Five Million Cries for a Hero

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Twenty-one dead men sent me on the mission that would change me. Twenty-one dead men that washed up on Gotham's riverbank. Twenty-one dead men made me follow that river to the hell I'm in. Twenty-one dead men led me to a place thick with more crime and corruption then even great Gotham. Twenty-one dead men sent me here so that they could rest in peace. Twenty-one dead men introduced me to my new home.

Because five million cries for a hero made me stay.

- - -

Bruce didn't like Tim. Tuff. He was here now and had some bite behind that bark of his. He was offered the same deal that had been put to Dick. The Gauntlet, sunset to sunrise. Only rule, stay in Gotham. If he could evade the bat for an entire night, he would welcome him under his wing.

When the bodies washed up Batman asked Robin to go to their city and find out what was happening there. Robin departed soon after stopping by the crowded morgue. When he left his first clue was in hand. Each man had died of various chemical poisonings. Specifically variations of the Fear Toxins used by Scarecrow.

When Robin arrived in the city he didn't waste any of his stay there sleeping. In his first nigh alone he apprehended over thirty criminals only to watch as corrupt officers accepted payoffs to let most of them go. On his second night he had caught the same guy three times, before dropping the guy off at the foot of a police station with a recording of all three of his releases. The tape was destroyed and the guy sent on his merry way.

Was Gotham this bad when the Batman started his nights? Did Robin come into existence when the city had left its darkest hours? Did Bruce grit his teeth as the men he fought to bring in were released with a flash of their green?

It took Robin three nights to track Professor Jonathan 'Scarecrow' Crane down. Crane had been experimenting with a new array of fear and hallucination inducing chemicals. Experiments that killed his test subjects and caused the bodies of twenty-one dead men to float down river. Robin easily overwhelmed the few men Scarecrow had bothered to hire. Why would he need them, the Bat was in Gotham.

When Robin turned to face Scarecrow however he was met with a cloud of dust. Through bleary eyes he watched as Crane made is escape. He could do nothing but let the chemical induced darkness wash over him.

- - -

I was eight when it happened. Back then there was no trouble, no hardship. The name Robin was just something my mother called me. Born on the first day of spring, Robin was…fitting. The only thing special about me was that I could fly. I was part of a high wire act with the rest of my family, 'The Flying Grayson's'. It was during our act that my family was murdered.

I was taken in by the Bat and reinvented myself into the Bird. Now I prowl the rooftops and alleyways of Gotham. I fly across the city as well as my namesake suggests. This is my city, my home, my playground. Dick Grayson is just a name that I use, a mask that I wear. I'm not him anymore, not really.

You can call me…

Who am I…?

He looked at the small bird that was nestled in his hands. Smiling he rubbed its feathers lightly so as not to hurt it. Looking round he could see nothing but darkness yet somehow he could see both himself and the bird. His childish hands were covered in the dark green Kevlar of his Robin uniform but it was the size of his original. The one he had first donned.

A fluttering sound above his make him turn to look up. Above his head a spotlight shone down with the emblem of Batman resting over it. The shadow he was sitting in was the silhouette of the Bat-signal.

Suddenly the bat sprung to life and flew away from the light. The world lit up as the bat and its shadow sped away. The Robin that he was holding also took flight and followed the bat and its shadow.

He was about to chase after the bird when another sound gave him pause. He looked wildly as a wall of black birds charged him down. Ravens, Crows, Eagles and Hawks. Each flew past him in a flurry of movement. Dick doubled over and protected his face with his arms. He wasn't surprised to find that he was no longer dressed as Robin.

Finally the wave stopped and Dick was able to look up. Resting on a podium before him was another black bird, the species of which his couldn't recognize. The bird stared at Dick with the same questioning gaze. Standing up Dick realised that the bird was at least as tall as his still eight-year-old self.

It held its gaze for an eternity or more before suddenly spreading its impossibly long wings and cried out at Dick. The wings that slowly enveloped him seemed to hold the night sky itself. He could see the stars and moon clearly as well as a number of dark clouds. Dick floated up into the night sky and simply basked in the sense of freedom.

Smiling widely he did a few summersaults before facing downwards and preparing to dive. When he did he saw the giant tent of his old home. The CC Haly and Norton Brother's Circus. A lump formed in his throat and gravity pulled him down with a snap.

His mother was frozen, reaching out to him. Behind her his father's face was etched in terror as realisation dawned on him. Dressed in his old Flying Grayson costume Dick could only watch as they slowly began to fall. His mother's face gradually morphing to match his fathers as her son sped away from her.

Dick's breathing stopped as they fell into the dark abyss. Collapsing to his knees the eight-year-old boy began to cry. His teardrops chasing after his parents.

