Dick did spend the weekend with his family. Alfred made Bruce call Catwoman, Black Canary, and Huntress to cover the streets so they could all have a well deserved break. And it was surprisingly nice. With Joker gone, something had changed in Bruce. He was… less like Batman and more like himself. During a 'Robins Only' discussion on the change in their mentor's personality, where in the reasons grew more and more preposterous as the evening wore on, Tim had joked that some scary middle-eastern Bat-God had possessed Bruce when he found out the Joker had killed Jason Todd.
Dick thought there might have been more of a ring of truth to that statement than either of them would have cared to admit. Bruce was acting in a way that he hadn't been since long before Jason died, though. He was acting the way he did when Dick was a kid… younger than Tim. When he was still Robin and the Joker had not yet shot him causing Bruce to close up the first time. For the first time in a very long time, Wayne Manor felt like home. Felt like family.
And even though they weren't openly saying they were glad Joker was dead, or that it was Dick who had killed him, Barbara did thank him, in an entirely non verbal way. An entirely nonverbal way that made them both late to breakfast every morning of the weekend.
Dick also had a number of visitors of the cape and cowl kind over the weekend, much to Bruce's chagrin. Clark, Wally, Donna, Roy, Garth, Dinah, and in the strangest twist of all Oliver Queen (though he was probably just there because of Dinah) all stopped by the Manor to see how Dick was holding up, and most of them had been bullied by Alfred to stay for at least tea if not a full meal. Dick thought Alfred was enjoying having a full house, and Bruce didn't grumble too much out loud. In all, it was a very good weekend. A weekend the whole Bat-Clan needed, and Dick felt that some old wounds were finally beginning to heal.
It was six weeks before Lt Rohrbach returned to work. Her recovery time was shorter than most expected, but most of the impact of the bullet had been absorbed by the Kevlar vest she had been wearing beneath her clothes. As result, she suffered minimal damage to internal organs. That, coupled with the fact she complained she was "Going ape-shit crazy" stuck at home, and with the fact that both she and Dick had been promoted to detective for their heroics meant Amy could go on light duty.
Dick was infinitely glad to have her back. It meant his life could resume it's normal pace, rather than being paraded about like he was the Savior reborn. And while a small part of him missed being a beat cop, it was a very small part. And it was dwarfed by the part that was excited about being an actual, honest to god detective.
He and Amy had spoken briefly about what had happened. Amy thanked him. He said 'you would have done the same for me'. She agreed. That was the end of it. They both knew that what had to be done was done. In the end, it hadn't mattered to Amy who it was that had attacked them, but that they had gotten through the situation ok. She occasionally gave him a strange, mothering look or two, and once asked how his family was doing. He said 'fine', of course, but he still thought it strange because she'd never asked about his family in that kind of way before.
They were sitting at their new desks on their first official day as detectives when they got a call to accompany the CSI unit to a homicide on the east side of town. Dick was surprised when they arrived to find Roland Desmond, AKA Blockbuster, with his head removed and propped on top of a stack of boxes marked 'For BPD'. Blockbuster was the major syndicate leader in Blüdhaven, and Nightwing hand tangled with him on many occasions, but the crime lord had evaded arrest every time. Like most top guys, he was bullet proof when it came to prosecution; no one could get enough evidence that he was the one in charge.
Dick's first thought was that this must be some kind of mob hit. A dead horse head in the bed type thing. There were bound to be people in other organizations, or even in Blockbuster's own, who wanted to see him dead or wanted to take his spot. However, after the medical examiner finished the field processing on the head, they found something interesting. "Detectives, I think I've found something…"
Dick and Rohrbach walked over, carefully taking a small zip top bag from the ME. It was covered in blood from where it had been, directly under Blockbuster's neck. No one had seen it earlier because it's placement hid it completely. Dick held the envelope in a latex gloved hand while Rohrbach used a set of forceps to pull loose the bag's contents.
Her eyes scanned the note and widened. When she spoke, she sounded like she'd seen a ghost. "Grayson… I think you need to see this…"
Dick moved to stand behind her so he could look over her shoulder. The note that was in the bag was small, the paper plain white, but he could make out a faint water mark. The writing was small and messy, a little child like, and strangely familiar. It was what the note said that was remarkable, though:
This guy's been tailing you for a few months. Knows about your HQ, job, family, and was making plans to out you or exploit you or something. You know these guys, they find out your identity and think they're kings of the world.
I took the liberty of making sure he wouldn't bother you. In the boxes you'll find evidence on his business dealings; drugs, sex, protection rackets, you name it I got it. Got a few names too. If you have trouble getting the PD to prosecute, I'm sure you can just leak it to the press.
I figured this makes us a little closer to square. Sure, this fucker's no Clown, but it was the best I could do on such short notice. I know you were pretty pissed when you got back from Space, and now you've done this? You might just be the best big brother ever."
The note wasn't signed, but Dick didn't need for it to be. He felt his fists ball up, his teeth grit, as white hot anger flared through him. What kind of sick joke was this?
"Mmm… Who would leave a note for Nightwing like this?" Rohrbach asked out loud.
Dick didn't mean to growl as he spoke, "I don't know…"
"Yes you do." She said slyly. She looked over at him, a serious and.. knowing look on her face. Shit. When had she found out?
"They want us to think it's a dead man. Someone who's been dead for nearly 5 years." He chewed the inside of his cheek. This was a very serious situation. First the Hush incident, now this. It couldn't possibly be the Riddler again? Would he really use the same puzzle twice? It wasn't like him…
"And you're sure the writer is dead?" Rohrbach asked, putting the note back into the bag and then into an evidence bag so they could process it further.
"I wasn't there for the funeral, but I have it on good authority."
And then Dick remembered… After the Hush incident… Bruce had Jason's body exhumed and the casket was empty, a hole crudely made in the lid, trace elements of blood and fingernail found embedded in the fibers of the lining.
Was Jason really alive? Dick looked over the letter again. He needed Bruce to look at it… Bruce… Zatanna… No.. Dr Fate. Was Dr Fate even alive still? This was some serious next level shit. How was he going to tell Bruce?
And further more, how did Amy know Dick would know?
She was pursing her lips some, thinking. Dick opened his mouth to say… he wasn't sure what. To ask how she knew he'd know? To ask how much she knew? But she stopped him, "I'm sure you'll let Nightwing know? Maybe he can use his Gotham contacts to see if we have an imposter or one of those 12-coffee-night weird fests on our hands. I expect to be kept in the loop, though."
"You know, for a secretive as certain people are renowned to be, they sure do underestimate people in hospital beds…"
Stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid! She had been awake when Bruce had come to see him. She'd heard everything. God, he felt dumb. He knew they should have taken it up onto the roof.
"It's ok, though," she said in a casual way, "Doesn't change a damned thing."
Dick frowned at her, "You're sure?"
"Positive." She said, and she flashed him a smile and patted his cheek like a small child, "Now, lets find our ghost so we can thank him for getting rid of Desmond."
A/N: Thanks for reading! That's all for now. I had some people ask me to continue in this universe, and I might do so, but only after I've moved and settled into my new home in Boston next week. Wish me luck!