Title

Disclaimer: Any characters previously mentioned in a DC comic, I do not own. DC does. I'm not making money off of this.

Far From The Tree

Part 1

By: Gates

If you want to find Nightwing, just look for the trail of beaten baddies, she thought from her perch on the roof. She kept herself hidden in the shadows as she watched the Bludhaven PD clean up his handy work.

Rolland Desmond is *not* going to be happy. She thought, as small smile creeping up on her face.

"What are you doing here, Huntress?"

She tried to hide her surprise at his voice behind her. She hated that he could still sneak up on her. The apple doesn't fall far.

She turned to see him standing in the shadows of a large air conditioning unit. His face, what she could see of it, was set hard as stone. Nope. Not far at all.

"Nice to see you too, Nightwing."

"Why are you here?"

"You sound nervous. Afraid the Big Bat's gonna be angry that I've come within a hundred yards of you?"

"I've got patrolling to do. Keep it short."

She crossed her arms, matching his stance. He was starting to piss her off.

"Fine. I'm pregnant. It's yours. Short enough for you?"

If it were at all possible, Nightwing, already a virtual statue, became even stiller.

He said nothing and she wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of speaking again before he did.

It seemed like several minutes past before he found his voice.

"…A—Are you sure?" He asked in a low voice.

"Eleven weeks." She said flatly. She slowly walked towards him stopping less than a foot away. "And as you may recall, that's about the same time we last… met."

"…And you know for certain that I'm…"

{WACK!}

Her right hook connected to his jaw sending him reeling back. She knew then how much this news had effected him, for she was certain that she never would have gotten such an easy shot in, under normal circumstances.

"What the hell do you think I am? Some kind of *whore*?!" She yelled.

Nightwing was holding his jaw with one hand and using the other to raise himself up as he leaned against the large AC Unit for support.

"I didn't mean…"

"*Of course* you did!" she hissed.

He sighed and shamefully shook his head.

"I'm sorry." He said. "I'm… just having a little trouble processing this right now."

"Processing?" She asked, one eyebrow raised in disbelief. "You really are a piece of work, you know that."

"Well, whaddoya want from me, Helena?" He said raising his voice. "I haven't seen you in—in…"

"…Eleven weeks."

"…Eleven weeks, and the first thing out of your mouth is that you're pregnant! Excuse me if I'm a little un-couth. I've never been in this situation before!"

"And *I* have?!"

They stared at each other for a minute.

"Look…" She continued, finally. "I don't expect anything from you, I just thought you should know."

She spun on her heal and headed back to the edge of the roof.

"Where are you going?"

"Back to Gotham."

Dick felt he should say something else, but when he opened his mouth, no sound came out. Helena disappeared over the side of the building.

He leaned against the AC Unit and slid down until he was sitting. He methodically began banging the back of his head against the unit.

"Stupid… Stupid… Stupid…" He repeated over and over again, his eyes closed. "You handled that *real* well…"

His thoughts of Helena shifted suddenly to thoughts of someone else… Someone who could hit *a lot* harder that the Huntress.

He leaned his head against the unit and gave a desperate sigh.

"I'm a dead man."

******

Tim opened his eyes. Something had caused him wake up but he wasn't certain what it was. Everything seemed quiet. Then he heard it again: a small tapping noise.

He sat up and looked at the window in time to see a finger disappear. A moment later a head appeared from the top of the window looking in.

Tim grinned cast a quick glance at his sleeping roommate. The boy hadn't stirred. Tim slipped out of his bed and quietly moved over to the window.

"The gym." He whispered quietly. The head disappeared and was replaced with a hand giving a 'thumbs up' signal. Well… technically, it was a 'thumbs down' as the person had been hanging upside down, but he got the picture.

Five minutes later, young Timothy Drake, now dressed in his guise of Robin, dropped down onto the roof of his school gym. The figure in the window was sitting with his back to him, his legs drawn up.

"Hey!" He said, happily. But was a little surprised that the man in front of him seemed surprised himself. This was not a man that was easily snuck up on and Tim wasn't even trying.

"Hey, Kid." Nightwing replied, turning only his head to look at the fifteen year old.

"Everything okay?"

Nightwing gave a half grin.

"What makes you think it's not?"

Robin sat down next to him.

"Well, for one, since I'm in school out here, I'm really only supposed to be Robin with you guys on the weekends. It's Wednesday. So whatever it is has to be important."

