of his own. I couldn't help thinking that things were going to get very messy before this was over ...

To be continued..