The bird with the wings of the night sky cried. Dick's head remained bowed until it offered a second louder cry. His damp eyes looked up but he could not see where the cry was coming from. That didn't stop a third cry from sounding. Wiping his eyes Dick stood still wheezing from his sobbing. Forcing himself to breath properly Dick searched for the bird. Looking up his intuition told him that that bird was high above him. So spreading his wings Dick took to the air.

He flew straight up and waited to see is quarry. He opened his mouth and released the same cry as the black bird. He flew higher on wings that held the night sky. He was the bird he realised as still he climbed. He flew and flew until finally he flew awake. He was the bird with the night for wings.

"That's new." Robin said when his blue eyes finally snapped open.

- - -

Crane ran from the building as fast as he could. On of the benefits of such lanky features were the speeds you could get up to. He was no stranger to the speedy recoveries of Gotham vigilantes. It was almost super-human. He defiantly didn't want to be around when the bird awoke. He didn't know what he would see but chances were he wouldn't be too happy with him whatever it was.

"Professor Crane!" A voice bellowed.

The Scarecrow paused and looked up at the building to find Robin looking down on him. Many people feared Robin but Crane was more worried about the many birds that were perched around him. Most were pigeons but he could see a small number of other species dotted within the mass of feathers. Despite what the name Scarecrow suggested it was actually he that was afraid of birds.

"What was your fear again Scarecrow." Robin said leaning forward off of the building and plummeting down on him. Crane's heart jumped into his throat as the birds also dropped after their master. Terrorised as he was he didn't notice Robin use a Grapple to break his fall. He may not have been able to anyway through the mass of birds.

Crane was lost in the flurry of feathers. He twisted this way and that out of panic but whichever way he turned his phobia awaited him until finally he turned into the green fist of Robin.

"Oh, right. Ornithophobia." Robin said over his unconscious body. Reaching for his belt Robin turned of the signal that was attracting the birds that still fluttered around him. When he did they retreated for the sky in a giant wave.

"Freeze!" A police officer suddenly yelled. Robin turned to face the woman who talked into her radio. "This is officer Rohrbach I need assistance outside 1-12 Rockem Street."

When she turned back to face him Robin was gone.

Back on the rooftop Robin watched as Rohrbach actually cuffed Scarecrow's hands behind his back. At least there were some honest cops in this pit trying to pass itself of as a city. Pulled out his small computer Robin made a note of Rohrbach's name. If he was going to stay he had might as well start now.

- - -

Dick looked down at the new Robin uniform he had just finished making. It was too small for him but it would fit Tim nicely. The boy had faired the test even better then Dick had. He was going to pass on the Robin mantel to him and make himself a new identity. He already had the name in mind.

"I guess you'll be heading back to Jump City now that a new Robin has shown up." Barbara said from the doorway to his room.

"Do you remember why I left the first time?" He asked.

"Gotham didn't need both you and Batman. I understand that. Someday I may leave myself."

"Changeling moved to L.A. Starfire, Raven and Cyborg have been looking after the city well enough without me. I'm not needed there either."

"So what are you doing?"

"I found a new place. One where I'll be needed for a good long time."

"Oh."

"And it's only a half hour drive up the river once you leave the city. Ten minutes if you take the boat." He smiled.

Dick and Barbara had been together romantically since they had taken down Bane together. Neither of them had wanted to get to close again because they knew that Dick would leave again one day. If truth be told both of them had broken this silent vow. Leaving was exactly what he was going to do but his new city was a lot closer then Jump City. Barbara smiled as well as the two lovers kissed and fell onto his bed.

- - -

I was eight when it happened. Back then there was no trouble, no hardship. The name Robin was just something my mother called me. Born on the first day of spring, Robin was…fitting. The only thing special about me was that I could fly. I was part of a high wire act with the rest of my family, 'The Flying Grayson's'. It was during our act that my family was murdered.

I was taken in by the Bat and reinvented myself into the Bird. Now I prowl the rooftops and alleyways of my home. I fly across the city as well as my namesake suggests. This is my city, my home, my haven. My Blüdhaven. Dick Grayson is just a name that I use, a mask that I wear. I'm not him, not really. They used to call me Robin, but I'm not that boy anymore either.

Now they can call me…

…Nightwing.

-

AN

Bom bom bom bom. And so Nightwing is born. That's the end of this fic but not of Nightwing. Keep an eye out for him in both my Dakota Titans fic and upcoming works. I would like to thank anyone who sent me a review and glare spitefully at anyone who didn't.

I'm planning to go over this fic and correct any mistakes I may have made. If you can think of anyway I could improve it please share your ideas.