"Uh-huh."

"And secondly… you didn't know when I got here did you? I saw you jump."

"Tim, it's 3:30 in the morning. Does that brain of yours ever take a rest?"

"Hey, I gotta be me." he said. "So what's up? Or are you gonna fill me in en route?"

Dick shook his head.

"No. It's nothing like that. I'm not here for Robin. I'm here to see Tim. I wanted… I needed to talk to someone."

Tim shrugged slightly.

"I got two ears." He said with an encouraging smile.

Dick tried to return it but couldn't. Tim began to get worried. He placed a hand on Dick's shoulder. Dick Grayson was the closest thing Tim had to a brother. He didn't like to see him hurting, physically, or emotionally.

"Dick, what is it?"

After a pause, Dick exhaled a breath he didn't know he was holding. He lay back on the slanting roof of the Brentwood Gymnasium and draped an arm across his eyes.

"I'm in trouble, bro…" He started. "*Big* trouble."

He was quiet again for a moment.

"Blockbuster?" Tim asked, trying to be helpful.

Dick managed a small smile.

"I wish." He grudgingly said. "I… I sorta… got someone… pregnant…"

Tim's mouth dropped open and his eyes grew. He jaw eventually started moving, but no real sound came out at first.

"…Uh—Um—Well—It—It's not… all… that bad… I mean… Things… could be worse…" Tim offered, grasping at straws.

Nightwing dropped his arm from his eyes and stared grimly up at the night sky.

"It's Helena."

"That would be worse." Tim weezed.

"Uh-huh."

"Does… Does *HE* know?"

"Uh-Uh."

"…You're a dead man."

"Thanks."

"Sorry… It's just that…{SIGH} …you're a dead man."

Dick sat up resting his arms on his knees.

"I know."

They were quiet for a minute.

"I thought…" Tim started, his forehead knitted in question. He wasn't sure how to proceed. " I thought… after that one time… you'd decided to stop… seeing Helena. Even back before No Man's Land."

"I did. I knew she was never change her ways. I wanted nothing to do with her." He explained. "Then she almost gets killed by the Joker, protecting those babies… I don't know… the thought that she might…" He shook his head. "I realized then that she means more to me than I wanted to admit.

"Still, Huntress is Huntress. Once I knew she was going to be okay, I made up my mind. I decided to stay away from her."

"*You* decided."

"He doesn't control *everything* in my life, you know."

"Uh-Huh."

"Anyway, I hadn't seen her in a long time. Then, a couple of months ago, we ended up working on the same case again. Remember the Cortena drug runners?"

Tim nodded.

"Well… sometime during the case…"

Nightwing shook his head.

"I get the picture."

"Then tonight, she shows up in the 'Haven and tells me that she's pregnant and it's mine."

"…Are you sure that it…"

"Don't even go there, Tim." Dick said, unconsciously rubbing his chin. "Yeah, it's mine. I believe her."

"So what are you gonna do?"

"I don't know. I mean… there's nothing I *can* do. What's done is done."

They sat together in depressed silence.

Then Tim suddenly smiled.

"Hey!" He said slapping Nightwing on the back.

"You're gonna be a daddy!"

Nightwing thought about his words. In the three hours since he'd seen Helena, he'd thought about a lot of things. How could he have allowed this to happen? What was *HE* going to say? What would his relationship with Helena be like? What was *HE* going to say? In all those worried thoughts, one very important element had escaped him. The child. And suddenly there was a small spark of light in all of this. Nightwing began to smile.

"I'm gonna be a daddy." He repeated quietly. He turned to Tim. "I never really let that sink in… I'm gonna be somebody's dad. Thanks kid. Now I remember why I keep you around."

"That's what I'm here for."

"You're my pal…"

"Uh-huh…"

"…My brother…"

"You bet. Uncle Tim, that's me!"

"…And you'll come with me when I tell Batman…"

"Bye!" Tim jumped up and took off.

Dick dropped his face in his hands.

"I'm a dead man."

*****

Bruce Wayne slowly rose from behind his desk, every muscle tensed and controlled. Dick Grayson sat in the chair across from him, his head down, unable to look his mentor in the eye.

Bruce stepped out from behind his desk and walked past Dick without looking, or saying a word to the young man.

{SLAM!}

The door to the office hit with such force, several of the pictures and other mounted objects in the room fell to the floor with a crash.

Dick let out the heavy breath he'd been holding.

"Well, that went better than I thought it would." He said grimly to himself.

Dick had decided that it would be… *better*, for all parties concerned, to tell *Bruce Wayne* the news rather than *Batman*. And to ensure this… *safety* better, he'd waited until Bruce was at work. He couldn't kill him at Wayne Corp. (He hoped). Too many witnesses.

Dick looked around the room at the fallen decoratives. It was a grim indication of just how angry the man really was. He was certain that no one in Wayne Corp. had ever seen Bruce Wayne angry. He was the epidamy of laid back and easy going. What must they have thought seeing him storm out of his office like that.

He was unsure as to what he should do at the moment. Should he leave or should he sit there and wait for Bruce to cool off and come back?

If he came back.

In the end, he chose to sit.

He sat there for over twenty minutes before deciding that Bruce probably wasn't going to return.

He stood up to leave but had only taken two steps when the door opened and Bruce walked back in.

Bruce used a finger to indicate the chair Dick had just left. "Sit." He said in a voice that dared not be contradicted. The young hero immediately did as he was told. Bruce walked back to his desk and sat down.

"Bruce, I—"

"You. Don't talk."

Dick lowered his eyes again. Suddenly he felt as though he were nine years old again. The last few years whenever Bruce had confronted him about something, he confronted him right back. No fear. No guilt. Just anger. This time was different. Most of the time he felt that Batman was just over-reacting. This time, he knew that he messed up… big time.

Bruce ran his hands over his face then folded them in front of him.

He couldn't remember a time when he had been more angry at Dick, and Batman had a very extensive memory. Even when he had told the boy to turn in his keys and never return to the Manor—that was more grief mixed with anger. The grief of loosing Jason Todd. But this… When Dick had told him… he was furious. Blindingly furious. For an instant… half of a half of a split second… he'd had the horrible impulse to reach across the large desk, grab Dick by the collar and shake him as hard as he could. That scared him. More than anything he could have ever imagined. He'd *never* had a violent thought towards his 'son' before. Where did that sudden rage come from? Instead of acting on the impulse he stood up and left. He needed time to cool off… before he did something he'd regret for the rest of his life. He couldn't even speak to the boy. Not a word. He feared that if he even opened his mouth he would somehow injure him, and he couldn't let that happen. When the white rage he saw began to fade, he returned to his office, half expecting Dick not to be there. He was… glad… that he still was, although it looked as though the young man were about to leave.

"How could— Dick this is— How could you do something like this?!"

"It's not like I planned it or anything!"

"You should have stayed away from her!"

"I—" Dick shook his head. "Bruce… I care about her okay? I know I shouldn't. I know that she's unstable, I know she's dangerous, but…"

He ran a hand through his midnight tresses. "I'm not saying that I'm in love with her or anything… but I *do* care about her."

Dick finally found the strength to look Bruce in the eye.

"Look, I wasn't telling you for your opinion. I already knew what it would be anyway. I'm telling you just 'cause I thought you should know."

Bruce leaned forward on his arm. "So what are you planning to do? Get married?"

"Of course not!" Dick exclaimed graining his own conscience and moral upbringing.

"Joint custody then? Weekend father…?"

"I don't know. I DON'T KNOW!" Dick pushed out of his chair.

Bruce sat back in his chair and steepled his fingers.

"Of course, you could just drop out of the picture all together."

"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?! That's just what you want me to do, isn't it?! Why don't I just ask her to get an abortion, and have it over with?! That make you happy?!"

"I never said that."

"But you were thinking it!"

"Actually I wasn't."

Dick looked at him.

"Does she know?" Bruce asked.

Dick shook his head. "No. She's… seen my face, but she doesn't know who I am. She doesn't know my name."

"She'll ask."

"She knows I won't tell her."

"…Do you think she's planning to write 'Nightwing' on the birth certificate?"

Dick sat back down letting his head drop back. He was surprised at himself that he hadn't thought about that before.

"Right now, you have two choices to consider. If you're going to have anything to do with this child, she's going to insist on knowing." The Bat continued. "Your other option… She did say, that she didn't expect anything from you. You could walk away and leave your identity in tact."

"And yours." Dick added bitterly. "And never see my kid." He finished.

"I can't help you with decision, Dick. This is something you have to work out on your own."

"Yeah." Dick said, standing up. He walked to the door and opened it. "Not like it's a family matter or anything." He added then closed the door behind him.

#####

End Of Part 1